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EDC charts new course for marketing Rowan

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Rowan County’s economic development efforts have a new logo ó a tagline, if you will.
RowanWorks.
Robert Van Geons, executive director of the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, explained Wednesday that “Rowan” is inclusive, recognizing that the EDC serves all of the county and its municipalities.
Meanwhile, “Works” is an action-oriented, positive word, he said, and it leverages all of the good marketing the Rowan Jobs Initiative already has done with its “Available for Work” campaign.
“I don’t think we’re going to lose anyone with this message,” Van Geons said. “… It’s all about the total package, it really is.”
Rowan County Commissioner Raymond Coltrain said he liked the all-county, team approach conveyed by RowanWorks.
Actually the logo unveiled to the EDC board Wednesday incorporates other important words or phrases:
– Economic development ó “It’s what we do,” Van Geons said.
– Salisbury, NC ó reflective of the county’s largest city and county seat and “where to find us on a map,” Van Geons said.
– For your business ó a phrase that compliments “Available for Work.”
Van Geons says the new logo represents an end to “disconnected identities” that maybe confused site selection consultants, companies, real estate brokers and citizens trying to find economic development information for the county.
RJI, which has been a focused, five-year marketing effort for the county, turned over its Web site and all the marketing images for the EDC’s use.
“They recognized the need to pull everything together,” Van Geons said.
Van Geons said it will allow the EDC to leverage the investment in marketing and research already done by RJI and plow new ground for the future.
The EDC and Rowan Jobs Initiative decided there should be one Web site for economic development information in Rowan County and that will be www.RowanWorks.com.
It essentially sends you to the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, which is where the Rowan Jobs Initiative Web site directed visitors anyway.
A new sign at the county-owned Summit Corporate Center “is the only thing out there” which now incorporates the new RowanWorks logo, Van Geons said.
The new industrial park sign details the sites, what’s available, what’s developed and vital statistics on the various parcels.
Van Geons also took time Wednesday to outline a program of work for the new fiscal year, which started this month.
In recruitment of new industry, Van Geons said the EDC will increase its interaction and travel with the N.C. Department of Commerce; expand partnerships with Cabarrus County in connection to the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis; expand connections at the federal level; and maximize the county’s investment with the Charlotte Regional Partnership.
Targeted industrial sectors for the EDC will include food processing, motorsports, advanced manufacturing, security and defense and logistics.
For existing industries, the EDC will try to sell the success stories, provide marketing materials, visit corporate headquarters of the companies here and “find ways to provide real benefit,” Van Geons said.
The EDC also will work on ways for board members to continue networking.
Van Geons said he hopes to develop a stand-alone path on the EDC Web site for the Rowan County Airport, as part of creating a separate marketing piece.
The EDC will be installing a touch-screen device at the airport in coming weeks which will tell business visitors about the airport and the county.
Board members Randy Welch and James Taylor said the EDC Web site is more robust and has moved light years ahead of where it had been.
The board reviewed some of its successes in attracting new investment and creating or keeping jobs here over the past year. The EDC played a role in some $440 million in investment spread among six projects.
Next week, it will be asking for county incentives toward a possible $15.9 million investment at the Freightliner plant in Cleveland.
Despite some of the good news in a bad economy, Van Geons said, “none of us feel like we’ve done enough,” given the jobless numbers and people “desperately trying to support their families.”
The EDC probably improved its effectiveness in the past year, but still didn’t do enough, Van Geons said.
New EDC Chairwoman Dianne Greene of Century 21 Towne & Country directed Wednesday’s meeting and presented gifts to Jeanie Moore, who chaired over the past year.
Moore’s six-year term on the board is coming to a close at the end of this year.
She said she will remain a champion for the EDC and economic development efforts in Rowan County. Moore praised her colleagues for becoming “very engaged and dedicated’ over the past year.
Being on the EDC board “probably has been the best part of my community service,” Moore said. She added that she learned a great deal through the years from fellow board members such as Bruce Jones, the late Jack Owens, Coltrain and Bill Wagoner, among others.

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