Regional Report Charlotte February 2012
In December, media outlets reported that Lowe’s Cos. had pulled its advertising from the cable-TV series All-American Muslim under pressure from the Florida Family Association, which claims the TLC program promotes Islamic fundamentalism. This upset liberals, both political and religious, who claimed the retailer had been cowed by a “right-wing extremist.” That’s not so, Lowe’s says.
A national coalition of religious groups asked two Charlotte pastors to deliver petitions to Lowe’s Mooresville headquarters urging the company to resume its sponsorship. The Rev. Russ Dean of Park Road Baptist Church and the Rev. Jay Leach of Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte left satisfied that Lowe’s hadn’t bowed to bigotry but simply had put business first. Senior Vice President Brian Peace told them Lowe’s pulled its ads because the company’s Facebook page had become a battlefield in a holy war. “This,” Leach tells BNC, “was not going to help get customers.” The company had canceled the commercials, Peace told them, even before it got the Florida Family Association’s grievance.
“Lowe’s admits they didn’t get in front of this thing,” Dean says. (Despite repeated requests by BNC, the company didn’t provide comment.) Specifically, the ministers say, Lowe’s release regarding its decision was ambiguous. “I wish business decisions weren’t always motivated by the bottom line,” Dean says. “They left extremes to rule the day again.”
CHINA GROVE— Hitachi Metals North Carolina will invest $60 million to expand its plant here within four years, adding about 65 employees to the 65 it has. It will produce magnets for hybrid and electric vehicles and pay an average annual wage of $43,108. Rowan County’s average is $36,036.
CHARLOTTE— Benefits administrator Infinisource Holdings will move its headquarters here from Coldwater, Mich., and create 162 jobs within five years. Average annual pay will be $81,296. Mecklenburg County’s average is $51,584.
SALISBURY— Seamus Donaldson replaced Bruce Jones as president and CEO of Community Bank of Rowan’s local market. Donaldson has 12 years experience in banking, most recently serving as Community Bank’s senior vice president and chief credit officer. Jones joined his wife’s property-management and realty company.
CHARLOTTE— ACS, the information-technology division of Norwalk, Conn.-based Xerox, is laying off 96 employees here. Most work part time processing transactions for a client. It employs about 2,200 statewide.
STATESVILLE— Goldsboro-based Pate Dawson Co. will invest $8.5 million and create 49 jobs at a new distribution center here within three years. Average annual pay will be $47,531. Iredell County’s average is $36,348.
CHARLOTTE— Lash Group will add about 450 jobs, most of them here, this year. The health-care consultancy is expanding after its parent, Valley Forge, Pa.-based AmerisourceBergen, acquired two companies.
CLEVELAND— Daimler Trucks North America will add more than 1,100 mostly recalled workers at its Freightliner assembly plant here and 100 at a components plant in Gastonia by year-end. The Portland, Ore.-based company employs more than 4,800 in North Carolina.