Work travel is rarely glamorous and for those wondering if it rains outside of Transylvania County we can provide testimony that it does. In February the Transylvania Economic Alliance in partnership with the CarolinaWest regional economic development team, an all-volunteer, regional marketing group participated in a joint marketing mission to the Atlanta, GA market. The goal of the visit was to make new connections, reconnect with familiar stakeholders and provide an overview/update about our regional and local markets. During the trip Alliance staff along with colleagues from the region met with commercial and industrial brokerage firms, real estate professionals and site selection firms. The top discussion items included:
1) Real Estate: sites and buildings is the starting point of most conversations. Both commercial and industrial (depending on the brokerage firm) are typically motivated to assist client with a real estate decision.
2) Workforce: labor availablity, tailored workforce development offerings and a specific location's ability to help with employee recruitment, talant/pipeline development to fill key roles. During these conversations we are able to discuss our unique workforce intiatives and assets including programming at Transylvania County Schools, Blue Ridge Community College, Brevard College, NCWork (Certified Workready Community) and other unique regional partners including databases managed by the NC Biotech Center, Meet the Geeks and other job boards and placement offices at local/regional higher education institutions. TRIVIA: Within a 60 mile radius of our region there are approximately 84,000 college students and 50 local colleges and univerisities.
3) Accces: Every company has a unique logistical footprint. Access to interstates, highways, ports, and suppliers/customers can often be a driving force behind location-based decisions.
4) Other Conversations: Tax and regulatory environment, opportunities zones, state and local incentive offerings, “high character” real estate, target markets, existing business activity, commute times, and apprenticeship/workforce training topics were discussed by Atlanta-based stakeholders.