In what is believed to be a first, representatives of three N.C. regional economic partnerships are teaming up with Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker to pitch the state as a place for companies to locate or expand. They are planning a joint trip to New York in November.

Now that’s teamwork.

“It’s the first time in anyone’s memory that Charlotte, the Triangle and the Triad have organized a joint outreach mission,”  Lawrence Bivins of Evensong Communications, told WRALTechWire. “I’ve been writing about North Carolina economic development for 15 years, and I’ve never seen it.”

[Editor’s note: For the inside story about how the partnership came about, WRALTechWire talks with Bivins in much more detail. Subscribers can read the story online.]

Bivins has been retained to work with the groups and Commerce Department on the effort.

Rather than competing, the economic development leaders of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, the Charlotte Regional Partnership and the Piedmont Triad Partnership will travel to the Big Apple to meet with business site selection consultants as well as journalists.

Accompanying them will be Decker, who under a mandate from Gov. Pat McrCrory is privatizing much of the state commerce department. Part of the changes ordered by McCrory included some cuts in funding of the economic partnerships, which are spread across the state.

However, in a joint announcement Tuesday, the heads of the three groups and Decker let bygones be bygones and said that bringing jobs to the state is more important than any one region. 

“The high-wage jobs and high-dollar investments that power our major metro areas are the fuel for North Carolina’s overall economic revival – moving the needle for us in the near-term as we reconsider the longer-range infrastructure and workforce needs of our state,” Decker said.

“As state government reorganizes its programs and re-focuses resources, the timing was ideal for the urban regions to step forward and provide visible leadership,” added David Powell, CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. “By coming together and working with Secretary Decker, we make a compelling statement about North Carolina’s ability to compete for – and win – game-changing projects.”

Ronnie Bryant, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, also stressed teamwork: “It’s our job to ensure that site advisors and corporate decision makers are well aware of the state’s diverse assets. We also want there to be no question that we will do everything possible on the local, regional and state levels to help businesses succeed in North Carolina.”

Charles Hayes, CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, said the three regions can pitch what he calls “city-states.”

“Economically, we have returned to the age of city-states,” he explained. “High concentrations of people and businesses, along with urban amenities such as commercial airports and research universities, are today the simplest predictors of job-growth and prosperity.”