'Up Front' Podcast Gets to know New EDC Head, Page CastrodaleApr 13, 2021 03:57PM ● By Jason Huddle
Jason Huddle 00:00
Just ahead on Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine.
Page Castrodale 00:03
But I can tell you that, you know, there are a lot of really great companies and great employers who have their eyes on the Cabarrus County. And, you know, we're hopeful that here soon we'll have more announcements to share with everybody.
Jason Huddle 00:15
We're talking with you head of the American Economic Development Corp, Page Castrodale, as she discusses her new role, how the EDC got through the pandemic and the broadening of the EDC focus.
Page Castrodale 00:27
You know, typically when you hear economic development, you think about recruitment, you think about incentives, but that is just one part of what we do. And, you know, I think it's just as important for us to support our existing companies and to give them the resources that they need as it is to, you know, support a company who's looking at relocating here.
Jason Huddle 00:50
That's coming up right now on Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine, a presentation of Cabco Media Group and sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation, Geico Concord Mills office, House of Steele, Level Up Realty and New Hope Worship Center. I'm your host Jason Huddle. Hello, my friends, and welcome to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. I am your host, Jason Huddle and this is Episode 96. We are closing in on our 100th episode, I'm very excited about that. Today we have a very special guest, Page Castrodale. She is the new head of the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation. And she's going to be sharing her information today on what we can look forward to in Cabarrus County from a development standpoint, she's also going to talk about her background and what she brings to the position as well as a shift in focus, I should say a broadening of focus for the EDC and how they are really going to start focusing on helping existing small businesses in this county. And that's something I'm very excited about. So we're going to get into all that today of course, but not before shameless plug time. I have a couple of shameless plugs today. First of all, you may have caught in the intro that we have picked up yet another sponsor for this program House of Steel in Concord. This is a great facility. Cole and the guys over there will help you create a customized workout tailored for your specific needs. They will also help coach you on nutrition and lifestyle, they will help put together a well rounded package that will produce results for you. So we are thrilled to have them on board. And I am excited to promote them. I love their mission and what they're trying to do and trying to create a healthier community. So go see the guys at House of Steel. Their spot is coming up in the first break, but you can also go to House of Steel NC dot com and check them out as well. Also, my other shameless plug is very important. It's a milestone I have had in my mind since January of 2001. And that is putting out our 20th anniversary edition. Our 20th anniversary edition is now available online and it is hitting stands. I'm very excited to bring this to you. We take a look back at 20 years of our favorite stories. Our favorite covers the stories behind the stories and also we have an article about the Kannapolis Cannonballers. And then finally getting to have an inaugural season. Of course everybody remembers they were supposed to have their inaugural season last year. That didn't happen, no baseball last year. This year. It's all happening starting in May. So we're excited to bring that story to you as well, as well as some new recipes, some health advice from the folks over at Cannon Pharmacy and news and events of the goings on here in Cabarrus County. So check that out. Our 20th anniversary edition of Cabarrus Magazine is now available. And we thank you for helping us to reach that milestone. And that is today's shameless plug time. All right, my friends stick around Page Castrodale from the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation is next. Stay tuned.
Jason Huddle 05:31
Welcome back to the program. We are joined today by the new director of the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation, Page Castrodale, that name does doesn't doesn't roll off the tongue like I wanted to, I`m sorry.
Page Castrodale 05:45
I understand. I understand.
Jason Huddle 05:47
But thank you for coming on to the show today.
Page Castrodale 05:49
Yeah, thanks for having me.
Jason Huddle 05:51
So tell us a little bit about yourself. This, you have been with the EDC for a while the Cabarrus EDC for a while, but you stepped up when Robbie left. So tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience with economic development?
Page Castrodale 06:05
Sure, so I started with Cabarrus EDC, about two and a half years ago, I came on board as the existing industry director. So, you know, my job was to work with the companies that are already located in Cabarrus County and make sure that they have the resources that they need to continue to be successful, and to continue to grow here. And, you know, we are a very small team here at the EDC at the time, when I was hired, it was three of us, we eventually grew to a team of four, but it was, you know, we really all worked together, regardless of whether or not we were working on a new project, or if it was an existing industry program, or, you know, it was all hands on deck all the time. And I think that gave me the ability to learn the industry more quickly than I would have otherwise. And I mean, I think with economic development, when you are recruiting a company to our community, assuming they actually come here, you know, then they become one of those companies that I was talking about, you know, that I would work with and connect to those resources. So it made sense that, that we would all kind of work together on that. But like I said, I think gave me a chance to kind of get my hands dirty, really learn the industry. And then when when Robbie left, this past August, you know, I was prepared to be able to step into that role as the interim, and then eventually as the permanent executive director. So I'm grateful that, you know, when I look back two and a half years ago, when Robbie hired me, I'm grateful that he gave me the leeway that he did, that he let me kind of barge into meetings that maybe I wasn't necessarily, you know, it wasn't part of my job description. But, you know, it helps me out in the long run for sure.
Jason Huddle 07:44
Tell us some of the exciting projects that you have been a part of, since you've been a part of the EDC of the Cabarrus EDC.
Page Castrodale 07:50
Yeah, gosh, Carvana was a was a big one. That was the first company that we were able to announce over at the grounds at Concord, which is, you know, you're familiar with the former Philip Morris campus. That was a really fun project. But it was also an exciting thing for us to be able to start announcing some new development over there, and they've been a great addition to the community. Goldenhome is another one that that we announced last year. I think last summer, we finally announced that project, although we had been working on it for quite a while I was part of the Allegiant announcement that we made last spring, actually, I think it was like days before every everything shut down because of the pandemic. But you know, happy to report that project is still moving forward as planned. It's just been a little bit delayed. So they're going to be establishing a base over the airport here in Concord, which is just going to bring, you know, new jobs, new investment, but also additional, hopefully, additional flight destinations, which is good for all of us who who live here. So yeah, you know, a lot of things that we can talk about. But I can tell you that, you know, there are a lot of really great companies and great employers who have their eyes on Cabarrus County and, you know, we're hopeful that that here soon, we'll have more announcements to share with everybody.
Jason Huddle 09:13
You mentioned the shutdown. How hard has it been to do your job in the middle of a shutdown? And have there even been any parties that were interested in coming to Cabarrus County and checking out sites in the middle of the pandemic?
Page Castrodale 09:28
Yeah, it's really interesting when you look back at our project activity over the last 12 months, because we've kind of, you know, we've got like a year under our belt now, living in this strange time, but in the spring, in the summer, things slowed down, not as much as we thought they would. You know, I remember thinking back to last March, and last April, everybody was working from home and we really just expected our project activity to completely drop off. But, you know, there were plenty of companies who they're planning ends were not really impacted by the pandemic. And then there were also plenty of companies who saw growth as a result of the pandemic. We're seeing a lot of new projects now related to TPE. And, you know, that that sort of thing where there's kind of this immediate demand for for certain types of products. But, you know, we, like I said, our project activity slowed down in the spring in the summer, but it really picked back up, it was almost like everybody kind of took a minute to figure out what their, you know, their business's needs were in the needs that they had maybe 18 months ago, kind of reevaluating. Are these the same needs that we have. And then for those companies that were still moving forward with an expansion or relocation, they didn't really miss a beat. I mean, they move, you know, right ahead with, with no delay. And so I would say, you know, your quoting to your question, you know, how difficult has it been to do our job, I don't feel like we've really missed a beat. I mean, we have, we've adopted virtual site visits, you know, meetings that we would typically have in person, we were having virtually, I would love to see that kind of thing, continue to a certain extent, just because it takes a lot of manpower. on our end, when we do have a client visit, you know, sometimes all they really need is 30 minutes to ask some questions. And it's a lot easier to get all those folks on the phone than it is to, you know, coordinate a meeting time and they're flying out here and you got to buy them lunch and on and on and on. So that has been, that's been cool to see just kind of how the industry has pivoted to accommodate that type that site selection process virtually, but I don't feel like a whole lot has changed, honestly,
Jason Huddle 11:50
This is what I want to do. I'd like to take a break. And when we come back on the other side of the break, I know that when it comes to economic development, there isn't a lot of specifics that you can give us but I do want to talk about maybe in general terms, what might be on the horizon for Cabarrus County and I also want to talk about your vision for the EDC. Is that cool?
Page Castrodale 12:11
Jason Huddle 12:12
All right, you guys. Stay tuned. We'll be back with Page Castrodale, the head of the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation right after this. Stay tuned.
Jason Huddle 13:33
Welcome back to the program joined by Page Castrodale of the Cabarrus EDC and we were talking a little bit about before the break about how the EDC was able to continue to operate pretty seamlessly through COVID. But now that normal seems to be on the horizon, I'm not saying we're there yet. I'm just saying it's we're getting there. Can you tell us, at least in general terms, maybe some exciting things that may be on the horizon for Cabarrus County from an economic development standpoint?
Page Castrodale 14:06
Yeah, so as you would expect, there really isn't a whole lot that I can share specifically, but you know, speaking in generalities we had in January and February of this year, our project activity I mean, we had, I think, combined close to 30 or more RFI come through meaning companies that reached out to us wanting more information about our community looking for real estate options in our community. Those numbers were higher than what we were seeing pre pandemic. So you know, if there's anything I hope you can take away if you're listening to this, it's that, you know, Cabarrus County is really in a good spot. I think a lot of our our neighbors in the Charlotte region across the state, certainly across the country are not seeing the same type of interest and the same type of project activity that we are the grounds at Concord, the former Philip Morris site is a a huge driver of that it's, you know, 1300 plus acres of industrial property that, you know, we have the opportunity to bring jobs to and bring tax investment to. And that that is keeping us busy. But, you know, kannapolis has a lot going on Harrisburg, Mount Pleasant, Midland, I mean, there's just opportunity across the entire county and, you know, when the projects that we're working are good manufacturing companies that we would be proud to have here, that would create good, you know, very well paying jobs. You know, when we think about the types of jobs that were lost during the pandemic, and especially the hospitality and tourism industry that was disrupted, as much as it was, you know, anytime we can add good paying jobs to the community, we, you know, we feel really fortunate for that.
Jason Huddle 15:48
You mentioned Carvana, in the first segment, how are they doing? How is that operation is? Is it expanding? And are is carvanha happy? Quite frankly.
Page Castrodale 15:59
Yeah, they're doing great, I think they've been blown away. I mean, they're seeing tremendous growth, just across all of their locations anyway, but they've been blown away by how successful that operation here in Concord has been. They're creating positions almost faster than they can sell them. And the community's been really receptive to the positions that they have available. And so you know, they're able to hire the folks that they need. I was out there, I guess, about a week ago, meeting with the general manager, and he was just singing our praises. I mean, he was talking about how, you know, how supportive the community has been how, you know, the collaboration has been strong. And that and you always, I mean, that's what you hope to hear, whenever these companies, you know, make a location decision, there's so many factors at play, and you never want them to regret that decision. And carvanha is, I think, really happy here. And like I said, continuing to expand. So I'm, I think there's a lot of opportunity for them, you know, to continue to be successful down the road.
Jason Huddle 17:00
Let's talk a little bit about you as a leader, what is it that you feel you bring to the table maybe past and it's not to set you or compare you against your predecessors? But what is something that you feel you bring to the table? Looking ahead for Cabarrus County?
Page Castrodale 17:17
You know, I mentioned earlier that when I first started in economic development, I was working with the companies who were already here. And I think that's given me a unique perspective as it relates to the overall economic development strategy. Because, you know, typically, when you hear economic development, you think about recruitment, you think about incentives, but that is just one part of what we do. And, you know, I think it's just as important for us to support our existing companies, and to give them the resources that they need, as it is to, you know, support a company who's looking at at relocating here. And I think, like I said, I think that, you know, the perspective that I have just from working with those companies is, is allowing me to kind of think more intentionally more strategically about how our organization can support those existing companies. And you know, at the same time, we just recently opened the Cabarrus Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is designed to support startups and existing small businesses and established larger companies. That's a collaboration between several different organizations in the in the county and in the region, all with this focus of bringing as many resources together as possible and making them as accessible as possible for anyone who wants to start or grow their business. And you know, that notion of economic development agencies, supporting entrepreneurial activity is relatively new, post COVID, you're seeing a lot more communities recognize the important role that an economic development organization can play in that space. But that was not the case when we first started working on this project over a year ago. And so I'm grateful, you know, now that we're on the other side of this pandemic, that we've already done the work and we have this resource now in our community, because we we really do believe strongly that you know, that entrepreneurship supports economic recovery. And for us to have kind of a mechanism to do that here. I think we all collectively should be really proud of that.
Jason Huddle 19:30
So how can entrepreneurs connect with the EDC if they want to be a part of this?
Page Castrodale 19:35
Yeah, so there are a couple of different ways. You know, depending on where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, if you've got an idea or you you know, you're ready to come make a go of it, or you have a business and you're just looking for support or looking for ways to grow it. The easiest way is to go to the Career Center website, which is Cabarrus center.com. And fill out this intake form basically where you can you can talk about who you are what your business is and what you're looking for. And then from there, we can kind of direct you to one of the many different organizations that we work with, who you know, has subject matter experts that can help you with your particular need. Once, you know we're a little bit farther removed from COVID, and it's safer to meet in person, you know, we'll be having a lot of events here, educational workshops, and opportunities to meet other people that will, you know, maybe become mentors or folks that can help you, you know, move your business in a different direction. So I look forward to fast forward a year from now, when we're firing on all cylinders over here at the Career Center, I look forward to seeing what this effort has done for the business community, I think it's going to be really impactful.
Jason Huddle 20:47
Wonderful and we'll put that link in our show notes just for everybody in case they missed that. But it's Cabarrus center. com correct?
Page Castrodale 20:54
That's right. Yep.
Jason Huddle 20:55
All right. Awesome. And before I let you go, you mentioned that you're over at the center, you guys have new digs? How's that? How's it working out over there?
Page Castrodale 21:02
Yeah, it's great. We're in downtown Concord, it's a beautiful space, if you haven't seen it, look it up on Facebook, or Instagram, or go to the website or just come by, it's gorgeous. It's a great place to work. And we, you know, we work so closely with Cabarrus County, and with Concord, you know, the staff at city of Concord. And so it's a good central location for us. But, you know, going back to the whole recruitment aspect of economic development, you know, we're already able to host meetings here, when we, when we have clients with this, and that is really telling a pretty cool story to show them. You know, this is, you know, our community is one that supports businesses in all stages. And we have this very tangible asset to show them when we talk about that. So we're happy to be here and would welcome anyone that wants to come check it out.
Jason Huddle 21:50
Well, Page Castrodale, head of the careers, EDC, thank you for spending some time with us today. Congratulations on your new appointment to your position. We are thrilled that you're there. And I look forward to seeing what you do over your tenure.
Page Castrodale 22:06
Thank you so much, Jason, I appreciate it.
Jason Huddle 22:08
Absolutely. You guys stick around. We will close out the program in just a moment. Stay tuned.
Jason Huddle 22:21
I just want to thank Page Castrodale once again for being on the program and letting us in on a little bit about what's happening at theCabarrus EDC. I'm very excited, as I said at the beginning of the show about the broadening of their mission. I'm all for bringing industry in and creating jobs. But I also think that we can do that by helping the small businesses that make up the backbone of Cabrrus County. So I'm all about this broadening of this vision to help small businesses or people who are trying to start a small business. I think we should encourage that. In this day and age. We need to encourage entrepreneurship and it's something we're not doing right now. So thank you Page, thank you for your team and all you're doing to help Cabarrus County's economy thrive and grow Hey, don't forget if you're a fan of the show and want to continue the discussions that we have on this program. You can always jump on to Facebook find our Facebook group page and jump right in just search for Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine podcast under Facebook groups. That is all the time we have for today. Thank you for joining us. You have been listening to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine and presentation of CabCo Media Group it is produced and hosted by yours truly Jason Huddle and it is sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Healthcare Foundation, House of Steel, Geico Concord Mills Office, Level Up Realty and New hope Worship Center. Until next week, start thinking about that business idea of yours!
Episode 96: Getting to Know Page Castrodale