CARY — As Christopher Chung drives to his new job as North Carolina’s top economic developer, he passes a nearly complete glass office building that will soon house 1,200 MetLife employees.
The bustling construction sites represents something of a disappointment for Chung, who became director of the public-private Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina this month. He’d unsuccessfully courted the MetLife technology hub in 2013 while leading a similar agency in Missouri.
MetLife executives ultimately decided they could better attract skilled workers to Cary than to St. Louis, Chung said. Nearly two years later, Chung is working in Cary himself and cut the ribbon on the Economic Development Partnership’s new office on Thursday afternoon.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he joked. “(North Carolina) is already seen as one of the top five states for doing business. We are going to get a shot to be competitive a lot more often.”
Chung will lead the state’s new approach to recruiting jobs, which combines private contributions and state government resources in a model pushed by Gov. Pat McCrory. Chung arrives as McCrory seeks funding for new incentives from the state legislature.
McCrory told business leaders earlier this month that “I do not have the tools ...