John Loyack is vice president of global business services for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the nonprofit organization that performs a variety of critical economic-development functions on the state’s behalf.
John leads the EDPNC teams responsible for helping North Carolina manufacturers sell more exports, supporting the growth of existing businesses across the state, and counseling entrepreneurs on how to start a small business in North Carolina. The EDPNC’s other core responsibilities focus on recruiting new industries to North Carolina and promoting the state for tourism and film productions.
Prior to his role at the EDPNC, John served as director of international trade for the North Carolina Department of Commerce. On the private-sector side, he has more than 25 years of experience in new product development for companies such as MercuryMD, Thomson Reuters, United States Surgical and Esteve.
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What do you like best about your job?
I am driven by results and, in my role with EDPNC, I am part of a team that supports companies in their ability to grow and prosper here in North Carolina. North Carolina is blessed with an amazingly diverse collection of industries. I have the privilege of serving many of them and am afforded a firsthand look at how important diversity is ― both in people and business ― in making North Carolina one of the top places to live and work. I do feel that my job is one of the best you can find.
What inspires you?
As I have had a lot of time at home this spring, I find myself inspired by nature. I love watching new growth emerge from the ground, and I am fascinated by the colors and textures of plants. I enjoy seeing wildlife interacting with the plants as they flower. It’s our annual rebirth, and I am always inspired by the subtle changes that occur ― some predictable and some unpredictable.
I think there are many correlations between economic development and nature. In fact, the next time you see me, ask me about our plans to introduce a new economic gardening program.
Who or what should we be paying attention to?
Pay close attention to the life-sciences companies in this state, and support them in any way you can. There is no question that the Research Triangle Park often puts us on the map with life science, but it is an industry that is growing in rural parts of the state as well. Combine the existing industry we have with a highly skilled workforce, quick access to some of the top financial institutions, our universities, our world-renowned health care system, and you’ve got what you need to attract new companies for years to come. I would not be surprised to see a COVID-19 vaccine discovered here in North Carolina. Even if the discovery is made elsewhere, I think it’s likely it will be manufactured here. And for the soccer fans out there, keep an eye out for Riqui Puig with FC Barcelona.
What was your biggest challenge this week?
I recently read a piece by Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman in which he compared our current situation to the economic equivalent of a medically induced coma. We’ve been through recessions and traumatic experiences during the last 20 years but nothing like this. The challenge faced by the EDPNC team focused on existing industry is, How do we increase the rate at which aid flows to the self-employed and small businesses of this state? We have nearly 900,000 small businesses in North Carolina, and I don’t want to lose one of them. At this point last year, these small businesses employed more than 1.6 million people all over the state.
Eastern or Western barbecue?
I am someone who can honestly say that he has never turned down a plate of N.C. barbecue, eastern or western. I love it all. However, when asked to decide, I typically shoot for the center of the state, and I can say that Lexington barbecue, aka “The Monk,” is my personal favorite.