Improving Business in the Wilmington Region

Economic Impact Data Affirms WBD Results

Greater Wilmington’s recent run of company expansions and relocations has real meaning in terms of job opportunities, business activity and funding streams for vital local government services. From March 2013 through September 2014, WBD’s project management efforts resulted in the announced creation of 835 new jobs and more than $200 million in annual payroll, according to an analysis by Dr. William “Woody” Hall, senior economist at UNC Wilmington’s Swain Center for Economic and Business Services. Hall assessed the aggregate impact of investments over that period by Castle Branch, GE Aviation, Fortron Industries, Verizon Wireless, Acme Smoked Fish and Live Oak Bank/nCino on the region’s economy. Those wins alone are bringing nearly $12 million in new property-tax revenues annually to the City of Wilmington and New Hanover and Pender counties, according to Hall’s calculations. Hall also analyzed the cumulative economic value of Verizon Wireless’s move to Wilmington a decade ago, finding the company’s presence here had generated almost $5 billion in total impact on the region’s economy in that time. The figure vastly exceeds the most optimistic calculations made in 2004.

More recently, the decision by Vertex Rail Technologies to create 1,342 manufacturing jobs in the City of Wilmington will yield $1.1 billion in annual economic impact, Hall found, with benefits reaching into Brunswick and Columbus counties, as well as New Hanover and Pender.

Hall’s 41-year tenure at UNC Wilmington will come to a close at the end of the current academic term. In September, he announced his intention to retire. “The value of the technical assistance we have gotten from Woody over the years has been enormous,” says Scott Satterfield Wilmington Business Development’s CEO. “His ability to quantify how economic development efforts move the needle on the real-world economy is among the reasons our program continues to enjoy the strong support of business leaders and local government officials. We thank Woody for his service and wish him the best at this special time in his life and career.”