01/09/11 — Development Alliance campaign tops goal

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Development Alliance campaign tops goal

By From staff reports
Published in News on January 9, 2011 1:50 AM

The Wayne County Development Alliance's Impact Wayne Campaign has secured $1,488,750 in pledges -- 15 percent over its $1.3 million goal.

The alliance officially introduced the campaign and its five-year strategic plan to implement an aggressive public/private economic development initiative in the county last year during a public kick-off event.

Since that time it has continued to gather broad-based support from Wayne County municipalities, businesses and community organizations, securing commitments from 73 investors, said Joanna Helms, alliance president.

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

The campaign is the outgrowth of 2009'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 campaign's feasibility. It also looked at identifying leadership for the campaign.

"Compared to other campaigns that I have run around the country, this campaign really stood out to me by the heavy involvement and sacrifice of local business and community leaders," said Andy Coe of Convergent Nonprofit Solutions. "The early pace-setting commitments of Bill Bryan (Mt. Olive Pickle Co. president) and Jimmie Edmundson (of BB&T) set the stage for a successful campaign and we never looked back.

"As co-chairs of the campaign, Bill and Jimmie set the example that this really was an investment in the future of Wayne County and others followed their lead. The staff at WCDA was very proactive in helping finish this campaign on time and over goal -- not an easy thing to do in this current economy."

Bryan said the group was pleased with the support that has been demonstrated for the county's economic future.

"Wayne County business and civic leaders clearly understand the importance of positioning our community for opportunity and growth over the next five years," Bryan said.

"This plan and financial support will provide the Development Alliance with tools necessary bring industry and jobs to Wayne County," Edmundson said. "With unemployment rates at a recent all-time high, bringing jobs to the county is what it's all about.

"The local municipalities, businesses and community organizations agree and have pledged their support with pledges that surpassed our goal."

Initiatives outlined in the campaign include product development to identify and assess industrial sites for future development, education and workforce development and external marketing and recruiting to secure high-wage jobs in Wayne County.

Other initiatives include efforts to retain and assist existing industry as they expand, as well as to develop a comprehensive investor relations program to keep investors informed and engaged in all alliance initiatives.

Ms. Helms said that the alliance is cited as a leading economic development organization in North Carolina. It earned this recognition due to long-term consistency of leadership, innovative programming, and success in both recruitment and existing business retention and expansion, she said.

This long-range planning process is a continuation of the alliance's commitment to remaining on the leading edge of economic development, she said.

It drives a mission to stimulate the economic vitality of Wayne County and its municipalities through the attraction of new investment, the creation of new jobs, and the retention and expansion of existing businesses and industry, Ms. Helms added.

Program initiatives and budgets over the 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.waynealliance.org.