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Editorial: Welcome, Rod Crider

New RowanWorks president and CEO

Rod Crider, who currently leads an economic development agency in Ohio, has been selected as the next leader of RowanWorks Economic Development.

A warning to Rowan County’s next top economic development official, Rod Crider: People around here may occasionally spell your name wrong. Kriders far outnumber Criders in Rowan, so be prepared for a slip-up now and then. We apologize in advance.

That said, the people of Rowan are eager to see you come on board in June as president and CEO of RowanWorks Economic Development. Every community in the country probably wants jobs, job and more jobs, but the need has been especially acute here since the decimation of the U.S. textile industry and the recession that followed. The community thrives in many ways — a busy cultural scene, several colleges, growing retail, bountiful natural resources. But Rowan was walloped in 2003 and 2008, and the loss of blue-collar jobs has weakened the fabric of our community.

Other tips:

 Once you figure out Innes and Main streets, you can find your way most anywhere in Salisbury; the county is more complicated, and you have nine other towns to get acquainted with. These days, people have GPS to help them find their way. But if you happen to get lost and your cell phone has died, just stop and ask for directions. People here are pretty friendly. Don’t be surprised if they ask where you go to church.

 A love-hate relationship has existed between the county and the city for generations, sometimes without much love. Fortunately, that dynamic is changing, and the working relationship between City Council and the Board of Commissioners — and their respective managers — has seldom been better. Old attitudes die hard, though, so you may still detect some friction.

 Speaking of divides, sports rivalries are strong in Rowan County. Many people define their loyalties by the high school district where they live — North, East, Carson, South, West, Salisbury. Those feelings run deep. And when it comes to college sports, try to figure out who you’re talking to before stating an opinion, a Duke fan or a Carolina fan. Actually, you’ll find alumni of many other colleges here. The thing to remember is that people here love sports, from girls’ softball to CIAA basketball.

 Most important, many people here are eager for fresh ideas about how to position Rowan County for economic growth. Our citizens need more jobs, and a greater tax base would help government better served the community without raising taxes. Those are the fundamentals — whether you’re a Krider or a Crider, in Ohio or in North Carolina.

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