Up & Coming Weekly

January 08, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1069166

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 32

4 UCW JANUARY 9-15, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM PUBLISHER'S PEN STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ EDITOR Stephanie Crider editor@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly. com ASSISTANT EDITOR Leslie Pyo leslie@upandcomingweekly.com SENIOR SPORTS EDITOR Earl Vaughan Jr. EarlUCWSports@gmail.com REPORTER Jeff Thompson news@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Long art@upandcomingweekly.com SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR Kimberly Herndon kim@upandcomingweekly.com MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister Brown linda@upandcomingweekly.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS D.G. Martin, Pitt Dickey, Margaret Dickson, Karl Merritt, John Hood, Jim Jones, Shanessa Fenner, Prudence Mainor SALES ADMINISTRATOR/ DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Laurel Handforth laurel@upandcomingweekly.com ––––––––––– Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: (910) 484-6200 FAX: (910) 484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Up & Coming Weekly is published weekly on Wednesdays. Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the pub- lisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. ©2018 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. WalletHub left out some important statistics ... by ROBERT VAN GEONS ROBERT VAN GEONS, President & CEO, Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation. COMMENTS? BILL@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Note from Up & Coming Weekly Pub- lisher Bill Bowman: No one has a better feel for the progress and economic momentum taking place in Cumberland County than Robert Van Geons, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation. When an inept Washington, D.C., personal finance website like WalletHub shoots from the hip and pub- lishes its version of fake news at our expense, someone needs to set the record straight. Read on. Van Geons does just that. Let's see if WalletHub picks up on this story. Or, better yet, maybe WTVD 11 will pick it up. On the morning of Jan. 3, I received a call from Fayetteville Mayor Colvin asking if I had seen a recent study by WalletHub, which listed Fayetteville last on its list of "Best Places to Find a Job." Considering all the projects we have underway, the recent economic development announcements and general state of our local economy, his instincts told him this wasn't correct. While the city's communication team followed up with the publisher, I took a closer look at the study. We soon found out that the mayor's suspicions were on point. Digging deeper, when reviewing the sources listed, it was clear that most of the data had been collected in 2016, before projects like the $130 million Woodpeck- ers Stadium/downtown development, our new transit center, the $35 million Parks and Recreation Bond and important initiatives such as Pathways to Prosperity. And it certainly didn't include any of the job-creating economic development an- nouncements made in the last two years, Booz Allen Hamilton, Campbell's Soup Company and eClerx as examples. At best, rankings like what was published by WalletHub say a lot about where we've been — as opposed to where we are today or where we are headed. Before going any further, let's be clear. We are a work in progress. I am confident that most of our public- and private-sector leadership would agree that, while we are making great strides, there remains much to be done. at said, our recent history shows us confronting tough challenges, investing in the future and driving progress forward. Wanting to understand better the data that went into the WalletHub rankings, we went searching for the reports referenced, starting with the heavily weighted "Man- power Employment Outlook Survey." To our surprise, that analysis is only available for the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, of which we are not one (Fayetteville is #138). Shortly after this discovery, the city's communications team received additional information from WalletHub, showing that five data points for Fayetteville were marked "N/A – Not Available," taking 17.07 of 100 possible points off the proverbial table. Subsequent conversations with the publisher confirmed that while we were not penalized for unavailable data, based on the sources they chose to use, we could not receive points for any of the following: • Employment Outlook: Double Weight (6.53 points) • Job Satisfaction: Full Weight (3.27 points) • Retirement Access and Participation: Full Weight (3.27 Points) • Transit Score: Full Weight (2.00 Points) • Recreation-Friendliness: Full Weight (2.00 Points) In the end, benchmarking our com- munity against other cities can provide valuable insights. However, if someone is going to saddle a community with a label, the same criteria must be used for all. Putting our city at the bottom of a list that was developed using incomplete data is downright disingenuous. Our community is moving forward, and I am confident that our citizens — and those considering Fayetteville for a business or personal move — will see past this website's ranking. While WalletHub left out important statistics about our community, here are a few of which we can be proud. • 1,200-plus current job openings in Fayetteville (NCWorks Employment Center) • $200 million-plus announced projects under construction (FCEDC) • 1,100-plus new jobs announced since January 2017 (FCEDC) • 3,725 more people working than De- cember 2016. (NC Commerce) • 2,000 more people in the labor force (NC Commerce) • 1,00,000-plus square feet of new con- struction underway (FCEDC) • 4.6 percent unemployment rate – down 1.5 percent since December 2016 (NC Com- merce) e actions we are taking today set the foundation for us to be a stronger, more vibrant and globally competitive city. Work- ing together, we are committed to building an economic landscape full of opportunity for all of our citizens. No internet study is going to deter us from continued progress along our path toward a brighter and more prosperous future. While WalletHub left out important statistics about our community, here are a few of which we can be proud.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - January 08, 2019