The organization Bellamy leads is the arts agency of record for the city of Wilmington and New Hanover County.
She said some of her organization’s main tasks are to provide a stream of funding to support artists and arts organizations in the city and county; promote the arts as essential to economic development; market Wilmington and New Hanover County’s arts and cultural assets; advocate for the arts at the local, state and national levels; and facilitate communication and collaboration within the arts community.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: A few examples of Bellamy’s and the arts council’s impacts include spearheading development of the Wilmington Rail Trail, organizing the local coordination of the national Arts & Economic Prosperity study, managing Fourth Friday Gallery Nights for local galleries, commissioning a mural for the new Novant Health Neurosciences Institute in Wilmington and serving on the board of the Wilmington Area Hospitality Association.
Braddock recently represented CIL LLC in its purchase of 805 N. 23rd St., a 70,000-square-foot partially refrigerated cold storage building. She also serves as a development consultant for the 750,000-square-foot cold storage facility under construction at ILM, as well as the new $40 million Crowne Plaza hotel coming to the airport.
Braddock, who has 15 years of commercial real estate experience, honed her skills working at Brunswick Forest in leasing, sales and project management for the major master-planned development’s commercial area, The Villages at Brunswick Forest. Her property management portfolio included about 1 million square feet of retail, office and industrial buildings.
She also chairs the Novant Brunswick Medical Foundation.
INDUSTRY ADVOCATE: As chair of the Cape Fear CREW Awards of Excellence, Braddock leads a team procuring submissions for nominations, helping to secure partners/sponsorships for the program and assists in coordinating the marketing and advertising.
Anne Brennan was named executive director of the Cameron Art Museum in 2011 after serving as assistant director and curator at the museum.
WHY SHE’S A CONNECTOR: From her time as assistant director, when she launched the Museum School to offer art classes to area residents, to her current tenure at the helm of the museum, Brennan has helped to establish CAM as a local institution built on community engagement. Because the museum is funded through private gifts, its status as a cultural gathering place is crucial to its success – and under Brennan, CAM has established itself as an indispensable feature of the cultural fabric of Southeastern North Carolina.
Brennan has deep roots in the Wilmington art community, dating back to visits to what was then St. John’s Art Gallery in downtown Wilmington as a child. An artist herself, she secured a position on the museum’s staff in 1990 after a stint of volunteering to get her foot in the door.MILESTONE EXHIBIT: The museum is celebrating 60 years of operation, 20 of which have been in its current home on South 17th Street. To celebrate, the museum is hosting a commemorative exhibition of its history and the artists it has displayed titled 60+ running through April 2023.
One of her goals is to focus on strengthening and supporting inclusive small business growth through research, job-creation programs, capital allocation, mentorship and programming.
Clinton-Quintana has a degree in business management with a concentration in management from Strayer University in Herndon, Virginia, as well as nine years of experience as a bank compliance officer. She held compliance and security positions at both Live Oak Bank and RBC Bank in Raleigh.
ACCOLADES: Clinton-Quintana’s work has garnered numerous awards and recognition, including a New Hanover County Business Equity Award for 2022. She graduated from the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Wilmington 2021-22 program, was named co-chair of the chamber’s African American Business Council and was a 2021 WILMA’s Women to Watch Awards finalist.
As director of Cape Fear Community College’s Small Business Center, Jerry Coleman oversees program services, sponsorships and coordination with local community initiatives all with the goal of helping small businesses. To achieve this, Coleman partners with various organizations including the U.S. Small Business Administration, N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Department of Agriculture, N.C. Military Business Center and others.
WHY HE’S A CONNECTOR: In his role, which is also as senior director of business and industry services, Coleman connects entrepreneurs with the resources they need to launch and grow their businesses.
In the fiscal year 2020-21, CFCC’s Small Business Center provided confidential one-on-one business counseling to 222 prospective and existing business owners, which resulted in 39 new business startups creating 292 new jobs in our community. The organization also provided 150 business seminars on a variety of business topics and best practices for more than 2,600 small business owners in New Hanover and Pender counties.
During his tenure at the center, Coleman has mentored 1,438 entrepreneurs in the community. This year, Coleman also partnered with Genesis Block to launch an incubator kitchen for entrepreneurs.
PARTNERING UP: In 2022, Coleman received Carolina Small Business Development Fund’s (CSBDF) Partner of the Year award for going above and beyond in supporting small businesses and CSBDF throughout the year.
Additionally, Conway is tasked with helping the city in its current efforts to finalize a strategic plan built upon awareness of equitable allocation of resources for capital improvement projects, community outreach efforts and business development opportunities. His work also extends outside the realm of city government with initiatives fostered through relationships with other individuals and organizations.
For example, this year he worked with the New Hanover County Office of Diversity & Equity to host CONNECT, a multicultural networking event as well as with UNCW’s chief diversity officer for the 2022 Institute on Truth, Racial Health and Transformation.
Conway is also a member of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce as well as the African American Business Council and the Latin American Business Council.
TRAINING TOPICS: Conway provided education and coaching on implicit bias to area Realtors this year to help real estate agents mitigate bias and better relate to minority clients.
WHY HE’S A CONNECTOR: For over 30 years, Early has worked in the field of economic development with extensive experience in rural communities. Before joining Brunswick County, Early worked for the Hertford County Economic Development Commission for 20 years, most recently serving as executive director, bringing in 64 business recruitment or expansion projects, over $1.1 billion in investments and nearly 2,000 jobs.
Pacon Manufacturing in Leland was one of Early’s first major local projects, which now has over 200 employees.
Brunswick County saw the International Commerce Park come to life this year after a decade of inactivity. This megasite – one of just seven statewide – has been a top priority of Early’s since he joined BBID. The BBID team has long advocated for the construction of speculative buildings to help meet industry needs in an area where eligible sites are lacking and for the installation of infrastructure to make sites more marketable.
With the construction of the International Commerce Center, the speculative building attracted Precision Swiss Products, Tri-Tech Forensics and Lowe’s Companies as tenants.
FUTURE FOCUS: Early said that BBID plans to continue working with Brunswick County government on increasing water and wastewater capacity, as well as with potential investors and developers to build additional spec building space to increase the county’s product availability.
A major focus of Fernando’s is to engage CFCC students in programs and opportunities at the Wilson Center, where students work at the shows and perform onstage in productions of the CFCC drama department. Furthermore, Fernando has overseen fundraising efforts totaling more than $2 million for an expansion of the Wilson Center to include a Residency and Events Center to expand the organization’s arts education footprint.
OFF CAMPUS: In addition to his role at CFCC, Fernando serves in many community and national roles for the arts, including as a trustee for the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, board member for Arts North Carolina and member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
The group sprung out of conversations from the Cape Fear Workforce Development Board and officially formed in 2021, with Flock as its leader. Since formalizing, the partnership has grown to represent more than 40 businesses in the region. Putting competition aside, the partnership convenes to jointly advocate for education- or policy-based changes that could help advance the industry. The diverse group aims to improve the perception of manufacturing jobs, which can be high-paying opportunities, and offer viable career paths for locals to find longevity in the market. Through working with regional educational institutions, the group hopes to more closely align students with local opportunities.
AEROSPACE MINDED: With nearly 40 years of experience in the sector, Flock has helped HSM Machine Works maintain and attract new business. HSM is currently working on several military projects that will help increase high-tech job opportunities in the region.
With full-time jobs, the trio decided to start the group with the goal to connect the professional Black community in the region to each other and to local businesses.
WHY THEY’RE CONNECTORS: To be able to carry out their mission of connecting professionals, Foreman, Pellam and Shaw work to host events that are hosted in partnership with local businesses. Since the group’s formation in 2019, they have organized over 10 social gatherings for Black professionals in Wilmington. Events hosted this year by the group include Thirsty Thursdays, Denim Day Party, Sneaker Ball, and more.
In 2022, the group received recognition from New Hanover County by receiving the Community Equity Award during the second annual Equity Awards. In addition, the group also collaborates with other organizations by supporting other minority-led initiatives including collaborating with the N.C. Black Film Festival held in Wilmington. The group has the goal to continue to grow its resources and provide recommendations for Black professionals moving to the area.
NETWORKING: Since its start, Three Ladies in Wilmington has created a social network for over 500 Black professionals in the Southeastern North Carolina area.
This includes a new 35,000-square-foot facility to accommodate the distribution of an additional 4.2 million pounds of food annually, a 37% increase in the overall distribution.
Gaglione was a part of a small team responsible for raising the funds necessary to build the new food bank, which required investments totaling $12 million.
The new food bank in Wilmington will include a commercial kitchen to produce 5,000 hot meals a day, a fresh food marketplace, a volunteer center and a 30,000-square-foot warehouse. Gaglione and the team secured a $1 million donation from nCino for the project, which is under construction at 1000 Greenfield St. and is slated to be called the nCino Hunger Solutions Center.
In 2022, Gaglione was also able to help acquire $150,000 from the Wilmington City Council’s disbursement of ARPA funding, which the organization will use to assist its operation at the new facility.
OVER THE YEARS: Since 2002, the Wilmington food bank has provided more than 150 million pounds of food across its service area, an investment valued at nearly $200 million.
Gardner leads an organization with more than 3,600 Realtor members across a six-county region of Southeastern North Carolina and the city of Wilmington. Since 2020, she has successfully lobbied to ensure real estate was deemed an essential service during the pandemic, modernized transactions with the successful passage of remote notarization led by NC Realtors and lead the organization through an 18-month repair and renovation of The Terraces on Sir Tyler, a more than 25,000-square-foot association headquarters, office building and premium event venue.
Gardner said a persistent lack of housing affordable for the area’s workforce of teachers, firefighters, police officers and supporting medical professionals resulted in a new initiative through the organization’s Wilmington Realtors Foundation to develop a community of 48 single-family homes targeted to this group. The foundation is launching a capital campaign to fund the project, Pierson Pointe, named after the founding president of the WRF, John Pierson.
CENTENNIAL OF SERVICE: Gardner has been leading a yearlong series of events celebrating the role of real estate professionals in the Cape Fear region, honoring the founding of CFR in April 1922.
Griffin oversees all activity – marketing, recruitment, operations and daily inquiries – and serves as the local point of contact for nearly all film-related matters.
He has maintained an Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) membership for 23 years and Certified Film Commissioner status for 13 years. Griffin also previously served as a member of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Advisory Council on Film, Television and Digital Streaming.
INDUSTRY REBOUND: After the evaporation of film opportunities following the sunsetting of a state incentive program in 2014, the Wilmington scene has made a hearty rebound, netting an estimated $311 million in the region in 2021. This year, while activity hasn’t been quite as voracious as the post-pandemic build-up, the region could see $225 million in spending, according to the latest estimates. As several local productions continue their work on current projects, Griffin anticipates the arrival of new productions in 2023.
Since 2008, Hallingse has served on the N.C. Economic Development Board of Directors.
In Wilmington, he has championed existing small business owners and entrepreneurs and has worked to enhance a business environment that attracts new ventures to the area. Through the chamber’s program, Hallingse works with businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
DEALMAKING: In June, the N.C. Economic Development Association awarded its 2021 Smaller Market Deal of the Year to Hallingse for his work in attracting Raybow Pharmaceutical to Brevard, which brought wages that are double the local average. The life science deal brought more than 70 jobs to the small rural town.
In this role, Hardy brings together local officials and emergency management leaders for storm resiliency and preparation events to foster enhanced teamwork during major storms.
After living for nearly 30 years in Raleigh, Hardy relocated to Wilmington last year for the role. Since the move, Hardy has already plugged into several local organizations, including serving as a mentor in WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative and as a member of the CFCC Electrical Lineworker Advisory Board. She also serves as a mentor within the Duke Energy Employee Resource Group.
COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Hardy attended Shaw University in Raleigh for her undergraduate degree in mass communication and holds a master’s in organizational leadership from Waldorf University.
Kim Hufham heads up the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, which does business as the more visible name, Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau. She has worked for the organization for 30 years. As New Hanover County tourism indicators surpass pre-COVID levels, Hufham is leading the organization in a shift to new marketing strategies designed to sustain the industry’s growth.
WHY SHE’S A CONNECTOR: Hufham is an advocate for topics affecting the tourism and hospitality industry, which supports more than 6,000 jobs and generates a local economic impact of more than $930 million.
She works to link area stakeholders to resources they need from local, state and national organizations to address challenges such as workforce shortages, sustainability and proper use of the room occupancy tax generated from stays in local hotels and short-term rentals.
Hufham helps to curate tourism dollars and shape the trajectory of one of the county’s leading industries, including the allocation of funds generated by tourism to help replenish the area’s beaches, support the Wilmington Convention Center, fund ocean safety programs and more.
This year, she is working on a new tourism ambassador certification training program for local hospitality partners and tourism stakeholders.
TRAVEL BUDGET: Hufham oversees a $13 million budget that is utilized primarily for destination marketing activities.
Correction: This version updates the description of the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau’s new ambassador program.
The effects of these programs are felt throughout the area, from free swimming and water safety programs for children to the Grandparent Support Network for grandparents providing full-time care for their grandchildren. Jenkins has led the creation of several initiatives designed specifically to engage the community on issues of racial equity, social justice and health disparities.
For example, Jenkins envisioned an event in 2020 that would highlight local inequities in health care, a goal brought to life in this year’s Health Summit: Empowering and Building Healthier Communities. Other projects on Jenkin’s plate this year included a Get Out the Vote campaign that helps people register to vote and arranges for transportation to the polls in partnership with the NAACP as well as a new program providing financial literacy education for middle school students.
GRANT GETS: Under Jenkins’ leadership, the local YWCA has secured over $500,000 in grant awards.
As a board or committee member to dozens of local and statewide organizations, Johnson has helped cultivate growth in the state’s life sciences sector.
Johnson led the creation of the N.C. Economic Development Association Foundation in 2020 and has served as founding board chair since. He served as president of the N.C. Economic Development Association last year and is currently a board member of the N.C. Community Colleges Foundation.
Through his efforts at NC Biotech’s Southeastern Office, Johnson has helped attract millions in research and commercialization dollars to the area. Though he said that many of the ongoing recruitment efforts cannot yet be disclosed, Johnson also has recently worked to support several local ventures boosting the local life sciences sector, including Frontier Scientific Solutions and Quality Chemical Laboratories.
GOING STATEWIDE: Johnson established the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge in 2020 with the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Earlier this year, the challenge launched statewide across all five of NC Biotech’s offices, offering startups intensive mentorship and $200,000 in combined grant opportunities.
Lanier has also been the recipient of the NC Realtors Rising Star Award and was named to an international list of real estate influencers by Inman News.
Lanier Property Group was named to the Real Trends list of the top 1.5% of real estate teams in the country and No. 26 for North Carolina.
In 2021, Lanier launched and hosted The Inspiration Lab Podcast, focused on inspiring women in their personal and professional lives that released 48 episodes in its first season.
CHAMBER LEADERSHIP: Lanier served as 1st vice chair of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee and will move into the role of chair next year.
Cameron Moore leads a trade association with nearly 1,500 members. The Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association (WCFHBA) is the second-largest homebuilders association in the state and fourth-largest in the nation, Moore said.
WHY HE’S A CONNECTOR: The WCFHBA “provides services to members that enhance their success and stability,” Moore said. “As the largest trade association in Eastern North Carolina, the association serves as the voice of the building and development industries and strives to advance professionalism and promote community involvement. The WCFHBA is recognized as a positive influential force for responsible growth by protecting property rights and the privilege of homeownership.”
In February, Moore was named the National Association of Home Builders Local Executive Officer of the Year for 2021.
GIVE BACK: Moore has worked to transform the local association’s philanthropic outlet – The Paul Gregory Foundation, which provides students in the Wilmington area with scholarships and other funding mechanisms to help advance the construction programs and trades in the area. He also reorganized the association’s annual fall golf tournament into a scholarship fundraiser for the foundation called the Swing for Education Golf Tournament. Moore is also establishing a relationship between the WCFHBA and local middle and high schools to engage students and garner interest in the construction and trades industry to address a labor shortage.
He created Beyond Talent, the social enterprise job placement division of StepUp Wilmington. StepUp connects people to jobs in various industries including hospitality, manufacturing and health care.
Soon, the organization will add in-demand tech jobs to the list with the forthcoming DigitalBridge Wilmington, a collaborative project expected to open in StepUp’s new space on North Fourth Street in early 2023. DigitalBridge will provide training and upskilling resources to help people get started with tech companies. In addition to more space for state-of-the-art training facilities, their new office is a standalone space with easy access for clients. Because they aim to improve the economic standing and quality of life for their clients, the organization’s work goes beyond sharing job opportunities with people.
DIGITAL FUNDING: Other partners in DigitalBridge Wilmington include Cape Fear Collective and Wireless Research Center of North Carolina. The program was backed this year by $2.5 million in ARPA funds approved by the Wilmington City Council in August
Satterfield has long worked behind the scenes to help usher in new businesses to the region in his role at Wilmington Business Development (WBD).
The WBD office has a hand in major industry announcements and keeps a pulse on economic trends to help foster business or public investment to spur enhanced economic opportunities for the region.
This year, WBD worked on multiple deals at the Pender Commerce Park, including a new Amazon delivery station and a cold storage warehouse from RL Cold. WBD also helped curate deals with New Hanover County to advance two new business parks: the Blue Clay Business Park, which is expected to have infrastructure on-site by next summer, and the proposed Holly Shelter Business Park, a new venture made possible by a private land donation.
The organization helped secure local and state incentives this year for four companies planning to bring more than 1,000 additional jobs to the region in the coming years: MegaCorp Logistics, Port City Logistics, Live Oak Bank and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.
LOCAL TIES: A local of the area, Satterfield is a graduate of New Hanover High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from UNCW in 1983.
April Scott has worked with the Brunswick County entrepreneurial ecosystem for six years, which includes working hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs. After a switch from nursing to business, Scott became the executive director of The Carousel Center after 12 years of working with the nonprofit. She then received her MBA from Webster University and joined the BCC SBC in 2016.
WHY SHE’S A CONNECTOR: Over the years, Scott has helped over 90 businesses start and has individually educated more than 3,000 business owners on how to grow their businesses.
This year, the office’s projects included a new YouTube show for the county’s Hispanic community called Su Condado, as well as co-sponsoring the second annual Hispanic Festival, where attendance grew to more than 2,000 people.
Other initiatives launched under Thompson’s tenure include a free training session on diversity and equity for nonprofits and small businesses in the community, which trained more than 500 people this year; the annual Equity Awards to highlight and honor individuals in the region for expanding and elevating equity and diversity; and conducting the first Equity Summit of Southeastern NC this year.
EQUITY EDUCATION: Thompson has also helped with events and activities organized by the county to commemorate the 124th anniversary of the 1898 Wilmington massacre and coup as well as the office’s co-sponsorship of the Bias Inside exhibit at the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science.
Offering 10 sound stages with 150,000 square feet of space, Screen Gems’ services and facilities helped cement Wilmington’s reputation as Hollywood East. Shortly after taking over the Wilmington studios, Vassar introduced on-site lighting and equipment rental services to productions, which were previously contracting with outside companies.
Vassar’s career in the area includes well-known highlights, from the long-running Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill to landing big-screen flicks including Ironman 3 and Halloween Kills, among others. After and amid the pandemic, Screen Gems was booked solid and contributed to the record-breaking spending in 2021 that marked the industry’s official local comeback after the major contraction in 2014. While activity was still lulled by the pandemic, Vassar led a $1 million parking lot repaving project and is currently spearheading efforts to future-proof the facility with system upgrades. Screen Gems has recently assisted local productions including The Summer I Turned Pretty and Our Kind of People.
FIRST JOB: Vassar’s lengthy career in media began as a disc jockey at 16.
In February last year, she earned the Certified Association Executive accreditation from the American Society of Association Executives.
Under the guidance of Walsh and with the help of five employees, the group continues to monitor and engage counties and municipalities to focus on private property rights.
VOLUNTEERISM: BCAR has coordinated members volunteering and giving to multiple organizations in the area including a Habitat for Humanity build, blood drive, beach sweep and backpacks for schools, to name a few. In October, the association hosted another Feed the Funnel event to package more than 40,000 meals for distribution to Brunswick Family Assistance.
Emma Dill - Dec 4, 2023
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