The Triangle market boasts education heavyweights and a competitive edge in the high-tech, pharma and biotech industries, making it desirable for architects and developers alike. For industry professionals, the pandemic ushered in a bevy of challenges revolving around affordability, infrastructure and permitting, Steve Hepler, Raleigh officer leader for LS3P, told Invest:Insights. A keen focus on sourcing regional and domestic products has been key in dealing with supply chain disruption and price escalation, Hepler said. Sustainability continues to be a strong focus for the firm as well as its clients. Despite the challenges, LS3P continues to grow its footprint as evidenced by their new office in the Atlanta market.


Raleigh-Durham’s highly diversified economic activity provides an ideal landscape for specialized legal services. In an interview with Invest:Insights, Byron Kirkland, managing partner at Smith Anderson shares why the Triangle is the ideal place to be for legal firms and how technology and innovation are currently reshaping the legal sector.

Leslie Packer, managing partner at Ellis & Winters, does not see the legal profession going back to what it was before COVID. In an interview with Invest:Insights, Packer said she thinks that remote work has increased efficiency in many areas of practicing law except for training new lawyers, an area where there is no replacement for being in a traditional office setting. There are systemic structures that need to be broken to fully address the gap in corporate women leadership everywhere, specifically in the legal profession. As such, law firms need to be flexible, offer paternity leave, and realize that women can lead just as effectively as their male counterparts, Packer said.


Raleigh’s travel and tourism industry is slowly but surely recuperating, with positive indicators of a rebound being seen on all fronts. In a conversation with Invest:Insights, Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, also known as Visit Raleigh, spoke about their marketing efforts and the focus to attract festivals and events that cater to different audiences. The sustained growth the local market has experienced during the pandemic has positioned the Triangle’s tourism industry for a strong recovery and post-pandemic success, Edwards noted.


The Triangle housing market has never been hotter. The historically low inventory is going faster than the brokers can process the paperwork, Jim Allen Group President Jim Allen told Invest:Insights. They have seen an emphasis on the escalation clause in offers as a result of the tight market. As a result of the low inventory, they’ve had to knock on doors and call old sales to see if they can list. The Triangle’s continued migration and business expansion has bolstered urban sprawl creating opportunities for areas as far back as three hours away from Raleigh, Allen said. 


At the core of MobileSmith Health’s vision is to streamline efficiencies within the healthcare provider system while making information more accessible in order to help patients immediately. The current health crisis pushed the company further into the technology world, CEO and President Jerry Lepore told Invest:Insights. Chronic condition management must be better addressed as it’s very costly and sometimes detrimental to the patient’s health, he said.


The transition to a remote work setting was greatly accelerated by the pandemic, and businesses have quickly realized the need for robust IT support. Firms like Signature Consultants, that are a one-stop shop to help businesses meet their IT needs, have adapted technologies and unique ways to better connect employees and clients who are remote, Executive Vice President Geoff Gray told Invest:Insights. He also made note that their business was predominantly face-to-face prior to the pandemic, so they have had to make some significant changes to their operations as well.


The commercial real estate sector reflects the duality of the pandemic and its challenges. In Charlotte, the office market has slowed dramatically given the sudden shift to remote work, while at the same time the industrial sector has experienced strong demand since the onset of the health crisis.The Charlotte market has seen large institutional investors come during this time and this trend is likely to continue, JLL Market Director for the Carolinas Chase Monroe told Invest: Insights. He spoke about the impact of the pandemic to the local commercial real estate sector and his outlook for 2021.


Safety remains top of mind for Wingate University as the institution balances in person and remote instruction. College students are social by nature so the university is working hard to create safe spaces with social distancing in mind. Economic development, educational equity, and diversity and inclusion are among the major focuses for the university now and moving forward, President Rhett Brown told Invest: Insights. Personally, the pandemic cemented the importance of patience, future thinking and gratitude, he said.