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Greater Raleigh Chamber Announces Incoming Wake County Economic Development Executive Director

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Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce President Harvey Schmitt announced hiring Adrienne Cole as Economic Development Vice President and Wake County Economic Development Executive Director effective Dec. 23. Cole will succeed Ken Atkins who is retiring  at the end of December, as the top economic developer for Wake County.

Cole is a Raleigh native who was raised in New Bern. Her extensive economic development career includes nearly seven years (2004-2011) on the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce staff as the executive director of Raleigh Economic Development. Prior to working for the Chamber she served as the economic development director and county planner for Pamlico County, North Carolina, and the executive director of the Carteret County Economic Development Council.  Most recently she was business development director for Lend Lease, an international development and construction firm, where she helped the local office nearly double their staff and win over $120 million in new construction projects.

“Adrienne Cole is a great fit for our county and its economic development efforts. We have seen her in action as she successfully recruited companies like MeadWestVaco, Headway Corporate Resources, and PRA International as well as retained Red Hat. She was also a driving force in bringing Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law to Raleigh.

“I could not be more pleased to bring Adrienne back to our organization in this important role. Beyond her experience, she has the skills to do the job. She is strategic and will efficiently guide our job recruitment efforts; she is naturally collaborative and will work well with our many public and private sector partners; she knows how to close the sale with demonstrated success in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations; she has the energy to handle the heavy demands of the assignment; and finally she has a passion for our city, county, and region that will drive performance,” Schmitt added.

Cole is a member of the North Carolina Economic Developers Association, TCREW, IFMA, ISPE, and ULI. She serves on the Board of Directors for Marbles Kids Museum and is also a member of the Wake Tech Community College Foundation Board and holds a BA from Meredith College and an MPA from Appalachian State University.

Cole and her husband, Walt, have three children and live in Raleigh. 


About the Greater Raleigh Chamber

The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce is the Triangle’s largest nonprofit business membership organization made up of more than 2,300 member firms representing two-thirds of the private sector employment in Wake County. The Chamber has represented the interests of the local business community since 1888.


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