It’s nearly impossible to think about economic development within the context of one calendar year. Economic development is a long-term process where a grind of daily activity eventually culminates in the excitement of successful projects. Relationships created in one year may translate into success a decade later, but sometimes success in economic development can occur within weeks. There are a number of measures of success to assess our organization’s performance. If you measure our success through the metrics of relationship building and project announcements, this was our strongest year to date.
In 2022-2023, our organization sought to further define our ‘success,’ and we challenged the idea that new investment and job creation were the only metric that could gauge our progress in a community that demands a unique approach to economic development. Transylvania County is ripe with culture, quality of place and extreme natural capital but these traits also complicate tax base diversification and employment growth – what makes Transylvania County such a remarkable place strongly defines the scope and challenge of the Alliance’s work.
Our short-term strategic plan was developed internally by our Board of Directors to align with our community’s values, assets, and challenges. It’s a vision of effective economic development for our community that, at times, will facilitate the most tangible and celebrated by-product of our work: project announcements.
As we work to implement this plan, announcements will occur along the way, but those are mere indicators that the long-term process is headed in the right direction. We think that leadership, visibility, consensus building, and infrastructure investment are equally important. We greatly appreciate the service of our outstanding Board members, the partnership of our local elected officials, and the engagement of our external stakeholders and investors. Economic Development is the ultimate team sport, and our future is bright because of the amazing team assembled to do this work with passion.
To lead responsible economic development, through engaging the private and public sectors to develop community assets that are needed to maximize opportunities for investment and quality job creation.
To achieve a dynamic business climate resulting in stable, well-paying jobs and opportunities allowing residents to live fulfilling lives in a thriving place.
STRATEGIC PLANNING RETREAT
In September of 2022, the TEA Board of Directors and Staff commenced an internal strategic planning process to craft a guiding document that would provide intentional focus and prioritization to the work of the TEA. To ensure we developed a plan that works for our wonderfully unique community, the TEA engaged Sanford Holshouser Economic Development Consulting to provide technical expertise and facilitate our board members developing a strategy tightly focused on Transylvania County’s opportunities, challenges and unique cultural and natural landscape. The result was an aggressive short term action plan that is distinctively Transylvania County.
Survival Innovations announced its expansion and location to Transylvania County in early Summer 2022. The company purchased and will renovate a building in Brevard, investing $650,000 and creating 11 new jobs. The facility will serve as the company’s machining center for products assembled at their second factory in Mills River.
In July, Pisgah Laboratories announced a $55,000,000 expansion of their facility in Transylvania County. Owned by India-based Ipca Laboratories, the facility will expand to become Ipca’s primary US manufacturing facility to rapidly introduce products to US customers and commercialize production. The expansion will create 57 new jobs with an average salary of $60,088.
Gaia Herbs continued its pattern of investing in Transylvania County with a $4,500,000 expansion in 2022-2023 constructing a new greenhouse. The greenhouse begins the lifecycle for the cultivation of Gaia’s products, which are transplanted and grown on their farm before being processed and manufactured into market-leading herbal supplements.
IMPACT TO TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY
New Jobs Created
Estimated Annual County Tax Results
Estimated Economic Output by Other Industries in Transylvania County
Projects categorized as "Canceled" indicate postponement or termination, often due to market shifts or customer attrition. A "Lost" project, in our case, signifies Transylvania County was a contender but ultimately not chosen. "Lead" denotes projects that have not physically visited Transylvania County yet but have engaged with TEA. An "Active Project" refers to those currently evaluating real estate options.
Specific instances of "Lead – No Inventory" underscores TEA's inability to provide real estate details due to the lack of available sites or buildings for potential ventures, highlighting the significance of product development.
*due to lack of inventory in Transylvania County
BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION
Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) is a key element of an economic development program, typically 80% of new investment and job creation comes from existing employers.
Hunter Jones manages the TEA's BR&E program, and conducts formal, annual outreach (BR&E Visits) to our industry base and works daily to troubleshoot issues and help employs connect with resources to support their operation, while removing barriers for growth and and expansion (Industry Activities).
Director of Business Development
GRANTS SECURED FOR BR&E PROGRAM
$30,000NC Commerce Building Reuse Grant for Survival Innovations
$40,000 Biotechnology Partnership Development Grant for Raybow USA
MANUFACTURING DAY 2022
The TEA coordinated the first ever Manufacturing (MFG) Day in Transylvania County in 2022. MFG Day is observed on the first Friday in October and exposes students to manufacturing careers and the variety of occupations employed in manufacturingThis year, 20 students from TCPS and educators toured TVS, Smith Systems, and Gaia Herbs.
CERTIFIED WORKFORCE DEVELOPER
Hunter Jones participated in an innovative pilot program with regional partners to explore long-term regional workforce development solutions. Through this program, the TEA became one the first economic development organizations with a Certified Workforce Developer on its staff!
THE FOREIGN TRADE ZONE #301
The TEA hosted an information session for employers this summer in partnership with Land of Sky Regional Council to help Transylvania County industries understand how to take advantage of this transformative trade asset for our region. Hunter serves on the Advisory Board for FTZ #301.
EXTERNAL MARKETING & ATTRACTION
Our marketing campaigns are directed towards a wide variety of audiences: real estate professionals, developers, consultants and to companies directly. We utilize various techniques to promote Transylvania County which can include digital marketing, social media, trade shows and online real estate databases. We also travel with our partners in western North Carolina to market our region as CarolinaWest, a regional economic development marketing association consisting of Transylvania, Henderson, Buncombe, Madison, Mitchell, Yancey and Haywood County.
2023 Marketing Campaigns by Audience
Site Selection Consultants:2
Commercial Real Estate Professionals:12
Economic Development Partnership of NC: 3
Digital Marketing Campaigns: 3
Trade Show: 1
FUNDRAISING & INVESTOR ENGAGEMENT
In July of 2022 the TEA launched its' first dedicated capital campaign to increase the organization’s private funds. The TEA is a public-private 501(c)(3) nonprofit created in 2014. Transylvania County championed the financial support of the TEA, but as a community resource intended to be supported by the public and private sectors, it was time to fully realize that part of our structure.
WHY LAUNCH A CAPITAL CAMPAIGN?
To Preserve Our Future
A coordinated Economic Development program ensures our local economy can survive (and thrive) during global economic cycles. Private investment diversifies our funding and protects the TEA’s operation and existence.
To Strengthen Our Brand
There are 30,000+ communities across the US competing for economic development projects. Private investment allows us to expand the reach of our brand and aggressively market and promote our community to the outside world.
To Grow Our Capacity
TEA was unable to respond to a large volume of projects representing $20 Billion in new investment and 25,000 jobs due to lack of industrial real estate inventory. Our organization needs more staff resources so we can build a more competitive community. We can’t help champion other challenges like housing, workforce and broadband without a larger team.
To Engage Our Community
Our organization believes good things happen when decision-makers and movers and shakers are in the same room. Private investment allows us to facilitate meaningful and high-value networking events with investors and stakeholders in our community.
Transylvania County (Public Investor)
(high point of Transylvania county, 6040')
Blue Ridge Community College | Duke Energy | Dominion Energy | Comporium | ERC Broadband | DD Bullwinkel’s Outdoors | New Living Landscapes
Ramsey, Pratt, Camenzind & Daniel, P.A. | First Citizens Bank | Gaia Herbs
Looking Glass ROCK
Merrill Lynch | Looking Glass Realty | Oskar Blues Brewery | Petit Properties