State leaders in economic development circles are gathering Thursday for the grand opening of the new Economic Development Partnership offices in Cary.
The new Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina is basically a new privatized business recruitment agency.
About 34 people in sales and marketing, along with travel and tourism moved from the state Commerce Department to the new partnership. They worked in sales and marketing, international trade, film and tourism.
The Republican-led legislature approved the new economic development partnership, saying it will be able to better focus on growing jobs and luring big businesses to the state. It will also allow the organization to solicit public and private dollars.
Last week, Chris Chung officially began work as the partnership’s new CEO. The 38-year-old helped develop the Missouri Partnership in 2007. Chung will make $225,000 a year. Almost half of that money has to be raised through private donations.
There are about a dozen similar partnerships across the country. Models in Indiana and Arizona have seemed to work, but some others have been plagued with conflict of interest and misuse of funds.