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- Economic Development Partner Spotlight: Tracy Dellinger
Economic Development Partner Spotlight: Tracy Dellinger
City of Burlington
Economic Development Office
September 1, 2022
One of the most important values in the Economic Development field is partnership. As a multi-faceted field, it is essential to economic developers to establish a network of public, private, and governmental entities. Knowing this, it deserves recognition that the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, or EDPNC for short, is one of the essential partners to the City of Burlington. The organization has brought a plethora of economic successes to North Carolina for over 14 years, with recent projects such as Toyota and VinFast. Though statewide, Existing Industries Manager Tracy Dellinger serves businesses within the Piedmont Triad – both large and small – with resources, consulting, and assistance down to the individual level.
EDPNC is a nonprofit public-private partnership that has operated under contract with the North Carolina Department of Commerce since 2014. Created by the NC General Assembly, it is one of the only economic development organizations providing services statewide. The partnership’s work is concentrated in five main departments of economic development, specifically business recruitment, existing industry support, small business support, international trade, and travel and tourism. Job creation and investment continues to grow and thrive thanks to their work in public and private sectors at the state, regional, and local levels.
Despite the pandemic, North Carolina continued to see economic growth through business recruitment and business expansion. Since January of 2020, over 400 corporate locations and expansions have been announced, including more than 280 in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. These projects continue to bring in over 64,000 announced new jobs and $25 billion in new capital investment. Though North Carolina is historically known for tobacco and textiles, a wide variety of industries have increased their presence in the state, evolving into knowledge-based industries such as biotechnology, energy, finance, and information technology.
For those interested in growing or starting a business, EDPNC has a remarkable team focused on helping companies find their way. The 100 North Carolina counties are divided into seven regions, each with a specific existing industry expansions manager. Additionally, there are small business advisors, international trade managers, and program managers for the STEP Program and MEP Program. Existing industry support, as one of the core values of economic development, is important for encouraging companies to both make connections to essential resources and identify barriers of growth.
Tracy Dellinger, Piedmont Triad Region
Tracy Dellinger has been a part of the EDPNC since the beginning. She is the manager of Existing Industry Expansions within the Piedmont Triad region. She has experience in workforce development and entrepreneurial networks, having worked for local developers and the NC Department of Commerce prior to this position. As the Existing Industry Expansions Manager, she is responsible for identifying expansion opportunities for companies in North Carolina, recommending available resources in the state, and facilitating incentive requests throughout the Piedmont Triad.
As one of the managers, Tracy is focused on helping existing businesses within this region prosper and expand. There are eight counties within the Piedmont Triad that Tracy manages, which Alamance County falls within. Though business recruitment often makes the headlines, and is extremely important within economic development, a substantial amount of work stems from supporting the companies already in North Carolina – which is where Tracy comes in. From providing financial resources for small businesses to gathering information for the Department of Commerce, Tracy’s reach is extensive in the state.
Existing industry projects typically take off after they have been presented to the Department of Commerce to request incentives. Incentives are a combination of factors meant to aid a project, including grants, resources, legal support, job training, and more. It is a process of negotiations, compromise, and cooperation, with local, regional, and sometimes state entities. When asked about ongoing projects, Tracy said the “active pipeline” of potential locations, expansions, or renovations in the state is constant and strong. There are currently 240 active projects being discussed throughout all of North Carolina, with the potential for 117,000 new jobs and $127 billion in new capital expansion overall. Within the Piedmont Triad, Tracy currently manages 17 of these active projects, which have already been presented to the Department of Commerce for incentives. Furthermore, at least five other potential projects are waiting on incentive eligibility.
How We Interact
EDPNC is one of the many development partners that the City of Burlington works with to best serve the city’s business community. Since EDPNC functions as a networking agent in many different forms, the Burlington Economic Development office uses their guidance in environmental services, historic rehabilitation, workforce development incentives, and other essential resources. Though EDPNC works to promote such resources on their own, Burlington also promotes their content to business owners and organizations in the city to encourage economic success.
Since Burlington is located within the Piedmont Triad, the Burlington Economic Development office works closely with Tracy Dellinger for incoming and existing projects that arise. “The EDPNC takes a reactive approach to economic development,” Tracy says, “where we work to hire and expand businesses in North Carolina.” The work that economic developers do – both in Burlington and in the EDPNC – revolves around the businesses themselves. Oftentimes a company will approach an economic development office, whether state, regional, or local, with some kind of proposal – a renovation, or site relocation, or even an idea for a new business venture – and it falls to the economic developers to find the contacts, locations, resources, etc. in order to best fit the proposal. It takes a lot of communication and partnering to create the success stories that people see today, such as Toyota or VinFast, Apple and Red Bull.
From business owner to new entrepreneur, big industry to small town, Tracy is one of the best in the state for economic development. Her consistent dedication to the Piedmont Triad is unmatched. Burlington Economic Development team is grateful for her work and is excited to see what comes next!
Manager, Existing Industry Expansions, Piedmont Triad
Isabella DeLaGarza, EYOS Fellow
425 S. Lexington Ave.
Burlington, NC 27215