Tolson credits iPads for aiding recruitment


Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership


Staff Writer

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Twin Counties chief business and industrial recruiter said he believes giving an iPad with local information to a site consultant to Triangle Tire was a factor in securing a commitment from the company to build a massive facility in rural Edgecombe County.

In updating the progress of economic development locally late last week, Carolinas Gateway President and CEO Norris Tolson said his office can provide the computer-powered, tablet-like device to a site consultant with the specifics about a possible site of interest.

Tolson said after the consultant looks at what’s in the device, he and his team hope almost all the questions he or she might have are answered and he or she is then prepared to come for a site visit.

"So we know that when we send out that iPad that we're never going to see it again, but that's OK," he said.

In late 2017, Triangle Tire, which is based in China, announced a commitment to locating the company's first ever U.S. plant at the Kingsboro megasite between Rocky Mount and Tarboro.

Tolson said an iPad had earlier been provided to the consultant working for Triangle Tire.

"As (the Triangle Tire representatives) got finished going through all the data and were moving down into selecting us as a potential site, they gave us the iPad back," he said.

"We think the iPad helped us bring them here," he said.

Triangle Tire is planning a two-phase project, with the first phase to be approximately $580 million.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership purchased 30 iPads and has approximately five to six left.

"If you think about the Triangle project, it could be a billion-dollar project when it’s all built out,” Tolson said. “Three hundred dollars is a pretty minimal investment."

Tolson and his team late last week also showed a video they show a prospect.

The video emphasizes the Twin Counties only being an approximately two-hour drive from beaches and world-class golf courses and only being an approximately 3½ hour drive from the winter-time snow-capped ski slopes.

The video also emphasizes the Twin Counties being at the junction of Interstate 95 and U.S. 64/Future Interstate 87 and being halfway between New York City and Miami.

The video also emphasizes the Twin Counties only being approximately a couple of hours away from the ports in Virginia's Hampton Roads area and in Wilmington and only being approximately 4½ hours from the ports in Charleston, S.C.

And the video emphasizes a potential labor pool of approximately 150,000 people, which increases to more than 1.5 million within a 75-mile radius of the site of the future CSX rail-to-truck terminal site in Edgecombe County.

Tolson said right after the Twin Counties secured the CSX project in summer 2016, he and his team discovered a lot of people didn’t know where Rocky Mount was.

“And so this video helps position us to the rest of the world,” he said.

To see the video, go to https://youtu.be/vdMEn56ZPXw.