For the Pee Dee and Grand Strand, N-E-S-A spells ‘business’

  • Thursday, February 28, 2013

In my role as regional economic development manager for Progress Energy, I get a chance to show off our region to prospective expanding businesses with the hopes of bringing an infusion of jobs and investments to the area.

Progress Energy, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, works with many partner agencies to show how this region is superior to other areas across the nation and in some cases, the world. We have to show that we are the right location, have the right people (workforce), provide the right incentive package and demonstrate that our region is committed to economic growth.

When you’re talking about a multi-million dollar business picking up and expanding to a new area, many locations fit the profile companies are looking for. It all comes down to which region can offer the best package of workforce, utilities, economic incentives and a whole host of other variables.

Utilities, local governments and our regional economic development alliance – the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA) – must work together as a team to make the best case for a company bringing their business to the Pee Dee and coastal counties of South Carolina.

Some residents might not understand just how important NESA is to these efforts.

To facilitate the cooperation of all entities involved in economic development is no easy task, but healthy partnerships create a more vibrant region that is more appealing to businesses looking to expand or relocate.

NESA helps bring all elements of economic development together, focuses the strengths of the region and works with expanding businesses to meet their regional needs better than our competition across the nation and the globe. Basically, NESA helps the region compete on a worldwide scale for expanding businesses, something that would be impossible without their assistance.

From the business end of economic development, NESA does much of the heavy lifting of finding the best way to meet the specific needs of an expanding business and how our region can best meet those needs. This only comes through working with research, regional marketing and perhaps most importantly, working with local businesses and governments to help our region function as one.

When companies look at the counties NESA supports, they look at products like utilities infrastructure, workforce, available sites and transportation infrastructure.

At Progress Energy, we know that what benefits our customers benefits our company. That’s why we are teaming up with NESA, state, regional and local government leaders to attract new jobs and businesses to the areas we serve. As a team, we’ll be able to make our region much more appealing for businesses looking to expand.


W. Stuart Ames is the regional economic development manager for Progress Energy in South Carolina.

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

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