FCEDC’s President and CEO Honored with Innovation of the Year Award
Contact: Kim Hasty, Director of Communications
FCEDC’s President and CEO Robert Van Geons Honored with Statewide Innovation of the Year Award
FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA) announced Wednesday that Robert Van Geons, President and CEO of Fayetteville Cumberland Economic Development Corporation (FCEDC), is the winner of the inaugural Innovation of the Year Award. Van Geons received the award during the organization’s annual conference in Wrightsville Beach.
Van Geons was recognized for his work toward bridging the digital divide in Fayetteville and Cumberland County, advancing the goal of affordable and ubiquitous access to advanced digital infrastructure for all residents. FCEDC facilitated the arrival of Segra and played a significant role in the successful recruitment of Metronet to Cumberland County, working closely with the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and the Fayetteville Public Works Commission. Metronet, Segra, and Lumen/Brightspeed are investing millions of dollars in our community, providing high-speed internet access to thousands of previously unserved and underserved families.
“Cumberland County is unique among North Carolina communities, and Robert Van Geons’ creative leadership has made a measurable difference in embracing workforce and infrastructure development opportunities that emerge from that uniqueness,” said Ryan Nance, Co-Chairman of NCEDA’s Professional Development Committee. “His pioneering approach to problem-solving during the difficult period of the pandemic was an inspiration to economic development practitioners across the state.”
NCEDA also commended Van Geons for leading his team’s combined efforts with North Carolina legislators to establish the CORE Innovation Center, an accelerator space for technology-minded entrepreneurs and small businesses that opened in 2018. The CORE, located in the Robert C. Williams Building in downtown Fayetteville, provides resources for established innovators and entrepreneurs, supporting job-creating startups.
“This recognition is a credit to the consistent support we receive from the City of Fayetteville and Cumberland County,” Van Geons said. “Envisioned by State Senator Kirk deViere, championed by past FCEDC Chairman Jack Rostetter, and seeded with funds secured by State Representative John Szoka, this success is due to their efforts and the work of so many others.”
“We started this journey seeking to create a nexus for conversation and collaboration around technology innovation,” Van Geons said. “Today, we have dozens of companies utilizing world-class data infrastructure to create hundreds of jobs in Fayetteville and Cumberland County. I am sincerely grateful for NCEDA’s recognition of the work we are doing, and I am proud to be part of such an incredible community.”
To champion innovation and enhance tech connections for the community, Van Geons is engaged with multiple professional organizations such as IEEE and Consumer Technology Association. Notably, Van Geons serves on the NC Technology Association’s Board of Advisors, which is dedicated to the development of North Carolina’s tech sector.
“Our team at FCEDC is committed to building a dynamic and business-friendly community, leveraging next-generation technologies and a uniquely skilled workforce,” Van Geons said. “We are fortunate to benefit from a strong and productive relationship with our city and county officials, who also believe that our community can be a leading center for applied innovation.”
About NCEDA: The North Carolina Economic Development Alliance serves as the voice for North Carolina’s economic development community – providing professional development, networking opportunities, and advocacy to secure the state’s economic future. Learn more at www.nceda.org.
About FCEDC: The Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private partnership designed to enhance job growth and prosperity in the region by attracting new industry and growing and retaining existing industry. FCEDC works daily to help strengthen our economy and diversify our community tax base. Successful projects would not be possible without the ongoing support of the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and community partners. Learn more at www.fayedc.com.
ABOUT FCEDC’s CORE INNOVATION CENTER: Launched in 2018, The CORE provides resources for both established companies and entrepreneurs to create the next generation of cybersecurity, augmented reality, digital healthcare, and other technologies. With more than 6,500 square feet of private offices, meeting rooms, and event space, the CORE is home to more than a dozen early-stage companies. To learn more, visit www.corefayetteville.com.