High-Tech Heats up North Carolina
Learn more about the projects, programs, and incentives that make technology thrive, in exclusive conversations with Jim Fain, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Susan Avery (Southern Tech Sites 2008)
Q. How's business in North Carolina?
A. North Carolina has one of America's top business climates, a growing population, and a healthy gross state product of $355 billion. Our economic development strategy is to differentiate the state based on a well-educated and trained work force and a strong education system, from pre-K through community colleges and universities. We also have a diverse portfolio of performance-based, discretionary incentive grants and tax credit programs that encourage technology-based companies to expand in or relocate to North Carolina.
As a result, our state is seeing significant growth in advanced manufacturing, information/communications technology, biotechnology/life sciences, and aerospace. That growth comes both from expansions of existing companies such as GE and Merck, and newcomers such as Sutter Street Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma Inc.
Q. How does your strategy affect economic development?
A. An announcement that reflects our strategy came in May from Spirit AeroSystems Inc., which plans to open a manufacturing plant at the N.C. Global TransPark in Kinston, in the eastern part of the state. The Wichita-based company will invest more than $570 million and create 1,031 jobs. Spirit's customers include Airbus, Boeing, Gulfstream, Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft.
This successful project plus others - such as Honda Aircraft Co., now building its Very Light Jet at Piedmont Triad International Airport; Honda Aero, also in the Piedmont area; and Turbomeca, in the western part of the state - have put North Carolina on the map as an international leader in aerospace/aviation.
In another recent advanced manufacturing announcement, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas will expand its campus near Wilmington, creating 900 jobs and investing $704 million.
We also continue to see growth in pharma-related companies such as TransTech Pharma, INC Research, and Patheon, which help give North Carolina its well-deserved reputation as the largest center of clinical research organizations in the world.