Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

Corporate Executives Examine Workplace Learning

Lake Norman corporate executives received a briefing this month from representatives of the North Carolina Department of Labor and Central Piedmont Community College. The Executive RoundTable, sponsored by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Commission, brought together approximately 24 area executives.

Jerry Broadway – Lake Norman EDC, Pamela McGimpsey, Apprenticeship Consultant with NCDOL, Mike McGee, with CPCC’s Corporate Learning Center, and Bill Russell with the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.

Jerry Broadway – Lake Norman EDC, Pamela McGimpsey, Apprenticeship Consultant with NCDOL, Mike McGee, with CPCC’s Corporate Learning Center, and Bill Russell with the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.

Mike McGee, with CPCC’s Corporate Learning Center spoke about Apprenticeship Charlotte and specifically what employers can do to create a talent pipeline of productive employees.  Joining McGee was Pamela McGimpsey, Apprenticeship Consultant with NCDOL. McGimpsey pointed out that the Apprentice and Training Bureau works to promote the development, registration and completion of apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs providing N.C. employers with quality trained and highly skilled workers.

Michael Arcidiacono, Manufacturing Manager for Max Daetwyler Corporation, was a participant in the forum. Daetwyler, a Huntersville firm, has a very active and recognized apprenticeship program. Arcidiacono told those in attendance, “At Daetwyler, our goal is to meet our customer’s needs and keep our employees’ ahead of the technology curve. Skilled individuals are hard to find to fit specific needs. Apprenticeship2000 allows us to grow an experienced workforce from within. Our company culture, standards and ideals are all part of the training. The program not only teaches our apprentices to be responsible students and employees but excellent stewards for the program. Graduates in their respective fields have the ability to design, machine, document and assemble parts on demand.”

Arcidiacono added, “ This makes each person and the company much more flexible to changes in trends and ever changing market conditions. The apprenticeship program allows us the time to expose our employees to every facet of our business so they can be useful in any area and they understand every aspect of how to meet the customers’ requirements.”

Earth Fare, located at 14021 Boren Street in Huntersville, was the Breakfast Sponsor of the event. For more information and the presentation itself, visit the Lake Norman Chamber’s website at

Additional Links

Apprenticeship Brochure

Veterans Brochure


December 21, 2012 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It was Serious Fun…Serious Business!

Bill Russell, NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Jerry Broadway

At the November 15th meeting of the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation, Executive Director Jerry Broadway informed the Board of Directors he would retire and step down from his position sometime in the first quarter of 2013.

I was very fortunate to serve on an interview panel in 2006 with then Chamber Chairman Randy Marion as we met with several qualified candidates and selected Jerry to serve as the second executive director of the EDC. Jerry impressed me with his easy-going nature and the marketing skills he possessed as we looked to position the lake region as the place to grow and locate your business.

Jerry, along with Sally Ashworth of Visit Lake Norman, and myself represented the three North Mecklenburg business organizations as the chief executive officer.  While Jerry focused his efforts on primary job creation, Sally and her organization marketed the region for events to bolster travel and tourism revenues and the chamber of commerce served as the advocate of business and a resource for small business development.

One of my former Chamber Chairmen spoke of the Chamber, EDC, and Visit Lake Norman as the three-legged stool – each leg dependent on each other as we supported economic and business growth at the lake.

Jerry, Sally and I often joked about such a comparison but we also knew it to be very true.  There is no question the chamber would not be successful without a strong economic development organization and we all benefit greatly from the travel and tourism market at the lake.

Since the creation of the EDC, all three organizations have complimented each other well.  As the executive at the Chamber, I can attest first hand it is not always easy to balance the needs of a regional organization.  While we have three towns which work well together and have much in common, each also has its unique identity and needs.

Jerry Broadway, Bill Russell, Senator Kay Hagan, Sally Ashworth, John Hettwer, Woody Washam, Randy Marion

Jerry Broadway hit the ground running as he worked closely with the new Commerce Station Business Park and helped Pactiv (Prairie Packaging) set up their operations.  Over the next few years Jerry worked with business expansions such as Rubbermaid and more recently recruited ABB as well as  Davidson’s MSC Industrial supply to name just a few.

Some time in the next few months Jerry Broadway will end his tenure at the Lake Norman Regional EDC.  He was at the helm during the most challenging time for business and perhaps in our lifetime.  Jerry Broadway will leave our EDC and our region stronger than he found it.  His legacy is the jobs he helped create and the new families who now call Lake Norman home because of his efforts.

In the non-profit world in which Jerry, Sally Ashworth and I work, we would all like to think that the tree we plant today will bear fruit in the days ahead and that our work makes a difference.  There is no question – Jerry Broadway has changed the face of our community and the way we do business at the lake.  He’s made more than a difference – he’s touched lives.

November 16, 2012 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Langtree at the Lake – Our Rising Tide

Bill Russell speaking at Lake Norman Chamber Focus Friday

Last week, I was at a local restaurant in Huntersville when a Lake Norman Chamber member asked about Langtree at the Lake.  This particular individual was not able to attend the very informative Focus Friday session we held last month at the Chamber.    Anyone who drives past exit 31 off I-77  has seen the tremendous activity as the first phase of construction is under way for the mixed-use development.  This member understood that soon the North Meck -South Iredell area will see 300 luxury apartments as well as a 350,000 square foot Ethosphere building which would include a full service hotel.

The 14-story building (if approved) would also contain at least 14,000 square feet of much-needed meeting room space.  The project, an $800 million investment for R.L. West Properties, is expected to be an 8-10 year build out and will have a considerable retail footprint in our region.     This particular gentleman inquired if properties like Birkdale Village in Huntersville or Jetton Village in Cornelius would suffer with the introduction of Langtree at the Lake.  “Not at all,” I responded, “Langtree will be the perfect complement to our lake lifestyle and add an additional regional resource as Lake Norman emerges as a destination for the business and leisure traveler.

Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins speaking about Langtree at the Lake

Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins attended the Focus Friday and told the packed room of Lake Norman Chamber members, “I believe this development will be transformative and will have a very positive economic impact and provide an enhanced standard of living option for Mooresville and the Lake Norman region.”  Atkins continued, “It will serve as an anchor aligning Mooresville – South Iredell with our North Mecklenburg town partners, and help define our place in the greater Charlotte region.  I am very excited about the possibilities and opportunities a project of this magnitude could mean for all of us.”

Steve Welly, president of R.L West and Jerry Broadway, Executive Director of the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corporation echoed Mayor Atkins comments.     Broadway, using a lake analogy, told the Focus Friday attendees, “A rising tide lifts all boats…”  and reminded all of us that a project like Langtree at the Lake impacts all of us.  “I look at the Langtree project as a regional project, an element that creates a positive quality of life for everyone.”

Langtree at the Lake – a vision of the Howard family (Brad and Rick) – is a welcome sight indeed. Langtree is making a splash at Mooresville and that wave of energy and vitality will be felt on the shores of Mecklenburg, Lincoln, and Catawba.    Langtree, and other developments like it, are another reason the rising tide will lift our businesses and communities if we are brave enough to leave the safety of the shore.  We must invest in the unbridled opportunities that await us by working hard, working smart and working together.

Bill Russell, President

November 12, 2012 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment