First Posted: 2/26/2009
Cultural resources, education and quality of life were the center piece of North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Criscos message to the more than 100 attendees of the 14th annual Surry Economic Development Partnership Inc. meeting Thursday.
Although Crisco has only been serving as commerce secretary for six weeks under the direction of Gov. Beverly Perdue, he already has a strong vision for growth not only for North Carolina, but for localities such as Surry County as well.
I am very encouraged about the number of prospects we have in our pipeline. Weve had a lot of inquiries from California and New Jersey. If they are going to come somewhere, they might as well come here, Crisco said.
Crisco stressed that North Carolina must brand itself as being friendly to the world.
You have done a great job here with tourism. Tourism is our second leading industry with agriculture being first. Surry County brought in $83 million dollars in tourism last year, Crisco said.
He said that Surry County is a leader in the state for development of the wine industry.
We brag about you in Raleigh. You are talked about and you should be because it is a real entrepreneurial success story and it will be bigger, he said.
Crisco said his focus on bringing industry to North Carolina will have more of a global feel.
Commerce is already more strategic. We are not going to be all things to all people. There are industries we can not compete in and we should not try to compete in. But we will be strong, Crisco said.
Payroll for biotechnology jobs in North Carolina was $10 billion, Crisco said.
Thats staggering. Massachusetts, California and North Carolina are the leaders in bio-tech in the United States today and we are not stopping.
Crisco said one of Surry Countys greatest assets is quality of life. He also stressed the importance of early childhood education and the countys cultural resources.
Crisco asked the crowd, What does the future hold?
He responded by saying, Leadership bold leadership, this town, this community, North Carolina, needs bold leadership, not business as it was, Crisco said.
During the luncheon, existing industries were honored for expansion. Bryon Wurdeman, the owner of the Dobson facility Piedmont Medical, was honored for expanding his company into Mount Airy. Wurdeman purchase the old Holland Bulb/KDH facility at 1616 Forest Drive, across from Wal-Mart in April 2008. The 70,000 square-foot facility positions Wurdeman for 2009 expansion and job creation, EDP Vice President Jan Critz said.
Harvest Time Bread Company purchased the lease on the facility formerly operated by Gerards Bakery in Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park. Harvest Time, based in Woodbridge, N.J., manufacturers all-natural artisan breads, organic rolls and other natural bread products for distribution through retailers and food service operations. All the employees at Gerards Bakery were offered employment at Harvest Time. The company has expanded the workforce to 74 employees, Critz said.
Advanced Compressor Technology recently announced their relocation to Pilot Mountain. They have upgraded to a 18,000-square-foot facility, which will enable them to accommodate customers needs more efficiently, Critz added.
True Technologies acquired Interface Fabrics in June 2008.
We appreciate the companys continued presence in the Elkin community. True Textiles also has operations in Maine, Michigan and South Carolina, Critz said.
Carl Strickler and Michael Freeman of Fibrowatt were also honored for their commitment to bring industry to Surry County.
Advanced Electronic Services was honored for expanding and consolidating its business in Mount Airy.
Mount Airy Commissioner Dean Brown said he is excited about the future industrial possibilities in Surry County.
Good things are coming. I think if people will just be patient good things are coming, Brown said.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.