What’s the biggest surprise in Winston-Salem?  Part 2

What’s the biggest surprise in Winston-Salem? Part 2

The second of 3 articles discussing our community’s most pleasant surprises.

While vacationing and visiting family in a few different places around the Eastern U.S. this past summer, the second surprise came to me almost as soon as I got back home to Winston-Salem.

I had an early meeting that was “all the way across town” from my house. And on the mere 15-minute commute that morning, I recalled just how much more difficult the commute would be if I were living anywhere else. Then I started thinking about the other aspects of life in our area that would be different.

And I realized something that I had long forgotten (more like taken for granted) about Winston-Salem, Forsyth County: how wonderfully easy it is to live here.

View of downtown Winston-Salem from Old Salem

While the morning commute provides an obvious contrast to other, larger metro areas, the “easy” factor extends to many other areas that set Winston-Salem apart from just about anywhere else.

For instance, Winston-Salem received a #10 ranking for affordability and fun in a recent Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate report along with the #10 spot in Kiplinger’s annual list of cheapest U.S. cities in which to live.

Of course, a shack in the woods can be an affordable place to live. The amazing part is what Winston-Salem has to offer in terms of amenities, schools and access to other markets, while being an affordable place to live.

People here enjoy a thriving arts community, including various festivals, theater companies and a respectably broad local music scene. A revitalized downtown keeps the streets active while cozy urban and suburban neighborhoods offer a close sense of community and familiarity.

Winston-Salem is an easy place to live. Camel City Carriage ride.
Photo courtesy of Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership.

And since Winston-Salem is so well connected to other cities and markets, it’s easy to get away for business or pleasure. More importantly, it’s even easier and more enjoyable to come home again.

Look for the next surprise in Part 3, coming soon. You can read Part 1 here.

What surprises you about Winston-Salem? Share your ideas here.

 

Winston-Salem ranked in the Top 10 in Affordability, Fun!

Winston-Salem ranked in the Top 10 in Affordability, Fun!

Winston-Salem has been ranked in the Top 10 in two recent reports. First, according to a new report from Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate, Winston-Salem is the 10th Most Fun and Affordable place to live. Click here for the story from Bloomberg Businessweek.

Next, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, Winston-Salem ranks number 10 in its annual list of Cheapest US Cities to live in.  Click here for details.

 

For more information on the cost of living in Winston-Salem and Forsyth  County check our site.

What’s the biggest surprise in Winston-Salem? Part 1

What’s the biggest surprise in Winston-Salem? Part 1

The first of 3 articles discussing our community’s most pleasant surprises.

Recently, someone asked me what three facts about Winston-Salem, Forsyth County would surprise people the most. At the time, I found it difficult to narrow it down to just three. But, after considering several possibilities, I’ve come up with three things that have truly surprised me over the past year. All in a good way.

In this post, I’d like to share a few facts about our much-heralded Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC). Now, I’ve “known” these facts for a while. However, it wasn’t until FTCC opened its 122,500 square foot Transportation Technology Center earlier this year that I actually did the math and realized something staggering.

Forsyth Technical Community College
Winston-Salem, NC

Well, here’s the surprise. And it relates to just how far this institution reaches into the community to impact local workforce quality:

FTCC occupies 1,171,431 square feet of building space across 11 different locations, from the main campus in Winston-Salem to Kernersville, Walnut Cove and Danbury. From fall 2010 through summer 2011, FTCC served 12,873 students earning credit toward their degree, graduating 1,414, and trained more than 25,000 workforce development students.

Naturally, you’ve read articles about the college’s role in developing state-of-the-industry training programs to fuel economic growth in the region. You’ve also heard of the college’s leadership position in life sciences, biotechnology and nanotechnology. In fact, Forsyth Tech, as the locals are fond of calling it, has the only degreed community college nanotechnology program in North Carolina.

But, that’s no surprise. After all, the success of Forsyth Tech’s programs has attracted much attention, including visits from the last two U.S. Presidents. Still, most people outside of our community think of FTCC as being a nice little story about a nice little community college.

FTCC is not just a nice little story. It is a huge story that demonstrates just how well positioned this area is for economic development and growth in a wide range of industries. With this degree of training and educational resources on tap, look for plenty more surprises to come from Winston-Salem, Forsyth County.

The next surprise? Check back here soon for part 2.

What surprises you about Winston-Salem? Share your ideas below.

 

Industries that Love Winston-Salem, and Why: Part 4

Industries that Love Winston-Salem, and Why: Part 4

In economic development, individual regions tend to focus their efforts on specific industries. In this series of posts, we’re examining why several individual industries have focused their expansion efforts, ultimately, in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County. 

Financial Services

Mention the financial services industry in some circles and the reaction could be quite strong. Even in Winston-Salem we have endured the uncertainty associated with the struggles of a major banking institution. However, that uncertainty has only served to demonstrate the area’s steadfast presence in the industry. As the dust clears and optimism slowly gains, a quick look around the banking landscape reveals a thriving array of financial organizations.

How is this possible? What makes W-S such a positive environment for banking? Here are few possible reasons. (more…)

Gov. Perdue Announces 212 New Jobs with Inmar Expansion

Gov. Perdue Announces 212 New Jobs with Inmar Expansion

RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that Inmar, Inc., a technology company that operates collaborative commerce networks, will expand its corporate headquarters in Winston-Salem.  The company plans to create 212 jobs over the next five years and invest $24.5 million.  The project was made possible in part by state grants from the Job Development Investment Grant and the One North Carolina Fund award.

“Creating jobs is my top priority,” said Gov. Perdue, “The fact that Inmar chose to expand with us in North Carolina is a testament to our top-notch business climate and the potential to develop a tremendously skilled workforce.”

Supported by a continuous investment in technology, Inmar operates three cost-effective networks: Supply Chain, Promotion and Pharmaceutical Services. With the power of speed, these networks move billions of dollars annually, and significant amounts of information and goods among trading partners.

“Inmar has positioned itself to be competitive in the marketplace and we are honored that the City of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County and the State of North Carolina support our vision for economic growth and expansion,” said David Mounts, Inmar CEO.  “Inmar is all about collaboration and after working with the Governor, the Commissioner and the Mayor it is clear that they are true professionals at collaboration, which results in job creation for the people of North Carolina.”

Inmar, a privately held company, currently employs more than 640 people in Winston-Salem, and in Forsyth and Mecklenburg Counties.  They also have facilities in many states, including Georgia, Texas, Mexico and Canada, with more than 4,200 employees worldwide. The company began as a coupon processor in 1980 and now offers an array of business services to its 1,700 retail, pharmaceutical and manufacturing clients including; supply chain consulting and analysis, field audit services, recall planning and execution, returned goods management, remarketing, digital promotions, rebates management, pharmacy receivables and contract management and coupon processing.

Salaries will vary by job function, but the average salary for the new positions will be $72,783, plus benefits. The average annual wage in Forsyth County is $41,912.

To help facilitate this expansion, the company has been awarded a grant of up to $237,000 from the state’s One North Carolina Fund.  This fund assists the state in industry recruitment and expansion by providing financial assistance through local governments to attract business projects deemed by the governor to be vital to a healthy and growing state economy. One North Carolina Fund grants require a local match, and this grant is contingent upon approval of local incentives.

“Our history of investing in education has built a workforce that is second to none,” said Rep. Earline Parmon, of Winston-Salem. “Companies want skilled, educated workers, and they know they can find them here.”

“One of the best ways to create jobs is to fuel expansion by companies that already call North Carolina home,” said Sen. Linda Garrou, of Winston-Salem. “We do that by creating an environment in which those companies can grow and thrive.”

In addition, the state Economic Investment Committee voted to award a Job Development Investment Grant to Inmar. JDIGS are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.

Under the terms of JDIG, the company is eligible to receive a grant equal to 70 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the 10 years in which the company meets annual performance targets.  If Inmar meets the targets called for under the agreement and sustains them for 10 years, the JDIG could yield as much as $4.167 million in maximum benefits for the company.

In addition, up to $1.389 million could be added to the state’s Utility Fund for infrastructure improvements in economically distressed counties. When a JDIG is awarded in the state’s more economically prosperous counties such as Forsyth, 25 percent of the grant is allocated to the Utility Fund to encourage economic development in less prosperous counties.

Other partners who assisted with this announcement include: The N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, Forsyth County and the City of Winston Salem.

For more information about Inmar, including job opportunities, visit www.inmar.com.