Are we on the “Pathway to Prosperity”?

PathwaysTitlePageIf you have followed CFEDC and Regional Economic Development for any length of time, you would be aware that regional stakeholders paid Garner Economics to product the report Pathways to Prosperity in early 2014.  Within weeks of the release of the report, CFEDC held a public event and invited stakeholders to discuss strategies for investment and collaboration with an eye toward accomplishing the goals set out in the report.  The US economy has taken some turns, and the regional economy is arguably stronger than in early 2014; nonetheless, the Pathways to Prosperity report remains the current and data-driven analysis of the region’s strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats.

In at least one way, the Pathways to Prosperity analysis and report is a mirror of our region.   Not surprisingly, analysts recommended continuing to invest in trying to attract industries that have already proven their success in our region.  Similarly, the report presents as one of the biggest opportunities for the region the large undeveloped tracts of land in the region’s industrial corridor along highway 421 North of Wilmington.Optimal-Targets

In another way, the report is aspirational, in that it talks about opportunities for growth in economic sectors that no one but economic development professionals and participants in that sector would be aware of.   These unrecognized trends could present opportunities for investment in workforce development, utilities, regulatory changes, etc.

So, we’ve been asking ourselves…what steps have been taken to capitalize on the insights stakeholders and the community paid Garner to provide us?  Have the recommendations been taken seriously, and have they been acted upon?

What do you think?


Now that’s grounded: Alliance for Cape Fear Trees

Cape Fear Economic Development Council Director Paul Pascarosa took part in a tree-planting last week as a member of the newly formed Alliance for Cape Fear Trees, which has as its mission the actual planting of trees in places that need them.

Pascarosa and other committee members met at Greenfield Lake to plant six red-bud trees donated by the garden club in an effort to improve the urban forest. Pascarosa, who’s served the community in a number of ways as a resident here, really favors this his hands-on, tangible approach to making a difference in the area.

See the following news item from the Wilmington Star News for more information and to become involved.

Press Release: Cape Fear Economic Development Council Announces Changes to its Board of Directors

For Immediate Release:

Wilmington, North Carolina – January 26, 2016 – The CFEDC announced that Scott Johnson has been appointed chairman of the board of directors. Paul Pascarosa has been appointed vice-chairman. Additionally, Bruce Holsten and Dana Brancato‐Daeche have now joined the board. CFEDC has a total of 12 board members.

“CFEDC continues to foster collaboration and economic development in our area, and I am honored to have the opportunity in this new role,” said Johnson. “I look forward to working with stakeholders across the greater Wilmington area to expand our shared regional vision.”

“I am continually impressed with the caliber of people in our community and the passionate commitment those people demonstrate to enhancing quality of life here. Outgoing CFEDC chair, Hillary Hoggard Meinheit, illustrated these qualities in spades, as does this new group of CFEDC board members, officers and community leaders. I am excited about what we will accomplish together in 2016!” Lloyd Smith, co-founder of CFEDC.

ScottScott Johnson has been with Marriott International Corporate Headquarters in Bethesda, MD, for 12 years and currently works in the Global Communications & Public Affairs department. Prior to joining Marriott, Johnson was the founder and chief executive officer of an online ecommerce auction company. Johnson earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and a master’s degree through Harvard’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Program. Additionally, he also serves on the Sustainability Technologies Program Advisory Committee at Cape Fear Community College. He has lived, with his wife and two children, in Wilmington, NC since 2005.

Pascarosa cropPaul Pascarosa has been in the environmental consulting industry since 2004 and has a degree in environmental science from UNCW. In August 2014, he founded Headwater Environmental, Inc. (HEnv), an environmental consulting firm based in Wilmington with numerous projects throughout the region. Pascarosa also is a member of the Society of Wetland Scientists, National Association of Environmental Professionals, and Wilmington Downtown, Inc. While running a company and forming client relationships, Pascarosa is busy with his growing family. His wife is a teacher at Blair Elementary, and they have two young children.

BruceHolstenBruce Holsten is Managing Director of American Harbor Capital Strategies Ltd, a strategic management and political consulting firm. He has been directly involved with M&A, equity and venture-based capital funding for numerous for-profit and nonprofit companies and organizations around the world. A native North Carolinian, he began his professional career as Assistant to the Mayor of Chapel Hill, NC before moving overseas to London, and then Johannesburg, South Africa. His professional career includes lengthy stints in international finance, investment banking and venture capital with a focus on mining, manufacturing, entertainment and hospitality. He returned to North Carolina after 18 years abroad where he became CEO of the Research Triangle-based integrated marketing communications firm, Woodward, Hastings & Holsten Ltd, serving multinational companies including Glaxo, Nortel, Burroughs-Wellcome, Sarah Lee, the University of North Carolina System and Duke Hospitals, as well as helping launch the North Carolina World Trade Center. In 2002, Holsten founded the American Harbor Group in Wilmington, NC, which consisted of mortgage, insurance and real estate companies. He serves on numerous Boards and committees including the Greater Wilmington and Pleasure Island Chambers of Commerce; North Carolina Coastal Federation Board of Advisors; New Hanover County Comprehensive Land Use Planning Committee; New Hanover County Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and the southeastern NC FOCUS initiative and is founder and president of the Pleasure Island Foundation for a Sustainable Community.

DanaDana Brancato‐Daeche is a television and commercial producer with a career in television spanning more than a decade. Brancato‐Daeche has produced all around the world for major companies such as HBO, Ann Taylor LOFT, Benefit Cosmetics, and PYPO. A resident of Wilmington for 15 years, Brancato-Daeche sees the potential in her hometown and is passionate about bringing better paying jobs to the area and increasing incentives for first time small business owners. For the past year, she has also become a vocal advocate for raising awareness of the arts and culture scene in Wilmington. She was nominated as one of Wilma magazine’s Women to Watch for 2015 and also serves on the board of directors for the Wilmington Wine & Food Festival.

About the Cape Fear Economic Development Council (CFEDC)
Founded in 2009, the CFEDC brings together community leaders, industry, and the public to foster collaboration, transparency, inspiration and alignment around a shared regional vision. Our vision is to foster a thriving community and destination that serves as an exceptional place to live, work, learn, and play.  We envision a sustainable and innovative economy that enhances the region’s beauty and cultural resources while meeting the needs of an engaged, creative, informed, and generous people.

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Postscript: Renewable Energy and North Carolina

On Aug. 25, 20015 at the WHQR Gallery in Wilmington, NC, the Cape Fear Economic Development Council presented a panel discussion “Renewable Energy and North Carolina: Challenges, Barriers, Policy, and Economic Opportunities.”

Attendees learned how North Carolina can become the epicenter for renewable energy and gain an understanding about the opportunities and challenges that are associated with this economic boom for the state.

Scott Johnson, CFEDC Board Member moderated. (Introduction slides)

Panelists for the event:

This expert panel discussed challenges, barriers, policy and economic opportunities for the state and our region relating to renewable energy development. A video of the event appears below.