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Why Is Winston-Salem a Great Place to Live and Work?

We sat down with Mark Owens of Greater Winston-Salem Inc. for a Q&A session.

By Livability on December 17, 2021

Downtown Winston-Salem, NC
Tim Hutchins

As the president and CEO of Greater Winston-Salem Inc., Mark Owens oversees a variety of economic initiatives that generate investment and jobs, spurring growth in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. These include economic expansion and recruitment efforts, talent and workforce development, and programs to help new and existing small businesses launch and thrive.

With completed projects totaling $279 million in capital investment and 480+ jobs in 2021, and an active project pipeline of $4 billion in potential capital investment and 7,000+ potential jobs, companies continue to see great opportunity in Winston-Salem.

Along with that, Winston-Salem offers a cost of living below the national average and other midsize metros, world-class education institutions and more, so employees can enjoy a great quality of life while living and working here, too.

We asked Owens about living in Winston-Salem and its advantages as a place to locate and grow, and where he sees the metro heading in the future.

Mark Owens

There is that connected feeling here that can’t be replicated in larger metros, and it becomes about much more than dollars and cents at that point – it’s about community.”

Mark Owens
Greater Winston-Salem Inc.

What location advantages rise to the top of the list in Winston-Salem?

Every company has different needs so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to selecting a location to move or expand a company. Winston-Salem continues to see economic growth because it offers a broad combination of advantages that matter to different industries. Often, a company will put Winston-Salem on a longer list of options at first because of its central location in the Carolina Core, located in the center of the Southeast, and relatively low costs of getting up and running. Once they get a feel for our community, though, Winston-Salem starts to stand out. I would also add that Forsyth County is the perfect place to raise a family. Company executives want a great place to live for themselves and their employees, and that can be experienced here.

What makes Winston-Salem the perfect place for families?

This answer will be different for everyone, but for our family, several things come to mind. With a four-year-old, having access to a great education and family entertainment like museums, parks and sports is extremely important. We also appreciate having big-city amenities in a community that is still small enough to get to know people in a way that is hard to do in more densely populated cities. There is that connected feeling here that can’t be replicated in larger metros, and it becomes about much more than dollars and cents at that point – it’s about community. That is something special to me and our family as well as to many others.

Where do you see the city in 2030?

With a strong vision and close collaboration among stakeholders, Winston-Salem is on its way to being the top midsize city in the Southeast. Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. will continue to encourage growth through recruitment and expansion efforts while advancing our entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are also focused on developing education initiatives and community partnerships to increase economic equity and mobility. Simply put, Winston-Salem will be the place to learn, grow your business or career, and raise a family – in 2030 and beyond.

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