Regional Marketing Maintains Momentum After Record Year

As the Southeast Region looks back on a pivotal year for job creation and investment, economic developers are keeping their eyes on the future as companies from around the world consider southeastern North Carolina as a backdrop for new operations.   

“It may be a coincidence, but our first year operating under a new public-private model turned out to be a history-making year for new jobs and investment announcements in the region,” says Steve Yost, president of The Southeastern Partnership. The organization helped facilitate 10 relocation announcements, with projects spanning energy, distribution, building products, metalworks, consumer foods and chemical manufacturing. Announcements total $527,500,000 in capital investment and will create 3,204 jobs.

But heavy project flow means economic developers are now building on their success. In May, a delegation from the region visited clients in and around Toronto, Canada, to promote the Southeast. “I thought it went extremely well,” says Gary Lanier, director of the Columbus County Economic Development Commission. Lanier joined counterparts from Cumberland and Robeson counties, as well as Joe Melvin, the Partnership’s Business Development Director. “We visited companies in industries ranging from furniture and heavy-equipment manufacturing to food processing and cosmetic products,” Lanier says.

The face-to-face visits were organized by 310 Ltd, a prospect identification and appointment setting service. Firms expressed interest in the Southeast Region’s interstate highways, Foreign Trade Zone and deepwater port, Lanier says. “People we met with were very interested in our region as a place for their expansion,” he says. On-site meetings at client and prospect locations are the most impactful means of economic development outreach, according to Lanier. Such visits typically involve a one-hour meeting with company decision-makers that includes a tour of their operations.

The Southeast team is now following up on leads generated from the Toronto mission