Triangle North alters approach

Jan. 21, 2014 @ 05:20 PM

The Tri-County economic development commissions and Triangle North board of directors are in the process of revamping the marketing and recruitment for the tax-advantaged four-county network.

The board has contracted with a public strategy firm, Mercury, to promote the park locally and nationally, as well as redesigning the Triangle North website, updating the master plan maps and revising some marketing materials.

Russell Peck, Mercury senior vice president, will lead the effort to attract companies looking to relocate or expand operations in a rural setting.

Triangle North Franklin, smallest of the three, is a 252-acre park located next to the Triangle North Executive Airport that offers sites for high-tech and aviation services.

Triangle North Granville is a 527-ace park adjacent to Vance-Granville Community College and offers sites for life sciences and technology.

Triangle North Vance is a 422-acre park off of Interstate 85 at exit 209, across the interstate from Vance-Granville Community College. It offers flexible sites for offices and manufacturing.

Triangle North Warren is the largest park with 860 acres located off of I-85 and U.S. 158 in Manson. The park offers sites for distribution, logistics and manufacturing.

The Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission has pushed for a more robust and pro-active marketing effort by the Triangle North board.

The commission recommended the board contract with Whittaker Associates, a market research and consulting firm, to identify 250 companies nationwide interested in relocating or expanding within 18 or 24 months.

Diane Cox said Whittaker has supplied Triangle North with names of about 100 potential companies.

“We were able to provide Russell with that information so he can hit the ground running,” said Cox, executive director of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments.

Peck, who was hired earlier this month, has served as a campaign manager for Gov. Pat McCrory.

He has also worked as director of external affairs for the American Natural Gas Alliance and as the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party.

Peck said his first step is spreading the word about Triangle North.

“The reality of the matter is that we have to go in and let ourselves be known first that we are out here, ready and the doors open,” Peck said. “It’s hard to know where the opportunities are always going to be but you need to try and overturn every stone you can. I think the challenge is trying to overturn as many stones as possible so that eventually you do reach the right one.”

The four-county network of research and industrial parks have remained empty since establishment in 2007.

Ronnie Goswick, Franklin County economic development director, said the parks were formed to promote growth in all four counties.

“We are in a commuting pattern so if we create jobs in Vance County, people from Franklin, Warren and Granville counties can come work here,” Goswick said. “We decided that we not only want to share the jobs but we want to share the cost of operating the park and we will also be sharing in revenue that come from that investment. We had perfect timing though because it was right before the great recession. If things had not been going like they did in 2006 through 2014 we would be in a much better position than we are now.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.