2008-02

Article Title Issue

Economic outlook

Tony Copeland left the N.C. Department of Commerce in December after four years as assistant secretary for business development and trade. He’s now president of the international division of Raleigh-based Longistics Transportation Inc. At Commerce, he oversaw international trade and the state’s efforts to recruit and retain companies. From 2003 to 2006, the first three years of his tenure, the number of private-sector jobs in North Carolina grew 7%.
2008-02

Left behind

Ken Burnette knows what’s in the long, narrow box the second he sees it leaning against a wall at East Coast Plywood Co. in Rocky Mount. “My golf club came!” he yells to his only employee, who’s sweeping sawdust and dirt off stacks of plywood. “My golf club is here!” Tan, with a full head of brown hair and wearing an oversized white golf shirt and khaki pants, he opens one end of the box and pulls the plastic from around the Callaway driver, inspecting it. He lines up a mock shot but doesn’t swing.
2008-02

The new order

This, our annual Business Handbook issue, is when we take measure of the Tar Heel economy, sizing up where it has been, trying to figure out where it’s going. As such, it’s a magazine full of charts, graphs, lists and rankings. To produce them, our editors must find, collect and analyze reams of data. But numbers, if not put into proper context, are no more than cryptic ciphers. That’s why we try to illuminate them through the perspective of people and places. We turn them into stories.
2008-02

Tipping point - Electronics

Jim Goodnight left the faculty of N.C. State University in 1976 and started what would become the most successful software company in North Carolina. Cary-based SAS Institute Inc. grossed nearly $2 billion in 2006 and routinely ranks among the top five private companies in the state.
2008-02

Tipping point - Financial Services

More than any other person, Hugh McColl is responsible for North Carolina’s prominence in the financial sector. During his 18 years as CEO of what was NCNB Corp. and later became Bank of America Corp., the company stretched its footprint from one coast to the other and became the nation’s second-largest bank holding company.
2008-02

Tipping point - Food Processing

Former high-school teacher Wendell Murphy gave farmers in Eastern North Carolina a textbook example of how to raise pigs for profit. He was, at one time, the nation’s largest pork producer and helped the state develop what became a $2 billion industry. He sold Murphy Family Farms in 2000 to Virginia-based Smithfield Foods.
2008-02

Tipping point - Furniture

Bernhardt Furniture Co. has been family-owned since it was founded in Lenoir in 1889. Alex Bernhardt Sr. became president in 1976, then CEO in 1996. The company’s 1,400 employees make household furniture, including product lines licensed from domestic diva Martha Stewart and the Smithsonian Institution.
2008-02

Tipping point - Life Sciences

Charles Hamner retired in 2002 after 14 years as the CEO of the nonprofit North Carolina Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park. A biochemist and veterinarian, he helped the state’s biotech industry grow into one of the nation’s top five, nearly tripling the number of companies. During his tenure, the center invested more than $50 million in the state’s universities, provided seed money to 62 startups and helped recruit more than a dozen companies.

2008-02

Tipping point - Textiles

In 2004, New York financier Wilbur Ross combined two North Carolina stalwarts, Burlington Industries — once the world’s largest textile maker — and Cone Mills, to form Greensboro-based International Textile Group. He had purchased both companies from bankruptcy the year before. ITG had sales of $769.1 million through the first three quarters of 2007.
2008-02

Tipping point - Tobacco

Phil Carlton grew up the son of a tobacco-warehouse owner in Pinetops. After a long legal career that included a stint as a state Supreme Court justice, he was hired in the mid-‘90s by the Big Four tobacco companies — R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard — to help negotiate a settlement with 46 states and anti-smoking forces. The agreement they signed in 1998 limited tobacco advertising and forced tobacco companies to pay billions of dollars to the states each year.

2008-02

What's working now

Up the hill from God’s Acre, biotechnology could be Jim Crawford’s salvation. In a laboratory a few blocks from Old Salem’s cemetery, where Moravians sleep — some since the 1700s — beneath rows of marble slabs, he works in the sterile air of biological safety cabinets, extracting cells from the amniotic fluid of pregnant women. The nonembryonic stem cells can morph into different types of body tissue.
2008-02

When profit is not the incentive

It’s not yet 3, but the late-December day is fading as men and women climb out of cars onto the sloped concrete of a parking deck near downtown Charlotte. The Presbyterian Hospital lot becomes a sea of jewel-colored scrubs as nurses, doctors, technicians and assistants in rose, teal and navy blue drift toward the walkway that will take them through patient parking to work.
2008-02