December Luncheon

December Luncheon – Wake County Economic Development

By Carol Woodyard, PE

Our speaker at the December Chapter meeting was, Adrienne Cole, Wake County Economic Development (WCED) Executive Director.  Adrienne provided an overview of economic development in Wake County along with their strategy and successes.  WCED assists businesses with their relocation and expansion plans, and markets Wake County as one of the best places for business in the United States. WCED is a program of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.  WCED is funded through investment from the private and public sectors through the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Competitive Edge initiative.

Since the launch of the initiative in 1995, Edge has spearheaded economic development for Raleigh, Wake County and the Research Triangle and has generated significant returns and impact for the region, including:

  • 168,500 or 58% increase in new jobs in Wake County between 1995 – 2012
  • 290,000 or 42% increase in new jobs in the region between 1995 – 2012
  • Passage of four school bonds totaling $3 billion for school construction
  • Recruitment of the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997
  • Expanded construction of 540, expansion of I-440 and other transportation and transit initiatives

The July 2014 issue of Forbes stated Wake County is the #1 Best Place for Business and Careers in 2014.

Edge 5 – The Leading Edge, is the next chapter of this initiative starting January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2019 with a goal of raising $12 million from the private and public sectors to support our 5 pillars in business recruitment, existing industry expansion, talent attraction, quality of life and sustainability and regional competitiveness.  This long-standing and highly effective public-private partnership is built on a solid foundation of teamwork among key leaders in business, government, higher education and regional organizations.  The result of this investment will be the creation of a minimum of 100,000 jobs in the region with more than 65,000 of these in Wake County with an associated annual income of over $5 billion.

Adrienne presented many fascinating statistics outlining the growth of Wake County over the years since she joined WCED.  She shared the prediction that Wake County, with a population of 1,000,000 as of August 2014, will be looking at a population of 2,000,000 by 2054!  Great information is available at WCED’s web site: