Piedmont Triad Partnership’s Carolina Core Regional Economic Development Director Loren Hill said this week that, despite the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a lot of positive activity going on when it comes to business recruitment in Guilford County and the other central North Carolina counties that make up the “Carolina Core region.”

Hill, who was the President of the High Point Economic Development Corp. for nearly two decades before taking the job earlier this year with the Carolina Core, knows the local economic development landscape and all of the players as well as anyone – and he said that, lately, he’s been getting a very positive vibe from the conversations he’s having, as well as the conversations that he’s hearing about.

In early 2020, many planned economic development moves came to a screeching halt as the coronavirus killed travel and killed many corporate expansion plans. 

However, Hill said he can see in the discussions going on this spring that companies are gearing up to move forward again.  He said he thinks things in the economic development world are really speeding up.

“Everybody has been busy and all of them are reporting significant activity,” Hill said of his cohorts in the field.

The next step will be turning that “significant activity” into actual commitments from corporations to locate in central North Carolina or expand their businesses already here.  In the years leading up to the pandemic, Guilford County saw a very solid number of new businesses coming to the area and bringing jobs, but economic development officials are still seeking those giant white whales that will occupy the Greensboro-Randolph megasite southeast of Guilford County and the new 1,000-plus acre aviation megasite now being developed at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

Hill said this week that, while he’s still working to bring economic development to the area – as he did when he led the High Point Economic Development Corp. – he’s now representing a wider area and has responsibilities that are more general.

“I’m not working projects now,” he said.

The Carolina Core area Hill promotes is a 120-mile stretch of central North Carolina from west of Winston-Salem to Fayetteville that encompasses Greensboro and High Point. 

The Carolina Core promotional literature describes the Core as combined “assets that make the region a globally competitive market – a smart and growing talent pool of more than 2 million people, access to 30+ colleges and universities with 250,000 students, multiple airports, four megasites totaling 7,200 acres of certified land, industrial and urban research parks and more.”

Hill said his recent job change had been a very positive experience.

“I’m enjoying it – it’s all good,” Hill said.