SelectUSA 2022 Preparation: A Visit with Ryan Combs, Research Triangle Regional Partnership

Link to podcast found HERE

Transcript to podcast found below:

Bill : Hi and welcome to belly to belly and today we are going to talk about Select USA 2022 preparation, and we’re joined by Ryan Coombs from the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, which is a mouthful. Ryan, welcome. How are you today?

Ryan : I’m great. Thanks. It’s so nice to be with you today, Bill.

Bill : It’s great to have you. And so, you know, I think our audience is, as I mentioned, they’re from all over the world. They’re looking to expand into the US and we’re really trying to provide them with some highlights of really good connections that they can make while they’re at select USA and I know you’ve been pre connect so that their time at select USA is more productive. So maybe you could take us through a little bit about what your organization does to help companies entering the US and specifically into the Research Triangle Park area.

Ryan : Sure. So as you mentioned, I’m the executive director of the Research Triangle regional partnership. North Carolina is comprised of 100 counties, and I represent 12 of those counties. We’re one of the fastest growing regions in the country. We’ve got about 2 million residents in our region alone. North Carolina has 10 and a half million residents and my job really is to go out and promote the Triangle region and attract investment back to the region. And so when companies come, one of the things I do is I play the connector role and my job is to help. I know when companies are looking at the United States are overwhelmed with the size of the country, and they’re really nervous about what makes sense. Where should we go? They know the larger markets, they know New York, they know Boston, they know San Francisco and LA, but there’s so much more to the United States. And so my job is really to expose them to the strengths of our region and shrink the country and make them feel welcome and let them see that they can do everything they need to do business wise here in the Triangle region.

Bill : Yeah, that’s fantastic. And certainly, you guys have just been burgeoning in terms of growth of so many different industries. And you know, thinking about Select USA and obviously you’ve been involved for years. Why are some of the what is it about Select USA really attract to and and, and, you know, helps in terms of your connection to companies coming in from overseas?

Ryan : Well, the US Commercial Service does a really good job of promoting Select USA internationally and we see lots and lots of investment coming overseas, especially from Europe, a lot of investment from Europe. And so select USA really is a great opportunity for companies to come learn how to do business in the United States. But it’s also a great opportunity for organizations like mine, to be exposed to a lot of companies in a short period. of time in one location in Washington DC.

Bill : That’s, that’s perfect. So, you know, thinking about USA and there are obviously so many different components. One of the components is are the spin off events and you all are hosting a spin off event that’s associated with Select USA. Maybe you could give us some highlights of that and what you know, who’s particularly, you know, a good target or a good prospect to come to your to your spin off.

Ryan : Sure. So our region really is kind of a microcosm of the United States. We’ve got an urban core, centered around the Research Triangle Park, which is the largest research park in the country. But we also have rural communities that are just right outside of our urban core, where we’re really doing a lot with manufacturing. And so you can come you can do your R&D. We have three tier one research universities, within a 30 mile radius of one another. Companies love to come and do research with those universities. It’s very easy to work with them. They’re coming for the talent as well. We have 12 colleges and universities here. 176,000 students 46,000 annual graduates so the talent pipeline here is very unique. And it’s not replicated in a lot of parts of the country with the high concentration of graduates and especially PhDs or regions, the fourth highest concentration of PhDs in the country, but you know, for us, like I mentioned earlier, you know, a lot of people still don’t know the story of North Carolina, they don’t know the story of the Research Triangle region. And so for us, being a spin off city is great because it gives us the opportunity to expose international companies to what’s happening here. We’ve got you know, we’re the fourth largest Life Science cluster in the United States. We’re one of the fastest growing tech sectors in the country. Both Google and Apple are both building big tech campuses here. We’re very strong in agriculture technology as well. North Carolina is still our largest sectors. agriculture contributes about 100 billion to our economy every year, clean tech and then I’ve already mentioned manufacturing. So we’ve got something for everybody. That’s a very diverse region. And there’s a way for everyone to fit in here. So it’s just like I said, the spin off is an opportunity for us to showcase the strengths of our region and national companies that may have never heard of us to a different part of the United States.

Bill : Oh, that’s great. And so, you know, again, thinking about these companies that are coming and you know, in some cases they’ve been the founders and representatives have been to the US before, they may have operations already here. And other cases, you know, this is, you know, a person visit. What are there some recommendations you would have, so that they get the most out of the event?

Ryan : I certainly would, would use the app. I know you and I were chatting about that earlier that the app for select USA is the best way to connect with as many people as possible and I think my advice would be meet with as many people as you can ask as many questions as you can. And what I think is really unique about the event and special is that almost everyone there that is from the United States is there to help. And most of us like myself were paid to help you. So it’s a free service. So meet as many people as you can. Take as many meetings as you can you never know who will be able to help you when you get there.

Bill : Hmm, that’s really great advice. The app Yes. It’s just a fantastic tool. So it’s great to hear you reinforcing that Well, this has been really helpful, Ryan. I really do appreciate it. You know, is there maybe one or two highlights or industries that are right now particularly attractive to come into your region that really you’re seeing high demand for?

Ryan : Well, I’ve already kind of mentioned the industries that we’re seeing, but life science obviously over the COVID pandemic has been the hottest, both from a research and manufacturing standpoint. I already mentioned tech is booming as well. Agriculture technology, especially around Plant Sciences and animal health. We’re strong in both of those. But it’s really run the gamut. But you’ll see a lot you’ll see big a big announcement today from North Carolina, in the manufacturing space and so good things to come. We just had Toyota just announced the battery manufacturing plant a couple weeks ago here in North Carolina as well. So we really are very diverse.

Bill : Fantastic. What Well, thank you for taking the time today. We’ll put your contact info in the description, and certainly want our audience as well to like and subscribe so you can stay in touch with all of our great content. But thank you again, Ryan for taking the time to share all this great info today.

Ryan : I appreciate you having me. Thank you.

Bill : My pleasure.

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