Pittsboro, NC – The North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA) named Chatham County’s Wolfspeed project the Deal of the Year for 2023 in the large market category. The award recognizes Chatham Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as the driving force behind the deal.
This award is given to up to three NCEDA members from three different sized communities who achieved a significant project during the previous calendar year. The winners were announced Wednesday, June 28th at the NCEDA Annual Conference in Wilmington. President Michael Smith accepted the award on behalf of the EDC.
In his nomination, EDC partners and colleagues highlighted Smith’s dedication to Chatham County and tenacity in his role. Smith worked odd hours and cultivated new partnerships to help land the project at the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site in Siler City.
The project announcement, made in September of 2022 and proclaiming $5 billion in investment and 1,800 jobs, helped to seal the year as the biggest in economic development history for North Carolina. When totaled with the earlier VinFast announcement of $4 billion in investment and 7,500 jobs, Chatham announced a record-setting $9 billion in investment and 9,000 jobs in 2022 alone under Smith’s leadership.
“Michael Smith has been working extremely hard on behalf of Chatham County, and I am happy to see him recognized by his peers,” Greg Lewis, Chair of the Chatham EDC said. “Ultimately, Michael’s accomplishments benefit all of us. His hard work has led to new opportunities and a new future for Chatham. A company like Wolfspeed will transform Siler City and Chatham as a whole, for the better. We’re grateful for all his hard work and appreciative of everyone who worked beside him along the way.”
Smith is still on the trail of new projects for Chatham County. Significant acreage remains at the CAM Site in Siler City, with close access to the Triad region that is primed for advanced manufacturing. In addition to working with VinFast and Wolfspeed as their construction progresses, Smith will oversee a renewed business retention and expansion program for the county.
Smith and the work of the EDC are greatly supported by local and regional partners and Accelerate 2026 investors. Chatham County and Siler City government leadership, Central Carolina Community College, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Raleigh Executive Jetport, the City of Asheboro, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy were all key partners in the Wolfspeed deal.
“I am grateful to have been part of an all-star team that won this competitive mega-project,” Smith said. “Wolfspeed will be a significant part of the dramatic transformation in advanced manufacturing taking place now across NC. We appreciate the support and patience of the ownership group of the CAM site. The project also highlights our ability to work with our regional partners in Randolph County.”
Smith continued, “Finally, we appreciate the work of our predecessors at Chatham EDC such as Diane Reid and Alyssa Byrd to create the mega site program we have that has been successful in allowing us to be in position to have a record setting year of new job and investment announcements in NC.”