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Economic Development Staff

Service with a Smile

CARL REES, CEcD

Manager, Economic and Community Development

252.258.3848
crees@electricities.org

A native of Eastern North Carolina, he has worked in a variety of capacities for area local governments since 1995. Most recently, Carl served as Economic Development Manager for the City of Greenville, North Carolina. In this capacity, Carl led a full–service economic development office that engaged in business recruitment and expansion activities as well as support for small business and entrepreneurship. While at Greenville, the city was cited by the Governor of North Carolina for its support for small businesses. During this period, the city was the beneficiary of multiple industrial expansions and new locations including pharmaceutical, life science, and advanced manufacturing projects.

Beginning in 2004, Carl accepted the challenge of leading redevelopment efforts in Greenville’s urban core while serving as primary staff person to the City’s Redevelopment Commission. In this capacity, Carl spearheaded efforts that led to a combination of public and private investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Carl and a team of private developers received the prestigious “Development of the Year” award in 2010 from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency for an innovative multi-family development constructed in downtown Greenville. Carl and his team were also awarded the Marvin Collins Award from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association for best community development project of 2011.

From 1995-2003, Carl served in a number of city planning positions for municipalities in eastern North Carolina. For his work on recovery efforts from Hurricane Floyd in the late 1990s, Carl received a commendation from the United States House of Representatives. In 2019, Carl received his Certified Economic Developer Credentials (CEcD), from the International Economic Development Council. Carl is a proud graduate of East Carolina University and was previously an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division.

Contact Carl Rees for industrial projects in the Triangle region and eastern North Carolina.

Jennings Gray

Lead Economic Developer – Commercial

336.905.9293
jgray@electricities.org

Jennings Gray works as a Lead Economic Developer – Commercial for ElectriCities of NC. ElectriCities serves 70+ public power cities and towns across North Carolina that are members of the organization. Jennings has over 14 years of experience in public and private economic development, local government administration, and corporate retail site selection consulting.

With previous experience working with Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. and SkyLine Telephone Membership Corporation, Jennings exhibits a creative ability to manage public and community relations programs, and maintain key relationships with government officials, national commercial real estate brokers, and developers. Since joining ElectriCities, Jennings enjoys working with member communities, including many downtown development organizations, to develop, enhance, and implement their retail recruitment strategy.

After attending Appalachian State University, Jennings received certifications in Government Planning, Tax Administration, Economic Development, and County Administration from the University of North Carolina School of Government.

Originally from the North Carolina mountains, Jennings and his wife, Suzanne, now call Raleigh home.

Contact Jennings Gray for commercial projects in the Charlotte region and North Carolina foothills.

 

CASEY VERBURG, CEcD

Senior Economic Developer – Industrial

704.794.7844
cverburg@electricities.org

Casey Verburg has worked in economic development since 2008 in North Carolina and Virginia. Beginning in 2019, Casey worked in Goochland County, Virginia where she ran the business recruitment initiative for the county. These recruitment efforts led to new industrial, retail, and office announcements in the county in the industries of indoor agriculture, distribution centers, and medical offices. Additionally, Casey played an integral role in the development of the first targeted industry analysis for the county.

Prior to 2019, Casey served in several positions across the state of North Carolina. She served as a Main Street Director for the Town of Fuquay-Varina. Prior to Fuquay-Varina, Casey worked for the City of Greenville, as a project manager overseeing the business retention program, and worked on the development of co-working space for entrepreneurs and students. Casey started her economic development career in 2008 at Wake County Economic Development as a research manager.

Casey graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications/English and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. In 2023, Casey received her Certified Economic Developer Credentials (CEcD), from the International Economic Development Council.

Born and raised in Maryland, Casey and her family are now proud to call Charlotte home.

Contact Casey Verburg for projects in the Charlotte region and North Carolina foothills.

Kelly Baker

Economic Development Analyst

919.760.6311
kbaker@electricities.org

As a life-long North Carolinian, Kelly has a passion for seeing the state and the people who call it home prosper. This led her to a career in economic development following graduation from college. Since 2011, she has held various research and data management roles for economic development organizations with local, regional, and state-level purviews including the City of Raleigh, Wake County Economic Development and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina – where she worked immediately prior to her role with ElectriCities. Kelly is experienced in navigating demographic, economic, and industry intelligence data & uncovering competitive insights to support the interests and needs of various economic development stakeholders. She’s also skilled in capturing otherwise hard-to-find data and developing content and visualizations to convey the story data has to tell.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and a graduate certificate in applied statistics and data management from North Carolina State University.

Kelly now calls the Triangle home where she lives with her husband, daughter, and dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, planning the family’s next getaway, and devising a plan for seeing all of the U.S.’ national parks.

 

AUDREY BOONE

Senior Economic Developer

919.760.6313

aboone@electricities.org

A native of Ohio, Audrey came to North Carolina by way of Texas. In North Carolina, as the Interim Executive Director for the Granville County Economic Development Office, she effectively attracted advanced manufacturing companies and facilitated a key development agreement for 940,000 square feet of industrial space in Oxford. Earlier in Texas, as Executive Director of the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation, Audrey was central to converting the city’s largest industrial site into a rail-served park, significantly benefiting Gainesville’s economy. Additionally, her roles in business development in College Station and Abilene, TX, have contributed to her broad expertise in the field.

In her professional journey, Audrey has also held pivotal roles in various organizations, reflecting her dedication to both economic and community development. Notably, she has served on the Executive Committee of the Texas Economic Development Council and as Treasurer of the Workforce Solutions Texoma Board. Her engagement extends to board positions in chambers of commerce and active participation in community groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and local civic clubs.

Maintaining memberships with the Southern Economic Development Council and the International Economic Development Council, Audrey actively contributes to the wider field.
Audrey holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Piedmont University, Georgia, and is pursuing her Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation. Her commitment to community development is evident through active involvement in the Big Brother Big Sister program, Kiwanis, United Way, and other nonprofits. Residing in southern Granville County, Audrey continues to blend professional expertise with community engagement.

Contact Audrey Boone for industrial projects in the Triangle and Eastern NC.

70+ Reasons to do Business in North Carolina

At ElectriCities, we look for opportunities to partner with our 70+ member cities to provide customized assistance within all aspects of economic development. From marketing to targeted recruiting to grant assistance, we’re here for you with tools and expertise. We actively work with the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., along with site selectors, and participate in national trade shows to recruit industries and bring jobs to our public power hometowns.

…HERE ARE FOUR MORE REASONS

  • Ranked #1, Largest Manufacturing Workforce in the Southeast
  • Ranked #2, Competitive Labor Environment by Area Development, 2018
  • Elite higher Education — 53 colleges and universities including the Tier 1 research universities NCSU, Duke, and UNC
  • 22,500+ STEM Degrees Annually

Services we Provide to ElectriCities Members

Target Sectors

ElectriCities’ Economic Development staff can assist you in determining the areas of target recruitment based on your city’s demographics, location, and needs.

Proposals for Prospects / Clients

When a commercial or industrial customer is ready to relocate to your area, we will work with the Power Agency rate staff to develop a customized proposal.

Marketing / Collateral Advertising Assistance

We can work with you to develop and produce marketing, advertising, and collateral pieces to promote your community.

Retail / Commercial Development

Our staff can help you recruit new development with marketing collateral and site analysis based on the target sector’s site requirements.

Trade Show Opportunities

Economic Development staff attends several trade shows each year on behalf of NC Public Power communities. Offering member cities and towns a chance to appeal to a range of industries, all under one roof.

Market Research Analysis

Client specific market research analysis with community data and mapping.

Smart Sites®

S2 is a shovel–ready site qualification program designed to support economic development opportunities in NC Public Power communities.

ADDITIONAL SERVICES

• IMPLAN Impact Modeling
• GIS Mapping Software
• Client Recruitment
• Feasibility Studies
• Territorial Issues
• Member Support

Services we Provide to Businesses, Site Selectors, and Developers

Assistance at No Charge

From project outset through construction, ElectriCities remains your partner during the entire relocation or expansion process. Site tours? No problem. Electricity, water, zoning, permitting? They’re all handled with one-stop convenience when you work with a public power community. And we’ll function as your liaison with state agencies to streamline such matters as financing, incentive packages, and environmental considerations — all at no cost to you.

Fast, Efficient, and Confidential

Tell us what you’re looking for, and in 48 hours or less we’ll give you an in-depth report on locations that match your specifications within a public power community, complete with listings, photos, and descriptions of available sites and buildings. And rest assured, all inquiries are handled with the utmost confidentiality.

A Wealth of Data

We maintain comprehensive databases for all 70+ public power municipalities in North Carolina. That means you can find all the information you need in one place — infrastructure, availability of sites and buildings, labor, demographics, education resources, job training, and even lifestyle data such as schools, hospitals, and golf courses.

Contact us to locate a property within one of our communities today!