Iredell County, with a population of approximately 160,000, is a welcoming community located in North Carolina. No more than a couple of hours away from both the ocean and the mountains, it may appear small, but its close proximity to a major metro market makes it a very diverse area, full of opportunities for families and businesses to grow.
With more than 40 miles separating its northern and southern borders, Iredell County, with expansive and unique geography, allows companies to choose a location that best meets their needs. Whether it’s within an easy drive to “Uptown” Charlotte, NC or Charlotte Douglas International Airport or on the shores of beautiful Lake Norman, Iredell County can accommodate just about every requirement.
Being adjacent to Mecklenburg County (City of Charlotte), the proximity to and being part of a major metropolitan market has had a significant influence on the county’s growth. “Within a 30-mile radius, there is a workforce population of 1.3 million people, which has made Iredell County very attractive to residents and businesses of all kinds,” says Russ Rogerson, Executive Director for Statesville Regional Development (SRD) and Mooresville – South Iredell Economic Development Corporation (MSIEDC).
Iredell County is home to Lowe’s Corporate, BestCo, Asmo of NC and Kewaunee Scientific, just to name a few. Along with a superlative location, Iredell County provides its businesses with some of the lowest tax rates and utility costs, and some of the best public schools in the state. “One of Iredell County’s greatest advantages is access to reliable infrastructure, such as rail, Statesville Regional Airport and interstate connectivity,” says Russ Rogerson. Iredell County is one the few counties in the Carolinas with two connecting interstates; I-77 runs north and south, while I-40 runs east and west. Additionally, I-85 is only 15 minutes away.
North Carolina is known for its automotive and motorsports related businesses. Iredell County is no stranger to this fast-growing business cluster. The community has seen tremendous growth through business relocation, expansion and residents moving to be closer to the motorsports sector. “Dale Earnhardt was probably a big influence on that; he’s from the area and he built his shop here,” says Rogerson. “More and more race shops and suppliers to that industry located here, so it’s grown very strong. We are the home to many teams – team Penske being the largest. Their racing operations are headquartered here, for both NASCAR and IndyCar Racing.”
Iredell County has seen respectable growth because of its motorsports base. It has afforded the community the opportunity to diversify its industry base and recruit companies in the advanced manufacturing arena, distribution, military and defense. “Motorsports requires a skilled workforce because of the technology involved,” say Rogerson. “When you’re dealing with an automobile, building engines or parts, you’re talking about using very high-tech metals, composites and very high tolerances, so CNC machining and high skill labor are a very important part of it and that has attracted other industries,” he continues. “Iredell County’s advanced manufacturing capabilities are unlike any other. Our core base of companies has the ability to design, prototype, and build parts, then have them on the track in the matter of days,” says Rogerson.
Iredell County puts a lot of time and effort into maintaining its status as an employment center. “That’s critical for balanced growth. We love the population growth but we want to stabilize that out with job growth and private sector investment,” says Rogerson. “That allows us to keep our taxes low and operating costs in line, and to continue to be an employment center as well as afford the citizens a high quality of life.”
Its distinct lifestyle – one that comes from its close proximity to the ocean and the mountains, the quality of the weather, and a temperate environment with all four seasons – plays a big part in Iredell County’s growth. The rolling, wooded landscape of the region and beautiful shoreline of Lake Norman offers visitors the ability to enjoy the natural beauty year around.
Iredell County has over 600 acres of parks that offer visitors and residents walking trails, playgrounds, public tennis, horseshoe courts, softballs fields and a soccer complex. “We have a great park system, several local golf courses and a strong business visitation that, along with the amenities related to this part of the state, tend to attract tourism,” says Rogerson.
In the 60s, Lake Norman – the largest man-made lake in North Carolina – was created and has had a major influence on Iredell County, in several ways. “Upscale housing and recreational activities have made us a destination place to live, work and play,” says Rogerson. Because of the close proximity to the major metro market and the lake style living, the population growth has been in the 20 percent range over the last 20 years.”
The County is proud of the quality of life it offers. “Seeing is believing,” he continues. “You’d be amazed by the number of people that visit the area and have simply fallen in love with the community because of its economic diversity and its quality of life factor,” says Rogerson.
Iredell County has two public school districts; Iredell Statesville Schools and Mooresville Graded School District both rank among the top in the State, and there are numerous private and charter school options. “Families have access to a K-12 education that is competitive with anywhere else. We have some of the best-run schools in North Carolina right here in Iredell County,” says Rogerson. “Mooresville Grade School District has been a leader in bringing technology into the classrooms with all students receiving laptops and utilizing technology. We’ve had visits from President Obama, acknowledging the new integration of technology and education that we have here,” says Rogerson. “We’re also very proud of Mitchell Community College and the growth and training that it does for the technical side of our work force, so that we have that kind of work force moving forward.”
Langtree presents a very exciting opportunity for Iredell County. “We have over 500 acres of developable land that’s on Lake Davidson and Lake Norman,” says Rogerson. “So, we’re excited about the opportunity and growth down there, particularly for headquarters and other office space, in addition to retail and amenities that go with that type of development. Langtree is really going to be a strong growth area for us over the next 10 to 20 years.”
Iredell County presently markets in all the traditional ways, but moving forward, it plans to do things differently. “We plan to use a more direct marketing approach, meaning: visitations with companies, consultants, and others in economic development fields, to get our message out. We feel strongly that because we’re diverse, from Fortune 500 headquarters to high-tech manufacturing to logistics to agricultural, we’re going to be talking with those industries, to make them aware of the opportunities here in Iredell County.”
With land available for prospective companies, Iredell County will continue its growth into the foreseeable future, and there is no limit to the opportunities with regards to jobs, investments and possibilities that it can offer the families and businesses that it attracts.