By Ogi Overman
Given Winston-Salem’s ancestral roots with tobacco, it may seem ironic that the city is poised to become home base for Olympic-caliber athletes in one of the most grueling and training-intensive sports — bicycle racing. But it makes perfect sense to Richard Rauck, who is spearheading a campaign to establish the National Cycling Center in the Twin City.
“Our topography, with rolling hills as well as rather steep inclines, and our proximity to rural areas makes us a perfect location,” says Rauck, an anesthesiologist who is also executive director of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, an annual race that for five years has attracted elite riders from across the globe. “Plus, our temperate climate and size works to our advantage. You wouldn’t want to put these world-class cyclists out on big-city streets to train, especially in winter.” Rauck’s daughter, Lauren Komanski, is a member of a professional women’s cycling team based in Silicon Valley.
Rauck and his partners are coming down the homestretch on the project, which will serve as a comprehensive training facility for about 20 elite athletes from across the country. A youth program also will have access to the center. In addition to 10 double-occupancy rooms, it will include training equipment; exam, study and meeting rooms; a metabolic testing lab; plus a kitchen and lounge. The only similar U.S. facility is in Carson, Calif., Rauck says.
A nonprofit associated with the center has purchased a 42,000-square-foot, five-story building in downtown Winston-Salem, and renovations are underway. The total cost of the project may reach $8 million, part of which will be defrayed by historic tax credits and several anchor tenants, including a restaurant, brewpub, fitness center and apartments. A $5 million capital campaign was launched in October 2015. As of mid-January, $1.6 million has been raised. The NCC’s board of directors includes local attorney Mike Robinson and Don Flow, chairman and CEO of Flow Automotive.
Rauck says the center has the support of USA Cycling leadership, as well as three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong. The next step is being sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee, which Rauck expects will happen in the near future.
“Once we are able to add those five rings to our logo, that will help fundraising immensely,” he says. “They have already given their blessing to our Community Olympic Development Program, which works with our youth and is up and running, so we feel it’s just a matter of time before we are a full Olympic training center.”
WINSTON-SALEM — Chris Henson was named president of BB&T. He has worked for the company for nearly 32 years and has been chief operating officer since January 2009. In addition to his previous responsibilities, Henson will oversee the company’s community-banking division, previously led by Ricky Brown, who retired in December.
WINSTON-SALEM — British American Tobacco will acquire remaining interest in Reynolds American for $49.4 billion in cash and stock. The United Kingdom-based company already owns 42% of the cigarette company. Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
HIGH POINT — Total Quality Logistics will add 70 jobs over five years at a new local facility. The freight-brokerage firm employs more than 4,200 people in 24 states, including 170 at offices in Charlotte and Durham. Jobs will include account executives and sales-support workers.
Photo courtesy of Winston-Salem Cycling Classic