RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — This past week, a series events across North Carolina clearly have demonstrated that the Tar Heel state’s economy is turning the page.

After years of tobacco, textiles, manufacturing and furniture, all parts of the state are now getting caught up in the technology transformation that has made the Triangle the centerfold of a new "State of Minds," as the N.C. Department of Commerce has branded us.

On Wednesday, Google cut the ribbon on its $600 million data center in Lenoir.

On Monday and Tuesday, around 800 life-science executives gathered in Winston-Salem for the 17th biotechnology conference put on by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. The event helped showcase the Triad’s emerging biotech sector.

Last week, Spirit AeroSystems formally announced plans to locate a major airliner parts manufacturing facility at the Global TransPark near Kinston.

Not to be overlooked, the $1.5 billion North Carolina Research Campus being built at the site of a mammoth textile mill in Kannapolis played host to a reception to show business leaders how close it is to opening.

These projects are far from the only ones that are slowly transforming North Carolina from agrarian and industrial to a balanced, mixed economy that includes high tech and life science.

Crops and textiles remain vitally important, of course, and in some ways provide the raw ingredients that a new economy can use. Agricultural byproducts could help jumpstart a biofuels sector for which the General Assembly has provided seed funding. High-tech is helping the textile industry produce new, space-age materials while also helping make remaining plants more efficient and cost effective.

Charlotte, too, continues to evolve. Efforts continue to expand research and development at UNC-Charlotte. The Queen City also has its own promising life-science sector to augment its rapidly evolving financial industry.

In Fayetteville, meanwhile, the Defense Science and Technology Accelerator could provide the foundation for a defense and intelligence industry cluster.

Not to be left behind, Appalachian State plans to soon establish a presence at the Kannapolis project. And a fiber-optic project in the mountains brings high-speed networking ever closer to areas outside of Asheville.

In Greenville, East Carolina University is turning its medical center into a hub for economic development in addition to providing improved health care.

Meanwhile, business leaders from across the Triangle are gathering today to discuss the latest report on how its economic development continues to grow – especially now that the drought seems to have diminished, at least for the time being.

Does North Carolina still face challenges? Yes. Many.

Education. Work force development. Tax policy. The whole question of economic incentives.

Google, Spirit, Novartis and other companies are picking North Carolina, but their operations come at a stiff price. Other firms such as Quintiles are staying, but they extract tax dollars, too.

However, the bottom line is that North Carolina’s private and public sector leaders are succeeding in turning the page on the state’s economy. And right now, it appears the story isn’t ending with a whimper but continuing with a flourish.