Despite recent decisions by three industries to open manufacturing plants in Mount Airy, the lead economic-development agency in Surry County isn’t about to rest on its laurels on the basis of that success.
Instead, the Surry Economic Development Partnership (EDP) is planning to launch an ambitious effort with the start of the new year which it hopes will lead to more jobs generated locally.
“We’re working on a new marketing plan, and getting a new marketing committee,” EDP President Todd Tucker said of various strategies planned for 2010 by the organization. It works with Surry’s four municipalities and the county government to seek industry through a public-private partnership.
Tucker said the overall goal of upcoming efforts is to be “a little bit more proactive” in recruiting new industry to the county, “just increasing our presence.”
One part of the plan will involve spending more time on the road trying to generate prospects, which Tucker said could mean trips to Charlotte and the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina and meetings with site-selection consultants.
Tucker, who has been EDP president for less than six months, explained that a constant multi-faceted approach is needed by the organization in a recruitment climate that is more competitive than ever.
Along with additional efforts involving “beating the bushes” Tucker said the EDP will take full advantage of all other resources to generate prospects. This will include updating its marketing materials, and making changes to the organization’s Web site.
“We might get involved with social media like Twitter and Facebook and just some things like that,” Tucker said of Internet communications tools that are helping average people stay in touch but also are seeing increased use in the business community.
In a recent update to the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners concerning the EDP’s work, Tucker said there has been heightened activity recently by companies expressing an interest in establishing operations in Surry County. More are coming, looking and “kicking the tires, so to speak,” he said.
Tucker said this increased interest also has been accompanied by wide ranges in the types of businesses investigating Surry, which have included operations such as call centers in addition to traditional manufacturing entities. “So it’s across the board,” he added.
In the last four months of 2009, announcements came from three companies agreeing to launch operations in Mount Airy: Central States Manufacturing Inc. in September, Catalina Tempering in November and Granite Tactical in December.
An announcement is pending from a fourth company, which sources say is a bakery manufacturer, regarding a potential expansion at Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park.
Before coming to Surry County, Tucker worked for more than 15 years in various economic-development roles with entities including the N.C. Department of Commerce and Progress Energy.
“He has definitely hit the ground running,” said Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran.
Contact Tom Joyce at email@example.com or at 719-1924.