Rockingham County Economic Development & RCC Small Business Center Launch Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, Small Business & Tourism and the Rockingham Community College Small Business Center are partnering in the launch of a new Entrepreneurship Initiative.  The initiative begins with four basic small business classes designed to equip entrepreneurs and business owners with the skills and knowledge to become more successful.

The two-hour classes are free and open to business owners at any stage of the game from start-ups to existing companies.  All classes are held in the evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. every Thursday from now through December on campus at RCC’s Small Business Center in Wentworth.

The four classes will cover the following topics:

  • Start and Grow Your Small Business: Covers issues to consider before opening a business and how to grow and manage an existing business.
  • Financial Know How-Finance Basics: Learn the role of the key account types, the most important financial documents, and understand how to budget and forecast future cash needs.
  • Marketing Basics: Discover the basics and importance of marketing, from skills and tools to how to determine your customer base and how to best reach them.
  • Funding Your Small Business: Explore the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of funding sources and how to choose the right one for your needs. Topics include bank funding, SBA funding, and crowd source funding.

“These are core classes for small businesses that will feed into a broader program for entrepreneurs and existing businesses that we are developing for later this year.  The idea behind this Entrepreneurship Initiative is to help local business people gain the knowledge and training to help them thrive in Rockingham County,” said Adam Mark, small business manager for the Rockingham County Center for Economic Development, Small Business & Tourism.

“We are excited to launch this program with these four, initial core classes.  We plan to build on this with offering business plan workshops, facilitating mentorships, and adding additional classes that will help our local entrepreneurs. We will be announcing more resources in the coming months and we look forward to helping as many entrepreneurs as we can,” said Susan Reagan, director of the Rockingham Community College Small Business Center.

Ruben Gonzales is the presenter at each class.  He has been an entrepreneur for 20 years with experience starting a variety of developments including multi-family housing, residential and commercial projects. Ruben spent 20 years with the City of Winston-Salem in a variety of roles including Director of Business Development.  Since leaving the City, Ruben has provided consulting to businesses and organizations on best practices and has taught a variety of business classes within the NC Community College System.

Registration for the free classes is open and available online at:

RCC Finalizes Site for Workforce Development Center, Funded by 1/4 Cent Sales Tax

The Rockingham Community College Board of Trustees on July 16 approved the site for the college’s new Center for Workforce Development – and an extra $4 million for the project, bringing the budget to $19 million.

The 41,200-square-foot building will be constructed on 2.64 acres on Wrenn Memorial Road at the traffic triangle, across the street from the administration building. It is being funded by quarter-cent sales tax revenues, approved by Rockingham County voters in May 2018.

Rendering of the site for the planned RCC Workforce Development Center.











“This facility needs to be glamorous. (It) will enhance your community. It gets your businesses and industries excited about what’s going on inside the facility. It’s a recruitment tool. We want to walk in and have that wow factor,” said Phillip Steele, senior principal with ADW Architects, the Charlotte firm hired in December. “There’s a little bit more cost for that wow factor … a little bit more glass, a major corridor in the center. Think about this facility as the core to your campus to the outside industry.”

The architects analyzed nine sites, and a committee that was formed to help plan the project narrowed them down to three. The other two top contenders placed the facility at the front entrances of campus, along N.C. 65.

Steele said the proximity of the selected site to the advanced technology facilities will make it convenient for students to walk.

“We want to make this more of a collegiate-type of campus. We want to be a focal point as you’re coming onto campus with this beautiful facility,” he said.

The one-story facility will include 10,600 square feet for the machining program, 9,570 for the electrical systems program, and 4,600 for the industrial systems program.

Common areas take up 16,399 square feet – or 40 percent of the building – which includes a 200-seat auditorium, mechanical rooms, corridors, student breakout spaces, and more.

While a new parking lot will be laid, the site is adjacent to the parking lot across from the science building, in case overflow parking is needed during events.

Entering campus via Wrenn Memorial Road (across from the Governmental Center entrance), pine trees will be replaced with landscaping along right side, so the Center for Workforce Development will be visible from N.C. 65.

The architect also proposes to change the traffic triangle into a safer and less-cumbersome traffic circle.

The cost

Construction costs are $15.8 million, plus a state-required 3 percent contingency of $473,400. Programming and design fees total $1.5 million. Another $1 million is slated for furniture and equipment. Other costs totaling $174,000 include surveys, subsurface exploration, building commissioning, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources plan review, bid advertisements, inspections, construction materials testing, moving, and fees for water, sewer and fire line connections.

The timeline

July 2019 – Determine the needs of the three programs to be housed in the new facility

January 2020 – Schematic design phase completed

June 2020 – Design development completed

March 2021 – Final review of construction documents by state

April 2021 – County permit review

May 2021 – Bidding opens

August 2021 – Construction begins

October 2022 – Construction completed

December 2022 – RCC moves into building

“That seems like a long time, but once you start to work with these projects and understand all the committees and departments you have to meet with, it does take a long time,” Steele said. “And we want to do it right for the college. That’s the biggest thing. We want to have appropriate funds for the project, we don’t want to shortcut anything, and we want to make sure it’s a successful project for the college as well as the community.”

RCC President Dr. Mark Kinlaw told the trustees, “based on what we receive from the county, the debt service will be paid over 20 years at about a 4.5 percent rate. If you base it on those numbers, our repayment will be $6,327 per month per $1 million.

The original $15 million would have resulted in a repayment of $94,905 per month – or $1.138 million annually, Kinlaw said.

Borrowing a revised $19 million, the repayment is $120,213 per month – or $1.442 million annually.

“That’s about $304,000 per year more,” Kinlaw said. “The bottom line is, we are still projected to get about $1.8 million to $2 million per year (from sales tax revenue), but we think we would have somewhere close to $460,000 left over during that 20-year period to cover other building operational costs, other campus projects that we would want to do. Yes, going from $15 million to $19 million is going to impact that.”

He noted that the North Carolina Legislature is considering a state capital infrastructure fund, through which RCC could get close to $4.5 million over 10 years.

“And this is just speculating, but I would think that at some point there will be another bond package down the road during that debt service,” Kinlaw said.

“We would hope we don’t spend $19 million here. We hope we can get some Golden Leaf (grant) help for equipment, and there could be other cost savings as we go through (the project),” he said. “We felt like in talking with our architects that we’ve got a chance to do this really well and do it right, and I hate to not do it at a high level and regret it later.”





Pella Project Makes List of Biggest Economic Development Wins of 2019

Rockingham County’s Pella manufacturing project ranks as one of the biggest economic development wins in North Carolina in 2019 so far.  The list, which is ranked by total new jobs to be created, was compiled by the Triad Business Journal as follows:

By the numbers: N.C. counties with biggest economic development wins in 2019
Jul 16, 2019
Triad Business Journal

When it came to the biggest economic development wins in the first six months of 2019, Charlotte overtook the Triad, the data shows.

Led by Lowe’s mammoth 1,600-job technology hub announcement in Mecklenburg County, the Charlotte region scored major victories in the first half of the year.

The Triad doesn’t come into play until the fifth-biggest win of the year, at Aetna’s decision to bring 300 jobs to Guilford County.

Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, says there’s a healthy pipeline of companies considering North Carolina for “close to a couple hundred active projects at this particular time.” Statewide, several of those are business recruitment efforts, he says. And some prospects are actively eyeing the Triangle.

The biggest barrier he sees across the board? A tight market for move-in-ready real estate.

“We still do see about 75 percent of our business recruitment clients who come in the door saying, ‘we would like to come into an existing space if one exists,” he says. If a space isn’t available, “it really is hard to get past that first discussion.”

Here’s a look at the job wins announced by the N.C. Department of Commerce through June 30. Triad wins are highlighted in bold.

Lowe’s: 1,600 jobs, Mecklenburg County

Chewy: 1,200 jobs, Rowan County

Greenheck Group, 400 jobs, Cleveland County

CleanAire, 305 jobs, Wilson County

Aetna, 300 jobs, Guilford County

Pacon Manufacturing Corporation, 299 jobs, Brunswick County

Parexel International Corporation, 264 jobs, Durham County

SynergyLabs, 237 jobs, Burke County

Design Foundry, 202 jobs, Catawba County

Cellectis, 200 jobs, Wake County

AveXis, 200 jobs, Durham County

Broad River Retail/Ashley HomeStore, 161 jobs, Johnston County

BestCo LLC, 141 jobs, Iredell County

VBC Manufacturing, 130 jobs, Richmond County

Pella Corporation, 124 jobs, Rockingham County

KriGen Pharmaceuticals, 100 jobs, Harnett County

AmeriQual Aseptic, 76 jobs, Montgomery County

ENG Mobile Systems, 60 jobs, Cumberland County

Loba-Wakol, LLC, 24 jobs, Anson County

Superior Plastics Extrusion Company, 13 jobs, Richmond County

NC Leaps to No. 3 on Top State for Business List

North Carolina has jumped six spots to No. 3 on CNBC’s 2019 ranking of America’s Top States for Business released today.

“Our rise on this well-regarded business ranking is a strong indicator of North Carolina’s immediate and long-term promise for businesses, their employees and their families,” said Christopher Chung, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “We are a state with a fast-growing talent pool, a business-friendly climate and diverse industries that support widespread prosperity.”


CNBC’s coverage of this year’s ranking says that “no state’s economy is on more solid ground than the Tar Heel state.” North Carolina was No. 9 on the annual survey in 2018 and No. 5 the prior two years.

North Carolina’s well-rounded economy is seen across several measures, according to CNBC’s coverage.

“The housing market is healthy and state finances are sound,” CBNC says. “The state attracted some $2.6 billion in venture capital in 2018, the sixth-highest figure in the nation. It is also attracting skilled workers, who are moving to North Carolina in droves.”

Home prices in the state rose nearly 7 percent in 2018, with foreclosure activity down and less than 10 percent of mortgages underwater, according to RealtyTrac/Attom Data Solutions information reported by CNBC.

To determine the rankings, CNBC graded all 50 states on 64 different measures of competitiveness in 10 broad categories.

North Carolina finished among the Top 10 states in four of the categories: economy (No. 1), access to capital (No. 6), workforce (No. 7), and technology and innovation (No. 9).

North Carolina received an overall score of 1,586 out of a possible 2,500 across all categories, just three points behind No. 2 ranked Texas (scoring 1,589 overall). Virginia ranked No. 1 in the 2019 survey (scoring 1,610).

Click here for more coverage of CNBC’s 2019 ranking of America’s Top States for Business.