The NCEDA Economic Developer of the Year Award

NCEDA presents an annual award to the individual who best exemplifies leadership in the state’s economic development efforts. The North Carolina Economic Developer of the Year award is given in recognition of the winner’s contributions to expansions and projects completed during the previous calendar year.

Our Current Honoree

Norris Tolson
Carolinas Gateway Partnership

NCEDA named Carolinas Gateway Partnership President Norris Tolson its 2018 Economic Developer of the Year. NCEDA Vice President Mark Pope presented the honor at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Wrightsville Beach. The award recognizes Tolson’s leadership in securing two marquee recruitment wins. Corning announced in mid-December 2017 that it would invest $86 million in a distribution center in Edgecombe County that will employ 111 workers. Less than a week later, Tolson joined state and local officials in welcoming executives from China-based Triangle Tyre, who announced the company had selected Edgecombe County for its first manufacturing facility outside of China. The move brings 800 jobs and $580 million in capital investment to eastern North Carolina. “Anyone who’s ever worked a project that big definitely encountered hurdles,” Pope said. “And anyone who’s won a project that big certainly figured out how to get over those hurdles.” Prior to joining the staff of Carolinas Gateway Partnership, which provides economic development services in Edgecombe and Nash counties, Tolson was president of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and served as secretary of the North Carolina departments of Commerce, Revenue and Transportation.

Previous Honorees

2017: Wanda Yuhas — Pitt County Development Commission
2016:  Chris Platé – Monroe-Union County Economic Development
2015:  Sandy Dunbeck – High Point Economic Development Corporation
2012:  Sam Powers – City of Asheville
2011:  Tom Johnson – Rutherford County Economic Development Corporation
2011:  Mark Pope – Lenoir County Economic Development Department
2010:  Don Porter – Raeford-Hoke County Economic Development Commission
2010:  Scott Millar – Catawba County Economic Development Corporation
2009:  Donny Hicks – Gaston County Economic Development Commission
2008:  Joanna Thompson – Wayne County Development Alliance
2007:  Ken Atkins – Wake County Economic Development
2006:  Jane Smith – North Carolina Southeast Partnership