• 4:23 pm Commissioners approve Beaver Management Program
  • 11:28 am Bladen County Opioid and Other Substance Use Community Survey
  • 6:41 am West Bladen Volleyball Schedule Changes
  • 6:37 am JV Volleyball: West Bladen 2, Westover 1
  • 6:31 am Volleyball: West Bladen 3, Westover 0

The Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce conducted their 65th annual banquet on Tuesday evening at Lu Mil Vineyard. The keynote speaker was S. Lewis Ebert, President and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

He said the NC Chamber of Commerce consists of 35,000 members who represent 1.3 million workers throughout the state. “We are also a state chamber and a state manufacturing association,” said Ebert.

According to Ebert, by the year 2030, it is expected 12 million people will call North Carolina home. He said the population in our state’s metropolitan areas is on track to double in the next 15 years.

He said the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) is currently at $526 billion. This makes North Carolina the 23rd largest economy in the world, according to Ebert.

He said because of growing concerns over greater competition for fewer new jobs, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce has assisted in developing a plan called North Carolina Vision 2030. Ebert said Vision 2030 was created with input from business leaders, local chambers and other key individuals.

Vision 2030 focuses on four key points: Talent and Education; a Competitive Business Climate; Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and Infrastructure and Growth. Ebert said the plan helps to focus on the challenges North Carolina faces in the future.

He also told those gathered North Carolina was the 44th worst state for business based on the tax codes a few years ago. Now, North Carolina is the 11th best state for business after changes were implemented to the corporate tax codes.

He also said others are beginning to take notice. Forbes magazine named North Carolina one of the Best States for Careers, it has also been named the Best State for Business, and is in the top ten in technology performance jobs.

Ebert said North Carolina is now well positioned to compete for fewer available jobs.

The gavel was passed from outgoing President Tiina Mundy to incoming President Maurice Williams.

The Chamber recognized the outgoing board members Todd Godbey, Tiina Mundy, Brittney Woodell, and Barbara Knight.

The Chamber also welcomed incoming board members Susan Inman, Eric Matthews, Debbie Earl, and Jean Clark.

During the event the Chamber recognized several award recipients for 2017. The winners for Outstanding Chamber Member were Mike and Karen Suggs, owners of Fisher’s Mens & Ladies Shop. The award was presented by their long-time friend Tim Clifton.

The winner of the Outstanding Small Business Award is June Massengill, Cape Fear Barbecue. The award was presented by Dean Hilton and her son Matthew Massengill accepted the award on her behalf.

The Honorary Lifetime Chamber Member Award was presented to Mary Greene by Tiina Mundy.

The Caring Person awards were presented to Barbara Knight and Ann Garrett. The awards were presented by Dr. William Findt.

The Chamber Ambassadors were also recognized during the program.  Executive Director Dawn Maynard was recognized with a plaque for 10 years of service to the Chamber.