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Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Members:

Notice of Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Nominations


Pursuant to Article IV, Section Three of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce’s Bylaws, the Nominating Committee has recommended the following individuals as Board of Directors Members for the Class of 2021:

Joshua Dobi, North Main Financial Group, LLC
Tricia Sisson, The Range at Lake Norman
Joe Labovitz, Atrium Health
Sam James, James Funeral Home & NorthLake Memorial Gardens
Douglas Marion, Advanced Wealth Strategies, Inc.
Roger Layman, LaBella Associates DPC

At the regular September Meeting of the Board of Directors to be held Monday, September 24, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hurt Hub 210 Delburg Street Classroom #208 in Davidson, additional nominations can be made from the floor by Directors or Chamber Members present. If there are no additional nominations or a contested election, the slate of Directors will be deemed elected by acclamation of the membership without further action.

Published in Member News

Pic B Michelle Murphy picOn Thursday, September 20th, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will host its Annual Champions of Diversity Luncheon at noon at River Run Country Club in Davidson. The Chamber will recognize the Corporation, Small Business, Nonprofit, and Individual who practices and promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

In addition, the chamber will host Michelle Murphy, Vice President Diversity & Inclusion and Global Talent Acquisition at Ingersoll Rand. Michelle leads Ingersoll Rand’s efforts to create and sustain a Progressive, Diverse and Inclusive (PDI) work environment, a key underpinning of their winning culture, deeply integrating PDI into Human Resource, functional and business processes across the company.

Chris Hailey, the Chamber’s Diversity Chair, oversees the Chamber’s efforts to increase an awareness and appreciation for the diverse demographic which makes up the Lake Norman regional workforce as well as the communities themselves. “Corporations, businesses, and community organizations that are diverse and inclusive are more dynamic, innovative, and much more successful than those who fail to recognize the strengths in our differences and our unique individual talents,” said Hailey.

The Lake Norman Chamber has focused efforts on Diversity since 2008 with an emphasis on programs which recognized the emergence of women in executive roles. Bill Russell, president of the Chamber, points to female owners and entrepreneurs in the Lake Norman market. “We have a substantial number of Lake Norman businesses owned and managed by female executives and we’re seeing more female involvement in the Board Room,” said Russell. “Our Women’s Conference held annually is attended by more than 100 local women business owners and a quick look around at our civic clubs and non-profits provides a strong indication at just how women have emerged as business and community leaders over the last couple of decades.”

The Chamber has also taken strides to engage minorities in the business and community fabric of the region. “It is extremely important to create programs that engage our African American, Asian, and Latino demographic as we shape and nurture the leadership of our community and emerging workforce,” added Hailey.

The Champions of Diversity Luncheon is presented by The McIntosh Law Firm. Gold Sponsors are MSC Industrial Supply and Sam’s Club of Mooresville and Silver Sponsors include Aquesta Bank and People’s Bank. The Media Sponsor is Business Today / Cornelius Today and the program Sponsor is Mama’s Pizza Express of Cornelius.

The luncheon is $20 and members and guests can register at lakenormanchamber.org or by calling the Lake Norman Chamber at 704-892-1922.

Caption: Michelle Murphy, Vice President Diversity & Inclusion and Global Talent Acquisition at Ingersoll Rand will keynote the Lake Norman Chamber Diversity Luncheon Thursday, September 20th at River Run Country Club in Davidson.

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Logo VertI-77 Business Briefing
Where: Comfort Suites 14510 Boulder Park Drive Huntersville
When: Wednesday, August 22nd 7:00 - 8:15 pm
Contact: Bill Russell 704-650-8987 cell


The Economic Toll of a Fifty Year Blunder

A Financial Analysis on the Devastation the Cintra Contract will have on the Lake Norman Region

The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, representing 950 businesses in the Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, and greater Lake Norman region, will host a business briefing on the costs and economic impact the planned tolls lanes will have on business and industry in the Charlotte – Lake Norman area. The presentation will take place this Wednesday, August 22nd at 7:00 pm at the Comfort Suites Lake Norman located at 14510 Boulder Park Drive in Huntersville.

Presenting the financial case is Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett and John Hettwer, President and CEO of Payroll Plus. Both are members of the I-77 Policy Advisory Group which met last week at the Chamber to hear a presentation by North Carolina DOT Secretary Jim Trogdon.

Commissioner Puckett will review the path offered by the Department of Transportation and discuss the positive progress made to date by NC DOT and the Advisory Group as well as the actions needed on the path moving forward.

John Hettwer, a former Board Chair of the Chamber added, “The I-77 Business Plan, working in conjunction with the chamber, feels it is imperative to keep the public informed. An engaged and vocal public is critical as we continue to resolve this regional challenge.”

Bill Russell, president of the Chamber, points to the I-77 project as more than a transportation and quality of life issue for the communities and citizens of Lake Norman. “There is little question surrounding the impact I-77 congestion has had on business and commerce for some time. At long last the General Assembly and NC DOT recognize this project does not solve the congestion issue. The recent unanimous votes in both the House and Senate to cancel this project indicate state lawmakers see this as a nonpartisan issue hurting our region.”

David T. Hartgen, Emeritus Professor of Transportation Studies at UNC Charlotte, stated in a July 28, 2015 Affidavit, that the total direct costs of the toll lanes over the life of the contract would have a $33.84 billion negative impact or roughly 6% of the Total Corridor GDP (excluding inflation and a faster corridor growth than anticipated).

The meeting is open to the public. For more information contact the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce at 704-892-1922.


Published in Member News

IMG 0888 583x640The below message was distributed to Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Members in an email Wednesday afternoon, August 15th following the I-77 Policy Advisory Board Meeting at the Chamber.

Lake Norman Chamber Member:

A little over three decades ago, I sat with great anticipation as Geraldo Rivera kept me on the edge of my seat opening Al Capone's secret vault on television. There was a lot of hype and hope but at the end of the day, all Geraldo discovered was a few old discarded beer bottles.

I felt that same sinking feeling today after all the hype of a significant decision regarding the I-77 toll lane project. That said, I do believe the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the Governor's office, and our State Legislature all recognize the planned I-77 Toll Lanes will be an economic calamity for our region.

Next Wednesday, August 22nd at 7:00 pm, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will host an I -77 Business Briefing to be held at the Comfort Suites at Lake Norman, 14510 Boulder Park Drive in Huntersville. Attendees may arrive at 6:45. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett and Past Chamber Chair John Hettwer will be the presenters. While open to the public, the capacity is 85 people so it’s on a first arrival basis.

Don't expect the Chamber to sugarcoat the issue. This region must have congestion relief and that requires General Purpose Lanes for Lake Norman. The briefing will be a discussion of our next course of action as a business community.

I hope you can join us.



W.E. "Bill" Russell, CCE, IOM
President & CEO
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce
704-892-1922 (o)

Published in Member News


Lake Norman Chamber Member:

I77TrafficJam 2013fileOn May 16th, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce formally requested the Secretary of Transportation James Trogdon to strongly consider the recommendations which were made by an overwhelming consensus of the I-77 Policy Advisory Group. Those recommendations include:

* Allow I-77 Mobility Partners to complete construction

* Upon completion NCDOT buys out the contract

* Road improvement projects funded by 'Bonus' allocation dollars are not interrupted

* CRTPO is not involved in NCDOT decision making regarding alterations to the corridor

* One toll lane is converted to a general purpose lane from exit 18 to exit 28 in both directions

* The toll lane from exit 28 to exit 36 is converted to a general purpose lane in both directions

* The shoulder is hardened from exit 23 to exit 28 in both directions to be used during peak traffic times

To be clear, the I-77 Policy Advisory Group has no authority and the group did not vote on a single strategy. They instead voiced individual recommendations which have been referred to as 'Complete and Modify.'

Last fall, a delegation from Lake Norman which included Past Board Chairs John Hettwer and Mike Russell, Mecklenburg County Commissioners Pat Cotham and Jim Puckett, and myself met with Governor Roy Cooper, Secretary Trogdon, Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor Ken Eudy, and NC House Rep. John Bradford. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Mercator Report and the possible alternatives suggested within that report.

Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett suggested an Advisory Group which could provide feedback on the report as well as offer insight as to the economic impacts the planned tolls and perhaps alternatives could have on the commerce, citizens, and communities of Lake Norman.

Since January of this year, the I-77 Policy Advisory Group has met seven times to carefully study this issue from nearly every possible perspective from concept to impact. The Lake Norman Chamber, which represents 950 business members in the Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius and the greater LKN region was honored to host six of those meetings.I77 Com

John Hettwer summed it up best when he said, "This is an EXTRAordinary problem which requires an EXTRAorinary solution." I was also struck by a statement Commissioner Puckett made early on: "Instead of focusing on the costs and implications of canceling a contract, we should instead focus on the costs and consequences for the next fifty years if we do not."

What we at the Lake Norman Chamber recognize is that I-77 is a local road which pulsates through the heart of our community. Perhaps it should not be - but that is the reality. It ties our communities together. That critical artery is responsible for our commerce and quality of life.

The Chamber will continue to advocate for these recommendations and we will not settle or quit until we have addressed the congestion issue and brought new General Purpose Lanes to the lake region. To paraphrase Commissioner Puckett, the costs and consequences of failing are much too high and the generation who inherit our Lake Norman community tomorrow are counting on our actions today.



W.E. "Bill" Russell, CCE, IOM
President & CEO
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce

Pictures: Image of I-77 courtesy of David Boraks / WFAE.  I-77 Advisory Group photo courtesy Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.

Published in Member News
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 18:58

The Feminine Mystique

Conference LogoThe 1960’s was perhaps the most turbulent and transformational time in the history of our nation. I was only four years old in 1963 when President Kennedy was killed by an assassin’s bullet in the streets of Dallas. Before the end of the decade we saw the horrible killing of two more civil rights leaders - the Rev. Martin Luther King and Senator Bobby Kennedy, both shot down after addressing crowds about the dramatic change they envisioned for our young country.

The innocence of the 1950’s gave way to a remarkable decade of the antiwar protests and the Civil Rights struggle which played out in our streets and was shown on television sets in living rooms across America.

There was the Beatles, flower children, hippies, and Woodstock. The 1960’s saw the approval of birth control and by the end of the decade, more than 80% of women of child bearing age were using contraceptives.

In 1963, Betty Friedman published her book, The Feminine Mystique which challenged the traditional gender roles and with it a full on assault to give women equal rights under the law. The passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, specifically the section known as Title VII, banned sex discrimination by employers and offered legal protection for women who had been rejected for employment solely because of their sex. The American workplace would be forever changed and it was “game on” for women who strived to be treated equally when it came to employment and wages.

Fifty four years after the Civil Rights Act, females are still facing discrimination and dealing with harassment in the workplace. This past year, the #MeToo movement took center stage as behavior, once accepted or at the very least tolerated, became unacceptable and the perpetrators of those actions harshly rebuked.

On Thursday, April 19th, The Lake Norman Chamber’s Diversity Council will conduct its Fifth Annual Women’s Conference at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius. Last year’s event drew more than 140 women CEO’s and business leaders to the 11 am until 5 pm program.

Entitled, “Truth, Courage, and Empowerment: Don’t Be Silent!” the conference will examine the trials and tribulations which have faced women business owners and how they have used their courage and persistence to overcome the critics, building successful business careers and serving as mentors for the next generation of female business and community leaders.

Keynoted by Dee Worley, the Co-Founder and COO of Worley Global Enterprises, the conference has several women who have overcome the obstacles placed in front of them and serve as inspirations to women and men alike.Dee Worley PR Picture

Worley had a gymnastics career at the University of Alabama from 1989-93, and became a 17-time All-American, a four-time champion and a nine-time regional champion. As a senior in 1993, she set an NCAA record with perfect 10's in five consecutive meets.

Ranked as the nation's No. 1 all-around competitor, she was a runaway winner of Alabama's Amateur Athlete of the Year Award. At the time of her graduation, she was the only NCAA gymnast to finish in the top three in All-Around for four straight years.

Dee’s story is one of several attendees will hear at the conference as speakers recount the challenges they have faced, but more importantly how they used their faith, strength, and determination to succeed in business and in life.

Ayn Rand, a Russian American Novelist once said, “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”

The role women play in board rooms, government, civic clubs, and at home has changed dramatically in the last fifty years. Rand who passed away in 1982 would not be surprised at the tremendous strides that have been made by women in our workforce and culture. I imagine if Rand were alive today, she’d likely smile and say, “And who’s going to stop us now.”

Bill Russell, President

Published in President's Blog

The #MeToo movement has a lot of folks asking questions about what is and isn’t sexual harassment. Some might be expressing concern about whether they’ll lose their job for making a sexual harassment complaint against a co-worker or boss. As awareness of sexual harassment issues continues to soar, "how does a Lake Norman business owner limit the risk of getting sued, and, more important, fight sexual harassment?” This important topic and those questions will be addressed at a Lunch n’ Learn facilitated by the Lake Norman Chamber.

On Thursday, February 15th, the Lake Norman Chamber Diversity Council will facilitate a Lunch n ‘ Learn hosted by Central Piedmont Community College at the Merancas Campus located at 11930 Verhoeff Drive in Huntersville. The seminar will be held in the Criminal Justice Building (CJ119). Our speakers are Jesse Jones, an attorney with the McIntosh Law Firm and Deborah Reynolds, a Senior Human Resources Business Partner with ADP TotalSource, the HR Division of ADP.

There is no cost to attend and attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch and beverage. CPCC Students will also be attending the luncheon.

 About our Speakers:

DebDeborah Reynolds is a Senior Human Resources Business Partner with ADP TotalSource, the HR Division of ADP, based in the Piedmont Triad region of NC. Deborah supports over 50 small and medium size business through human resources consulting and support. She has over fifteen years of experience in recruiting, benefit administration, employment policies, employment relations, and EEOC compliance. Mrs. Reynolds also provides on-site leadership and employee training programs including sexual harassment prevention. Mrs. Reynolds holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and has earned the most senior level professional certifications including SPHR and SHRM-SCP.

She is also a member of and served on the boards of both the Human Resources Management Association of Greensboro (HRMAG) and on the board of the Winston-Salem Society of Human Resource Management (WS-SHRM). Both HRMAG and WS-SHRM are the locally affiliated chapters of the National Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She has co-chaired the HRMAG Governmental Affairs committee that updates members on legislative issues affecting Human Resources and has also served as the Director of the SHRM HR Certification instruction course that mentors and assists HR professionals preparing for their certification exam.

Jesse Jones has more than forty years’ experience forming new businesses, advising businesses, writing and negotiating business contracts, handling business transactions, guiding businesses through conflicts, and representing businesses in court. Jones 427x640

He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee, and his law degree at the University of Michigan. Jesse spent the first twenty years of his career doing complex commercial litigation in a medium-sized law firm in Miami, Florida. He took that experience and started his own practice, shifting his focus to transactional work, asset protection, and business succession planning. He moved to Huntersville in 2006 and began helping Lake Norman people solve and avoid problems in business and in wealth protection. Jesse joined The McIntosh Law Firm in 2015. His practice focuses on providing legal frameworks for businesses of all sizes to prosper, from large corporations to first-time entrepreneurs. This includes crafting contracts and other legal documents, negotiating and closing business transactions, counseling businesses in personnel matters, and avoiding and resolving business disputes.

Jesse Jones believes that the practice of law is more a profession, than a business. A client must trust that the lawyer's advice and services put the client's interests first.

For more information about the Lake Norman Chamber Diversity Council or this event, contact the Lake Norman Chamber at 704-892-1922 or visit LakeNormanChamber.org

Published in Member News

Cornelius SealTo Local Real Estate Members and Developers in the Lake Norman Market

Regarding: Town of Cornelius Land Development Code

For the last four years, The Town of Cornelius staff have been working with a local citizen advisory committee to draft an update to the Town Land Development Code. Town Staff has periodically been meeting with local real estate companies, engineers, developers and neighborhood groups to review different portions of the proposed Code that may be of interest.

The Cornelius Town Board has scheduled a final public hearing and potential adoption for Monday, February 19th at the Town Board Meeting 7 pm. Wayne Herron, the Town Planner is reaching out to any business, particularly those who are impacted by Cornelius Town Codes, if they have any issues or concerns.

The Town has provided the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce with the Power Point used at a recent Town Board Meeting that outlines changes that have already occurred and the final proposed changes.

See the Power Point here.

The new draft Code can be found at the following:

Should any local business or Lake Norman Chamber member have any questions, please contact:

Wayne Herron, AICP
Director of Planning
(o) 704-896-2460 ext 111
(c) 704-626-0102

Thank you!
W.E. “Bill” Russell
President & CEO

Published in Member News

RandyCornelius, NC (January 15, 2018) – The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce presented the Duke Citizenship & Service Award to local Mooresville and Huntersville Automobile Dealer Randy Marion at a sold out Annual Meeting which took place Friday, January 12th at The Peninsula Club. Also recognized was Holly Davis, the founder of Holly’z Hope, and Sally J. Ashworth, Executive Director of Visit Lake Noman.

John Crutchfield, Director of Public Safety and Recreation Strategy Planning Services at Duke Energy Corporation, presented the award to Mr. Marion. Crutchfield said, “We are pleased this year to recognize an individual whose name is synonymous, not just with his business, but recognized as someone who truly cares. Whether back home in West Virginia with an organization his grandfathers were involved in – Mountain Mission, or providing the turkeys at Thanksgiving for all the Mooresville Police and Fire Dept. employees – Randy Marion has made a lasting impact.

A quick look around at any community event – typically has Randy Marion’s support: Cannon School, The Mooresville Soup Kitchen, Rescue Ranch, Heart Association, The Dove House, Davidson Community Players and the list goes on and on.”

Mr. Marion, in receiving the recognition, responded, “I am blessed beyond measure to be able to be in business in a great and supportive community and to be able to give back to a community that provides me and our 464 employees an opportunity to make a living. I really feel giving back is as important as receiving.”2018 Cherry 640x512

In addition, Holly Davis with Holly’z Hope, was selected as the John R. Cherry Community Award recipient for 2017. When Holly Davis moved to Cornelius in 2015, she saw a lot of dogs tethered outside in the elements and it concerned her. She set out to improve the condition of these pets – working with our towns to provide alternatives to chaining the animals and reducing overpopulation thru spay and neuter programs. In 2 years, she and her group – Holly’z Hope – have freed 70 dogs and spayed and neutered close to 100 animals.

The Chamber also recognized Sally Ashworth, the Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, with the Scott Hinkle Servant Leadership Award named for 1999 Chamber Board Chair Scott Hinkle who passed away in 2010 from health issues related to diabetes. The award is presented to an individual who has made a lasting impact on the Lake Norman region by “demonstrating leadership through selfless service.”

2017 Lake Norman Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann told the assembled business and community leaders, “For more than two decades Sally Ashworth has been mentoring young people – whether it be her own personal staff or those students at Hopewell High School in the Academy of Travel & Tourism. Sally, the Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, has chaired and served on statewide Tourisms Boards, our Chamber Board, the EDC Board and has spent the better part of her career teaching others to serve – which is appropriate as she herself began her career as a teacher after graduating from Marshall University.”

2018 Sally 1 640x512Pic A: Randy, Marion receives the 2017 Duke Citizenship & Service Award from John Crutchfield of Duke Energy. Also on hand to present the award was Lake Norman Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann and Chamber President Bill Russell. Photo by Ocaid Photography.

Pic B: Holly Davis, founder of Holly’z Hope, was the recipient of the John R. Cherry Community Service Award for her work with pets. Cherry, the founder of the Lake Norman Chamber, presented the award along with Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann and Bill Russell, the Chamber President. Photo by Ocaid Photography.

Pic C Sally J. Ashworth, Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, receives the Scott Hinkle Servant Leadership Award from Chamber Chair Jay Lesemann and President Bill Russell.

Photos by Ocaid Photography.


Published in Member News

2018 Cashion 640x427Cornelius, NC (January 15, 2018) – “A Winning Tradition” was the theme of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce 30th Annual Meeting this past Friday at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius. The banquet focused on the three decades of service of the regional business association as well as thanking many of the community’s volunteers who make the Lake Norman region a great place to live, work, and visit.

The sold out event was keynoted by Adam Alexander, NASCAR Race Hub Co-host and FOX Announcer, who spoke about the importance of building a winning team. Approximately 200 business and community leaders were inspired by Alexander’s sports anecdotes and his message of “Passion, be positive, know your parameters, be present, live in peace by staying humble.”

J A (Jay) Lesemann, Jr. CPA CGMA with Lesemann CPAs Huntersville, presided over the event as the 2017 Board Chair. Joshua Dobi, President of Dobi Financial Group, was installed as the 2018 Chairman of the Board.

A highlight of the evening was recognizing business leaders who had excelled in their profession and made a significant impact on their community. The prestigious Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year was awarded to Dr. William H. Cain, President and CEO of Financial Independence Group. On hand to help make the presentation was Robert’s wife Louise and sons Bobby and Gordon.

Dr Cain, who is celebrating his 41st year in the financial and insurance industry, employs 146 people and in 2015 and 2016 celebrated record setting years surpassing $2 billion in sales and revenue.

On receiving the recognition, Dr. Cain thanked his wife Ericka (Chief Administrative Officer), his family, the staff of Financial Independence Group and their team at Baily's Glen. Dr. Cain said, “We moved from Asheville to Cornelius 20 years ago (1998) after researching the area and found a very welcoming business community. So we moved our family, employees and business here with an appreciation for our warm reception. Today, we have a home where we can give back to a wonderful community.”

The McIntosh Law Firm’s Passion to Succeed Award for the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year was presented to Rob Bennett, owner of My Aloha Paddle & Surf and Charlotte Cycle Boats. Bennett has been recognized as the USA 2017 Stand Up Paddle Board Retailer of the Year and has raised over $85,000 in the last six years for local charities.2018 McIntosh Passion to Succeed 640x512

Other business leaders recognized were Tenders Fresh Foods with the Volunteer of the Year; Jordan Bentz with Bentz and Associates with the Carbon Ambassador of the Year; Discovery Place Kids - Huntersville with the Distinguished Service Award; and Mike Murphy with ProctorFree, who was recognized with the Starrette Service Award as the Most Outstanding Chamber Board Member.

The Chamber recognized four outgoing Board Members whose terms concluded in December: Sharon Simpson with Currents Magazine, Davidson Commissioner Jim Fuller, Laura Temple with Champion Tire, and Huntersville Commissioner Danny Phillips.


Picture 1: Dr. Bill Cain received the Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year Award from the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. Pictured with Bill Cain is Robert Cashion’s wife Louise and sons Bobby and Gordon. Representing the Chamber were 2017 Board Chair Jay Lesemann and President Bill Russell. Photo by Ocaid Photography.

Pic 2: Rob Bennett, owner of My Aloha Paddle and Surf, was selected as the McIntosh Law Firm Passion to Succeed Entrepreneur of the Year for 2017. Presenting the award was McIntosh Law Firm Founder Bob McIntosh, 2017 Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann, and Chamber President Bill Russell. Photo by Ocaid Photography.


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