The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

March 22, 2013

EDC honors groups

By Brian Graves, Staff Writer
The Stanly News & Press

Friday, March 22, 2013 — The Stanly County Economic Development Commission (EDC) decided it was time to give special recognition to those who have constructively added to the efforts in improving and building the county’s economy

To that end, the EDC had its first-ever awards luncheon to recognize what EDC‚ÄąDirector Paul Stratos termed as “allies” for local economic development.

“There comes a time to say thank you for those that have helped along the path that we have embarked on,” Stratos said.

“Today is one of those days.”

He said economic development is a “team sport” and the county “has one of the best teams in North Carolina.”

“With their help over the past year, we have made great strides in strengthening the foundation upon which we can build a more prosperous future,” Stratos said.

He said there were many organizations that deserved recognition, but the EDC chose three to single out for the occasion “for their direct, generous and unfailing support for some special initiatives that have accelerated our economic program and enabled us to make greater strides than we envisioned just a short time ago.”

Stratos first recognized For Stanly, Inc., a non-profit organization organized in the 1990s to support economic in Stanly County.

“When we approached this organization for help to develop a virtual industrial shell building to market the Prime Power Park site, they stepped up to fund the architectural design of the building and kick start the project,” Stratos said.

“They have been a steadfast source of support and have pledged additional support for future product development efforts.”

Bill Lawhorn Jr., who serves as chairman of the organization, accepted the award on its behalf.

The second award went to Gus Schaad and Associates.

“The company embraced our concept in developing a virtual building on the site in Prime Power Park and ran with it,” Stratos said.

“As owner of this site, the principal from this organization not only provided the civil engineer to develop a site plan, he also helped see to it that all the environmental and transportation issues were addressed up front.”

Stratos said he then decided to invest in the actual site development work to grade and prepare a building pad for a 200,000-square-foot building.

“His investment moved the concept beyond a computer image to what can now be called a hybrid building,” Stratos said.

“It significantly reduces the development risk as well as the lead time required for a prospect to get a business up and running at the location.”

Schaad’s son, James, accepted the award for his father’s firm.

Stratos said the EDC initiated dialogue with firms in the energy sector to uncover workforce development needs that they have in common to attract other firms.

That action led to the creation of a machinist program at Stanly Community College five months after the first discussions took place.

He noted the third award winner, Duke Energy, understands economic development.

“More than that, they understand collaboration, cooperation and long-term planning,” Stratos said.

“Most of all, they understand the importance of long-term relationships.”

He noted when the EDC submitted the Brickyard site to Duke as one they would evaluate, it gave the county “a rare inside look” at the site selection process from one of the most respected site selection firms in the country.

“This exhaustive evaluation not only gave the EDC and additional site to market, it gave us some valuable feedback on some of our strengths and weaknesses,” Stratos said.

He also noted they helped with studies about the county’s infrastructure and telecommunications capabilities.

“This team went well above and beyond the call of duty to assist us in developing our assets and accelerate the pace of growth in Stanly County,” Stratos said.

Tammy Whaley, Duke Energy economic manager for Stanly County, accepted the award for the company.