Dell delivers good news

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

LASKER – Northampton County business leaders heard the good news from Dick Dell last week at Valley Pine Country Club in Lasker.

The Northampton County Chamber of Commerce hosted a business after hours and Dell, Executive Director of the Advanced Vehicle Research Center under construction on a 600 acre site near Garysburg, was the featured speaker.

Perhaps the most encouraging portion of the presentation was Dell’s estimate that, within time, the AVRC would create between 6,000 and 20,000 jobs for the area and the state.

In addition to positions created at the AVRC itself, other jobs would be created as additional industry, attracted by the AVRC, relocated to the area.

Lotus, the English auto manufacturer, has already announced plans to locate an engineering staff close to the AVRC.

Dell also outlined how the AVRC would facilitate growth of the transportation industry in North Carolina, create new opportunities for education and create massive opportunities for federal cooperation in the advancement of alternative fuels.

The Center’s primary customer base initially would be smaller automotive companies, such as Hyundai and Kia, along with tier 1 suppliers to the automotive industry.

However, to the pleasant surprise of Dell, all of the big three auto makers, Ford, General Motors and Daimler Chrysler, have expressed interest in using the facility. Even though these companies operate their own testing ground facilities, they are located in Michigan and the weather prohibits use several months of the year. The geographic location of the AVRC in Northampton County allows the facility to be used 12 months a year.

The ideal weather conditions, availability of 600 contiguous acres and the topography of the site are among the reasons why Northampton County was chosen from several other sites across the state to build and operate the AVRC.

Dell also mentioned that he had even been in contact with auto racing organizations about possibly hosting events at the facility. While not NASCAR, Dell indicated that in the future, the facility could be host to some open-wheel events.