On Tuesday, April 16, there was a big announcement at Piedmont Triad International Airport: The Piedmont Triad Partnership unveiled the new branding initiative and showed off signage for the “Carolina Core” megasite co-branding effort.   The proponents say this project will be a big boost to the economy of central North Carolina and that Guilford County will be a major beneficiary.

Tuesday morning, business and economic development leaders gathered at the airport to announce they are “all in” on regionalism and that megasites and a major highway in central North Carolina will be branded under the Carolina Core umbrella.  That wasn’t exactly a secret, but, at the event, the backers also unveiled the official Carolina Core highway signs that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will install along US-421 in the coming months.

The Carolina Core is an initiative to collectively market the megasites in the region, give them a common brand and increase economic competitiveness on the national and global stage.

Stan Kelly, president and CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, spoke at the event.

“Since rolling out our vision for the Carolina Core last year, we have experienced unprecedented regional cooperation and support from the business community, economic development leaders and public officials,” Kelly said. “Now, a family of assets is adopting the same last name, signaling a big step forward for regionalism.

Kelly said this move is evidence that the region is “truly embodying the notion that we are stronger together and a win for one is a win for all.”

Backers of the project announced that several key sites in the region, including the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site, Moncure Megasite and Whitaker Park will be adapting their logos to co-brand with the Carolina Core.  The coming aerospace megasite at Piedmont Triad International Airport will also be a part of Carolina Core.

The logos will be displayed on signage for the individual sites as well as in marketing materials, and on websites for the megasites.

Jim Melvin, the president of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, had some very positive words for the group gathered at the airport.

“The Carolina Core gives us an opportunity to differentiate our region in a crowded, highly-competitive economic development landscape, both nationally and globally,” Melvin said. “Regionalism is stronger than I have ever seen before in central North Carolina and this announcement furthers our collective efforts to raise the profile of the Carolina Core to attract businesses and new jobs.”

North Carolina Department of Transportation Board Chairman Mike Fox said at the event that motorists will begin seeing the new signs along US-421 in the next 30 days.

“NCDOT fully supports the Carolina Core vision and is happy to build on the region’s momentum by installing new highway signage along US-421,” Fox said. “The Carolina Core concept is consistent with NCDOT’s support of economic development in North Carolina.  Located in the heart of North Carolina and centrally on the east coast, the Carolina Core’s transportation network is a competitive advantage that will help set the region apart from the competition.”

There are a lot of other moves being made as well to further the project.  In February, the Carolina Core launched a new website – nccarolinacore.com.  Leaders in the region are also working with local, state, and federal officials to designate US-421 as a future Interstate and it’s looking like that will happen.  They are also implementing a marketing campaign to get leads and business investment using visits by site selection consultants as well as a print and digital advertising campaign.