54th Annual Chamber Meeting Honors Local Leaders and Businesses

The Davie County Chamber of Commerce presented its 54th Annual Meeting on Friday, March 22nd, at WinMock in Bermuda Run

The meeting was a sold-out event with 220 community and business leaders in attendance to hear about the state of the region, learn about leading by your values, and honor the recipients of the Chamber’s signature awards:  E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award, Business of the Year, and Chamber Ambassador of the Year. 

Bermuda Run Mayor Mike Brannon welcomed attendees to Bermuda Run. Chamber Chairwoman Allison Carr opened the meeting on behalf of Chamber President Caroline Moser, who is on maternity leave, saying, “Today marks a significant occasion—a celebration and heartfelt appreciation for our esteemed members. Without your invaluable participation, the foundation of our Chamber would simply be non-existent. It is your steadfast membership that has empowered us to champion the economic prosperity of Davie County with unwavering dedication. Through our collective efforts, we have supported both burgeoning and established businesses, contributing to developing a robust and thriving economy. The strides we’ve made in facilitating business connections, fostering networking, and nurturing a conducive business climate testify to your remarkable influence.”

“Your membership transcends mere participation; it embodies a philanthropic commitment to causes greater than any one of us could champion independently. As stated at the last annual meeting, we had completed our five-year commitment to Ignite Davie. As a testament to this, we were able to extend our contribution by another year, which was made possible through your support.”

“Tourism also plays a pivotal role in our Chamber’s endeavors, continued Carr. “As the Visitor Center of the county, we take pride in guiding explorers to Discover Davie and avail themselves of our other informative resources. Attractions like RISE Indoor Sports, Truist Sports Park, Davie County Recreation and Parks, among others, not only provide unforgettable experiences but also bolster our local economy significantly. These attractions drive economic support to local businesses, dining establishments, accommodations, and various attractions, ultimately generating employment and inviting more visitors to revel in our community’s offerings.” 

Left to Right: Henry Horn of Horn Oil Company, Alyse Wooldridge of Caudell Lumber Co., Jessica Yarbrough of Johnson Insurance Services, and Jeanna White of Foster Drug
Not Pictured: Davie Discount Drug, Atrium Health, & AgSouth Farm Credit, ACA

50+ Years of Commitment to the Chamber  

Membership Services Coordinator Alyson Morse kicked off the awards by recognizing companies that have been chamber members for 50 years or more. “Last year, as I delved into the records of our membership years of investment, I was truly amazed by the dedication and commitment shown by many of our members. It was heartwarming to see the number of years invested in the growth and success of our community.” She thanked:  

  • Foster Drug 
  • Johnson Insurance 
  • Horn Oil 
  • AgSouth 
  • Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center 
  • Caudell Lumber 
  • Davie Discount Drug

“Your unwavering support has been instrumental in driving the growth and prosperity of our chamber. We look forward to being worthy of your investment for many years to come.” 

Past Chair Josh Hanes, Bank OZK, Chair of the Board 2023, Melinda Szeliga, Town of Bermuda Run (Not Pictured)

Recognizing Chamber Leaders 

Carr next recognized the 2023 Chairwoman of the Board, Melinda Szeliga. “ Melinda was a fantastic chair who brought so much enthusiasm to every meeting. She always pushed her fellow board members to do better and lead by example. She thought of new ways of doing things and was always one of the first to raise her hand to volunteer for anything, and I mean anything.” 

She also recognized Josh Hanes, Bank of OZK, for his many years of service to the chamber board, saying, “We were blessed to have his level-headed thoughts and unwavering leadership. We are sad to let him go, but Josh, you get one year off, and then you can come back!”   

Left to Right: Dwayne Thompson, Jamon Gaddy, Lucy Phelps, Lewis Swicegood, Lynn Trivette, Christina Myers-Cassidy, Sara-Anne Bell, Marie Merrick, Cody Crissman
Not Pictured: Susan Pifer & Austin Baity

Leadership Davie Class of 2023 

Carr and Platinum Sponsor Novant Health President and COO of Clemmons Medical Center, Alisha Hutchins, recognized the Leadership Davie Class of 2023. 

“Leadership Davie is a comprehensive nine-month training program that develops leaders who want a behind-the-scenes peek at what makes our county run. Participants learn about our rich history and future potential and hear from top-quality leaders and speakers. They also develop a connection with a network of influential leaders who are driving Davie County forward,” said Carr. 

Each Leadership Davie class completes a service project to enhance the community. Marie Merrick shared that this year’s project equipped each Davie County EMS ambulance with Pedi-Mate pediatric transport straps to ensure that children can be treated while being safely transported to the hospital. Previously, infants were transported in their mother’s arms. The idea for this year’s project came from LD class member Christina Myers-Cassidy after a family member was involved in a serious accident. 

“Our class is truly honored to share that we succeeded in raising not only enough money to equip each ambulance in Davie with these restraints but raised over $4,000 extra to donate to EMS for their purchase of car seats to give away to individuals in the community that are in need,” added Merrick.  

  • Sara-Anne Bell – TRU Taekwondo
  • Dwayne Thompson – (does not work in Davie anymore)
  • Christina N. Myers-Cassidy – Novant Health Davie Medical Associates
  • Jamon Gaddy – County of Davie
  • Austin Baity – Baity Real Estate
  • Lynn Trivette – Town of Mocksville
  • Susan Pifer – Eagle Realty of NC
  • Lucy Phelps – Davidson-Davie Community College
  • Cody Crissman – Davie Construction Co
  • Lewis Swicegood – The Swicegood Group

Chamber Board members and Platinum Sponsors then presented the Chamber’s highly anticipated awards:  E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award, Business of the Year, and Chamber Ambassador of the Year.

Rise Indoor Sports – Davie County 2023 Business of the Year 

The Davie County 2023 Business of the Year award was presented to Lane Newsome, general manager of Rise Indoor Sports, by Chamber Board Member Brandon James, Marzano Capital Group, and Platinum Sponsor Carl Carney, owner of Davie Construction. 

James commented on the number of dynamic businesses in Davie County and the board’s difficulty in choosing one. 

James detailed Rise’s amenities and programs and recognized the 123,000 facility as one of the largest and most accessible in the Southeast. In his speech, he shared Rise’s core values: Resiliency, Integrity, Strength, and Empowerment…R, I, S, E.

He also complimented their mission to offer diverse year-round health and wellness programs and competitive opportunities through sports for the citizens they serve. “The benefits of these services are specially designed to meet the physical, mental, cultural, and social needs of our community while enhancing the overall quality of life.”

E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award, Ron Bivins

Ron Bivins – 2023 E.C. Tatum Humanitarian of the Year! 

The E.C. Tatum Humanitarian Award was presented to Ron Bivins by Keith Beck of Beck Enterprises and Platinum Sponsor Philip Averett, co-owner of Tru Taekwondo, for his steadfast dedication to the Davie County community.

Beck defined a humanitarian as someone devoted to promoting human welfare and social reform, often through charitable activities, advocacy, or efforts aimed at the well-being of individuals and communities. 

In his speech, Beck described Ron Bivin as “ someone who has been living, giving, serving and keeping Davie County for well over 50 years, and as someone who understands how to serve, how to lead and how to give back.”  He then detailed many of his contributions to the community. 

Bivins was an athlete and played football, baseball, and basketball, which led him to coach all three sports.

  • Coached little league baseball and football
  • Coach South Davie and Davie High football
  • Coached Davie Recreation basketball
  • Volunteered for Legion Baseball for many years. 

Because of his professional background and experience, he oversaw the turf renovation projects for both baseball and football field improvements at Davie High School. He has helped local schools like Catawba College with field renovations as well. 

He served on advisory boards for Cooleemee Elementary, South Davie Jr High, and Davie High Schools. He and his wife served on the Board of Directors for Camp Manna. He has served on the Board of Directors for The River Park at Cooleemee Falls for years and has been creative and instrumental in fundraising. His energy and vigor helped create efforts like the Park’s fish fries and duck races. 

“You’ll find this year’s recipient at the park often, nearly daily, in summer. He holds high standards and expectations. He is kind-hearted and committed; he does what he says and says what he means, and he works his back as hard as his mind. He lives a life of example,” continued Beck. 

“In short, he makes all he is involved in…… better. He will feel that he truly doesn’t deserve this award, which is another reason he does. He is an outstanding husband, father, colleague and friend. The world truly is better because he’s in it.”  

Humbled to receive the award, Bivins shared that he had known E.C. Tatum 60 years ago. “I went to church with him, was almost a neighbor to him, and worked on his Christmas tree farm and other things. Mr. Tatum set a standard for me. He was a godly man, and I’m proud of that,  and I hope I can stand up to him for this honor.” 

Ambassador of the Year, Kelly Funderburk, Davie County Register of Deeds

Kelly Funderburk – Davie Chamber 2023 Ambassador of the Year 

The 2023 Davie County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Davie County Register of Deeds Kelly Funderburk by Chamber Membership Services Coordinator Alyson Morse. 

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. Ambassadors believe in the chamber and desire to share with other businesses the many benefits and camaraderie gained by being part of the organization.

In her speech, Morse thanked Funderburk for her commitment. “A Chamber Ambassador is the chamber’s biggest fan… Their readiness to assist wherever needed makes them a true gem in our community. Whether it be a familiar face at our events for our members or coming to the office to help organize membership needs, they are constantly someone I have found easy to depend on, even if that means spending hours in the car going door to door with me to make sure our members get the information needed.” 

Loren Hill, NC Carolina Core Regional Economic Development Director, gave a regional economic update update.
Loren Hill, NC Carolina Core Regional Economic Development Director, gave a regional economic update update.

 State of the Region – NC Carolina Core 

After the awards ceremony, former Chamber Board Chair Keith Beck introduced Loren Hill, Carolina Core regional economic development director for the Piedmont Triad Partnership. 

Hill gave a “State of the Region” address detailing growth within the NC Carolina Core, a 19-county, 120+ mile stretch of central North Carolina from Wilkesboro to Fayetteville encompassing Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem and near Charlotte and the Research Triangle, along future Interstate 685. 

“We have economic development momentum here in the Carolina Core. Things are going on like I haven’t seen in the 26 years I’ve been in economic development here,” said Hill before sharing the origins of the Carolina Core. 

“In 2018, the Piedmont Triad Partnership came up with the concept of the Carolina Core as a brand, a way to talk about our region because of all of our assets. We are a globally competitive market. We have the population, the workforce, the road network, the universities, and all of the things that will attract companies to come our way.” 

He explained that one of the Carolina Core’s primary functions is marketing through

  • Promoting the region and its assets to site selectors, company officials, and potential new workers. It is currently running a “More in the Core” talent campaign targeting the Northeast and Southeast to encourage people to relocate to the area.   
  • Providing local economic developers with additional interactions with site selectors, business recruiters from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, and other colleagues in the region.

“One of the Core’s initial goals was to create 50,000 office and industrial jobs by 2038, and I stood in the back of the room and scoffed at that idea. Six years have passed, and 49,516 office and industrial jobs have been announced as of this week. Since we are almost at our original goal, we’ve doubled our goal to 100,000 jobs for the same 20-year time frame.” 

He noted the Core’s four megasites and the companies they have attracted: Toyota, Boom Supersonic, Marsh Aerospace, Wolfspeed, and Vinfast, and added that there is still room at the sites to bring additional transformational projects. 

“You may wonder, ‘How does this apply to us?’” He pointed out that a sizeable transformative project needs workers and attracts smaller supply companies, usually within a 45-mile radius. He showed a map with a 45-mile circle around each megasite and indicated that Boom Supersonic and Toyota’s circles included parts of Davie County. “We fully expect that you all will benefit from those megasites.” 

“I’ve never seen such cooperation between our economic development agencies. They’ve seen that a win for one is a win for all.” CLICK HERE for the slides from Loren’s presentation.

Jeff McLendon, president & CEO of Specialty Building Products, which owns Mocksville door manufacturer Reeb, gave a keynote presentation entitled “Leading by Your Values.”
Jeff McLendon, president & CEO of Specialty Building Products, which owns Mocksville door manufacturer Reeb, gave a keynote presentation entitled “Leading by Your Values.”

Keynote Address: “Leading by Your Values” 

Jeff McLendon, president & CEO of Specialty Building Products, which owns Mocksville door manufacturer Reeb, gave a keynote presentation entitled “Leading by Your Values.”   

Following Hill’s economic update, Beck introduced keynote speaker Jeff McLendon, president & CEO of Specialty Building Products. The company operates under six brands with 4,800+ employees across 49 locations, including Mocksville door manufacturer Reeb. 

McLendon’s presentation was entitled “Leading by Your Values.” Outlining Specialty Building Products’ three core values, he shared his belief that a company that maintains a culture based on its core values can build a high-performance organization that makes a difference in the world one person at a time. 

“As business and community leaders, even though we spend much of our time and effort trying to make a difference in the world and the people around us, I think we underestimate our influence and the degree to which we can make a difference in the lives of the people we touch…When we lead through our values, the difference we can make is beyond anything we can imagine.”  

He shared that an athletic director in his youth was instrumental in helping him shape his values and develop his leadership abilities. He then went on to describe the values that drive Speciality Building Products.  “Our values must be said in a way that people can relate to and are reflected in our language every day.” 

Ethos- What We Believe

  • Always do the right thing, even when it is hard.
  • Give credit where credit is due; most of the credit is not due to you.
  • Use your influence to have a uniquely positive impact on people.

Community – How We Treat Each Other 

  • Be consistently responsive to customers and suppliers.
  • Develop people by serving the whole person.
  • Lead with influence, not position, title, or tenure.

Attitude- How We Play the Game

  • Live with intentionality. Make sure your progress is on a well-conceived path. 
  • Don’t finish fresh. Give everything you have every day.
  • Live out idealism. Don’t settle. 

“Our values reflect what we believe and how we behave. They are who we are,” said McLendon.  

He offered tips for incorporating values into daily operations and encouraged attendees to live a balanced life and lead by example. “You know a company is committed to its values if two things are true: they articulate them clearly, and they hire and fire to their values,” said McClendon. The most powerful thing a company can do is fire a high performer who doesn’t live out their values. When your people see that you believe what you say, this value-based leadership creates a ‘cares about’ in the employee base that makes a difference in their lives and makes a difference in your performance because your employees believe in what you are doing. 

He urged attendees to clearly articulate their values and integrate them into their business strategy. He explained that it is possible to maximize growth while also maximizing our ability to positively affect the world around us and to make a difference in the communities in which we operate. “We want to maximize the difference we make in the lives of our customers, our supplies, and more than anything, in the lives of each other. We want maximum earnings and maximum influence at the same time by linking those two things to our strategy and the way we talk about it. If we do that right, we get a chance at purpose. If we are intentional enough, we might stumble into doing things that really matter, and the only things that really matter are those that affect people and people’s lives.”  

Beck thanked the many sponsors who helped make the meeting a success:  Davie Construction, Town of Bermuda Run, Novant Health, TRU Taekwondo, Farmhouse Studios Photography, Garage Doors of the Triad, LeBleu, Liberty Sheds, and The Resource

He also recognized the following Chamber Champions: Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist—Davie Medical Center, Allegacy Federal Credit Union, AVGOL, DEX Heavy Duty Parts, Duke Energy, First Horizons, Funder America, Lambert Funeral Home, Marzano Capital Group, REEB Millwork, Scott Bader, TRU Taekwondo, Truist, WinMock at Kinderton, and Zirrus.

Photo credits: Farmhouse Studios Photography