The Research Triangle Regional Partnership is celebrating twenty-five years of marketing and growing the economic base of the region.
Charles Hayes heads the Research Triangle Regional Partnership and remembers when the group’s economic development focus was in three counties.
“UNC Chapel Hill, Duke and NC State University and the cities they were in," said Hayes.
Today, the partnership works to strategically market fifteen counties. Hayes says their focus is on marketing the region for jobs of the future. And he says the future is in advanced industries like manufacturing, energy and services.
"And where they're growing is where they can find the knowledge worker and also the other assets that they need," said Hayes. "And our region, with a blend of urban and rural, in my opinion, is ideally suited for the growth that's coming."
Speaking of growth, the "presenting sponsors" of Thursday's "2015 State of the Research Triangle Region" breakfast was Preston Development and Chatham Park Investors. Chatham Park is the nearly eight thousand acre "model sustainable live, work, play" community being built near Pittsboro. Hayes says it is a perfect example of "smart" growth.
Smedes York is Chairman of York Properties and helped found the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. While growth is inevitable in the much touted Research Triangle, Smedes says he is excited about the re-development of "downtowns" across the region.
“The central core of these communities, Raleigh, Durham and even the smaller communities, the downtown areas are reinvigorating themselves," said York. "The core of a city is so important. So, that is exciting to me," said York.
The Research Triangle Region hit 2.4 million residents this year. That's up 34,043 over last year.