Until very recently Prince William was a sleepy bedroom community for Washington, DC and the various chambers in the county reflected that stature. If you'd have told me in 1996 that someone was leaving the role of president of the chamber of one of the biggest cities in North Carolina to take over a chamber in Prince William, and that he'd see it as a step up on the career curve, I'd have asked you what you or he was smoking.
Of course one of the main reasons my wife and I moved our family out of Prince William County was that the growth was just too much for us. The growth was happening so quickly, and with such poor planning, that day-to-day life was becoming unbearable. Because the road infrastructure didn't keep up with the residential and commercial development the traffic came to be a defining factor in how we lived, and according to my in-laws things have only gotten worse.
So my congratulations to Mr. Clapper on the new gig, but also my best wishes in adjusting to the ever growing beast that is the DC metroplex. As for the Greensboro gig, well I'd say to any candidate considering the position it's a pretty sweet opportunity. The Piedmont Triad's a great place to live and I think there's a lot of opportunity to do great things here as we move beyond the recent economic apocalypse.
BTW, I received an email sent today to all Greensboro Chamber members letting us know that a search committee has been formed, and telling us that if we know anyone interested in the job to have them contact Ingrid Hopper at email@example.com. So there you go.
The Triad Apartment Association (my employer) is hosting a food drive to benefit Second Harvest and one aspect of it is that we're having a competition between the Winston-Salem Dash and the Greensboro Grasshoppers to see which team/city can raise the most food for one game. The Dash game is next Monday (July 12) and the Grasshopper game is next Wednesday (July 14). We have slightly different arrangements for each game but the basics are that we're encouraging folks to bring food or financial donations and then stick around to enjoy the ballgame. Here are the details:
Winston-Salem Dash, July 12
Bring food or financial donations to our table by the entrance and you'll get a voucher for a free Dash baseball cap. Your donations will be counted towards the Winston-Salem total.
Greensboro Grasshoppers, July 14
You can bring food and financial donations to our table, and on top of that if you buy your ticket to the game from us $2 of the ticket will go to Second Harvest. There will also be prize giveaways throughout the evening. Your donations will be counted towards the Greensboro total.
Last year our Food Drive raised almost 210,000 cans of food and we're determined to beat that this year. I hope to see many of you on either Monday or Wednesday!
Since I work in Greensboro and have to be in different parts of the city on a regular basis I have ample opportunity to pass through intersections like the one at Merritt and High Point roads that feature strip malls with nail salons, pawn shops and "cash for gold" stores. The picture below is of one of the kids that the "Cash 4 Gold" proprietor hires to dance in 90 degree heat while wearing a stormtrooper helmet painted gold. Ed writes about the interesting economy we live in, epitomized by the cash 4 gold ops. Times are still tough people.
The Dixon Hughes Triad Business Index for March, 2010 shows that the local economy is improving, but it's not by much and we've got a heckuva long way to go before we can say things are good. It will be interesting to see what happens in real estate when the stimulus plan expires at the end of this week, but when you read this from the report you wonder how much worse it can get (knock on wood):
At the end of the 1st quarter of 2010, the inventory of homes on the market was 9,098, or 6.3 times the number of homes sold in the 1st quarter. At the current sales pace, it will take 18.9 months to exhaust the existing inventory. The number of existing homes offered for sale was up 16.5% from what it was at the end of the 4th quarter, and it was 9.5% higher than at the end of the 1st quarter one year ago.
The price of the average home sold in the 1st quarter was down 2.8% from the previous quarter. The average quality-adjusted price of an existing home in the Triad was $158,718. The average this quarter was down 1.7% from the average recorded in the 1st quarter of last year. By comparison, over the past year, consumer prices nationally have risen 2.2%.
Today I attended the Linking Winston-Salem luncheon and part of the program was a plea to support the Winston-Salem effort to get Googled. Winston-Salem is a little late getting started with its public push, especially when you compare it to Greensboro's weeks old effort, but I guess it's better late than never, and since I live in the Winston-Salem burbs I'm happy to see them going for it.
I've been thinking about this and I've come to the conclusion that I can't be the only one who's in this situation. I'm guessing that since this isn't an election I can vote for as many municipalities as I want, but I'm also guessing that Greensboro and Winston-Salem could be missing an opportunity. Wouldn't a consolidated, regional effort for the Triad make a lot of sense to Google? I haven't studied the requirements in depth so I don't know if this is even an option, but if it is I can think of a lot of compelling reasons for a Piedmont Triad effort:
The combination of all the higher ed institutions in the Triad is pretty impressive (Wake, UNCG, Winston-Salem State, NC A&T, High Point U, Salem College, Greensboro College, UNCSA, etc.)
The combination of all the large, public corporations between the two cities
Each of the cities is doing some pretty cool economic development on its own (FedEx and HondaJet in Greensboro, PTRP in Winston-Salem) but when considered together the efforts seem even more impressive
That's just three positives off the top of my head, and I'm sure that there are people who will let me know if I'm all wet, but I still have to ask if a joint effort has even been contemplated?
I do realize that Google's basic info page says "We'll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people" and that even if you combined only Greensboro and Winston-Salem you'd be awful close to the upper limit so the entire Triad would obviously exceed it. Still, if Google's going to wire multiple mid-sized cities wouldn't it be of interest to them to do a couple in close proximity for purely logistical reasons? And if that's the case wouldn't it make sense for the various players in the Triad to throw in together to make a really, really compelling case with Google? Just askin'.
1. Guilford County will host an Ethics Training Class for Elected Officials in the COG region on February 16, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the Guilford County Agricultural Center, 3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro. The cost is $10.00 per attendee and includes a continental breakfast, materials and a certificate of completion. Resignation is attached for your convenience.
I can't laugh too hard; I've had my fair share of uncomfortable typos.