Why Business Loves Winston-Salem

Why Business Loves Winston-Salem

By: Bob Leak, CEcD

Upon further analysis, the data suggests Winston-Salem.

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.

Data Centers

Back in 2010, a somewhat surprising accolade was bestowed upon Winston-Salem in a specific, highly competitive industry—data management. The city earned the number four spot out of 45 metropolitan areas nationwide for cost-effective operation of data centers in a survey by Boyd Co. of Princeton, NJ. But if you dig into the details a little, you find that Winston-Salem’s allure for the data industry actually makes perfect sense.

Solid foundation

Data management is one of those crossover industries that touch virtually every other sector. However, there are specific industries where data has been a vital part of daily business for quite some time. Two of those industries are financial services and healthcare. Think of the sophistication it takes to manage, process and protect individual banking transactions and patient medical data. When you consider Winston-Salem’s enduring history and thriving relationships with these industries,the data story seems like a natural fit for the area.

Smart workers

Companies across a wide range of industries have entered the area and ended up being overwhelmed by the quality of the workforce in Winston-Salem and the surrounding Triad. In many ways, the more technologically advanced their business is, the more impressed these company leaders are by the ability of area workers to get up to speed in a hurry. That’s a big deal for data centers where companies cannot afford any slip in performance or security.

Smart institutions

Naturally, the availability of a quality workforce suggests there is either something in the water that enhances the minds of area workers, or that there are institutions in place here that do an excellent job of training and retraining people. We’ve gone on elsewhere in this blog about the success of Forsyth Technical Community College, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem Sate University and other area institutionsat developing area talent. So, we’ll just say that having these high-end institutions adds to the attraction for companies looking for new data center locations.

The ultimate proof of Winston-Salem’s value to the data management industry is in the companies that have established data centers here. Lowe’s Cos., Data Chambers LLC, Wells Fargo and other institutions have chosen to establish data centers in Winston-Salem. And more could be on the way.

As they say, the data doesn’t lie.

What other industries find Winston-Salem irresistible? More to come in Part 4.

Links to Part 1 and Part 2 in our series.

Is American Manufacturing on Track for a Comeback?

Is American Manufacturing on Track for a Comeback?

We recently came across this article from Rich Smith of the Motley Fool posted at DailyFinance.com and wanted to share it with our readers.

The article points out that “there are signs far up the supply chain that suggest an emerging renaissance in U.S. manufacturing.” Give it a read when you can.




Winston-Salem is Proud to Host the RiverRun International Film Festival

Winston-Salem is Proud to Host the RiverRun International Film Festival

The RiverRun International Film Festival is a regional event based in Winston-Salem, NC and is one of the premier film festivals in the southeastern United States. The 14th annual RiverRun will be held April 13–22, 2012.  This video provides a wonderful overview of the event:



RiverRun – Sponsorship from RiverRun International Film Fest on Vimeo.


Industries that Love Winston-Salem, and Why: Part 2

Industries that Love Winston-Salem, and Why: Part 2

Advanced Manufacturing is building in Winston-Salem.

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

Advanced Manufacturing

Is it fair to say that manufacturing in the U.S. is making a huge comeback? Perhaps, especially when you look at the kinds of manufacturing facilities that are developing. The key word in all of this is “advanced.” And Winston-Salem, Forsyth County is drawing more attention lately from companies in this sector. What makes this area appealing to the Caterpillar’s of the world? Here are three ideas.

Access to Markets

Location almost always comes first. In advanced manufacturing, this is particularly important. The Southeast U.S. is experiencing a bit of a manufacturing Renaissance as companies realize the value of expanding in this region. Standing out within the Southeast can present a bit of a challenge. But here’s where Winston-Salem, Forsyth County scores high marks. It’s more than location. It’s the relatively easy access to other markets that puts the city on so many short lists. With excellent options for transportation and shipping, including a FedEx hub close by, much of the world’s markets are within reach. In fact, more than half the U.S. population lives within 600 miles of Winston-Salem.

Workforce Quality

Like much of the South, manufacturing runs deep in the area. The difference for many is the level of quality associated with our manufacturing tradition. Textiles and furniture industries may not be the staples they once were, but the skilled workforce that characterized those industries remains. Companies that choose Winston-Salem develop a quick appreciation for the dedication to craftsmanship that permeates the workforce.

Less Haste. More Speed.

Frenetic could never describe life in Winston-Salem. The easy-going nature of people here is disarming, to be sure, but make no mistake: business here moves with purpose and pace. As manufacturing processes continue to become more innovative and technical, company leaders continue to marvel at how quickly their operations can get up to speed in Winston-Salem. One executive visiting Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC) was shocked (and delighted) to find that the framework for training their workers was mapped out before he had finished his campus tour.

Other qualities come into play, of course, for individual companies. But when you combine workforce quality with easy access to major markets, then get operations up and running to a high standard on time or ahead of schedule — you end up with a formula for attracting the attention of advanced manufacturing companies around the world.

What other industries are looking our way? We’ll continue in Part 3.

Caterpillar Opens In Forsyth County

Caterpillar Opens In Forsyth County

On November 16, the new $426 million Caterpillar advanced manufacturing facility opened in Forsyth County, North Carolina.

From WFMY2 Winston-Salem

WFMY News2

We’ve collected some of the news stories of the grand opening event in the links below: