What’s behind #1?

For the seventh consecutive year, and the ninth time in the last 10 years, North Carolina ranks number one in Site Selection magazine’s list of states with the top business climate. You can read the article here.

However, one area of the article may hold a key as to why North Carolina has spent so much time on top. And it is summed up nicely by Keith Crisco, NC Commerce Secretary:

“We work just as hard on a project with 42 jobs as we do on a project with 860 jobs… That’s how you do well… They’re all a big deal these days. It’s like the Johnny Cash song ‘One Piece at a Time’ — he built that car one piece at a time, and that’s how we’re going to transform the [circumstances] we’re in right now.”

Could this be the difference maker in North Carolina’s economic development efforts? That local and state organizations exert every bit of effort to make expanding or relocating to NC as attractive to smaller businesses as it is to the big boys?

To understand why NC leaders take this approach, think of the suppliers that typically follow a major manufacturer into a new location — smaller companies that, when combined, can add up to a major lift in employment, among other areas. Also, consider what, in part, makes a state or local community less sensitive to economic ups and downs — a diverse range of industries and sizes of business.

Success by association?

Naturally, with the Southeast dominating much of the top 10 spots, NC excels in part because of its location, infrastructure, available workforce, relatively low cost of living, and excellent quality of life. But when a business knows that a state is going to go the extra mile to help your business succeed in its new home, that could be all the incentive a business needs.

Forsyth Tech is mentioned twice in State of the Union Address

Last night, Forsyth Technical Community College student Kathy Proctor attended the State of the Union address as a guest of the White House.  President Obama then mentioned Forsyth Tech two times during the speech. This is great exposure for our community and Forsyth Tech as her story has created buzz nationwide.  Here is an article from the Winston-Salem Journal.

Understanding the “Cat” effect

With good reason, the Caterpillar advanced manufacturing project in Winston-Salem has drawn much attention. The facility is under construction and the expected boost to local employment and the area economy is certainly the development story of the year here. However, the real impact is yet to come.

Caterpillar Comes to Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County

Caterpillar picks Forsyth County, NC

Let’s call it the “Cat” effect. It’s the wave of activity and interest in Winston-Salem created by such a major global manufacturer having shined a spotlight on what the area has to offer. Cat’s exhaustive process of selecting Winston-Salem allows site consultants and business leaders to see more clearly the advantages and unique qualities that make the area ideal.

What’s in the spotlight?

Was there one “difference maker” in the Cat deal? Although Cat execs cited multiple reasons for selecting Winston-Salem there are a few attributes that stand out, not just in this project – but in many of Winston-Salem’s successful economic development projects.

The availability of skilled workforce, the robust infrastructure, and our ideal location are givens. These are “cost of entry” attributes that any community must have in order to make the cut. But the real difference continues to be collaboration.

Winston-Salem is gaining a rather impressive reputation for bringing business, government and community leaders together to provide incoming businesses with what they need to thrive.

Caterpillar groundbreaking ceremony in Forsyth County, NC

In addition, area companies, local government and educational institutions have drawn national attention for their ability to collaborate in the development of sophisticated training and workforce education to fit specific industry needs. (Not to mention, the ability of the area workforce to quickly adapt to new industries and new manufacturing processes.)

Where does the “Cat” effect lead? With the Cat facility groundbreaking complete, there’s still a long way to go. And in this economy, there are few, if any, certainties. But, Winston-Salem is certainly looking good in the spotlight.

UNC-SA among ‘best values’ – The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area

The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area

Monday, January 4, 2010, 11:44am EST

UNC-School of the Arts is among the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges, as ranked by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in the February issue.

UNC-SA in Winston-Salem ranked at No. 61, and was among six University of North Carolina schools on the list including No. 1-ranked UNC-Chapel Hill.

Also on the list: N.C. State University at No. 10, Appalachian State at No. 22, UNC-Wilmington at No. 27 and UNC-Asheville at No. 44.

Kiplinger’s rankings are based on measures of academic quality compared to financial factors such as tuition, fees, financial aid and debt levels of graduates.

UNC-Chapel Hill has ranked first on the Kiplinger’s list every year since the magazine started the ranking in 1998. UNC-Greensboro has ranked among the top 100 several times in recent years, but is not on the 2009-2010 list.

Read about this on The Business Journal site

ATP World Tour Event Coming to Winston-Salem

Olympus US Open Series event relocated from New Haven, CT.

Tournament to be played at Wake Forest University.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., December 13, 2010 – The USTA and ATP World Tour today announced the sale of the ATP World Tour event previously located in New Haven, Conn. to Winston-Salem Professional Tennis. Beginning in August 2011, the 48-draw tournament will take place in a to-be-constructed tennis facility on the campus of Wake Forest University.

The newly-designed state-of-the-art tennis facility will be constructed to host both professional and collegiate tennis events. The facility will be located between the current indoor tennis training center and BB&T Field, home of the Wake Forest Demon Deacon football team. Plans call for the construction of 10-12 Deco-Turf II courts, and will include center court seating with a minimum of 3,500 and two additional show courts which will hold at least 1,500 each.

“We are thrilled this prestigious event is coming to Winston-Salem, a community that has embraced tennis events over the past several years,” said Don Flow President of The Flow Companies and head of Winston-Salem Professional Tennis. “The entire community will embrace this event and the process has already begun with our corporate community stepping up, and with Wake Forest University being a major supporter of the event.”

“We are thrilled about the ATP’s new home at Wake Forest University, and thank Don Flow and Winston-Salem Professional Tennis for bringing men’s professional tennis back to North Carolina,” said ATP Executive Chairman and President Adam Helfant. “Globally, the game is enjoying one of the most exciting periods in its history, and it’s terrific that the tour will visit Winston-Salem as part of its U.S. summer swing.”

“We have worked with Don Flow for many years and know first hand his passion and commitment to the sport of tennis,” said Lucy S. Garvin, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “The tournament will take place with tremendous local support, both within the Winston-Salem community and the USTA Southern Section, and with a national television and marketing platform courtesy of the Olympus US Open Series.”

“It is an honor for Wake Forest to serve as the host of the Winston-Salem Open,” said Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch. “The international attention garnered by the tournament will allow us to showcase Wake Forest’s unique character.”

“We are very excited to host the Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University, both for the opportunity it gives for our fans and the entire Winston-Salem community to experience an ATP tournament in their backyard, and for the improvements it will bring to our athletic facilities.” said Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman. “The world-class tennis complex that will be constructed will give our men’s and women’s tennis teams one of the best facilities in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It will perfectly compliment the recent renovations to BB&T Field and Wake Forest Baseball Park as part of our commitment to providing our fans with one of the best game day experiences in the country.”

“Winston-Salem is thrilled at the opportunity to host this tournament. The community has a rich tennis history and we have a long tradition of supporting tennis. It is great to see Wake Forest and the corporate community partnering in such an innovative way. The tournament will have a significant economic impact and it will help ensure that this is a great place to live in the future,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines.

According to Flow, the entire Winston-Salem community has embraced the event. Local corporate partners who have signed as initial presenting sponsors of the tournament include BB&T Bank, Hanes Brands and the Flow Companies.

The event, with a total purse of $625,000, will take place from August 21-27, with qualifying set for August 19 and August 20. The tournament remains the final men’s event of the Olympus US Open Series, and will receive national television exposure via Tennis Channel and ESPN2. The 2011 singles final is expected to be carried by CBS Sports on Saturday, August 27. Launched in 2004, the Olympus US Open Series created a regular season for the sport of tennis in the U.S., and with a consistent television package, has doubled television viewership of the Series tournaments since its inception.

Source: Wake Forest University