Northern names new marketing VP | Mt. Airy News

2022-04-07 07:06:17 By : Ms. YY INK

Northern Regional Hospital has named Kristi Johnson Marion as vice president of marketing. She will assume the new post on April 19.

Johnson brings more than 20 years of professional marketing and leadership experience to Northern. Over this period, she has worked for the March of Dimes, Forsyth Woman & Family Magazines, RiverRun International Film Festival, and, most recently, the North Carolina Zoo and NC Zoo Society as a communications consultant.

“Kristi is known for her team building skills, passion for mentoring and coaching, friendly demeanor, and history of giving back to her community and profession. Every professional reference complimented Kristi on her ability to balance immense technical skills with a great attitude and kind, but competitive, spirit,” said Chris A. Lumsden, president and CEO. “Kristi will fit well with the culture and operating philosophy of NRH, and I look forward to her joining Rylee Haynes, our marketing team, and the NRH family.”

Johnson was born and raised in Mount Airy and graduated from North Surry High School. She graduated with honors from Surry Community College and then from Appalachian State University with a degree in English literature, also with honors. She has two children in high school. She has many family members that reside in Mount Airy and Surry County. In her free time, Johnson enjoys spending time with her kids, being walked by her great dane, hiking, and catching an art exhibit.

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The Board of Directors of Surrey Bancorp (OTC Pink Sheets: SRYB), the parent company of Surrey Bank & Trust, has promoted Pedro (Peter) A. Pequeno II to president of both the parent company and the bank. The board also promoted William (Bill) A. Johnson to senior vice president and chief lending officer of the bank as part of its management succession plan.

Edward (Ted) C. Ashby III, the long-time president of both entities, will remain CEO of both the bank and of the parent company and will continue to serve as a director of both entities.

Pequeno has been with the bank since it opened in 1996. As senior vice president and chief lending officer, Pequeno managed the bank’s loan and credit divisions. Pequeno’s new responsibilities include oversight of loan operations, deposit operations, branch operations, digital banking, compliance, and lending.

Johnson served as a member of the board of directors from 1996 to 2012, when he resigned from the board to lead the bank’s expansion into Elkin and Wilkes County. Most recently, Johnson served as the bank’s western regional executive. Johnson will oversee all lending activity.

Pequeno and Johnson have held leadership roles in the organization for more than 25 years. “These promotions will allow them to use their experience and talents to profitability grow our company,” Ashby said.

Surrey Bank & Trust is a full-service retail and commercial bank serving Northwest North Carolina and Southwest Virginia. The bank, headquartered in Mount Airy, has seven offices in Surry and Wilkes counties and in Patrick County, Virginia.

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce will host a student job fair and career fair on Thursday April 28 at Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Student Job Fair will assist high school and college students who are seeking part time, full time, summer jobs, apprenticeships and internships. This event will also allow students to explore other career options. Students who will be graduating this spring are welcome to attend. Student admission to the event is free and all students are welcome.

The chamber has opened the event for vendor space to any company/organization which may have current or future job openings for students, internships or apprenticeships. Event sponsorship is also available for the event. Interested vendors or sponsors should contact Randy Collins at the chamber for vendor and sponsorship fees. Email him at Information on the event is also available on the chamber’s website:

Collins, the chamber’s president and CEO, said that job fairs are not new to the chamber.

“We have held a traditional job fair for the past several years,” he said. “For 2022, this event will be the second annual job fair just for students. We look forward to welcoming employers and students to our event on April 28.”

Interested students should contact their school’s career center for more information, registration and transportation arrangements. Attendees should bring a resume. The NCWorks Mobile Career Center will be on site to assist students with resumes, interviewing and tips on a successful job search.

Edward Jones hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony this past Thursday during the Grand Opening celebration. Michael Warren will be the financial advisor for the new business that is located at 101 Shoals Road Ste. D in Pilot Mountain.

“Simply opening the doors to a new business isn’t enough. Hosting a grand opening and having a ribbon cutting symbolizes the start of a new venture. It is a time to celebrate the hard work put into getting a space ready to open and to celebrate the new possibilities that await.” said Commissioner Donna Kiger.

“Ribbon cuttings are a great opportunity for folks who work in local businesses to network and for the community to show entrepreneurs we are here to support them. They are taking a leap of faith in opening a business in our town, and we want to do our part to give them every change to be successful,” said Mayor Evan Cockerham.

Warren is a lifelong resident of Mount Airy and a Mount Airy High School graduate of 1994. He and his wife Crystal have two daughters and a son. Michael is also involved with the Pilot Mountain community and is serving as the vice president for the Pilot Mountain Civic Club.

In discussing his career as a financial advisor, Warren said “(he) loved working along people helping them to reach their financial goals and dreams.” Prior to working with Edward Jones, he worked for Team Penske in NASCAR for 18 years and Farm Bureau for two years.

The question on the minds of many local residents is “Why does Pilot need two Edward Jones offices?” “Because there has been a growing demand in this area for what we do and one office isn’t enough to keep up and serve our clients properly,” said Warren.

Edward Jones offers a variety of financial and life planning services such as retirement options, wealth strategies, investment products, college savings plans, insurance and annuities and solutions for business owners. For more information contact Warren at 336-368-0782.

DOBSON — After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation will host its 10th annual charitable golf tournament Thursday, June 16, at Cedarbrook Country Club. The tournament is put on by the electric cooperative’s Community Projects Committee, made up of employees of Surry-Yadkin EMC.

This year’s tournament will tee off at 9 a.m. and will benefit four nonprofits in the Surry-Yadkin EMC service area. Those charities include Grace Clinic of Yadkin Valley, a medical clinic in Elkin; Yadkin Valley United Fund, which supports 23 nonprofit agencies and three scholarships; Mount Airy Ministry of Hospitality, which oversees The Shepherd’s House and Helping Hands Foundation; and Second Harvest Food Bank, which benefits food pantries in the region.

A number of sponsorship opportunities for the golf tournament are available to area businesses and individuals, as well as playing opportunities.

“As a locally-owned, member-owned cooperative, it is important to us that we support the communities we serve and live in,” said Travis Bode, economic development coordinator for Surry-Yadkin Electric and this year’s Community Projects Committee chair. “All of this year’s beneficiaries are important parts of helping members of our community, and we look forward to partnering with our sponsors to boost the nonprofits’ efforts.”

Anyone interested in supporting the Surry-Yadkin EMC Golf Tournament can find information on the tournament at For questions, reach out to Wendy Wood at or Kasey Martin at or by phone at 336-356-8241.

Northern Regional Hospital has named Kristi Johnson Marion as vice president of marketing. She will assume the new post on April 19.

Johnson brings more than 20 years of professional marketing and leadership experience to Northern. Over this period, she has worked for the March of Dimes, Forsyth Woman & Family Magazines, RiverRun International Film Festival, and, most recently, the North Carolina Zoo and NC Zoo Society as a communications consultant.

“Kristi is known for her team building skills, passion for mentoring and coaching, friendly demeanor, and history of giving back to her community and profession. Every professional reference complimented Kristi on her ability to balance immense technical skills with a great attitude and kind, but competitive, spirit,” said Chris A. Lumsden, president and CEO. “Kristi will fit well with the culture and operating philosophy of NRH, and I look forward to her joining Rylee Haynes, our marketing team, and the NRH family.”

Johnson was born and raised in Mount Airy and graduated from North Surry High School. She graduated with honors from Surry Community College and then from Appalachian State University with a degree in English literature, also with honors. She has two children in high school. She has many family members that reside in Mount Airy and Surry County. In her free time, Johnson enjoys spending time with her kids, being walked by her great dane, hiking, and catching an art exhibit.

Surry Community College is offering the 2022 NC Real Estate Broker Renewal Course on Friday, April 8, at the Pilot Center, 612 East Main St., Pilot Mountain.

The course will include the four-hour general update portion from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The four-hour elective portion, “The Contract Maze,” will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Tuition for this course is $71. There will be an additional $12 fee for books and materials. Students will need to bring their pocket card to class. For information about this class or to register, call the Pilot Center at 336-386-3618.

Next week, the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce will be gathering for a chance to celebrate local businesses — and honoring ten of those businesses and their employees with special recognition.

It will be the chamber’s annual Excellence in Business Awards dinner and ceremony, which gets underway on Thursday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Cross Creek Country Club.

“Other than the annual citizen of the year, these are the only awards we give,” said chamber President and CEO Randy Collins. “It’s really an opportunity to shine the spotlight on some great businesses that deserve the recognition.”

All totaled, there will be ten awards given out — and the chamber is announcing the winners in advance.

“We do that for multiple reasons,” he said. Primarily, though, it is to give award winners plenty of notice.

“We have given awards in the past and kept them a surprise, but sometimes if a company is getting an award, there are family members, employees who want to come. This gives them notice…We’re just hopeful more people will come to the event to celebrate these organizations or individuals.”

This year also marks a change with one new award — the entrepreneur of the year.

“We seem to have a lot of entrepreneurs here. This area attracts a lot of entrepreneurs…Our definition is someone who takes a business from concept to reality and has been in business at least a year.”

The winner of the chamber’s first-ever Entrepreneur of the Year award is Will Pfitzner of LazerEdge. This award is sponsored by Xtreme Marketing.

Traditionally the chamber’s most prestigious recognition is the Business of the Year Award, which is sponsored by Surry County Economic Development Partnership.

“That’s open to any size business, large or small, that really exemplifies a successful organization,” Collins said, adding that this is open to any business in the Greater Mount Airy area, not just chamber members.”We represent some 600 businesses, but there’s close to 3,000 business in the whole county. We don’t want to leave those people out.” And, he added, there were quite a few nominations for this honor.

This year’s Business of the Year Award winner is Northern Regional Hospital.

Additional awards, their sponsors, and the recipients include:

• Administrative Professional of the Year 2021: Melanie Clark, Rogers Realty & Auction Company Inc. This award is sponsored by Ridgecrest Senior Living Community;

• Agribusiness of the Year 2021: Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse Inc., sponsored by Wayne Farms;

• Ambassador of the Year 2021: Joe Zalescik, Station 1978 Firehouse Peanuts, sponsored by The Mount Airy News;

• Business and Education Partner Award 2021: Shenandoah Furniture, sponsored by Surry Yadkin Electric Membership Corp.;

• Business Longevity Award 2021: Rogers Realty & Auction Company Inc., sponsored by Surry Communications;

• Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award 2021: Reeves Community Center Foundation, sponsored by Duke Energy;

• Excellence in Tourism Award 2021: Heart & Soul Bed and Breakfast, sponsored by Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority;

• Public Service Award 2021: Darren Lewis, City of Mount Airy, sponsored by Carport Central/Cibirix.

While last year’s Excellence in Business Awards was done virtually because of regulations against public gatherings as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Collins said he’s hoping to see a good crowd turn out for this year’s event. Before the pandemic, he said the awards ceremony generally drew about 200 or so individuals.

Any businesses interested in becoming a sponsor, or any individuals wishing to purchase tickets, can do so by contacting Collins by phone at 336-786-6116 or email at For more information on the chamber and the awards, visit

The American College of Health Care Administrators recently honored Virginia “Jenny” Triplett, RN, BSN, director of the Northern Skilled Nursing Center at Northern Regional Hospital with the 2022 Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award.

Only 3% of facilities nationwide met the initial selection criteria. This year, 57 administrators in 17 states met all eligibility requirements and were awarded the facility leadership award.

“This award recognizes outstanding leaders who have performed at the highest professional level for the entire 2021 calendar year,” said Chris A. Lumsden, Northern Regional Hospital president and CEO. “Jenny is an excellent nurse, leader, and person, and she and her entire team are most deserving of this coveted recognition. We appreciate Jenny and her many contributions in leading our award-winning Skilled Nursing Center.”

Eligibility for this award is based on three years of skilled nursing facility survey data, including the health, fire safety, and complaint surveys, as well as top quartile performance on designated quality measures. The criteria also include at least a 70% or greater facility occupancy and a three‐year avoidance of a Special Focus Facility status.

The Facility Leadership Award was introduced in 2008 by one of ACHCA’s most revered leaders, the late Eli Pick. A former executive director of the Ballard Rehabilitation Center, DesPlaines, Ilinois, for more than 30 years, “Eli embodied excellence as an administrator who cared for his residents, their families, and his community,” the organization said. “This award is presented annually in memory of Eli, a consummate member of ACHCA, dedicated to advancing professionalism and leadership in long‐term care.“

In 2016, Morris Moore, of Siloam, decided to step away from a long-time career in the world of corporate finance. But it was no retirement — he was just making a career change to becoming a cattleman.

Now he and his wife, Denise, handle a herd of about 30 head of cattle, with plans to grow his operation as he expands beyond the 60 acres of pasture he has now.

Moore was recently recognized by the North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association with the 2022 NC Environmental Stewardship Award for pursuing what he calls regenerative agricultural practices.

“Basically, it’s focusing on healthy soil, which includes good soil biology,” he said. “If you have healthy soil it’s going to produce healthy forages for your cattle or livestock, which in turn will give them better quality of meat.”

The practice also tends to be better for the environment.

“With my cows, I planted pastures that have high diversity in plant species,” he said of how he farms. He said he has nine different plant species in his pastures, which offers his cattle sustenance that includes a wide variety of minerals. The mix of different grasses also means the soil stays healthier. While some of the grass he plants is more traditional for pasture cover, with shallower roots and quicker growth, other grasses have much deeper roots that help hold the soil in place during times of drought — as well as pull nutrients from deeper in the ground.

Moore said he also does not use any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, nor herbicides. Instead, he tends to allow the forage grass to grow longer.

“When you keep your forage taller in the pasture, it provides shade for the soil,” he said, and tends to offset the need for chemicals.

It also helps avoid root loss that traditionally happens when cattle are feeding on short grass, foraging around on the ground to get the last bit of grass.

One other practice he employs is rotational grazing. Using a light fence and temporary fence posts, Moore moves some of his fencing routinely, sequestering his cattle in a different section of his pastureland.

“A daily rotation is typically what I do when the forage is growing, in the spring, summer and fall,” he said. Some of his land is grazed only a day or two every 30 to 45 days.

“All of that serves to benefit the strength of the forage that’s growing in the pasture,” he said.

While Moore spent his career in finance, he fondly recalls his growing up years, spending summers on his grandfather’s cattle farm. It was there he believes the desire to be a farmer was first planted. When he had the chance, Moore took it — but he also knew he didn’t want his farm to be exactly like the one from his childhood.

”I’d been looking for something that wasn’t just conventional commodity agriculture,” he said. “Something to differentiate what I’m doing.”

Shortly after his 2016 retirement from the corporate finance world, he attended a conference on regenerative agricultural practices and decided that was for him.

He and his wife began the operation in 2018, and he has plans to continue growing.

“I have about 60 acres in pasture, plan to add 30 more over the next (few) years,” he said. He also would like to grow his herd size to around 40 to 45 head.

“One of my objectives is to get enough pasture developed I can have some… (that) I can plant to supplement the grazing during the winter, or have pasture I can let grow in later summer and fall, so cows can go and graze that in the winter. Looking to reduce the amount of hay I need to get the cows through the winter.”

He and his wife have also recently started a retail meat operation, selling grassfed meat directly to the public. For more information, visit the farm’s Facebook page at

Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB), the holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust, recently reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2021 and the full year.

For the quarter ending Dec. 31, net income totaled $1,179,807 or 28 cents per share, which was down from $1,498,414, or 36 cents per share earned during the fourth quarter of 2020.

The decrease in earnings results from a decrease in net interest income.

Net interest income decreased by 11% from $3,638,909 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $3,237,515 for the same period in 2021 as net interest income yields declined. The decrease is due to the reduction of loan origination fees from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP origination fees totaling $184,751 were recognized in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to $773,100 recognized in the fourth quarter of 2020. The large decrease in fee recognition was due to the winding down of PPP loans in the fourth quarter of 2021. PPP loans totaling $24,775,780 were paid off in the fourth quarter of 2020 while only $3,331,485 in PPP loans were paid off in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The provision for loan losses decreased from $125,666 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $61,428 in 2021. Noninterest income decreased from $804,890 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $488,331in 2021. This decrease was primarily attributable to the reduction in insurance commission due to the sale of SB&T Insurance in the first quarter of 2021. Insurance commissions in the fourth quarter of 2020 amounted to $238,179. Noninterest expenses decreased from $2,441,728 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to $2,142,849 in the fourth quarter of 2021. This decrease is attributable to salaries and employee benefits associated with SB&T Insurance.

Net income for the year rose, however. As of Dec. 31, net income for the year was $5,103,575 or $1.22 per share outstanding, compared to a $4,578,161 or $1.10 per share outstanding for the previous year. Earnings for the year are approximately 11.5% higher than for the same period in 2020. The increase in earnings results from a decrease in the provision for loan losses and a decrease in noninterest expenses.

The provision for loan losses decreased from a provision of $689,853 in 2020 to a provision of $387,359 in 2021. This decrease is due to the estimated economic impact of the pandemic lessening in 2021 as the federal government added stimulus to the economy. Noninterest expenses decreased 4.7%, from $9,196,654 in 2020, to $8,763,536 in 2021. Most of the decrease results from a reduction in salaries and benefits associated with SB&T Insurance.

Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full-service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street in Mount Airy and a limited-service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin and 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro, and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.

Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at

Marissa Montgomery, FNP-C, has joined the clinical team of Northern Family Medicine – the Family Medicine Division of Northern Regional Hospital.

As a certified Family Nurse Practitioner, Montgomery will meet, diagnose and treat patients for a wide variety of common and chronic conditions and ailments – including minor injuries, diabetes, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). She will also perform annual wellness visits and offer COVID testing and treatment options.

Montgomery believes strongly in providing high-quality care by creating a respectful and trusting relationship with her patients. “I give my undivided attention to patients and listen fully to what they have to say,” she said. “In that way, I am able to develop a treatment plan that takes into consideration their individual preferences, needs and values.”

“I’ve been taught and always practiced patient-centered care,” she continued. “My approach is to provide holistic care for the whole person – attending to their mental, spiritual and social needs – because all of those aspects affect one’s physical health.”

“We are pleased to welcome Marissa Montgomery to our team of clinicians who work collaboratively and comprehensively to ensure the best possible care for patients,” said Jose L. Mendoza, MD, board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Family Medicine. “Marissa’s strong nursing knowledge and skills, along with her positive energy and compassion, will further enrich our efforts to provide safe, quality care to those we serve.”

Montgomery is not new to Northern, or Mount Airy. She was born in Northern Hospital 28 years ago, and then raised and educated in the Mount Airy region. Not surprisingly, the energetic Montgomery is a lifelong ambassador for both the hospital and her hometown. “Northern is committed to providing high-quality care to patients in a healing, family-like environment; and Mount Airy is a friendly, tight-knit community where everybody is willing to help each other,” she said.

Becoming a nurse – and, in particular, a Family Nurse Practitioner – has been the singular professional goal pursued by Montgomery since her high-school days. By participating in an accelerated academic program in high school, she graduated with college credits that were applied directly to the nursing program of Surry Community College. After earning her associate’s degree in nursing from Surry in 2015, she launched her career as a healthcare clinician by taking her first nursing job in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Northern Regional Hospital.

Over the next four years, Montgomery continued to attend to the needs of patients in several clinical units at Forsyth Medical Center. She also effectively managed her time to complete advanced nursing studies with Chamberlain University. in Downers Grove, Illinois, earning both a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree in 2019, and her Master of Science in Nursing in Family Medicine degree in April of 2021.

Her focused energy is fueled on a daily basis, she said, by the interactions and relationships she developed with her patients and their families. “I believe it’s every patient I’ve come in contact with who has led me to this point,” she said. “They all have a unique story and disease process – and they allowed me to learn from them so that I can apply my new knowledge to help others. They’re also so grateful that it fills my heart.”

Montgomery also acknowledges and appreciates the support she received from several mentors she met on her journey to achieve her professional goal. “There were three professors in the nursing program at Surry College – Kiena Williams, Ann Scott, and Lorrie Heath – who, from day one, really believed in me and continued to push me to be the best that I could be,” she recalled. “Another mentor was Kelly Manuel, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Northern Family Medicine, who graciously taught me many things while serving as preceptor during my master’s program.”

Marissa and her husband, Campbell, enjoy outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. Montgomery also does volunteer work – including spending time and helping residents at a women’s homeless shelter in Winston-Salem.

To schedule an appointment with Marissa Montgomery, Family Nurse Practitioner, call 336-786-4133 or visit the Northern Family Medicine Office at 280 N. Pointe Boulevard, in Mount Airy.

The Town of Dobson and Surry County have combined forces to create a tourism coordinator position, which will oversee the operations of both the Dobson Tourism Development Authority and the Surry County Tourism Authority.

Filling that position will be Travis Frye, who was appointed to his new post last week. The organizations will continue working with the Surry County Tourism Partnership in efforts to grow tourism in the county.

Frye, who will assume his new position March 15, has been employed with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce as programs and events director, as well as Autumn Leaves Festival director, since 2017. Previously, he worked at the Surry Arts Council as a museum and event specialist. He is a graduate of Mount Airy High School and Appalachian State University.

“Travis brings with him a wealth of knowledge about the tourism industry in Surry County,” said Dobson Town Manager Laura Neely. “I congratulate him on this appointment, and we are excited to see what the future holds for the Dobson TDA and Surry County TDA.”

“I would like to congratulate Travis on his appointment as tourism coordinator and we look forward to working with him,” said County Manager Chris Knopf said. “His work experience will benefit him greatly as he transitions to this new role serving both communities.”

“I am excited and privileged to represent the Town of Dobson and the County of Surry in my new role as tourism coordinator. I look forward to building strong relationships with our community leaders, supporting local organizations and businesses, and promoting all the great offerings in our county,” Frye said of his appointment.

Frye was appointed following a selection process that included representatives from both TDAs, as well as local partner agencies. His office will be in Dobson Town Hall, 307 N. Main Street, Dobson.

Chamber officials have begun a search to fill his soon-to-be-vacant post there.

George Leighton Lee, III, MD, FACS, has joined the physician team of Northern Urology, the urology practice owned and operated by Northern Regional Hospital.

A board-certified urologist, Dr. Lee will diagnose and treat patients who present with a wide variety of urological disorders, including prostate problems, incontinence, cancers, erectile dysfunction and other complications of the bladder, kidneys, and urethra. Most recently, Dr. Lee served as staff urologist for the Carilion Clinic Urology at New River Valley Hospital in Virginia.

“I welcome the opportunity to partner with my patients at Northern Urology as we explore ways to manage any clinical problems that may be having a negative impact on their overall health and quality of life,” said Dr. Lee. “Today, there is an ever-expanding arsenal of medications and procedures that can be used to effectively treat most major urological conditions; and I look forward to working with my professional colleagues to offer high-quality care to patients.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Lee to our family of dedicated healthcare professionals – including physicians, nurses, and allied health specialists,” said Jason W. Edsall, MD, FACEP, chief medical officer of Northern Regional Hospital. “His extraordinary medical knowledge and extensive work experience – both within and outside of the military — will complement the existing excellence of the physician-led care of Northern Urology.”

Dr. Lee’s interest and passion for the field of medicine began early on. “I used to operate on stuffed animals when I was a kid,” he said with a laugh.

That childhood fascination stayed with him as he grew into a young man and eventually enrolled in college and joined the U.S. Army Reserves. “I was originally going to be a pharmacist,” he recalled, “but while training as a medic in the Army, I changed course and knew I wanted to be a physician.” He pursued his post-graduate medical education at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, where he earned his medical degree in May of 2007.

The newly-minted physician and officer in the U.S. Army then completed a general surgery internship; followed by a five-year residency program in urology at the Water Reed National Military Medical Center/National Capital Consortium, in Bethesda. Along the way, Dr. Lee met and was mentored by several physicians – including Dr. Inger Rosner, who trained him in the use of robotic-assisted surgical procedures to treat urologic cancers and other disorders. During his many years of active-duty service, Dr. Lee practiced and taught medical students at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, based at Fort Campbell, in Kentucky. He now serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army Reserves.

Dr. Lee, 42, tailors his approach to new patients to accommodate their individual preferences. “I encourage a joint decision-making process by helping to educate and guide patients about available treatment options,” he said. “I’m not just here to tell them what to do.”

The breadth and depth of Dr. Lee’s clinical expertise permits him to identify and treat an array of ailments that affect both male and female patients – from kidney stones to bladder cancer to benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), an enlarged prostate gland. To treat BPH, Dr. Lee is certified to offer and provide two different minimally-invasive procedures – Urolift and Rezum. “Rezum is a new treatment option that works by injecting water-vapor/ steam into the prostate to decrease obstruction while preserving erectile and ejaculatory function,” he explains.

Dr. Lee is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons and a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology. He is a member of several professional organizations and societies, including the American Urological Association and the Society of Robotic Surgery.

Dr. Lee is eager to begin seeing patients at Northern Urology, where he will be practicing alongside physician colleague David Werle, MD. “It’s a sign of great leadership that Northern Regional Hospital has not only survived, but thrived, during the past couple years of the COVID pandemic,” he said. “As the hospital adds new facilities and expands services, its top priority remains the provision of quality care to patients.”

Dr. Lee is also excited about relocating to the Mount Airy region with his wife, Season, an animal communication specialist, and their two young children — 6-year-old son Shepherd and 2-year-old toddler Eden. “Mount Airy is very much our style,” he said, noting that both he and his wife were raised in small rural communities – he in Florida, she in Maryland. The Lee family also includes four horses and two donkeys – all rescues who will be joining them over the next several months. “We also enjoy other outdoor activities like trail-riding, hiking, and walking for exercise.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Lee, call 336-786-5144 or visit the Northern Urology Office at 423 S. South Street, Mount Airy. For more information about Northern Urology or Northern Regional Hospital, visit

Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care has named Heidi College as volunteer services manager.

“Heidi will be instrumental in building back our volunteer program to the level of activity we had prior to the pandemic,” said Sara Tavery, senior director of philanthropy at Mountain Valley. “She is passionate about hospice volunteers, and the services they provide to our patients and their families.”

Prior to joining Mountain Valley Hospice in October 2021, College spent more than five years with Trellis Supportive Care as a volunteer coordinator and more recently as a service care advocate.

Her responsibilities include leading the volunteer services team in the recruitment, training, and management of volunteers, while exploring opportunities for increased volunteer engagement which is vital to the hospice mission.

College attended Forsyth Technical College. She is a member of the Piedmont Regional Association of Volunteer Administration.

A new executive director has been appointed for an organization that plays a key role in marketing a scenic highway passing through Surry County.

Wanda Maloney will assume that post with the Blue Ridge Parkway Association effective next Tuesday, according to a local tourism official who heads the organization’s governing board.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Association is considered the marketing arm of the scenic route that links Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The non-profit entity, formed in 1949, includes businesses and organizations that serve visitors along the corridor including the parkway and two national parks.

Association members span communities in a tri-state region of Virginia-North Carolina-Tennessee and beyond.

“We had a wonderful selection of candidates and are thrilled with Wanda Maloney’s acceptance of BRPA’s executive director role,” advised Jessica Icenhour Roberts, the president of the association’s board who serves as executive director of the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority.

Roberts became president in May 2021 in addition to holding other tourism-oriented leadership roles of a regional scope.

Maloney will join a staff of two full-time employees who are dedicated to marketing the scenic corridor by providing travel information for visitors to the region.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Association promotes member businesses and organizations to about 15 million annual visitors who spend more than $1.1 billion annually there.

Some of those folks invariably make their way to Mount Airy and other nearby destinations for lodging, dining, shopping and additional needs due to its proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Maloney is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and now lives in Winston-Salem.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in public administration from the University of Houston.

“Maloney’s experience with byways will prove to be an asset as the association moves into its next chapter,” Roberts added.

The new executive director has worked with scenic byways since 1996, when she joined a collaborative team developing the Georgia Scenic Byways Program.

After its launch, Maloney was hired as a byways specialist for the America’s Byways Resource Center to provide training and technical assistance to byway organizations nationwide that were designated under the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program.

Among other experience, Maloney founded Corridor Solutions in 2005 to provide policy, planning and organizational development consulting services for byway programs and scenic byway management organizations.

Since then, she has worked with byways across the country, including the Flaming Gorge-Green River All-American Road in Wyoming, the Lincoln Highway in Nebraska and the Wisconsin Great River Road to develop corridor management plans and national designation applications.

“I’m passionate about scenic byways and could not be more excited to work with the Blue Ridge Parkway Association,” Maloney said in a statement.

“I look forward to helping connect travelers to experiences along the parkway as well as visitor services and unique local experiences in Blue Ridge Parkway communities.”

The Small Business Center at Surry Community College will be offering multiple online webinars in March free of charge. These webinars cover a variety of topics ranging from creating marketing plans, using analytics tools and researching e-commerce platforms.

The Online Seller Webinar will be held March 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This seminar will assist online sellers who are engaged in business in North Carolina.

The webinar How to Find Your Customers will be held March 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar will cover market research and analysis tools for gaining critical information about your industry and customers.

The webinar Do I Need an Online eCommerce Presence? will be held March 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar will explore features of well-known e-commerce hosts and options for creating an online store.

The webinar Marketing Your Small Business will be held March 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This seminar will cover the most effective and efficient marketing tools available for understanding your customers, as well as exploring an effective marketing plan.

The webinar Website Building 101 & 102 for Small Businesses will be held March 21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This seminar can help you quickly and efficiently design a website for your business with little technical knowledge.

The webinar How to Write a Business Plan will be held March 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This webinar will teach you how to turn your ideas into a solid plan for financing and long-term success.

To register for upcoming virtual seminars or to view a complete listing of the upcoming Small Business Center offerings, visit After registering for a webinar, a link to join the event will be emailed=.

For information about confidential, one-on-one counseling and resource referrals, contact SBC Director Mark Harden at or call 336-386-3685.

The Board of Directors of Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB) has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 10.5 cents per share on the company’s common stock. The cash dividend is payable on April 8 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 18.

Ted Ashby, CEO of Surrey Bancorp, said the dividend is based on the company’s current operating results, “its strong financial condition and a commitment to delivering shareholder value.”

Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street in Mount Airy and a limited service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin and 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro, and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.

Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at

DOBSON — All the bad economic news caused in these parts over the years by NAFTA, COVID and possibly other woes with acronyms can obscure the fact there are success stories to be told.

Such an account unfolded Friday during the 26th-annual meeting of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership revolving around one local company, Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories.

“You drive by Leonard’s almost every day,” Partnership President Todd Tucker told about 120 business, local government and other representatives gathered at the Surry County Service Center, in reference to the Mount Airy-based enterprise.

“Do you really know what they do?” Tucker added.

That question was answered fully by Leonard’s chief executive officer, Mike Pack, Friday’s keynote speaker. The annual meetings typically include such individuals talking about how their companies are thriving among the chaos while positioning themselves for growth — along with insights on how all this is being accomplished.

“We like to say that great things are happening at Leonard, and we like to share our story,” Pack said of its success.

Since being founded in 1963, Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories has become a major manufacturer of storage sheds, trailers and, of course, truck accessories as its name states — including being the largest dealer of truck covers in the U.S.

“Pretty cool, huh?” Pack remarked. “I’m biased, but I think we have a pretty cool story.”

Even those knowing nothing about the company might be familiar with the Leonard label seen often on trailers or truck covers heading down highways near and far, all made in Mount Airy, with 41 percent of its business composed of truck accessories.

Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories employs 560 people in five southeastern states, including at 70 store locations.

“We’ll cross the 600 threshold this year,” Pack advised Friday’s audience in Dobson.

The late Tyson Leonard launched the operation in the 1960s and he and wife Sandra sold it in 2015, when the company had 400 employees — including 150 locally — and 56 retail locations.

It is now owned by a private equity firm.

Pack joined Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories in 2017, coming from Denver, Colorado, after logging 22 years with the Advance Auto Parts retail chain, serving as a division president before assuming his new role locally.

At first, he had an idea that the company should be relocated to Charlotte or another large city, but then two things happened.

“I fell in love with living in Surry County,” the transplanted Colorado resident said of one.

The other was a realization of what Pack called an “amazing” amount of talent the Surry company has been able to attract, including many folks with MBAs (master’s degrees in business administration).

Operating in a county with relatively low taxes compared to big-population, high-taxed metropolitan areas also gives Leonard a competitive edge, its CEO believes.

Leonard’s closest competitor in the U.S. has only 17 locations. “So we think we’re kind of on an island,” Pack said.

Such factors have convinced the Leonard leadership that it can and should expand further south and to the west.

“We believe we can build a national organization from right here in Surry County,” Pack said of the operation that already enjoys a lead position in the Southeast.

This includes building more store locations and acquiring existing enterprises toward a goal of 150 locations under its long-term plan while becoming an industry unto itself, Pack indicated.

Leonard opened 10 new retail outlets last year and five acquisitions are now “in the pipeline,” he disclosed.

One factor that has bolstered its storage shed segment has been a result of the unfortunate pandemic with more people stuck at home and wanting to engage in do-it-yourself projects.

“It really plays right into the storage business,” Pack said of the need for more space this has created.

No wizardry is responsible for the growth of Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories, Pack detailed.

It starts mainly with good people and a business philosophy reflecting a down-home flavor built around customer service and quality products.

“Character counts at Leonard,” Pack said. “We expect results.”

At the same time, company employees have the leeway to shape its operation by being encouraged to offer what the CEO called “creative solutions.”

Other keys include the modernization of production equipment and a nimble supply chain.

“We have a great model,” summed up Pack.

He thinks the future is bright, not only for Leonard but other companies that are properly aligned.

“We think there’s going to be a post-COVID economic resurgence,” Pack explained, offering challenges with technology, personnel and other ingredients but also opportunities for great success. “We think the companies with the best culture are going to win that battle.”

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the Excellence in Business Awards, including Business of the Year.

Each year the chamber presents 10 awards to businesses, organizations and individuals in the community. The top award is the Business of the Year. While the awards won’t be given out until March, the deadline to nominate a business or person is Feb. 24.

This year the event will feature something new: The Entrepreneur of the Year Award, for someone who has created a new business from concept to reality.

The list of awards include:

• Business of the Year, a large or small company that checks all the boxes of a great business

• The Business Longevity Award, given to a local business operating in the area for at least 20 years.

•Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award, given to an outstanding community non-profit.

•Outstanding Public Service Award, given to a person in our community who is a great public servant.

• Ambassador of the Year, presented to an outstanding member of the Chamber Ambassador Team.

• Excellence in Tourism Award, given to a business who strongly supports the tourism industry.

• The Administrative Professional of the Year Award, given to that first-class admin in your office.

• Business & Education Partner Award, given to the business who is a champion for education

• Agri-Business of the Year, given to a business in the agricultural industry

• Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The chamber’s annual awards dinner will be held on Thursday, March 24 at Cross Creek Country Club. The deadline for award nominations is Feb. 24. Nominations are requested from the community and electronic nominations are encouraged. The award nomination link can be found at the chamber’s website

In addition, the chamber is seeking sponsors for the awards event. For more information on sponsorship, contact Travis Frye at the chamber via email

Acupuncture Wellness Mount Airy recently added a form of therapy that has proven popular in spas across America and Europe — halotherapy, dry salt therapy.

“When the fourth patient in a week came into the practice asking for dry salt therapy, I knew that this was a service that would be in demand,” said Diane Milhan, DAOM, a board-certified acupuncturist. “People were having to drive to Winston or Greensboro to get this treatment.”

She said her business, which features acupuncture and other holistic health services and products has added halotherapy. She said the therapy is thousands of years old, but only starting to be seen in the United States.

Dry salt therapy is a popular trend in higher-end spas in Europe and in the United States.

“A salt therapy option puts Mount Airy on the cutting edge of alternative treatment,” she said. Milhan said that the salt booth, in the building at 835 Merita Street, was custom-made. “It’s almost magical in the chamber,” she said. “The microparticles of salt penetrate deep into the lungs to aid respiratory concerns, while the non-inhaled particles are absorbed by the body to combat skin conditions.

“Usually we are among the last to get something like this. A salt chamber session cost $25,” she said. “I want people to come and come frequently because there are many benefits from repeated visits. We have an ongoing special of unlimited visits for a month at $99.”

The chamber is in the Whole Health Building in the 52 Thruway Plaza on Highway 52 across from the Mayberry mall. Call 336-755-2158 for a free first session.

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce will host a new morning networking event called Business Over Breakfast, with the first gathering set for Friday, Feb. 18.

The event will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Surry County Service Center, 915 East Atkins Street in Dobson.

Business Over Breakfast will feature tabletop networking where attendees can talk about their businesses and exchange business cards. Attendees will rotate tables and have the opportunity to meet almost everyone in the room. People who may be interested in this event are sales managers, sales professionals, business development staff or any small business owner.

The event will feature a buffet breakfast catered by the Ol’ Farmer Restaurant, in Cana, Virginia. The breakfast is open to all members of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce or any prospective member. Sponsorships for the Business Over Breakfast are available and provide marketing for your company and event tickets.

“Traditional business networking is alive and well in Surry County,” said chamber President and CEO Randy Collins. “Attendees will meet many business prospects in a short amount of time. Bring your business cards and come join us.”

Tickets or sponsorships can be purchased on the chamber website Questions on the event should be directed to Travis Frye at the chamber via email at

MOUNT AIRY – Insteel Industries Inc. (NYSE: IIIN) reported record net earnings for the first quarter of its fiscal year, with those earnings nearly three times higher than the same quarter a year ago.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2022, Insteel experienced record quarterly revenue of $178.5 million and net earnings of $23.1 million, or $1.18 per share, compared to $8.1 million, or 42 cents per share, from the first quarter a year ago. Net sales increased 49.2% and earnings per share increased 181%.

The firm also paid a special cash dividend totaling $38.8 million, or $2 per share, on Dec. 17 in addition to its regular quarterly cash dividend of 3 cents per share, and ended the quarter debt-free with $63 million of cash and no borrowings outstanding on its $100 million revolving credit facility.

“Our outlook for 2022 remains optimistic. Private and public non-residential construction markets are robust today and key leading market indicators are signaling sustained growth,” said H.O. Woltz III, Insteel’s president and CEO. “In addition, we expect the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to stimulate demand for our products beginning during the latter part of 2022 and gaining momentum during 2023 – 2025.”

“Despite the favorable demand outlook, inadequate availability of domestic hot rolled steel wire rod and persistent labor challenges, both of which were highlighted in recent quarterly reports, are expected to continue impacting our operations during the current quarter. We turned to the international steel market to supplement domestic supplies of steel wire rod and believe our purchasing plan will fill the gaps that caused plant inefficiencies and customer service difficulties over the last three quarters. Our international sourcing strategy going forward will be influenced by the performance of our domestic suppliers during our second and third quarters.”

“We are pleased to have recently completed agreements in principle with a group of capital equipment suppliers for purchases of nearly $20 million in state-of-the-art technology to expand our capacity, improve quality and reduce the cash cost of production. We are still firming up schedules but expect most of these initiatives to come online during fiscal 2023.”

For more information about the company, or its financial performance, visit

Brandon Landry of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, graduated from Surry Community College and Surry Early College High School in 2016, and his education and training have allowed him to work across the nation in a variety of industries.

Landry just completed a work assignment at the Chevron Pasadena refinery outside of Houston, Texas. From there, he moved on to start a new assignment at Valero’s refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.

“I started out welding in various refineries and chemical plants in southeastern Louisiana. I broke my dominant wrist in 2019 and switched over to pipefitting due to loss of range of motion in my dominant hand, but I still take shorter welding jobs when work slows down. I’ve traveled all over the country in the last few years working turnarounds at different refineries and chemical plants.”

Landry’s work has taken him as far as Kenai, Alaska. He has hopes to travel to Canada and the United Kingdom for work in the near future. In the meantime, he’s working on building up his capital in order to start his own business in southern Louisiana.

He attended classes in the welding technologies program at Surry Community College as a student dually enrolled at Surry Early College High School. He obtained his welding technology diploma as well as American Welding Society (AWS) certifications through the program.

“My experiences at the college in the welding program were always a good time while I was learning my trade. I made some really life-long friends that I still keep up with,” said Landry. His former classmates include Eric Trejo, who is now the program’s lead instructor.

Overall, Landry looks back on his time at Surry Community College as a positive experience. “It’s a great place to learn welding. The instructors are very qualified, and your education can take you far if you put in the work.”

To learn more about the welding program at SCC, contact Trejo at 336-386-3350 or

BLUEFIELD, VA – While 2021 definitely offered its challenges, it was a banner year for First Community Bankshares Inc. (NASDAQ: FCBC).

The bank, in reporting its fourth-quarter and year-end results, experienced a record annual net income of $51.17 million, or $2.94 per common share. Although fourth quarter income — $10.56 million, or 62 cents per share — was down slightly, the bank declared a 27-cent dividend, which is 8% higher than the same dividend from a year ago. The quarterly dividend is payable to common shareholders of record on Feb. 11 and is expected to be paid on or about Feb. 25. This marks the. 37th consecutive year of regular dividends to common shareholders.

Annual net income stood at $51.17 million, an increase of $15.24 million over 2020 and represents a 45.54% increase in diluted earnings per share compared to 2020.

“A reversal of $8.47 million in the allowance for credit losses in 2021 accounts for a large portion of the increase in net income,” the bank said in releasing the information. “The decreases in credit loss provisioning are primarily due to significantly improved economic forecasts and GDP growth in the current year, as well as strong credit quality metrics, versus prior year provisioning driven by the pandemic.”

Net income for the fourth quarter of 2021 decreased $995,000 to $10.56 million compared to the same quarter of 2020. “The decrease was primarily driven by a decrease in net interest income of $2.49 million, or 8.97%, due to the current historically low interest rate environment, as well as a $1.67 million decrease in accretion on acquired loans,” the bank said.

First Community Bankshares Inc. is a financial holding company providing banking products and services through its wholly owned subsidiary First Community Bank. First Community Bank operated 49 branch banking locations in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee including Mount Airy.

For more information on the bank, or additional details of the company’s year-end financial report, visit

Nester Hosiery has announced multiple promotions aimed at strengthening operations of the Mount Airy-based manufacturer that is a leading U.S. maker of performance merino wool socks and the parent company of the Farm to Feet sock brand.

The moves were made in support of Nester Hosiery’s branded and licensed business units.

This included Chris Nitzsche being named general manager of licenses and Matt Brucker as general manager of brands, including Farm to Feet.

Anna Draughn was promoted to the position of director of merchandising, wherein she will focus on all Nester brands including Farm to Feet and licensed brands Ariat, Keen and Woolrich.

“Chris and Matt have been involved in almost every sector of the Nester business and by focusing their efforts on these business units we will further drive growth and improve the service we provide to our partners,” Chris Bevin, Nester Hosiery’s senior vice president of brands and licenses, said in a statement.

“To ensure we reach and exceed our goals we are putting dedicated staff and substantial resources (in place),” Bevin added.

Nitzsche joined Nester Hosiery as Farm to Feet vice president of sales in 2017. Brucker was hired in 2019 as vice president of sales focused on Nester’s private-label business.

In their new positions each will be responsible for all aspects of their respective business units.

Draughn joined Nester in 2015 as marketing and sales coordinator and most recently was wholesale merchandise manager.

Earlier this year, Nester Hosiery had announced the appointment of Bevin as its senior vice president of brands and licenses. He previously was president of the Balega sock company.

Nester Hosiery is considered a key manufacturer in the outdoor industry, operating state-of-the-art knitting, finishing and packaging equipment to make premium performance socks for leading outdoor brands and retailers as well as under its own Farm to Feet brand.

Customers tend to value the company’s manufacturing capabilities in producing innovative socks along with its commitment to social and environmental responsibility, according to insiders.

The Farm to Feet brand of wool socks was launched in 2013, featuring an all-American recipe of U.S. materials reflecting an exclusively domestic supply chain, manufacturing operation and workers.

DOBSON — Along with culinary delights such as grilled Arctic salmon and seared duck, a local restaurant has cooked up success by being ranked as one of the best dining establishments in the nation.

Harvest Grill, located at 286 Cabernet Lane on the grounds of Shelton Vineyards just outside Dobson, is one of only two businesses in North Carolina named to Yelp’s Top 100 U.S. restaurants list for 2022.

It came in at No. 79, with Machete in Greensboro ranked 18th on the list.

Yelp is an entity based in San Francisco which processes user reviews and recommendations on the best food, shopping, night life, entertainment, things to do, services and more.

To compile its ninth-annual restaurant list, Yelp reached out to its users for feedback on their favorite dining spots. Yelp then ranked each restaurant by total number of submissions, ratings, reviews and geographic representation, among other factors.

“Spending time at Shelton Vineyards is so relaxing— great wines and a gorgeous property — the icing on the cake is Harvest Grill,” was among the comments by “Yelpers” which led to the rating.

“They offer an extensive farm-to-table menu and a great wine list (most of the wines by the glass, so you can try different wines with each course) — everything we tried on the menu was delicious.”

Harvest Grill specializes in what is known as New American cuisine, loosely defined as assimilating flavors from the melting pot of traditional cooking with innovative uses of seasoning and sauces. It reflects a trend of modernized dishes predominantly served at upscale fine dining establishments in the U.S., which originated in the 1980s.

“Picturesque grapevines set a lovely backdrop,” the Yelp website states in summarizing the basis for Harvest Grill’s ranking. “Not surprisingly, this bistro-style eatery offers a large selection of vineyard-produced wines, alongside a compact menu of ‘sophisticated comfort food.”’

Harvest Grill Executive Chef Mark Thrower also used a more specific term Friday, “Southern sophisticated,” to describe the philosophy by which it operates.

Thrower explained that this relates to how most chefs enjoy preparing dishes that their grandmothers cooked, which he likes to take to another level while using a formula of traditional techniques blended with fine local products.

Harvest Grill does not serve standard duck or chicken, for example, but that raised on sustainable farms along with other products the restaurant uses to ensure top quality.

The establishment also is noted for its crab cakes served with gribiche (a cold egg sauce) and shoestring fries, according to Yelp.

Thrower added that he was “kind of shocked” when learning that the local restaurant had made the national top-100 rankings.

“It was just one of those wonderful feelings,” he indicated, which one gets from having his or her work recognized in such a way. “I was kind of like, ‘where did this come from?’”

Yelp’s top-rated restaurant is Cocina Madrigal in Phoenix.

Thrower says the local establishment’s rating not only speaks well of Harvest Grill, but the community as a whole.

“It’s an awesome opportunity” the chef said, to build on the restaurant’s success by expanding its array of locally produced foods and thereby involve more area farmers.

A dozen people are employed in the kitchen at Harvest Grill, which also has about 10 servers.

The top-100 ranking emerged as a bright spot in the same month that Charlie Shelton, a co-founder of Shelton Vineyards with his brother Ed, died.

DOBSON — Three Surry County rising seniors will be representing Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation as delegates in two youth programs this summer.

Kaesi Blythe of Mount Airy, Surry Central High School, and Jay Mitchell of Pilot Mountain, Surry Early College High School, have been chosen as SYEMC delegates for the N.C. Youth Tour trip to Washington, D.C. In addition to this trip, they also will be eligible for a $500 renewable college scholarship to the school of their choice.

Applicants had to complete an application which consisted of character questions, an essay question about the Cooperative Business Model and an oral presentation of the essay. Applications were reviewed and voted on anonymously by a variety of employees.

Kaesi and Jay made oral presentations of their essays during a Zoom judging event attended by SYEMC employees and three judges — Paul Mott, government affairs specialist for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives; Emily Nail, executive director of the Cooperative Council of North Carolina; and Travis Frye, program and events director for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce. They both made strong impressive presentations, and we are honored they will be representing SYEMC on this trip.

During their trip, they will attend a leadership conference, tour national museums and sites, meet their elected officials at the U.S. Capitol and make new friends from across the country. They will have the chance to exchange pins with each of the other delegates from different states, with the goal of trying to get as many different pins as possible.

They also will be eligible to apply for scholarships awarded through the N.C. Electric Cooperatives.

Jordan Leos of Dobson, a student at Surry Early College High School, was the runner up in the NC Youth Tour program. He will be attending Cooperative Council of NC’s Leadership Camp this summer at Camp Monroe in Laurel Hill.

The camp features interactive workshops and presentations, outdoor recreation, leadership development, team building activities and small group sessions with an emphasis on how cooperatives operate. They will make lasting friendships with students from across the state.

Students will learn what cooperatives are all about and how they operate. They will have a chance to form their own T-shirt cooperative, including an election of a board of directors and manager. By attending this camp, they are eligible to apply for the Jim Graham $1,000 college scholarship, which they can apply for their senior year of high school.

For any students who would be interested in participating in one of these trips, eligible to students their junior year of high school, visit the company’s website at

UScellular has promoted Levi Beverly to sales manager for the company’s Mount Airy location at 752 S. Andy Griffith Pkwy.

In this role, Beverly is responsible for leading his team of wireless technology workers to help customers select the devices, plans and consumer electronics to best meet their needs. Beverly has three years of wireless experience.

“At U.S. Cellular we hold ourselves to a high standard to ensure that we provide our customers an excellent wireless experience,” said April Taylor, area sales manager for UScellular. “Levi’s commitment to that standard and to this community makes him the perfect leader for our Mount Airy store.”

Prior to this role, Beverly served as a retail wireless consultant at the Mount Airy location.

UScellular is always actively looking for professionals with sales experience, excellent communications skills and an enthusiastic commitment to customers. Store leadership and full and part-time retail wireless consultant sales positions are available. Interested applicants can apply online at

Mount Airy officials are alerting owners of local businesses to the presence of state grants available to help offset the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Time is running out to seek assistance from the Business Recovery Grant Program administered by the N.C. Department of Revenue, for which the application period closes on Monday.

“It’s economic-recovery money for businesses that may have been hurt,” Mayor Ron Niland said of segments impacted.

“And they can apply for a variety of things.”

Two types of grants will be offered to eligible businesses, according to information posted on the city government Facebook page:

• A hospitality grant is available to an eligible arts, entertainment or recreation business, in addition to an eligible accommodation or food service business such as a hotel, restaurant or bar (under NAICS Code 71 and 72).

• Reimbursement grants target eligible businesses not classified in NAICS Code 71 and 72 and which did not receive funding from other relief efforts including the Paycheck Protection, COVID-19 Job Retention Grant and EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) Advance programs.

The Business Recovery Grant Program will issue a one-time payment to eligible North Carolina businesses that suffered an economic loss of at least 20% during the pandemic, officials say.

Under the guidelines, the grant sum will amount to a percentage of the economic loss demonstrated by the eligible business or $500,000, whichever is less.

The Department of Revenue plans to reduce grant sums if the total assistance requested exceeds the maximum funds authorized for the Business Recovery Grant Program by the state of North Carolina.

Mayor Niland stressed that the COVID assistance being provided through the state government is not connected to federal coronavirus aid the city of Mount Airy has been tapped for through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).

Eligible business owners are encouraged to apply online for the recovery grants now through Monday at the website.

DOBSON — Surry-Yadkin Works was recently highlighted in the North Carolina Business Committee for Education’s (NCBCE) annual meeting. Surry-Yadkin Works was noted as an example of “high quality work-based learning.”

The Surry-Yadkin Works program is the collaborative effort of four public school systems in Surry and Yadkin counties including Elkin City Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, Surry County Schools, and Yadkin County Schools, as well as Surry Community College, to create a unique approach to a regional internship program.

Surry-Yadkin Works Program Director Crystal Folger-Hawks emphasized the importance of creating successful matches between local employers and their needs along with the student interns and what they wish to gain experience in. She also noted the importance of monthly training in fields like public speaking, human resources development skills and OSHA 10.

NCBCE included interviews and success stories from Altec interns Jesus Nava, Daisy Garcia, Tyler Ramey and Rylan Loggins; Tampco intern Amani Tilley; Scenic Automotive Group intern Evelin Lara; and former intern and current Altec employee Adriana Landaverde.

During the fall 2021 semester, 31 Surry-Yadkin Works interns were working in 21 businesses and organizations throughout Surry and Yadkin counties. All interns received a stipend to cover transportation costs, and many employers also paid them for their work.

The funding for Surry-Yadkin Works is a joint effort with commitments from the Surry County Commissioners and the Yadkin County Commissioners. An anonymous contributor donated $100,000 prompted by a presentation about the program at an educational summit. Surry-Yadkin Works officially began on Jan. 1, 2021.

For more information about the program, contact Folger-Hawks at 336-401-7820 or or visit Follow Surry-Yadkin Works on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram @surryyadkinworks and on Twitter @SurYadWorks.

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce recently completed its nomination and election process for the 2022 Board of Directors.

Elected to serve as the 2022 Chair of the Board is Connie Hamlin, with RidgeCrest Senior Living Community in Mount Airy. Hamlin will lead the executive committee of officers that include:

• Dr. Candace Holder (Surry Community College) who will serve as chair elect/chair 2023

• Clay Nowlin, (CPA with Aprio, LLC) who will serve as treasurer;

• Chris Lumsden (Northern Regional Hospital) who will serve as immediate past chair;

• Randy Collins who will serve as president and CEO.

In addition, four new members of the chamber board were elected and include:

• Fred Steele, Frontier Natural Gas

• Bill Wixon, Leonard Buildings & Truck Accessories

The chamber board is comprised of 25 business and community leaders, who are elected to serve three-year rotating terms. The new board members were approved by the chamber board and officially took office on Jan. 1. The full board will be sworn in at the Chamber Annual Meeting on Jan. 27 at Cross Creek Country Club.

The chamber is a private, non-profit business organization (501c6), chartered in 1959. Today, the chamber has 609 business members and serves Surry County, Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain, Elkin, Dobson and surrounding counties. More information on the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce can be found at

An individual with many years of experience in sock manufacturing and retail sales has joined Nester Hosiery in Mount Airy, where he is occupying a key position tied to its growth plans.

Chris Bevin is now the senior vice president of brands and licenses for the local company that is a leading U.S. manufacturer of performance merino wool socks and the parent of Farm to Feet socks.

The addition of Bevin to its executive team is part of ambitious plans by Nester Hosiery, according to a company official.

“We are putting considerable resources behind each of our established business channels as we position ourselves for considerable growth in 2022 and beyond,” CEO Kelly Nester said in a statement.

“Adding Chris to our team is a big step in our strategic growth plan, as he brings a wealth of industry and brand-building expertise.”

Bevin has 30 years of industry experience in manufacturing and retail sides of the business.

He joined Balega in 2005 and helped establish that brand as a leader in the performance sock category, and ultimately was president of the business from 2009 through 2015.

Bevin transitioned to Implus when it acquired Balega in 2015 and went on to oversee independent retail sales for multiple Implus brands.

Nester Hosiery branded and licensed product areas will report to Bevin, including the Ariat, Keen Footwear and Woolrich licensed brands and Nester’s Farm to Feet label.

He is excited about joining the locally based operation.

“The team they have in place, together with its production and operational expertise, has Farm to Feet well positioned to be the premier wool sock brand and Nester Hosiery the go-to licensing partner for premium, performance brands,” Bevin said in a statement.

Nester Hosiery is considered a key manufacturer in the outdoor industry, operating state-of-the-art knitting, finishing and packaging equipment to make premium performance socks for leading outdoor brands and retailers as well as under its own Farm to Feet brand.

Customers tend to value the company’s superior manufacturing capabilities in producing innovative socks as well as its commitment to social and environmental responsibility, according to insiders.

The Farm to Feet brand of wool socks was launched in 2013, featuring an all-American recipe of U.S. materials reflecting an exclusively domestic supply chain, manufacturing operation and workers.

With COVID-19 protocols limiting in-person opportunities for sharing safety information with area students, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation (SYEMC) enlisted the assistance of J. Martin Productions to produce a safety video that area teachers and the public can access online.

“Utility line safety is important for our younger generation to learn at an early age, as well as a great reminder for our adult community,” said Sheldon Howlett, safety coordinator for SYEMC.

The safety video highlights the dangers of fallen live lines, pad-mount (ground) transformers, overhead line awareness and encourages community members to call 811 before digging. It also educates viewers about the safety gear used by linemen and how to safely exit a vehicle if it is in contact with a live line.

“In creating the video, we wanted to make sure we still had a way to share our safety message with students even if we couldn’t visit schools on site,” said Wendy Wood, manager of communications and community relations for SYEMC. Wood also serves as a member of the Safe Kids Surry County Coalition. “The pandemic greatly limited in-person opportunities, and this video will allow us to reach more people than in-person visits would have allowed.”

Teachers and the public can access the video in two ways — by visiting or going to Surry-Yadkin EMC’s YouTube channel,

“We appreciate the opportunity to visit schools and host field trips for safety talks or for educational information about the electric utility industry, and we are doing those again on a limited basis,” Wood said. Teachers interested in those opportunities can reach out to her at 336-356-5259 or

Northern Regional Hospital recently named Christi Smiley as vice president of human resources.

Smiley has served as the hospital’s director of human resources since December 2019 and possesses more than 20 years of human resources and executive leadership experience.

“She has assembled an excellent NRH Human Resources team of professionals and led improvement in overall performance of our Human Resources Department,” said Chris A. Lumsden, president and CEO, who made the announcement earlier this month.

Smiley holds a Bachelor of Communication degree from Salem College with high academic honors and a Master of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University also with high academic honors.

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce will be holding one of its Lunch & Learn meetings this week.

“This event will focus on the state of healthcare and guests will hear from local leader Chris Lumsden, CEO of Northern Regional Hospital,” the chamber said in announcing the event. “Chris…will share insight into the healthcare industry generally and specifically to Surry County. Following his remarks there will be a Q&A session open to all attendees.”

The gathering, sponsored by Chatham Nursing & Rehabilitation and Frontier Natural Gas Company, will be on Friday, Jan. 21, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Pilot Knob Park Country Club.

The chamber’s Lunch and Learn program is a periodic series of lunches that include a speaker or speakers addressing areas of concern for local businesses and residents. Seating is limited, so advance ticket purchases are required. The cost is $30 for a single ticket, or $180 for a reserved table of 6 individuals. For non-chamber members, the costs are $35 and $210, respectively. The ticket includes lunch, which is grilled chicken with mushrooms and onions, green beans, loaded mashed potatoes, rolls; and non-alcoholic beverages.

To purchase tickets, contact: Travis Frye, program & events director, at 336-786-6116, ext. 204, or by email at

Cristie Andrews has a sweet deal for local Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce members — a chance to visit with other businesses in the community, promoting their own enterprise while on the visit. She even will throw in a light breakfast for those interested in the deal.

All she asks is that those folks who take her up on the idea also make it a point to represent the chamber while making the visit, and maybe volunteer to help out at a few chamber events throughout the coming year.

She is recruiting for members in the Chamber Ambassador program, and those requirements — and benefits — describe in a nutshell what ambassadors do: They visit area chamber members, communicating what the chamber has to offer and seeing how the chamber might help those local businesses, along with helping out at some of the chamber’s activities. And while there, the ambassador gets to show off what his or her business might offer as well.

She said the goal is for the ambassadors, as a group, to contact all 600 chamber members in 2022.

“We want to let our members know that we care and we want to help in anyway we can,” said Randy Collins, president and CEO of the chamber.

“I need a large group of people who are willing to get involved on behalf of the chamber, and use that ability to raise their own brand,” said Andrews, who is the chamber’s director of membership. “It goes both ways, helping the chamber as customer service reps, and helping their own business at the same time.”

For folks wanting more in-depth information on the program, Andrews and the chamber will be hosting a chamber ambassador recruitment breakfast Wednesday, Jan. 19 at RidgeCrest Senior Living Community from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Andrews, along with Membership Committee Chairman Chad Tidd and Connie Hamlin, chairman of the board and lifestyle advisor at RidgeCrest, will all be addressing the group. Andrews said those at the breakfast will receive an application for the ambassador program, to be completed and then signed by the person’s employer, before training gets underway in February.

The long-time ambassador program has been popular through the years, with members not only making informational visits to chamber members, but also serving as volunteers who meet with area businesses to present awards, attend ribbon cuttings, as well as working to recruit new members.

Chamber membership took a bit of a hit over the past two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2020, just before the pandemic hit, chamber officials announced the organization had for the first time crossed the 600-member mark. Since then, with some businesses closing and others cutting back, chamber membership fell.

“The ability to not get out and see people definitely affected that,” she said of membership and the work of the ambassadors. “We had some very smart ambassadors who got on the phone, or used email, to send messages of encouragement to members.

“Small business owners are typically the ones who are most affected,” Andrews said. “They are having to make decisions, ‘Am I going to pay my staff, or pay my membership dues?’” she said as an example.

While some did leave, many have returned, she said, as the economy has picked up despite the lingering pandemic.

“We were fairly lucky…to keep a strong membership base in place. There was a loss…be we were able to rebound from that, as well as bring new ones in.”

As of Thursday morning, she said chamber membership stood at 608, and she hopes to see that number between 650 and 675 by year’s end.

Thus far, Andrews said 20 people had sent an online RSVP for Wednesday’s recruiting breakfast, but she has room for many more.

”They are going to be essential this year, I have a large goal to meet,” she said.

Visit and scroll down to the “Become an ambassador” tab to register for the event. For more information, contact Andrews at 336-786-6116, extension 206, or via email at

A new manufacturing firm will be opening its doors in Pilot Mountain later this month, with plans to eventually invest more than $3 million there and create up to 40 jobs.

Young Door Company, which formed in April, will occupy about 45,000 square feet of a building at 523 South Stephens Street in Pilot Mountain; where the firm will share the building with the current tenant, SPX.

The company will produce interior doors that will be sold at home improvement stores and other retailers where millwork is sold.

Young Door was started by Mark Stukenborg and Tom Brown, two long-time veterans of the door manufacturing industry.

“We had been pretty successful in our careers, working for other companies,” Stukenborg said Tuesday, alluding to the more than 60 combined years the two had worked in the industry. “We felt confident we could do the same thing on our own.”

He said the two both left the industry a couple of years ago, but had kept up with contacts in the retail end of the door industry.

“There is a lot of demand,” he said. “We felt confident it was the right time.”

“Tom and I are very excited to be starting our manufacturing business in Pilot Mountain. It is a great location for the customers we are targeting and we are looking forward to being a part of the community,” Stukenborg said.

Stukenborg said both he and Brown grew up in small towns, and they were looking for a smaller community where a strong work ethic is common among its residents, and he said they needed a building large enough and designed in a way that would allow them to turn it into a manufacturing facility.

“It took us many, many months to find a building,” he said, explaining he and his partner had searched throughout the region — unable to find a suitable facility in communities such as Hickory, Mooresville, Statesville, High Point and elsewhere.

“We looked everywhere,” he said. “Industrial building availability is extremely tight.”

Once they discovered the facility in Pilot Mountain, and researched the local workforce, the pair moved ahead, contacting Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Commission.

“I will tell you, we had good contacts with other communities, but I think Todd and his crew and everybody else we’ve met with have been very supportive,” he said of working with Tucker and the local organization. “We’re very happy to be here in Surry County…it feels like home to us.

“We were looking for a community like Pilot Mountain.” He explained that throughout their careers in the industry, they found that generally the most productive plants came from small towns, where folks had a strong work ethic, yet the towns were close to larger areas where they could get supplies and easily ship their products. Pilot, he said, seems to fit that bill on all fronts.

For local officials, the announcement is welcome news.

“Manufacturers like Young Door recognize that Pilot Mountain offers not only a competitive place to do business, but also a good quality of life for prospective employees. We welcome their investment in our community,” said Pilot Mountain Mayor Evan Cockerham.

“The Surry County Economic Development Partnership is happy to have been able to help Mark and his team get started in Pilot Mountain,” Tucker said. “We believe that this will be a great location for them and look forward to helping them grow their business here in Surry County.”

Stukenborg said the company hopes to have operations up and running later this month or in early February, with eight to ten employees initially, then growing from there. Anyone interested in pursuing work with the firm can email Stukenborg at

N.C Farm Bureau is celebrating a milestone anniversary with one of its employees.

“We would like to congratulate Laura Sumner for being with the Surry County office for five years,” the company said last week. “Laura is not a newcomer to Farm Bureau by any means as she has been with the company for 13 years. We are very proud to have her as a Surry County North Carolina Farm Bureau associate agent.

“We at N.C Farm Bureau are very proud of our Surry County staff. With a combined 49 years’ experience, Lance Leftwich, Sally Bryant-Whitaker and Laura Sumner strive to bring you the very best in customer service for your home, car, life and health insurance needs. In addition, they can help you with auto and equipment loans along with help with credit cards,” the company said.

Shay Smith has joined the staff at Scenic Automotive Group.

“Shay has been selling vehicles for several years and brings a wealth of knowledge to Scenic,” the company said in announcing his hiring.

In addition to his work with Scenic, Smith has a number of hobbies and interests.

“Shay is an avid fisherman and his favorite sport is baseball,” the firm said. “Shay’s family is very important to him. He has two sisters, one brother, and two nephews and loves spending time with them all.

“Join us in wishing him the best of luck and stop by to see him if you are in the market for a vehicle,” the company said.

The Small Business Center at Surry Community College will be offering multiple online webinars in January and February free of charge. These webinars cover a variety of topics ranging from eCommerce, networking and website building

The webinar Facebook Shops & Facebook Marketplace will be held Jan. 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Marketplace is a way to market your small business and sell in your local area. Customers can look through your listings or search for items near them to find great things to buy.

The webinar Website Building 101 and 102 For Small Businesses will be held Jan. 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This seminar can help you quickly and design a website for your business with little technical knowledge.

The webinar The Building Blocks of Networking for Small Businesses will be held Jan. 26, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. This seminar will teach the importance of doing things virtually and still making business work positively. This seminar will be held again on Feb. 2, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The webinar Turning Prospects into Profitability will be held Feb. 9, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. This workshop provides the importance of finding the right target market, researching the right type of client to make it worth your time, making connections with social media virtually and community outreach for connections. This seminar will be held again on Feb. 16, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The webinar Understanding eBay Stores: Selling from Your eBay Website will be held Feb. 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This hands-on course will provide a step-by-step approach to those individuals who are ready to become eBay Store owners. You will learn how to start, brand, and optimize your eBay store website.

The webinar How to Start a Small Business will be held Feb. 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. You will understand the basics of starting a business in this seminar that takes you from idea to opportunity. Learn key strategies for start-up, financing and marketing as well as important information about legal issues, licensing, zoning, operations and more.

To register for upcoming virtual seminars or to view a complete listing of the upcoming Small Business Center offerings, visit After registering for a webinar, a link to join the event will be emailed to you.

For information about confidential, one-on-one counseling and resource referrals, contact SBC Director Mark Harden at or call 336-386-3685.

The Small Business Center provides seminars, workshops, resources and counseling to prospective business owners and existing business owners. The SCC Small Business Center has facilities in Dobson, Elkin, Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain, and Yadkinville.

Edward Jones Financial Advisor Tammy Joyce of Mount Airy attended Barron’s 2021 Top Women Advisors Summit held virtually Dec. 7-11. This is the eighth time Joyce has taken part in the invitation-only event.

The conference gathers some of the nation’s most accomplished women in wealth management to discuss their practices and portfolios and enables them to network with their peers and discuss challenges and opportunities.

“The summit was an amazing learning opportunity, and I am thankful I have this chance to learn from my industry peers,” said Joyce. “I am excited to incorporate what I learned into my practice and the service I provide for my clients.”

Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in St. Louis, provides financial services in the U.S. and, through its affiliate, in Canada. The firm’s nearly 19,000 financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients with a total of $1.8 trillion in assets under care.

Director of the Surry Community College Small Business Center (SBC) Mark Harden has received a Level 2 Credentialing award from the N.C. Community College System Small Business Center Network.

This award was presented to Harden for completing the required training milestones in the credentialing program. The award is based in part on establishing active partnerships with federal, state, county and municipal agencies and organizations.

Harden’s work has included providing seminars with the U.S. Small Business Administration, N.C. Secretary of State as well as the N.C. Department of Revenue. The SBC and Harden also partner with Thread Capital (N.C. Rural Center), N.C. Small Business Technology and Development Center, local chambers of commerce, and economic development partnerships on various economic development activities, as well as other community activities.

Harden has made significant contributions to the community during his three-year tenure as the director of SCC Small Business Center. He received the North Carolina State Small Business Center’s Rookie of the Year Award in 2020.

Harden has counseled hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners while supporting small business start-ups, resulting in over 150 new and retained jobs in the region. Additionally, the SCC SBC has offered more than 100 business seminars with nearly a thousand attendees in the region during his tenure.

The counseling and seminars cover a diverse range of important topics including business plans, capital funding, e-commerce, marketing, accounting, QuickBooks, income taxes, sales taxes, licenses/permits, website design and much more.

Harden has served local communities by collaborating with them in support of the Shop Local campaign by American Express and serving on many economic development and workforce training committees throughout the region. He participates in Leadership Surry County and Leadership Yadkin County.

For information about confidential, one-on-one counseling and resource referrals, contact Harden at or call 336-386-3685.

The Small Business Center provides seminars, workshops, resources and counseling to prospective business owners and existing business owners. The SCC Small Business Center has facilities in Dobson, Elkin, Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain, and Yadkinville.

To register for upcoming virtual seminars or to view a complete listing of the upcoming Small Business Center offerings, visit

What started as a relatively small textile operation in Mount Airy 100 years ago has grown to manufacture socks for some of the biggest international clients in the world — and now says it has hopes for even more growth as the firm enters its second century of operation.

Renfro Brands is marking its 100th anniversary by charting what it hopes will continue to be a profitable future — even as major changes reshape the company. Among those changes, the company said, are a renewed commitment to diversity within its management ranks as well as finding better ways to operation in environmentally conscious ways.

“This year has been an important one for the company as it announced new ownership by the private holding company, The Renco Group Inc., which followed the launch of Renfro’s direct-to-consumer marketplace Loops & Wales and corporate rebranding,” the firm said this week in a statement about its 100th anniversary.

The company, while still maintaining its corporate headquarters in Mount Airy, has also continued moving its base of operations to nearby Winston-Salem, with more and more production and corporate functions handled there since CEO Stan Jewell took the reins in 2017.

Founded in 1921 as Renfro Hosiery Mills, the company started as a small domestic manufacturer. A century later, Renfro has grown into a leader in the legwear industry with more than 1,500 employees globally. It has also shown an ability to pivot quickly — as it did last year when the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic gave the company another opportunity — producing masks. The company produced millions of masks, even donating nearly 2,000 to Mount Airy for its city employees to use.

“As Renfro charts its next phase of growth, the company is focused on making a positive impact on the world,” the company said. “Renfro has long rallied behind its belief that ‘a life well-lived, is lived in socks’ and understands that while it starts with great socks, its impact goes further than that. Through its new corporate social responsibility program, Project Footprint, Renfro has set out to foster better employment opportunities for more people, to continue to give back to the communities where it works, and to take every effort to preserve a healthy planet for a healthy future.”

“We are extremely proud of where we are today as a company, and that is thanks to our employees, partners, and communities who have supported and trusted us over the past 100-years,” Jewell said Tuesday. “Project Footprint is not only our way of growing what our founders started but continuing our commitment to living our vision of helping people get back on their feet to achieve a life well-lived.”

As part of Project Footprint, Renfro has committed to achieving specific goals for each pillar of its program – Our Communities, Our Planet, and Our People – and will expand these with new actions and efforts annually. Among the objectives set to date, Renfro has committed to achieving the following by 2025:

– Renfro will increase the number of what it calls “BIPOC employees” — Black, indigenous, and people of color — at the manager level by more than 20% to ensure leaders reflect the company’s consumer base.

– Renfro will launch an annual sock capsule on its direct-to-consumer platform Loops & Wales, where 100% of proceeds are donated to an organization helping people get back on their feet.

– Renfro will use sustainable yarns and materials in at least half of the products it produce, increasing this to 100% by 2030.

Additionally, starting in 2022, Renfro aims to donate more than $1 million worth of employee hours to nonprofits by providing time for employees to live its values and volunteer with organizations with roots in local communities.

“Renfro will continue to progress and evolve Project Footprint to both grow its impact and address new needs as they emerge,” the firm’s statement said.

The staff at Dr. John L. Gravitte, DDS, recently donated several boxes of toys the folks there had collected for the annual Toys for Tots campaign.

And the staff there added something new to the Toys for Tots campaign — dental gift bags filled with dental hygeine products such as brushes, toothpaste, floss, and other items, customized by age.

Overall, the staff filled three large boxes with toys and included nearly 400 dental gift bags.

Mike Gosnell, along with his brothers James and Andrew, have started a SERVPRO to serve the Mount Airy-Pilot Mountain area.

All three brothers have histories in contracting and decided to move back to their hometown to benefit their community.

SERVPRO is known nationally for fire and water clean-up and restoration. SERVPRO is a large corporation but it allows for locally owned businesses. This causes for a business to be tight knit with their community while still receiving resources from a major company.

Mike Gosnell left Pilot Mountain in 2004 to attend college in Georgia. He worked for SERVPRO throughout his college education.

“I had some really good mentors,” he said. This connection with the mentors allowed him to receive a top spot at the corporate level of SERVPRO after college.

From the age of 22 to 27 he was traveling across the country overseeing around 100 locally owned SERVPROs.

“There are around 1,900 independently owned SERVPRO franchises,” Gosnell. “It’s been a big part of my life.”

After leaving SERVPRO and working as a contractor in Raleigh for a few years, he had the idea to come back home. The SERVPRO that was located in Mount Airy and served the surrounding area had shut down.

“We put it together real fast. James was working in Orlando helping with the construction of the airport.”

The brothers opened on Oct. 18.

Mike, James, and Andrew grew up in a household with 12 children.

“Were a very intense family,” said Mike. “But we respect each other’s unique abilities when it comes to business. James is more involved in the operations and I’m more of a sales guy.”

Mike and James own the company and Andrew works there as well. Andrew is a licensed HVAC contractor.

It is fairly new business for the Pilot Mountain area but it is nothing new for these brothers.

“Our family has a long history in this area. James and I have been afforded some great mentors and business experience and we look forward to bringing the knowledge and skill to the foothills region of North Carolina and the southern part of Virginia,” said Mike.

For more information visit the company website at

It is one of the best-known, and most respected, honors in the area. Certainly the highest individual honor given by the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, and one that has a history dating back nearly six decades.

It is the chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award, and the deadline to nominate folks for consideration this year is fast approaching. December 8 is the final day area residents can nominate a person for the recognition.

“The first one was given in 1962,” said Randy Collins, executive director of the chamber. “The chamber was founded in 1959, they have presented one every year for nearly 60-some years.”

Collins said the award is meant to recognize an individual who “has done a lot to serve their community, on a lot of different levels.” He said, given that it is a chamber award, the recipient has generally been someone active in the business community, but he said the recognition is really about “overall service to the community…perhaps someone who has gone overlooked.”

For those wishing to nominate someone, Collins said the nomination form can be found online at If a person wishes to make a nomination and cannot do so electronically, he said it is fine for the nominator to hand-deliver or mail a typed or written nomination.

“Tell us their story,” he advised of what to include. “We really rely on these nominations to tell us the story. A lot of people who have gotten the award over the years, you just mention their name and you know what they’ve done. But there are a lot of unsung heroes over the years, that not everyone knows their story.”

He said the winner does not have to be a chamber member, but they are looking for someone from Mount Airy, Surry County, or from the towns in Surry — Pilot Mountain, Dobson, and Elkin.

Collins said generally the chamber gets eight to ten nominations every year, although some years there are more. So far, he said three or four have been submitted. Once the nomination deadline passes, he said a committee will review every submission and choose one winner.

“The difficult part on this…there are so many people who are deserving, it’s difficult every year to choose. And, there’s many people who should be nominated who never are. We want to encourage people to nominate someone in the community that you feel is way overdue for recognition.”

While there are no specific criteria for nominees, the award has “Generally been for a lifetime of work…These are people who have spent a lifetime serving their community in some way, or certainly for a long period to time. We don’t put any parameters on that, we accept all nominations.”

The winner is named during the chamber’s annual meeting in January, and Collins said officials try to keep it a secret until the announcement.

In 2020, David Rowe, who has since passed away, was named the award winner. He was co-founder of Smith-Rowe, LLC and former Mayor of Mount Airy.

The first winner, in 1962, was Joe Johnson Sr. Winners since then include: 1963 Archie Carter, 1964 John E. Woltz, 1965 Floyd Pike, 1966 C.B. Roberson, 1967 Dr. J. Dale Simmons, 1968 George A. and Marguerite Kallenbach, 1969 Rev. James Powell, 1970 Jim Grimes, 1971 Frank Smith, 1972 C.B. Roberson, 1973 James E. Johnson, 1974 Jerry Beverly;

1975 Stan Rogge, 1976 Bill Breedlove, 1977 Don Nance, 1978 Larry Wright, 1979 George Summerlin, 1980 Dr. Swanson Richards, 1981 Steve and Mary Petlitz, 1982 Floyd Rees, 1983 Bobby Galyean, 1984 Jack Zonneveld, 1985 Barbara Summerlin, 1986 Tanya Jones and Zack Blackmon, 1987 David Pruett, 1988 Thurman Watts, 1989 Ruth Minick;

1990 Richard Vaughn, 1991 Howard Woltz Jr., 1992 Ann Vaughn, 1993 Jim Andrews, 1994 Teresa Lewis, 1995 John Springthorpe III, 1996 Gene Rees, 1997 Burke Robertson, 1998 Susan Ashby, 1999 Jack Greenwood, 2000 Dr. Wilford Lyerly, 2001 Gary York, 2002 Pat Gwyn Woltz, 2003 Ed Woltz, 2004 Craig and Michele Hunter, 2005 Sandy Beam;

2006 Marion Venable, 2007 Virginia Rogers, 2008 Mike Bowman, 2009 Kate Appler, 2010 Charlie and Ed Shelton, 2011 Carol Burke, 2012 Deidre Rogers, 2013 Alan Connolly, 2014 Berta Glenn Springthorpe, 2015 Ben Cooke, 2016 Catrina Alexander, 2017 Robert Moody, 2018 John Priddy. 2019 Curtis Taylor, and 2020 David Rowe.

MOUNT AIRY – The Board of Directors of Surrey Bancorp (Pink Sheets: SRYB) has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 10.5 cents per share on the company’s common stock.

The cash dividend is payable on Jan. 10 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Dec. 17. Ted Ashby, President/CEO of Surrey Bancorp, stated the dividend was based on the company’s operating results, its strong financial condition and a commitment to delivering shareholder value.

Surrey Bancorp is the bank holding company for Surrey Bank & Trust and is located at 145 North Renfro Street, Mount Airy. The bank operates full service branch offices at 145 North Renfro Street, and 2050 Rockford Street in Mount Airy and a limited service branch at 1280 West Pine Street in Mount Airy. Full-service branch offices are also located at 653 South Key Street in Pilot Mountain, 393 CC Camp Road in Elkin and 1096 Main Street in North Wilkesboro and 940 Woodland Drive in Stuart, Virginia.

Surrey Bank & Trust can be found online at

Mount Airy High School’s internship program is at an all-time high for student-interns this fall semester, with 52 students at 31 different businesses throughout the community.

“This has been the most student-interns we’ve had in the program,” said Katie Ferguson, career development coordinator at Mount Airy High School.

The Mount Airy High School internship program was formally started during the 2009-2010 school year. Internships are offered to students during the fall, spring, and summer as an honors course. Students begin by in-class participation for two weeks. Ferguson gets to know the students and their career interests.

“Once I get to know the students and their career interests I try to match them up with a mentor who will give them an opportunity to learn more about that career,” said Ferguson.

All intern sites are located in the community.

During those two weeks in the class students learn different skills, what they might be interested in, and different career paths. Students also learn how to properly write an email, make a resume and cover letter, and learn workplace etiquette.

“We feel that job exposure is a critical first step in integrating work-based learning into the lives of our students, adding relevancy to their classrooms, and helping students navigate career pathways,” said Ferguson.

Matthew Bagley is a senior at Mount Airy High School who is interning with Sergeant Stacey Inman at the Mount Airy Police Department.

“We try to let students who are interested in criminal justice observe our different responsibilities here at the police department,” said Inman.

Bagley has moved around the police department, observing different parts of the police department and being able to interact as well. He is currently with the patrol officers but will soon be heading to the investigation division where he will experience more of the serious responsibilities.

“I thoroughly enjoy it,” said Inman. “He helped during the Autumn Leaves Festival which was a life saver for me. He was able to interact with our community and really show the softer side of the police department.”

Bagley gets to experience what it’s like to be in the police force.

“I believe our involvement with our youth is our future,” added Inman.

Brooks Sizemore and Janson Dezern are two more seniors at Mount Airy High School and they are interning with Shenandoah Furniture.

“Having student interns at Shenandoah Furniture has helped provide fresh ideas to accomplish goals and finish projects. It is a unique way of exploring different departments within our organization while building personal relationships with students in our community,” said their mentor, Rocky Killon.

Killon has been an internship partner with Mount Airy High School for several years.

At Shenandoah, Sizemore and Dezern are able to be hands on. They package different pieces of furniture and upholster many of the products.

High school students in the program learn responsibilities and get experience interacting in a work setting, which is a vital part of preparing for life after high school, program organizers say.

Tyler H. Jenkins, D.O., has joined the medical staff of Northern Regional Hospital to serve as a hospitalist physician for inpatients at the nationally recognized 133-bed community hospital.

A board-certified physician, Dr. Jenkins served previously as a hospitalist at Carilion Giles Community Hospital in Pearisburg, Virginia; and, prior to that, served for seven years as a physician in the U.S. Army.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Jenkins to our medical staff,” said Jason W. Edsall, MD, chief medical officer of Northern Regional Hospital. “His broad-based medical knowledge and leadership experience, as well as his demonstrated commitment to providing quality care to patients, is a great fit for our hospital.”

Dr. Jenkin’s path to becoming a physician and, ultimately, a hospitalist (a specialist for inpatient care) was developed over time. “Some people have that flash-bulb moment; but my decision grew from a slower process – culminating, finally, in late-middle school, when I decided that being a physician was what I was going to do,” he said. His choice of a career was fueled, in part, by his love of science and chemistry – disciplines that served him well during his later studies in medical school and throughout his advanced medical training.

Dr. Jenkins’ approach to patient care is to treat the patient as opposed to the actual diagnosis. “I focus on each patient’s individual needs by engaging with them to address the issues they bring up and answer their questions,” he said. “I’m understanding and very straightforward; and patients appreciate that I give them information about their condition along with a range of possible treatment options. I’ve found that most people prefer you to be straightforward rather than hedge around the matter.”

“In general, I love being a puzzle solver, by finding out what’s going on and then putting all the little pieces together in a way that improves a patient’s quality-of-life and outcome,” he said.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the young graduate was accepted into West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, in Lewisburg, West Virginia, and also enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves as a 2nd Lieutenant. After earning his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree in 2010, the newly minted doctor’s military status shifted from reservist to active duty, he was promoted to the rank of captain, and assigned to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, where he began a three-year residency program in internal medicine.

Jenkins became more acutely aware of the role of a hospitalist physician through his association with Dr. George Imuro, a hospitalist and one of his clinical professors during his residency training. “Dr. Imuro was extremely supportive and helpful to me,” he said. “His direction and guidance helped me keep my head on straight.” Jenkins also found comfort and strength in the merged duality of medical training and military experience during his residency. “I wanted to have an experience that was something more than just a straight-line education of putting your face down in books. It was exciting to be part of something greater than myself; to be connected to a larger group while building character and broadening your experiences.”

Following the completion of his residency program, Dr. Jenkins spent the balance of his military career serving in a variety of progressively more responsible roles — including, among others, Battalion Surgeon and Clinical Officer-in-Charge at Fort Bliss, Texas, and Brigade Surgeon and Clinical Officer-in-Charge at Fort Bragg. During these assignments, he had command responsibility for the clinicians who reported to him and were tasked with providing comprehensive medical care to anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 soldiers. He also completed live combat training and served as the chief medical officer for two international training exercises — in Liberia and the Netherlands. “I’m probably the only physician who treated a case of malaria in the Netherlands,” he said with a laugh.

Dr. Jenkins is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine; and has served on that organization’s Education Committee. He was an Instructor for Combat Medic Training courses while in the Army; and served as a Graduate Medical Education (GME) Committee resident representative for the Family Medicine Residency Program at the Carilion Clinic.

Dr. Jenkins is looking forward to working with colleagues and applying his medical knowledge and skills to help inpatients at Northern Regional Hospital. “Everyone I met at Northern was respectful and pleasant,” he said. “All the hospitalists work together to help ensure optimal patient care, and we have good access to sophisticated resources.”

As a fitness buff, Dr. Jenkins enjoys organizing and participating in physical activities and educational outings with his family – including his wife Holly, a graphic designer, and their two sons: seven-year-old Arthur, and three-year-old Adam. “We like to swim, bike, go on walks, and take trips to science museums,” said Jenkins. He’s also always ready for an extended table-top role-playing game with his buddies. “That’s a big hobby of mine,” he said.

For more information about Northern Regional Hospital, visit

The Surry County Economic Development Foundation has announced it is accepting applications for small business grants through the end of the year. These grants are part of an allotment from the Duke Energy Foundation meant to assist business with fewer than 50 employees with microgrants ranging from $500 to $2,500.

The grant for $25,000 from the Duke Foundation was awarded to the Economic Development Foundation to target grants toward local small businesses in hopes of relieving some of the financial stress caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The Duke Energy Hometown Revitalization Grant program will help offset costs our businesses have incurred in modifying their day-to-day operations to stay open and provide much needed services for our communities,” said Todd Tucker of the Surry County Economic Development Foundation.

“If your small business has had to ‘pivot’ to stay open, maintain operations or even grow during this time, this grant may be for you,” the press release said. A pivot may include adding enhanced service or commerce opportunities for the business to adjust to the effects of the pandemic.

Some businesses needed to add protective shielding to cash registers, spend money on masks, or extra deep cleaning for their establishments. Other modifications to physical space like expansion of outdoor dining, improvements made to an e-commerce site for online sales or expanding capacity for delivering goods and services could all be considered eligible under this grant program.

Not eligible for inclusion in the grant program will be payroll, rent or utilities. However, small business support awards may also be awarded for storefront beautification projects the program details said, “but COVID-19 recovery project will be prioritized.”

The money from the Duke Energy Foundation granted to The Surry County Economic Development Foundation is part of a larger allotment of $750,000 in grants to help local businesses across North Carolina adapt to the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic.

“We were astounded by the number and quality of the applications, so we decided to increase the foundation’s commitment and help even more downtown communities bounce back,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president of the fifty percent increase in hometown grant funding from last year.

Tucker said that the application to apply for the grant can be found on the Surry Economic Development Foundation website, as well as their Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin pages.

Interested parties should download the application and answer a few pertinent questions. Applications must be returned to the Surry County Economic Development Partnership by Dec. 30. Anyone with questions should contact the partnership office at 336-401-9900 or by email,

© 2018 The Mount Airy News