Tech industry heavyweight tours Raleigh

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Peter Hirshberg, former executive for Apple, toured Raleigh (WTVD)

Downtown Raleigh has drastically transformed within the last decade from bare to bustling. During that time, the tech industry has exploded, and one well-known innovator in the field has taken notice.

"Raleigh is getting high marks as an innovations city," said entrepreneur Peter Hirshberg.

Hirshberg spent years working for Apple, where he boosted revenue $1 billion annually.

He stopped in Raleigh to see what all the buzz is about. He said the City of Oaks has quickly became a creative, artistic hub.

"You have big companies saying 'We need to be part of this action.' That's why Citrix comes and builds such a cool building to be near all of these start-ups," he said.

Hirshberg toured H.Q. Raleigh Thursday. He explained the city is firing on all cylinders; there's a vibrant downtown, good networking, plenty of universities, and a big art scene. He says the industry will continue to grow in the next couple of decades.

"I think there will be a local supply chain here, products that'll be made here, products that are manufactured locally. You'll see both software and physical hardware start-ups start," he said.

David Diaz, President of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, says the growth does put pressure on the city to expand.

"We need all hands on deck," said Diaz. "We're not accustomed to bringing start-ups and innovators to help solve real problems of growth and complex problems with transportation, infrastructure, data. We've gotta go do it."

Hirshberg is highlighting the city in a book he's writing and plans to come back for a documentary he's putting together.

He was chosen as the keynote speaker for Thursday night's Downtown Raleigh Alliance annual meeting. More than a thousand people are set to hear him speak.

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