Day two of the Metro Leadership Visit started off early, particularly for those folks who ventured out to explore downtown Raleigh last night. But the agenda is too packed to sleep in, so off we go.
The day’s first panel discussion over breakfast focused on the region’s economic development history. Our guest speakers, Ernest Pearson and John Skvrala from Nexsen Pruet, traced the growth of the Research Triangle Park (RTP) from a concept in the 1950s to its take off in the ’70s and ’80s.
While the RTP is well known today, it was not an overnight success. In fact, 10 years after its initial formation, a local newspaper headline declared RTP a failure. They weren’t the first in the park, but IBM’s decision to locate a large R&D facility established RTP on the international stage. Years later, layoffs at IBM spurred another round of economic growth when lots of smart people suddenly had the drive to found their own tech companies.
Much has changed in the Research Triangle region over the decades, but one thing remains constant: a highly talented workforce with technology skills is the key to success.
The next stop on the itinerary was The Dillon, a 17 story public-private partnership building. The project, developed by John Kane, features eight floors of parking to serve downtown Raleigh’s newly redeveloped Union Station rail and bus terminal. Above that are nine stories of office space. The ninth floor lobby and veranda was the perfect venue for our next discussion topics: transportation, transit and attainable housing.