Burke County Chamber of Commerce
A Tablet or Laptop for Every BCPS High School Student?

A Tablet or Laptop for Every BCPS High School Student?

Burke County Public Schools has an exciting opportunity to apply for a three-year, $3-million grant called the Investing in Innovation Development Grant. The goal of the grant is to put an electronic tablet or laptop in the hands of every high school student in the school system. That’s roughly 3,250 high school students having the latest learning tools at their fingertips. In education circles, this is referred to as personalized education with 1:1 devices.  Before BCPS would distribute the devices, teachers would need the latest training to aid  students in using the portable computers to their fullest. The grant would include training for those who train the teachers — school instructional coaches, instructional technology facilitators and AIG coaches. The grant requires a 15-percent ($225,000) in-kind or cash match from various businesses in the community. BCPS is asking Chamber members to consider how their company may be able to help the school system attain that 15% mark. Suggestions include donations of equipment (such as 8 gig switches), employee time to help with training, space and machines on which to train, programs created for students to use their devices as learning tools, or financial support to actually purchase the hardware. The school system is also open to any suggestions members may have on how their company can help. Please contact Cheryl M. Shuffler, Public Relations Officer Burke County Public Schools, (w) 438-2989 | (c) 432-6216,cmshuffler@burke.k12.nc.us.

CrossFit Morganton Opens Today

CrossFit Morganton Opens Today

Phifer Wellness Center is pleased to announce the grand opening of CrossFit Morganton today, Monday, June 2. The spacious facility is located on the first floor of the center at 2201 South Sterling Street on the campus of Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge – Morganton, formerly Grace Hospital. For more information or a tour, call 580-6600.

One Week Left to Take Broadband Survey

One Week Left to Take Broadband Survey

Please remind your staff and clients to complete the Burke County broadband survey by going to www.ncbroadband.gov and click on “Report a lack of service. You can also  stop by one of the Burke County Public Libraries or Volunteer Fire Departments to complete a paper copy of the survey.  The survey closes on June 10.

The Envelope, Please… Cornerstone Awards Presented to Five Chamber Members

The Envelope, Please… Cornerstone Awards Presented to Five Chamber Members

The Community House in Morganton was filled with anticipation Wednesday evening as the Burke County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the winners and nominees of the 2014 Cornerstone Awards.
A panel of independent judges reviewed 16 nominees before choosing five of them to be recognized as Burke County’s business of the year in three awards categories: the Impact Award, Diversity Award and Foundation Awards.
The Tea Tree in Glen Alpine received the 2014 Impact Award as the Community Minded Business of the Year. Opened in 2001 as an extension of Nathan’s Hope, a non-profit organization that gives mothers an opportunity to sell their handcrafted and/or gently used home décor items on consignment. Over the past 13 years, the Tea Tree 
Chamber Board Chairman Scott Mulwee with (L-R) Tammy Taylor, Gina Setterlind and Tammy Matney from the Tea Tree.
has evolved into much more than a business for Glen Alpine and surrounding areas. Besides selling items on consignment, the shop has become a gathering place where single moms, working moms, retired moms and moms facing special challenges can participate in the popular “Tea and Talks” with the staff and volunteers. The non-profit also offers homemaking classes for youth, where graduates are invited to a father-daughter date night and dance, conducted in conjunction with area churches. Past winners of the Impact Award include Fatz, Case Farms and Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon Amy Brooks, DDS, MD, PhD. 
Opportunity Threads is winner of this year’s Diversity Award recognizing the Minority/Female Owned Business of the Year in Burke County. Opportunity Threads opened in 2008 with a staff composed of entirely of volunteers. Today it is a worker-owned company that employs 15 people and specializes in producing environmentally sustainable apparel for established, expanding and startup companies across the Carolinas and the United States. It is also active in the growing movement to help companies re-shore their work to the US. Its products have been featured in such national publications as Southern Living, People Magazine and People Style WatchPast Diversity Award winners include Subway, Jake’s Hamburgers and The Kitchen Connection.
The winner of the 2014 Foundation Award for the Small Business of the Year is Morganton Feed & Seed. Originally opened in 1945, its name and ownership changed two times. In 2011, the business was on the verge of closing when Chad Earp purchased it. Over the past three years, the store has expanded to include greenhouse operations, an agricultural side and a Country Store. Chad stated that he operates his business on the principle that, by keeping iconic stores open, Burke County can stay true to its roots and enhance the community. Past winners of the Foundation Award as Small Business of the Year have included Mobile Services, Psalms Urgent Care and Farris Insurance.
The winner of the 2014 Foundation Award for the Mid-Sized Business of the Year is Bridgeway Solutions. The company is the Southeast’s largest provider of full-service identification management solutions for business, education, industry, emergency response agencies, healthcare, and state and local governments. The company uses best-of-class hardware, software and consumables to safeguard its clients’ employees, data and other valuable assets. Founded in 1976, the company relocated its headquarters to Morganton in 2003. In the ensuing years, company president J.Michael Bridges and his late wife, Deborah, transformed an old structure in downtown Morganton into an award-winning, state-of-the-art facility, that is frequently used by community organizations. The firm’s leaders and team members are active in a variety of community-based organizations. Among other honors, Mike is a recipient of the NC Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award and the SBA’s Small Businessman of the Year Award. Past winners have included DeFeet International, Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and James Tool Machine and Engineering.
Caterpillar, Inc. was selected by the judges as the winner of the Foundation Award – Large Business of the Year, following in the footsteps of Blue Ridge HealthCare and McDonald’s of Burke County.Caterpillar has been producing Precision Engine Components in Morganton since its plant opened in 1998. Reflecting a culture of innovation, the company invested $9 million in 2012 to add state-of-the-art digital manufacturing to build assemblies for track type tractors. It is an example of 21st century technology requiring new skills sets needed by line operators to interface with Programmable Logic Computers. The Caterpillar team in Morganton is consistently recognized for its excellent record of safety and quality. Through monetary support and the contribution of personal time and energy, Caterpillar’s 170 employees and leaders are highly visible in the Burke County community. Under the leadership of Plant Manager Doug Whiteley, the company is a partner with Western Piedmont Community College in Project Renew, a program designed to retrain unemployed or underemployed Burke County citizens with skills needed to be successful in today’s ever-changing manufacturing environment. 

The 2014 Cornerstone Award Nominees

In alphabetical order…

American Roller Bearing

Barium Springs

Caterpillar, Inc.

Belk of Morganton

Bridgeway Solutions

Catawba Valley Staffing

JD’s Smokehouse

Kellex American Seating

Las Salsas

Morganton Feed and Seed


Opportunity Threads

Patterson’s Amish Furniture

The Tea Tree

Time Saver Storage

Wendy B’s Embroidery & Screen Printing

Judges praised the quality of all the companies nominated for this year’s awards. Catawba Valley Staffing’s team, along with other finalists, received a framed certificate to display at their business.

Chamber Board Chairman Scott Mulwee and Interim Chamber President Jerry Davis teamed up to present the awards. Davis called the 16 Cornerstone Award nominees “an interesting and diverse group, almost a cross section of business in Burke County.”

* The youngest company has been in business about one year. The most established company started business 85 years ago.
* The smallest company has two employees – the largest about 300 employees.
* They are spread all across Burke County – from Glen Alpine to Valdese.
* They smoke BBQ, sew clothing, keep you – your family -and your home in style, and manufacture machines that can move the earth.
* They hire workers and protect personal identity
* They make furniture, sell furniture and can even store it when your run out of room for it.
* They work to improve the lives of mothers, children and families in need.
“There is plenty to admire among this year’s 16 nominees,” he added.

The five winners each received a Cornerstone Award sculpture to display in their business. For the first time, nominees who did not receive one of the Cornerstone Awards will each receive a commemorative framed certificate.

Surprise Patrols

Surprise Patrols


– On Tuesday, May 13, a group of Chamber Ambassadors, along with Membership Development Director Stacey Ripley, will make surprise visits all day long to 10-15 businesses throughout Burke County to say a special thanks for all they do to support the community and the Chamber. There will be sweet treats and more for the businesses on the itinerary.

Advertise Your Business in the 2014 Chamber Directory

Advertise Your Business in the 2014 Chamber Directory

Great advertising pomagazine-thsitions are still available in the next Chamber Directory, including the highly coveted inside front cover. 5,000 copies will be printed. Every advertiser will be provided with a supply of copies, and the Chamber will provide copies directly to persons and businesses looking to relocate to Burke County or find service providers. By the way, advertising rates for the 2014 publication are the same as this year. Contact Project Sales Director Nick Yankosky to order your ad. Nick may be reached at nyankosky@southcomm.com or call him on his cell at 513-257-3684.

Cornerstone Award Reception    Is Tuesday, May 20

Cornerstone Award Reception Is Tuesday, May 20

Cornerstone Awards - TrademarkThe countdown is on to revealing who will win a 2014 Cornerstone Award. Sixteen companies are on this year’s A-list, nominated by other area businesses in three Cornerstone Award Categories. You’ll want to be among the in-crowd on Tuesday, May 20, at the Community House in Morganton from 530-7 pm when nominees and award-winners are celebrated. Besides the excitement of the award presentations, the menu will include heavy hors d oeuvres, great networking and socializing. Local wines and craft brews will be also available at the cash bar. Even though these are the hottest tickets in town, the price has been reduced this year to $30 from $40 to encourage everyone to join in the fun and honor our award recipients. Call the Chamber by Monday, May 19, at 5 pm to reserve your tickets as we celebrate success in business.

Cornerstone Awards Logo - SM

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