2016 Iredell Health System future5 honorees
Will Long, attorney, Pope McMillan Kutteh & Schieck, PA
Dustin McCrary, attorney, McCrary Law Firm PLLC
Ryan Pegarsch, radio host, WSIC Radio
Marian Steele, chief financial officer, J.C. Steele & Sons
Anna Washington, chief professional officer, Boys & Girls Club of the Piedmont
Young leaders honored by Statesville chamber
The 2016 Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce Iredell Health System future5 (from left): Will Long, Marian Steele, Anna Washington, Ryan Pegarsch and Dustin McCrary.
BY MIKE FUHRMAN
They selflessly give of their time and talents, they continually put children's needs first and regularly log long hours behind the scenes to make our community better without concern for public praise.
On Friday morning the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce recognized the contributions that the 2016 Iredell Health System future5 award winners have made to the Statesville area.
While simultaneously honoring Marian Steele, Anna Washington, Will Long, Dustin McCrary and Ryan Pegarsch, organizers and sponsors of the event stressed the need to attract young professionals with similar traits to our community and encourage them to make Statesville their home.
"We have to elevate, engage and raise the profile of young leadership in our community," David Bradley, chamber president and CEO, told the crowd at the Statesville Country Club. "And I tell you — we do not have a shortage of it."
Bradley told the crowd that a community's ability recruit and retain young talent — more than economic incentives, location and other factors -- is increasingly the No. 1 factor major corporations consider when deciding whether to relocate.
So what's the key to making Statesville a destination for young professionals?
The award recipients provided some answers to that question: They want a cool downtown area with places to hang out, they want challenging jobs driven by technology, they want opportunities to improve and advance, and they want to get involved.
Bradley urged the business and civic leaders in attendance to take those words to heart.
"We have an opportunity, a responsibility to look beyond today," he said. "Our future — but also our present — rests on the shoulders of people like those we honored today."
John Green, a vice president at Iredell Memorial and chairman of the chamber board, told the audience that he was skeptical when he was first approached about the recognition program for young professionals.
"I said, 'Are we really going to find five people?' " Green recalled. "I wasn't really sure."
Nearly two years later — after the second group of honorees was selected — he's changed his mind.
Likening succession planning in business and civic life to an Olympic relay race, Green said: "With age, we reach out with the baton and you hope someone is reaching back. We have five hands reaching back."