5 questions for Pitt County’s Wanda Yuhas
You Oughta Know
Wanda Yuhas, executive director, Pitt County Development Commission, was named the North Carolina Economic Development Association’s Economic Developer of the Year in June. She has lived and worked in Austin, Texas and New Brunswick, N.J. She and her husband, Jon, have been married for 39 years and have two adult children and twin granddaughters. She’s committed to the state and region’s youngest citizens and is working to make sure as many as possible can read at grade level by third grade. She’s also dedicated to the recognition of the vital role the creative arts and innovation play in economic development.
What do you like best about your job? Its complexity, and the constant change and evolution of our communities. Our fast-growing pharmaceutical sector means making connections with East Carolina University, Pitt Community College, Golden LEAF, the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., the N.C. Biotech Center, Greenville Utilities, N.C. Department of Transportation, Pitt County Committee of 100 and N.C. Community College BioNetwork. It’s exciting, challenging, and a pleasure to work with so many smart, dedicated people. Seriously.
What inspires you? Our new generation of young leaders. We have so many innovative young professionals who are helping us grow and evolve into an even better place to be. Their vision, dedication and hard work keep all of us fresh and committed, and let us know that the future will be in very good hands. I love the Greenville [metro area] as it is right now, but I know it’s going to get better and better.
Who is a role model? This question makes me laugh, because I have so many! First and probably foremost, Janice Hardison Faulkner, who served as N.C. Secretary of Revenue and and as director of the Department of Motor Vehicles. She was the director of ECU’s Regional Development Institute and once served as a professor at ECU. She said to me and a handful of others in about 1972, “If you are ashamed of eastern North Carolina, then you are ashamed of yourself. If you don’t like what it is, you best be about the work of making it better.” She has lived that statement in every way, and if I can be the least bit like her, I will be very gratified.
What was your biggest challenge this week? Managing the many moving parts of four different economic-development projects, three in the same park: road needs, infrastructure funding, the order for all the components. How many trips each day, average wages, how many technicians and craft people, how many Ph.Ds, how fast is the industry changing, what format will project funders want?
Favorite N.C. vacation spot? On top of Bald Mountain in Banner Elk, between Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain.