The NC State Economic Development Partnership functions as a de facto institutional portal for local, regional and economic developers to efficiently access NC State’s accomplished faculty, dedicated staff and bright, industrious career-oriented students. We are a proud land-grant institution, chartered in 1887 to fulfill a federal mandate of “providing instruction in agriculture and the mechanical arts, conducting agricultural research, and delivering knowledge and practical information to farmers and consumers.” We continue to operate in that very proud tradition, committed to “Think and Do The Extraordinary” contemporary nomenclature to describe the educational and intellectual assets/resources that economic developers need to promote their respective communities to new and expanding industry.
Agriculture remains North Carolina’s #1 industry, generating $84 billion or 17 percent of our state’s overall economy. We have highly accessible Cooperative Extension Service offices in all 100 N.C. counties, staffed by committed, knowledgeable and service-oriented NC State professionals who work tirelessly to furnish critical technical assistance to our N.C. farmers and the general citizenry in their respective jurisdictions.
As to “Mechanical Arts”: NC State has the 4th largest College of Engineering in America, with about 10,000 students (7,500 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students) who relish the opportunity to work in cooperative education, internships and capstone projects whereby business and industry can avail itself of intellectually talented students under the careful oversight of accomplished faculty to perform relevant research that accrues to the benefit of business and industry. As just one among many salient examples of the efficacy of this discipline’s strength and vigor in our science and technology university, our upcoming Sept. 19-20 College of Engineering Career Fair has already subscribed over 300 employers for this two-day event at the McKimmon Center. If history is any barometer of interest, this program will likely draw around 7,000 attendees, one of the largest university-hosted career fairs in the nation.
Over the past three months NC State was very proud and grateful to play a supporting role in three major economic development announcements: Credit Suisse in Wake County/Research Triangle Park, 1,200 jobs at an average annual wage of over $100,000 along with a concomitant $70.5 million capital investment; Infosys in Wake County with 2,000 jobs averaging over $72,000 annual compensation, and Eggers’ $700 million capital expenditure, 400-job investment in Davidson County. Over a dozen NC State faculty and staff contributed important content knowledge to EDPNC and local Economic Development Commission staff to close these deals for North Carolina, thus fulfilling the essential core function envisioned by the original land-grant mission. We anxiously await and look forward to partnering with Stuart Gilbert and his dynamic Person County team on new and expanding industry projects, because everything is indeed better in Person.
Thomas J. White
Director, Economic Development Partnership, NC State University
Thomas J. White holds a BA from Duke University and MPA from NC State University. Former economic development roles include Director, NC Commerce Dept. Division of Employment and Training (2005-2008), President/CEO Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce (1997-2005) and VP Economic Development, Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce (1989-1997).
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