Economic Development Advisory Board Elects Aldridge As Chair

Longtime Clayton Business Leader Will Build on County’s Recent Job Wins

JoOHNSTON COUNTY – Clayton businessman Ed Aldridge has been elected to serve as chairman of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board. The 14-member voluntary panel, which guides economic development policy for the County, elected Aldridge by unanimous vote at its April 17 meeting. 

Aldridge succeeds Randy Jones, a Pine Level resident who has led the board for the last four years. With Jones at the helm of the Advisory Board, Johnston County announced more than $1.5 billion in economic investment and implemented important new tools to attract and grow high-wage companies, including a Building Lease and Building Reuse Grant programs. In that time, and Scot Industries arrived in Smithfield and Four Oaks, respectively, and Novo Nordisk, BD and Bartlett Milling were among numerous existing companies launching expansion plans in Johnston County. Edgewater Ventures, Al. Neyer, E.D. Parker Corp., BioRealty Inc. and AdvanceTEC each launched significant plans for speculative industrial space during that time. 

“I’m proud to pass the torch over to Ed, who has served ably as the board’s Vice Chairman over the past four years and brings a uniquely valuable range of leadership and technical skills to the County’s economic development program as we build on the success of recent years,” says Jones, who will continue to represent the Town of Pine Level on the board. “The board’s guidance is crucial to setting and achieving Johnston County’s economic vision, and I am eager to continue doing my part to support this important work.”

A native of Tarboro, Aldridge is vice president of business development for Riverwild, a fast-growing property company in Clayton with expertise in site infrastructure, sewer and stormwater management, environmental solutions and related systems. His career includes 25 years as a strategic account manager at Gregory Poole Equipment Company. In addition to being a deacon at White Oak Baptist Church, Aldridge is a member of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. He holds a degree in business management from NC State University. Aldridge has been an at-large member of the Advisory Board since 2019.

“It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of great leaders like Randy Jones, Mayor Cheryl Oliver and many others who have chaired this important group, but it’s also a challenge to rise to their level,” Aldridge says. “Great things are happening for Johnston County, and we will continue to be aggressive in winning new jobs and investment and working to ensure we have the workforce that tomorrow’s employers need. I intend to stay firmly focused on that basic vision,” he says. 

Board members also unanimously elected retired Brigadier General Steve Hargis as Vice Chairman and Dale Moore as Secretary-Treasurer. Hargis, a Johnston County resident and businessman, has served as an “at large” member on the Economic Development Advisory Board since 2015. Moore is a longtime Kenly entrepreneur and civic leader who has represented the Town of Kenly on the board since 2016. 

Chris Johnson, director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office, says consistently strong leadership sets the County apart from its competition. “It’s always boiled down to visionary businesspeople like Randy, Ed, Steve, Dale and many others who give tirelessly of their time and expertise in order to create opportunities here for future generations,” Johnson says. “My hat is off to both of these remarkable leaders for their role in making Johnston Count a better place.”

The Johnston County Economic Development Office (JCEDO) facilitates value-added interaction between government, education and the private sector in encouraging and promoting job creation and economic investment in Johnston County. A unit of county government, JCEDO 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. Its menu of services includes customized digital mapping, labor and wage analysis, site readiness assistance and incentive packaging. For additional information, visit

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