Article from the Golden Leaf Foundation - original article published at https://www.goldenleaf.org/news/catawba-county-officials/
The Trivium Corporate Center is a business park consisting of 270 acres being developed between the City of Hickory and Catawba County. The Trivium Board recruits industry with a focus on advanced manufacturing.
Over five years, the Golden LEAF Foundation Board awarded $1,131,257 in funding to support the creation of 288 jobs at two companies located in Trivium. To date, Trivium has secured commitments for $171 million in private investment and 499 jobs from four companies.
Scott Millar, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation President, said the Golden LEAF Foundation has been instrumental in the successful recruiting of opportunities for Trivium Corporate Center and other economic development opportunities throughout Catawba County and the region.
The success of the Trivium business park, according to Millar, is based on many partners working together for shared long-term goals with a focus on exceptional communication between the partners. The idea behind Trivium was a joint venture between the City of Hickory and Catawba County.
“The City and County recognized that without having products to sell, they were not going to be very successful,” said Millar. “The City and County agreed to participate 50/50 in the control, acquisition, and development of Trivium Corporate Center.”
The Trivium Corporate Center board consists of two city elected officials, the mayor and one city council member; two county elected officials, the chair of the county commissioners and an at-large commissioner; the county manager, the city manager, and the president of the Economic Development Corporation.
“The Trivium board has a monthly meeting for development discussions,” said Millar. “The week before the board meeting, we have a staff-level meeting to know what the important topics are and what needs to be done next.”
Millar said this management structure for Trivium provides time for regular planning and development for the park and helps to keep all of the decision makers invested in the park’s success.
“This structure makes sure that all the elected officials are informed and invested in the park and up to date on the marketing and other planning needs,” said Millar. “It will serve as a great model for further park development in the county, region, and state.”
Millar also attributes intentional, regular communication as key to the success of any publicly owned industrial site. Trivium Corporate Center is made up of 270 acres that consists of seven different tracks of land.
“There were often 30-40 family members sitting in the discussions back in 2012-2013,” said Millar. “It was important to remain transparent all along on the vision, opportunities, and commitments. It was also important to gather all the people involved together with a good system in place for delivering information.”
With the land acquired, another requirement that industries need to locate in an area is talent, said Millar.
Millar said that Golden LEAF has also been instrumental in providing funding for Catawba County’s workforce training needs through supporting strategies at Catawba Valley Community College and Catawba County Schools, including the Manufacturing Solutions Center and K-64.
Golden LEAF has supported the workforce pipeline in Catawba County through two projects totaling $346,289.52 at Catawba County Schools and 11 projects totaling $3,026,059.74 to Catawba Valley Community College. The majority of these projects focused on the skills needed to have a successful manufacturing workforce.
“We have easy answers to the question of where industries will find the talent they need,” said Millar. “Workforce training has been the bread and butter of Golden LEAF for a long time. Golden LEAF has tremendously helped support our economic development efforts from all angles.”
With the land and talent questions answered, said Millar, companies want to know what other needs can be met. Golden LEAF helps to meet these needs by providing funds through its Economic Catalyst Program to support public infrastructure to sites.
In February 2020, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $240,000 in funding to the City of Hickory for a water line extension to support the location of Cataler and at least two other industrial sites in Trivium. Cataler will create 151 jobs over the next five years. In February 2019, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $400,000 to enable a subsidiary of Isotopen Technologien München AG (ITM) to locate in the Trivium Corporate Center business park. ITM will create 137 jobs over the next five years.
To further support the creation of jobs, especially in rural, economically distressed areas, the Golden LEAF Foundation has recently launched a SITE Program. The SITE Program helps communities in every stage of industrial sites, a key need identified through the Golden LEAF strategic planning process. For more information on the SITE Program, visit www.goldenleaf.org/site.