Steven K. Blanchard
Blanchard has served as CEO/General Manager of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission (PWC) since June 1994, and is responsible for all divisions and departments at PWC. Blanchard joined the PWC in 1972. He has held positions of Engineer I, II, and III; Assistant Chief Electrical Engineer; Assistant Director of Electrical Systems; and Director of Generation and Power Supply.
A native of Fayetteville, Blanchard is a 1972 graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He completed a program in Municipal Administration at the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Leadership Fayetteville Program. Blanchard has served on the Board of Directors for ElectriCities of NC, Inc., Southeastern Electric Reliability Council and Cape Fear River Assembly. He is a member of the Economic Development Alliance of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.
He is presently serving on the American Public Power Association (APPA) Board of Directors and the APPA Membership Committee and has served on the APPA Generation and Fuels Committee where he served as Chairman. He is serving on the FCCCC Military Affairs Council and served on the Advisory Council for the SBE at FSU and the Foundation Board of Directors at Methodist University where he served as chairman.
A member of the South Central Chapter of Professional Engineers of North Carolina, Blanchard has served as a chapter director and state level steering committee member. He is active in the community through his church and other organizations such as the American Heart Association (served as chairman) and the Cumberland County United Way (served as campaign chairman and board chairman).
Advisory Board Chairperson
Brown currently serves as president of JB Brown Associates, a management consultant firm affiliated with The HR Group, Inc. Recently retired from the local government executive service, Brown held several positions including Assistant City Manager, Finance Director, IT Director, and Chief Development Officer (Fayetteville, NC); Assistant City Manager for Economic Development/Deputy City Manager (Greensboro, NC); and as deputy county manager of Guilford County. Additionally, Ben is a retired Army Officer. During his military career he served combat tours in Vietnam and Grenada, tours at the Pentagon, in Europe, within the Army Security Agency, at Military Enlistment/Recruiting Commands, and other U.S. Army Posts.
Brown has a long association with FSU, beginning with being a member of the first MBA graduating class in 1989. From his vantage point in the local city government, he worked with the university to obtain federal funding to develop the "Murchison Road Corridor Study" build the FSU Business Center, develop and build the Bronco Square Shopping Plaza, and worked with local developers to acquire the land necessary to build the university apartments. He has served on the FSU Board of Trustees for the past seven years during which he has served as chair of the Board, chair of the Chancellor Search Committee, chair of the Business and Finance Committee, and served as member of the FSU Foundation Board. He is a member of the International City-County Managers’ Association where he served for a number of years on its Policy Committee, and is a member of the North Carolina City-County Managers’ Association where he served on its Board of Directors.
Marcus M. Cox
Cox serves as market president, Bank of America for Fayetteville, North Carolina. He leads a market team that delivers the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy locally. This includes overseeing philanthropic grants, community development lending and investing, and volunteerism. He also helps brings the full resources of the company to clients by coordinating and integrating product and service delivery for all lines of business.
In addition to the market president role, Cox also serves as a senior client manager for Bank of America Global Commercial Banking Business Banking Group. He manages relationships with companies in the business banking segment of the Eastern North Carolina region.
Cox joined Bank of America in 2001. His professional experience with the bank includes various positions in Client Credit Services, Small Business Banking, Business Banking and Global Commercial Banking.
A native of Winston Salem, Cox graduated from the Winston Salem State University with a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science.
Active in civic and community affairs throughout his career, Cox has served on several boards including the Child Advocacy Center, The Arts Council of Cumberland County, The Boys and Girls Club of Cumberland County, and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina. He is excited about the opportunity to serve the community and clients in Fayetteville.
Earnest L. Curry retired from IBM as a Senior Project manager. He served as an organizational and department manager for more than 25 years of his IBM career. As an IBM project manager, Earnest received numerous recognitions for his quality implementation and protection of cost growth and revenue attainment. He also received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his career for community and civic engagement.
Earnest received a BS from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) in mathematics and his MS in mathematics from The Ohio State University. He also has completed numerous professional development programs at Duke University, UNC at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia
He is President of the 100 Black Men of Cape Fear Region Chapter and is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. The 100 Black Men of America is a National Organization that focuses on mentoring across a lifetime. Under his leadership as President, the Cape Fear Chapter developed additional mentoring opportunities at several local secondary schools. His leadership in the Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity contributed to the establishment of a Foundation for the alumni chapter, while managing a very successful Beautillion program for junior and senior high school males.
Earnest is also very engaged with serving on several boards for the greater Fayetteville community. He is Chair of the Family Matters Committee as a member of the Fayetteville Habitat Humanity Board of Directors, which focuses on the selection of families to receive a Habitat home. As Vice-chair for the FSU Foundation Board of Directors, Earnest focuses on fundraising for FSU. Additionally, Earnest serves as President of TIPs (Teen Involvement Projects) that focuses on the personal and educational development of young people.
Born in Andalusia, AL to Woodrow Curry and Earnestine Marshall Curry. Earnest is the middle child of three children and a first generation college graduate. He is married to Blanche Radford-Curry, Assistant Dean and faculty at Fayetteville State University. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.
Scott Daugherty was appointed by Governor Beverly Perdue to serve as North Carolina’s first Small Business Commissioner. In this capacity he reports to the Secretary of Commerce and is a senior member of the Department of Commerce staff. Mr. Daugherty also serves as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Extension, Engagement and Economic Development at North Carolina State University and directs the Small Business and Technology Development Center. The SBTDC is the business and technology extension service of The University of North Carolina system, administered by North Carolina State University. The SBTDC operates in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Mr. Daugherty attended Wake Forest University, The University of Miami and The University of Florida. He has a law degree and has practiced as a corporate attorney in Florida, Mississippi and Washington, DC. He also has managed two large regional economic development organizations and organized and run a small business investment company. Just prior to joining The University of North Carolina system in 1984, Mr. Daugherty was a Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of a large quasi-public financing agency in Washington, DC.
Mr. Daugherty has had significant involvement with business, trade, technology development and capital formation issues throughout his professional career. He has served as a consultant to the OECD, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Small Business Administration. He is a member of a number of boards of directors and government agency task forces, a past (three times) Chairman of the Board of Directors for the national Association of Small Business Development Centers, a member of the North Carolina District Export Council, an Advisor to the NC Economic Development Board, and to the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology.
Margaret Dickson is a former member of the North Carolina Senate, having been appointed by Governor Perdue in 2012. She served as Vice Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and member of Committees on Appropriations/Base Budget; Appropriations on Education/Higher Education; Education/Higher Education; Finance/ Judiciary; Rules and Operations of the Senate; and Transportation. Prior to the Senate she served in the North Carolina House from 2002-2010. In the House Margaret chaired several committees, including the Joint Legislative Economic Development Oversight Committee, the House Committee on Commerce, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the House Board of Governors Nominating Committee.
She currently holds the position of Editorial Writer at Up & Coming Magazine.
Margaret has served on the board of the Fayetteville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Committee of the Fayetteville State University Foundation, and the Board of Directors of the
Cumberland Community Foundation. In 2007, was awarded the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce prestigious Athena Award, for her work in helping to support the goals of professional women. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Cumberland County Education Foundation and is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville. In May of 2008
Margaret was honored with the J.W. Pate Award by the Cape Fear River Assembly for her work on environmental issues.
Margaret received her BA in 1971 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also did her graduate work in Communications. After graduating, Margaret spent 25 years
working in a Fayetteville family owned business, Cape Fear Broadcasting.
Margaret is married to Judge John Dickson, a family court judge in Cumberland County, and they are proud parents of Bright, Seavy, Wyatt and daughter-in-law Caroline.
Marshal Faircloth earned his B.S. in Business Administration from UNC Chapel Hill in 1971 and has been a CPA since 1973. He currently serves on the Board of County Commissioners and the Board of Education. His hobbies include Golf, Hiking, Basketball, and playing the Guitar. He is married and has 4 grown children.
For QinetiQ North America, Ms. Fries is a Vice President and Division Manager within the Federal Solutions Business Unit, which provides professional information technology services and solutions to U.S. Federal Government clients in the civilian and homeland security communities. Ms. Fries leads teams delivering high quality enterprise software applications, achieving outstanding customer satisfaction ratings. Her technical expertise includes strategic planning, legacy system modernization, service oriented architecture, portal solutions, and software development best practices.
Lara earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Virginia Tech University and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds additional professional certifications in Six Sigma, Microsoft .NET Architecture, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), and software development best practices. Lara is a member of the American Council of Technology - Industry Advisory Council Fellows Program.
Lara and her husband, Brad, have three sons and reside in Herndon, Virginia.
A native of Fayetteville, NC, Green returned to his hometown to run the family’s recycling businesses (Cohen & Green Salvage Co. Inc. in Fayetteville; Raeford Salvage Co. Inc. in Raeford; and Lumberton Recycling Co. Inc. in Lumberton) with his father and brother, serving as owner and President of the companies until they were sold to Omnisource, a part of Steel Dynamics, a publicly traded international steel conglomerate in 2008.
He worked as a consultant for Steel Dynamics for six months after the sale, retiring from the recycling business in December of 2008.
Mr. Green is currently involved in several real estate partnerships; including commercial property development and leasing, residential property development and sales, and handling the rental and management of personal residential and commercial real estate.
Green national, state and community involvement includes serving as Past Southern Chapter and National Board member, Past President of the National President’s Group and Past President, Southern Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. He currently serves with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce group, working on the development of the Ft. Bragg military business park.
Mr. Green served as Past President of the Fayetteville Area Economic Development Corporation is also a member of the Fayetteville Rotary Club, Past President of the Pope Air Force Base Special Activities Committee and as Past Board member and Past President of Beth Israel Congregation.
Green is a President and Board member Cape Fear Industries, a Board Member and member of existing industry subcommittee with Cumberland County Business Council, a board member of North Carolina Beautiful, a board member of the Salvation Army, a board member of the Friends of the Cancer Center, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and a board member of the Cape Fear Valley Medical Center Foundation. He is a past board member of the Ft. Bragg Special Activities Committee and the Fayetteville Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce.
He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2011 and the Al Pruit Visionary Award from the Cumberland County Business Council in 2007.
Mr. Green is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina and attended public schools in the state. He earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from NC State University in 1972.
He and his wife, Lynette, have two children, Jared and Steven (wife, Alana). In his spare time, Green enjoys spending time with his family, golfing and traveling.
Mr. Thomas Green retired as Deputy Associate Administrator of the United States General Services Administration Office of Small Business Utilization (OSBU). Mr. Green was responsible for helping to oversee GSA's $3.0B small business program; staff and daily operations of the OSBU; and the execution of GSA's strategic plan. Prior to this appointment Mr. Green spent 27 years at NASA, where his experience included roles as Procurement Manager for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO); Audit Liaison Team Lead for the OCFO Quality Assurance Division; Special Assistant for Procurement in NASA's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization; Supervisory Contracting Officer for NASA Headquarters Acquisition Division and Procurement Analyst in NASA's Office of Procurement.
Mr. Green was competitively selected to participate in NASA's Leadership and Executive Development Program, which included a temporary assignment to the Johnson Space Center and Texas Southern University in Houston, TX. Throughout his career, Mr. Green has served as a strong advocate for small businesses and created significant opportunities for small business to work with NASA.
Mr. Green earned a Masters in Public Administration, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; and a Bachelors in Business Administration from Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, N.C.
Clifford I. Johnson is Director, Global Sales for McGraw-Hill Aviation Week. He has been in the media, publishing, and information industry for approximately 20 years. In that time, he has held various management and executive level positions with Fortune 500 companies in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Accordingly, his expertise includes the following industry segments: accounting, aviation, aerospace, defense, law, STM, and telecommunications.
As a leader in business, Mr. Johnson’s skills are focused in the areas of sales and marketing, business development, establishing business alliances, web technology, negotiating, and organizational development. His leadership skills also include a focus in security and criminal investigation. These skills were honed as a result of his 18 years of military service (active and reservist duty). Mr. Johnson’s military career included positions in leadership instruction and certification as a criminal investigator.
Mr. Johnson’s educational background includes undergraduate work with a concentration in economics at the University of Massachusetts in Boston where he earned the Bachelor of Arts degree. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Saint Leo University in Tampa, FL. His academic pursuits also include a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland where he was selected to participate in the intensive Executive MBA program.
Mr. Johnson has traveled extensively within the realm of his professional and academic pursuits. However, his personal interests also include travel. In addition to traveling, he enjoys reading, chess, skiing, and golf.
Brian L. Kent
As CEO of K3 Enterprises, Inc., Brian provides leadership to position the company at the forefront of the industry. Develop a strategic plan to advance the company's mission and objectives and to promote revenue, profitability and growth as an organization. Oversee company operations to insure production efficiency, quality, service, and cost-effective management of resources. Established internal processes and systems to accurately and reliably report and forecast income and capital requirements to assist with communication and presentation of company’s health to partnering Banks. These efforts resulted in company securing the necessary financing needed to continue rapid growth. He has led organization to become ISO 9001:2008, ITIL, and CMMI Level II Compliant and is currently working to become ISO 20,000 Compliant.
He has over 20 years of leadership experience with the Department of Defense. He is currently working as a Subject Matter Expert for numerous clients in the Defense Industry. His specialty for consulting is Government Contracting and Operational areas, which include cutting edge technologies, such as, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Surveillance Devices, Rapid Mobility and World Wide Communications. Prior to his current position he worked as the Acquisition Manager for a $160 million a year Communications and Information Systems Department located in Fayetteville, NC. He has an MS in Management Technology with work in an MBA and is currently working to complete a PhD in Business Administration. Brian brings enthusiasm, coordination skills and relationship management experience as well as determination to any team.
Brian hails from the Panhandle of Florida, but has spent a majority of his adult life in the North Carolina Region. He left his childhood home to work in the US Army, where he has led organizations from the immediate/team level to Operations Officer level for organizations with up to 165 individuals with diverse skills. He has had a myriad of challenging jobs, from international relations in the Middle East with experience in Egypt and Israel to providing the life support planning for weeks at a time for over 1500 personnel. From his duties as an operations officer, Brian has conducted large operations across the continental United States for both conventional and special operations forces. He currently still holds an active TOP SECRET Clearance with a Special Background Investigation.
Archie B. Meyer, Jr.
Archie Meyer is the Lead Planner for the Americas region of ExxonMobil's Fuels, Lubricants, and Specialties Marketing Company. He has worked with ExxonMobil for over 23 years in various staff and operational assignments. Before moving to Virginia, he was the Operations Manager responsible for the ninety ExxonMobil Company Operated Retail Stores in Houston, TX. Mr. Meyer also serves as the Vice-President and Treasurer for the Black Employee Success Team (BEST). He assists the company in many areas and supports its efforts in diversity recruiting and encouraging high school students to consider majors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and is a life member of the National Black MBS Association.
In additional to ExxonMobil, Mr. Meyer is very active in his community and serves as the Committee Chair for Boy Scout Troop 581 (Gainesville, VA) and as the Chairman of the Principal's Advisory Council for The Pennington School (Manassas, VA). Archie graduated from Georgia Tech (BChE, 1983) and Morehouse College (B.S. Chemistry, 1982) and received an MBA in Finance from Clark-Atlanta University in 1989. Mr. Meyer was born in Fort Worth, Texas and was raised in Atlanta, GA. He is married to Yolanda Henry, also of Atlanta, GA, and has three children, Alexander, Marissa and Danielle.
Jean Moore is the owner of Moore Exposure, a promotional products distributorship. Moore Exposure has been honored by the industry as one of the 75 Best Places to Work in North America and by the community as one of three finalists for 2010 Business of the Year.
A Fayetteville native, she graduated from St. Mary's College and NC State University and started her career in institutional advancement and marketing - first, at St. Mary's College and then at Fayetteville Academy. Moore's community involvement includes three terms as president of the Arts Council, vestry at St. John's Episcopal Church, TMC K9 Search and Rescue board, and many other volunteer activities.
She is married to Steven Moore, who manages military sales at Moore Exposure. They have a son and a daughter who are both Army ROTC cadets at NC State University.
Terry L. Owens, CLU, ChFC, CFP, CRPC, CMFC, LUTCF
Southern Pines, NC
Terry Owens heads up his own financial planning and employee benefits firm, Owens & Associates, and is an Advisory Representative with Lincoln Financial Securities in Southern Pines, North Carolina. He is currently on the National Board of the Society of FSP (Financial Service Professionals) and a Trustee on the Foundation for FSP. He is also the National Membership Chairman of the Society. Mr. Owens also served as a moderator at the 2009 Chapter Leadership Conferences. An active member of his community, Mr. Owens has held leadership positions with the Jaycees, United Way, First Health Charitable Foundation and the Southern Pines Rotary Club and the Southern Pines Rotary Club Foundation.
Alvin G. Ragland is the President/CEO of AHK Global Resources, LLC, a workforce solutions company that provides staff augmentation, direct hire, executive search and consulting services for companies primarily in the Energy and Technology sectors. Past positions held include: Senior Vice President of Headway Workforce Solutions (2009 – 2011), Independent Consulting, Adjunct Lecturer at NC State School of Management and Chief Human Resource Executive, City of Wilmington (2007 – 2009), Sr. Vice President, Human Resources, Tekelec and VP Community & Government Relations (2005 – 2007), Vice President, Human Resources, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (2001 – 2005) and Vice President of Human Resources at Ericsson, Inc. (1995 – 2001).
He earned a B.S. in Business Management and Economics from Fayetteville State University in 1976, and has completed Executive Management Institute and Bank Director Institute professional development programs at the University of North Carolina and the Office of the Banking Commissioner.
Mr. Ragland has served in leadership capacities on several boards, including Paragon Commercial Bank, the Society of Human Resource Management, the Food Bank of Central/Eastern NC, the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, the Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church, the Carolina Ballet, the Wake County Blue Ribbon Committee on The Future Growth of Wake County and the Wake Education Partnership. He is the Director and Local Chapter Founding Member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.
Alvin’s honors and awards include an appointment by Governor Beverly Purdue to Chair the State of NC Personnel Commission, in addition to an appointment by the Chair of the Wake County Commissioners to the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Future Growth of Wake County. He has served as an Honorary Co-Chair for the expansion of Wake Med’s Western Wake Hospital and as Past President of Raleigh Wake Human Resources Chapter (SHRM). Mr. Ragland has received the Business Coordinator of the Year Award – Inroads, the Man of the Year Award from the Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church Laymen League and several management awards for performance and leadership by Fortune 1,000 companies.
Al Ragland lives in Cary with his wife Hilda, a corporate officer and VP Corporate Public Affairs, and their daughter, Katherine, a recent graduate student of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., now working for Thomson Reuters.
Rajan Shamdasani has been in Fayetteville for about 40 years. He started out in public safety uniforms business in January 1976 and in three short years had the piedmont market of North Carolina very well established. Soon his two brothers and a sister joined the firm giving the family an opportunity to open another location in Alexandria, Virginia in June 1981. In May 1982 the family purchased Howard Uniform Company of Baltimore Md. a company that had been around for 50 years and supplying uniforms to not only public safety agencies but military schools, Greyhound Bus lines, DisneyWorld and other prestigious national accounts. Over the next 5 years the family consolidated its holdings in the uniform business and in 1987 launched into real estate business by purchasing 22.41 acres of land on Sycamore Dairy Road in Fayetteville. Over the next 10 years the Omni Plaza, Omni Center, Omni Condos, Galleria Condominiums, Pebble Creek (a single family subdivision) were built. In 1996 Leventhal Ltd. (a manufacturer of public safety shirts and trousers) was purchased and that opened up the distribution channel nationwide for the company. Besides being active in the uniform business, he is involved in the development of several real estate ventures in Fayetteville, NC, Houston Texas, Vancouver Canada and New Jersey. He is active in local civic groups and thru his various enterprises supports many noteworthy organizations. Member of the National Association of Uniform Manufacturers and Dealers, Greater Houston Builders Association, and past member of the Fayetteville Regional Airport Commission, The Arts Council, The Fayetteville Symphony, Rotary Club, he stays active within the community.
James Norman Smith (Smitty), CEO of DeJas Management, owns 10 McDonald's franchises in the Greensboro area. He has previously owned Mcdonald's restaurants in Houston and Los Angeles. While born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Mr. Smith grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He is a Marine Corps veteran. Mr. Smith views his mission as providing a business vehicle to employ members of the community, to help youth learn the proper work ethic needed to succeed in the business world, and to reinforce the importance of education.
Mr. Smith's community involvement has included serving on the Southeast Economic Development (SEEDS) Board, the United Way Board, the Sickle Cell of the Triad Board, Eastern Music Festival Board of Directors, the Hayes-Taylor YMCA Board of Management, the International civil right Center and Museum Board, President of GSO Men's Club, and the Board of trustees-UNCG. He is also an active lay leader at the Providence Baptist Church in Greensboro, is a member of the Forward Greensboro Board, is a Thirty-Third Degree Mason (G.I.G.) and Past Master of C.W. Lawrence Lodge #837 Free and Accepted Masons. He serves on the Board for the National Black McDonald's Operators Association, and is Past President of the N.C. Black McDonald's Operators Assoc. He has also been honored to receive the NAACP Corporate Humanitarian Award.
He is married to the former Debra F. Cousins of Bluefield, WV. Debra is Vice-President/ Treasurer of DeJas Management. They have two children: Adrian T. Smith, a graduate of Florida A & M with a Degree in Business Administration. Danielle B. Smith, a graduate of NC A&T with a Degree in Nursing.
Greg Taylor was selected to become the Executive Director of the BRAC Regional Task Force for the Fort Bragg Region in June of 2010. He earned his MBA at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Campbell University. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Taylor was an instructor in the Department of Management and served as Economic Development Director for Fayetteville State University.
He has extensive experience as an entrepreneur and small business owner. He was awarded the 2003 SBA Financial Services Advocate of the Year for NC and he is a recipient of the L.E. McLaughlin, Jr. Regional Leadership Award given by the Lumber River Council of Governments. Additionally, he has a broad background that includes: ten years with the NC Small Business and Technology Development Center as a business counselor and Regional Center Director, twelve years as an elected county commissioner for Bladen County, North Carolina, and service in various capacities for several local and regional community organizations. He previously servedas Chairman of the Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee for the BRAC Regional Task Force. Taylor also currently serves as Vice President of the Cape Fear River Assembly.