Leading The Way In Innovative Technology
The life science industry is thriving internationally, with companies expanding beyond traditional research and development into product manufacturing. North Carolina, and more specifically the Research Triangle area, is at the forefront of the industry, having received numerous ratings and rankings as a world leader.
In June 2005, a Milken Institute study revealed that the Triangle region is home to the nation’s fastest-growing workforce in the life science industry. The region also received praise for having the best success rate in translating biotechnology research into products. The study follows an assessment by Ernest & Young, which ranked North Carolina as the nation’s third-largest biotechnology state for the second straight year and the second-largest state in agricultural biotechnology.
With the state’s biotech industry growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year, it is projected that by 2025 as many as 125,000 North Carolinians will be employed in this field, producing annual revenues of nearly $24 billion. To support biotech companies in developing a qualified workforce, North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus will be home to the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC).
Ground was broken in 2005 on this 91,000-square-foot facility, which will be the first of its kind in the world to provide full-scale bioprocess manufacturing training on a commercial scale for the biopharmaceutical industry. All levels of training will occur, from entry-level, to continuing-education training for current industry employees, to developing doctoral candidates in the field.
The center, scheduled to open in early 2007, will simulate a biomanufacturing pilot plant facility capable of producing biopharmaceutical products and packaging them in a sterile environment. It will also provide support training and classrooms, laboratories, and building and process utilities. The facility will be outfitted so that students will gain experience using the same large-scale equipment they would use on the job.
BTEC will also help attract new biomanufacturing companies to North Carolina; assist the development of new technologies for production of value-added biopharmaceuticals, protein-based products and chemicals from organisms, plants, cell cultures and other bio-based systems; and enhance the creation of rural biomanufacturing jobs and new agribusiness opportunities.
Wake County is also home to the progressive nonwoven and medical textile industry. Over $100 million in textile research and development is currently being conducted in a 25-mile radius of North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles. The college is the global leader in nonwoven textile research and is the largest and most innovative textile program in the country.
Wake County Economic Development (WCED) is continuing its proactive marketing efforts to recruit innovative companies in select clusters such as medical devices and nonwoven textiles to the region, promoting Wake County as the best place in the world for innovative companies to find everything they need to be successful.
As part of its new brand and identity, to stay competitive in today’s dynamic global economy, WCED chose the tagline “Smarter all around.” to capture the essence of what the region can provide to business innovators. Raleigh and Wake County offer these companies access to our three renowned research universities as well as a very intellectual workforce. And the region’s highly acclaimed quality of life allows these companies to recruit the world-class talent and resources necessary to stay competitive and grow their business.
Construction has been a growth industry in Raleigh over the last decade, especially in the retail sector. Office developers have been busy, as have builders of housing, schools, and other public and private facilities. The revitalization of downtown Raleigh has led to constant renovation and new construction in that area. Spurred by low interest rates, the residential market posted record sales in 2004 and showed an even stronger pace in the first half of 2005. The construction sector employs more than 29,000 in Wake County.
Conventions and Tourism
Wake County’s hospitality industry continues to gain momentum as attendance soars at area attractions and events. Visitor spending annually fuels the local economy by more than $1 billion. Visitor business contributes to new cultural and entertainment opportunities, supporting the RBC Center, Exploris’ IMAX® theatre, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Five County Stadium improvements and SAS Soccer Park.
Distribution and Trade
The wholesale trade industry accounts for roughly 4.1 percent of employment in the Raleigh MSA. A Foreign Trade Zone (an area where foreign merchandise can be placed without formal customs processing for other tax and duty payments) in Research Triangle Park expedites international trade. RDU is a major distribution hub, with six carriers shipping more than 110,000 tons of cargo annually.
Information technology has played a major role in the Triangle’s development and success. Today, the Raleigh-Durham area is ranked 10th in the country (Gold Guide) for its concentration of high-tech personnel. Almost half of its 25-or-older population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the area is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live or work by Forbes magazine. Research Triangle Park is home to some of the nation’s most prestigious telecommunications, electronics and computer firms.
Driven by genomics and other emerging technologies, the life sciences industry is on track to become the dominant technology of the 21st century. The Research Triangle area is home to the South’s largest and most dynamic life sciences industry. North Carolina’s biotechnology industry currently employs about 20,000 people at almost 200 companies. The industry is growing rapidly, and it is projected that by 2025, as many as 125,000 North Carolinians will be employed in this field, producing annual revenues of nearly $24 billion.
In recent years, new and expanded manufacturing industry investment has topped $1 billion. Raleigh MSA’s diversified manufacturing base accounts for 10 percent of the total industry base and includes companies that produce computers, medical devices, food products, electrical equipment, and even precision-fabricated metal and industrial machinery.
Retail sales continue to rise due to the wide variety of new retail centers throughout the Triangle. Sales are expected to continue to rise, due in part to the new mixed-use retail center, North Hills. More than 74,000 people are employed in the retail sector.
As in many parts of the state and the country, service businesses including social, real estate, recreation, health and legal services make up the largest employment sector in Wake County, surpassing even government. These industries account for two-thirds of the total workforce.
Research Triangle Park
Research Triangle Park (RTP) has gained an international reputation for companies that revel in the spirit of cooperation and learning offered by the scientific and technological community. RTP is the largest planned research park in the United States and richly benefits from close ties to North Carolina State University, Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The park encompasses 7,000 acres and has approximately 1,100 acres for development. It houses more than 100 research and development facilities that employ over 44,400 Triangle residents. Notable tenants include Cisco Systems, EPA, Ericsson, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM and Nortel. The combined annual salaries in RTP amount to over $1.2 billion. For more information, contact the Research Triangle Foundation at (919) 549-8181 or visit www.rtp.org.
Major Area Employers
(Includes Raleigh, Wake County and Research Triangle Park)
City of Raleigh
First Citizens Bank & Trust Company
Food Lion Stores
Freight Handlers Inc.
GlaxoSmithKline Inc. Zebulon
International Business Machines (IBM)
Misys Healthcare Systems
Nationwide Insurance Company
The News & Observer Publishing Co.
North Carolina State University
Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc.
State of North Carolina
Tri-Arc Food Systems / Bojangles
United Parcel Service
U.S. EPA Environmental Research Center
Wachovia Bank N.A.
Wake County Public School System
Wake Technical Community College
Waste Industries Inc.
Here’s a rundown of who’s named us in their top three recently:
#1 Area for Tech Business
Silicon Valley Leadership Group,
#3 Hottest City for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneur, October 2005
#1 Fastest-Growing Life Science Workforce
Milken Institute, June 2005
#2 Best Place for Business and Careers
Forbes, May 2005
#2 Most Educated City
U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey, April 2005
#1 Biotech Workforce and #3 Top Biotech Metro Overall
Milken Institute, June 2004
#1 City with the Happiest Workers
Hudson Employment Index, March 2004
#3 Best Education in the Biggest Cities
Wake County Schools
Forbes, February 2004
#1 Hottest Job Market
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
Business 2.0, March 2004
National Superintendent of the Year
Bill McNeal, Wake County Public Schools
American Association of School Administrators, 2004
#1 Best Place to Live
MSN House & Home, July 2003
#1 Best Place to Live & Work
Employment Review, June 2003
#3 Best Place for Business and Careers
Forbes, May 26, 2003
#3 Best Place to Reinvent Your Life
AARP Magazine, May/June 2003
#1 Best City for Education
Places Rated Almanac, Millennium Edition
#1 Business Climate
Site Selection Magazine, November 2002
#3 Large Metro Area for Business Expansion
Entrepreneurial Hot Spots: The Best Place in America to Start & Grow a Company, July 2002
#2 Favorable Business Climate in the U.S.
Development Counselors International Ltd. Survey, 2002
#1 Healthiest Place to Live
Outlook, July /August 2002
#3 in New Biotechnology Companies in the 1990s
Signs of Life: The Growth of the Biotechnology Centers in the United States
Brookings Institute, June 2002
#2 City in the U.S. for Relocation
Expansion Management, January 2002
#1 Best Place to Live and Work
Employment Review, June 2002