The Legacy of Manufacturing in Henderson County

A person shaking another person's hand at a meet-up event.
Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development

Henderson County Partnership for Economic DevelopmentFor over a century, manufacturing has served as the backbone of our local economy, providing high-quality jobs for citizens and millions of dollars in taxable investment.

Today, more than 130 local industrial companies employ 12% of the county’s workforce and accounts for around 30% of the county’s tax revenue. In other words? The legacy of manufacturing in Henderson County is strong and it continues to bring lasting impact to the community, region, and across the globe.

The Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development recently hosted its 2022 Annual Event, titled Building a Legacy. It was held at Rinehart Racing with over 250 attendees and celebrated economic development in Henderson County from the past year. “We were thrilled to have such a strong turnout. 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.”- Steve Gwaltney, Chair of The Partnership’s Board of Directors.

Through each successful economic development project, The Partnership is building a legacy in Henderson County. In the last year alone, the organization announced the relocation of Rinehart Racing and the expansion of CanvasPrints.com, which brought over $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.

At the event, attendees toured Rinehart Racing upon arrival then were ushered to a networking reception and dinner on the facility’s lawn. Partnership President & CEO Brittany Brady shared, “Following dinner, we did something a little different. We want our community to be keenly aware of the impact of manufacturing, so we built teams and played trivia focused on Henderson County economic development. Trivia was emceed by former HCPED Presidents & CEOs, Scott Hamilton and Andrew Tate. I always say I am standing on the shoulders of Scott and Andrew; 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. Golden LEAF funds have circulated throughout Henderson County for years. Recently, it funded the extension of water infrastructure at Garrison Industrial Park. Tate served as the President from 2007-2017 and 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.

One of the key components of The Partnership’s event each year is the Partner of the Year Award. This year, WGLA Engineering was awarded the prestigious award. “WGLA has been instrumental in the work of The Partnership and our sister organization Economic Investment Fund of Henderson County (EIF). 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,” shared Nathan Kennedy, Past Chair of the Board.

The Annual Event certainly celebrated the work of manufacturers in the community and was free to members and manufacturers in the community thanks to generous support from HCPED’s Premier Sponsors: CanvasPrints.com, 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.

Manufacturing creates a ripple effect across Henderson County. Landowners who work with The Partnership, take pride in knowing that family land will live on to raise the quality of life for friends and family. Investment and job creation means lower taxes while also providing revenue for vital community services and meaningful employment for local residents. And companies continue to thrive and grow in Henderson County, ensuring their commitment to the local community. Sustainable economic development ensures the success of future generations, and that’s what building a legacy is all about.

Prepared by Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development.