The first quarter of 2010 showed promise in the slow but steady rise of the economy. During these three months, Wake County Economic Development saw a total of 21 new projects come in. These projects represent more than $100 million in investment and approximately 4,300 jobs. Wake County has identified target industries and has developed a precision marketing plan to help existing companies grow and to bring new companies within these industries to the area. Companies making relocation decisions are attracted by the cluster of companies that are located in the region, their success in finding skilled workers, and access to resources and partnerships that will help them thrive. Wake County’s targeted clusters include defense technologies, gaming and interactive software, advanced medical technologies,photonics, electric vehicles/sustainability and headquarters.
Recent project activity has included companies in defense technologies, biotechnology/pharmaceutical, manufacturing, engineering services, financial services and research and development. In addition, we saw an increase in the number of inquiries jumping from 221 in 2009 to 336 in 2010.
During this time, there were three announcements of new companies to the area and two local companies that were expanding. New companies included Garmin, Research In Motion and Superior Controls. We believe talent was a main driver in recruiting Garmin and Research In Motion, two mobile device companies, to Wake County during the first quarter.
Wake County saw local expansions as well, including Affiliated Computer Services, a global call center operation, which announced an additional 280 new call center positions following the creation of more than 1,000 North Carolina jobs last year. In addition, ChannelAdvisors, a provider of online solutions for retailers, plans to add 50 employees to its Morrisville headquarters.