Congressional Industry Tour

By Jeanna Baxter White

Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. - From left - Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission; Clark Bunting, senior HR manager, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.; Dean Myers, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Stephanie Blair, constituent advocate/regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Dan Myers, Kyle Bridges, district director for U.S. Congressman Ted Budd; and Evelina Rurek.

Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. – From left – Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission; Clark Bunting, senior HR manager, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.; Dean Myers, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Stephanie Blair, constituent advocate/regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Dan Myers, Kyle Bridges, district director for U.S. Congressman Ted Budd; and Evelina Rurek.

Industry Tour Showcases Davie County Businesses

The Davie County Economic Development Commission hosted a tour for Congressional representatives last week to foster relationships between Davie County’s industries and the federal government.

A Successful Tour

Representatives for U.S. Senator Richard Burr, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, and Congressman Ted Budd toured Ashley Furniture Industries and watched the furniture manufacturing and distribution process, learned about lifecycle solutions for truck parts at DEX Heavy Duty Parts, and observed the aircraft tire retreading process at Dunlop Aircraft Tyres.

“Hosting industry tours for our congressional reps provided such a great opportunity for them to see firsthand what our companies make and to learn about the processes involved to move goods to market,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie Connect. “Our plant managers did an outstanding job showcasing their facilities, and they were also able to discuss how actions at the state and federal level directly impact their businesses.  We deem our industrial tour day a great success.”

Government and Industry Representatives Working Together

“All offices were amazed at the opportunities in Davie County,” said Terry Bralley, president of Davie County EDC. “We further stressed the importance of infrastructure needs including roads, water and sewer, and workforce development to our congressional staff. We have plans to repeat tours a couple of times a year to include more of our industries.”

Industry representatives appreciated the opportunity to showcase what they do as well as to develop relationships with elected officials.

DEX Heavy Duty Parts Hosts Tour With EDC

(L-R) Carey Hubbard DEX Advance, NC site manager;  Darin Redmon, DEX director of 0perations; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S Senator Richard Burr; Stephanie Blair, constituent advocate/regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis;  Kyle Bridges, district director for U.S. Congressman Ted Budd; Dean Myers, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

(L-R) Carey Hubbard DEX Advance, NC site manager;  Darin Redmon, DEX director of 0perations; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S Senator Richard Burr; Stephanie Blair, constituent advocate/regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis;  Kyle Bridges, district director for U.S. Congressman Ted Budd; Dean Myers, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

“DEX Heavy Duty Parts in Advance NC was excited to host a tour for our North Carolina congressional staff and Davie County representatives,” said Darin Redmon, director of operations. “DEX values the importance of developing relationships with our elected officials, their staff and Davie County. These opportunities allow DEX to assist with educating others about our industry, operations, workforce, best practices, and our community. We look forward to shared future networking events with our partners in Davie County.”

“Ashley Furniture welcome’s opportunities, such as these, to showcase our advanced manufacturing and distribution facilities along with the great workforce we have here in Davie County,” said Cole Bawek, director of public relations at Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “As manufacturing continues to evolve, it becomes crucial to build awareness of the technological advancements and the skilled workforce needed to manufacture our products and serve our regional and global customers.”

Supporting Local Business Opportunities

The congressional representatives found the tours informative and valuable for supporting North Carolina’s business growth.

“It was wonderful to be in Davie County on behalf of Senator Tillis for a day of industry tours coordinated by the Davie County EDC at Ashley Furniture, DEX Heavy Duty Parts, and Dunlop Aircraft Tyres,” said Stephanie Blair, regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis. “The day provided an opportunity to have conversations with business leaders and employees as well as see firsthand the process to get to each of the products these companies make. Visits like these are valuable for our staff because it allows an opportunity to build relationships and open lines of communication so that the office of Senator Tillis can partner and be of assistance to help our companies in North Carolina grow and prosper. It is great to see these companies thriving in Davie county. These site visits help put the story to the company. Something in particular that stood out to me was the mix of repurposing old industry facilities and the use of newer buildings. The Ashley Furniture campus has some buildings that were previously RJ Reynolds tobacco drying warehouses and DEX Heavy Duty Parts is housed in a former Hanes Hosiery facility. Dunlop is located in one of Davie’s industrial parks where there is a wonderful opportunity for other companies too. This shows the willingness of the county, its businesses, and residents to take its history and repurpose it as well as embrace new and future growth.”

Tour Highlights Diverse Industries in Davie County, NC

Dunlop (7) From Left – Jeremy Neff, general manager Dunlop Aircraft Tyres; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Stephanie Blair, constituent advocate/regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis; Ric Wojcik, head of resources for Dunlop Aircraft Tyres.

From Left – Jeremy Neff, general manager Dunlop Aircraft Tyres; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Stephanie Blair, constituent advocate/regional representative for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis; Ric Wojcik, head of resources for Dunlop Aircraft Tyres.

Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr agreed, and said, “I am impressed with the diversity of the industry located in Davie County, from one of the largest furniture makers in the world to rebuilding heavy truck parts, to the incredibly interesting process of retreading airplane tires. This mixture bodes well for the quality of the workforce in and around Davie County. It also goes a long way towards creating a more robust and stronger economy for the region.”

“It was a privilege to be with fellow congressional staffers of the North Carolina delegation and represent Congressman Ted Budd while touring these great companies,” said Kyle Bridges, district director for Congressman Ted Budd. “The Davie County Economic Development Commission and the local business community have a lot to be proud of.

Rose Ellis explains how tires are scanned under high pressure for abnormalities. From Left - Ellis, Ric Wojcik, head of resources for Dunlop Aircraft Tyres; Tommy Plomp; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Kyle Bridges, district director for U.S. Congressman Ted Budd.

Rose Ellis explains how tires are scanned under high pressure for abnormalities. From Left – Ellis, Ric Wojcik, head of resources for Dunlop Aircraft Tyres; Tommy Plomp; Mike Fenley, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr; Kyle Bridges, district director for U.S. Congressman Ted Budd.