Business North Carolina April 2022

Page 1

TOP-RANKED HOSPITAL ... GOLFARAMA:AND 100 THE BESTSTATE’S N.C. COURSES; PRESIDENTS CUPISHEADS SOUTH MR. ALLY ROGERS SCORES TACKLES ON PITCH ECU’S• CHALLENGES PIMENTO CHEESE • ONLINE SPREADS SELLERS WILDLY GRAB • JERRY SOME NEAL’S SPACE •MICRO BOOMSUCCESS RINGS TRIAD

APRIL 2022

Tar Heel towns sketch a path for carts far away from fairways.

Price: $3.95 businessnc.com

Cover_and_inside_April-2022.indd 1

3/21/22 11:21 AM


Cover_and_inside_April-2022.indd 2

3/18/22 10:21 PM


A P R I L

01-03_Contents_April2022.indd 1

2 0 2 2

1

3/18/22 10:06 PM


2

B U S I N E S S

01-03_Contents_April2022.indd 2

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

3/21/22 11:03 AM


+ DEPARTMENTS

APRIL 2022

6 PILLARS OF NC: JERRY NEAL A risk-taking entrepreneur from Randolph County helped build a wireless industry pacesetter.

40 BEST IN GOLF

10 NC TREND

North Carolina’s 100 best golf courses, plus regional favorites and top tracks for public play.

Innovator Ally Financial scores on the soccer field; Charlotte and the Triangle near top in U.S. home building; Best of the N.C. Tribune.

48 FITNESS ON THE LINKS

74 GREEN SHOOTS: BELHAVEN

Golfers seeking more game, less pain, search out Chris Finn.

A Beaufort County town known for fishing and lumber offers a refreshing coastal charm.

BY LEE PACE

50 PRESIDENTIAL SEAL Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club scores a prize tournament.

+ SPONSORED SECTIONS

BY MICHAEL J. SOLENDER

22 ROUND TABLE: LOGISTICS & TRANSPORTATION Six leaders discuss key attributes for North Carolina to remain a force in road, rail, air and logistics service.

28 COMMUNITY CLOSE UP

COVER STORY

54 NEW WAY TO ROLL

40

Golf carts aren’t just for fairways anymore. BY BRAD KING

Eastern North Carolina takes vital steps to reinvigorate its economy as it aims for a bright future.

58 SAY CHEESE

56 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: INDUSTRIAL PARKS Location, amenities and improvements are paying off for the state’s diverse array of industrial sites.

April 2022, Vol. 42, No. 4 (ISSN 0279-4276). Business North Carolina is published monthly by Business North Carolina at 1230 West Morehead Street, Suite 308 Charlotte, NC 28208. Telephone: 704-523-6987. Fax: 704-523-4211. All contents copyright © by Old North State Magazines LLC. Subscription rate: 1 year, $30. For change of address, send mailing label and allow six to eight weeks. Periodicals postage paid at Charlotte, NC, and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to BUSINESS NORTH CAROLINA, 1230 West Morehead Street, Suite 308 Charlotte, NC 28208 or email circulation@businessnc.com.

Pimento cheese’s popularity paves growth for an unusual cast of N.C. food startups. BY KATHERINE SNOW SMITH

58 Start your day with business news from across the state, direct to your inbox.

SIGN UP AT BUSINESSNC.COM/DAILY-DIGEST. A P R I L

01-03_Contents_April2022.indd 3

2 0 2 2

3

3/21/22 11:38 AM


UPFRONT

David Mildenberg

PORTAL AUTHORITY

T

he transfer portal, a fairly new term in our lexicon, is a fascinating symbol for our fast-changing labor market. It refers to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s new system that enables student-athletes to change schools without sitting a year after the transfer. Nearly 3,000 students have filed their interest in jumping ship for greener pastures. Sports fans and boosters are split on the change. If their school attracts a star who sparks success, it’s all good. But others are appalled, contending that the portal encourages disloyalty by athletes and coaches and is widening the gap between NCAA haves and have-nots. A player who has a great season at a small school can land a slot for the following year at a bigger program that offers more prestige and benefits. Coaches have an incentive to attract hot new recruits rather than develop current players who may be underperforming.

Quick entries and exits can tear away at long-term team-building, which has been a hallmark of amateur athletics. A decade after graduation, my son retains tight bonds with former teammates who hung together for four years in an NCAA-sanctioned sport. I doubt those lifetime friendships would happen if they’d split up. This year, Weddington High School’s boys basketball team won its second consecutive state title with a group that wasn’t as tall or as athletic as some rivals in North Carolina’s large-school division, sports reporters noted. The Union County students had played together since middle school, creating a cohesion that contributed to a 49-game winning streak.

4

B U S I N E S S

N O R T H

USE-THIS_04-05_Masthead_UpFront_April2022 .indd 4

But the transfer portal concept reflects the trend toward magnifying individual rights — why shouldn’t students play wherever they prefer and maximize their potential? Indeed, the new policy comes as workers are wrestling some power back from employers, perhaps for the first time in decades. (More on that below.) Many of the biggest U.S. employers boosted front-line pay by at least 10% in the last year, led by 17% average increases at Amazon and Walmart. Average weekly earnings overall gained 4.5% to more than $31 an hour in 2021, the fastest increase since the early 1980s. Unfortunately, the fastest inflation rate in decades is eating up the wage gains for many people. Still, the higher wages didn’t happen because big business executives suddenly got more compassionate. Instead, a variety of factors have created an unexpected staffing shortage in countless industries and the strangest labor market in my lifetime. It’s a lot harder to feel loyal to an employer when one receives a barrage of job openings from staffing agencies or sees billboards urging people to come aboard — or works in a declining industry. Early in my career, I worked at The Charlotte Observer, where some colleagues in the newsroom of more than 250 periodically discussed the merits of organizing a labor union. The chatter always faded. It was a good place to work by newspaper standards and most folks respected management. Everyone knew a union would be strongly opposed by owner Knight Ridder, a public company enjoying robust profit margins despite tense relations at its unionized papers in Detroit and Philadelphia. In February, a majority of the Observer’s 35 journalists formed a union affiliated with other publications. The McClatchy newspaper, owned by New York-based hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, gave “voluntary recognition” to the effort. I never thought I’d see that happen — or a transfer portal for college athletes. Contact David Mildenberg at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

V O L U M E 4 2 , N O. 4 PUBLISHER

Ben Kinney

bkinney@businessnc.com EDITOR

David Mildenberg

dmildenberg@businessnc.com ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Jennings Cool

jcool@businessnc.com

Colin Campbell

ccampbell@businessnc.com

Cathy Martin

cmartin@businessnc.com SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Edward Martin

emartin@businessnc.com SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR

Pete M. Anderson

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Will Eudy, Vanessa Infanzon, Brad King, Bryan Mims, Lee Pace, Michael Solender CREATIVE MANAGER

Peggy Knaack

pknaack@businessnc.com ART DIRECTOR

Ralph Voltz

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Christer Berg, Peter Taylor MARKETING COORDINATOR

Jennifer Ware

jware@businessnc.com ADVERTISING SALES ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Melanie Weaver Lynch, eastern N.C. 919-855-9380 mweaver@businessnc.com

ACCOUNT MANAGER AND AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

Scott Leonard, western N.C. 704-996-6426 sleonard@businessnc.com

CIRCULATION: 818-286-3106 EDITORIAL: 704-523-6987 REPRINTS: circulation@businessnc.com

BUSINESSNC.COM OWNERS

Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels Jr., Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff PUBLISHED BY

Old North State Magazines LLC PRESIDENT

David Woronoff

C A R O L I N A

3/21/22 11:15 AM


USE-THIS_04-05_Masthead_UpFront_April2022 .indd 5

3/18/22 10:06 PM


JERRY NEAL A risk-taking Randolph County entrepreneur helped create a wireless pacesetter.

J

erry Neal chuckles when asked about his success in developing one of North Carolina’s most successful tech companies, and later, building perhaps the state’s biggest house east of Biltmore Estate. He hasn’t forgotten the times he stumbled. Always a risk taker, sometimes the gamble paid off. Other times, it was rough going.

▲ Jerry Neal helped create RF Micro Devices, which is now Qorvo.

His achievements stem from a childhood fascination with electronics and an ability to calculate risk, he says. As a young boy, Neal experimented with 1,000-volt and 2,000-volt transformers in an Archdale lab built by his father, a Randolph County native who learned about electronics after his World War II service. After earning an associate degree in engineering from N.C. State University in 1963, Neal worked for Carolina Power & Light Co. for two years then joined computer pioneer HewlettPackard in High Point. While soaking up knowledge about the tech industry, Neal spent his free time inventing an electronic sensor to check moisture in soil. After a decade at HP, he left to start his own

6

B U S I N E S S

6-7_Pillars-Neals-April-2022.indd 6

N O R T H

business, Watertech, but the money quickly ran short. An Ohio company bought most of the equity and moved the business, and Neal to the Midwest. Neal returned jobless to North Carolina. He later joined Boston-based Analog Devices, an early supplier of mobile telephony. That’s where he met colleagues Bill Pratt and Powell Seymour. The trio got the entrepreneurial bug to start RF Micro Devices in Greensboro, making semiconductor chips used in cellphones. Wanting to leave on good terms, Neal persuaded Analog Devices CEO Raymond Stata to provide a severance package that would help start RF Micro in 1992. The startup’s revenue soared from $1.7 million in 1995 to $29 million in 1997, when RF Micro had its IPO. Neal, then 52, was vice president of sales and marketing. Early investors included Charlotte-based Kitty Hawk Capital and a Bank of America venture-capital unit. The business’ market value soared to $16 billion during the 2000 dotcom boom, then declined sharply in the ensuing bust. But Samsung, Nokia and other phone vendors kept buying RF Micro chips. Revenue was in the $1 billion range when Neal left the company in 2012. RF Micro merged with TriQuint in 2015 to form Qorvo, which is based in Greensboro and has a market value of about $15 billion. Neal, 77, has stayed busy. He is co-chair and director at Huntersville-based Akoustis Technologies, a public company that develops communications software products. He’s put lots of resources into Asheboro, including joining local restaurateur Dustie Gregson to turn a former mill into a boutique hotel. No opening date has been set. Neal and his wife, Linda, have also built and operated Linbrook Heritage Estate, which opened in 2004 near their home in rural Trinity. The 36,000-square-foot venue supports local causes and cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by hosting special events and annual community activities. The adjacent Neal John Deere Museum has 26 fully restored John Deere tractors. Neal’s journey is chronicled in Fire in the Belly, which he co-wrote with Asheboro writer Jerry Bledsoe in 2005. Comments are edited for length and clarity.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JERRY NEAL

By Vanessa Infanzon

C A R O L I N A

3/21/22 12:03 PM


in Greensboro and Powell Seymour was the manager of production. I worked with them closely. Bill told me one time, “I’d trust my life in your hands. You’re just somebody I absolutely trust.” And I felt the same way about Bill and Powell. I gave Bill and Powell the good news that I was going to be joining them as the founders of RF Micro Devices. Bill and Powell said, “The company doesn’t have any money. You’re going to have to go out and raise the money. Once you do that, we’ll all get paid.” That was the start of my work task: Raise $1.5 million. I knew a lot of people. I’d traveled all over the world for the 10 years I was with Analog Devices. I worked on some tough issues with companies like Ericsson and Motorola. A friend of mine told me he read a story about the 40 top investors in start-up semiconductor businesses for communications. I contacted each person on that 40-person list and tried to get them to take a look at our business plan. Several of them did; most of them turned it down and said, “That’s pretty risky. You’ve not done this before.” I finally got three of them to agree to it: They would put up $1.5 million. They drove a real hard bargain. [Analog Devices CEO Ralph Stata] wrote a beautiful letter to us and said that [Analog Devices] didn’t have any feel for the technology but thought we would be successful. It helped tremendously. ▲ Neal credits his grandfather as a major influence on his life.

A week after I was born, my father was drafted in the Second World War. He did not see me for the first two years of my life. They gave all the veterans choices. My dad chose a course in electronics, something like a correspondence course. They sent lessons and equipment to show the principles they were trying to teach. I saw that group of material about basic theory of electronics. I started to read it and found it fascinating. My dad said, “I just hope I live long enough to see you put something together, instead of just taking it apart.” That’s how I got started. I studied, very closely, Bill Hewlett and David Packard. I knew I’d be happier if I tried to follow in their footsteps. I liked the idea of being an entrepreneur. I invented an electronic sensor that would measure the amount of moisture in soil and started a company called Watertech. I used my retirement money, but I didn’t have any idea of how much money it was going to take. I started selling assets. Then I had technical problems with my parts, and after three years, I was in pretty sad financial shape. I needed outside investment. An Ohio company invested in my company and bought 80% of the stock. That temporarily stopped the cash-flow problems I was having. I was so unhappy with everything going on that I decided to come back to North Carolina without a job. I got a job with an electronics company, Analog Devices. When I joined, Bill Pratt was the general manager of the division

The technology that Analog had worked with since its founding has been based on silicon technology. They didn’t have any experience working with gallium arsenide types of semiconductors. Kitty Hawk Capital in Charlotte invested $750,000 in that first round in 1992. When we did a distribution of their stock back to them, their stock was worth $550 million. (Kitty Hawk partner Walter Wilkinson retired from Qorvo’s board in 2021.) Within eight years, the company continued to grow. The market cap reached $16 billion. By nine years, we were shipping about a billion dollars’ worth of product a year. It was a phenomenal success and still is. It was so easy starting Akoustis, from a financial point of view, compared to my earlier experiences. We did a reverse merger: From Day One we were a public company, able to trade our stock publicly. The products we’re doing are electronic filters for the new 5G phones and for 5G Wi-Fi. The opportunity is there again for an exploding market. We have an excellent relationship [with Robert Bruggeworth, Qorvo’s president and chief executive officer.] Now, we’re competitors. The parts we’re doing are in direct competition to what they’re doing but it’s on a completely different technology. We currently have about 55 patents that have been issued on our technology. We also have 80 additional patents that have gone through the initial review. … We took a fresh new approach, and that’s how entrepreneurs compete with companies that are much bigger than they are. ■

A P R I L

6-7_Pillars-Neals-April-2022.indd 7

2 0 2 2

7

3/18/22 10:06 PM


A DECADE OF GROWTH IN NORTH CAROLINA As PNC celebrates one decade in North Carolina, Regional Presidents Weston Andress and Jim Hansen reflect on the bank’s local growth, community impact and future. This is the seventeenth in a series of informative monthly articles for North Carolina businesses from PNC in collaboration with BUSINESS NORTH CAROLINA magazine.

beneficiary of it,” says Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for Eastern Carolinas.

HOW IT STARTED When Weston Andress was named PNC regional president for Western Carolinas shortly after PNC’s 2012 acquisition of RBC Bank (USA), he grew accustomed to people asking what the letters P-N-C stood for. “I remember telling anyone who would listen that PNC was perfect for North Carolina,” he says. “What was most important for me to convey, particularly in a competitive banking environment, was how PNC offers the capabilities of one of the nation’s largest banks, together with a local delivery model that allows us to build meaningful relationships with our customers and provide personalized solutions.” HOW IT’S GOING

When a once-in-a-century pandemic threatened the future of local companies, PNC registered nearly 4,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans, totaling almost $900 million, in the Carolinas. Hansen considers this achievement among the most monumental during PNC’s local tenure. “As I reflect on the events of the past 10 years, this period stands out as the most consequential for businesses that are the lifeblood of the local economy, which means it was also consequential for PNC,” he says. “There was so much uncertainty, and the stakes were high. Each loan translated to the preservation of local jobs and livelihoods. The resilience we’ve seen since then has been nothing short of phenomenal.”

These days, the questions Andress fields are more substantive in nature, given PNC’s extensive work in the Corporate & Institutional Banking space, the local buildout of PNC Private BankSM, PNC’s digital innovations and investments in technology, and its local philanthropic and charitable endeavors. What hasn’t changed during a decade that saw an acceleration in digital transformation within the financial services industry and unprecedented disruption in the global economy is the Main Street bank philosophy that drives PNC’s business strategy and corporate philanthropy locally, and to which Andress credits the company’s success in N.C.

BUILDING WEALTH

FACILITATING BUSINESS GROWTH

INVESTING IN THE FUTURE

PNC’s decade-long expansion in North Carolina has mirrored the state’s growing population, influence and business landscape. Since PNC formalized its local presence, the state’s population has grown by nearly 1 million people, N.C. businesses have led the nation in innovation with 70% patent growth and the state has consistently ranked among the best for doing business, among other milestones and superlatives. “As one of the region’s largest banks, we have played a major role in facilitating this growth – and we are a

Since entering the market, PNC consistently has advocated for high-quality early childhood education through PNC Grow Up Great, a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for future success in school and life. This support comes to life locally through grant funding from the PNC Foundation and employee volunteerism. “Investments in high-quality early childhood education and school readiness initiatives are significant and long-lasting, impacting the health of the local economy

8

B U S I N E S S

PNC_spread_April2022_v3.indd 8

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

While the acquisition of RBC Bank (USA) afforded PNC’s entry to North Carolina, it did not deliver a local asset management and private banking book of business. PNC leaned on its decades of experience in wealth management to steadily and intentionally assemble a highly credentialed local team of investment and wealth strategists, building the business locally from scratch. Today, the local footprint of PNC’s Asset Management Group, including PNC Private BankSM and PNC Institutional Asset Management, continues to grow and thrive.

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:33 PM


for generations,” says Andress. “We are leveraging our influence with the business community, policymakers and other key influencers to elevate visibility to the importance of expanding access to NC Pre-K.” Beyond the scope of its signature philanthropic cause of early childhood education, PNC has collaborated extensively with community-based nonprofit organizations and

Weston Andress

Jim Hansen

institutions to fuel the growth of local communities through economic development initiatives. Earlier this year, for example, the company launched the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative to help cultivate entrepreneurship resources and opportunities for students at five universities through $2 million in grant funding. A MODEL FOR CONTINUED MOMENTUM In 2021, PNC continued its growth journey with the acquisition of BBVA USA, a transaction that was reminiscent of the RBC acquisition that brought PNC to the Carolinas – albeit on a larger scale. “The success of PNC’s expansion in the Southeast following the RBC acquisition provided a precedent for growth and the confidence to further expand the company’s scale and scope,” says Hansen. “We’re excited about what our coast-to-coast footprint means for our customers and our business. As North Carolina continues to attract businesses from outside the state, and as N.C.-based companies move into markets elsewhere, PNC will be well positioned to support them.”

For more information, please visit www.pnc.com.

REGIONAL PRESIDENTS: Weston Andress, Western Carolinas: (704) 643-5581 Jim Hansen, Eastern Carolinas: (919) 835-0135

The material presented herein is of a general nature and does not constitute the provision by PNC of investment, legal, tax, or accounting advice to any person, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or adopt any investment strategy. The information contained herein was obtained from sources deemed reliable. Such information is not guaranteed as to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness by PNC. The information contained and the opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) uses the marketing names PNC Private BankSM and PNC Private Bank HawthornSM to provide investment consulting and wealth management, fiduciary services, FDIC-insured banking products and services, and lending of funds to individual clients through PNC Bank, National Association (“PNC Bank”), which is a Member FDIC, and to provide specific fiduciary and agency services through PNC Delaware Trust Company or PNC Ohio Trust Company. PNC does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice unless, with respect to tax advice, PNC Bank has entered into a written tax services agreement. PNC Bank is not registered as a municipal advisor under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. "PNC" and "PNC Bank" are registered marks, and “PNC Private Bank” and “PNC Private Bank Hawthorn” are service marks of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value. ©2022 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. A P R I L

PNC_spread_April2022_v4.indd 9

2 0 2 2

9

3/21/22 12:33 PM


NCTREND 10 12 14 16

›››

Sports marketing

Sports marketing Statistics Public affairs Statewide

ALLY GETS THE ASSIST We love getting feedback from our readers. Here’s a sampling of what you had to say about Business North Carolina on social media last month.

An innovative digital bank took a chance on Charlotte pro soccer, scoring an initial victory. By Will Eudy

The @nantahalaoutdoorcenter celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022 as a landmark destination for outdoor lovers and a driver in the regional economy, spanning several campuses and offering a plethora of activities including rafting, kayaking, zip lining, mountain biking, restaurants, shopping and lodging. It is a key training site for kayakers and has celebrated generations of staff and clients who've gone on to compete in the Olympics, start their own outdoor businesses, spearhead local advocacy organizations and more.

Grubb Properties @GrubbProperties “We’re seeing a convergence of market opportunity, real-estate expertise, real need, and mission-driven investing.” Clark Spencer, our managing director, talked with @BusinessNC about our efforts to bring essential housing to Opportunity Zones.

Cone Health @ConeHealth Moses Cone Hospital has tied for the ranking of best hospital in the state, according to @BusinessNC! The magazine’s list, which uses 25 metrics for its rankings, identifies the best places in NC for patients to find the vital care they need.

SCAN ME

To find Business North Carolina online or go to linktr.ee/businessnorthcarolina.

10

B U S I N E S S

10-11_Ally_April-2022-TRYTHIS.indd 10

N O R T H

W

hen the new Charlotte Football Club stunned everyone with the largest crowd in the history of Major League Soccer on March 5, the most prominent corporate logo on the team’s uniforms and many fans’ jerseys was that of Ally Financial. Not Bank of America, Truist, Lowe’s or other corporate giants that dwarf Ally in size. But taking the chance to become the chief corporate partner of billionaire investor David Tepper’s club was in sync with Ally’s effort to take distinctive approaches to business and marketing. The company has become a strong digital financial-services company from the ashes of General Motors Acceptance Corp., which needed a federal bailout to avoid closure in 2008. Ally announced its soccer partnership with Tepper’s organization in 2019, before the Charlotte FC name was revealed in July 2020. The company pursued the effort because of a corporate commitment to be a positive force in Charlotte and to connect with local soccer enthusiasts, company officials say. Key decision-makers were CEO Jeff Brown, a longtime Charlottean, and Andrea Brimmer, whose work as Ally’s chief marketing and public relations officer has earned industry acclaim. Ally’s risk included an estimated $7 million sponsorship fee, which involved jersey naming rights for an undisclosed period of time. Such branding is common in professional soccer globally but has been frowned upon by other major U.S. pro sports leagues. “It’s an exciting time to be investing in soccer in the U.S.,” says Michael Edwards, an associate professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at North Carolina State University. “Ally certainly sees that, particularly in terms of their brand identity trying to be a game-changer in the banking industry. Their approach to online banking is certainly something that’s different in the marketplace, so I can see the appeal for them to want to be aligned with Major League Soccer. It represents an emerging sport in the U.S. sports landscape.”

ILLUSTRATION BY NOEL HEIL

madexmtns

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:06 PM


Owner: David Tepper CEO, Tepper Sports and Entertainment: Nick Kelly President, Charlotte FC: Joe LaBue Head coach: Miguel Ángel Ramírez Highest-paid player: Karol Swiderski, $5 million contract Number of players on roster: 25 Logo crest: Coin motif, a nod to Charlotte’s role as a financial capital

PHOTO COURTESY CHARLOTTE FOOTBALL CLUB

Logo crown: A reference to Charlotte’s royal legacy

Soccer’s relatively young, diverse fan base is viewed by Ally as a good alignment with the company's efforts to attract more youthful customers seeking deposit and loan accounts with the digital-only business. It is also the banking sponsor for the National Women's Professional Soccer League. Ally’s investment in Charlotte FC, which was first reported by Charlotte Business Journal, compares with a $15 million, three-year deal that LendingTree signed with the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA in 2019. Other key founding partners for Charlotte FC include Centene, a Clayton, Mo.-based medical-insurance company building a big local office, and Atrium Health. Ally spun out of GMAC, the former financing arm of the Detroit-based automaker that rebranded in 2010. Since then, Ally has diversified into various personal and corporate banking niches. Operating without branches, Ally Bank has attracted more than

2.4 million digital customers with about $140 billion in deposits. The company reported a $3 billion profit in 2021, nearly tripling its net income from a year earlier. It employs more than 10,000 people with many of its top executives based in Charlotte, including Brown, a former senior Bank of America executive who moved to Ally in 2009 and became CEO in 2015. Charlotte’s status as a growing community popular with sportsminded millennials and Generation Z also appealed to Ally. The city’s population is nearing 900,000, having soared 20% since 2010. It’s not unusual for Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets home games to be filled with transplants supporting the visiting team because of long-term allegiances built with their former hometown favorites. ▲ Ally CEO Jeff Brown But Charlotte FC came out of the chute with much local loyalty, reflected in the initial 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy that attracted 74,479 fans. More than 20,000 season tickets were sold with prices ranging from $630 to more than $2,000. The team is also the first MLS team to require personal seat licenses that cost $450 to $900. MLS teams play 17 home games in a season. Those are among the most expensive prices in the MLS, which was founded in 1993 and struggled for years to attract significant corporate and fan support. Tepper’s willingness to spend $325 million to buy the Charlotte franchise was widely viewed as a huge endorsement of the league’s long-term potential. (He bought the Panthers for $2.27 billion from founding owner Jerry Richardson in 2018.) MLS also considered placing a franchise in the Triangle, where several business leaders mounted a strong campaign. The Raleigh-Durham region is a well-known hotbed of soccer because of the success of the N.C. Football Club youth program and UNC Chapel Hill women’s team, which has won more NCAA championships than any other school. But Tepper’s wealth and aggressive approach won the slot for Charlotte. “We have a great young coach, a brand new team. This is a great town for this sport at this point in time. It’s going to be fun,” Tepper said last year. Several Ally executives are former soccer players or serious soccer fans. But company officials say the real stars are fans who started a social-media campaign and hashtag several years before the city landed the MLS franchise, drawing attention to the sports’ popularity in the Carolinas. ■

A P R I L

10-11_Ally_April-2022-TRYTHIS.indd 11

2 0 2 2

11

3/21/22 10:51 AM


NCTREND

›››

Statistics

MOVING IN

A

10-year look at real-estate development in major U.S. metro areas shows that Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham ranked sixth and 12th nationally in the number of single-family building permits issued between 2012 and 2021. The report by the StorageCafe website also showed where North Carolina’s two biggest metro areas ranked in other real-estate sectors among the top 50 metros. The population growth of Raleigh-Durham ranked second nationally at 19.6%, while Charlotte was ninth at 15.7%. Population growth

Single-family permits

Multifamily permits

Office (sq. ft.) million

Industrial (sq. ft.) million

Retail (sq.ft.) million

Charlotte metro area

15.7% (9th)

139,889 (6th)

73,593 (19th)

16.48 (16th)

46.1 (17th)

9.02 (18th)

Raleigh-Durham metro area

19.6% (2)

100,253 (12)

43,309 (21)

13.56 (19)

13.87 (40)

6.66 (27)

Atlanta metro area

11.8% (15)

222,208 (3)

87,602 (13)

20.22 (14)

98.53 (5)

15.73 (8)

TOUGH START FOR MANY STOCKS IN 2022 With surging inflation, soaring energy prices and war in Ukraine, 2022 has turned into a nightmarish year for many investors. The Nasdaq index, which is made up mostly of large tech stocks, lost nearly a fifth of its value between Jan. 1 and March 14. The S&P 500 Index dipped 5% in the period. These North Carolina-based public companies gained or declined 30% during the first 75 days of the year.

GAI N E RS

LOS E RS % CHANGE THROUGH 3/14

3-YEAR PERFORMANCE

-64%

-59%

AVIDXCHANGE

-52

NA

PRECISION BIOSCIENCES

-47

NA

FATHOM HOLDINGS

-47

NA

COMMSCOPE

-38

(-69)

AVAYA

-38

(-16)

PHREESIA

-37

NA

COMPANY BANDWIDTH

% CHANGE THROUGH 3/14

3-YEAR PERFORMANCE

80%

16%

CORNERSTONE BUILDING BRANDS

39

280

PIEDMONT LITHIUM

35

780

CHANNEL ADVISOR

- 36

20

(-80)

LIVE OAK BANK

-35

265

COMPANY BIODELIVERY SCIENCES

32

AERIE PHARMACEUTICALS

JOBS REPORT As many people were working in North Carolina in January as before the pandemic started in early 2020, federal data shows. Here’s where the state ranks nationally in some key labor statistics:

9th 10th

total nonfarm jobs (5 million jobs in labor force)

number of unemployed (197,469)

25th

unemployment rate

38th

labor force participation rate

(3.9%)

(57.4%)

source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

12

B U S I N E S S

12_Statistics_April-2022.indd 12

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:06 PM


A P R I L

12_Statistics_April-2022.indd 13

2 0 2 2

13

3/18/22 10:06 PM


NCTREND

›››

Public Affairs Our paid daily newsletter launched in February, providing detailed interviews with key lawmakers, Q&As of other political leaders, and stories on redistricting and candidate filings for the 2022 elections. Plus lots of stories tracking daily happenings at the state legislature. Here’s some of what you missed. Sign up today at nctribune.com.

PENNY THOUGHTS Ronald Penny, 68, has led the N.C. Department of Revenue since 2017. Here are some comments from the attorney whose signature appears on N.C. tax refunds:

■ Months before Gov. Roy Cooper endorsed Sen. Kirk

► What are some of your past jobs?

Morgan Jackson dumped deViere as a client. In De-

■ ■ ■ ■

Tenured associate professor, N.C. Central University Vice president for human resources, UNC System Senior managing partner, Penny & Barnes law firm General counsel to the chancellor, Elizabeth City State University Attorney, DuPont Corp.

► What lessons have you applied to your current

position? All organizations must have a clearly articulated vision and mission. Senior leaders must reinforce that mission and vision in multiple ways to reach internal and external stakeholders. An organization’s most valuable assets go home at the end of the workday, act like it. ► What’s the most common misconception about

your agency? People often think that the N.C. Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service are the same agency. The IRS is a federal agency that has no authority over the N.C. Department of Revenue, which is a state agency. Correspondingly, NCDOR generally is unable to address issues that taxpayers may have with our federal counterparts.

Politics. DeViere says the change wasn’t his choice. ■ The N.C. League of Conservation Voters endorsed nine legislative candidates in contested Democratic primaries. Only one doesn’t currently serve in the General Assembly. The group backs Kimberly Hardy, a Fayetteville State University professor, in a Cumberland County House primary over former Rep. Elmer Floyd. ■ The state legislature set a new record on March 10, but no one was happy about it. Lawmakers just wanted to go home. House Speaker Tim Moore announced

that we don’t try to break.” March 10 was Day 198.

State Senate leader Phil Berger discussed legislative priorities for the 2022 short session later this spring.

▲ Ronald Penny

getting things done in state government?

14_Tribune-Recap_April-2022.indd 14

paign treasurers from Nexus to another firm, Blue Wave

session in the history of this state. I hope it is a record

“Always tell the truth. And when you are wrong, and inevitably you will be wrong, remember a good apology is better than a bad stand any day.”— Army Lt. Col. Leon J. Penny (Penny's dad)

B U S I N E S S

cember, deViere filed paperwork changing his cam-

that the 2021 session sets “the record for the longest

► What’s the best advice you’ve received about

14

Nexus Strategies consulting firm led by Cooper adviser

N O R T H

On Medicaid expansion: Berger anticipates a vote on Medicaid expansion this year “if we get a recommendation (from the study committee) that you can build support around, and I’m hopeful that will be the case.” On medical marijuana: Regarding Senate Rules Chairman Bill Rabon’s Compassionate Care Act, which would allow the tightly regulated use of medical marijuana: “I personally would vote for it if it were on the floor, and I will do everything I can to help Sen. Rabon move that issue forward.” On the potential for more income tax cuts: “If we continue to see revenues far outpace projections, first blush for me would be maybe we’re not cutting enough."

PHOTO COURTESY OF N.C. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

deViere’s Democratic primary opponent in March, the

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:06 PM


A P R I L

14_Tribune-Recap_April-2022.indd 15

2 0 2 2

15

3/18/22 10:06 PM


NCTREND

›››

Statewide

CHARLOTTE CHARLOTTE

The Carolina Panthers are pausing work on their Rock Hill headquarters and training facility after disagreements with the South Carolina city. Officials in Rock Hill say they have fulfilled their responsibilities. Tepper Sports & Entertainment has invested more than $170 million.

CHARLOTTE Privately held Meridian Waste bought Triad Waste, a Sanford-based roll-off container company, and Goldsboro-based Pinnacle Waste. Meridian has completed six acquisitions in North Carolina and 22 total since 2018. The popular Northeast convenience store and gas station chain Wawa is seeking property to expand to North Carolina by 2024. The Media, Pa.-based compsny is known for its hoagies and breakfast sandwiches.

BESSEMER CITY Amazon confirmed plans to establish a 180,000-square-foot delivery station here. It is expected to create 150 full-time jobs in Gaston County.

EAST CHARLOTTE Atrium Health will call its new innovation district and medical school campus The Pearl. The name is a nod to Brooklyn, the Midtown neighborhood where Atrium and Wexford Science & Technology are building a medical development. The area will house Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Charlotte campus.

16

B U S I N E S S

16-20_Statewide_April-2022.indd 16

N O R T H

BURGAW Southern Asphalt was acquired by Dothan, Ala.-based Construction Partners, a publicly traded company. Financial details were not disclosed. Southern Asphalt will retain its brand name.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MERIDIAN WASTE, ATRIUM HEALTH, AMAZON

The Brightspeed telecommunications company signed a lease for a headquarters in the Vantage South End building in a move that’s expected to add 100 jobs. The company, owned by Apollo Management, is looking to expand its 20-state footprint and deploy fiber to 3 million locations over the next five years.

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:05 PM


SURF CITY The town council voted to annex 38.5 acres of unincorporated, undeveloped land into its town limits. The council agreed to zone the land for multifamily cluster residential development.

WILMINGTON MegaCorp Logistics plans to hire 300 people over five years after securing a combined $500,000 in economic development incentives from New Hanover County and the city.

FAYETTEVILLE A $110 million expansion to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is expected to create more than 185 jobs. It will add 100 beds to the hospital’s capacity and two new floors to the top of its existing five-story Valley Pavilion.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MEGACORP, PROCTER & GAMBLE, CAPE FEAR VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER, PORSCHE

KINSTON

A unit of PNC Bank poured $9.25 million into TRU Colors Brewery, which employs active gang members. The financing includes a $6 million equity investment and a $3.25 million line of credit and is helping turn a former textile factory into a brewery and office.

itself as the largest warehouse for Porsche parts in the U.S.

InfinityLink Communications is opening a headquarters at the N.C. Global TransPark after landing a $30 million federal grant. The $25 million facility here will allow the telecommunications company to expand broadband service. A Rocky Mount operation that specializes in Porsche parts was sold to Pre Venture, a Florida-based business, for $3 million. The dC Automotive facility here is about 140,000 square feet and bills

WILSON

GREENSBORO

Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx picked the city for a distribution center that will create 200 jobs because of its access to major highways and strong workforce.

Procter & Gamble is investing $8.8 million in an 86,288-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing facilities here. P&G makes Vicks, NyQuil, DayQuil, Pepto Bismol and Align products at the site.

A P R I L

16-20_Statewide_April-2022.indd 17

2 0 2 2

17

3/18/22 10:05 PM


NCTREND

›››

Statewide

Backers of a multipurpose athletic field for Reynolds High School and Wiley Middle School privately raised $4.3 million from 570 donors toward a $5.8 million goal. The Home Field Advantage nonprofit received $2.8 million from Reynolds alums Keith and Cindy Waddell, who now live in California.

TRIANGLE GREENSBORO

TRIAD

KERNERSVILLE The Grove at Kernersville Apartments was sold for $52.75 million to a group led by Margaret Hungate and William Schnakenburg of Newburgh, Ind. The 216-unit Grove was built in 2015 and sold for $28 million in May 2017.

GREENSBORO Biscuitville Fresh Southern was named one of the Best Regional Fast Food Chains in the 2022 USA Today Readers’ Choice “10 Best” contest for the fourth straight year. Biscuitville ranked No. 8 on the list.

WINSTON-SALEM Wake Forest University named Annette Ranft as the dean of its business school. She begins on July 1. She has previously been a business school dean at Auburn and N.C. State universities.

CHAPEL HILL Raul Reis, dean of the journalism school at Emerson University in Massachusetts, was appointed to the same post at UNC Chapel Hill. Susan King resigned last year after holding the job since 2012.

CARY Cornerstone Building Brands was acquired for $8.5 billion by its largest shareholder, the New York-based Clayton, Dubilier & Rice private-equity group. Cornerstone reported $5.5 billion in net sales last year and employs more than 20,000. Cofounders Capital secured nearly $24 million from 53 investors, with each required to contribute at least $100,000 to participate, according to an SEC filing. The targeted goal for the early startupfocused firm is $50 million.

DURHAM

▲ Annette Ranft

18

B U S I N E S S

16-20_Statewide_April-2022.indd 18

N O R T H

Pharmaceutical company Rho landed a $49 million federal contract and will serve as the autoimmune diseases statistical and clinical coordinating center for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The funds will help develop treatments for autoimmune diseases.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SYNGENTA CROP PRODUCTION, WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY, CORNERSTONE BUILDING

Syngenta Crop Protection broke ground for a 100,000-square-foot office building to connect with its existing laboratory facility here. The $68 million project includes renovation of laboratories. Syngenta is owned by China National Chemical Corp.

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:06 PM


A P R I L

16-20_Statewide_April-2022.indd 19

2 0 2 2

19

3/18/22 10:06 PM


NCTREND

›››

Statewide

Dominion Realty Partners acquired land with plans to build a mixed-use development on Salisbury Street downtown. Plans call for two 20-story residential towers with 600 multi-family units, a 660-space parking deck and a parcel for future hotel development.

WEST CARY Nearly a year after announcing plans for a big Triangle site, Apple is searching for as much as 150,000 square feet of additional temporary space. That is in addition to MetLife space being renovated by the company. The tech giant’s Research Triangle Park site is expected to eventually employ 3,000.

PINEHURST Veterans Guardian VA Claim Consulting, a pre-filing firm helping veterans, plans to add as many as 100 employees this year, adding to the 140 employed now. In anticipation of the expansion, the company bought an office in Aberdeen for $715,000.

The city council is mulling developers for a 500-plus-room hotel and mixeduse office tower and expansion plans for Raleigh Convention Center after the project was paused during the pandemic. About $30 million was designated for the hotel and $230 million for the convention center expansion.

RALEIGH

ASHEVILLE N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein was concerned about how HCA was selected as buyer of Mission Health System, including that “the deck had been stacked in its favor” by then-CEO Ron Paulus and his advisor Philip Green, according to a 2018 internal document.

BREVARD The Ecusta Trail, a 19.4 mile, multi-use greenway to connect Hendersonville and Brevard, received further funding of $7.5 million. About $600,000 was previously designated in the state budget.

CANDLER

FLETCHER

MORRISVILLE Raleigh-Durham International Airport will offer nonstop flights to Connecticut in May after securing Avelo Airlines as its newest airline carrier. Alevo founder Andrew Levy was a co-founder of Allegiant Airlines.

20

B U S I N E S S

16-20_Statewide_April-2022.indd 20

N O R T H

A block of buildings in the middle of this 8,500-resident town are being demolished with plans for construction of six new properties. A town center concept is being developed by the town, Lewis Real Estate Group and the Waddell family.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF APPLE, RDU AIRPORT

Wicked Weed Brewing reopened its taproom here after being closed for two years because of the pandemic. It complements the downtown Asheville site for the brewer owned by Anheuser-Busch.

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:06 PM


16-20_Statewide_April-2022.indd 21

3/18/22 10:06 PM


ROUND TABLE

TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS

PAVING NEW PATHS North Carolina’s nicknames include The Good Roads State. That moniker was bestowed in the early 1900s when major efforts were made to improve the state’s mostly dirt roads. It’s still earning that title today, wherever one is driving from Murphy to Manteo. The transportation industry, including air, water and rail, plays an essential role in economic development, helping determine the state’s future. Business North Carolina recently gathered a group of industry experts to discuss the state of transportation and what needs to be addressed for continued vitality.

GTCC and PTI sponsored the discussion, which was moderated by Business North Carolina Publisher Ben Kinney. It was edited for brevity and clarity.

22

B U S I N E S S

N O R T H

Round_Table_Transportation_logistics_April2022 .indd 22

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC CHANGED THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY? FOX: It’s an exciting but dramatically different time. We’ve survived two years of pandemic, which kept everyone at home for about three months. That took a big bite — about $350 million — out of the state Department of Transportation’s vehicle-fuel tax revenue. It created cash-flow issues for DOT. But the good news is society has adapted to living with COVID. Vehicle traffic has returned to about 95% of its

C A R O L I N A

pre-pandemic level, though it doesn’t move in the same way. People gained flexibility to work from home, for example, so rush hours are no longer only in the morning and evening. While DOT’s overall financial health is strong, it would like to spend more money on projects than it is right now. But capacity, workforce and raw material issues in the market mean fewer projects can be undertaken. DOT is working with its partners and contractors, avoiding those projects that can’t be completed because of a lack

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:05 PM


Kevin Baker

Michael Fox

executive director, Piedmont Triad International Airport Authority

chairman, N.C. Board of Transportation; president, Piedmont Triad Partnership

Joe Milazzo II

Karen Pentz

Sepi Saidi

executive director, Regional Transportation Alliance

instructor, supply chain, Guilford Technical Community College

founder, president and CEO, SEPI; board chairwoman, NC Chamber

of workforce or raw materials, at least for the time being. It’s a balancing act. Project costs are at a level that hasn’t been seen in a long time. I remember 2009 and 2010, the height of the Great Recession. Every project would attract six or eight bids, and the low bid was at least 25%below the engineers’ cost estimate. That was a great environment for DOT. Money went further. Projects cost 10% to 15% more today than they did two or three years ago.

SAIDI: Most transportation funding comes from vehicle-fuel taxes. With driving changes spurred by COVID and more electric vehicles, it’s easy to connect the dots and see that source will become less and less reliable. And the state’s population is growing, so it needs more revenue. Transportation is vital to residents’ livelihood. You want your child to get on a safe bus and arrive at school. We need secure bridges, roads and infrastructure. My engineering firm is affected by transportation funding. We’re excited to see DOT’s

revenue return. That helps my company and others in the industry plan for hiring and project delivery. We want more projects and have capacity for preconstruction design and project administration. The construction supply chain is under stress and will continue to be impacted down the road. MILAZZO: The pandemic has had many effects on transportation, such as increases in work from home or work from anywhere. I was recently asked if those will continue. I sure hope so.

A P R I L

Round_Table_Transportation_logistics_April2022 .indd 23

2 0 2 2

23

3/18/22 10:05 PM


ROUND TABLE

TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS

They have brought many benefits — better quality of life, more flexibility, less environmental impact. They relieve the burden on the state’s highway system, too. Traffic is spread over the course of the day, for example, which makes better use of it. The pandemic was horrible, but it offers lessons. WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF N.C. TRANSPORTATION FUNDING? FOX: Defining DOT’s future funding is a long-term challenge. It needs to be addressed soon — sooner than some people predicted. There is a group of North Carolinians, representing many viewpoints, working on it. DOT’s NC First Commission, a group of industry leaders, educators, state representatives and local elected officials that assembled in 2019, was tasked with discovering how other states and countries are handling transportation funding. Those ideas help set the table. The most recent effort is Gov. Cooper’s executive order that directs DOT to have a process and engagement on future funding, transportation and technology. There are many important stakeholders who realize we have to start a conversation or we won’t find the answer. Legislative leaders and the state treasurer had a candid discussion at DOT’s transportation summit in January. They agreed that while we may not share one

24

B U S I N E S S

N O R T H

Round_Table_Transportation_logistics_April2022 .indd 24

idea, we know that we have to cooperate to assemble a group of ideas to steer funding to the next sustainable source and away from vehicle-fuel taxes. SAIDI: Transportation funding is an important focus of the N.C. Chamber, which created Destination 2030, a coalition exploring the modernization of transportation funding. Many industry folks serve in the coalition. They’re looking at other states, hunting for creative and innovative ways to fund transportation. MILAZZO: RTA supports a user fee approach, similar to the model used for cellphones. With most service providers, your cost is the same, even if you use 200 minutes one month and 1,000 the next. That’s because the value isn’t in the minutes. It’s in the access to a reliable network; that’s what you’re purchasing. DOT needs a consistent and predictable revenue source so it can plan. That’s attainable if each registered vehicle owner paid a consistent amount instead of an amount based on fuel usage, which varies. That fee could be the average price that all of us pay for vehicle-fuel tax over the course of the year, divided by 12 or 52, depending on whether they pay weekly or monthly. And if an owner switches to an electric vehicle, or God forbid we have another pandemic, which ends up cutting vehicle use 50% for a time, funding would con-

C A R O L I N A

tinue at the same rate. It’s not a new idea. It’s essentially what’s done for electric vehicles right now. BAKER: People want to live in North Carolina. It has a nice environment and is governed well. The legislature is forward looking, especially when it comes to airports. A decade ago, airports would receive a small amount of state money annually. Today that amount has probably increased 20-fold. That enables airports to invest in their future. We have a competitive edge over other states because we’re further ahead with projects. Companies need to be able to start up quickly. That’s easy to do with sites that are further ahead. In addition to a growing population, lower cost of living, quality roads and relatively inexpensive utilities, North Carolina has a strong workforce and long traditions of manufacturing, banking and technology. Its assets can’t be matched anywhere in the country. We see companies vote with their feet and move here. WHAT DOES THE FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE LAW MEAN TO NORTH CAROLINA? FOX: It’s a great thing, from DOT’s perspective. More federal investment has been needed. North Carolina is different than many states. It uses a data-driven process for selecting projects. Some states rely on lobbying — this congress-

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:05 PM


man wants a bridge and this one wants a train station. It eliminates that. New money goes into one pie so to speak, that feeds all projects. Their priorities are set by DOT partners, communities, metropolitan planning organizations, rural planning organizations and local elected officials. New money makes the pie bigger, so more projects can be considered. Grant money rarely funds an entire project, but it provides a good start. If we have a project on the books that fits the grant program, it moves up in priority and is built sooner. It will influence projects for a decade. It’s not a situation where you get an extra billion dollars and spin it out over a couple months. I recall the stimulus during the Obama administration. North Carolina Railroad and DOT had done a lot of great work to

prepare projects that would improve the rail line between Charlotte and Raleigh. So, they were awarded more than $500 million for different projects. That work wrapped up over the last year or so. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. SAIDI: Costs are rising. Salaries are rising higher and faster than ever before. So, it will be positive, helping cover some of those additional costs. In many areas, this money will go into public transit, so there are many aspects that could see a big impact. Transportation investment creates jobs, and that helps the economy. The impact will be significant over time. But we still need to focus on modernizing transportation funding sources. While wonderful, these federal funds won’t be sufficient for the long term.

WORKFORCE IS ALWAYS A CONCERN. HOW IS IT BEING ADDRESSED? PENTZ: Education and training are the keys to success. Guilford Tech offers the GAP apprenticeship program. Students in the supply-chain program, where I teach, are in GAP, apprenticing with local companies. They go to school part time, work part time and are paid. That’s a big help to many students, who know the program covers certain costs, ensuring they can continue their education. They receive invaluable on-the-job training. Students are interested in what’s happening in different industries. So, it’s important to incorporate those issues in their studies, within the local and broader picture. GTCC offers a variety of transportation programs, including

A P R I L

Round_Table_Transportation_logistics_April2022 .indd 25

2 0 2 2

25

3/18/22 10:05 PM


ROUND TABLE

TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS

warehouse and engineering. We recently added a transportation management services program, offering students real-world experience in how companies manage their needs such as loading trailers front to back to create efficient deliveries. We focus on technology such as enterprise resource planning systems. Many GTCC supply chain classes discuss SAP’s enterprise-resource planning system, giving students hands-on experience with it. If you learn SAP, then you can use whichever ERP system, including J.D. Edwards or Oracle, that a company uses. You understand how they all work. We’re offering and expanding what the students need to know, so they’re prepared when they leave. We’re in discussions about adding drone technology, including last-mile delivery, to our transportation classes. Students are very interested in technology and see it in their personal and work lives. That makes it real to them, so they’re more aware of the issues connected to the pandemic and return to work over the past two years. The students are motivated to learn from GTCC’s industry partners, who sit on its panels and attend its career fairs. Students are interested in what’s available and how they need to prepare to be successful. WHAT ARE THE INDUSTRY’S CHALLENGES? HOW IS NORTH CAROLINA ADDRESSING THEM? MILAZZO: How and where we travel have changed. Work from home or anywhere is a part of that. North Carolina’s rapid economic and population growth has fueled changes, too. Growth is especially challenging for transportation planning. It can take 10 or 15 years between when an airport runway, for example, is conceived and planes are landing on it. Interstate and commuter-rail projects have similar timelines. Those long lead times simply don’t work in booming metro

26

B U S I N E S S

N O R T H

Round_Table_Transportation_logistics_April2022 .indd 26

areas, where there isn’t time to wait for more infrastructure. Of course, growth is still the problem you want. The alternative is life in a declining market, where you are paying for legacy infrastructure that’s being used less and less. North Carolina’s strong and wellthought-out approach, including using data to setting project priority, is an advantage. Other things can help address the challenges of growth. I believe our community college system is the nation’s best. It quickly pivots to retrain people, getting them up to speed on the skills that are in demand. North Carolina’s university system continues to be a point of pride. We can be proactive, figuring out how to make the best North Carolina. Or we can be reactive, letting it happen to us. We’re ready to embrace the challenges and are ready for what’s next. Finally, the electrification and decarbonization of transportation are right in front of us. It’s coming faster and faster. PENTZ: A recent study detailed the differences between urban and rural North Carolina. Certain communities want economic development and infrastructure, but they lack both. Technology is a big reason. It can be something as simple as access to high-speed internet, which many of us take for granted. The pandemic highlighted that. Some students struggled with remote learning because high-speed internet was unavailable or unreliable at their home. That situation occurs across large swathes of the state and country. It needs to be addressed. It’s extremely difficult for businesses, including those in the transportation industry, to operate without high-speed internet. That is an example of a real-life challenge that’s presented in my classroom. They become part of the discussion. BAKER: North Carolina uses an innovative approach. Early in our pursuit of

C A R O L I N A

Boom Supersonic, which announced it’s building a $500 million aircraft factory on PTI’s campus earlier this year, a transportation challenge emerged. We needed a solution. I called Mike Fox, because it could have involved the ports, rail and roadways. He helped bring in Kevin Lacy, state traffic engineer, and Brian Clark, N.C. Ports Authority executive director. They didn’t say the ask was too much. They said we’ll figure it out; we’ll get it done. That type of help is amazing and refreshing. It solves problems, creating wins for the state. SAIDI: The challenges are real, but the opportunities are greater. We have responsibilities as leaders to push this in the right direction and take advantage of this great time in the state’s history. WHAT IS TRANSPORTATION’S ROLE IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT? MILAZZO: We need mobility to work statewide. The Triangle, Charlotte and other large metros cannot and will not be the state’s single source of economic development, income and tax revenue. Those need to happen within all of the state’s 100 counties. SAIDI: Transportation is vital to economic development. There is no growth without a solid transportation system. We need to ensure a robust statewide system — highways, ports, airports and more. FOX: The past few months have been filled with big economic development news, much of it associated with the transportation industry. Toyota, for example, is building a lithium battery plant at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. It’s happening elsewhere, too. Volvo Trucks North America in Greensboro is developing autonomous vehicle technology and AeroX in

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:05 PM


Winston-Salem is developing drone technology. It seems North Carolina breaks investment and job-creation records every year. That type of success doesn’t happen overnight. It took decades of planning, hard work and people. A senior person at Toyota listed the reasons why the automaker chose North Carolina for its factory, which will support growing demand for electric vehicles. First was its extensive system of well-maintained highways. Second was the international airports and two ports. Third was on-site rail. The balance included availability of workforce and renewable energy, world-renowned education system and strong partnerships between state and local government.

BAKER: It’s an interesting time in North Carolina, which is getting some welldeserved long-term economic wins. I played a lot of ice hockey as a kid., and every coach tells players the same thing: Skate to where the puck will be, not where it is. It’s a popular business euphemism, and it rings true in many ways for North Carolina. Without the investments and participation of GTCC, which has classrooms and labs on PTI’s campus, Forsyth Technical Community College in nearby Winston-Salem and other community colleges in the region, PTI probably wouldn’t have landed Boom Supersonic. They were crucial to convincing the company that the skilled employees it needs will be available. The road system is driving other big

economic development wins. In my opinion, North Carolina’s roads are second-to-none in the nation. And there’s capacity for growth, especially in the Triad. We’re standing on the shoulders of our predecessors, who planned and gambled 30, 40, 50 years ago. They envisioned where the puck would go and headed in that direction, sometimes at the risk of being challenged or criticized for their decisions. Now they’re being proven right. I wish they could be here to take a bow. They made the state very competitive. PTI has been home to HondaJet, FedEx and Cessna for decades. Boom Supersonic is not the end. It’s the beginning or middle of the game. There’s a lot of economic development activity. There’s still a long way to go — at PTI and across the state. ■

A P R I L

Round_Table_Transportation_logistics_April2022 .indd 27

2 0 2 2

27

3/18/22 10:05 PM


28

B U S I N E S S

Eastern_April_2022.indd 28

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:05 PM


COMMUNITY CLOSE-UP

EASTERN N.C.

DIGGING IN A perennial agricultural powerhouse, eastern North Carolina is turning new leaves. It’s refocusing and expanding, cultivating assets to create a bountiful future.

As springtime sunshine warms the ground, the emergence of tiny green sprouts, neatly planted in rows, will signify the start of another growing season in eastern North Carolina. Agriculture has dominated the region’s economy and business dealings for decades. But more is stirring here. Infrastructure improvements are underway, bringing new opportunities to longtime industries, such as health care, manufacturing and tourism, and support to more recent ones, such as biotechnology, which have taken root and are growing across eastern North Carolina. Educational and workforce development opportunities are also expanding, ensuring a skilled workforce is available. Lawrence Bivins is managing

SPONSORED SECTION

Eastern_April_2022.indd 29

director of policy and public affairs for Raleigh-based North Carolina Economic Development Association, and he’s bullish about eastern North Carolina. “If it were a publicly traded company, I’d be buying shares of stock right now,” he says. “Eastern North Carolina is in many respects a very rich place, not always financially, but in terms of history and culture. The infrastructure is coming in. The leadership is working on solutions. We’re working on keeping the talent that we have.”

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Greenville-based NCEast Alliance, which develops business and industry in eastern North Carolina counties,

completed a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis in September 2020. It identified workforce and entrepreneurial development as ways to unite its 29 members. The analysis revealed that the alliance needs “to work specifically with the talent that we have, the economic landscape that we find ourselves in, while aiming toward the economic landscape that we hope to see in the future.” Bivins says economic development’s priority is always the problem that’s most difficult to solve at the moment. “And that’s people — workforce and talent,” he says. “You can invest in all the infrastructure, site prep, natural gas, broadband — but that’s really putting the cart before the horse. So how do you change this overnight?

A P R I L

2 0 2 2

29

3/18/22 10:05 PM


COMMUNITY CLOSE-UP

EASTERN N.C. How can you change the hemorrhaging of young people leaving at [age] 18 and never looking back? You need to reach out not just to the 18-year-olds but the parents, too. You have to help the parents understand that staying around and going to community college and getting an associate degree in culinary arts, in aircraft maintenance. There are careers that are in high demand. That’s a viable alternative to going away to a big four-year university so you can manage a hedge fund.” Two programs — Rivers East Academy for Advanced Manufacturing and STEM workshops — expose high school students to hometown career options. “These projects are pursuing the opportunity to better educate teachers on what jobs exist in eastern North Carolina to steer local students to those jobs,” says Trey Goodson, NCEast regional economic developer and director of marketing and communications. “The plan is to expand these initiatives to [the Alliance’s] entire 29-county region.” Rivers East Academy, funded by Golden LEAF Foundation to advance the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline for Eastern North Carolina — RAMP East — launched in Beaufort,

Bertie, Hertford, Hyde, Martin and Pitt counties in October. It trains faculty from high schools and community colleges, along with community college student “ambassadors,” to use inspiration, motivation and empowerment to ease students’ transition from high school to community college to career. STEM East, in collaboration with businesses, economic developers and other entities, uses state-of-theart instruction labs in Craven, Jones, Lenoir and Wayne counties, to educate about and align students with career opportunities. The College of the Albemarle has campuses in Elizabeth City, Barco, Manteo and Edenton. Its course offerings include manufacturing and transportation, hospitality and public service, and health and wellness. “In the post-COVID world, we’ve really identified how important strengthening our workforce and infrastructure will be for the future of Chowan County,” says Liza Layton, Edenton Chowan Partnership executive director. “We are working with our local community college, school system and other partners to promote the school-towork pipeline and enhance workforce training for our industry and business.”

HEALTH CARE Vidant Medical Center in Greenville is the largest of Vidant Health’s eight hospitals. The health system’s more than 12,000 workers make it the region’s largest private employer, and it’s the teaching center for neighbor Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. The two entered a joint operating agreement in January, creating ECU Health. The newly formed entity will train the next generation of physicians. “The two mission-driven organizations will create enhanced rural health training opportunities for medical students and residents as well as expanded research and clinical trial capabilities,” says Brian Wudkwych, Vidant spokesman. “[The two] will integrate under the new shared brand.” New Bern-based CarolinaEast Health System welcomes UNC Health medical students, fellows and residents, one facet of an affiliation agreement announced by the two health systems last year. “The affiliation will enhance the quality of health care in the eastern region while simultaneously growing specialty services in Craven County and beyond,” says CarolinaEast President and CEO Ray

Vidant Medical Center in Greenville is a dominant economic force in the region.

30

B U S I N E S S

Eastern_April_2022.indd 30

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:05 PM


A P R I L

Eastern_April_2022.indd 31

2 0 2 2

31

3/18/22 10:05 PM


COMMUNITY CLOSE-UP

EASTERN N.C.

Leggett. “This affiliation underscores both organizations’ commitment to rural health care [and] expands the range of services CarolinaEast offers today, including those in the pediatric population.” The affiliation also expands offerings at 80,000-square-foot SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center at CarolinaEast Medical Center. “As a result of that partnership, patients receive cancer treatment capabilities not previously available in the East,” Leggett says. “Residents of Craven County no longer need to travel to the Triangle for leading-edge clinical trials, treatment protocols and the skill of additional oncology specialists to aid their care.” CarolinaEast provided a $150,000 grant to Craven Community College. It supports a full-time nursing instructor, increasing class size and graduates to help meeting the growing need for nurses, says Jim Davis, the health system’s chief nursing officer and vice president of nursing. “An additional partnership that will be announced soon will help them create two cohorts of students, one graduating in May and one in December,” he says. “This partnership helps us to educate more local students who traditionally have preferred to stay local after graduation.” CarolinaEast organizes a health

care career day for high school students from Craven, Jones, Pamlico and Carteret counties. “We educate students about health care careers by having different disciplines in the classroom,” says Lesley Hunter, the health system’s vice president of human resources. “We are a site for [career technical education] students, and they are routinely in the medical center. We also present tips for interviewing and resume writing. We also provide scholarship opportunities to students graduating from high school to provide financial assistance to attend health care programs in the local community college and universities.”

INFRASTRUCTURE Todd Edwards is a founding member of The Farmville Group, helping bring businesses to Farmville, less than 10 miles west of Greenville on N.C. 264 and serves on NCEast’s board. He is fond of interstates, which he calls “ribbons of prosperity for the regions they serve.” Several interstate projects are raising growth prospects across the region, whose options have been limited to interstates 40 and 95 for decades. “It has been an unpleasant outward sign of our overall lack of prosperity, compared to the rest [of the

The view from the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, a northern Outer Banks landmark in Corolla.

32

B U S I N E S S

Eastern_April_2022.indd 32

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

state],” Edwards says. “Up until now, most of eastern North Carolina has not been on that playing field. We are soon to have new fields all over our region to play on, and that future is looking very bright because of prospects that these highways bring.” Edwards says 137-mile Interstate 42, which will use a long stretch of U.S. 70, is under development. It’ll connect Raleigh, I-95 and I-40 and improve access to Port of Morehead City, U.S. Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center East in Havelock, Marine Corps Cherry Point Air Station and the Crystal Coast, a popular tourist destination on the southern Outer Banks. It also will link to 2,500-acre Global TransPark in Kinston, a multimodal industrial park and airport that supports defense, aerospace, manufacturing and advanced materials companies. Its onsite workforce training center — Spirit Aerosystems Composite Center of Excellence — is a partnership with Lenoir Community College. Future Interstate 587, an upgraded stretch of U.S. 264, is near completion. “[It] will connect Vidant, [East Carolina University] and a large cluster of pharmaceutical and boat industry manufacturers to the rest of the world,” Edwards says. “Finally, the partially completed I-87 from Raleigh to Norfolk has recently garnered newfound attention and is being heavily considered for some fast tracking to renewed planning and funding initiatives in the very near future. This will be a huge boost for all of eastern North Carolina, Raleigh and our friends in the Tidewater region. It is a project being pushed from both sides of the VirginiaNorth Carolina line.” Interstates support the region’s BioPharma Crescent, which arcs across Edgecombe, Johnston, Nash, Pitt and Wilson counties. More than 10,000 people work there. It’s home to some of the industry’s biggest players, including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:05 PM


Eastern_April_2022.indd 33

3/18/22 10:05 PM


COMMUNITY CLOSE-UP

EASTERN N.C.

The Port of Wilmington has berths and storage areas that are readily available.

Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Logistically, they’re near [Research Triangle Park] and in an area with plenty of available land and plenty of industrial sites where there is an affordable cost of living,” Bivins says. “Plus, they’re near I-95 and the port [of Morehead City].” Kitty Hawk Offshore is a proposed 122,405-acre wind-power project about 28 miles off Currituck County’s coast. It would generate enough electricity to power 700,000 homes. Avangrid Renewables has been studying it since 2017, when the company was awarded a lease by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The Portland-based energy developer submitted its construction and operations to federal regulators in December 2020. Construction will begin after it’s approved and energy buyers secured. Currituck County Economic Development Director Larry Lombardi says offshore wind projects are tremendous economic opportunities that create high-paying jobs. Dominion Energy, for example, is building one off the coast of Virginia. That state has welcomed such projects with open arms. “Currituck County’s role … will be to provide a greenfield of new buildings for the second- and third-tier manufacturers and suppliers to these projects,” he says. “Due to the rising cost of land, the tax structure and as more manufacturing sites in Virginia’s Tidewater become hard to find,

34

B U S I N E S S

Eastern_April_2022.indd 34

N O R T H

Currituck County being right over the state line with its lower taxes and proximity to the Outer Banks will be able to leverage those advantages and capture some of those companies looking to supply the [offshore] projects.” Lombardi describes Currituck County’s recent growth as “tremendous.” Its school district plans to add a $30 million elementary school, for example, within three to seven years. And Currituck County Regional Airport in Maple is poised for its first updates in more than two decades. They include a longer runway, more hangars and modern runway lights. Government grants will pay for 90% of them. “Now that we have the [airport] layout plan, we can move forward in trying to find the [local] funding, hopefully from the state by lobbying our elected state representatives,” he says. Edenton Chowan Partnership’s Layton wants to see more. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention broadband,” she says. “What a need we’ve seen through the pandemic and after. We have to figure out how to expand quality and reliable broadband in our state so children in rural areas have the same opportunities as those in the urban centers. Chowan County has made the expansion of broadband a priority and is committed to being a partner to internet-service providers in the area.”

C A R O L I N A

The Port of Wilmington, where finished goods, such as furniture and fertilizer, arrive and agricultural products and auto parts depart, is 26 miles up the Cape Fear River from open ocean. “We have the capability to have the largest boats that use the Panama Canal call on the Port of Wilmington,” says Christina Hallingse, N.C. Ports Authority communications manager. “We have trans-Atlantic services, ships that are either northbound or southbound to and from Central America, or trans-Pacific, a number of places.” But the Port could do more. Its 42-foot-deep channel, 6,768 feet of wharf frontage and 100-acre container terminal can handle 600,000 shipping containers worth of goods annually. But it can’t welcome larger fully loaded ships. Those require a channel that’s at least 47 feet deep at low tide. “A more efficient channel would modernize the Port, attract more import and export business, help mitigate East Coast congestion, and help North Carolina ports become an even stronger player in this competitive landscape, thereby supporting the economy of Wilmington, New Hanover County, eastern North Carolina and the entire state,” Hallingse says. Help is on the way. Congress approved the Wilmington Harbor Navigation Improvement Project in late 2020. It includes dredging the Cape Fear River, which is estimated to cost $834 million, according to a feasibility study commissioned by the ports authority. The dredging project is one of several underway on the East Coast. The Army Corps of Engineers is deepening the port in Savannah, Ga., and the channel in Charleston, S.C. Norfolk, Va., has begun a project to make its port 55-feet deep by 2024, which will make it the East Coast’s deepest. North Carolina’s other port — Morehead City — is 4 miles inland.

PHOTO CREDIT: NORTH CAROLINA STATE PORTS AUTHORITY

LOCATION

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:05 PM


Eastern_April_2022.indd 35

3/18/22 10:05 PM


COMMUNITY CLOSE-UP

EASTERN N.C.

Ships, which set sail with woodchips, aircraft parts and other cargo, access it through a 45-foot-deep channel. It has more than 1 million square feet of warehouse space and, like Port of Wilmington, is served by rail. “Ports are catalysts for economic development,” Hallingse says. “The N.C. State Ports Authority works in conjunction with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on any potential projects that they are recruiting that could utilize or benefit from the proximity and access to a port.” Eastern North Carolina is home to many industries, such as agriculture and food processing. There’s boat building, too, including wellknown Grady-White in Greenville. The Perquimans Marine Industrial Park recently received state funding. “The $4 million will be used to construct a basin at the industrial park,” says NCEast’s Goodson. “This will help recruit boat builders who have shown interest in the park in recent years.” ElecriCities of North Carolina, which represents municipal electric utilities in the Carolinas and Virginia, certified

36

B U S I N E S S

Eastern_April_2022.indd 36

N O R T H

the 71-acre Perquimans Marine Industrial Park a Smart Site. That announces that it’s shovel ready for development — on-site municipal electric service, water and sewer services within 200 feet, and less than 5 miles from an interstate or interstatequality highway.

TOURISM Visitor spending in North Carolina totaled $19.96 billion in 2020, according to Visit NC, EDPNC’s tourism promotion arm. That’s 32% less than the year prior, thanks to stay-at-home orders issued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. But there were some bright spots, especially in eastern North Carolina, where tourists felt safe enjoying open spaces. Spending increases in 2020 included 3% in Currituck, 21% in Greene, 9% in Northampton, 4% in Jones and 2% in Tyrell. As the pandemic eases, the state’s tourism industry is rebounding. That’s especially true in eastern North Carolina, whose accommodations, beaches and golf courses have been attractions for generations. NCEDA, for example, held its recent spring conference in Pinehurst. “We have 25 site-selection people flying in from all over the country,” Bivens said prior to the event. “We want to show that North Carolina is ready and reliable.” Moore County had the state’s 12th-best tourism economy in 2020. It’s hosting the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in June, and United States Golf Association’s second headquarters — Golf House Pinehurst — and a 34-room boutique hotel is under development. “Overall, the USGA coming here will have a huge impact on tourism, especially with the new

C A R O L I N A

testing center and museum,” says Phil Werz, president and CEO of the Convention and Visitors Bureau for the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area. “The [turf grass management component] will also have an impact based on the partnerships they are creating with local and regional universities, including Sandhills Community College, N.C. State University and North Carolina A&T.” The Home of American Golf isn’t resting on its laurels. The CVB recently launched “Paradise in the Pines,” a twice-monthly podcast that shares stories of local attractions, events and residents. And it will debut its Sandhills Pour Tour Passport this month. Holders who have it stamped at seven local craft breweries qualify for a reward. “They receive a Sandhills Pour Tour mug and, while supplies last, a special Donald Ross 150th anniversary commemorative coin,” Werz says. “For every coin we give as a prize for a fully stamped passport, the CVB will donate $25 to support the Tufts Archives [history collection and display at Given Memorial Library] in the village of Pinehurst.” He says the Passport encourages people to explore Moore County, supporting a variety of local businesses in the process. Werz says the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area is already 70% ahead of last year’s tourism numbers. “When we get the 2021 report from the state this fall, I anticipate being back close to $600 million in visitor spending,” he says. “With a global event such as the U.S. Women’s Open, our local economy will definitely benefit — restaurants, shopping, all the hospitality-related businesses stand to benefit. The economic impact will be in the millions.” ■ — Kathy Blake is a writer from eastern North Carolina.

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:05 PM


A P R I L

Eastern_April_2022.indd 37

2 0 2 2

37

3/18/22 10:05 PM


Eastern_April_2022.indd 38

3/18/22 10:05 PM


Eastern_April_2022.indd 39

3/18/22 10:05 PM


usiness North Carolina presents the North Carolina Golf Panel’s annual ranking of the state’s best golf courses. It’s the 27th year of selections by the group conceived by Charlotte publicist Bill Hensley. The beloved golf enthusiast died in March at age 96. The panel of businesspeople, journalists and others ranked the same 25 courses to top the list as it did a year earlier with one exception: Dormie Club jumped to 20th from 33rd. The Moore County course completed a major renovation last fall. It opened in 2010 and was acquired in 2017 by Nebraska’s Peed family, which owns a half-dozen U.S. courses. Golf rounds played in the U.S. increased 5% last year after soaring 14% in 2020 when the pandemic encouraged more outdoor activity, according to the National Golf Foundation.

(second number is previous year’s ranking)

1.

2.

1. Pinehurst No. 2

9.

Greensboro

72 Par

71

7,588 76.5/138 Yardage Course rating/slope

2. Grandfather Golf and Country Club Linville 72

3.

7,085

4. Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club 71

7,015

3. The Country Club of North Carolina (Dogwood) Pinehurst 72

5.

7,204

6.

Cashiers

7.

7,126

8.

40

7,154

74.0/144

14. 13. Charlotte Country Club Charlotte

72 73.4/141

7,335

75.9/146

7,099

74.1/137

16. 19. Old Chatham Golf Club Durham

Pinehurst 7,227

74.5/140

Pinehurst

8. Pinehurst No. 4 72

7,042

15. 14. Pinehurst No. 8

Banner Elk 6,826

74.3/139

Winston-Salem

71 73.9/145

6. Elk River Club 72

7,005

12. 12. Old Town Club

72 75.0/140

5. Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club 70

Wilmington

Cashiers

Charlotte 7,396

74.8/142

13. 15. Wade Hampton Golf Club

7. Quail Hollow Club 72

7,102

11. 11. Cape Fear Country Club

70 75.2/134

72.9/130

New London

72

73.5/135

7,117

10. 9. Old North State Club 72

74.3/145

Southern Pines

4.

10. Sedgefield Country Club

Pinehurst

72

7,210

74.0/131

74.9/138

B U S I N E S S

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 40

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

3/21/22 11:08 AM


(second number is previous year’s ranking)

17. 16. The Country Club of North Carolina (Cardinal) Pinehurst 72

7,212

Linville 75.0/141

18. 17. Eagle Point Golf Club Wilmington 72

7,170

Raleigh 7,394

West End 6,927

6,946

73.4/139

72

7,112

74.2/134

37. 46. Starmount Forest Country Club Greensboro

75.9/143

20. 33. Dormie Club 72

72

36. 37. River Landing (Landing) Wallace

74.5/137

19. 20. Raleigh Country Club 71

35. 36. Linville Golf Club

71

6,728

72.7/140

38. 40. Mid South Club Southern Pines

73.7/138

21. 18. Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club

71

7,003

73.8/144

39. -- Champions Hills Club

Southern Pines 72

6,732

71.0/126

22. 21. River Landing (River) Wallace 72

7,009

6,510

Cary

40. 38. Myers Park Country Club 71

7,120

41. 35. Trump National Golf Club

73.4/134

72

7,037

High Point

71

72

6,784

72.0/136

25. 24. Biltmore Forest Country Club Asheville 6,606

Conover

Chapel Hill 7,062

Pinehurst 7,067

Wilmington 7,026

Cary 74.4/138

Pinehurst 7,125

Durham 7,175

Pinehurst 7,139

7,302

75.1/140

45. 45. Balsam Mountain Preserve 70

6,859

73.0/145

46. -- The Club at Longview 72

7,065

74.5/140

47. 42. Finley Golf Course 72

7,223

74.9/138

48. 44. Bald Head Island Club

Wilmington 7,100

72

6,855

73.7/143

49. 48. Country Club of Asheville 71

6,672

72.3/134

50. 47. Pinehurst No. 7 72

7,216

75.5/143

51. 53. Bryan Park Golf and Conference Center (Champions) Browns Summit

74.7/144

34. 32. Country Club of Landfall (Nicklaus) 72

72

Pinehurst 74.1/137

33. 34. Forest Creek Golf Club (North) 72

44. 43. Greensboro Country Club (Farm)

Asheville 75.1/143

32. 31. Treyburn Country Club 72

73.9/139

Bald Head Island 7,082

31. 30. Pinehurst No. 9 72

7,074

Chapel Hill 74.3/132

30. 28. Prestonwood Country Club (Highlands) 72

71

Waxhaw 74.6/143

29. 29. Country Club of Landfall (Dye) 72

43. 41. The Hasentree Club

Sylva 75.1/144

28. 27. Forest Creek Golf Club (South) 72

73.9/139

Greensboro 74.4/141

27. 26. Governors Club 72

6,972

Wake Forest 71.5/127

26. 23. Rock Barn Country Club (Jones) 7,126

74.2/140

42. 39. High Point Country Club (Willow Creek)

Winston-Salem

72

74.3/138

Mooresville 7,003

24. 25. Forsyth Country Club

70

71.7/144

Charlotte 74.1/141

23. 22. MacGregor Downs Country Club 72

71

72

7,255

75.4/140

52. 54. Grandover (East) Greensboro

75.7/144

72

6,800

72.5/136

A P R I L

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 41

2 0 2 2

41

3/18/22 10:19 PM


(second number is previous year’s ranking)

53. 49. Gaston Country Club

65. 90. Forest Oaks Country Club

Gastonia 72

7,042

Greensboro 74.2/135

72

54. 50. Duke University Golf Club 7,105

Morganton 73.9/141

72

55. 52. The Cardinal by Pete Dye 6,821

72

72

71

72

72

72

Pinehurst 7,446

72

Cary 74.6/138

6,947

74.2/138

74. 66. Tiger’s Eye 72

7,034

6,849

Charlotte 74.1/136

72

64. 56. Leopard’s Chase

7,503

Wilmington

72

72

74.3/140

B U S I N E S S

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 42

76.5/142

76. 75. Porters Neck Country Club

Sunset Beach 7,055

73.3/141

75. 69. Carmel Country Club (South)

Charlotte

42

73.9/130

Sunset Beach 7,108

63. 62. Ballantyne Country Club 72

7,101

73. 68. River Run Country Club Davidson

76.4/139

62. 60. Prestonwood Country Club (Meadows) 72

74.3/137

Calabash

69.9/129

61. 59. Pinewild Country Club (Magnolia) 72

7,099

72. 78. Crow Creek Golf Club

Blowing Rock 6,327

73.5/134

Kannapolis 76.3/139

60. 61. Hound Ears Club 72

6,830

71. 65. The Club at Irish Creek

Merry Hill 7,257

72.8/128

Asheboro 73.9/136

59. 51. Scotch Hall Preserve 72

6,900

70. 67. Pinewood Country Club

Corolla 6,888

73.1/134

Burlington 74.4/142

58. 57. The Currituck Club 72

7,111

69. 64. Alamance Country Club

Raleigh 7,358

76.1/143

Jefferson 73.1/133

57. 58. Lonnie Poole Golf Course 72

7,392

68. 63. Jefferson Landing

Durham 6,671

72.8/137

Mill Spring 74.2/139

56. 55. Hope Valley Country Club 70

6,750

67. -- Bright’s Creek Club

Greensboro 70

74.7/141

66. 70. Mimosa Hills Golf Club

Durham 72

7,212

N O R T H

7,112

74.8/138

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


A P R I L

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 43

2 0 2 2

43

3/18/22 10:19 PM


(second number is previous year’s ranking)

77. 71. Croasdaile Country Club

89. 91. Mill Creek Golf Club

Durham 72

7,068

Mebane 73.4/140

72

78. 72. Cedarwood Country Club 6,940

Linville 73.9/137

72

79. 74. Thistle Golf Club

6,775

72.8/136

91. -- Crystal Coast Country Club

Sunset Beach

Pine Knoll Shores

71

70

6,898

74.1/135

80. 79. Providence Country Club 72

7,021

6,005

69.7/127

92. 76. Lake Toxaway Country Club

Charlotte

Lake Toxaway 74.6/141

71

81. 80. The New Course at Talamore

6,500

70.9/134

93. 86. Benvenue Country Club

Southern Pines

Rocky Mount

71

72

6,840

73.2/140

82. 73. The Peninsula Club 72

7,014

72

72

Clemmons 7,101

7,045

96. -- Morehead City Country Club 72

6,855

Whitsett

72

71

72.2/144

86. 81. The Country Club at Wakefield Plantation Raleigh 7,257

7,016

98. 100. Brook Valley Country Club 72

6,836

Lake Lure

72

72

69.9/130

88. -- Southern Pines Golf Club

6,625

Raleigh

71

72

70.2/129

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 44

N O R T H

73.2/144

100. 92. Brier Creek Country Club

Southern Pines

B U S I N E S S

73.8/141

99. -- Rumbling Bald Resort (Apple Valley)

Blowing Rock

6,354

73.8/139

Greenville 75.2/137

87. 87. Blowing Rock Country Club 6,162

73.4/142

97. 97. Stoney Creek Golf Club

Powells Point

72

74.3/139

Morehead City 74.6/140

85. 77. Kilmarlic Golf Club 6,560

75.4/146

Bermuda Run 74.3/140

84. 85. Tanglewood Park (Championship) 70

7,212

95. 88. Bermuda Run Country Club (East)

Greensboro 7,100

71.3/134

Southport 74.9/142

83. 82. Grandover (West) 72

6,525

94. 83. St. James Plantation (Reserve)

Cornelius

44

73.5/144

90. 84. Linville Ridge

Charlotte 71

7,004

6,885

73.6/139

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Best Short(er) Courses Not all golf courses have to be beasts from the championship tees to be outstanding. These are the five best that play less than 6,500 yards from “the tips.” 1.

Hound Ears Club Boone

2.

Blowing Rock Country Club Blowing Rock

3.

Southern Pines Golf Club Southern Pines

4.

Crystal Coast Country Club Pine Knoll Shores

5.

Nags Head Golf Links Nags Head

Best Resorts Open to the public, these are our top five golf resort getaways (meaning they have at least 36 holes). 1.

Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst (Pinehurst Nos. 1-9)

2.

Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club Southern Pines (Pine Needles, Mid Pines, Southern Pines)

3.

Ocean Ridge Plantation, Ocean Isle (Leopard’s Chase, Tiger’s Eye, Panther’s Run, Lion’s Paw)

4.

Rumbling Bald Resort, Lake Lure (Apple Valley, Bald Mountain)

5.

Sea Trail Golf Club, Sunset Beach (Rees Jones, Willard Byrd, Dan Maples) A P R I L

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 45

2 0 2 2

45

3/21/22 11:19 AM


For full Top 50 list, visit www.BusinessNC.com. 1. Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst 2. Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Southern Pines 3. Pinehurst No. 4, Pinehurst 4. Pinehurst No. 8, Pinehurst 5. Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club, Southern Pines 6. Pinehurst No. 9, Pinehurst 7. Linville Golf Club, Linville 8. Mid South Club, Southern Pines 9. Finley Golf Course, Chapel Hill 10. Bald Head Island Club, Bald Head Island 11. Pinehurst No. 7, Pinehurst 12. Bryan Park Golf and Conference Center (Champions), Browns Summit 13. Grandover (East), Greensboro 14. Duke University Golf Club, Durham 15. The Cardinal by Pete Dye, Greensboro 16. Lonnie Poole Golf Course, Raleigh 17. The Currituck Club, Corolla 18. Scotch Hall Preserve, Merry Hill 19. Leopard’s Chase, Sunset Beach 20. Forest Oaks Country Club, Greensboro 21. Crow Creek Golf Club, Calabash 22. Tiger’s Eye, Sunset Beach 23. Thistle Golf Club, Sunset Beach 24. New Course at Talamore, Southern Pines 25. Grandover (West), Greensboro

46

B U S I N E S S

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 46

N O R T H

PAR

YARDAGE

COURSE RATING / SLOPE

72 71 72 72 72 72 72 71 72 72 72 72 72 72 70 72 72 72 72 72 72 72 71 71 72

7,588 7,015 7,227 7,099 6,528 7,125 6,946 7,003 7,223 6,855 7,216 7,255 7,270 7,105 6,821 7,358 6,888 7,257 7,055 7,212 7,101 6,849 6,898 6,840 6,800

76.5/138 73.5/135 74.9/138 74.1/137 71.3/127 75.1/143 73.4/139 73.8/144 74.9/138 73.7/143 75.5/143 75.4/140 75.4/140 73.9/141 74.2/139 74.4/142 73.9/136 76.3/139 74.3/140 74.7/141 73.9/130 73.3/141 74.1/135 73.2/140 72.7/137

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


A P R I L

Top 100 Golf_List_April 2022.indd 47

2 0 2 2

47

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Golfers seeking more game and less pain spur growth at a Triangle physical-therapy firm.

very fledgling business owner needs a break. Physical therapist Chris Finn’s came in 2013 when Karl Kimball, the golf professional and co-owner of Hillandale Golf Club in Durham, asked for help with a nagging back problem. Finn was looking to build Par4Success, the golf fitness and physical-therapy practice he launched a year earlier. Initially, he operated out of his Mazda3 sedan. His marketing plan included calling on every Triangle golf pro who would see him. “We got Karl down on the floor of his office, relieved some of the muscles that had been spasming, and gave him some basic exercises to start using the correct muscles and calm down the others,” Finn says. Kimball was so impressed with the results that he offered Finn the use of a 400-square-foot shed at Hillandale for $300 a month. It became a treatment and workout facility. “Clients could come to me,” Finn says. “I didn’t have to drive all over the place with a treatment table in my car. We installed some turf, a table and some workout equipment. It grew from there.” Now, Finn is tweaking blueprints for a 10,500-square-foot facility in Morrisville that he will own. It will be double the size of his current leased facility, also in Morrisville. “Back when I started, no one knew what the heck I was doing,” says Finn, 35, who caught the golf addiction in 2009, the year he earned a physical-therapy degree at Springfield College in Massachusetts. “It was not only a marketing problem, but it was an education program. There was no ‘golf fitness.’ Now, you see all the pros work out. Back then, it was, ‘What? You do what? Who

48

B U S I N E S S

48-49_Par4Success_April-2022.indd 48

N O R T H

does that?’ It was tough in the beginning.” Golfers have always obsessed about swing mechanics, owning the latest clubs and playing the longest balls. Now they’re more inclined to embrace the missing links of strength and flexibility. Finn is well-positioned after Golf Digest listed him among its Top 50 golf fitness professionals in 2020. “Golf fitness is much more mainstream today,” says Finn, who came to North Carolina to work at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill in 2009. “People don’t think I’m talking voodoo.” The Par4Success protocol is built on on-site and virtual consultations with Finn and his staff of nearly 20. The process begins with a 90-minute assessment of core metrics such as a vertical jump, the length of a two-handed medicine ball throw, and how far one can rotate the neck, shoulder and hips. An initial customized three-month program typically starts at about $1,000, with clients averaging more than three years of contact with Finn’s team. “A typical client aims to gain swing speed, maximize how long they can play the game or get out of pain,” Finn says. Finn and his associates are self-professed “data geeks” who have gathered and analyzed information on thousands of client-golfers. They can compare how a 57-year-old male golfer matches up with age-group peers. “We know that squatting, hinging, deadlifting, and pushing and pulling strength are the numbers that matter,” Finn says. “If you’re below the benchmarks, you’re probably not enjoying your golf to the degree you could.”

PHOTO BY CHRISTER BERG

By Lee Pace

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


From that assessment follows a training program with workouts at the Par4Success facility or in a gym or home facility with exercises built around the available equipment. “Over the course of 12 months, a guy over the age of 50 can gain six to nine miles an hour, translating to 18 to 22 yards more distance off the tee. That’s significant,” Finn says.

PHOTO COURTESY OF PAR4SUCCESS

▲ Golf Digest ranks Finn in its Top 50 golf fitness professionals.

Cary’s Katherine Perry-Hamski joined the LPGA Tour in 2017 and began working with Par4Success to repair a wrist injury. That morphed into a strength and flexibility regimen. She went from 94th in driving distance at 250 yards in 2018 to ranking 29th a year later when her drives averaged 267 yards. “Courses started to seem more scoreable, and I felt like my body didn’t fatigue or hurt as much,” says Perry-Hamski, whose treatment evolved over the next year to build overall body strength during pregnancy. “Chris and his staff have helped me strengthen my body, gain distance, achieve swing changes because of increased mobility and prevent pain.” Today, Finn’s home course is Old Chatham Golf Club, an exclusive club between Cary and Durham that opened in 2001. Old Chatham was one of the first venues where he started offering services. Finn landed a client there, getting a $1,000 monthly retainer to treat the man once a week for seven months. “I used to bring a treatment table into the locker room one morning a week to treat the guy,” he says. “Now I sit on the same bench changing my shoes where I used to make notes and give a consultation. It’s kind of surreal.” ■

A P R I L

48-49_Par4Success_April-2022.indd 49

2 0 2 2

49

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Quail Hollow Club scores another golfing prize with the Presidents Cup landing in Charlotte in September.

t’s been almost a decade since Arnold Palmer visited Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club for the last time. During his visit, the iconic golfer wrapped his arm around Johnny Harris, the Queen City developer who has led the club for decades. His father, James J. Harris, opened the south Charlotte links on family land in 1961 after encouragement from Palmer, who was then at the peak of his career. “‘Johnny, your mother and dad would be very pleased with everything that’s happened here, but just remember greatness is a continuous process. Don’t ever stop trying to be great,’” Harris recalls Palmer advising. Harris promised Palmer that “one of the things that we do here at Quail Hollow is try to be a place where greatness has a home.” From Sept. 19-25, Quail Hollow will add to its elite reputation by hosting the Presidents Cup, a biennial global team competition among 12-person teams representing the top professional golfers from the United States and the rest of the world excluding Europe. About 40,000 people are expected to attend each day for the better part of a week, while NBC, The Golf Channel, Europe’s Sky Sports and others will reach millions through broadcasts. Quail Hollow has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since 2003 along with the 2017 PGA Championship, with the latter tournament slated to return in 2025. But the Presidents Cup is expected to be larger in scale than any previous tournament because of its international prestige and exclusive field of superstar golfers. It’s a big deal even though it’s been a one-sided competition since its inception in 1994 with the U.S. team winning 11 of 13 events. Pundits credit U.S. dominance to the

50

B U S I N E S S

N O R T H

50-52_PresidentsCup_April-2022 USE THIS.indd 50

PHOTOS COURTESY OF BEN JARED/PGA TOUR

By Michael J. Solender

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Number of the 13 Presidents Cups won by the international side. The U.S. has won 11 and tied once. The only year in which internationals won. Charlotte native with 21 PGA tour wins and the U.S. team captain. Quail Hollow Club’s investment in infrastructure over the past 30 years. Number of U.S. golf courses that have hosted the Presidents Cup, including Quail Hollow Club. Winner of first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow, the 1969 Kemper Open. Grants to six Charlotte charities from Presidents Cup proceeds. They are First Tee, Augustine Literacy Project-Charlotte, Charlotte Family Housing, NXT/CLT, Renaissance West Community Initiative and Lorien Academy of the Arts. Nickname of Johnny Harris’ son, the tournament chair and president of Lincoln Harris. Number of Quail Hollow Club members.

A P R I L

50-52_PresidentsCup_April-2022 USE THIS.indd 51

2 0 2 2

51

3/18/22 10:19 PM


historically large supply of top golfers compared with many regions, a gap that is narrowing with more Asian golfers gaining prominence. An economic impact of more than $100 million is likely, according to PGA Tour estimates. Global sponsors include Citi, Cognizant and Rolex, while Hyundai luxury brand Genesis is the official automobile sponsor, and Atrium Health is the official health-care provider. There are dozens of other local and regional corporate partners. The Presidents Cup will be the second major pro golfing event in North Carolina this year, following the U.S. Women’s Open set for June 2-5 at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines. The tourneys highlight golf’s reported $4 billion annual economic impact in the state.

▲ Tiger Woods made his Presidents Cup debut in 1998.

“Golf is more than an enjoyable pastime: it’s an important engine for North Carolina’s economy,” says North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Many small businesses benefit from golf’s popularity in the state and the national spotlight it brings, especially those in the hospitality and tourism sectors.” The Presidents Cup is unusual in that there is no prize money. The Ryder Cup, pitting the best U.S. golfers against Europe’s elite, takes a similar approach in alternating years. In comparison, the U.S. Women’s Open offers a $5.5 million purse, while the Wells Fargo Championship awarded $8 million last year. Presidents Cup competitors show up because of the honor of representing their country, while philanthropic giving and advancing golf are core tournament values. While not paid for their participation, each golfer allocates an equal portion of the funds generated to his favorite charities. Since inception in 1994, more than $54.4 million has been raised for charity from event proceeds and other contributions.

52

B U S I N E S S

N O R T H

50-52_PresidentsCup_April-2022 USE THIS.indd 52

Charlotte was selected in 2015 to host the tournament in .2021, a decision that Harris credits to former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and the club’s heritage. Palmer, who had deep business and social ties to Charlotte, captained the American side during the first Presidents Cup. “It was obvious that I had an affinity for the [event],” Harris says. “So that’s how it all really started.” The pandemic prompted a one-year delay, but organizers didn’t lose a single sponsor. “If anything, we’re experiencing an uptick in interest,” says Adam Sperling, executive tournament director. It will host more than 100 private hospitality units with capacities ranging from 12 to more than 100. Fees can run into the high six figures. Daily tickets start at $100 with prices changing depending on the day and hospitality access. “Charlotte’s corporate community understands the value of engaging with their business relationships and utilizing special events like the Presidents Cup to highlight the Queen City as a great community to live, work and play,” Sperling says. More than 1,400 volunteers have signed up and upward of 400 media credentials are allocated. The event gives media “the opportunity to participate in storytelling about the vibrancy of our city as a growing, diverse and inclusive business and hospitality hub,” says Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, which promotes the Uptown and South End areas. “It’s an incredible win for the region to host the Presidents Cup and gain the benefit of the prestige and international exposure of an event of this caliber,” adds Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. “The ability to leverage a renown international sporting event to draw interest and visibility to the region helps enhance our marketing efforts. It also puts us in a strong position when we want to pursue other large, strategic events — sporting and otherwise.” ■

PHOTOS COURTESY O FBEN JARED/PGA TOUR

▲ Davis Love III, left of Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, and Trevor Immelman will captain the U.S and international teams, respectively.

C A R O L I N A

3/21/22 12:17 PM


A P R I L

50-52_PresidentsCup_April-2022 USE THIS.indd 53

2 0 2 2

53

3/18/22 10:19 PM


New way to roll Golf carts aren’t just for fairways anymore.

By Brad King

W

ith a population nearing 10,000, Wendell’s motto is: “Small Town, Big Charm.” Adding to the charm of the Raleigh bedroom community, says Mayor Pro Tempore Jason Joyner, is the increasing use of golf carts on roadways as well as fairways. The government affairs specialist paved the path for carts by helping rewrite ordinances making it legal to operate them on many Wendell streets. “We’re a small town. We’ve got a main street. It’s nice,” he says. “But you know, it’s less than 20 vendors. So when mom and dad get in the car with kids, maybe they leave Wendell. Our thought has been that if we make downtown and being in town an experience that is fun, we’ll keep them here.” Since its been easier to use carts, their popularity around Wendell has defied Joyner’s imagination. “I thought we’d have 20 or 30 golf carts ultimately,” he says. “We’re well over 160 now.” With fuel prices skyrocketing to near-record levels, more families are taking trips in battery-powered vehicles. Younger families use them for visits to the local pool or parks. Older folks find them comfortable for errands. “We have a new brewery and when we did downtown parking around the brewery, we had designated golf cart spots,” Joyner said. “It’s a cool thing.” Both electric and gas carts and similar-sized units called neighborhood electric vehicles or the heftier low-speed vehicles have become utilitarian transportation tools for off-road sporting endeavors such as hunting, fishing and beach exploration. They are also prominent across sprawling settings including airport terminals, campgrounds, university campuses and resorts. “We have a ton of farmers who come in here,” says Cheyann James, an associate with BJ & Son Custom Golf Cars, which has operated in Thomasville for more than four decades. “They want gas carts because they don’t want to deal with plugging them in. But most all of your beachgoing people and people who stay in campgrounds want electric. ... They’re quieter.”

54

B U S I N E S S

54-56_GolfCarts_April-2022.indd 54

N O R T H

James was raised around what she calls golf cars. (Industry insiders prefer that term to more commonly used “carts.”) Her grandfather, Bobby James, started the family business across the street from its current site. “We’ve got one guy who’s not family, but he’s pretty much grandfathered in,” she says. Servicing and accessorizing older carts is a big part of BJ & Son. “There are a lot of businesses that are into refurbishing carts and selling them. We’re one of the only ones in the service business,” James says. While BJ & Son sells 40 to 50 carts a year, some rivals “might sell 10 a week.” Technological innovations have boosted pricing into the range of entry-level cars. New, custom-built models sell for $6,000 to more than $20,000, while used or refurbished carts trade from less than $3,000 to $10,000-plus. “If you buy a brand-new golf cart and soup it up, you can be looking at anywhere from $13,000 and up,” she says. “[Many people] take an older one, strip it down to the frame and rebuild” for $6,000 to $10,000, depending on the accessories. Some cart owners showcase their style with personalized colors, seats, wheels and other accessories. Others trick out their carts with fancy tires, spinner rims and custom graphics. Some four- to eight-seat limo units sport headlights, turn signals and sound systems that are more powerful than those in some cars. There are air-conditioned and heated carts along with enclosed vehicles with coolers and even refrigerators powered by the cart’s lithium batteries. “You can put pretty much anything on them,” she says. While older models were mostly fiberglass, today’s golf carts tend to be made with molded plastic and typically weigh 500 to 1,100 pounds. The battery-operated units reduce emissions and emit a barely perceptible hum. For electric carts, battery maintenance tends to be the biggest expense. “You can get six to seven years from batteries, as long as you take care of them,” James says.

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Driving sales

Widespread use

The 21st century beckoned a new dawn for the industry, particularly in the Carolinas, where golf carts ferrying people around coastal campgrounds and vacation communities are a common sight. Bald Head Island is nestled at the southernmost tip of North Carolina’s lower barrier islands and includes about 1,150 private residences. Residents and visitors catch ferries between Southport and the island, where cars aren’t permitted. Golf carts and bicycles are the main vehicles used there. Bald Head is well known for its 4th of July Golf Cart Parade when dozens of carts are judged in categories such as patriotic, tacky tourist, and island-themed. Enthusiastic crowds applaud as the cart caravan travels from Marina Harbor Park to Old Baldy,

Our thought has been that if we make downtown and being in town an experience that is fun, we’ll keep them here.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JASON JOYNER AND BJ & SON CUSTOM GOLF CARS

– Jason Joyner, Mayor pro tempore, Wendell

the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, and around the island. In recent years, the golf cart trend has spread into smaller towns and private city enclaves across the state. In golf-centric Pinehurst, carts are frequently parked around the village. The eco-friendly nature of carts has prompted Wendell and other cities to rewrite local ordinances to permit people to drive carts on city streets. While studying public administration at Appalachian State University, Joyner learned how coastal communities were instituting golf-cart ordinances. He put that knowledge to work with policies adopted in Wendell. In downtown Beaufort, golf carts are allowed to travel freely on public roads if they are street legal and registered. The town implemented a cart ordinance about five years ago to slow traffic and make the area more livable. Southport requires that golf carts be registered annually. In 2018, the town adopted a liability disclaimer saying that cart users operate at their own risk.

G

olf carts were introduced in the early 1930s as a means of assisting disabled golfers. It wasn’t until the 1950s that they went more mainstream, aided by the entrepreneurial instincts of a future North Carolina business leader. Today, increasing popularity of golf and off-the-course uses has spurred estimated sales of about $1.3 billion annually with expected growth to $1.8 billion by 2028, according to Portland, Ore.-based Allied Market Research. Golf courses, which make up more than half of industry sales, typically retain their carts for about three years. Resellers often add fresh paint, new wheels, fancier seats, and other bells and whistles. Three companies dominate the U.S. market and are based in Georgia: Club Car and E-Z-Go in Augusta and Yamaha in Newnan. “It’s about comparing a Ford to a Chevrolet,” says Cheyann James of Thomasville’s BJ & Son Custom Golf Cars. “All three (brands) do the same thing. “ Augusta-based brothers Beverly and Billy Dolan founded E-Z-Go in 1954. Golf carts in use grew from about 1,000 in the early 1950s to 120,000 a decade later. The Dolans sold their business to diversified manufacturer Textron in 1960. Beverly Dolan, known as the “father of the modern golf ▲ Tricked-out carts are gaining popularity. cart,” later headed Textron’s Homelite chain-saw business in Charlotte and was a longtime director of First Union Bank and Ruddick, which owned Harris Teeter. He eventually became CEO of Providence, R.I.-based Textron. Likewise, golf carts are among many products made by Japan’s Yamaha Motor Corp. Its Newnan, Ga.-based golf car company pioneered electronic fuel-injection and four-wheel suspension technology. Club Car was founded in Houston in 1958 but moved to Augusta in 1962. It produced the first golf car with a steering wheel, which gained popularity as comedian Jackie Gleason and golfer Sam Snead were photographed riding maiden vehicles. It’s the official golf car of the PGA of America and the European Tour. Ingersoll Rand, a manufacturer based in Davidson, owned Club Car from 1995 to 2021. Los Angeles-based private-equity firm Platinum Equity bought the business for $1.7 billion in 2021. Improved safety features and solar-powered vehicles are contributing to growth, along with renewed interest in golf and soaring gasoline prices. ■ — Brad King and Harris Prevost

A P R I L

54-56_GolfCarts_April-2022.indd 55

2 0 2 2

55

3/18/22 10:19 PM


▲ Wendell reserves parking spaces for golf carts in its downtown area.

Belmont, a fast-growing Gaston County suburb of Charlotte, allows carts on most streets provided owners buy a $25 annual registration and inspection and a $5 decal and show proof of insurance. Not everyone is jumping on the trend. Waxhaw, a fast-growing Union County town near Charlotte, issued warnings prohibiting golf carts on its publicly maintained streets. Other cities have placed restrictions. But North Carolina lawmakers have shown flexibility for towns to set up fee structures that enable money to flow from cart licensing into parks and recreation budgets, Joyner notes. “It made a good thing help pay for another good thing.” Joyner, a Wendell resident since 2012, works in downtown Raleigh with his wife, Meghan, at their consulting firm. “When I get back to Wendell, it’s truly a little bit different world. You can disconnect a little bit,” he says. “I have friends that will come in from Raleigh or from somewhere else. No one ever wants to take the car to go get dinner. Everybody wants to go on the golf cart and ride to downtown to go get dinner.” Carts can also allow for Southern hospitality, he suggests. “I get to know my neighbors because if I’m riding my car, I might wave at you but I’m not stopping my car to get out and talk to you.” “I think that it’s the future for suburban communities if you want to give yourself a brand. We’re the only ones in Wake County that are doing it, and we certainly have gotten an unofficial brand out of it.” ■

▲ Wendell’s car dealership, Universal Chevrolet, added a golf cart to get around the sales lot.

56

B U S I N E S S

54-56_GolfCarts_April-2022.indd 56

N O R T H

On par with safety G

olf carts have a history of safety issues, despite generally traveling at modest speeds. Failing to pay attention, reckless speeding, or abrupt stops and turns can lead to passengers being thrown from carts. Arms and legs hanging out of golf carts have led to many bad injuries. All that is true on the course, but the stakes get higher as more carts traverse public roads. In areas without paths designed for carts, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety coined their use as “a safety nightmare waiting to happen.” In June 2021, a 41-year-old Wake County optometrist was heading home in a cart after a party at her Holly Springs golf course community clubhouse when she was killed in a crash. Her husband was charged with death by motor vehicle and possession of an open container of alcohol but did not receive a prison sentence, according to Wake County Court records. About 156,000 people in the U.S. required emergency-room treatment for golf cart-related injuries between 2007-17, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Safety Research. “Golf-cart use remains an important source of injury for people of all ages, especially in children,” researchers concluded. “As use continues to increase, it is unlikely that golf cart-related injuries will decrease without substantial changes to product design, regulation, and/or legislation.” For 20 years, North Carolina has regulated low-speed vehicles and their ability to travel along state-maintained roads. Golf carts cannot be operated on a roadway at speeds topping 35 miles per hour, and drivers must maintain liability insurance. A valid driver’s license is required. To be considered street-legal in North Carolina, a cart needs to have the basic mechanisms of normal cars. That includes headlights and brake lights, turn signals, safety reflectors, U.S. Department of Transportation-approved tires, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, a horn and seat belts. “Every town has different regulations. Some of them just require seatbelts, turn signals and brake lights,” says Cheyann James of Thomasville’s BJ & Son Custom Golf Cars. “Some of them require for you to have a windshield wiper.” Under North Carolina driving laws, “rules of the road” apply to golf carts as any other motor vehicle. That means users can’t sip a beer while driving down the street as they might heading down a fairway. ■ — Brad King

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


A P R I L

54-56_GolfCarts_April-2022.indd 57

2 0 2 2

57

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Pimento’s popularity paves growth for an unusual cast of food startups. By Katherine Snow Smith

58

B U S I N E S S

58-61_Pimento Cheese_Mar-2022.indd 58

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


ven Mick Jagger had to try it. “I sucked down some pimento cheese,” he told thousands of fans at Bank of America Stadium when the Rolling Stones played in Charlotte late last year. The 78-year-old tasted the delicacy sometime before or after his much-publicized visit to the Queen City’s Thirsty Beaver Saloon. Why wouldn’t Jagger order up some pimento cheese? He’s a rock star, not living under a rock. Pimento cheese has appeared on more menus and supermarket shelves in recent years. It’s not just for picnic sandwiches and bridge games anymore, nor is it just a Southern dip. Rather, it’s a cash crop for North Carolina entrepreneurs who are creating distinctive variations of grated cheese melded with mayonnaise to create a staple in refrigerators from coast to coast.

peno flavors. Small shops and large supermarkets carry the brand in 20 states. “It’s in Whole Foods in Hawaii, believe it or not,” says Barnett, who is the mother of three sons. “My son was skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, and it was for sale there. It’s also made it to Big Sky, Montana.”

Home is where pimento cheese is

Long before pimento cheese gained national popularity, it was a regular on the crustless sandwich circuit and comfort food in Grandma’s Formica kitchen. The simple concoction was also a staple in commissaries and lunch pails at Carolinas factories for generations. A pimento cheese pioneer has been Charlottebased, family-owned Ruth’s Salads, which has made its widely distributed spread since 1953.

“Pimento cheese has been thought of as a regional peculiarity for so long, but it’s something that has taken hold all over.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF MYTHREESONS, PHOTO OF JOHN MORGAN BY PETER TAYLOR

— John Morgan, CEO, Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale

“Pimento cheese has been thought of as a regional peculiarity for so long, but it’s something that has taken hold all over,” says John Morgan, CEO of Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale. The Charlotte business still sells most of its product in the South but also cites success in Massachusetts, Ohio and nearly two dozen other states. Morgan and four employees make 7,000 10-ounce containers of pimento cheese each week at a 6,000-square-foot warehouse in Charlotte. His repertoire includes original, jalapeno, blue cheese and bacon varieties. “It’s like mass psychosis,” he says.”Any body who tries it — it doesn’t matter where they are from — they realize it’s good.” Dr. Cheryl Barnett, CEO of Greensboro-based MyThreeSons Gourmet, also benefits from national demand for her pimento cheese, which comes in original, spicy white cheddar and jala-

Pimento cheese has come a long way since then. There’s pimento cheese quesadillas, pimento cheese on a biscuit or bagel, grilled pimento cheese, pimento cheese on deviled eggs, pimento mac-n-cheese, fried chicken stuffed with pimento cheese and pimento-cheese poppers. Martini drinkers will taste a touch of it in the Backhanded Compliment cocktail at Lenoir, a Charleston, S.C., restaurant that Kinston chef Vivian Howard opened last spring. “The head bartender has a terrible allergy to blue cheese, so we stuff our olives with pimento cheese,” says Howard, who gained renown for her PBS series, A Chef’s Life. She credits acclaimed Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen with much of the newfound respect for pimento cheese, along with other Southern favorites. “[She] showed how to put your own spin on it,” Howard says. “Southern food really began being

A P R I L

58-61_Pimento Cheese_Mar-2022.indd 59

2 0 2 2

59

3/21/22 12:11 PM


seen nationwide as something worth talking about and exploring more with her.” Howard ships cookbooks and Southern foods nationally through her online store with many customers having Southern roots. “There are Southern expats all over the country. Pimento cheese tastes like home. I mean, who doesn’t like a good cheese spread?” There are countless variations, of course, on the basic ingredients of cheese, mayonnaise and pimento peppers. “We use sharp American cheese and real mayonnaise. We use roasted red peppers, not just pimento. We chop and roast them ourselves,” says Loretta Adams, CEO of Southern Taste Food Products in Kernersville.

Entrepreneurs and cheese

A great product is only the beginning for success, of course. Repeat production with continuous quality, coupled with increased demand, are essential. Owners of three N.C. pimento cheese companies — an art teacher, an orthodontist and a caterer — started their businesses for different reasons but share similar stories of countless taste tests with friends and family, then hundreds of cold calls to retailers and subsequent sampling events. Queen Charlotte’s Morgan has always loved cooking, but he didn’t enjoy pimento cheese as a youth. Things changed when he tinkered with his own recipe while in college. Later as an art teacher in Union County, he started making big batches of pimento cheese for friends, holidays and Super Bowl parties. “I took some of the things I didn’t like about it, when it was too mayonnaise-y, and when it got completely pulverized into a

60

B U S I N E S S

58-61_Pimento Cheese_Mar-2022.indd 60

N O R T H

homogeneous spread, and I turned them on their head.” For kicks, he landed a spot on the Jeopardy TV show in 2014. He was leading a five-day defending champion heading into the last question, which was in the category of museums. “I teach art. I looked at my friends in the audience like: ‘I’ve got this.’” Had he known Belfast was the home to a Titanic museum, he might not have ended up in the pimento cheese business. But the Final Jeopardy clue was vague. Another player had visited the Irish venue and won. “I ended up winning a couple thousand bucks. If I’d won any more than that, I probably wouldn’t have been so smart with it,” Morgan says. “I got enough money to buy a 30-quart mixer and I was off to the races.” A year later, he quit his job to focus on Queen Charlotte’s. His major breaks were getting rights to supply 140 Food Lion stores in 2017, followed the next year by a deal with Harris Teeter. “We started in a few stores in March 2018 and by the end of 2018, we were in the full Charlotte market.” By 2020, 200 Harris Teeter stores were offering the product. Attending hundreds of food trade shows, holiday shows and women’s shows had paid off. “I’m not afraid to make a cold call,” Morgan attests. “We sent samples to every buyer, to every distributor. If they haven’t heard of us, it’s because they haven’t opened their email in a while.” COVID-19 slowed growth but also made Queen Charlotte’s smarter and leaner. Last year’s final quarter was the company’s best ever. The product is now rolling out in hundreds of Kroger stores as far west as Texas. “I’m really proud of the efficiencies we’ve made, that we can do all this with four people,” Morgan says. “We definitely have

PHOTO BY PETER TAYLOR

▲ Queen Charlotte’s pimento cheese is produced in its 6,000-square-foot Charlotte facility.

C A R O L I N A

3/18/22 10:19 PM


in a limited number of Fresh Market stores in the Triad. “The buyer later told me she hears back from very few people after she gives them that list of requirements,” says Barnett. Guidance from Beth Ward of Sarah’s Salsa and Clay Howard at the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship and others in Greensboro was helpful. Barnett hired demonstrators to hand out samples for a few hours at a time in other independent and chain stores. The taste tests usually sold out within an hour or two. She landed contracts with Whole Foods Market, Lowes Foods and Harris Teeter in 2011, prompting her to move production from her guest house to the Nussbaum Center in Greensboro. “We had so much to learn. Harris Teeter held my hand every step of the way,” she says. Visits to the company’s perishable distribution center taught her about process and safety requirements. “If our products arrived a 10th of a degree above what’s considered safe, they would be rejected.” Publix locations started carrying Barnett’s pimento cheese in 2019. Barnett declines to give an employee count. One of her sons is the company’s production manager. “Everything that’s happened — every single door that’s opened — is still shocking to me.” ▲ MyThreeSons’ origional spread is made with extra sharp cheddar, spices and mayonnaise.

this (Great) Depression mentality. We’ve learned to survive without a lot. We started out not knowing anything about this business; then we had a once-in-a-century pandemic that’s still not over. We are penny-pinchers, and we run a tight ship.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF MYTHREESONS

Farmers market dream

MyThreeSons started with a sample handed to a Fresh Market buyer in Greensboro and encouragement from Barnett’s youngest son, Michael. Back injuries forced her to retire as an orthodontist in 2009 after 14 years of practice. Michael, then 9, reminded his mom that she had always thought that local grocers should carry a homemade pimento cheese brand. She started with plans to rent half a table at the Greensboro Farmers Market for about $15. “It was going to be a little entrepreneurship lesson for him, and he was so excited,” she says. First, she had to pass an N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspection. “I had to make a few alterations to my pet-free, guest-house kitchen,” including installing shatterproof light bulbs. By the time the kitchen passed inspection and packaging was ready, no tables were available at the Farmers Market. “Michael was so disappointed, so I ended up calling the Fresh Market. I knew they had a reputation for supporting local products.” The Fresh Market buyer loved it but set another long list of requirements for insurance, testing, labels and other things. She also needed to tweak the recipe so it could be made in bulk. By October 2010, MyThreeSons pimento cheese was for sale

Door-to-door determination

Loretta Adams has been in the food business since she started waiting tables at a Kernersville seafood restaurant at age 15, but she’s amazed at the progress of her company, Southern Taste Food Products. She earned a business degree at UNC Greensboro with a specialization in food service, then worked as a caterer. “In 2008 when the economy went bust, I lost over half my accounts. So I took my grandmother’s chicken salad recipe, put it in a tub and started knocking on doors.” After selling to friends and neighbors, she gave a sample to a local Lowes Foods store manager. The Winston-Salem-based chain “gave me two stores. Then I started trying different variations of pimento cheese. I went through 10 different recipes and had friends and family trying it,” she says. “I came up with my Carolina Pimento cheese and haven’t changed it.” She added coleslaw, smoked barbecue slaw and potato salad to her offerings. A key growth strategy was hiring tasters to share products with customers, who in turn begged store managers to carry Southern Foods brands. Business doubled during the pandemic. “Grocery store shelves went bare. I think people who were used to buying something else had to try us and then they stuck with us,” Adams says. “That’s when we started busting it. I went in at 3 a.m. (to make food) and at 8 p.m. the day ended.” Southern Foods’ products are now sold at most of the 81 Lowes Foods stores, more than a dozen Harris Teeters, a handful of Food Lions and several independent stores. “The main problem we’re having right now is running out of stock.” ■

A P R I L

58-61_Pimento Cheese_Mar-2022.indd 61

2 0 2 2

61

3/18/22 10:19 PM


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

INDUSTRIAL PARKS NC

RETURNS ON INVESTMENTS It was a busy two months for North Carolina economic development news. Toyota announced it was building a $1.3 billion lithium-battery factory at the 1,800-acre Greensboro-Randolph Megasite in December. It’s expected to employ about 1,750 people and help meet growing demand for electric vehicles. About a month later and roughly 30 miles away, Boom Supersonic unveiled plans for a $500 million commercial aircraft factory, which will create almost 1,800 jobs initially, on Piedmont Triad International Airport’s campus. Greensboro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Brent Christensen doesn’t hide his excitement for the two large undertakings. “Projects like these come along every five or 10 years, and we had two announcements within six weeks,” he says. “Frankly, those in the economic development world would kill

62

B U S I N E S S

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 62

N O R T H

for even one of them.” North Carolina’s industrial parks are eyed by manufacturers and companies from other industries that are starting, expanding or relocating. “One of the great things about our state is the diversity of its business base,” says Melissa Smith, vice president of business recruitment and development for Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “We have a lot of sector diversity in the business in our pipeline and in corporations that have announced and that are already here.” Each company has its reasons for choosing North Carolina. But most point to the state’s workforce, which is developed and trained by robust university and community college systems. And many find a shorter path to being operational. Smith says many industrial sites, including megasites in Chatham, Brunswick,

C A R O L I N A

Edgecombe, New Hanover and Randolph counties, are shovel ready — utilities, access to rail, road and airports, and other necessities are already in place. “Everything that drives our conversations with companies looking to locate new operations is all about speed to market and risk reduction,” she says. “So, having sites and buildings or real estate options that are ready to go helps [companies] feel confident that part of the work has already been done or is scheduled.” If the Toyota plant is a big deal for Guilford County, it’s even better for Randolph County, its residents and workers. “First of all, having that many new jobs in the community with strong wages and great benefits gives Randolph County residents an opportunity to improve their lives,” says Kevin Franklin, Randolph County EDC president. He expects other businesses to follow, becoming links in

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Toyota’s supply chain. They’ll bring more retail and service businesses to meet the needs of a growing population. “That’s additional jobs, and additional sales tax income for our community,” he says. “It’s already making an impact with approximately 1,500 new residential dwellings approved for the Archdale Trinity area.” Randolph County has a long tradition of manufacturing. It began with textile mills and has incorporated furniture factories, machining operations and others through the years. About a third of its workforce is employed within the industry as of December 2021, according to Randolph County EDC. But there is room for more. “We are at work getting other sites ready for market, too,” Franklin says. “We have a 35-acre site in Archdale and are in the process of preparing about 160 acres in the Randleman area.” Randolph County officials and engi-

neers are working on a development study that will identify other tracts of land suitable for industrial development. While this is good news for companies looking to locate there, the state’s six other megasites and 20 other certified sites also are ready. “We have a number of great sites in the 500-acre range, good for advanced manufacturing and life sciences,” Smith says. Chatham County is positioning itself as a biotechnology and life sciences hub, says Michael Smith, Chatham County EDC’s president. It’s two megasites — Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing and Triangle Innovation Point — offer more than 4,000 acres combined of shovel-ready land that’s a short hop from Research Triangle Park. And U.S. 1 from about Holly Springs in Wake County, through Chatham County to Sanford in Lee County, is developing a reputation

as a biotechnology corridor. The stretch has already attracted six major pharmaceutical companies — Pfizer, FUJIFILM Diosynth, Abzena, Amgen, Audentes Therapeutics and Sequiris. “We feel we have a shot at it being a pretty unique transformational year here in Chatham County,” says Smith. “We’ve got those two [megasites] and great elected leadership that wants to see the right kind of growth.” As in Randolph County, more is planned in Chatham County. Chatham Park, a 7,100-acre mixed-used development is underway in Pittsboro. It could have 22,000 homes and as many as 60,000 residents. It’s expected to have 22 million square feet of office, research, retail and community space when it’s completed in 2045. Across the state, most economic growth is coming from businesses in

A P R I L

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 63

2 0 2 2

63

3/18/22 10:19 PM


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

INDUSTRIAL PARKS NC

biotechnology and life sciences, food and beverage production, and automotive parts manufacturing, says EDPNC’s Smith. And not all of it is happening in urban centers. “We’ve got a lot of great partners that help communities be strategic in where they make those investments and help push development out to some of the perimeter locations,” she says. Carolina Gateway Partnership, which spearheads economic development in Edgecombe and Nash counties, for example, has assembled a cluster of local and international food-processing companies. They include Cheesecake Factory Bakery, Atlantic Natural Foods, Nutkao, Poppies International, Butterfields Candy, Braswell Foods and George’s Barbecue Sauces. “We have seen a substantial increase in food and beverage projects over the last year, and Nash County

64

B U S I N E S S

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 64

N O R T H

continues to serve as a premier location for these opportunities,” EDPNC’s Smith says. “It demonstrates that industrial development, which has been the focus of counties and local communities laying important groundwork is paying off.” Strategic partnerships are spurring economic development statewide. “The Rural Infrastructure Authority, the Golden LEAF Foundation and the North Carolina Railroad Co. have been great partners to help some of the rural areas,” EDPNC’s Smith says. Gov. Cooper announced 10 Rural Infrastructure Authority grants totaling $2.1 million in February. They support a variety of projects, including $400,000 to help Grand Manor Furniture reuse an 800,000-square-foot building in Lenoir, $100,000 to expand Surry Rural Health Center in Mount Airy, and more than $709,000 to help build sewer infrastructure on a 62-acre site in Shelby, where a

C A R O L I N A

100,000-square-foot shell building went up. The projects are expected to create 349 jobs and attract about $31 million in private investment. While Toyota and Boom Supersonic were announced in short order, most economic development projects are years in the making. “This isn’t a short game, and community leaders must make hard decisions on how to spend limited city and county dollars to pave the way for an enhanced tax base for the future, which takes a lot of vision and guts,” says EDPNC’s Smith. “I think our success and the planning many of our communities have been doing for years and even decades will continue to pay dividends long into the future.” ■ — Teri Saylor is a freelance writer from Raleigh.

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:19 PM


A P R I L

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 65

2 0 2 1

65

3/18/22 10:19 PM


66

B U S I N E S S

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 66

N O R T H

C A R O L I N A

SPONSORED SECTION

3/18/22 10:19 PM


PITT COUNTY – THE GREENVILLE, NC MSA WHERE IT ALL COMES TOGETHER. Pitt County is a growing metro area in eastern North Carolina with a diverse industrial base, award-winning healthcare system, and one of North Carolina’s largest universities. We are developing sites and buildings to welcome new industries to our community – Come join us!

FARMVILLE CORPORATE PARK • 170 acres owned or controlled by Pitt County • Zoned industrial for manufacturing and distribution operations • Convenient access to US Highway 264/Interstate 587 • 20 acres designated for a 50,000 sf shell, expandable to 200,000 – Construction in 2022 • Conveniently located 15 minutes from East Carolina University, Pitt-Greenville Airport • Served with electric, water, waste water, natural gas, and broadband

Farmville Corporate Park kelly.andrews@pittcountync.gov 252.902.2075

growpittcountync.com A P R I L

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 67

2 0 2 2

67

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 68

3/18/22 10:19 PM


CENTRAL CAROLINA ENTERPRISE PARK, WELL-CENTERED, SHOVEL-READY.

CENTRAL CAROLINA ENTERPRISE PARK (CCEP) – FEBRUARY 2022 • CCEP is a well-positioned NC Dept of Commerce Certified Site for industrial development, centrally located between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. in central North Carolina. • Located in Sanford, NC, the 260-acre CCEP is one of nine Certified park-sized sites in North Carolina. • Sanford, NC was named the #5 U.S. Micropolitan Area by Site Selection Magazine. The City of Sanford has an Open for Business Agenda, which offers streamlined permitting. • Perfect for manufacturing and distribution facilities, CCEP lot sizes range from 10- to 30-acres, are shovel-ready with infrastructure, and can be adjusted to incoming companies’ needs.

• Existing projects include Astellas Gene Therapies, formerly Audentes Therapeutics, who purchased the 117,000 sq. ft. Shell Building I in February 2020, and Abzena, who located its new GMP manufacturing facility in Shell Building II in April 2021. The combined projects will bring $322M capital investment and 534 jobs. Two build-to-suit projects were also completed. • Future projects include a 117,000 sq. ft. Industrial Shell Building III in development, with additional buildings being planned. • CCEP boasts exceptional infrastructure, including water and sewer service and extensions; Broadplex fiber service up to 10GB per second; power and natural gas service; and new roads, walking path, signage, lighting and landscaping.

• CCEP is adjacent to U.S. 1, a four-lane, divided high-speed highway, similar to an interstate. Only a 15-minute drive to I-540, both RDU International Airport and Raleigh’s urban core are accessible in 40 minutes. The Raleigh Executive Jetport and Triangle Innovation Point are also in close proximity. • There are 496,000 workers and 1.43M in population within a 40-mile radius of CCEP, including Research Triangle Park, Fort Bragg and Pinehurst. CCEP is also within 45 minutes of three Tier 1 Research Universities and minutes from award-winning Central Carolina Community College.

Central Carolina Enterprise Park John Cotton Dean, Sanford Area Growth Alliance 919-774-8439 x1500

growsanfordnc.com A P R I L

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 69

2 0 2 2

69

3/18/22 10:19 PM


SPONSORED SECTION

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 70

3/18/22 10:19 PM


FRONT STREET CAPITAL, THE PIEDMONT TRIAD’S INDUSTRIAL PARK LEADER. Front Street Capital is a full-service development, asset management, and private equity real estate company built by industry-leading professionals with a drive to produce consistent, income-driven results. Over our history, Front Street Capital has developed or acquired over $800 million in income-producing property primarily across the office, industrial, healthcare, and mixed-use asset classes. Within the industrial sector, Front Street has developed over three million square feet in the Piedmont Triad and is a clear market leader in the expansion of raw land into master planned industrial parks. We have assembled a team of professionals to support our internal industrial team where we have collectively mastered the site analysis, park design, land development and vertical construction of class-A industrial facilities.

CURRENT DEVELOPMENT SITES AVAILABLE: UNION CROSS INDUSTRIAL CENTER

99-acre master planned industrial park adjacent to Caterpillar Inc and Herbalife International. Two lots remaining to accommodate 125,000 SF up to 700,000+ SF.

PARK @ 74 120-acre master planned

industrial park adjacent to Forsyth County’s largest industrial park, Union Cross Business Park. 860,000 SF currently under construction with two lots remaining at up to 300,000 SF.

LEXINGTON INDUSTRIAL PARK 200+ acre development ready industrial park with availability from 100,000 SF up to 1mm+ SF. I-74 CORPORATE CENTER Up to 500,000+ SF available, directly adjacent to I-74 and Ralph Lauren’s 850,000 SF distribution center.

Alston Team, Partner 450 N. Patterson Avenue, Suite 300, Winston-Salem 336-479-3380 (mobile) | 336.243.2600 (office) alston@frontstreetcapital

frontstreetcapital.com A P R I L

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 71

2 0 2 2

71

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 72

3/18/22 10:19 PM


A P R I L

Industrial_Parks_April2022.indd 73

2 0 2 2

73

3/18/22 10:19 PM


GREENSHOOTS

A CHANGE OF PACE Belhaven’s quaint culture attracts visitors for more than just a night. BY BRYAN MIMS

Mixing old and new

Belhaven, located about 30 miles east of Washington on U.S. 264, is a town of about 1,600 people, a third fewer than in the 1980s as its major industries of commercial fishing and lumber largely left town. It is perched on the pine-rimmed banks of the Pungo River, just north of where it empties into Pamlico Sound. The elevation is practically sea level, so many newer homes are built on stilts and brick pilings. Follow Water Street east from downtown, the pewter expanse of the Pungo always in view, and one passes white picket fences, bed-and-breakfast inns, front porches garnished with white columns and balustrades, and yards shaded by loblolly pines.

74

B U S I N E S S

GreenShoots_April-2022.indd 74

N O R T H

A prominent site is River Forest Manor and Marina, a Southern Colonial mansion built in 1904 that hosts weddings and other events. In recent years, shops and eateries have opened in downtown, tapping into Belhaven’s popularity among boaters and the salty, small-town milieu that enchants many visitors. “People come from all over, and I think they feel very nostalgic in it because it’s just what you’ve always thought a small town should be like,” says Christal Gelderman, who works at Attic Life, which sells vintage gifts and collectibles. Shop speakers pipe out classic country music across the corner of Pamlico and Main streets. An outside wall displays a colorful menagerie of images: Blackbeard the pirate, a

PHOTOS COURTESY OF BELHAVEN COMMUNITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

T

eresa Van Staalduinen apologizes for what she calls a hot mess, then insists she’s running her mouth. With a sheepish grin, she beseeches me to come back and have dinner when Spoon River Artworks and Market is open. “I’m really passionate,” she says. To that, there is no doubt. When speaking of her passions for art, interior design, homegrown food or her hometown, her thoughts roll like the creeks meandering into Beaufort County’s Pungo River, sweeping its 2-mile-wide tide past Belhaven. “I love our town, every nuance of it,” she says while standing in the farm-to-fork restaurant that she and her husband, Mark, opened in 2012. “I don’t think I’m a restaurant person at all; I’m an artist.” Indeed, her background is in art and design; her paintings adorn the restaurant where the chef serves eggs Benedict with crabcakes, steak Oscar and fish tacos, all sourced from the region. “I love the creativeness of artful dining.” Van Staalduinen’s hot mess refers to the building that she’s renovating into a wedding and event venue. Across the street, she’s revamping another structure into an art gallery and market to showcase North Carolina food and drinks. Both are expected to open in May. Spoon River — its name inspired by the song she heard on the radio while she was cleaning the floor of her future restaurant — attracts foodies from a wide region. It’s also a favorite among the legions of boaters traveling the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway who dock at any of the town’s three marinas.

C A R O L I N A

3/21/22 11:41 AM


shrimp up at the end of shrimping season to give us enough through the winter until they start catching them again,” Cox says.

Rebounding from a loss

▲ The farm-to-fork eatery Spoon River is right along the Pungo River.

fishing boat, a sailboat, a setting sun, pointy blue waves, and Little Eva, the Belhaven-born pop singer best known for her 1962 hit The Loco-Motion. Also in downtown is The Tavern at Jack’s Neck, its moniker inspired by the town’s original name. It opened in November 2013 and last year, the owners, Doug and Jimmie Southerland, added a steakhouse. The Southerlands, seduced by the water, moved here from Raleigh. “And we just fell in love with the people,” Jimmie says. “It’s not a resort area, and we didn’t want that. We didn’t want a bunch of people coming and going all of the time.” Just around the corner, on Main Street, is Gingerbread Bakery & O’Neals Snack Bar, dishing out vegetable beef soup, hamburgers, hot dogs, doughnuts and cookies. From there it’s a short stroll to Cloud 9 Creamery. “Delicious ice cream and handmade chocolates,” proclaims the banner out front. In November, Mad Batter opened on Pamlico Street, and its 40-year-old owner, Cathy Van Gyzen, says, “They haven’t given me a break.” She specializes in cheesecake, while her mom makes the cookies and cinnamon rolls. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, “it was nonstop.” Next door, her cousin Carrie Harris, 36, opened Dynamic Expressions and Designs last year, making graphic T-shirts and personalized gifts. “It’s an up-and-coming town for sure,” she says.

Fishing, lumber heritage

Belhaven, incorporated in 1899, began as a fishing community with commercial fish houses in operation into the 1980s. The town also once had half a dozen lumber companies and a branch of Norfolk Southern Railroad. These days, Belhaven is known more for its recreational fishing and boating. From the spring through fall, it’s a prime stopover for boaters plying the Intracoastal Waterway, especially since it marks the halfway point between Albemarle Sound and Beaufort. While the industrial fish houses are gone, local seafood is still very much on the table. Belhaven native Vic Cox opened Fish Hooks Cafe about 17 years ago after learning the seafood business at Lone Cedar Cafe, the Manteo restaurant owned for many years by the late Marc Basnight, a longtime N.C. Senate leader. Increased foreign competition, higher labor costs and stricter regulations hampened the industry. “We’ve got different seafood docks that put their

Belhaven made news in 2014 when Pungo Hospital closed after 65 years. Vidant Health bought the facility in 2011 but deemed it too expensive to operate. Former Mayor Adam O’Neal walked 273 miles to Washington, D.C. to protest the closure, citing the critical role of hospitals in rural towns. Vidant opened a multispecialty clinic. but residents head 30 miles to Washington for hospital care. Despite the closing, Mayor Ricky Credle says the town is attracting newcomers who want to lay roots in a scenic, easygoing community. “People are building houses here. We have a new marina put in. Whether they come by boat, car, plane or train, we want them here,” he says.

Chamber of commerce executive Diana Lambeth knows half a dozen couples and families that have migrated from the Raleigh area, enticed by a solitude that she finds enthralling. “I can sit out on my deck at night, and I can hear the quiet,” she says. “You can hear the frogs and the birds and the waves coming in against the bulkhead. It’s just a different life.” Colleen and Mark Williams moved to Belhaven three years ago from Fuquay-Varina, a Wake County suburb, after tiring of Triangle traffic. In November, the couple opened RiverBend Cultural Arts Center, an artisan shop with artwork for sale, a yoga studio, and a stage for theatrical and music performances. They plan to host beer tents and food trucks during warm weather. “We’ve gotten a lot of support and encouragement from the town,” she says. “We’re happy, and it’s keeping us busy.” For now, pardon the hot mess in the two buildings by Spoon River. Infusing new life into an old space can be a messy process with scrubbing, sweeping, nailing and painting. It takes imagination and a sense of place — traits Teresa Van Staalduinen and her neighbors have in abundance. Belhaven is a destination, not just a tourist town, a place where duck hunters and men in Docksiders can share a dining room. “If your product is good and it’s true to itself, then you can’t go wrong,” Van Staalduinen says. ■

A P R I L

GreenShoots_April-2022.indd 75

2 0 2 2

75

3/18/22 10:19 PM


Back_Cover_and_inside_April-2022.indd 1

3/18/22 10:22 PM


Back_Cover_and_inside_April-2022.indd 2

3/18/22 10:22 PM


Back_Cover_and_inside_April-2022.indd 3

3/18/22 10:23 PM