Nash County is joining the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, Nash County officials announced at Monday’s meeting of the Nash County Board of Commissioners.

The Research Triangle Regional Partnership is a regional economic development organization in central North Carolina. It consists of 12 counties including Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Person, Wake, Warren and Wilson counties in addition to Nash County.

Andy Hagy, director of economic development for Nash County, made the announcement.

“Nash County is excited to be a member of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. The county has evolved over the years into an advanced manufacturing and pharmaceutical powerhouse, which makes it an ideal fit for the Triangle region,” Hagy said.

Hagy said that COVID-19 has created new opportunities for the region.

“Now, the coronavirus has ignited new industrial market opportunities, and Nash County is beginning to catch the eye of developers and e-commerce businesses. The county’s proximity between the Research Triangle and I-95 corridor, which offers access to major markets from New York to Miami, now stands out as an increasingly important link to the supply chain for food and pharmaceuticals,” Hagy said. “This is why it’s an excellent time for Nash County to join forces with RTRP and help bring jobs and capital investment to our region.”

In a later interview, Robbie Davis, chairman of the Nash County Board of Commissioners, said the move is a good one for the county, but it will not replace efforts by the county to attract businesses and industry.

“The Research Triangle Regional Partnership does not recruit individual industries to Nash County,” Davis said. “It just promotes the region as a whole.”

Ryan Combs, executive director of the RTRP, attended Monday’s meeting to discuss Nash County’s inclusion in the partnership.

“We could not be more excited to have Nash County join the Research Triangle Regional Partnership,” Combs said. “Nash’s vibrant economy, strong workforce and strategic location make it an ideal place for businesses, and we look forward to leveraging the resources of the entire Partnership to support the county’s economic development efforts.”

Combs said the partnership is working with oversees interests, especially in France, to draw their attention to the benefits of doing business in the region.

A press release from Nash County noted some of the advantages Nash County offers to incoming businesses.

“Comprised of 11 municipalities, including Nashville, the county seat, and Rocky Mount, its largest city, Nash has a strong business community that spans several industries such as food processing, advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, distribution and logistics. Several major companies already call the county home, including Pfizer, Honeywell Aerospace and Cummins,” the statement said. “Serving as a connector between businesses looking to expand or relocate, the RTRP will work closely with Nash’s economic development team and county commissioners to help expand the county’s new and existing industries.”

During his remarks Monday, Combs mentioned that he was welcoming Nash County back to the partnership.

In a later interview, Davis explained that the Carolinas Gateway Partnership used to be a member of the RTRP at a time when Nash County was a member of that organization. Since that time, Nash County has pulled out of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership and the Carolinas Gateway Partnership has pulled out of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, Davis said.

At the meeting, Combs said that the cost to the county to join the Partnership is 30 cents per capita based on the population of the county. For Nash County, that means a price tag of about $29,000 a year.