NCEDA Member Spotlight

NCEDA serves as the voice for North Carolina’s economic development
community – providing professional development, networking
opportunities and advocacy to secure the state’s economic future.

NCEDA’S Bi-Weekly E-Newsletter

March 22, 2021

Headline Sponsor

SynTerra is an employeeowned engineering and science consulting firm,
helping clients meet objectives and address technical challenges.

In This Issue

  • Annual Sponsor Recognition
  • 2021 Scholarship Recipients
  • Spring Conference Highlights
  • Annual and Fall Conferences – Save the Dates!
  • Sponsor Profile: Civic Federal Credit Union
  • Member Spotlight
    • Ronnie Bryant – Ronnie L. Bryant LLC
  • NCEDA Family
  • Partner Organization News and Events
    • EDPNC 2020 Annual Report
    • NC Offshore Wind Report & Webinars
    • NC Certified Economic Developer Program
    • Leading from the Boardroom Virtual Event
  • Career Center
  • Technology Resources
  • News & Views
  • Worth Noting…

Annual Sponsor Recognition

NCEDA recognizes the commitment of our Annual Sponsors, and we’ll be highlighting companies and organizations that have recently committed as an Annual Sponsor or have increased their commitment level. This week we’re highlighting our Long Leaf Pine Sponsors!

Alliance Consulting Engineers recently joined NCEDA as an annual sponsor at the Long Leaf Pine level last year. Alliance has stayed engaged with NCEDA and their support helped us create meaningful programs in a challenging year!

ElectriCites of North Carolina has been a strong partner of NCEDA through their support as a Patron Sponsor. Last year, ElectriCities increased their commitment to NCEDA by moving up to the Long Leaf Pine level! ElectriCities plays a vital role in economic development in North Carolina and NCEDA appreciates their support!

2021 Scholarship Recipients

NCEDA’s scholarship recipients for this year were announced by Professional Development Committee Chair Josh Hallingse during the Spring Conference held earlier this week. Congratulations to each of these NCEDA members!

  • Our Jack Ervin Scholarship funds participation at EDI or IEDC, and this year’s recipient of that award is David Putnam, Community & Strategic Initiatives Planner for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council.
  • The Dan Stewart Scholarship covers tuition for the Basic Economic Development Course at UNC Chapel Hill. This year’s recipient is Elizabeth Underwood, Economic Development Specialist with Beaufort County Economic Development.
  • NCEDA’s newest scholarship is the ECU Academy Scholarship, which covers tuition for one course in the NC Certified Economic Developer program. This year’s recipient is Blake Moyer, Economic Development Project Manager for the City of Burlington.

Spring Conference Highlights

More than 200 NCEDA members attended the organization’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on April 17. The gathering was presented by ECS Southeast with support from many additional sponsors!

Although held virtually, this year’s Spring Conference provided several opportunities for attendees to engage with each other, provided A+ content focusing on Life Sciences, Broadband, the USGA Project, Entrepreneurship, Downtown Revitalization and many updates from our partners.

Click HERE to read all of the highlights from our 2021 Virtual Spring Conference!

Save the Dates for our
Annual and Fall Conferences!

Save the Dates!

The 2021 Annual Conference will be held June 8-10. At this time, the conference is being planned in-person at the Doubletree in Atlantic Beach but these plans may change as the conference dates approach. Assuming we are able to host this conference in person, we will also offer a virtual registration option for those we may be unable to accommodate (assuming a smaller gathering limit) and for anyone not yet ready to gather in person.

The 2021 Fall Conference will be held October 12-13 at the Grandover Resort & Spa in Greensboro. This is a departure from our traditional location in the NC mountains, and the Board is excited about returning to this popular, centrally-located venue as we re-enter the world of face-to-face gatherings.

Please mark your calendars for each conference, and look for more details to be announced next month for Annual Conference and over the summer for Fall Conference.

Sponsor Profile: Civic Federal Credit Union

As North Carolina’s first digital credit union, Civic Federal Credit Union is a member-led organization that serves local government employees, their families, and small businesses.

NCEDA appreciates their support as a Patron Sponsor, and we are excited to showcase them in our next Sponsor Profile. Look for an in-depth write-up next week on Civic Federal Credit Union and what they mean to North Carolina!

Member Spotlight
Ronnie Bryant
Ronnie L. Bryant, LLC

Ronnie Bryant is Founder and Lead Consultant at Ronnie L. Bryant, LLC, a Charlotte-based firm he established in 2017 to help executives improve their leadership skills and business acumen to operate organizations while maintaining a competitive edge in diverse, evolving domestic and global marketplaces. Ronnie was previously President & CEO of the 16-county Charlotte Regional Partnership for 15 years. His award-winning career in economic development includes executive positions at the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association, and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. Ronnie is a past chairman of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and former dean and faculty member at Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute. He also is an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte, an Executive in Residence at Wake Forest University and a Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs. Ronnie earned a BS degree in business management from Louisiana State University at Shreveport.

“I’ve been involved with NCEDA since 2005, when I assumed my leadership duties at the Charlotte Regional Partnership. It has long been a well-run organization that provides direct access to other economic development professionals throughout the state. NCEDA really upped its game when it brought on as the management team. The information and guidance are of the highest quality, the legislative advocacy is sharper than ever, and the networking opportunities are always thoughtful and fun.”
– Ronnie Bryant

NCEDA Family

NCEDA is a family, and we want to keep everyone updated on the significant moments in your lives and careers – and be there to support you during difficult times as well. Please submit life updates (job changes / promotions, retirements, awards / honors, births and passings) to Liz (

  • Congratulations to NCEDA Past President Don Kirkman (Carteret County Economic Development), who recently announced he will retire June 30.
  • Congratulations to former NCEDA Board Member Maureen Little (NC Community College System), who will be retiring on July 1.
  • Congratulations to Jeff Garstka (City of Reidsville) on his recent recognition as a 2020 Main Street Champion!
  • Congratulations to Alyssa Byrd (Town of Fuquay-Varina) and Marvin Price (Greensboro Chamber of Commerce) for being named to DCI’s 2021 “40 Under 40”!
  • Congratulations and farewell to Bob Morgan (Robinson Bradshaw) on his new adventure heading up the SC Chamber of Commerce. We’re sad to see him leave NC, but wish him luck in the next chapter!

Partner Organization
News and Events

EDPNC 2020 Annual Report
EDPNC has released it’s 2020 Annual Report with a message of Emerging Stronger. EDPNC is excited to report wins for the state in 2020 and it’s plans for the future as we all move forward from COVID-19. Check out their 2020 Annual Report for updates on existing industry, tourism, business recruitment & development, and more. Click HERE for the full report and press release.

NC Offshore Wind Report & Webinars
North Carolina stands well positioned to attract a significant portion of a more than $100 billion market opportunity from the growing offshore wind energy industry, according to a comprehensive new report released recently by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Click HERE to view the full report—Building North Carolina’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain: The roadmap for leveraging manufacturing and infrastructure advantages. Two webinars later this month will provide additional information about the state’s opportunities related to offshore wind:

  • Offshore Wind Policy and Supply Chain – UK lessons for North Carolina
    March 26 • 10 – 11:45 am • Click HERE to register.
  • North Carolina Offshore Wind Supply Chain and Infrastructure Report
    March 30 • 10 – 11:30 am • Click HERE to register.

NC Certified Economic Developer Program
Click HERE to learn more about the NC Certified Economic Developer program. The next course – Organization, Operation, and Strategy for Economic Developers in North Carolina – will be offered April 14-15.

Leading From the Boardroom Virtual Event
Join the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Research Triangle Chapter for a virtual seminar – Leading From the Boardroom: The Diversity Imperative – on April 6-7. With an impressive group of speakers and sitting directors lined up to discuss the current data around diversity, decision-making and strategic priorities for corporations, the seminar will explore the path to becoming a board member. Click HERE to learn more and register!

Career Center

NCEDA’s website has a page dedicated to job opportunities within our economic development community. If you are looking for a new position, be sure to visit the NCEDA Career Center. If you have a job opening you would like to post, please send the job description to Click HERE to view all job opportunities.

New Opportunity Available:

Technology Resources

NCEDA continues to shift member offerings in a time of change, and we are pleased to present a dedicated Technology Resources section of our website where you will find a comprehensive list of technology resources for you and your organization. The list includes everything from social media sites, economic development-specific software, virtual meeting applications – plus tons of free resources. Click HERE to check it out!

NCEDA is also now offering a complimentary IT Help Desk through our website as an exclusive benefit of membership. If you have any kind of tech question, from how to convert a PDF to email issues to website functionality, you can now complete the service request form on our website and get free help from an IT expert! Click HERE to see how it works. You’ll also find a link to this form on the Technology Resources page.

News & Views

Axios: “Pandemic Side Effect: America’s Backed Up Ports

First the good news: the economy is getting better. But consumer demand – driven by vaccines, online commerce and stimulus checks – has created an historic backlog at the nation’s ports. There is a shortage of shipping containers, many of which idle as overwhelmed workers struggle to unload them. The situation threatens delays not just for consumers, but for manufacturers waiting on imported parts. Company execs mention these problems on earnings calls and investor conferences more than at any time in the last 16 years, according to researchers at Sentieo, a data platform. It’s akin to the frustrations of travelers at a crowded airport, suggests shipping consultant Daniel Hackett. “The previous plane is still waiting to depart a gate, and the plane you are waiting for has arrived but is forced to sit and wait for the gate to free up,” Hackett says.

Business North Carolina: “She Said, She Said: An Interview with the Women of EDPNC
3/10/21 (blog post)

For Liz Isley, a grad school fellowship first exposed her to economic development and the challenges faced by municipalities and local organizations. “I fell in love with the work,” says Isley, who is now International Trade Manager at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). “My current field is a far cry from what I thought I wanted to do when I was much younger, which was to be completely enmeshed in public policy for the arts, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Isley says. No longer the men’s club it once was, economic development now offers a welcoming career path for women. In celebration of Women’s History Month, BNC interviewed female staffers at EDPNC about their work. What advice do they give other women interested in the field? Sarah Bernart, EDPNC’s Existing Industry Expansion Manager for the Northeast region, now scans the sports headlines as a prelude to interacting with business contacts “so that I at least have a passing knowledge of whatever sports news is being discussed in the boardroom, elevator or networking dinner,” she says. “This is ACC country after all.”

CNN Business: “Pandemic Puts Booming CEO Pay Under the Microscope

Among the drastic changes that COVID-19 has brought to businesses in the last year is one that swings from left field: CEO pay. While many companies adjusted compensation in 2020 in response to the pandemic, CEO pay was largely altered at the base level. These changes did not include bonuses and stock rewards, which often make up the large disparity between CEO and employee salary packages. “There were changes related to one-time hits from the pandemic, and then there was a separate phenomenon around heightened social and justice issues, and companies looking to align themselves with what consumers want to see,” said Diligent President Lisa Edwards. As social justice issues hit front pages, demands for CEO pay adjustments have risen. News from this week ignited the demands: “Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation that would tax companies believed to be overcompensating top brass, while Starbucks (SBUX) shareholders voted against the company’s CEO pay proposal — a rare move that indicates some think Kevin Johnson is overpaid.”

Worth Noting…

“Let us recite an irreverent prayer for the club, the disco, the spot. Let us bow our heads and say ‘Remember when…’. Remember when we danced? Remember when we used to move among one another like a shaggy herd of buffalo or a plush patch of mushrooms, the invisible antennae on our skin electrified by intermittent touching, random bumping, indifferent brushing by, and in that indifference was a kind of love?”

The New York Times: “We Longed for Parties” (Commentary)
3/14/21 – Sunday Review, p. 12


Save the Dates!

April 8 (4 – 5 pm)
Power Hour Virtual Networking Event

May 13 (4 – 5 pm)
Power Hour Virtual Networking Event

June 8-10
Annual Conference
Atlantic Beach

October 12-13
Fall Conference








The NCEDA Research Committee serves to strengthen NCEDA’s role as the thought leader for economic development in North Carolina. The following blog series has been assembled by members of the Research Committee:

Thanks to Crystal Morphis and her team at Creative Economic Development Consulting for generating the 2019 Salary Survey.

NCEDA members Nathan Huret and Crystal Morphis will periodically write book reviews as an added resource for our membership:


Executive Committee

Randall Johnson
NC Biotechnology Center

Vice President
John Nelms
Duke Energy

Chris Platé
Monroe-Union County Economic Development

Immediate Past President
Dr. Patricia Mitchell CEcD
Appalachian State University

2021 Directors

Julie Roper
Dominion Energy North Carolina

Ryan Wetherington
Armstrong Relocation

Alan Wood CEcD
Burke Development Inc.

2022 Directors

Josh Hallingse
Transylvania Economic Alliance

Joanna Helms
Apex Economic Development

Chris Kouri
Nexsen Pruet

2023 Directors

Martyn Johnson
Beaufort County Economic Development

Jason McLeod
ECS Southeast

Ryan Nance
NC Electric Cooperatives


Machelle Baker Sanders
NC Department of Commerce

Chris Chung
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

Donny Hicks CEcD
Gaston County Economic Development Commission

Kevin Lackey
Brunswick Business & Industry Development

Lawrence Bivins

Liz Dobbins-Smith


Save the Dates!

April 8 (4 – 5 pm)
Power Hour Virtual Networking Event

May 13 (4 – 5 pm)
Power Hour Virtual Networking Event

June 8-10
Annual Conference
Atlantic Beach

October 12-13
Fall Conference




Providing Solutions, Not Excuses

Ronnie L. Bryant LLC | 2215 Whitford Lane Charlotte, NC 28210 | 704.340.3302 |