Third Annual Reeves School of Business Symposium & Awards Dinner Recognizes Local Business Leaders

The Reeves School of Business (RSB) at Methodist University held the Third Annual Reeves School of Business Symposium and Awards Dinner Thursday, Nov. 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Embassy Suites in Fayetteville.

The event’s keynote speaker was Charlie Brock, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Launch Tennessee. He spoke about “Transforming Cities through Innovation and Leadership,” with advice for leaders, entrepreneurs, and university members who are looking to transform their communities.

Formerly part of the $100 million, family-owned Brock Candy, Brock is recognized as a shining star in Southeastern entrepreneurship and ecosystem development. His was among the visions driving the transformation of Chattanooga, Tenn., turning the city into a hotbed of innovation which now boasts the nation’s fastest Internet and smartest electric grid. Early-stage investment in Tennessee has increased 100 percent during Brock’s leadership of its entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Seven awards were also presented at the event: Alumni Business Person of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Greater Good Award, Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Silver Spoon Award, and Small Business Excellence Award.

About the awards

The Alumni Business Person of the Year is a Methodist University graduate who makes great contributions not only to the successful operations of a local business and industry, but also to the civic and cultural life of the community in which they live. This year, the award was given to Regina McLaurin, who graduated from Methodist University in 1970. She is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Parking Industry Institute, a national Scholarship Foundation, and is a board member of BB&T in Cary, N.C. McLaurin recently retired as the Chief Financial Officer & Vice President of McLaurin Parking Company after the family sold the business to The Car Park of Boise, Idaho. McLaurin has received the 1993 Elected Official Planning Award for the State of North Carolina’s Planning Association. She has also served as President and Board member of the National Parking Association.

The Business Person of the Year is an executive who makes great contributions, not only to the successful operation of local business and industry, but also to the civic and cultural life of the community. This year’s award went to Tommy Arnold, who has been a Chick-fil-A franchisee for 41 years. He owns Chick-fil-As on Skibo Road and Raeford Road. Arnold operated the Cross Creek Mall location from 1976 to 2014. He opened the Skibo store in 1994 and the Raeford Road location in 2014. His daughter, Kelly McKeown, is the Chick-Fil-a franchisee in Sanford. Arnold is a native of Hope Mills and graduated from Western Carolina University where met his wife, Peggy.

Entrepreneur of the Year is awarded to a risk-taker in the free enterprise system: a person who sees an opportunity and then devises strategies to achieve specific objectives. This year’s winner was Jim Pittman. In 1995, Pittman left the security of his professional 10-year career as a CPA and took a chance on opening a new type of sign franchise in Fayetteville. With very limited resources, he and his wife, Dellmarie opened FASTSIGNS in December 1995. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a business and accounting degree in 1984. Pittman is a past member of the MU Foundation Board. He is very involved in his church, civic clubs, and the Fayetteville community.

The Greater Good Award is given to a professional who has given exemplary service to society and/or has provided extraordinary charity or leadership in serving his/her community. This year’s recipient was Rollin Walker Shaw. Shaw graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Music and French and later received a master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School. She taught Latin and French at Fayetteville Academy and in Cumberland County Schools. She served two terms on the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and two years on the Fayetteville City Council. She is a former president of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra Association.

Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur of the Year is a North Carolina resident who owns, has established, or manages a small business. The award committee also considers the individual’s creativity, innovativeness, and personal contributions to the community. This year, the award went to Molly Arnold, who sees herself as a reluctant entrepreneur because she started her coffee house, Rude Awakening, from a desire to renovate old buildings downtown. Along with Rude Awakening, she owns White Trash & Colorful Accessories in downtown Fayetteville. Arnold won the 2013 NAACP Nelson Mandela Award and the Fayetteville National Organization for Women’s Susan B. Anthony Award in 2011. She has served on the board of directors of Linear Park since 2006 and served as a board member in the Greater Fayetteville Chamber, Fayetteville Downtown Alliance, and is currently a member of the National Organization of Women.

The Silver Spoon Award is given to a person who, though not born with the proverbial spoon in his/her mouth, has originated and built a successful business recognized for its uniqueness in planning, production, or some other aspect of its operation. This year’s winner was Terry Hutchens, who is the managing partner of the Hutchens Law Firm. Hutchens received his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University and his M.B.A. and J.D. from Wake Forest University (Phi Delta Phi). Hutchens is a past member of the North Carolina Board of Transportation and the North Carolina Board of Economic Development. He is currently a member of the Cumberland County North Carolina Real Property Bankruptcy Sections and American Bar Association, as well as the North Carolina State Bar. Established in 1980, The Hutchens Law Firm includes civil practice, creditors’ rights, real property (foreclosures), mediation, personal injury law, and workers’ compensation.

The Small-Business Excellence Award goes to a business that employs fewer than 300 persons and generates revenue of less than $15 million per annum. The award committee will also consider the creativity of the business, the uniqueness of the product, the employees’ welfare and the contributions of the business to its community. This year, the award went to the late David “Bud” Taylor, who passed away in May. Taylor was the owner of D.K. Taylor Oil Company, a business started by his father in 1932. He graduated from Methodist in 1968 with a degree in business administration. From 1993 to 2012, Taylor served on the Methodist Board of Trustees, after which he was given trustee emeritus status and continued to support the University. Taylor was a member of the board of directors for Branch Banking and Trust for 41 years and served as its advisory board chairman. He was an active member of Hay Street United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.