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Cape Fear Leaders Take Charge Of Area's Workforce Future

By Alison Lee Satake, posted Apr 20, 2010

The area’s top leaders in business and government are leading Cape Fear Future – an initiative meant to attract and retain a professional workforce – begun by the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

The new Cape Fear Future Commission is a 47-member body that will propel initiatives forward, help leverage existing organizations and advise the Cape Fear Future strategic leadership team. Representatives from New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties are part of the commission, including Mayor Bill Saffo, New Hanover County Commission Chairman Jason Thompson, Brunswick County Economic Development Director Jim Bradshaw, UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo and New Hanover Regional Medical Center CEO Jack Barto.

Today the commission held its kickoff meeting with a guest presentation by Fred Eshelman, PPD executive chairman.

Three Cape Fear Future committees that focus on three areas to promote economic growth reported on its work.

The Quality of Life Task Force, led by Chris Boney, president of LS3P Associates, reported that it is establishing a regional effort to enhance and maximize tourism, re-energize the arts community and promote and improve downtown.

The Entrepreneurship Action Team, led by Jonathan Rowe, director of the UNCW Entrepreneurship Center, will link emerging and high-growth ventures, entrepreneurs, and support organizations to create business growth, jobs and innovation.

The Education Task Force, led by John Gizdic, vice president of strategic planning and business development at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, will seek to increase involvement and representation of business leaders on educational decision-making committees, establish an assessment of workforce readiness of local students by area businesses, provide advocacy for high quality K-12 education for all students and enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs.

“By working toward these enhancements to the region, Cape Fear Future will help ensure that businesses in the region have skilled workers as the Baby Boomers retire and the younger demographic shrinks, and that the area will be a magnet for knowledge-based businesses,” said Connie Majure-Rhett, Chamber president and CEO in a press release. “The establishment of the Commission is a key part of Cape Fear Future and we are pleased that so many important leaders have stepped forward to serve.”

As the process moves forward, additional areas of focus, which have been defined through community input and the work of the consulting group Catalytix will be addressed.

Members of the Cape Fear Future Commission are:

Jack Barto, CEO
New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Chris Boney, Managing Principal
LS3P Associates LTD.

Jim Bradshaw, Director
Brunswick County Economic Development

Jim Bryan, Regional Executive Vice President
First Citizens Bank

Sterling Cheatham, City Manager
City of Wilmington

Shann Coleman
Wilmington Minority Professional Networking Group
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

Andy Combs, General Manager
WWAY NewsChannel 3

Rosemary DePaolo, Chancellor
University of North Carolina Wilmington

Tom Eagar, CEO
North Carolina State Port Authority

Karl Ehemann, Plant Manager
Corning, Inc.

John Elliott, Manager, Community Relations
Progress Energy

Donna Girardot, Executive Officer
Wilmington-Cape Fear Homebuilders Association

Jon Gizdic, Vice President
New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Bill Graham, Chairman
Cape Fear Health Policy Council

Gen. David Grange, CEO
PPD, Inc.

Bob Gruber, Publisher
Star-News

Jeff James, CEO
Wilmington Health Associates

Gene Jordan, Chairman
Pender County Smart Start Board

Rob Kaiser, Owner
Greater Wilmington Business Journal

Hal Kitchen, Partner
McGuireWoods LLP

Connie Knox, General Manager
WILM-TV, Inc.

Al Lerch, Superintendent
New Hanover County Schools

Emily Longley, President
Longley Supply Company

Captain Howard Loving

US Navy (Retired)

John Lyon, Regional Director
AT&T North Carolina

Connie Majure-Rhett, President & CEO
Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

Phil Marion, City Executive
BB&T

Louise McColl, Owner
McColl & Associates

Paul McCombie, City Executive
NewBridge Bank

Eric McKeithan, President
Cape Fear Community College

Gary McNair, Vice President & General Manager
WECT

Tim Milam, Owner
Coldwell Banker - Seacoast Realty

Chad Paul, Managing Partner
Harbor Island Equity Partners, LLC

Tom Roper, Chairman
Pender County School Board

Jon Rosborough, Director
Wilmington International Airport

George Rountree, Principal
Rountree Losee Baldwin

Jonathan Rowe, Director
UNCW Entrepreneurship Center

Bill Saffo, Mayor
City of Wilmington

Scott Satterfield, Director
Wilmington Industrial Development

Bruce Shell, County Manager
New Hanover County

Margaret Stargell, Executive Director
Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.

Scott Sullivan, Manager
Cameron Management

Jason Thompson, Chair
New Hanover County Commission

Randy Tomsic, Market President
Wachovia Bank, A Wells Fargo Company
Chair, Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

Raiford Trask, Vice President
Autumn Hall

Deborah Velders, Director
Cameron Art Museum

Bob Warwick
RSM McGladrey, Inc.

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