Economic Development

Sonja Marston, Assistant City Manager |828-438-5229 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Assistant City Manager serves as the primary contact and coordinator for economic development in the City of Morganton. The Assistant City Manager works with the City Manager, Development and Design Services Director, Main Street Department, and several county agencies to recruit and promote business development in the City.


Morganton covers 18.55 square miles. Interstate 40 runs through the City and five interstate exits are located in the city limits: Exits 98, 100, 103, 104, and 105. In addition to I-40, U.S. Highways 64 and 70 and NC highways 18 and 181 intersect the City's corporate limits at various points. I-85, I-77 and I-26 are within 50 miles of the City.

Southern Railway services Morganton and Burke County by rail and approximately 30 major truck carriers provide ground/freight transportation.

Charlotte and Asheville are about an hour’s drive away. Charlotte's Douglas International Airport is approximately 70 miles from Morganton and offers about 500 flights per day. General aviation and charter services, as well as housing for numerous corporate and private aircraft are available at the Foothills Regional Airport approximately eight miles northeast of Morganton. This facility is a joint venture between the City of Morganton, Burke County, the City of Lenoir and Caldwell County.

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Burke County Public Schools: The Burke County School system is recognized as one of the most progressive in the State. In addition to the public school system, there are several private school alternatives in Morganton.

Western Piedmont Community College: Western Piedmont Community College is an accredited community college offering associate degrees in Nursing, Basic Law Enforcement Training, Dental Assisting, Early Childhood Education, Medical Assisting, and Medical Laboratory Technology.

Foothills Higher Education Center: Western Piedmont Community College works in partnership with area public and private colleges and universities to provide opportunities for local residents to have access to baccalaureate and master degree programs offered in the region. Appalachian State University, Lees McRae College, and Western Carolina University offer coursework toward a variety of degrees at Foothills Higher Education Center in Morganton.

  • Appalachian State University at (828) 448-6142
  • Lees McRae College at (828) 898-2518
  • Western Carolina University at (828) 448-3507

Appalachian State University is within an hours drive of Morganton, and Western Carolina University is about an hour and 45 minutes away. 

Major Employers

Employer Service # of Employees
Burke County Schools Public education 2,200
Carolinas HealthCare Blue Ridge Health care 1,400 
Broughton Hospital Mental health care 1,200
J. Iverson Riddle Development Center Mental health care 1,000
Case Farms Food production 725
Leviton Manufacturing, electrical 620
Western Piedmont Community College Community college 560 
Burke County Goverment County government 499
Continental Teves Manufacturing, automotive 450
Viscotec Manufacturing, automotive 250

NC Public Power Community

electricities logoThe City of Morganton is a NC Public Power Community and proud member of ElectriCities. ElectriCities Economic Development offers a variety of services to promote public power communities to businesses and economic developers.

ElectriCities Economic Development

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Strategic Plan

dd Mission2030 Marketing Brochure 20130909 2The City of Morganton is committed to helping business, industry, and entrepreneurs succeed in the marketplace by adopting policies and pursing projects that strengthen and diversify the local economy.

The City Council adopted the Mission Comprehensive Land Development 2030 Plan in 2009, and in 2014, the Council approved a new zoning ordinance that provides benefits to developers and landowners that choose to meet Mission 2030 goals and expectations.


The City of Morganton provides municipal electric, water, wastewater, cable television, Internet, and VOIP phone service at very competetive rates. Natural gas is available through Piedmont Natural Gas Company. Local landline and wireless telephone service is available through various providers.

Morganton is a NC Public Power Community and a member of ElectriCities, and the Electric Services Department has received four consecutive Reliable Public Power Awards since 2008. The City of Morganton Water Plant has received North Carolina Area Wide Optimization Program award for 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2014.


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Burke Development, Inc.

bdi-logoBurke Development, Inc. (BDI) works to meet the needs of prospective companies and to facilitate expansion and growth plans for existing businesses in Burke County, NC.

BDI maintains and distributes information on land and buildings available for development, compiles demographic data, coordinates activities with governmental and non-governmental entities and keeps abreast of State and Federal economic development programs. BDI also offers orientation tours to prospective companies to showcase the many natural resources and facilities that create the unique quality of life found in Burke County.

City Contact


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Staff Directory

305 E. Union St. Ste A100
Morganton, NC 28655 i Google Maps 16x16

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