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Partnership welcomes first leaders, honors WGLA engineers

FLETCHER — The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development welcomed back its first two CEOs and honored a Hendersonville engineering firm as its Partner of the Year during its Building a Legacy celebration at Rinehart Racing in Fletcher last week. Around 250 supporters attended.

“We were thrilled to have such a strong turnout,” Partnership chair Steve Gwaltney. “The Partnership is known for creating exceptional events that drive connection in our community which strengthens business and industry. The impact of manufacturing is long lasting, and we were able to tell that story tonight.”

In the last year alone, the Partnership announced the relocation of Rinehart Racing and the expansion of, which brought more than $11.5 million in investment and more than 95 jobs to the community. Both originating in western North Carolina, the companies moved to Fletcher Business Park where they each occupy a landmark industrial building.

sbaCurrent Partnership President/CEO is flanked by Scott Hamilton, the agency's first CEO, and Andrew Tate, its second.At the event last Thursday attendees toured Rinehart Racing then enjoyed a reception and dinner on the lawn. After dinner, teams competed in a game of trivia focused on Henderson County economic development and emceed Scott Hamilton and Andrew Tate, the first and second HCPED leaders who both went on to serve in statewide economic development posts.

“I always say I am standing on the shoulders of Scott and Andrew,” Partnership President & CEO Brittany Brady. “They created such a solid economic development foundation in our community, and it was an honor to have them celebrate with us this evening.” 

Hamilton served as president when the Partnership began as a standalone organization in 2006. Now, he is the president of the Golden LEAF Foundation, which focuses on disbursement of tobacco fund settlement dollars.

Tate, who served as the Partnership president from 2007-2017 and led the effort to recruit the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to Mills River, is currently the North Carolina Director of Economic Development for Duke Energy Carolinas.

Duke Energy’s Site Readiness program has assisted in the development of Henderson County sites, Ferncliff Park and the Hudgens site located on McMurray Road.

WGLA Engineering was honored as the Partner of the Year.

“WGLA has been instrumental in the work of the Partnership and our sister organization Economic Investment Fund of Henderson County,” past board Chair Nathan Kennedy. “Without their support and guidance with site development, we would not be where we are today. The entire team is humble and forward thinkers, and they are a huge asset to Henderson County.”

The annual event certainly celebrating the contributions of manufacturers in the community was free to members and manufacturers thanks to the support of Premier Sponsors, Carolina Specialties Construction, Cooper Construction, Duke Energy and First Bank; Patron Sponsors: A-American Electric, Advent Health, Blue Ridge Community College, Dominion Energy, Ferncliff, First Citizens Bank, Friday Services, GE Current, Kimberly-Clark, Morrow Insurance Agency, Optimum, Pardee UNC Health Care, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., Avery Dennison Smartrac, UPM Raflatac, and The Van Winkle Law Firm. Donations were provided by Bold Rock Hard Cider, Diamond Brand Gear Company, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and Rinehart Racing.