FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2019
CARY, N.C. ― The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) has hired Duplin County’s economic development director to support business prosperity and growth in a 12-county region of Southeast North Carolina.
On Monday, James Wolfe, executive director of the Duplin County Economic Development Commission, becomes the EDPNC’s new Southeast existing industry expansions manager. Wolfe will work on the state’s behalf to support economic development in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Duplin, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Pamlico and Wayne counties.
“It’s been a privilege to lead Duplin County’s economic development efforts for the past eight years, and it is a strong foundation for the regional work I’ll be doing,” Wolfe said. “I’m excited to be a part of the EDPNC and having an even broader impact in helping to grow this part of North Carolina.”
Wolfe will be the state’s point person for existing industry support in the Southeast zone, working with local businesses to help identify and solve issues that stand in the way of their growth. The state divides its 100 counties into eight regional zones, where it deploys resources to assist individuals and companies in areas ranging from industry support and workforce development to transportation and environmental issues.
Wolfe, who grew up and lives in the small town of Calypso in Duplin County, has been the county’s economic development director since 2011. His achievements there include helping to recruit a $22-million, 50-job expansion by United States Cold Storage in Warsaw. He also worked to secure a $3 million state grant that helped poultry processor House of Raeford rebuild its Wallace operation after a 2017 fire.
“He will be doing that type of thing and more on a regional level for the EDPNC,” said John Loyack, vice president of global business services for the EDPNC, which performs a variety of economic development functions on the state’s behalf. “His deep knowledge of Southeast North Carolina, including its rural communities, is a great asset.”
The EDPNC has eight existing industry expansions managers, each of whom lives and works within their respective zones. They help local businesses solve problems that cost them in efficiency or revenue, better positioning them to grow. They also coordinate local and state program support when these companies are ready to launch expansions.
The EDPNC team connects businesses to local, state and federal resources that help them find qualified workers, secure grants to renovate or expand existing buildings, improve manufacturing processes, reduce waste and more. Each manager visits roughly 150 businesses a year, to build relationships with leadership and tour facilities.
“We want these businesses to personally know who to call when they need state support,” Loyack said. “We’re the gateway to a variety of critical programs supporting local industry success, and ultimately the ability to create new jobs.”
In 2018, the EDPNC regional managers, working with local and state partners, assisted 1,161 businesses. That work included supporting 76 expansion projects expected to create 3,256 new jobs and $1.14 billion in new investment across the state. The team also helped recruit seven new businesses announcing 190 new jobs and $111 million in investment.