Message from NCEDA President Mark Pope

Message from NCEDA President Mark Pope

Partnerships Advance Our Mission


Economic developers know that success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Results come about when people and organizations pull together in common cause. To embrace any given opportunity, we assemble the right players – leaders who possess the tools, clout and know-how to get a project across the goal line.


In recent years, we’ve attempted to apply these same principals at a higher level with regard to NCEDA, its mission and the expectations of our growing and increasingly diverse membership. These efforts began under Steve Yost’s visionary leadership and have continued during the past year as I have had the great honor of serving as NCEDA President. Outreach to like-minded organizations has resulted in meaningful dialogue on a range of policy, professional development and program management issues. Along the way we have attracted new members, sponsors and supporters.


In the important realm of legislative advocacy, we forged a close if long-overdue partnership with the NC Community College System to urge lawmakers to expand the number of Career Coaches and work toward funding parity for short-term workforce training. Legislators listened as NCEDA made the case for renewed focus on these programs as North Carolina seeks to maximize its human capital. Similarly, we’ve partnered with the NC League of Municipalities in asking the General Assembly to clarify and streamline state requirements for local government hearings regarding economic development budgets. This effort provides an exciting path forward for ongoing collaboration. Our dialogue with NC Realtors has resulted in a better understanding of issues and challenges our two professions share.


NCEDA’s partnering strategy has been a winner and should continue to be a priority for the organization moving forward. I’m also proud to see additional growth in our membership, impressive strength in our financial position and the implementation of a new mission statement that clearly articulates NCEDA’s leadership role. The last 12 months also saw the engagement of Smith Anderson as our lobbying counsel, a move that energized our policy agenda and enhanced our visibility with both the legislative and executive branches of North Carolina government. Complementing that significant change has been the addition of Sheila Knight to the role of NCEDA’s Director of Outreach and Partnership Development, a move designed to enhance membership engagement and sustain this exciting momentum.


I am grateful to our officers, board and management team for their strong support during the past year. As we turn over the leadership reigns to Dr. Patricia Mitchell, we keep our eyes fixed on the future, making the most of new partnership opportunities and harnessing the programs, principles and people that make NCEDA “the voice for North Carolina’s economic development community – providing professional development, networking opportunities and advocacy to secure the state’s economic future.”


Best wishes,
Mark Pope