North Carolina’s top job-creating projects

 In July 2019

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Arresting development

North Carolina may have missed out on Amazon’s much-hyped sweepstakes for a massive second headquarters, but the Seattle-based e-commerce juggernaut accounted for the state’s biggest economic development expansion in the 12 months that ended May 31. The addition of giant fulfillment centers in Garner and west Charlotte follows Amazon’s arrival in Cabarrus County, which ranked No. 5 on last year’s list.

The ranking is based on the number of jobs pledged upon announcement, many times in concert with state and local tax incentives. Sometimes, the expanding companies exceed their goals, while others never hit the targets. In most cases, state assistance doesn’t occur unless jobs are created and investments made.
Atlanta-based Site Selection magazine, widely read by location hunters, named North Carolina as the nation’s No. 1 Top Competitive State for Business in 2018. It has ranked among the top 5 in Forbes’ Best States for Business rankings for the last dozen years.

By Lawrence Bivins

One

Amazon.com Inc.
Mecklenburg, Wake counties

NEW JOBS: 3,000
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $400 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: N/A
COMPANY HQ: Seattle

The growth in online retail has dust flying in Garner, where Amazon is developing a $200 million fulfillment center on an 88-acre site once occupied by Conagra Brands Inc. The center is expected to employ 1,500 workers and generate $45 million in annual payroll at the southern Wake County town. A similar project is underway at an Amazon center near Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The company neither sought nor received financial incentives from the N.C. Department of Commerce, though local officials promised transportation improvements in return for Amazon’s jobs and investment.

amazontapfront

Two

AvidXchange Inc.
Mecklenburg County

NEW JOBS: 1,229
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $41 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $19.6 million
COMPANY HQ: Charlotte

AvidXchange, a fintech company founded in a Charlotte coffee shop in 2000, is doubling its employee headcount at its Queen City headquarters. New positions will pay average annual salaries of about $68,500. AvidXchange provides cloud-based software that simplifies the way companies pay their bills. The firm automates the end-to-end payment process for customers in construction, energy, real estate and other industries. Accounting giant Deloitte ranked AvidXchange on its Fast 500 in 2018.

Three

Chewy Inc.
Rowan County

NEW JOBS: 1,200
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $55 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $166,650
COMPANY HQ: Boston and Dania Beach, Fla.

Modern infrastructure and a ready-to-go workforce were among the factors drawing Chewy, an online pet-supply retailer, to Salisbury. Its new facility will join eight other fulfillment centers the company maintains nationally. Chewy’s owner PetSmart Inc. filed plans to spin off the unit with an initial public offering in April. Founded in 2011, the company’s annual revenue tops $3.5 billion.

chewy

Four

Publix Super Markets Inc.
Guilford County

NEW JOBS: 1,000
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $400 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $13.1 million
COMPANY HQ: Lakeland, Fla.

Grocery giant Publix is building the Triad’s biggest distribution center: a 1.8 million-square-foot warehouse complex in east Greensboro. The center will sit on a 350-acre property. Its $400 million development cost made multiphase “Project Sky” North Carolina’s largest capital investment in the last year. Founded in 1930, Publix has 1,218 supermarkets from Florida to Virginia, including 42 in North Carolina. The employee-owned company ranked first this year on Fortune’s inaugural list of Best Big Companies to Work For.

publix_josh-hallett

Five

Honeywell International Inc.
Mecklenburg County

NEW JOBS: 750
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $248 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $42.4 million
COMPANY HQ: Charlotte

The relocation of Honeywell’s senior management team from New Jersey to Charlotte, along with the conglomerate’s Safety and Productivity Solutions division headquarters, is expected to add $7.9 billion to North Carolina’s gross domestic product over the next 12 years. Lawmakers changed the state’s cornerstone financial incentive program to permit one of the state’s largest grants ever. Now based in a New York City suburb, Honeywell ranks 77th on the Fortune 500 and develops a wide variety of energy, security and supply-chain technologies. It will anchor a new 23-story building in downtown Charlotte that is expected to open in late 2020.

Six

National General Insurance Inc.
Forsyth County

NEW JOBS: 626
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $12.2 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $5.6 million
COMPANY HQ: Winston-Salem

Property and casualty insurer National General announced in September that it would expand its Winston-Salem office, adding sales, accounting, information technology, human resources and other positions. A unit of a New York-based public company, NatGen’s N.C. roots date from its 1920 founding in Winston-Salem. The 626-job expansion will bring its workforce in the state to more than 2,000. “Project Backstop” also considered Cleveland, Ohio, Baton Rouge, La., and Tijuana, Mexico, as possible locations.

Seven

Pendo.io Inc.
Wake County

NEW JOBS: 590
PROJECTED INVESTMENT:
$34.5 million
N.C. INCENTIVES:
$8.8 million
COMPANY HQ: Raleigh

Homegrown technology company Pendo plans to triple its North Carolina operations over the next five years. The company, founded in 2013 with five employees, provides cloud-based software that enables businesses to sharpen web portals and mobile apps through user analytics. Pendo is outgrowing its space in Raleigh’s Wells Fargo Center and plans to occupy five floors of a nearby office tower now under construction.

 

thefalloncompany-pendo

Eight (tie)

Sonic Automotive Inc.
Gaston County

NEW JOBS: 590
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $34.5 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $8.8 million
COMPANY HQ: Raleigh

Homegrown technology company Pendo plans to triple its North Carolina operations over the next five years. The company, founded in 2013 with five employees, provides cloud-based software that enables businesses to sharpen web portals and mobile apps through user analytics. Pendo is outgrowing its space in Raleigh’s Wells Fargo Center and plans to occupy five floors of a nearby office tower now under construction.

gettyimages-466931959_sonic

Eight (tie)

TrialCard Inc.
Wake County

NEW JOBS: 500
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: N/A
N.C. INCENTIVES: N/A
COMPANY HQ: Morrisville

TrialCard, founded in 2000, helps health care consumers save money on specialty pharmaceutical products. The company’s most recent expansion brings its Wake County workforce headcount to 1,000. Now among Morrisville’s largest employers, TrialCard handles complex insurance coverage submissions on behalf of seriously ill patients. Its latest expansion includes hiring nursing and insurance reimbursement specialists.

Ten

LendingTree Inc.
Mecklenburg County

NEW JOBS: 436
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: N/A
N.C. INCENTIVES: $8.4 million
COMPANY HQ: Charlotte

Charlotte’s fintech talent pool continues to support the growth of LendingTree, an online loan portal. Founded by Doug Lebda in 1996, the publicly traded company considered 20 sites in several states for the expansion. By late 2020, LendingTree plans to move its headquarters from south Charlotte to a new 11-story building near downtown. It employs about 500 in the city.

lendingtreelogonoslogan-wikimedia

Eleven

Advance Auto Parts Inc.
Wake County

NEW JOBS: 435
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $5.4 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $9.4 million
COMPANY HQ: Raleigh

Five years after Advance Auto Parts paid $2 billion for Raleigh-based General Parts International Inc., operator of Carquest Corp. auto parts stores, the company said it would relocate its headquarters from Roanoke, Va., to the state capital. Its hiring primarily involves technology, data analytics and e-commerce positions. Advance Auto operates nearly 5,000 stores in North America and serves more than 1,200 independently owned Carquest locations.

advanced-getty

Twelve (tie)

AveXis Inc.
Durham County

NEW JOBS: 400
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $115 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $3.7 million
COMPANY HQ: Bannockburn, Ill.

Gene-therapy firm AveXis’s development of treatments for rare and life-threatening neurological diseases spurred two separate announcements in Durham County. The company, which is a unit of Switzerland-based Novartis AG, unveiled plans in May 2018 to locate manufacturing operations at Research Triangle Park. Company executives announced another major round of hiring and investment in February.

avexis

Twelve (tie)

Greenheck Fan Corp.
Cleveland County

NEW JOBS: 400
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $58.8 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $3.3 million
COMPANY HQ: Schofield, Wis.

A global leader in air movement and ventilation equipment, Greenheck is expanding in Shelby, where its product line will add tempered and outdoor air systems. Bob and Bernie Greenheck started the business as a sheet-metal shop in 1947. The privately owned company also has a production site in Kings Mountain and a distribution center in Greensboro. Proximity to booming southeastern U.S. markets accounted for its choice of Shelby, company officials said.

Fourteen

Poly-Wood LLC
Person County

NEW JOBS: 384
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $35.3 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $3.3 million
COMPANY HQ: Syracuse, Ind.

Poly-Wood began in 1990 as a plastics recycler. Today, its outdoor furniture products, made from recycled milk jugs, include a popular line of Adirondack chairs. Headquartered in northern Indiana, the company chose Roxboro for its second manufacturing and distribution operation. North Carolina’s rich legacy in furniture-making was among the factors drawing Poly-Wood to Person County.

polywood-chairs

Fifteen

Arch Capital Group Ltd.
Wake County

NEW JOBS: 365
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $12.9 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $5.1 million
COMPANY HQ: Hamilton, Bermuda

Global specialty-lines insurer Arch Capital already employed 575 workers in North Carolina when it announced last July that it would create 365 positions at a new operations hub in Raleigh. Company CEO Marc Grandisson cited the region’s talent pool, quality of life and “collaborative business environment” as top factors in Arch Capital’s location choice.

Sixteen

Horne Brothers Construction Inc.
Cumberland County

NEW JOBS: 330
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $5 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: N/A
COMPANY HQ: Fayetteville

Solar energy is going strong in the Carolinas, and that means job growth for Horne Brothers Construction. The family-owned firm has operated in Cumberland County for more than six decades and also specializes in wireless communication towers. In 2012, the company started installing commercial solar projects. In 2017, Horne Brothers installed 800 megawatts across 5,600 acres.

solar

Seventeen

Dentsply Sirona Inc.
Mecklenburg County

NEW JOBS: 320
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $3 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $3.9 million
COMPANY HQ: Charlotte

Dentsply Sirona, the world’s largest dental product and equipment manufacturer, is relocating its corporate headquarters to Charlotte’s Ballantyne Corporate Park as part of a company restructuring. The move from York, Pa., will include 320 new jobs, in addition to its existing 145 staffers already here. CEO Donald Casey Jr., who has led the company since early 2018, moved to Charlotte last fall. The estimated annual payroll will be $23 million. Dentsply Sirona has 16,000 employees in more than 40 countries, including 4,000 in the U.S.

dental

Eighteen

Sensus USA Inc.
Durham County

NEW JOBS: 301
COUNTY: Durham
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $4 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $3.5 million
COMPANY HQ: Morrisville

Cleantech firm Sensus USA, which New York-based Xylem Inc. acquired for $1.7 billion in 2016, makes and sells metering systems for utilities and municipal governments. The Triangle is home to more than 600 workers at Sensus’ headquarters, R&D operations and a manufacturing facility. New positions created under the company’s expansion will pay an average annual salary of nearly $95,000. In early June, Xylem said it would cut an unspecified number of Sensus jobs.

Nineteen (tie)

Aetna Inc.
Guilford County

NEW JOBS: 300
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $2.5 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: 0
COMPANY HQ: Woonsocket, R.I.

Less than three months after its $69 billion acquisition by CVS Health Corp., insurer Aetna announced plans to grow its presence in High Point. The move adds clinical-care management and customer-service positions for Aetna’s benefits administration technology and Aetna One Advocate, a digital-oriented service to help customers improve health care decisions. The company also has offices in Cary, Charlotte and Gastonia.

aetna

Nineteen (tie)

Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corp.
Mecklenburg County

NEW JOBS: 300
PROJECTED INVESTMENT: $5 million
N.C. INCENTIVES: $2 million
COMPANY HQ: Teaneck, N.J.

Prior to its latest North Carolina expansion announced in December, Cognizant employed more than 2,700 in the state. The information technology and business process consultant ranks No. 195 on the Fortune 500. Company leaders cited proximity to clients and technology workers as key to their selection of Charlotte. While based in the U.S., a majority of Cognizant’s 280,000-plus employees are based in India.

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