Sunday, November 23, 2008

Who Knew?

So - as it turns out, I live in a pretty cool county. I mean, who knew that in Lincoln County we manufacture everything from Gatorade and licorice to auto parts and a special bulletproof material that can be woven into suits and is sold exclusively to the government and the armed forces? Who knew that we have companies from Germany, Australia, Israel, Singapore and Brazil (to name a few) headquartered in our county - creating jobs and producing such a wide array of goods? Who knew, that despite recent closings of several factories and plants, over the last 5 years the Lincoln Economic Development Association (LEDA) has seen more than 20 expansions of industry totaling more than $242 million and resulting in the creation of more than 1,400 jobs in the county?

So where did I learn all of these interesting facts? On Thursday I attended the Chamber's monthly Business After Hours meeting which was co-hosted by LEDA and the Lincolnton Downtown Development Association (DDA) - a group for which I already volunteer. The event was held at LEDA's new headquarters and in talking to LEDA Executive Director Barry Matherly, I began to discover some pretty cool things about the county (and town) I live in.

Even cooler - the theme for the evening was "Racing" and on hand was drag racer Doug Herbert (who lives and runs his shop in the county); Jan Crawford - a former racer who along with her husband Max runs several businesses that manufacture parts and cars for the racing industry (seriously - she is this tiny little lady from New Zealand and she looked so proper in her black suit and pearls but she is a serious heavyweight in this industry); and Ray Evernham. You may have heard of Ray or his NASCAR team, Gillett Evernham Motorsports which is home to NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, Patrick Carpentier, and Elliot Sadler (among others). Ray was on hand to announce that his is leaving NASCAR and buying the East Lincoln Speedway - a fairly significant announcement I thought for a local Business After Hours event.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...