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The Board

Rick Carlisle

Managing Partner,
Dogwood Equity


BA in Economics from Duke University. Master of Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Business and Community Activities

Rick Carlisle is Managing Partner of Dogwood Equity -- Managers of the North Carolina Economic Opportunities Fund. The Fund invests in high quality, high growth companies located outside the major urban areas of North Carolina. Prior to founding Dogwood Equity, Carlisle served as Secretary of Commerce from 1998 – 2001.

He previously served as Economic Policy Advisor to the Governor from April 1993 to August 1997, and as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce until his appointment as Secretary in 1998.

Rick has been involved in economic development and public policy in a variety of roles since 1978. He previously served as a public official, a university economist, and as a public policy consultant in several nonprofit corporations. In North Carolina, he was engaged in the design of the Main Street Downtown Development Program, the Community Development Block Grant Program, the State Development Zones Program, the North Carolina Enterprise Corporation, the Microenterprise Development Program, and other initiatives to promote community and economic development in North Carolina.

Carlisle was also a principal architect of major legislative initiatives to promote North Carolina’s economic competitiveness. These include Governor Hunt’s 1995 tax reduction package, the 1996 William S. Lee Quality Jobs and Business Expansion Act, and the 1998 Economic Opportunity Act.

As Secretary, Carlisle worked to increase the state’s competitiveness for major economic development projects, particularly in the state’s rural areas. Successes include a $300 million dollar investment and a $180 million dollar investment in rural Northeastern North Carolina, and the Federal Express East Coast Hub in Greensboro, which will invest $300 million dollars and create 1500 jobs. He also emphasized the state’s competitiveness for technology-intensive enterprises and entrepreneurial development.


He serves on several boards, including the Board of Trustees for Western Carolina University. He served in the United States Air Force as a Vietnamese Linguist.

Board of Trustees, Western Carolina University.

Board of Trustees, Western Carolina University Foundation.

Board of Directors, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Foundation.

Board of Directors, Leadership North Carolina.

Board of Directors, National Association of Corporate Directors, RTP Chapter.

Board of Directors, North Carolina Commerce Trade and Development Fund.

Member, North Carolina Progress Board.