Anthony Copeland, Brooks Pierce Photo

Anthony M. Copeland

Sr. Economic Development & Corporate Strategist


Tony Copeland is a highly accomplished attorney, focusing in corporate strategy and business incentive solutions with a 30-year record of achievement on every side of the corporate relocation and site selection process. His real-world international experience as a corporate executive for more than a decade allows him to provide a higher level of insight few consultants can match. As a former North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, Tony helped bring more than 81,000 jobs and more than $18.4 billion of investment to the state. Under his leadership, North Carolina experienced the largest annual inward investment in the history of the state. He believes that economic development is understanding the intersection of politics and law.

My Practices

  • A former North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, Tony uses his economic development experience to proactively guide businesses through location and expansion projects, including providing counsel on tax incentives, real estate, employment issues and government regulations. His corporate background includes serving as Executive Vice President, Secretary and Chief Legal Counsel at BTI Telecom Corp., a competitive telecommunications company (1991-2002). While at BTI Telecom Corp., Tony directed all corporate communications, led federal, state and local advocacy efforts, advised the senior executive team and the Board of Directors on all legal issues, represented the company to a variety of constituencies and developed and directed its crisis management strategy.


  • Raised more than $500 million in debt and equity financing for a telecommunications company of whose management team he was a founding member
  • Negotiated $400 million in business incentives to secure Centene Corp.’s $1 billion, 3,200-employee campus in Charlotte, the single largest job creation project in North Carolina history
  • Lead the recruitment of several high-profile corporate announcements, including the Honeywell corporate headquarters, Lowe’s technology center, Bharat Forge, Eli Lilly, Corning, Merck, Nestle Purina and Pratt & Whitney
  • Secured the largest global headquarters incentive agreement in North Carolina history on behalf of Red Hat Inc. (now a division of IBM)
  • Recruited a number of international corporations including Lenovo (largest Chinese investment in the U.S. at the time), Honda Aviation and Freightliner/Daimler Trucks
  • Coordinated numerous international transactions of foreign and domestic companies



Western Michigan University School of Law, J.D., 1982

Duke University, B.A., 1978


Professional & Civic

Professional & Civic Activities

Member, North Carolina Economic Development Association

Former Member, Federal Communications Bar Association

Former Chair, Audit and Finance Committee, MCNC

  • 81,000
    81,000 jobs created as the former Secretary of Commerce of North Carolina
  • 21+
    21+ Boards and Commissions served on
  • 30
    30 Year record of achievement on every side of the corporate relocation and site selection process
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