Economic Development Partner Spotlight: Loren Hill
Alamance Chamber's 2022 Economic Summit, where Loren Hill spoke on behalf of the NC Carolina Core as Presenting Sponsor
In this spotlight of Burlington’s Economic Development Partners, we look to an essential element of our work – communicating and marketing the geographic region we are in. The state of North Carolina has seen unprecedented success within economic development, business recruitment, and industry expansions. While much of this success is credited to the state’s excellent business fundamentals like low taxes, skilled labor, and excellent transportation infrastructure, none of these attributes happen in a vacuum. They all happen in a place; in this case, a beautiful, diverse landscape of mountains, rolling farmland and coastal plain that is North Carolina.
The counties and cities around Burlington in the Piedmont Triad also make a compelling story for companies looking to expand or relocate. Placemaking efforts were a powerful and effective aspect of the recent regional announcements such as VinFast, Toyota, Sunlight Batteries, and Steri-Tek. The NC Carolina Core – a 170 mile stretch through the middle of the state that encompasses major cities and metropolitan areas along the future Interstate 685 – is a focal point of the Piedmont Triad Partnership’s mission. Loren Hill, the Carolina Core Regional Economic Development Director for the Piedmont Triad Partnership, sheds light on the Core with passion and excitement as he describes his commitment to his work.
Piedmont Triad Partnership and the Carolina Core
The Piedmont Triad Partnership (PTP) functions as a private leadership organization that brings the region’s business community together to promote prosperity and growth. Founded in 1991, the PTP envisions that “The Piedmont Triad will be globally recognized as a dynamic and prosperous region where collaborative culture, emerging innovation and thriving talent generate sustainable, significant economic growth outpacing the southeast United States.” The PTP supports megasite development and other transformational projects that will prepare the region to compete for major economic development job-generating projects.
The “Carolina Core” is the 170-mile corridor of future Interstate 685, stretching from “central North Carolina from Winston-Salem to Fayetteville encompassing Greensboro, Burlington, and High Point and in close proximity to Charlotte and the Research Triangle.” The Core is defined by assets that make the region a globally-competitive market, including:
- Access to over 30 colleges and universities;
- 2.4 million people within the growing talent pool;
- Multiple airports and an extensive road network;
- Five megasites totaling more than 8,850 acres; and
- Industrial and urban research parks that foster growth and encourage competition.
With key access to higher education, transportation, and existing industries, the Carolina Core stands with the Research Triangle and the Metro Charlotte regions as the state’s third economic engine. In support of the PTP vision and goals, the Carolina Core is a primary way the organization uplifts the work done throughout the region.
Image Source: NC Carolina Core
Loren Hill, Regional Economic Development Director
Loren Hill has been in the economic development field for almost 25 years, serving in positions throughout Greensboro, High Point, and currently the Piedmont Triad Partnership. A Guilford County native, Loren had extensive experience working with realtors, and knew the geography and politics in the area well. With all this combined, economic development came knocking on his door – he received a call urging him to apply to the High Point Economic Development Corporation, where he served as the President for 20 years. During this time, he concurrently served as director/treasurer of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance. He served as General Manager of the Marriott Corporation before entering the economic development field, where he met his now-wife.
His dedication to economic development is evident through his fulfillment of the Carolina Core Regional Economic Development Director – a month after he announced his retirement. Within the Carolina Core, Loren came back to the field and mainly works in communication and regional advocacy, spreading the word about the many strengths within the area. He works with many of the local and regional economic developers to promote the exciting announcements across the state. “The Carolina Core is a brand, not an entity or organization,” he says when describing the role of the Core in the PTP. “In 2018 and before, the PTP wanted to come up with a way to talk about the region, and to promote the four megasites at the time.”
When asked what a memorable project of his career might have been, Loren cited an expansion project involving Ralph Lauren in North Carolina. In addition to the existing Ralph Lauren facility in High Point, Loren helped to expand their presence by adding three more facilities, which included distribution centers and offices. But he just could not help mentioning the significant progress that the Carolina Core had been making towards its job creation goals – though PTP hoped to reach 50,000 new jobs by 2038, within the last five years the state has already seen 38,000 newly created jobs. With those numbers, the PTP might hit its goal sooner rather than later.
How We Interact
The central focus of the NC Carolina Core in the piedmont region includes 19 counties – Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Harnett, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, and Yadkin – as well as the metropolitan centers in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, High Point, Burlington, Thomasville, Asheboro, Sanford, Kernersville, Clemmons, Lexington, Mebane, and Pinehurst. With such a concentrated region of more than 1.7 million residents and more than 815,000 available to work, not to mention access to five major interstates, the Piedmont Triad has so much to offer to incoming businesses and industries. With Burlington situated right in the middle of the region, it is no wonder CNBC named North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business in 2022.
The PTP and the Core branding help to carry the message of Burlington as far as it can go. When companies are in the process of determining a desired location, organizations like PTP are able to effectively demonstrate the advantages available to those searching. The Carolina Core is an exciting way to provide a snapshot of what all the surrounding municipalities – such as Burlington – have to offer. If a company hears about “the Carolina Core” and is interested in the area, Loren and others involved then work to pinpoint the most suitable location and connect the company to the local economic developers. Furthermore, when Burlington does secure a project in the city, the Carolina Core is able to promote the announcement, such as Steri-Tek’s recent decision to open its east coast facility in Burlington.
If anyone ever got paid for doing what they love, Loren would be one of them. Without a doubt, he has given his heart to economic development and the betterment of North Carolina as a whole. Though it means his retirement looks a little different, his work for the Carolina Core can be seen in many facets of the PTP. As always, the Burlington Economic Development team is grateful for his work and is excited to see what comes next!
Regional Economic Development Director, NC Carolina Core
Isabella DeLaGarza, EYOS Fellow
425 S. Lexington Ave.
Burlington, NC 27215