“Access to high-speed internet is a cornerstone of prosperity, and unfortunately, many of America’s rural communities lack access to this critical infrastructure….Connecting America’s rural communities to this essential infrastructure is one of the USDA’s top priorities because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand said during a grant award ceremony at Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corporation headquarters in Yadkinville on Monday.
The ReConnect Grant Program
Yadtel Telecom received a $2.3 million ReConnect Program grant from the USDA to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to businesses and residences without 10/1 Mbps internet service. This investment will allow the company to lay another 70 miles of fiber connecting 5,686 people, 67 farms, and 18 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Davie, Yadkin, and Iredell counties.
The 2020 pandemic has accentuated the gaps in the digital divide between rural and urban Americans.
Studies indicate that:
- 75,000 students in rural areas of North Carolina have no access to broadband.
- Rural Americans are 24% more likely to have children who are unable to participate in online learning, while the parents are unable to work from home.
“We are here today because 21 million people lack connection to high-speed internet and 80% of those people live in rural communities. In this day and age, all Americans need this modern robust infrastructure to thrive. It is a necessity and not an amenity. If you have access to high-speed internet you can incorporate precision agricultural technology into your agri-business; you, your children, or grandchildren can participate in distance learning and still maintain their studies when schools remain closed; you can access life-saving medical services remotely using telemedicine; and you can continue to run your business and keep your employees employed while working from home,” said Brand. “Yadtel is setting a great example for the rest of the country right here in North Carolina. They are showing that no household, no business, and no person should be left behind in this critical infrastructure development.”
“Yadtel Telecom is proud to be a premier provider of reliable, high-speed internet. We are committed in our efforts as a partner in the deployment of high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to areas in local communities that lack access to such critical infrastructure,” said Janet Culpepper, vice president of human resources and public relations at Yadtel Telecom. “Yadtel is passionate about building essential infrastructure to meet the critical needs for high-speed broadband internet in either unserved and underserved rural communities.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, N.C. U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, N.C. Senator Joyce Krawiec, N.C. Vicki Sawyer, N.C. Rep. Julia Howard, USDA Rural Development State Director Robert Hosford, and North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler were among the national, state, and local political representatives on hand for the announcement.
During her speech, Representative Foxx shared that she had received a letter from a 5th grader expressing his frustration over not having consistent internet service to do his school work. “Internet access is critical for all over the country, but particularly in rural areas. I appreciate what is being done at the local, state, and federal levels to make it available to everyone. I don’t want another 5th grader to have to write me a letter because they don’t have internet.”
“I am really proud that our state has received this grant,” said Representative Ted Budd, who is also a Yadtel customer. “We realize that helping rural America thrive is really the bedrock for the great American comeback and I am glad that we can play a part in that.”
“Things like this don’t just happen,” explained Commissioner Troxler. “It started with local people who understood what connectivity really means. It took our Congress being able to step up for rural America. It took the Department of Agriculture in Washington. And it took the Trump administration having the wherewithal to understand what rural America really is. It has been a great partnership and one that has been a game-changer. Every time we do this we are moving rural North Carolina forward. And every time we do something for rural North Carolina we are doing something for the Ag businesses in North Carolina and we are moving North Carolina’s economy forward.”
Hosford ended the program by contrasting his internet access in Raleigh to that of a family he met in rural eastern North Carolina.
“My little girl is in third grade. She and another little girl are homeschooling in the back of the house while I’m working in the front of the house and they can get their homework done just like that. I was talking to the Chief of the Waccamaw-Siouan Tribe, who is also a Baptist preacher, owns a car fix-it shop, and is a single dad. He has to drive his child to the burger joint to do homework because he doesn’t have the internet yet where he lives. Just think about that, that’s a double whammy. The kid is sitting in the back seat with a Chromebook out, which isn’t really a conducive way to get educated and he has to take time away from preparing sermons or fixing cars which pays the bills.”
“Getting quality broadband into all of North Carolina’s 100 counties is a daunting task. Nevertheless, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, one project at a time, one $500 thousand grant at a time, one $24 million grant at a time. That’s how you get it out there and we are looking forward to being proud partners with this community and many others.”
For More Information
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corporation is a member-owned non-profit cooperative founded in 1950 in the Piedmont area of western North Carolina. The company’s origin was a grassroots effort to provide telephone service to rural areas deemed unprofitable by commercial telephone companies. Today, 70 years later, our mission has expanded to include bringing high-speed broadband fiber internet to unserved rural areas. They proudly serve the residents of Yadkin, Davie, and portions of Alexander, Forsyth, Iredell, Rowan, and Wilkes counties. For more information, visit www.yadtel.com.
Global Production Powerhouse “Special Event Services” Dedicates New Headquarters in Mocksville
Davie County officially entered the glitz and glam world of show business this month as Special Event Services (SES) dedicated its new headquarters in Mocksville.
Founded in 1986 by Jim Brammer and Jeff Cranfill in Brammer’s Winston-Salem garage, SES is an industry leader in audio, lighting, video, design, staging, and live event production for businesses, religious organizations, and major recording artists.
SES counts 18 Grammy-Award winning artists among its clients. It worked on 46 tours and more than 850 shows in 2019 that entertained more than 7.25 million attendees. The company’s star-studded line-up includes Avett Brothers, Luke Combs, Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker, Hootie and the Blowfish, Ed Sheeran, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Franklin Graham, Joyce Meyer Ministries, and many others.
Despite the devastating effects the pandemic has had on the entertainment industry, SES is still moving forward. “I’ve been very fortunate over the last 40 years to watch this industry grow into what it is and now we are reinventing the wheel again,” said Cranfill “I never dreamed that I would be sitting around talking on conference calls to people about drive-in concerts and how to get people to watch shows from their cars. That’s what I’m doing every day because that is the only way we are going to get back rolling.”
A New Facility and Future Plans
Located on a 15-acre site at 216 Angell Knoll Avenue, the cavernous 52,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal structure includes conference rooms, offices, and warehouse space. The move from its former headquarters on Indiana Avenue in Winston-Salem makes room for growth, provides greater efficiency and frees up space for one of its affiliated companies, Special Event Transportation (SET).
Future plans at the site include a rehearsal facility that will allow artists and productions to rehearse in a space set up to simulate the venue where they will be performing.
The company expects to create 14 jobs and invest $8,850,000 in this expansion project.
The future development capacity of this area is a double-win for Mocksville.
“We have wanted to open up that site for the past 20 years,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. “I want to thank DOT and the Town of Mocksville for adding the infrastructure to pave the way for this expansion to take place while opening additional industrial sites in this area. The continuous coordination among local and state governments is exactly what the public should expect to help bring new jobs and corporations to our community in today’s competitive environment.”
Michael Brammer, Jim’s son, and the second generation of the company’s leadership team kicked off the evening by thanking attendees, beginning with employees.
“… I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone that 2020 has been the hardest year our industry has ever had. We’ve had to ask difficult things of our staff members and never once have they questioned our leadership or judgment. It has always been how can we help? and what can we do for you? That has just reassured us that we have the right guys working at SES. I’m very proud to call them friends and co-workers.”
“I have to thank our amazing clients whose continued support and loyalty have made this building a reality.
“Lastly, I’d like to thank Davie County and the amazing people who have welcomed us and really rolled out the red carpet to help us make this place home. We are so happy to be here and call this place home for the next 30+ years.”
The Company’s Commitment
The dedication ceremony highlighted the company’s commitment to faith and family.
Jim Brammer shared a quote from Steve Jobs, “‘My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.’”
“That couldn’t be any more true than for me and my three compatriots, (Jason Farah, Bogie Cates, and Jeff Cranfill). These guys are like my brothers,” he said and shared stories about each.
“As I look back at the history of this company, I am reminded of a verse found in 2 Corinthians that I will paraphrase ‘We are surrounded on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed or broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t quit. We are stalked by our enemies, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again, and again, and again and keep going.’ That has been our mantra since our beginning in my garage in 1986…”
“The next generation of SES is this young man (Michael) and the team he has assembled, and we win again. We may be in the middle of a global pandemic, but that isn’t going to keep us down or beat us.”
“I will end with a verse from Proverbs; ‘Where there is no vision the people perish.’ I don’t think we have ever lacked vision or faith. We have faith in the One who brought us here and will lead us on even in a global pandemic.”
Cates added, “The building you are in right now began 21 years ago with Jim’s vision and a dream. We began planning for this building on another property but for financial reasons, we decided we couldn’t proceed. Several years later, we decided again to build the building, and we had the property, but once again, it wasn’t God’s time for us to make that move. Then we came here, and this was God’s plan for SES all along. As you can see, it was well worth the wait.”
Cranfill also spoke, saying, “Relationships and family are everything about this business. It’s never been about being the most popular or the most famous or making the most money. It has always been about family. It’s really great that we’ve gotten to be here this long and seen this growth. We’ve talked about our dream building since the day we moved into the first one. We came from a garage and went through different buildings, and nothing was ever exactly the way we wanted it. This building has been a vision and a thought we’ve had for a long time, and seeing it happen has been amazing. But even more amazing than that is already hearing you talk about how we will grow and expand and how things will just keep getting bigger and better.”
Pastor Kyle Mercer of Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem completed the dedication with a message and prayer. “Why do Christians dedicate things? We view everything as a gift from God, and dedication is the idea of stewardship.”
Mercer shared a message from 1 Kings 8 in which King Solomon built and dedicated the temple his father King David began and drew a parallel with the Brammers and the legacy they have created.
He ended with prayer, “… We thank God for the past 33 years, we recognize God in the present, and we trust Him for the future.”
About Special Event Services
Special Event Services and its 11 affiliated companies employ around 300 people worldwide and have offices in Winston-Salem, NC, Nashville, New Jersey, San Diego, and Boston. The company plans to expand to Las Vegas, as well.
To learn more about SES visit their website here.
By Jeanna Baxter White
Davie County and the Town of Mocksville are partnering on a long-term water strategy to secure the county’s water supply and to allow for economic growth over the next 20 or more years in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
Davie County owns and operates the 2.6 mgd (million gallons per day) Cooleemee Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in southern Davie County with an intake on the South Yadkin River. The Town of Mocksville owns the 3.0 mgd Hugh A. Lagle WTP with an intake on Hunting Creek. Both water treatment facilities are at the end of their useful life.
In November 2018, the county and town commissioned Hazen and Sawyer to develop a long-range water strategy, including an evaluation of potential water supply alternatives. The objective of this evaluation was to provide the county and town with the qualitative and quantitative information required to make long-term planning decisions.
The analysis included an assessment of current and future system demands, safe yields of potential surface water withdrawal locations, review of the condition of current water treatment infrastructure, interbasin transfer considerations, development of water supply alternatives, and an assessment of alternative financial and economic impacts.
Moving Forward Responsibly
Hazen and Sawyer presented town and county officials, including town board members and county commissioners, with three capital project phasing options.
During a special-called meeting this month, they unanimously agreed upon the option they felt was the most cost-effective for consumers. Together they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Hazen and Sawyer supporting that option in order to apply for State Revolving Loan funds. In October both boards will be asked to formally move forward with the engineering and design.
“We’ve been talking about the water supply for many years and our water plant has aged and the Cooleemee plant is outdated. For this county to grow responsibly for the next 20, 30, 40 years we need a secure water supply and this plan does that,” said Mocksville Town Manager Matt Settlemyer.
“To be a viable player in economic development you have to have a secure water source and good transportation. Those are the infrastructure needs that every industry asks about. Davie County is well-positioned for transportation. Solving the water issue for the next 20 to 25 years enhances our economic competitiveness.”
Protecting the Community’s Water Supply
The approved plan is to build a 3.5 mgd Cooleemee WTP and to expand the Sparks Road WTP to 4.5 mgd. Construction of a larger plant in Cooleemee will begin in 2021. The Old Cooleemee WTP and Lagle WTP will be decommissioned when the new plant goes online in 2023.
The expansion of the Sparks Road plant would begin in 2028 and be completed in 2030. Under this plan, Mocksville will not produce water but will distribute water purchased from the county.
“From an engineering perspective, the preferred option of the town and the county will protect the community’s raw water supply for decades by eliminating reliance on Hunting Creek, enhancing system resiliency, and allowing for a cost-effective, phased expansion of improvements,” explained Chuck Willis, of Willis Engineers, who serves as the Town of Mocksville’s utility engineer.
“The time has come for regional utility systems,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. “ Much like replacing our old hospital with a new regional medical center has solved our medical needs for decades. The merging of systems will give greater efficiency while delivering a better product. The Mocksville Water Plant and the Cooleemee Water Plants are nearing their end of life and new technology will improve quality control while meeting today’s drinking water standards, which are ever-changing.”
“I appreciate the leadership that both of our boards have demonstrated in solving decade-plus issues with both systems. More efficient delivery of all public services should be continuously measured to more effectively serve the public.”
Low-Interest Financing Will Enable Lower Costs and Greater Capacity
The capital cost of the project is $44 million which will be shared by the county and the town based on usage, amounting to roughly a 70/30 split. The county will be applying for State Revolving Loan funds, which are low-interest long-term loans, to finance these capital improvements.
“The town’s water plant has served well beyond its useful life and has been the topic of discussion for many years as far as needing a major overhaul,” said Mocksville Mayor Will Marklin. “For us to stay in compliance with state guidelines it would be necessary to spend a large sum of money to bring the Hugh Lagle facility up to date ($20-25 million) and even then the water supply coming from Hunting Creek is limited and will not meet capacity in coming years.
The Town of Mocksville working in conjunction with Davie County to come up with a solution to provide water to our residents for the next 40 years is the best and most economical solution to our water needs issue.
Combining assets from both entities to produce a modern, up to date facility will benefit all of our citizens who count on us to provide for their water needs. At the end of the day, all of us just want to turn on the faucet and have safe and clean drinking water. The solution before us provides this everyday necessity at the best price.”
Settlemyer explained that while there will be short-term increases in rates across the board, the long-term rates will flatten out and be below the state average. He added that “the town took a proactive approach with an increase this year to mitigate future increases.”
The average annual increase in water bills over the next ten years, which is based upon the number of users, is estimated to be 4.2% for the Town of Mocksville and 3.3% for Davie County.
Long-range utility planning is critical for both quality of life and economic development,” said Terry Renegar, who serves as chairman of the county commissioners. “The County is very excited to be partnering with the Town of Mocksville to address the current and future needs. Execution of the shared vision should address our needs for the next fifty years in the most cost-effective manner.”
By Jeanna Baxter White
Bus Safety Solutions is planning a move to Mocksville, bringing ten jobs to the community and infusing new life into an old building. The company has outgrown its current space on Westpoint Boulevard in Winston-Salem and is eager to relocate to Davie County, where its president and vice-president are residents.
“We are bursting at the seams and would love to bring our company to the community where we live,” said Scott Geyer, vice-president.
The company wants to purchase the old Mocksville Armory at 343 Railroad Street near the Brock Performing Arts Center. The historic building was built in 1948 and used for about 25 years as an armory. Once it ceased being used in that capacity, ownership reverted back to the Martin Family who has used it for storage.
Bus Safety Solutions would use the building to assemble Extended Stop Arms and Transit Curtain PPE for school buses. The company expects to invest $100,000 in repairs to bring the property up to code. They have requested a rezoning of the .25 acre property from neighborhood residential to general industrial which will be considered by the planning board later this week.
“The properties across the street from the armory are industrial, but there are several houses in the area and we want to be sensitive to that,” said Scott, who lives 1½ blocks away. “We want to reassure the neighbors that our operation makes very little noise. Assembling our products requires only a few power tools – drill press, grommet machine, hack saw, and sander.”
Neighboring property owners received a letter explaining the Geyers’ intentions for the property and Scott posted the information to 10 neighborhoods on Nextdoor introducing the company and inviting residents to ask questions or express any concerns. He hopes to garner support for the rezoning request as residents learn the value of the business and understand its minimal impact on the environment.
Bus Safety Solutions exemplifies the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention.” Bob Geyer, the company’s president, and Scott’s father invented the Extended Stop Arm about 10 years ago after several children in Forsyth County were killed getting on and off the school bus.
His passion for his product is undeniable as he tells his company’s story.“When a friend’s child got killed I said ‘someone ought to do something about that,’ but like everyone else, I did nothing,” said Bob, “When I read in the paper that another child had been killed I slammed my fist down on the table and told my wife somebody needed to do something. She took my shoulder and said, ‘You’re somebody, do something.’ I tried to make up excuses, but she told me to surround myself with people who could help me and get it done.”
Bob took her advice and gathered together a team of engineers, accountants, and entrepreneurs who could move the product forward. Development took about five years and obtaining a patent took two more. The company started in Bob’s garage. “Just like Apple and Microsoft,” said Scott with a smile.
Bus Safety Solutions
A school bus stop arm typically opens outward 18 inches from the side of the bus, but the Extended Stop Arm increases that distance to as much as seven feet, helping to reduce or eliminate the illegal passing of stopped school buses which has become epidemic nationwide.
Extended Stop Arms are installed on 1,000 buses in 21 states including North Carolina. Surrounding school systems with Extended Stop Arms include Yadkin, Rowan, Iredell, and Guilford. During the last school year, Extended Stop Arms opened and closed 12 million times helping to protect the 90,000 students who ride buses with the device attached. In areas where the Extended Stop Arm has been installed, independent studies have shown that the illegal passing of stopped school buses has been dramatically reduced by 50 to 90%
According to Scott, no child has ever been hit on a bus equipped with this patented technology.
“The Extended Stop Arm is the only safety device that can be added to the outside of the bus to “physically” protect the children getting on and off the bus,” he explained. “While the cameras that are on some school buses provide great detective work by retrieving pictures of drivers and license plates, they cannot “physically” protect the children like the Extended Stop Arm can. Bus Safety Solutions is getting calls from all over the country about the Extended Stop Arm because of the blatant disregard of people passing stopped school buses and endangering children’s lives.”
“The Extended Stop Arm is a proven, dependable product and exceeds the Federal Standard 571.131 for School Bus Pedestrian Safety Devices. It is well within the range of school system budgeting, costing around $2000 depending on options. The Extended Stop Arm can save a child’s life, and if it can save just one child, it is more than worth it.”
Unfortunately, the company’s sales came to a standstill in March when the pandemic hit and schools closed and school buses were taken off the road.
Able to hang on thanks to a PPP loan, the Bus Safety Solutions team sought ways to stay in business AND to help protect children from the coronavirus. Each member spent a weekend brainstorming solutions. Their unanimous answer? Transit Curtains.
Transit Curtains Provide Additional Coronavirus Protection
Designed as a tool for school districts to provide a barrier between seats or between students and driver, the Transit Curtain for school buses allows transportation teams to meet CDC guidelines and maximize school bus usage.
The custom-cut product is made of a clear fire-retardant vinyl and securely attaches to the ceiling and below the seat for a tight fit. Each one costs around $100, an expense Bob believes school systems would quickly recoup.
“Our curtains add a layer of protection for both students and drivers and allow the school district to place a student in every seat,” he said.
Over 1,000 Transit Curtains for School buses have been installed in 9 states so far and are protecting children and school bus drivers by reducing the transmission of germs on the bus.
The Geyers’ are proud that their products are 100% made in the USA. Scott explained that the manufacturing of the different components for both products is outsourced to other North Carolina and U.S. companies. “We want to get as much as we can locally. Our welding is done in High Point and Lexington, our electronics are made in Raleigh and Texas, and some of our other parts are made in New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota. Our products probably cost twice as much than if we outsourced all of our parts from China but we think it’s worth it.”
A Perfect Fit For Davie County
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, considers the company a perfect fit for the community. “Davie County is proud to host many homegrown businesses. Hard-working entrepreneurs have created hundreds of jobs for our citizens. Bob and Scott Geyer join a growing list of ‘Made in Davie County’ companies that are adding value and creating solutions in today’s changing business climate.”
For more information about the Extended Stop Arm or Transit Curtains contact Bus Safety Solutions at 336-671-0838 or learn more at their website.
Reprinted with permission from DavieLife Magazine
Davie County is putting EDUCATION at the center of our community through the IGNITE DAVIE College Promise Program! Davie County students now have the opportunity to continue their education without incurring student debt. All eligible high school graduates, regardless of financial need or academic ability, can continue their education and training to open the door to better career opportunities and increased earning potential.
“We are very proud of IGNITE DAVIE because it does put education at the very CENTER of our community by investing in the students of Davie County,” said Carolyn McManamy, Director of Davie CONNECT.
Seventy-one students from the Class of 2020 are taking advantage of this program by continuing their education at Davidson County Community College this fall. IGNITE DAVIE is providing last dollar scholarships to pay tuition and fees with a stipend of up to $250 per semester for books for eligible students attending full time.
Students in the inaugural class of IGNITE DAVIE are studying in areas such as nursing, criminal justice, business management, welding and many are seeking their Associate’s Degrees with the intent of going on to a 4-year college or university.
These students will give back to the Davie County community by volunteering five hours per semester in Davie County and participating in Career Connections. Through Career Connections, students will be matched with local businesses aligned with their course of study, giving students the opportunity to experience onsite learning and develop working relationships with local employers.
“These experiences will provide students with a direct career path upon completion of college and our employers will have a steady stream of trained workers who are already familiar with their business,” said McManamy.
IGNITE DAVIE is playing an instrumental role in preparing students for their future careers and at the same time is saving these students and their parents thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.
“We are not only investing in our students but also in Davie County,” McManamy said. “IGNITE DAVIE strengthens our workforce, improves high school graduation rates, attracts young families to move here, creates a competitive advantage for businesses and industries with a well-trained workforce, and increases the tax base leading to a better quality of life for everyone.”
You can be part of the change that IGNITE DAVIE is sparking in the community by Committing to Our Kids. It will take true community-wide support to secure the dollars needed to endow the program for future generations of Davie students.
IGNITE DAVIE has set an endowment goal of $3 million dollars to secure the program for the future. We invite and encourage YOU to invest with us. Contributions can be made through IGNITEDAVIE.com/Donate or you can make a Direct Designation to IGNITE DAVIE through the upcoming United Way Campaign.
“We all have a role to play in making IGNITE DAVIE a success. Please join us and Commit to Our Kids today! You can be the “match” that lights the spark in our future!”
By Jeanna Baxter White
DavieWorks.com Offers One-Stop-Shop for Employers and Job Seekers
Are you looking for a job? Do you have a position to fill? DavieWorks.com is your answer.
Davie CONNECT’s online employment portal connects Davie County employers and job seekers with recruiting, training, and career resources within Davie County.
“DavieWorks.com was created to connect people to the specific resources and services that can help them find employment or for businesses to shine a spotlight on the positions they are trying to fill,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT and the creator of DavieWorks.com. “It is meant to serve as a one-stop-shop by providing access to a wide range of employment resources, including online job search engines, local job listings, and career and training tools one may need in the job recruitment process.”
“Davie County businesses are open and looking for workers. The portal is a way for them to share the jobs they have available and for job seekers locally and beyond to see what is available here. DavieWorks.com is a great resource for those who may have lost their job due to Covid-19,” McManamy added.
McManamy explained that while anyone can apply for a position, only Davie County employers can post positions on the Local Jobs Posting page.
“Recruiting continues to be competitive even in the current circumstances. Our goal is to support our local businesses by providing them with an opportunity for direct recruitment and to cultivate a local workforce.”
In addition to jobs posted directly by local employers, the portal includes links to six popular online job sites and five local employment agencies.
Whether you are a new graduate surveying your options or an experienced worker considering a change, DavieWorks.com has the resources you need for researching and evaluating different careers.
Check out Edge Factor and explore dozens of career fields through engaging videos that provide a lot of information in a short amount of time, learn soft skills, and browse local training options, including CTE programs, postsecondary, and apprenticeships.
Look at College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC.org) for career information and tools such as resume building that help candidates prepare for the job they want.
There is also a tab for upcoming job fairs. Although not many job fairs are going on right now, there are listings for future events as well as drive-thru fairs being held by specific employers and recruiters.
McManamy summed it up this way. “There are a lot of really good opportunities in Davie County for great careers and DavieWorks.com is meant to help connect people to them.”
More About Davie CONNECT
Davie CONNECT is a local workforce initiative designed to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers and to provide innovative workforce solutions for Davie County. Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, serves as a resource for local businesses, educators, and those in or entering the workforce by helping align resources and programs and collaborating with community partners.
For more information, contact McManamy at 336.753.6670 or 203.605.1562 or EMAIL.
Attracting Business by Sparking Imaginations
Published by Jeanna Baxter White
As the President and CEO of Davie Construction Co. for the past 27 years, Carl Carney understands how envisioning the transformation of a lot into a building site sometimes takes a little imagination. That’s why ten years ago, he tackled a new challenge, creating spec building to help new companies picture themselves doing business in Davie County. His most recent, a 12,000 SF facility located in the BCM Industrial Park includes a 3,500 SF suite to be occupied by Davie Construction Co. and the remaining 8,500 SF currently available for lease.
Carney, a Columbia, SC native, realized early on that the community was poised for explosive growth and provided an abundance of prospects. His investment in the 40-acre BCM Industrial Park and its spec buildings are his way of helping other business owners see the area’s potential. “Davie County was the best decision for my business and my family,” said Carney, who, with his wife, Teddy, raised four children here while serving as President and CEO of Davie Construction Co.
Positioned for Development
He became involved in the property, located on Highway 64, three miles east of downtown Mocksville, seventeen years ago. “Twenty acres of the property is undeveloped, six acres are highway business, and 14 acres are zoned for L2 light industry. We wanted to create opportunities for companies that need smaller buildings, specifically those seeking “Flex-space” facilities that often have office space in front and warehouse space in the rear. These types of buildings are perfect for small manufacturing operations, warehouses, or offices under 12,000 SF,” he said.
The L2 developed portion of the property is divided into 11 lots, with the first 9,000 SF spec facility built on Lot 3 (111 Dalton Business Court). “As we had hoped, the first spec building attracted two new companies to our community. Soisa, Inc. is a transportation equipment company that is now also manufacturing masks. They are an international company, with headquarters in Chihuahua, Mexico. Infinity Elite Athletics found a completely different use for their side of the building with a gym designed for cheerleading and tumbling.”
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 inspired Carney to invest in the most recently completed spec building. “The recent tax reforms created opportunity zones to spur business, and the property where the development is located in Davie County was deemed to be in an “Opportunity Zone.” The tax incentives for a potential buyer and Davie Construction’s need for workspace compelled me to move ahead with our second building with it’s 8,500 SF area available for immediate lease.
As an enticement to companies wanting to build their own facility, Carney also prepared a 9,000 SF pad-ready site on Lot 7, with access to roads, water, and sewers. “We can have 9,000 SF available for a potential tenant in less than four months from the time a lease is signed. There are ten lots left, and my goal is for each one to bring a new business to Davie County, with their employees spending money here and contributing to the quality of life that we all enjoy. Imagine all those new folks becoming involved in our community!”
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, appreciates Carney’s support. “Encouraging the private sector to develop spec industrial space has given our county an advantage in attracting new companies and jobs. Having buildings ready allows companies to move rapidly and has been part of Davie’s ability to expand our economy. We have been very successful with spec buildings over 100,000 SF with pre-graded pads. Adding inventory below that number with our first 12,000 SF building with a pre-graded pad, which is also in an opportunity zone, will be beneficial to Davie’s continued growth.”
A Corporate Culture of Giving Back
New companies couldn’t find a better advocate of enthusiastic community involvement than Carney. As Davie County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year in 2016, then president Carolyn McManamy, said “We love seeing Davie Construction signs around town. They signify growth, success, and a commitment to building our community.” The company celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018 by spearheading a different service project every month. Among those were fundraising to purchase an electronic sign for The Dragonfly House Child Advocacy Center, a head-shaving event benefiting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fight childhood cancers, donations for Ignite Davie education fundraiser and donations to Toys for Tots and the Davie County Heroes Fund supporting veterans. The company sponsored the Davie County Senior Games that year and collected for the Clemmons Food Pantry.
A corporate culture of giving back is among the reasons Davie Construction Co. is considered an “Employer of Choice.” In an effort to provide more career choices to the youth of the area, members of the management team are working with Davie High School and the local community colleges to develop internship and apprenticeship programs. “To those whom much is given, much is expected,” said Carney. “Davie County has given us so much; we are always seeking ways to support our community. Attracting new businesses through spec building is a proven strategy to achieve that objective!”
How to Get More Information
For more information about BCM Industrial Park or Davie Construction Co., contact Carl Carney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-940-6600 ext. 1004.
By Jeanna Baxter White
The largest single-owner piece of property in downtown Mocksville will soon be on the market.
Energy United is selling a five-acre tract that starts at the corner of Sanford Avenue and Salisbury Street, includes Junker’s Mill Outdoor Theater and the Energy United building, and ends in the West Depot corridor. The utility has given the Davie County Economic Development Commission (DCEDC) the right to purchase the property before it goes on the market.
DFI Analysis Will Provide Ideas For Property’s Uses & Community Value
Recognizing the value of the property for downtown development and expansion, the DCEDC and the Town of Mocksville in March invested $54,000 in a feasibility analysis of the property. The analysis is being conducted by UNC-Chapel Hill Development Finance Initiative (DFI), a division of the School of Government.
DFI partners with communities in North Carolina to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and real estate development expertise. Although the county is not participating in the study, it is collaborating on future plans for the site and will play a role in the final design.
“The chance to purchase a property of this size in the downtown area is a once in a lifetime opportunity and will reshape Mocksville for many years to come,” said Terry Bralley, president of the DCEDC.
Bralley is grateful to Energy United for giving the DCEDC and the town the first option on the property and the opportunity to complete the study before making a decision.
“Energy United EU continues to be a tremendous partner on our economic development team,” Bralley said. “Davie is home to two of its largest customers in their entire system. The entire community benefits because of their presence in our county!”
Town Manager Matt Settlemyer said the study would give the town an idea of the best use for the property, whether it be public, private, or a combination of the two.
“DFI’s plan will provide a framework for growth that incorporates market forces and will prove to be valuable investment by the Town and EDC,” said Settlemyer.
The Property Complements Community Priorities
In 2019, the Town of Mocksville developed a new comprehensive plan to guide future expansion and revitalization efforts and to create an even more lively, pedestrian-friendly destination for town residents and out-of-town visitors.
Respondents to the community survey indicated that their top four priorities were reuse of old buildings, downtown development, housing development, and parks and recreation.
“The Energy United property ties in nicely with our comprehensive plan and vision for the downtown,” Settlemyer said.
Per the town’s comprehensive plan, some potential uses for the property include:
- An indoor event center
- Farmer’s market
- A public art gallery and theater
- Second- and third-story apartments
- New townhomes and live-work units
DFI will develop a concept plan for the site based on market analysis findings, town and stakeholder interests, site limitations and constraints, zoning code, and development costs.
“DFI was hired because our community wants more activity downtown. Activity that includes, among other things, creative commercial and housing choices,” said Settlemyer. “DFI’s process can identify new or overlooked market opportunities. We can then design projects that are locally-supported and attractive to developers and investors who may have never heard of, let alone considered investing in Mocksville.”
Public Input Will Be Welcomed
Settlemyer said that there will be opportunities for public input later this summer. He expects a final report from DFI this fall.
“We are confident that DFI can facilitate a viable project that aligns public and private interests, maximizes private investment, and minimizes public risk.”
$175,000 Grant Awarded to Mocksville for Infrastructure Improvements
By Jeanna Baxter White
The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority has awarded the Town of Mocksville a $175,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to support a sewer line extension to a site near Interstate 40 where Special Event Services (SES) is expanding its operations. SES, headquartered in Winston-Salem, provides audio, lighting, design, staging, and live event productions for businesses, religious organizations, and major recording artists. The company expects to create 14 jobs and invest $8,850,000 in this expansion project.
Founded in 1986 by Jim Brammer and Jeff Cranfill in Brammer’s Winston-Salem garage, SES provides state-of-the-art equipment with unmatched service to clients including Ed Sheeran, Zac Brown Band, Hootie and the Blowfish, Franklin Graham, Joyce Meyer Ministries, and many others.
The company broke ground in January on a 15-acre site at 216 Angell Knoll Avenue that will make room for growth, provide greater efficiency, and free up space for one of its affiliated companies. The 52,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal building will include conference rooms, offices, and warehouse space. The company plans to move in this November.
Future plans at the site include the addition of a rehearsal facility that will allow artists and productions to practice in a space set up to simulate the venue where they will be performing.
“This grant not only helps SES but opens up 70 plus acres of additional industrial and commercial property off Angell Knoll Drive,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the Town of Mocksville and we are pleased to partner with the State of North Carolina, Davie EDC, and especially SES, to facilitate infrastructure expansion in our community,” said Matt Settlemyer, Mocksville Town Manager. “Innovative industries like SES are vital to the growth and stability of Mocksville and Davie County.”
Mocksville’s grant was one of three announced by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday. “Rural Infrastructure Authority grants help our cities, towns, and counties address critical infrastructure needs so they can attract new, good-paying jobs,” Governor Cooper said. “When we invest in rural communities, we are demonstrating that North Carolina is open for business with the tools and workforce to help companies compete on a global scale.”
About Special Event Services
Special Event Services and its 11 affiliated companies employ around 300 people worldwide and have offices in Winston-Salem, NC, Nashville, New York, San Diego, and Boston. The company plans to expand to Las Vegas, as well. To learn more about SES visit www.specialeventservices.com.
About the Community Block Grant Program
The Community Development Block Grant program is a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program administered in part by the NC Department of Commerce. CDBG’s economic development funds provide grants to local governments for creating and retaining jobs. Project funding is based on the number of jobs to be created and the level of economic distress of applicant communities.
About the Rural Infrastructure Authority
The Rural Infrastructure Authority was established as part of the Rural Economic Development Division at the NC Department of Commerce to assist with the review and approval of grants for rural areas in the state. The grants-making programs of the Division include assistance for building reuse and restoration, water and sewer infrastructure, and economic innovation in rural communities.
Another Top Ranking for NC
North Carolina leads Forbes’ Best States for Business list for the third year running, followed by Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Florida.
Forbes has been rating the business climates of the 50 states since 2006, with only North Carolina (three times), Utah (six times), and Virginia (five times) ever claiming the top spot. The report looks at 40 metrics across six main categories: business costs, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects, and quality of life.
North Carolina is the only state to place among the top 20 states in all six categories. It gets the highest marks for its regulatory environment, has the fourth-lowest business costs of any state, and ranks ninth for labor supply.
The #1 ranking came as no surprise to Davie County Economic Development President Terry Bralley, who said, “North Carolina has a terrific geographic location supported by great infrastructure with close proximity to the ports. We have great rail systems, great road systems, and an excellent business climate. We are working on regulatory reform and rolling taxes back to be more business-friendly. We have a great university system here in North Carolina, which has created a great workforce. North Carolina has a lot to offer and has worked hard to earn this spot.”
“Davie County reflects exactly the same conditions Forbes has described for the state, which is encouraging during these uncertain times,” Bralley said. “This positive business climate will play a vital role in helping our state and community recover from the pandemic in the days to come.”