Column: A great day in Caldwell County

Mar. 02, 2014 @ 01:41 AM

This past Tuesday really was a great day to do business in Caldwell County.

The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission hosted its annual celebration, and like last year there was a great deal to celebrate. Seventeen companies, or the Class of 2013, were honored for their growth and expansion in 2013, with millions and millions of dollars invested in the county and hundreds of new employees added.

One of the highlights of the list of honorees is the diversity of companies that were represented in 2013. Furniture and textiles will always be important to Caldwell County, but a healthy economy also has diversity, and the EDC has been diligent about creating that diversity over the last several years, under the leadership of Deborah Murray.

Companies like Carolina Locust, Malouf Fine Linens, Pontrelli Rail and Google were among those honored.

One of those companies, Exela Pharma Sciences, was honored as the Industry of the Year. It was recognized for its major expansion upon acquiring the former Broyhill Furniture Industries headquarters and plans to double its workforce over the next three years. This company is involved in medical research and the manufacturing of a vital antibiotic for AIDS patients, among other products. This company and Greer Laboratories (another member of the class of 2013) represent the opportunity for Caldwell County to become more diverse and economically healthier.

Allen Stewart received the Herman Anderson Award for his many years of service passion for economic development in Caldwell County. A well-deserved award for an accomplished individual!

Finally, the day just kept getting better and better with a late afternoon ground breaking for the new William Lenoir Middle School at its new location. This is the first middle school to be built in the county and reflects 15 years of persistence and patience. It also illustrated the importance of compromise, as the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners and the Caldwell County Board of Education worked together to develop a sensible and financially responsible plan for education of our young people.

It was a great day for the people of Caldwell County.