EDPNC Officials Make Two-Day Visit to Region

Economic development leaders from each of the Southeast’s 18 counties joined a team of state business recruiters from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) for a two-day series of briefings, presentations and networking. The event, held in Elizabethtown’s Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery in March, marked the third time in three years The Southeastern Partnership has gathered local, regional and state development professionals under a single roof for candid, face-to-face dialogue on mutual opportunities.

Robert Van Geons, president and CEO of the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation, spoke of passenger air service through Fayetteville Regional Airport and his organization’s collaboration with a U.S. Army program that concentrates on the final six months of a soldier’s career. “One third of exiting military go home, a third stay and a third go wherever there is a job,” Van Geons said. His objective is to link departing military personnel to civilian job opportunities in Cumberland County.

Timothy Downs, economic development director in Craven County, discussed the close working relationships county officials have with local landowners and business leaders. “They are very willing and active participants in economic development,” Downs told participants. “The thing to stress about Craven County is that we have the right mindset to make things happen.”

EDPNC officials were grateful for the opportunity to hear concise updates from all counties in one convenient location. “The relationship we have with the Southeast works really well for us,” David Spratley, vice president of business recruitment for EDPNC, told the gathering. “From our perspective, meetings like these work great. I wish we had this everywhere.”