GREENVILLE, North Carolina (January 4, 2021) - The past 12 months have been unlike any other. While there has been economic uncertainty nationwide, it’s been a strong year for economic development in the Greenville - Pitt County, North Carolina area. As the Greenville – Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance looks back on 2020, there is much to celebrate as our organization officially launched, created a leadership team, announced projects, and assisted in expansion efforts.
January 1: The Greenville – ENC Alliance starts the new year having already surpassed the initial capital campaign private sector fundraising goal of $2,750,000. This milestone was achieved after the inaugural campaign’s quiet phase and only a few months of the public phase. The Greenville – ENC Alliance continues to fundraise to allow opportunity for business leaders and private citizens to invest in the region’s growth.
“Everyone should be excited about this. Every single person will benefit from economic growth,” said Greenville - ENC Alliance board member and former Pitt County Committee of 100 chairman Spence Cosby. “It creates jobs, helps neighborhoods, and lessens the tax burden to build roads, parks, and other infrastructure. The economic progress of the private and public sectors is intrinsically linked. Working together, we can achieve so much more as we have seen other communities do."
February 5: After a national search, Steve Weathers, CEcD was hired to serve as the first president and chief executive officer of the Greenville – ENC Alliance. Weathers has been in economic development for more than 25 years. Throughout his career, he’s been involved in the attraction, retention, growth, and start-up of more than 900 companies.
“The search committee focused on finding a top economic development professional to lead the organization, someone who is collaborative, inclusive and engaging. We are confident that we found that person in Steve Weathers,” said search committee chair J. Drake Brinkley. “The committee found Steve to be someone that listens to all parties and takes a pro-active approach to economic development. We are confident that Steve, and the team he builds, will bring economic opportunities and success to our region.”
February 28: The inaugural capital campaign wraps up with additional five-year private sector pledge commitments mounting a final total of $3,202,500. This pledge total supplements the $2,500,000 five-year sustaining commitment from Greenville Utilities Commission and the $2,500,000 five-year sustaining commitment from the City of Greenville. With additional amounts pledged by surrounding municipalities, the total five-year commitments from public and private sector investors totals $8,239,425.
“Greenville Utilities provides the utility solutions that serve as the foundation for growth in the Greenville region. But we know it takes the entire community coming together, working together to help attract new industries while helping the businesses who are already here grow. That growth is the way we are able to continue to provide safe, reliable solutions at the lowest reasonable cost well into the future. We see the Alliance as the best opportunity to make that happen. You can already see the results,” said Tony Cannon, general manager and CEO of the Greenville Utilities Commission.
“A top priority of the City of Greenville is proactive economic development, including the attraction of new business, supporting our existing businesses, growth of new businesses and having shovel ready sites and shell buildings ready for new investment and job creation,” said Ann Wall, City Manager for the City of Greenville. “The City of Greenville is proud to support the Greenville - ENC Alliance as a sustaining investor.”
March 11: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. This did not deter the Greenville – ENC Alliance board of directors from moving the organization forward.
“As a nonprofit economic development organization, we are fortunate to have the financial support of dozens of businesses in eastern North Carolina. This continued, despite the pandemic and economic uncertainty for the region. With their ongoing commitment and backing, we were able to continue our mission of building the organization and funding our mission areas and program initiatives,” said Greenville – ENC Alliance chairman Michael Overton.
April 1: President and CEO of the Greenville – ENC Alliance, Steve Weathers, moves to Greenville from Buffalo, New York. He began working with the organization’s board of directors and community leaders from Greenville and Pitt County.
“I look forward to working with the board of directors,our investors and all of our economic development partners in attracting new investment and jobs to the region. It will take all of us, as partners, coming together in order to attract new businesses and support the growth of existing companies here in our region. I am confident that all of the private and public partners will rally together, especially in these extraordinarily trying times for our economy, to attract, retain and grow new jobs here in our region,” said Steve Weathers, president and CEO of the Greenville - ENC Alliance.
May 1: President and CEO Steve Weathers begins to build the economic development team. He outlined critical mission areas which included attraction, retention, local expansion, marketing, communications, investor relations, and community involvement. He created five other full-time positions and reviewed over 250 applications for the following positions:
“Throughout this job creation and search process, the board of directors and myself were committed to finding the top professionals in each respective field. As a result, we hired the best of the best,” said Steve Weathers, president and CEO of the Greenville – ENC Alliance. “I am confident that our economic development team will have many successes going forward and, in the years, to come.”
The Greenville – ENC Alliance elects new members for its Board of Directors. Current members have experience in a variety of industry including business, manufacturing, education, medicine, tourism, public service, municipal leadership, and civic engagement.
“Since the inception of the Alliance, one of our first goals was to find Board members who represent Greenville, our surrounding communities and Pitt County. We’ve been successful at that and are now looking forward to tapping into their experience and knowledge to work with investment partners to bring more high-paying jobs and economic development to the region,” said Greenville – ENC Alliance chairman, Michael Overton.
July 20: North Carolina native and experienced economic development professional Uconda R. Dunn joins the Greenville – ENC Alliance as a vice president of business development. The Tarboro native brings more than 13 years of economic development experience in North Carolina and Virginia, with a track record of attracting new investment and jobs, as well as working to retain and expand existing companies.
“I know this area has many hidden opportunities for growth and I could not be more excited to share our story with companies and site selection consultants from coast to coast,” said Uconda Dunn, vice president of business development for the Greenville - ENC Alliance. “We have a strong team coming on board and I look forward to working with them, our board of directors,partners, investors, and Steve Weathers.”
August 6: World Cat chooses Greenville for its new boat manufacturing facility. The new facility will allow for the production of 36 to 50-foot custom catamarans. World Cat plans to make an investment of $8.8 million and hire 60 full time employees in Greenville.
“It was an honor to work with the great team at World Cat on their new production facility in Greenville, NC. By assisting them find a suitable location in Greenville, we were able to retain a growing cluster to our area. We know that their presence in the area will further spur marine related manufacturing,” said Uconda Dunn, Greenville – ENC Alliance vice president of business development.
August 31: The Greenville – Eastern North Carolina Alliance welcomes its first Director of Investor and Community Relations. David Horn joins the leadership team with over two decades of experience as a business development and communications professional.
“I’m passionate about the success and growth of this community,” said director of investor and community relations David Horn. “Being part of this new, unique public-private partnership brings so many growth opportunities for Pitt County and the region that didn’t exist before.”
August 31: An experienced economic development professional joins the Greenville – ENC Alliance as a Vice President of Business Development. Brad Hufford, a Pitt County native and East Carolina University graduate, has more than 16 years of economic development experience. Many of those years were spent in the eastern North Carolina region.
“My goal is for the world to learn why Greenville is a hidden gem,” said vice president of business development Brad Hufford. “Our community is in a great location for economic development and we have all the assets that companies are looking for. Our challenge is how to best market the area and leverage those assets for community growth.”
September 28: A local news anchor joins the Greenville – ENC Alliance as the director of marketing and communications. Maria Satira is a knowledgeable multi-media professional with more than a decade of experience in journalism, broadcasting, media relations, marketing, and communication.
“I’m thrilled to work with this economic development organization while continuing to serve the community of eastern North Carolina through storytelling,” said Maria Satira, director of marketing and communications for the Greenville – ENC Alliance. “Throughout my experience in news media, I’ve developed an interest in economic development and I am passionate about growing Greenville.”
October 6: A 19-acre master development project has been announced in the downtown Greenville area as a public-private partnership effort between East Carolina University and master developer Elliott Sidewalk Communities. Several other groups, including the Greenville – ENC Alliance, are involved in its long-term success. The project will be the nation’s first Pacesetter Urban Hub, built upon the three foundational elements of business, downtown culture, and academic research.
“Together with ECU and the City, our vision will be a catalyst to let ECU flourish, propel downtown Greenville jobs, and move the east region of North Carolina in economic harmony with growing the central and west portions of the state,” said Tim Elliott, master developer and managing partner of Elliott Sidewalk Communities.
November 4: An internationally circulated business publication covering corporate real estate and economic development ranked North Carolina and Georgia as the states with the top business climates in the United States.
“North Carolina is a consistently strong performer in this ranking and has demonstrated once again that it has the business-climate attributes it takes to reach first place,” said Site Selection editor-in-chief Mark Arend.
November 23: The Greenville – ENC Alliance welcomes Torsha Eubanks to serve as office manager/executive assistant. She is an executive assistant professional with more than 15 years of experience nationwide, most recently working in Lansing, Michigan.
“I enjoy working as an executive assistant, because love working behind the scenes in doing my absolute best to make my colleagues, my department, and my employer a success,” said Torsha Eubanks, Greenville – ENC Alliance office manager/executive assistant. “I’m excited to work for an economic development organization where I am involved in the process of assisting my company while making a difference in my community.”
November 30: As ranked by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Pitt County has moved to a Tier Two Development Designation for 2021 which signifies less economic distress.
“I think a change from a Tier One to a Tier Two for Pitt County, as well as its neighboring counties, reinforces that even in these difficult times our region is experiencing economic growth and new job creation,” said Steve Weathers, president and CEO of the Greenville – ENC Alliance. “A number of recent studies have shown that businesses are moving out of larger metropolitan areas to more mid-size communities, like Greenville, which may also be playing a part in the economic growth in our region.”
December 8: Grover Gaming, a software development and design company founded in Greenville, North Carolina, announces a local expansion that’s expected to bring 200 new jobs and $12.5 million in capital investment over the next five years to the Greenville and Pitt County region.
“The Greenville – ENC Alliance is proud to have had the opportunity to work with the team at Grover Gaming,” said Steve Weathers, president and CEO of the Greenville – ENC Alliance. “We successfully competed against Columbus, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; and Las Vegas, Nevada for this project. Our community continues to rise to the top of site selection projects as a premier destination due to our talent, connectivity, and livability.”
December 9: Thermo Fisher Scientific is expanding its site in Greenville for sterile drug product development and commercial manufacturing of critical medicines, therapies, and vaccines. As part of the approximate $500 million investment in Greenville, about 500 new roles will be hired over next 12 to 24 months. These jobs will add to its existing workforce of more than 1,500 employees.
“This announcement shows the strength of Thermo Fisher in the sterile drug development sector and will augment what is already a world class facility. The company’s investments will result in a large number of new, well-paying jobs for citizens of Greenville, Pitt County, and eastern North Carolina,” said Greenville – ENC Alliance vice president of business development, Brad Hufford.
December 18: A several month-long project for creating a logo, brand, and website is complete. The Greenville – ENC Alliance is excited to debut its new branding initiatives which will keep it competitive with other economic development organizations around the world.
“Inspired by growth and progress, the Greenville – Eastern North Carolina Alliance brand was created to represent our mission in terms of color, style, and design,” said Steve Weathers, president and CEO. “The style of the G symbolizes economic development partners coming together around the table to move our economy to a higher level of economic prosperity, indicated by the trajectory of the blue arrow. This is viewed as a greater collaboration, greater prosperity, and greater future for all of us."
December 29: As many larger cities saw a reduction of residents this year, some smaller cities saw an increase in new residents. According to data compiled by moving app and software company Updater, Greenville, North Carolina experienced the most inbound growth year-round in 2020.
“Greenville is a great place for industries and companies to do business while their employees live an enjoyable life,” said Greenville – ENC Alliance president and CEO Steve Weathers. “The city’s talent pool allows companies to market their ideas, products, and services with skill and efficiency. Plus, the education opportunities available at East Carolina University and Pitt Community College allow companies to hire a skilled workforce.”
Media Relations Contact: Maria Satira
Director of Marketing and Communications
Greenville - Eastern North Carolina Alliance