Business North Carolina Recognizes Chris Johnson

SMITHFIELD – Business North Carolina magazine has again recognized Johnston County Economic Development Office Director Chris Johnson, naming him to its 2024 Power 100 list. It’s the third time Johnson has made the elite list, having previously been recognized in 2021 and 2022. The Charlotte-based monthly magazine has been published since 1981 and currently reaches more than 122,500 readers.

“The wins keep coming for Johnston County and (Chris) Johnson, who has led economic development efforts here since 2013,” the magazine’s editor wrote, citing industrial product development efforts Johnson has been leading in partnership with several private real estate firms.

County leaders welcomed Johnson’s statewide recognition. “Though Chris is much too modest to mention it, he is considered one of North Carolina’s most seasoned, most successful and most sought-after economic development professionals,” says Ed Aldridge, chairman of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board, a 14-member volunteer body that sets and monitors County strategies for job creation, industrial retention and economic investment. “There is a long list of reasons Johnston County has done so well in recent years, and Chris is definitely on that list, too. In economic development, there’s no substitute for consistently strong execution,” said Aldridge, a Clayton resident who has served on the board since 2016.

County Manager Rick Hester said the authenticity and energy-level Johnson brings to his role as the County’s chief business advocate helps distinguish him from counterparts in competing communities. “Chris will take a call, type an email, send a text or make a visit just about any time of day or night if it means Johnston County creates a job or recruits a company,” Hester says. “He has a rare mix of technical know-how and people skills that are usually evident in highly successful economic development professionals.”

“The Power List is based on talking with sources, undertaking considerable research and relying on years of experience covering North Carolina’s business community from this magazine’s unique statewide perspective,” explains Ben Kinney, publisher of Business North Carolina. “It’s particularly impressive to see how some leaders work together to attack key issues, including workforce training, affordable housing and innovation.”

Johnston County’s Economic Development Office collaborates with local, regional and statewide partners and allies in providing confidential location assistance to businesses and technical support to the county’s 11 municipalities. As a unit of County government, the office facilitates value-added interaction between government, education and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County, providing services such as customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness assistance and incentive packaging.


  1. Congratulations to Chris. Well-deserved! He is always willing to lend his expertise to those of us who desperately need it! Glad to see him receiving recognition for it.

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