Year-End Message from NCEDA President Mark Pope
In a few days, we’ll close the books on 2018 and eagerly welcome a new year with optimism and hope.
Headlines captured the disappointment this year when high-profile projects landed in competing states. But we also celebrated many wins – with Honeywell, Cognizant, Advanced Auto Parts and National General among the host of businesses relocating or expanding operations in North Carolina. We can also be proud of our state’s impressive response to Hurricanes Florence and Michael, as economic development professionals joined public officials, first responders, utility partners and others in limiting disruption to the state’s business community. Neither natural disaster nor an ugly trade war have put a damper on the state’s economy: the current 3.6 percent unemployment rate in North Carolina is below the nation’s 3.7 percent average – and well below the 4.5 percent jobless rate we saw a year ago. The state continues to rank in the top 20 when it comes to GDP growth, and Forbes magazine has called North Carolina’s business climate the nation’s best for a second straight year.
But as wise investors know, past results don’t guarantee future performance. None of us is certain where the state will stand 12 months from now. What we do know is that North Carolina’s economic development community is up for any opportunity or challenge, and 2019 is sure to bring both.
Central to NCEDA’s leadership role is ensuring economic developers and their allies and partners are prepared for whatever comes our way. Our professional development programs aim to empower members to navigate the twists and turns we meet on the road ahead. With well over 600 members now, the organization provides a stable platform for accessing information, ideas and expertise about the changing economic development landscape. And we are at our best when we’re connecting members to what is likely their most valuable resource: each other.
Whatever 2019 brings, NCEDA will be right there with you!
Mark Pope, President