2019 Year in Review
December 31, 2019
Calendar year 2019 brought many projects and success to eastern NC and NC East Alliance. In February, Beaufort County and NC East announced the location of Caldwell Marine Designs to Washington, NC. Caldwell Marine Designs is the exclusive contract manufacturer for Sea Cat Boats.
In May Interim CEO/President Vann Rogerson embarked on a recruitment mission to South Africa with one of our previously located South African companies. Vann traveled to Port Elizabeth, Capetown, and Johannesburg to pitch eastern NC to business owners in South Africa ranging from small entrepreneurial companies to large manufacturing operations. This has led to over 30 projects and that number increases every month with word spreading of the success of the companies we have previously assisted. The trip was made possible by a $151,045 Grant from the USDA in 2018 to support economic development activities in rural eastern NC. In 2019, NC East was approved for a $167,496 USDA grant to continue economic development work in rural eastern NC counties. The grant has also supported the launch of a historic and downtown commercial properties database to attract early retirees to the many beautiful rural counties across the east along with information on programs assisting those in starting a new business.
In August, we were proud to partner with Pasquotank County in the announcement of the expansion of Telephonics Corporation to Elizabeth City. NC East assisted Utixo International and Vibworth International in establishing their US Sales offices in our incubator office in Edenton, NC. Both plan to establish operations in eastern NC. The incubator office is now home to three international companies.
Throughout the year the NC East Team facilitated 17 prospective companies on 49 visits to 14 eastern NC counties. With a promising pipeline of projects and a few already scheduled to visit, we expect that number to increase in 2020. We have developed a niche for assisting international entrepreneurial companies set up their US corporation and operations in eastern NC and hope to continue our success in doing so.
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STEM East Ecosystem continues to work to connect regional school districts to business and industry through both virtually and in person. Our STEMEast Connect platform provides virtual connections from any class in our region to business and industry to learn about local jobs with a focus on skills preparation. Our spring convening of regional schools and business partners in 2019 was a huge success as students were able to hear directly from the world of industry while demonstrating their classroom projects serving to prepare them for the world of work. Great conversations that closed the gap between the needs of business and the changing focus of schools. Stay tuned for the 2020 Employers and Educators (E2) Conference later this spring.
Our newest project, the Eastern NC Inquiry Collaborative, assists school districts in diving deeper into a classroom practices that promote skills for enhanced learning and employment. The project works with school-based teams of administrators and teachers to examine their school culture and strategic changes that positively impact student learning and job readiness. 2019 was the pilot year of a 3 year project funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and is open to all member school districts. Assisting with resources to support these changing classrooms we continue to expand our network of regional museums, after-school programs and libraries. This growing network is designed to coordinate efforts to bring awareness and prepare all students to enter the changing regional workforce.
In July we announced that we will receive $150,000 from Golden LEAF over two years to support the development of a STEM Northeast Network in several northeastern North Carolina counties. The grant will support the design of a regional professional learning program that initially focuses on Career-Connected Project Based Learning (PBL) for middle school teacher teams. Mr. Todd Borghesani, Esq. has been retained by NCEast to lead the effort to develop a Series of one-day Career Connected PBL workshops in support of middle school educator teams from nine districts across the region. Todd will continue to work with the districts in 2020 in developing the workshops. Read more about STEM Northeast here.
We would like to thank and congratulate all of our partners and investors on a fantastic 2019. We are very excited for the future and the potential success the new year will bring. We look forward to working with all of you in continuing the advancement of eastern NC. See you in 2020!