Tuesday, April 23, 2024

N.C. Rural Center chair says 2024 focus needs to be on education, housing

A retired banker and now financial consultant will chair the board of the N.C. Rural Center in the coming year.

Carl “Phil” Marion Jr. retired in 2021 as Truist’s eastern North Carolina regional president after a 41-year career in banking. He currently leads Ai0 Advisory, a financial consulting company based in Wilmington that he has owned since October 2022.

Phil Marion

Marion is from Greensboro, but has lived in Wilmington since 2000. He joined the Rural Center board in 2018, and served as vice chair in 2023 and as treasurer from 2020 to 2022.

North Carolina has two big challenges that he wants the Rural Center to address in his time as chair.

“I believe number one is education,” says the East Carolina University and Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking grad in a statement released by the Rural Center. “Number two is housing, and I’m just hoping the Rural Center will embrace these needs and initiate some (programs) to enrich the lives of those in rural North Carolina.”

Marion succeeds Nelle Hotchkiss, an executive with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, as chair. Marion is joined on the executive committee of the board by Sara Chester, vice chair, who is the co-executive director of The Industrial Commons in Morganton; attorney Yolanda Taylor, secretary; Wilson Forward Executive Director Paula Benson, treasurer; and at large member Mike Hawkins, president of Pisgah Enterprises, which owns and operates commercial and residential properties in western North Carolina as well as Pisgah Fish Camp seafood restaurant in Brevard.

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