After a two-day site visit and training workshop for Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance staff members, the Greenville MSA received the FDI-Qualified Community Certification. The prestigious designation comes from Navigator Consulting in cooperation with Transatlantic Business & Investment Council (TBIC). Through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), international companies bring billions of dollars each year in industrial projects to the United States and communities are eager to attract these types of economic development opportunities.
“Data shows that foreign investment is a large driver of new capital investment and jobs in the U.S. economy,” said Josh Lewis, CEcD, president and CEO of the Greenville ENC Alliance. “Our goal is to establish a recognizable brand and maintain contact with entities that have touch points with foreign business opportunities. Earning this certification is a step in that direction.”
Navigator Consulting, a business expansions and site selection consulting firm that focuses on community and economic development, partnered with TBIC, a leading representative of North American economic development organizations in Europe, to develop this unique program. The certification process looks at a community’s cultural competence, business location assets, and project management expertise that are demanded by executives and site selection consultants around the world. Lewis and Uconda Dunn, vice president of business development for the Greenville ENC Alliance, led project management efforts and demonstrated superior knowledge during the visit.
“In the course of our visit to Greenville, my colleague and I assessed critical location factors like workforce, education, logistics, local industry, and quality of life, for example. We came away impressed by the collaborative spirit of the local economic development team, the vibrancy of local industry, the professionalism of local officials, and the strength of local workforce development efforts,” explained Christopher Huppertz, managing director of TerraLogis Consulting in Berlin, Germany. “The Greenville ENC Alliance economic development team impressed us with the quality of the preparation of information and the smooth execution of our on-site visit. Community and utility stakeholders joined Mr. Lewis and Ms. Dunn in highlighting the community’s location assets. We recognized a mix of genuine enthusiasm for the community and ability to communicate a message that this region is striving for success.”
Huppertz and fellow site selection consultant James Blair, managing director of Navigator Consulting in Atlanta, visited Greenville on
October 31 and November 1, 2022. The consultants were hosted by ElectriCities of North Carolina.
“Helping our North Carolina public power communities prepare for industrial investment is a key component of our programming at ElectriCities Economic Development,” shared Carl Rees, CEcD, Manager of Economic and Community Development for ElectriCities of North Carolina. “Having worked in the Greenville market previously, I remain confident in the city’s readiness to attract foreign direct investment.”
The Greenville ENC Alliance, with engagement and participation from Greenville Utilities Commission, City of Greenville, Pitt County Economic Development, East Carolina University, and Pitt Community College, created and presented a site visit and community familiarization tour for the consultants to evaluate. The intensive assessment weighed Greenville’s workforce, talent pipeline, logistics, quality of life, business support infrastructure, industrial property, and economic development leadership.
“In addition to promoting our exceptional business climate, much of our focus in the coming years will be to showcase the culture and the extraordinary quality of life that the area presents,” added Lewis. “For example, if a company is relocating employees from western Europe and only has familiarization with the larger U.S. metro areas, having a sense of where great quality of life exists is challenging. We know that Greenville – Pitt County is an incredible place to live, and we will ensure that consultants and publications can help us share that story.”
Greenville is one of only 12 FDI-Qualified communities nationwide and one of four in North Carolina. Greenville’s certification is valid through February 2025 with the two-year re-certification process slated to begin in late 2024.
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