SEDC Holds 46th Annual Meeting at
Economic Development Commission (SEDC) held
their 46th Annual Meeting Tuesday at Lu Mil
near Dublin. SEDC represents 12
counties from Richmond to Pender, Brunswick
and New Hanover. SEDC offices are located
in Elizabethtown. Pamela Bostic is the
Executive Director and Greg Icard of
Scotland County is the current Chairman.
included Steve Yost, President of North
Carolina Southeast and Icard, Director of
Scotland County EDC.
The Keynote Speaker was Dan
Gerlach, President of Golden Leaf
Yost spoke about a
recent effort on the part of his
organization to look at the strengths and
weaknesses of local work forces in the
region. He said despite the downturn
in the economy, the region had experienced a
net job growth. Healthcare is second to
government in jobs in the area.
"Most of the increase in government jobs was
the increased military presence," according
to Yost. Third is manufacturing. According
to Yost, there are 37,000 to 38,000 jobs in
the region. Available buildings and
sites in the area are listed on the N.C.
Southeast website. He stressed that
local EDC Directors were very involved in
his efforts to market the 12 county region.
Icard spoke about the efforts of Scotland
County to market their area. He shared
their effort, 'Scotland County Small
Business Center', and said they followed a
plan by Chuck Heustess and Bladen County.
He said Scotland was being proactive and
aggressive. In the summer of 2010, his
group applied for and received $800,000 from
EDA, $200,000 from Golden Leaf and used
$200,000 of local funds. The
Partnership built a 12,800 square foot
facility and a new company now occupies the
new building. Without the plan and the
dollars, he said, there was no way they
could be where they are today.
Gerlach, President of Golden Leaf was the
Keynote Speaker. He is no stranger to
Bladen County and the SEDC area.
He said Golden Leaf Foundation has invested
$34 million in the area in the past 24
months. Community Colleges, Duke
Energy Foundation, Public Schools and were
among the benefactors. Gerlach said
Golden Leaf would invest in 24 - 4 year
scholarships in the area, the official
announcement should be coming shortly. He
said investment in healthcare was important.
Speaking about newcomers coming to the area,
if you don't have good healthcare they most
likely will not come or if they come will
not stay. He cited the good work being
done by Campbell University. Golden
Leaf offers leadership development, paid
internships, and more to entice young folks
to get a good education and return to rural
eastern North Carolina.
Golden Leaf go next?"...According to
Gerlach, the last session of the North
Carolina Legislation cut off all future
funds from the tobacco buyout that had been
in place for many years. "We will not
grow as fast as we have in the past to meet
the needs of the area. "We will try to
get some of the funds back, but not in the
next session," he added. The majority
of his board has been on-board for less than
2 years.. Approximately $40 million
will be invested in water and sewer grants
for tier one counties in the next year.
Over 300 grants were made last year. He
announced that $10 million to $12 million
dollars in grant money will be available in
the 12 county area. Golden Leaf is
looking for the 3 best projects in the area
to fund. It will amount to about $1.5
million per county but it will be
competitive and every tier will be eligible
and multi-county projects are eligible.
"Everybody hates the tier system," he added.
It's not good, but OK. Some of the
money will be for grants, economic
development, workforce training and
While the employment
rate is decreasing in the state, 3/4 of the
new jobs are in Wake and Mecklenburg
counties, according to the speaker. He
said he is meeting every Monday with
Department of Commerce folks on ways to make
it (EDC) better. It's not working yet,
but we are getting there." He
responded to a question related to whether
North Carolina was spending more time
on bringing in new businesses or helping
grow local business. "Grow more
local businesses" was his reply.
Following the speeches, the members
re-elected the current slate of officers
including Greg Icard of Scotland as
Chairman....Gary Lanier of Columbus as
Vice Chair and Chuck Heustess of Bladen as