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January 2, 2024

News
Scot Industries Will Invest $40 Million in Johnston County Plant

Wisconsin-based Scot Industries Inc., a leading North American supplier of specialty tubing products, plans to invest at least $40 million in a new manufacturing plant in Johnston County. The privately held company selected approximately 77 acres in Four Oaks near the convergence of I-95, US 301 and US 701. Its operations here will employ a 21-person workforce.

Earlier today, the Johnston County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a nearly $1.2 million Economic Development Investment Grant, a performance-based incentive payable over five to seven years. County Commission Chairman R.S. “Butch” Lawter, Jr. says the selection by Scot Industries “kicks off 2024 on a winning note.” The company’s Johnston County facility will be its 12th location in the U.S. and Canada. “This move creates good-paying jobs, brings another prestigious name to our industrial directory and boosts the county’s economic diversification,” Lawter says.

Four Oaks town leaders will consider a similar package of municipal incentives for the project later this month. Scot Industries also will receive free customized training from Johnston Community College, in addition to about $46,000 in workforce development grants from the state’s Division of Workforce Solutions.

Scot Industries, founded in Milwaukee in 1949, produces tubing, pipe, chrome rods and other specialty products for the hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder markets, as well as the oil industry. Company officials reviewed locations in Virginia and South Carolina before selecting Johnston County. Its operations here will serve markets across the southeastern U.S. “Without a doubt, the Economic Development Incentive Grant offered by Johnston County played a tremendous role in selecting the site in Four Oaks for future investment and job creation,” says Robby Anderson, plant manager based at Scot’s corporate headquarters in Muscoda, Wisc. “We greatly appreciate the pro-
business approach and the partnership with our company, and we look forward to calling Johnston County home.”

“Project Red River,” like all projects considered for Johnston County incentives, underwent an extensive economic impact analysis. A study by Dr. Michael Walden, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at North Carolina State University, found that Scot Industries’ new operations will add nearly $71 million to Johnston County’s
GDP each year. Its fiscal impact will also be significant, Dr. Walden found, generating nearly $675,000 in new county and municipal tax revenues annually. Salaries there will average over $60,000 per year, with new positions including sales personnel, machine operators, warehouse workers and management staff.

“Our objective has always been to drive job-creation and economic investment to every part of the county,” says Randy Jones, chairman of the 14-member Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. The appointed panel consists of business, civic and community leaders from the county’s 11 municipal governments. “This project
keeps us moving toward that crucial goal, and we are grateful to our state and municipal partners for their work in bringing this successful international manufacturer to Johnston County. My thanks also go out to our terrific team at Johnston County’s Office of Economic Development and our internal county government partners, whose
collaboration made this project successful,” says Jones, a resident of Pine Level.

Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office, says the arrival of Scot Industries is evidence the county’s workforce, highway infrastructure and business-focused leadership continue to consistently put Johnston County on the short list of leading mid-Atlantic manufacturing destinations. “Our value proposition hasn’t changed,” Johnson says. “We still offer a formidable range of industrial assets in a competitive cost structure.”

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value-added interaction between government, education and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO collaborates with local, regional and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. Its menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness assistance and incentive packaging. For additional information, visit www.GrowWithJoCo.com

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October 31, 2023

News
GFOA Awards Johnston County the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting

(Chicago, Illinois)—Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to County of Johnston for its annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022. The report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

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August 21, 2023

Press Release
Johnston County Earns Highest Credit Ratings from Moody's and S&P Global

Smithfield, NC – Johnston County's growing economy and sound fiscal leadership have earned notice from two of the nation's most-watched credit ratings services as S&P Global and Moody's Investors Service announced upgrades of the County's General Obligation bond rating to AAA and Aaa, respectively. Both ratings are the highest the agencies award.

Higher credit ratings enable Johnston County to issue bonds for capital projects on more favorable borrowing terms, saving County taxpayers on debt servicing costs. The two agencies updated their ratings in conjunction with the County's upcoming issuance of $30 million in general obligation school bonds. Those funds, which Johnston County voters approved by a wide margin last November as part of a larger bond referendum, will support construction of new school facilities in Johnston County.

"This rating is another example of this Board taking steps to responsibly plan for the future of the County and continuing to stay the course,” said R.S. "Butch" Lawter, Jr., Chairman of Johnston County’s Board of Commissioners. “I want to express my gratitude to County staff and all of the Boards that came before us on their diligent work and being attentive stewards of taxpayer funds. The Triple-A ratings are excellent news for our County as we move into a period of time where there are several major projects on the horizon."

Johnston County joins just 10 other North Carolina counties in earning the highest possible credit rating from both agencies. The news comes less than two months after Johnston County Commissioners voted to reduce property tax rates from 73 cents to 69 cents per $100 in value. 

The ratings services cited Johnston County’s growing population, diversified economy, proximity to a large and growing metro area, and sound fiscal management in issuing its ratings. “The upgrade of the issuer rating to Aaa reflects large surpluses recorded in fiscal 2022 and expected for fiscal 2023,” excerpts of the Moody’s reports said. “Additionally, the rating reflects a local economy which continues to increase in population. The stable outlook is based upon future economic growth potential as part of the greater Research Triangle economy, expected adherence to sound policies and growth and maintenance of reserves levels guided by a prudent management team."

S&P Global said: “The rating reflects our view of the county's growing economy, with a tax base projected to exceed $30 billion in the next three years, as well as consistently strong financial performance and flexibility, with a strong track record of proactive management practices. The county's use of conservative budgeting assumptions has typically led to positive operating results, enabling it to build and maintain very strong general fund reserves. We believe that prudent budget management and ongoing economic development will continue to support the current rating.”

North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who chairs the N.C. Local Government Commission, also weighed in on the accomplishment. "Johnston County is one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S. Good ratings like these just don't jump up on the table by themselves. It's thanks to the employees, taxpayers, and because of transparent, competent government led by past and present local elected officials," Folwell said.

For additional information about Johnston County, visit https://www.johnstonnc.com.

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June 6, 2023

News
BioRealty Inc. Set to Develop Spec Life Sciences Park in Johnston County

Johnston County, N.C. – June 6, 2023. California-based BioRealty Inc., a developer life science and technology real estate projects, plans to invest at least $27 million in a three-building biosciences park in the Town of Clayton, NC. A national leader in facility and capital solutions, the company plans to begin with the construction of an industrial shell building that will comprise 100,000 sq.-ft. of speculative space on a 67-acre town-owned property at the
intersection of Little Creek Church and Ranch roads in Clayton.

The Johnston County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a building lease arrangement with BioRealty on Monday morning, as well as a performance-based Economic Development Incentive Grant (EDIG) based on ad valorem tax payments. “Our competitive position in today’s economy hinges on having high-quality industrial properties ready for leading companies in the most impactful sectors,” said County Commission Chairman R.S.
“Butch” Lawter, Jr. “BioRealty is a prestigious national name in industrial real estate, and their experts see promise in our county and our capacity to attract biomanufacturing businesses and jobs.”

The County Commissioner’s action comes after the Clayton Town Council approved a separate, but complementary EDIG at their meeting on May 15. “This project takes our life sciences sector to the next level,” said Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod. “We’re eager to partner with BioRealty and Johnston County in creating a world-class bio-manufacturing space that will complement on our community’s exceptional location, outstanding talent assets, modern infrastructure and compelling quality of life. I’m grateful to the Town of Clayton’s Economic
Development Office, along with our county’s committed leadership, for their great work in ushering this exciting vision into reality.” With both approvals in place, the project can begin in earnest immediately.

Based in San Clemente, Cal., BioRealty intends to build up to three speculative industrial buildings that would target companies in the life sciences and biopharma industries. The total build out of the development could be more than 400,000 sq.-ft. In thanking commissioners, Stan Wendzel, founder and managing director of the company, summarized BioRealty’s expectations of the new space. “We’re not only excited about the project but we’re really
excited about attracting what we think is very likely going to be biomanufacturing users to this park,” Wendzel said. “We could have probably done this in a lot of places. But for us, the real driving factor behind this has been the lease program that Johnston County has in place as well as the EDIG.”

BioRealty will design, finance, build, operate and jointly market the project.

“Project Life Dust,” like all projects considered for Johnston County incentives, underwent an extensive economic impact analysis. A study by Dr. Michael Walden, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at North Carolina State University, found that construction of the initial building alone will spark more than $6.2 million in local economic benefits, while operations of the completed facility will add at least $3 million to the County’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). County and municipal governments will derive nearly $34,000 in yearly tax revenues
from the building’s operations, Dr. Walden concluded.

The project also received approval from the 14-member Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board, an appointed panel of business, civic and community leaders representing each of the County’s 11 municipal governments. “We’re proud to partner with the Town of Clayton and BioRealty in closing the gap that exists in our inventory of industry-ready buildings that can accommodate the needs of expansion-minded life sciences companies,” said Randy Jones, chairman of the Advisory Board. “The high-wage jobs that employers can bring to
this park will ripple benefits across our county and ultimately across the region,” said Jones, a resident of Pine Level.

Project Life Dust marks the fourth time in two years that the County has partnered with the private sector to expand the local inventory of high-end industrial real estate. In December of last year, E.D. Parker Corporation unveiled plans for at least 275,000-sq.-ft. of Class A speculative industrial space in Benson. AdvanceTEC, a Richmond, Va. firm that designs and builds cleanroom space, and Ohio-based Al. Neyer LLC previously announced plans for
developing speculative industrial space in Clayton and Smithfield, respectively.

Johnston County officials worked closely with leaders of the Town of Clayton to bring Project Life Dust to fruition. At a meeting on May 15, the Clayton Town Council agreed to its own set of economic incentives, including sale of the town-owned parcel at $31,500 an acre. “We think this is a fantastic project,” said Patrick Pierce, economic development director for the Town of Clayton. Pierce and other town leaders had been in discussion with BioRealty about the project over the last two years. “This is a project that offers benefits across Johnston County. It builds
upon the biopharma cluster that we have in the county and prepares us for additional investment,” Pierce said.

Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office, says the new life sciences park will serve as a “gateway” for the biopharmaceutical industry into the community. In seeking to remain competitive with business destinations willing to invest public funds directly in industrial sites and buildings, Johnston County implemented a building lease program wherein the county government partners with private developers to create speculative industrial real estate product. “This solution does not put the county in head-to-head competition with the private sector and it sets limits on our financial risk while ensuring we can guide private development and control our own economic destiny,” Johnson says.

Under the building lease arrangement, should no tenant or buyer be in hand by the time the development partner delivers the spec building, the county agrees to lease the facility for $3 per square-foot up to two years. The risk-sharing mechanism enables the builder to negotiate more favorable financing terms. In return, county officials can ensure the most economically impactful employers occupy the property. “So, it’s really a win-win-win for the County, our development partners and our taxpayers,” Johnson says.

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value-added interaction between government, education and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO collaborates with local, regional and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. Its menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness
assistance and incentive packaging. For additional information, visit www.GrowWithJoCo.com

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February 14, 2023

News
Johnston Flex LLC to Invest $20 Million in Clayton Flex Space

Johnston County, N.C. – February 14, 2023. Johnston Flex LLC, a Charlotte-based commercial real estate investment and development firm, will build 42 West Business Park – a 125,000 square-foot Class-A Flex Space Facility in close proximity to the Interstate 40 and Future Interstate 42 interchange in Clayton. The company’s $20 million investment will add to Johnston County’s growing 1.4 million square-feet of Class A industrial space that has been announced or under construction per a recent media reports.

At just over 125,000 square-feet, Johnston Flex LLC reports that the 42 West Business Park facility could employ as many as 100 workers after it becomes operational in the 3rd quarter of 2023. From market impact analysis reports, the facility could add nearly $20 million to the County’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). The facility is expected to generate over $150,000 in yearly tax revenue to the County.

“We continue to see steady, shared growth throughout Johnston County as we look forward to the development of the 42 West Business Park facility,” said R.S. “Butch” Lawter Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “With larger advance manufacturing projects announced here in Johnston County and around the Triangle Region, this unique flex space opportunity will help expand the County’s economic footprint, create more local small business ancillary job opportunities and bolster growth along the I-40 and I-42 corridor.”

42 West Business Park is a flex/light industrial development located on ±15 acres and will consist of two, single-story flex buildings totaling ±125,000 sq. ft. Building 1 will include ±25,000 sq. ft. and Building 2 will include ±100,000 sq. ft.
Each building will have ample parking and loading options. With visibility along Highway 42 West outside of Clayton in Johnston County, the facility is just 17 miles from Downtown Raleigh and 33 Miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

“It’s vital that we continue maintaining a diverse inventory of quality, ready-to-go industrial real estate in Johnston County,” said Randy Jones, chairman of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. “This project takes
advantage of the great visibility we get from I-40, which is one of our greatest economic assets, as well as our network of leading private development partners.” Supply-chain adjustments in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic have placed a
premium on high-quality distribution and industrial centers. 42 West Business Park is being marketed by CBRE – Raleigh.

“This project brings additional industrial diversification and opportunity to Johnston County’s economy and labor market,” said Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office. “It’s exciting to see high-quality development and an area that is poised for continued success as businesses reconsider supply chains and look to build sustainable links to consumers now that the pandemic is behind us. “

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value added interaction between government, education and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO collaborates with local, regional and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. Its menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness assistance and incentive packaging. For additional information, visit

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December 5, 2022

News
County Commissioners Approve Plan For Up To 295,000 Sq.-Ft. Spec Space In Benson

BENSON – Johnston County’s inventory of high-quality industrial space is set to continue growing as E.D. Parker Corporation finalizes plans for a speculative building in Benson that will span from 275,000 square-feet to 295,000 square-feet. Johnston County’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved performance-based economic development incentives in support of the project earlier today (Monday). Economic development leaders anticipate the property can attract an advanced manufacturer or life sciences operation to Johnston County.

“Our ability to continue bringing high-wage jobs to Johnston County relies on having ready-to-go buildings that can accommodate today’s high-wage industries,” said County Commission Chairman R.S. “Butch” Lawter, Jr. “Modern businesses seek well-located spaces equipped with the latest infrastructure and amenities. The County’s innovative Building-Lease program supports private construction of Class A industrial properties, which will yield lucrative benefits for our local economy over many years.”

The new facility, tentatively known as “Benson Global Building,” will be located on Chicopee Road in Benson. E.D. Parker Corp. is a Benson-based company specializing in commercial and office construction. It intends to invest up to $25 million in the building, which the company estimates will be able to accommodate at least 25 jobs at wages comparable to those of Johnston County’s life science and manufacturing operations.

Johnston County’s Building-Lease program includes performance-based incentives that enable economic development leaders to be pro-active in recruiting companies that pay above-average salaries. The program also helps private developers manage the financial risks associated with building speculative space.

Like all projects considered for County incentives, “Project Ready” underwent an economic impact analysis by Dr. Michael Walden, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at North Carolina State University. Dr. Walden’s study found that construction of the building will bring just over $15 million in immediate benefits to the local economy, while operations of the completed facility will add more than $23 million to the County’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). County and municipal governments will derive $255,575 in yearly tax revenues from the building’s operations, according to Dr. Walden, who is also a consultant in Raleigh.

“In this highly competitive region, having quality product available and speed-to-market has never been more paramount. With the Fed’s recent rise in interest rates, it has thrown a curve for meeting these needs locally and working with lending institutions,” said Dale Parker, president and CEO of E.D. Parker Corporation. “We have the ability to develop in other areas of the Triangle Region, but we are bullishly confident in the market in Benson and Johnston County. It is our company’s goal to have this proposed facility leased prior to the completion of the Class A Building and not have to use the Building Lease program that the County has generously offered.”

Randy Jones, who chairs the 14-member Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board, said the County is “missing out on jobs and investment dollars when we can’t respond to opportunities because we lack modern, ready-to-go industrial buildings. We’re proud to partner with E.D. Parker, a longtime Johnston County company, as it addresses this deficit and paves the way for promising companies and the livable jobs they bring here,” Jones said.

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), an international trade association of commercial real estate professionals headquartered in Washington, D.C., classifies “Class A” buildings as those with “a definite market presence [that can] compete for premier tenants.” Such buildings include state-of-the-art electrical, telecom, plumbing and other operating systems, high-quality finishes and “exceptional accessibility,” according to BOMA’s website (www.boma.org)). E.D. Parker expects to complete the Benson Global Building by spring 2024.

“Inquiries continue pouring into our office at a high level,” said Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office. “Unfortunately, we’re having to decline many of them due to not having properties that fit clients’ search criteria. The County’s Building-Lease program is an innovative partnership that incentivizes the creation of new industrial product while also maximizing the strategic impact of speculative projects,” Johnson said.

Project Ready marks the third time in 13 months that the County has partnered with the private sector to expand the local inventory of high-end industrial real estate. In November 2021, AdvanceTEC, a Richmond, Va. firm that designs and builds cleanroom space, launched a $10 million project on a 12-acre property off US Highway 70 Business between Clayton and Smithfield. In October of this year, commissioners approved plans by Ohio-based Al. Neyer LLC to construct an industrial facility in Smithfield on 25 acres on Brogden Road at I-95.

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November 28, 2022

News
Commissioners Vote Unanimously to Support New Manufacturing Workforce Center in Four Oaks

Leaders Hope Facility Will Replicate the Success of WDC in Clayton

Johnston County, N.C. – November 23, 2022. The Johnston County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to approve up to $17.5 million in matching funds to build a 60,000 sq.-ft. Advance Manufacturing Workforce Center in Four Oaks. The facility would have the same transformative economic development potential that the Johnston County Workforce Development Center (WDC) has made for the bio-pharma sector in the western part of the county.

The new center, which will be housed on a 16-acre property currently owned by the Town of Four Oaks, will be operated by Johnston Community College as part of a collaborative vision spearheaded by the I-95/I-40 Crossroads of American Economic Development Alliance. The Crossroads Alliance was formed last year by leaders in the Town of Four Oaks and the City of Dunn to enhance infrastructure, workforce readiness, product development and job growth in southern Johnston County and northern Harnett County. The new training site will sit near Exit 87, across from the Four Oaks Business Park, within easy view of thousands of motorists traveling I-95 every day.

“Regional cooperation is a proven path to sustainable economic progress across generations,” says R.S. “Butch” Lawter, Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “Our county is eager to partner with state and municipal governments, Johnston Community College and the Crossroads Alliance in taking this bold step toward manufacturing job-growth along the I-95 corridor.”

The County’s commitment leverages contributions from numerous partners along a model similar to the one established in the early 2000s when leaders from education, government and business came together to create the Johnston County Workforce Development Center in Clayton. That 30,000-sq.-ft. facility is a collaborative venture between Johnston County, Johnston County Public Schools, Johnston County Economic Development, Johnston Community College and local employers such as Grifols and Novo Nordisk.

“With the commitment of up to $17.5 million in funding from the Johnston County Commissioners, the I-95/I-40 Alliance has commitments for 70 percent of the funding required for a workforce training center at I-95 and Keen Road in Johnston County,” explains Harold T. Keen, chairman of I-95/I-40 Crossroads of America Economic Development Alliance. “In addition to workforce training for industry along the I-95 corridor, Johnston Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Program will be based in the center. This is an exciting next step for highly skilled jobs in Johnston County and the I-95 corridor in Johnston and Harnett Counties. We anticipate additional funding to complete this project in the first half of 2023,” Keen says.

A $1.2 million grant from the State of North Carolina supported the building’s design and initial engineering work. “Manufacturing is engrained in North Carolina’s economic DNA, and this new regional workforce asset will ensure we’ve got people with the advanced skills needed to keep this vital sector growing,” said N.C. Rep. Larry Strickland, who represents Harnett and Johnston counties in the General Assembly. “I’m eager to support this potentially game-changing project.”

I-95/I-40 Crossroads of America Economic Development Alliance is a unique multi-community partnership focused on maximizing the business attraction potential surrounding the junction of two major interstate highways. “The Alliance is grateful for the commitment and collaboration that’s taken place between Johnston Community College, Johnston County Economic Development Office and our state legislators,” says Alliance President Reid Williams. “Without their commitment, we would not be in this position. While also serving as an incubator for talent, this facility will become a central focus for job creation in the greater Johnston County region for generations to come. The Alliance looks forward to continuing to work with our partners and take the final steps necessary to see this historic project become a reality,” Williams says.

The Crossroads Alliance is one of numerous partnerships Johnston County economic development leaders have helped forge to boost the creation of high-paying jobs for its fast-growing population. Some 60,000 Johnston County residents, for example, commute daily to jobs in neighboring counties, according to the Johnston County Economic Development Office. “It’s a great honor and privilege to work with the Alliance,” said Chris Johnson, director of the Office. “In meeting with site-selection consultants around the region, time and time again they ask, ‘what are you doing about workforce’. It’s key to start developing that talent pipeline.”

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value-added interaction between government, education and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO collaborates with local, regional and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. Its menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness assistance and incentive packaging.

For additional information, visit www.GrowWithJoCo.com

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November 8, 2022

News
$177 Million School Bond Referendum Passes

Johnston County voters overwhelmingly approved a $177 million school bond referendum for Johnston County Public Schools.

The referendum passed Tuesday with 65 percent support, in unofficial returns. 45,996 people voted in favor of the referendum, while 25,012 voted against.

The 2022 bond referendum will fund construction of a new high school, new elementary school, two additions, and specific projects at schools in all of feeder patterns.

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October 24, 2022

News
Johnston County Express: NC’s Fastest Growing County Keeps Adding Jobs, People, Infrastructure

Johnston County is not only among the fastest-growing regions of North Carolina, but the nation, with a growth rate of between 2.8% and 5.7% according to a county profile published by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.  And U.S. Census data shows that Johnston County was the fastest-growing county in the state during the decade between the 2010 Census and the 2020 Census and an estimated growth rate of 4.9% between April 2020 and July 2021.

But even though Johnston County has between 102,000 and 105,000 wage-earners who reside in the county, nearly two-thirds of them commute across the county lines for their job, said Chris Johnson, director of Johnston County Economic Development, in an interview with WRAL TechWire.

“When I’m talking to industry, I note that we’re growing at about 4% annually, which means that we’re adding 8,000-10,000 people each year,” said Johnson.  “The future workforce may not actually be living here right now, not yet, but they’re moving here from other places, from all across the United States.”

And all who follow economic development are aware that one of the most important factors for companies during a site selection process, if not the most important, is whether a company will have access to a diverse, skilled talent pool that would live within a reasonable commuting distance of the selected facility.

“When I talk to CEOs,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper at an in-person event at SAS headquarters to kick off MFG Day 2022 earlier this month, “the top three issues are workforce, workforce and workforce.”

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October 3, 2022

News
County Commissioners OK Support for Class a Industrial Space JoCo’s Product Development Push Continues With 264,000-sq.-ft. Spec Space in Sithfield

_Johnston County, N.C. _– October 3, 2022. Johnston County Commissioners have unanimously approved a series of economic development incentives to support creation of a 264,000-sq.-ft. industrial building in Smithfield. The County will partner with a private development company in hopes of attracting an advanced manufacturer or life sciences operation to the high-quality speculative space.

“In today’s fast-moving economy, employers want industrial space equipped with modern amenities and ready for occupancy,” said R.S. “Butch” Lawter, Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “This performance-based package of incentive grants will help facilitate the kind of real estate product Johnston County needs in order to stay competitive and continue generating high-wage jobs. We’re grateful for the creativity and hard work of our staff in ensuring our communities can continue embracing exciting economic opportunities when they come our way.”

The new facility will be located on a 25-acre Greenfield property off exit 93 of I-95. A private development company intends to invest approximately $30 million in the building and estimates it will be able to accommodate at least 25 jobs at wages comparable to those of other Johnston County life science and manufacturing operations. The performance-based incentive package includes an innovative new leasing mechanism that will give the county’s business recruiters flexibility in finding the ideal industrial tenant for the property while allowing the developer to manage some of its investment risks.

An economic impact analysis of the project by Dr. Michael Walden found that constructing the building will bring $15.1 million in immediate benefits to the local economy, while operations of the completed facility will add $23.2 million to the County’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). The site is expected to generate $255,575 in yearly tax revenues to county and municipal governments, according to the study by Dr. Walden, a Raleigh consultant and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at North Carolina State University.

“It’s vital that we continue maintaining a diverse inventory of quality, ready-to-go industrial real estate in Johnston County,” said Randy Jones, chairman of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. “This project takes advantage of the great visibility we get from I- 95, which is one of our greatest economic assets, as well as our network of leading private development partners. I commend our county commissioners for their leadership in making sure all our communities are open for business.”

“Clas A” refers to the most prestigious buildings competing for premier tenants, with rents above average for the area, according to the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), a Washington, D.C.-based international trade association of commercial real estate professionals. Such buildings come with exceptional accessibility, high-quality finishes, state-of- the-art electrical, telecom, plumbing and other operating systems, and “a definite market presence,” BOMA’s website (www.boma.org) explains. Additional details of the Smithfield project and its specifications will be available to the public once the developer closes on its acquisition of the acreage, which is expected by the end of the year.

“Our project pipeline remains very strong and we continue to receive inquiries from location consultants and allies every week regarding available sites and buildings,” said Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office. “Given the time and resources that go into developing Class A industrial product, we don’t have the luxury of complacency when it comes to keeping our real estate inventory aligned with the needs of growth-minded businesses.”

In fiscal year 2021-2022, Johnston’s office received 79 requests for information (RFIs) regarding active site-selection projects. But the office was able to fulfill only about half those requests owing to the absence of the type of industrial product prospects needed. Those numbers should improve as Johnston County partners with experienced national development firms to create ready-to-go space. Earlier this year, Raleigh-based Edgewater Ventures unveiled plans for more than half a million square-feet of Class A distribution space near the I-40/I-95 interchange in Benson.

“Seeing seasoned private developers interested in investing in Johnston County is encouraging evidence that the County’s economy stands on very solid ground,” Johnson said. “It also means we have to be proactive in controlling our destiny and making sure we’ve got a broadly diversified industrial landscape and prosperity that spreads into all our communities.”

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September 8, 2022

News
County Commissioners Okay Performance-Based Incentives For Future Investments At Novo Nordisk

Package Will Support Company Expansion Over the Coming 12 Years

Johnston County, N.C. – September 6, 2022. The Johnston County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday evening to approve performance-based economic development incentives in support of anticipated new investments during the coming 12 years by global biomanufacturing giant Novo Nordisk [NYSE: NVO], which has been among the county’s largest private employers since arriving here nearly three decades ago. The vote capped a banner day for county leaders, who earlier joined officials from international medical device maker BD in announcing plans for a new $25 million manufacturing facility in Four Oaks.

“Novo Nordisk has been an economic driver in this region for close to 30 years,” County Commission Chairman Butch Lawter told the board. “Because of companies like this, with high-wage jobs and a focus on workforce education, we are now the fastest growing county in North Carolina. We are excited to approve this County incentive support for Novo Nordisk’s commitment to invest millions of dollars and add hundreds of new jobs through a series of expansions that will happen over the next 12 years. The County is proud to stand with Novo Nordisk to celebrate this growth within our community,” Lawter said.

Commissioners recognized the need to support growing industries in order to sustain and grow prosperity of Johnston County. Novo Nordisk has been among the key drivers in making Johnston County North Carolina’s fastest growing county, pursuant to the 2020 U.S. Census. “That is why we are excited to approve incentives that will support Novo Nordisk’s next several phases of expansions and commitment to the region,” said Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Office of Economic Development. “These new expansions will happen in phases over the next 12 years and will invest millions in the Johnston County economy and create hundreds of new jobs for our residents.”

The initial phase of expansion development has just begun at Novo Nordisk’s existing Injectable Finished Products facility in Clayton to make facility and equipment upgrades. Based on an economic impact analysis by Dr. Michael Walden, the construction alone of the facility upgrades will spark millions of dollars in increases to the gross domestic product (GDP). Overall, the state, county and municipal governments will also see millions in new tax revenues annually from the expansion, according to Dr. Walden, a consultant and professor emeritus of economics at North Carolina State University.

“The company’s success here has been a win-win across the board, and we’re proud to support its latest wave of growth,” according to Chairman Lawter. “We look forward to sharing the exciting news of each phase as they unfold.”

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value-added interaction between government, education, and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO collaborates with local, regional, and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. Its menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness assistance and incentive packaging. For additional information, visit www.GrowWithJoCo.com

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September 6, 2022

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BD Will Invest Up to $30 Million in Johnston County Manufacturing Site

Medical Technology Leader Will Grow its Presence at Four Oaks Business Park

Johnston County, N.C. – September 6, 2022. BD [NYSE: BDX], a global leader in medical devices, will invest $25 million to $30 million in a new manufacturing site at Four Oaks Business Park.  The new facility will initially employ a 22-person workforce, with annual wages averaging nearly $83,600. Johnston County Commissioners joined the Four Oaks Town Council earlier today in approving a package of performance-based financial incentives in support of the project.

“Advanced manufacturing and life sciences are cornerstones of the 21st century economy, and these two dynamic sectors are coming together in a major way in Johnston County,” said R.S. “Butch” Lawter, Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “BD is among the leading medical device makers in the world, and we’re proud the company has chosen Four Oaks Business Park as the backdrop for its latest round of growth.”

Founded in 1897 as Becton, Dickinson & Company, BD is one of the world’s largest medical technology companies. With operations worldwide, the company works to develop next-generation therapeutics and diagnostics that address some of the most challenging human health issues. The New Jersey-based company maintains a global workforce of 75,000
employees. Since 2010, BD has maintained a nearly 720,000-sq.-ft. distribution center at Four Oaks Business Park. The LEED Gold Certified facility employs approximately 300 people.

Four Oaks Mayor Vic Medlin welcomed BD’s announcement. “When existing industries re- invest here with an announcement this size, it says all the right things about our community,” said Medlin. “BD has brought new energy and economic diversification to Four Oaks since establishing their distribution operations at Four Oaks Business Park in 2010. The company’s latest investment here adds momentum to our vision for growing advanced manufacturing
jobs.”

BD will construct a state-of-the-art medical device processing facility that could initially span 30,000 sq.-ft. Construction is expected to begin next year, with operations commencing by late 2024. New jobs there will include engineers, machine operators, material handlers and other positions. Prior to its decision to invest in Johnston County, the company considered nine locations across three states.

“BD already has a strong presence in North Carolina — with four facilities and more than 1,000 employees across the state — and we look forward to growing our investment in the state and the town of Four Oaks with this new facility,” said Travis Anderton, vice president at BD. “We considered multiple locations across the United States, and a combination of our existing presence in North Carolina, proximity to one of our distribution centers and the incentives
provided by Johnston County were the determining factors to locate in Four Oaks. We’d like to thank the Johnston County Economic Development Office and the county and municipal officials who helped collaborate with BD to locate our facility here.”

Construction of BD’s facility alone could spur $18 million in one-time economic impact, according to an analysis by Dr. Michael Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University and President of Walden Economic Consulting, LLC. The site will also add $15 million to Johnston County’s annual GDP and result in more than $157,000 in county and municipal tax revenues each year, Walden found.

“This exciting announcement grows our life sciences industry and extends it to the I-95 corridor,” said Randy Jones, chairman of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. “What BD is doing will have an important impact well beyond the Town of Four Oaks — boosting the Research Triangle’s biotechnology brand and underscoring the rising prominence of the BioPharma Crescent.”

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value-added interaction between government, education, and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO collaborates with local, regional, and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. Its
menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness assistance and incentive packaging. For additional information, visit www.GrowWithJoCo.com

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June 13, 2022

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DO Good Foods LLC Will Invest More Than $100 Million at Selma’s Eastfield Crossing

‘Climate Forward’ Consumer Foods Pioneer Will Create Approximately 100 Jobs in JoCo

Johnston County, N.C. – June 6, 2022. Do Good Foods LLC, a revolutionary climate forward company that upcycles surplus grocery store food into nutrient-dense animal feed, will invest more than $100 million in a new production facility at Eastfield Crossing in Selma. The new operation will employ approximately 100 workers at wages averaging more than $60,000 per year. Johnston County Commissioners joined the Selma Town Council earlier today in approving a package of performance-based financial incentives in support of the project.

“Innovation and agribusiness are two words that easily apply to Johnston County’s economy, and few companies combine both those qualities in a more exciting way than Do Good Foods,” said R.S. “Butch” Lawter, Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “This visionary company has come to the right place at just the right time, and we offer it our warmest welcome. The county is eager to support the success of what you’re doing for Selma, Johnston County and for the world.”

Selma Mayor Byron McAllister called the company’s arrival “a milestone for Eastfield Crossing and evidence that Selma’s investments in its economic amenities are paying off.” Along with the county, Selma has partnered closely with AdVenture Development LLC in moving the 400+ acre planned community from concept into reality. “Congratulations to Do Good Foods for the success that is driving its new presence here,” McAllister said. “Our town is proud to be part of your impressive growth strategy and we welcome you at The Crossroads of Tradition and
Innovation.”

Founded by the Kamine family, Do Good Foods has created a closed-loop system with state-ofthe-art infrastructure designed to upcycle surplus grocery food (after community donations occur) into nutritious animal feed. Do Good Foods first product, Do Good Chicken, is raised using this healthy feed and can be purchased locally, giving consumers an opportunity to make an immediate environmental impact and Do Good…for Plate & Planet™. Learn more about the company at http://dogoodfoods.com

“We are excited about the opportunity to expand into the Johnston County market and work with the great local and state officials who have made choosing this location for our next facility an easy decision and one that we hope will benefit the community, the environment and the local economy for years to come,” said Matt Kamine, co-CEO and co-founder of Do Good Foods.

Do Good Foods will assume occupancy of industrial space at Eastfield Crossing. Launched in 2019, the mixed-use community is located at the junction of I-95 and U.S. Highway 70 (future I42). Once fully staffed, the Do Good Foods facility will produce an annual payroll impact of approximately $6 million for the region’s economy. Its operations will add over $73.6 million per year to Johnston County’s GDP, according to an analysis by Dr. Michael Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University and
President of Walden Economic Consulting, LLC. The site will also generate $552,486 in county and municipal tax revenues each year, Walden found.

“Consumer foods is a legacy industry for Johnston County, and the arrival of Do Good Foods puts a really forward-looking touch on this critical segment of our economy,” said Randy Jones, chairman of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. “We congratulate and commend our state and municipal partners, as well as the hard work of JoCo’s Economic Development Office, for making this innovative company our newest industrial resident.”

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value-added interaction between government, education, and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO collaborates with local, regional, and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. Its menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness
assistance and incentive packaging. For additional information, visit www.GrowWithJoCo.com

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March 22, 2022

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Commissioners Vote Unanimously to Accept NC Railroad Grant

Johnston County, N.C. – March 22, 2022. The Johnston County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last night to formally accept a $750,000 infrastructure grant as part of the North Carolina Railroad Company’s Build Ready Sites initiative. The award will be applied to upgrades and improvements in Selma that will support the county’s Eastfield Crossing project.

“Johnston County is proud to be one of six North Carolina counties to be selected to participate in this important statewide product development initiative,” said R.S. “Butch” Lawter Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “There’s no part of Johnston County that isn’t seeing progress right now, with new communities like Eastfield Crossing offering a major boost to Selma and the central part of our county.”

Eastfield Crossing is one of the largest developments currently underway in Johnston County. The mixed-use property spans more than 400 acres and is within easy reach of I-95 and US Highway 70. It is also located in one for four federally Opportunity Zones in the county. In addition to hotels, retail spaces, and residential neighborhoods and amenities, Eastfield Crossing will feature a million-square-foot business park.

AdVenture Development, a multi-faceted commercial real estate company with holdings in six eastern U.S. states, is leading the project. Selma’s location at the heart of Johnston County, eastern North Carolina and the U.S. east coast all position Eastfield Crossing for success as a mixed-use destination, according to Kevin Dougherty, founder and president of AdVenture Development, which has offices in Selma and Pittsburgh, Pa. “Eastfield has economic development potential as a generator of both jobs and tax-base,” Dougherty said. Johnston County Commissioners voted in February 2019 to offer performance-based economic incentives in support of the project. “A community like Eastfield Crossing doesn’t happen without local government partners,” he said. “It’s reassuring to see a statewide organization like the NC Railroad Company joining our municipal and county government partners in moving this ambitious vision closer to reality.”

Once complete, Eastfield will be home to 3,100 jobs and will boost Johnston County’s annual GDP by $169 million, according to an economic impact analysis by Sanford Holshouser Economic Development Consulting, LLC.

“The Town of Selma is thrilled to welcome the North Carolina Railroad Company into our collaboration with AdVenture Development and the Johnston County Economic Development Corporation,” said Selma Mayor Byron McAllister.  “As we thrive in a new and exciting stage of growth, Selma continues to benefit from its strong heritage as a Railroad Town.  We thank the Board of Commissioners for accepting this grant on our behalf and on behalf of the residents here who will have well-paying job opportunities close to home.”

Build Ready Sites funds can be used for land preparation such as clearing and grading, critical water and wastewater extensions, and certain types of speculative buildings. In addition to Johnston County and the Eastfield Business Park, sites in Alexander, Burke, Montgomery, Moore and Pitt counties also are receiving Build Ready Site funding. NCRR officials announced the awardees of the $2.92 million program earlier this month.

“Each of these recipients underwent a rigorous application and site-review process overseen by Global Location Strategies, a consultant based in Greenville, S.C.,” explained NCRR President and CEO Carl Warren. “We’re honored to launch an innovative program that not only fosters growth in our local communities, but also creates opportunities for meaningful partnerships that expand our state’s competitive advantage.”

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March 7, 2022

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Edgewater Ventures Will Invest $40 Million in Benson Distribution Space

Johnston County, N.C. – March 7, 2022. Edgewater Ventures, a Raleigh-based commercial real estate investment and development firm with nearly 2.7 million square-feet of existing assets, will build a 501,120 square-foot Class A distribution facility in close proximity to the Interstate 40 and Interstate 95 interchange in Benson. The company’s $40 million investment will be the initial development of what will ultimately result in nearly 1.1 million square-feet of Class A industrial space that will be known as Crosspoint Logistics Center.

At just over 500,000 square-feet, the first phase will be the largest speculative industrial facility ever constructed within the Raleigh-Durham MSA.  Company projections indicate that the facility could employ as many as 300 workers after it becomes operational in the first quarter of 2023. The second phase would more than double Crosspoint’s square footage and workforce.

Earlier today, Johnston County’s Board of Commissioners approved a performance-based incentive agreement in support of Crosspoint Logistics Center. The facility will add $73,351,891 in annual output to the county’s economy, according to an economic impact study by economist Michael Walden, PhD.

“We continue to see steady, shared growth throughout Johnston County as we look forward to the development of Crosspoint Logistics Center in Benson,” said R.S. “Butch” Lawter Jr., chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “This project will help expand the County’s economic footprint and bolster growth along the I-95 corridor.”

With visibility from Interstate 95 off Morgan Road at Highway 50, Crosspoint Logistics Center will feature best-in-class construction capable of accommodating modern distribution requirements including a minimum 40’ clear height, 65’ speed bays, 50’ x 54’ column spacing, 185’ truck courts and ample trailer storage.

With offices in Raleigh and Wilmington, Edgewater Ventures acquires and develops industrial, office, multifamily and mixed-use real estate across the Carolinas. It is adding significantly to its portfolio in Wilmington and the Triangle, with a focus on distribution space. Supply-chain adjustments in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic have placed a premium on high-quality distribution centers. In the third quarter of last year, the Triangle’s vacancy rate for warehouse space was just 2.2 percent, according to the Triangle Business Journal.

”We’re extremely excited to announce this project in the Town of Benson and Johnston County,” said Chris Norvell, lead industrial partner with Edgewater Ventures.  “It’s an incredible location at the I-40 and I-95 interchange that we expect to attract companies looking for direct accessibility to the entire eastern seaboard and multiple Southeastern ports.”

In addition to its leadership in advanced manufacturing, construction, biopharma, retail and agribusiness, Johnston County’s geography, infrastructure and workforce are ideal for distribution and logistics operations. Crosspoint Logistics Center, for example, will sit just minutes from the junction of I-40 and I-95. The property’s tenants will have convenient reach to the Triangle’s growing consumer market and the ports of Charleston, Norfolk and Wilmington. Sysco, the wholesale food distributor, and medical device company Beckton Dickinson are among the major U.S. companies with large distribution operations in Johnson County.

“This project brings additional industrial diversification and opportunity to Johnston County’s economy and labor market,” said Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office. “It’s exciting to see a high-quality developer like Edgewater Ventures investing so aggressively in Benson, a community that is poised for continued success as American businesses reconsider supply chains and look to build sustainable links to consumers now that the pandemic is behind us. Congratulations to the company and the community on today’s great news.”

Once fully operational, Crosspoint Logistics Center will have a significant fiscal impact, generating more than $795,000 in annual tax revenues to municipal and county governments in Johnston County, according to the analysis by Dr. Walden, the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University.

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November 3, 2021

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AdvanceTEC Will Invest Over $10 Million at Site Near Clayton

Johnston County, N.C. – November 1, 2021. AdvanceTEC, a leader in cleanroom design, construction and mission-critical process integration, will invest more than $10 million in a new site in Johnston County. The Richmond, Va. based company intends to create an advanced skilled workforce at a location near Clayton, which will serve biotechnology companies in the Research Triangle and throughout the United States.

“Johnston County’s place in the 21st century life sciences industry is taking an important step forward with the addition of AdvanceTEC as a corporate resident,” said Chad M. Stewart, Chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “Our position at the center of numerous biotechnology companies and operations has helped draw leading companies like AdvanceTEC that have industry-specific expertise in demand by companies like Novo Nordisk, Grifols and a host of other life science and advanced technology operations both east and west of us.”

Founded in 2000, AdvanceTEC serves clients in the biotech, nanotech and cleantech industries. Its expertise can be found in government, military, university and corporate facilities. The privately held firm has successfully constructed facilities for research, pilot production and high-volume manufacturing applications. AdvanceTEC works with leading technology companies, construction managers and architectural/engineering firms to construct state-of-the-art cleanrooms that enable next-generation technologies. The firm’s expertise includes turn-key design/build projects, where performance, schedule, cost and safety are critical.  The value of its typical projects ranges from $500,000 to $40 million. Additional information may be found at www.AdvanceTECLLC.com.

“AdvanceTEC is pleased to invest in Johnston County to serve leading biotech clients in the region, as well as throughout the United States,” said Bryan Phelan, the company’s Managing Partner and Director of Customers. “Our new advanced prefabrication and modularization facility will continue to separate AdvanceTEC as the market leader in cleanroom design, construction, and mission critical process utilities.  We look forward to being a great corporate citizen and serving our demanding clients.”

AdvanceTEC will build on a 12-acre property off US Highway 70 Business between Clayton and Smithfield. Once fully staffed, the facility will produce an annual payroll impact of $2.6 million for the region’s economy. Its operations will create a total economic impact of nearly $16 million per year, according to an analysis by Dr. Michael Walden, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University and President of Walden Economic Consulting, LLC. The site will generate more than $168,000 in county and municipal tax revenue each year, Walden found.

“Diversification has long been a hallmark of Johnston County’s economic development strategy,” said Randy Jones, Chairman of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. “With the arrival of AdvanceTEC, we see continued vertical development of our life sciences sector that pairs our leadership in biopharma with our strong reputation as a destination for specialty manufacturing.”

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