Biz Roundup: Salisbury Fire Department promotes Pinkston to lieutenant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Salisbury Fire Department has promoted Andrew Pinkston to the rank of lieutenant.

Andrew Pinkston

Pinkston joined the department in 2015 as a fire control specialist after serving as both a part-time and volunteer firefighter. He served as a fire hydrant maintenance technician while in school before being promoted to engineer in 2017. Lieutenant Pinkston holds state certifications as a firefighter II and hazardous materials technician and is assigned to Engine No. 3, “C” shift.

New small business grant funds available for North Carolina companies

Applications are now being accepted for a new round of grants from the One North Carolina Small Business Program, a source of capital for North Carolina emerging technology companies.

The state program works in conjunction with two federal technology grants, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

For the first time since 2009, the state will match awarded federal grants and help fund companies’ efforts to prepare and submit initial SBIR or STTR proposals to the federal government.

“Innovative companies can take root in every corner of our state, and today’s enhancements to the One North Carolina Small Business Program will diversify and extend opportunities for our state’s tech-oriented small businesses, wherever they’re located,” said North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders. “For eligible companies based in more economically distressed areas, larger awards or relaxed eligibility restrictions will open the door for more people to grow their companies in North Carolina.”

The One North Carolina Small Business Program is administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce on behalf of the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology and Innovation. Grant awards help small businesses in the state develop and commercialize innovative new technologies, in the process growing jobs and investment in their communities.

The recently revived incentive funds initiative provides reimbursement to qualified North Carolina businesses for a portion of the costs incurred in preparing and submitting Phase I SBIR or STTR proposals to federal agencies. In the 2021-22 fiscal year, a pool of $1 million is available for these preparation grants.

The matching funds portion of the One North Carolina Small Business Program, which has been offered for many years, awards matching funds to North Carolina businesses who have already received a federal Phase I SBIR or STTR award. In the current fiscal year, a pool of $4 million is available to support this class of grants.

“The One North Carolina Small Business Program received the largest funding amount in its history this year,” said Michael Cunningham, NCBSTI Chair. “Recognizing the need to ease the ongoing impact of the coronavirus on the state’s innovation ecosystem, the Board is activating both the Incentive and Matching grants to help fund new technologies, create jobs, and enhance economic development across a variety of industry sectors, including life sciences, military/defense, chemicals, agriculture, computers, communications, pharmaceuticals, energy, materials, and others.”

Applications to the One North Carolina Small Business Program can be accepted until June 30, or until funds have been exhausted for the program’s 2021-2022 fiscal year funding cycle.

Details on how to apply are online at Commerce’s website.

James Davis recognized as 2022 super lawyer

James Davis, a Rowan County native, has been recognized as a top lawyer in the state by North Carolina Super Lawyers, a title only given to 5% of lawyers in the state.

Davis, who is head of Davis & Davis, Attorneys at Law, P.C., in Salisbury, was selected in a multiphase process that involves peer nomination, independent research, and peer evaluations. This is the seventh time Davis has been recognized by North Carolina Super Lawyers in the fields of criminal defense, family law, and general litigation. He received the distinction in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2009.

Davis is a North Carolina board-certified specialist in federal criminal law, state criminal law, and family law and currently serves as a Disciplinary Hearing Commission member for the N.C. State Bar. Davis said he is “honored and humbled” to receive this recognition and has learned about practicing law and working with judges from his father and uncle, who taught and trained him. He also credited learning from his fellow attorneys in the profession.

He was licensed to practice law in North Carolina in 1991 after receiving a law degree from Regent University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Catawba College. He has been an attorney with Davis & Davis, Attorneys at Law, P.C., since 1991 and has led the firm since his father’s passing in 2005. He is the father of four children and he has been involved in a number of civic and community leadership positions, including serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at Charleston Southern University and a past member of the Board of Directors for Rowan-Cabarrus YMCA, Board of Directors for Rowan Helping Ministries and Board of Visitors at Catawba College.

Novant Health rewards team members with surprise week of paid time off or cash reward

Novant Health President and CEO Carl S. Armato last week announced a reward giving each full-time staff member the option of receiving an additional week of paid time off or an equivalent cash award.
The $40 million investment is one of multiple new incentives the health care system has introduced to support front-line workers and team members during this pandemic.
“The pandemic has highlighted our commitment to our people credo, which states that our business is the care of all people, starting with our team members,” said Armato. “We recognize that we must care for our team members first so that they are able to care for others, and I am proud we are able to extend this surprise reward to them.”
Armato made the announcement at a weekly town hall meeting. Since March 2020, Armato and the leadership team have held more than 75 town halls and directly answered thousands of team member questions.
All Novant Health team members, assistant director level and below are eligible, and part-time workers will receive an additional 24 hours of PTO or the cash equivalent.
Since January 2021, Novant Health has invested more than $300 million in team members through salary increases, benefits, bonuses and incentives. In May 2020, Novant Health launched Thriving Together, an initiative that provides resources that support team members’ collective, holistic well-being to help them flourish in the face of challenges and in times of crisis. These resources are in addition to the support programs available through the Novant Health Employee Assistance Program and spiritual care team.
Additionally, Novant Health established and contributed more than $13 million to a disaster relief fund called the Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund, which was dedicated to team members having trouble making ends meet during the pandemic.

Lendmark Financial Services opens branch in Salisbury

Lendmark Financial Services has expanded its presence in North Carolina with the opening of a branch on Jake Alexander Boulevard in Salisbury.

Headquartered near Atlanta, Lendmark is a provider of household credit and consumer loan solutions. Salisbury is Lendmark’s 60th branch in the Tar Heel State. The company anticipates serving more than 500 customers in the branch in its first year, while following safe social distancing and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. The company will complement its in-person customer service with digital and online offerings.

Branch Manager Bobby Talley, who was promoted from within the company, will lead the location. The branch is located at 850 Jake Alexander Blvd. W., Suite G.

“Planned and unplanned life events still happen, causing many consumers to look for financial resources to meet these needs,” Bobby Aiken, CEO of Lendmark Financial Services, said in a news release. “As our team expands in North Carolina, we will remain focused on delivering Salisbury residents the personalized and convenient household credit solutions that meet their respective financial needs.”

To find a nearby Lendmark branch, visit

Carolina Caring adds Kayla Overstreet as pediatric nurse practitioner

Kayla Overstreet has joined Carolina Caring’s Cardinal Kids program as a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Cardinal Kids is one of the few programs in North Carolina that offers specialized palliative and hospice care to seriously ill children and their families.

Overstreet earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Jacksonville State University and went on to receive a master of science in nursing from University of Alabama in Birmingham. Prior to joining Carolina Caring, she spent over 10 years in pediatrics, with the last 4 years as an APRN in pediatric palliative care at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

As a community-based Cardinal Kids healthcare provider, Overstreet will work alongside a team of doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains to provide expert, customized pediatric care to children with chronic conditions and life-threatening illnesses. She will partner with each child’s regular physician and their family caregivers to manage the pain and other symptoms caused by their illness, and help them make the most of each day.

“I’m honored to be able to help children and families during some of their most vulnerable times,” Overstreet said in a news release. “It’s my mission to support and empower them as they face a serious illness.”

The Cardinal Kids Program provides physical, emotional and spiritual services throughout a 12-county area including Alexander, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Mecklenburg and Rowan counties.

For more information about the Cardinal Kids program, visit

North Carolina’s unemployment rate decreases marginally in December

The state’s December unemployment rate was 3.7%, down 0.2 points from November’s revised rate of 3.9%, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

The December rate is seasonally adjusted to take seasonal hiring patterns into account. Along with being down from the month prior, the state’s rate was down 2.4% from December 2021. The state’s declining unemployment rate follows the national trend. The United State’s unemployment rate decreased 0.3 points to 3.9% from November to December.

The number of people employed in North Carolina increased 25,884 over the month to 4.87 million and increased 138,178 over the year. The number of people unemployed decreased from 9,881 over the month to 188,391 and decreased 120,492 over the year.

Seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment, as gathered through the monthly establishment survey, increased 20,000 to 4,579,300 in December. Major industries experiencing increases were leisure and hospitality services, 7,100; trade, transportation and utilities, 5,500; education and health services, 4,200; professional & business services, 2,000; manufacturing, 1,500; construction, 800; and information, 500. Major industries experiencing decreases were government, 700; other services, 600; and financial activities, 300. Mining and logging employment remained unchanged.

County-specific unemployment rates for December will be released on February 2.