By Josh Chapin, ABC11
On Friday morning, Wake County leaders discussed why tech-giant Apple chose the Research Triangle Park for its east coast campus.
Apple unveiled in late April that it chose the Triangle for an engineering hub bringing more than $1 billion in investments and creating at least 3,000 jobs in the area.
“This is an accumulation of so many great programs and things that have happened here over the last 60 years,” said Ryan Combs, executive director of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, who oversees 12 counties and tries to sell the area to the rest of the world. “Everybody is pumped up about these recent announcements but I think in the back of everyone’s minds is, ‘Can we sustain this type of growth?’ Currently, we can.”
Though Combs is not part of Friday’s announcement on why Apple chose the Triangle, he believes county leaders will focus on a number of things.
One of them is the success and need to support Wake Tech which got a $350 million boost over the span of five years as part of the Connect NC Bond.
There are also the big three universities in proximity: UNC, Duke and NC State.
Combs focused on Duke and NC State’s focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“NC State has the only quantum computing hub in the Western Hemisphere; so there are a lot of great things happening now,” said Combs.
He also referenced a recent study that showed nearly 70% of STEM graduates from local universities are staying here after graduation.
“We are just a network effect that’s exactly at the cusp of a breakthrough,” said Dr. Arv Malhotra, professor of entrepreneurial education at UNC-Kenan Flagler Business School.
Professor Malhotra believes the region is well-positioned for this expansion. However, he also thinks there needs to be more investment in public and private partnerships to build infrastructure.
“Hopefully we’ve learned from other places not to sacrifice our quality of life and standard of living and being attractive,” he said
During the Friday morning meeting, you can expect to hear about what’s next for the Research Triangle and how it will attract more big-name companies. You’ll also hear about how the region’s proactive investments in transit, affordable housing, education and workforce development have positioned us to draw noteworthy corporations like Apple to our community.
Original Article Source: ABC11