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Story, Kincaid Honored at Industry Appreciation Luncheon

(Story courtesy of The Lenoir News Topic)

Paul Teague
Oct 29,2009

The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission took time to honor those who provide jobs and growth during its 24th annual Industry Appreciation Awards luncheon Thursday at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

"We're here to support you any way we can," EDC Board of Directors Chairman Bob Floyd told the assembled crowd.

Four awards were presented, including the Herman Anderson Development Award to Granite Falls Town Manager Linda Story.

Set to retire at the end of November after 26 years of directing Granite Falls, Story was introduced by Alvin Daughtridge, last year's honoree.

"People know and respect Linda Story," Daughtridge said. "Most of us have worked with her and learned from her."

In noting that Story is a Caldwell County native, Daughtridge rhetorically asked, "Don't you love it when the local girl does well?"

Daughtridge lauded Story's efforts in gaining more than $10 million in grants for Granite Falls and in successfully pushing for the development of MDI, the Shoppes at Rivercrest and a new connector road that will allow MDI to expand and add 200 jobs.

"I'm truly humbled and honored to receive the Herman Anderson Economic Development Award today," Story said. "I'd like to thank each of you. Much has been accomplished, but much is to be done."

Story recalled meeting Anderson when he was with Blue Ridge Electric Membership in the 1980s. Both early members of Caldwell County's initial effort into formal economic development activities, Story presented Anderson with a photograph of the ground-breaking ceremony for NEPTCO in Granite Falls.

"I want to thank Herman for asking me to be a part of his team," Story said.

Acknowledging the difficult economic climate, Story emphasized the need for continuing partnerships in the county to assist in the ongoing economic transition. She cited a recent example in which Lenoir City Manager Lane Bailey and the Lenoir City Council agreed to delay a planned road project in order to allow the North Carolina Department of Transportation to fund the connector road for the MDI expansion.

She added that her devotion to her native county kept her from taking jobs elsewhere.

"I have had the opportunity to leave, but I purposely chose to stay here," Story said. "It's the county I love. It's an honor for me to be in the same class with the previous recipients of this award."

Meanwhile, Kincaid Furniture and La-Z-Boy Casegoods President Steve Kincaid was recognized as the Industrialist of the Year after his company announced it is consolidating operations from Wilkes County back to Caldwell County. The move is designed to preserve and create jobs.

A recent inductee into the American Furniture Hall of Fame, Kincaid accepted the award on behalf of the company's employees.

"We really do appreciate your support," he said.

Also, search and applications leader Google was presented with the Industry Award. Presenter Jim Chapman joked that when he wanted to learn more about the company, he "Googled it."

Since coming to Lenoir nearly three years ago, Google has developed a sprawling campus off Morganton Boulevard to house its data center. The company also has been involved in charitable projects with local organizations and helped develop free wireless Internet in the downtown Lenoir area.

"This is great," Google Operations Manager Tom Jacobik said. "We've really tried hard to be a good part of the community."

The first presentation at the ceremony was the Innovation Award to Hudson's Adhezion Biomedical. Formerly known as Spartan Medical Products, the company gained Federal Drug Administration approval for SurgiSeal, a topical skin adhesive, in January.

Working with the Caldwell County EDC and the Town of Hudson, Adhezion Biomedical has received economic grant funding in order to expand its operation and add 20 jobs.

"Our company is like so many in this county that is trying hard to grow and bring jobs to this community," Adehezion Biomedical's Shannon Young said in accepting the award.

In concluding the event, Caldwell County EDC Executive Director Harry Whalen said he is looking to support retention and expansion efforts for existing companies, along with the addition of new businesses.

"We've had a tough 18 months with the national economy and the world economy," Whalen said. "A lot of good, positive things are happening in the community. I can't do my job without each and every one of you in this room. Going forward, I need your help because what we are looking at is a transformation. We're going to change the economy going forward."

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