Currituck sees a high-tech future

By on November 16, 2012

Paveya: Global reach offering higher paying jobs.

In the last election campaign, several candidates focused on a need to diversify to create high paying jobs not reliant on tourism and construction.

A good suggestion for the candidates who won would be to look to the north, specifically to Currituck County.

Paveya, a sister company of Currituck-based VBL Technologies, launched in September with a new product line and website.

“Companies like VBL Technologies and Paveya are an emerging economic development model for our region,” said Peter Bishop, Currituck County’s economic development director.

“They built their business here they because love it here – and they found we have all of the supporting infrastructure to be successful”

Team members Brett McIntyre and Claiborne Yarborough are focused on making the local company cast a global shadow.

Unlike its parent company, which serves local and regional businesses, Paveya has set its sights on creating a company that leverages its experience marketing Outer Banks businesses in cyberspace to other areas.

In a few short months, the company has landed clients as far south as Myrtle Beach and north to eastern Canada, making Paveya one of a handful of local businesses selling products and services across international borders.

Paveya is seeking to fill a gap in business marketing – management of all things “online.”

McIntyre and Yarborough explained the evolution of the online business presence.

The Worldwide Web and e-mail have been important marketing tools for what is closing in on two decades. Today, a website is as common as a yellow pages listing during the 1970s.

Just about everybody has one, and a mere webpage no longer separates your business from millions of others scattered across the nation and the world.

As Yarborough noted, the online world is much more sophisticated.

Customers expect websites to offer more than information; they should also provide a direct sales channel where possible.

Add to the mix Facebook, Twitter, and apps such as TripAdvisor, and Urban Spoon, managing your online presence goes far beyond the web and e-mail newsletters.

Many local readers may not be aware, but the Outer Banks was one of the first places in the world to market itself successfully as a region on the Internet.

Local rental companies led the way with online catalogs, reservations, e-mail newsletters, homeowner access to rental data and using their websites to market complementary businesses such as golf and fishing outings or new restaurants.

The Outer Banks was also ahead of the curve when local businesses expanded websites to include blogs where employees provided insights into the business and the region, sending out tweets on Twitter to followers and establishing a presence on Facebook.

Paveya’s personnel cut their teeth in this progressive and competitive market and they now offer that expertise to the entire world.

The new venture also offers “under the hood” services.

These days, not only is a compelling website and social media presence a must; search engine results are even more important.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the science behind how your web pages are coded. Staying one step ahead of the complex algorithms used by search engines such as Google weighs heavily on how your site will rank on keyword searches such as “Outer Banks condos”.

If the above paragraph sounds like a foreign language to a business owner, chances are you require the expertise of a company like Paveya.

The price points are designed to cover retail, financial, real estate, small businesses and professionals.

Packages including web design and development can run as low as $129 a month.

Yarborough said their offerings are good for real estate agents, who almost always have their own web page in addition to their presence on the real estate company website.

E-commerce starts as low as $2,995 a year and includes online catalogs and ordering, wholesale pricing, support for e-coupons, integration with Facebook, online payment gateways such as PayPal and inventory tracking.

Paveya will even create and write content for a company “blog” on your website.

Geography isn’t an obstacle, and Paveya engages local writers with local knowledge for their clients. If you own a bed and breakfast in rural Pennsylvania and want a blog on your web page to describe all there is to experience during your stay, Paveya will find a local talented writer to pepper that blog with relevant content.

But how does this also help the local job market?

Peter Bishop says: “Having captured a strong share of the local market, Paveya is now growing to export their services globally. They don’t need to be in Raleigh or Charlotte to be successful and compete — they can compete in Currituck.

“Currituck is working to build a more diverse economy that isn’t as subject to the throes of visitor spending, providing more consistent, year-round employment. We are actively working to help our small businesses like Paveya grow while also recruiting new companies in technology, agriculture, services and manufacturing.

“Low taxes and an excellent quality of life make for compelling arguments to small and medium-sized companies, who can essentially locate anywhere in a digital, global marketplace.”

“Our stepped-up marketing efforts, coupled with major investments in the COA Regional Aviation & Technical Training Center and state-certified industrial park, show Currituck is serious about helping create good jobs for the region.”

If one considers our fragile environment, high-tech jobs where employees live and work here but earn their wages from clients spread around the nation and the globe is a perfect fit for the region.
There are no chemicals, pollution, or large buildings with huge parking lots dumping water into the roads and sounds.

Income for the business and employee salaries are not tied to the local real estate, construction and tourism cycles.

Writers, web page designers and programmers are professional jobs that provide higher salaries than are typical for the Outer Banks, where unemployment remains well above the state and national rate.
The attractions of living here, from excellent schools to low crime rates and access to healthy outdoor activities and excellent restaurants should prove attractive to the type of employees drawn to high-tech jobs.

In short, not only can Paveya help local companies succeed in an online world that requires a presence on cell phones, tablets and computers; it is also looking to diversify the employment opportunities and economic base of the entire region.

Politicians may talk about creating jobs, but at the end of the day, businesses like Paveya are what can provide the economic stability and middle-class jobs this region needs to avoid a repeat of the 2008 economic meltdown.

For more information visit their web site: http://www.paveya.com/

The Voice welcomes stories about other local businesses that are expanding their presence outside of the region and attracting employees not tied to our traditional economy. Contact us at: info@outerbanksvoice.com if you think your business fits this description. The Voice does not receive advertising or other fees for feature articles on local businesses.

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Comments

LocalTechGuy

November 21, 2012 8:43 am

Jon,

Point taken, good ones at that. Heck i used to work for SAIC. :) Currituck is where the industry is going to have to go, no other feasible place for it. Any responsible business that depends on an actual structure to stay in biz is not going to put that structure in a high wind area anyway – their insurance reps would forbid it. Local leaders and the state need to start now and prepare plans for transportation upgrades and smart growth policies so they don’t increase the commute to the beach by another hour. Build that new bridge, for sure – that’s a must, but as a bit of a tree-hugger I hate to see it happen, but it’s inevitable I’m afraid. We just have to make the best of it and VOTE for leaders that can pull it off in a sane manner. Local NC leaders also need to create an “economic zone” that INCLUDES Tidewater – and the planning for the transportation upgrades need to be a dual-state effort.

But as far as economic development, here is the reality on the ground and here’s what I think is going to happen during the course of the next decade in not just OBX but other out-of-the-way resort communities across the states, and I am going to present this to local economic dev officials at some point in the near future:

Three major points of interest here, I think you can take points 1 and 2 to the bank:

1. Baby boomers are starting to retire. Many of them are tech-savvy, and lots of them are sick of living the stressful life in the major metro areas, so they’re going to start to bail in droves. I know this because I work with them every day and I personally know of a pretty good handful of people ready to rock down to OBX or the nearby Tidewater area. These baby boomers are not going to retire, they’re going to semi-retire (60 is the new 40, right? LOL)…and that is going to lead to new, small tech businesses and lots of them are going to want to hire small quantities of local talent.

2. As these boomers boogie outa dodge, they’re gonna leave a huge mid- and upper-level management vacuum. Guess what happens then? The mid- and senior-level engineers and tech guys are going to have to fill those voids because, quite frankly, no one else can – it takes “domain knowledge” and you can’t just grab someone off the street to work in many of these areas, they need years of experience.

3. The chain reaction continues as now all of these beltway bandits and other support firms can’t find enough people to do the work (my firm is ALWAYS looking for tech people, especially software engineers and we can never find enough of them). So I think that is going to push remote telecommuting policies more in to the mainstream and, most importantly, this whole concept of “rural outsourcing” will really become mainstream and that means jobs with training, bennies, more money in to the local tax base, etc., etc., etc.

Have a great day!

Jon

November 20, 2012 6:01 pm

LTG, ain’t no way we end up like NoVA, that happened because the Feds poured defense money into the Beltway Bandits back in the ’80s and never really let up. I mean SAIC (just to pick one of many) has more revenue than the entire Dare Co. economy. Like eight times more! That’s not all in NoVA of course, but their HQ is.

Keep industry west of the bypass, on Roanoke Island, and on the mainlands, the tourists will never know it’s there.

Perry

November 20, 2012 11:26 am

Wasn’t it about three or four years ago we held, with a big splash of publicity, a symposium on this same subject at the Wright Brothers Pavilion? Are you still waiting, as I am?

LocalTechGuy

November 20, 2012 8:56 am

Two words: Rural Outsourcing.

Russ Lay – do us all a favor: go out and do the research on the latest trends in rural outsourcing and present it as a follow-up article! Educate the masses!

Congrats to VBL and Paveya. Keep as much of your talent local as you can, that’s what’s needed. And don’t just grab high-school kids on internships – grab a framer, a maid, and a cook and teach them how to code websites…

I will be contacting the parent firm soon as I’m getting ready to launch a tech biz in Kitty Hawk that might complement their business model and the local area as a whole.

I’m also very interested in the College of The Albemarle’s Currituck County Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center. This could be a huge boon to Currituck and OBX if we can get some of the bigger players involved (Lockheed, Airbus, Boeing, etc.). Right now, it’s looking like this is going to be more of a fabrication training center (think sheet metal) for light aircraft, but the vision could be expanded very easily if the school and the county plays their cards right.

Last thing I’ll say on the issue of economic development in and around the OBX: we can have both a nice resort community and a great place to work that attracts a good mix of tech and service jobs – but we need to make sure we don’t ruin the resort feel in the process. The citizenry needs to keep their elected officials in check on this point and insure that smart, sustained growth in and around OBX is happening or we’ll just end up with another Northern Virginia and no one wants that! :)

Have a great day and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Nags Head Guy

November 19, 2012 10:04 am

@corollagirl. All of their employees live in either Currituck or Dare counties.

Erock

November 18, 2012 9:52 pm

This is a great way to increase county revenue and that benefits all ‘locals.’ This, in itself, is reason enough to be excited about businesses being established in Currituck County, regardless of where the employees live. It’s called expanding the tax base.

Jon

November 18, 2012 8:39 pm

The advantage of technology is not just that a business can employ people in remote locations, but that people with those skills can choose to live where they want. We are a remote location! The reasons that make this area attractive to tourists also make it attractive to technology employees; why not work from a tablet on the beach? :)

Currituck has a great start; Peter Bishop is a young, bright guy who is completely focused on diversifying the Currituck economy. Currituck also has advantages in location being closer to defense industries in VA. And if they get their bridge, they’ll have an advantage in tourism, especially with Dare’s problems with access in Hatteras.

Dare needs to pay attention to economic development, and fast!

corollagirl

November 18, 2012 11:58 am

But how many of the actual employees will be based in Currituck County or the OBX? By its very nature, this type of business can employ people regardless of where they live since most of their work is done electronically! Hello and welcome to the 21st century!

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