Writer: Sara Suarez
2 min read March 2022 — The growth of the Charlotte region has been fueled by innovation, smart growth and strong leadership. In honor of Women’s History Month, Invest: spotlights some of the region’s top public and private female leaders and their outlook for Charlotte’s economy and the organizations they run.
Kim Eagle, County Manager, Gaston County
We are set up over the next four years for the best economic development we have ever had. We have over 5 million square feet under construction that is already leased or pre-leased and another 2 million square feet in the pipeline. Even having that much space available, there is enough demand before it is built. We have a spec going that is at 1.2 million square feet, which has never happened here. Gaston County has always been a strong player in the single-tenant industrial market and we have more space available all the time. The need and institutional money going into the warehouse and industrial market is unprecedented. Our level of preparation, the inventory we will generate and our workforce will make sure the next couple years are bright.
Pat Rodgers, President & CEO, Rodgers
We have tremendous opportunity in the footprint that we operate in and beyond. It always helps to be an optimist. I think the opportunities are great and we have to make sure we continue to be thoughtful. We are fortunate to have the team we do and have the support of the communities around us.
We must make sure we continue to work well together as a city, county and region and identify and elect leaders who can provide visionary and collaborative leadership. We need to support our trade workers. We have to make sure we are prepared for the surge in growth coming and support our infrastructure. That includes the supply chain and workforce infrastructure.
Cheryl Richards, CEO, Catapult
In 2021, we received over 18,000 calls from businesses, over 15,000 of those issues related to COVID. As the pandemic subsides, we’re spending more time on other areas where we can assist employers. With our pre-paid legal services, HR roundtables, fractional HR services, compensation data, learning and development, and talent solutions, we’re going further than ever in 2022.
A lot of organizations are investing in their people, most notably in learning and development. In fact, employers are requesting more on-site and personalized training experiences, so we’re buffing up our training to include in-person, hybrid and technology-based options that fit a variety of business models.
As a membership-based organization, our priority is to always be in tune with members. Catapult takes pride in anticipating employer needs now and in the future, and we look forward to continuing to empower employers with the confidence they need to navigate everyday HR challenges. That’s how they can stay focused on growing their businesses.
Kandi Deitemeyer, President, Central Piedmont Community College
My outlook is always positive. Central Piedmont and Charlotte-Mecklenburg have a great future ahead of us, we just need to seize it. We have great people who care and want this community to grow while helping everyone benefit from the growth. Central Piedmont is one of the community’s most valuable assets in ensuring pathways to economic mobility are available to all. The college has long been the community’s chief workforce development partner, and we continue to take that responsibility seriously. The future is bright for Central Piedmont. We have the capacity and capability to deliver for Charlotte’s growth and success.
Irene Vogelsong, Associate Principal, Practice Leader – North Carolina, Perkins&Will
My outlook is bullish. I see growth for the next 30 years and there are several factors behind that. One is that we are in the Sunbelt and that migration will continue to happen for the foreseeable future. We have a history of strong financial services markets, which has spawned the continuously growing fintech industry. We have world-class sports that will continue to attract top companies. We are also seeing much more of a focus on medical research and development. We need to grow smartly and in a sustainable manner that considers ALL of our people. This includes finding more solutions for affordable housing, zoning ordinances, advocating for legislation and policies, and growing public private partnerships that can protect and promote affordable housing. We have the advantage in Charlotte that our leaders are driven to engage with our communities and be responsible citizens so we can continue to push this region forward.
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