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REGIONALREPORT Triad

Expanding operations overseas

Two Winston-Salem-based giants are collaborating to combat illness in a Caribbean country. HanesBrands Inc. and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have teamed up to provide surgical care and improve medical facilities in the Dominican Republic, where the apparel maker has about 7,500 employees at six manufacturing plants. The health-care initiative provides ear, nose and throat surgeries for children at Hospital Pedro de Marchena in Bonao, site of a HanesBrands plant that, with 1,800 employees, is one of the largest private employers in the region.

The partnership grew from discussions about Wake Forest Baptist donating dated but usable medical equipment and supplies to the Bonao hospital. In January, HanesBrands shipped two cargo containers of supplies — including an operating table and anesthesia machines — from Winston-Salem to Bonao. Then in February, Dr. Dale Browne, professor and chairman of the otolaryngology department at Wake Forest Baptist, and Dr. Adele K. Evans, a pediatric otolaryngologist, led a 14-member team to the hospital.

Browne went back in June with a team of a dozen doctors and nurses, performing about 50 tonsillectomies, ear surgeries, cleft-palate procedures and repairs of neck lesions. “We were all kind of shocked how many kids had these problems,” Browne says of tonsil and adenoid conditions that could lead to sleep apnea and heart failure. “They had mouths so full of tonsil tissue they couldn’t eat, swallow or play.” Half the patients were children of HanesBrands employees.

HanesBrands, which has had plants in the Dominican Republic for more than 30 years, began a relationship with the Bonao hospital in 2007, when more than 100 local employees volunteered hundreds of hours to repair the electrical, ventilation and plumbing systems. The company contributed more than $50,000 to purchase cribs, beds and kitchen equipment, as well as to help provide a working ambulance.

Matt Hall, spokesman for HanesBrands, says social responsibility is an important part of the company’s business success because it improves employee and local-government relations while enhancing its image with retail customers in the U.S. Plus, building loyalty among employees reduces turnover costs. “Being a good corporate citizen works seamlessly for business.” Collaborating with Wake Forest Baptist has allowed HanesBrands to significantly expand the community health-care support it provides in the Dominican Republic. The company also has operations in San Pedro and Santo Domingo, and some patients from those places will be transported to the hospital in Bonao.



 "John Medlin cannot be replaced."

— Thad Woodard, president of the North Carolina Bankers Association, after Medlin, 78, died in June. One of the nation’s most respected bankers, he was CEO of Winston-Salem-based Wachovia Corp. for 17 years until retiring in 1994 (“The Wachovia Way”, October 2011).


Briefs

WINSTON-SALEM — Warren Buffett’s Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway will purchase 63 of Richmond, Va.-based Media General’s newspapers for $142 million. The deal includes the Winston-Salem Journal, the Hickory Daily Record and The (Morganton) News Herald.

BURLINGTON Laboratory Corporation of America will acquire St. Paul, Minn.-based MEDTOX Scientific for about $241 million. The diagnostic company says the purchase of the specialized toxicology tester will help its efforts to expand in that area.

HIGH POINT The High Point Enterprise named Megan Ward editor in chief. She was editor of The (Shelby) Star and replaces Tom Blount, who led the newspaper for 22 years before retiring earlier this year.

WINSTON-SALEM Targacept’s CEO and president J. Donald deBethizy stepped down after the failure of two drug candidates in clinical trials during the past year sank the company’s share price. The biopharmaceutical company has created an office of the chairman that will assume deBethizy’s duties while it searches for a replacement.

LEXINGTON Wake Forest Baptist Health-Lexington Medical Center named Steven Snelgrove president, effective July 1. He came to the hospital as chief operating officer in November after working for Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem. Snelgrove replaces Donny Lambeth, who retired.

MOCKSVILLE — Irish manufacturing conglomerate Ingersoll Rand will expand its Mocksville plant, investing $22 million and adding 60 workers to its 390 within three years. The addition will make the factory the company’s primary supplier of certain specialized parts for air compressors, fluid pumps and Club Car vehicles. Average annual wage will be $35,230, higher than Davie County’s average of $28,028.