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The Cherryville Eagle

Chamber President Randall bids fond farewell to city

Chamber President Richard Randall speaking at the 2019 Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Awards event, held at the Cherryville Golf and Country Club. (Eagle file photo)

by MICHAEL E. POWELL Editor [email protected] Cherryville Chamber of Commerce President Richard Randall, long the face of the Chamber and various city and Main Street events, has moved on from the position he has held for so many years. Randall was quick to note, though, it is not ‘moving away’ from his former job as much as it is a ‘moving on’ scenario, as he is taking a job with Gaston County. His last day with the Chamber was Friday, April 3. Said Randall about his new position, “I’ll be the Existing Industry Manager for the Gaston County Economic Development Commission. “I’ve known and worked with everyone in this group for many years in my position as the Economic Development Director for the City of Cherryville, and having experience in working in this realm and with these people over the years will make it a fairly smooth transition. “That program, having been run by Donny Hicks for decades, is one of the top county economic development programs in the State of North Carolina. I feel proud to have the opportunity to work there and with those talented individuals. I have to say this is definitely a place I feel I will be comfortable.” Randall said this was his decision to move on in his career, adding, “The opportunity came open and I made the decision to pursue it.” Randall continued, “I have a lot of sentiment for this community and I feel really positive in that we have the overall program in a good place and in a situation in which it can succeed in today’s economy. “It wasn’t an easy decision because we’ve worked so hard to put the programs into place and we can now start to see the fruits of these labors. In fact, I’m excited on progress we’re seeing with a prospective business at the Beam Industrial Park.” Randall noted the decision was simply an economic one in his regard. “This was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, so I made the difficult decision to move toward advancement. Everyone should consider making the best of their opportunities, and I don’t think I’d done that for some time. I hope it doesn’t sound overly selfish, but I think we all need to occasionally step back and look our situations.” Randall noted he has been with the City of Cherryville for 15 years, adding his position was a multi-hatted one in which he served as the City’s Economic Development Director, which is now comprised of the overall economic development program, involving industrial and commercial recruitment and assistance; the Cherryville Main Street Program; the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce; and the Cherryville Farmers’ Market. Randall continued, “That 15 years with the City as the Economic Development Director coincides with and has been part of my responsibility to the Chamber of Commerce all along. We added the Main Street Program in 2012 and the Farmers’ Market in 2013. “Sometimes the multiple hats stretched me some, but I don’t think I would’ve changed a thing. It’s been great to be a part of building the foundation for growth and change, and it will be hard to not be in the middle of it in the future. Perhaps I’ll be available to assist as a volunteer in the future. “And, in regard to the current position being stretched a little too far at times, I think the City administration is working to limit the scope of the position to that of a Main Street Manager or Downtown Development Director and assign the Chamber of Commerce and Farmers’ Market responsibilities elsewhere. I think this should work out well. We really have some talented and skilled individuals working here in Mary Beth Tackett and Steve Panton, and I think they’ll be instrumental in moving all the programs forward.” Randall said that with all of the Main Street programs and projects moving forward, it will be hard for the new person to soak it all in quickly. “Accordingly, I’ve agreed to assist in any ways to share the details and history and to be available for consultation,” he said. “It’s important that everything move forward as smoothly as possible. We are all fortunate to have the support of the Mayor, Council, and City Manager, as well as, a very committed group of volunteers.” Cherryville is still his hometown, he noted, adding, “At this point, I plan to live here. That could change, but I still have a great deal of social investment and involvement here, and I want to help keep this all going somehow.” As for being remembered and having a legacy, or body of work he has left behind; his imprint on his community, if you will, Randall said, “I’d like to say that making a move to establish a full-serviced Main Street revitalization program is what I’d think will be one of my biggest contributions. “The industrial development possibilities are limited due to accessibility issues and we were in need of finding a niche for us in which we could flourish. And I think this is going to be what reestablishes this town as a thriving community. “That’s not to say we are in any way neglecting our industrial and commercial recruitment efforts, but it allows us to concentrate on something that we can readily benefit from. In fact, we are close to putting together a large project for the Beam Industrial Park, which I think will be a really big plus for this community in many ways.”