News, Information, Opportunities & Benefits
May 14, 2015
 Forbes Ranks Continental, Carolinas HealthCare System among  Top 500 US Employers

Forbes magazine has cited Continental as one of the nation's top 500 Best Employers. The German-based auto supplier and tire manufacturer employs about 200,000 people worldwide. About 600 of them work in the company's two Morganton plants. Forbes derived the list of top employers by conducting an anonymous, voluntary survey of 20,000 employees in 1,100 companies that have at least 2,500 employees in their work force. The accolade placed Continental at 267th on the list of 500. Continental's Morganton operations manufacture electronic braking systems and electronic air suspension systems. Another local company with ties to a larger corporation also finished among the top 500. Carolinas HealthCare System, which provides management services for Burke County's two hospitals, ranked 89th. The system as a whole employs about 60,000 people across three states.

State Legislators Brief Chamber Members

Duke Energy was the sponsor and Grace Ridge Retirement Community served as the host for the Chamber's 2015 Legislative Breakfast in

Rep. Hugh Blackwell makes a point during the Q&A session at the Legislative Breakfast on April 25, as Sen. Daniel (left) and Reps. Hager and Dobson listen.

April. All four area legislators again responded to the Chamber's invitation to participate in the event that traditionally attracts a full house. This year about 100 Chamber members and guests heard from State Senator Warren Daniel, Burke County Representatives Hugh Blackwell and Mike Hager, and McDowell County Representative Josh Dobson. Before taking questions, each of the lawmakers updated the audience on key issues in the General Assembly, including legislation that each have introduced, supported or opposed.


Case Farms Makes Major Donation to Community House

Case Farms donated $20,000 to the Morganton Community House renovation project in April, adding to a growing list of private donors. 
Charles Rigdon, Case Farms Vice President and General Manager, and Jason Middlecamp, Division Controller, presented the donation to Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen and Morganton Main Street Director, Sharon Jablonski. 

"The Community House is a venue we utilize regularly for corporate meetings and company banquets," said Hector Velez, Case Farms human resources manager in Morganton. "When we heard the City of Morganton had plans to renovate the Community House, we were more than happy to provide financial support to the project. We are thrilled to see the renovations unfold over the course of the next three years."

Celebrating the Patient Voice

Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge believes patients and their families are trusted partners. Patients and family members offer unique ideas and perspectives that enhance care and services across Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge.

Community members who have had direct experience as a patient, family member or caregiver at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, and are interested in becoming a patient and family advisory council member, may learn more by visiting the Patient and Family Advisors website.

The patient experience division at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge has established the volunteer role of patient and family advisor, which allows patients and family members to share their unique perspectives. They have direct input and influence on policies, programs and practices that impact the healing and experiences of patients and families.

"These advisors share our commitment to create and sustain partnerships with patients and families that enhance quality, safety and experience in healthcare," said Laura McNeely, director of patient experience who oversees the advisory council at Blue Ridge. "Capturing the patient voice helps us offer an experience that includes, informs and inspires every person, every encounter, every time."

Advisors at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge have helped put into motion several projects, including adding hangers and TV guides to patient rooms, to help ensure patients' stays are more comfortable. They have also participated in way-finding projects that have led to changes to signs. Many now include larger letters or different locations, such as being added to parking areas where needed.

From sharing ideas and opinions on ways to improve education to providing feedback on family-provider communications, patient and family advisors are a valuable resource at Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge.

Mimosa Hills Shows Off at Business After Hours 

With its renowned Donald Ross-designed course as a backdrop, Mimosa Hills wined, dined and wowed a large crowd at an April Business After Hours. Inside the club house many guests saw the refurbished foyer and restaurant for the first time. A new bar, designed by Chris Bergelin and crafted by Mark Bennett, is the centerpiece of the foyer. While guests dined on creative appetizers and sampled libations downstairs,

others enjoyed a wine tasting on the second floor. Mimosa Hills is currentlintroducing a new $20 per month social membership and other new features and options in its member-ship package. 


For more information on everything that's new at Mimosa Hills, contact Ansley Mace, Mimosa Hills Marketing & Membership Coordinator, at 828-437-2967. 


Sprucing Up in Downtown Valdese

The Valdese Town Council has narrowed down its options for revamping two blocks of downtown sidewalks across from the Waldensian Presbyterian Church and Wells Fargo bank. .Council also directed staff to seek up to $200,000 for the work and then report back at its June meeting on the total expected cost of the project.  The project would replace the existing sidewalks with brick pavers, precast concrete curb planters and concrete footing for planters, as well as fiberglass planters. The planters would hold ornamental grasses and perennials, shrubs, crape myrtle trees and trident maple trees.The sidewalks also will have recycling bins and trashcans and, designs show benches along the sidewalks, as well. The town already has a landscape architect firm under contract, Landscape Designs in Charlotte, the same firm that is doing the landscape design for the new Broughton Hospital. 

Growing Business. Building Community.

Open For Business!

Celebrate business in Burke County by attending these upcoming special events:

-- Ther-Equine Ribbon Cutting at 2864 DAV Ave. in Morganton on May 18, 11am 

-- Catawba Valley Behavioral Health Ribbon Cutting in Morganton at 350 East Parker Rd, May 21, 3 pm

-- Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market Ribbon Cutting at 1001 N. Green St. in Morganton, June 3, 7 am

-- Trent Turner, Edward Jones Investors, Ribbon Cutting, 507-B Burkemont Ave., in Morganton, June 3, 10 am  


G&G's Accessories Sale - It's a Beautiful Thing! 




G&G Art and Frame invites all Chamber members and the public to a 50% off Accessories Sale! Look for the signs and visit the store at 801 North Greene Street in Morganton.


Farm and Family Day of Fun to Benefit Ther-Equine

(L-R) Danette Brackett, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge; Jamie Reinhardt, Burke County Public Schools; Carrie Mull, Brent Pearson, and Jessica Lail, CHS Blue Ridge with some of the shoes and clothing donated by employees in the system.

Don't Step on My Blue Ridge Shoes! -- Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge employees teamed up with Burke County Public Schools for the 6th annual 1,800 Hearts project. Blue Ridge employees donated over 500 clothing items consisting of shoes, socks, and underwear to benefit more than 182 students across 14 local elementary schools.1,800 Hearts was established in 2009 to help students in need. Employees at Blue Ridge come together annually with volunteers, community members and the school system to collect the donations.

REALTORSŪ Help Burke County's Needy -- The Burke County Board of REALTORSŪ continues to assist Burke United Christian Ministries (BUCM) in its busy Soup Kitchen. The realtors volunteer every other month at BUCM. Board members are dedicated to community involvement and are working to assist other organizations within the area, as well.

BCPS: Career and Tech Ed Department Highlights Year, 
Looks to Future

The Burke County Public Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department recently gathered stakeholders for its annual meeting. Students, parents and representatives from Western Piedmont Community College joined CTE Director Rexanna Lowman and career development coordinators from the district's high schools to discuss current programs, new programs and goals for the department.
During the 2013-14 school year, 5,654 BCPS sixth through eighth graders were enrolled in a CTE class. In middle school, those classes included the engineering and technology centered Project Lead the Way program and in high school, those classes included business, finance, information technology, family and consumer science and allied health. New to the 2014-15 course offerings are agriculture and mechatronics courses. New to next year's course offerings is firefighting. 

BCPS students can earn honors credit as well as various credentials through CTE courses, including Microsoft, Financial Literacy Certification, ServSafe, Pro Start, Certified Nursing Assistant, Automotive Service Excellence and Hunter Safety. Also, all high school seniors take the National Career Readiness Certificate, known as the WorkKeys, which is an assessment that measures real world skills.
BCPS students receive occupational experience by working in medical 
Students tour a firefighting class at McDowell High School BCPS will offer similar classes next school year
facilities and day care centers and through internships and job shadowing programs. This summer, BCPS will offer high school class credit for summer internships. 

Local businesses and industries have been generous to open their doors to students for tours and visits. They include American Roller Bearing, Ekornes Furniture, Caterpillar, Toner Machining, Belle Farms, Kellex, Shenandoah Furniture, Opportunity Threads, Valdese Weavers, Continental, Case Farms, Wall Lumber, Baker Furniture and Manufacturing Solutions Center.

The CTE department works closely with WPCC on career readiness programs, including mechatronics.

Chamber Members Supporting School Bands Plans for                       Pearl Harbor Trip

While the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor is still 19 months away, excitement is building now for Burke County Public Schools' four high school bands that will travel to Hawaii in December 2016 to help commemorate the anniversary.
The trip could cost as much as $2,500 per person. With the prospect of donations, grants and in-kind services, trip organizers say that per-person cost could be reduced.
Berry said, "Individual donations for students have been coming in. We desperately need a big sponsor to take advantage of what is sure to be regional and national exposure as we approach the date." Burke County Chamber of Commerce members have answered the call for donations and the University of Hawaii has agreed to loan instruments to the band students, which will defray the high cost of shipping instruments over 4,600 miles. BCPS has created a district-wide account for contributions. They may be sent to PO Box 989 Morganton NC 28680 Attn Cheryl M. Shuffler. A GoFundMe account also has been opened.

Join BUCM for Tour deSsert Next Monday

Explore the opportunities for your business to partner with Burke United Christian ministries in meeting the many needs of those BUCM serves in the community. Come and enjoy a delicious dessert and a cup of coffee. This get-acquainted gathering will be held on Monday, May 18, from 5-6:30 pm. Guided tours will be available for participants. Guest speaker will be Jeff Toner, owner of James Tool Machine & Engineering who will share how his employees support BUCM through a payroll deduction program. RSVP by this Friday, May 15 by calling 828-433-8075, extension 0, and ask to speak to Beth Cook.


Director Level
 News Herald



Executive Level
Burke Hospice
Case Farms
Catawba Valley Staffing
CPI Security
Square One Energy
Western Piedmont Community College

Advisor Level
Siegwerk Environmental Inks
Duke Energy
Friday Staffing
Grace Ridge Retirement Community

CPI Security

Supporter Level
Abele's Family Restaurants
Canteen Vending
HF Financial/J. Branstrom & Associates
Pepsi Cola Bottling Co.
Servpro of Burke County
Shenandoah Furniture
Toner Machining Technologies
Wendy B's