Cumberland County Welcomes Expert Economic Developer

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Russ Rogerson, whose extensive economic development background has taken him from northwest Ohio to Charlotte, will lead business recruitment and job growth efforts in Fayetteville and Cumberland County. In June, Mr. Rogerson became executive vice president for economic development at the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Rogerson was hired just after consultants at Garner Economics had completed a study of the community’s economy and prospects for future growth. After several months of extensive research, the Atlanta-based consultancy presented its findings to a steering committee of community business leaders, public officials and other decision-makers. Among its findings, the study determined that four out of every ten dollars churning through the economy of Greater Fayetteville was linked to defense spending. “We all knew the military had quite a bit of influence on our community, but the fact that the military accounts for 40 percent of our GDP surprised some people,” says Mr. Rogerson. 

The Garner Economics study also urges the community to focus on creating new assets and amenities needed by location-seeking businesses. “Product is a need, both in buildings and in sites, and that will be a priority for us,” Mr. Rogerson says. In his initial weeks at the chamber, Mr. Rogerson has surveyed his community’s economic landscape and met with allies and local leaders. He has also gotten to know his new counterparts in the Southeast Region. Mr. Rogerson says he is eager to collaborate with N.C. Southeast on areas of where there are mutual opportunities. “Many of our target industries are very similar,” he says. He is particularly excited about the new marketing partnership between N.C. Southeast and the Fort Bragg Regional Alliance. “That relationship is going to be good for both those organizations,” Mr. Rogerson says.

The value of regional cooperation is not an alien notion to Mr. Rogerson, who came to Fayetteville after spending 16 months as senior vice president of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, an economic development organization whose 16-county service area stretches across two states. His responsibilities there included recruitment and expansion efforts surrounding energy, financial services, healthcare and life sciences, defense industries and motor sports. Prior to his tenure at the Charlotte Regional Partnership, Mr. Rogerson was executive director of the Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corporation. Prior to moving to North Carolina, he served as executive vice president of Greater Findlay, Inc., a multi-community economic development partnership in northwest Ohio.

Mr. Rogerson is active in both the North Carolina Economic Developers Association and the International Economic Development Council. He and his wife, Kyle, have one son. The couple is in the process of relocating to Fayetteville.