RadixBay chooses Tabor City for first rural branch
By NICOLE CARTRETTE News Editor, Monday 4/25/2016
A portion of the former Brunswick Electric Incubator in Tabor City will become home to the first rural branch of RadixBay, an information technology consulting company that is creating 19 jobs.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s office announced Thursday that the state’s Rural Infrastructure Authority approved a $65,500 reuse grant for the building co-owned by Tabor City and Columbus County. RadixBay serves both private sector and government clients and was founded by CEO Greg Lovette, a Tabor City native. The incubator was constructed in 1998 and has been vacant for four years. The renovation will include flooring, walls and HVAC upgrades. The grant is part of a total capital investment of $286,800.
Rick Edwards, chairman of the Columbus Jobs Foundation, called the deal, more than a year and a half in the works, a “game changer” for the county. Edwards said the rural initiative, launched by RadixBay, recognizes the lower rent and lower cost for total overhead that rural North Carolina can provide compared with urban areas. The model aims to compete with overseas operations but keep jobs in the U.S.
“The Columbus Jobs foundation in this case has created a great CEO and management team type relationship with RadixBay,” Edwards said. Columbus County Economic Developer Gary Lanier said the RadixBay operation will initially take up 5,600 square feet of the 16,000-squarefoot incubator but has potential to grow. He said the project received support “from so many different sectors. It is one of the things that makes our economic development effort a success.”
“We are very excited about this. A lot of folks have worked to help make this come together, including Assistant Secretary Patricia Mitchell with the Department of Commerce in Raleigh, the Tabor City Committee of 100, the Columbus Jobs Foundation, the Columbus County Commissioners and the Tabor City Town Councel,” Lovette said Friday. “Like most people, I have always wanted to help my hometown. Today however, it is the right time in the market. Demands are there for an efficient U.S.-based delivery system, free of language barriers, travel restrictions and intellectual property concerns.”
Lovette said operations will begin at the Tabor City branch (one of five rural centers planned by RadixBay) as early as this summer and offer salaries starting at more than $30,000 with benefits. “We are working with local universities and colleges as we speak, and we are very happy with the degree of support we have gotten from them,” he said.
Lovette’s plans may afford new college graduates from Columbus County opportunities he didn’t have after graduating from UNC Wilmington. “Leaving home for college and majoring in computer science, I knew I would never be able to get a job at home,” said Lovette.
Instead he moved to Charlotte and by 1994 was a partner and founder of Baytree Associates, a consulting company specializing in Oracle technologies. In 16 years the U.S.-based regional consultancy included consultants from all areas of the United States and India. “We felt we were the best at what we did, and our customers agreed. We became a premier Oracle consultancy in the eastern United States,” the RadixBay website reads. “We built a center in Charlotte to provide remote development and production support for our customers.
“The processes and methodologies we employed assured our customers of the type of service they had come to expect from us. However, as offshoring became more and more prominent, more customers began making decisions purely on price, not quality.” In 2010, Baytree was sold to a California company with heavy offshore operations. “The idea was to allow our U.S. team to leverage offshore resources to help us be more price-competitive in our offerings. In reality, offshore consultants eventually replaced most of our U.S. team,” Lovette explained. “Our customers, who were accustomed to our high-touch, high-speed approach, soon left us, confirming what I had already come to understand: that while offshoring is the right solution in many circumstances, and it certainly is a way to reduce cost, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.”
Friday, Lovette was enthusiast about the plans for Tabor City. “We believe 100 percent in this model for tech delivery – 100 percent. Our customers believe, too. Working together with the state, county and city, I am confident this will be successful, and that that success will breed growth,” he said. RadixBay’s plan is to create Rural Development Centers throughout Rural Eastern North Carolina. “These centers will deliver high-touch, high-speed solutions in a cost effective structure. They also allow IT professionals and aspiring IT professionals to start, build and develop their careers in their hometowns, creating a rural “IT Oasis” of seasoned, untapped consulting talents for high value solutions at competitive costs,” the company website reads.
“The Rural Centers, due to their proximity to their U.S.- based clients, will enable more efficient communication, while the Rural Center consulting rates are competitive with the leading offshore markets, such as India and China. “The Rural Centers also produce ‘State-side’ talent that rival larger, U.S.-based consulting firm talent at a fraction of the cost. Simply put, the U.S.-based firms sourcing their consultants from larger metro areas demand higher rates due to wage demands and costly overhead.” The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/ or expand buildings occupied by existing North Carolina companies, and renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new jobs in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties and in rural census
This is an excerpt from The News Reporter, Volume 125, Number 86, Whiteville, North Carolina. Nicole Cartrette is the News Editor of this article. www.whiteville.com