From Textiles to Technology in NC
North Carolina is moving forward; moving “up to the deluxe apartment in the sky”, as the starting song for the show “227”.
The foothills of North Carolina are famous for furniture and textiles. But as jobs in those industries moved overseas, local leaders worried about too many closed factories and skyrocketing unemployment.“We have been as high this year as 17.9 percent,” said Tom Johnson of the Economic Development Commission of North Carolina’s Rutherford County. “A lot of that, of course, is attributable to textile operations closing.”So, Rutherford County, and other small communities in the foothills of North Carolina, banked on a high-tech future. They started luring companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook to build massive computer data centers. Such facilities require plenty of electricity and extensive cooling systems.With the region’s history of manufacturing, much of the power and water infrastructure is already in place. In fact, Facebook is building a new data farm right on the property of an old textile mill near Forest City, N.C.“What we recognized in North Carolina is that it has an abundance of power,” said Peter Marin, president of T5 Partners, a company that develops data centers. “It has nuclear power. It has a pro-business environment.”