Category Archives: Community

Bias and Business

written by Gracie Johnson-Lopez, Diversity & HR Solutions

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”—William James

How are you navigating the biases associated with women in leadership, generational differences, racial inequity, language barriers and sexual orientation?  How do you approach those with whom you are least familiar?  Does your team reflect your consumer base?

As business owners, we invest time and resources toward understanding our clients’ needs.  As employers in a competitive labor market, we strive to leverage talent by creating respectful work cultures.

Feelings about these and other stereotypes are deeply embedded and something we’ve developed throughout our whole lives.  How and where we’ve been brought up, our socialization experiences and media influences, all affect how we think and feel about certain types of people.  Who we hire and choose to do business are often based on familiarity and comfort.  Bias can generate a different reaction to the same request as trust and opportunity are afforded to some while withheld from others.  Similar to contact lenses, biases often alter our world view and informs our decisions without our awareness.

Business continues to be driven by relationships and consumer demands. Untapped biases can rob us of the many opportunities to expand and build the broad alliances required in a global marketplace.

Attend the 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Conference on August 10th to learn 7 Proven Strategies for Combatting Unconscious Bias.  Registration and conference info here:

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

With Growth comes the Need for Separation of Duties at McDonald York

McDonald York Building Company today announced that as part of its growth strategy the company is splitting the duties of CEO and President into two roles, with Heather Denny remaining as CEO and Tanner Holland being promoted to President effective June 15, 2017. Chief Executive Heather Denny has held both roles since 2015 and the role of President since 2010. Tanner, formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, will continue to report to Heather. This move will help McDonald York capitalize on the construction opportunities created by the growth of the Triangle market while creating an organizational structure that allows Heather and Tanner time to focus on their strengths, interests and specialized skills.

As Chief Executive Officer, Heather will continue to focus on expanding the company’s presence in Chapel Hill, Durham, RTP, Raleigh and surrounding areas by developing deeper relationships within these communities. As President, Tanner will lead McDonald York’s construction operations reflecting the strategic focus and importance that the company places on growing its construction operations including talent recruitment and retention, while emphasizing a positive client experience and maintaining the company’s award-winning safety program.

Holland commented, “I am honored and excited to be named President and lead McDonald York’s construction team. I appreciate the confidence that has been placed in me and look forward to working closely with Heather, our owners Jack McDonald and Smedes York, the board and our management team to write the next chapter in our 107-year history. We have an exceptional organization of dedicated and talented professionals and look forward to our continued success.”

“Tanner’s ability to develop a culture that has attracted a highly talented workforce has been key to our continued success.  His core values align with that of the company and he has earned the recognition as an executive leader within our company.  I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for our company and our people. This move will strengthen our ability to deliver outstanding service to our clients,” said Denny.

McDonald York Building Company is a 107 year old, privately-owned full service construction company with headquarters at 801 Oberlin Road in Raleigh and a Western Triangle office at 194 Finley Golf Course Road in Chapel Hill. Always following their MYWay® philosophy, the company provides expertise in several markets including: Life Sciences, Corporate, Interiors, Healthcare, Higher Education, Office Buildings and Retail.

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

2017 First Quarter Economic Development Numbers Total $168 Million Invested, Nearly 1000 New Jobs

The Durham Chamber of Commerce responded to a dramatic increase in RFI and client visits starting in mid-December and running through the First Quarter of 2017 but it is the development along T.W. Alexander that highlight this quarter. Cranes dotting the sky are a common site in downtown Durham, but along the Southeast edge of Durham along the T.W. Alexander corridor, from Research Triangle Park to Page Road extension is seeing its own economic boom.

Liberty Ridge, a 36-acre industrial development project is now the home to Elite Flooring. Elite Flooring occupies 42,000 square feet of space. Headquartered out of Atlanta, Elite offers flooring solutions for multi-family, home builder, new construction and military housing. For more than a decade Elite Flooring has been committed to sustainable practices, recycling more than 1 million pounds of carpet and pads each year.

Elite joins another innovative company located at Liberty Ridge, Implus. Implus manufactures more than a dozen brands in the footwear and recreational accessories marketplace; from the hand and body warmers and thermal layering products used on the slopes to exercise playing cards and sneaker balls deodorizers. Implus expanded into a 136,000 square foot space at the end of 2016.

Parata, an expert in pharmacy automation will also find a new 100,000 square foot home in the Alexander Industrial Park. Even Amazon has a spot along T.W. Alexander. In 2016 Amazon signed one of the largest warehouse lease deals of the year, 324,838-square-foot at Centerpoint I on T.W. Alexander. The RDU5 Amazon Fulfillment Center is one of 80 fulfillment centers worldwide and one of three centers in North Carolina. The others are located in Concord and Charlotte.

Just a mile from T.W. Alexander Drive is the home of apparel designer Peter Millar. Founded in North Carolina in 2001, Peter Millar products are the highest quality offered at the golf Masters and truly exemplify luxury apparel. Peter Millar has a business operations center in Durham. In 2013, the Peter Millar Masters collection replaced Bobby Jones as the highest quality Masters apparel on the planet. At the 2017 Masters, Peter Millar dressed golfer Brandt Snedeker.

Read the 2017 First Quarter Economic Development Report HERE

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

ZoomyDogs Celebrates Grand Opening on June 10

ZoomyDogs, an activity center promoting health and wellness for dogs, will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, June 10, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The public and their canine companions are invited to attend and try out all of the dog activities for free, including the swimming pool, agility course and walking track.

Free hot dogs, pet photo opportunities, training demonstrations and microchipping will be offered during the event. Two one-year memberships to ZoomyDogs (value $240 each) will be given away as well as gift baskets (value $100) with items from the on-site pet boutique.

Owner Vanessa Davis opened ZoomyDogs in March, at 5420 NC Highway 55, Durham, after a pet center closed and moved out of the building that once was a fitness center. Davis also owns Dirty Dogs Spa, a Wake Forest full- and self-service pet grooming salon and boutique that she founded in 2012.

“We’re inviting dogs and their owners to our June 10 grand opening to experience all ZoomyDogs has to offer,” said Davis. “We provide pet services for dogs of all ages and activity levels. In our climate-controlled facility dogs can swim, run, play fetch and will be relaxed and worn out by the time they go out our door.”

A number of updates have been made to the 10,500 square-foot facility, including new paint, new padded flooring for the walking track, new kennels for the K9 Campers daycare and training school and a hospitality area for dog owners with free coffee, WIFI, reading materials and instructional videos.

ZoomyDogs trainers and instructors will be demonstrating some of the classes for dogs and owners. Anyone registering for upcoming classes on June 10 will get a 15 percent discount. Classes include Puppy Kindergarten, Puppy FUNdamentals, Kids and K9s, Dog Manners Level 1 & 2, plus more being added.  ZoomyDogs also offers the areas only onsite professional dog training certification course beginning June 19 for 16 weeks.

Other services that ZoomyDogs will offer include doga (yoga for dogs), hydrotherapy, canine massage therapy, aromatherapy with essential oils, birthday parties and a part-time, on-site veterinarian.

Visit for more information.

About ZoomyDogs
ZoomyDogs is a community center for dogs and their people offering a doggy swimming pool, walking track, day camp, training classes and educational seminars, with more to be added over the next few months. Centrally located in the Triangle off of I-40 and Highway 55, the 10,500 square-foot facility offers activities that will relax and tire the zoomiest of dogs.

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Freudenberg IT Expands

Freudenberg, a Germany-based data management firm, has signed a new lease for about 27,000 square feet at Keystone Tech 8 on Davis Drive in Keystone Technology Park owned by Longfellow Real Estate Partners.

Freudenberg IT manages cloud data services focused on hosting-mission critical AP applications for its clients. Since opening its first office in Durham in 2006, the company has experienced consistent growth as it serves its diversified base of clients allowing the company to grown it highly skilled workforce to approximately 150 employees.

As a result of the expansion, the company plans to add up to another 150 employees.

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Key Investor Spotlight: AW North Carolina

AW North Carolina Inc. (AWNC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Aisin AW Co., Ltd. of Japan, is a specialized manufacturing company of automatic transmissions and transmission components. It was established in Durham, NC, in 1998. While Aisin AW makes Automatic Transmissions for various vehicle makers globally with 15% world market share, AWNC’s primary customers are Toyota Motor Manufacturing’s assembly and component plants throughout North America.

AWNC is operating from two (2) plants, in Durham and Creedmoor with a total of 2000 plus employees. The Durham plant is the headquarters and is nestled on a 123-acre site in Treyburn Corporate Park. Acquired in 2014 is the Creedmoor plant which is 16 miles away from the headquarters and on 44-acre of land.

AWNC produces fully assembled automatic transmissions from small, medium to high torque capacity. We also manufacture transmission components that are used widely around the world such as torque converters, clutch assemblies, and carriers. All our products are produced with quality in mind, following the highest standards of production control, engineering, quality assurance and manufacturing.

After more than a decade of success, growth and contributing revenue to the City of Durham, we are determined to be the leader in our industry. Our commitment to quality is rooted in our corporate philosophy “Quality Supremacy,” empowering us to consistently exceed our customers’ expectations with high quality, cutting edge products. Behind AWNC’s quality products are the skill and knowledge of our Team Members who help the company maintain a good reputation in the manufacturing industry.

AWNC’s manufacturing processes utilize automated and robotic operations in our world class facility. Trained and skilled professionals oversee each phase of the process to ensure high quality-assured products.


Not only do we value our Team Members and the quality of our products, but also our environment and surrounding communities. Inside our manufacturing plant, we follow 5S standard (Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain). Our goal is to have a pleasant, clean and safe working environment for our Team Members.

Safety is a core value at AWNC. Team Members receive safety training from the day they get hired and continuing monthly training for safety awareness. We are committed to ensure that our Team Members return home to their families, unharmed. Team members are also reminded every day that our products’ quality is someone else’s safety and that Toyota and its customers are depending upon the safety of our automatic transmissions.

Becoming an essential part of the Durham community and caring for surrounding communities is also important to us. We support non-profit organizations such as Community Schools of Durham and East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) to help improve environment, health and education. These endeavors add to the quality of our company.

AWNC’s corporate slogan is “Quality People, Quality Products”. We firmly believe in this philosophy. Since it is PEOPLE who manufacture things, manufacturing is impossible unless PEOPLE are developed.

Going forward to celebrate our 20th anniversary next year, AWNC’s quality Team Members continue to strive in producing high quality Automatic Transmissions.
robot process iNLINE TMs

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Durham Chamber, ReCity Network Join Forces for Economic, Social Impact

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, and ReCity Network, an emerging hub for social impact with non-profits, faith-based organizations, and mission-driven businesses, announce a new strategic partnership to build on the Bull City’s record of economic success and drive next-generation leadership.

Under the terms of the agreement, ReCity Network joins hundreds of industry leaders as a Durham Chamber Key Investor. This group of businesses are part of the Durham Chamber’s strategic initiative to shape Durham for sustained economic development through shared vision, shared ideas, creation of business opportunities and solving statewide problems.

ReCity Network’s 12,000-square-foot co-working, meeting, and event space located near the intersection of Broadway and Mangum Streets in downtown Durham will serve as the host site for future Durham Chamber meetings and events. Events will be selected by ReCity and Durham Chamber leadership in an effort to promote collaboration among the organizations and their respective members, as the two groups focus on social entrepreneurship, impact, and innovation.

According to Rob Shields, founding Executive Director of ReCity Network, the Durham Chamber strategic partnership is not just a big win for the emerging social impact hub, but for the city itself. “The Durham Chamber has, over the last decade, set the gold standard for collaboration and innovation for local economic development associations,” said Shields. “The leadership team at the chamber is known for being flexible and attentive to the needs of all stakeholders, including our core constituents of non-profits, churches, and mission-driven organizations. We are very proud to join forces with the Durham Chamber and build a future of shared success for all who call Durham home.”

“As the official economic development agency in Durham County, the Durham Chamber has played an integral role in attracting and retaining businesses and cultivating talent – helping Durham’s economy thrive,” said Geoff Durham. “ReCity has shown the potential to engage even more of Durham’s citizenry through community empowerment and we look forward to partnering with them in the future.”

About ReCity Network

Founded in 2016, ReCity Network is Durham’s hub for social impact. More than three dozen non-profits, faith-based organizations, and mission-driven businesses call the ReCity Network’s 12,000-square-foot home for co-working, meetings, and events aimed at fostering collaboration and sparking innovation that defines a new era of shared success among all residents of the Bull City.

About the Durham Chamber

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce is the leading economic development organization in Durham.  Innovation, economic development and business empowerment are the heart of this thriving pro-active business leadership organization.

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Atlanta-based Software Firm Opens Satellite Office in Durham

Jarrell, an Atlanta-based software firm, opened their Durham satellite office this week in an effort to better serve businesses in the burgeoning Research Triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

“We have been looking for the perfect place to expand our footprint and opening an office within this area seemed like a no-brainer” said Jarrell CEO, Mike Jarrell. “We see a lot of opportunity for continued growth based on the technology boom that is taking place there currently.”

Jarrell, founded in 2013, has seen rapid expansion over the last three years with 100% year-over-year growth in 2016. Jarrell specializes in serving small to medium-sized companies who have enterprise-level IT problems but don’t have enterprise-level IT budgets; they have also served some of the most recognizable brands around the globe, such as Chick-fil-a, The Home Depot and Verizon.

“We are targeting companies who need help with custom app development and eCommerce solutions”, said Matt Dial, Jarrell’s Vice President of Sales. “We are confident that our team of experts can bring a level of excellence to the Research Triangle that hasn’t been seen there before.”

Jarrell has made a name for itself over the last two years, being named a Top 25 Most Promising IT Companies of 2016 by Outsourcing Gazette, recognized as the Best of Gwinnett IT Company for 2016 and, most recently, was the 2016 Best of Atlanta winner in the software category.

Jarrell’s new satellite office will be located in Mercury Studio on W. Geer Street.

For more information about Jarrell, please visit

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Pharmacy…Watches…Now Pie!

It was known as “The Corner” to longtime East Durham residents. Built in the 1920s, the building has served as a pharmacy, physician’s office, watch repair shop, barber shop and convenience store.  But the iconic location, found on the corner of Angier and Driver will find new life when it becomes home to the East Durham Pie Company later this year.

A year ago, East Durham Pie Company launched what would become a successful Kickstarter, raising $24,000 in support of a proposed storefront location. In January of 2017, the owners signed a lease on 406 Driver and are currently in the process of designing, permitting and more.

When it opens, the East Durham Pie Company will be the first new retail to open in Old East Durham since Joe’s Diner (which later closed in 2015). Ali Rudel, owner of East Durham Pie Company selected this location because Old East Durham is also her neighborhood; Rudel lives five minutes away. Her home is certified as a home bakery.

East Durham pies can be found in in several locations in Durham and weekly at a Ponysaurus pop-up.

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce

Investor Spotlight: Durham Performing Arts Center

In nine years, Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) has indisputably become one of America’s great modern theaters while spearheading a significant urban renaissance. The crown jewel of Downtown Durham’s redevelopment, DPAC’s is a success story like no other:
DPAC has been listed at Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today national industry publications among the top 5 US theaters its size for ticket sales for the past six years.
SunTrust Broadway at DPAC which brings the newest and best musicals from New York and London to its stage, the theater has hosted over three million guests since it opened November 2008.
Since its opening, DPAC has generated an economic impact of over $500 million.
“Our top priority has always been to be our guests’ favorite place for live entertainment – and that shows in DPAC’s rising attendance and its ranking as one of the top U.S. venues every year,” said Bob Klaus, DPAC’s general manager. Durham Mayor William Bell concurred: “We’ve had great performances, great shows and a great facility in terms of the way it looks, the way it feels and the employees that work there. The success is astounding.”
From its award-winning design by Szostak Design of Chapel Hill, to its fine-tuned acoustic excellence and

...[READ MORE]   SOURCE: Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
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