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Scenic marks 65 years | Mt. Airy News – Mount Airy News

Customer appreciation event set for Friday
This photo shows Scenic Ford when it was a new business, having just opened in 1957.
This picture shows part of the car lot of Scenic Motors in 1977, when the company was celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Justin Gough and Sheree Gough Beasley at the front desk of Scenic Ford in this picture shot five years ago, as the business was marking its 60th anniversary. (Mount Airy News File Photo)
This photos shows employees and their families gathered four years ago to celebrate the expansion of the business to Scenic Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Scenic Subaru, Here, Justin Gough, center, prepares to cut the ribbon while family, staff, and friends watch. (Mount Airy News File Photo)
In 1957 a tiny spacecraft known as Sputnik became the first artificial satellite launched into space, the Braves (then in Milwaukee) slipped by the mighty Yanks 4-3 in the World Series, “The Cat in the Hat” was published, “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best” were in the midst of their television runs, while “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Jailhouse Rock” were blaring from radios.
That same year, a small business opened on what was then the outskirts of downtown Mount Airy.
Today, 65 years and three generations later, Scenic Motors is not only still around, but the business which started as a Ford dealership has grown to become the local dealer for Subaru, GM, Lincoln, and operate a full-service collision center.
The company will be marking its anniversary on Friday, with what officials there are calling a customer appreciation day, with some food vendors, a band, and give-aways for those coming around.
“Porky’s (BBQ) will be there with hot dogs, we’ll have raffles…65th anniversary t-shirts, Kona Ice….it’s just a celebration,” said Brooke Johnson, marketing director. “It’s not tied in with a sale, if people want to buy a car that’s great, but this is just a customer appreciation day. We’ll have t-shirts, hat give-aways, cupcakes.”
“This will be one of our first gatherings…since COVID,” added Justin Gough, owner and dealer. “We used to have an annual celebration, since COVID has pushed out a lot of our gatherings we haven’t been able to do that.”
The festivities will be taking place at two of the three business’ locations — Scenic Ford-Lincoln at 1992 Rockford St. and Scenic Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Scenic Subaru at 2300 Rockford St.
“They’ll start in the morning and move from one place to the other throughout the day,” Johnson said. “If you can’t find them at one location they’ll be at another.”
At the Ford dealership, the band True Miles Unknown will be playing from noon until 3 p.m.; and at the Subaru dealership she said there will be a pet adoption from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
“We love our community and we would love to have everyone come on out and celebrate with us,” Johnson said.
The celebration marks the autumn opening of the original Scenic Ford dealership 65 years ago.
D.A. Gough and his brother Claude Gough, along with three “silent investors,” started the company then, on North Main Street in Mount Airy, according to D.A. Gough’s daughter, Sheree Gough-Beasley.
Gough-Beasley said she was far too young to recall much about those early days, other than to know her dad and family moved from Yadkinville to Mount Airy to open the business at the site of where Robby’s is located now.
As is the case with all businesses, those early years had their challenges, but she said her father was always about treating customers and employees right — and that spurred both the early and long-term success of the company.
A year after opening the firm, she said her dad moved the business to Highway 601, the present location of Mount Airy Collision, where the firm was located until 1965. The move coincided with Ford contacting her father about expanding to include the Mercury and Lincoln auto lines.
Along the way, as car nameplates and company names changed, Scenic Motors sometimes changed the make of car it was selling, but she said it has been all she’s known as a worker, owner and principal during her adult years.
“We’ve always had a good steady business,” she said, adding that despite economic ups and downs, overall the dealership has remained steady in its sales and its ability to keep a workforce employed. The key to that success?
“How my Dad started it and how he ran the business until his death in 1991,” she said. “The way he would run a business, the way we would run a business…we were trustworthy.”
Justin Gough, who took over in 2007 with the unexpected death of his father, Ricky Gough, said the people who make up the workforce in the business have been vital to its success. A workforce of 117 individuals, with little turnover through the years.
“We do our best to be a good place to work,” Gough said of the reason many employees stay there for years — some for their entire careers. “We educate ourselves, stay ahead of the curve. We care about our customers, we care about our employees. We try to treat this like it’s a family, because it is.”
He said that translates not only to a workforce which stays a long time, but does an excellent job while working.
“The have a desire to come in and do a good job every day. It feels good to walk in the door every day, I think customers can feel that.”
“We just really want to thank all of our customers over the past 65 years,” Gough-Beasley said of this week’s anniversary celebration. “Without them we wouldn’t be here.”
Her nephew echoed that statement.
“The Gough family and everybody at Scenic really appreciate the 65 years, it’s not something we take for granted.”
Citizens Police Academy to return
Dobson Elementary celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
October 25, 2022
Eight former Surry-Yadkin Works interns are now working as nursing apprentices after signing commitments with Northern Regional Hospital.
“Apprenticeships combine on-the-job and classroom training and help our students to get a foot in the door to the labor market while also increasing access to higher education,” said Program Director Crystal Folger-Hawks. “This program is also helping meet our local employers’ needs for a workforce with applied, technical, and problem-solving skills. We are so proud that we can be an avenue to offer this opportunity to students and businesses in Surry and Yadkin counties.”
The first youth apprentice program for registered nurses in North Carolina has culminated in many success stories for local students. This opportunity is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program and the state’s ApprenticeshipNC program through the N.C. Community College System Office that combines a paid work-based learning experience with classroom academics leading to a national certification. These students will earn free tuition for the associate degree nursing program at a North Carolina community college to become registered nurses, while also working at Northern Regional Hospital. In addition to the eight nursing apprentices, fifteen more students will work alongside them as certified nursing assistant pre-apprentices.
Trista Berrier, a recent graduate of North Surry High School, was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Critical Care Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Patty Creed. Berrier completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice. She is attending Forsyth Tech Community College’s Associate Degree Nursing program.
Hannah Hall, a recent graduate of Starmount High School, was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Medical/Surgery Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Lisa Snody. Hall completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice as she continues her education at Surry Community College in the Associate Degree Nursing program.
Gisell Hernandez Aguilera, a recent graduate of Yadkin Early College High School, earned an associate in arts degree from Surry Community College. She was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Medical/Surgery Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Snody. Aguilera completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice as she continues her education at Surry Community College in the associate degree nursing program.
Brianna Key, a super senior at the Surry Early College High School, was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Skilled Nursing Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Jenny Triplett. Key completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice.
Callie Moore, a recent graduate of Surry Central High School, was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Medical/Surgery Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Snody. Moore completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice. She is continuing her education at Surry Community College taking pre-requisites for nursing.
Cristina Seawell, a recent graduate of East Surry High School, was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Liz Persuad. Seawell completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice. She is continuing her education at Surry Community College taking pre-requisites for nursing.
Mariela Secundino, a super senior at the Surry Early College High School, was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Skilled Nursing Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Triplett. Secundino completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice.
Ashlyn Shore, a recent graduate of Forbush High School, was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Critical Care Unit at Northern Regional Hospital where she was mentored by Creed. Shore completed a pre-apprenticeship in spring 2022 and is a fall 2022 apprentice. She is continuing her education at Forsyth Tech Community College in the associate degree nursing program.
Surry-Yadkin Works is the first community-based internship program of its kind in North Carolina covering a two-county region. This business and education initiative is the collaborative effort of four public school systems in Surry and Yadkin counties including Elkin City Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, Surry County Schools, and Yadkin County Schools, as well as Surry Community College.
The funding is a joint effort with commitments from the Surry County Commissioners and the Yadkin County board of commissioners. For more information about the program, contact Folger-Hawks, Surry-Yadkin Works program director, at 336-401-7820 or folger-hawksc@surry.edu or visit www.surryyadkinworks.org. Follow Surry-Yadkin Works on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
October 14, 2022
AES Inc., an industrial repair and contract manufacturing company, has acquired an industrial electronic repair company, Computer Concepts of NC, Inc.
The process to acquire the firm began in June of this year and was finalized by the end of September. With the purchase, AES will eventually add several new positions to its location in Mount Airy.
“The acquisition of Computer Concepts of NC Inc. perfectly aligns with our core services at AES and our current growth strategy,” company CEO Nicholas Cooke said in announcing the purchase. “This acquisition allows current clients of Computer Concepts of NC Inc. to enjoy the benefits of our expanded workforce, diverse service offerings, web-based customer portal, two-year warranty, and free regional pick-up and delivery, to name a few. The acquisition will increase the technical capabilities of AES Inc. while increasing our customer base predominately throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.”
Founded in 1993, Computer Concepts of NC Inc. is a family-owned and operated company, headquartered in East Bend, with just a single full-time employee, owner Darrell Wooten. He founded the company to provide industrial electronic repair and engineering services to the textile industry.
“He has built an incredible business on the foundation of high-quality workmanship and a customer-centric focus,” Cooke said. “We, at AES, plan to continue that same level of customer service and high-quality workmanship that customers of Computer Concepts of NC Inc. have grown to know and love.”
He said that Wooten will join AES in a business development and technical advisement role “to ensure a smooth transition and continue to grow the business.”
He said the Computer Concepts operations will be moved to the AES Mount Airy repair facility. Cooke said the firm expects to complete the relocation by the first quarter of 2023, and that relocation will create three to five new positions in Mount Airy.
AES, founded in 1992, is a family-owned and operated company with more than 100 employees, providing industrial electronic, hydraulic, and mechanical equipment repair, sales of new and used equipment, as well as electronic contract manufacturing services to a global customer base.
“This is an exciting time for both Computer Concepts of NC Inc. and AES. As one unified team, we become an even stronger service provider within our industry.” Cooke said.
October 14, 2022
Tammy Joyce, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Mount Airy, recently attended the firm’s Financial Advisor Leaders Conference, which celebrates the contributions and achievements of some of the firm’s most successful financial advisors. The conference was held Sept. 29-30 in St. Louis.
During the two-day meeting, attendees heard from internal and external speakers about relevant topics, conferred on timely topics and shared best practices for serving clients.
“The care these financial advisors show for their clients is outstanding, as is the spirit of partnership they demonstrate with both clients and their branch teams. We applaud the positive impact they are making for their clients and in their communities,” said Chuck Orban, an Edward Jones principal responsible for the firm’s recognition events. “We always look forward to the camaraderie among attendees and the learning that takes place as we celebrate their hard work and the exceptional service they provide to our clients.”
Edward Jones, a FORTUNE 500 firm, provides financial services in the U.S. and through its affiliate in Canada. The firm’s nearly 19,000 financial advisors serve more than 8 million clients with a total of $1.6 trillion in client assets under care. The firm has several locations in Mount Airy and throughout Surry County.
October 14, 2022
Surry Community College’s Small Business Center is ranked #1 in the Piedmont Triad region in economic impact measured in fiscal year 2021-2022, when counting the number of new business startups and the number of jobs created and retained that are directly attributable to the college’s work in that area.
In the fiscal year 2020-2021, SCC’s Small Business Center was in the top 10 in the state for economic impact.
The Piedmont Triad region covers 11 counties including Surry, Stokes, Rockingham, Yadkin, Forsyth, Guilford, Alamance, Davie, Davidson, Randolph and Montgomery. Seven Small Business Centers are located throughout the region.
“I am proud to see Surry Community College’s Small Business Center excel and make such a significant impact on the college’s service area of Surry and Yadkin counties. Our work with business and industry continues to shine bright in North Carolina,” said SCC President Dr. David Shockley. “It is especially impressive that as a rural Small Business Center, we are creating such a considerable economic impact.”
Under Mark Harden’s leadership as director, the SBC at Surry Community College has received multiple awards during the past four years. In 2020, Harden received the North Carolina State Small Business Center’s Rookie of the Year Award. In 2021, Harden received a Level 2 Credentialing award from the N.C. Community College System Small Business Center Network.
“We are pleased to help the business community in meaningful ways especially during the challenging economic time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Harden said. “We are happy to be here to provide support.”
Harden has counseled hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners while actively supporting small business start-ups, resulting in hundreds of new and retained jobs in the region. Additionally, the SCC SBC has offered more than 200 business webinars/seminars impacting 1,000 participants in the region during the past four years.
The Small Business Center provides seminars, workshops, resources and counseling to prospective business owners and existing business owners. The counseling and seminars cover a diverse range of important topics including business plans, capital funding, e-commerce, marketing, accounting, QuickBooks, income taxes, sales taxes, licenses/permits, website design and much more.
The SCC Small Business Center has facilities in Dobson, Elkin, Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain, and Yadkinville. To register for upcoming virtual seminars or to view a complete listing of the upcoming Small Business Center offerings, visit www.surry.edu/sbc.
For information about confidential, one-on-one counseling and resource referrals, contact Harden at hardenm@surry.edu or call 336-386-3685.
October 13, 2022
DOBSON — Twelve teachers from the Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation service territory have been awarded Bright Ideas Education Grants. Employees with Surry-Yadkin EMC made surprise stops to the winning teachers recently to announce the awards.
A judge panel of retired educators from the Surry-Yadkin EMC service area blind-judged the applications in late September. The grants provide funding for classroom projects, with $7,020 being awarded overall.
This year’s local Bright Ideas grant winners, and their projects, are:
– Alicia Fallaw, a first-grade teacher at Flat Rock Elementary School in Mount Airy, will use her $476 grant for “Let’s Unlock the Love of Learning with Breakout EDU.” Through the Breakout EDU program, students will use communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative as they work in teams to solve clues, while strengthening learning skills across all curriculum areas;
– Kellie Hunter, also a first-grade teacher at Flat Rock Elementary School, will use her $359.80 grant for “Learning is Fun when You Can Boogie,” which will include the purchase of Boogie Board ReWrite Max tablets;
– Amey King, music teacher at Flat Rock Elementary School, will use her $739.98 grant for “Strumming Along and Getting Along – Using Ukuleles to Build Community.” The project will allow students of all ages to learn to play the ukulele;
– Hannah Grill, a second-grade teacher at B.H. Tharrington Primary School in Mount Airy, will use her $513.52 grant for “Lights, Camera, Action! Using GreenScreen to bring Books to Life.” Greenscreens allow students to bring books to life using new, innovative technology;
– Juan Diaz, a teacher in the Dual-Language Immersion program at B.H. Tharrington Primary School, will use his $1,000 grant for “LegoSchoolLand in BHT,” allowing students to develop creative skills and social skills fundamental for success in the current world culture.
– Jennifer Jones, English teacher at Mount Airy High School was awarded $700 toward her project, “Meta Magic.” She will use the project to incorporate virtual reality technology in her world literature classes;
— Judea Tarn, a seventh-grade science teacher at Meadowview Middle School in Mount Airy, has been awarded a $236.70 grant. Her project, “Advance Weather Tools,” will allow the purchase of weather monitoring tools such as hygrometers, barometers, and anemometers to make students’ studies hands-on.
Other teachers who received grants include Becky Vanderheide at Mountain View Elementary School in Hays; Anna Peterson at Forbush Middle School in East Bend; Michael Holleman, an agricultural education teacher at North Wilkes High School in Hays; Anna Pardue, exceptional children’s teacher at East Wilkes High School in Ronda; and Vanessa Whicker Flynt, a kindergarten teacher at Lewisville Elementary School.
The 12 projects will touch the lives of students in the Surry-Yadkin EMC service area of Surry, Yadkin, Stokes, Wilkes and Forsyth counties.
The Bright Ideas grant program is part of Surry-Yadkin EMC’s ongoing commitment to building a brighter future through support of education. Bright Ideas grant applications are accepted by SYEMC each year from April through mid-September and winning proposals are selected in a competitive evaluation process by a panel of judges. The application process will reopen for interested teachers in April 2023.
To learn more Surry-Yadkin EMC’s programs that impact local students and communities, visit syemc.com/youth-programs. For more information about Bright Ideas grants, visit www.ncbrightideas.com.
September 25, 2022
Seven area individuals recentlly graduated from the 2022 Northern Regional Leadership Academy – an educational program designed to foster the leadership potential of employees who volunteer to participate in the six-month curriculum.
The 2022 Class of Northern Leadership Academy included Meredith Ayers, Hunter Grubbs, Rylee Haynes, Sabrena Hemrick, Shawn Lambert, Kayla Melton, and Ashley Moorefield.
Author and speaker John Maxwell has noted, “The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development.”
Those sentiments have been put into practice by Chris A. Lumsden, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Northern Regional Hospital. A nationally-recognized leader in healthcare administration, Lumsden asked members of his leadership team to custom-design a curriculum three years ago – using an educational model with which he was familiar – that would encourage and empower employees to become leaders.
“Leadership is not defined by a job title,” Lumsden said. “We have many leaders throughout all levels of our organization who use their own creativity, powers of persuasion, and persistence to inspire themselves and others to do great things. The goal of our Leadership Academy is to encourage those employees to strengthen and refine their leadership potential to improve patient care, and enhance our community commitment, while further advancing their own personal and professional development.”
The program has two facilitators, Jessica Arrington, director of patient access, and Keith Moser, Northern Family Medicine practice manager.
Arrington noted that the curriculum exposes participants to all aspects of hospital operations – from attending senior leadership team meetings to touring facility spaces not typically visited or seen by most employees – including the kitchen, boiler room, and rooftop. This year, the program tours included Mountain Valley Hospice, which is jointly owned by Northern Regional Hospital and Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.
Employees interested in enrolling in the Leadership Academy must apply and then interview with a group of hospital administrators. “We’re looking for individuals who are willing to grow and eager to expand beyond their comfort zones,” explained Moser. “Participation in the academy is not necessarily designed to be a steppingstone to promotion. Rather, it’s to enable leaders to reach their potential within the context of the organizational mission.”
Each academy semester runs for six months; and each class is limited to approximately eight participants. Students are required to attend weekly class sessions on a variety of leadership-related topics; complete a reading list; shadow selected members of the hospital’s executive team; maintain journals to help reinforce impressions and new knowledge obtained from their experiences; attend legislative field trips to better understand the relationship between business and governmental bodies; and present a final case study to serve as a formal proposal for a project or program they’d like to pursue.
Each participant is aassigned a mentor from among the hospital’s key administrators. “Mentors act as a guide and valuable resource for students – especially as students become more adept at embracing the value of teamwork and seeing and appreciating the big picture,” said Arrington – who has served as a mentor. “And mentorship, is a two-way street. By breaking down hierarchical and departmental silos, communication and teamwork are enhanced throughout the organization.”
Before earning graduation certificates, academy students present their case studies – researched project proposals that incorporate the values and practical business considerations that have been explored as part of the curriculum. To date, all proposals presented have been approved for full implementation or remain under serious consideration by the Senior Leadership Team.
“The essence of the Leadership Academy is best exemplified by the rich variety of dynamic, health-related programs and services proposed by our students,” said Lumsden. “It’s exciting and very rewarding to watch the growth of new leaders within our organization use their newfound knowledge to develop programs that further the mission of Northern Regional Hospital.”
A wide variety of case study proposals were presented to leadership, including a possible coffee shop inside Northern Regional Hospital, a mobile medical unit, gait analysis equipment for physical therapy use, geographical rounding for hospitalists, no-show improvement strategies, and hospice referral tracking.
“We are very encouraged by the early success of our Leadership Academy,” said Lumsden. “By continuing to develop leaders within our hospital, we can further improve and expand our ability to meet the healthcare needs of patients and the community. It’s a win-win-win arrangement, and further validation of the importance of educational initiatives that focus on professional development.”
September 17, 2022
An alleged $110 million Ponzi scheme based in Georgia and New York — but with influence reaching all the way to Mount Airy — took another step toward resolution earlier this month for some of its victims.
Oppenheimer & Co., a New York-based brokerage and investment bank, was ordered to pay nearly $37 million in damages to 11 investors who lost money in the scheme, allegedly conducted by two firms under the control of John Woods, a Marietta, Georgia resident.
Woods, a long-time broker with Oppenheimer, had controlling interests in two other investment firms: Horizon Private Equity, III LLC, and Livingston Group Asset Management Company, doing business as Southport Capital.
Southport Capital had an office in Mount Airy, although it closed soon after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took action against Woods and his firms in August 2021. No one from the local firm acknowledged requests from The Mount Airy News for comment or information, but at the time of the SEC’s action, Woods was listed as the firm’s partner and senior investment advisor. Clay Parker was listed as president and CEO.
According to the SEC’s original complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in August 2021, the defendants raised more than $110 million from more than 400 investors in 20 states by offering and selling membership units in Horizon.
Woods, Southport, and other Southport investment advisers allegedly told investors – including many elderly retirees who feared the volatility of the stock market – that their Horizon investments were safe and would pay a fixed rate of return, and that investors could get their principal back without penalty after a short waiting period, according to the SEC filing.
According to the complaint, however, these statements were false and misleading: Horizon did not earn any significant profits from legitimate investments, and a large percentage of purported “returns” to earlier investors were simply paid out of new investor money. The complaint also alleges that Woods repeatedly lied to the SEC during regulatory examinations of Southport.
“Investors felt comfortable investing in Horizon in large part because of their relationships with advisers at Southport,” said Nekia Hackworth Jones, director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office. “As alleged in the complaint, Woods and Southport preyed upon their clients’ fears of losing their hard-earned savings and convinced them to place millions of dollars into a Ponzi scheme by falsely promising them a safe investment with steady returns.”
Another SEC filing, from June 10 of this year, struck closer to home for area investors. That filing, in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, pointed the finger at three additional individuals, including a Mount Airy resident.
Penny Flippen, 59 at the time of the filing, of Mount Airy; Britt Wright, 49 at the time of filing, of Pfafftown, and Michael Mooney, 52 at the time of the filing, of Sarasota, Florida, were all implicated in the complaint. The three are alleged to have advised area investors to put a collective $62 million in the Horizon fund. According to that June 10 filing, the three are alleged to have told clients the money would be invested in safe securities such as government bonds, and would pay a guaranteed 6% to 8% return while posing no risk to the principle.
“…Horizon III was only able to pay the guaranteed returns to existing investors by raising and using new investor money,” that complaint alleges. “Horizon III did not earn any significant profits from legitimate investments; instead, a very large percentage of purported ‘returns’ to earlier investors were simply paid out of new investor money.”
The three were charged with multiple violations of federal securities laws, the SEC stated. That filing has yet to be resolved.
Georgia Case
The more recent action, taken this month and settled by an arbitration panel in Atlanta on Sept. 5, orders Oppenheimer to pay $36.75 million to 13 claimants as part of the case. That award covers the money they allegedly lost, court and filing fees, as well as treble damages in some case, raising their award to as much as three times the money they lost.
According to an earlier complaint filed on their behalf in Georgia, Woods worked as an Oppenheimer investment advisor while allegedly running his Ponzi scheme, funneling customers — and their money — from Oppenheimer into his Horizon fund.
“Claimants are among more than 300 people victimized by the $110 million scheme,” the filing, by attorney John Chapman of Chapman – Albin LLC, alleged. “The SEC recently filed a complaint against Horizon and Woods and froze the Horizon fund and its assets. The SEC’s complaint alleges that Claimants have lost all, or substantially all, of their invested principal in Horizon. Respondent Oppenheimer failed utterly to discharge its duties. Claimants have suffered the consequences of Respondent’s failures,” the filing said in seeking the damages.
In the Georgia case, according to court filings there, several of the victims were led to believe Horizon was an investment vehicle approved by Oppenheimer, and part of Oppenheimer’s portfolio of investment funds.
“At all times relevant, Oppenheimer employed, held the securities license of, and was duty-bound to supervise the securities-related activities of its registered representative John Woods,” the Atlanta filing alleged in making the case for Oppenheimer to repay losses suffered by clients there. “Oppenheimer’s lax supervisory structure, in which brokers essentially supervise themselves, has led…Oppenheimer to 97 regulatory actions and 173 arbitrations including ones involving failing to supervise registered representatives’ outside business activities and private securities transactions, among others,” Chapman said in his filings.
Even though Woods left Oppenheimer in December 2016, the court filing alleges Oppenheimer knew of his wrongdoing, and was complicit in hiding that from regulators.
“In December 2016, fully aware of the numerous securities law violations taking place in its Atlanta, Georgia office, Oppenheimer sought to conceal the Horizon scheme from the regulators and the investing public by permitting Woods to quietly resign from Oppenheimer without reporting the wrongdoing to regulators and the investing public, as required by law. This enabled Woods to continue raising money from unsuspecting investors, allowing the Ponzi scheme to continue for many more years, until August 2021,” according to the September filing.
The arbitrators ruled in favor of the Georgia plaintiffs, with a lengthy outline of restitution and penalty payments to each of the victims, totaling nearly $37 million.
September 16, 2022
The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce held a job fair at Mayberry May on Sept. 9.
Several dozen area businesses and organizations set up at the fair, hoping to attract prospective job applications for openings they have now, or to make contact with job seekers for openings which may occur later.
All totaled more than 200 people turned out for the event.
September 14, 2022
The Small Business Center at Surry Community College will be offering multiple online webinars this month free of charge. These webinars cover a variety of topics that are intended to help individuals gain valuable skills for working with a small business.
The webinar Online QuickBooks will be held Sep. 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar will teach industry best practices for recording daily transactions, managing and paying bills, reconciling bank and credit card statements, and generating financial statements using QuickBooks.
The webinar Website Building for Small Businesses will be held Sep. 19, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar can help you quickly and efficiently design a website for your business with little technical knowledge.
The webinar Marketing Your Small Business will be held Sep. 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar will help you discover marketing tools that will allow you to gain insights for understanding and reaching your customers. It will also explore the components of an effective marketing plan.
The webinar Selling on Shopify will be held Sep. 29, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar will help explain Shopify’s eCommerce software, allowing you to establish your brand online with a custom theme and store.
To register for upcoming virtual seminars or to view a complete listing of the upcoming Small Business Center offerings, visit www.surry.edu/sbc. After registering for a webinar, a link to join the event will be emailed to you.
For information about confidential, one-on-one counseling and resource referrals, contact SBC Director Mark Harden at hardenm@surry.edu or call 336-386-3685.
The Small Business Center provides seminars, workshops, resources and counseling to prospective business owners and existing business owners. The SCC Small Business Center has facilities in Mount Airy, Dobson, Elkin, Pilot Mountain, and Yadkinville.
September 12, 2022
The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce will present a Business After Hours networking event on Thursday. Hosting the event will be the Business Networking International — Platinum Producers (BNI). The gathering is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Surry County Service Center, 915 E. Atkins St., in Dobson.
Business After Hours is a free networking event, open to all chamber members and prospective members.
“These events are frequently favorited by chamber members because they are free and can present several opportunities to make connections within the business community,” chamber officials said in announcing the event.
Chamber leaders suggest those attending take a healthy number of business cards. Attendees are also asked to consider taking a door prize to present and promote their business.
Those attending are asked to dress in business casual garb. Food and drinks are provided. All going are asked to RSVP at https://conta.cc/3BtLQjw or at the chamber Facebook page @MountAiryChamber or the chamber website at www.mtairyncchamber.org. For more information on this event contact the chamber at 336-786-6116.
September 11, 2022
Teleios Collaborative Network recently announced the inaugural recipients of the “Care As It Should Be” Award during the Visioneering Council Meeting — with a Mount Airy physician among the first receiving the award.
Each network member organization was encouraged to nominate staff members who they felt elevated patient care. Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care’s Dr. Glenn Golaszewski, MD, was named an award winner by the local organization.
The purpose of the Care As It Should Be Award is to recognize those individuals “who make an extraordinary impact on the patients and families who they serve daily,” network officials said.
Each winner will receive a crystal plaque etched award along with a monetary gift. The monetary award may be used to further their education or to celebrate with their team members.
Teleios Collaborative Network is a nonprofit organization that has created a clinically integrated network that shares expert leadership, industry best practices, and resources with its member organizations, allowing community-based, nonprofit hospice and palliative care agencies to continue their work of providing compassionate care for those facing serious illness or the end of life.
The network was founded in 2017 by Four Seasons and Carolina Caring and co-founded by AMOREM and Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care organizations, and is comprised of twelve member organizations and serves in North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Idaho, and Utah.
Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care is a nonprofit organization providing end-of-life care in 18 counties in North Carolina and Virginia. Through its team of hospice professionals and specially trained volunteers, Mountain Valley Hospice addresses the growing need for compassionate hospice care through offices in Mount Airy, Yadkinville, Elkin, and Pilot Mountain in North Carolina and in in Hillsville and Martinsville in Virginia.
Mountain Valley Hospice also owns and operates two hospice inpatient facilities: The Joan & Howard Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson and the SECU Hospice Care Center in Yadkinville. For more information, visit www.mtnvalleyhospice.org .
September 11, 2022
Ryan Anderson, a physician assistant, has joined the medical staff of Northern Orthopaedics to serve as a provider for orthopaedic patients.
“Ryan Anderson will be a very strong addition to our orthopaedic team and our community,” said Dr. Robert Williamson, surgeon at Northern Orthopaedics. “He is well trained, experienced, and very personable. To him, this isn’t just a career – it’s a calling.”
Anderson is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed in North Carolina, and a member of the American Academy of Physicians Associates, specializing in orthopaedic surgery. He earned his Bachelor of Science in exercise science with a dual minor in nutrition and psychology at Appalachian State University. Following completion of his undergraduate studies, Anderson worked several years as a CNA in surgical oncology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (now Atrium) in Winston-Salem. Shortly thereafter, he obtained a Master of Science in physician assistant studies from East Carolina University.
“After a shoulder injury, my college football career was over and as He always does, God directed my steps to a plan that would certainly give me a hope and a future,” said Anderson. “My hope is to care for my patients on multiple levels — physically helping their alignment, emotionally listening to their concern, and spiritually praying with them during their struggles.”
Anderson has always had a love for surgery, both before and after completion of his physician assistant program. He had the opportunity to further his skill set in surgery working in plastic surgery prior to finding his true passion in orthopaedics. Ryan worked along the Crystal Coast over the past several years working in upper extremity conditions as well as orthopedic reconstruction surgery, and urgent care medicine.
He recently moved back to the Blue Ridge Foothills to join the Northern Orthopaedics team. He said he is excited to join the local practice. He grew up nearby in Stokes County and decided to move back home to be closer to family and live in an area he loves, while continuing to work in a field of medicine he is passionate about.
Previously a college athlete, he still enjoys staying active. His hobbies include automobiles, motorcycles, hunting, fishing, and a bevy of other outdoor activities. His greatest loves, aside from surgery, are his Great Dane, Boone, spending time with his family and friends, and his relationship with Jesus Christ.
To schedule an appointment with Anderson, call Northern Orthopaedics at 336-719-0011. For more information about Northern Orthopaedics, visit at www.choosenorthern.org.
August 28, 2022
Patrick County Receives Awards for Tourism and Economic Development (news release submitted by Rebecca Adcock, Director of the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce)
Several Patrick County, Virginia agencies recently were recognized with tourism awards presented by the Friends of Southwest Virginia.
During an awards ceremony on Monday,
For awards in Excellence in Tourism,
The Patrick County Tourism Office won an Excellence in Tourism award for Best Print Ad for their Our State magazine ad featuring trails. The tourism department also won the award for Best Long Video — more than 60 seconds.
In the categories of Excellence in Tourism Partners, Front Porch Fest won the Outstanding Festival of the Year with less than 10,000 in attendance. The event, sponsored by One Family Productions, is an annual music festival held at Spirithaven Farm near Stuart, Virginia.
Pickle & Ash Restaurant won Outstanding New Tourism Business of the Year. Pickle & Ashe is a resturant specializing in locally grown and sourced food.
In the category of Excellence in Tourism Leadership, the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce won Outstanding Tourism Partner of the Year.
August 28, 2022
J’s HVAC Unlimited, a Mount Airy-based heating and cooling services company in operation since 2005, announced this week that it is rebranding its image with a new look and new name.
“But (the company) will continue to build upon the excellent customer care that has earned it the best HVAC company in the Mount Airy News’ (Mounties Award) for the past 10 out of 11 years,” the company said in a statement announcing the change.
The firm is changing its name to Jay’s Heating, Air & Plumbing to reflect its new focus.
“We’ll be sporting a new brand, new truck wraps and a new website for our new era of continued outstanding customer service,” said Jamie Vaughan, owner of Jay’s Heating, Air & Plumbing. “We’ve been known for our fire and ice logo for years but felt it was time to modernize our brand with an updated look that is sure to turn heads. Our new name also reflects some of the expanded services we plan to introduce over the coming year.”
Vaughan’s love of the trades comes from a long family history of working in the HVAC industry. His grandfather started a heating and cooling company in the 1920s where Vaughan’s father also learned the trade before starting his own company. Then Vaughan followed suit, working for his father for more than 10 years before starting J’s HVAC in 2005.
“I learned the trade from a young age and have always sought to provide the best customer service I can for my customers,” he said. “That includes keeping up with new technology and trends that help the customer get better service. We want our image to reflect our commitment to industry innovation.”
Vaughan said some of the new trucks are already out on the road and the Mount Airy community can expect to see the new logo soon. A new website explaining the company’s services will soon follow.
The company’s employees have more than 50 years of combined experience in the industry and its team members carry a number of certifications from the top manufacturers in the HVAC industry. Jay’s provides a number of services including residential and commercial HVAC care, planned maintenance agreements, Aeroseal duct sealing, generators, duct cleaning, mold removal and more.
For more information about Jay’s Heating, Air & Plumbing, call 336-690-5253 or visit their website at www.jayisontheway.com.
August 27, 2022
Two Surry County businesses were honored this week when the Piedmont Triad Business Journal held its annual Triad Family Business Awards lunch.
Shelton Vineyards, of Dobson, was presented with the 2022 Heritage Award, the top award given at the event.
Johnson Granite, of Mount Airy, was among a dozen other firms in the Greater Triad Area honored with a Family Business Award.
During a round table discussion at the awards gathering, co-founder Ed Shelton described the winery start-up as “a hobby that got out of hand.”
He and his brother, Charlie Shelton, founded the winery, which began when the brothers purchased 400 acres of farmland outside of Dobson.
“He thought that opening a winery would be a good thing for our hometown that had been suffering after losing manufacturing and textile mills jobs to companies in Mexico and overseas,” Ed Shelton said of his brother’s push for them to begin a vineyard and winery.
The winery is one of the oldest in North Carolina, having opened in 1999. In previous interviews, the Sheltons have said they felt the Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina offered opportunities for a wine industry to develop and thrive, a prophecy which came true.
The Yadkin Valley became North Carolina’s first federally approved American Viticulture Area in 2003, and opened the doors for converting much of the area’s former tobacco farmland into vineyards.
Since Shelton’s opening, more than 150 wineries across the state have opened.
“We were far from an overnight success. After such a huge investment in land, infrastructure, machinery and vines it took us 20 years to turn a profit,” he said at this week’s awards ceremony. “That’s not the formula most North Carolina wineries follow, most of them start small with family members growing grapes and working the business and then they expand. We did the reverse of that, and luckily for us, it paid off.”
Johnson Granite
Johnson Granite was among 12 other family businesses recognized at the awards ceremony.
The business began in 2000. Larry D. Johnson had spent much of his life in the stone business, and his son, Brian H. Johnson, was selling building supplies after finishing college, when the two considered the idea of opening a business together.
“The demand for granite countertops was just starting to catch on in our area, so we decided to take a leap of faith,” the younger Johnson said.
So the pair, along with Linda Johnson who manned the books and the schedule, opened Johnson Granite.
The firm grew, and over the years other family members joined, starting with Lisa Johnson.
“I started out sweeping the floors and other odd jobs like that, and eventually, they’d give me a little more to do and then a little more to do until I worked my way up to being a stone polisher, and I’m proud to say I got pretty good at that,” she said this week.
Karen Johnson Coalson came on board next. With a background in bookkeeping she signed on as a secretary, while her twin sister Kimberly Johnson Marshall followed, working on the sales floor. Four of the five Johnson kids eventually joined the family business, with the oldest sister, Mary Johnson Holt, electing to follow her heart by continuing in her career in healthcare as a registered nurse.
Larry Johnson, now retired from the business, said the company has done well, but it was not always easy. He recalled some lean times during the aftermath of the 2008 housing crisis.
“It was tough,” he said. “We had grown and there were more people than just our family depending on us. We were forced to make sacrifices, and that started at the top, but we promised our employees that if they’d stick with us, we’d make it right in the end. I’m proud to say we didn’t lose a single employee during that time and were able to return all that had been lost to our team…and then some.”
Jennifer Slate, a member of the Johnson Granite staff, contributed to this story.
August 27, 2022
The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Job Fair on Friday, Sept. 9 at Mayberry Mall in Mount Airy from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The job fair is open to anyone looking for a part-time or full-time job, or for those already working but perhaps looking for a job change. Admission is free to all job seekers.
“This will be our sixth year doing a job fair,” said Randy Collins, chamber president and CEO. Additionally, the chamber has held a student job fair the past two springs for area high school and college students.
Collins said the fair still has spots open for area employers looking to recruit for current or expected job openings.
The chamber official said even in the relatively short window the organization has been holding job fairs, the labor market has seen some major shifts.
“We’re obviously in a labor shortage,” he said. “There are more jobs than there are people to fill, there’s no doubt about that…Years ago people were complaining the labor rates were so low, saying ‘I can’t live on X.’ Now those people are way above minimum wage. Whether it’s a livable wage, I’ll leave that to others…labor rates are up, even manufacturing plants that were paying X amount…let’s say $14-$15 an hour, are now paying $18 or $20 an hour. The employers are doing everything they can to attract people.”
While some still point to federal stimulus money that allowed individuals to subsist while out of work as a reason the job market was initially tight once COVID restrictions began to ease, he said that is not what is happening now. The available labor pool is simply not keeping up with job growth and demand.
“On the federal side, my understanding from the state and federal contacts I have, the federal money from COVID or the Recovery Act or whatever have pretty much run out,” he said.
Despite the tight labor market, he said job fairs such as the one the chamber is providing are still important
“We feel it’s necessary to provide an opportunity for these companies to promote the jobs that they have,” he said.
In addition to the jobless, Collins said the job fair may attract people who are employed, but “Who are looking for something down the road, something else. Maybe something more fulfilling, or they’ve always dreamed of being an auto mechanic or a wielder, and now they’re making changes to do that.”
Because of the tight labor market, he said this is a great time for those in the market for a new job. He said this year’s job fair, with employers set up at the mall between Belk’s and Hobby Lobby, will be open until 6 p.m., giving individuals who already a job a chance to visit after 5 p.m. The chamber job fairs usually attract more than 50 employers who will have information on open jobs.
The chamber’s upcoming job fair still has openings for local businesses wishing to set up and recruit prospective employees, and still has opportunities for area agencies to take sponsorship roles for the event.
Interested employers or sponsors should contact Jordon Edwards at the chamber for vendor and sponsorship fees. Email her at jordon@mtairyncchamber.org. Registration is open on the chamber website at www.mtairyncchamber.org or www.mtairyncchamber.org/events/job-fair-2022.
August 26, 2022
A New Jersey-based company that includes SouthData in Mount Airy among its holdings is now engaged in bankruptcy proceedings, with no word on how this might affect the local operation.
OSG Group Holdings Inc., a billing and marketing firm, filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection earlier this month, according to numerous online reports.
Chapter 11 is a part of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code which allows a financially troubled entity to restructure its debts while maintaining control of the business operations, as opposed to shutting down and liquidating assets to pay creditors.
OSG was described by one observer this week as “a conglomerate” that operates in numerous areas, including the SouthData facility on Technology Lane off Riverside Drive.
SouthData, which had been founded as a private company in 1985 to print payment coupon books for financial institutions, was sold to OSG Billing Services in July 2014. At that time SouthData employed about 80 people locally, with the sale to the much-larger company expected to expand production and jobs here.
More recently, OSG Group Holdings has accumulated $824 million in debt. This coincided with malware attacks in 2021 which caused a major disruption and declines in revenue from customers who went with other service providers as a result, according to media reports.
OSG is said to have proposed a restructuring plan aimed at reducing its debt to $690 million, for which approval was anticipated in a court hearing on Friday.
This optimistic outcome seems based on OSG gaining creditor support for that proposal before filing for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware, based on reports referencing the “prepackaged” plan.
It reportedly is aimed at allowing the company to withdraw from bankruptcy protection soon.
Attempts Friday to reach Kenny Meredith, chief financial official of SouthData, concerning how local employees might be affected by the OSG situation, were unsuccessful.
They are now believed to number between 80 and 100.
OSG Group Holdings Inc. operates in 19 countries altogether.
August 21, 2022
Dr. Christian “Hope” Whitfield, D.O., has joined the medical staff of Northern Regional Hospital to serve as a hospitalist physician for inpatients at the nationally recognized, 5-star, 133-bed community hospital. A board-certified physician, Dr. Whitfield recently finished her internal medicine residency at McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, where she served as chief resident of internal medicine her final year of residency.
Dr. Whitfield’s love for medicine was instilled in her at an early age growing up in Northern Alabama. “My healthcare journey in a large part was inspired by my mother,” said Whitfield. “Throughout my childhood I witnessed the strong work ethic, dedication to service, and passion for learning my mother portrayed as a registered nurse. Witnessing the severe impact of scoliosis on her later life only further ignited my desire to become a physician.”
“Ultimately, I believe that empathy, listening, and intuition are the most important qualities in a physician,” she said of her approach to patient care. “Patients don’t care how educated you are if they don’t feel heard and empowered to be an active participant in their own healthcare.”
After graduating from the pre-health program at Gadsden Community College, Dr. Whitfield worked as a pharmacy tech while getting her bachelor of science degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry, from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. She then went on to earn her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree from Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2019.
Dr. Whitfield recently started her position as hospitalist, a specialist in in-patient care in the hospital. “I immediately fell in love with the area and people. North Carolina is beautiful, and the welcomeness I’ve felt from the entire group at Northern Regional is unmatched. I feel very supported and part of the team even though I just started,” she said.
Dr. Whitfield and her fiancé, Nikos, met while she lived and studied in Michigan. They plan to be married in the spring. They enjoy the outdoors with their dog, Charlie.
For more information about Northern Regional Hospital, visit www.choosenorthern.org.
August 21, 2022
Some area teenagers were busy this summer. For the first time since 2019, due to COVID-19, rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors from across the county dedicated their summer break to volunteering at Northern Regional Hospital.
Twenty-five junior volunteers filled the hospital hallways throughout June, July, and August, logging in 1,353 volunteer hours.
More than 50 applications were received this year for the annual program. Because the program cannot accommodate that many participants, Tina Beasley, manager of volunteer services, was tasked with combing through the applications, essays, recommendation letters, and interviews to narrow the pool.
“Beginning in January, we send out applications to all area high schools seeking junior volunteers,” said Beasley. “After applications are received, we begin working with all the hospital departments to determine opportunities available. We want our juniors to have a truly worthwhile experience. This program is such a wonderful opportunity for our local high school students to pursue.
”Not only do the junior volunteers help our staff by assisting with many tasks during their time here, but we also try to help the junior volunteers by exposing them to different careers within our organization. There are so many careers, both clinical and non-clinical, at Northern Regional Hospital that many students aren’t even aware of. This program allows them to see those careers first-hand in a real-world environment. Our hope is that we can provide experiences to help set them on their desired career path.”
The Junior Volunteers in this summer program included Olivia Combs of Carroll County High School in Hillsville, Virginia; Chloe Koons and Hailey Penn of East Surry High School; Cheyenne Rogers of Millennium Charter Academy; Emilee Corn, Abby Epperson, Emily Gutierrez, Hannah Khuri, Morgan Mayfield, Bill Rierson, and Niya Smith of Mount Airy High School; Natalee Frazier, Jessica Flores-Martinez, Nadia Hernandez, Meredith Hicks, Sarah Jane Lawson, Erin Moore, Sadie Moore, and Ella Riggs of North Surry High School; Madison Spencer, Ivy Toney, Brianna Wilmoth, and Payton Wood of Surry Central High School; and Kayla Easter and Shayna Hicks of Surry Early College High School.
Junior Volunteers work in almost every area of the hospital including surgery, emergency, security, skilled nursing, birthing center, intensive care, med/surg, and hospital-owned physician practices.
“Over the course of my time as a Junior Volunteer, I have experienced many things, such as colonoscopies, strokes, and kids with broken bones,” said Junior Volunteer Cheyenne Rogers of Millennium Charter Academy. “Experiencing a busy Emergency Department amazed me by the variety of what comes in the door. One thing that stuck with me was when I got to see many victims of a car accident come in, many of whom were almost near death. The quickness of everyone to act to save these lives was amazing. They all needed different care, as some were bleeding heavily, and others had minor injuries. Whatever the case, getting to talk to the patients and their families made me feel like I was making a difference. Whether I was holding someone’s hand during childbirth, or cleaning a patient room, this program has had an outstanding impact on me. The experience confirmed that I am definitely pursuing the right field. I’m very grateful for this experience and the entire staff at Northern Regional Hospital.”
“We are so blessed to have Northern Regional Hospital in this community,” said Jennifer Epperson, executive director for NC HOSA and mother of current junior volunteer Abby Epperson. “The real-world experiences they provide are so valuable in helping students make important decisions regarding their futures. Junior Volunteer Program participants have told me how wonderful the staff is. They explain everything to them and make them feel welcome. Most students across our state are not getting these valuable experiences that Northern Regional Hospital has to offer. Their dedication to our students is amazing.”
The Junior Volunteers closed out their summer program with an appreciation banquet held for them at Surry Community College.
Applications for the next Summer Junior Volunteer program at Northern Regional Hospital will be accepted beginning in January via the website at choosenorthern.org. For other volunteer opportunities for youth and adults, contact Beasley at tbeasley@wearenorthern.org.
August 20, 2022
The Board of Directors of Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB) has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 10.5 cents per share on the company’s common stock. The cash dividend is payable on Oct. 7 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Sept. 16.
Ted Ashby, CEO of Surrey Bancorp, stated the dividend was based on the company’s operating results, “its strong financial condition and a commitment to delivering shareholder value.”
Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full-service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street in Mount Airy and a limited-service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin, 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro, and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.
Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at www.surreybank.com.
August 09, 2022
While speed dating might sound a little frightening — maybe a lot frightening — a version of speed dating set to take place Aug. 18 for local business owners and managers offers plenty of upside with no downside.
In this case the networking breakfast is not aimed at helping participants find dating partner. Instead, the gathering is aimed at helping participatns but a far deeper — and hopefully long-term — business relationship. Many of them, in fact.
The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a morning networking event called Business Over Breakfast that day, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Surry County Service Center at 915 East Atkins Street in Dobson.
In traditional speed dating, participants sit down with one another, and get a short period of time — maybe four or five minutes — to tell one another about themselves, see if their personalites jell, before moving on to another person to do the same. Participants are generally hoping to get a date, and maybe a longer-term relationship, out of the dating cattle call.
While the chamber’s Business Over Breakfast might on the surface seem to have its format in common with speed dating, its purpose if far different — hoping to introduce businesses to one another and help them start what will be a long-term, mutually profitable relationship.
“Business Over Breakfast will feature table top networking where attendees can talk about their businesses and exchange business cards,” chamber officials said of the event. “Attendees will rotate tables and have the opportunity to meet almost everyone in the room. People who may be interested in this event are sales managers, sales professionals, business development staff or any small business owner.”
The event will feature a buffet breakfast catered by the Ol’ Farmer Restaurant, in Cana, Virginia. The breakfast is open to all members of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce or any prospective member. Sponsorships for the Business Over Breakfast are available and provide marketing for company and event tickets.
“Traditional business networking is alive and well in Surry County,” said Chamber President and CEO Randy Collins said.
The breakfast is part of a quarterly series for local businesses people to get together, learn about one another and trade business cards for later reference, but it is far from the only marketing opportunities for chamber members.
The organization, in conjunction with those members, sponsor regular after-hours networking mixers along with its Lunch with Leaders program. Those mid-day meetings give chamber members a chance to network, but also to meet with and hear from area legislative, education, and industry leaders.
At next week’s Business over Breakfast, “Attendees will meet many business prospects in a short amount of time,” Collins said. “Bring your business cards and come join us.”
The event is open to all chamber members and prospective members.
Tickets or sponsorships can be purchased on the chamber website www.mtairyncchamber.org. Questions on the event should be directed to Jordon Edwards at the chamber via email at jordon@mtairyncchamber.org.
August 07, 2022
Insteel Industries Inc. (NYSE: IIIN) said its net earnings for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 were up sharply over the same period a year ago.
For the quarter, Insteel reported net earnings of $38.6 million, or $1.96 per share, more than double the figures from the same quarter a year ago, which stood at $18.4 million, or 94 cents per share.
The results continued a year-long trend of strong earnings. For the first nine months of the fiscal year, the company reported net earnings of $100.7 million, or $5.13 per share, compared to $41.5 million, or $2.13 per share, for the same period a year ago.
“The company’s results were favorably impacted by strong demand for its reinforcing products and incremental price increases to recover the escalation in raw material and operating costs,” the firm said in announcing the results.
Net sales for the third quarter stood at $227.2 million, up from $160.7 million for the prior year quarter, driven by a 53.9% increase in average selling prices partially offset by an 8.2% decrease in shipments, the firm said.
Net sales for the first three quarters combined rose to $618.8 million, up from $419.3 million for same period a year ago.
“The average selling price increase was the result of price increases implemented across all product lines to recover rapidly escalating costs. The unfavorable shipment volume comparison was driven by lower activity in the company’s standard welded wire reinforcement product line together with curtailed operating hours at certain facilities related to staffing challenges,” the company’s statement said.
“We expect our historically strong financial performance to continue for the fiscal fourth quarter,” said H.O. Woltz III, Insteel’s president and CEO. “Our markets remain robust and economic indicators for non-residential construction activity along with internal customer and market insights point to continued momentum through the balance of the calendar year.”
Woltz continued, “While deliveries of offshore steel wire rod alleviated the raw material shortfalls that constrained production and shipping volumes during the first half of the year, we are increasingly contending with unusually tight labor markets that have prevented full capacity operating schedules at certain facilities. We have responded to this challenge with innovative work schedules and higher pay levels which we believe will support the ramp up in production we expect through the end of the calendar year.”
To see the full quarterly report, along with additional information about Insteel, visit https://investor.insteel.com/financials/quarterly-results/default.aspx
August 07, 2022
DOBSON — After a two-year break from play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation (SYEMC) was able to donate $9,750 each to four area nonprofits after the cooperative’s 10th Charity Golf Tournament brought in more than $39,000. The 2022 golf tournament goal was $30,000.
This week, members of SYEMC’s Community Projects Committee, led by chairman Travis Bode, SYEMC’s economic development coordinator, presented checks to the Yadkin Valley United Fund, Grace Clinic of Elkin, Greater Mount Airy Ministry of Hospitality — which include The Shepherd’s House and Helping Hands Foundation — and Second Harvest Food Bank.
The day of the tournament, representatives of the nonprofits were on hand to help volunteer and greet the 120 golfers at Cedarbrook Country Club in State Road. The 30 teams were divided into three flights for the captain’s choice format.
Winners of the championship flight, with a score of 55 were Gene Walden, Brandon Carroll, Cecil Alexander and Nelson Rector. In second place, with a 55, were Adam Key, Daryl Tilley, Connor Key and Glen Key.
First flight winners were Donnie Limon, Daniel Rodriguez, Brent Whittington and David Rodriguez, with a score of 53. Second place, with a score of 53, were John Evans, Clark Comer, Robert Kent and Jeff Benfield.
The winners of the second flight, with a score of 57, were Michael Frazier, Laura Neely, Erica Parker and Greyson Cox. Second place, with a score of 60, were Noah Hill, Toliver Wright, Patrick Frazier and Cody Spencer.
Closest to the pin award went to Tony Shinault, and longest drive winner was Michael Frazier.
“When the sponsorship money started coming in, we were elated to find we had so much support from business partners and players that we passed our goal by almost $10,000 and we had a waitlist for teams,” said Bode. “Next year we hope to restructure our tournament so we can include more golfers.
“Surry-Yadkin Electric’s employees love that we have a chance to support nonprofits in this way. It is part of our cooperative principles, with one being concern for community,” he said. “We have caring, giving employees and we are honored to have business and community members who join us in making a difference for those in our area.”
In addition to the annual golf tournament, Surry-Yadkin EMC, a member-owned electric cooperative, hosts a food drive in the fall, sponsors families at Christmas, sponsors youth programs such NC Youth Tour, Bright Ideas Education Grants (with applications from area teachers due by Sept. 15) and Touchstone Energy Sports Camp, and more.
For more information on SYEMC and its community programs, visit the cooperative’s website at syemc.com.
August 07, 2022
The Small Business Center at Surry Community College will be offering multiple online webinars this month free of charge. These webinars cover a variety of topics that are intended to help individuals gain skills for working with a small business.
The webinar Website Building for Small Businesses will be held Aug. 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar can help you quickly and efficiently design a website for your business with little technical knowledge.
The webinar (Re)Launch Your Airbnb in One Weekend: A Masterclass on Airbnb Hosting will be held Aug. 23, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This seminar is intended for anyone exploring Airbnb as an income stream, wanting to launch or upgrade their Airbnb and for those wanting to provide a five-star experience for guests.
The webinar Email Marketing: A Crash Course will be held Aug. 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar will cover the tools and features for basic email marketing in Constant Contact. This webinar is great for beginners who want to learn how to start creating email marketing campaigns.
The webinar How to Start a Small Business will be held Aug. 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. After going through the course participants should understand the basics of starting a business in this seminar that takes you from idea to opportunity. Learn key strategies for start-up, financing and marketing as well as important information about legal issues, licensing, zoning, operations and more.
To register for upcoming virtual seminars or to view a complete listing of the upcoming Small Business Center offerings, visit www.surry.edu/sbc. After registering for a webinar, a link to join the event will be emailed to you.
For information about confidential, one-on-one counseling and resource referrals, contact SBC Director Mark Harden at hardenm@surry.edu or call 336-386-3685.
The Small Business Center provides seminars, workshops, resources and counseling to prospective business owners and existing business owners. The SCC Small Business Center has facilities in Dobson, Elkin, Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain, and Yadkinville.
August 07, 2022
Northern Regional Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Chris A. Lumsden was presented with the 2022 American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award during the North Carolina Healthcare Association’s biannual meeting.
Every year, one individual in each state is honored as a “Grassroots Champion” by the American Hospital Association (AHA) in consultation with state hospital associations. This year, the North Carolina Healthcare Association nominated Lumsden to receive the 2022 Grassroots Champion Award for his service and efforts.
Lumsden is an active member of the North Carolina Healthcare Association and regularly participates in NCHA grassroots advocacy initiatives, including visiting local, regional, and state lawmakers. He travelled with the Northern Regional Hospital Executive Leadership Team and Northern Leadership Academy Members to the state capitol to promote Northern Regional Hospital healthcare initiatives and advocate for rural hospitals and their positive role in caring for the physical and economic health of rural communities.
“It is a great honor to receive the 2022 Grassroots Advocacy Award. I view this as a Northern Regional Hospital Team award rather than an individual one. It is a privilege to help tell the wonderful story of Northern Regional throughout our region and in Raleigh,” said Lumsden. “We are not only an award-winning hospital, but also a critical economic engine and driver for our rural community. It is an honor to represent our 1,000 employees and the 250,000 patients we serve every year.”
Lumsden has served as president and CEO of Northern Regional Hospital since 2018. He served previously as chief executive officer of Virginia-based Halifax Regional Health System for 30 years. Lumsden is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE), a licensed Nursing Home Administrator, and was selected as a Top 20 most admired CEO in the Triad Region by the Triad Business Journal.
August 06, 2022
UScellular has appointed Darryl Canty to store manager for the company’s Mount Airy location at 752 S Andy Griffith Parkway. In this role, Canty is responsible for leading his team of wireless technology experts to help customers select the devices, plans and consumer electronics to best meet their needs. Canty has 18 years of wireless experience.
“At UScellular we work hard to ensure our associates are equipped with the knowledge needed to help customers make informed decisions about their wireless service,” said April Taylor, UScellular area sales for western North Carolina. “I am excited for Darryl to lead our Mount Airy store, and I’m confident that his leadership skills will guide our team to help customers in the area with their technology needs.”
Prior to this role, Canty was a manager for a national sales organization.
UScellular is always looking for professionals with sales experience, excellent communications skills and an enthusiastic commitment to customers. “Store leadership and full and part-time retail wireless consultant sales positions are available in a high-energy, professional environment, and interested applicants can apply online at uscellular.jobs,” company officials said. “These positions offer a competitive starting wage and benefits that include medical and dental insurance, a 401K and tuition reimbursement, along with incentives such as performance-based bonuses and discounted wireless service.”
July 31, 2022
Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB), the holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust, this week reported earnings for the second quarter of 2022 were up sharply from the same period a year ago.
Net income for the six months ending June 30 was down slightly, from $3,081,159, or 74 cents per share in 2021, to $3,045,185 or 73 per shared this year.
For the quarter ending June 30, net income totaled $1,557,682 or 37 cents per fully diluted share, compared to $1,093,784 or 26 cents per common share earned during the second quarter of 2021.
The increase in earnings results from a slight increase in the net interest income and the recapture of the provision for loan losses.
Net interest income increased from $3,270,663 in the second quarter of 2021 to $3,385,534 in the second quarter of 2022. The increase in net interest income is a combination of an increase in interest income and a reduction in interest expense. Interest income increased from $3,393,790 in the second quarter of 2021 to $3,470,518 in the second quarter of 2022. The increase is primarily due to an increase in the fed funds rate.
Interest income from deposits with banks increased from $35,336 in the second quarter of 2021 to $434,171 in 2022. Interest income and fees on loans decreased from $3,322,262 in the second quarter of 2021 to $3,008,292 in 2022. The decrease results from a reduction of loan fees recognized by the bank related to the bank’s participation in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
In the second quarter of 2021 the Bank recognized $164,444 of PPP loan fees compared to only $7,462 in the second quarter of 2022. Interest expense decreased from $123,127 in the second quarter of 2021 to $84,984 in the second quarter of 2022.
The provision for loan losses decreased from $188,616 in the second quarter of 2021 to a recapture of $414,965 in 2022, a $603,581 decrease. The 2022 recapture results from a trend in loan charge-off recoveries and a reduction in environmental factors related to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full-service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street and a limited-service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin and 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.
For more information about the bank, or to see the full quarterly report, visit https://www.surreybank.com/about-us/
July 30, 2022
BLUEFIELD, VIRGINIA – First Community Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCBC), reported this week net income for the second quarter of 2022 stood at $11.21 million, or 67 cents per diluted common share, down from $13.2 million, or 76 cents per share, from the same period a year ago.
Net income for the first six months of 2022 stood at $20.73 million, or $1.24 per share, down sharply from $28.01 million, or $1.59 per share, the previous year.
Nevertheless, the bank declared a cash dividend of 29 cents per share to stockholders, an increase of 2 cents per share over the same quarter in 2021. The dividend will be payable on or about Aug. 19 to shareholders of record on Aug. 5.
”Net income of $11.21 million for the quarter was a decrease compared to the same quarter of 2021, which included a significant reversal of provision for credit losses,” the bank said in announcing the results and explaining the drop in net income. “The normalized provision for credit losses drove much of the difference between current year-to-date net income of $20.73 million and the same period in 2021.”
The quarterly income for the second quarter in 2021 was a record for the bank, representing a 65% increase over the previous year.
First Community Bankshares Inc., a financial holding company headquartered in Bluefield, Virginia, provides banking products and services through its wholly owned subsidiary First Community Bank. First Community Bank operated 49 branch banking locations in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee as of June 30, including in Surry County.
July 30, 2022
After dealing with Mount Airy’s planning-relating matters as a volunteer, Jeannie Studnicki is now doing so on a professional basis due to recently joining the Benchmark firm.
Benchmark is an entity based in Charlotte which has been contracted to provide planning services to Mount Airy since 2011, when city officials decided to privatize those functions.
That arrangement includes having personnel stationed regularly at the Municipal Building to handle matters involving zoning administration, long-range growth and others.
Studnicki, a 17-year resident of Mount Airy, is now part of that staff also including city Planning Director Andy Goodall. Her title is city planner.
She formerly served on the Mount Airy Planning Board, a key advisory group to the city commissioners which devotes initial study to annexation, zoning and related requests and then makes recommendations to the commissioners for final decisions.
Studnicki was a Planning Board member for seven years, having been appointed by the commissioners in 2015. She chaired that group for the past two years and rotated off it this year due to serving the maximum terms allowed.
The outgoing board member received special recognition for her city volunteer service from Mayor Ron Niland during a May 19 meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
“It was a natural progression when the city planning job presented itself,” Studnicki advised this week of her addition to the local Benchmark operation.
“This new position involves strategic thinking, goal setting, data collection and analysis, forecasting, design and public consultation, duties that I’m very familiar and comfortable with,” she added.
“It also allows me the opportunity to continue serving the city, its residents, and contributing to community growth in a meaningful way.”
Studnicki’s present responsibilities mirrored her work on the Mount Airy Planning Board. That included investigating present and emerging land-development trends and activities within the municipality, and recommending plans, policies and ordinances designed to maximize opportunities for growth while promoting public health, safety, morals and welfare.
While a Planning Board member, Studnicki assisted in the revision of far-thinking documents such as the Mount Airy Comprehensive Plan, along with zoning, sign, landscaping and other ordinances.
Focused on history
The new city planner, formerly of Toronto, has demonstrated a particular appreciation for architecture and historical preservation locally.
This included working to expand the number of Mount Airy districts in the National Register of Historic Places in recent years, motivated by benefits historically recognized places provide.
“Old buildings are witnesses to the aesthetic and cultural history of a city, helping to give people a sense of place and connection to the past,” Studnicki believes.
“Mount Airy thrives from its historic significance,” she observed. “Preservation of this irreplaceable heritage is in the public interest — we’d be doing a disservice if its vibrant legacy of inspiration and energy isn’t maintained and enriched for future generations.”
Studnicki, whose background includes 25 years of experience in marketing and as a business strategist working with companies including Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, AstraZeneca and more, has filled additional volunteer roles in this community.
She is a past board member of Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, a present member of the Downtown Master Plan Steering Committee and also volunteers at Northern Regional Hospital, among others.
“Twenty years from now, I want to reflect on my time in Mount Airy and feel that I contributed in a meaningful way,” Studnicki commented.
“That I championed for the welfare of our residents by helping to design a city that met their needs and interests while addressing crucial urban problems.”
July 29, 2022
Northern Regional Hospital has earned a five-star rating for quality care – the highest award possible — in the most recently published ‘Hospital Compare’ report of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Northern Regional Hospital is one of 12 hospitals in North Carolina, and the only hospital in the region, to be so highly rated.
“This five-star designation comes on the heels of our recent Leapfrog ‘Grade A,’ the highest rating in patient safety, and is a testament to our unwavering commitment to quality care and service excellence,” said Chris A. Lumsden, president and chief executive officer of Northern Regional Hospital. “As we grow, improve, and expand clinical services and programs, we will uphold the superior standards that we have established in the delivery of high quality, safe care to patients and the communities we serve. Congratulations go to our entire Northern team.”
The Hospital Compare report, released July 27, compared quality data from 3,093 hospitals in the nation by looking at seven measurable indicators of quality performance, including the self-reported experiences of patients. Only 14% of hospitals in the country received a five-star rating. Hospitals are awarded between one and five stars based on quality performance, with five stars being the highest achievement for excellence.
According to Medicare.gov, Hospital Compare summarizes a variety of measures across seven areas of quality into a single rating for each hospital. Those measures are mortality, safety of care, readmissions, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, and efficient use of medical imaging. The report is designed to help patients make decisions about where they seek health care and encourage hospitals to continuously improve quality of care and patient safety.
“Northern Regional Hospital’s five-star designation speaks to the dedication of each member of our healthcare team – including physicians, nurses, allied-health professionals, administrators, support staff, and volunteers – who are focused 24/7 on delivering top-quality care to patients,” said Robin H. Hodgin, senior vice president for patient services and chief nursing officer. “It also speaks to the cherished level of trust our patients have in us to provide them with high-quality care and heartfelt compassion.”
July 29, 2022
After almost 30 years of service to the Twin Counties and the New River Valley, Jeff and Sharon Johnson have sold Jeff Johnson Chevrolet to their son, Adam Johnson. The dealership will also be changing its name to Johnson Family Chevrolet, to reflect its success as a team, and its commitment to family values.
“I am very excited to have purchased Jeff Johnson Chevrolet,” said new owner Adam Johnson. “I want to assure everyone we are going to continue with the same values that we have always offered including our no doc, processing or hidden fees approach, value pricing, family atmosphere and large inventory selection.”
Johnson continued, “I have chosen to change the name of the dealership to Johnson Family Chevrolet to reflect the fact that our success really comes from all of our team members and their dedication ensuring the very best in customer experiences.”
“We, of course, will continue the Johnson traditions, while also streamlining our customers shopping processes, making it easier than ever to purchase a new Chevrolet or quality pre-owned vehicle.”
Johnson Family Chevrolet will retain the entire staff and strive to serve the community.
July 27, 2022
Lindsay Davies, D.O., has joined the medical staff of Northern Regional Hospital to serve as a Hospitalist physician for inpatients at the nationally recognized 133-bed community hospital.
A board-certified physician, Dr. Davies served previously as a hospitalist at Bristol Regional Medical Center in Bristol, Tennessee for two years; and, prior served three years as a hospitalist at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia; and a resident physician at Norton Community Hospital.
“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Davies to our medical staff,” said Jason W. Edsall, MD, chief medical officer of Northern Regional Hospital. “Her broad-based medical knowledge and experience, as well as her demonstrated commitment to providing quality care to patients, is a great fit for our hospital.”
Dr. Davies’ path to becoming a physician and, ultimately, a hospitalist (a specialist for inpatient hospital care) began at an early age when she visited her newborn sister in the hospital and was inspired by her local community family physician. “I grew up in the mountains of Appalachia where the only community doctor in town was an absolute pillar. Dr. Janice Gable manifested compassion, intelligence, and the actual art of medicine by caring for and treating the relatively rural community. She showed me that a woman could contribute so much goodness to the world which drove me forward and inspired me. Over the years medical interactions fascinated me and the direction of my life was very clear. The Science of how amazing the human body is drew me in completely.”
Dr. Davies’ approach to patient care is to “meet patients where they are — sometimes that means a lot of listening and sometimes teaching and instruction. I believe in gentle but direct conversations, as most people appreciate a straight shooter. I‘ve also found that if you break the science down and make it more relatable, the patient is more likely to understand the problem and buy into the treatment plan.
“This empowers the patient to contribute to their care from a place of respect and understanding. For example, I will sometimes describe the urinary system in plumbing terms, or neurologic or cardiac issues more as electrical situations. This helps patients relate to something they are more familiar with and therefore better understand what we are dealing with and how to go about treating the problem we’re facing.”
After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, she attended Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee and earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree in 2013. The newly minted doctor then became a resident physician at Norton Community Hospital where she began an intensive three-year residency program in internal medicine.
“During my residency, I found through my rotations that I enjoyed the hospital setting the most, as that is where patients are very sick and you can follow their case to help them heal.”
Dr. Davies is a member of the American Medical Association and has served on numerous committees at previous hospitals, including patient safety committee and medical staff committees.
Dr. Davies is enjoying working with colleagues and applying her medical knowledge and skills to help inpatients at Northern Regional Hospital. “The group of physicians I am working with work well together, which leads to a collegial environment that thrives. I was impressed by the level of organization, dedication, and willingness to work together to ensure everyone in the group is an equal partner.”
She was attracted to Northern Regional Hospital for many reasons. “It is an independent community hospital with a commitment to give back to the community and remain independent,” said Davies. “I am also impressed at the magnitude of welcomeness I have felt. This is also a stunning part of the country not too far from home. It seems like a terrific place to raise my family with so much to offer them. I am so excited to join the team.”
Davies has three children, ages 6, 4, and 18 months old. They enjoy playing outdoors together, completing puzzles, conducting science experiments at home, and playing with cousins and their pets. They have two dogs and a bearded dragon.
July 20, 2022
DOBSON — The first youth apprentice program for registered nurses in North Carolina has culminated this year in nine local students committing to apprenticeships at Northern Regional Hospital in Mount Airy.
An additional five have signed to continue their employment with Northern Regional Hospital through the Surry-Yadkin Works program at a signing event held at Surry Community College. Ten nursing apprentices signed with Northern Regional Hospital in the program’s inaugural year in 2021.
“The youth apprenticeship program has developed even more amazingly than we could have dreamed,” said Robin Hodgin, senior vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer at Northern Regional Hospital. “We have been truly blessed with this group of students, a group that our staff has grown to love and appreciate. We’ve enjoyed seeing their smiling faces each day, not to mention their eagerness to learn new skills. We know these young ladies have very bright futures ahead, and we hope those futures return them to Northern Regional Hospital.”
The apprentices who signed are: Trista Berrier of North Surry High School, Hannah Hall of Starmount High School, Gisell Hernadez Aguilera of Yadkin Early College High School, Brianna Key and Mariela Secundino of Surry Early College High School, Callie Moore and Kate Parks of Surry Central High School, Cristina Seawell of East Surry High School, and Ashlyn Shore of Forbush High School.
Additionally, the following Surry-Yadkin Works pre-apprentices working at Northern Regional Hospital signed with with the hospital as PRN nurses at the event. (“PRN” stands for the Latin phrase “Pro re nata,” meaning “as needed,” and “occasionally”): Kylie Bruner, Hannah Johnston, and Clara Willard of East Surry High School, Ellen Bryant of Surry Central High School, and Natalie Payne of North Surry High School.
“Working at Northern Regional Hospital has not only been an eye-opener for me but has been a wonderful learning and working experience,” said Cristina Seawell. “The staff and especially my mentors on the Labor and Delivery floor, who are now like my family, have been amazing. They are the best teachers and have taught me so much. This must be my most amazing opportunity yet. My choice in pursuing my nursing career has become clearer since being here, and I am excited to continue my journey here, as I know that I will have lots of help and support along the way. I am very thankful.”
This opportunity is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program and the state’s ApprenticeshipNC program through the N.C. Community College System Office that combines a paid work-based learning experience with classroom academics leading to a national certification. These students will earn free tuition for the associate degree nursing program at a North Carolina community college to become registered nurses.
The students began their paid pre-apprenticeships on Jan. 10 and worked through May 13 as certified nursing assistants and patient care technicians. They received high school or college credit for their employment along with a stipend each month for travel expenses.
“The partnership that Surry-Yadkin Works has established with Northern Regional Hospital is incredibly exciting for our local students as they are connected early in their educational journey to the hospital, so they can explore career paths,” said Crystal Folger-Hawks, program director of Surry-Yadkin Works. “If it’s a good fit, students can continue working at Northern Regional Hospital, while their college education is paid for through the ApprenticeshipNC program. This is a win-win for the business and students, and I’m proud to be a part of this endeavor.”
For more information about Apprenticeships at Northern Regional Hospital, visit wearenorthern.org/careers or email hrhelp@wearenorthern.org.
Surry-Yadkin Works is the first community-based internship program of its kind in North Carolina, officially beginning on Jan. 1, 2021, covering a two-county region.Surry-Yadkin Works is the collaborative effort of four public school systems in Surry and Yadkin counties including Elkin City Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, Surry County Schools, and Yadkin County Schools, as well as Surry Community College. The funding is also a joint effort with commitments from the Surry County and Yadkin County commissioners. An anonymous contributor donated $100,000 prompted by a presentation about the program at an educational summit to help begin the program.
For more information about the Surry-Yadkin Works program, contact Folger-Hawks at 336-401-7820 or folger-hawksc@surry.edu or visit www.surryyadkinworks.org.
July 18, 2022
SALISBURY – Food Lion recently said nearly 300 of its associates will be celebrating 30 or more years of service with the company including five long-term associates from stores in the Mount Airy area.
“Recognizing associates who have shared their gifts and talents with Food Lion and nourished their neighbors for decades is incredibly important to us,” said Meg Ham, president, Food Lion. “These dedicated associates have touched the lives of their fellow associates and customers alike. We are so fortunate to have such committed associates and I so appreciate the care, compassion and commitment they share with Food Lion and the towns and cities they serve.”
Food Lion recognizes these associates celebrating 30, 35, 40, and 45 years of service with the Years of Service Award. Each year, the omnichannel retailer holds a recognition event to share appreciation and gratitude for associates who have achieved these service milestones. At the Years of Service Awards event, each associate’s name, position, location and service milestone are read aloud and celebrated.
Locally, those recognized for 30 years of service include Pricing Coordinator Mary Fultz, Produce Sales Manager James Haymore, and Evening Manager Jason McGee.
Those recognized for 35 years of service include Perishable Associate Billy Meyers and Store Manager Chad Hiatt.
Food Lion, based in Salisbury has more than 1,100 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and employs more than 82,000 associates companywide.
July 15, 2022
CHARLOTTE. – Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) this week declared a quarterly cash dividend on its common stock of $1.005 per share, an increase of 2 cents per share. This dividend is payable on Sept.16 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Aug.12.
The company also declared a quarterly cash dividend on its Series A preferred stock of $359.375 per share, payable on Sept. 16, to shareholders of record at close of business on Aug.12, 2022. This is equivalent of 35.9375 cents per depositary share.
In addition, the company declared a semi-annual cash dividend on its Series B preferred stock of $24.375 per share, payable on Sept.16, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Aug.12.
Duke Energy has paid a cash dividend on its common stock for 96 consecutive years.
Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
July 03, 2022
DOBSON — Wayne Farms Dobson recently presented a $5,000 check to the Shepherd’s House to help underwrite the organization’s homeless shelter operation.
“But financial support is only one aspect of community partnership for the Dobson team,” the firm said of its donation. “The company has also signed on with Shepherd’s House as a resource for the agency’s Jobs First program, offering training and plant positions to homeless adults and even providing transportation to and from the job.”
“We wanted to help Shepherd’s House give residents the opportunity to change their situation,” said Dobson Complex Manager Matthew Wooten. “Providing financial support is important, but helping people find employment is even more impactful,” said Wooten, who noted that a number of former Shepherd’s House residents have been able to get back on their feet and leave the facility thanks to gainful employment at the Dobson complex.
At any given time, seven to ten shelter residents are working with Wayne Farms through the Jobs First program, and as they graduate and move on to other opportunities, Wooten stressed that new positions at Wayne Farms are always available. “Right now we’re paying $17-20 an hour with signing bonuses and we can have people working the day they apply.”
Wayne Farms has been a long-time supporter of Shepherd’s House, which provides basic lodging and meals for homeless individuals and families, along with an array of therapeutic, educational, life skills and health education classes and social services assistance. The 64-bed facility just completed a major renovation and expansion.
July 03, 2022
MOUNT AIRY — In addition to Northern Regional Hospital’s recognition as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission earlier this year, the hospital has received the American Heart Association’s GoldPlus Get With The Guidelines – Stroke quality achievement award.
The award, according to the hospital, is for “for its commitment to ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines, ultimately leading to more lives saved and reduced disability.”
Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. Early stroke detection and treatment are key to improving survival, minimizing disability, and accelerating recovery times.
Get With The Guidelines puts the expertise of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to work for hospitals nationwide, helping ensure patient care is aligned with the latest research and evidence-based guidelines. Get With The Guidelines – Stroke is an in-hospital program for improving stroke care by promoting consistent adherence to these guidelines, which can minimize the long-term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.
“Obtaining Gold Plus recognition from the American Heart & American Stroke Associations reflects the outstanding stroke care patients receive at Northern Regional Hospital. Our Northern Interdisciplinary Stroke Team is activated from the moment a possible stroke is identified, throughout the hospital stay, and into the post-discharge period to assure our patients are surrounded with treatments and resources they will need to achieve a robust recovery,” said Emily Volk, transitional care nurse at Northern and one of the leaders of the project. “This Get With The Guidelines award recognizes the success we have experienced as we collaborate not only among Northern clinical staff, but also with valued community partners such as EMS, rehab and therapy agencies, pharmacists, and primary care providers. We are honored to consistently provide exceptional stroke care to the members of our local community.”
Each year, program participants qualify for the award by demonstrating how their organization has committed to providing quality care for stroke patients. In addition to following treatment guidelines, Get With The Guidelines participants also educate patients to help them manage their health and recovery at home.
“We are incredibly pleased to recognize Northern Regional Hospital for its commitment to caring for patients with stroke,” said Steven Messe, M.D., chairperson of the Stroke System of Care Advisory Group. “Participation in Get With The Guidelines is associated with improved patient outcomes, fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for health care systems, families, and communities.”
Northern Regional Hospital also received the American Heart Association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet specific criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster alteplase.
In addition, Northern Regional Hospital also received the American Heart Association’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. Target: Type 2 Diabetes aims to ensure patients with Type 2 diabetes, who might be at higher risk for complications, receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized due to stroke.
July 02, 2022
GALAX, Va — As part of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations, the nonprofit honored seven members of its community of stewards at a ceremony on June 18, at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Among those honored was a Mount Airy business — W.L.A. Trucking.
The firm earned the Corporate Champion Award for the company’s support of the music center. The business, owned by Bobby and Debbie Post, has sponsored the summer concert series since 2018, and contributes to specialprojects, including the replacement of aging speakers and other equipment in the amphitheater. Bobby Post accepted the award on behalf of the company.
“Our 25th anniversary is really a celebration of the people who bring our mission to life through their contributions to the national park they love,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the foundation during the ceremony. “We are fortunate to count these honorees as members of our community of stewards.”
Ian Jordan was honored with the Youth Ambassador award for his contributions to Kids in Parks, a program of the foundation. Over the past five years, Jordan has visited more than 80 of the program’s TRACK Trail locations, and logged more than 100 miles hiking. He has become a Junior Ranger in 118 national parks and in every North Carolina State Park. He also helped Kids in Parks design, test, and implement a new smartphone-based Junior Ranger activity, creating an opportunity for children across the country to learn about the natural, historical, and cultural resources found in national parks.
Radio station 88.5 WFDD received the Media Partner Award for its work to spread the word about the venue’s musical programs throughout its 29 county-listening area, including northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia. The partnership has furthered the center’s mission to celebrate the music and musicians of the mountains. Morning Edition host Neal Charnoff accepted the award.
The Yadkin Arts Council was honored with the Partnership Award. In addition to being a longtime sponsor of the summer concert series, the Yadkin Arts Council has collaborated with the music center to present the Sounds of the Mountains concert series each January when the national park venue is closed. This series is hosted by the Yadkin Arts Council at The Willingham Theater in the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. The partnership has yielded 20 concerts showcasing bluegrass, old-time, gospel, and Americana groups. Yadkin Arts Council board president John Willingham accepted the award.
The musicians who volunteer their time and talents for the daily Midday Mountain Music sessions were honored with the Volunteer Service Award. What started as two musicians — Willard Gayheart and Bobby Patterson — playing tunes for Music Center visitors on Thursday afternoons, blossomed into the Midday Mountain Music sessions offered free for visitors each day. This amounts to about 800 hours of music, and as a group accounts for more than 3,000 volunteer hours during the season. Amy Boucher accepted the award for the Midday Mountain Musicians.
Long-time volunteer Aubrey Arrington’s numerous contributions to the music center and Blue Ridge Parkway include providing educational programs, training new seasonal rangers, leading hikes, organizing volunteer clean-up days, performing trail and facility maintenance, and more. For his support, Arrington was honored with the Blue Ridge Music Center Champion Award.
The National Council for the Traditional Arts was recognized with the Visionary Award for the organization’s work to establish the Music Center, founding the annual concert series that continues today, and opening the Roots of American Music exhibit in 2011.
First Citizens Bank is the premier sponsor of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is the nonprofit fundraising partner for the Blue Ridge Parkway. The organization provides support for initiatives along the 469-mile route, including historical and cultural preservation, environmental protection, visitor amenities, and education and outreach. The Foundation’s work includes programming at the Blue Ridge Music Center, and the award-winning, nationwide Kids in Parks program.
June 26, 2022
DOBSON — Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation recently donated a retired fleet truck to Surry Community College to be used by the college’s facilities and maintenance department.
Ricky Bowman, vice president of operations for the electric company, was on hand to pass the keys of the 2010 Ford F-150 along to Dr. David Shockley, president of SCC, on the college’s main campus June 21. The title was signed over as well.
“We appreciate the donation of the truck by Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation. SYEMC continues to be a great partner of Surry Community College. The college will use the truck to support our facilities and maintenance department’s efforts to maintain and beautify our campus and learning centers,” Shockley said.
Bowman said SYEMC was happy to be able to support community needs through efforts such as the donation to the college, which is a neighbor of SYEMC’s office in Dobson. “One of the key principles we operate by is concern for community. Being able to support academic and economic needs in the region, such as Surry Community College, falls under that principle,” he said.
Surry-Yadkin EMC, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative founded in 1940, serves more than 28,000 member accounts in five counties, including Surry, Yadkin, Stokes, Wilkes and Forsyth.
Surry Community College was founded in 1964 and the campus is located in Dobson, North Carolina. As one of the state’s 58 community colleges, it serves Surry and Yadkin counties.
June 21, 2022
Jordan Edwards has joined the staff of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.
She will be taking the position of director of events. In her new post, she will be overseeing the annual Autumn Leaves Festival. She comes to the chamber from the Alleghany County Chamber of Commerce and the Alleghany County Public Schools.
“We welcome Jordon to the chamber team,” said Chamber President and CEO Randy Collins. “She comes to us with some great experience with event management and marketing.”
Edwards, who takes the post left vacant by the departure of Travis Frye earlier this year, can be reached at the chamber at 336-786-6116, ext. 204 or via email at jordon@mtairyncchamber.org.
June 12, 2022
Northern Regional Hospital recently awarded the 2022 Robin Hardy Hodgin Education Scholarship to two area students pursuing a career in the healthcare field. Each will receive a $5,000 scholarship.
Liszbhet Hernandez, of Mount Airy, and Kylie Bruner, of Pilot Mountain, were the two scholarship recipients.
Liszbhet is a 2022 graduate of Surry County Early College High School and will attend UNC-Charlotte in the fall to pursue an associate’s degree in nursing. Lizbhet’s aspirations for healthcare began at a young age, and she has volunteered at Dunmoore Plantation Assisted Living Alzheimer’s Care Unit and at Surry Medical Ministries.
“I was overjoyed to learn I had been chosen for this award, and I am thankful and grateful,” she said. “This scholarship will help me with my overall cost of tuition and books. I plan to use this scholarship towards my books and with the money that is leftover, I’ll pay off my tuition. I plan to be driven to succeed in the future and winning this scholarship will help me be one step closer to achieving my goal to become a nurse.”
Kylie is a 2022 graduate of East Surry High School and plans to begin her studies to become a nurse practitioner at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall. She is working as a certified nursing assistant in Northern Regional Hospital’s Pre-Apprentice Program. Bruner has aspired to a career in healthcare since the age of 6, when she lost two of her grandparents to cancer.
“The scholarship provided to me by the Robin Hardy Hodgin Scholarship Fund will benefit me by providing a slight relief from the added stress of paying for college. I am so thankful to become a recipient of this scholarship because I feel valued and held to a great honor being chosen by the scholarship committee. As I embark on my educational nursing journey, the Robin H. Hodgin scholarship allows me to go to college more empowered and with less worry about the cost of my education,” she said.
Historically, the foundation has awarded 10 individual $1,000 scholarships, but this year, the committee chose to award two scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to two graduates, screened and selected by a team of hospital leaders. The scholarship can be used to cover the cost of tuition, books, and supplies for selected students who enroll in accredited healthcare programs in the areas of nursing, pharmacy, or other allied-health professions. The scholarship, established in the 201-2020 school year, has already awarded $28,000 to support local graduates going into a healthcare field.
“This valuable program provides a much-needed helping hand to deserving students who have chosen to pursue fulfilling careers in healthcare while honoring the distinguished and ongoing career of Robin Hodgin, one of the most gifted and committed nursing leaders we have at Northern Regional Hospital,” said Chris A. Lumsden, president and chief executive officer of Northern Regional Hospital. “It is one of the numerous ways Northern provides support for our local youth, and exemplifies our commitment to education.”
Northern Regional Hospital established the scholarship program in October 2019, named in honor of Senior Vice President for Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer Robin H. Hodgin. The scholarship is funded through private donations, matched dollar-for-dollar by the Northern Regional Foundation. The Hospital’s Scholarship Committee awards one-time scholarships for up to 10 eligible students enrolled in a health science degree-granting program at an accredited college or university of their choice.
Scholarships are awarded to prospective students who reside in Surry County and the surrounding region and aspire to a career in nursing or allied-health professions – including respiratory therapy, physical therapy, medical imaging technology, laboratory science, pharmacy, and others.
“I am honored to serve on the scholarship committee for the Robin Hardy Hodgin Education Scholarship,” said Tina Beasley, executive assistant for Northern Regional Hospital. “This scholarship is a testament to the talents and leadership of Northern Regional Hospital’s top nursing executive, Robin Hodgin, who has served our hospital for more than 40 years. This scholarship program is designed to help jumpstart their careers of students pursuing a career in nursing or allied health. Recipients are chosen based on merit, academics, community involvement, and financial need. This year, both recipients ranked in the top 5 of their class and had high GPAs. Both students were involved in many extra-curricular and community activities. Each student received outstanding recommendations from their teachers and school administrators. We have no doubt that both Kylie and Lizbhet will represent Northern Regional Hospital well.”
For more information about the Robin Hardy Hodgin Scholarship Fund, about Northern Regional Hospital Foundation, and to donate, visit wearenorthern.org.
June 11, 2022
When passing by Mount Airy High School along North South Street, one notices the walls, sidewalks and signage of a typical educational institution — but probably don’t realize that a thriving business is also within its confines.
During one recent morning at Blue Bear Cafe as the school year wound down, Ocean Davis, a senior, was putting the finishing touches on a fruit smoothie after earlier serving up cookies and brownies to an appreciative recipient. Chances are, another customer soon would be ordering a fresh-brewed cup of latte from the student-run operation.
The coffee at Blue Bear Cafe is reputed to be so tasty that teacher Ashley Pyles did not shy away from comparing what the kids prepare to that offered by a international coffeehouse chain:
“They make the best coffee, hands-down, over Starbucks any day,” Pyles said proudly.
Along with a variety of coffees — including frappe, latte and Americano — there are several flavors of fruit smoothies available, various sweet treats including bundt cakes, snack items, hot chocolate, cider and more.
The menu at Blue Bear Cafe further includes specialty drinks featuring what apparently has become a local sensation, bubble teas.
Yet perhaps the best product served up there is success — cooked up daily by apron-wearing student entrepreneurs who are gaining valuable business experience during the school year which can aid them in a career.
“It’s never about the coffee,” Workforce Initiatives Coordinator Polly Long said when discussing the mission involved, or for that matter the caffeine, the stimulative ingredient of that popular beverage.
“It’s about the skills,” added Long, a longtime school system employee who is being given much credit for making the on-campus business a reality.
“A student-operated coffee shop has been a dream of Polly Long’s for years,” says a statement prepared in conjunction with the Blue Bear Cafe program receiving special city government recognition during a recent council meeting. That statement also references the role “students with extraordinary talents” have played in its success.
The cafe, which emerged in 2019, seeks to provide targeted youth with training in essential entry-level skills and create a pathway to employment in the service industry.
For example, junior Jennifer Griffin has her sights set on becoming a pastry chef.
Blue Bear Cafe operates through the Occupational Course of Study unit at the school and is overseen by teachers Jennifer Gentry and Ashley Pyles in addition to Long.
“Jennifer is sort of our pastry chef,” Gentry said of Griffin’s go-to role in the operation.
About 10 students are enrolled in the program during a given academic year. They also take regular courses in addition to working a specified number of hours for the cafe, constituting class periods. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. when school is in session.
Student innovators
Blue Bear Cafe occupies a strategic space in the high school’s media center, which provides an inviting setting to enjoy a beverage or snack arguably rivaling that of any coffeehouse on the planet. The surroundings are pleasantly lit by large windows facing North South Street.
The place was arranged with the assistance of Goodwill Industries, Long said, which helped supply start-up funds to acquire new furniture and accessories.
It is tastefully adorned by walls painted in a soft-brown and olive-green color scheme, imprinted with phrases such as “serving kindness one cup of the time” and inspiring words including “imagine,” “create,” “inspire” and others.
Students respond by constantly adding new drinks and even developed a website to promote the business. A Blue Bear Cafe Facebook page is available to assist with orders.
The facility’s spic-and-span kitchen is located in a side room, near a counter area where students check out library materials as part of dual, harmonious existence between the two facilities. A gift shop specializing in student-made products also is located at the cafe offering items including mugs and T-shirts and handcrafted items from local entrepreneurs.
Along with the culinary talents honed by the youths, other abilities are learned that they can apply to many additional career endeavors besides a coffee shop itself.
These include leadership, communication, organization skills and teamwork, plus the real-life functions of dealing the public in taking orders, making change from a cash register and processing credit card orders.
“They’re seeing it in real time,” Long said of the impression left on those from the outside world who are able to witness education being applied to an actual enterprise. The students involved are a mixture of upperclassmen and lowerclassmen who ensure a seamless transition with the transfer of knowledge as they come and go.
“They are basically learning how to run a business on their own,” Pyles observed.
While the cafe is shut down for the summer, before resuming operations again with the start of the next school year, it has been popular among members of the public who can call in and pick up orders on the campus.
In other cases, large orders will even be delivered to customers.
“We are in the black,” Long said of the cost related to that service given the surge in gas prices. “What we try to do is break even,” with any profits going right back into the business.
“We use some of that money to take them (students) on field trips,” Gentry advised.
Long is hoping to expand Blue Bear Cafe to a downtown location if one can be found under the right circumstances.
City accolades
The smell of success from Blue Bear Cafe has emanated to City Hall a couple of miles away, as evidenced by the special recognition it received during a recent meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
Pyles attended that session along with two students, Griffin and fellow junior Shatavia Robison, who were there for a presentation on the program highlighted by the girls passing out chocolate chip cookies to those in attendance.
The cookies were contained in colorful packaging with labels extolling such sentiments as “be nice” and “choose happiness.”
“This program is first and foremost all about our kids,” Pyles said of the effort that “has just blown my mind.”
“The Blue Bear Cafe is one of the bright shining lights of the Mount Airy school system,” Commissioner Jon Cawley remarked, while thanking Polly Long for her involvement.
“I know y’all will go far in life,” Commissioner Marie Wood told the students.
“Great job, ladies,” said the board’s Joe Zalescik.
“This is what a community like Mount Airy is and can be,” Mayor Ron Niland said of the cafe’s success.
June 09, 2022
Surry Community College hosted a Graduate Career Expo recently, providing graduates with the opportunity to meet with many businesses who were recruiting employees.
“We appreciate the support of our local businesses by their participation in this inaugural event,” said Rachel L. Hiatt, SCC coordinator for Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Initiatives. “The college’s Purpose Center offered graduates help with resume preparation and interview skills during workshops in April.”
Businesses in attendance were Carport Central/The Central Steel Group; Chatham Nursing and Rehab; Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital; J’s HVAC Unlimited LLC; Johnson Granite Inc.; Moore and Associates Engineering and Consulting; Mountain Valley Hospice; Ottenweller Company; Pike Electric; Prism Medical Products; Salem Electric Co.; Surry Communications; Wayne Farms LLC; and Weyerhaeuser; Workforce Unlimited.
The SCC Marketing Department took complimentary digital professional headshots of students for their social media sites during the event.
Any business representative wishing to partner with SCC to find employees, interns or apprentices should contact Hiatt 336-386-3291 or hiattr@surry.edu.
June 08, 2022
GREENSBORO — Three-and-a-half years after Kieffer | Starlite sign company purchased Burton Signs of Mount Airy — and less than a year after announcing an expansion at the local plant — Kieffer | Starlite has opted to sell the facility as part of a company-wide, multi-month reorganization.
And in so doing, the former Burton Signworks company in Mount Airy has come full circle.
Allen Industries, a family-owned company based in Greensboro, announced on Wednesday it had acquired the Mount Airy production facility of national sign company Kieffer | Starlite earlier this spring.
The move brings together two firms which have, in some ways, always been connected. Wayne Burton, founder of what would eventually become Burton Signworks, started the Mount Airy business in 1983 — after learning the trade by working for Allen Industries.
“Wayne Burton got his start in the sign business working for Allen Industries in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s before starting Burton Electric Signs Inc. in 1974,” said Tom Allen, Allen Industries president.
Burton grew his sign business from a one-man, one-truck operation to a business with as many as 50-75 employees before eventually selling his sign company to a local business group in 2007, according to Allen Industries. Burton continued to work there until his retirement in 2010.
He ran the operation as a family-owned business, something Tom Allen said his firm does as well. His grandfather started Allen Industries in 1931 with neon signs, successfully growing into a full-service signage and architectural elements manufacturer and installation company. Now he, his brothers, and some fourth-generation family members work at the firm, which has manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Ohio.
The Mount Airy facility will be Allen Industries seventh location, allowing the signage company more capacity, equipment and expertise to design, build and maintain every type of signage and re-imaging program and fulfill even more projects across the U.S. and abroad. Allen Industries completed nearly 2,000 national and international installations last year.
The Mount Airy facility has already undergone some changes over the past two years. Its previous owners announced last spring it would be consolidating two area locations into one, at 699 Junction Street, and expanding its workforce and production facilities.
That owner, Kieffer | Starlite, has since undergone significant changes as well. In November, the firm announced it was “right sizing” its operations, shutting down all of its production facilities except for Mount Airy and one in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In April, the firm announced it had been acquired by PSCO Global Group, and that acquisition included the Wisconsin plant. While the sale of the Mount Airy facility was not announced until Wednesday, that also took place in April.
Now, the local manufacturing operation is in the hands of the place where its founder got his start in the sign business.
“Wayne Burton ran his operation with the same family-oriented atmosphere we strive for at Allen Industries,” said Tom Allen. “Just as we mentored him early in his career, Wayne was well known for his nurturing of young individuals starting in the signage profession and as a result, he had the loyalty and tenure of his employees. Much like Wayne’s business, Allen Industries has many longtime employees who start here and retire with us. With the acquisition of this Mount Airy facility, the Allen-Burton legacy comes full circle and we couldn’t be more pleased to become a part of this fantastic community.”
Allen Industries plans to add employees and “bring back the numbers and culture of the former Burton Electric Signs/Burton Signworks and welcomes all applications.”
“At Allen Industries, you’ll find a family business and culture where our people are our most valuable asset and our team members work together to meet customer needs. With industry-leading benefits and incentives, associates are valued, encouraged to develop, and are rewarded for their performance,” Allen said.
For more information the company, or potential job openings there, visit www.allenindustries.com/careers.
June 05, 2022
DOBSON – The week of Earth Day saw Wayne Farms employees living up to their “Amazing Starts With Me” motto, holding a Dobson Complex Cleanup, then undertaking a joint effort uniting the Dobson Sustainability Team with city workers to spruce up the town and maintain common areas.
Wayne Farms Dobson was title sponsor for the Town of Dobson’s annual Dobson Spring Folly, a town-square community fair held in conjunction with Earth Day and featuring local business and merchant booths, food, games and prizes for hundreds of local attendees.
The Wayne Farms booth showcased company sustainability initiatives and career opportunities, complete with games and prizes focused on sustainability, recycle/reuse and other eco-friendly themes. The company also recently upgraded the local plant complex to be more energy-efficient, installing new EV Car Charging Stations at the facility as part of Wayne Farms Dobson’s ongoing effort to bolster sustainability, support community priorities. and encourage environmentally responsible corporate and individual practices at work and in everyday life.
“It was great to see our people out there making things better as part of the community where we live,” said Matthew Wooten, Wayne Farms Dobson complex manager and long-time community leader.
“We’re proud to do our part and we had a lot of fun doing it,” said Stephanie Reynolds, one of the Wayne Farms Dobson organizers.
Dobson’s approach to sustainability is part of Wayne Farms’ larger mission of sustainable operations under its “Amazing Starts With Me” organizational tenant. Focused on producing quality products, responsible stewardship of resources, humane treatment of animals, supporting employees and championing communities, the company said it has a long history of partnering on local causes. Community support in the form of financial aid, food products and volunteer labor is central to the company’s operating ethos, including assistance for local social service agencies and community organizations.
June 05, 2022
The need for sustainability is discussed often these days, and a Mount Airy sock manufacturer has received statewide recognition for making that happen within its operations.
This involved Nester Hosiery recently being presented with a 2022 Manufacturing Leadership Award for Sustainable Manufacturing by the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
The award program of that organization highlights companies for their commitment to the state’s industrial sector, as proven by outstanding performance in the areas of manufacturing excellence, sustainable manufacturing, innovation, workforce development and economic development/developing markets.
Nester Hosiery is a leading U.S. producer of performance merino wool socks and the parent company of the Farm to Feet sock brand.
“Sustainability is one of Nester Hosiery’s core tenants and we continually strive to improve our processes and systems to be the best global citizen we can be,” Anna Draughn, the company’s director of merchandising, said in a statement.
For example, in 2020 Nester Hosiery used 393,229 less kilowatt-hours of energy than it did in 2019 thanks to a number of energy-reduction programs including an air leak detection initiative on which it partnered with Surry Community College.
By identifying and repairing air leaks throughout Nester Hosiery’s production processes, it is estimated that the company could save 16,000 kilowatt-hours.
Along with reducing its plastic and cardboard usage, Nester has a strong internal recycling program and encourages employees lacking access to curbside recycling to bring recyclable materials from home.
In 2020, Nester Hosiery diverted 212.22 tons of those materials from the local landfill.
The company received formal recognition for its manufacturing excellence through such efforts at an awards ceremony in Durham in late May during an event called MFGCON.
It is known as North Carolina’s premier industrial conference that features the most up-to-date and relevant topics among influential manufacturing “thought leaders” in the state.
Nester Hosiery markets itself as the designer and manufacturer of the most innovative socks in the world, a key producer in the outdoor industry operating state-of-the-art knitting, finishing and packaging equipment to make premium outdoor performance socks.
It does so for leading outdoor brands and retailers as well as under its own Farm to Feet brand.
Nester Hosiery strives to have customers value the company’s manufacturing capabilities along with its commitment to social and environmental responsibility, while being an important employer and economic driver for this area.
The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership is the official representative of the MEP National Network in North Carolina.
That network is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing domestic production.
June 04, 2022
CHARLOTTE – Duke Energy continues to expand solar power in North Carolina with its 22.6-megawatt (MW) Stony Knoll Solar power plant in Surry County now in operation.
The project is owned and operated by Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions (DESS). The project was selected as part of the competitive bidding process established by 2017’s solar legislation in North Carolina.
The solar plant contains 76,600 panels with single-axis tracking. The plant is located on 195 acres in Dobson, near Rockford Road. The facility will power the equivalent of 5,000 homes.
“In addition to our many renewable energy projects across the nation, North Carolina continues to be fertile ground for solar power,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. “With the help of our partners in Surry County, we have brought online the largest solar power plant in the county.”
The facility’s design and construction of the project were performed by SOLV Energy. The solar power generated by the project will be delivered through a 20-year power purchase agreement.
North Carolina is fourth in the nation for overall solar energy. The outlook is promising for more solar energy as Duke Energy develops a proposed Carolinas Carbon Plan, which is being considered by state regulators.
“Solar power continues to play a vital part of our clean energy transition,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We expect renewables to grow significantly in the years ahead as we focus on meeting our customers’ needs for increasingly clean energy.”
May 30, 2022
Fourteen students recently graduated from Surry Community College’s Truck Driver Training Program at the Yadkin Center.
The graduates include Kyle Dowell, Michael Jones, Emily Parker and Justin Smith of Mount Airy; Ardella Walsh of Pilot Mountain; Christopher Moore of Siloam; Marcie McKinney of Elkin; Osiel Burgos of Jonesville; Stacey Deel of Yadkinville; Jeff Lowe of Boonville; Tosha McCoy of Purlear; along with Travis Booth, Jay Murat and Michael Norrell of Winston-Salem.
Surry Community College will be offering another section of Truck Driver Training starting in the summer. The class will run from Monday, August 1 through Tuesday, Oct. 4, and will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Median pay for truck drivers is $47,100 per year, according to the United States Department of Labor,” college officials said. “Drivers with experience can make more than $50,000. With a shortage of up to 12,000 truck drivers in North Carolina and as many as 200,000 nationally, CDL-certified drivers will easily be able to find jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor says the profession is expected to keep growing – by 6% during 2020-2030.”
“There are currently job openings for truck drivers locally and nationally. We developed this program as a direct response to the requests from local truck driving representatives who need skilled applicants to fill job vacancies,” said SCC President Dr. David Shockley.
The SCC Truck Driver Training Program teaches proper driving procedures, safe driver responsibility, commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations, and the basic principles and practices for operating commercial vehicles. The coursework includes motor vehicle laws and regulations, map reading, vehicle maintenance, safety procedures, daily logs, defensive driving, freight handling, security and fire protection.
Highway driving training exercises and classroom lectures are used to develop the students’ knowledge and skills. Graduates are qualified to take the Commercial Driver’s License Test and are employable by commercial trucking firms. They may also become owner-operators and work as private contract haulers.
Admission requirements include official driving record; physical examination; reading placement test score of 40 or higher; disclosure form; high school transcript; and drug testing.
For more information about SCC’s Truck Driver Training Program, contact the Yadkin Center at 336-386-3580. The tuition is $1,876, and some students qualify for a tuition scholarship. To check eligibility, visit www.surry.edu/funding.
May 28, 2022
Northern Regional Hospital received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for spring 2022. This national distinction recognizes Northern Regional Hospital’s achievements in protecting patients from preventable harm and error in the hospital.
“I am honored to be part of the Northern Regional Team where providing safe care is at the forefront every day,” said Lynn Lambert, director of quality management at Northern Regional Hospital. “Patient safety is intentional with every encounter. Receiving a Leapfrog Grade ‘A’ is recognition that we can all be proud of.”
The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm.
“I am extremely proud of the entire NRH team of 1,000 caregivers. An ‘A’ grade confirms our efforts to deliver the highest quality of care and places NRH in the top tier of all hospitals in the United States. Job well done,” said Chris Lumsden, president and CEO of Northern Regional Hospital.
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is peer reviewed, transparent, and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.
“As our health care system continues to feel the strain of the pandemic, I thank the workforce and leadership of Northern Regional Hospital for sustained commitment to patient safety, day in and day out,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “An ‘A’ Safety Grade is an outstanding achievement, and one that is not possible without a 24/7 effort by the entire health care workforce to protect patients from harm. This community should be proud.”
To see Northern Regional Hospital’s full grade details and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit HospitalSafetyGrade.org and follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter, Facebook, and via its newsletter.
May 22, 2022
The Board of Directors of Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB) has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 10.5 cents per share on the company’s common stock. The cash dividend is payable on July 8 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on June 17.
Ted Ashby, CEO of Surrey Bancorp, stated the dividend was based on the company’s operating results, its “strong financial condition and a commitment to delivering shareholder value.”
Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street and a limited service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin and 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro, and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.
Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at www.surreybank.com.

© 2018 The Mount Airy News


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