Triangle Chatter

In the South, it's not polite to toot your own horn...

In the South, it’s not polite to toot your own horn…

Accolade. Accomplishments. Rankings. The Research Triangle Region continues to receive high marks (almost on a monthly basis) in regards to every business and quality of life category. These are what many consider the holy grail for economic development professionals.

So why are these highly regarded “rankings” so coveted in economic development arenas? It’s what forms opinions/perceptions on a region, makes decisions for people as to where to locate professionally or to raise a family, helps a region recruit talent, or simply just verify what us North Carolinians already know. Every region in the world loves them, looks forward to them, and even shouts them from the rooftop.

Fortune Best Cities for Knowledge WorkersMy first memory of the importance of rankings came on November 15, 1993 when Fortune named the Research Triangle Region (Raleigh-Durham) as the # 1 Best Place for Knowledge Workers based on the presence of The Research Triangle Park, three top tier one research universities (Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina), an emerging technology and life sciences base and a charming mild climate with four seasons. 

This was later followed by Money in September 1, 1994 naming the region as the # 1 Best Place to Live in America with quotes from a Durham architect stating, “Business is just great. A lot of advanced technology companies are moving here from Boston and California because costs are lower and the living is easier." These same rankings from over two decades ago still ring true today – knowledge workers, emerging and advanced technology base, and great place to live and work.

Over time these rankings have evolved in which people all over the world pay attention to in all segments of life. The categories vary from different perspectives. From the business angle, they include rankings like best places for business and careers, knowledge workers, creative class, jobs, retail growth, workforce and college graduates. These tend to be the ones that separate regions from one another in regards to competitive assets and thankfully the Research Triangle Region remains high in those regards.

From a personal point of view, the region gets high praises for being a best place to live, raise a family, meet your significant other, for health and happiness to even the best place to have a burger (Chuck’s) in America. Of course two of my favorites reside on Tobacco Road (what this region is referred to by many) 1) Three of the Top 50 College Basketball Programs in the Last 50 Years* according to ESPN and my all-time favorite 2) The Best Rivalry in American Sports (Carolina - Duke) according to Sporting News. (Round 1 of the Battle of the Blues is February 13, 2013, but who’s counting?)

The Research Triangle Region continues to track these rankings on a daily basis to keep up with what others are saying. We have a saying in the South that it’s not polite to toot your own horn, we let others do it for us. Toot on!

*UNC # 1, Duke # 4, NC State #43

Author: Bo Carson, Vice President, Information Services, Research Triangle Region


  1. Robin Deacle's avatar
    Robin Deacle
    | Permalink
    Right in Bo! The Southern mantra to not toot our own horn can make economic development difficult. It's great when others do it for us.
  2. Bo Carson's avatar
    Bo Carson
    | Permalink
    Absolutely Robin. We are very fortunate to live and work in such a great region in the U.S.

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