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Focused on the future
Marketing region to world is priority
Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:06 am
by Ronnie Bryant, Charlotte Regional Partnership

The last few weeks have been quite a roller-coaster ride. After a disheartening political scandal things are back on track now that Charlotte has a new mayor, Dan Clodfelter, who says his top priority is moving forward. I think that sounds like a great plan. In fact the Partnership’s focus on economic development has never wavered — we’ve been too busy to get distracted.

In addition to celebrating recent announcements like American International Group (AIG) moving into its new $5.5 million technology center in Uptown, we’re gearing up for business recruitment trips to the Midwest, Europe, Canada and New York. Moreover, we just returned from the Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference and Expo that took place in Florida last week. All of these economic development trips enable us to showcase Charlotte USA’s many assets and foster important relationships that help in the recruitment process.

We’ve been strengthening important connections locally as well. Davidson Swenson, the Partnership’s senior vice president of Economic Development, spoke recently at the Carolina Business Leaders Roundtable at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The event was co-hosted by NC Sustainable Energy Association, NC Clean Energy Business Alliance, Charlotte Regional Partnership andChambers for Innovation & Clean Energy. The discussion, which included top business leaders, economic developers and elected officials, focused on the clean energy industry and how it’s creating jobs and pumping billions of dollars into our economy. Nearly 70 people attended the Roundtable, including representatives from Wells Fargo, Belk, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Duke Energy. The Partnership actively targets the renewable energy sector, including a recent trip to Japan where we highlighted the Carolinas’ most promising energy clusters and several unique initiatives. These include Envision Charlotte, a nonprofit that has initiated several sustainable programs, including one designed to reduce energy usage in the city’s urban core; and E4 Carolinas, multi-faceted consortium whose mission is to nurture workforce development and technology innovations in order to foster efficient and environmentally sensitive energy clusters. 

Swenson also spoke recently at a NC-Certified Commercial Investment Member networking event about economic development initiatives that support real estate in the Charlotte region. The CCIM designation is awarded to real estate professionals who have completed a graduate-level course of study and demonstrated a certifiable record of accomplishment in completing commercial investment real estate transactions. Only six percent of the estimated 125,000 commercial real estate practitioners nationwide hold the CCIM designation.

Finally, I’d like to mention two events that happened last week that epitomize this region’s great spirit. Celebrate Cabarrus, which I was fortunate enough to attend, recognized many of the county’s top businesses, with special awards for best small business, sustainability and citizen of the year. The Cabarrus Chamber of Commerce partnered with Cabarrus Economic Development and the Cabarrus Convention & Visitors Bureau to co-host the gala event, which was held at the Embassy Suites Charlotte-Concord Golf Resort and Spa and attended by more than 600 people. The second event was the Center City Vision Awards. Hosted by Charlotte Center City Partners, the annual event recognizes the contributions of individuals, businesses and organizations that have made a significant positive impact on the city’s urban core. Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodgers, a top Charlotte contractor, is this year’s award recipient. Her company has helped develop many important projects, including Knight Theater, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum Uptown, ImaginOn and the new BB&T Ballpark.

I applaud both events for highlighting some of the area’s best and brightest and helping make Charlotte USA a more vibrant place to live, work and play. Such efforts coalesce with the Partnership’s mission to strengthen the region’s competitive position and recruit new companies, jobs and investment opportunities to the area.

Ronnie Bryant is CEO of Charlotte Regional Partnership.


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