Our future: Chamber recognizes young leaders

Published 9:46 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

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By Jeanna White

Word Master Media Group

The Davie County Chamber of Commerce presented its 52nd Annual Chamber Meeting on Thursday, March 24  at WinMock in Bermuda Run.

The meeting was sold-out with 178 community and business leaders hearing about the “state of the region” and to honor recipients of chamber  awards, including the Ambassador of the Year.

Chamber President Caroline Moser acknowledged the impact of the coronavirus global pandemic. “Our community, like many others, continues to face lasting results of the past couple of years, with the labor shortage and/or supply chain issues.

“Mother Teresa said, ‘I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, together we can do great things.’ Some of you continue to struggle and others have found ways to grow, you are not an island, we are a community. I challenge you to be a community, those of you that are struggling reach out to those who have found new ways to navigate.

“Your chamber is dedicated to helping you become that community. With labor shortages, we promote your job openings through our chamber website, through the management of DavieWorks.com, and host community job fairs. We facilitate HR & plant managers’ educational luncheons to encourage collaboration. These are just a few opportunities your Chamber has provided you to be a part of.

“We are and will always be an advocate for your business. Think of your chamber as your Match.com; tell us what you need, and we will help you connect.”

Recognizing Leaders

Moser recognized the 2021 Class of Leadership Davie.

“Please look at who has personally invested in the county. These individuals have gained insightful knowledge from quality leaders and have had a hands-on approach to understanding life in our community. These individuals not only possess superb leadership skills, but they are the ones who will make your board better and make our community thrive.So, I encourage you to reach out to this class, as well as the past and present classes, to begin a conversation on how to plug them into your organization for the betterment of our community. They are our future.”

That class includes: Dr. Allison Carr, Davidson-Davie Community College; Dr. Timogi Jackson, Prep & Position; Kaitlyn Jarvis, Davie County Schools; Andrea Kimura, Comfort Bilt; Paul Moore, Davie County Recreation and Parks; Adam Ridenhour, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center; Al Seymour, retired of Moyer, West & Associates; and Melinda Szeliga, Re/Max Realty Consultants.Chamber

Andrea Kimura

Ambassador of Year

The 2021 Davie County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Andrea Kimura of Comfort Bilt by Chamber Board Director Thomas Johnson.

Chamber Ambassadors promote their own companies; promote chamber events and programs; visit new and existing chamber members; represent the chamber at groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings, and other chamber events and assist with chamber projects.

“A Chamber Ambassador is the chamber’s biggest fan. They promote, support, and highlight, not only the Chamber itself but more importantly, the businesses we serve,” said Johnson.

“The circumstances of the past couple of years have made everything more challenging. This individual met that challenge and continued the charge, serving as an ambassador since 2019, and also serving as chair for the past two years. She is an active community member, business leader, and entrepreneur, and yet still manages to find time to support the local business community.”

Ignite Davie

Students, Businesses 

After the ceremony, Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie Connect,  gave an Ignite Davie update. It is Davie’s college promise program that pays tuition, fees, and a stipend for books for Davie County students to attend DDCC without debt. Students can pursue a diploma, certificate, and associate/transfer degree.

McManamy said the program has grown since it launched with the graduating class of 2020: 71 students started their college career at DDCC the first year, 85 members of the class of 2021 took advantage of the program, and 86 students from the class of 2022 have applied, and the deadline isn’t until May 15.

“Clearly the awareness and interest in Ignite Davie is growing with our students and in our community.”

She highlighted the Career Connections component of the program, which is beginning this spring, explaining that it is a partnership with local employers to connect students with career exposure and work-based learning opportunities that align with a student’s academic pursuits.

“Career Connections provides students with real-world experience and employers gain access to a direct pipeline of well-educated students who will be joining the workforce,” said McManamy. She urged businesses to get involved, indicating that the program is looking for job shadowing opportunities, internships, tours, professional interviews, career fairs, and guest speakers.

“We have 23 students graduating in May and July. Some are transferring to a four-year school but others are completing their programs and will be looking to start their careers. This is our up and coming workforce and they really need you to be involved with Career Connections.”

She thanked those who have supported Ignite Davie and invited those new to the program to get involved. So far, the program has raised $2.2 million of the $3 million needed to ensure it is available in perpetuity.

State of the Region

Chamber Board Chair Keith Beck introduced keynote speaker, Mike Fox, president of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, who leads regional efforts to promote the strengths and opportunities of the NC Carolina Core, partnering with economic development professionals and stakeholders to build on strategies to recruit new businesses and jobs.

Fox gave a “State of the Region” address detailing this year’s successes within the NC Carolina Core, a 17 county, 120+ mile stretch of central North Carolina from Yadkinville to Fayetteville encompassing Greensboro and High Point and Winston-Salem in close proximity to Charlotte and the Research Triangle, all along future I-685.

“The region is doing great thanks to the work of the people you honored this morning as well as many others in our 17-county region. We’ve had a lot of great success over the last few years, a lot of it right here in Davie County. You’ve had some real wins as far as economic development goes,” said Fox.

Fox touted the benefits of creating a regional brand. “The Piedmont Triad Partnership (PTP) is working to bring our communities together to work regionally to create a vision where municipal lines, county lines are not as important because they aren’t important to businesses that are looking to locate here. They want a community, a business climate that is favorable, they want available sites, they want a well-trained workforce and they don’t necessarily care where the county line is.  Part of our mission has been to unify our different communities and counties across the area and help brand this region as an area that is desirable to live and to do business, and we have been very successful in that.”

He touted the recent Toyota Battery Phase 1 and Boom Supersonic announcements and their impact noting that they will bring thousands of jobs and more than $1.5 billion in investment to the region.

He also pointed out that there are 81 active business recruitment and expansion projects in the pipeline in the Carolina Core. These projects have 39,610 jobs and a potential $27.1 billion investment associated with them.

“We feel like we are poised to pick up the growth that Charlotte and Raleigh have been experiencing for decades… People across the country now know where that is and what we do and what we have to offer here.”

Moser ended the event by thanking sponsors. “This meeting would not have been possible without our generous sponsors Lambert Funeral Home, and My Geek Technologies.”

She also recognized Chamber Champions Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center, Allegacy Federal Credit Union,  Brakebush Brothers, Comfort Bilt,  DEX Heavy Duty Parts, Duke Energy, Hampton Inn of Bermuda Run, Iredell Family Care Center, Marzano Capital Group, Red Thread, Re/Max Realty Consultants – Melinda Szeliga, TRU Taekwondo, United Way of Davie County, and WinMock at Kinderton.