Recruiting Sierra Nevada to WNC: The legislative role

N.C. Rep. Chuck McGrady (who represents the Henderson County region) wrote this piece for

Residents in Henderson County, and even western North Carolina, are cheering the recent announcement that Chico, California-based Sierra Nevada, a large brewer, has chosen to locate its new brewery on the east coast in the Ferncliff Industrial Park in Mills River.

The decision to locate in Henderson County was not accidental. Rather, Sierra Nevada was recruited by Henderson County’s economic development team over a six-month period.

What follows is only an overview of what happened in terms of legislation to help bring Sierra Nevada to Henderson County. Much credit should go to the Partnership for Economic Development (PED), particularly its executive, Andrew Tate, for the success in recruiting Sierra Nevada. He quarterbacked the county’s successful effort…

In late August, I got a call from Andrew Tate….

I had no idea who we were visiting when I got on the plane. I’d been told that we were visiting a brewer who was looking for an east coast location. I was told the brewer was based in Chico, California, but I hadn’t taken the time to try to figure out what company was involved. I only knew we were working on a project, code named “Big Forest,” and that we were flying to California. …

Thanks to @WinBassett for the heads-up on this story.

About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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