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Sabrena Hemric began her career as a pharmacy technician and she is now the administrative leader for the hospitalists at Northern Regional Hospital in Mount Airy. She is a student in the Medical Office Administration program at Surry Community College who plans to finish the degree in the spring.
Surry Community College student Sabrena Hemric, 43, decided to enroll in Medical Office Administration classes and earn a degree because she was motivated to make a career change and continue to grow professionally.
After she graduated from Elkin High School in 1997, Hemric signed up for classes at Surry Community College to be a nurse.
“I decided not to continue because I was uncertain if that was what I wanted to do. I had my mind on salary and didn’t like dealing with blood. I realized there are better career options for me,” she said. “I started researching careers and knew I wanted to do something that made a difference in people’s lives. I started a job at a CVS pharmacy in January of 2000, training as a pharmacy technician.”
Hemric worked for CVS in Yadkinville for 19 years in the pharmacy.
“The only experience I had was knowing how to operate a computer. At CVS, I loved working in a fast-paced environment and knowing I would play a part in keeping people happy and healthy, so I became certified within a year in 2001,” she said.
Hemric received on-the-job training to study for the pharmacy technician certification exam and earned her certification. She worked as a pharmacy technician for 12 years and then as lead pharmacy technician and inventory specialist for the remainder of her time at CVS.
A job opening in Elkin for a pharmacy technician at Revival, a pain management clinic, caught her attention. This office was opening a drug dispensary, and a pharmacy technician was needed to teach the doctors more about the drugs they would be prescribing in terms of how the drugs looked after being produced by different pharmaceutical companies.
“I prayed about it and took a leap and applied,” Hemric said. “It was a hard decision to make because I was comfortable in my old job, but the idea of this job was intriguing. I also liked the work schedule better because retail pharmacy work is so demanding.”
In 2011, she started working at Revival, and a patient room was made into a dispensary.
“I taught doctors what medicines looked like and taught them the process of dispensing,” she said. “It was so interesting and fun. This was my first experience working with doctors. I love to learn and experience different things.”
Dr. Ben Raines became Hemric’s mentor and advised her to further her education in the Medical Office Administration program.
“He saw abilities in me that I couldn’t see in myself,” she said. “He guided me and tested me daily. He asked me questions and even gave me an IQ test. He encouraged me to go to school and get the Medical Office Administration degree. He acted like I was one of his daughters. He checked in on me and called me ‘his kid.’ He complimented my work and pushed me to do even more.”
Hemric worked with the patients at check-ins and check-outs to verify they were using their prescription medicines, highly controlled narcotics, accurately. She did pill counts and examined the pills to make sure they were from the correct manufacturers.
“I enjoy helping people and working in a team setting,” Hemric said. “I like finding solutions, preventing problems and helping my team members. I learned the clinical setting of healthcare at the pain clinic. I was always willing to help in different areas. I wanted to learn everything I could. I shadowed the practice manager and would fill in for her whenever she was out.”
Northern Regional Hospital acquired the pain clinic after Hemric was on the job for about a year and a half. She worked for the pain clinic for 10 years.
“Northern Regional offers tuition assistance to employees. They are a fantastic company,” Hemric said. “They take care of their employees. They made a good impression on me. So, when they withdrew from the pain clinic, I decided to come with them.”
In fall 2020, she enrolled in Medical Office Administration classes at Surry Community College. She has taken all her classes online while working full-time. She plans to finish the degree in the spring.
At the end of September, she began working as a pharmacy technician at Northern Regional Hospital where she worked for two months before getting a promotion. She was encouraged to apply and landed the role of being the administrative leader for the hospitalists, a job which she began on Dec. 7.
“When they offered me the job, I was tickled to death. I thought, what amazing opportunities I am getting, and I haven’t even completed my degree yet,” Hemric said.
Hemric graduated from the Northern Leadership Academy, which is a competitive, internal program for employees of Northern Regional Hospital. This year’s academy had 20 applicants,with seven being accepted. Each member of the Northern Leadership Academy completes a case study. For her case study, Hemric put her problem-solving skills to work and formulated a process to improve communication between the hospitalists and staff, resulting in improved patient care, and decreased wait time for patients approved for release.
“I love challenges, and I love working for Northern. They want you to grow. They help you,” she said.
On Fridays, Hemric assists hospital operations in the administrative suite, which has helped her learn about another department of the hospital – its highest leadership.
“You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t be afraid – it made me nervous to change careers and get out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad I did,” she said. “Earning my college degree is opening up job opportunities for me that I never thought were possible.
Hemric lives in Elkin with her husband, Chad, and daughters, Ashley, Lauren and Haley, and grandson, Ashton.
SCC’s Medical Office Administration program offers a degree, diploma and three certificates including Medical Office Administration, Medical Billing & Insurance and Patient Services Representative. The program prepares students for employment as medical administrative personnel in the areas of medical billing and coding, dental office, patient services, and medical documents.
Registration is open for spring courses. For questions about college application, financial aid, or class registration, contact Student & Workforce Services at 336-386-3264 or studentservices@surry.edu.
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January 22, 2023
Samantha S. Kunz, FNP-C, has joined the Family Medicine Division of Northern Regional Hospital, where she will diagnose and treat adult and pediatric patients with a wide-range of clinical conditions that require her clinical expertise.
A native of Mount Airy, 32-year-old Kunz feels that her new role at Northern – as a fully certified Family Nurse Practitioner – is the culmination of what she’s always meant to do professionally, and where she’s always meant to be.
“I spent eight years as a nurse in Northern’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and loved every minute of dealing with my patients and their families,” she said. “But I also realized that many ICU patients are readmissions, so I became determined to advance my studies so I could be at the front-end of the patient-care spectrum in order to help keep patients out of hospitals and ICUs.”
Accordingly, one of Kunz’s patient-care goals is to educate her patients about how they can minimize or manage ongoing chronic conditions such as diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD; and also advise them about the many organizational and online resources available to them. “My treatment focus is to build a trusting and compassionate relationship with patients and their families – so they know I will do my best to help keep them as healthy as possible and out of the hospital,” she explained. “I also share with my patients the most up-to-date treatments – since medicines and therapies are always changing.”
“We are delighted to welcome Samantha Kunz to our rapidly growing primary-care practice,” said Richard Herber, MD, in announcing her appointment. “Samantha brings to our team the right combination of demonstrated clinical experience, advanced nursing knowledge, and a compassion and commitment to patients that is the hallmark of quality care at Northern Family Medicine.”
After earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2014, Kunz launched her clinical career in the 10-bed Intensive Care Unit of Northern Regional Hospital. It was there that she provided comprehensive care to clinically unstable patients with both acute and chronic illnesses.
She reflects positively on the closeness that frequently develops between ICU patients and their nurses. “Such relationships were magnified during the height of the COVID pandemic, when visitors were not allowed into hospitals,” she explains. “At that time, we nurses were our patients’ families for months at a time. And for many of our elderly patients, we used our personal phones to help them Facetime with their families at home.”
Kunz also served as charge nurse for the ICU on an as-needed basis; and also functioned as nurse preceptor, which required her to teach and train new staff and nursing students who arrived on the unit. “I very much enjoyed that part of my job because I got to focus on the educational side of things,” she said.
It was also during her tenure in Northern Regional Hospital’s ICU that Kunz’s respect and admiration for her employer grew. “While I knew I wanted to advance professionally, I also knew I wanted to remain at Northern,” she said. “The hospital’s leadership team has always treated nurses very well and been very respectful of our needs and concerns. When I mentioned I wanted to continue my studies, they were very positive and encouraging, especially my manager Patty Creed manager of Critical Care Services.”
In August 2022, Kunz graduated from Western Carolina University’s master of science, family nurse practitioner program – after having successfully completed classroom coursework and multiple clinical rotations within several key specialties, including cardiology, family medicine, geriatrics, OB/GYN, and women’s health, and urgent care.
Kunz holds certifications in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, and advanced stroke life support. She is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
While an undergraduate at Lenoir-Rhyne, Kunz met her husband, Matt, who works as a mortgage loan officer at a local credit union. “We’ve been together for 13 years, and married for seven of those,” she said. The young couple has two daughters — four-year-old Maggie and two-year-old Hallie — and their family has been rounded-out with two small, rambunctious dachshunds.
“We enjoy spending time together, being outside; and taking the girls to events or activities where they can play,” said Kunz.
A daughter of Monty and Dawn Simpson, Kunz enjoys doing things with family. She and her mother and sister share a common bond: baking and decorating cookies. “We get together and my mom does the baking and my sister and I do the decorating – it’s very intricate.”
To schedule an appointment with Kunz, call Northern Family Medicine at 336-786-4133 or visit Northern Family Medicine online at wearenorthern.org/ family-medicine.
January 21, 2023
Tourism increasingly is hailed as one of the main components of Mount Airy’s economy and the person heading those efforts locally has been awarded by a regional organization for expertise in that regard.
Jessica Icenhour Roberts, who is executive director of the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority, was recognized for her work in promoting this area as a tourism destination during the annual DIY Tourism and Local Marketing Conference recently in Asheville.
Roberts was honored in front of her peers and amongst other tourism organizations and leaders in the United States during the conference with the DIY? Because We Love You! award.
This achievement was announced Wednesday by the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority and the Tourism Partnership of Surry County, with which Roberts also has been active.
She was recognized for her use of innovative marketing and enhancing the Mayberry brand along with other tourism assets that will keep bringing future and returning visitors to Mount Airy, according to officials of the DIY Tourism Marketing Workshop.
It was formed in 2016 to provide training for industry professionals in the region and holds annual conferences in Asheville, with the most recent one at which Roberts was awarded the sixth so far.
In 2022, DIY founders Sarah Benoit, Chris Cavanaugh and Justin Belleme had decided it was time to start a new tradition to recognize communities doing incredible work in tourism marketing.
This initiative recognized the fact that the tourism industry was hit hard by the pandemic, resulting in many marketing professionals facing unprecedented challenges. DIY officials sought to celebrate their commitment, dedication and passion.
The team behind the yearly DIY conference opted to honor up to three community tourism organizations for their work and impact in the areas they serve across the Southeast region.
These were chosen on the basis of being innovative and community building through strategies that have real, tangible impact.
Roberts “a strong leader”
The local tourism advocate received her award from the Asheville entity specifically for how she has improvised and found opportunity in times of change, while staying true to the beloved “Visit Mayberry” brand, a DIY official explained.
“She is a curious, life-long learner and I think that is what makes her such a strong leader and storyteller for her region,” Sarah Benoit, one of the DIY founders, said in a statement.
“Mount Airy has been able to honor its past and keep those memories alive, while simultaneously evolving in the moment to support the community,” added Benoit, who is familiar with Roberts’ efforts over the years.
“Jessica has played a big part in the whole region’s continued success.”
In addition to Roberts, Angela Allen from Visit Granville County and Tami Reist and Angie Pierce from the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourism Association were award recipients.
“I feel honored to be recognized by the DIY Tourism Conference for the work that I am truly passionate about,” Roberts reacted Friday afternoon.
“My goal for our tourism efforts has always been to promote what makes our community stand out amongst other destinations and makes us unique,” added the tourism official, who has been on the job locally for about 19 years.
“We want to stay relevant and dynamic with our future marketing efforts and to keep Mount Airy on the map as a great destination that keeps bringing new visitors and repeat visitors back to our area.”
Additional efforts
Along with DIY, the local official has become involved with a number of other organizations over the years to broaden Surry County’s tourism reach.
This includes serving on the governing board of the Southeast Tourism Society, which covers 13 states and the District of Columbia.
In the spring of 2021, Roberts became president of the Blue Ridge Parkway Association, considered the marketing arm of the scenic highway.
She also chairs the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Piedmont Triad Film Commission, which works to have movie and television productions shot in Surry and other communities across the region.
January 14, 2023
Surry County Farm Bureau President Danny Hodges was honored recently during the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Greensboro.
He was recognized among his peers at the Presidents’ and Agents’ Luncheon. Farm Bureau President Shawn Harding presented each winning county president with a limited edition Case knife.
Each county’s agency force worked to qualify their county president for this recognition. Special plaques were also presented to the agents and agencies whose production was superior during the contest period.
January 13, 2023
Chris A. Lumsden, president and CEO of Northern Regional Hospital, has been elected as an at-large delegate of the Regional Policy Board 3 (Southeastern United States) with the American Hospital Association.
The association is the national organization that represents hospitals and healthcare networks throughout the U.S. and serves their patients and communities through advocacy, representation, knowledge exchange, and thought leadership.
The American Hospital Association uses analysis and recommendations from the organization’s regional policy board in policy deliberations. The appointment is effective through Dec. 31, 2025.
“I am honored to represent Northern Regional Hospital and other North Carolina hospitals and health systems,” said Lumsden. “Serving on this board allows me the opportunity to favorably influence federal health care policy and legislation that impact the well being of rural, community-based hospitals.
“Chris is a transformational leader whose passion for health care is critical as the AHA develops policies to address the specific challenges that hospitals across the country are facing,” said Matthew Wright, AHA Region 3 executive. “His decades of experience and unique perspective will inform the Regional Policy Board as we undertake this important work.”
Lumsden is a native of Roanoke, Virginia, graduated with honors from Bridgewater College and received his master’s degree with honors from George Washington University. He is a licensed nursing home administrator in North Carolina and Virginia, and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is past board chairman of several Virginia state economic development and higher education organizations and serves on the board of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, Surry County Economic Development Partnership, and several boards associated with the North Carolina Healthcare Association.
He is recipient of several distinguished leadership awards and in 2020 was named as one of the Top 20 Most Admired CEOs in the Triad region of NC by the Triad Business Journal.
January 02, 2023
Lisa Ring has stuck with Mayberry Mall in Mount Airy through thick and thin — keeping her Hallmark store there open even as the mall literally was crumbling and causing all but a handful of merchants to bail.
She maintained Hallmark’s presence as a South Carolina real estate firm bought the then-50-year-old shopping center in early 2019 — effectively rescuing it from forced demolition by local government officials after the former owner neglected repairs, making conditions unsafe.
Calling the acquisition by WRS Inc. “a blessing” at that time, Ring saw hope for the future as the company launched a major renovation project that signaled the kind of storybook ending often associated with the Hallmark name — until it didn’t.
After surviving the ordeals of recent years, Ring will not be resting on any laurels and deservedly taking her business to the next level — but closing it instead sometime later this month.
“It was my dream — I put every penny I made back in the business.” Ring said of how she built up the store over time.
“This store has been here over 40 years,” she said recently regarding a fixture at the mall on U.S. 52-North which itself had opened soon before in the late 1960s. “And I have owned it for 15.”
The reason for the closing is not the usual suspect where businesses are concerned — lack of profits — but a complicated series of events surrounding the space she leases at the mall from WRS Inc. for her 4,500-square-foot Hallmark store.
“The economy isn’t great, but that’s not why I’m closing,” Ring said.
It boils down to the business owner being told she must sign a new lease that would mean forking out more than $81,000 per year for that space — about double the present cost.
Coupled with this problem is a failed, 20-year-old HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system at her store which recently has meant hot conditions in the summer and cold ones in winter.
WRS was willing to replace the HVAC components at an estimated expense of $18,000 — but only if she signed the new, long-term (three-to-five-year) lease at the much higher cost, according to Ring.
“They will fix it if I pay that kind of rent,” she related. “They won’t do anything for me until I pay full rent.”
Yet Ring can’t justify coughing up that sum since the mall still has only a few occupants, not generating enough customers to cover such a hike. This relates to how the success of a mall depends on some extent to the ability to draw steady and diverse customer traffic through the power of stores’ collective presence.
Ring said the Hallmark outlet certainly does its part in this way. “I bring people to Mount Airy.”
Other spaces kept cozy
Ironically, heating and air conditioning is not a problem elsewhere in the mall, where store spots await new occupants. “They have got spaces sitting here empty that’s got heat and air and mine don’t,” Ring said of the Hallmark store where three infrared heaters have been pressed into service in an effort to keep it warm.
“They told me I could send them a counter-offer,” the veteran businesswoman said of her negotiations with WRS personnel, “which was rejected immediately.”
Ring also questioned the timing of the lease ultimatum that she believes was a leveraging move to force a quick decision — coming during the advent of the holiday season. “They waited until I got my store filled with Christmas merchandise,” including an array of cards, ornaments and gift items.
Asset Manager Frank Peters at WRS — whom Ring has dealt with during the process — did not respond to a voice-mail message left Friday at his office seeking the firm’s response to the Hallmark matter. Peters also was invited to submit an email statement as an option, which hasn’t occurred.
Meanwhile, Lisa Ring is left wondering how the situation reached this point after everything else that has happened.
“It’s a shame,” she said of the closing that puts into question the fate of the eight-person Hallmark staff, which includes Ring — “as much as we have fought and put up with” since Mayberry Mall began deteriorating.
“It’s been nothing but a battle for six years,” the store operator continued in reference to the series of problems there.
“And it’s a losing battle.”
Blames herself
Lisa Ring concedes that part of the blame for the difficulties rests with her.
Before the recent impasse, the Hallmark store had been operating on a temporary lease that went into effect when Mayberry Mall was sold to WRS, which seemed reasonable on its face.
“I was so excited — I was gullible,” she now admits.
The rent cost under the temporary lease was 10% of her sales, the going rate for such temporary arrangements, according to Ring. The longtime business owner had the understanding she would not be charged a full rate until the mall was about 75% full of stores.
She further was led to believe WRS would take care of the HVAC upgrade.
“But since I’m in a temporary lease, legally they don’t have to,” advised Ring, who says she should’ve paid more attention to its fine print and had provisions included which weren’t.
“This is all my fault for not paying attention to my lease.”
Now Ring says she basically has no legal leg to stand on in butting heads with the South Carolina corporation that owns shopping centers in multiple states throughout the region.
“It’s kind of David and Goliath.”
Future uncertain
A casual observer might suggest that Ring should just move her Hallmark store to another high-traffic location — but such an option is not as simple as it sounds.
Under guidelines imposed by the Hallmark chain in order for outlets to benefit from its highly marketable name, this would require upfitting another building with new fixtures to the tune of $30,000 in order to meet its specifications.
Ring said she is working with downtown property owner Gene Rees and Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison about a possible new store site in Mount Airy’s central business district, and local businessman Bill Juno, who owns shopping center space locally.
“It would not be a Hallmark store,” Ring said of the requirements involved for a full-fledged operation. The only other option is to open a Hallmark Express outlet offering only limited merchandise such as cards.
While Ring is uncertain about her future in the local business community, she seems even more mystified by the circumstances leading to the present predicament.
“I wake up in the middle of the night and I just can’t believe it,” she said, while offering one possible explanation: “It’s greed.”
December 25, 2022
The Surry Regional Association of Realtors gathered for its annual Christmas celebration at White Sulphur Springs recently, where several were recognized with awards and the group’s new executive board was installed.
The event featured a dinner catered by 13 Bones, live music from Craig Vaughn, door prizes and fellowship.
During the event, the 2022 Realtor of the Year was awarded to Stephanie Montgomery with Mitchell Prime Properties. The recipient of this award is nominated by fellow association Realtors and chosen by the two prior award recipients — Dana Whitaker and Tonda Phillips.
The 2023 executive board was inducted by the North Carolina Association of Realtor Region 6 Vice President, Paul McGill. The 2023 Executive Board includes President Stephanie Montgomery, President-Elect Maggie Cockerham, Secretary/Treasurer Dana Whitaker, State Director Bobbie Collins, and directors Eric Hodges, Steve Yokeley, and Brandon Johnson.
December 25, 2022
Interstate Sign Company Inc. recently celebrated its 31st year with its employees during a Christmas get-together.
“Interstate Sign Company Inc. has been going strong and consistent throughout COVID and economic fluctuations for 31 years,” the company’s officials said, leading owner and President Rick Shelton to hold a day of celebration with his employees. All totaled, 65 people attended the event held at Golden Corral in Mount Airy,
The day began with Secret Santa that brought a lot of laughs and Christmas Spirit. Employees were recognized for their contribution this year with each receiving a bonus check.
For lunch, the employees and crew brought their families to join and fellowship together. Shelton drew employee’s names from a bright red bucket with many winning Yeti coolers, Yeti coffee cup and mugs, gift certificates, and cash surprises.
To close the celebration, plaques were given to employees who had devoted their talents and commitment to the company for 17 years and more. A special recognition went to his father, Gray Shelton, with the most at 30 years. Donna Edwards in accounts receivable was recognized as employee of the year with a plaque and $500. Special puppy plaques were given to Raymond McGee and Russ Comer for “their time and exceptional craftsmen on a much needed dog house for two spoiled dogs,” the company said.
December 24, 2022
While serving the Yadkin Valley region for nearly a century, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital has evolved into a comprehensive community healthcare system providing care across 350,000 patient care visits annually. To better reflect its breadth and depth, the organization has introduced a new brand identity: Hugh Chatham Health – where “Your Health is Our Passion.”
“At Hugh Chatham Health we are committed to exceptionally safe, high-quality care and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made on that journey,” said CEO Paul Hammes. “In the past year alone, we’ve ranked in the top 15% of hospitals nationwide for patient satisfaction, patient safety, and for stroke care. We are one of only two Joint Commission ‘advanced’ total hip and knee replacement centers in the state, recently named a 5-star program by Healthgrades. And we continue to invest in life-changing programs and resources, including a new electronic health record system which will transform the care process. At our hospital, surgery center, emergency department, 29 physician clinics, Hugh Chatham Health at Home, and beyond,”
Cynthia Gonzalez, vice chair of Hugh Chatham Health’s Board of Trustees, added, “The new brand honors our heritage, features a distinct and recognizable ‘HC’, and signals our bold commitment to advance the community’s health and vibrancy. And as we continue to grow, our vision remains clear: to be the best community healthcare system in the nation, with service as our guiding principle.”
In the months ahead, officials there plan for Hugh Chatham Health’s new brand identity to become more visible and broadly represented across the system and region.
December 18, 2022
Surry Community College student Sabrena Hemric, 43, decided to enroll in Medical Office Administration classes and earn a degree because she was motivated to make a career change and continue to grow professionally.
After she graduated from Elkin High School in 1997, Hemric signed up for classes at Surry Community College to be a nurse.
“I decided not to continue because I was uncertain if that was what I wanted to do. I had my mind on salary and didn’t like dealing with blood. I realized there are better career options for me,” she said. “I started researching careers and knew I wanted to do something that made a difference in people’s lives. I started a job at a CVS pharmacy in January of 2000, training as a pharmacy technician.”
Hemric worked for CVS in Yadkinville for 19 years in the pharmacy.
“The only experience I had was knowing how to operate a computer. At CVS, I loved working in a fast-paced environment and knowing I would play a part in keeping people happy and healthy, so I became certified within a year in 2001,” she said.
Hemric received on-the-job training to study for the pharmacy technician certification exam and earned her certification. She worked as a pharmacy technician for 12 years and then as lead pharmacy technician and inventory specialist for the remainder of her time at CVS.
A job opening in Elkin for a pharmacy technician at Revival, a pain management clinic, caught her attention. This office was opening a drug dispensary, and a pharmacy technician was needed to teach the doctors more about the drugs they would be prescribing in terms of how the drugs looked after being produced by different pharmaceutical companies.
“I prayed about it and took a leap and applied,” Hemric said. “It was a hard decision to make because I was comfortable in my old job, but the idea of this job was intriguing. I also liked the work schedule better because retail pharmacy work is so demanding.”
In 2011, she started working at Revival, and a patient room was made into a dispensary.
“I taught doctors what medicines looked like and taught them the process of dispensing,” she said. “It was so interesting and fun. This was my first experience working with doctors. I love to learn and experience different things.”
Dr. Ben Raines became Hemric’s mentor and advised her to further her education in the Medical Office Administration program.
“He saw abilities in me that I couldn’t see in myself,” she said. “He guided me and tested me daily. He asked me questions and even gave me an IQ test. He encouraged me to go to school and get the Medical Office Administration degree. He acted like I was one of his daughters. He checked in on me and called me ‘his kid.’ He complimented my work and pushed me to do even more.”
Hemric worked with the patients at check-ins and check-outs to verify they were using their prescription medicines, highly controlled narcotics, accurately. She did pill counts and examined the pills to make sure they were from the correct manufacturers.
“I enjoy helping people and working in a team setting,” Hemric said. “I like finding solutions, preventing problems and helping my team members. I learned the clinical setting of healthcare at the pain clinic. I was always willing to help in different areas. I wanted to learn everything I could. I shadowed the practice manager and would fill in for her whenever she was out.”
Northern Regional Hospital acquired the pain clinic after Hemric was on the job for about a year and a half. She worked for the pain clinic for 10 years.
“Northern Regional offers tuition assistance to employees. They are a fantastic company,” Hemric said. “They take care of their employees. They made a good impression on me. So, when they withdrew from the pain clinic, I decided to come with them.”
In fall 2020, she enrolled in Medical Office Administration classes at Surry Community College. She has taken all her classes online while working full-time. She plans to finish the degree in the spring.
At the end of September, she began working as a pharmacy technician at Northern Regional Hospital where she worked for two months before getting a promotion. She was encouraged to apply and landed the role of being the administrative leader for the hospitalists, a job which she began on Dec. 7.
“When they offered me the job, I was tickled to death. I thought, what amazing opportunities I am getting, and I haven’t even completed my degree yet,” Hemric said.
Hemric graduated from the Northern Leadership Academy, which is a competitive, internal program for employees of Northern Regional Hospital. This year’s academy had 20 applicants,with seven being accepted. Each member of the Northern Leadership Academy completes a case study. For her case study, Hemric put her problem-solving skills to work and formulated a process to improve communication between the hospitalists and staff, resulting in improved patient care, and decreased wait time for patients approved for release.
“I love challenges, and I love working for Northern. They want you to grow. They help you,” she said.
On Fridays, Hemric assists hospital operations in the administrative suite, which has helped her learn about another department of the hospital – its highest leadership.
“You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t be afraid – it made me nervous to change careers and get out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad I did,” she said. “Earning my college degree is opening up job opportunities for me that I never thought were possible.
Hemric lives in Elkin with her husband, Chad, and daughters, Ashley, Lauren and Haley, and grandson, Ashton.
SCC’s Medical Office Administration program offers a degree, diploma and three certificates including Medical Office Administration, Medical Billing & Insurance and Patient Services Representative. The program prepares students for employment as medical administrative personnel in the areas of medical billing and coding, dental office, patient services, and medical documents.
Registration is open for spring courses. For questions about college application, financial aid, or class registration, contact Student & Workforce Services at 336-386-3264 or studentservices@surry.edu.
December 17, 2022
DOBSON — Bailey Wood as joined the Cooperative Extension, Surry County Center as the county’s livestock extension agent.
Wood is from Stephens City, Virginia where she grew up raising livestock and being involved with 4-H and FFA. She graduated from Virginia Tech where she studied animal and poultry sciences and dairy science.
She will be working with local livestock producers to identify problem areas that limit long-term productivity. She will continue with the existing livestock program and incorporate educational programs that will address rising production issues. These programs will help livestock producers implement best management practices into their farming operations, develop strategic plans for sustainability, and incorporate new management skills into their operations.
Wood hopes to enable producers to better manage renewable resources, such as soil, water, nutrients, and crops. The programs will be open to anyone who is interested in livestock production no matter the level of their experience.
December 05, 2022
It was an invitation-only event for members of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce last week in Dobson as Randy Collins the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon to discuss the holiday auction, celebrate their Champions, and prepare for a busy 2023.
For the holiday season the chamber will be continuing its tradition of hosting an online auction that will serve to promote local member’s products and services.
Chamber officials announced a date change on the auction which will now begin on Thursday, Dec. 8. and will run through the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Gala to be held on Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. at Luna’s Trail Farm & Events Center Big Creek Lodge in Westfield.
The chamber receives no public money from municipal or county governments, Collins said, so the dues of members and the events the organization holds, such as the auction, bring in all the funding. Monday, he said that donations for the auction are still welcome. Anyone wishing to donate can contact their office at 336-786-6116.
A link to the view the auction items will be made available on Dec. 8, according to the chamber’s auction website. More information on the online auction can be found at https://fb.me/e/6gjfZAJ1D.
Officials said the annual fundraiser holds a dual purpose. “Not only does the auction raise money for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, but it also fulfills the organization’s mission to advance, promote, and encourage business grow, along with connecting business leaders within the community and spreading the holiday cheer.”
At these events Collins is often found himself spreading the cheer with smile and a one liner at the ready. Last week while he was working the serving line at the luncheon, he was greeting chamber members and fielding questions about the auction. From the stage he offered jovially, “With all of you here today, who is running the businesses?”
There are many crafty artisans in the area and merchants eager to increase their exposure to the community by donating auction items. For now, the exact auction lineup in still locked away from curious eyes, however items may range from hotel stays, gift cards, gift baskets, all many of special products and services from local merchants in support of the Chamber.
During the luncheon, eyes were already on the horizon to 2023. Collins said that next year’s Chamber president Lenise Lynch, General Manager of Hampton Inn by Hilton of Mount Airy, was already hard at work in planning for next year and, “It’s going to be a good year.”
Their calendar for the coming year is chock full of 13 events including the heavy hitters folks know of such as the Autumn Leaves Festival (Oct. 13 – 15), or The Chairman’s Cup Golf Tournament at Pilot Knob Country Club (May 25).
Spread throughout the year are a variety of smaller events such as Business After Hours and Coffee and Connections get togethers that allow chamber members to get together, network, and strategize. One benefit often touted of membership is the ability to utilize the knowledge and expertise of other members in growing their business.
The luncheon attendees were told that non-chamber member participation in chamber events was up by 40%. More feet on the ground seeing a sponsorship logo at an event can lead to new customers or, in a twist, perhaps the next great hire.
Events Director and Autumn Leaves Festival Director Jordon Edwards presented information on the Chamber Champions program. She said, “It is a way to elevate your membership and your business profile” that is a great value yielding more bang for the buck.
Being a champion is a business investment she said and told the crowd that Chamber Champions receive year-round marketing efforts that total more than $3,400. “We want to partner with you, we want to elevate you,” she told the members.
Being a champion will give business access to all their events throughout the year. In the past year an allotment of tickets for the golf tournament or the women’s conference would have been doled out.
Now she said that process will allow maximum flexibility for their members by giving them a total set number of tickets to all events and allowing the members to choose how and when to use them for greatest impact.
Champion packages range from the Friend level at $1,500 to Elite level at $6,500 and at every level are event tickets, opportunities for logos/signage at events, promotion in the membership directory, as well as listing on the chamber website and social media.
The luncheon last week also was a chance to honor their current champions who were welcomed on stage to receive a plaque honoring their participation in the program. Extreme Marketing, Rogers Realty and Auction, Surry Communications, and Mountain Valley Hospice were recognized as Bronze Level Champions.
At the Silver Level of support were Shelton Vineyards and Ridgecrest Senior Living, who’s Connie Hamlin will be completing her terms as Chamber Chair at the beginning of the year. That made her one of the happiest people in the room, Collins quipped.
Gold Level Champions recognized by the chamber were Northern Regional Hospital, Allegacy Federal Credit Union, and Carport Central/Cibirix.
Carolina Carports was recognized as being the top events financial contributor as the firm was the title sponsor for the Autumn Leaves Festival. Collins told the crown this year’s ALF was “the biggest ever.”
Recognizing and supporting their own truly is part of the chamber’s mission and not only during galas and events. Whether at ribbon cuttings like one upcoming next week at the new local office of Megan Bowman Realty or Thursday morning at Rusty Rooster Southern Breakfast in Mount Airy to mark one year since they opened, the chamber support their own.
Andrews said as a former small business owner herself, she recalls the struggles and pains of running a business. When other members supported her, she recalled, “It means more than words can say.”
November 30, 2022
Surry Community College has received a $400,000 grant aimed at strengthening its growing partnership with Northern Regional Hospital, keeping open — and expanding — a pipeline of students studying for in the growing healthcare industry.
This two-year grant from the Strada Education Network’s Employer and Community College Partnership Challenge supports employer partnerships that connect learners to in-demand employment opportunities to strengthen regional economies. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the registered nursing job outlook is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030, and N.C. Nursecast predicts the state nursing shortage to be 17,500 by 2033.
Surry Community College will use the grant money to partner with Northern Regional Hospital to address healthcare workforce shortages by increasing enrollment in healthcare programs and expanding support and work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities for students.
The grant and expanding partnership comes on the heels of more recent efforts to bring the hospital and the college closer in opening pathways for area residents interested in healthcare careers.
Northern Regional Hospital partnered with Surry-Yadkin Works to develop the first Youth LPN and RN Apprenticeship Program in North Carolina. In spring 2022, the program finished its second year with 28 youth pre-apprentices working at paid positions at Northern Regional Hospital. Students completed the CNA course during high school, received a paid CNA pre-apprenticeship and were offered an apprenticeship upon successful completion.
This school year, the college and hospital have been implementing a new clinical program at Northern Regional. Currently, SCC’s nursing education staff is responsible for teaching the classroom portion and overseeing their clinical experience at local nursing homes and the hospital. This new collaboration will allow SCC’s nursing staff to teach students the classroom and lab portions on campus and the majority of the clinical experiences for nursing courses taught will be provided by the hospital.
Northern will supply 11 nurse educators from their current staff, and they will be responsible for assisting with coordinating and teaching educational programs and activities that promote continued education of hospital clinical personnel and affiliates. The hospital nurse educators will assist in the scheduling of students for clinical rotations and mentor the students.
“For nearly 40 years, I have been privileged to work and partner with many successful community college workforce training programs,” said Chris A. Lumsden, Northern president and CEO. “I consider this particular partnership and program with Surry Community College among the most creative and important ones to Northern Regional Hospital and the residents of this rural region of North Carolina. This Growing Our Own strategy is paramount to the long-term sustainability of Northern Regional Hospital and a key to successful economic development in Surry County and our neighboring rural counties.”
The new program will utilize the work-based learning program Surry-Yadkin Works that connects four local public school systems to the college, according to information released by the college.
“A healthcare career liaison and health science student success advisor will be hired to increase awareness of healthcare related career pathways among middle and high school students and provide classroom and laboratory instruction,” the college said in announcing the program. “Northern Regional Hospital will provide clinical instruction and supervision for students during rotations, provide opportunities for internships and other professional development activities, and contribute to funding the liaison position after the grant period ends.
“The healthcare career liaison will be responsible for recruitment programs and target three different areas in the community. They will work with middle school students which will include classroom presentations, planning and implementing field trips to Northern Regional Hospital and Siurry Community College, hosting a healthcare career camp, planning and implementing healthcare career fairs, and providing hands-on healthcare experiences through virtual reality programming and manikin simulations.”
The Healthcare Career Liaison will do the same program for high school students, as well as set up job shadowing experiences at the hospital.
“Our goal is to start with students during the career planning phase of middle school and continue throughout high school, so they can learn about their career options in this field and have personal attention with the Health Science Student Success Advisor,” said Crystal Folger-Hawks, Surry-Yadkin Works program director.
The health science student success advisor will offer student advising, assist with high school and college plans of study, register students, and identify appropriate resources to provide students with wraparound services. They will keep the same cohort of students and advise them about the possible consequences of academic decisions and provide guidance to individual support services.
After the grant ends, Northern Regional Hospital and Surry Community College will continue supporting these positions financially. The grant will also pay for hands-on healthcare equipment such as virtual reality tools, presentation kits and CPR manikins, as well as community activities and meetings that will focus on healthcare student recruitment.
“Surry Community College and Northern Regional Hospital have established these positions to expand our recruiting efforts for healthcare programs and ensure students are presented these career opportunities prior to selecting their educational pathway,” said SCC President Dr. David Shockley. “This grant will support the need for dedicated personnel to assist with clinical rotations, faculty teaching and other supporting roles within the nursing program at SCC. We are thankful for the partnership established with Northern Regional Hospital to help meet these critical needs within our community.”
November 19, 2022
The Board of Directors of Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB), the holding company of Surrery Bank and Turst, this week announced it has declared a special cash dividend of 15 cents per share on the dompany’s common stock, as well as a regular cash dividend of 10.5 cents per share on the xompany’s common stock.
The cash dividends are payable on Jan. 10 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Dec. 16. Ted Ashby, CEO of Surrey Bancorp, said the dividends were based on the company’s “current operating results, its strong financial condition and a commitment to delivering shareholder value.”
Surrey Bancorp is located at 145 North Renfro Street in 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, 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro, and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.
Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at www.surreybank.com.
November 18, 2022
Surry County’s only locally based bank appears to be on its way to selling to a larger Virginia-based institution.
Surrey Bancorp, the holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust, and First Community Bank of Bluefield, Virginia, announced on Friday the two had entered into a “plan of merger.”
If the sale is completed, two of Surrey’s board members would assume posts on the First Community board of directors, but the Bluefield bank would be acquiring the assets of both Surrey Bancorp and Surrey Bank & Trust.
Under the terms of the agreement and plan of merger, each share of Surrey common and Class A common stock outstanding immediately prior to the merger will be converted into the right to receive 0.7159 shares of First Community common stock, which equates to $26.95 per share of Surrey common stock and an aggregate transaction value of approximately $113.2 million based on First Community’s recent 10-day volume-weighted average price, according to a statement issued by First Community Bank.
Surrey’s stock price jump 71% on news of the sale, closing Friday at $25.75, up $10.75 from its opening that morning.
The statement issued by First Community did not address what will happen to Surrey’s employees, or to the branches in communities where both banks have a location.
Pedro (Peter) A. Pequeno, II, president of Surrey Bank & Trust, indicated it is too early in the process to be able to definitively answer those questions, but indicated some job cuts might be forthcoming.
“We are in the early stages,” he said of the acquisition. “We are going to work together, it would be disingenuous to say there are going to be no reductions in workforce from either side. However, we…are very sensitive to that, to taking care of our communities where we serve. We are going to take a more methodical approach…it’s going to be about how we can best serve the customers. We will do everything in our power to make sure we take care of our customers….You have to make sure you have adequate staffing. This will be a very well thought-through, organized process.”
Edward (Ted) C. Ashby III, CEO, Surrey Bancorp president and CEO, echoed Pequeno’s in comments late Friday, but struck an optimistic tone regarding his employees’ futures.
“We know we have very good people and they appreciate that fact,” he said. “All banks have about the same products; it’s just how you deliver them. They’re aware of our people, how they deliver those products.” He credited Surrey’s employees and their work with helping to make the bank attractive to larger banks.
“We do have some locations that have overlapping branch locations, we’ll be looking at the best way to manage having two locations in close proximity to one another. We feel good we’ll not diminish service that either company is providing its customers.”
Attempts to get additional comment regarding employee numbers and branch locations from officials at First Community were not successful.
According to the statement issued by First Community, the board of directors of both banking firms have approved the acquisition, but stockholders for both companies have yet to vote on the move, and the acquisition also is subject to regulatory approval.
As of Sept. 30, the last day of the most recent quarter, Surrey Bank & Trust had total assets of approximately $500 million, the statement said. “Upon completion of the transaction, First Community is expected to have total consolidated assets in excess of $3.6 billion with branch locations in four states,” the larger bank said.
Ashby said he anticipates the local board will be taking the move to Surrey’s shareholders in late January or early February.
“When considering a long-term partner, we wanted a bank that shared our values of providing the highest level of banking services to our community, valued its employees and performed at a level worthy of its shareholders” Ashby said. “In First Community, we found all those qualities and are confident that our combined franchise will continue to generate value for all our stakeholders.”
“This combination will bring together two high-performing community banks that have historically produced returns on average assets well-above one percent and efficiency ratios below sixty percent while maintaining low-risk profiles,” said Gary R. Mills, President and CEO of First Community Bank. “We have long admired Surrey Bank & Trust for its financial performance and its government lending platform. We are looking forward to bringing the two franchises together to better serve our customers and local communities.”
Once the transaction is finalized, Ashby and one other current member of Surrey’s Board of Directors — yet to be named — will join the Board of First Community Bank. Additionally, Pequeno, Surrey’s president, and other key executives and employees plan to join the First Community team.
“We believe that joining together these two strong teams will ensure a successful transition of Surrey’s loan and deposit relationships,” First Community’s statement said.
First Community is a financial holding company headquartered in Bluefield, Virginia. First Community Bank operates 48 branch banking locations in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The company reported consolidated assets of $3.16 billion as of Sept. 30. The company’s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the trading symbol “FCBC.” Additional information is available on the company’s website at www.firstcommunitybank.com.
November 18, 2022
After more than 13 years at the helm of the Surry Economic Development Partnership (EDP), President Todd Tucker is stepping down from his role.
Tucker said on Friday he has accepted a position with Aqua America, a water and sewer services utility company, with its headquarters in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The firm’s North Carolina office is in Cary, but Tucker — who will be handling economic development efforts for the firm, will remain in Surry County.
“I just think at this time the partnership could use a change in leadership, some fresh idea, new thoughts,” he said of his decision to leave the local agency. “This is a good time for me to look at doing something a little different as well. Life is about timing. A new opportunity presented itself. That, along with some other reasons, just seemed like the right time to make a change.”
Tucker, who informed the EDP’s executive committee of his intentions three weeks ago, said his final day on the job will be Dec. 2.
He said the board of directors had already contracted with the Elkin-based firm Creative Economic Development Consultants to oversee his duties on an interim basis while the organization searches for a permanent replacement.
“I really enjoyed working with our local businesses that were started and grown here,” Tucker said of this time with the EDP. “Surry County is very lucky to have a lot of really good corporate citizens, that believe in and love that they are from Surry County. Working with company owners like that always inspires me and lets me know that there are still good people in this world. It is very important that we work with and help our existing companies grow and be more competitive, they are the life blood of our economy.”
In reflecting on his time in Surry County, Tucker said a couple of projects stand out in his memory.
“I guess I would consider the PGW/Vitro project in Elkin one of my favorite projects that I have been involved with during my tenure,” he said. “That was a complex project that involved the town, county, Golden LEAF, NC Dept of Commerce, Duke Energy, two real estate companies, Yadkin Valley Sewer Authority, Surry Community College, NC Dept. of Transportation and the company itself, just to name a few.
“It was the first and continues to be the biggest economic development project in Surry County history, with an initial investment of $85 million and 250 jobs. It brought a lot of different people together for an important cause right after the one of worst recessions in U.S. history. It was a great example of teamwork and how economic development should work at the local level.”
While economic development is often measured in number of new jobs created, or in the tally of local jobs saved when convincing a firm to remain in the community, sometimes it is important to find ways to reach the needs of people in the community.
That is the case with another project he recalls as having had a special emphasis in his work.
“Another important project that our office helped with was the Surry Rural Health project. Being able to help them get a grant to convert an old retail space into a thriving, community needed doctor’s office and health center was very fulfilling.
“It was not the largest job or investment project that we worked, but probably one of the most needed and one that has had a great impact on that part of the county. Dr. Minton and his team have done great work to provide great health care services for citizens in that part of the county that really needed it.”
Randy Collins, a member of the EDP board as well as the president and CEO of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, said he was “a little bit surprised” by Tucker’s decision, but recognizes “things change in a community. Oftentimes, key leaders may elect to leave a position and move on.
“My impression is that he’s doing a great job for this community,” he said of Tucker. “He hasn’t always gotten the recognition I think he deserves. I think he’s done a lot, not only for the county, but all of the towns and the city of Mount Airy as well…he’s done a lot in keeping the industry we have now and recruiting new industry.”
Attempts to reach Richie Parker, chairman of the board for the EDP, were not successful.
November 13, 2022
Mitchell Prime Properties held what might be termed a double ribbon-cutting and open house on Thursday, signaling the grand opening of both a business location and a new art gallery in Pilot Mountain.
The ribbon cutting, at 103 East Main Street, attracted 75 local officials, residents, and members of the Mitchell Prime team, with so many filtering in later for the open house that it was extended from a two-hour event to five hours.
“We are very excited to open up our fifth office in the beautiful town of Pilot Mountain,” said John-Mark M. Mitchell. “It is my hometown and also the hometown of Zach Dawson, the broker in charge for the Pilot Mountain office. We decided to purchase the building and make a stronger commitment to Pilot Mountain and also add a gallery of artwork in our office space. Our hope is to better utilize the space and combine multiple interactions with the community at one address.”
Joey Allen, an internationally recognized artist from Stokes County, is the first artist to be featured in the art gallery space. His body of work on exhibit included more than 10 pieces of mixed media and sculpture.
“Mitchell Prime Properties commissioned Joey Allen to create an exclusive piece for our company, titled Mitch Money, to be prominently displayed on our conference area,” Mitchell said. “Mitchell Prime Properties is the largest independent luxury real estate firm in central and coastal North Carolina. The company has broken records across the state. (Our) motto is, Selling Luxury in All Price Ranges. The company defines luxury as the service they provide their customers and loyal clients throughout North Carolina.”
The brokers representing the Pilot Mountain office are being led by Dawson, Stephanie Montgomery, Andrea Utt, and Jakob Holt. The four can be reached at the main office, 336-444-4353 or 336-416-2876.
November 11, 2022
A dynamic host of female entrepreneurs and businesswomen converged Wednesday in Dobson at the Barn at Heritage Farms for the first-ever 2022 Taking the Lead: Businesswomen of Surry Conference.
The catered full-day event, presented by the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, was attended by more than 160 area women from varying professional backgrounds.
Among attendance in the all-female ensemble were members from Duke Energy, Inmar, Surry Yadkin Electric Membership Cooperation, Chatham Nursing & Rehabilitation, the Mount Airy News Group, Rogers Realty, Renfro Inc., First Citizens Bank and others.
Connie Hamlin, chairman of the board of the chamber and lifestyle advisor for RidgeCrest Senior Living Community, began by stating that the goal of the conference was to “strengthen the investment of women through advocacy education and networking opportunities.”
She continued by saying that “some of the most powerful and influential leaders in Surry County” were present and encouraged the group “to connect with other like-minded women.”
Deidre Rogers, Rogers Realty & Auction Company committee co-chair followed by saying that the “conference is not just about business or successful women that have had great careers. It’s about women today fully committed to believing and valuing themselves and what we can do together.”
The line-up continued with internationally known motivational speaker, author and Realtor Leigh Brown who expounded on one common theme that came throughout the meeting: fear.
“If you are going to be a fearless leader, the first thing that you have to do is recognize all the fears that you are faced with…your fear is never going to look like somebody else’s…the things you are afraid of are different than other people.”
She spoke for the next 45 minutes on the subject, once referencing a toddler learning to walk. “They fall but they get back up. Life and business are the same: trial and error along the way—a lot of failure, but you get back up and walk. Do we remember the fall or do we remember the getting up?” she asked the audience.
Brown finished with how she is fascinated by women in leadership who are often their own worst enemy. “We have beholden ourselves to some impossible person in our head that is never going to exist.” She reminded the group to be mindful of the scripture in Psalms 139 which paraphrased says “you are fearfully and wonderfully made. And fearful means reverence. Worthy of respect.”
More inspirational speeches from businesswomen were shared as the afternoon wound on and, at one point, the crowd even received a surprise visit from newly re-election U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, and NC Rep. Sarah Stevens, both fresh off big wins in the midterm elections.
Foxx spoke of the first office she ever ran for which was school board. “I ran and I lost by 200 votes, but I learned a lot and ran again and that’s the last election I’ve lost.”
Stevens continued with “as Virginia and I get a few more years on us, we are going to be looking around to see who can be the next one to take our place. So, get ready to step up to leadership.”
Fellow Co-Chair Allison Johnson, financial sales manager at First Citizens Bank, hosted a panel of local women who encouraged the audience to step outside individual comfort zones and confront fear head on. Dr. Sue Brownfield, former director of marketing for GM Motors; Pam Smith, Duke Energy work management support supervisor; and Jennifer Mauldin, president and chief client officer for Inmar, spoke to the group and answered questions about the challenges women face as they develop into strong leaders. Guests were treated to a book by Cathy J. Pace, president and chief executive officer of Allegacy Federal Credit Union. Allegacy was instrumental in providing support for the conference.
As Leigh Brown said “if you let the idea that failure is always lurking at the corner…then you are never going to do anything.”
November 06, 2022
Business and personal growth conferences are nothing new, even holding one in Surry County for local business folks is not necessarily a rare occurrence.
But one coming up next week is a first — a seminar for area businesswomen, led by businesswomen. At least, it’s a first-time event for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, according to the chamber’s Jordon Edwards, events director.
Taking the Lead, Businesswomen of Surry Conference is slated for Wednesday, featuring talks and panels by locally prominent businesswomen and internationally known speakers. The event will be taking place at The Barn at Heritage Farm in Dobson.
Edwards said a confluence of events and existing situations led to the first — and hopefully annual — event.
“Surry County is really interesting in that we have a lot of women business owners, CEOs, entrepreneurs, what I like to call Mompreneurs, with the emergence of that family-owned business coming from the mother,” she said. “We felt like we wanted to give them an opportunity to explore professional development and really create those connections locally. We hope that women can walk away finding mentors and finding a way to be a mentor to other women.”
She said timing in the busy chamber events calendar couldn’t have been better — when chamber officials were reviewing the events for 2022, they decided to drop one of the chamber’s fundraising golf tournaments.
“We needed another event, we needed an event that is not already being done, especially one that would cater to the business community.” After talking with several key businesswomen in the community, she said Taking the Lead, Businesswomen of Surry Conference was born.
The gathering will include several general sessions, with addresses from internationally known speakers along with local business leaders, combined with an afternoon panel discussion. The event will also include ten vendor slots “that are women-owned businesses set up showcasing what their business is, pitching it to the attendees of the conference.”
The conference is scheduled to get underway at 9 a.m., with an address by internationally known motivational speaker Leigh Brown. The founder of Charlotte-based One Community Real Estate, Brown has more than 20 years experience in the real estate industry and is the author of three best-selling books.
“She has often been referred to as the female Zig Ziglar,” Edwards said, referencing the well-known motivational speaker.
The lunch-time keynote speaker is Cathy J. Pace, president and CEO of Allegacy Federal Credit Union. She has been with Allegacy for more than 40 years, and is credited as being instrumental in the credit union’s growth from 17,000 members and $50 million in assets in 1978 to more than 166,000 members and more than $2 billion in assets today.
Edwards said that Pace is also a Surry County native, having been born and raised in the county, graduating from East Surry High School.
She has won numerous awards, including Triad’s Most Admired CEOs, Triad’s Top 40 Most Influential People, Triad Power Player, Women in Business, and Business Leader’s Women Extraordinaire. She was named “Marketer of the Year” by the Credit Union Executives Society, “Woman of the Year” by YMCA of Forsyth County, and a 2016 recipient of the YWCA Women of Vision Community Catalyst award.
Others scheduled to speak or serve on an afternoon panel discussion include Emily Zimmerman, founder and CEO of the marketing firm Grace Communications; Brittney-Nichole Connor-Savarda, an author and editor-in-chief of Emotional intelligence Magazine; Surry Central High School alum Pam Smith, work management support supervisor-engineering at Duke Energy Corp.; Sue Brownfield, former director of marketing and product development process at General Motors and now working as president of YESurry – Young Entrepreneurs of Surry; and Sharon Joyner-Payne, Ph.D., executive vice president, corporate communications and great teams, Inmar.
While the chamber is sponsoring the event, Edwards said the program has really been put together by a committee under the leadership of local businesswomen Deirdre Rogers and Allison Johnson.
Edwards said organizers plan for the event to be a sell-out, but there might be a few spots left, along with sponsorships for local businesses wishing to support the conference. For more information, contact Edwards at the chamber by email at jordon@mtairyncchamber.org or by phone at 336-786-6116, ext. 204. The conference gets underway at 9 a.m., with check-in at 8 a.m., and lasts until 3 p.m. The Barn at Heritage Farm is located at 152 Heritage Farm Lane in Dobson.
November 05, 2022
Magnolia Wash Holdings, a premium express car wash operator headquartered in Charlotte, is maintaining heavy expansion efforts throughout the state including a location in Mount Airy.
The new Wave Car Wash and Whistle Express Car Wash outlets in North Carolina which are involved are both operated by Magnolia Wash Holdings.
The growth in its portfolio features Whistle Express Car Wash openings in both Mount Airy and Greensboro.
Magnolia Wash Holdings has launched four other new Wave Car Wash sites in Fayetteville and the greater Durham area.
The Mount Airy location is at 139 Kodiak Lane off U.S. 52, where the Rivers Edge Car Wash formerly operated, and involves a rebranding.
Wave Car Wash and Whistle Express Car Wash facilities are state-of-the-art, the company reports. offering eco-friendly treatments.
In less than 10 minutes, personnel are able to clean, shine and protect vehicles with a premium on-site experience, officials add. Top-quality equipment such as fresh towels, cleaning spray, high-powered vacuums and air nozzles are available to every customer.
All of the new express car washes also are dedicated to industry-leading, water-reclamation technology that reduces freshwater consumption and recycles 85% of the amount used per car wash.
“We’re excited to expand our portfolio of express car wash locations in thriving markets,” Andrew Agostini, vice president of operations at Magnolia Wash Holdings, said in a statement.
Since the start of the year, Magnolia has achieved tremendous development in the Southeast and is in the midst of aggressive expansion. Magnolia reportedly is on track to reach 100 opened locations by the end of 2022, with plans to continue this momentum by adding 100 units annually over the next five years.
Magnolia Wash Holdings, founded in 2014, now operates 83 express wash locations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee.
“We are continually investing in the best equipment, training team members and delivering superior results that will truly showcase to our customers why we’re the best in the industry,” Agostini added in hailing the new locations including Mount Airy. “We look forward to serving these communities for many years to come.”
November 05, 2022
BLUEFIELD, VA – First Community Bankshares Inc. (NASDAQ: FCBC) this week reported earnings for the third quarter of the fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, were slightly ahead of earning for the same period a year earlier.
The company also declared a quarterly cash dividend to common shareholders of 29 cents per common share, an increase of 2 cents, or 7.41%, over the quarterly dividend declared in the same quarter of 2021. The quarterly dividend was payable to common shareholders of record on Nov. 4, and is expected to be paid on or about Nov. 18. This marks the 37th consecutive year of regular dividends to common shareholders.
The banking company reported net income of $13.35 million, or 81 cents per share, for the quarter, 5.8% higher than the $12.61 million recorded in the same quarter of 2021.
“The increase is primarily attributable to an increase in net interest income of $4.2 million and the branch sale gains of $1.66 million offset by an increase in the provision for credit losses of $2.08 million and an increase in salaries and employee benefits of $1.44 million compared to 2021,” the company said.
That sale of First Community Bank’s Emporia, Virginia, branch to Benchmark Community Bank, was completed Sept. 16.
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 48 branch banking locations in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee as of Sept. 30. First Community Bank offers wealth management and investment advice and services through its Trust Division and through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Community Wealth Management, which collectively managed and administered $1.19 billion in combined assets as of Sept. 30.
For more information on the bank’s performance, visit www.firstcommunitybank.com
November 04, 2022
Insteel Industries Inc. (NYSE: IIIN) this week reported net earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 were down a tick, but the company had recorded the best financial year in the firm’s history.
For the fourth quarter, which ended Oct. 1, Insteel recorded net earnings of $24.3 million, or $1.24 per share, compared to $25.2 million, or $1.28 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales increased 21.4% to $208 million from $171.3 million in the prior year quarter, while net earnings dropped 3.5%.
For the fiscal year, Insteel reported record revenue and net earnings. The firm said its net earnings nearly doubled, from $66.6 million, or $3.41 per share in the prior year, to $125 million, or $6.37 per share, this year. Net sales increased 40% to $826.8 million from $590.6 million in the prior year driven by a 51.9% increase in average selling prices offset by a 7.8% decrease in shipments.
“Insteel’s fourth quarter results benefited from widening spreads between selling prices and raw material costs due to a 26.1% increase in average selling prices from the prior year quarter, implemented to recover rising raw material and operating costs. Ongoing weakness in residential construction activity combined with the negative impact of inventory management measures implemented by many of our customers led to a 3.7% reduction in shipments,” the firm said in releasing the results.
“Fiscal 2022 was a record year of financial performance for Insteel, meaningfully exceeding our previous record achieved in fiscal 2021,” said President and CEO H.O. Woltz III. “Our financial results were particularly gratifying in view of the difficult operating conditions experienced at times over the last twelve months, including raw material shortfalls, labor availability challenges and residential construction market weakness. We appreciate the contributions of our dedicated employees who persevered through many challenges and our supplier base that supported the company, allowing us to deliver consistently for customers.”
“As we look ahead to fiscal 2023, we remain optimistic about demand in our non-residential construction markets, which represent a substantial majority of our sales,” he added. “Backlogs across our customer base remain solid and third-party non-residential construction indices point to continued expansion.”
For more information, visit https://insteel.com
October 29, 2022
MOUNT AIRY — Surrey Bancorp, (Pink Sheets: SRYB), the holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust last week reported net income for the third quarter was up more than 150% from the same period a year ago.
For the quarter ending Sept. 30, net income totaled $2,118,976 or 51 cents per fully diluted share, compared to $842,609, or 20 cents per common share, earned during the third quarter of 2021.
“The increase in earnings results from an increase in the net interest income and the recapture of the provision for loan losses,” the bank said in a statement announcing the results.
Net income for the nine months ending Sept. 30 were also up, though not quite as dramatically. Net income for the period stood at $5,164,161, or $1.24 per share, compared to $3,923,768 or 94 cents per share, for the same period in 2021. The bank cited the same factors — an increase in net interest income and the recapture of loan loss reserves — as the reason beyond the nine-month increase.
Net interest income increased from $2,872,567 in the third quarter of 2021 to $4,396,963 in the third quarter of 2022. Interest income increased from $2,978,081 in the third quarter of 2021 to $4,510,525 in the third quarter of 2022.
“The increase is primarily due to the general increase in interest rates,” the bank’s statement said. “As a result, the overall yield on interest earning assets increased from 2.72% to 3.84% between the third quarter of 2021 and the third quarter of 2022. The cost of funds increased from 0.10% in the third quarter of 2021 to 0.11% in 2022. Interest expense increased from $105,514 in the third quarter of 2021 to $113,562 in the third quarter of 2022.”
The provision for loan losses decreased from $208,145 in the third quarter of 2021 to a provision recapture of $37,348 in 2022, a $245,493 decrease.
Net interest income for the full nine months increased from $9,535,410 in 2021 to $11,053,950 in 2022. The provision for loan losses decreased from $325,931 in 2021 to a provision recapture of $1,114,885 in 2022, a $1,440,816 decrease.
Surrey Bancorp is located at 145 North Renfro Street in 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.
October 27, 2022
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.”
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/




© 2018 The Mount Airy News

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