In recent years, economic development has been a non-stop topic for local leaders in Guilford County and, on Thursday, June 27, a large group of them from around the county assembled at the Cameron Campus of Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) to have a multifaceted and in-depth discussion on what Guilford County needs to do to attract new business.

The event was technically the June meeting of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA), a group formed by Guilford County and the cities of Greensboro and High Point in 2015 to promote county-wide cooperation in business recruitment efforts as well as efforts to help local businesses grow.   For this very large June 2019 meeting, however, GCEDA invited the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the Greensboro City Council and the High Point City Council as well as big names in the field of economic development.

The meeting was led largely by High Point Economic Development Corp. President Loren Hill and Greensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen – who both also have the leading staff roles for GCEDA.  At the “Economic Development Summit,” Hill told the attendees that the unified effort in to enhance business recruitment really began years ago when Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing was hired in 2013 and Lawing started to ask why the economic development efforts in the area had little overall cohesiveness.  The creation of GCEDA was a result of the attempt to create a more focused and powerful recruitment entity.

At the summit, Hill pointed out that Guilford County has seen a good deal of success in business recruitment over the last several years and his introduction was followed by presentations and discussions focused on how to make the county more attractive to business prospects.

During the two hour meeting, the group got a great deal of advice from the speakers such as Guilford County Workforce Development Board Chairman Karl Robinson, Timmons Group Principal Blake Hall, High Point Market Authority President Tom Conley and Garner Economics President Jay Garner, who gave the keynote speech: “Economic development in the age of disruption – what it takes to succeed in a competitive world.”

Some of the strategies discussed during the summit were finding ways to enhance the local business climate to make it more welcoming, better promotion of the county’s selling points, cataloguing the best sites for large scale development, positioning Guilford County for changing trends in products and services and properly leveraging major assets such as the new aviation megasite at Piedmont Triad International Airport.