October Program Recap: Is the Triangle Ready for our Growing Future? A Panel Discussion with Area Leaders

Thank You to our October Program Moderator and Panelists. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the informative discussion on the topic of “Is the Triangle Ready for Our Growing Future?”

The Research Triangle Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services hosted yet another dynamic panel for their October program. The question at hand was “Is the Triangle Ready for Our Growing Future?” Ryan Combs, Executive Director of Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP,) graciously served as the program moderator. The panelists included Joe Milazzo, II, PE, Executive Director of Regional Transportation Alliance, Adrienne Cole, President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Scott Selig, Associate Vice President of Capital Assets and Real Estate at Duke University. Joe, Adrienne, and Scott provided the SMPS audience with an insightful look at where the Triangle is currently, what we can expect to see in the coming years, and what we can do to encourage positive growth for the areas where we live and work.

It’s no secret that the Triangle is growing quickly (roughly 100 people per day) and the panel agreed it’s because this area is such a wonderful community to grow up in, to work in, to go to school in… the list goes on and on. As Scott Selig said, “it’s where science and technology meet sports and beer” and that includes everything in between. The challenge that we face is sustaining this growth so that we may continue to grow and thrive for many years to come.

Scott Selig spoke to his knowledge of education in the Triangle. One big change that he encourages is a “spirit of collaboration”—bringing Duke University, NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill off their campuses into the professional world to create an interaction between students and companies, giving students an opportunity to expand their knowledge with real world applications. “We have the talent, we are growing the talent.” Scott also spoke to the positive growth that Duke University and Duke Health are experiencing. Duke University, with a 2% annual growth, will create roughly 800 new jobs a year. As Duke Health expands to the greater Triangle area, we can expect to see the idea of “medtail,” medical practices reaching retail settings, become more prevalent. When asked what we as the public can do to support the Triangle’s growth, Scott encouraged positive thought and conversation about our community. Scott also stressed the importance of keeping yourself educated with Triangle news and last but not least, “be nice!”

Joe Milazzo offered some fascinating insights into Triangle transportation. In the next ten years, the Triangle can expect to see five new bus route transit systems and a light rail that will travel from Durham to Chapel Hill, just to name a few of the exciting transportation initiatives on the horizon.

RDU, one of the fastest growing airports in the country, will have a new runway, improved gates and expanded parking. As our airport continues to grow with us, the goal is to keep that same comforting feeling you get when you land at RDU now. In closing, Joe brought up a great point that one way we can support economic development is simply to continue hiring at your company. Each new hire creates an income that as a result creates revenue for businesses and restaurants in the area and additional tax dollars which, in turn, support our growing infrastructure.

Adrienne Cole engaged the audience with her positive outlook on where the Triangle is headed. She recalled that in order to sustain the growth, correct steps must be taken to invest in our infrastructure, our companies and our education, make wise investments, and consider all the working parts when making decisions. “The toothpaste is out of the tube” and we must not be complacent when it comes to growth in this region. Adrienne also offered strategies in the works to boost our vulnerable communities. These included driving jobs to invest in these communities and engaging adults in these areas to complete their education. Lastly, Adrienne stressed the importance of reaching out to your local elected leaders if there’s something you have an opinion or idea for, as this is the best way to motivate a change.

There was most certainly something that everyone could take away from this program, if not several things. Thank you very much to our program sponsors, the three panelists and to Ryan Combs for moderating the discussion!

Blog Post Written by Sarah Findlay, Marketing Manager – McDonald York Building Company

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