Summer 2016

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From the Director

Craft brewing may still conjure up images of home brewers working out of garages, but in reality it has become a $56 billion industry and economic growth engine, employing more than 424,000 nationwide. North Carolina ranked 15th in the U.S. in craft-brewery economic impact in 2014, employing 9,522 at an average salary of $39,304 for an overall economic impact of $1.2 billion.

If attendance at this year's Craft Brewery Conference in Philadelphia is any indication, the industry's growth has accelerated since 2014. There were 800 exhibitors and 13,000 attendees this year, up from 9,000 last year. Apart from their appeal to consumers, craft brewpubs have become important quality-of-life markers for companies considering relocating to an area, according to several presenters at the recent NC East Alliance State of the Region 2016 in Greenville.

Elizabeth City doesn't have a brewpub (yet), but it has all the characteristics to support one. The American Brewers Guild recently itemized the characteristics of a successful brewpub based on a survey of its members. Elizabeth City scores well in 19 of the 22 identified characteristics ranging from household income to successful restaurants in the area to utility requirements. When the mid-Currituck Bridge is completed a few years hence, the number will jump to 20.

More information on why Elizabeth City is the perfect place for a brewpub, as well as specs on downtown buildings especially adaptable to craft brewing, can be found on our website . Spread the word!

Wayne Harris
Director, ECPCEDC
Amazon Wind Farm Update at C100 Meeting, August 3
If you've driven U.S. 17 North or its by-pass lately, you have no doubt seen progress at the site of the future Amazon Wind Farm US East, powered by AVANGRID, Inc. (formerly Iberdrola Renewables). Spanning farm fields in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, the Wind Farm will be the first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina, and one of the first in the southeastern United States, when it begins generating power in December. For an update on the major economic development project, join the Committee of 100's quarterly business luncheon, Aug. 3 at 12 p.m. at Montero's Restaurant. Craig Poff, project developer of AVANGRID, will provide the details. Cost for the luncheon is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Please RSVP to Kathy Harris at to reserve your spot!
Wireless Broadband Service Coming to Elizabeth City 
Discussions are in the works between the City of Elizabeth City and Eastern Shore Communications that aim to create a more competitive environment for broadband service in the "Harbor of Opportunity." Eastern Shore Communications proposes to deploy point-to-point wireless broadband technology mounted on City water towers and other City infrastructure, all tied into the fiber network laid as a result of the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative . The bottom line? If you live and operate a business in Elizabeth City, you could soon have more options with more competitive pricing when selecting an internet service provider. For economic developers, it will be a great marketing tool to lure new business to the area, especially small and mid-sized commercial establishments. Pending completion of contract negotiations and approval by City Council, construction of the network could begin as early as this fall.
100 Years of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation
Celebrating a centennial of distinguished aviation service by the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Elizabeth City Regional Airport will present "100 Years of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation," Saturday, Aug. 6 from 10:00am- 3:00pm on the airport grounds. The special occasion will feature an airshow and displays of U.S. Coast Guard and general aviation aircraft, including an HC-130J and MH-60T, while showcasing the missions and people of Air Station Elizabeth City, one of the largest   U.S. Coast Guard air stations in the Continental United States. Held at the General Aviation Terminal at 1028 Consolidated Road in Elizabeth City, the event is free and open to the public. Visit for details. 
Send Us Your Business News!
For our Social Media Business Information Network, we are gathering regional business and economic development-related news to share in this quarterly  Developments e-newsletter and on our social media sites. Please send along information that would be of interest to northeastern North Carolina's economic development stakeholders, municipalities, business owners, prospective businesses and employees. We are interested in hearing about:

*  Business openings and expansions
*  Business workshops and seminars
*  Continuing education opportunities
*  Grant announcements
*  Ground-breaking events
*  Major business announcements
*  Workforce development news
*  Special events with a focus on business
*  Items of interest that would appeal to 
   those who follow local and regional
   business news

Please send your news for consideration to

Master's Project Offers Recommendations to Improve Elizabeth City
To foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County, the region's leaders must make a concerted effort to build a talent pipeline, create an enabling environment for small businesses and attract new sources of investment capital.

These top-line recommendations were the outcome of a Master's Project for Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy developed for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Economic Development Commission (ECPCEDC). Jonathan Meyer, a student in the Sanford School of Public Policy and project author, presented the report to the region's business leaders last month.

Meyer used quantitative and qualitative research, including a primary survey provided by  InnovateNC , a two-year, cross-city, learning collaborative tasked with establishing and maintaining innovation ecosystems for its participating cities. Results of the data analyzed led to Meyer's conclusion - that fostering entrepreneurship and innovation must be a communal endeavor in which entrepreneurs, private businesses, nonprofits, educational leadership and policymakers work together - with the following recommendations:

1. Follow through with current effort to bring affordable broadband to the area.
2. Establish an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council.
3. Establish and subsidize a business incubator space/innovation hub downtown.
4. Draw capital to the region by providing tax credits to small businesses.
5. Implement a transportation initiative to bring people to Elizabeth City's downtown.
6. Encourage affordable housing policies and practices.
7. Hire a marketing firm to create and launch a new City website specifically geared toward entrepreneurs and innovators.

Meyers' recommendations became the launch point for a June 21 community workshop on innovation at Elizabeth City State University. After that meeting, ECSU Chancellor Thomas Conway told participants, "I feel confident that together we will build greater opportunities as we build, enhance, measure, advocate and share our innovation infrastructure from the bottom up." The ECPCEDC applauds the Chancellor's leadership and shares his optimism. View the Master's Project presentation HERE
New Chamber President Reports to Work this Month  
There is a new face at the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce. Michael "Mike" Hindenach reported to work this month as its new president.The former economic developer of Marshall, Mich. has experience in recruiting and retaining businesses, in addition to having a strong background in finance, accounting and human resources. Hindenach served as the ex-officio member of the Marshall area Chamber of Commerce.  Accordingly to Elizabeth City Chamber Board President Chris Purcell, "Mike will be an excellent addition to not only our organization, but the area and community as a whole." He replaces Kelly Thorsby, who resigned in April.
Changes at Elizabeth City Regional Airport
The Elizabeth City Pasquotank County Airport Authority has appointed ECPCEDC Director Wayne Harris to serve as interim airport manager at Elizabeth City Regional Airport (ECG). Harris will assume the additional duties for approximately 90 days as the Authority searches for a managing director to succeed departing Director Dion Viventi, who is relocating to Rocky Mount, N.C. for a new job that will bring him closer to family.

"Wayne is familiar with key airport issues and has excellent relations with our major partners and support institutions - the County, the City of Elizabeth City, the U.S. Coast Guard, Elizabeth City State University, College of the Albermarle and policy makers in Raleigh and Washington," said Authority Chairman Don Parks. "His willingness to take this on gives the Authority time to search for and select the best possible managing director to succeed Dion."

For his part, Harris said he was happy to help assure a smooth transition at ECG, adding, "The Elizabeth City Regional Airport is absolutely the local economic engine with most growth potential."

For more Elizabeth City biz news and views, visit


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Headquartered in Elizabeth City, N.C., the Elizabeth City  |  Pasquotank County EDC markets business opportunities in the City of Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County to prospective employers throughout the United States. It's location in the center of northeastern North Carolina makes the area ideally suited for business development, expansion and relocation. 

For information, go to or call at 1-888-338-1678 or (252) 338-0169.