A Year in Review: Growth and Recognition for Local Economic Development

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GREENVILLE, North Carolina (January 3, 2023) – As we lookback on 2022, the Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance celebrates a year of economic development progress and growth.  We are proud to announce a successful year in economic development. As a newer organization, 2021 was our first full year of operation which came with many achievements and accomplishments. Overall, it’s been a strong 12 months for economic development in Greenville, Pitt County, and eastern North Carolina. As we look back on the past year, there is a lot to celebrate.


January 2022:

January 11: North Carolina started off the new year celebrating a record-breaking 2021 in terms of job growth and capital investment. During 2021, there were 24,224 new jobs announced. This total represents 185 business recruitment, expansion, or rural development projects that engaged with the North Carolina Department of Commerce or its team at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. These projects will bring$10.1 billion of capital investment into the state, marking new all-time highs for economic development performance.

“With our talented workforce, great quality of life and welcoming communities, employers know North Carolina is a place their businesses can grow and thrive,” said Governor Roy Cooper. "We're building a stronger economy that works for everyone and we’re going to continue to bring jobs to every corner of our state.”


February 2022:

February 23: The North Carolina Department of Commerce released preliminary results from the state’s Business Pulse Survey. According to data collected, 69% of responding businesses reported they either met or exceeded their revenue expectations in the month of January. Looking ahead, 46% percent of businesses responding to the survey plan to raise wages in the next six months, with 46% percent also planning to increase their staffing levels.

“Data from the Business Pulse Survey helps inform business leaders where they stand in relation to their peers -- and is helping policymakers better understand the rapidly changing needs of the business community,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, who is a member of both the NCWorks Commission and the myFutureNC Board of Directors.“ The survey helps us better support the post-pandemic recovery for employers, jobseekers and communities.”


March 2022:

March 1: The Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC)Alliance is pleased to announce that Tom Kulikowski, former chairman of the organization, has agreed to serve as the interim president and chief executive officer, effective March 1, 2022. Kulikowski retired from Penco Products Inc.as president and CEO in December. He brings decades of experience in industry, manufacturing, economic development, and corporate leadership.

“Having been part of the formation of this public-private partnership and serving first as vice chairman and then as chairman of the Greenville ENC Alliance, I have gotten to know the team members, board members and investors which makes me excited to take on this expanded role,” shared Kulikowski.


March 26: The Greenville ENC Alliance’s director of marketing and communications, Maria Satira, was the recipient of the 2021Young Professional of the Year award by the Greenville – Pitt County Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes a Young Professionals of Pitt County member who demonstrates a dedication to the organization and to Pitt County through strong leadership, teamwork, and integrity. In addition to her professional work in economic development, she serves on various local advisory councils and boards, and recently published a book about media relations for nonprofit organizations.

“I’m so honored to receive this award as a young professional in Pitt County,” said Satira. “When I accepted a job in Greenville and moved here in early 2014, I didn’t expect to stay very long. That quickly changed when I realized the opportunity, sense of community, and quality of life in Greenville. I now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”


April 2022:

April 21: Economic developers and industry experts from across the state visited Greenville for a networking luncheon hosted by the North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA). The Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance co-sponsored the event with Pitt County Economic Development. The networking luncheon’s topic was “Advancing Rural Communities Through University Collaboration” with a specific highlight of East Carolina University. During the event, ECU leaders spoke on efforts to extend its teaching, research, and public service to the benefit of industries, companies, and communities both in and beyond the region.


May 2022:

May 3: With major success in economic development, North Carolina claims Site Selection’s Prosperity Cup for the second year in arow. This national award recognizes state-level economic development agency success based on a 10-point index of criteria derived largely from capital investment project activity the previous calendar year. During 2021, North Carolina announced new projects totaling 185 business recruitments with a record-setting24,224 new jobs created and some $10 billion in capital investment. North Carolina stands on its own this year in the top spot after tying with Georgia in first place in 2020. 

“Seeing North Carolina top this prestigious list is a great honor not only for our state but for each community that contributed to project wins throughout the year,” shared Uconda Dunn, vice president of business development for the Greenville ENC Alliance.


May 9: The Greenville ENC Alliance, City of Greenville, and International Economic Development Council (IEDC) celebrated Economic Development Week with a kickoff panel discussion and luncheon for local economic developers, municipal leaders, and community partners. During the event, Mayor P.J. Connelly read the City’s proclamation declaring Economic Development Week which celebrates economic developers in the area and applauds their work that contributes to the expanding career opportunities and improving quality of life. Greenville joined municipalities across North America to recognize the contributions made by professional economic developers to create more economically vibrate and livable communities.

“I am thrilled to recognize the work of the economic development professionals who are crucial for creating jobs and moving our community forward,” said Mayor Connelly. “We have made great progress during recent years, and their efforts have played a significant role in our positive trajectory.”


June 2022:

June 3: North Carolina was named as a Platinum Shovel award recipient in the 8-12 million population category by Area Development, a leading magazine dedicated to economic development. This comes from the state’s continued success in economic development and job creation. One of the noted projects for North Carolina included the $1.5 million expansion of Verizon Authorized Retailer Victra in Pitt County. This project created nearly 600new jobs in the community. 

“When you look at the charts listing the top projects in North Carolina and Tennessee, you’ll notice lots and lots of digits. We’re talking projects with job counts in the four-digit range — and investments with10-digit dollar figures, with billions here and billions there, billions allover. With news like that, it was clear that we’re going to need a bigger award— not just Gold, but Platinum,” wrote Steve Kaelble, Staff Editor at Area Development, in the 17th Annual Shovel Awards article.


June 30: The 2021-22 Fiscal Year ends as a year of growth and achievement for the Greenville ENC Alliance, as detailed in the organization’s Annual Report. Throughout the year, the team worked diligently to strengthen economic development activity in the Greenville and Pitt County area. In terms of business development, attraction, and retention, the Alliance staff worked 31 active projects, generated nine leads, and hosted three client visits. The Greenville ENC Alliance also successfully closed eight projects resulting in over $172,000,000 in new capital investment. While these projects were business expansions, many were part of a competitive process with other site options globally.


July 2022:

July 13: During a live broadcast from Wrightsville Beach, CNBC named North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business in 2022. Governor Roy Cooper joined CNBC’s Scott Cohn to reveal the news during the network’s morning program. The CNBC study measures all 50 states across 10categories of competitiveness, for a total of 2,500 possible points. North Carolina scored 1,580 points to capture this year’s crown. The network’s methodology assigns a weight to each category based on how frequently states cite it as a selling point.


July 14: North Carolina captured another top honor asour state was also noted for having the Best Business Climate in Business Facilities’ annual rankings. Last year, the Tar Heel State came in second place in the magazine’s ranking, but new projects and job creation moved the state to the top spot. The Annual Rankings Report highlighted North Carolina in several additional categories, placing the Tar Heel State in the top 10 for: Tech Talent Pipeline; Customized Workforce Training; Food Processing; BioPharma; Semiconductors; Manufacturing Output (GDP); Offshore Wind Power (MW by 2030); Solar Installed Capacity; and Foreign Direct Investment for both project and capital investment. 

“North Carolina hit a new level for business attraction and retention over the past 12 months, and our ranking of the state for Best Business Climate recognizes what an increasing number of companies have recognized by locating or expanding there,” said BF Editorial Director Anne Cosgrove. “This ranking also looks beyond the sheer numbers, evaluating diversity of growth sectors, incentives, workforce development and training, and education partnerships.”


August 2022:

August 14: The Greenville ENC Alliance participated in the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Uconda Dunn, vice president of business development, and Maria Satira, director of marketing and communications, joined more than 300 economic development professionals at the event which focused on reimagining business. Satira was asked to speak on a panel about digital marketing efforts and how an effective plan can help an economic development organization stay resilient. Dunn also engaged with site selection experts and other economic development leaders about best practices and initiatives that can be deployed to develop sites and buildings.

“Having a platform to ask questions during expert discussions about economic development in America’s southeast region is not only helpful for our community but also insightful,” shared Dunn. “Hearing advice and takeaways from these professionals allows us to reflect on our local challenges and figure out new ways that we can address issues such as lack of sites and buildings.”


September 2022:

September 19: Uconda Dunn and Maria Satira attended the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference in Oklahoma City with 1,500 other economic development professionals. They were asked to co-present a session on storytelling for economic development organizations which was one of the most attended breakout sessions of the conference. Dunn and Satira also attended sessions on foreign direct investment (FDI), redevelopment, talent attraction, climate change, financing, and leadership.


September 26: The Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance is excited to welcome Josh Lewis, a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), to fill the role of president of the organization. Lewis brings more than 13 years of economic and workforce development experience through his work with organizations in North Carolina and Virginia. Lewis most recently served as the executive director of the Mount Rogers Regional Partnership, a regional economic development organization serving a multi-county area in Virginia. He has previously held board and development roles with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Downtown Roanoke, United Way, and Goodwill Industries. During his career, Lewis has helped to create more than 5,000 jobs and $1billion in capital investment.

"I am humbled by the opportunity to join the Greenville ENC Alliance as the next president,” shared Lewis. “It was very clear during the discovery phase of the recruitment process that the area is rich with assets such as infrastructure capacity, human capital, community amenities, higher education opportunities, as well as attractive and growing industry. Above all, I witnessed a strong passion for this community coupled with a desire to maximize success.”


September 29: The largest job fair of its kind in eastern North Carolina returned for a second year to address workforce development needs in Pitt County and surrounding areas. Pitt Community College (PCC) partnered with the John M. Belk Endowment, East Carolina University, Pitt County Economic Development, Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance, TALK 96.3 & 103.7, and Koinonia Community Solutions to host the second annual “Better Skills, Better Jobs” Fair at the Greenville Convention Center. This year’s event attracted more than 750 career seekers who connected with over 100 local and regional businesses with job openings.

“There aren’t just great jobs here in eastern NC, there are great careers and we’re honored to help bring this event to the Convention Center again this year to showcase the wonderful opportunities available at some of our top employers in the region,” said David Horn, director of investor and community relations for the Greenville ENC Alliance.


October 2022:

October 2: The Greenville ENC Alliance celebrated North Carolina Manufacturing Week October 2-8 and National Manufacturing Day on October 7. Boasting the fifth-largest manufacturing economy in the United States, which grew 14% last year, and the largest manufacturing workforce in the southeast, manufacturing remains essential to the success of every sector of North Carolina’s economy. There are more than 8,500 manufacturing jobs in the Pitt County area and manufacturing represents more than 34% of the Greenville region’s Gross Regional Product (GRP), which is more than triple the national average GDP of 10% in this sector.

“Manufacturing is a legacy industry for Greenville and Pitt County that continues to see exceptional growth. Our industries produce lifesaving medicines, foods and beverages, and other consumer goods,” said Uconda Dunn, vice president of business development for the Greenville ENC Alliance. “Eastern North Carolina has been a hub for manufacturing in the state and we look forward to opportunities to continue to diversify the products produced in our communities.”


November 2022:

November 1: The Greenville ENC Alliance attended a workshop with industry experts on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and best practices in attracting international companies to the region. The workshop, hosted by ElectriCities, was led by FDI experts and site selection consultants James Blair and Christopher Huppertz. The presenters covered topics and trends surrounding the current FDI climate as well as European and Japanese business culture. They also offered important information and shared advice for working international trade shows and how to best promote eastern North Carolina communities and sites to foreign companies.


December 2022:

December: We capped off the year by hosting more new company prospect visits. Working in partnership with Pitt County Economic Development, company representatives heard about our infrastructure, workforce, and education/training resources. They also toured the community and potential sites. It was a very active year for prospect visits.

December 9: The Greenville ENC Alliance launched a regional collaborative marketing initiative showcasing the endless benefits to doing business in eastern North Carolina. Grow Eastern North Carolina (GrowENC.com) is supported by nine counties in the region and the State of North Carolina. This is a collaborative marketing effort to enhance economic development and industry attraction in the eastern region of North Carolina. Browse the website at: https://www.growenc.com/. This nine-county area of nearly 5,000 square miles of land have a combined population of 685,000, making it the fifth largest region in our state.

December 12: The Greenville ENC Alliance kicked off a new strategic plan initiative. With the help and guidance of EDai and a Strategic Plan Steering Committee we began reaching out to stakeholders for ideas, feedback, and guidance. This is a key component in the creation of a new five-year strategic plan. The timeframe calls for the unveiling of the plan a tour annual Investor and Guest Reception in March.

December 30: A new Indigreen Property Owners Association was formed. Governance and control of common areas of the Indigreen Industrial Park successfully transitioned from the Greenville ENC Alliance to the new Association.