The parking sign outside the meeting Monday morning called it the "Burr-Bowles Summit" but it could just have easily called it a "love fest."
Republican Sen. Richard Burr and the man he defeated in 2004, Democrat Erskine Bowles, now president of the University of North Carolina, were the stars of the North Carolina Economic Development Summit, Rob Christensen reports.
"I've had a chance to work with this guy for four full years and nobody works harder or smarter for North Carolina than Richard Burr does," Bowles told about 200 people at N.C. Central University. "His focus on this state is truly unbelievable."
In introducing Bowles, Burr said: "Erskine Bowles is the best president of the university system we had the pleasure of having."
Burr put on the summit to discuss what role the state's education institutions can play in helping with North Carolina's recovery — from training a better work force, to attracting more research grants, to acting as a magnet for new industry. He said it was the first in a series of economic summits he plans to hold.
The event attracted some high profile Triangle leaders including Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS, the Cary software manufacturer, Bob Ingram, the former GlaxoSmithKline executive, Bob Greczyn, the president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, and Scott Ralls, president of the state community college system.