Wake Forest Medical Center seeking $350 million in capital drive

PRESS RELEASE on October 2015 at 11:00:00 am 
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Oct. 2, 2015 – Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on Thursday night announced the public phase of a comprehensive campaign to raise $350 million to further its mission in patient care, education and research.

Medical Center officials also shared that Wake Forest School of Medicine’s new building in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter will be named the Bowman Gray Medical Education Building. In 1939, a gift from Gray’s estate helped bring the medical school to Winston-Salem. The School of Medicine later affiliated with North Carolina Baptist Hospital to create the Medical Center.

John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer of Wake Forest Baptist, said the campaign will focus primarily on people and programs involved in carrying out the Medical Center’s mission and on key construction projects, including the Bowman Gray Medical Education Building.

“We have extraordinary potential to improve health in transformative ways, and that’s what our campaign is about,” McConnell said. “Philanthropy invested in Wake Forest Baptist’s people and programs will help transform our work in biomedical research, patient care and education. Connecting with individuals who understand and care about our mission can have a profound impact.”

Areas of focus for the campaign include cancer, aging and Alzheimer’s disease, children’s health, diabetes and obesity, heart and vascular, regenerative medicine and medical education.

Campaign Chair Jim Johnston said that approximately $212 million has been raised toward the campaign goal during its initial leadership phase, and the remainder will be raised by the end of 2018.

“My time as an executive with R.J. Reynolds convinced me that the mission and work of Wake Forest Baptist is critical to each and every one of us,” Johnston said. “It’s vital to our community and to countless people around the country and around the world who will have their lives affected through the care provided by a Wake Forest Baptist-trained physician or from a cure that’s developed right here at our Medical Center.”

This effort is part of Wake Will, the campaign for Wake Forest University, which has a goal to raise a combined $1 billion for the University and the Medical Center.

“This is a moment when there is a role for everyone to play,” said Norman D. Potter, Wake Forest Baptist’s vice president of development and alumni affairs. “We want to connect with individuals who have a passion that intersects with our mission to improve health. It includes alumni, members of the community, our faculty and staff, and anyone who has a desire to improve health.”

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center ( is a nationally recognized academic medical center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with an integrated enterprise including educational and research facilities, hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers and other primary and specialty care facilities serving 24 counties in northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia. Its divisions are Wake Forest Baptist Health, a regional clinical system that includes Brenner Children’s Hospital and has close to 175 locations, 900 physicians and 1,000 acute care beds; Wake Forest School of Medicine, an established leader in medical education and research; and Wake Forest Innovations, which accelerates the commercialization of research discoveries and specialized research capabilities of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and operates Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, an urban district for research, business and education. Wake Forest Baptist clinical, research and educational programs are annually ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

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Facebook investing $200 million in Rutherford County site

PRESS RELEASE on October 2015 at 3:30:00 pm 
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Facebook Announces Plans to Expand Data Center, Impact in Forest City
October 1, 2015 at 12:35pm

From a Facebook post:

By Keven McCammon, Site Manager, Forest City Data Center

In November 2010, Facebook broke ground on its data center in Forest City. Our decision to locate here was based in large part on the commitment and the vision of the community and leadership here in Rutherford County. Over the last five years, our relationship with our community partners has only grown stronger, and we’ve worked together to create opportunity and invest in education. We’ve also built one of the most energy efficient data centers in the world, including two data center buildings and one cold storage facility.

Today, we’re happy to announce that we’ll be constructing our third data center building in Forest City, which will represent an additional capital investment in excess of $200 million.

The construction will add to a project that has supported thousands of jobs in the regional economy and generated millions of dollars in economic impact, as highlighted in the economic impact study:

Today, we have more than 125 full-time jobs supporting operations at the site, helping to connect the world through Facebook.

The third building will feature the latest Open Compute Project hardware designs (which we share with the rest of the industry and, like our other buildings, will be cooled using outside air instead of energy-intensive air conditioners.

One of Facebook’s highest priorities in Forest City is being a good neighbor. That’s why we’ve invested more than $575,000 in local schools and nonprofits to support technology, education, and innovation in the region through our Community Action Grants program. We have an ongoing commitment to hire local talent, contractors, and service providers to support data center operations. And we’ve partnered with PANGAEA Internet; the Towns of Forest City, Rutherfordton, and Spindale; and Rutherford County Schools to construct a free Wi-Fi network to enable thousands of local students and families to connect to the Internet.

Our appreciation goes to the Town of Forest City, Rutherford County, and the State of North Carolina for their continued support. We are proud to call Forest City home, and grateful for the ongoing support of our neighbors, local leaders, and region.


P.S. We have jobs open. Check out

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Cary Chamber favors mass transit as key development tool

PRESS RELEASE on September 2015 at 4:00:00 pm 
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Sept. 29, 2015, Cary, N.C. – At a meeting on Sept. 16, the Cary Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors adopted a resolution endorsing mass transit in Cary and Wake County, and encouraging voters to vote for mass transit centered on a rail option.
In part, the resolution reads:
“WHEREAS, the Cary Chamber of Commerce’s vision is that Cary, along with the Triangle Region, is the best place run a business and to live; and,
WHEREAS, the Wake County population is projected to grow by 1 million by the year 2054,
WHEREAS, the Cary Chamber of Commerce supports a comprehensive Mass Transportation Plan for Wake County, to include, rail based highly on infrastructure and ridership; with a supplemental bus system,
WHEREAS, mass transit is good for the county and the growing needs of our region and is important to addressing the transportation challenges in our area,
WHEREAS, a fixed rail infrastructure has been shown to have great impacts on economic development and tax base growth,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Cary Chamber of Commerce endorses and supports a campaign to urge voters to vote for mass transit, centered on a high frequency rail option.”
To see the full resolution, go to
“We recognize that not everyone who lives in Cary works here, and vice versa,” said Chamber President Howard Johnson. “For the sake of sustained regional economic growth and better commuting experience, we support a comprehensive mass transportation plan for Wake County that includes both rail and bus components.”
For more information about the Cary Chamber, visit or call 919-467-1016.
About the Cary Chamber of Commerce
The Cary Chamber of Commerce has supported growth within the Cary business community for over 50 years. It consists of four programs that members can become involved with, including economic development, education, governmental relations and member business services. The Cary Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,250 members and continues to promote Cary as one of the best places to live, work and raise a family, and helps to provide businesses with as many educational, networking and growth opportunities as possible. For more information about the Cary Chamber, call 919-467-1016 or visit

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Raleigh agency Clean Design snags Lenovo marketing contract

PRESS RELEASE on September 2015 at 12:00:00 pm 
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Lenovo Worldwide Industry Solutions Appoints Clean Design as Lead Agency
RALEIGH, N.C. (September 28, 2015) - Clean Design today announced it has been named lead agency across multiple marketing disciplines by Lenovo Worldwide Industry Solutions. Clean Design will partner with Lenovo's Worldwide Industry Solutions team to roll out a global communications and marketing effort across a number of business verticals, beginning with healthcare and education.
Clean Design is developing strategic communications demonstrating thought-leadership within key business verticals by Lenovo's Worldwide Industry Solutions team.  This pivotal global initiative comes as part of Lenovo's evolution from primarily being seen as a hardware company to creating future-focused business technology, leveraging Lenovo's full portfolio from wearables to the cloud. Along with key business partners, Lenovo's Industry Solutions team is committed to advancing customer engagement within key verticals.
Clean Design is providing services such as advertising, content development and curation, media and public relations, social media, strategy and site development/programming for targeted Lenovo industry verticals. Clean Design's global network of partner agencies through affiliate network Worldwide Partners Inc. is being leveraged to support the effort.
"We were looking for a strong and innovative agency partner to help us amplify Lenovo Worldwide Industry Solutions' mission," says Devon Speas, Director, Industry Vertical Solutions. "Clean Design's creative reputation and breadth of resources, coupled with its proven strategy acumen, make this partnership around our global marketing initiative a logical choice for us."
"Lenovo is one of the most powerful brands in business today and expanding our relationship to lead this crucial global initiative is an amazing privilege and testament to our strong partnership over the past several years," says Natalie Perkins, CEO, Clean Design. "Our team is passionately committed to helping drive their business forward."  
About Clean Design
Clean Design is an award-winning brand + design agency with a diverse client portfolio featuring Red Hat, Lenovo, Yadkin Bank, Duke Raleigh Hospital, UNC Kenan-Flagler, and Lonerider. Ranked the #1 design firm in the Triangle for the past six years, the agency offers integrated marketing solutions including branding, advertising, digital marketing, graphic design, public relations, media planning, and content. A woman-owned business, Clean Design has been awarded HUB certification by the State of North Carolina.

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Deutsche Bank adding 250 jobs at Cary software site

Press release on September 2015 at 11:45:00 am 
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Governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) announced today that DB Global Technology, Inc. will undertake a 250-job expansion over the coming two years at its software application development center in Wake County. The company plans to invest $9 million there through the end of 2016.
“North Carolina and DB Global Technology both enjoy rich legacies when it comes to innovation in banking and technology,” said Governor McCrory. “Our IT talent, competitive costs, great quality of life and convenient proximity by air to New York City will continue to help foster the growth and success of pioneering businesses like DB Global.”
DB Global Technology is a unit of Deutsche Bank AG, the Germany-based global financial services provider. Deutsche Bank [NYSE: DB], founded in Berlin in 1870, currently maintains a global workforce that exceeds 98,000. It reported sales of $47.3 billion in 2014. It established DB Global Technology in 2009 to design software to support the bank’s products and services. The company’s expansion will accommodate a sharpened focus on developing strategic applications and enterprise-wide technology solutions. The company currently employs more than 600 people in Wake County.
“Today’s announcement by DB Global Technology illustrates the return North Carolina gets from its proactive support for existing businesses,” said Secretary Skvarla. “In working to help move companies like DB Global closer to their strategic goals, we position our state for the additional jobs and capital investment that come with their continued success.”
Compensation for the new positions will vary by job function, but the average annual payroll is estimated to be $21.4 million plus benefits. The average annual wage in Wake County is $50,702. New positions will include technology engineers, software developers and analysts.
We are pleased to expand our footprint in Cary,” said Leslie Slover, Head of Deutsche Bank Jacksonville and Cary, N.C. “Deutsche Bank is proud of the work we are accomplishing in Cary and we will continue to strategically invest in the region and build upon our investment in the community.”
Under the terms of the company’s JDIG, DB Global Technology is eligible to receive up to twelve annual reimbursements equal to 35 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings from the eligible new jobs created. Receipt of each annual reimbursement is based on state-certified proof that the company has fulfilled incremental job creation requirements. Over twelve years, the JDIG could yield aggregate benefits to DB Global Technology, Inc. of $3.38 million upon the creation of 250 jobs.
“We are excited to continue our growth in Cary, as we are a proud member of the Triangle Business community” said Dan Minto, Head of DB Global Technology, Inc.  “Our growth reinforces Deutsche Bank’s core value of innovation, as we look to continuously improve our processes and platforms by embracing new and enhanced technology.”
The program by law must result in a net revenue inflow to the state treasury over the life of the award. In the case of JDIG-supported projects in Tier 3 counties such as Wake County, 25 percent of the award amount is directed to the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account to help finance economic infrastructure in less populated Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. DB Global Technology’s expansion could provide as much as $1.12 million in new funds for the Utility Account. More information on county tier designations is available here.
Since Governor McCrory took office in January of 2013, more than 237,100 private sectors jobs have been created.
Several partners joined N.C. Commerce and the EDPNC in supporting DB Global Technology’s expansion. They include the North Carolina Community College System, the Cary Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Cary and Wake County Economic Development.

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John Fagg named top pro-bono lawyer in state

Press release on September 2015 at 4:00:00 pm 
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 21, 2015) – Moore & Van Allen PLLC is pleased to announce that Litigation Member John Fagg will receive the 2015 Individual Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award from Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte. Fagg will be recognized for his service to and leadership of the Moore & Van Allen Housing Rights Project at the fourth annual Pro Bono Awards ceremony on October 20, 2015.

“Moore & Van Allen’s emphasis on pro bono service is a long-standing value of the firm, and we continue to invest in our community by providing quality legal services for those in need,” said Fagg. “It is an honor to be recognized with this award by our longtime partner, Legal Aid of North Carolina. It is a privilege to work with such an outstanding community organization and worthy clients.”

Since 2010, Fagg has been a leader of the Housing Rights Project in partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina. The program enables attorney volunteers to help tenants in Charlotte avoid homelessness and secure safe, habitable homes. Housing Rights attorneys help minimize the disruption to family life caused by an emergency relocation and stop predatory practices of unscrupulous landlords.

Fagg manages a group of more than 20 attorneys at Moore & Van Allen who provide pro bono service to the Housing Rights Project. Under his direction, the project has increased its caseload, accepting three landlord-tenant matters each month referred by Legal Aid of North Carolina.

“John deserves this recognition, and we are proud to join Legal Aid of North Carolina in celebrating his tremendous pro bono contributions to the Charlotte community,” said Moore & Van Allen Public Service Committee Chairman and Litigation Member Brian Heslin. “In his work on the Housing Rights Project and in his litigation practice, John has demonstrated great leadership, passion and enthusiasm for service to those in need within our community.”

“John Fagg was the key leader at Moore & Van Allen in the Housing Rights Project with Legal Aid of North Carolina for the past several years,” said Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte Senior Managing Attorney Theodore Fillette. “He handled numerous individual cases in which he was able to prevent homelessness of families and prevent others from suffering unhealthy and unsafe housing. John’s exemplary work made a major difference in the lives of many of Charlotte’s needy and vulnerable residents.”

In addition to his work on the Housing Rights Project, Fagg represents pro bono indigent defendants in federal criminal cases. He also devotes time and energy to other public service organizations.

Held at the Foundation for the Carolinas, the Pro Bono Awards are hosted by Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, and the Council for Children’s Rights. The event honors local attorneys and advocates who give their time and experience to underserved children, families and individuals in legal crisis.

About Moore & Van Allen
Moore & Van Allen PLLC is one of the largest law firms in the Southeast, with nearly 300 attorneys and offices in Charlotte and Research Triangle, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina. The attorneys at Moore & Van Allen provide sophisticated legal services within their nationally recognized Litigation, Corporate, Finance and Intellectual Property law practices for international banks and manufacturers, energy leaders, and growing healthcare and technology companies. The Firm is comprised of 21 primary industry and practice groups. Moore & Van Allen is the only Charlotte-based law firm identified in the prestigious “Am Law 200” list. U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers recognized Moore & Van Allen in their 2015 “Best Law Firms” rankings, both regionally and nationally.

Moore & Van Allen’s Public Service Committee, established in 2001, leads the Firm’s public service and pro bono efforts by identifying, coordinating, and facilitating opportunities for MVA attorneys and staff. In 2014, MVA attorneys and staff collectively donated more than 11,000 pro bono and public service hours. For more information, including a description of the Firm’s pro bono and service programs, please see the Moore & Van Allen 2015 Pro Bono Service Annual Report.

About Legal Aid of North Carolina
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and remove legal barriers to economic opportunity. To learn more, visit or find on Facebook and Twitter.

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North State Aviation plans 109 new jobs in eastern North Carolina

Press release on September 2015 at 3:30:00 pm 
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Kinston, N.C. - Governor Pat McCrory, N.C. Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III, and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. announced today that North State Aviation will open an aircraft maintenance center at the North Carolina Global TransPark in Lenoir County, creating 109 new jobs over the next two years. The company will invest $900,000 over the same period.
“North Carolina is pleased to support North State Aviation as it launches its new presence at the Global TransPark,” said Governor McCrory. “Like aviation itself, this company started right here in North Carolina. Its owners and employees have deep roots in the state, and we’re proud of their continued success.”
North State Aviation, incorporated in 2010, has grown from a Winston-Salem start-up to a company that currently employs more than 400 people. It specializes in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of large transport aircraft. The company counts one of the world’s largest commercial airlines among its customers. North State Aviation is now the largest tenant at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem. Its new facility at the North Carolina Global TransPark will employ 109 workers. Salaries will vary by position, but will average $39,688 per year. Currently, the average annual wage in Lenoir County is $32,164.
“North State Aviation’s choice of Lenoir County for this new maintenance center is more evidence that North Carolina’s competitive costs, ready workforce and accessibility put us on the short list of aerospace and aviation industry destinations,” said Secretary Skvarla. “Congratulations to this promising company as it embarks on an exciting new phase of growth.”
North Carolina Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson joined the Governor in Kinston today. "I was honored to join North State Aviation last year as they celebrated their fourth year of business success, and I am thrilled to be able to celebrate their continued growth by helping welcome this company to their new expansion home at the GTP," said NCDOT Secretary Tennyson. "We are pleased to support the continued growth of aviation in our state and to help bring more job opportunities to the people of Eastern North Carolina."
North State Aviation’s new facility at the Global TransPark will serve a client list that includes major commercial airlines. The newly-created positions will include mechanics, inspectors and back-shop utility workers, among other jobs.
“North State Aviation is proud to be a part of the growing aviation business here in North Carolina,” said Charlie Creech, president of North State Aviation. “We anticipate continued success and we plan for this expansion at GTP to be another seed operation that will grow in size and scope as our operation in Winston-Salem has done.”
The recruitment of North State Aviation was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $250,000. Administered by North Carolina Commerce, the One NC Fund provides financial assistance in support of local governments in creating jobs and attracting economic investment. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for grant funds. All One NC grants require a local government match.
“Congratulations to North State Aviation on its choice of Lenoir County for this important aircraft maintenance facility,” said N.C. Senator Louis Pate.
“This is great news for Kinston and Lenoir County,” said N.C. Senator Don Davis.  “These new jobs will have a positive impact on this area’s economy and quality of life.”
“I welcome this fast-growing company to eastern North Carolina, and commend our economic development leaders for working diligently to bring North State Aviation to our community,” said N.C. Representative John Bell.
“I look forward to welcoming these new jobs to Kinston and Lenoir County,” said N.C. Representative George Graham.  “This will be an important addition to our business community.”
237,100 private sector jobs have been created since Governor McCrory took office in January of 2013.
In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the EDPNC, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Global TransPark Authority, NC Works, the North Carolina Community College System, Lenoir Community College, Lenoir County, the Lenoir County Economic Development Department and the Lenoir County Committee of 100.

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Whiteville tire dealer receives top honor from trade journal

PRESS RELEASE on September 2015 at 5:30:00 pm 
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AKRON, Ohio (September 14, 2015) — Ricky Benton, owner and president of Black’s Tire Service Inc., is the recipient of Modern Tire Dealer magazine’s 2015 Tire Dealer of the Year Award.

Benton was chosen to receive the industry’s oldest and most prestigious award from more than 30,000 eligible independent tire dealers across North America.

Black’s Tire has grown significantly since Benton began working at the company’s lone store in Whiteville, N.C., in 1981. The company’s namesake, W. Crowell Black, hired Benton to help him expand the business. When Benton and his wife Dianne bought Black’s Tire in 1996 there were eight stores. Today there are 36 retail and commercial outlets in North and South Carolina, plus a wholesale tire operation with four warehouses, a tire retread shop in Clarkton, N.C., an equipment distribution division and a successful racing business, Ricky Benton Racing (RBR) Enterprises. Benton employs 525 people.

Black’s Tire is tied for 30th on the Modern Tire Dealer 100 list of top independent tire dealers in the U.S.

“Ricky is a hard-working man who cares about the future of the independent tire dealer,” says Greg Smith, publisher of Modern Tire Dealer. “He is incredibly successful and yet relentless in giving the credit for his success to the people in his organization. He takes care of his Black’s Tire family, and they in turn take care of Black’s Tire customers.”

A $10,500 donation from Modern Tire Dealer and the following participating suppliers will be made in Benton’s name to the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina Inc.: Advance Auto Parts Inc.; Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance Inc.; Alliance Tire Group; American Omni Trading Co.; Bartec USA LLC; Continental Tire the Americas LLC; Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.; Dilmar Oil Co.; Double Coin Holdings Ltd.; Falken Tire Corp.; Federal Corp.; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.; Hankook Tire America Corp.; Hunter Engineering Co.; Michelin North America Inc.; Mohawk Rubber Sales Inc.; NAPA Auto Parts; Specialty Tires of America Inc.; Titan International Inc.; Tube & Solid Tire Ltd. and Wells Insurance.

The Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina serves neglected and abused children through a system of community-based and residential programs. The not-for-profit organization’s office, school and residential campus are located near the Black’s Tire headquarters, and the founder of Black’s Tire served on the charity’s inaugural board of directors. Gary Faircloth, CEO and president of the Boys and Girls Homes, says it has no greater partner than Benton and Black’s Tire. “The ambassadorship role that they play is invaluable.”

Benton joins an impressive list of tire industry icons who have been named Modern Tire Dealer’s Tire Dealer of the Year. The list includes the 2014 winner, Bruce Halle, chairman of Discount Tire, based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Benton is featured in a cover story in Modern Tire Dealer’s September issue. (See the story here, or the magazine’s digital edition here.)

Modern Tire Dealer’s Tire Dealer of the Year is the highest honor given to any independent tire dealer. Nominees are evaluated on their business success, marketing and management skills, industry knowledge and community involvement. Winners are chosen by a panel of five independent judges.

Modern Tire Dealer has been the industry’s leading publication since 1919. It is owned by Bobit Business Media, a Torrance, Calif.-based media company that specializes in business-to-business publications, conferences and websites.


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Biscuitville hires a new president

PRESS RELEASE on September 2015 at 5:00:00 pm 
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Biscuitville Fresh Southern, a family-owned restaurant company known for serving locally-sourced, Southern Inspired food made the old-fashioned way, just announced a new executive has joined its leadership team to support the company’s strategic growth initiatives. Jim Metevier (Met TEE vee ay), a seasoned restaurant executive with more than 20 years of experience, was named Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN’s new president. Working with Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN’s CEO Burney Jennings, Metevier will strive to continue to grow sales, reach new audiences and advance the company to become the most preferred, quick casual breakfast restaurant brand in the South.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jim aboard during this exciting period of growth for Biscuitville,” said Burney Jennings. “His extensive experience building a high-performance company and strong track record of success will add depth to our team and position Biscuitville for an even brighter future. I look forward to working with Jim.”

It is an opportune time for Metevier to join Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN. Under Jennings’ leadership, the company has experienced 16 consecutive quarters of same store sales growth among its family of 54 restaurants, and this fiscal year, sales are estimated to hit a record $67 million. The recent addition of the company’s new lunch menu to many of its restaurants, coupled with Biscuitville’s expanded use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and key operational improvements, set the company on a trajectory of unprecedented growth the last several years.

As president, Metevier will focus on maintaining Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN’s leadership position in the quick casual marketplace and spearheading the company’s strategic business development. These growth initiatives include the addition of new restaurants, facility renovations, a company-wide rollout of its new lunch menu, operations and infrastructure improvements, and the addition of more staff to support new restaurant expansion.

Metevier brings a wealth of experience to Biscuitville’s leadership team and has an extensive knowledge base of operations, finance, development, marketing and strategic planning. Before joining Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN, Metevier worked for Yum! Brands for 22 years. Yum! Brands is one of the world’s largest restaurant companies and includes KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurant brands.

As territory general manager of the Eastern United States at KFC, Metevier led the turnaround of 1,000 stores bringing the region to rank #1 in the system. This accomplishment, coupled with a successful launch of a series of initiatives which significantly improved system performance, earned Metevier a promotion to become KFC’s chief operations officer in 2011. Metevier held this position for two years, before his last role as chief restaurant excellence officer.

“I look forward to joining the Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN family and building on the company’s success of the last 50 years,” said Metevier. “As a team, we will continue to enhance the guest experience in our restaurants and drive-thrus, reach out to new and younger guests, improve operational efficiencies, and ensure our food is the freshest, best-tasting, scratch-made food in the South.”

Before launching his career in the restaurant business, Metevier attended the University of Central Florida, where he received an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Master of Business Administration. Metevier relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Beth, and their three kids, Tyler, Rachel, and Ryan.

About Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN

Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN is a family-owned company that offers guests an authentic Southern Inspired dining experience. Known for making food the old- fashioned way, Biscuitville uses fresh, authentic ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible, and provides unparalleled hospitality. The company was founded in 1966 when owner Maurice Jennings opened two pizza restaurants in Burlington. After several years, the company added signature, made-from-scratch biscuits to its menu that were so well received, business boomed and the Biscuitville brand evolved. In 2014, the company expanded its lunch menu to include fresh-made sandwiches and sides, now available at select Triad locations and rolling out to other locations by the end of 2016. Today, Biscuitville employs over 900 people and operates 54 restaurants in North Carolina and Virginia. Biscuitville serves breakfast all day from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offers a lunch menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at select Triad locations. For more information, visit

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New managing partner at Robinson Bradshaw

PRESS RELEASE on September 2015 at 10:15:00 am 
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2015) – As the firm celebrates its 55th anniversary this month, Robinson Bradshaw is pleased to announce that Allen K. Robertson has been elected to serve as managing partner, effective Monday, Sept. 14.
He succeeds Robert Griffin, who will step down after almost 20 years of service as Robinson Bradshaw’s first managing partner. The firm created the position of managing partner in 1996 to fulfill founder Russell Robinson’s desire to transition day-to-day leadership. Griffin will remain with the firm and continue to assist in meeting client needs.
“Robert Griffin has led us as our managing partner during two decades of substantial development,” Robinson said. “We are indebted to him for so much of the success we have achieved and are very pleased to have Allen Robertson succeed him.”
Robertson entered private practice when he joined Robinson Bradshaw in 1989. Beginning as a bankruptcy lawyer and litigator, he ultimately focused his practice on public finance. Robertson also assists clients with a range of other corporate law matters, particularly within the banking, health care and senior living industries. He will continue to serve the firm’s public finance and corporate clients while acting as managing partner.
“I could not be more excited about, and humbled by, being asked to serve as managing partner,” Robertson said. “I also am confident that, even in a rapidly changing legal market, the expertise and experience of our lawyers, and a culture that keeps our lawyers focused solely on delivering excellent service to our clients, means that we are well-positioned for continued future success.”
Robertson was a Morehead Scholar and received his Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1988. Upon graduation from law school, Robertson served for one year as a law clerk to the Honorable James B. McMillan, U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
In 2013-14, Robertson served as president of the National Association of Bond Lawyers. He has been recognized in numerous publications, including Chambers USA and Best Lawyers, as a public finance lawyer of regional and national distinction, and is a Fellow in the American College of Bond Counsel. He has served on the firm’s board of directors since 2012 and as a member of the firm’s recruiting, business development and inclusion committees.
Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. is a corporate and commercial law firm providing high-quality, comprehensive legal services. Founded in 1960, the firm has more than 130 attorneys with offices in Charlotte and the Research Triangle in North Carolina, and in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Visit for more information.

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Happy talk

Ogi Overman on September 2015 at 1:00:00 pm 
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Before doomsday pundits drop the last shovelful of dirt on the print media industry, they might want to visit N2 Publishing in Wilmington. There, a staff of about 200 graphic artists, sales managers, administrators and press operators produce 800 glossy, monthly publications that target neighborhoods in 500 cities in 48 states. Started in June 2004, N2 expects revenue to top $50 million this year, or about five times the $11 million recorded in 2011.

“Every 15 months our company doubles in size,” CEO Duane Hixon says. “We’re adding five to 10 employees a month.” Inc. magazine has ranked the company among the 1,500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. for the last four years.   

N2’s concept is simple: Find a high-income neighborhood ranging from 200 homes to as many as 1,500. Then, hire an “area director” to sell yearlong ad contracts to merchants and service providers such as stockbrokers, while collecting editorial copy consisting mostly of articles promoting local businesses and describing kids’ activities, often written by moms. The ads and copy are sent to Wilmington, where cookie-cutter publications are produced and mailed to each home in a neighborhood, free of charge.

College friends Hixon and Earl Seals devised N2 after seeing similar publications in Atlanta, Austin and Indianapolis. “No one was really doing it on a large scale,” says Hixon, a general studies graduate of Indiana University. He began his first publication in his own Wilmington neighborhood, Farrington Farms. The company has since added six more neighborhoods in the Wilmington area.

Seals was living in St. Louis, and had started a handful of similar publications there. By 2008, Hixon, 39, and Seals, 44, were attracting assertive, sales-oriented people to take responsibility for all content, photos and advertising. After three days of orientation in Wilmington, area directors are mostly autonomous and receive much of the sales revenue, minus overhead charged by N2. If successful, they also earn a share of their publication’s equity. North Carolina now has at least several dozen N2 publications.

Don’t look for hard-hitting news about local issues. “Our motto is ‘turning neighborhoods into communities,’” Hixon says. “People like to know what their neighbors are doing, so we feature the folks in the neighborhood, anything from a remodeled kitchen, to a landscaping project in the backyard, to a son or daughter getting a scholarship to college. It’s all upbeat; we don’t get into any heated political or religious stories.”

Keeping it light, centralizing production and focusing on a small area is a savvy strategy in a time when  many publications struggle, says John Robinson, former editor of the Greensboro News & Record who now teaches at UNC Chapel Hill. “People want to connect with other people, and the smart papers and magazines have figured that out. Getting as local as you can, connecting neighbor to neighbor, can be a prosperous niche.”

The success of N2 has spurred copycat magazines around the country, so Hixon is courting new neighborhoods as fast as possible. “Say, we get the top six neighborhoods, they have to go to number seven, and it’s a harder gig. That’s how we keep the competition out.”

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Moynihan has some powerful friends

David Mildenberg on September 2015 at 7:30:00 am 
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Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan's efforts to hang onto his chairman's title at the Charlotte-based bank received support Tuesday from billionaires Warren Buffett and C.D. "Dick" Spangler, who told media organizations they didn't see a need to split the CEO and chairman slots.

The comments by Buffett and Spangler came a day after The Wall Street Journal described a lobbying campaign by some of Moynihan's senior colleagues, including strategy and marketing chief Anne Finucane, urging major investors to support Moynihan. Shareholders will vote Sept. 22 on whether to ratify the bank board's decision last year to unify the two positions, which had been split since 2009, when the bank was reeling during the financial crisis. The issue has attracted lots of attention because company leadership is reversing a relatively recent decision by stockholders.

Some groups advising large investors and large pension funds want the titles to remain split at BofA, and common sense suggests that's a good idea. Why invest such power over a $2 trillion operation in the hands of one person, unless he or she has supernatural skills? Effective boards should provide oversight of all managers, including the CEO, one would think — especially given the track record of the large U.S. banks over the past decade. While Moynihan has been CEO for almost six years, he was also a top executive at BofA for several years following the Charlotte bank's acquisition of Fleet First Boston Corp.

In January's edition, we analyzed Moynihan's performance, earning him our Mover and Shaker of the Year kudos.

To be sure, as Spangler told The Charlotte Observer, no studies have shown any difference in stock-market performance whether the jobs are split or not. But the issue seems to also involve ego and keeping up with the Joneses, or in this case, JPMorgan Chase & Co. The Journal story notes how JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon threatened to quit if he would have lost his chairman's title in 2013, following a major trading debacle at the New York-based banking giant. He didn't lose the job.

Moynihan hasn't threatened to quit if he loses the Sept. 22 vote, according to the Journal 's story, which was reported by former Observer reporter Christine Rexrode and Joann Lublin, whose contacts in corporate America boardrooms are probably unparalleled among U.S. journalists. With support from Spangler and Buffett, he may not need to make such a threat.

Also of interest: Spangler declined to tell the Observer how much BofA stock he controls. For many years, he was the bank's largest shareholder, partly because his family's eastern North Carolina bank was acquired in 1982 by the old NCNB Corp. Hence, the cost basis of their shares is minimal, making any sale very costly given capital gains taxes.

The Spangler holdings were last publicly disclosed in February 2009, when the 32 million shares were valued at more than $210 million as BofA shares traded near their record low price. That was the time when many investors feared the bank would be nationalized. Less than three years earlier, when BofA was riding high, 32 million shares would have been worth $1.7 billion.

If the family has hung on to the stock, those 32 million shares are now worth about $500 million. 

If you are really interested in the Spangler story — and it is an amazing one — take time to read his biographical account provided in 2001 to his alma mater Harvard Business School:



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Qorvo's Chinese struggle

Business NC on September 2015 at 2:30:00 pm 
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China’s slowing economy is proving expensive for shareholders of Qorvo, the Greensboro-based company created this year after the merger of RF Micro Devices and Hillsboro, Ore.-based TriQuint Semiconductor.

The company’s shares declined 14% on July 30, a day after it missed profit expectations of industry analysts, and today traded for more than 15% less than when the merger took effect in January. Qorvo blamed slowing sales of its wireless infrastructure equipment and soft sales in China.

Most industry analysts view the dip as a blip, with 15 of 17 giving Qorvo a “buy” rating in August. “Qorvo is expected to leverage the core strengths of both the merged companies to rapidly translate research and development advances into production," Zacks Investment Research noted in a July report. Merger-related cost cuts should save $75 million annually in 2015-16, while spending to develop products expands from $257.5 million last year, according to the company. Qorvo relies on mobile customers for more than 80% of its revenue, including industry giants Apple and Samsung, so it is trying to diversify. Qorvo will be a supplier for automotive antennae as manufacturers make their vehicles more compatible with wireless technology. The company also provided parts for NASA’s New Horizons space mission to Pluto.

When business rebounds, Qorvo will be ready to grow, company executives told analysts in July. It started hiring about 180 new workers this summer, including 50 in Greensboro, where it now employs 1,400. “We feel confident we can hit our model while making substantial investments in the process technologies and great products that sustain and enhance our competitive advantage,” Chief Financial Officer Steve Buhaly said. He and CEO Robert Bruggeworth sold a combined $3 million of shares when they traded at about $79 in July. Shares traded today at about $56.

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5 NC cities picked for innovations program

PRESS RELEASE on September 2015 at 1:00:00 pm 
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RALEIGH, NC, Sept. 4, 2015 -- The Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University today announced that the Asheville, Greensboro, Pembroke, Wilmington/Carolina Coast, and Wilson communities have been selected to participate in InnovateNC, an intensive, two-year cross-city learning collaborative. The initiative, led by the Institute of Emerging Issues and nine partners, is a first-in-the-nation effort to spark innovation-centered economic development. The five communities were selected from a group of eighteen proposals submitted from across North Carolina.

“All 18 applicant communities had terrific ideas and vision,” said IEI director Anita Brown-Graham. “The five InnovateNC communities were selected because each has the right mix of assets, is fully committed to collective impact and to making major gains in building and sustaining innovation, and is ready to engage in the collaborative. IEI and our partners look forward to working with these communities over the next two years.”

Submissions were evaluated on strength of current efforts, organizational capacity, local partners, and ability to participate in evaluation efforts.

InnovateNC has been specifically designed as a learning opportunity for the entire State of North Carolina. Beyond intensive work with the five communities selected, the initiative will broadly disseminate products, processes, and tools to boost innovation statewide.

InnovateNC partners include NC State University's Institute for Emerging Issues and College of Design; Forward Impact; the UNC System; Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy; UNC Chapel Hill's Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise and Department of Public Policy; RTI International; UNC-TV; the Council for Entrepreneurial Development; the Research Triangle Foundation; and the NC Board of Science, Technology & Innovation. The project launch is supported by a generous grant from the Kenan Creative Collaboratory, an initiative of the four Kenan Institutes.

Here are some highlights from the applications of the five selected communities:

Asheville:  Application submitted by The Collider in collaboration with the Asheville Hub, Economic Development Coalition (EDC)/Venture Asheville, and the City of Asheville.  The team cited innovation and teamwork as the foundation of the city’s booming economy.  By participating in InnovateNC, they will grow the city’s emerging environmental and climate science industry sector.  (Media contact: Kathi Petersen, The Collider,, 828-712-1286)

Greensboro: Submitted by the Greensboro Partnership, which includes the Greensboro Partnership for Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce, Action Greensboro, and Entrepreneur Connection. Recognizing the relatively untapped innovation potential of Greensboro’s diverse population, the team’s InnovateNC objective is to create a “culture of inclusive innovation” while building upon the city’s efforts to become a “Maker City” for the 21st-century global economy. (Media contact: Deborah Hooper, Greensboro Partnership,, 336-387-8320)

Pembroke: Submitted by the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in collaboration with the Town of Pembroke, Lumbee Regional Development Association, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and local business leaders. The team will leverage InnovateNC to build upon its entrepreneurial resources while utilizing the diversity and heritage of the region to create a distinct innovation district. (Media contact: Scott Bigelow, University of North Carolina at Pembroke,, 910-521-6351)

Wilmington and the Carolina Coast: Submitted by the Wilmington City Council in collaboration with New Hanover County, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation, Town of Leland, Brunswick County, NC Biotech Center SE Office, and Brunswick Community College. The team plans to use InnovateNC as an opportunity to strengthen the region’s emerging innovation ecosystem in the marine and life sciences. (Media contact: Malissa Talbert, City ofWilmington,, 910-342-2736)

Wilson: Submitted by the City and County of Wilson in collaboration with a local leadership network. By participating in InnovateNC, the City intends to develop an inclusive entrepreneurial economy while retaining its rich community character. The team will build on local assets including the community-owned Greenlight Gigabit Network. (Media contact: Matt Shaw, City of Wilson,, 252-399-2311, 252-299-3078)

Background on IEI: NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) connects people and resources from all sectors and areas of North Carolina in an effort to ensure our state’s future economic competitiveness. For more information on IEI’s work, visit

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Too many schools are flunking

David Mildenberg on September 2015 at 10:00:00 am 
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In our June magazine, I wrote about my experience tutoring at a middle-school math class in Charlotte public schools. It had received an F grade in 2013-14 under the state of North Carolina's grading system, which measures competency and improvement ("The math doesn't add up").

I doubted the school's grade would improve in the 2014-15 cycle. Sadly, it didn't. The state reported test scores yesterday and my favorite school received another F.

The state's report included some positive results, including improvement at west Charlotte schools that have struggled for many years. Charlotte Observer reporter Ann Doss Helms wrote an excellent overview.

But my school got an F and is among the 30% of North Carolina schools to receive D or F grades. (

Wouldn't it be great if North Carolina business and political leaders truly committed to fixing those lagging schools, whatever it takes, without any partisanship?

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Salisbury adds fast Internet service

PRESS RELEASE on September 2015 at 9:45:00 am 
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SALISBURY, N.C – Sept. 3, 2015 – Thanks to its partnership with Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX), the world leader in gigabit fiber deployments, Salisbury is now America’s first 10 gigabit city (, with 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) available to every premise in the city through the municipally-owned Fibrant. The first 10 Gbps service is being offered at Catawba College, a private academic institution based in Salisbury, powered by the Calix E5-520 Ethernet Service Access Node (ESAN).

To announce this historic milestone, Fibrant will host a press conference at Catawba College’s Ketner School of Business beginning at 2 p.m. today. Governor Pat McCrory, Geoff Burke, senior director of corporate marketing at Calix, and leaders of Fibrant and Catawba College are scheduled to speak.

After five years of building out its fiber network and launching gigabit services last year, Fibrant is now ready to offer the highest citywide speeds available in any U.S. community by leveraging Calix systems. The Fibrant network now supports up to 10 Gbps services throughout Salisbury via point-to-point Ethernet technology today, with a transition to next generation Passive Optical Network (PON) technology as it becomes available in 2016. These innovative technologies are the new vehicles through which to deliver a multi-gigabit broadband experience to all Salisbury citizens.    

“Broadband services are essential to our daily operations and the quality of the educational experience our students receive,” said Joanna L. Jasper, chief information officer at Catawba College. “By moving to Fibrant’s 10 Gbps speeds, the College is in a better position to differentiate itself. We can bring world-class broadband services to our campus community to support the next generation of educational applications.”

Catawba College’s Hoke Hall is the first location to receive 10 Gbps services with infrastructure improvements planned in other campus buildings including the Cannon Student Center and Ralph W. Ketner Hall. Additionally, Catawba is designing a strategic blueprint for turning computer labs into Digital Media Creation and Collaboration labs, as well as adding high-speed video conferencing in a number of facilities throughout the campus.

In light of the recent partnership, Catawba sees this as an opportunity for its students, faculty, and the community at large. “The future is all about rich immersive digital media and being able to communicate and collaborate with others in real-time regardless of where people are in time and space. It is exciting that a small college like Catawba can now experiment with high-speed technology we believed to be years away. To put the speed change in perspective, having 10 Gbps gives us the potential to be 10 times faster on campus,” said Jasper.

Fibrant rolled out 1 Gbps services using the Calix E7-2 Ethernet Services Access Platform (ESAP) last year, but with consumer bandwidth consumption doubling every two years, Salisbury businesses and residents will require increasingly higher broadband speeds in order to have the highest quality broadband experience. Fibrant plans to complement the initial point-to-point 10 Gbps technology with next generation PON technologies (XGS-PON and NG-PON2) integrated into Calix E-Series solutions to deliver a multi-gigabit subscriber experience to residents and businesses alike. With a variety of 10 Gbps-capable technologies at its disposal, Fibrant will be in a position to enable cloud-based services that can keep up with projected subscriber bandwidth growth over the next decade.

“Salisbury has been at the forefront of broadband services and speeds for years now, but today, we are taking the next step to set ourselves apart from other cities with our citywide 10 Gbps service,” said Kent Winrich, director of broadband infrastructure for Fibrant. “As America’s first 10 gig city, our community has an edge in economic development. Fibrant is helping our existing businesses grow and attracting new companies to Salisbury.”  

Fibrant and Calix are bringing 10 Gbps technology to an array of applications as the technology matures. Starting with demanding enterprise grade applications, such as Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) 2.0 Carrier Ethernet services utilized by data centers, medical, and educational institutions, Fibrant will expand 10 Gbps services to small to medium businesses and residences, leveraging Calix innovations in XGS-PON and NG-PON2.

“As the global leader in advanced gigabit services deployments, we support hundreds of service providers reaching thousands of communities in their gigabit service delivery efforts, but Fibrant is doing something special in Salisbury,” said John Colvin, senior vice president of North American sales at Calix. “In making the leap to multi-gigabit services for key anchor institutions and businesses, Fibrant has set a new bar for communities across America. As next generation PON technologies come to market in 2016, we are excited to see how smaller businesses, MDU (multiple dwelling unit) owners, and even single family residences take advantage of these impressive speeds and enjoy the next wave of broadband innovation.”

About Calix

Calix (NYSE: CALX) is a global leader in access innovation. Its Unified Access portfolio of broadband communications access software, systems and services enables communications service providers worldwide to transform their networks and become the broadband provider of choice to their subscribers. For more information, visit the Calix website at

This press release may contain forward-looking statements that are based upon management's current expectations and are inherently uncertain. Forward-looking statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this release, and we assume no obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking statement to reflect any event or circumstance after the date of this release, except as required by law. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from current expectations based on risks and uncertainties affecting the Company's business. The reader is cautioned not to unduly rely on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Additional information on potential factors that could affect Calix's results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed in its reports on Form 10-Q for the second 2015 fiscal quarter and Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year 2014, filed with the SEC and available at 

About Catawba College

Founded in 1851, Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, is the sixth oldest college in the state.  It is a private, coeducational college that has a student body of close to 1,300 students.  The institution offers over 70 fields of academic study and fields 18 NCAA Division II athletic teams.  Students enjoy small classes with an average student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1.  More than 70 percent of students live on the 276-acre campus.  For more information on Catawba, which is known for its nationally ranked theatre arts, music, business and science programs, visit

About Fibrant

Fibrant is the fastest city-wide broadband network in the world, covering 100 percent of the City of Salisbury, North Carolina with its all-fiber optic network. This municipally-owned utility company provides Internet speeds up to 10 gigabits per second, video services, phone services, a localized data center, dark fiber and local ad insertion. Established in 2010, Fibrant has deployed an advanced, fully redundant, network with two separate backbone connections, as well as enterprise-level hardware. Fibrant offers business solutions and responsive, 24/7 customer service from a local networks operation center.

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Are pummeled NC stocks now bargains?

David Mildenberg on September 2015 at 10:00:00 am 
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With the stock market in disarray, contrarians suggest it's the best time to buy. So we wondered: Which North Carolina-based stocks have done the best and worst over the past year, compared with the Standard & Poor's 500 index, a typical measuring stick?

Investors looking for bargains might find a gem among the hardest-hit stocks, which include some of the state's better known companies.

The S&P 500 declined 4.6% over the past year, through Sept. 1. These stocks did at least 25 percentage points worse than the index:

SPX (ticker - SPW)  –  47% worse than the index

Cree (CREE) – 41% worse

Fresh Market (TFM) – 41% worse

Enpro (NPO) – 34% worse

Sciquest (SQI) – 34% worse

Channel Advisor (ECOM) – 33% worse

Triangle Capital (TCAP)  – 30% worse

Insteel (IIIN) – 28% worse

Nucor (NUE) – 25% worse


Then there are the outperformers. Are they overvalued or just well-managed?

Cempra (CEMP) – 242% better than the index

LendingTree (TREE) – 237% better

Chimerix (CHRM) – 113% better

Coke Consolidated (COKE) – 107% better

Ingles (IMKTA) – 101% better

Reynolds American (RAI) – 45% better 

Quintiles (Q) – 35% better

Lowe's (LOW) – 31% better


This list doesn't include some small-capitalization stocks and companies that have announced that they are being acquired.




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Pest control pay day: $425 million for Charlotte company

David Mildenberg on September 2015 at 12:00:00 pm 
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Rentokil Initial PLC, a British business-services company, agreed to buy the Steritech Group Inc., based in Charlotte, for $425 million.

Steritech had pretax earnings of $10 million last year, according to a Financial Times story. The company was started in 1986 by John Whitley, who was CEO until 2005, when he became executive chairman.

The acquisition will make Rentokil the third-largest pest control business in both the U.S. and Canada, Rentokil said in a press release.

"Rentokil’s strong culture and focus on people make it the perfect fit for Steritech and its customers," Rich Ennis, CEO of Steritech, said in a statement.

Rentokil North America includes Ehrlich Pest Control, Western Exterminator and Presto-X Pest Control, which provide commercial and residential pest control, deer repellent services, termite control and other services through about 200 offices in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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Charlotte snags corporate HQ from Louisiana

David Mildenberg on August 2015 at 2:00:00 pm 
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Albemarle Corporation, a Louisiana-based chemical manufacturer that moved its headquarters from Virginia to Louisiana in 2008, is now heading to Charlotte.

The deal will add 120 new jobs by 2016 for Charlotte, which is becoming a magnet for corporate headquarters, aided by state and local incentive grants. Founded in 1994, Albemarle was based in Richmond, Va., until its move to Baton Rouge, La., in 2008. It employs 6,900, has a stock-market value of $4.9 billion and had sales of $2.4 billion in 2014, according to a release from Gov. Pat McCrory’s office.

Wages at the headquarters office will average at least $169,425 annually, the release said. The average annual wage for Mecklenburg County is $59,882.

“This is the fourth time in five months we’ve announced a corporate headquarters relocation in North Carolina,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce. Dimensional Fund Advisors and Lidl announced in July plans to relocate regional headquarters to Mecklenburg and Alamance counties, respectively. In April, CBC Americas launched plans for its corporate headquarters in Wake County.

Albemarle in January acquired Rockwood Holdings Inc. The company has 137 employees and contractors at its Rockwood Lithium plant in Kings Mountain.

Over 12 years, Albemarle is eligible for North Carolina incentives of more than $2 million, provided it creates 120 jobs.

Franklin Resources Inc. and BlackRock Inc., two large money-management companies, are Albemarle's largest owners with 6.4% and 5.1% of shares outstanding, according to Albemarle's 2015 proxy statement. Albemarle's shares traded today for about $44, their lowest level since Sept. 2011.




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BNC Bancorp Buys Charleston, S.C.-area bank

David Mildenberg on August 2015 at 5:25:00 pm 
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BNC Bancorp Chief Executive Officer Rick Callicutt took an aggressive, optimistic tone in describing his vision for the High Point-based bank in a June 2014 Business North Carolina story.

He made further progress on that vision today with BNC buying Mt. Pleasant, S.C.-based Southcoast Community Bank for $95.5 million in stock. Southcoast, which opened in 1998, has about $506 million in assets and 10 branches in the Charleston area. In December, BNC bought another Charleston-area bank, Harbor Bank Group for $51 million. Harbor had $325 million in assets and 4 branches.

Charleston has among the best growth prospects in the U.S. as an internationally famous tourism magnet and, increasingly, as a manufacturing hub. Volvo is planning to build its first U.S. auto manufacturing plant in neighboring Berkeley County with production expected to start in 2018. More than 2,000 people are expected to be hired to work at the auto plant, which will join Boeing Co. as a major employer in the region.

Pending completion of the deal, BNC will have about $6 billion in assets and $4.5 billion in loans. The company is also acquiring seven branches of Greenville, S.C.-based CertusBank, N.A. in upstate South Carolina. It now has 57 branches in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

BNC shares closed today at $21.89, near its record high of $22.50.


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Coke Consolidated refreshes investors

David Mildenberg on July 2015 at 8:00:00 am 
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Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, though publicly held and the nation's largest independent Coke bottler, has long operated under the radar. Shares are thinly traded and rarely tracked by Wall Street analysts because CEO Frank Harrison III’s family controls 86% of the bottling company’s voting power, while Coca-Cola owns 5%. (His family has controlled the company for decades.) Harrison keeps a very low profile for a near-billionaire, but he is among Charlotte's most influential businessmen, perhaps best known for his support of the YMCA and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Now, the Harrisons' family business is showing growth prospects that are raising attention among investors, and its stock has soared over the last year after years of flat performance. Shares traded as high as $173 this week, before closing at $154 on Thursday. That's a huge change — shares mostly traded between $35 and $70 since 1996, finally breaking above $75 in early 2014. The company is now valued at more than $1.4 billion.

In May, the Charlotte-based company agreed with Atlanta-based Coca-Cola to expand its franchise territory in 10 states and Washington, D.C. Major cities that will soon get Coca-Cola products shipped by the company include Baltimore, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Richmond and Norfolk, Va. The agreement follows recent expansions in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana. The company earlier this month said it would relocate 160 people and add 140 at a new Charlotte call center, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

For Coca-Cola, the soft-drink giant, offloading the capital-intensive distribution businesses allows it to focus on its famous marketing.

Coke Consolidated’s first-quarter revenue jumped almost 17% to $453 million, including more than $50 million from territories acquired over the last 18 months. By 2017, its revenue could double because of the expansions, according to an in-depth report posted on the Seeking Alpha investment website by an investor who declined to be identified. 

The 113-year-old company distributes more than 250 products and flavors, including beverages for Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Monster Energy. It has introduced its own products in recent years, such as Tum-E Yummies, a vitamin C-enhanced children’s drink. Coca-Cola Consolidated’s largest customer is Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores, making up 15% of sales, while Salisbury-based Food Lion accounts for 6%.  

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McColl's PE firm buys Morrisville company

David Mildenberg on July 2015 at 12:30:00 pm 
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Falfurrias Capital Partners, a Charlotte-based private equity firm started by Hugh McColl Jr. and Marc Oken, said it bought a controlling interest in RegEd, a provider of compliance software for the financial services industry that is based in Morrisville. The seller is StoneRiver Group L.P. of Columbia, S.C. Terms weren’t released.

RegEd provides education and training to more than 400 broker-dealers, insurance companies and other clients, helping them comply with government regulations.

Falfurrias, founded in 2006 by former BofA CEO McColl and ex-BofA CFO Oken, specializes in investing in financial-services companies. One of their bigger successes was the sale earlier this year of Dorsey, Wright & Associates. The fund raised $127 million in 2013 and is now deploying that money.

John Schobel, who founded RegEd in1994, will continue to lead the company, which will operate as a stand-alone entity.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, a unit of Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc., acted as financial adviser to RegEd.

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BNC recognized for excellence in journalism

Business North Carolina on June 2015 at 8:00:00 am 
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Business North Carolina took home a record eight Editorial Excellence awards at the Alliance of Area Business Publishers annual conference, held June 25-27 in Charlotte.

The Charlotte-based magazine, in its 35th year of publication, won two gold awards, including Best Recurring Feature for the monthly “Picture This” photo feature. The feature “vividly shines its spotlight on an unpredictable range of businesses,” according to the judges. Also winning a gold award was Edward Martin for Best Body of Work. “Martin consistently creates compelling business journalism,” the judges said, and his stories include “compelling interviews that transcend quotes taken simply from ‘talking heads.’”

Martin won a silver award for Best Investigative Reporting for “Heart of coal,” which covered Duke Energy’s coal-ash spill into the Dan River near Eden in February 2014. The feature also earned BNC a silver award for Best Cover.

Martin’s look at climate change and rising sea level earned BNC a silver award for Best Local Coverage of National Business/Economic Story. The judges found “Land’s end” (November 2014) “well sourced, clear and matter of fact.”

BNC also took home the silver award in the Best Magazine category. “High-quality reporting, a clean and easy-to-consume design and exceptional feature writing make Business North Carolina a magazine worthy of recognition,” the judges noted.

BNC earned bronze awards for Best Overall Design and Best Personality Profile, which attracted entries that were “among the strongest in the contest,” according to the press release. In “Broadening his band” (December 2014), writer Chris Burritt profiled Raleigh media executive Jim Goodmon. “The writer doesn’t shy away from tough questions and includes an incredible amount of detail.”

The Los Angeles-based organization received 622 entries from 40 publications. Entries were judged by a panel of 24 faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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North Carolina real-estate tales, per Citigroup

David Mildenberg on June 2015 at 6:00:00 pm 
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Research analysts at Citigroup Inc. issued a June 16 report after recently meeting with executives at real-estate investment trusts with big holdings of North Carolina commercial real estate, including Highwoods Properties Inc., Duke Realty Corp. and Parkway Properties Inc. Their report provided some interesting nuggets:

Highwoods Properties wishes they had built a bigger PNC Plaza building in downtown Raleigh because of greater demand for space than expected. The 33-floor building, formerly known as RBC Plaza, is the tallest building in Raleigh and has about 730,000 square feet.

MetLife is paying rent in the upper-$20 per square foot range at its new campus in Cary, which fronts Lake Crabtree and is near Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Charlotte’s 525 North Tryon Building, though only four blocks from Hearst Tower, has been a challenge to lease by Parkway Properties, which bought the office building for $47.4 million in 2012.

Technology tenants are seeking space in downtown Charlotte, particularly in “edgier” buildings. It isn’t just bankers and lawyers anymore.

Liberty Property Trust bought five office buildings in Durham, totaling 705,000 square feet, for $44 million on June 12. The buildings are fully leased.

Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh industrial real-estate markets are “in the earlier innings of the cycle” with less vacancy and higher rents. Opening of an inland port in Greer, S.C., and Norfolk Southern Corp.’s new intermodal site next to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport are driving demand for warehouse space in the Carolinas.

Apartment developers are willing to pay more for land than office developers in the major North Carolina cities, mirroring a national trend.


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High Point official is state's top economic developer

David Mildenberg on June 2015 at 4:00:00 pm 
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The North Carolina Economic Developers Association named Sandy Dunbeck, senior vice president of the High Point Economic Development Corporation, as the state's 2015 Economic Developer of the Year.

Dunbeck represented High Point during a year in which the city in Guilford County notched some important economic development gains, including a new $34 million facility by Ralph Lauren Corp.; Heritage Home Group moving its headquarters and 300 jobs; APAC Customer Services Inc. adding 850 jobs and Thomas Built Buses adding 236 positions.

“I saw the direct benefit of Sandy’s work highlighted by the successful location of Belgium furniture manufacturer BuzziSpace,” said Loren Hill, NCEDA board member. The company added 113 jobs. “Her tireless efforts and personal attention helped the company feel confident that High Point was the right home for the company’s first North American manufacturing location. As a direct result of Sandy’s efforts, High Point is poised to make significant gains in economic development in the coming year.”


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Ben Sutton receives key state honor

David Mildenberg on June 2015 at 10:00:00 am 
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Ben Sutton Jr., who built Winston-Salem-based IMG College into a national sports-marketing power, received North Carolina's Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Tuesday. A Burlington native who grew up in Murfreesboro, Sutton founded International Sports Properties Inc. in 1992 to handle some of the business operations for Wake Forest University, his alma mater. He later sold it in a deal that created IMG College. The company has gross revenues of nearly $1 billion, compared with about $700,000 in ISP Sports' first year.
IMG College employs 300 in North Carolina and about 1,000 nationally. It produces nearly 40,000 hours of broadcasts annually on nearly 2,500 radio and television stations in the United States.  

Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch attended the Order of the Long Leaf Pine ceremony.

A January Business North Carolina story profiled Sutton's career:

North Carolina gives the Order of the Long Leaf Pine honor to citizens who have made significant contributions to the state.



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Raleigh's North Hills gains new office tower

David Mildenberg on May 2015 at 4:45:00 pm 
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Raleigh developer John Kane plans a 12-story building in Raleigh’s North Hills district for Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., a Chicago-based health care technology company with a background connected to two of North Carolina's most successful businessmen.

Allscripts plans to move 1,000 employees from existing offices in north Raleigh into the 330,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open in early 2017, according to a Kane Realty Corp. press release.

Allscripts merged with Misys plc, a British company in 2008. Misys had acquired Raleigh-based Medic Computer Systems for $923 million in 1997 — a record at the time for a North Carolina technology company. The company had been run since 1990 by John McConnell, who acquired it from Black & Decker Corp. in 1990 for $29 million, with backing from C.D. Spangler Jr.’s Wakefield Group investment company. By 1997 it was a public company with about 1,400 employees.

McConnell remains a major force in North Carolina, focusing on his golf-course management business.

Allscripts needs a change of scenery, having lost more than $165 million in the past three years. It had revenue of almost $1.4 billion in 2014 and has a market cap of about $2.6 billion.

Kane has developed shopping center, office, multifamily, hotel and mixed-use projects since 1978, when he started a Greenville company. Kane Realty bought North Hills Plaza for $11 million in 1999, followed by North Hills Mall in 2001, for $16 million. About $1 billion has been invested on North Hills-area projects by Kane Realty-related entities since 1999.

In addition to the new building, North Hills is also home to the Offices at North Hills that opened in 2005, the 17-story CapTrust Tower (2010) and the 18-story Tower Two, which is slated to open next year.

Kane Realty is also developing an 800-resident, $78 million student-housing project on Hillsborough Street near N.C. State University.

Related: John Kane named Business North Carolina's 2014 Developer of the Year

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Tafts adding apartments near ECU

David Mildenberg on May 2015 at 5:00:00 pm 
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Greenville’s Taft family, which has developed land around eastern North Carolina for decades, is making a splash in the university housing market in their hometown.

Taft Development Group and Ward Holdings LLC, run by local real-estate investor Jim Ward, plan a $54 million, 275-apartment project adjacent to downtown Greenville and the East Carolina University campus. It is across the street from the planned $122 million ECU Student Union, expected to get under construction this summer. The Campus Edge project will include 20,000 square feet of retail space and a 700-car garage.

A sister project developed by the Tafts, The Boundary at West End, will open this year about two blocks away. It involves a $43 million investment and includes 245 apartments.

Several larger companies that specialize in university student housing own units in Greenville, but co-owner Thomas Taft Jr. says the location of the projects should ensure their success attracting some of the 28,000 students enrolled at East Carolina.

“We think we have a finger on the pulse of the market,” Taft says. “Greenville and ECU are an exception to the rule that much of the area east of Interstate 95 is struggling.”

Taft Development owns about 2,000 apartment units, mostly in North Carolina, Taft says. The business was started by Taft’s grandfather Hoover Taft Jr. and expanded by his father, Thomas Taft Sr., a former state senator and longtime Democratic Party insider.

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Off the dole: NC pays back debt

David Mildenberg on May 2015 at 11:00:00 am 
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Gov. Pat McCrory and other state leaders took bows yesterday after the state had erased its unemployment-insurance debt to the federal government. The debt had totaled more than $2.7 billion at its peak, reflecting a combination of unexpectedly difficult economic times and questionable management decisions under previous gubernatorial administrations.

In our just-released May edition, Business North Carolina studied the issue, explaining some of its complexities. Employers clearly benefit from new policies and may use savings from lower unemployment insurance spending to expand and, hopefully, add jobs, as noted by Dale Folwell, a key McCrory administration official who led the charge on this matter.

But should North Carolina take pride in offering the most limited jobless benefits in the nation? Is that something to brag about? Interesting questions that cross partisan lines.

We reached out to Lynn Holmes and Moses Carey Jr. —  the two most recent chairmen of the Employment Security Commission before the Republicans took control of the legislature — asking for comment on Folwell's criticism of past state policies regarding the unemployed. Neither responded.

Click here to link to the story.

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State plans $250M NC-focused fund

David Mildenberg on April 2015 at 11:00:00 am 
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State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced a second North Carolina Innovation Fund, with $250 million to be invested in North Carolina-centered companies.

The first fund, started five years ago, has committed $185 million to eight private-equity managers and 12 companies through co-investments. The initial fund has had a 20% internal rate of return, including sales of three portfolio companies. The Charlotte office of Grosvenor Capital Management manages the fund.

The money comes from the state’s $90 billion pension fund. For many years, state political and business leaders had pressed the fund, among the 10 largest public pension funds in the nation, to invest a fraction of its money to spur economic activity in North Carolina. Others, including officials of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, have questioned the effort as a move that benefits politicians while obscuring the pension fund's main goal of making money regardless of where an investment is located.

Among the private-equity companies investing in the first fund – each based in North Carolina or operating offices here – were Carousel Capital, Falfurrias Capital Partners, Frontier Capital, Hatteras Venture Partners, Kian Capital Partners, NovaQuest Capital Management and River Cities Capital Funds.

Business North Carolina profiled Cowell in its March edition:

Here's a press release from Cowell's office on the program:

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