Lake Norman EDC joins other groups to bring jobs to region

HUNTERSVILLE – Marketing a geographic region is all about teamwork, according to one of the area’s economic development leaders.

“By working together, we can maximize effectiveness (in promoting the region),” said Ryan McDaniels, executive director for the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation.

McDaniels refers to The Lake Norman Region, a new partnership between EnergyUnited and the Lake Norman EDC, the Lincoln County Economic Development Association, the Mooresville-South Iredell EDC, the Catawba County EDC and Statesville Regional Development.

The groups started the collaborative in June. It focuses on how the organizations can bring growth, attention and business to the area through partnering in programs and promotions.

McDaniels said the Lake Norman EDC’s objective is to be a partner in the region’s attempts to market itself as a good place to live and do business.

“The goal is to increase awareness of the unique assets in our area,” he said. “Hopefully in five years, we will see increased jobs and investment due to our efforts.”

There are several ways to attract companies, said Robert Carney, executive director of the Mooresville-South Iredell EDC.

“The net goal as I see it is for us to showcase the Lake Norman area,” he said. “We can develop programs to work with developers, site consultants and brokers to bring projects to the region. Some of it is just the group working together to promote what each region offers.”

Lowe’s Corporation moved its headquarters to Mooresville in 2004. Ingersoll-Rand (Davidson) and Rubbermaid (Huntersville) also have a major presence in the area.

Borghetti Turbos, a Brazilian turbo diesel engine manufacturer, announced in May its intent to base its U.S. operations in Lincoln County.

Lincoln EDA Executive Director Cliff Brumfield said geographic differences set Lincoln County apart from other counties in the region: Its open space in the western portion, the business potential in Lincolnton and the ability to expand its business and residential bases in the eastern and Lake Norman area.

“The specific assets tied to the whole Lake Norman region are very worthy of this focused effort to market the area,” Brumfield said. “We’re all equals in it. We take advantage of the assets we have and do what we can to promote them.”

Carney said the collaborative has another objective once projects begin later this year.

“A lot of times when a project consultant or site consultant is looking for projects, the first place they’ll look is south Charlotte,” he said. “There are reasons for that: Population, workforce, and available resources. Our goal with this collaborative is to shift that focus to looking north, to have people consider the Lake Norman area (as a first choice).”

Carney expects a mid-September boating event to be one of the first opportunities to market the collaborative to prospective brokers, site consultants and developers.

Brumfield stressed it’s a group project, not an every-man-for-himself organization.

“Naturally, I’d like a quality project in our backyard,” he said. “If not, the second-best option is for it to be somewhere in the region.”