Biz Roundup: Kannapolis honored for communications work regarding downtown revitalization project

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2021

KANNAPOLIS — The North Carolina Association of Government Information Officers has awarded the City of Kannapolis first place for its work in the branding and promotion of the West Avenue Streetscape and the city’s downtown revitalization project.

“We are pleased to be honored by our peers for our work in this arena,” Annette Privette Keller, Director of Communications for the City of Kannapolis, said in a news release. “The Downtown Revitalization Process and the West Avenue Streetscape Project is a team effort with elected officials and city departments working collaboratively together to make it a reality. To be able to document it and share it with our residents over the last five years has been an amazing journey.”

The city’s award-winning communications plan included engaging residents in the process through news releases, social media, email newsletters, maps, photos, a dedicated website, public meetings, hard hat tours, signage and an opening event in the fall of 2019.

The goal of the city’s plan was to engage and educate the public as the project evolved from the design phase to reality. 

Throughout the multi-year process, residents and potential investors in downtown were able to follow the construction process on the city’s website which featured a dedicated page to the downtown project with live camera webcam feeds of the construction, regular updates from elected officials and staff, hard hat tours, news releases, email updates and more.

During the process, Kannapolis also targeted potential private investors and businesses with specific messaging using social media advertising, media coverage, news releases, a targeted email newsletter and many other promotional avenues. 

A map detailing every block of downtown and the revitalization plan for the area was also used and updated regularly. The work also included developing a brand for West Avenue and ensuring it worked cohesively with the Kannapolis’ overall brand.

West Avenue in Kannapolis. Photo submitted.

Commissioner Mike Caskey reappointed to NCACC Risk Management Board of Trustees

SALISBURY — The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Joint Risk Management Agency Board of Trustees reappointed  Rowan County Commissioner Mike Caskey to serve as a trustee for an additional term.

The Board of Trustees governs NCACC’s risk pools, which offer counties comprehensive and affordable coverages for worker’s compensation and liability and property. Over 70% of North Carolina counties participate in one or both of NCACC’s Risk Pools.

The Board, which met virtually on Dec. 10, 2020, also reappointed Burke County Commissioner Wayne Abele, Lee County Manager John Crumpton, Currituck County Commissioner Kitty Etheridge and NCACC President and Martin County Commissioner Ronnie Smith.

During the meeting, trustees voted to retain Viola Harris as Chair and Tommy Everett, Tyrrell County Commissioner, as Vice-Chair. The Board also welcomed two new trustees, Duplin County Commissioner Wayne Branch and Caswell County Commissioner David Owen.

Also, during the meeting, the board took action to reinvest in special purpose funding, which will support several risk control programs for pool members. Risk control programs enhance the safety profile of pool member counties and help prevent claims and litigation.

NCACC’s newer risk control programs include the Transit Wheelchair Lift Gate Reimbursement Program, HR Legal Helpline, Title VII Harassment Workshop for Public Entities, Bumper Guard Vehicle Safety Program, Soft Body Armor Grant Program and Employee Assistance Program.

Power Curbers gives out annual awards honoring employees

SALISBURY — At its Christmas luncheon in December, Power Curbers honored its associates for their commitment and years of service.

Each year two Power Curbers Associates are recognized as winners of the Messinger Commitment Award. Criteria for the award, named for long-time Presidents Richard Messinger and Dyke Messinger, includes having a positive attitude, being a team player, producing quality work and dedication to the Power Curbers mission statement, “Our Commitment Shows.” Perry Campbell and
Walter Pence were this year’s winners.

Perry Campbell was announced as a winner of the Messinger Commitment Award. Photo submitted.

Walter Pence was announced as a winner of the Messinger Commitment Award. Photo submitted.

Campbell, a plasma table operator for four years, loves spending as much of his free time as possible with his newborn grandson, Chance.

Pence retired at the end of 2020 after serving 20 years as a manufacturing engineer. He is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Pat, and four grandchildren. Pence plans to help his son, Matthew, with farming operations and his daughter, Amelia, with building projects.

Recognized for years’ service were: Richard Harris (40), Jennifer Stirewalt, and Roy Robison (25), Gary Shiflet, and Chris Earnhardt (20), Richard Miller, David Trexler, Ronn Ward, David Legg, and Peter Henty (15), and Donny Hatley Jr., Eric Bostian, Kenny P. Karriker, Kenny D. Karriker, Trey Koontz, Phil Myers, J.R. Poole, Mark Payne, Crystal Tollenaer (5).

Power Curbers engineer Drew Waller was presented with a Bobcat utility vehicle, which he won in an Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) drawing as part of its “I Make America” campaign.  Waller’s name was pulled from 14,000 entrants at Conexpo, an AEM-owned construction equipment show held last March in Las Vegas.

Power Curbers Engineer Drew Waller was presented with a Bobcat UTV, which he won in an Association of Equipment Manufacturers drawing as part of its “I Make America” campaign. Photo submitted.

Power Curbers Companies is a Salisbury-based manufacturer of slipform concrete paving equipment and
has been in business since 1953. The company produces curb and gutter machines and concrete road
paving equipment and accessories under the brands Power Curbers, Power Pavers, and Anvil American.

Rowan County maintains AA+ Bond Rating 

SALISBURY — Rowan County maintained its Fitch AA+ bond rating for $5.9 million general obligation bonds and long term issuer default rating.

“The Rowan County Finance Department continues to demonstrate excellence,” Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said in a news release. “Former Finance Officer Leslie Heidrick and current Finance Officer James Howden, have successfully continued to assist Rowan County in maintaining fiscal responsibility.”

This assessment shows Rowan County’s commitment to control long term debt liability, conservative financial management and the County’s focus on building a strong workforce and economic growth through business attraction and expansion.

“The Rowan County Commissioners strive to make fiscally judicious decisions while managing tax dollars,” County Manager Aaron Church said in a news release. “Their conservative approach to spending continues to maintain these exemplary ratings from Fitch Ratings.”

Howden said in a news release, “This is great news for Rowan County. Keeping our Fitch AA+ rating during this pandemic is a testament to the great leadership of County provided by the Board of Commissioners. It also shows the great work, dedication and commitment of the entire Finance Department. “

Small Business Center offers January workshops for business owners

SALISBURY — The Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will be ringing in the new year by offering workshops on a variety of business topics throughout January.

Registration for the workshops is now open and several workshops have already been completed. 

These are the workshops slated for the rest of the month:

How to Use Outsourcing to Grow Your Business Budget (Jan. 11) 

Create a Thriving Business in the Gig Economy (Jan. 12)

 Developing a Marketing Plan (Jan. 20)

Small Business for Introverts (Jan. 20)

Basic Accounting with Quickbooks (Jan. 25)

 Finding the Perfect Product: How to Find Merchandise to Sell Online (Jan. 26)

For more information about the workshops or to register for the online events, visit

Rowan County Register of Deeds Office offers program to cut down on fraud

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Register of Deeds office has implemented a new program that will help protect local property owners from potential property and mortgage fraud.

Called PropertyCheck, the free service allows property owners to receive notifications of recordings on their property by activating alerts based on their name, property address or parcel number after signing up on the county’s website. PropertyCheck will automatically alert the property owner of any recordings regarding the property that is specified. 

The extra measure of security comes at no cost to the taxpayers, property owners and residents. The Register of Deeds has taken steps to protect property owners and prevent fraud, including the removal of over 55,000 social security numbers from the records and indexes.

To sign up for PropertyCheck, visit

 Construction underway on Concord nonprofit center, opening date set 

CONCORD — The former Concord City Hall Annex building located at 66 Union St. is currently being renovated to serve as a nonprofit center that will be dedicated to assisting local nonprofit organizations.

The city expects the space to be ready for occupancy by May 1, 2021.

In August of 2019, the city of Concord sold the building to RCG SE, LLC., who plans to redevelop the main level of the building as three commercial bays and the second level as professional office space. Concord entered into a five-year lease with RCG for the lower level of the building to create nonprofit office space downtown.

“On behalf of Mayor Dusch and the City Council, I am excited about this new collaboration with our local non-profits, who invest in our community daily,” Concord City Manager Lloyd Payne said in a news release. “They are vital to delivering services and goods to our citizens and, as such, deserve an affordable office space for their administrative functions.”

The new addition to the city will feature office spaces ranging from 128-317 square feet with all-inclusive lease rates, including the cost of utilities and Wi-Fi. Rates are dependent upon the square footage of each office ranging from $285-710 per month. The nonprofit center will feature new HVAC, carpet, paint, wiring, and lighting. Occupants will have access to a new elevator and common conference room. 

Interested organizations may apply by Feb. 1, 2021. The city will give priority to Concord-based nonprofits and second priority to Cabarrus County nonprofits. Eligible 501 (c) (3) nonprofits that benefit the general public and contribute to the city’s cultural, social and economic vitality are encouraged to apply by visiting

Concord’s Planning and Neighborhood Development Department staff will review applications and negotiate leases based on the priorities and limits described above.

SECU Foundation announces program to support charities in rural North Carolina

The State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation announced that it will be starting a new capacity building pilot program to support public charities in the northwest, northeast and Sandhills regions of the state.

“Expanding the reach of our foundation throughout North Carolina is a top priority for us,” Jo Anne Sanford, SECU Foundation Board Chair, said in a news release. “We have not had many grant requests from organizations in the northwest, northeast, and Sandhills regions of the state. This new Rural Opportunity Grant program will help us identify economic and social needs issues specific to these regions.  With the help of foundation and university leaders, identified non-profits will have the chance to strengthen resources and enhance the tools needed to take their mission to the next level.”

Funding of up to $186,000 from the foundation will support the implementation of the Rural Opportunity Grant program by a facilitator and three state universities serving as regional anchor sites, each tasked with providing support in their region. Appalachian State University, East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke will anchor the northwest, northeast and Sandhills regions, respectively.

The Rural Opportunity Grant program will provide select nonprofits in each economically distressed area with the opportunity to increase capacity needed to create and sustain a high-impact project identified through the program as a key regional challenge. The execution of the pilot program over an 18-month period will involve collaboration with the SECU Foundation, SECU Advisory Board volunteers and representation from numerous leaders in regional communities and education organizations.

“Communities across North Carolina benefit from the presence of State Employees’ Credit Union branches as well as the work supported by the SECU Foundation,” Dr. Sharon Paynter, ECU assistant vice chancellor for economic and community engagement, said in a news release. “East Carolina University is pleased to join with SECU Foundation in the Rural Opportunity Grant program.  We are hopeful that together the university and rural communities can develop affordable housing solutions that create jobs, support workforce development, and drive local economies forward in eastern North Carolina.”

Rowan County COVID-19 test provider MAKO surpasses 4 million in tests processed 

MAKO Medical Laboratories recently surpassed 4 million COVID-19 tests processed at its Vance County facility.

Since April, the laboratory has provided COVID-19 tests results to communities across the United States, including in Rowan County, where the company has been contracted to provide testing services.

“With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, we recognize the continued importance of our service to patients and providers,” Josh Arant, COO, MAKO Medical, said in a news release. “Our team can process over 100,000 COVID-19 tests per day. We stand by ready to serve the masses.”

MAKO Medical also serves as the official testing partner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big South Conference, and provides testing support for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC.

MAKO Medical operates out of more than 70,000 square feet of laboratory space across two facilities, one in Henderson and one in Raleigh.  The Henderson facility was recently expanded, increasing the lab’s capacity from 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day to over 100,000 tests per day.  In the past 12 months, the MAKO team has grown from 350 people to more than 1,000.

MAKO’s 2020 highlights: 

  • In April, MAKO Medical swiftly transformed its laboratory operations to begin providing COVID-19 services.
  • In August, MAKO Medical announced the company scored 100% on CAP COVID Proficiency Testing, demonstrating MAKO’s commitment to quality lab results.
  • At MAKO’s founding, leaders carved out divisions of the company to hire U.S. military veterans. These teams are foundational to MAKO’s elite and high touch client services model.  In November, MAKO held its first Veterans Day lunch to honor veterans.  The company served a free meal to all Vance County veterans and their family members.

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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