Local News

Audit Says North Carolina Not Recognized As A Technology Center

Posted August 25, 2001 1:44 a.m. EDT

— Those of us living in North Carolina may think of the state as a technology leader. But people in other parts of the country and around the world do not really see it that way. A new initiative may help to change the way people think about the state.

The North Carolina Perception Audit was prepared by the North Carolina Electronics and Information Technology Association (NCEITA).

NCEITA teamed with tech and marketing leaders and economic development groups from around the state to find out how tech workers in other tech centers think about this state. The results are not all bad, but they are not all good, either.

The audit shows that tech workers in Austin, Texas; Boston and San Jose, Calif., do not really know a lot about North Carolina.

"The good news is that North Carolina is not carrying a single negative image we found in the study. But the bad news is that people don't think of us as a tech center," said Joe Fredosso of Cisco Systems.

Both young and old participants in the audit think of North Carolina as a vacation spot, a great place to live with few traffic problems, and great secondary education.

Other states are spending millions of dollars promoting their technology base. NCEITA contends North Carolina is falling behind, and that it is time to change the image.

"The climate and the great liveability of the state -- all of these things need to be brought together and communicated not just within North Carolina and the southeast, but globally as well," said Matthew Szulik, CEO of Red Hat.

A public-private partnership is planned to develop a marketing campaign branding the state as a technology center. The campaign could be a part of Gov. Mike Easley's drive to attract more jobs.

"The governor's push is for more incentive and versatility, and we would couple that with efforts like what NCEITA and the Commerce Department are collaborating on, and that's to attract companies to the state," said Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain.

The branding campaign may debut in November, and may be paid for by the public-private partnership.