Biz briefs — May 12

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 12, 2019

Leadership Rowan application deadline is May 24

The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce is taking applications for the 2019-20 Leadership Rowan Class.

For 26 years, Leadership Rowan has helped influential leaders in the community become knowledgeable about local issues, establish networking channels and become passionate about the success of the area.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our Rowan County area residents to learn in-depth information about our county and to have a look ‘behind the curtain,’ if you will,” said Bob Cartner of Chandler Concrete, chairman of the steering committee.

Leadership Rowan class members commit one day a month to exploring the community and discovering what makes it distinctive, including government, education, business, human needs and the arts.

Throughout the nine-month program, participants go on exclusive tours and have hands-on experiences with area leaders who take on the community’s biggest challenges every day. Armed with new knowledge, connections and perspective, Leadership Rowan graduates are prepared to take their places as effective community leaders. 

Applications are open through May 24.

The class will begin in August and conclude in May 2020. Complete program and application details are at

For more information, contact the Rowan Chamber at 704-633-4221 or

IDEA Center May workshop Tuesday

The Rowan IDEA Center Foundation will hold its free May workshop for regional entrepreneurs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at The Loft at City Tavern, 113 E.Fisher St.

Two speakers from BB&T, Crystal Gainous and Lindsay Whitehead, will present the entrepreneurial finance workshop “Bank on Your Success.” They will touch on operational topics from a financial perspective, including financing, cash flow and insurance. 

This is the final workshop in the nine-month series

Register at

For more information, contact the IDEA Center at

WalletHub names Charlotte 6th-best large city for starting a business

Charlotte was ranked sixth on the Best Large Cities to Start a Business list, according to WalletHub.

WalletHub compared 100 cities on startup opportunities using metrics such as five-year business survival rate and office-space affordability.

Charlotte was first in the highest average growth in number of small businesses.

Durham and Raleigh also were in the top 10, coming in seventh and eighth, respectively.

Orlando, Florida, was ranked first, according to report.

New Jersey-based company plans move to Cabarrus County

Hydromer Inc., a New Jersey-based manufacturer, is moving its operations to Concord this summer, bringing more than 30 new jobs.

Hydromer was founded in 1981 and grew to become a leading developer of polymer-based products in the medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets, as well as cosmetics, personal care and other industries.

The company will locate on Corporate Drive in International Business Park.

“Advanced manufacturing and technology companies like Hydromer are a strategic target for our community,” said Robert Carney, executive director of the Cabarrus Economic Development Corp. “They bring high-quality jobs and significant investments. This is a big win for us.”

The decision to relocate to Cabarrus County was partly due to the region’s position as a growing talent hub, its competitive business climate, the tax rate and its reputation as an international business hub, according to Cabarrus EDC.

“We are very excited about Hydromer coming to our area,” Concord Mayor Bill Dusch said. “Their highly inventive polymer-based products and manufacturing processes will create high-quality jobs that will fit in well with our community.”

Novant Health names Vicky L. Free chief marketing officer

Novant Health has hired Vicky L. Free as senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

Free has more than 25 years of experience in marketing and brand management. She will report to Jesse Cureton, executive vice president and chief consumer officer for Novant Health.

Free will lead the strategic direction of Novant Health system marketing. She will oversee and implement marketing strategies, including branding, market research, paid media and campaign management, digital engagement, new markets, physician and consumer content marketing, marketing operations, as well as insights and analytics.

“We are thrilled to welcome Vicky Free to spearhead Novant Health’s marketing efforts,” said Cureton. “She brings a strong background in leading successful marketing campaigns for global organizations that will help Novant Health develop insightful and compelling campaigns that demonstrate our commitment to remarkable patient care.”

In her most recent position as senior vice president of global brand strategy and marketing for Disney/ABC International, Free designed and executed marketing strategies that increased brand awareness and audience engagement using innovative advertising, social media and digital campaigns.

Free received a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina in Columbia and a master of business administration from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She completed the executive leadership development program at the University of California in Oakland and the executive management program at Harvard Business School in Boston.

Gov. Cooper announces nearly $10 million to expand internet access

Better internet access is coming to 19 rural, economically disadvantaged counties in North Carolina thanks to nearly $10 million in grants, Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week along with the N.C. Department of Information Technology and its Broadband Infrastructure Office.

“Access to reliable, high-speed internet service is critical for businesses to grow, students to learn, and communities to thrive,” Cooper said. “These grants will help connect thousands of homes and businesses with opportunities across the state and around the world.”

The program provides matching grants to internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives that compete for funding to lower financial barriers that prevent high-speed internet service expansion in Tier 1 counties.

Twenty-one applicants in 19 counties will receive a total of $9,855,026 in grant funding to bring high-speed internet access to 9,800 households and more than 590 businesses, agricultural operations and community institutions such as libraries, schools and hospitals. Of the 14 companies receiving grants, 11 are North Carolina-based small businesses, telephone cooperatives and an electric membership cooperative.