Invest: Raleigh-Durham launch conference looks at what’s next for the region

Invest: Raleigh-Durham launch conference looks at what’s next for the region

2021-09-20T14:33:16+00:00September 20th, 2021|Economy, Raleigh-Durham|

Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas 

Invest: Raleigh-Durham 20212 min read September 2021 — Innovation and economic development abound for the Triangle market as the region looks to move past the pandemic landscape, local civic and business leaders said throughout the official Invest: Raleigh-Durham launch conference on Thursday, Sept. 16. 

The conference featured three robust panel discussions centered around the future of Raleigh-Durham from a civic leadership perspective and what that looks like for the region’s industries. 

Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce President Adrienne Cole kicked off the event with her keynote address. She explained the role that the Chamber has played in the Triangle over the last 18 months and highlighted some of the economic successes during that time. She also noted that collaboration is one of the key attributes that makes Raleigh-Durham attractive from an economic standpoint. “At the core of what we do is collaboration. Collaboration is that thing that makes the region so special, and it’s the key to our success. Working closely together with the business community is what enables us to stay ahead of the needs of our region,” she said. 

With three panels featuring some of Raleigh-Durhams’s top civic and business leaders, the conference was the culmination of an indepth research period that resulted in the release of the first annual Invest: Raleigh-Durham report, a robust analysis of the region’s main economic sectors. 

Published by media platform Capital Analytics, the 2021 report showcases the strength and overall resilience of the local economy through C-level insider insights and key business intelligence. The official launch conference took place via Zoom and garnered over 550 registrations.

“The word ‘success’ itself could be a synonym for the Triangle region, its three defining points of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and the entire area it encompasses,” Capital Analytics CEO Abby Melone said in her opening remarks. “Overall, the region is poised to continue a strong post-pandemic economy. There’s no doubt that the Triangle is moving forward.”

World-renowned for its status as a research hub, a variety of acclaimed higher education institutions, a robust real estate sector, a business-friendly environment and home to one of the top startup and technology ecosystems in the country, Raleigh-Durham is poised for a strong economic bounceback in 2021 despite the challenges caused by the pandemic.  

The first panel, “Banking on the future: Financial leaders explore what’s next for their sector,” featured local banking and financial services leaders. The panel was moderated by Rob Ragsdale, partner and head of the Raleigh office for Balentine, and featured Lee Fite, regional president of the mid-Atlantic for Fifth Third Bank; Brad McRae II, general partner and Raleigh regional leader of Edward Jones; and Lee Hogewood, attorney and managing partner of K&L Gates.

The second panel, “Innovation Overload: Exploring how new ideas and innovation are influencing education and the Triangle’s economy,” was moderated by Ray Trapp, vice president of strategic engagement for the Research Triangle Park and featured Shawn Sowers, higher education practice leader and senior associate of LS3P; Thomas Stith, president of the North Carolina Community College System; and Chuck Morrison, the founder and CEO of INVZBL.

“Developing for the Future: What does the future hold for real estate development in the Triangle?” was the final panel. It featured Diego Munoz, principal and broker of KW Commercial North Raleigh, as the moderator. Panelists were Jim Allen, president, broker and realtor of The Jim Allen Group at Coldwell Banker; Jim Anthony, CEO of APG Capital; Frank Baird, CEO of Capital Associates Management; and Matt Hohorst, vice president of ARCO Design/Build.

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