The head of economic development for the Piedmont Triad Airport (PTIA) has flown the coup.

Senior Director for Triad Aerospace Development Jim McArthur has now added “former” to that title since he has taken a job with Duke Energy.

PTIA is constructing an 800-acre megasite adjacent to its runways to attract aviation related economic development, and McArthur, who took the job in April 2017, was supposed to be a major player in helping recruit businesses to that megasite when it opened.

But now airport officials are looking for a replacement.

PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said of McArthur, “He has taken a role that’s exactly the same role, pretty much, with Duke Energy.”

Baker said Duke Energy attempts to recruit businesses to areas where the company provides power.

“They’re looking for big energy users to locate in their footprint,” he said. “So they are an economic development partner of ours.”

Baker added that, unfortunately, the scope of Duke Power is much broader than just Guilford County, so McArthur’s recruitment efforts will no longer be focused solely on the airport area.

Chairman of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority Steve Showfety said Duke Energy is always in the know when companies are looking for sites.

“Duke power always seems to know about prospects before anybody else does because the power needs are always an important part of anybody relocating a business,” he said.

“I know there have been several interviews on a replacement for that position,” he added.

Showfety said he hoped a successor would be named soon.

That now vacant position was created by a collaborative effort between the Piedmont Triad Partnership, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, the High Point Economic Development Corp. and Winston-Salem Business Inc.

Guilford County lured Greensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen away from the State of Mississippi’s economic development office several years ago and, soon after, he was followed by the chamber’s Executive Vice President of Economic Development David Ramsey – who was also from the same Mississippi office. McArthur, the third Mississippian from the same economic development department, followed to help bring aviation business to the megasite.

McArthur worked in marketing and business development in both the private and public sector before he served as the deputy director for the Mississippi Development Authority. In that capacity, he worked frequently with aerospace and advanced manufacturing projects. According to the economic development officials who selected McArthur for the job, he has a very good relationship with site selectors – those all-important consultants who help companies decide where to locate their businesses.

McArthur graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1993 with a Bachelors degree in marketing and he worked in Biloxi for Yates Construction before taking a job as the director of sales for SmartSynch – a Jackson, Mississippi information technology company that worked with smart power grids.