By Marie Muir and Amanda MacLaren / Photography by Ken Huth
The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual meeting in February at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center. Championing Durham’s economic development, the Chamber promotes business collaboration and innovative technologies that foster the city’s growth. ABC11 Eyewitness News – WTVD President and General Manager Caroline Welch, who planned to retire in March as of press time, passed on the torch of Chamber board chair to Duke Regional Hospital President Katie Galbraith as a part of the meeting’s opening remarks. ABC11 Eyewitness News’ Joel Brown presented the 2020 Civic Honor Award to David Dodson of MDC. Dodson will retire in June 2020 after 33 years of service to the company, which helps communities advance economic mobility for people on the margins through education, employment, economic security and strategic philanthropy.
Timothy Downs, the Chamber’s vice president for economic development, shared recent companies that have expanded or announced plans to expand in Durham – including AveXis, Polygenius, Tergus Pharma, Merck, Q2 Solutions and Eli Lilly & Co., among a total of 10 companies – for a combined investment of $1.8 billion and 2,680 Chamber-assisted primary jobs, which have an average salary of $78,000. Further presentations included the 2020 Chamber Outlook by Chamber President and CEO Geoff Durham and a glimpse at the state of North Carolina’s economy as a whole by Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of NC. The keynote address was given by Jeff Haden, contributing editor to Inc. magazine, who spoke on the attraction of Durham for starting a business.