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Improving Business in the Wilmington Region

Target Industries


One could argue that there is no larger, more successful industry leader in Aviation than GE which currently is listed at #22 on the Fortune 500. GE Aviation has had a long, successful track record in Wilmington

Current AVIATION industry that is located within the sub regional market:

GE Aviation: A longtime industrial presence in New Hanover County; GE Aviation currently produces components for numerous aircraft engines to include the new GEnx which powers the new 787 Dreamliner. The 600+ employees at the plant currently develop, manufacture and ship 55 different aircraft engine components and serve more than 250 airlines. GE’s steady, consistent history in the area exemplifies the regions ability to sustain a top ranked aviation company while providing GE with the ability to recruit talented individuals to relocate to the high livability area.

Growth trends in aviation:

The Aerospace Products and Parts Manufacturing industry is currently affected by fluctuations in the prices of raw materials such as titanium, aluminum, boron, and carbon composites. Shortage of raw materials is one of the important factors causing price fluctuation. Thus, the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers are collaborating with each other to share risks and derive benefits from larger investments. Such collaborations also help them to gain technical expertise including specialization in design, and manufacturing.

Current available buildings for aviation manufacturing:

The Cape Fear Industrial Complex is a clean, 100% climate controlled 448,000SF manufacturing building located less than 5 miles from GE Aviation. With wide column spacing and high ceilings, the facility can be subdivided to suit specific tenant requirements. Additional information about this building is available in the Properties Attachment. Additional buildings from 5,000SF up are available for purchase or lease within a 10 mile radius of GE to support Aviation businesses of all sizes.

Training programs available

Customized industry training programs are currently available at Cape Fear Community College to provide a trained workforce for GE. Further training and curriculum can be made available to suit any aviation industrial and/or manufacturing need primarily within the field of CNC Machining, Welding, etc. Due to the fact that more than 89.5% (161,000) of the 25+ year old population have a High School degree or higher and 36% (65,000) have a Bachelors Degree or higher, finding an educated, trainable workforce is not an issue.


In what seemed to be overnight fashion, Wilmington NC has become a hotspot for Contract Research Organizations (CRO) beginning with the founding and explosive growth of Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD). And with both Bachelor and Masters programs available at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington for Clinical Research and Product development, a trained knowledgeable workforce is at your fingertips. Of course great business synergy creates opportunities, and the Wilmington region has had numerous other CRO’s either organically grow here or relocate here from all corners of the globe.

Current Pharma/CRO’s with Corporate Headquarters located within the sub regional market:


A CRO juggernaut and the fourth largest CRO in the world, PPD has been located in New Hanover County since its inception and currently is home to their world headquarters at a 200,000sf facility located in downtown Wilmington with over 1,800 employees.

PPD is a leading global contract research organization providing drug discovery, development and lifecycle management services. Their clients and partners include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, academic and government organizations.

With offices in 46 countries and more than 12,500 professionals worldwide, PPD applies innovative technologies, therapeutic expertise and a commitment to quality to help clients and partners accelerate the delivery of safe and effective therapeutics and maximize the returns on their R&D investments. http://www.ppdi.com/


alcami, is a top contract drug development, manufacturing and analytical services company providing solutions to pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare clients. alcami has had a longtime presence in the Wilmington region and currently employs more than 270 scientists and research analysts. http://www.alcaminow.com/


PMG specializes in customized Phase I-IV clinical enrollment solutions for global pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device organizations.

Other CRO’s that have satellite offices in the Wilmington Region

Growth trends in Pharma/CRO:

Estimates put the cost of developing and bringing a drug to market at over $1.3 billion. As drug development may take as long as 15 years, major pharmaceutical marketers continue to outsource stages of development, creating growing demand for Contract Research Organizations (CROs). A key cost driver during the expensive clinical trial phase is the large number of failures. Driven by pressures to reduce costs, companies are increasingly implementing outsourcing strategies to increase revenues through faster drug development.


Current available buildings for Pharma/Research/Testing:

Due to their recent relocation to a new head quarters building, alcami’s former 31,000+ SF wet lab facility is now available for sale or lease. Link to building info. There are also a multitude of office properties available within the Wilmington market.

Training programs available

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington offers both a Bachelors and a Masters Degree in Clinical Research and Product Development. This major offers students the opportunity to gain specialized education, training, and experience in the exciting field of clinical research. Clinical research is the process by which new therapies (medications, biological agents, and devices) are tested in clinical studies prior to approval and marketing. Clinical research also includes the study of products after approval, once they are on the market, particularly for rare or unexpected adverse events. Students in the Clinical Research Program gain a broad-based understanding of the science, regulatory, and business aspects of developing new therapies to treat illness and improve quality of life. http://uncw.edu/son/clinical.html

Skilled Nursing programs available at both UNCW and CFCC have also provided a strong, educated and prepared workforce to manage and assist with new drug trials.

Additional occupations related to Pharma/CROs are:

Clinical Research Associate, Regional Monitoring, Clinical Coordination, Clinical Project Management, Regulatory Affairs, Data Management, SAS Programming, Biostatistics, Medical Writing and Clinical Quality Assurance.

Call Centers / Customer Contact Center / Back Office

Home to a 1,200+ employee Financial Services Customer Contact Center for Verizon Wireless (VzW), Wilmington has definite street credibility when it comes to recruiting call centers. The readily available, educated and underemployed workforce still remains the main reason Call Centers work in this sub regional market. A vacant 90,000SF former call center building which is wired and ready for occupancy is why CALL CENTERS/CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTER/BACK OFFICE should be considered as a potential growth sector.

Current Call Centers located within the sub regional market:

Verizon Wireless

Since locating to Wilmington in 2004, VzW has consistently maintained a workforce of 1,200+ employees. This financial services center functions as a call center with educated, well trained employees assisting customers with issues related to billing and service. The fact that VzW has been able to maintain such a large call center in the Wilmington market for almost ten years indicates that similar type call centers should consider this market as well.

Red Ventures

Homeinsurance.com a locally grown call center was purchased by Red Ventures in April of last year. Red Ventures currently has 200 employees at the Wilmington office. http://www.redventures.com/about.html

Wachovia Mortgage

Wachovia Mortgage had a mortgage application call center located in Wilmington which employed up to 300 people before being closed in March of 2011 due to the economic downturn.

Growth trends in Call Centers:

New emphasis from the federal government (see House Bill 3596 { https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3596#overview }) has brought to light the issue of shipping call center jobs overseas. If passed, HB 3596 would no longer allow companies that ship call center jobs overseas to be eligible for federal grants or loans. This issue along with the inability of US law to protect citizens from identity theft in overseas situations has created a renewed interest in bringing call center jobs back to the states.

Current available buildings for Call Centers:

The former Wachovia Mortgage call center facility is currently available for lease. The 60,000 SF building was designed specifically as a call center and is located in one of the most desirable submarkets in Wilmington. There are also a multitude of suitable office properties available within the Wilmington market.

Training programs available

When VzW chose to locate to Wilmington in 2004, Cape Fear Community College immediately created a specific training program geared towards getting all 1,200 future employees trained within a short window of time (less than 6 months) so that there was a trained workforce ready for work on day 1. Also, due to the fact that more than 89.5% (161,000) of the 25+ year old population have a High School degree or higher and 36% (65,000) have a Bachelors Degree or higher, finding an educated, trainable workforce is not an issue.



PO Box 1698 Wilmington NC 28402

1739 Hewlett Dr. Wilmington NC 28405

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