Research Triangle Regional Partnership Accredited by IEDC

Washington, D.C. – The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has recognized the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) among only 24 economic development organizations accredited by IEDC as an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO).

The accrediting review team that evaluated RTRP and conducted its on-site visit praised the organization and President and CEO Charles A. Hayes for its strategic plan, its operations and the unique culture of regional collaboration it has created.

“RTRP has developed a culture of collaboration and cooperation among its members that is among the most impressive these reviewers have witnessed within a regional organization,” reviewers Sharon Ward and Barbara Hayes said in their written report recommending RTRP for accreditation.

Among the “best practices” instrumental in promoting collaboration, reviewers said, were: open communications in lead-sharing among members across its 13 counties; fund-raising protocol, which does not compete with county chambers and development partners; and accountability measures, which track measurable action items from its strategic plan and report progress regularly to board and member counties.

RTRP is the public-private organizations that leads economic development for the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina, home to The Research Triangle Park and the 13 counties of Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren.

Also, reviewers said, “It was clear in talking with 35-40 community stakeholders and members of RTRP that the organization has earned the respect of the community and the reputation as the ‘go-to’ agency when collaboration and cooperation are needed or when new relationship links need to be built.

Overall, they said, “the economic development program of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership is comprehensive, well organized and skillfully managed. RTRP has a strong and well-executed strategic vision and plan. And the culture of collaboration RTRP has created region-wide is a worthy model for best practices.”

Among the accomplishments reviewers noted were:

  • RTRP’s five-year strategic plan, The Shape of Things to Come, developed with input from business, government, the academic community and nonprofit policy experts and leaders from the region and state. “The plan embraces a long-term view for ensuring economic competitiveness while remaining alert to shifts in global market conditions that provide new opportunities or signal trends that can be leveraged,” they said.
  • Reality Check, the regional initiative that rallied more than 280 regional stakeholders and leaders to analyze the region’s strengths and weaknesses and develop a regional approach to identifying and meeting the challenges and opportunities of the future to ensure continued growth and sustainability.
  • Triangle North, an innovative industrial park in four rural counties in the region’s northern tier (Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren) that sought and received legislative approval for special tax and revenue sharing across county lines. “This is but one example of the collaborative initiatives spearheaded by RTRP that have helped to ensure open, cooperative non-threatening relationships among all of the parties involved,” reviewers said.
  • CleanTech cluster development, an emerging regional cluster of researchers, more than 200 companies and a range of support organizations that are accelerating economic and technological growth in smart grid, advanced transportation and alternative energy. “In the short time since adding Clean/Green Technologies to its portfolio of emerging industry targets,” reviewers said, “RTRP has become actively involved with the International CleanTech Network…one of only two U.S. members of the Network.”
  • University networks, developed through the efforts of RTRP’s Hayes, who serves on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. Hayes “has been successful in developing a single point of contact for economic developers at the universities,” reviewers said. “These contacts provide a roadmap through the system to identify the appropriate educational representative for special initiatives or client meetings. They have also developed a data base of academic experts in various disciplines that has proven invaluable as an economic development tool.”

The International Economic Development Council counts more than 4,600 members worldwide and offers the economic development profession one source for information and professional development, one voice for the profession and one force for advocacy. Its AEDO program is a comprehensive peer review process that measures economic development organizations against commonly held standards in the profession. It consists of two phases: documentation review and an on-site visit. Each phase is designed to evaluate information about the structure, organization, funding, programs and staff of the candidate economic development organization. For more information on IEDC or the AEDO program, contact Liz Thorstensen at 202.942.9484; fax 202.223.4745; write to IEDC at 734 15th Street NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005; e-mail; or visit

For more information on RTRP, visit or call (919) 840-7372.