Charlotte had a good year in 2013. And area business leaders hope that doesn’t end now that the calendar says 2014.
A key to continued success could be Ballantyne – an area that MetLife and Wingate University unveiled new homes in last year, and a place Charlotte Chamber of Commerce President Bob Morgan visited this week to discuss the city’s recent economic successes.
“In 2013, the (chamber’s) Economic Development Team announced 8,313 new jobs and $819 million in new investments” in the area, Morgan told business leaders at the Ballantyne chapter of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6. Morgan called 2013 a great year in economic development, and said the chamber will continue its efforts to promote the Queen City as the right fit for global businesses, especially in attempts to recruit companies from Europe and Asia.
That was good news for area business leaders at this week’s meeting
“With Charlotte expanding and increasing call volume, it will help us expand,” said Alice Ouaneoudue, assistant sales and marketing manager for Yellow Cab of Charlotte.
Paula Harvey, president and chief executive officer of K & P Consulting, agreed.
“As more businesses come (to
Charlotte), my business helps other businesses,” she said.
Harvey is pleased with the chamber’s efforts to stay knowledgeable about city legislation and how it will impact city businesses, while Morgan acknowledged that understanding politics in a Democratic Party-controlled city that is in a Republican Party-controlled state is vital.
“We will continue to navigate and manage the dynamics of being a blue city in a red state,” said Morgan, who pledged that the chamber will stay neither blue nor red, but continue advocating for what is best for the Charlotte community.
Morgan also touched on the city’s capital improvement projects and coordinating bond packages, which became a topic of much frustration in 2012 and 2013 in south Charlotte – where many complained they were paying a higher percentage of city taxes only to see a sliver of the $816 million spending package spent south of Fairview Road. The spending plan included a 3.17-cent property tax increase and will see a bond placed on the November ballot.
Morgan used his opportunity with area business leaders Thursday to touch on the need for workforce development in Charlotte. The chamber works closely with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to provide employers with an educated, local workforce.
“We are especially focused on an area we think has great potential at (UNC Charlotte),” Morgan said, referring to the school’s Data Science and Business Analytics initiative – a new program to help educate the area’s workforce and fill positions of need in the nation’s data science and analytics field while dealing with how much information is generated daily in the country.
The DSBA initiative brings together many different programs, including the university’s College of Health and Human Services and the emerging health informatics market, an industry Morgan said is booming.
“Out of those industries, health care is going to continue to grow as an industry,” he said.
MetLife, one of the big names to move to Charlotte in 2013, is hiring to fill positions at its new U.S. retail headquarters in the Ballantyne Corporate Park. Job postings are listed on the company’s website at http://jobs.metlife.com/charlotte. Meanwhile, officials in Ballantyne have recently discussed plans to construct a new office building in the park in hopes of luring in more big names in the near future. A timeline for construction of the building has not been announced.