Dec. 2-6 recognized as ‘Industry Appreciation Week’

Chamber organizing business visitation teams to hear what employers need to strengthen workforce

Wil Petty Staff Writer

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The Ashe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a proclamation declaring the week of Dec. 2 as “Industry Appreciation Week.”

The resolution was submitted to the commissioners by the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Community Development Committee, as a way to show appreciation for the county’s industries.

“We just want to demonstrate to these industries that the community, the county and the citizens support them,” said Cabot Hamilton, executive director of the Ashe Chamber of Commerce.

The resolution was read by Chris Robinson, dean of the Ashe and Alleghany campus of Wilkes Community College. Robinson is also a co-chair for the committee.

“Over the last several years, past decade and even beyond that, we’ve saw a significant contraction in our industrial base,” he said in the meeting, “but the importance of jobs offered by worldwide leaders such as GE Aviation, Leviton and AEV cannot be overlooked or overstated.”

Robinson said Ashe County industries combine to provide over 1,000 jobs in the county.

“We all recognize that industry is one of the cornerstones of our community,” he said.

Supporting the industries in the county helps promote the area as a good place for industries to locate. In rural areas, attracting new businesses can sometimes be difficult.

“We know that the bulk of new jobs in a rural community such as ours are created through the growth and expansion of existing businesses,” Robinson said. “Not only that, but having a community that obviously supports its existing businesses is a positive statement to industries who may look at Ashe County in the future.”

Industrial visitation teams to start in 2014

Starting in 2014, the Business and Community Development Committee will organize visitation teams to discuss the issues, concerns and needs of industries within Ashe County.

“We would go visit the industry and sit down with upper management and middle management,” Hamilton said. “We will have a dialogue to try and find out with the Chamber and the Business and Community Development Committee can do to help them continue to have progress within this economy.”

Hamilton said while the economy is slowly improving, the more support the county can provide the industries, the better.

“We look forward to working with the county and other entities to start providing this service at the first of the year,” Robinson said at the meeting.

The teams will consist of leaders from the Chamber of Commerce, the committee and county leaders. If an industry is located inside the town limits, a representative from the town government would be part of the dialogue as well.

“Hopefully, this will be a positive thing for the Chamber, the committee and the industries we go visit,” Hamilton said.

Ashe County resolution

Whereas, it is in the best interests of our national, state and local economy to have a strong, vibrant and diversified manufacturing and industrial sector; and

Whereas, the manufacturing and industrial sector of the Ashe County economy employs nearly 1,000 citizens in a wide variety of positions and is an economic driver for many other jobs throughout our county; and

Whereas, the manufacturing and industrial firms located in Ashe County have consistently developed many new job opportunities for our community during a period of economic transition by being innovative and committed to the area and the region; and

Whereas, the manufacturing and industrial firms located in Ashe County have proven time and time again their essential role in community development through their support of a variety of organizations and functions; and

Whereas, the manufacturing and industrial firms of Ashe County continue to be good stewards of our natural resources and intrinsic mountain beauty; and

Whereas, the vast majority of new employment opportunities to be created in the coming years will come from existing businesses and firms located here in our county; now

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce declares December 2 through 6, as Industrial Appreciation Week in recognition of the man contributions of local industry to the Ashe County economy and to the community at large.


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