Surry County News

Read about new business, events and news that effects life and commerce in the western Piedmont Triad.

Allegacy Federal Credit Union opens new location in Mount Airy

Allegacy Federal Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in North Carolina, announced today it plans to open its newest location in Mount Airy. The credit union will be located at 1996 Rockford Street, Suite 300 and is expected to open by the end of the year.

“We are thrilled to join the wonderful, growing community of Mount Airy,” said Cathy Pace, Allegacy President and CEO. “Our expansion will allow us to better serve current members and provide fresh opportunities for new members looking for a financial partner dedicated to doing the right thing for their wellbeing. Allegacy is committed to helping our members lead a vibrant, healthy, financially sound life and we look forward to serving, partnering, and working in the Mount Airy community.”

Allegacy joins three other businesses to sign on to a new construction site located at the former Long John Silver’s restaurant, which was razed in 2016. Other new businesses include Starbucks, Jimmy John’s restaurant, and AT&T cell phone.

This location will include dedicated resources focused on small business, financial planning and mortgage services. In addition to offering a full array of retail services, Allegacy offers competitive small business products and services and employer benefits.

Many established Mount Airy and Surry County businesses are already members of Allegacy’s Select Employee Groups (SEGs), which allows employees to enjoy credit union benefits. Some of the local SEGs include Pike Electric, Insteel Industries, Insteel Wire Products, Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, Omega Construction and Foothill Ford.

Hours at the new Allegacy location are expected to be 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday.

About Allegacy

For nearly 50 years, Allegacy has helped its members, employees and the communities it serves be their best by helping people make smart financial choices. By doing right, Allegacy has become one of the largest credit unions in North Carolina serving over 129,000 members worldwide with over $1.2 billion in assets and an additional billion dollars in assets under management in its financial planning group. With roots in Winston Salem, Allegacy has 12 convenient locations and eight high school student-run credit unions in the Triad. Allegacy offers personal and business financial services to help a broad membership base including the employees, retirees and families of over 680 companies throughout the country be their best. To learn more, visit

Northern Hospital earns national accolades

Northern Hospital of Surry County has earned three quality-care honors, all of which resulted from competitive comparisons with hospitals of similar size and scope.

The awards include High Performing Hospital, Top 100 Great Community Hospital, and Blue Select Tier 1 Facility.

Northern was ranked a High Performing Hospital for exceptional care and performance in pulmonary care by U.S. News & World Report in its 2017-2018 “Best Hospitals” rankings. Fewer than 30 percent of the more than 4,500 hospitals evaluated by U.S. News earn a “High Performing” rating. Additionally, Northern Hospital achieved an “Excellent” designation on U.S. News’ scorecard for individual hospitals.For the second consecutive year, Northern Hospital was named among the 100 Great Community Hospitals for 2017 by Becker’s Hospital Review; and it earned the highest three designations across the board for high quality and low costs from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North America for 2018.

“Such prestigious national rankings and top designations continue to validate the ongoing efforts and mission of our hospital,” said Ned Hill, president and chief executive officer of Northern Hospital of Surry County. “These high honors also serve as a testament to the dedication and commitment of our doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers – whose individual and team efforts permit us to consistently improve and enhance our patient-care offerings.”

Most recently, Northern’s expanded treatment options have included a full range of ENT surgical procedures, vascular surgery, and advanced cardiac rehabilitation care.

Surry school districts fare well in state results

Local schools again showed well in statistics released by the state on Monday.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction stated in a release this week that 56.5 percent of high schools in the state received a grade of A or B based on such information as end-of-year test scores, graduation rates, ACT tests, academic growth, and indicators of a student’s readiness for college or a career.

Across all grade levels in the state, just 35.8 percent received an A or B grade.

The rate is much higher than that locally — nearly double that at 68 percent. There are 26 schools in Surry County; B.H. Tharrington was not included in the report as it is a primary school and only those with grades three and higher were listed.

Mount Airy City Schools said for purposes of accountability, Tharrington was paired with Jones Intermediate.

Of the 25 schools on the report, Surry County had one A, 16 B’s and seven C’s. No school was graded below C.

Surry County Schools has 19 campuses. The Surry Early College received a score of A. Then 11 schools received a B, with seven schools receiving a C. The cutoff for a B was a composite score of 70-85; five of the seven schools to receive a C had a score of 66 or higher, so they just missed the next grade.

Mount Airy City Schools posted two B’s and a C. Elkin City Schools had two B’s and a C last year, but the middle school climbed up to make all three B grades this year.

• Drilling down into the data, the county district noted:

“Across all grade levels (3-8) on the Reading, Mathematics, and Science End-of-Grade assessments, 67.3 percent of Surry County students scored at Achievement Level 3 and above compared to 58.8 percent across the state. Surry County Schools had two End-of-Grade subject areas ranked in the state top 10: fifth grade Mathematics (3rd) and fourth grade Reading (8th). Six additional End-of-Grade subjects had rankings in the top 20: fifth grade reading (12th); fifth grade science (12th); fourth grade math (13th); and sixth grade math (13th); third grade reading (18th); and eighth grade math (18th).”

Similarly, on the English II, Math I, and Biology End-of-Course assessments, 66.7 percent of Surry County students scored at Achievement Level 3 and above, up 4.2 percent from last year. Proficiencies across the state averaged 60.8 percent. As in the End-of-Grade results, Surry County had a End-of-Course ranking in the state top 15: Math I (13th).

• Mount Airy schools said its three schools met 100 percent of their academic growth goals. Also the schools met or exceeded growth for reading and math at all three schools. All three met or exceeded growth in K-12 science. The district ranked in the top 20 percent in achievements for end-of-grade and end-of-course testing.

The district said, “Average student growth is exception with an increase of 3.02 from last year, showing our dedication to every child.

• Mount Airy said Jones Intermediate exceeded growth and is ranked number 3 on the EVAAS growth index for all elementary schools in the state. Its fifth grade mathematics and science ranked second in the state for proficiency. Fifth grade reading ranked ninth in the state for proficiency.

Mount Airy Middle School met growth with 100% of students passing Math 1 and nearly 80 percent of students passing their science EOG. Sixth grade reading ranked 19th in the state for proficiency. Eighth grade mathematics ranked 15th in the state for proficiency. Eighth grade reading ranked 20th in the state for proficiency.

Mount Airy High School exceeded growth in end-of-course exams in English, biology and mathematics scoring 7 percentage points above the state average and ranking in the top 20 percent of EVAAS growth index. Math I ranked seventh in the state for proficiency. English II ranked 16th in the state for proficiency.

Mount Airy High School students scored 26 percent better than last year on WorkKeys which puts the district at 85 percent, an indicator of career readiness.

• The Department of Public Instruction said the state’s four-year high school graduation rate continued its upward trend, moving to 86.5 percent from the 85.9 percent the year before. North Carolina’s public schools have set a record graduation rate for a 12th consecutive year.

The graduation rate was higher for all three districts.

Mount Airy City reported a rate of 88 percent. Elkin City had 94 percent.

Surry County has four high schools, all of which scored the state average or better, with an average of 90.6 percent. North Surry had 86 percent, Surry Central 93, East Surry 94 and the Early College is listed as 95+ (the report doesn’t list any number higher than 95). The district noted that North Surry’s rate was an all-time high.

• While the state report lists many spreadsheets of data, Surry County Schools said it also got an overall district ranking.

The county said out of 115 districts in the state it ranked 13th for the past school year with an overall academic performance score of 67.2 percent.

“Being 13th in the state for academic performance of 115 school districts is an accomplishment that makes our Surry County Schools’ family very proud,” said Dr. Travis Reeves, superintendent.

“We realize this does not happen by chance. The implementation of the strategic plan set by the Surry County Schools Board of Education lead us in the right direction to move forward, and the deliberate high-impact teaching and learning in every classroom everyday also moved the needle.

“Our teachers, our administrators, and all our support staff are committed to providing personalized and customized educational experiences for students daily so they can achieve to their highest potential.”

When presenting the data to the school board a year ago, assistant principal Jeff Tunstall said he and his staff gave a few “yee haws” when they saw the county’s ranking at that time.

This continues a pattern of growth up the rankings for Surry from being between 24th and 19th for three years before jumping up to 15th last year and now 13th this year.

Mount Airy City Schools gave a written comment on the test scores and didn’t give a ranking. However, last year the district, like Surry and Elkin, was in the top quarter of all school districts in the state.

“Mount Airy City Schools staff has gone above and beyond, providing a quality education amidst many challenges,” wrote Dr. Kim Morrison, city superintendent. “Again, we are among the top school districts for growth in the state. We will continue to grow every child, every day through our continuous improvement model.”

“It’s great news that the top-line trends are in the right direction. We can all be proud, for instance, that most schools meet or exceed growth,” said Mark Johnson, state superintendent of public schools.

“But deeper into the data,”he said, “the results show stubborn concerns that call out for innovative approaches. It is with innovation and personalized learning that we can transform incremental progress into generalized success.”

“I commend teachers and students on these achievements and encourage everyone to continue to press forward,” said Dr. Reeves. “We are extremely pleased with the results of 2016-2017, but it is a new school year with new challenges. There are areas of concern we will continue to focus on in order to provide a quality education to all students.”

For all the data on individual schools and grade levels, visit the public schools’ website at

PTRDC Business Investment Fund- Press Release


U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1 Million to Match Golden LEAF Foundation $1 Million Investment to Establish a Business Investment Fund in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad Region

KERNERSVILLE – N.C. On Tuesday August 28th 2017 U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $1 million grant to the Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation of Kernersville, North Carolina, as match to Golden LEAF funding to establish a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide small business loans across the 12-county Piedmont Triad Region.

“We commend the Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation for their focus on aiding small businesses, allowing for better access to the capital they need to grow and thrive,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
“The efforts of local leaders have ensured that the new Revolving Loan Fund will be a catalyst for starting and expanding small and medium-sized businesses in the Piedmont region.”

The total investment of $2 million provides capital for the Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation’s Business Investment Fund – an effort to bridge the gap for businesses of all sizes in the Piedmont Triad. “The Business Investment Fund will provide a much needed service for the entrepreneurial and innovative community,” said Piedmont Triad Regional Council Executive Director Matthew Dolge. “The investments by the EDA and Golden LEAF Foundation provide the capacity to stimulate business development, create employment opportunities, encourage community engagements, and improve living conditions for residents throughout the region.”
Financing through the Business Investment Fund is available for most business needs including: inventory, equipment, machinery, intellectual property, and other fixed assets. Typical loans will range from $200,000 to $600,000 – other amounts higher or lower may be eligible and will be decided on a case by case basis.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation is pleased to join with the EDA to support the business investment fund,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF President. “The fund is truly a regional project that will help address quality job creation through the provision of capital to a wide range of businesses and redevelopment in 12 counties that expressed their strong support for this initiative.”

About Golden LEAF
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The Foundation receives a portion of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,507 grants worth over $755 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit or call 888.684.8404

About the Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation (
The Piedmont Triad Regional Development Corporation (PTRDC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization tasked with implementing activities that further economic development and social welfare in the twelve-county Piedmont Triad Region. The PTRDC is an EDA designated Economic Development District (EDD) that promotes economic development and job creation by carrying out community and economic initiatives available to local governments and small businesses.

Reeves named superintendent of year

Surry County Schools superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves was named a regional superintendent of the year.

“This award symbolizes the great work our teachers and principals are doing in the schools,” said Reeves, after he got word he had been named the state’s Region Five superintendent of the year by the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium.

Reeves said the region stretches from Surry County to Chatham County, encompassing 16 school districts. It’s a geographically large area with some densely populated areas such as Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

There are only eight regions in the state, according to a press release regarding the award.

“I’m really honored and humbled by this,” said Reeves, before crediting those around him with setting him up for success in his career, starting with those closest to him.

He said if not for the support of a loving wife and two daughters, such an accomplishment would not be possible.

“I have a tremendous family that supports me. The job can be pretty taxing, both mentally and physically,” explained Reeves. “They are the rock that supports me.”

A significant level of support is also offered by others on a more professional front.

“I am very blessed to work for the best board of education in the state. They are progressive in their words and their actions,” said Reeves. “They always put our students first.”

Reeves began his career in education more than two decades ago, and he’s made quite a few stops on his journey. The first-generation college graduate from Alleghany County served as superintendent for Ashe County Schools prior to taking over the Surry district in 2013.

Prior to his time spent as a superintendent, he also was a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal for the Mount Airy City Schools.

“I’m proud of a lot of things,” said Reeves when asked to identify some accomplishments since taking the helm of the county schools.

“We have focused on research-based teaching and learning strategies which are proven to work,” said Reeves, noting school officials are always monitoring the results of the district’s curriculum framework.

The superintendent said the district has been innovative in its approach to providing paths to the future for its students. One thing is always certain, he believed. The “academic needle” is always moving in the right direction in the Surry County Schools, and that happens with a budget which is far from bloated.

“We are ranked 15th in the state in academics,” said Reeves. “We are 89th in the state in per-pupil funding.”

Reeves noted the district’s success can be seen in other data as well. The district’s graduation rate and the number of graduates moving on to higher education have increased.

“We are giving students pathways to careers, college and life,” noted Reeves.

Reeves reiterated that providing those paths is a team effort.

“This is a district award,” said Reeves. “It reaffirms that our teachers and staff members are doing a tremendous job.”

Wake Forest Baptist and Surry County provider open new cardiac rehab facility

Wake Forest Baptist and Surry County provider open new cardiac rehab facility

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has partnered with Northern Hospital of Surry County to provide cardiac rehabilitation services at a new facility in Mount Airy.

The new facility gives residents in Surry County and nearby areas the ability to attend a closer outpatient cardiac rehab program after a heart attack, a heart-related surgery or heart disease, according to the two medical centers.

“Numerous residents of Mount Airy and surrounding communities are already traveling to Winston-Salem for their cardiac rehab services, and these patients can now be served right here at home,” said Brian Beasley, vice president of clinic operations at Northern Hospital, in a prepared statement.

Northern Hospital received a $250,000 grant from The Duke Endowment, to cover the construction of the department. The cardiac rehabilitation facility is on the third floor of Northern Hospital, which is located at 830 Rockford St.

The new facility, which construction finished on in April, is about 3,000-square-feet and can accommodate up to 15 patients per day, said Connie Paladenech, manager of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation at Wake Forest Baptist, in an email.

The four employees working at the new facility are split evenly among Wake Forest Baptist and Northern Hospital workers, she said.

The first patients were admitted to the Cardiac Rehabilitation program earlier this month.

Elkin City Schools students rank high in state indicator results in Career and Technical Education

Elkin City Schools students rank high in state indicator results in Career and Technical Education

Recent state results on the achievements of students in the Career and Technical Education courses show Elkin City Schools in the top five school systems in five of the eight indicators measured.

At Monday’s school board meeting, Barbara Long, CTE coordinator for the local school system, presented the results of the state’s indicators, bragging on the achievements of both the students and the instructors.

The first indicator, in which Elkin placed second out of the state’s 115 school systems, measured how the 52 CTE concentrating students from 2016 did when they took their ninth-grade English test. Elkin came in at 72 percent, above the state average and just below Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s 76.5 percent. No other local school system was in the top 10 in that indicator, Long noted.

Elkin was fourth in the state on the math indicator, which measured concentrators’ success on the ninth-grade math test. The year used for the results was the first year Common Core was part of the curriculum and none of the 115 systems met the state goal of 78.6 percent. Elkin was at the 58.9 percentile, below Polk, Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Carteret systems.

In the third indicator, Elkin ranked second again, with 94 percent, above Mount Airy, who ranked fourth. This indicator measured the technical attainment of all Career and Technical Education students in ninth through 12th grade in 2016, explained Long.

Indicator seven, which measured the participation of students in nontraditional CTE courses, for instance a female taking traditionally male courses such as agriculture and technology, and a male taking courses such as cooking, was another in which Elkin ranked high, at fourth in the state with 37.7 percent participation. No other local system was in the top 10 in that indicator.

The fifth indicator in which Elkin ranked in the top five was indicator eight, which measured nontraditional completion of level two courses, Long said. Elkin was ranked fifth in the state with 39.9 percent completion. No other local system was in the top 10.

The other indicators included how many of the 52 concentrators graduated, and Long explained in a small school system, just one or two students can make a big difference in the percentage, with Elkin at 96.1 percent. Indicator five also involved graduation, measuring the students graduation rate within four years, with Elkin at 98 percent.

The last indicator, indicator six, showed results of how many CTE concentrators who had graduated in 2014-15 went on into the workforce, military or higher education. Elkin ranked at 92.1 percent in secondary placement, while the state goal was 93.7 percent.

Only one school system in the state met the state goal in all of the indicators except math, which no school system met, and that was Carteret, Long reported.

Elkin ranked in the top five of the eight indicators, with two other system ranking in the top 10 in four of the eight indicators.

“Why I think we did so well is because of the 11 professionals we have,” said Long, as she introduced each of the system’s CTE instructors and presented them with a bag of treats, including a North Carolina Education Lottery ticket.

Those instructors are Brent Poplin, Pam Brown, Clarence Edwards, Robin Hooker, Sherri Cook, Joe McCulloch, Beth Felts, Chase Swisher, Patsy Burgess and Kim Parks.

AES named great workplace

A local company which started in a wooden shed is now a Great Place to Work.

In late October, Advanced Electronics Services Inc. earned a Great Place to Work certification, according to Nicholas Cooke, the company’s financial coordinator.

Great Place to Work is an organization that calls itself “the global authority on building, sustaining, and recognizing high-trust, high-performing workplace cultures.” The entity also produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list.

The program evaluates organizations across the country through employee surveys which gauge matters such as the work environment and involvement in the community.

Cooke said AES scored particularly well in the areas of employee pride and offers a great work atmosphere.

AES is housed in a 90,000-square-foot facility on Technology Lane off Riverside Drive. Starting in 1992, two employees did repairs to electronics in a shed, said Cooke. Since then, the company has grown and branched into other areas. AES continues to perform repairs on electronics, but it also services all Kodak printers, and recently the company started a section which repairs mechanical and hydraulic equipment.

According to Cooke, AES now employs 135 people.

Cooke said one thing the company does particularly well — and something which contributed to the company’s certification as a Great Place to Work — is the company’s work in the community.

AES actively supports the Children’s Center of Surry, even serving as event sponsor for the Children’s Center’s annual Heart of a Child fundraiser. It also donates to the Shepherd’s House, Yokefellow Ministries and Helping Hands, a charity organization Cooke started.

Cooke noted the company also puts together teams of employees for charity events such as 5k runs.

The Great Place to Work certification process took AES two to three months to complete, said Cooke.

Human resources director Donna Stevens said her company hires the most qualified and best candidates available for jobs, and the Great Place to Work certification will do nothing but help AES in that goal.

“Our positive reputation in the community provides a nice applicant flow of qualified job applicants,” said Stevens.

She said one employee told her on his first day at AES, “I already love this place.”

“We do our best to be welcoming and provide the training and resources for every one of our employees to be successful,” said Stevens. “It works well for us.”

Mount Airy News- November 6, 2016

Surry County firm recognized in Mid-Market Fast 40

Surry County firm recognized in Mid-Market Fast 40

WorkForce Unlimited, a locally owned full service employment firm, was recognized Tuesday, September 20 at Pinehurst Resort ranking #12 on the Business North Carolina 2016 Mid-Market Fast 40 list. The list ranks mid-size companies on revenue and employment growth.  In addition, WorkForce Unlimited was recognized Thursday, September 22 ranking #8 on the 50 Fastest Growing privately held businesses in the Triad.

Mike Brannock, CEO of WorkForce Unlimited, accepted the awards on behalf of the firm.The Business Journal has sponsored the Fast 50 event for 16 years and this is the 11thtime WorkForce Unlimited has ranked in the Fast 50. “Both the state wide Fast 40 and the regional Fast 50 recognition is an incredible honor and a true testament to the contribution businesses make to local communities across the Triad and the State of North Carolina” said Teresa Lewis, Founder and President of WorkForce Unlimited. Headquartered in Mount Airy, WorkForce Unlimited was founded in 1987 by Teresa Lewis and has 13 offices in North Carolina and Virginia.

“The resources and assistance provided by the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, the City of Mount Airy, the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Surry Community College were essential to the success of our start up venture.”

Andrew Clabough

President, Willow Tex

Contact Us

Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Inc.
1218 State St.,
Mt. Airy NC 27030
PO BOX 7128

Contact Us

Surry County Economic Development Partnership Inc. 1218 State St., Mt. Airy NC 27030
PO BOX 7128

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