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Evolving Charlotte USA is more competitive
Leveraging qualities make region more liveable
Published Monday, August 11, 2014 11:33 am
by Ronnie Bryant, Charlotte Regional Partnership

One of Charlotte USA’s greatest assets is our vibrant sports community, which adds to our quality of life and helps keep the region in the national spotlight.

A big part of the local sports community is, of course, the Carolina Panthers, whose preseason is now underway — the team plays Kansas City this Sunday — with the regular season scheduled to start Sept. 7. The Panthers are heading into 2014 with a great 12-4 record along with the NFC South division title. Moreover, the team is playing in the newly renovated Bank of America Stadium and has a strong and capable roster of players, including quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Another reason this year is special is because, believe it or not, it marks the team’s 20th season. Just as the Panthers have evolved and changed over the past two decades, so has the Charlotte region. Since 1995 the metro area’s population has increased from approximately 1.8 million to 2.5 million. We now boast the sixth busiest airport in the country and recently opened a new $92 million Intermodal Facility, which can move 200,000 containers annually.

Over the past two decades Charlotte USA has built an uptown baseball stadium, lost and then started a new NBA team, hosted the Democratic National Convention, launched the world’s biggest manmade whitewater river, opened a sleek light rail system, and unveiled the multi-faceted Levine Center for the Arts, one of the country’s most renowned performing and visual arts facilities.   

These are just some of the reasons why Charlotte USA is such a great place to live, work and raise a family. As part of the Partnership’s mission, we leverage these qualities, along with other attributes, like our skilled workforce and convenient East Coast location, to recruit the kind of businesses that will help make this region even stronger and more competitive. Just as we’re excited about the start of the Panthers’ new season, we’re also excited about the future of Charlotte USA, as we firmly believe both have what it takes to win.  

Notable news
Speaking of Charlotte USA’s thriving sports community, ESPN’s new Southeastern Conference (SEC) Network, based in the Ballantyne ESPN Regional Television and ESPNU facility, will launch Aug. 14.

The network will feature more than 1,000 events in its first year, including 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, and 75 baseball games. Based in a newly renovated, 37,000-square-foot facility, the SEC Network brings yet another innovative and high-profile project to the region, and is garnering national attention and attracting top-notch talent. In addition to unparalleled, around-the-clock sports coverage, the SEC Network will feature original studio shows, live events, and special content from many of the 14 schools within the 11-state SEC footprint. Some of the notable on-air personalities include sportscasting icon Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer, a former college and NFL quarterback, who will serve as the lead broadcast team.

Joe Tessitore, known for his television work in college football on ESPN and ABC, will host an original program called SEC Nation, a traveling football pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week. Joining him will be Heisman Trophy winner and former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who will work as an analyst.

When the network launches in mid-August, there will be about two weeks of pre-season programming that will provide fans a broad overview of what to expect. Then things really kick into high gear with the Texas A&M-South Carolina game Aug. 28.

Goodwill Industries announced recently plans to build a $20 million “Opportunity Campus” on an 18.5-acre site along Wilkinson Boulevard near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.  The 160,000-square-foot facility, which is scheduled to be completed in 2016, is expected to be one of the region’s most comprehensive job readiness facilities, according to Goodwill officials.

Services will include job training, job placement and job creation enterprises. Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont intends to relocate its headquarters from Freedom Drive to the campus. Goodwill has launched a fundraising campaign to build the new campus, which officials say will serve more than 10,400 people in its first year of operation.  

Charlotte USA has garnered several prestigious accolades recently. Travel+Leisure magazine has ranked Charlotte Douglas International Airport as the No. 4 domestic airport in the magazine’s World’s Best Awards 2014 reader survey, up from No. 10 last year. The rating is based on categories such as location/access, check-in/security, and restaurants/food. In addition, T&L named The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte as one of the ‘World’s Best” hotels in July. The 146-room luxury uptown hotel ranked No. 16 out of the 50 large-city hotels.

Finally, North Carolina ranked as one of the fastest-growing tech sectors in the country during the first half of the year, according to a new report from Dice.com, a career website for IT and engineering professionals. The report indicated that N.C.’s 3.8 percent increase in tech jobs was third-highest in the nation, trailing behind Texas and Florida.

Ronnie Bryant is president and CEO of Charlotte USA.  


The thing is, most of the people here nowadays are northerners. Hard to find charlotteans anymore. Comments like above are just from ignorant people. Stay where you are.
Posted on August 18, 2014
This fluff piece is laughable, at best! You can tell that a local incompetent wrote this. You honestly think that some local sports make this one horse town competitive on a national or even global scale? You have to be kidding me! You can tell that Ronnie Bryant, Charlotte Regional Partnership, hasn't been further than the state line. Do you even know what it takes to be a world class city!?! Good lord you southern folk are dense!
Posted on August 11, 2014

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