Program Report: Michael Goodman – The Future of Durham

michaelGoodmanweb.News alert at the Monday lunch:

Expect major announcements “over the next two or three months.”  Yes – that was “announcements” with a very prominent, encouraging and intriguing “S.”

Breaking that welcome tidbit was our featured speaker, Michael Goodman, vice president of real estate for Capitol Broadcasting. Michael and his father, Jim Goodman have make Capital Broadcasting a major player in downtown Durham’s past, present and continuing economic development and cultural renaissance.

“I’m happy,” Goodman told a near full house of Rotarians as he wrapped up an unscripted, far-reaching speech about the future of downtown Durham.  Invited by this week’s Club correspondent to provide added color (within the stringent disclosure constraints that typify all such negotiations and potential announcements) Goodman responded with a flat “no” and chuckled that it was an easy question.

This sounds serious. And encouraging.

In fact, much of Goodman’s presentation was characterized by serious and encouraging facts and opinions about the region’s accomplishments and challenges ahead.

Among his encouraging points:

  • Regional rail is coming to the Triangle region.  “Let’s link it, let’s do it in a really productive way.”
  • American Underground, the Durham incubator to attract, launch and ultimately retain successful entrepreneurial ventures “has really bubbled up.” He described small business start-ups as “a really magical community” that illustrates Durham has “a really good opportunity to keep fostering entrepreneurship.”
  • The RDU region is expected to grow by more than a million people over the next 20 years.

Goodman said he was “distraught as hell” about the serious challenges facing Durham in two areas that our Club and its membership have long worked to improve:  Crime and Education.

“If we can’t get our arms around that we are never going to be the community we can be,” Goodman said, noting discouraging statistics that show widening racial and socioeconomic disparities in educational achievement.

“We should be mad about this,” he said. “We should be working really hard on this.  If we are not working hard on it, we ain’t going to get there.  We have a lot of work to do.  Education is a silver bullet and I truly believe that.”

President Don closed the March 11 meeting by recognizing Goodman’s and his father’s vision, planning and execution reaching back to the earliest days of Durham’s re-emergence.  “You just have to say Wow.”

(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)

 

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