Rowan EDC gives update on projects, wants to continue working on branding
By Liz Moomey
SALISBURY — The Rowan Economic Development Commission Board of Directors met to give updates on several economic projects on Thursday.
Rod Crider, the president of Rowan EDC, spoke about continuing to work with current businesses as they attract new businesses to the area.
“Despite all of our efforts in the new business development category, growth is going to come from our existing businesses,” Crider said. “That’s just true for any community. We just want to focus more on that area. We put that together. One of the things that we want to do particularly is focus on our trade industries — automotive and transportation are our largest right now.”
Scott Shelton, the vice president of Rowan EDC, updated the board on the project activity, saying there were 36 projects this year.
With Project Vulcan, a manufacturing project, it is expected to bring up to 1,000 jobs and a $75 million investment.
“They have said on multiple occasions they were committed to paying above the 50 percentile on wages,” Shelton said.
He also talked about Project Tiger in China Grove, which is a spec building project of 396,000 square feet.
“Once 85 and the interchange is done, we’re going to see a lot more activity in China Grove and Landis,” he said.
Dyke Messinger, board member and president of Power Curbers, offered his concerns about not having a workforce for these projects.
“We cannot find welders,” Messinger said. “We can’t even find assembly people that will pass a drug screen and show up at work. I’ve never in my career seen anything like this.”
Dari Caldwell, the president of Novant Health, asked if interested groups know this problem is common throughout the nation.
“This issue of manpower shortage — that’s not unique to us though,” Caldwell said.
Crider talked to the board about improving the branding of Rowan County. The board discussed the value of education and its impact on Rowan County’s economy.
“We got to find ways to support the superintendent and what she’s trying to do and they’re doing a lot of really great things if you can get into the schools,” Crider said. “Most people aren’t aware of the good things that are going on.
Salisbury Mayor Pro Tem David Post and Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds chimed in about the reputation of the renewal school program.
“It was a compliment that we were selected for this renewal system, and everyone knows that outside of Rowan County,” Post said. “In Rowan County, we’ve seen it as some sort of a failure issue.”
Lynn Moody, the Salisbury-Rowan School System superintendent, is a board member but was not in attendance.