Moore County Partners in Progress (PIP) recently released their Quarterly Progress Report highlighting their activities and initiatives in the areas of economic development, community development, and workforce development for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2022.
“We are pleased to share that we celebrated two wins this quarter: Southern Pines Brewing Company’s announced expansion in downtown Carthage and the new location of Squickmon’s Engineering & Automation in Aberdeen,” said Natalie Hawkins, Executive Director of Partners in Progress. Together these two projects represent over $4 million in investment and 25 new jobs.
“Client interest in Moore County continues to be strong, and this quarter we actively worked with four companies whose projects collectively represent 175 jobs, 200,000 square feet of industrial space, and $22.5 million in investment,” added Hawkins.
Existing Business & Industry Support
Partners in Progress also visited several local companies, celebrated National Manufacturing Day with local manufacturers and elected officials on Oct. 7, initiated a “Made in Moore” social media campaign, and hired a new staff position, all aimed at strengthening relationships with Moore County’s existing businesses and positioning PIP to support them more effectively.
PIP met with four manufacturers: BRS Aerospace in Pinebluff, Epic Enterprises in Southern Pines, and Spiritus Systems and Reliance Packaging, both in Aberdeen, to learn more about their respective operations, opportunities, and challenges. As a direct result of these visits, PIP provided two of the companies with leads on a building and site for their respective expansions, and one company participated in the state’s Economic Gardening program to explore new markets.
On Oct. 7, PIP, the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, and Sandhills Community College celebrated National Manufacturing Day by hosting an appreciation luncheon attended by over 30 manufacturers, local elected officials, and community partners. A tour of Meridian Kiosks’ headquarters and production facility in Aberdeen followed the luncheon. Founded in 1999, Meridian is a fully integrated advanced manufacturer of custom interactive kiosks, smart locker systems, digital EV charging stations, and other self-service solutions.
PIP, the chamber, and the college also collaborated to increase community awareness about the local manufacturing industry sector by launching a “Made in Moore” social media campaign. During the month of October, PIP featured several companies on their LinkedIn and Facebook pages and highlighted the unique and innovative products those manufacturers make right here in Moore County.
In December, PIP hired Darryn Burich as the new Business Development Director. Darryn has extensive experience with land use planning, zoning, industrial park development, revitalization of existing buildings, project management, and administering complex grants.
“We are thrilled that Darryn has joined our team,” said Hawkins. “He started on Feb. 6 and has hit the ground running. He will be a tremendous asset and will help us continue to deliver a high level of service to our existing and prospective businesses, as well as our local governments.”
Also this quarter, PIP made an offer to purchase a 73-acre parcel in the Iron Horse Industrial Park in Aberdeen. “While the offer includes specific contingencies that must be met prior to closing by March 31, everything is currently on track for this parcel to become the very first publicly owned industrial site in Moore County,” said Hawkins.
Once closing occurs, PIP will move forward with pre-development work on the site including installing a public industrial access road, clearing a portion of the site, and creating a conceptual site plan.
Additional progress in the area of product development included:
*Through a $20,700 NC’s Southeast’s Product Development Fund Program grant awarded to PIP, several due diligence analyses, including a Phase I Environmental Assessment and wetland delineation, were completed for the Southern Pines Corporate Park. PIP worked with LKC Engineering and the property owner to draft a conceptual site plan that features 50 developable acres divided into 10 to 12 lots designed to accommodate buildings in the 10,000 to 50,000 square-foot range.
*Through a Golden LEAF Foundation SITE Program grant focused on northern Moore County, consultants identified and toured a dozen sites in and around Robbins and Carthage and will evaluate them for their suitability for potential industrial development. The final report to be delivered by March 31 will include recommendations for next steps.
Other Significant Activities
Other significant activities highlighted in the Partners in Progress Quarterly Progress Report for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2022 include:
*Sandhills Community College enrolled 21 students in the inaugural class of the USGA Greenkeeper Apprenticeship Program. PIP staff played a role in facilitating the creation of the yearlong program which will help provide Pinehurst Resort and other local golf courses with a pipeline of critical maintenance staff.
*On behalf of the Carthage Century Committee, PIP staff chaired the selection committee that awarded $24,500 from a Duke Energy Foundation Hometown Revitalization Grant to eleven small businesses in Carthage’s downtown area. These businesses received Individual grants ranging from $1,300 to $2,345 that they can use to improve their storefronts and interior spaces.
*PIP has met or is on track to meet several staff performance goals set for fiscal year 2023, such as accomplishing at least one industry visit per month. PIP has already achieved a satisfaction rating well above the goal of 80% from local employers who agree that PIP provides a high level of responsive services and support.
The full Quarterly Progress Report for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2022, can be accessed on the Partners in Progress website.