Wednesday, May 22, 2024

5 Questions for Chris Kouri

You oughta know

Chris Kouri
[/media-credit] Chris Kouri

Chris Kouri is an economic-development and corporate attorney in Charlotte with Nexsen Pruet. He’s experienced in incentive negotiations and has advised a number of companies in public and private financing and economic incentive packages. He represented a developer this year on a 1 million-square-foot warehouse and distribution property in Cabarrus County that is expected to create about 1,000 jobs and involve more than $100 million in capital investment. He previously worked for six years as general counsel at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has been involved in projects involving manufacturing, construction, food service, travel and tourism, telecommunications and other industries.

Chris is also a passionate football fan who played at Charlotte Catholic High School and Yale University, where he was named First Team All-Ivy League following his senior season. He has a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill.

What do you like best about your job? I love the win-win aspect of transactional law that especially plays out in economic development: helping private clients expand, grow and develop in partnership with public entities that realize their policy aims of job creation and growing prosperous communities. To be a part of fusing that together is very gratifying.

What inspires you? So many things. When I see people overcoming adversity. Good public policy outcomes that help society thrive. Justice and justice seekers. When it’s 4th and goal from the 2-yard line and my team converts!

Who is a role model? I have had many role models throughout my life, from my dad, to my grandfather, to coaches, professors, priests and political leaders. I have always admired the wisdom and equanimity of Abraham Lincoln. (As an economic-development lawyer, I always appreciated his public support for canals and railroads.) On the gridiron, no one inspired me like Lawrence Taylor. You could say my range of role models is wide, depending on my pursuit.

What was your biggest challenge this week? Usually I represent private-sector clients, but recent work representing a municipality has posed an interesting new challenge: To expand public participation in a private development (that will bring public benefits), but has experienced some challenges that may require modifications to the public participation.

Favorite North Carolina vacation spot? I am usually a beach person, but this summer I loved chasing western N.C.’s waterfalls (not in the TLC sense — see: Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls) with my kids following this cool website.

Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney is publisher of Business North Carolina magazine. You can reach him at

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