Under the Dome

McCrory’s Commerce Secretary joins law firm to represent businesses

N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla, speaks at the CPCC Global Competitiveness Summit on Wednesday March 18,2015 held at CPCC Harris Conference Center.
N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla, speaks at the CPCC Global Competitiveness Summit on Wednesday March 18,2015 held at CPCC Harris Conference Center. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

A few weeks after his tenure in Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration ended, former Commerce Secretary John Skvarla has a new job: senior government relations adviser at the Raleigh firm of Nexsen Pruet.

After two years leading the Department of Commerce, Skvarla will now be working the other side of economic development deals, assisting businesses that are looking to expand or locate new operations. The firm’s website lists his expertise in tax credits and other government incentives.

Before Commerce, Skvarla led the Department of Environmental Quality. Nexsen Pruet also announced Wednesday that it has hired Neal Robbins, who worked under Skvarla at the environmental regulatory agency and later started the North State Journal newspaper with several other former McCrory administration officials.

Robbins did not return a phone call from The News & Observer, but told the North State Journal that he plans to continue serving as its publisher while also taking on the new job.

“Today there is unprecedented competition for economic development projects between states and local governments, and the agreements are more complex than ever,” Ernie Pearson, chair of Nexsen Pruet’s Economic Development Group, said in a news release. “John and Neal know how it fits together better than almost everyone, so they will be valuable assets to clients looking to move operations into North Carolina or to expand here.”

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