The Randolph County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC) has been a fixture in Randolph County since 1985, and while the EDC is well known to industry and community leadership across the county, and even to site selection consultants across the country, the organization is little known to the Randolph County community at large.
The RCEDC is a small organization with just three staffers, but it has an outsized influence in the county through its work to support established manufacturing operations and grow the local economy through attraction of new industrial operations to the community.
As a team, the RCEDC works daily to cultivate the business-friendly culture Randolph County is known for and serves as a guide, partner, and problem solver to ensure that individuals and industrial businesses have the resources and support they need to live out their vision for success. Whether it’s getting permitted, finding the best possible location, strategizing an expansion — or even just filling in a pothole — the RCEDC serves as a one-stop shop to support industry.
RCEDC is a nonprofit public-private partnership, primarily funded through annual appropriations by Randolph County and its nine municipalities, which is tasked with providing economic development services on behalf of those local governments. RCEDC’s program of work is narrowly focused on the industrial sector – manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. While the EDC has private sector partners, services are offered to industrial operations regardless of membership status. Why the focus on industry? On average, industrial operations tend to hire more employees, pay better wages, offer better benefits, make larger taxable investments, and give back more to the community than other business sectors.
Since 1985, RCEDC’s work with private sector companies, both established and new to the community, has resulted in creation of nearly 16,000 new jobs and investment of approximately $5.9 billion. As a result, thousands Randolph County citizens have had better quality job opportunities, more disposable income, a better quality of life, and a lower cost of living. Over just the past twelve months, RCEDC has supported growth with several industrial announcements. Most notable among them were Technimark’s expansion commitment to invest $62 million and add one 120 to the 1,300 already on the payroll, and Toyota’s commitment to build the company’s first electric vehicle battery manufacturing operation. To date, Toyota has announced investment of $3.8 billion and a commitment to create 2,100 new jobs in the Liberty area.
RCEDC is deeply entrenched in two primary program areas of work – business retention and expansion and recruitment of new industry - with other program areas serving as subsets. The top priority of the organization is the business retention and expansion piece, focusing on support for the county’s existing industrial base. On average, the vast majority of job growth and investment in a community comes from established companies already invested in the community, and Randolph County is no different. Therefore, keeping a finger on the pulse of industry, convening industry leadership, servings as a connecting resource, understanding challenges, helping companies capitalize on opportunities, and celebrating successes can help ensure ongoing growth.
The month of October provides a natural opportunity to celebrate local industry. The first Friday of October is recognized nationally as Manufacturing Day with support from industry trade groups and presidential proclamations. In Randolph County, however, a single day’s designation didn’t seem sufficient, so the County Commissioners have officially proclaimed October to be Industry Appreciation Month. The RCEDC will promote local industry by hosting a variety of events throughout the month. A forklift rodeo will provide an opportunity for industry employees to connect in friendly competition for a trophy and bragging rights. Industry tours at Carolina Bronze Sculpture and Metals USA will allow company leaders to showcase their facilities and educate members of the community about the work they do. RCEDC will host a luncheon recognizing companies with milestone anniversaries of doing business in Randolph County. To cap off the month, an Outstanding Industry award will be presented at the milestone luncheon.
In addition to the emphasis on business retention and expansion, the RCEDC’s other critical work area is attraction of new industry to the community. This effort requires building relationships with real estate brokers and consultants who assist companies with expansion and relocation plans, traveling to trade shows and conferences to promote Randolph County as a prime location for industrial development, and maintaining constant communication with allies such as the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
In order to effectively support both existing industry and new business recruitment, EDC staff work to develop or support other programs in the areas of workforce development, community marketing, and product development such as the I-74 Industrial Center, a new industrial park taking shape in the Randleman community which could ultimately house over 1 million square feet of industrial space and several hundred new jobs in the community.
The RCEDC is constantly working, often behind the scenes, to promote Randolph County’s continued improvement. For more information about the organization and its work, visit www.rcedc.com.