Economic Development Program Tours Successes in Central NC

NCCED program participants attend a two-day workshop at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford. The workshop session includes a tour of area economic development successes.

About 30 economic development professionals from across the state met at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford for a 2-day workshop focused on attracting new companies as well as retaining and growing jobs among existing companies. The session, held May 17 & 18, was part of the North Carolina Certified Economic Developer (NCCED) Program. It was hosted and led by ECU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education and the North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA).

The special session included a bus tour of some successes in the area. Participants learned about the economic development advances at Carolina Enterprise Park, Raleigh Executive Jetport, Vinfast Auto Plant, Wolfspeed and Chatham Park.

At Chatham Park, the group was greeted by Pirate alum, Julian “Bubba” Rawl, co-owner of Preston Development and co-owner and co-developer of the 8,000 acre mixed use development. The development includes a housing community with amenities as well as other residential, office, health care, educational and entertainment spaces.

Merrill Flood, director of East Carolina Research and Innovation Campus development, talks with Charles Hayes, former NCEDA president and current Senior Fellow in Residence at ECU. Hayes helped develop the NCCED program at ECU.

It was the first year for the tour and leaders say the purpose was to bring an out-of-classroom element to the program that could show off some best practices in North Carolina.

“This visit to the central part of our state created the opportunity for the program to achieve the objective of adding a mobile visit to an area that demonstrates and exemplifies the NCCED course curriculum,” said Merrill Flood, director of East Carolina Research and Innovation Campus development.

Flood added, “The NCCED program at ECU enhances the skills and education of economic development professionals and shows the university’s ongoing commitment to the state of North Carolina through education, community engagement, and professional development.”

Annette Kariko, director of the Office of Continuing and Professional Education, said, “The mobile workshop offered valuable networking between class participants and economic development practitioners. Our hope is that it strengthens their relationship to the material and creates pathways to success.”

NCCED is part of ECU’s Economic Development Academy and is offered in partnership with the North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA). Learn more about the program at