Become an employer of choice for Ignite Davie

Published 1:40 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

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For many students in Davie County, a college education has seemed out of reach.

Whether too expensive, or too far from the family they help to support, it’s only been a dream.

The IGNITE DAVIE College Promise program was launched in the fall of 2020, and pays tuition, fees, and a stipend for books for Davie students to attend Davidson-Davie Community College full-time.

The foundation is closing in on the final fundraising needed for the program to be permanently endowed.

Employers of Choice are helping to close the gap and make the dream of a college education a reality for Davie students.

“The foundation has reached out to the community to support IGNITE DAVIE since 2019, and the response has been great,” said Jane Simpson, Davie Community Foundation CEO. “We’ve seen so much generosity from folks in the community. This year Touchdowns for Education was a huge success. Staff and teachers at Davie County Schools exceeded challenges we set for them. Restaurants have rallied to support events.

“In return, these businesses will gain exposure across the community and benefit by helping to grow the future workforce to meet their needs.”

“It’s catching on,” said Melinda Szeliga, COO for the foundation. “Companies realize this is truly a win for the students and a win for their businesses. And its so uplifting to know this means making dreams a reality.”

Businesses that join the Employer of Choice program receive marketing benefits in recognition of their investment. Their company logo will be placed as a hyperlink on the scrolling banner at The website is visited by high school students, their families, and businesses. Employers of Choice will be highlighted on several social media sites throughout the year. The companies have the opportunity to be included on a banner that will hang at Davie High School and connect directly with Davie High seniors and DDCC students via class presentations.

When asked why they joined the Employer of Choice program, here’s what these business members had to say.

• Phil Fuller, Fuller Welding & Fabricators: “I don’t see this as a donation. This is an investment in my company and this community. This is an excellent opportunity for us to provide an education for students who may not be able to go to school otherwise. Hopefully, this will help our kids stay and work in Davie County and to be able to support their families and live good lives here.

• Chad Brown, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center: “We are excited to continue to support our community and Davie students. This program has had such a tremendous impact on our students and families, and we are proud to be a partner in continuing this tradition. Investing in the education of our rising students, especially those interested in healthcare fields, is important to Davie Medical Center. The community has supported and invested in our hospital, so this is an opportunity to give back.

• George Webb, WEBB Heating & Air Conditioning: “It’s important for Webb Heating & Air Conditioning to foster an exceptional workforce and attract top talent.  The Employer of Choice program aligns with our commitment to employee development, skill growth, and professional advancement in our trade. It’s exciting to support our local community and recruit our own industry-ready Davie students in a competitive labor market.

• Sally Ressa, Avgol: “Avgol decided to support this program for better awareness and support from our community for furthering education after high school. Our hope is that programs like this will help bridge the gap between the needs of businesses and those entering the workforce. Expectations on both sides are changing and the soft skills needed for business to be successful are no longer common skills. IGNITE DAVIE is creating a way for our future employees to gain the knowledge and skills to feel impowered in their position. We stand behind this program and are excited to see the changes it will bring.”

• Elizabeth Wellman, Computer Guys of CNS: “We want to contribute to this county by putting our money where our heart is and believing in educating and employing people here where they grow. Support starts with your closest community, and we are honored to support this initiative. “

• Brandon James, Marzano Capital Group: “We decided to get behind the IGNITE DAVIE program because it is a direct investment in the children of Davie.  Our firm is committed to educating clients through the process of financial planning and wealth management.  In that spirit, educating our children and helping them to further their knowledge is just as important.  We are excited about the bright future of Davie County and this program helps to make it even brighter.”

• Davin Brown, Meg Brown Home Furnishings: “We are happy to support IGNITE DAVIE and  look forward to all the great things that this program will do for our students and our community.”

• Darin Redmon, director of operations for DEX Heavy Duty Parts: “DEX chose to be an Employer of Choice because we understand the importance of community engagement, talent retention in the community, and a constant pipeline of future people in the workforce. As a small business, it is critical to our specific industry, the community, and the well-being of the economy for everyone to invest in our future employees, business partners, leaders, and citizens of Davie County. DEX is excited to be part of the program and we look forward to continued support and celebrating the achievements of the program and those involved.”

“We are excited that these businesses realize the positive and long-lasting impact IGNITE DAVIE has on our community,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of DavieCONNECT. “We know more are going to join in and help cross the finish line to the $3 million endowment goal.”

Want to learn more about how your business can join the Employer of Choice program? Contact Chamber of Commerce President Caroline Moser at 336.751.3304, or visit