Economic Development Not Resting On Laurels
By Mike Barnhardt
You have to get up pretty early to pull one over on Terry Bralley.
The president of the Davie Economic Development Commission arrives at work just about every day before the sun comes up.
But earlier this month – he was duped. Twice.
The Mocksville Woman’s Club asked him to a meeting because his wife was getting an award. The award – Citizen of the Year – went to him.
Later the same week, Rep. Julia Howard had been in a hurry to schedule an economic development update. Bralley gave in, and set up the meeting.
Howard presented him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award the state can bestow upon one of its residents.
Bralley has been busy in recent years, and his success in recruiting businesses such as Ashley Furniture, Pro Refrigeration, Tar Heel Plastics and CPC has gained him notoriety statewide.
“There is no one who deserves it more than you,” Howard said.
“He’s the best people person I’ve ever seen,” said Hank Vanhoy, Mocksville town attorney. “He ought to be cloned. You can’t sit back and hope things will happen, you have to have a vision. He saw these things … if anybody criticizes him they are idiots.”
Bralley shrugged off the praise.
“This really goes to this community,” he said. “My staff is this community. I’m one of many players. And if you can’t sell this community, you really can’t sell very much.”
Bralley isn’t sitting back resting on his laurels, either.
He sees hope with the former Townsend chicken processing plant on Eaton Road in Mocksville, which is being sold through bankruptcy. “We want to re-purpose this facility. If we get to market price, we can move this building.”
He’s also excited about re-purposing the old Cooleemee mill.
Bralley said Davie County is “running out of product,” meaning existing buildings for new business. “Ninety percent of new projects want an existing building.”
He praised Hollingsworth Companies for providing existing buildings in the South Point Business Park. Most communities are doing similar things on their own, Davie has a private developer footing the bill.
A 250-acre industrial park is being studied for the US 601 North/I-40 area, also headed by private developers.
Companies continue to be interested in Davie. Three from China and two from Europe have contacted him. Two are textile projects.
“It’s happening. With technology today, we can compete.”
He also knows how to do the “little things,” like placing a billboard on I-40 welcoming new industry. Ron Wanek, CEO of …