In spite of COVID-19 and Gov. Roy Cooper’s expansion to Phase 2.5, Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and I had an in-depth conversation last week about the many opportunities (and challenges) facing our community.
We both agreed we had much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to in the near future. Despite COVID-19, Market House debates and Proud Boy infiltrators, there are good things happening in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.
Recently, the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation, under the leadership of CEO Robert Van Geons, announced that Dansons, a manufacturer of BBQ pellet grills and related equipment selected Fayetteville as their newest location for a distribution and customer service call center.
The facility will be located on Technology Drive and will create an estimated 118 full-time jobs for our community as well as a $10 million investment with growth potential two and a half times that. This is great news! Kudo’s to Mr. Van Geons, for shepherding this project through by working closely with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
Other key partners assisted in the recruiting and coordinating efforts by securing $400,000 from North Carolina’s “One NC Grant” and, a $175,000 job creation grant from our Cumberland County Commissioners.
In addition, the North Carolina Community College System provided a $91,000 training grant which will be managed by Fayetteville Technical Community College. This is a near perfect example that “it takes a village” to develop and secure successful economic development projects. It also takes dedicated leadership, keen minds and vision for what we want Fayetteville and Cumberland County to be for future generations.
Another recent example of leadership and vision was the action taken by the management team of our hometown utility PWC with its responsive customer service and quick reaction in assisting local customers dealing with the financial hardships created by the pandemic.
In March Gov. Cooper issued an executive order governing billing and utility cutoff procedures statewide. On July 29 these restrictions on billing and disconnects were lifted making normal utility usage payments due. Anticipating the difficulty and hardships some customers would experience in paying their bills, PWC automatically implemented special payment terms on past due balances extending payments over a six month period for all their customers. This was no small task since it affected nearly 30,000 local PWC customers and represented millions of dollars in past
In addition, PWC has made customer service representatives available to counsel and direct those customers who still have difficulty with their payments to local resources and agencies for assistance. By being proactive and coming to the aid of local residents, PWC demonstrates the kind of dedication, commitment, talent, business leadership and vision that builds and maintains prosperous communities. It is doubtful that many utility companies across the country operate or respond to their customers like Fayetteville’s hometown utility.
I admit these are crazy times for everyone. COVID-19 and this annoying pandemic won’t last forever. Neither will the masks! No doubt this community has the resources, people and talent to attract organizations and great industries like Dansons. By working together (city, county, media), communicating with one another, sharing ideas, visions, and encouraging dynamic leadership, Fayetteville can be one of North Carolina’s greatest cities. Agree? Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.