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Biz briefs: April 7

April’s Power in Partnership to be on health care

Lisa Finaldi of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation will be the speaker at the April 18 Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Power in Partnership breakfast.

The breakfast will be at 7:30 a.m. at Trinity Oaks, 728 Klumac Road. Novant Health Rowan Medical Center is this month’s sponsor.

Finaldi is community engagement leader for the foundation, leading the First 2000 Days initiative, the N.C. Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Local Financing initiative. She has more than 30 years of experience as a nonprofit leader at the state, national and international levels.

Finaldi holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University and a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She and her family live in Raleigh. She is a past president of the Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood and a founding board member of Raleigh City Farm, a 1-acre urban farm in downtown Raleigh.

The last Power in Partnership breakfast in this series will be the Leadership Rowan graduation on May 16. 

For non-Power Card holders, reservations must be made by 5 p.m. April 16. The cost is $15 for members and $25 for nonmembers. The price includes breakfast and the program. Contact the chamber for information on reservations or sponsorship opportunities at 704-633-4221 or info@rowanchamber.com

Salisbury’s Miracle-Ear recognized for store performance

Heather Burleson, who is board-certified in hearing instrument sciences, has added the Charles Holland Award to her list of honors.

The award, named for Amplifon’s founder, is Miracle-Ear’s highest recognition for excellence in store performance

The Miracle-Ear office in Salisbury is one of five offices in the nation to receive the award, which recognizes business fundamentals such as customer care, growth, productivity, teamwork and innovation.

The performance criteria reward clinics that balance sales and service, and new and existing customers

Each year, 50 stores around the world are recognized. Winners are rewarded with a trip to an awards ceremony.

Burleson is a hearing specialist, and Jeannine Lyons is the patient coordinator 

Both won an all-expense paid trip to Milan, Italy, home to the global company Amplifon, earlier this month. 

Mount Pleasant mechatronics technician to compete at WorldSkills Competition

Ryan Hittepole of Mount Pleasant will represent the United States in mechatronics at the biennial WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia.

Hittepole will compete as a member of the WorldSkills USA team, selected and trained by SkillsUSA. The mechatronics contest is a two-person event. He will be teamed with Curt Love of Oakboro.

The 45th international competition will be held Aug. 22-27.

While taking an electronics elective course in high school, Hittepole discovered his passion and natural knack for mechatronics.

“The aspect that I most enjoy when I have a problem is logically and methodically finding and implementing a solution to it,” he said.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to represent my country with skills that I’ve spent years developing,” he continued. “I’m excited about meeting new people from around the world who are all brought together to raise the recognition of skilled professionals worldwide.”

After competing in WorldSkills, Hittepole plans to continue his education in mechatronics, earning a bachelor’s degree.

Every two years, WorldSkills hosts the world championships, which attracts more than 1,600 competitors from more than 76 countries around the world to compete in more than 50 trade skills.

Waste Management veteran brings home ‘Driver of the Year’ award

Waste Management roll-off and residential driver Timothy Leroy Parker of Granite Quarry was recently named one of the National Waste and Recycling Association’s Drivers of the Year for 2019.

Judged by a computerized scoring system and chosen by independent judges based on letters of recommendation, difficulty of the route and difficulty of the equipment, the award recognizes drivers and operators from member companies that put safety as their top priority.

“Our members and their employees are dedicated to keeping our communities clean and safe on a daily basis. It is important that we recognize the driver and operators who make safety a priority. I congratulate them on their achievement,” said NWRA President Darrell Smith.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to receive this great award,” Parker said. “It shows what a great company Waste Management is. We all put safety first which makes me proud to be an employee. I want more drivers to help me carry the torch going forward. My job as a driver is very rewarding each day, because I see the results of filling the customer’s needs. I love doing my job and seeing the customers wave and smile as I drive by. It makes my day.”

Parker joined other winners at an award breakfast at Waste Expo 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

IDEA Center’s ‘The Next Big Idea Business Pitch’ scheduled May 4

The IDEA Center Foundation has scheduled its second annual “The Next Big Idea Business Pitch” contest, a “Shark Tank”-style expo, for May 4.

It is designed to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in Rowan County’s high schools and the community.

Two sessions will be held at The Loft at City Tavern with awards of $1,000, $500 and $250. The High School Pitch Contest, at 9 a.m., will bring together the winners of the “5 Minutes Tops” program held at six Rowan-Salisbury high schools to vie for the top three awards in the countywide competition.

The Community Pitch Contest, at 1 p.m., is open to all Rowan County citizens of any age. It will select three winners focusing on the practicality of the idea and the ability to carry it out.

To enter the afternoon competition of the Next Big Idea Pitch, visit rowanideacenter.com. All entries are due by April 21.

Last year’s Next Big Idea yielded some winning ideas as well with some continuing to be developed, such as blockchain-based payment systems, an electrolyte dispensing mouth guard, and a haunted house entertainment venue.

For more information, contact the Rowan IDEA Center Foundation at info@rowanideacenter.com.

Novant Health reports revenue of nearly $5 billion

Novant Health says its 2018 audited financial results for the 2018 show net income of $94.0 million on operating revenue of nearly $5 billion.

The nonprofit health system also reported $883.7 million in total community benefit (including financial assistance and unpaid cost of Medicare and Medicaid), up from $794.4 million in 2017. Novant Health provided $154.7 million in financial assistance in 2018.

In 2018, the unreimbursed costs to provide health care services to Medicare and Medicaid patients were $516.8 million and $141.8 million, respectively.

Carl S. Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health, said team members delivered remarkable care and invested in communities last year.

“In 2018, Novant Health made a measurable impact in the communities we serve,” said Armato. “Our team members worked hard to deliver remarkable care to all patients, including those who may not have had access to care previously. With our more than $883 million in community benefit, we focused our efforts on offering free health education programs, as well as free community care initiatives and services. We also recognized that health is determined by much more than just access to quality health care.”

Last year was an opportunity to highlight resiliency in the health care industry, said Fred Hargett, Novant Health chief financial officer. Novant Health focused on engaging its providers in a mission to offer a remarkable patient experience and continue to invest in team member engagement to enable top patient care, he said.

“With a healthy balance sheet, Novant Health continues to invest in team members,” said Hargett. “As a financially strong organization, we can provide not only for our community but for our people. While the pace of change continues in state and federal regulations, our team members are dedicated to their patients despite the uncertainty in our industry.”

IDEA Center to host workshop Tuesday

Entrepreneurial marketing will be the topic of Tuesday’s Rowan IDEA Center Foundation workshop.

The workshop will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at The Loft at City Tavern, 113 E. Fisher St.

Renee Just, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Experiential Development at Catawba College, will host the workshop, which will stress the importance of scaling, pivoting, building a team, ownership, equity issues and the value of an advisory board.

To register for the free workshop, visit rowanideacenter.com.

Future workshops are “The 4 Ps: Price, Product, Placement and Promotion” on May 14 and entrepreneurial finance on June 11.

Chamber’s Business After Hours hosted at Backcountry & Beyond

Backcountry & Beyond will sponsor Monday’s Rowan Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours mixer.

Backcountry & Beyond will have a door prize drawing for a Traegar grill valued for more than $750.

From 5 to 7 p.m., the mixer, at 1301 E. Innes St., Suite 101, will provide wine, beer and appetizers.

Chamber members will have a chance to network with fellow members, and the chamber recommends participants bring business cards.

To make reservations, email info@rowanchamber.com.

County native recognized as nonprofit leader

Luanne Hall Welch was recently awarded the 2019 Women in Business Nonprofit Leadership Award by the Triangle Business Journal. Welch joined a group of women business leaders across the Triangle who were honored for their work.

Her passion for helping children, adults and families living with disabilities and mental health challenges began early in her life after meeting two young children with disabilities on her first day of school. She never forgot them and has spent more than 30 years at Easterseals making sure people living with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities.

“The mission of Easterseals UCP has been my life’s work, my passion,” she said. “I am so lucky to love my work. Good days or bad days — in my entire career — I have never regretted the ‘why’ I spent my day the way I did.”

The organization provides with services and support in the areas of early intervention, autism, mental health, employment and more. In North Carolina and Virginia, more than 22,000 people are supported in diverse communities.

“Our promise is to serve, to learn and to solve,” Welch said. “Our dedicated front line is here for children and adults living with disabilities and mental health challenges and the families who love them, today, tomorrow and throughout the journey.”

In addition to serving as CEO of Easterseals UCP North Carolina and Virginia, Welch contributes to strategic discussions by serving on several committees for Easterseals at the national level.

While president and CEO of Easterseals South Florida, she helped the low-income community outside Miami improve student classroom readiness behaviors for students with disabilities. This helped these students have a brighter outcome and reduce their risk of dropping out of school or joining local gangs.

During her four years at Easterseals UCP North Carolina and Virginia and her seven years in South Florida, Welch facilitated turnarounds in both organizations by recruiting and developing highly motivated board champions.

During her tenure at Easterseals national headquarters, she led successful organization turnarounds for seven affiliates and supported the strategic reorganization of two.



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