About WCED

Meet the Team

Adrienne Cole, Executive Director

Adrienne leads and oversees WCED’s economic development program and staff.

With more than 17 years of economic development experience, Cole previously served as the executive director of Raleigh Economic Development, economic development director and county planner for Pamlico County, NC, and as the executive director of the Carteret County Economic Development Council. Most recently she was the business development director for Lend Lease, an international development and construction firm.

Adrienne was born in Raleigh and grew up in New Bern, NC, and holds a BA from Meredith College and an MPA from Appalachian State University. She and her husband Walt and their three kids enjoy the NC Museum of Art, Wake County’s 100+ greenway trails and the overall accessibility and quality of life the area offers.


Michael Haley, Director of Business Recruitment and Expansion

Michael leads WCED’s comprehensive expansion, recruitment, and relocation efforts focused on four key market segments: Information Technology, Life Sciences, Cleantech, and Advanced Manufacturing.

Prior to joining WCED, Michael led strategic economic development policy efforts for the North Carolina Department of Commerce as the Director of Public Policy.

Michael is a native North Carolinian growing up in Jacksonville before earning a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a MA in Public Policy from East Carolina University. He and his family love to root on the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and play whatever sport is in season.  


Ashley Cagle, Director of Talent and Product Development

Ashley oversees and implements WCED’s talent attraction, retention and cultivation strategy, largely anchored by our Work in the Triangle initiative. This includes identification and cultivation of workforce partners and relationships, exploring and demonstrating the talent pipeline in Wake County, and communicating about our efforts as a resource to prospective and existing companies and key stakeholders.

Ashley also oversees WCED’s Site Assessment Program which helps municipalities within Wake County identify and prioritize land for industrial development. Leveraging a network of relationships, WCED is able to provide instrumental guidance to municipal partners with the goal of having client-ready product.

Prior to joining WCED, Ashley was the Executive Director of the Montgomery County (NC) Economic Development Corporation. Successes during her time in Montgomery County include: securing options on a 3,000 acre mega park which received an NC Site Certification designation, completion of the Duke Site Readiness Program, and expansion of an aseptic food processor which created 500 jobs in rural North Carolina.  

Born and raised in Richmond County, NC on her parents' farm, Ashley holds a BA in Organizational Communications from UNC-Charlotte and a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She loves living and working in Wake County because she is able to live in one place and work in another with easy commutes and endless opportunities for family-friendly activities.


 Morgan High, Marketing and Public Relations Manager

Morgan leads and manages WCED’s internal and external communication, marketing and public relations strategies. She is primarily responsible for WCED’s national media campaign, local public relations initiatives, and digital and traditional marketing efforts to increase brand awareness of Raleigh, Wake County and the Triangle as a top place for talent and business.

Prior to joining WCED, Morgan was the public relations and communications manager for Community Care of North Carolina, managing digital marketing initiatives, strategic public relations and communication campaigns for the organization’s healthcare IT and analytics lines. Morgan also has prior experience leading projects with clients including IBM, GE and Lowes Home Improvement for a digital marketing agency.  

Born and raised in Kill Devil Hills, NC, Morgan holds a BS in Communication from East Carolina University and a MS in Communication from NC State University. She loves living and working in Wake County due to its geographic location two hours from the beach and two hours from the mountains while having access to greenway trails, awesome local eateries, craft beer and live music. Morgan is a self-proclaimed choc-o-holic and loves to travel with her husband, Casey.


John Reid Sidebotham, Project Manager

As a key member of WCED’s business recruitment and expansion team, John Reid manages all aspects of the business recruitment and expansion process and contributes to the overall BRE strategy. He also leads efforts around WCED’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) initiative with the goal of recruiting and marketing the region to foreign-owned companies.

Before arriving at WCED, John Reid worked for a RTP-based technology company and in Washington, DC at Squared Communications, a strategic communications and public affairs firm.

Originally from North Carolina, John Reid holds a BA in Political Science from Wake Forest University. He loves living and working in Wake County because of the accessibility to the coast and the mountains and the amazing food and cultural scene that is emerging in the area. John Reid enjoys being outdoors whenever possible, playing tennis, running with his dog, Oliver, or being at the beach fishing and surfing.


Brenda Kalavsky, Operations Manager

As the operations manager for WCED, Brenda handles day-to-day operations for the team and directly supports the executive director. She is the primary point of contact for Edge 5, the economic development board, and is the event manager for the annual Economic Development Forum. 

Prior to joining WCED, Brenda had extensive experience supporting executives in the Triangle at D.L. Davis & Company, BB&T, and Xerox.

Brenda holds a BS in Business Administration from Meredith College. She has enjoyed watching Raleigh and Wake County grow and looks forward to seeing the region continue to succeed in the future. When she’s not planning logistics for the next big meeting, Brenda can be found working on her latest DIY project and spending time with her domestic feline, Leelee.


Morgan Ross, Research Manager

As the research manager for WCED, Morgan serves as the lead contact for research, building and site assistance, and the development of reports, presentations and proposals. She assists the team and community by providing data analysis of workforce and industry statistics, as well as researching trends and data points. 

Prior to joining WCED, Morgan was a Brokerage Assistant at Avison Young where she supported her seven-person brokerage team. Morgan’s laser focus to details provided the highest quality collateral and marketing materials for her brokers. In 2016, Morgan obtained her NC Real Estate License to further her expertise and knowledge in the industry.

Born and raised in Goldsboro, NC, Morgan holds a BS in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance from NC State University.  She enjoys living in Wake County, where you have the amenities of a big city coupled with small town communities, while just being a short drive from the mountains and the coast. She enjoys being outdoors, the emerging local eateries and live music scenes.

Thanks to our Edge investors, who fund our economic development program 

View all Edge Investors >>