Charlotte: Your Headquarters Location


Why Charlotte?

With all of the advantages Charlotte has to offer, it is easy to see why companies choose to relocate here. Centrally located along the East Coast, Charlotte offers a strategic geographic location, a diverse range of industries and unbeatable weather. But don’t take it from us; take it from one of the many Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in Charlotte. Why do these companies find such success in the Queen City? Because of its corporate infrastructure, diverse workforce and highly educated population, world-class airport and vibrant culture.

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Economic Impact of Headquarters Operations

The Charlotte region offers companies an educated workforce, a strategic geographic location and a business friendly environment. It’s no wonder that many businesses choose Charlotte for their corporate headquarters location. Corporate headquarters help form a core part of Charlotte’s identity and provide a positive economic impact on the region. In addition to the professional service businesses that grow around headquarters operations, headquarters professionals invest substantial time and resources into community development, philanthropy and other good works.

A total of 248,547 people are employed by company headquarters in the Charlotte region. Spending by those companies and their employees supports an additional 281,102 jobs. These total 529,649 employees and the businesses that hire them have $67 billion total economic impact on the Charlotte region. 

Charlotte MSA Fortune 1000 Headquarters
Rank Company Revenue (billions) Regional Employment
23 Bank of America 95.2 15,000
50 Lowe's 56.2 12,960
116 Duke Energy 25.7 7,800
139 Nucor 21.1 100
281 Family Dollar Stores 10.5 2,500
315 Sonic Automotive 9.2 610
366 Sealed Air 7.8 1,262*
470 Domtar 5.6 645
514 American Tire Distributors 5 475
542 SPX 4.7 350
596 Resolute Forest Products 4.3 609
610 Belk 4.1 2,315
640 CommScope 3.8 200
715 Carlisle 3.2 35
772 Babcock & Wilcox 2.9 85
798 MSC 2.8 400**
834 Curtiss-Wright 2.6 459
  Total 264.7 44,143
*announced. **announced by 2017
Other Large Headquarters
Including privately held, regional and North American headquarters:
Company Employment
Delhaize America — Food Lion 6,900
Compass Group USA 4,860
Ingersoll Rand 1,700
Harris Teeter Supermarkets* 8,240
Hendrick Automotive Group 1,723
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated 1,192
Premier, Inc. 900
Electrolux 850
Piedmont Natural Gas 680
National Gypsum 346
Note: This list does not contain all headquarters in the Charlotte region. *Harris Teeter is now a division of Kroger.


Company profiles:

Sealed Air

Sealed Air — A Journey to 'Re-imagine Our Future' 

While the familiar popping sound of its trademarked Bubble Wrap cushioning needs no translation – and even enjoys its own appreciation day – the Sealed Air Corporation is known for so much more around the world. It is a global leader in food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection, with 24,000 employees doing business in 175 countries. The company and its products serve an array of end markets, including food and beverage processing, food service, retail, health care, industrial, and commercial and consumer applications.

In 2014, Sealed Air generated revenue of approximately $7.8 billion by “helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals in the face of today’s biggest social and environmental challenges,” said President and CEO Jerome A. Peribere. And in the summer of 2014, the company announced that it would move its global headquarters from New Jersey to Charlotte. By the fall of 2014, Sealed Air had established a temporary office facility as it began to build a new state-of-the-art campus with plans to be ready by the end of 2016.

Several locations were carefully considered, according to Peribere. “Charlotte, with a growing population, an international airport and a business community that includes the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, is a great new home for Sealed Air,” he said. “By relocating there, we will gain improved access to our key markets, customers and suppliers.”

There was also the example of other companies that relocated to Charlotte and received support from state, city and county officials. “Both the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina have been great partners throughout our relocation process,” said Peribere. “Charlotte has been recognized as one of the most economically progressive cities in the U.S. and is a prime location for our employees and their families.”

Sealed Air was founded in 1960, with Alfred W. Fielding, one of the inventors of Bubble Wrap, serving as executive vice president and director. Since then, its products, revenues and mission have broadened. The move to Charlotte “is another critical step in our ongoing journey to re-imagine our future, and part of a larger initiative to unite our three divisions as one company with one culture,” said Peribere. “Our new headquarters will serve as a beacon of the company’s future promise and will enhance greater teamwork, collaboration and innovation. We will be equipped to provide a better workplace for our employees, drive greater value to our customers and deliver on the expectations of our shareholders.” 


Electrolux — ‘Passion for Innovation’

Don’t let the directional signs fool you. A visitor to the North American headquarters of Electrolux is not strolling through Stockholm or Central Park, but a light-filled building on a sprawling leafy campus at University Research Park in north Charlotte. An “innovation center” showcases the company’s latest products, and guest chefs occasionally give the appliances a test run in a “kitchen theater.”

Electrolux, a global appliance manufacturer based in Sweden, moved its North American headquarters to Charlotte from Augusta, Ga., in 2010. It was lured by state and local incentives worth up to $27 million, and much more, according to the company. Why has Charlotte been such a good fit?

Among the key factors was infrastructure, in particular Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with nonstop flights to all parts of the United States, making access convenient to the company’s eight factories and roughly 11 distribution centers across North America. It is also a gateway to Europe, Latin America and a bit to Asia, where the company has global operations.

Other factors were local and state government, the Charlotte Chamber and, for a company dependent on technological innovation, great universities with strong engineering and business programs. And a crucial factor was Charlotteans themselves. 

“Our goal is to deliver appliance innovation that addresses unmet consumer needs,” said John Weinstock, head of marketing at Electrolux. “The innovation process for the suite of appliances we launched this year [2015] was spearheaded right here in Charlotte. In fact, our local R&D [research and development] and design teams worked closely with numerous local consumers during the 18-month development and design process. These hand-picked Charlotteans provided valuable insight into their needs and wants for a professional suite of appliances -- specifically about size, capability and look.”

“Having access to local consumers allowed our designers to be more responsive to consumer needs during the development of the new suite,” Weinstock said. “The suite is not only stylish, functional and well-priced, but is also an exciting example of the consumer-driven innovation being developed right here in the city.”

Electrolux has joined in Charlotte’s community spirit. In just one example, the company has provided refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens and other needed appliances to Crisis Assistance Ministry. “We’re happy to be in Charlotte,” said Eloise Hale, head of corporate communications at Electrolux, and “look forward to deepening our roots here and making a positive, everyday difference in the community. 

Bank of America


Bank of America — Watching the City Grow

With about 15,000 employees in the metro area, Bank of America is as much a fixture today as it has been for years. Its distinctive tower building is a focal point from which the city’s skyline and city limits have grown. However, Bank of America means more to the city than just as a tower — it has been at the center of Charlotte’s growth.

“I often tell people to take a walk down Tryon Street with me from the north end all the way to the south,” said Charles Bowman, North Carolina and Charlotte market president for Bank of America. The journey reveals Bank of America’s involvement with the city and county on local projects and institutions, as well as success stories from partnerships with other local corporations. These include centers like the McColl Center for Art + Innovation – named for the bank’s former CEO Hugh McColl – and Discovery Place to the public library and the Levine Center for the Arts. Walk a little further and you’ll be at the city’s transit center and Bank of America Stadium.

“We’ve always enjoyed a positive relationship with city and county leadership on developing Charlotte’s economic and cultural centers,” he said.

Bowman highlighted that the bank has a clear vision to “provide financial services to our clients and customers wherever they see the need for growth and capital.” That client base covers a lot of ground in a global company with 225,000 people worldwide and operations in all major metro centers across the United States, plus Europe, Asia and Latin America. To remain connected to these different areas, Bowman highlighted that “Charlotte is a great place to be located with an airport that can get you almost anywhere in the country in a day.” He added that it’s a great place to call home, too. For a city its size, Bowman pointed out that Charlotte has a lot of amenities, including sports and cultural attractions.

He also noted that the area is more affordable and open to those who are looking for opportunity. “If you are willing to come, work hard, roll up your sleeves and dive in, you will thrive here.”

“Developing our workforce here and recruiting talented people who are problem solvers for the future will continue to be an exciting point of growth for the city,” said Bowman. He doesn’t feel that is a difficult goal to achieve in a city like Charlotte.

“Historically, Charlotte has been less partisan than a lot of other places,” Bowman said. “Anyone who’s been here more than 10 years or so will talk about the level of cooperation. Ultimately, people try to come together.”

That idea has fueled development in the Queen City, and it’s become more than a financial center. In recent years, Bowman and others have recognized that the types of businesses in Charlotte have become more diverse, as seen with the expansion of areas such as energy and health care. “I think competition makes everybody better,” he said. “Long term it’s a positive development,” as is the diversity of the people who live and work in Charlotte.

“It’s a can-do city and we welcome those interested in making it a place they call home.”

As Bank of America continues to advance Charlotte’s growth and transformation, Bowman couldn’t be happier with the changes he sees on the horizon. “We’re proud to have played a role in helping build this city and we are excited about the continued growth.”



MetLife: ‘A Wonderful Place to Build a New Culture’

Eric Steigerwalt, MetLife’s executive vice president of retail

As a global financial services company, MetLife is a lot more than the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company that gives it its famous shorthand name. While the global headquarters of MetLife, Inc. are located in New York City, and the company has operations across the globe, an important part of the company is located in Charlotte’s Ballantyne Corporate Park.

“Charlotte is the headquarters of the U.S. Retail division,” said Eric Steigerwalt, the division’s executive vice president. “We were looking for a place to call home, and Charlotte proved to be the perfect location. The majority of the division’s senior leadership team is in Charlotte, as well as many of our key business partners such as marketing, finance, human resources and legal. When you walk through the campus, you can feel the energy and excitement of a truly collaborative team.”

It’s a big operation. In 2014 the retail division made $2.6 billion after tax, and more than $13 billion in revenues. The Ballantyne office officially opened in March 2014, and the company now employs about 1,700 in Charlotte. MetLife also has an operation in Cary, N.C., where it has created a technology and operations hub.

“We looked around the country, comparing and contrasting before the decision was made,” Steigerwalt said. “This is the number two financial center in America. It’s worked out well for us.”
The talent pool is one major reason. Seventy-five percent of the hires have been local. “Not only do I feel comfortable that we have all our needs met today, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to continue growing here,” Steigerwalt said. “I don’t see anything standing in the way.” To invest in the next generation of talent, MetLife is building partnerships with universities in the area, such as UNC Charlotte.

MetLife also felt the spirit of cooperation from state and local officials, and companies that had already made the move. “For us, it all started with the Charlotte Chamber,” said Steigerwalt. “They did a fabulous job of shepherding us through the process,” including introductions to business leaders who answered a litany of questions. “They had us meet with senior state government officials, and we were pretty exhaustive in our research. We got access to everyone. “There was a sense from every level of government that they were extremely excited for us to be here and they were constantly asking, ‘How can we help make sure that you have everything you need to help you make your decision?’”

MetLife has been impressed with the state and city’s robust economic development mindset. “There’s money being put into infrastructure,” said Steigerwalt. “Other cities often talk about improving infrastructure, but in Charlotte, they actually put in a light rail; there’s a big difference between talking and doing. The airport is also spectacular, and I want and hope that we continue to invest in it.”

“The company also fit right into the giving culture of Charlotte,” said Steigerwalt, who serves on the board of the MetLife Foundation. Employees are encouraged to get involved, and they do, turning out enthusiastically for events that include supporting nonprofits, such as building a KaBOOM! Playground and attending MetLife’s annual charity golf classic and other events to benefit the Isabella Santos Foundation for children with cancer. The company has also donated to a number of cultural institutions – from the Levine Museum of the New South to Discovery Place.  

“For employees, but for clients as well,” said Steigerwalt, “there are lots of reasons to visit us here in Charlotte to see what we’ve built and to get a sense of who we are. We wanted to find a place where we could establish a culture, and then grow, and Charlotte has turned out to be ideal.”


Toshiba America Energy Systems Corporation (TAES)

Toshiba: A Focus on the Energy Sector
Toshiba Corporation is a Fortune Global 500 company, with world-class capabilities in advanced electronic and electrical products and systems channeled through five strategic business domains, including Energy & Infrastructure. The company that was founded in Tokyo in 1875 is guided by the principles: “Committed to People, Committed to the Future.” And a growing part of that future is in Charlotte.

Toshiba Corporation originally located energy- related business operations in Charlotte in 2009. When a headquarters location for the newly formed Toshiba America Energy Systems Corporation (TAES) was considered, said Ali Azad, its president and CEO, “our previous investment in the Charlotte area continued to make good sense; we renewed the existing lease and announced Charlotte as the corporate headquarters for the new company.”  Toshiba’s hydro business unit is based outside of Denver, Colo., and its thermal business unit is based in West Allis, Wis.

TAES will be a fully integrated provider of turbine/generator products and services to the Americas energy and power utility market. Its mission, according to Azad, will be to aggressively grow Toshiba’s market share in traditional thermal, hydro and nuclear power generation product lines while promoting Toshiba’s innovative alternate energy technology platforms, such as fuel cells, wind and storage. It will also look to expand business opportunities in Latin and South America and Canada. Finally, together with other Toshiba businesses, TAES will support the deployment of advanced nuclear technology.

Toshiba’s ties to Charlotte, said Azad, have become stronger as the region becomes host to an increasing number of businesses focused in the energy sector – “growth begets growth.” A broader, deeper and more diverse energy sector provides the company with new opportunities to benefit from this developing web of business.

Additionally, said Azad, “Charlotte’s clear efforts to diversify across new business sectors provides for more overall economic stability in challenging environments.”

In total, he said, TAES consists of about 520 employees with projected fiscal year 2015 revenues of about $350 million. “The Charlotte location will house most of our corporate office staff and be home to our nuclear business unit. There will be about 70 to 90 people located in Charlotte – a small increase over current staffing as we consolidate corporate functions here.”

“Our company was created to expand Toshiba’s power systems business in the Americas for both traditional and alternate energy products and services,” Azad said. “The continued growth and diversity of the region’s energy ‘cluster’ aligns well with our direction. Charlotte continues to develop as an energy hub with excellent access to power industry customers, suppliers, employees and services.”

Toshiba was attracted to Charlotte, said Azad, for many of the same factors as other employers: “the strong business climate, excellent transportation infrastructure (especially the airport), access to high quality STEM-focused students from regional universities and colleges, a diversified community, a reasonable cost of living, ‘big city’ amenities without ‘big city’ inconvenience and fast access to recreational opportunities from the mountains to the coast.” He said Charlotte has also provided the company’s Japanese expatriate staff an opportunity to easily live and work in the United States. “Talent not readily available in the immediate Charlotte market can easily be attracted to Charlotte.”

To companies looking to Charlotte as a possible place to locate a business, Azad would list the reasons that Toshiba originally decided to locate its business in Charlotte. “Whatever the company characteristics – size, complexity, branch/headquarters, focus or product,” he said, “they will find the potential to establish a high quality of business, work and personal life. Charlotte appears poised to resume its growth and development in ways that will only increase its attraction.”

Azad said Toshiba strives to act as “good neighbors” and to support the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, including adopting a stretch of highway, supporting the Friendship Trays program, and contributing to the Police Activities League’s programs. It is also active in the Japanese Association in Charlotte and with the Japanese Language School in Charlotte.

Azad started in the energy industry with Duke Power, now Duke Energy, in 1982 and worked there for 15 years. “I began my career here, but have since had opportunity to live and work in locations across the U.S. and the world,” he said. “I enjoyed all of these experiences, but made a choice to come back here to the Charlotte area where I have been able to continue to find exciting leadership roles in the energy sector while enjoying a great work-life balance.”



Snyder’s-Lance: A Passion for Snacking

Snyder’s-Lance represents the coming together of two traditions – each more than a century old – and companies whose products are indelibly encoded on taste buds everywhere. Since the 2010 merger, the new organization has continued to grow, with strategies that have Charlotte playing a major role.

When Rick Puckett, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administrative Officer, Snyder’s-Lance, Inc, said, “It’s a fun place to be; it’s a great place to be,” he was talking about both the innovations at Snyder’s-Lance and the company’s commitment to the city. “We’re excited.”

Puckett explained the company’s strategic plan, which involved divesting its private brand business and acquiring two other companies; moves designed to help Snyder’s-Lance compete in the increasingly popular “better-for-you” segment of the snack food industry. The company moved to a controlling position in Late July Organic Snacks, which specializes in organic snack products, and bought Baptista’s Bakery, a Wisconsin baked snack manufacturer.

Snyder’s-Lance also created a new division, Clearview Foods, focused on offering innovative and “better-for-you” snacking options.

”With the announcement of Clearview Foods it shows that Snyder’s-Lance is a different company. This new division allows us to redefine ourselves a little bit more, along with the creation of a new contemporary logo with a tagline that people could relate to,” Puckett said. The logo features the company name in a bold font, the tagline “Snacking is our passion,” said Puckett, “with a new icon that we call a seed — pointed in an upward direction, demonstrating future growth.”

The company’s commitment to Charlotte is also on the rise. “The decision to have our corporate office in Charlotte is based on a number of factors, including the city’s infrastructure, an expanded and modernized airport and the solid educational system – from elementary through college and graduate programs.”  Snyder’s-Lance has had a continuing internship program, and also a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College since 2013, with many associates completing training programs.

Snyder’s-Lance has been a member of the Charlotte Chamber for some time, which has helped with access to state and local leaders.
The company’s Charlotte operation includes about 1,300 associates at the manufacturing facility on South Boulevard, which produces all the Lance sandwich crackers that are produced, and about 250 in its corporate headquarters in Ballantyne Corporate Park. The company’s revenue is close to $1.7 billion, “and we’re growing,” said Puckett. Snyder’s-Lance has invested more than $60 million in the Charlotte manufacturing facility to increase its product capacity and quality.

“As we continue to grow and require additional skill sets, we have been able to recruit talent from major cities across the country, plus, you can’t really beat the weather,” Puckett said.

“Everyone in this community works for the common cause,” Puckett said, and Snyder’s-Lance encourages its employees to join in as well. “We have two major platforms for our giving,” he said, the first being fighting hunger and supplying food for homeless families and the second being supporting children’s academic and cultural education.

The year 2015 includes a Snyder’s-Lance move into a building of its own in Ballantyne Corporate Park. In the front window, a 1918 Buick – one of the first delivery trucks of Snyder’s of Hanover and similar to the kinds of trucks Lance would have used – completes the combination of the old and the new, bringing balance to a company that looks to the future while never forgetting its traditions. 

Duke Energy

Duke Energy — A Carolinas Original Continues to Grow

The story of Duke Energy is part of the story of Charlotte. It was founded in the city in 1904, the company’s major corporate functions are based in Charlotte, and several of the company’s major power plants are located in the Charlotte region. As the region has grown, so has Duke Energy. It is the largest electric utility in the U.S. with 2014 operating revenue of $24 billion, and employs 7,000 people in the Charlotte region and more than 28,000 worldwide.

In July 2013, Lynn Good became president and CEO, moving up from her position as chief financial officer. Good, who has called Charlotte home since 2006, is a professional and personal fan of the region. “Charlotte is a growing, forward-looking city, attracting dynamic companies and some of the best and brightest employees,” she said. “The Charlotte region’s diverse range of industries has helped ensure economic stability and solid growth.”

“Charlotte actively recruits and warmly welcomes the best talent in all people from across the U.S. and the world – people with a wide variety of experiences, skills and knowledge to contribute to our dynamic, progressive, ever-evolving city,” she said.

The company’s merger with Progress Energy added to its growth. Duke Energy now operates utility subsidiaries in six states in the Southeast and Midwest – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The company also has renewable energy operations in the U.S. and a largely hydroelectric power plant fleet in Latin America.

“Charlotte – and North Carolina and South Carolina in general – offers a vibrant economy, a high-quality workforce, excellent educational opportunities, cultural amenities, big-city professional sports teams, temperate weather and small-town charm,” Good said.

Her message to other businesses considering a move? “Give the Charlotte region and North Carolina and South Carolina serious consideration. The Carolinas offer businesses a low-cost environment, an international major-hub airport, an extensive interstate highway network and many other attributes that give the region a substantial competitive advantage.”

Good said that Duke Energy’s success is linked to the Charlotte region and the Carolinas. “We are dedicated to Charlotte and the Carolinas for the long term,” she said. “Our company’s economic development team partners with key leaders in our local communities to attract new companies and industries to our region. We’ll continue to strengthen those efforts in the years ahead.”

According to Good, the company’s location in Charlotte and the Carolinas has enabled the company to recruit a large number of highly educated, highly experienced professionals who could have chosen to live and work anywhere in the U.S., including the major metro areas of New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle. The region’s many economic and quality-of-life attributes helped Duke Energy successfully “sell” them on moving to the area and working for Duke Energy.

Relationships also matter. “Duke Energy maintains positive, constructive relationships with local and state leaders, working cooperatively on economic development initiatives, public education enhancement and philanthropic opportunities to further strengthen our region,” Good said.

Duke Energy has a history of philanthropic leadership, as well, with support from the company and its employees for the United Way, the local Arts & Science Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, community colleges and numerous other nonprofits. “Like all companies and citizens in Charlotte,” said Good, “we believe it’s essential to invest in our community, making it an even better place for everyone.”

On a personal note, Good said that she and her husband, Brian, raised two sons in Charlotte during their middle and high school years and have appreciated the region as “an extraordinary part of the world – great location, close to the mountains and the ocean, great weather and a vibrant community.”

“The Carolinas and the Charlotte region offer so many benefits: strong economy, great recreation and great cultural institutions,” she said. “There is a reason so many people call it home – Duke Energy is proud to be a part of this community.”


SPX: A Company Grows and Moves South

The story of SPX over the past 15 years has been one of change. And moving into a new building in Ballantyne Corporate Park in 2013 was just part of the company’s ongoing transformation. Chris Kearney is currently chairman, president and CEO of SPX. The SPX board of directors has approved plans for a tax-free spin-off of its Flow Technology business segment into a publicly traded, stand-alone company, to take place in 2015. Kearney will serve as chairman, president and CEO of the new company, SPX FLOW, Inc.

“In the years that I’ve been CEO of SPX, we have been on a very steady march to focus the company around building our flow technology platform,” Kearney said, “primarily through acquisitions and organic growth while selling other assets that were not core to that strategy.”

The two separate public companies would consist of SPX FLOW, Inc., providing highly engineered technologies and services to customers in global power and energy, food and beverage, and industrial markets, and the New SPX Corporation – with Gene Lowe as president and CEO -- with leading positions as a supplier of highly engineered power equipment, HVAC products and specialty infrastructure technologies.

Kearney, who joined SPX in 1997 having spent much of his career at General Electric, was general counsel and in charge of the site selection process and ultimate relocation to Charlotte, a finalist along with the Reston area in northern Virginia.

Founded in Muskegon, Mich., as The Piston Ring Company more than a century ago, SPX had Henry Ford as one of its first customers. “We were significantly smaller — almost entirely automotive, almost entirely North American,” he said. “The management team’s challenge was to grow the company into other industries.” It did so in a very big way.

Among SPX’s more than 100 acquisitions, the two largest were General Signal and United Dominion, a Charlotte-based company that made, among other things, cooling towers, pumps and home heating products. “We thought it made more sense to move the company to a metropolitan area near a hub airport,” said Kearney. “A more moderate climate was attractive; a place that we thought would be an attractive place to recruit people to, and a place that had a good quality of life.” The company’s neighbors in the fast-growing Ballantyne Corporate Park include Snyder’s-Lance and MetLife.

“We’ve moved our segment headquarters operations here, our global IT organization here, and our shared services center here,” Kearney said. The company’s workforce has grown from 68 jobs to approximately 350 in the headquarters building and about 2,000 jobs in the Carolinas, with manufacturing locations in Goldsboro, N.C., Eden, N.C., and Bennettsville, S.C. – and more than 14,000 employees in more than 35 countries around the world.

Kearney said in the initial move back in 2002, developer H.C. “Smoky” Bissell provided SPX with a package in terms of a building that was already under construction “that fit our needs perfectly.” He credited cooperation from the Charlotte Chamber and from city and state officials, as well.

“I think Charlotte has a lot of what people once hoped Atlanta would have,” he said, “the best of both worlds, where you’ve got sports, entertainment, nice weather, but you don’t have some of the congestion you have at some of the bigger places. There’s still a quality of life here that people really enjoy and appreciate; we’re very proud to be here.” His three adult professional sons, two of whom are married, and many of their friends have chosen Charlotte over Washington, Chicago and other larger cities as their home, he said.

The company has also benefited from developing the talent at hand, including relationships with UNC Charlotte and Chapel Hill, Clemson and Johnson C. Smith. SPX has rotational programs in finance and engineering that hire high-achieving students and put them on four six-month assignments — at corporate or in the field — under the supervision of business leaders.

Kearney has served as board chair for Foundation For The Carolinas, and supports SPX employees’ efforts to give back to the community. “When I sit on the board of the Foundation,” he said, “it is an incredibly impressive bunch of people who care deeply … and give their time and their money. It makes you proud to be associated with them.”

He added that “the best gift that we can give back is to run a business that’s successful, and attract highly talented qualified people into high-paying jobs when they come here and make this their home and help support the growth in the community.” 


Lowe’s: ‘We’re Accustomed to Being a Good Neighbor’

When you’re in the business of improving living spaces and making them feel like home, it’s not difficult to honor your company’s commitment to “the community” and to “delivering shareholder value,” according to Michael Jones, chief customer officer for Lowe’s. “We believe that having the right team that this community affords us is critical to having both.”

Jones, who has been with the Mooresville, N.C.-based company since the end of January 2013, has responsibility for creating experiences that serve Lowe’s customers through customer experience design, merchandising, marketing and digital interfaces.

In a little over 60 years, Lowe’s has grown from its one-store beginning in the state to 1,840 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, serving about 16 million customers each week and employing more than 265,000 people. But its North Carolina roots remain strong.

“When you combine an operation as high quality as Lowe’s to a state like North Carolina and a city like Charlotte, to me that’s just a winning combination,” said Jones, who most recently lived in Louisville, Ky., and before that in a number of states and in Europe.

Why? “When you think about what it is that we do, we’re a home improvement company that has business activities that touch every function from finance to marketing to manufacturing to quality systems to core operations,” Jones said. “The talent base in the area and diversity of talent is hard to beat,” he said. He pointed out that there is also a mixture of industries in the Charlotte area, from the financial institutions the state is known for to organizations that lean heavily into marketing to those with a strong manufacturing component.

In his previous job, Jones directed the relocation of Husqvarna to the Charlotte area. “It’s easy to attract talent and retain talent because of the connectivity in Charlotte,” he said. “There’s the city and all it offers by way of culture and the arts … sports, parks and recreation — big attractions for key talent.”

“It’s got an excellent school system, great attractions like the Bechtler Museum, Discovery Place and the Gantt Center,” he said, “so much here that offers a great lifestyle, and a great place to work and grow.” The airport and transportation hub, the infrastructure, he said, all have “a big-city feel,” yet you still get a community atmosphere.

Jones noted productive relationships with elected and nonelected officials at the state and local levels. The fact that Lowe’s has been a North Carolina-born company has given the company a long history of cooperation, he said.

Jones said he is most proud of Lowe’s employees’ commitment to giving back to the community through the Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteer program, and in projects that include Habitat for Humanity and public schools. “This is a great workforce that loves giving back,” he said. “Making an impact on the day to day,” whether it’s volunteering or working toward solid growth and solid return, “that’s where the rubber meets the road.”


UTC Aerospace Systems

UTC Aerospace Systems: ‘Everything That Flies’

With its home in Charlotte, UTC Aerospace Systems – a unit of the Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. – is the first UTC business with headquarters outside of Connecticut. The unit was formed in July 2012 by bringing together two industry leaders: Hamilton Sundstrand and Goodrich Corporation.

UTC Aerospace Systems provides aircraft systems and components on almost everything that flies, from today’s commercial and military aircraft to the next generation of aircraft in development. The company continues to build momentum as the world’s leading supplier of integrated aerospace solutions. Every second, a commercial flight takes off equipped with UTC Aerospace Systems equipment on board, designed to make aircraft safer, lighter, more reliable and more efficient.

Since Goodrich had moved its headquarters to Charlotte after its 1999 merger with Coltec, it was logical that the new company would be based in Charlotte. But there were many other considerations.

“Charlotte offers a great quality of life for our employees,” says Dave Gitlin, president of UTC Aerospace Systems. “The favorable business climate, access to a major airport and top talent in the region were key factors for us in locating here.”

According to Gitlin, the company currently has about 300 employees in Charlotte, including a large percentage of the company’s top executives.

In addition, UTC Aerospace Systems has operations in Monroe and Wilson, N.C. Other UTC businesses also have facilities in North Carolina, including in the Charlotte area. In all, UTC has about 2,000 employees in the state. Worldwide, UTC Aerospace Systems has about 42,000 employees in 150 major manufacturing and service facilities and had more than $14.2 billion in revenue in 2014.

Gitlin is upbeat about the future. “There is demand for thousands of new airplanes in the next 20 years,” he says. “UTC Aerospace Systems supplies multiple systems for those airplanes and we are very confident that we are in a great position for continued growth.”

UTC overall, and UTC Aerospace Systems specifically, have a proud tradition of giving back to their communities. Each year UTC Aerospace Systems and its employees donate generously to a variety of community programs and initiatives while employee volunteers contribute thousands of hours to charitable causes.

One example is the Charlotte Hopebuilders 5K event benefiting the Levine Children’s Hospital, where 280 employees participated and helped raise thousands of dollars.

Gitlin recently joined the Levine Children’s Hospital board of ambassadors. “I was honored to join the board of ambassadors because I know what a difference we can make,” says Gitlin. “It’s heartbreaking to see children suffer and all of us can understand the distress their parents feel. We are so fortunate to have a premier hospital in our backyard.”

UTC Aerospace also contributes to many other charitable organizations, including Discovery Place, Habitat for Humanity and Charlotte Bridge Home.

As the Charlotte area continues to enjoy a period of rapid expansion, UTC Aerospace Systems will continue to call Charlotte its headquarters. “Now is a great time to be in the aerospace business,” says Gitlin. “And Charlotte is a great place to do business.” 

MSC Industrial Supply Company

MSC Industrial Supply Company: A Tale of Two Cities

MSC Industrial Supply Company is truly settling into the area; it moved into its new Davidson, N.C., headquarters building in August 2013. But MSC has been in business in Melville, N.Y., since its beginnings in 1941. And it’s still there, too.

“It’s a little unique,” said Doug Jones, MSC’s executive vice president and chief supply chain officer, explaining the strategy behind having co-headquarters in the Charlotte area and on Long Island. “As we started to grow, I started to look at different alternatives and different options.” It’s more common than you would think, he said, especially using technology. “People can work remotely, manage remotely — we have a lot of video capabilities.” He said this just after wrapping up a video conference with New York.

“We did a nationwide search. We looked at a lot of different variables and a lot of things that were important to us to try to find the right location to complement our New York headquarters,” said Jones. Austin, Texas, was initially high on the list, “but we ruled that out because of logistics. We wanted our managers to get to that new location quickly or fly into a morning meeting and out that night.”

While Charlotte’s airport was important, Jones said, “The biggest reason we moved to this co-location strategy was just access to a bigger pool of talent.” MSC, which services durable manufacturers, employs a varied workforce. He said that MSC, with revenues of about $3 billion, deals with more than 300,000 companies on a daily basis, from large manufacturers such as John Deere to “mom-and-pop shops and manufacturing companies that feed a lot of these companies.”

Finance and IT are easy-to-fill disciplines in Melville, particularly with Manhattan close by. “But certain areas that are more in our specialty areas — product management people who have industry savvy, people who are supply-chain savvy – those people are a little more challenging to get on an island where you don’t have a lot of distribution expertise or a lot of manufacturing,” said Jones.

“We looked for a location that would be a rich population of talent for the types of people who we were going to be recruiting for the next 10-plus years, and Charlotte came up very high on that radar. There’s a real diverse range of industries here — some of the supplier base we deal with on a daily basis… a lot of institutions and schools that feed into the labor force.” Every department is represented in the Davidson headquarters.

MSC offered Charlotte relocation to virtually all 650 of its Melville associates, and about 125 people accepted the opportunity. “Everybody from realtors to the mayor [then Anthony Foxx] to the Charlotte Chamber helped educate our folks” during pre-decision visits, Jones said.

Cost of living was a factor, with younger people able to afford the home they could not buy in Long Island. Jones also cited other factors. “The arts and sports, we knew they were important to our people because they were used to it in New York,” Jones said. “Charlotte edged out Raleigh because we felt there was more outside work to do here.”

Once MSC decided to move, the chamber helped facilitate connections with some of the other companies that had recently relocated, including Electrolux. “They had nothing to gain or lose,” said Jones, “but they told us straight what to expect and it was tremendously helpful.”

As part of incentive programs with the state, MSC made a commitment to create 400 jobs in the next five years, and 18 months later, with 350 associates in the new building, Jones said he had no concerns about reaching that number. “We found Charlotte very easy to do business with. They know how to get things done.” The goal was to get everyone in before the 2013 school year began.

“All the things that have to happen to build a big building, that can be a lot of red tape — and we’ve seen that in other destinations we’ve built — whenever we ran into any obstacles, they were right there,” Jones said, naming everyone from the state, the county and the town of Davidson to different authorities, such as the development corporation in Lake Norman. Though most people said it could not be done, the building was completed in 10 months.

With work from local artists on the walls, North Carolina stone on the floors and names such as Kitty Hawk and Lake Gaston on its meeting rooms, MSC quickly made itself at home in Davidson. Jones said the company has enjoyed working with charitable organizations in the region, and has sponsored car shows and a road race benefiting the Davidson Lands Conservancy. “It’s been great for our associates to see,” he said.

Jones said the company owns a little more than 14 acres at the site, with an option to build a sister building next door. “We have high growth ambitions and plans for the next five or 10 years,” he said. “This was a big investment for MSC, with enough potential growth to support us for a very long time.”


Charlotte Douglas International Airport

With more than 700 daily departures, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is the sixth-largest airport in the U.S. based on operations. Home to the second largest hub of the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, CLT has experienced significant growth over the past decade.  In 2014 Charlotte Douglas ranked 6th in nationwide aircraft movements and 7th in worldwide movements, according to Airports Council International. Travel + Leisure named Charlotte Douglas International Airport the No. 4 best domestic airport because of its location, access, check-in and security, restaurants, shopping and design.

Charlotte-Douglas continues to expand to keep pace with the fast-growing city it serves. The airport is wrapping up its ambitious CLT 2015 expansion program, which includes terminal and taxiway expansions, parking deck additions and roadway improvements. Another $390 million worth of projects are scheduled for the next three years, including a fourth runway and the construction of an international terminal.

CLT By the Numbers:

  • More than 150 non-stop destinations
  • 95 gates
  • 5 concourses
  • 1.8 million square feet


  • Executive terminal at Wilson Air Center
  • 250,000 square feet of heated hangar space
  • 132,351 total tons of cargo shipped in 2014
  • 40-acre intermodal center opened in 2013


  • 32 international destinations
  • Nearly 3 million international passengers annually
Nonstop service to Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean