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Cabarrus Magazine

Getting Acquainted with New EDC Executive Director Robert J. Carney, Jr.

Aug 22, 2016 06:59PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Photo courtesy of the Cabarrus Economic Development Facebook page.

Recently, we published an article, "Cabarrus EDC Names New President,where we learned that Robert J. Carney, Jr. was hired as the new Cabarrus County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director.

We were lucky enough to get in touch with Robert to get to know more about him and his story. Not only is he incredibly experienced, but also has a great sense of humor. He also has some big plans for Cabarrus County, and is excited to begin working with our great community. Read on to learn more. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I’m from Hickory NC, graduate of East Carolina University with a BSBA in Marketing & Business Management. I’ve been in economic development for 9 years but in a past life was a publisher of a lifestyle magazine called Six Degrees in Miami, FL.

I’m blessed to have an amazing wife, Erika, that is the CMO of Skookum Digital Works, headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Together we have our daughter, Ali, who will turn 2 in September. 

What brought you to seek out the position of EDC President/CEO? 

I see Cabarrus County as a community that has a tremendous amount of opportunity. Whether it’s Concord, Kannapolis, Harrisburg, Mt. Pleasant or Midland, each community has very unique assets that I believe can be leveraged for great success in economic development. I also believe that this county as a whole has the right leadership right now that can really do some amazing things. 


It's been a few days since you've started. What do you think of the position so far? 

So far I’ve been impressed by the people I get to work around -- Samantha, Lee Ann and Josh are going to be great to work with. I’m excited to see what we all can do together.


What's your ultimate goal for the EDC, as well as your position within the community? 

My ultimate goal is to increase the Quality of Life for Cabarrus County, how the EDC does that is through taking care of our existing industry, keeping them healthy successful and growing; then recruit new industry to the area.


What do you see for the future? 

Jobs. Lots of them.


What aspects of your past experience do you see being beneficial to your current position? 

I think all aspects of my past help to prepare me for this position. From publishing a lifestyle magazine, to running an EDC. Being a husband and a father, all of these experiences have created personal values and work ethic that are important to me.


Since you accepted the position, what's one of the funniest things that has happened? 

Well, I missed my first board meeting. 

First, I’ve never missed a board meeting in all my years in economic development, but I did miss the first one for Cabarrus County. My daughter passed along a severe stomach bug that knocked me out for days. In an attempt to still make the meeting, I had a doctor’s office come to my house and give me an IV of fluids to see if I could recover enough to make the meeting. 

Well, it didn’t work... My wife, however, thought it was so funny, my attempts to get well, that she snapped a photo of me getting an IV.


When you aren't trying to create more jobs for Cabarrus County, what's something you enjoy doing for fun? 

I stay pretty active. I love spending time with my family reading and relaxing, but also big into CrossFit, golf, snowboarding, etc.


Is there anything else we should know? 

Yes, one of my employees Josh Fernandez is a NY Yankees fan and we should all hold that against him; I know I do!

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