Hayes: Tri-County has a bright future

Jun. 26, 2014 @ 07:15 PM

The president and CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership spoke to roughly 50 young business-owners and prominent community members about the future of economic development in the Tri-County.

“I want you to realize you are a part of the Research Triangle,” said Charles Hayes, of Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties. Hayes is from Norlina.

RTRP is a public-private partnership that promotes economic development in the 13-county Research Triangle region. It comprises of economic development agencies, including the Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission, that work with state entities to market region for new investments.

The meeting was organized by former state Rep. Jim Crawford Jr.

“It’s important for young people to get involved in economic development,” he said Thursday morning at the Henderson Country Club. “What I want to do is light a fire under you folks to bring industries into our area.”

Hayes said the organization established a five-year goal in 2009 to create 100,000 jobs in the Research Triangle Region. Though the area lost 30,000 jobs during the recession, he said there were 87,449 job gains by April 2014.

“There is no reason why we can’t get the quality growth we want in the direction we want,” he said.

Hayes said Triangle North and Semprius could lower the unemployment rate and bring much needed revenue to the area.

The four-county project once known as the Kerr-Tar Hub was renamed Triangle North in December 2007. There is a park in each of Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties.

A $6 million appropriation from the state legislature funded the project. But since 2008 when the first park was complete, no companies have located in any of them.

Semprius, a start-up from Durham, opened a Henderson facility in September 2012 with help from about $8 million in state and local tax incentives.

The tax incentives call for Semprius to hire some 250 workers over the next several years in the Henderson facility.

The company hired roughly 60 workers to work in Henderson when the facility opened. Semprius CEO Joe Carr has not said how many employees currently work in Henderson.

“You’re in the Research Triangle, and so you just have to figure out how to really capitalize on that and take advantage of being so close and part of the hub that is one of the fastest-growing, strongest economies in the world,” Hayes said. “So we have to figure out how to do that.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.