Biz Roundup: Chamber announces new leadership for 2021, updates plans for gala

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 20, 2020

SALISBURY — With the end of 2020 just a few weeks away, the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce has named its chair of the board and chair-elect for 2021.

Bob Honeycutt, executive vice president at F&M Bank, has been tabbed as chair of the board and Brad Walser, owner and president of Walser Technology Group, has been named chair-elect.

Bob Honeycutt is the executive vice president at F&M Bank and will serve as the chair of the board for the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce in 2021. Photo submitted.

Brad Walser, owner and president of Walser Technology Group, will serve as chair-elect in 2021 for the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. Photo submitted.

“The Chamber is honored to have such wonderful business volunteers in our leadership succession,” Gary Blabon, the outgoing 2020 chair of the board, said in a news release.

Honeycutt will take over as chair of the board in 2021 and Walser will serve in the position in 2022.

Other members of the Chamber’s 2021 Executive Committee include:

  • Alan Burke, Alan Burke, CPA, Treasurer
  • Andrew Smith, Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Division Chair-Education and Workforce Development
  • Starling Johnson Kaklamanos, Johnson Concrete, Div. Chair – Membership
  • Terry Osborne, Rowan County ABC Board, Division Chair – Business Advocacy
  • Gary Blabon, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Immediate Past Chair
  • Elaine Spalding, President.

New Board members:

  • Alisha Byrd-Clark, Gemstones/Byrd Staffing
  • Bill Godley, Godley’s Garden Center
  • Daniel Matangira, Matangira Recycling
  • Ellen Robertson, Fisher Realty
  • Andrew Smith, Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Continuing Board members are: 

  • Amie Morgan Baudoin, Morgan Ridge
  • Sharon Baker, Integro Technologies
  • Mike Grandizio, Hotwire Communications
  • Dr. Eric Hake, Catawba College
  • Carmen Harper, Hood Theological Seminary
  • Elaine Holden, NC Transportation Museum
  • Ken Ingle, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College 
  • Dr. Nicole Sherrill-Corry, NSC Behavioral Concepts
  • Shane Valley, Food Lion

The Chamber’s annual “gala” meeting has been postponed until May 13, 2021. The Chamber’s 95th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Gateway Building will be celebrated in 2021.

Annual awards and the ceremonial passing of the gavel will also be conducted during the annual “gala” meeting.

More information about the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce can be found by calling 704- 633-4221, emailing or visiting

Rowan EDC’s Dickert to retire after 17 years

Bettina Dickert

SALISBURY — After nearly two decades of working at the Rowan Economic Development Commission, Bettina Dickert will retire at the end of this month.

Dickert joined the Rowan EDC in 2003 and has served in a variety of roles, most recently as director of operations.

“Bettina has been a tremendous asset to the community and the EDC,” Rowan EDC President Rod Crider said in a news release. “Through her skills and leadership, we became a higher performing organization. We owe her a debt of gratitude for all the times she has helped keep us on track, on time, and within our budget. In addition to her incredible competence and skill, she has been a friend to all with her thoughtfulness and encouragement.”

Dickert’s 17-year tenure makes her the longest serving employee in the organization’s 36-year history.

“It’s been a wonderful 17 years here at the Rowan EDC. I have made so many friends and will really miss seeing everyone on a regular basis,” Dickert said in a news release. “Thank you all for sharing your time and expertise with me. Have a safe and joyous holiday season!”

General Shale announces acquisition of Meridian Brick

General Shale announced that it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Meridian Brick, the nation’s largest manufacturer of masonry solutions.

With the acquisition, the Tennessee-based company will become one of the leading suppliers of masonry solutions in North America.

“This announcement underscores General Shale’s commitment to providing customers with a robust offering of the most exceptional masonry products and service in the industry,” Charles Smith, president and CEO of General Shale, said in a press release. “Meridian Brick has a solid reputation for providing quality products, building solutions and customer service. These key attributes, combined with General Shale’s unparalleled track record for more than 90 years, will yield exciting opportunities for our newly expanded organization. We are pleased to welcome Meridian Brick employees to the General Shale family.”

With the deal, General Shale’s production and sales footprint will be widened throughout North America, particularly in Texas, the southeastern U.S. and in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Meridian Brick operates 20 manufacturing plants and 27 distribution centers throughout North America and employs more than 1,000 workers. Meridian Brick has a location in East Spencer that is more than 120 years old. The location was operated by Isenhour Brick and Tile for 100 years, became Boral Brick for 21 years and was taken into the Meridian fold in 2017.

Meridian Brick maintains six production locations and five distribution centers in Texas, which is responsible for 25% of all U.S. brick consumption, making it the largest brick-consuming state in the country.

General Shale is the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, an international provider of building material and infrastructure solutions. Prior to the acquisition, General Shale was one of North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturers, featuring 11 production facilities in 10 states and provinces, including a PVC pipe manufacturing operation in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. General Shale also has a network of 21 sales locations and more than 200 affiliated distributors across North America.

“Wienerberger is committed to strengthening its position as an internationally diversified building materials group, and this acquisition significantly expands the General Shale product portfolio and footprint,” Smith said. “As we grow, we will continue to invest in research and development to drive sustainable, innovative masonry solutions for our valued customers.”

For more information about General Shale and its family of products, visit

Aldi grocery chain continues to grow during pandemic

The German grocery retailer Aldi, who has a distribution center in Rowan County, continued to expand during 2020.

During this year, Aldi hit the 2,000 mark in U.S. store count, including two new locations in the Charlotte region. A $5 billion, five-year growth strategy launched in 2017 calls for the grocer to extend its retail network from 1,700 to 2,500 stores by the end of 2022.

“We are proud and excited to continue to serve our North Carolina communities and are always looking for exceptional talent to help us along the way,” Thomas Sachtler, Director of Warehouse and Logistics, said in a news release. 

The company offers industry-leading wages, with a starting pay of $18.50 per hour with benefits the Rowan County distribution center. Forbes named Aldi one of the country’s “Best Large Employers” and among the “Best Employers for New Grads.”

More information about job opportunities at Aldi can be found at

Carolina Caring to open new palliative care clinic in China Grove

CHINA GROVE — Carolina Caring will soon be opening its newest Palliative Medicine Clinic in China Grove.

Carolina Caring has offered hospice and palliative medicine for those with serious illnesses for more than 40 years. Palliative care offers help to those with a serious illness even if they are still seeking a cure. Carolina Caring began offering palliative care services more than a decade ago.

“When we discovered the limited palliative care support available to Rowan County residents, we felt called to engage with the community and open a clinic dedicated to serving them,” Dave Cook, president and CEO of Carolina Caring, said in a news release. “As we continue to see the need for palliative care rise, we maintain our focus on preventing and alleviating suffering for individuals while helping them avoid unwanted emergency visits and hospital stays.”

The Palliative Medicine Clinic in China Grove is located at 301 E. Centerview St. Services can be made available in assisted living centers, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities or in a patient’s home.

Food Lion donates more than 200,000 meals after local college teams rack up sacks

Throughout the 2020 college football season, Food Lion Feeds partnered with eight colleges and universities to help nourish those in need.

During the season, every quarterback sack made by a participating college led to Food Lion Feeds donating 1,000 meals to the school’s local food bank through the Sack to Give Back program.

“At Food Lion, we care about nourishing our neighbors in need, and we were cheering on each school to rack up as many sacks as they could this football season,” Jennifer Blanchard, director of community relations for Food Lion, said in a news release. “We’re proud of the hard work these student athletes did on the field to ensure our neighbors do not have to worry about where their next meal will come from this holiday season.”

The participating colleges and the number of meals donated through their team’s sack totals are listed below:

  • Appalachian State – (23 sacks), 23,000 Meals Donated to Second Harvest of Northwest NC Food Bank
  • Clemson University – (30 sacks), 30,000 Meals Donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina
  • East Carolina University – (15 sacks), 15,000 Meals Donated to Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina
  • Liberty University – (26 sacks), 26,000 Meals Donated to Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
  • North Carolina State University – (30 sacks), 30,000 Meals Donated to Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – (30 sacks), 30,000 Meals Donated to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
  • Virginia Tech – (30 sacks), 30,000 Meals Donated to Feeding Southwest Virginia
  • Wake Forest University – (17 sacks), 17,000 Meals Donated to Second Harvest of Northwest NC Food Bank

Learn more on Food Lion’s commitment to end hunger in the towns and cities it serves through Food Lion Feeds.

North Carolina Young Banker division announces 2020-21 advisory council members

The North Carolina Young Bankers division announced its advisory council members for the upcoming 2020-21 term.

Leading the new council will be incoming chair, Katheryn Willard, vice president and specialty lending product manager of Truist Bank. Chad Hammond, chief financial officer at Belmont Savings Bank, will serve as vice chair. Brittany Moore, assistant vice president and portfolio manager at Union Bank, will serve as secretary.

Incoming council members include the following:

  • Zach Carlton – junior commercial lender with United Bank in Raleigh, N.C.
  • Eric Hagler – vice president and commercial lender with First Federal Savings Bank in Denver, N.C.
  • Amalie Harvelle – commercial underwriting manager with Triad Business Bank in Greensboro, N.C.
  • Hillary Kestler – director of marketing with Select Bank & Trust in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Katie Smith – legal counsel with Lumbee Guaranty Bank in Pembroke, N.C.
  • Marshall Trull – audit senior manager with Elliott Davis in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Heather Ward – branch manager at First Bank in Asheville, N.C.
  • Buzz Wilkinson – vice president with Providence Bank in Wilson, N.C.

The NCYD was founded in 2015 to be the premier organization to develop and engage emerging bank leaders while strengthening communities. Kristen B rabble, chief operating officer of First Carolina Bank in Rocky Mount, served as chairman of the 2020 advisory council and will transition to past chairman for the 2021 term.

“We are excited to announce the incoming advisory council members for the 2021 term,” Blair Jernigan, vice president of event management of the North Carolina Bankers Association and NCYB staff liaison, said in a news release. “Our new chair, Katheryn Willard, and this group of passionate, energetic and innovative bankers will be strong advocates for North Carolina’s banking industry as they continue to find ways to support and give back to their communities during this unprecedented time. We are very grateful for the tremendous service of the 2020 advisory council under the leadership of past chair Kristen Brabble, especially in light of the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.”

The following NCYB advisory council members will be rolling off for the 2021 term:

  • David Beaver – president and CFO of Uwharrie Bank in Albemarle, N.C.
  • Meredith Begley – corporate secretary-treasurer at Black Mountain Savings Bank in Black Mountain, N.C.
  • Katrina Blumetti – vice president and senior loan officer at Morganton Savings Bank in Morganton, N.C.
  • Patrick Eglinton – vice president and senior risk officer at First Citizens Bank in Raleigh, N.C.
  • Jed Orman – senior vice president at Triad Business Bank in Greensboro, N.C.
  • Robert Peterkin – chief financial officer at Optus Bank in Columbia, S.C.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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