Statewide: Triad region, October 2014
Greensboro is looking for a salesman. Two of its top business recruiters — Greensboro Partnership President and CEO Pat Danahy and Greensboro Economic Development Alliance President Dan Lynch — will retire at the end of the year. The Partnership serves as an umbrella organization for the Alliance, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and other local business groups. Danahy, 70, and Lynch, 63, say they weren’t influenced by recent criticism over communication and the pace of development, but signs point to one person potentially replacing both of them. “It’s probably a good time to rethink and assess what’s happening,” says Keith Debbage, a UNC Greensboro urban-planning professor who has done economic-development studies for Action Greensboro, which is under the Partnership umbrella. An oft-cited example of the city’s economic-development disappointments was its inability to turn the head of New York-based insurer MetLife, which announced last year it would add 2,600 jobs in Cary and Charlotte. The region is still struggling to recover from the recession; the Greensboro-High Point metro’s unemployment rate was 7.2% in July, above the state’s 6.5% and tied for fifth-worst among North Carolina’s 14 metropolitan statistical areas. The search was just getting started in early September, but Partnership Chairman Chuck Burns says the changes could be “significant.”
In the pipeline: Earlier this year, Site Selection magazine ranked Greensboro-High Point No. 4 among U.S. metros with 200,000 to 1 million people for attracting real-estate projects valued at $1 million or more in 2013. Planned development includes a $65 million performing-arts center downtown, a $50 million mixed-use development near the city’s minor-league ballpark and the $40 million Union Square Campus, a collaborative project between Triad universities, health systems and economic boosters.
WINSTON-SALEM — United Furniture Industries will invest $5.2 million in a manufacturing and distribution center here that will create 200 jobs within three years. The Okolona, Miss.-based furniture-maker will occupy the 850,000-square-foot building that was once Winston-Salem-based Hanesbrands’ Weeks hosiery plant. Average annual pay for the jobs will be more than $28,400, below Forsyth County’s $44,159. The company, which employs 940 people at four North Carolina plants, will receive a state grant of up to $300,000 if it meets job-creation and investment targets.
WINSTON-SALEM — BB&T, which acquired 21 Texas branches from New York-based Citibank in June, will buy 41 more for an undisclosed amount. The deal will give the bank 123 branches in Texas. BB&T also named Ricky Brown president of its Branch Banking and Trust subsidiary in August. He succeeds Rob Greene, who retired earlier this year. Brown has worked for the bank for 37 years, serving as president of community banking since 2004. He will retain that position.
MOUNT AIRY — Insteel Wire Products, a subsidiary of Insteel Industries, paid $36 million for Bedford Heights, Ohio-based American Spring Wire’s prestressed concrete strand business, including plants in Houston and Newnan, Ga. Insteel, the largest producer of prestressed concrete strand in the U.S., employs about 700 people at 11 plants across the country.
BURLINGTON — CS Carolina will move its Swepsonville yarn manufacturing, along with 27 workers, here, investing $7.3 million and creating 22 jobs over three years. The new positions will pay an average annual salary of about $35,000, slightly lower than Alamance County’s average of $36,081. The company will receive a state grant of up to $80,000 if it meets job-creation targets.
BROWNS SUMMIT — MWI Veterinary Supply will invest $3.1 million and create 47 jobs at a new 225,000-square-foot distribution center here. The Boise, Idaho-based company supplies vaccines, pet food and other pharmaceutical and nutritional products to veterinarians in the U.S. and United Kingdom. The average annual wage will be $28,007, lower than Guilford County’s average of $42,638. MWI planned to open the distribution center by this month.