The gathering was part of an annual forum held at the Raleigh Convention Center.
It's a brainstorming effort to come up with concepts that will benefit North Carolina as it tries to generate more jobs.
"Since 1990, we've lost over 390,000 jobs in North Carolina, just in the manufacturing sector," Senator Kay Hagan said. "We've got to look at this, and we've got to look at this in a smart fashion."
"We need to fix federal spending, we need to have pro growth policies, we need to put the American people back to work," Senator Richard Burr added.
Burr recently made headlines on Capitol Hill with a joke he made during hearings for John Brennan and President Barack Obama's pick for CIA director.
"I'm going to try to be brief because I've noticed that you're on your fourth glass of water and I don't want to be accused of waterboarding you," Burr said.
His comment led to columns and blogs criticizing the senator, with some calling him inappropriate.
"Seldom do I not have somebody that criticizes me for something I say or do," Burr said. "That doesn't bother me."
Burr said Monday that he wants move past talk about waterboarding, and concentrate on ways to grow jobs in North Carolina.