CAROLINAS COMPETITIVENESS FORUM GENERATES INTEREST IN REGIONALISM AND MANUFACTURING
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The results of the “Carolinas Competitiveness Forum” are in: leaders in business, government, economic development, academia and the non-profit sectors must embrace more regional approaches to economic development to respond to the expectations of the global economy and “new rules” of the manufacturing sector.
“If the positive energy we have seen over the last 24 hours from our 300 participants is any indication, we are ready to take regional economic development initiatives to the next level in the Carolinas,” said Duke Power President Ruth Shaw. “Regions in the Carolinas, certainly the upstate of South Carolina and the piedmont section of North Carolina, have the size, scale and resources to thrive as a series of cohesive economic centers. If we can become more collaborative competitors, we can get the Carolinason the short list for major investments, to build on the powerhouse of capabilities we share.”
Forum participants were encouraged to take the point of view of those charged with selecting sites or expanding facilities. Site selection teams first narrow their choices to a few major regions or even countries. They evaluate proximity to transportation, quality infrastructure, specific work force abilities, costs structures and convenience to supplies and markets.
“The interstate highways that connect this region are potent. Link them to the airport in Charlotte and the port in Charleston and it’s a winning combination. In manyindustries we have combined capabilities that make the Carolinas stronger together than either state can ever be alone in the global competition for good jobs,” Shaw added.The Carolina Competitiveness Forum was sponsored by Duke Power and is a cornerstone event for the company’s 100th anniversary celebration. The forum was designed to be provocative, test deeply held beliefs and generate new ideas. It featured “real-time” electronic polling by all participants during intensive breakout sessions that focused on the future role of manufacturing in the Carolinas, building the Carolinas competitive advantages and the drivers of economic development transformation.
The following are a few highlights of the polling of forum participants.
What is the key asset which the Carolinas should enhance to be even more competitive?
Who can do the most to improve economic development cooperation between N.C. and S.C.?
Which of these growing manufacturing sectors can be most vibrant in the long term for the Carolinas?
Keynote speaker and economist Dr. Kenichi Ohmae, discussed the importance of branding a large “super corridor” for economic development and the need to focus on developing capabilities to attract a few key industries rather than trying to be all things to all people. He noted the Carolinas had a “rich story” and encouraged the audience to tell it better.
“It would be great to see North Carolina and South Carolina get together and do joint international marketing to promote economic development,” said Mark Sweeney, senior principal for McCallum-Sweeney Consulting based in Greenville, S.C., who led a forum breakout session. “International clients typically already have this regional approach and I think it would help us be more effective.”
“Hats off to Duke Power for putting together a productive forum to help celebrate its 100th anniversary,” said North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain. “The forum’s focus on sustaining manufacturing and collaborative competition has been very useful. I am confident that this event will pay economic development dividends.”
Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity and value-added products and services to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. In 2004, Duke Power celebrates 100 years of service. The company operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.
Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in North America and selected international markets. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.,Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on theInternet at: www.duke-energy.com.