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Caldwell economic development leader honored

by Stella Morgan

Bobby White Honored with Order of the Long Leaf Pine for Economic Development Contributions

For over five decades, Bobby White has been a leading figure in economic development, playing a crucial role in the growth and development of Caldwell County and the Catawba Valley. In recognition of his years of service and dedication to the region, White was awarded the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine at a recent ceremony.

Scott T. Hamilton, President and CEO of the Golden Leaf Foundation, praised White’s work and acknowledged that even those who have never met or heard of him have benefited from his contributions. Hamilton believes that White’s efforts will have a positive impact on generations of North Carolinians.

Throughout his career in public service, White has held various roles, including serving as Caldwell County manager, Burke County manager, grant administrator for Caldwell County Economic Development, and leadership positions with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

During his tenure as Caldwell County manager, White played an instrumental role in attracting Google, which brought the first data center to North Carolina. This achievement paved the way for the North Carolina Data Center Corridor, which now includes major companies like Disney+, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. Caldwell County Manager Donald Duncan credited White for his contribution in making this possible.

White has also been actively involved in projects aimed at improving the Caldwell County School System and Caldwell Community College. He played a key role in establishing the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy, the first academy of its kind in the state, as well as the Caldwell Early College and the Faye Broyhill Appalachian State Building on the Caldwell Community College campus.

Sherry Long, Assistant Executive Director of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, commended White for his forward-thinking approach and his efforts in bringing communities together. White is known for his sincere and enthusiastic advocacy for Caldwell County and the region, and his impact on communities is evident. Long also highlighted his folksy and relaxed demeanor, which has made him one of the region’s greatest ambassadors.

In addition to his other accomplishments, White played a pivotal role in saving the National Guard Armory in Caldwell County by securing an $8 million grant for its demolition and rebuilding on a new site near Gamwell. He was also involved in the expansion of the Morganton-Lenoir Airport and the construction of the sheriff’s office and Health and Human Services Building on Morganton Boulevard.

Hamilton, who worked closely with White, acknowledged that he learned the importance of building relationships and trust from him. According to Hamilton, White’s belief in doing business with people one knows and trusts greatly influenced his work.

As White retires once again from public service, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest honor reserved by North Carolina governors for individuals who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through exceptional service and accomplishments.

Bobby White’s dedication and contribution to economic development in Caldwell County and the Catawba Valley have left an indelible mark, and his impact will continue to benefit generations to come.

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