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Global Competitiveness Summit pushes manufacturing future

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CHARLOTTE- Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon rattled off a list of top cities, “New York, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Paris...”

He then explained how he wants Charlotte to be the next on that list.

He touted a new self-image based on manufacturing at the 2014 Global Competitiveness Summit at CPCC.

He wants others to follow lead of companies, like Siemens.

“We make power generation equipment, so that's steam turbines, gas turbines, and electrical generators,” explained Siemens Energy Hub Vice President Mark Pringle.

He said the German company is booming in Charlotte.

“We added the ability to manufacture and service gas turbines and doubled the size of the facilities,” Pringle said.

Economic development officials say their kind of manufacturing is only going to become more common as it becomes easier to move products in and out of the City of Charlotte.

Chase Saunders is a leading supporter of manufacturing development.

“It's all about fulfillment and satisfying your immediate needs at the lowest possible cost. There are only a limited number of locations that can meet that description,” Saunders said at the summit.

He said Charlotte is now one of those places thanks to the new Norfolk Southern intermodal shipping facility.

“They can handle up to, when they maximize capacity, 16 thousand units, equal to Houston,” Saunders said, which would increase manufacturing capacity.

But Governor McCrory said there are barriers, “The first question [companies] always ask is 'Do you have the qualified labor? And if you do not have the qualified labor, we aren't even going to talk about other issues'”

Pringle says area schools jumped on training for their needs.

But the big take-away from the summit-- the city needs to align all the pieces to have more success stories like Siemens.

The governor also called for new tax rates for business investors.
He says manufacturing will likely be part of a new state-wide branding the state's economic development board is rolling out this year.

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