The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 14, 2012

EDC leader reports growth in local activity

By Brian Graves, Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 — Members of the Stanly County Economic Develop-ment Commission Board (EDC) exuded optimism about the things that are happening to encourage growth in the local economy.

EDC Director Paul Stratos said he was encouraged by the signs he is seeing about business interest in the county.

“Over the last couple of months, we have been getting more inquiries from brokers, and that’s a good sign,” Stratos said.

“That means there are folks floating around that are fairly serious.”

He said there have been three projects that have visited and four new projects have been submitted.

“It’s been the same as last year when it took a dip in the summer, but it’s starting to come back now,” he said.

“I expect we will be seeing more activity beginning in January. I am encouraged by the fact the brokers are starting to circulate a little more and there seems to be an upswing in other activities such as construction.

“We are heading in the right direction and I am encouraged we will finish the year pretty strong.”

Stratos also addressed the recent announcement that Tucker Engineering would be starting a production facility in Badin early next year.

“That is an example of something we have been involved with,” Stratos said.

“We have had conversations, but at this point in their development it’s a little premature for our involvement. We’re just helping them with contacts and information and resources to make sure they have the information they need to do what they need to do according to what their plans are.”

He said the company was not at a point where EDC could be “fully engaged” with the project.

“We’re very excited about that project and hopefully it will turn out the way they envision it,” he said.

“There’s a long way to go for them and a lot of work ahead, but I hope it will come to pass the way they envision it because it is a very interesting technology and they have had a lot of interest in it.”

The board discussed a study, now under way, which will survey the communications infrastructure of the county.

A major portion of cost of the study is being underwritten by Duke Power, with the EDC Board paying $2,500.

“This study will give a detailed analysis of fiber (communications) for the county and details for up to 10 of our main industrial sites,” Stratos said.

That survey is expected to be completed within six months, but Stratos said there could be some preliminary findings by the end of the year.

Duke is also helping with a survey of the county’s utility services.

“They have helped us out to make sure we are providing our utility services efficiently and in a coordinated manner,” Stratos said.

“This is getting some recommendations as to what we can look at to make sure we are competitive in the long term when it comes to serving new industrial or commercial clients and make sure our costs are in line and systems efficient enough so that we can provide services competitively.”

He also spoke about the recent Council of Governments (COG) liaison meeting, the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo and the federal contracting symposium and how they were effective in providing information for the local business community.

Stratos also acknowledged Michelin for receiving the Governor’s Award for excellence in workforce development.

“This is the fourth time in a row a Stanly County business has won,” he said.

“That speaks well for Stanly County,” Stratos said.