EDC seeks new direction for Triangle North

Feb. 15, 2014 @ 03:46 PM

In light of the new Triangle North marketing efforts, the local economic development commissions might not renew membership with the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.

RTRP is a public-private partnership that promotes economic development in the 13-county Research Triangle region.

The revamped marketing strategy for Triangle North prompted discussion at the Henderson-Vance EDC board of directors meeting about ending its membership with RTRP, which has tripled its membership fee from about $4,500 annually to about $12,000.

RTRP is comprised of economic development agencies that work with state entities to market the 13-county region for new investments.

But some of the board of directors questioned whether the EDC should continue its membership with increased dues.

Chuck Teeter, a member of the board of directors, said the RTRP focused less on rural counties with a potbelly strategy. He shared a statement with the EDC board from an RTRP representative.

“You know how potbelly stoves are; the heat goes out,” Teeter said. “So in other words, what he’s saying is, ‘We are going to grow the RTP, and we might have some crumbs that go out, and you might could get some of those, but this is pretty much where we are going to focus.’ So it’s hard to triple what we are paying when he is basically saying we are not going to get anything other than the overflow.”

The board agreed they would not increase the allocation for the RTRP dues higher than the roughly $4,500 already budgeted.

Russell Peck, the senior vice-president at Mercury consulting firm, was hired recently as the main marketing director for Triangle North, as part of the renewed marketing efforts to get businesses located in the four tax-advantaged parks.

“You know better than I do, there is a lot of potential here,” Peck said at the Henderson-Vance EDC meeting. “There is a whole lot to sell. It almost sells itself; we just have to do a good job of getting out in front of opportunities that may be out there, especially with the economy turning around a little bit.”

Stuart Litvin, Henderson-Vance EDC director, said Peck’s connections as a campaign manager for Gov. Pat McCrory and executive director of the N.C. Republican Party will help greatly.

“My hope is that people throughout North Carolina, who Russell has had contact with through the governor’s office and his other dealings, they will take his phone call a lot faster than they will take mine or Ronnie Goswick’s or Bill Edwards’ because of the knowledge he has and who he’s been with,” Litvin said.

Peck, who was hired in January, has also worked as director of external affairs for the American Natural Gas Alliance.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.