Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 28, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s March Power in Partnership event will feature the annual “Salute to Agri-Business” program with author Michele Payn as the keynote speaker.

The virtual program is scheduled for Thursday, March 18, at 7:30 a.m. and is sponsored by F&M Bank.

Payn has published three books about food and farming, including “Food Bullying: How to Avoid Buying B.S.” The book examines how trends have led to bullying within the agricultural industry. During her speech at the Power in Partnership event, Payn will discuss how to be more compassionate in business to help consumers better understand the complexities of the food system. “Food Bullying How to Avoid Buying B.S.” will be available for sale at South Main Book Company.

The purpose of the event is to highlight the importance of agri-business in Rowan County. Michelle Patterson of Patterson Farm is the chair of the Chamber’s Agri-business Committee. Amy-Lynn Albertson, Rowan County Extension Office director, will emcee the program and provide updated agri-business economic impact numbers.     

The PIP events are held the Third Thursday of the Month from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. The remaining Spring Season of PIP programs include:

  • April 16 – Rowan Chamber’s 95th Annual Meeting, sponsored by Novant Health Rowan Medical Center
  • May 20 – Leadership Rowan Graduation; Speaker: Steve Chandler, Chandler Thinks on Rowan Brand, sponsored by Duke Energy Corp.

The Leadership Rowan Class will start the day with the Power in Partnership and then get a deep dive into sessions focused on important aspects of the community. The Chamber’s popular “Power Cards” are offered for those who would like to take advantage of the Power in Partnership frequent attender program. Power Card holders receive a discounted price for the series and do not have to make a reservation each month. The cost is $30 for members; $75 for non-members.

For those who are not Power Card holders, individual reservations are welcome; however, the reservation deadline is Tuesday, March 16 by 5 p.m. The cost is $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Contact the Chamber for information on reservations or sponsorship opportunities at 704-633-4221 or

NCWorks poised to host drive-thru job fair

SALISBURY — NCWorks Rowan will host a drive-thru job fair at the NCWorks Career Center at 1904 S. Main St. on Friday, April 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Job applicants are encouraged to bring their resumes.

The job fair is an attempt by NCWorks to help hiring employers meet with qualified candidates while maintaining safety and health care guidelines through social distancing. As reported cases of COVID-19 are decreasing and Governor Cooper’s coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, many employers are increasing their hiring needs.

More information can be found by contacting NCWorks Rowan Center Leader Joseph Dismuke at 704-639-7529 ext.202 or by email at

Family Dollar announces grand re-opening of Spencer location

SPENCER — The newly-renovated Family Dollar store at 402 S. Salisbury Ave. in Spencer will have a grand re-opening on Saturday.

“Family Dollar is proud to be a part of the Spencer community and we are excited to welcome existing and new customers to our newly renovated store,” Jim Van Slyke, Family Dollar spokesperson, said in a news release. “The refreshed store will provide even greater values and convenience to our shoppers.”

The renovated store will now include $1.00 Dollar Tree merchandise, additional freezers and coolers and an expanded selection of food, beauty and essentials, household products and seasonal items. A store of this size typically employs six to 10 associates. Interested applicants can apply online at or by visiting the store location.

City of Kannapolis welcomes new finance director

KANNAPOLIS — Kannapolis recently hired Africa Otis to serve as the city’s finance director.

Otis comes to Kannapolis after serving as finance director for the city of Mount Holly for the past 11 years. With 20 years of experience in the field of finance, Otis has also served as the finance director for the town of Cramerton, has worked as an operations budget analyst for the city of Charlotte CATS System, as a fiscal analyst for Mecklenburg County and was a budget analyst for Gaston County Schools.

Otis is a native of Buffalo, New York. She served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve for 11 years, attaining the rank of Drill Sergeant, before beginning her career in finance. She graduated from Pfeiffer University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and she received a Master of Science in accounting from Liberty University. She also holds an associate degree in Occupational Studies from the Rochester Business Institute. 

Otis is a member of the Government Finance Officer Association, the North Carolina Finance Officer Association, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

After losing her sister-in-law to leukemia in 2001, Otis and her husband, Eric, became guardians to her five children and raised them along with their two daughters.  She is a long-standing member of St. Stephens AME Zion Church where she serves as the treasurer for the Unity Place Board.

Africa Otis will serve as finance director for the city of Kannapolis. Photo submitted.

Kimberly Boling promoted to assistant fire marshal

SALISBURY — Salisbury Fire Chief Robert Parnell recently announced the promotion of Kimberly Boling to the rank of assistant fire marshal.

Assistant Fire Marshal Boling joined the department in 2017 as a Fire Inspector/Investigator and Fire Life Safety Educator. Boling, a graduate of Salisbury High School, holds state certifications as a Firefighter II, Fire Officer II, Fire Instructor I, Fire Inspector Level II, Fire Investigation Technician, Fire & Life Safety Educator Level III, and a Youth Fire-setter Intervention Specialist.

She earned her Associate Degree in Fire Protection Technology from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Pfeiffer University and holds a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from South University. Boling is assigned to the Salisbury Fire Department Loss Prevention and Inspections Division, and the Arson Task Force.

Kimberly Boling was recently promoted to the rank of Assistant Fire Marshal for the Salisbury Fire Department. Photo submitted.

Community Free Clinic selects Kimberly Jones as development director

CONCORD — The Community Free Clinic has selected Kimberly Jones as its development director.

Jones joins the nonprofit organization, which provides primary care and pharmacy services for low-income uninsured Cabarrus County adults, after serving as the resource development director for Habitat for Humanity Cabarrus County.

“Kimberly brings a personal and professional commitment to Cabarrus County,” Nancy Litton, Community Free Clinic’s executive director, said in a news release. “She has a well-rounded understanding of our community’s needs and the resources needed to address those needs. Community Free Clinic is privileged to have her working for the healthcare needs of Cabarrus County’s uninsured. With Kimberly’s help we will continue to close the gaps and strengthen the healthcare safety net. Our Board membership, staff and volunteers join me in welcoming Kimberly to Community Free Clinic, where Health Happens!”

Before working with Habitat for Humanity, Jones worked in the private sector for over 20 years.

“I appreciate The Community Free Clinic’s confidence in me and am so excited to be a part of this wonderful organization that serves uninsured adults in Cabarrus County,” Jones said in a news release. “I look forward to working with Nancy and the entire team to continue supporting vulnerable populations in our community.”

Standard Process hires Andrew Hocek as new director of sales

Standard Process, a whole foods-based company headquartered in Wisconsin with a research division in Kannapolis, announced the hiring of Andrew Hocek as the company’s new director of sales.

Hocek brings extensive sales management experience to the role, and will be responsible for the growth and success of company-wide sales performance. He will also assist independent sales representatives to meet goals by leveraging best practices, work to improve territory performance, and interact with key customers.

“(Hocek) has an impressive track record and solid industry experience,” Deb Morgan, Vice President of Sales & Marketing said in a news release. “We’re confident that he has the skills to help health care professionals change even more lives and help Standard Process increase its sales.”

Hocek comes to Standard Process after 21 years with New Chapter, Inc., a nutraceutical, vitamin, and herbal supplements company. His most recent position at New Chapter was senior channel director, in which he directed a sales team that spanned 22 states. He also oversaw strategy development with top accounts, developed long-term business growth strategies, and engaged with skill development training.

“Standard Process is a very impressive company, and I look forward to helping reach more customers and spread the message,” Hocek said in a news release. “I think this will be a great fit.”

Hocek holds an associate degree from Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey, and a bachelor’s degree from New Jersey City University. He lives with his wife and daughter in Marvin, North Carolina, which will enable him to, as part of his role, collaborate with the Standard Process Nutrition Innovation Center in Kannapolis. He is also a New Jersey Air National Guard Veteran, American history enthusiast, and an avid participant in a variety of fitness-related activities.

Andrew Hocek was recently hired by Standard Process as director of sales. Photo submitted.

Wells Fargo invests more than $10 billion in wind and solar projects, including 10 in North Carolina

Wells Fargo Renewable Energy and Environmental Finance recently announced it surpassed $10 billion in tax-equity investments in wind, solar and fuel cell industries.

The financial institution has invested in more than 500 projects, including 10 in North Carolina, helping to finance 12% of all wind and solar energy capacity in the U.S. over the past decade.

“Wells Fargo uses its tax capacity in a meaningful way to invest in projects that contribute to the nation’s acceleration toward a low-carbon economy,” Philip Hopkins, head of Wells Fargo Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance, said in a news release. “We are proud to play a key role in the growth of this important industry, and honored to work closely with so many leading sponsors and developers of wind and solar energy projects.”

To stimulate growth of renewable energy resources and accelerate the transition to a lower-carbon economy, the federal government provides project developers with incentives such as production tax credits, investment tax credits, and accelerated depreciation. However, because most developers lack sufficient tax capacity, they rely on tax-equity investors like Wells Fargo for funding. 

Wells Fargo made its first tax-equity commitment to a wind project in 2006, and shortly thereafter began investing in distributed-generation solar, which generates electricity where it is used. Since then, the bank has financed projects in 32 states. Projects supported by Wells Fargo produced enough electricity in 2020 to power more than 3 million average-sized U.S. homes for a year.

Wells Fargo provided approximately $2.4 billion in financing to the renewable energy industry in 2020, representing an increase of $1 billion from 2019. 

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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