Have you ever wished to convert your vehicle into a comfortable place to sleep on the road? FabworX, a UK company opening its US headquarters in Mocksville in March, can help make that dream a reality.
For the past four years, the company’s 15 employees have manufactured a complete line of car/van seats that convert into beds at a 10,000 sq ft. facility in Chesterfield, UK. Its new facility at 195 Ken Dwiggins Drive will triple its production space.
Liam Mullen, FabworX founder/managing director, is now hiring skilled metal fabricators, assembly technicians, and skilled upholstery/machining/auto trimmer specialists and hopes to have 30 employees at the new site eventually.
“While many would say that expanding during a pandemic is crazy, when you’ve got a good idea, you go with it,” Mullen with a grin.
Available in a variety of widths and sizes, Rock and Roll Bedz offer six reclining positions, including laying perfectly flat. Models range from manual to fully electronic operation. Although the seats could fit in a large SUV or mini-van, the primary market is cargo-sized vans that are being converted into livable space.
“Our goal is to provide a comfortable seat and the best night’s sleep,” said Mullen.“We focus on doing one thing and being the best at it.”
Mullen’s found his calling when “vandwelling,” a lifestyle of living full- or part-time in a converted van, became the rage in the UK. Convertible beds are now a fierce market there. He was shocked when he couldn’t find anyone in the US making a similar product despite the increase in the number of Americans interested in vehicle conversions.
“If we can sell 50 beds a week in the UK, what can we do here?” He hopes to get the company’s name out quickly and would like to sell at least 100 beds a week in the US.
FabworX ships worldwide and has customers in Australia, Zealand, and Germany. The company also ships to the US and Canada and has distribution teams in Arizona and Canada. Over the past two weeks, Mullen has shipped beds to Dallas, California, and Vancouver, but the price tag has been cost-prohibitive for many American consumers.
He explained that shipping entire containers of parts to be assembled in Mocksville would be much more economical. He chose the area because of its excellent logistics. Davie County is located within 800 miles of 60% of the US market and offers easy access to international airports, rail, and Wilmington’s port. Davie County is bisected by I-40, with I-85 and I-77 only minutes away.
Eventually, he plans to manufacture all of the parts used in products for North American distribution here. He also hopes to one day build conversion vans at the facility too. “Start small but think big!”
“It’s exciting to add another international company to our growing list,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission (DCEDC). “The US is still the largest consumer of goods in the world. I believe we are now seeing a regional approach to manufacturing in which the goods are produced in the region where they will be consumed.”
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Looking for a job? Look no further than Davie County. The NC Triad: Virtual Get Hired Event is for anyone looking for a new job or who would like to upgrade their life with a new, meaningful career.
Davie CONNECT, the Davie County Chamber of Commerce, and Davie County Economic Development Commission have partnered with the Piedmont Trial Workforce Development Board/PTRC to host this FREE virtual hiring event on February 10th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Many of our Davie County employers are hiring right now and have several positions to fill. A virtual job fair provides a great way to connect our businesses to potential candidates in a safe and efficient manner,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT. “We commend the PTRC for providing this service to our community and look forward to hosting additional events in the months ahead.”
50+ Jobs Available!
Job Seekers will be able to interview with the following dynamic companies in Davie County that are hiring for a wide variety of positions including manufacturing engineers, manufacturing managers, distribution center supervisors, truck drivers, assemblers, shift-leads, and more, and not all open positions require a college degree.
- Ashley Furniture is the largest furniture manufacturer in the world with a complete line of residential bedding, case goods, and upholstered furniture.
- Avgol Nonwovens leads the global hygiene market with the most comprehensive range of ultra-lightweight spun-melt non-woven fabrics.
- Brakebush is a value-added processor of great tasting chicken products with over 200 products for foodservice, industrial, and chain accounts.
- Comfort Bilt is a leading manufacturer for the storm door and window industry.
- Dunlop Aircraft Tyres is the world’s only specialist aircraft tire manufacturer and retreader.
- Patterson Companies is one of North America’s premier transportation management providers servicing the perishable and non-perishable markets.
- Ingersoll Rand supports the Compression Technology Services Branch of Ingersoll Rand through the manufacturing of Rotary, Centrifugal, and Thermo King air compressors and fabricating parts for our Trane businesses.
- Reeb custom-manufactures and distributes millwork products such as entry doors, interior doors, columns, and accessories stairs across the eastern United States.
- The Andersons is a diversified company rooted in agriculture that conducts business around the world in the commodity trading, ethanol, plant nutrient, and rail sectors.
Through this virtual event, you will be able to browse companies in the lobby, enter their booths, view open positions, and chat with HR representatives in real-time…all from the comfort of your home.
What to Expect at the Virtual Career Fair
Before the Fair:
- Register for the fair for FREE here
- Browse companies and open positions in the career fair lobby
- Update your resume
- Share the fair with friends and family!
- Check out the Tips for Success tab for ideas on how to shine
During the Fair | Feb 10, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m:
- Log on anytime between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (*Pro tip: Log on early to get in your favorite company’s queue ASAP!)
- Network and interview with the companies by entering their booths and engaging in chats
- Make note of your favorite positions and reps for follow up
You can also learn about all that Davie County has to offer at the Davie County Resource/Tourism Booth.
“I want to be able to showcase the exceptional features of Davie County to our potential job seekers,” said Caroline Moser, president of the Davie County Chamber of Commerce. “We have so much to offer with our superb education system, state-of-the-art healthcare, wonderful recreation outlets, award-winning wineries, top-notch shopping and restaurants, and workforce development, just to name a few. My hope is that they land a job and highly consider planting seeds in our community.”
Save the date and join us on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. ‒ totally free of cost‒ to make meaningful connections that just might be the foot in the door you need to land your best job yet. Here is the link to learn more and register now: https://findyourcenternc.com/gethired-feb10/.
Jonathan Brown has a passion for workforce development.
That passion has led him to Davidson-Davie Community College where he serves as the new associate vice president of workforce and community engagement.
His goal? To see Davidson-Davie Community College become the economic driver for both communities.
“My vision is that all of our local business and industry will go through us whether through our curriculum programs preparing future workers or through continuing education as business and industry help their employees expand their skills.”
Three weeks into the job, Brown is excited about meeting people and forging a deeper relationship between the college, area businesses and industry, and the community.
“I love what I’m doing, this is my passion. Introducing myself to people over the next couple of months is going to be a learning process as well as an exciting time for the college to interact with business and industry,” he said with a grin.
“Davidson-Davie Community College is a great partner for Davie County, especially for our business community. Their focus on workforce development and training for our employers is a critical service they provide,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT. “I am very excited to have Jonathan Brown onboard to lead the workforce and community engagement team and look forward to working with him. Under his leadership I believe our businesses will have more services available to them and they will develop stronger partnerships with the college.”
While Brown credits his 24 years in K-12 education, 14 years as a career and technical education teacher teaching business education classes such as financial management, accounting, and computers, followed by 10 years as principal of the Yadkin Valley Career Academy and North Davidson High School, with preparing him for the position. It was his three years at Yadkin Valley Career Academy, a cooperative innovative high school that partners with Davidson – Davie Community College, that truly ignited his passion for community college education.
“Our task was to develop our students and get them ready for the workforce, which looks totally different than the traditional college preparatory model that I was coming from. While at Yadkin Valley, I made a lot of business contacts and worked with a lot of our industries. I assisted our students with internships, apprenticeships, and job-shadowing opportunities which helped them to discover their future careers at a younger age. Most importantly, I educated our community on how viable a two-year education can be.”
“There is nothing wrong with a four-year education, but it’s not for everybody. I feel like as a community, we have driven it into our students’ heads that they must go to a four-year school, when in fact they can go to a two-year program, be employable, and end up a lot better off financially.”
He explained that many students are now taking up to six years to complete a four-year degree, and many are graduating with thousands of dollars of student debt.
“We are really trying to educate our students, and more importantly our parents, that there are opportunities locally where you can achieve economic prosperity without having a four-year degree.”
“My passion is workforce development because the one thing I have grown to know and understand completely in my time as an educator is that regardless of a student’s background, regardless of their academic level, the goal at the end is for them to be workforce ready, and sometimes I feel like we miss that a little bit. I think we do a great job of preparing students for higher education, but we are missing the mark in preparing them for careers and the workforce.”
“Making sure our students understand all of the opportunities available in Davidson and Davie counties for respectable, stable employment is important to me.”
Professing that he likes to stay busy, Brown described other responsibilities of his position that he is equally eager to begin.
- Establish a solid network of contacts within the communities and become a contact point between the college and business and industry. “Sometimes business and industry don’t align with educational needs but collectively as a group, we can create better opportunities to work together.”
- Grow the college’s continuing education program. “We have so many opportunities to offer our communities and our businesses through continuing education because it allows us a little bit more flexibility than our curriculum programs.”
- Grow the Davidson and Davie Apprenticeship Consortium (DDAC). “I feel very passionate about these apprenticeship opportunities for our students. I’ve been in several meetings already with the consortium, and my biggest focus right now is assessing where we are at and determining how well we are preparing those apprentices to walk into those facilities as good employees.”
Brown is also looking ahead to what education and business will look like after the pandemic and COVID-19. “When things return to normal, I believe we are going to have some challenges in how we do business and how we do education. I see a lot of opportunities to incorporate virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence into not only education, but industry, and I’d like to see the college become a frontrunner in those areas. We are already seeing those applications in the health fields and I see them expanding into manufacturing.”
“I’m thrilled to see all of the opportunities available for our two counties. From an economic development standpoint, we are right in the middle of that state, about an hour from everything. We are surrounded by international airports, we have a rail system, we’re only three hours from a major port, and more importantly, we have land. I also think we have leadership in place that believes in economic development. To me, it’s a pivotal time because I think all of the pieces are in place to see our communities grow.”
For now, Brown has an office at the Lexington Campus but is eager to establish an office or regular hours in Davie County as well. “I am tasked to serve two communities, and I don’t want to have one feel like I’m not there for them, so it is important to me that I am in Davie County to see people and work with them. I tell everyone I meet that regardless of where I am physically, I will answer my phone and I will return calls and emails.”
By Jeanna Baxter White
Over 1,000 Davie County residents are one step closer to COVID-19 immunity following a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Davie County Community Park on Friday, January 15, 2021. Despite a little rain, both recipients and staff stayed dry thanks to shelters provided for use free of charge by Special Event Services (SES).
SES, which dedicated its new headquarters in Mocksville in October, is an industry leader in audio, lighting, video, design, staging, and live event production for businesses, religious organizations, and major recording artists. With live events on hold because of the pandemic, the company offered to build two drive-through shelters with some of its staging equipment that is normally used for outdoor stadium shows.
“When Terry (Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission) called and asked me about providing something so that the nurses could be under shelter to administer the vaccine and the clinics could be held rain or shine, my answer was a resounding yes,” said Michael Brammer, SES CFO. “Terry and I had gotten to know each other very well over the past year while we were building our new facility, and he has done an amazing job of getting us plugged into the local community!”
“We love that Davie County is our home now and are thrilled to be part of the community and able to give back in this way.”
After talking with representatives from the Davie County Health Department to determine exactly what was needed, Crew Chief Lawrence Lightner, who is usually touring with Billy Joel, went to work designing the custom structures. He and logistics and operations staff members Dave Cheek, Will Hatley, Jack Millsaps, and Adam Stipe built the shelters on Thursday.
Brammer said the county will be able to continue using the shelters until they are no longer needed for the vaccination clinics.
“The vaccine is what is going to put our industry back to work. The success of our business relies on people being able to gather in a large setting safely, and it has been proven that achieving herd immunity through vaccinations is the only way to do that. So the more people we can encourage to do that, and the faster we can get it done, the faster we can get back to work and putting on the events that people love going to. Dr. Fauci recently stated in an interview that not being able to go to see live performing arts and having that social interaction has certainly added to the doom and gloom of this pandemic and that the live performing arts have a very positive impact on society. We want to get back to doing that as soon as we can, but in a safe way for everyone!”
Brammer encourages everyone to get vaccinated. “When it’s our turn in line, the other leaders of SES and I will happily and confidently take the vaccine to ensure we are setting the best example for our staff and clients alike.”
County Manager David Bone is grateful to SES for their assistance. “On behalf of Davie County, I offer our sincere gratitude to SES for their assistance with our COVID-19 vaccination clinics! I can’t express how much their generosity means to Davie County and how impactful their assistance is to our efforts. We have a wonderful, dedicated staff who have been doing a tremendous job throughout the pandemic, and SES’s assistance helps support our dedicated public health, emergency management, and law enforcement officials staffing the clinic. As of January 10th, Davie County was actually leading the state, with a 4.2% vaccination rate! SES’s assistance will help us continue to set the pace statewide.”
“SES’s temporary shelters provide comfort from the elements to both our citizens and staff. The drive-thru clinics provide the best means to administer the vaccines quickly and efficiently using social distancing best practices, and SES’s shelters allow Davie County to continue with vaccination clinics, even on rainy days. This level of corporate support speaks volumes of SES and the culture of corporate partnership we have here in Davie County.”
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
Davie County Health and Human Services will be offering drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinics at Davie Community Park, 151 Southwood Drive, Mocksville, NC, on Wednesdays from 1 – 4:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. These clinics are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so no appointment is necessary at this time. The vaccine prioritization plan and phases outlined by the state of North Carolina will be followed. Please check here or call the Emergency Operations Center at 336-753-6540 for specific information about which phase or second dose group(s) will be vaccinated each week.
Individuals who qualify for vaccination should complete the Recipient Vaccination Questionnaire (download, print, and complete by clicking the link) before arrival to allow the process to move more quickly. The paperwork will also be available at the Davie County Health Department and at the vaccination site day-of.
The latest phases announced this week include:
- Group 1 Health care workers and Long-term care staff and residents — ACTIVE
- Group 2 Older adults (defined as 65 and above) — ACTIVE
- Group 3 Frontline essential workers — NOT YET OPEN
- Group 4 Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness — NOT YET OPEN
- Group 5 Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination — NOT YET OPEN
NCDHHS is offering free COVID-19 testing through Optum Serve. COVID testing will be moving to the parking lot at EMS, located 114 Dr. Slate Drive in Mocksville, beginning Tuesday, January 19th. Hours will be from
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Persons who wish to be tested should enter from Hospital Street, using the parking lot entrance closest to the Health Department.
Learn More 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.
“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.