Students learn about careers at VGCC Manufacturing Day

— courtesy VGCC

Vance-Granville Community College held a “Manufacturing Day” celebration on Thursday, Oct. 5, in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. Nearly 200 high school students from Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties attended, along with VGCC students, educators and other members of the community. They learned about how manufacturing has changed, local career possibilities in the field and options for education and training related to careers in the industry.

“Manufacturing Day is a national event meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and expose them to modern manufacturing trends,” said Tiffani M. Polk, an academic and career coach with the TechHire program at VGCC. “Our industry partners described the students as highly engaged and inquisitive. Together, I think we were able to reframe what manufacturing is for our future workforce.”

Participating employers included Altec of Creedmoor, Boise Cascade of Roxboro, Carolina Sunrock of Butner, Dill Air Controls of Oxford, Edwards Inc. of Spring Hope, Fastenal of Raleigh, Glen Raven of Norlina, Home Care Products of Oxford, Mars Petcare of Henderson, Novozymes of Franklinton, Plastic Ingenuity of Oxford, Revlon of Oxford, and Superior Tooling of Wake Forest.

Students talk with, seated from left, Revlon representatives Bonnie Garrett and Wendy Grissom at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

VGCC technical programs were represented, including Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Electrical Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. A representative from the Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board was on hand, as well.

Attendees also learned about the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), which partners with colleges like VGCC and employers to prepare a skilled workforce. An alternative to the traditional four-year college degree, the program takes a student from high school through a two-year community college program like Mechatronics Engineering Technology, with the guarantee of a job at the completion of the program.

Sandy Whitfield from Altec talks with students at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

Reflecting on the event, Revlon representative Bonnie Garrett said that “it was nice to get to introduce high school students to our company and to careers in manufacturing that they don’t often think about. We rarely get an opportunity like this.”

Joel Bailey of Edwards said it was his company’s first time participating in a VGCC Manufacturing Day event. He noted that Edwards, a full-service industrial general contractor with a specialty fabrication shop, has many job openings and was particularly interested in recruiting graduates of VGCC’s Welding, Electrical Systems and HVAC programs.

Steve Tsotsoros from Dill Air Controls shows some of the products manufactured by his company to students attending Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

The TechHire grant program at VGCC organized Manufacturing Day, with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Alliance (AMSTA), a partnership of VGCC and local K-12 school systems. The North Carolina TechHire program supports advanced manufacturing and information technology training. VGCC is one of four partnering community colleges in the North Carolina TechHire Alliance, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. For more information on TechHire, contact Tiffani Polk at [email protected] or (252) 738-3291.


(Vance Granville is a paying advertising client of WIZS.)

Joel Bailey from Edwards Inc. (center) talks with VGCC Welding student Cedric Rodebaugh of Franklinton at Manufacturing Day in the VGCC Civic Center. (VGCC photo)

6th Annual Small Business Summit – October 24th

The summit is designed to help you make the holidays pay off for your business.

“I am pleased to announce that the Small Business Center at Vance-Granville Community College will host its 6th Annual Small Business Summit next Tuesday, October 24 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Lake Gaston Lions Club. This year’s theme is Making the Holidays Pay Off,” said Tanya Weary, director of the Small Business Center at Vance-Granville Community College.

Registration includes a free lunch and discussions on the following topics:

  • Shop Local – Buy Local – Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area
  • Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner
  • Take Photos Like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media
  • Get Social! Grow Your Business!

To register and for more information including a map, click here,

Weary told WIZS News in her email, “Event brought to you in partnership with VGCC’s SBC, CenturyLink, Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission, and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.”

VGCC announces free Small Business Summit with holiday focus

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center has scheduled its sixth annual Small Business Summit for Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico. Entitled “Making the Holidays Pay Off,” the free event is designed to help local businesses plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season with innovative marketing practices.

CenturyLink is the presenting sponsor for the event. Local partners helping VGCC to organize the summit are the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Business representatives and interested members of the community are invited to attend. Registration is now open at

The day starts off with registration and networking with attendees and vendors at 8 a.m. The first hour-long seminar will be “Shop Local — Buy Local — Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area” at 8:30 a.m. Presenter Martin Brossman will help participants get the most out of a “Shop Local” program, including the use of social media.

“Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner” follows at 9:45 a.m. with Lisa Gingue of Vino Oasi in Stem. Gingue will discuss planning events that attract holiday shoppers.

At 11 a.m., Brossman will present “Take Photos like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media.” This session covers the basics of low-cost photography techniques to attract more customers with social media and web marketing.

The keynote presentation, from noon until 1 p.m., will be “Get Social! Grow Your Business!” with Kristen Baughman and Stacey Price Sprenz, both of Raleigh-based Tabletop Media Group. Baughman, the founder of the agency, and Sprenz, a photographer, will teach attendees how to take their social media to the next level using photos and videos. They will offer a few tips and tricks on how to promote participants’ businesses and unique holiday offerings to media outlets and social influencers in their community. Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries.

Lunch will be provided free of charge to the first 100 registered participants by CenturyLink. For more information, contact VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or [email protected].


VGCC presents free business seminars on Instagram, Snapchat

— courtesy VGCC

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center is offering a pair of free seminars focused on helping businesses use two growing social media platforms.

“Using Instagram to Gain & Retain More Business” is scheduled for Thursday, September 21, from 1-4 p.m., in room W4103 on VGCC’s Warren County Campus in Warrenton.

Then, “Snapchat for Small Business Owners” follows later that same day from 6-9 p.m. at the same location.

Leading both seminars will be Martin Brossman of Raleigh, a success coach, speaker, trainer and author. In the first seminar, Brossman will teach participants how to effectively use Instagram to stay “top of mind” with current customers and attract new customers. The second seminar focuses on Snapchat, which is capturing the attention of millennials with its disappearing photos and messages, filters and lenses, and private messaging. “Businesses have an opportunity to reach millennials not only with their engaging stories but by encouraging your customers to include your business in their special moment,” Brossman said.

The Warren Campus is located at 210 West Ridgeway Street in Warrenton.

The deadline to register for both seminars is Sept. 15. Registration can be completed at any VGCC campus or by following the instructions at

For more information, contact Tanya Weary at [email protected] or (252) 738-3240.


Step 1 in Preserving & Protecting Our Historic Communities

by Craig Hahn

The Warren County Historic Preservation Commission held a public informational meeting 27 July to introduce their initiative to have permanent, historic signs placed in Warren County communities. This County program is designed to help preserve & enhance the history of our local communities and Warren County.

The following communities will be part of Phase 1 of this program: Arcola/Bethlehem, Inez, Ridgeway, Russell Union, Soul City & Warren Plains. At last night’s meeting representatives from Soul City, Russell Union and Ridgeway were in attendance and plan to move forward on signs for their communities.

Citizens interested in being a part of the historic community signage program are needed to form committees to research their communities’ history, select a roadside site where motorists can pull over to read the sign and to raise funds for the purchase of the signs (similar in appearance to the silver-toned State historic markers). These signs will be two-sided. The cost is about $1,200 to $1,700 each (depending on the final design choice. Currently Warren County does have some funding available to assist each community noted above to “kick-start” their respective fundraising efforts in the amount of about $400.

To get involved, Community members interested in participating or getting more information may contact Ken Krulik at 252-257-7027, 252-257-3037, or mailto:[email protected]

VGCC connects students and new graduates to employers

As the end of the spring semester approached, the staff of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program at Vance-Granville Community College held their first-ever “College-to-Career Mixer” for students to meet with potential employers. Not only were 15 new graduates of the Welding Technology and Mechatronics Engineering Technology programs in attendance, but also five students who were not yet ready to graduate but were looking for potential Work-Based Learning (WBL) opportunities.

Prior to the event, college staff members drilled the students on job interview techniques, and some students participated in mock interviews. All received resume preparation assistance and detailed information about the employers who would be in attendance at the mixer. Participating employers included BFS Industries, LLC, of Butner; Bridgestone/Bandag of Oxford; Novozymes North America of Franklinton; Carolina Sunrock of Kittrell and Butner; Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions of Youngsville; Glen Raven of Norlina; Delhaize America of Butner; J.P. Taylor/Universal Leaf of Oxford; and Altec of Creedmoor. 

“As we move forward, VGCC will be looking for ways to increase our synergy with our employer partners while providing a robust pipeline for qualified future employees,” said Zane Styers, who manages the TAACCCT grant. “Industry tours, Work-Based Learning, internships and apprenticeships are options that form the framework for our College-to-Career pipeline.”

The $1.75 million TAACCCT grant, the largest single competitive grant in VGCC history, has helped the college develop and enhance innovative training programs for advanced manufacturing careers. The TAACCCT grants are part of a nearly $2 billion initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade. For more information on TAACCCT, contact Zane Styers at [email protected] or (252) 738-3342.


New Bakery Coming to Historic Downtown Warrenton

by Craig Hahn

You can start licking your lips in anticipation of great cakes and more when they open. I was fortunate enough to buy a cupcake from them during Spring Fest and I have to say it was like eating chocolate air…absolutely delicious!

The Chamber of Commerce of Warren County & The Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce will be at 108 South Main Street on 31 May…Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. for Bakery Pride’s Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting. Join us to celebrate and enjoy some of their outstanding baking!

United Way of Vance County holds unique fundraiser

Prime parking spaces at some local businesses were graciously donated to the United Way to help with our fundraising efforts for our 3rd Grade Reading Initiative…United We Read, United We Succeed!

Sponsors are:


Mast Family Drug Center

Walmart Supercenter (4 parking spaces)

Marketplace Cinema

Skipper Forsyth’s Bar-B-Que

Vance County Schools Admin Services


Passes are $40 each or 2/$60 and are good until 12/31/17.

The passes are available at the United Way office on Dabney Drive.

New passes will be available beginning in January.  If you purchase one now, you can get a discount next year.

Chamber of Commerce of Warren County Announces “Dollar Days Raffle”

Calling All Chamber Members…Join in Our “Dollar Days Raffle” Chamber Fundraiser to Give Customers Chance For Big Prizes!

I’m excited to announce the first steps in our upcoming “Dollar Days Raffle” for Warren County. If you’re a Chamber member, look for a visit from me or one of our Board Members in the next week as we collect prizes for a big giveaway.

Here’s how the Raffle will work: We’ll give people a chance to win one of 40 prizes (38 prizes from our members and a cash prize of $500 and $250). Beginning Saturday 22 April tickets go on sale at Spring Fest on the Historic Courthouse Square in Warrenton. We’ll have preliminary prize drawings on 15 May and 12 June, with the big drawing to be held at the Ridgeway Cantaloupe Festival on 8 July.

How Can You Help? Simple…we’re looking for donated prizes from our Members. If you can’t give merchandise, then you can follow BB&T’s lead and give a $50 Visa Gift Card. I’ll provide a receipt for your taxes. Then, we’ll give each prize-donating business a poster for your window to promote your giveaway and tickets for sale. Your business gets extra promotion and your customers get a chance to win great prizes.

If you’re interested in donating before I get a chance to visit with you, please call me at 252-257-2657 or email me at [email protected] Looking forward to a great promotion!
Craig Hahn

Executive Director


Entrepreneurs encouraged to dream at VGCC summit in Warrenton

Established and budding entrepreneurs, representatives of area businesses and non-profit organizations, and a group of Warren County High School students received inspiration as well as practical advice for using technology in marketing during the Small Business Summit, held at the Warren County Armory Civic Center in Warrenton on April 6.

The summit was the fifth such free event organized by the VGCC Small Business Center, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

This year’s event was entitled “Driving Your Business: Staying Ahead of the Curves.” The keynote speaker was Tammy Crowley-Deloatch, a nationally certified personal trainer and president of New Day Fitness in Roanoke Rapids. Her presentation was called “Put Your Dreams to the Test” and was based in part on a book with a similar title by John Maxwell.

“Most people have dreams, but they have no idea about how to achieve their dreams,” Crowley-Deloatch told the audience. Her “test” involved ten questions that each entrepreneur needs to ask in order to succeed, such as “the passion question,” which asks if the dream is compelling the dreamer to follow it. She encouraged small business owners to be responsible “dream-builders,” not merely “fantasizers.”

Crowley-Deloatch advised her audience that “we’re going to fail more than we succeed, but we only learn through failures.” She said that over her 33 years as a small business owner, “I had some growing pains but they made me stronger. It’s been a long journey but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” She concluded, “I can’t wait to see what each of you do with your dream.”

The opening session of the Small Business Summit was called “Google – Get Your Business on the Map” and was led by Craig Hahn, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County. “Google is by far the largest search engine,” Hahn said. “It’s how people find everything.” He said small businesses need to learn how to use their Google search results to bring in customers by inputting information that is up-to-date. Hahn took participants through the steps of “verifying” their listings on Google and using a free tool called “Google My Business,” which is for businesses or organizations that make in-person contact with customers.

The two other sessions at the summit were led by Chisa Pennix-Brown, CEO of Lady Bizness, based in Greensboro. Pennix-Brown teaches small business courses at community colleges across the state.

In the first seminar, “Business Apps Made Easy” (1-3 p.m.), Pennix-Brown taught participants how they can save time and money using mobile apps. She gave her audience examples of apps, almost all of which are free or have free versions, that businesses can use for graphic design, newsletters, press releases, videos, meetings and social media postings. Her second seminar was called “Facebook Made Easy.” Pennix-Brown gave the participants a step-by-step guide to creating a business page on Facebook and how to use the page to engage customers. One of the latest tools that businesses can use, she said, is “Facebook Live” video streaming. She encouraged entrepreneurs to understand their own brands. “Ask yourself, what distinguishes you from other businesses like you?” Pennix-Brown advised. She said entrepreneurs need to “sell” their own personality as part of branding. “If you have succeeded, it’s because of something in particular about you, not just your products,” she said.

CenturyLink was the summit’s presenting sponsor. Other sponsors were Halifax Electric Membership Corporation, The Warren Record, The Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer, WIZS 1450 AM, The Daily Dispatch and WARR 1520 AM.

For more information about the services provided by the VGCC Small Business Center, call Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or e-mail her at [email protected].