In his 36 years of crunching the numbers on Charlottes growth, Tony Crumbley found plenty of trends he used to promote the city:
Theres been the citys population boom in the mid-2000s. The emergence of biotech jobs in the region. And, most notably to him, Charlottes conversion into a place where career-minded transplants would stay for the long term, instead of only a few years.
Theres been a longtime commitment to discovering the facts of this community, and marketing the city based on whats here, said Crumbley, 64, who retires today as the chambers vice president of research.
It was Crumbleys job to market the city through the Chambers magazines, brochures and website copy.
Those responsibilities now go to two Chamber staffers: Erin Watkins, now the director of research, will be promoted to a senior director position; Chamber spokeswoman Natalie Dick becomes vice president of public relations and research. Their tasks will be to promote more of the Chambers research findings with the community, Crumbley said.
When Crumbley, a Kannapolis native, joined the Chamber as an intern from UNC Charlotte, Charlotte and the South werent seen as places to develop permanent careers, he said.
If you wanted to move up in a company, you had to move out, Crumbley said.
He said Charlottes conversion to the place for people seeking opportunities has been the biggest storyline during his tenure. Charlotte grew by 57,000 during its population boom around 2006. Even during and after the recession in 2008, we had people moving here, because they knew they had a better opportunity to find a job here.
And Charlotte is still growing: In 2010, 46,000 people moved here, Crumbley said. That surge is seen in Charlottes diverse economy, he said, which includes recent growth in the fields of energy, health care and advanced manufacturing.
Ive dealt with the era of Charlotte budding. Were about to see Charlotte really bloom now, Crumbley said.