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Advantages Add Up for Eastern North Carolina

Eastern North Carolina offers ideal location, skilled talent and an unrivaled quality of life.

By Bill Lewis on June 25, 2018

Greenville, NC
Greenville / Jeff Adkins

A winning combination of a job-ready workforce, strategic mid-Atlantic East Coast location, dynamic economy and an unrivaled quality of life is attracting investment from across the world and making Eastern North Carolina a destination for businesses and entrepreneurs.

When they arrive, those businesses discover advantages including a skilled workforce with significant numbers of trained and highly motivated military veterans who have transitioned from the Marine, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations in the region. They also find easy access via interstates and four-lane divided highways to nearby deep-water ports in Morehead CityWilmington and Norfolk, Va.

Eastern North Carolina’s Ag Sector Helps Feed the World

The advantages provided by the 28-county region include a “top business climate in a state highly rated for success in economic development, low tax burden, reasonable environmental regulations plus multiple and diverse communities that welcome new investments, as well as newcomers, from around the world,†says John Chaffee, president and CEO of the NCEast Alliance, the region’s leading economic development organization.

In 2017 alone, 20 U.S. and foreign companies announced plans to invest more than $1.2 billion in facilities and equipment that will create more than 2,100 new jobs across the region. They represent sectors including motor vehicle assembly and parts manufacturing such as tires, wire harnesses and other automotive accessories. Other key sectors of the region’s economy include electronic controllers, steel and other metal forgings and parts, biopharmaceuticals, aerospace and aircraft components, boat manufacturing and food products.

Destination of Choice

Domestic and international companies are choosing the region as the place to locate and expand.

China’s Triangle Tyre chose Edgecombe County as the location for its first U.S. manufacturing facility. The plant represents an investment of nearly $580 million and will create up to 800 jobs when it is fully operational.

Eastern North Carolina Draws Entrepreneurs and Companies

The company selected a 1,449-acre advanced manufacturing megasite in Kingsboro, where it will produce both passenger tires and commercial tires. Once it reaches capacity, Triangle expects to produce 6 million tires annually in North Carolina.

The company conducted a comprehensive site search and was attracted by the megasite’s strategic location, the quality of the work force and the warm welcome from state and local officials, says Triangle Tyre Chairman Ding Yuhua.

Eastern North Carolina Features Robust Manufacturing Industry

“The more I learn about North Carolina, the more strongly I feel that North Carolina is the right choice for Triangle. In addition to its strategic location, which provides cost-effective transportation, the citizens of North Carolina are diligent and enthusiastic. The state has a large working-age population, healthy economic development environment and well-established education system,†says Ding.

Job-Ready Workforce

The region’s educational assets include research powerhouse East Carolina University, Elizabeth City State University, a network of community and technical colleges, and four private colleges and universities  Chowan, Mt. Olive, Wesleyan and Barton.

Community colleges in the region support specific occupations and sectors with curricula that include a specialized tire manufacturing program, pharmaceutical and biotechnology training programs and degrees, advanced manufacturing, machining and mechatronics, says Chaffee.

Eastern North Carolina’s Universities, Schools and Workforce Development Organizations Prepare Students for High-Tech Careers

At all levels, from elementary school through college, the region’s schools offer aligned science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) training.  Organizations such as STEM East, an initiative of the NCEast Alliance, work directly with public school leaders and teachers.

Businesses and workers come for opportunity. The region’s unparalleled quality of life makes them never want to leave.

The region has a “high quality of life especially for people who love the water – coastal sounds and uncluttered beaches rated among the very best in the world, including the top 10 World Dive sites off the Outer Banks,†says Chaffee.

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