Economic Transformation News

UNC Wilmington and Mayor's Office Produce Economic Development Documentary

UNC Wilmington and Wilmington Mayor’s Office Collaborate on Documentary Series on the Business of Economic Development

Economic development is the key to the future health and prosperity of Wilmington and the Cape Fear region, but what does that really mean? What kinds of businesses and industries are a good “fit” for our economy? How can we best attract them to the area? Who is working on those issues, and what are they doing?

To help answer those questions for local citizens, Public Service and Continuing Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has collaborated with the Wilmington Mayor’s Office to create a six-episode documentary on economic development efforts in and around the Cape Fear region.

“Economic development is highly complex and influenced by many factors and competing needs,” said Tom Barth, interim dean for Public Service and Continuing Studies. “We saw an interest in the community that people want to know more about the economic opportunities and challenges for the region. We saw this as an opportunity for the university and the city to pool our resources and provide information as a public service.”

The overall theme of this non-political documentary series is that a sustainable economy is one that has a diversity of industries. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo moderates roundtable interviews with 21 business experts representing state and local governments, private sectors, citizen stakeholders, local business owners, business scholars and professional economic developers.

The series is available online and will air on The Learning Network, Channel 5 on Time Warner Cable and Channel 12 on Charter Cable. It can be viewed on the web at

Schedule and Episode Guide:

Episode 1: Defines the process of economic development and the difference between governmental and non-governmental economic development corporations.
Airs at 7 p.m. May 20 and 27, and at 11 a.m. May 24 and 31
Guests: Sterling Cheatham, city manager, City of Wilmington; Larry Clark, dean, UNCW Cameron School of Business; Scott Satterfield, CEO, Wilmington Industrial Development, Inc.; Bruce Shell, county manager, New Hanover County

Episode 2: Explores different industries in the Cape Fear region and how they serve as economic drivers, the corporate climate of the region and why it is competitive compared to other regions.
Airs at 7 p.m. June 3 and 10, and at 11 a.m. June 7 and 14
Guests: Johnny Griffin, director, Wilmington Regional Film Commission; Kim Hufham, president and CEO, New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority; Todd Wiggs, plant manager, Corning, Inc.

Episode 3: Looks at how the Cape Fear region compares competitively to other areas of the state and nation, how the region and state are proactively pursuing economic development opportunities.
Airs at 7 p.m. June 17 and 24, and at 11 a.m. June 21 and 28
Guests: Secretary Linda Carlisle, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources; North Carolina Lt. Governor Walter Dalton; Secretary Keith Crisco, N.C. Department of Commerce

Episode 4: Discusses the different stakeholders in the Cape Fear region as well as their perspectives on economic development, the impacts of economic development on workforce development and the environment.
Airs at 7 p.m. July 1 and 8, and at 11 a.m. July 5 and 12
Guests: Walker Biggs, manager, New Hanover County Employment Security Commission; Mike Giles, coastal advocate, N.C. Coastal Federation; Eric McKeithan, president, Cape Fear Community College; Gene Renzaglia, board chair, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority

Episode 5: Explores the vision of and the community's role in economic growth and development for the Cape Fear region.
Airs at 7 p.m. July 15 and 22, and at 11 a.m. July 19 and 26
Guests: John Hinnant, president and CEO, Wilmington Downtown, Inc.; Randall Johnson, executive director, N.C. Biotechnology Center, Southeastern Office; Connie Majure-Rhett, president and CEO, Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce; Jonathan Rowe, director, UNCW Entrepreneur Center

Episode 6: The final episode of the series looks at entrepreneurship in the Cape Fear region.
Airs at 7 p.m. July 29 and Aug. 5, and at 11 a.m. Aug. 2 and 9
Guests: Kristen Beckmeyer, co-owner, Coastal Cupcakes; Fred Meyers, owner, Queensboro Shirt Company; Justin Queen, owner, Blu Zeus Interactive Marketing; Rick Randall, board chair, TranS1, Inc.

For more information, contact Dana Fischetti, media relations manager, UNCW, 910.508.3127,; or Malissa Talbert, communications manager/PIO, City of Wilmington, 910.342.2736,