05/26/10 — Impact Wayne near reaching campaign goal

View Archive

Impact Wayne near reaching campaign goal

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 26, 2010 1:46 PM

Full Size


Impact Wayne Co-chairman Bill Bryan, left, explains how campaign leaders will use white porcelain piggy banks marked with numbers to announce how much money the campaign has raised -- $1,082,750 of a $1.3 million goal. From left are Bryan, president of Mt. Olive Pickle Co.; Sam Hunter, T.A. Loving Co.; Chuck Allen, Allen Grading Co. and Goldsboro mayor pro-tem; Danny Jackson, Jackson & Sons; Keith Gunnet, Wells Fargo Advisors; and John Seegars, Seegars Fence Co.

Pigs weren't flying at Tuesday night's Impact Wayne Campaign meeting. They were counting though, all the way to $1,082,750 to be exact -- the amount the Wayne County Development Alliance has raised toward the campaign's five-year $1.3 million goal.

The total, donated by 33 investors, was announced during a reception at which campaign division chairmen were handed white porcelain piggy banks marked with numbers. With a little help from guesses from the crowd and prompting by Alliance President Joanna Helms, the division leaders lined up in order to announce how much money had been raised.

Money isn't the only thing organizers are looking to raise, they hope to parlay the campaign into 2,000 new high-wage jobs over the next five years.

Campaign co-chairman Bill Bryan said he expects the $1.3 million goal will be surpassed.

"We have been very pleased with the response to the campaign thus far," said Bryan, the president of Mt. Olive Pickle Co. "Even though we have been through a difficult economic period, the businesses and organizations that we are approaching are really not looking backwards, they are looking forward to see what is in the future and they are willing to make an investment to help us to generate good jobs, improve the quality of life and maintain our tax base -- the things that all of us have a common interest in Wayne County.

"I have been slightly surprised, because we have been in a difficult economy and some businesses are still struggling, but the response from the leaders we have approached so far has just been extraordinary. Making an investment in economic development allows us to bring in businesses that hire more people. It provides more business services in the area it improves the quality of life. It provides a good tax base and helps maintain a reasonable tax rate all of those things benefit all of us in the long run."

Bryan said that Mt. Olive Pickle Co. is 80 years old and that when Wayne County grows there are more businesses and restaurants for the employees to utilize. They also have a tax rate that is affordable, he said.

"All of these things come from having good economic development and growth," he said.

Investor levels include: Platinum $50,000 and more; Gold, $25,000 to $49,999; Silver, $10,000 to $24,999 and Bronze, $2,000-$9,999.

Most of the money comes from private sources, businesses and industries. However, the city of Goldsboro and town of Mount Olive are participating as well. The city has agreed to provide $75,000 a year for the next five years beginning in fiscal 2011-12. Mount Olive is giving $7,500 annually.

"This is where the various Committees of 100 came together a few years ago, municipalities, the county government, private businesses and professionals, all started working together to have a common focus on economic development," Bryan said. "I think it will continue to pay dividends in the future. We will be well positioned when the economy does begin to improve and businesses and industries start to look to expand again."

The campaign is the outgrowth of last year's strategic planning process that included a community assessment to determine the county's assets and challenges.

Convergent Nonprofit Solutions was hired to assess the feasibility of a funding campaign in the county. More than 60 business and community leaders from both the public and private sectors were interviewed to gauge support for the plan. It also looked at identifying leadership for the campaign. The results of the surveys showed the effort would be supported.

The "quiet phase" was rolled out early this year and will continue through August. Over the next five years the plan calls for implementation of "an aggressive public/private economic development initiative" in the county.

"The environment for economic development is rapidly changing," said the group's vice chairman, Keith Gunnet. "While our military community continues to hold a cornerstone presence within Wayne County, we must continue our efforts to diversify our local economy, to capitalize on our attractive work force, and to boost our wages across the board. After lengthy preparation, I am excited to say our new economic development addresses each of these issues."

Gunnet thanked the county for its support of the Alliance and its funding of operational expenses such as salaries, benefits and some miscellaneous administrative costs.

Dr. Ed Wilson, a co-chairman for the Bronze Division, spoke on behalf of Jimmie Edmundson, who serves along with Bryan as co-chairman of the campaign. Wilson said the Alliance is asking for "investments, not donations." Boosting employment by 2,000 jobs with average salaries of $33,000 would also generate another 1,703 indirect jobs, he said.

"Based on the earnings level of the targeted jobs, the net projected consumer expenditures will increase by over $57 million per year in Wayne County," Wilson said.

The campaign will continue through August.

Program initiatives and budgets over five years include:

* Product development, $350,000

* Education and workforce development, $125,000

* External marketing and recruiting, $375,000

* Business retention and expansion, $225,000

* Investor relations and development, $125,000

* Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, $100,000

For more information on the plan visit the Alliance website at www.wayne alliance.org.