Wilmington Named 2nd Best City to Start Business In

Wilmington Named 2nd Best City to Start Business In

Wilmington is the second-best city in the U.S. to start a business, according to a new report.

San Francisco-based financial planning website NerdWallet analyzed 183 metropolitan areas with 15,000 or more businesses and populations of more than 250,000, as to six factors: The average revenue of businesses; the percentage of businesses with paid employees; the number of businesses per 100 people; the median annual income; median annual housing cost and unemployment rate.

All of the cities in the top 10 are in smaller markets of less than 1 million in population. Wilmington’s population is 259, 815.

Boulder, Colorado is the No. 1 place to start a business, according to the report.

Here’s how other North Carolina metros stack up among the 183 on the list: Asheville ranks No. 48, Durham-Chapel Hill is No. 57, Greensboro-High Point is No. 69, Raleigh-Cary is No. 73, Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton is No. 144, Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord is No. 146, Winston-Salem is No. 152 and Fayetteville is No. 175.

Local Living -Paying His Way With Shark Teeth

Local Living -Paying His Way With Shark Teeth

Elliot Weston sells shark teeth recovered in ocean. Here’s the Q and A from our reporter:

You wear lots of hats, but are known for your shark tooth diving. Tell us what all you do.

“So I run a mixed model business offshore. We commercial fish, dive for shark teeth and even do charter fishing trips and chartered shark teeth dives as well.”

He said his company for shark teeth is Weston Collections, but he also operates Last Minute Charters and Seafood Management Group. For now the seafood company is selling to wholesalers in the region.

Explain what a day on the job is like.

“So typically in the summer we are up at 3:30 to 4 before first light and from there we leave out of Carolina Beach Inlet and it takes about two to three hours to get offshore to some of our sites. I’ll go for the first dive, collect some teeth and do some spearfishing as well.”

Once Weston comes up from the dive, the boat will head to some nearby ledges to fish for sea bass for the rest of the day, then dock and sell the harvest.

Other days are a balancing acts, he said. He spends time managing the three ventures and updating the online shop for shark teeth or shipping out shark teeth orders.

How did you get started?

“I’ve been a collector since I was a little boy … I always like to find stuff.”

His father was really into fishing so throughout his childhood Weston traveled all over from their home in Chicago. He later got a degree in fisheries biology with a minor in scientific diving leadership from Humboldt State University in California. It was there he started diving offshore, finding abalone and other treasures.

In 2009 Weston moved to the Wilmington area to work as a scientific diver with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Working underwater he would sometimes come across giant shark teeth.

“When I found out North Carolina had all these shark teeth and I was coming here as a diver, I thought it would be cool to find some after all the agates and petrified wood I had found off the west coast. These shark teeth were rocks I could actually sell.”

Today he is close to finishing his master’s degree in marine biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Do people have a common response when you tell them what you do for a living?

“I usually get a mixed response. Some people get excited or scared and they’ll tell me they can’t believe I do that for a living, or think what I do is crazy.”

Others, he said, are envious and tell him they would love to dive and be out on the ocean for a living.

What sort of stuff do you find out in the ocean?

Weston has found hundreds of shark teeth, many as large as the palm of his hand. The megalodon teeth are anywhere from 4 to 20 million years old. He keeps his giant collection organized by type and size in wide wooden drawers he made himself. Treasures from Weston’s dives on the west coast decorate his office — abalone shells, petrified wood, and chalcedony. Chalcedony, which Weston sometimes calls “God’s artwork,” has what looks like swirls of resin inside and almost looks as if someone carved it.

More than 40 miles off the coast of Wilmington, he has found plenty of mammal fossils. Mammoth teeth, mastodon teeth, goat teeth and even horse teeth. The reason these mammal fossils could be located so far offshore may be that the shoreline extended much further thousands of years ago, Weston said.

What training is required?

“Dive and boat experience is the most important part of the job,” he said. “It gets real deep, visibility can turn and sometimes conditions can be really nice and then get nasty almost instantly.”

Share something not so pleasant about the job.

“The hardest part of the job is just the logistics — you have to know your tides and locations, know the buoys out in the water and know the ins and outs of the boat so if something breaks out in the ocean, you can fix it.

“You have to know how to plan ahead for a successful mission and be prepared for anything to happen. It’s constant problem solving.”

What is your favorite part about this job?

“Coming home,” Weston said, laughing.

Ultimately while diving is a thrill, passion and adventure, it is work, he said.

“I love sharing what we find with everyone and seeing people happy when they buy some of the stuff we come across. We also are able to do outreach with children, we have fossil dig kits to promote education in the natural sciences and kids can find shark teeth and identify the species. So really seeing them learn, being able to tell stories — those are all the things I love … and even though some days can be hard, I wouldn’t trade what I do and the adventure of it all.”

NC Ports Adds New Transatlantic Service

NC Ports Adds New Transatlantic Service

bndvtl0bhposeoohqqafwWilmington, N.C. – North Carolina Ports is pleased to announce another new partnership with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Maersk Line with the addition of the TA2/NEUATL2 Europe-U.S. East Coast container service. The enhanced TA2/NEUATL2 service will provide unprecedented access between Bremerhaven, Felixstowe, Le Harve and Wilmington, North Carolina.

“An optimized transatlantic trade network allows us to align our services with North Carolina’s business needs,” said Executive Director, Paul J. Cozza. “As we continue to invest in our facilities we’ll see even more activity at our Port of Wilmington, thus furthering our economic contribution to the state.”

As part of its ongoing infrastructure investment plan, North Carolina Ports recently announced the order of two New Panamax ship-to-shore cranes with an option to purchase two more from designer Shanghai Zhenjua Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (ZPMC). Between the new cranes, turning basin expansion project, various berth improvements, and the expansion of the container yard, North Carolina Ports will pump over $120 million into its infrastructure over the next few years.

These investments, along with the operational efficiencies associated with North Carolina Ports, have led, in part, to recent service additions at the Port of Wilmington. The TA2/NEUATL2 service rotation includes port calls in Bremerhaven, Felixstowe, Antwerp and Le Havre in Europe. The transatlantic network touts market leading transit times to the U.S. East Coast and will begin calling the Port of Wilmington in April.

“This service opens up capacity for supplementary imports and exports from markets in Northern Europe,” said Chief Commercial Officer, Greg Fennell. “To have the top two container carriers in the world come together and provide service options for us on the transatlantic and transpacific side is pretty special.”

The scale of this transatlantic network has led to slot purchase agreements, reached directly with Hamburg Sud and Hyundai. All vessels associated with this service will be operated exclusively by MSC and Maersk Line (which combine to make the 2M Alliance). The 2M partners already deploy multiple strings into the Port of Wilmington. The TP10/Amberjack all-water Asia-U.S. East Coast container service began in early October of 2016. In addition, Maersk Line runs services via its Intra-Americas regional ocean carrier – SeaLand. The SeaLand Atlantico and revised SAE services provide access to Latin America for ports customers.

North Carolina’s ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and in Greensboro, link the state’s consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry to the State of North Carolina. Port activities contribute statewide to 76,000 jobs and $700 million each year in state and local tax revenues.