Here’s a treat: the Henderson County Partnership just had their 2019 Annual Event

October 31, 2019

HCPED’s 2019 Annual Event

Here’s a recap.

It felt like the first official night of fall when the Partnership hosted their annual event on Thursday, October 17th. The air was crisp and cool as the buzz of 25 years-worth of economic development passed across everyone’s lips. And what better way to celebrate all the wins over the years at Hendersonville’s Berkeley Mills Park baseball field? By hosting a home run derby of course!

The event offered networking in the park’s pavilion, ‘Dinner on the Diamond’ family style dinner, and an epic recap of 25 years in economic development.

To kick off the night, the Partner of the Year was announced. This year, Elkamet, West Rock, Meritor, and GF Linamar were recognized by the Partnership, Henderson County Public Schools, and Blue Ridge Community College with a Partner of the Year Award in the form of a trophy bat thanks to their contribution with launching the first Made in Henderson County Apprenticeship Program.

Partners of the Year Award Recipients and Presenters
From left to right: Superintendent Bo Caldwell (HCPS), Dr. Laura Leatherwood (BRCC), Tim Sparks (Westrock), Reggie Gather (Meritor), John Pham (GF Linamar), Carsten Erkel (Elkamet), Jim Rasmussen (past HCPED Board Chair), and Steve Gwaltney (HCPED Board Chair)

The derby began with eight board members (Steve Gwaltney with First Citizens Bank, Beau Waddell with Reaben Oil Company, Brynn Francis with Imoco, the Partnership’s President Brittany Brady, Chris Hykin with Smartrac, Jim Rasmussen with Morrow Insurance, Zach Cooper with Cooper Construction, and Nathan Kennedy with BB&T) going head to head. Announcers Mike Morgan and Ruth Birge shared statistics of Partnership History, Marketing, Existing Industry and Product Development while each player was at bat.

Home Run Derby Players
From left to right: Brittany Brady, Nathan Kennedy, Brynn Francis, Beau Waddell, Steve Gwaltney, Chris Hykin, Jim Rasmussen, and Zach Cooper

In an edge of your seat tournament, it came down to two. Zach Cooper and Steve Gwaltney were left to battle it out for the prestige of winning the Henderson County Partnership’s 2019 Home Run Derby. With a rowdy crowd and sheer determination, Steve Gwaltney took home the custom Young Bat after hitting the ball (much) further than Zach Cooper in the tie-breaker round.

Steve Gwaltney up at bat
Recap video of the Partnership’s Home Run Derby
The Partnerships 2019 Home Run Derby Champion
Steve Gwaltney

As a final show of the significant numbers/milestones throughout the years, we had board members gather on the field to help us visualize a recap of the numbers.

Board Members take the Field
From left to right: City of Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk, Steve Gwaltney, Beau Waddell, Chris Hykin, Brynn Francis, Zach Cooper, Jim Rasmussen, Erica Allison, Kelly Hollifield, and Nathan Kennedy
Additional Board Members on the field with kids
From left to right: Kelly Leonard, Dr. Laura Leatherwood, Deborah Pressley, kids representing the future investment numbers we hope to see

Recap of the numbers:

  • The Made in Henderson County Program’s reach made it to 7,000 students
  • A new apprenticeship program was started with 20 apprentices accepted into the program
  • As a result of economic development efforts, 103 new jobs were added
  • A total investment of $40,600,000 was seen across the county in manufacturing

As a result of the last 25 years in economic development:

  •  65 new manufacturers have located in Henderson County
  • Bringing the total number of manufacturers located in the county to over 130
  • We have a well-established membership base, currently at 160 (and hopefully growing!)
  • Over the last 25 years with a coordinated economic development effort, Henderson County has seen the addition of 5,800 jobs within manufacturing
  • And over the last 25 years, economic development has brought a total investment to Henderson County of $1,288,715,000!!!!!

Kids were then brought onto the field to show the future investments numbers we hope to see and to demonstrate why we do what we do: for the future workforce. They are the future.

The Workforce of Tomorrow

It was a great night celebrating the past year, as well as the last 25 years. We could not have done it without all the support from our board, our members, and our industry partners. Here’s to 25 more years!


To see all of the photos from our 2019 Annual Event, click here.