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Surry County News

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

Next Generation academy celebrates job signings

One of the most exciting events in a young person’s life is getting that first job offer. Recently, several area youth experienced that thrill when the Next Generation Career Academy hosted its third job signing event.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, interns, employers, and special guests participated virtually. Twelve recent graduates signed commitments to full or part-time employment with seven local businesses that participated in the Next Generation Career Academy’s internship program.

Due to COVID-19, this year was unlike any other year with regard to the second half of the school year and student internships. The academy’s internship program officially ended March 14 due to COVID-19, and at that time there were 38 interns in positions. Seventeen students were able to continue working for their employers. The following recent graduates and their employers were recognized:

• Carley Johnson – Chatham Nursing and Rehab. Her mentor was Brooke Johnson, social services director. Carley accepted a certified nursing assistant (CNA) position with Chatham Nursing and Rehab. She is a graduate of North Surry High School and will attend Surry Community College to study nursing.

• Michaela Stone – Chatham Nursing and Rehab. Her mentor was Brooke Johnson, social services director. Michaela recently graduated from North Surry High School and will attend Catawba College in the fall to study nursing. Michaela accepted a CNA position with Chatham Nursing and Rehab.

• Dylan Toney – Hardy Brothers. His mentor was Justin Lewis, maintenance director. Dylan accepted a trailer service technician position with Hardy Brothers. He is a Surry Central High School graduate and will attend Forsyth Tech in the fall to study diesel and heavy equipment technology.

• Branigan Raasch – JR Lynch and Sons. His mentor was Mark Lynch, vice president. Branigan accepted a laborer and welder position with JR Lynch and Sons. He is an East Surry High School graduate and will attend Surry Community College in the fall to study construction management.

• Lacey Caviness – Northern Regional Hospital. Her mentor was Patty Creed, director of critical care. Lacey graduated from Surry Central High School and will attend Surry Community College in the fall. She worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and plans to transfer to Appalachian State University to become a physician’s assistant. Lacey accepted a CNA position with Northern Regional Hospital.

• Kiersten Lester – Northern Regional Hospital. Her mentor was Jenny Triplett, director of skilled nursing. Kiersten accepted a CNA position with Northern Regional Hospital. She worked in the Skilled Nursing Unit and is a graduate of East Surry High School. She will continue her education at Surry Community College to become a nurse.

• Katelyn Ward – Northern Regional Hospital. Her mentor was Liz Persaud, director of the Birthing Center. Katelyn is a graduate of East Surry High School. She worked on the Obstetrics Floor and will continue her education at Surry Community College to study nursing. She accepted a CNA position with Northern Regional Hospital.

• Jonathan Lara – Smith-Rowe, LLC. His mentors were Jody Phillips, vice president, and Richard Smith, project manager. Jonathan served as a field support intern and accepted a construction yard laborer position with Smith-Rowe. He graduated from Surry Central High School and will work full-time while attending Surry Community College in the fall.

• Reagan Richardson – Smith-Rowe, LLC. Her mentors were Jody Phillips, vice president, and Richard Smith, project manager. Reagan accepted a welder position with Smith-Rowe. She is a graduate of North Surry High School and will continue working toward her welding degree at Surry Community College. Reagan is also the first North Carolina Department of Labor intern under the age of 18 approved to work in a welding facility. Vice President of Smith-Rowe Jody Phillips was instrumental in getting the legislation passed that enabled Reagan to be approved by the Department of Labor to begin her internship at Smith-Rowe at are 17.

• Caleb Byrd – Surry Communications. His mentor was Frankie Southard, customer service manager. Caleb accepted a customer care representative position with Surry Communications after being employed for one year. Caleb graduated from East Surry High School and will seek to further his education by pursuing a degree in diesel and heavy equipment technology from Forsyth Tech Community College.

• Cheyenne Seal – Surry Communications. Her mentor was Frankie Southard, customer service manager. Cheyenne graduated from North Surry High School and will continue with her education by attending Surry Community College to pursue business administration. She accepted a Customer Care Representative position with Surry Communications after starting her internship experience as a sophomore at 15 years of age.

• Jordan Koehler – Ultimate Towing and Recovery. His mentor was Gina Nichols, manager. Jordan accepted a mechanic position with Ultimate Towing and Recovery. He is a graduate of East Surry High School and will attend Forsyth Tech Community College to study diesel and heavy equipment technology.

The Next Generation Career Academy originated from an idea and partnership between Surry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis L. Reeves, Surry Community College President Dr. David R. Shockley. The academy was created out of a recognized need from local businesses looking for skilled workers. The academy provides high school students the opportunity to gain work experience to foster connections between classroom learning and the world of work.

“It is a unique opportunity for our schools and our community college to work together seamlessly to do what is right for our students, our businesses, and our community,” said Career Coach Crystal Folger-Hawks. “It is a pleasure to work with our businesses but it is especially a privilege to work with the students.”

“It has been a pleasure partnering with Surry County Schools and all of the businesses and industries,” Shockley said. “I see this effort as a continuing evolution of what we are trying to do at Surry Community College to provide the technical education and expertise that would allow businesses and industries to flourish. Through our efforts, we can compete, help our area flourish, provide the quality of life that our citizens deserve, and earn a good living wage that provides socioeconomic mobility. This is one of the most exciting experiences I have been a part of in my educational career.”

“Surry County Schools is a next-generation school district equipping all students with the skills necessary to be successful whether they pursue college or careers,” Reeves said. “The Next Generation Career Academy is one way we meet these most important student needs. What an exciting time to live, learn, and lead in Surry County. Students are gaining invaluable experiences that they will be able to take with them wherever they go in life, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Especially during the recent changes in the economy, it is uplifting to see our talented students commit to working in our community.“

Elkin accepts 2019 NC Main Street Award

Elkin accepts 2019 NC Main Street Award

NEW BERN — Elkin was one of nineteen communities to receive awards for excellence in downtown revitalization at the North Carolina Main Street and Small Town Main Street Awards Ceremony recently. North Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland and Assistant Secretary of Rural Economic Development Kenny Flowers presented the awards in categories that include economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.

“While the world struggles with the COVID-19 crisis and its economic consequences, the important work of programs like North Carolina Main Street continues,” Secretary Copeland said. “We’re proud of this year’s award-winners, whose innovative leadership generated public and private investment, spurred job creation and facilitated residential development to energize the state’s downtown districts.”

The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center at the N.C. Department of Commerce helps small towns create vibrant central business districts by using local resources to preserve their historic fabric and build upon their unique characteristics. A panel of judges chose this year’s award winners from more than 50 nominations submitted by Main Street communities across the state.

Assistant Secretary Flowers says the annual Main Street Awards are a chance to showcase best practices in building rehabilitation, downtown revitalization strategies, historic preservation and creative marketing. “Common to every successful Main Street program are authenticity and partnership, and these communities exemplify the best of those qualities,” Flowers said.

The Explore Elkin initiative was awarded Best Innovation this year for its contributions towards economic vitality by creating Explore Elkin memberships, hosting community meetings, accumulating data/community input, organizing downtown events, scheduling music and volunteers, creating new marketing resources, and increasing and promoting activities weekly in downtown and beyond. Explore Elkin organizes numerous events in downtown, and has created solid partnerships with The Reeves Theater, The Liberty, Main Street Advisory Board, Downtown Elkin Business Association, Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Foothills Arts Center. Explore The award was accepted by Natalie Eidson, Brittany Rogers, and Brittany Russell. CAVU Marketing, Creative ED Consulting (Crystal Morphis) and the Town of Elkin were also acknowledged as contributors to Explore Elkin’s success at the award ceremony.

Laura Gaylord, Elkin’s Main Street & Community Manager, sent in the nomination. “We are blessed to have such a dedicated team. They are all busy enough with their jobs and home life, and sometimes adding on the responsibilities of Explore Elkin must feel like a secnd full-time job to them, but these successful women continue to amaze us with boundless energy and creativity. We are so thankful for Explore Elkin’s positive effect on our community, but as with any event, you need a good team to pull it all together. I’m happy these three were able to attend the conference and accept this well-deserved award, but we can’t forget to thank those who organized the initiative in its early stages when Mayor Bishop asked Jeff Eidson to take on the challenge.” Laura continued, “Having the NC Main Street Program and the NC Dept of Commerce recognize Explore Elkin is truly an honor for our community.”

Surry County celebrates 250 years!

Join us at the county celebrates its history. The first European residents of what is now Surry County, came from Massachusetts and surrounding North Carolina Counties in the 1700s. Surry County was formed from what was Rowan County. It’s unclear whether Surry was the namesake for the English county of Surrey or it derived from indigenous people of the region, the Saura. The county will be hosting special events of the next year. Remember, it’s always a good time to come to Surry County!

Pilot lands new manufacturer

Pilot lands new manufacturer

PILOT MOUNTAIN — A Charlotte-based Fortune 1000 company is setting up a location in Pilot Mountain.Charlotte-based SPX Corp. says on its website that it is a global supplier of products and technologies for the HVAC, detection and measurement and engineered solutions markets. “This company is leasing the former Elastrix building also known as the Intex building on Stephens Street in Pilot Mountain,” said Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, which recruits businesses to the county. SPX is talking about hiring 10 people now with the possibility of adding a few more as the operation gets up and running. “We’re very excited to have SPX to come and open an operation in Pilot Mountain,” said Tucker.  “They are putting to use a building that has been vacant for a couple of years, so it’s good to get that building back in productive use. ”Paul Clegg, SPX’s vice president of investor relations, said that the move comes after his company lost its lease on a building it occupied in Pennsylvania as the owner decided to go in another direction with the property. “We looked around for where we wanted to move the operation, and Pilot Mountain and the Surry County area came up high on our radar,” said Clegg.  “We liked the location relative to our customer base and the quality labor pool.”Clegg said his firm’s customer base is made up of the wholesale distributors in the state. “We also happen to have several other operations located in the Carolinas, including our headquarters in Charlotte, so it’s easy for us to get to,” said Clegg, who works in the Ballantyne section of south Charlotte. In some cases, the EDP and county officials work together to offer some type of incentive package to entice a company to Surry County. In this case, the incentive was getting a space ready quickly so that the northern operation could move down right away, noted Tucker. “We have worked hard to get that building back into use, and we were fortunate to have an investor purchase the building and work with the company to lease it,” he said. “We did our best to get them in as quickly as possible.”SPX has some special needs for the building and is doing some unfitting for what machinery will go inside, Tucker said. Some job listings online for SPX Cooling Technologies include a material handler whose activities would “utilize a template to mark cutting lines on plastic sheets to be assembled and cutting sections out from sheets. ”There are also job listings for maintenance specialist, thermoformer operator, saw and packing operator, flipper, LMC operator and a plant superintendent. Thermoforming is using heat to shape plastic sheets into usable designs such as becoming the inner workings of a cooling tower, according to Clegg. These cooling towers and similar components don’t last forever and have to be replaced, thus giving SPX repeat customers. “Pilot Mountain is a great place to do business based on our ideal location, low taxes, access to services, and the pride our people take in their work,” said Evan Cockerham, Pilot Mountain mayor. “Our town is excited to welcome SPX to our business community, and I am grateful for their investment. “We’re always looking for new business partners and economic development,” said Van Tucker, chairman of the Surry County Board of Commissioners. He admitted he doesn’t know much about the company yet, but he appreciates employers bringing new jobs to the area. Clegg said he doesn’t know how many positions might have been filled locally already. Those interested in a position should check in at the facility at 523 S. Stephens St. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.


Surry Community College Training Saves Renfro $1.2 Million

Surry Community College Training Saves Renfro $1.2 Million

Dobson, NC – October 29, 2019.  Seven Renfro Corporation executives completed the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course through Surry Community College’s Customized Industry Training program, resulting in a total projected annual savings of $1.2 million for the company.

Renfro Corporation is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing, merchandising and selling of legwear products in North America and selected international markets.

“We are fortunate to have a partner like Surry Community College to guide us through the Six Sigma process. The identified savings are substantial, and the learnings that were garnered through the training will continue to provide value to Renfro. We look forward to continuing to work with the SCC team,” commented Stan Jewell, Renfro Corporation CEO and President.

Dr. Ronald Fite, Continuous Improvement Industry Trainer for the North Carolina Community College System, taught the class at Renfro Corporation’s location in Mount Airy. He is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Lean Master. The course was attended by Renfro Corporation employees: Aaron Alldaffer, Supply Chain Analyst; Tom McCluskey, Industrial Engineer; Chris Sparks, R&D Project Manager; Jonah Buelin, Vice President of Distribution; Taylor Shaw, Compliance and Logistics Analyst; Phil Thacker, Director of Engineering; and Kundan Karna, Director of International Accounting.

The eight-week training included a full-day of classes each week plus project assignments. At the course ending, students took an exam and then presented to upper level management cost reduction practices implemented from the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training. The students received Lean Six Sigma Green Belt graduation certificates on Sept. 26.

Surry Community College is annually rated in the top five community colleges in North Carolina for the number of training projects that assist new and existing industries.

“We are proud to say for the last two years, Surry Community College has been ranked No. 1 in the number of customized industry training projects, competing against metropolitan community colleges in Raleigh and Charlotte,” said Dr. David Shockley, SCC President. “That speaks volumes about how hard working our staff is in reaching out to business and industry in Surry and Yadkin counties and providing training solutions and assistance in our rural service area.”

Sam Brim is the Director of Business and Industry Services for Surry Community College and the contact point for these training resources.

“Through our Workforce Technologies and Community Education Division, Surry Community College offers programs and training services to assist new and existing businesses and industries to remain productive, profitable, and within the local communities. Surry Community College can bring employee training directly to you at your facilities, designed to accommodate your specific business needs.”

Training topics cover regulatory methods, continuous improvement practices, leadership skills, technical preparation, pre-employment requirements, and international import/export procedures.

“Surry Community College’s Customized Training Services continues to be a great resource that helps our local companies grow and become more sustainable from a business perspective,” said Todd Tucker, President of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Inc. “This service is also a great marketing tool that we use when talking to other companies interested in Surry County. I recommend all companies reach out to Surry Community College to discuss their training needs.”

To learn more contact about Customized Industry Training through Surry Community College, contact Sam Brim at (336) 386-3684 or

Photo Caption

Renfro Corporation employees are recognized for graduating from Six Sigma Green Belt training provided by Surry Community College. They are accompanied by representatives from Renfro Corporation and Surry Community College.  (Pictured left to right): Sam Brim, Director of Business and Industry Services, Surry Community College; Stonie Stone, Senior Vice President Corporate Marketing,  Renfro Corporation; Dr. David Shockley, President, Surry Community College; Taylor Shaw, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Phil Thacker, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Jonah Buelin, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Jay Robinson, Senior Vice President Performance Brand Development, Renfro Corporation; Chris Sparks, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation;  Bob Buckman, Executive Vice President of Supply Chain, Renfro Corporation; Tom McCluskey, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Stan Jewell, Chief Executive Officer and President, Renfro Corporation; Aaron Alldaffer, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; Cathleen Allred, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Renfro Corporation; Kundan Karna, Six Sigma Green Belt Graduate, Renfro Corporation; and Michael Everly, Chief Information Officer, Renfro Corporation.

About Surry Community College

Surry Community College was founded in 1964 and the campus is located in Dobson, North Carolina. As one of the state’s 58 community colleges, it serves Surry and Yadkin counties. The college also operates four off-campus learning centers: The Yadkin Center, Yadkinville; the Center for Public Safety, Mount Airy; The Pilot Center, Pilot Mountain; and The Elkin Center in Elkin. Surry offers degrees, diplomas or certificate programs in Advanced Manufacturing; Agricultural Science; Arts and Design; Business and Computer Technologies; College Transfer; Construction Technologies; Emergency Medical; Fire and Rescue; Health Sciences; Law Enforcement; Public Service; and Transportation System Technologies areas along with hundreds of continuing education courses and seminars in a variety of fields. The college, under the direction of President Dr. David R. Shockley, has a mission to promote personal growth and community development to a diverse population through excellence in teaching, learning, and service. For more information, go to The college also has a strong social media presence. To visit these sites, go to

SCC hosts Manufacturing Day luncheon

SCC hosts Manufacturing Day luncheon

DOBSON — In 5-10 years, 60% of working adults will need some kind of post-high school training in the workplace.

That’s the viewpoint of Peter Hans, president of the N.C. Community College System, who spoke to manufacturers at a luncheon Friday.

Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, said it was no surprise that the group was holding this National Manufacturing Day luncheon on the campus of Surry Community College. A cost-effective education is invaluable to manufacturing, he believes.

Dr. David Shockley, SCC president, said it is important that people supply good opportunities to their children and grandchildren.

There are great quality-of-life jobs right here in their community that they don’t know about or understand, Shockley said of today’s students. He was glad to look around the room and see public school partners as they and himself can work together to help lead children toward those good opportunities and help them to become future leaders of this county. They will contribute to the economic well-being of Surry one day.

“It is all of our jobs to make sure we maintain this. So thanks for coming out for this day,” Shockley said.

Shockley introduced Hans, saying he was a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a master’s degree from Harvard.

Hans said that yes he has college degrees himself, and that is a great option, but there are many other paths students can take to prepare for the workplace.

He applauded the relationships that SCC has formed with manufacturers because they can open students eyes to pathways that they may never have considered. And they can pursue these fields without the large student debt that can come with four-year schools.

More than 40% of Americans now have some sort of high-value credentials beyond high school, he said. And there is a need to get that above 60% in the next 5-10 years. He told the audience to notice he didn’t say 4-year degree, but high-value credentials beyond high school, which could include a two-year degree or a technical/vocational certification.

Sen. Deanna Ballard, whose District 45 includes most of Surry County, was in attendance. Hans gave thanks to Ballard and Sen. Phil Berger, whose District 30 covers the rest of Surry. Hans said the two senators have shown their support for education.

He said during one conversation with Berger he was explaining how a community college welding class was only being funded at two-thirds the rate of a university sociology course, despite the vast increase in cost (such as machinery and supplies) necessary to teach welding.

He said Berger instantly understood the problem and answered, “But we need more welders than sociologists.”

“We’re an enrollment-based funded institution,” said Hans. So, when students take more classes, the college can get more funding. When manufacturers make use of the community colleges, the colleges can offer greater variety of courses.

Surry County has a lot of competitive assets here that Todd Tucker is selling to outside companies, said Hans.

Manufacturing jobs today, he pointed out, these are not the mills of folks’ grandparents, but rather offer sophisticated machinery and better pay. Companies and colleges are working to change perceptions and awareness.

“There are multiple paths to success,” he said.

After his speech, Hans took a question from the audience.

What about when a company doesn’t want to wait two years for a good candidate to get training, but would rather have eight weeks or 12 weeks of training, then the employer can train on the job from there?

“I think that is the future of education, shorter term acquisition of skills,” he said.

One of the problems with how state officials view community colleges, he said, is “we’re being judged on graduation rates.”

The idea of education is to prepare young people for adulthood and a career, he explained, and if that can happen in less than two years, then the school has done its job. A graduation rate doesn’t capture the profile of the students.

Shockley chimed in to say the college spent $20,000 recently to offer a truck driver training program; the course created enough certified drivers to equal $2 million in potential job earnings when they get hired.

The government spending on four-year schools compared to two-year schools is 15 to 1, said Hans.

“We’ve got enough sociologists. We need more welders.”

Article by: Mount Airy News

New name, new logo for hospital

New name, new logo for hospital

Northern Hospital of Surry County is no more.

At least the name no longer exists.

The hospital itself is still standing, under the same management, same ownership, but with a new logo and name — Northern Regional Hospital — to better reflect the hospital’s emphasis on reaching a wider market.

Chris A. Lumsden, president and CEO of the hospital, said the rebranding is really meant to align with the hospital’s purpose: “To provide quality affordable health care to the region,” he told more than 200 people gathered Tuesday night for an unveiling ceremony at the Mount Airy facility. “Not to a part of the county. Not to the county. But to the entire region.”

Lumsden, who assumed his post with the hospital 14 months ago, said the hospital contracted with a firm to do a market survey over the winter and into the spring months. That consisted of 400 telephone surveys and more than a dozen in-depth focus groups, reaching out to people throughout Surry County and contiguous counties.

The survey probed what people thought of Northern Hospital, what was the primary medical facility they used and why they used it.

“We found that people who had used us loved us,” he said Tuesday night. “The people who use us, almost across the board, have very outstanding things to say about our hospital or our system,” he added during separate comments outside Tuesday’s ceremony.

Those who didn’t use Northern, he said, largely didn’t know about the hospital.

”They didn’t have bad things to say about us, they just don’t use us. They don’t know us very well, they don’t know our history, our scope of clinical services as well as they should. That made us think about future strategies going forward, aimed at how do we grow, not only as a health care provider but as a economic engine for this area.”

Already, Lumsden said the hospital had been attracting more people from the region as it expanded medical services it offered.

“We’re already regional,” he said prior to Tuesday evening’s ceremony. “It’s just that few people view us as a regional hospital because it’s a county hospital…many folks outside of the immediate community just haven’t been exposed to what all the hospital can offer.”

That led to months of consideration, working, and, ultimately, the rebranding unveiled Tuesday.

“This isn’t the answer to everything,” Lumsden said. “This is a springboard for greater things to happen further down the road.”

“Our comprehensive rebranding campaign has been received very positively by our physicians and employees, and we are confident that our patients and other members of the community will enthusiastically embrace our more accurate identity, as well,” said Ashly Lancaster, director of marketing for Northern Regional Hospital. “We are excited about the next-generation look and feel of our new signage, logos, and tagline – all of which will be introduced into the community over the next several weeks and months.”

Lumsden also shared with those gathered Tuesday that the 133-bed hospital was recently named to the “Top 100 Great Community Hospitals,” list compiled by Becker’s Healthcare Review, a service that ranks hospitals based on a wide range of factors, including patient care and safety, financial strength, and others.

“There are more than 2,400 community hospitals in America,” the CEO said. “That puts us in the top two percentile.”

Additionally the hospital has been named to the Top 10% in the Nation list for patient safety and medical excellence by CareChex, and the hospital earned the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Four Star Designation.

Although its name has changed, Northern Regional Hospital will continue to function under its legal business name, Northern Hospital District of Surry County with the same management team in place.

Lumsden said that’s important for people to know.

“Northern, that name, does have a legacy here, does have some respect,” he said of how hospital officials decided upon the new name. “We just added the regional part because we are a regional hospital.”

Now, he said, the name reflects that, and a new marketing campaign will hopefully take that message to the counties surrounding Mount Airy.

Tuesday night, Lancaster unveiled a commercial which will be airing on area television stations, as well as explaining the new logo and adding the tag line: “Choose well. Choose Northern.”

“We want people to choose well,” she said. “We want them to choose wellness. And we want them to choose Northern.”


Surry County, September 25th, 2019 – Manufacturing Day is an annual national event executed at the local level supported by thousands of manufacturers and local organizations. Please help us celebrate Manufacturing Day as a variety of companies open their doors to host local community members on industry tours and engage in presentations at Surry Community College designed to showcase modern manufacturing and careers.

In celebration of Manufacturing Week, the Surry County Economic Development Partnership will offer multiple events in conjunction with Surry Community College and local manufacturers during the first week of October. The coordinated activities during Manufacturing Week include multiple tours of local industries and a Manufacturing Day appreciation luncheon event on the main campus of Surry Community College, Friday, October 4th. Approximately seven companies will open their doors to elected officials and community leaders as part of an effort to change people’s perceptions about today’s manufacturing environment and draw attention to the outstanding opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide. Manufacturing representatives who attend the luncheon will also have an opportunity to tour the Machining, Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Welding, Construction, and Carpentry departments at Surry Community College following the Manufacturing Day appreciation luncheon.

Manufacturing is alive and well in Surry County, and our local economy is positively impacted directly by the manufacturing community. There are approximately 4,036 people employed in manufacturing positions in Surry County, making up 12.7% of our total labor force. The average weekly wage for those employed in manufacturing is $772 in Surry County.

Surry County has a rich tradition of manufacturing quality products and is home to the men and woman who make these products every day. We are proud of our history, variety of advancing products and a dedicated labor force to make this possible each day.  Manufacturing Week is also a dedicated time to also expose the technical training available through our schools and community college and also a chance to highlight rewarding and lucrative careers with Surry County Manufacturers.

For more information, contact the Surry County Economic Development Partnership (336)-401-9900   Website: or

Visit for additional information about National Manufacturing Day 2019

Elkin City Schools ranked 5th in state

Elkin City Schools students delivered one of the top performances in the state on North Carolina’s end-of-grade and end-of-course exams, according to the 2018-2019 accountability results presented to the State Board of Education on Sept. 4.

Elkin City Schools ranked fifth among the state’s 115 school districts for student performance on the annual exams in the 2018-2019 school year. Across the district, 71.8 percent of all students met grade level proficiency. Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools, at 75.5 percent, had the best performance among all public school districts in North Carolina, followed by Polk County Schools (73.8%), Union County Public Schools (73.6%), and Carteret County Public Schools (72.7%).

“Quality leadership, high expectations and ongoing evaluation of student performance drive our daily work,” states Dr. Myra Cox, Superintendent of Elkin City Schools. “We focus on our strategic goals and operate on our beliefs. We envision a school system that ignites the desire to learn in every student by providing them with unique, varied and authentic learning experiences. Undeniably, our highly trained and dedicated faculty and staff are utilizing the most effective school processes and practices. For that, I am very proud!”

Elkin City Schools had eleven end-of-grade and end-of course subject areas ranked in the top 10 in the state. Eighth grade Science ranked number one with 94.4% proficient. Third grade Reading (77%), 8th grade Reading (74.2%), and Biology (80.8%) ranked number two. English 2 topped out at number three in the state with 75.3% of students proficient. Ranking fourth were Seventh grade Reading (75.5%) and 7th grade Math (74.5%). Sixth grade Reading (75%) and 5th grade Math (73.6%) took fifth place in the state. Plus, 5th grade Reading (69%) placed sixth in the state, and 4th grade Reading came in tenth at 68.1 percent.

School districts also received student outcomes for school performance grades and academic growth measures. Elkin Elementary, Elkin Middle and Elkin High Schools earned a school performance grade of a B. Only twelve of the 191 schools in the Northwest Region earned an A. Those schools operated an early college or academy in the 2018-2019 school year.

The grade is determined by several factors. Student proficiency counts as 80% of the grade and student growth counts as 20% of the grade. The percentages are converted to a 100-point scale and corresponding letter grade based on a 15 point scale. Elkin Elementary earned a performance score of 72. Elkin Middle earned a 79, and Elkin High School earned a performance score of 81, narrowly missing an “A” by four points. In addition, Elkin Elementary School met the state’s growth expectations, while Elkin Middle and Elkin High Schools exceeded growth. This is the second consecutive year that Elkin High School has exceeded that measure.

“Elkin City Schools is a special place,” says Cox. “Building and maintaining strong relationships are our main priorities because when students and families know we care, they feel supported and thrive academically. The entire community believes in the importance of education. When all stakeholders value education and do whatever it takes to ensure students are successful, the results follow. To be in the top five is amazing! It is certainly a collaborative effort between the students, staff, administration and our community.”

In addition to the traditional end-of-grade and end-of-course proficiencies, school performance grades and growth target measures, the state also released ACT and ACT WorkKeys results. ACT Benchmark is the score colleges use when reviewing student applications. The score of 17 or better is required for acceptance. Elkin City Schools had 70.1% of eleventh grade students meet this requirement ranking as 8th in the state.

ACT WorkKeys is reviewed for students that earn a Silver achievement level or better upon the completion of upper level content and scoring proficient on the WorkKeys exam. Elkin district ranked 28th in the state with 70.5 percent proficient.

For those interested in viewing the 2018-2019 Performance and Growth of North Carolina Public Schools, visit the Accountability and Testing Results on NCDPI Website.


County testing results among top in state

Recently released details of state testing scores show Surry County Schools among the top 20 school systems in the state in several categories, while Mount Airy City Schools is touting widespread improvement in its scores.

The county school system also recorded its highest graduation rate ever, at 93%, putting the system in the top 10 in North Carolina, while the city’s rate ticked up from 88% to 89%.

Surry County Schools ranked 20th of 115 school systems in the state in Overall Academic Performance with 64.9% of all tests in all subjects at Achievement Level 3 or higher, according to information released by Dr. Tracey Lewis, director of communications/teacher recruitment and retention. Achievement Level 3 is considered grade-level proficiency.

This is the fourth-consecutive year Surry County Schools has ranked in the top 20 school systems in the state, according to Lewis.

Across grades three through eight on the reading, mathematics, and science end-of-grade assessments, 67.6% of Surry County students scored at Achievement Level 3 and above compared to 60.4% across the state.

Surry County Schools had seven end-of-grade subject areas ranked in the top 20 in the state: third-, fourth-, and sixth-grade reading, as well as eighth-grade science, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade mathematics. Additionally, math results for sixth and seventh grades ranked 10th in the state.

For several years the Surry County Schools system has experienced a steady climb in graduation rates, noted Lewis, with the 2018-19 year seeing a record 93% of students from the 2015-16 ninth grade cohort graduating in the spring of 2019, with the 10th-highest district graduation rate in the state. The state graduation rate for the cohort was 86.5%.

The Surry Early College graduated more than 95% of all students; East Surry’s graduation rate was 92.4%; Surry Central’s rate was more than 95%, and North Surry graduated 88.5% of all students, which was an all-time school high for the school. Surry County high schools also continued to outperform the state in N.C. End-of-Course assessments.

Six schools across the district, in addition to high performance, also had high academic growth. Cedar Ridge Elementary, Copeland Elementary, Dobson Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Pilot Mountain Middle, and White Plains Elementary exceeded state academic growth targets for the 2018-19 school year. Surry County Schools had an additional 10 schools meet growth targets.

North Carolina also released the sixth-annual School Performance Grades to the State Board of Education, showing that about 74% of traditional public schools earned grades of C or better. In Surry County Schools, 100% of schools received grades of C or better.

The Surry Early College received a School Performance Grade of A; one of 31 schools to receive an A out of 451 schools in the Piedmont/Triad.

Nine Surry County Schools received a School Performance Grade of B: Copeland Elementary, Dobson Elementary, East Surry, Flat Rock Elementary, Gentry Middle, Mountain Park Elementary, Pilot Mountain Middle, Shoals Elementary, and White Plains Elementary. Nine schools received a C: Cedar Ridge Elementary, Central Middle, Franklin Elementary, Meadowview Magnet Middle, North Surry, Pilot Mountain Elementary Rockford Elementary, Surry Central and Westfield Elementary.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of the 2018-19 school year and will continue to work diligently in each of our schools and in our community to ensure students are well-prepared for college, to enter the workforce or the military,” said Dr. Travis Reeves, county school superintendent.

“Our team are hard at work and are focused on ensuring each student has the tools to not just design their dreams but to achieve them.”

City Schools

Mount Airy City Schools is celebrating its leap in overall achievement, while at the same time noting that it believes that measuring a child’s success goes beyond looking at standardized tests.

“MACS is celebrating a jump in ranking from 54th in the state to 35th in the state for overall achievement, with Mount Airy Middle School in the top 12% and Mount Airy High School among the top 24%,” stated Carrie Venable, Mount Airy City Schools public information officer and special projects facilitator.

“Mount Airy City Schools has a tremendous amount to celebrate,” said Venable. “The partnership between staff, parents and community members continues to positively impact students and the district’s success.

“Recently released data showed that in most areas of End of Grade/End of Course, WorkKeys, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP), and Career and Technical Education (CTE), Mount Airy City Schools outpaced the state. 61.4% of all students in thirrd-twelth grade scored a 3 or higher on EOG/EOCs.”

“We are excited about the great progress and being in the top ten in many areas,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, city schools superintendent.

“Mount Airy City Schools has prided itself on academics and innovation, so while academic accountability scores are important, our innovative programs are also important,” said Morrison.

“Many of our students are learning two languages, participating in paid internships, taking college classes, participating in the arts and athletics as well as starting their own businesses. We are proud of the academic performance of our students, but we are also proud of our students for their hard work, effort and accomplishments outside of the classroom to prepare for their future.”

Venable pointed out some of the areas where the city schools shined in the results: Mount Airy City Schools was first in the state for seventh grade math and ninth for sixth grade math; eighth for seventh grade reading; fourth for English II; and fifth in the state for ACT WorkKeys. Science in grades three through eight improved an average of 10%; reading in those same grades was above the state average; and the graduation rate improved from 88% to 89% with a 100% graduation rate for all Career and Technical Education.

Mount Airy News

“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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