Kinston – The North Carolina Global TransPark Authority has hired Mark Pope to be its economic development director, effective July 15.
A Lenoir County native and East Carolina University alumnus, Pope has been president of the Wayne County Development Alliance since August 2018. From 2005 to 2018, he was economic development director in Lenoir County. He previously spent more than 20 years in the banking industry. Pope served as president of the North Carolina Economic Development Association in 2018-2019 and was selected as the organization's Economic Developer of the Year for 2010-2011.
“This is a huge win for the Global TransPark and for Eastern North Carolina," said NCGTP Executive Director John Rouse. “His knowledge and experience will build on the recent momentum here, and ultimately bring more jobs and opportunity to our region."
Pope will build on the recent successes at the Global TransPark, continuing efforts to recruit aviation-related industries and assist in job-creation efforts on behalf of the people of eastern North Carolina. He will work closely with the N.C. Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, North Carolina's Southeast Partnership, and other allies and partners to bring new industrial tenants to the Global TransPark. Pope's new duties will include collaborating with other communities in developing product and marketing the assets and amenities of eastern North Carolina.
“I am excited about joining John Rouse and the N.C. Department of Transportation to continue efforts to bring jobs and opportunity to eastern North Carolina," Pope said. “The Global TransPark has so much to offer as a preferred site for aviation enterprises, logistics companies and military contractors. Regional strategies to market the Global TransPark, embrace innovation and pave new avenues for job creation have been hallmarks of my career. This new role takes that perspective to a whole new level."
Joining Pope and Global TransPark Executive Director John Rouse will be Keely Koonce, who will serve as economic development specialist. An eastern North Carolina native, Koonce has been director of Lenoir County Economic Development since April 2018. She is a graduate of Arendell Parrott Academy and N.C. State University, and holds a Masters degree from Walden University. From 2012 to 2018, she was employed by Lenoir Community College.