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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lonnie Poole, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0085. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Economic growth changes region but region retains some local color

Poole notes that population and economic growth are faster in the Southeast than elsewhere in the nation, and more people plus more economic growth means more trash. Despite this growth, and despite the connectivity fostered by transportation and telecommunication developments, Poole thinks that North Carolina has retained some local flavor.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lonnie Poole, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0085. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JM: How about your perspective on the broad business climate in North Carolina across these years, uniquely a good place to do business, or just a good place to do business that's done especially well? LP: It's better now than it was in 1970. But it wasn't bad in '70. Is it unique? Probably not. I think that North Carolina is part of a bigger thing called the Southeast. I think, it certainly as it applies to our business. There are two things that we see growing faster in the Southeast, not just North Carolina. One is the economic activity is about a third faster than the national average in population growth is about a third faster. The two primary drivers of garbage generation are people and economic activity. So from our perspective and those are kind of what we look at, it is certainly great in North Carolina. It's better in some places than others. Is it just unique to North Carolina? No. It's a southeastern thing. But are there other markets that we think exist in areas outside of the Southeast that are just as exciting. But we just happened to be here, and this is our market and we like it. I'm glad we have a robust economy. JM: How much is North Carolina hanging onto what maybe a full generation ago was a certain regional distinctiveness in business activity and character? LP: Are you talking the Triangle area or--. JM: Well perhaps, or your experience here. Is North Carolina still a Southern or a regional, does it have that kind of feel any longer? Has that given a way to a different kind of business style? LP: It does to us, but a lot has changed. We speak of global, and you're as close to someone else as you are to your computer through Internets and websites and all kinds of different forms of communication. It certainly is a smaller world. I don't think a thing in the world about going on a day trip to a business meeting a thousand miles away. When we first started in business, I didn't do that because one it was cost prohibitive, and secondly I couldn't afford it. In today's business world, taking a day trip to Dallas for a two-hour business meeting is not unheard of. Most of the background and backdrop for that can be done in faxes and communicating through email and whatever. So then you're only down to just those things that require the personal eye to eye contact. There are still many, many things that need to be done that way. Does North Carolina still have that local flavor? I think it does. From our perspective, we see the communities where we work, and they're still small towns can have just as many bad small town habits as it did twenty-five years ago. Kind of what was it Andy Griffith and Mayberry? Not quite that bad, but small towns can still be the ultimate in small townisms. But on the other hand they're a part of everybody recognizing we're part of a bigger more global thing. Communications are faster. Information is instant. It's all hooked together, and everything moves at a much faster pace. Have the good and bad of both.