Stories in Business North Carolina

Karrie Dixon raises trajectory of Elizabeth City State University


Chancellor Karrie Dixon has a secret to share: Elizabeth City State University is home to the only four-year aviation science program in North Carolina, the “first in flight” state. When she came on board in 2018, she realized the institution had, to its detriment, kept its jewel hidden for far too long. Photo: Courtesy of ECSU

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Pillars of NC: Bill Hensley


Although Bill Hensley’s achievements have been recognized with numerous awards, his part in getting a Charlotte referendum measure that allowed diners to order mixed drinks at restaurants passed in 1978 may be his crowning glory. Photo: Courtesy of Bill Hensley

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Dynamic diversity: The changing look of N.C. executive power


Lewis, 59, has been a trailblazer in the North Carolina legal community. After earning a bachelor’s at Duke University and graduating from Harvard Law School, he worked as a law clerk for Associate Justice Henry E. Frye of the N.C. Supreme Court. PHOTO: Courtesy of Kenneth Lewis

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Pillars of NC: Steve Stroud


Commercial real estate professional Stephen Stroud remembers taking Christmas treats to another family when he was a child. Although the Stroud family didn’t have much to give, it was an attitude and environment that he says shaped his life.

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Pillars of NC: Eva Clayton


In 1992, Democrat Eva McPherson Clayton made history when she became the first Black woman in North Carolina to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. She and Mel Watt were the first Black congressional representatives elected in the state since 1898. Photo: Courtesy of Eva Clayton

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Pillars of NC: Marshall Rauch


In his 97 years, Marshall Rauch has never lost his Long Island, N.Y., accent, but he’s undoubtedly earned his North Carolinian status after moving to Durham in 1940 to attend Duke University and spending his life making a huge mark on the state.

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Pillars of NC: Sherwood Smith Jr. led the nuclear charge


When he left a Raleigh law firm to join Carolina Power & Light in 1965, Sherwood Smith Jr. didn’t envision leading eastern North Carolina’s dominant power company. Photo by Christer Berg

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Pillars of NC: Linda Hudson


Linda Hudson refuses to be a tech dinosaur. The founder and strategic advisor of The Cardea Group in Charlotte wants to be the first one with the newest gadgets — and she’s used to being first. A 2007 profile in London’s The Sunday Times...

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Pillars of NC: Thomas Ross


Few North Carolinians have had a more varied, impactful career than Thomas Ross. Not many become the leaders of the institutions where they earned both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

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Pillars of NC: Robert J. Brown


Robert J. Brown’s story reads like a wild adventure. Risky meetings, chance partnerships and gutsy business decisions moved him in front of leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Robert Kennedy and Richard Nixon. PHOTO: Courtesy of Robert Brown

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Pillars of NC: Jane Smith Patterson


Developing broadband systems to boost rural North Carolina remains a critical problem, decades after Jane Smith Patterson helped Gov. Jim Hunt kick-start the state’s work on the issue. Patterson was instrumental in developing the N.C. Rural Internet Access Authority, now the N.C. Broadband Infrastructure Office.

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Pillars of NC: Harvey Gantt makes history with architecture practice


Harvey Gantt’s always been a trailblazer. As a teenager, he sat at lunch counters closed to people of color. He became the first African American student to attend Clemson University in 1963.

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Pillars of NC: Sheila Ogle’s pioneering career


Sheila Ogle was among a small group of women business owners when she opened her marketing company, Media Research Planning & Placement Inc. in Cary, in the late 1980s. Photo by Christer Berg. 

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Pillars of NC: Mitchell Gold makes a mark in furniture, civil rights


Mitchell Gold’s love affair with furniture and home decor wasn’t a calculated decision. “I fell into it,” Gold, 68, says.

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