Although Charlotte is the
second-largest banking center
in the United States (
controlling more than $2 trillion in assets), its economy is diversified
and its leaders expect this city
to rebound from the economic
crisis faster than some others.
According to data published
by the economic-development
group Charlotte Regional
Partnership, top industry sectors include services, employing
30. 4 percent of the labor force,
retail trade ( 21. 9 percent) and
manufacturing ( 16. 8 percent).
Manufacturing also appears to be on the upswing. One
company, for example, recently announced plans to
build a new 100,000-square-foot plant in Charlotte to
begin production on the first hybrid electric bus and
stimulate even more jobs regionally.
Charlotte leaders have also focused their efforts on
building a thriving Center City, providing ample real-estate space for relocating or expanding businesses.
According to Charlotte Center City Partners,
more than 50 projects
were announced or began
construction in 2006 and
2007, totaling investments
of about $5.6 billion. This
includes a $3 billion mass-transit/light-rail system and a
$126.9 million cultural district.
Examples: Harvey B. Gantt
Center for African American
Arts and Culture is scheduled
to open later this year, and
the $195 million NASCAR
Hall of Fame/Convention
Center Ballroom, currently
under construction, is slated
Courtesy of Visit Charlotte
to debut in 2010. The latter
venue alone “is projected to have an economic impact
of nearly $62 million a year, create nearly 1,000 jobs
and attract nearly 550,000 visitors per year,” according
to the Charlotte Center City Development Report.
City planners have also been inclusive in their efforts. In 2003, Charlotte was named the “Best Place
to Live” for people who are visually impaired by the
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), largely
because of its commitment to public transportation.
COMPASS GROUP: CATERING TO VARYING TASTES
Charlotte, N.C.-based Compass Group Vincent Berkeley, who sits on the offi- 2007, purchasing from small-, minority- and
North America, a leading food-manage- cer board, has set a mandate to weave di- woman-owned businesses equaled 7 per-
ment conglomerate with versity and inclusion into the fabric of the cent of the total buy at Compass Group’s
more than $8.2 billion in entire enterprise. Initiatives include: North American purchasing division. Plus,
annual revenue, operates Second-language toolkits. Spanish- seven Compass Group companies have Di-more than a dozen com- speaking associates have access to more versity Action Councils led by their CEOs
panies serving hospitals, than 600 portable computers to learn Eng- and comprised of Blacks, Latinos, Asians
colleges and businesses. lish anywhere and at their own pace. and others who meet bimonthly. Coun-
“Diversity represents Diverse recruiting. At the National cil chairs share best diversity practices,
a huge opportunity for Society of Minorities in Hospitality con- which they then implement with manag-
innovation within the ferences, Berkeley and the company’s ers and associates. The councils’ efforts
foodserviceindustry,” says recruiters welcome graduates of diverse are acknowledged annually with the
CEO Gary Green.“It’s an institutions such as Johnson & Wales Uni- President’s Five-Jewel Award, reserved for
opportunity to grow our versity-Miami Campus and North Carolina winners who demonstrate a “passion for
business by leveraging the Central University, both Compass Group diversity and inclusion, community service,
experiences, backgrounds, partners. The Women’s Leadership Net- internal development and continuous pro-thoughts, abilities and work, an employee-resource group, helps fessional development.”
expectations our [stakeholders] bring to to recruit from underrepresented groups. “In all of the decisions we make, diversi-the organization.” Supplier diversity. Compass Group ty and inclusion are a part of that strategy,”
The company’s Chief Diversity Officer seeks out and uses diverse vendors. In Berkeley says.