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Good morning,

Football fans have a big week ahead of them. On Saturday, I’ll be joining around 50,000 fans at Bank of America Stadium as UNC Chapel Hill (the real Carolina) takes on the University of South Carolina in the Belk College Kickoff. That, along with my two fantasy drafts for the NFL — which starts play next Thursday — will keep me pretty busy. (I'm welcome to any last-minute drafting advice.)  
While football continues to excite college and pro fans, interest in playing the game is waning among N.C. high school students. The Tar Heel state ranks 12th in the nation in high school sports participation, though the number of kids playing sports is declining.
Football has experienced the sharpest fall, in part because of safety and concussion concerns. At the start of last year's football season, North Carolina high schools had 26,929 participants, down 5.7% from the previous year. Over the past decade, the number of North Carolina high school football players has declined 23.4%, according to HighSchoolOT.
It's a problem for many high school athletic departments that use revenue from football games to fund other sports programs. At East Chapel Hill High School, the lack of a varsity football team cost its athletic department almost $10,000 in 2017. Football is also a major source of revenue for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, which redistributes the funds to member schools.
In my opinion, sports are vital to creating well-rounded students by teaching time management, teamwork, dedication and the benefits of hard work. Hopefully schools can find other sources of income to make up for football's decline. Selling out soccer games could be a start.

Harrison Miller 
Click here to subscribe to Business North Carolina magazine

N.C. metropolitan areas tops in 2018 exports

North Carolina metropolitan areas lead the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, in terms of exports last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Mid-Atlantic region exported $147 billion of goods last year, increasing 7% from 2017. Sixteen metropolitan areas in the region recorded record-high exports in 2018. Four Tar Heel state metro areas ranked among the region's top five exporters.
Metropolitan Statistical Area Export Value (million)
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia; NC-SC     $14,083
Charleston-North Charleston; SC      10,943
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News; VA-NC         3,951
Durham-Chapel Hill; NC         3,946
Raleigh-Cary; NC         3,193
York-Hanover; PA         2,546
Spartanburg; SC         2,340
Reading; PA         2,150
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton; NC         2,045
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton; PA         1,734
Lancaster; PA         1,087
Burlington; NC            331

"[It indicates] that local companies are realizing the benefits of global trade,” U.S. Commercial Service Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Joseph Hanle says in a release.

In total, U.S. metro areas exported $1.5 trillion in merchandise last year, a $110.3 billion increase from 2017.

Mom, Dad, I’m going to minor in skiing!

Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk has partnered with nearby Beech Mountain Resort to launch a new minor for students. The Ski Industry Business and Instruction minor will be issued by Lees-McRae's business school, which offers an Outdoor Recreation Management program.
Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine ranked Lees-McRae as the Top Adventure College in the Southeast last year. It is about five miles from Beech Mountain, which has the highest elevation among East Coast ski areas.
“This program provides students with a true hands-on learning experience and environment through a strategic partnership with Beech Mountain Ski Resort,” says Katie Wall, an assistant professor. “The program incorporates an outdoor recreation management foundation with professional business practices and industry certifications.”
Some areas of study include:

  • Facility instruction in both outdoor recreation management and business
  • Risk management in outdoor recreation
  • Contemporary issues in the ski industry
  • Elective courses in winter adaptive adventure recreation for skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking.
  • Ski/Snowboard Instructor Certification

Talia Freeman, marketing director at Beech Mountain Resort and an alumnae of Lees-McRae, was instrumental in creating the minor, which is the first-of-its-kind in the Southeast.

Today’s number: $21.6 million

Average annual economic impact generated by the Belk College Kickoff in Charlotte, says Frank Kay, spokesman for the Charlotte Sports Foundation, which organizes the matchup. This year’s UNC vs USC game will be the fourth Belk kickoff played in the Queen City. Kay says the games have averaged more than 56,000 fans.


Advance Auto inks deal for space at new North Hills building
(Raleigh News and Observer)

Advance Auto Parts, which moved its corporate headquarters to Raleigh last year from Roanoke, Va., will lease seven floors in Kane Realty’s newest North Hills tower. The building is expected to be completed in late 2020 and be named Advance Auto Parts tower. Company offices are now on East Millbrook Road, where it leases about 177,000 square feet.

Industrial operation could bring 250 jobs, $65.3M investment to Orange County
(Triangle Business Journal)

Documents indicate a “light industrial operation” named “Project Tomorrow” is considering Orange County for a 250-job project. Few details, including the name of the company, were available. Should Project Tomorrow pick Orange County, it’s expected to invest $65.3 million over five years. The county is holding a public hearing on September 10 to discuss a $1.8 million incentive package to seal the project. In 2019, 864 jobs have been announced by expanding companies in neighboring Durham County and 800 in Wake County.

Look for Honeywell staff to top 1,000 in Charlotte, CEO says
(The Charlotte Observer)

Honeywell International Inc. the Fortune 500 company that has moved its headquarters to downtown Charlotte, expects to eventually employ more than 1,000 people in the city, CEO Darius Adamczyk said. Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have offered the company $46 million in incentives based on a pledge to add 750 jobs. It’s a record incentives package for the region. Honeywell moved employees into a temporary office in the downtown Barings building in July.

Culp describes ‘tumultuous’ year in letter to shareholders
(NC Business News Wire)

High Point’s Culp Inc., a global supplier of fabrics for mattresses and upholstery, cited low-priced mattresses from China, international tariffs and the death of its founder Rob Culp III as some of the headwinds the company has faced over the past fiscal year, according to a letter to shareholders released last week. Mattress fabric sales declined 24.6% while the company generated free cash flow of $11.5 million for fiscal 2019. Culp says it predicts soft retail demand trends and uncertainty around tariffs to continue through the second half of 2019. It has expanded production in Haiti and China to meet customer demand and is developing strategic supplier relationships in Vietnam.

New Highwoods Properties CEO’s base salary rises 36%
(NC Business News Wire)

Theodore Klinck is stepping up to lead Raleigh’s Highwoods Properties Inc. after CEO Edward Fritsch announced his retirement earlier this year. Klinck’s transition from chief operating officer, a position he’s held at the company since 2015, comes with a 36% base salary increase to $625,000. He is eligible to receive long-term equity incentive awards equal to 275% of his annual base salary starting next year.

Construction begins for $7M Boxyard RTP project
(WRAL TechWire)

Construction on Boxyard RTP kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning at the office park at N.C. 54 and Davis Drive. The $7 million project, spearheaded by the Research Triangle Foundation, is set on 12 acres of the former IBM campus and involves converting 38 shipping containers into a complex of retail stores, restaurants, an amphitheater, dog park and sculpture gardens. Fullsteam Brewing will be the anchor tenant.

N.C. attorney general expands fight against youth vaping

Josh Stein, North Carolina’s attorney general, filed eight lawsuits against e-cigarette companies and manufacturers of vaping products, asking courts to shut down marketing and sales to underage people. Stein says flavored juices are helping fuel an epidemic of smoking by targeting young people. The announcement follows Stein’s May lawsuit against the company that makes the market-leading Juul brand.


Duke Energy selects 5 N.C. counties for development
(NC Business News Wire)

Duke Energy selected Carteret, Cumberland, New Hanover, Rockingham and Rutherford counties to participate in its 2019 Site Readiness Program. The company will collaborate with county officials to create strategic plans to improve sites for future development and potential expansion activity. Each site is able to apply for a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy to improve their plans.

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