5 questions for Evan Stone
You oughta know
Evan Stone is vice president of economic development at the Cary Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he was a business recruitment manager with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, where he led our state’s efforts in recruiting Triangle Tyre to Edgecombe County. Prior to his role at EDPNC, Evan specialized in recruiting energy, telecom and light manufacturing as a project manager in the global business division of the Mississippi Development Authority. Before that, he was deputy sheriff in his hometown of Gainesville, Fla. Evan graduated from Auburn University, with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminology and a master’s in public administration-economic development. In his spare time, Evan enjoys golf, baseball and, for at least one week a year, backpacking the American West.
What do you like best about your job?
I like the local interaction that I get with the business leaders and citizens of Cary. The ability and opportunity to plug into a community and collaborate to shape the direction of a local economic-development mission is a lot of fun, and I think it will be very rewarding to be able to see the end result of our efforts. I recently changed jobs from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina to the Cary Chamber, so my job has changed a lot. The former is traditional economic-development project work, and the latter combines economic development with community development, public and government affairs, as well as chamber operations. I really enjoy it.
What inspires you?
People who do good by the community and those around them, often at a personal loss, for no other reason than to improve the lives of others. Those are the talented people who could improve their bottom line by doing something else, but instead they try to make our world a better place to live without any mind for their own benefit. I think the modern-day saint, Rev. Fred Rogers fits here.
What should we be paying attention to?
Two things, one near-term and one bigger in scope, and both totally different: First, the upcoming election cycle. Even at the local level, it seems every incumbent is being challenged. From Washington all the way down, the implications are very big. I feel like we say this every midterm cycle, but this one feels different
Second, the evolution of the demands on our workforce, and how we adjust for that in the marketplace. As manufacturing jobs become more and more automated, the need for technical skills will be at a premium. At the same time, there is a critical opportunity for business and industry to partner with K-12 education to help students get the soft skills they need. These things are part of an ongoing conversation that has to continue. North Carolina has leaders in business and education who have done a great job in recognizing this shift and mobilizing practitioners to address it.
What was your biggest challenge this week?
Adjusting to the time change! And trying to figure out how to be in all the places I agreed to be while still having time for the people and things that are especially important to me. This seems to be a recurring theme lately.
Favorite N.C. vacation spot?
They say people are either mountain or beach people — I must be a peace and solitude person, because I am happy with either. My favorites are Banner Elk, though I haven’t been since I was a little kid, and either Wrightsville Beach or Topsail. I need to be more intentional about getting to those places — the essence of North Carolina is its breadth of beautiful places to visit. You can’t miss it.