Spotlight On: Kevin Poet, Charlotte Vice President of Operations, Siemens

Spotlight On: Kevin Poet, Charlotte Vice President of Operations, Siemens

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read AprilCompanies across sectors are fervently working to reduce emissions, switch to renewable energies and use technology to create a cleaner, greener future for the next generations. The same is true for companies directly involved in the energy industry. This year, Siemens AG. announced it will create a new company, Siemens Energy, focusing on conventional power, oil and gas, power transmission and renewable energy to position itself for the future of the industry. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, Vice President of Operations Kevin Poet talks about the decision to create the new power and gas company, some of the challenges and opportunities in the energy industry and the near-term outlook for the industry. One of the challenges is balance, as it relates to balancing the needs and the drive to go as fast as we can to clean energy, with the need to continue to supply the demand today with the technology available

 What will be the focus of Siemens Energy?

The operations in Charlotte and Winston-Salem will be part of the new company. The largest manufacturing site in North America is in Charlotte and gives us the opportunity to focus on growing the business in new areas and markets that we have not traditionally been in. Our legacy work at the Charlotte plant is primarily large-scale, fossil-power generating equipment, and that market and demand is going down, mainly due to renewables and energy efficiency, as well as the push for decentralization and new technologies. We believe this trend will continue, and for us to thrive in a new market we have to get into different businesses and expand our portfolio. In the short term, we are looking at smaller, industrial-sized units that companies use to decentralize their power needs. In the future, we will see these units move toward hydrogen-burning technology, and potentially into new businesses altogether in the mobility, or renewables and wind areas. As a manufacturing center, we have the installed capability necessary to manufacture any of the components, products, and systems along the whole value stream. Our growth initiative aims to reshape what the future looks like as far as engineering and manufacturing.

 

What will the future of clean energy look like?

One of the challenges is balance, as it relates to balancing the needs and the drive to go as fast as we can to clean energy, with the need to continue to supply the demand today with the technology available today. For Siemens, we are the only site in North America that can service the large, traditional generating units that are in power plants. It will be critical for our business going forward, and for our customers, to continue to supply components and provide service for those units until they are transitioned into a cleaner form of energy, or retired altogether. Investment in the energy business is a huge challenge because of the size and scope, the length of the investment and payback. Typically, investing in a power plant is a 20- to 30-year investment. The changing landscape around technology, and what the future of energy will look like, and the volatility when it comes to policy, has a lot of people nervous about making large investments. There is a tug of war between the need to invest and innovate and concern with what the future could look like.   

 

How can companies take advantage of the talent based in the Charlotte region?

The Charlotte region has a developed ecosystem around providing talent. The university system in the region is superb. There is an abundance of opportunities for university partnerships in research, development and workforce training. For example, we do our apprenticeship program through Central Piedmont Community College. They helped develop the curriculum and advised on the training courses, length of time and certifications. They really helped put together a good structured approach to the needs we were trying to fill, and this is happening with other universities across the region as well. For companies looking to relocate to the region, those kinds of available relationships are a selling point.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://new.siemens.com/us/en/company/siemens-in-the-usa/charlotte.html

 

 

Face off: How Concord is planning for sustained growth

Face off: How Concord is planning for sustained growth

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020The city of Concord is setting its sights on securing high-quality life standards for its residents via a three-pronged approach: diversification, infrastructure and affordable housing. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, Concord Mayor William Dusch and City Manager Lloyd Payne talk about the city’s growth, infrastructure developments and its ambitious plans for the future.

William Dusch

How is housing and development growing?

William Dusch: We have had a tremendous amount of growth in the housing sector, especially with apartments. The challenge lies in working with the school system to ensure the population is evenly distributed in a growing community. We have a relatively small Downtown, but we are beginning to grow. The county is building a new courthouse, our main street, Union Street, is becoming a plaza, and sidewalks are being widened to provide a better outdoor dining and shopping experience. The 1926 Hotel Concord was completely refurbished to create 40 market-rate apartments. Loft 29 is just behind it, providing about 25 more apartments Downtown. Right next door, 166 apartments are in the planning process, with 10 percent being affordable housing. An old cotton mill is being converted into 144 affordable homes where we will take the profit and roll it back into development. We are working on tying neighborhoods together by building new parks and walkways. Our goal is to connect the city without residents having to get into a car.

Lloyd Payne: Through our housing authority, we have developed and either sold or leased entire neighborhoods for several years. We are determined to take it to another level. We want to ramp up our yearly house construction capacity. In 2019, we created a nonprofit entity under the guise of affordable housing to open the city to a wider array of funding options from the private sector. For 2020, I will request the city council to obligate from this point forward that a portion of our tax funds be set aside to build affordable housing, whether it be apartments, townhomes or single-family homes. We want to build additional neighborhoods throughout the city, not just in low to moderate income areas. The main goal is to provide workforce housing. It is designed to consider young men and women with a fresh four-year degree in hand who come back here with a modest income and are looking for an opportunity to start building equity and have something they can call their own. We want to provide housing that accommodates everyone’s needs. 

Lloyd Payne

What infrastructure developments are laying the groundwork for Concord’s future growth?

Dusch: There are over 1,600 acres of industrial land available that has an industrial water sewer and power coming in from Duke Energy and Concord Electric. It’s also bordered by two four-lane highways, so it’s a perfect location. There has been a lot of interest from high-quality operations looking to base a potential headquarters here. We also have Concord-Padgett Regional Airport, and in 2013 Allegiant airlines started flying out of there. Last year, they served six locations across Florida and New Orleans, making over 1,500 flights. The airport is planning on expanding again because they have been so pleased with all of the business they have received. Nascar also bases a lot of their planes there, so it is a viable and growing airport. Allegiant Air has just announced that a new operation base will be built in Concord. Concord Mills is the largest tourist attraction in North Carolina. It attracted over 12 million visitors last year, which was even more than the Smoky Mountains. Since there is such a high volume of traffic in Concord Mills, we have been working with the NCDOT to build a flyover to more easily reach the location off the interstate. They started the construction just after Christmas this year. Just down the road from Concord Mills is the Charlotte Motor Speedway, located in Concord, which is another large Nascar facility.

Payne: In North Carolina, all roads are either owned by the city or owned by the state, meaning counties have nothing to do with roads and cannot tackle congestion issues. The same applies to schools, with the difference that they fall under the control of the county. This does not prevent us from establishing functional coordination mechanisms with involved parties to improve our roads and schools. We have also consolidated a great working relationship with our business community, including the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development. We also work with large landowners, especially those with undeveloped assets. We encourage and entertain public-private partnerships (PPPs), whether they are for infrastructure, development or speculative buildings. We are all about working with others, knowing that we do not operate in a vacuum ourselves. It takes others in the private, public and nonprofit spheres. 

What industries or companies are you targeting to introduce to the region?

Dusch: We are working hard to attract higher-tech, higher-paying jobs. We are incentivizing those kinds of operations to move here, and I have been closely talking with large companies as they begin to show more interest. Within the city of Concord, we have run over 100 miles of high-speed fiber, connecting all of our buildings over the past 15 years. To watch the city go from having 100 megabits to 100 gigabytes is really amazing. Other entities have been putting in their fiber infrastructure, especially with the introduction of 5G, which will be coming in a matter of time.

Payne: We work with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, the mainstay for the lion’s share of our workforce development. It specializes in tailored programs on a whim if need be, based on the needs of the corporate landscape. The state of North Carolina has been generous in providing funding to accommodate those training needs.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: https://www.concordnc.gov/

Spotlight On:  Bill Simerville, Managing Director, Foundry Commercial

Spotlight On: Bill Simerville, Managing Director, Foundry Commercial

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020 — Charlotte’s construction industry has boomed in the last few years as evidenced by the cranes that adorn the Queen City’s skyline and the region’s budding headquarter relocation culture. Though capital is a constant in the region, construction firms are pressed to find deals and subcontractors in a tight labor market. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, Foundry Commercial Managing Director Bill Simerville talks about the challenges facing the region’s construction industry and the growth of Charlotte’s industrial real estate market. 

 

 

How has the industrial real estate sector evolved in the last few years?

WestPark 85 is an example of a development and investment deal. The site was selected around 2008, before the ramp-up of the industrial frenzy that we find ourselves in now. We partnered with Principal Financial and acquired the land from MetLife. The industrial market, and industrial capital appetite, has moved to the Southeast, and particularly to the Charlotte region. WestPark 85 is close to I-85 and I-485, as well as the airport, which gets capital and tenants excited about the location. That capital has poured into Charlotte. There are more development deals and projects in the pipeline than we have seen in years. With the labor markets the way they have been, we are seeing Charlotte turn into a regional distribution center, primarily because of the intersection of I-77 and I-85. You can get to a large percentage of the U.S. population in a day’s drive because of proximity and population concentration. Labor is tight in markets like Atlanta, and as a result, many people are moving up the I-85 corridor. This corridor sits between Raleigh and Atlanta and is called the “mega corridor.” Capital, jobs, people, employers, talent, manufacturers — everyone wants to be here.    

 

What are some challenges facing Charlotte’s business landscape?

The “Bathroom Bill” hurt company relocation in the area. There is no telling where we would be if it were not for that. I think that we have made great strides with our incentive programs. We have to continue to pay attention to infrastructure and continue to diversify our employment base. Our infrastructure is our biggest challenge, in my opinion. Commute times are getting longer, and property taxes are now similar to those in bigger markets. 

 

How are developers navigating the rising costs and a tight labor market?

At one point, we had an unsustainable demand for construction services, both commercial and residential. We had rising labor and material prices. The initial talk of tariffs, and the spike in steel and concrete prices, made new construction very difficult to price. That has now stabilized, and even come back a little bit. However, the labor has not. Fortunately, in the same way that capital has flocked to Charlotte, so has everyone else looking for work, and that is across the board, virtually in all trades. The new general contractors that show up and do not bring subcontractors with them are contributing to the problem. They are aggressively pricing projects based on being able to hire subcontractors that they do not have relationships with, and winning bids and then re-trading them or not being able to execute. This erodes confidence. Then there are the new-to-market general contractors that show up with subcontractors and will complete a project quickly. It is similar to 2007-2008, when the residential housing boom was at its peak and out-of-market subcontractors caused our workforce to spike by tens of thousands of people to perform those trades. When the projects stopped, they all left to find work elsewhere, and it took a long time to get them back. We are there again. The last time it was just residential, now it is residential and commercial. We have more capital, more vendors, and more competition now. But the fundamentals have never been as sound. Lenders remain disciplined. We are not looking at see-through office buildings. It is harder to get deals done and there is a lot of competition, but I have never been as bullish on Charlotte as I am now.    

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.foundrycommercial.com/

 

 

Spotlight On: Richard Battle, Shareholder, Elliott Davis

Spotlight On: Richard Battle, Shareholder, Elliott Davis

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020—Technology and the changing economic landscape is forcing accounting firms to look beyond traditional accounting solutions for their clients. Rather than focusing on products and conventional solutions, customized client experiences drive the success for accounting firms and the clients they advise. In Charlotte, Elliott Davis has the same technical experience and capabilities as the larger, national firms, said shareholder Richard Battle. The middle market is the firm’s sweet spot and where it wants to be, Battle said. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, Battle highlights the impact of tax reform on the firm’s clients, the importance of providing exceptional customer experience, and the local interest in Opportunity Zones.     

 

How has the accounting landscape evolved in the last few years?

The biggest challenge accounting firms experience is staying relevant and on the cutting edge. The landscape is changing quickly in terms of what our customers want. Everything is happening at an accelerated pace. Being really in tune with our customers is important for us. We want to provide an exceptional customer experience, not just products and solutions, but an overall experience. Implementing transformational change in our culture and our people will allow us to provide our customers with more than just the traditional accounting and tax services.

What is Elliott Davis’ competitive advantage?

Our value proposition for our customers is that they receive a tailored experience, with deep  relationships that look to add value to their businesses. We go beyond traditional accounting solutions. It is more about understanding our customers’ businesses as a whole and providing solutions to get them where they want to be. Our technical capabilities and service offerings match that of the large, national firms. The middle market is our sweet spot and where we want to be. We know how to serve those customers very well.   

How is Elliott Davis adapting to technology innovation?

Technology is improving and disrupting at the same time and it is only going to increase. We are really focused on this and the change management of integrating new technologies. We are changing service offerings to our clients based on these advancements. We are integrating these changes in how we do business everyday. But probably the biggest change outside of that is retraining and resetting the behavioral expectations of our employees. Our big focus is changing behavior to get employees more focused on advisory services. There is more information at our fingertips, which allows us to effectively provide solutions and advise our clients. This has been the biggest disruption as we hire and train different skill sets, but it is also a big opportunity for us, and accounting firms in general, as we think about how we will operate heading into the future.        

What impact has tax reform had on your customers?

Taxes are a big part of any business. The tax reform bill was a huge disruptor in how service providers deliver solutions to customers. It forced us to retool ourselves and how we advise our customers. We work with companies with both domestic and international operations. Because of this, we are seeing customers make different decisions. Opportunity Zones, FDII, GILTI, expanded capital investment depreciation, among others, are examples of new provisions that companies are analyzing and keeping in mind as they make decisions. Certain operational and financial decisions are being made slightly differently because of the new provisions.       

     

What impact have Opportunity Zones had on the region?

Our firm is working closely with individuals and companies looking to push Opportunity Zones forward. We have experts who are well-versed in the Opportunity Zone provisions. There is a lot of interest and intrigue about them. We are seeing some investments being made in Opportunity Zones that likely would not have been made without the new provisions. We are seeing some increased activity in this arena and would expect this to continue. For example, final regulations came out in December that provided more clarity on the ins and outs of Opportunity Zones and I think we will continue to see piqued interest in them.    

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: https://www.elliottdavis.com/

 

 

Spotlight On: Darryl Dewberry, CEO, The Spectrum Companies

Spotlight On: Darryl Dewberry, CEO, The Spectrum Companies

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020 Charlotte has recently become the new headquarters for several national corporations, with tech giant Honeywell and online lender Lending Tree among those moving into the city. Goodwill on the part of the city’s officials and private sector leaders has allowed the city to promote itself more aggressively in recent years. In an interview with Invest: Charlotte, The Spectrum Companies CEO Darryl Dewberry talks about infrastructure challenges and reimagining affordable housing to make it happen.

What is making Charlotte a more attractive city for company relocations?

Over the last few years, several elements have come together to make Charlotte an even more attractive city to live and work and to help promote Charlotte in a more powerful way that includes surrounding counties as one unified region. The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance brings the region together in a new way from an economic standpoint. Charlotte Center City Partners has made changes that expanded its reach outside the CBD to both the south and north. The latest game-changer was the city creating a group headed by Tracy Dodson as an assistant city manager to focus on coordinating the private and public sectors in the recruitment of new companies to our city. 

 

How do you work the mixture of new-from-scratch to refurbishing older structures when looking at one of your projects?

It depends on where you are. Charlotte is not blessed with a lot of what I call the “brick and beam” stock, those older industrial buildings such as in south of Market in San Francisco that have been reimagined without being torn down. Charlotte’s South End has some of those authentic buildings, but most of what we’ve had to do as a community is create that. It takes a lot of imagination and a commitment to quality, but we are creating environments that have a soul, even without the benefit of those original brick-and-beam buildings. And while this poses some unique challenges, we’ve been successful in developing mixed-use neighborhoods and projects that have a great energy and synergy that attracts people and companies. 

Spectrum is in the mixed-use, multifamily residential and office business. We also do some hospitality. What we have found to be most powerful is bringing together multiple uses such as hospitality, office, retail, multifamily and other combinations. It makes it more complex, and it takes longer, but if you do it right and create synergies, you create soul. The projects change lives by creating special places, which is the mission behind everything we do.

 

What strategies are being put in place in the city to promote affordable housing?

We need a more comprehensive plan that brings together the public and private sectors locally and at the state level to address our critical lack of affordable housing. We’ve been talking as a community about building 300 truly affordable housing units a year, but we need more supply than that. The public-private effort that has raised more than $100 million for affordable housing is a good start, but it is not going to go that far.

 

What challenges could Charlotte start facing as it continues to grow?

Charlotte has to make sure it does not become complacent. We have transformed our public sector, adding a lot more perspectives than we had 10 years ago. It causes some friction, but overall, everybody works together really well. There is a lot of collaboration and different perspectives coming together as the community becomes more diverse, and this is producing ideas and developments that are more dynamic and attractive long term.

One of our biggest challenges is to make sure that we have the infrastructure in place: water, sewer service, electricity, and services in general. That is an area where our community has done a great job relative to competitor locations.

Another challenge, on a regional basis, is transportation. People talk about affordable housing, which is a serious need in every community, but you have to be able to get people to and from their jobs as well. We really need to step on the accelerator on developing the east-west light rail Silver Line, which would dramatically increase access to jobs. We also want to make sure that we continue to invest in our airport, which continues to be one of Charlotte’s primary economic drivers because it can easily take people anywhere in the world. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.spectrumcos.com/

 

 

Coronavirus: Gov. Roy Cooper declares state of emergency

Coronavirus: Gov. Roy Cooper declares state of emergency

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020 — There are now seven confirmed coronavirus cases in North Carolina, prompting Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a state of emergency as leaders and health officials deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Of the seven people who have tested positive for COVID-19, six are from Wake County and one is from Chatham County, according to health officials. The declaration activates the Emergency Operations Center to facilitate the purchase of medical supplies, protect consumers from price gouging, and increase county health departments’ access to state funds. 

“The health and safety of North Carolinians is our top priority. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that North Carolina is prepared and responding to this virus, and this order helps us do that,” Cooper said in a press release. “Though we are still in the early stages in North Carolina, time is a valuable resource and we must work together to slow the spread while we can.”

There are 120,944 global COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning, with 1,039 cases reported in the United States, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. However, at this time, the risk to the general public in North Carolina is low, Mecklenburg County reported. 

As of Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is suspending all travel. The travel limitations apply to district-sponsored trips of any kind for staff or students. “The safety and care of our school family is my top priority as superintendent,” said CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston in a press release. “In situations like these, we come to a deeper understanding of how closely connected we are, and I thank you for your help in our efforts to be prepared.” 

Cleaning standards are being reinforced at schools and office buildings, while families are encouraged to keep children at home if they are sick, the school system reported. 

Similarly, American Airlines, the main carrier at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, also implemented travel limitations, cutting domestic and international flights due to decreased travel demand following the proliferation of COVID-19 cases globally. American Airlines will reduce domestic capacity in April by 7.5 percent and reduce international capacity for the summer peak by 10 percent, including a 55 percent reduction in trans-Pacific capacity. The airline is also suspending flights from CLT to Rome (FCO) and Milan (MXP), as there are over 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering. 

 

To learn more, visit:

 https://www.mecknc.gov/news/Pages/Update-on-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx

https://governor.nc.gov/news/governor-cooper-declares-state-emergency-respond-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/2020/American-Airlines-Update-on-China-Flights-OPS-DIS/default.aspx

 

 

Spotlight On:Bruce Cohen, CEO, OrthoCarolina

Spotlight On:Bruce Cohen, CEO, OrthoCarolina

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read March 2020 Shifting from the traditional fee-for-service environment prevalent in the U.S. healthcare system to value-based care programs requires innovative processes and outside-the-box thinking, all to the benefit of the patient. Bruce Cohen, CEO of OrthoCarolina, shares how the company is spearheading this transition.

What are the drivers of OrthoCarolina’s success and what does that entail for 2020?

OrthoCarolina is a large, independent musculoskeletal group. Our geography stretches outside of Charlotte, all the way up into the Piedmont Triad and Winston-Salem, including Hickory, Shelby and Laurinburg, with our hub in Charlotte. What makes us different is that we are on the cutting edge, embracing value-based care, seeking to lower care costs for our patients, getting them to the right facilities and providers. Our No. 1 goal is to increase access. Historically, healthcare has lacked transparency, leading to poor access and communication and resulting in high costs. We had close to a million patient visits in 2019. OrthoCarolina has 40 locations, including offices, physical and occupational therapy. We are also involved in outpatient surgery centers, which are critical for orthopedic care. 

 

How is OrthoCarolina bolstering accessibility from a business standpoint?

The transition from the traditional fee-for-service environment into an innovative, outside-the-box, value-based care program is complex. Physicians are resistant to change so empowering and engaging them, promoting the fact that this transition comes out of a true necessity and obligation is a lengthy process. We are on the forefront at the national level in that regard. The first step is to educate people that this new option translates into better care and better access, providing different choices for our patients. We have to look at our patients as consumers, inject transparency over treatment costs and inform them what their options are. Wait times at doctors’ offices or hospitals that go for hours on end, for instance, are no longer acceptable. The challenge is to provide quality care and service without the patients feeling like a commodity or that they are on an assembly line. We developed a set of benchmarks relating to patient satisfaction, which we published online and internally so our doctors know where they stand.

 

How can your success move to the larger healthcare systems?

North Carolina is a Certificate of Need (CON) state, which has attracted powerful healthcare organizations that we work with closely. It is difficult from a regulatory standpoint because they often have much more control over the healthcare dollar than the rest of us do. That is all changing, however, with much more ongoing collaboration than there used to be. The systems are open to it and Charlotte is a great example. Healthcare systems are starting to embrace and acknowledge the fact they have to look at costs and stress quality and state-of-the art facilities and offer all services. Charlotte is one of the higher-cost healthcare markets in the country. It is not a sustainable model. 

 

What health trends have you identified in Charlotte?

Our community has a primarily young component to it parallel to an aging population. On the one hand, it is healthy but more active, which creates the need for orthopedic services given the training-related injuries and other issues related to an active population. On the other hand, we are witnessing big retirement communities coming to town. Those needs, especially on the musculoskeletal side, are growing. The technology and advances in orthopedic care have enabled people to do well and be more active. 

 

How is OrthoCarolina tackling the talent issue?

It is a competitive field. As we expand and look to provide more access, we are facing two large healthcare systems in town that make their presence felt when they open a new facility and launch a hiring campaign. Charlotte’s workforce is also highly competitive. Unemployment rates are low, it is a nice place to live, people want to be here. On the provider side, 2018 was the first time in orthopedics that more professionals finishing their training went into hospital employment positions rather than joining an independent practice.  

 

What is on the near-term horizon for OrthoCarolina?

We are leading the charge particularly on joint and spine replacements. We launched our coordinated care program to tackle episodic care, which up until 2019 had amounted to 150 patients a year, and we are looking at potentially 1,000 cases for 2020 to become a part of this program. It includes a care navigator that checks on our patients throughout the whole episode, preoperatively and postoperatively. Our outcomes have shown close to zero complications or readmissions for program participants. 

The next step is population health. This revolves around developing a program to manage the entire health of the population in coordination with different stakeholders: physicians, hospitals, insurance companies. For us, it means focusing on the musculoskeletal aspect of the program. That is when algorithms and protocols come into play to avoid redundancies, unnecessary tests and undergoing procedures at the right time and for the right patient. Our priority is to serve our community. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.orthocarolina.com/

A look at American Airlines’ Charlotte operations: 700 daily departures and counting

A look at American Airlines’ Charlotte operations: 700 daily departures and counting

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read Feb 2020From its strong headquarter relocation culture to its growing population and access to both capital and high-skilled talent, the Queen City has been flying high for several years. Undoubtedly, much of the region’s success can be directly attributed to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and the American Airlines hub that now serves more than 700 daily departures. 

The airport is undergoing a $3 billion makeover, modernizing and expanding its infrastructure with American at the center of the renovation efforts. In this process, the airport and American are helping recruit companies to Charlotte and training the next generation of the aviation workforce.  

This past holiday season, the airport renovation projects began to materialize as American added four gates on Concourse A to its Charlotte operations. “Charlotte 700” refers to American’s growth strategy in the Queen City and aims to serve more than 700 daily flight departures, a figure which Vice President of Operations Dec Lee said the airline surpassed. “Charlotte 700 refers to our original plan to have 700 flight departures a day, but we are actually over 700 departures a day now,” Lee told Invest: Charlotte. “Every time you want to add options for customers, you have to make sure that you can handle that and still have a great operation. We have a great collaboration with our network team and with the airport to build the right flight schedule,” he said.

 

The airport and American have been a vital part of the region’s economic diversification success and thriving headquarter relocation culture. “When you listen to some of the corporate announcements explaining why companies have moved here, you often hear about the ability to fly out of the hub. It is a great experience, particularly for business travelers, to be able to fly out in the morning and come back in the afternoon,” Lee said. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles echoed Lee’s sentiments. “We have invested heavily to make our airport a transport hub for the region with access to global businesses,” Lyles told Invest: Charlotte. 

Charlotte government officials and business leaders have been working in tandem to promote the Queen City as a business destination to local and international companies. One major target sits across the Atlantic. “This year, we will make a concerted effort to reach out to companies in Europe to let them know that Charlotte, thanks to its strong travel infrastructure, is a viable destination for their U.S. expansion,” Lyles said. 

For those interested in aviation, mechanics and engineering, American could be a potential job destination. The airline is coming to the end of a labor cycle, meaning opportunities will open for young workers. “We have a population of mechanics and pilots who are beginning to reach retirement age. That is unfortunate for us, but it is a fantastic opportunity to bring new folks into an industry that is doing so well compared to the early 2000s,” Lee said.  Overall, the future looks bright for the next generation of pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants. “You are bringing people into an industry that is growing and vibrant, and these jobs are exciting jobs.”

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: 

https://www.aa.com/homePage.do https://www.cltairport.com/

https://charlottenc.gov/Pages/Home.aspx

Spotlight On: Tom Mitchell, Managing Partner, Moore & Van Allen

Spotlight On: Tom Mitchell, Managing Partner, Moore & Van Allen

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read February 2020 — Diversity encapsulates the evolution of Charlotte’s legal sector. Diversity in legal practices and attorneys are a direct result of the growth the region is experiencing. Large, national firms like Moore & Van Allen have benefited from the diversification of the local economy and talent coming to the Charlotte region. From a revenue standpoint, 2019 was a record year for the firm, Managing Partner Tom Mitchell told Invest: Charlotte. The firm encourages pro bono practice as a way to give back to the Charlotte community and provide young lawyers valuable experience, he said.

What were some highlights for the firm in 2019?

2019 was another record-setting year from a revenue standpoint for Moore & Van Allen. We are an AmLaw 150 law firm, which means we are one of the Top 150 law firms in the country based on revenue. Our business expanded in many of our core areas, such as finance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, intellectual property and regulatory and investigations. As the business grows, we continue to hire attorneys to help us service our clients efficiently. We have approximately 325 lawyers, most of them based in Charlotte. We also offer strong contributions in the public service and pro bono arena. For example, we worked on the merger of the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and Urban Ministry Center last year. We are very proud of this work and can already see the benefits the merger brings to our community.      

 

How have the legal needs of businesses evolved in the last few years?

Charlotte has always been a strong banking center. At Moore & Van Allen, our finance group has been one of our largest practice groups for many years. Recently, with the amount of large companies moving their headquarters to Charlotte, corporate and transactional legal practices in the region have become more diverse. For example, with more technology companies in Charlotte creating jobs in the region, legal practices such as intellectual property, data security and privacy continue to expand. The relocation of large companies to Charlotte has had a significant impact on the legal sector here.

 

How is Moore & Van Allen shaping the next generation of legal talent?

Charlotte offers a competitive and unique quality of life. The sophistication of our legal practices allows us to recruit top talent locally and nationally. We showcase Charlotte as a great place to live and work. With our depth and sophistication in over 20 practice areas, we can provide opportunities early on to our newer attorneys, allowing them to develop their practice and skills more quickly than they might in other cities. 

 

Also, we have been intentional in our efforts to emphasize diversity at Moore & Van Allen. For example, we host a diversity conference each year for first-year law students where we expose them to the practice of law. We also have a strong mentoring program, which contributes greatly to sustaining the pipeline of talent necessary to maintain a diverse workforce and client base for our firm.  

 

How can law firms be more involved in their communities?

At Moore & Van Allen, we are committed to charitable, bar, civic and pro bono service and encourage our attorneys to give back to the community. We have a very active public service committee that identifies, coordinates and facilities public service opportunities for our attorneys, including in such areas as housing rights, assistance with estate planning, and human trafficking prevention, among others. These opportunities also provide great training for our young lawyers. As a result, not only are our lawyers helping someone in need, they are gaining valuable experience as a litigator or transactional lawyer whether in the courtroom or otherwise. Most importantly, our attorneys and staff uphold the legacy of service and corporate social responsibility that Moore & Van Allen is incredibly proud of. 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: http://www.mvalaw.com/