RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The Triangle failed to land Amazon’s massice HQ2 and – so far anyway – a new Apple campus. But news broke early Thursday that another tech giant is coming to region, and local reaction to the news of 1,000 jobs from Google drew overwhelmingly positive reaction.
“This will be a huge win for the region,” serial entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo tells WRAL TechWire.
“Google’s other two big offices (outside Mountain View) are NYC and Austin, so this move cements us as a top 4 US tech hub.”
And he sees more big tech coming to the area even though Amazon and Apple said “no” three years ago.
“I bet we will see similar moves from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and other tech giants in the next decade,” predicts Wingo, who cofunded global ecommerce services firm ChannelAdvisor in Morrisville.
Scott Levitan, CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation which oversees RTP, sees multiple boosts coming to the region as a result of Google’s news and other recent jobs announcements.
“Who could not be excited by the Google announcement? 2020 and now 2021 have brought over $3.5B in investments in the Triangle and thousands of jobs,” Levitan says.
“LifeSciences+FinTech+Tech = a resilient future for our State’s economy. Engaged companies like Google are so important to partner in our region to advance our diversity/equity/inclusion, STEM education and affordable housing aspirations.”
Wake County executives also saluted the news.
“The trajectory of the region is exciting and we will continue to see companies like Google call the Triangle home,” Adrienne Cole, president and CEO of the Raleigh Chamber, tells WRAL TechWire. “We celebrate this win for the region and look forward to welcoming the expanding Google team to the Triangle.”
Michael Haley, executive director, Wake County Economic Development, concurs.
“Google’s announcement is a nod to the incredible strength of our talent pipeline, local workforce, and ability to attract and retain the best and brightest,” he says. “Regional collaboration and strong partnerships between our workforce and education partners give us a major competitive advantage. This announcement will benefit the region for many years to come.”
Brooks Raiford, CEO of tech business advocacy group North Carolina Technology Association, says that companies which might have paid much attention to the Triangle and the state before will do so now.
“Google’s decision validates North Carolina, and the Triangle in particular, as a place rich with the ingredients that employers are looking for: talent, cost of living, quality education, and so much more,” he says. “Announcements like these attract the attention of employers and highly skilled workers alike around the US and beyond, making the future for our region even brighter,.”
NC State economist Dr. Mike Walden, who studies economic development trends, sees more benefits coming to Durham and the Triangle beyond the 1,000 jobs.
“This is another big announcement that shows the Triangle is firmly in the major leagues of economic development,” he explains. “We are on everyone’s radar as ‘the place to be,’ and our reputation is rising even more in the post pandemic economy.”
Beyond Google paychecks, Walden predicts more jobs and additional spending.
“The total annual impact will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars of new local spending and near 2,000 combined jobs in all sectors of the local economy,” he says.
Thom Ruhe, CEO of the Durham-based NC IDEA Foundation, an economic development-focused group, also sees more growth being ignited beyond Google.
“There will invariably be entrepreneurial activity that spins off from such efforts,” he says. “Some number of folks will discover a new application for the technology they are working on and be inspired to do something with it. The good news for those folks will be a great ecosystem of support organizations and access to capital ready to help them build great companies.”
Further, Rhue told WRAL TechWire’s Jason Parker that he sees a potential boost to diversity efforts in the Triangle.
“At the risk of stating the obvious, this is great news for Durham and the region. Such announcements build on the gravity of the region to pull in other knowledge economy companies and capital, while creating employment opportunities,” Ruhe says.
“In selecting Durham, I hope they factored in diversity and equity and will actively work with the area’s HBCUs, in addition to the other great universities of the Triangle.”
Google said one of the reasons it chose Durham was to help diversity its largely California-based workforce.
The Google jobs news is the latest in a series of announcements bringing more employment to the state, among them several biotech/life science manufacturing expansions and new plants. Raleigh-based Pendo, a software firm, also plans to add 400 jobs this year.
WRAL TechWire’s Jason Parker also contributed to this story.