SANFORD, N.C. When you think about Detroit, the automobile industry comes to mind. When you hear about Pittsburgh, the image quickly shifts to steel.
But times have changed. No longer can communities survive by building themselves around a single industry or image. Local officials must constantly reposition themselves to compete for business in a highly-volatile economic environment.
James Johnson, director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shows how communities like Sanford can become more competitive when he speaks Aug. 5 at the Committee of 100 quarterly luncheon in Sanford.
The most competitive communities, Johnson says, are using the concept of "sustainability" as a branding tool. In "Sustainable Sanford?", the specialist in entrepreneurship and economic development will describe characteristics of a sustainable community and present an approach to sustainability that could be used to reposition Sanford into a more-competitive locale.
Johnson is well known for his expertise on demographic changes in the workplace. The William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship is the author or coauthor of more than 100 articles, including economic studies on the impact of minorities in the workplace and the 9/11 attacks on metropolitan communities in the United States.
He has appeared frequently in the media, including the Financial Times, Fox Business News, National Public Radio and several national newspapers.
Johnson is a graduate of North Carolina Central University. He received his Ph.D. at Michigan State University before assuming his current position in the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, which offers research, educational programs and strategic planning to help companies and communities achieve their goals.
All Committee of 100 meetings begin at noon and are open to the public. The cost, including lunch, is $15 per person for the general public and $10 per person for members. For reservations or information, contact Jane Wesley at the Lee County Economic Development Corp., 919-774-8439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Committee of 100 is an organization of business leaders committing time, energy and resources to enhance the economic well-being of Lee County and its citizens. Corporate and individual members assist the Lee County Economic Development Corp. by establishing venture capital projects to expand local industry, helping to promote economic growth and enhancing working relationships among government, business and the community.