SANFORD — An era came to an end for Central Carolina Community College and the Lee County business community with the recent retirement of Jim Felton, director of the college’s Small Business Center and the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
Felton served as director of both institutions since coming to the college in 1995. In recognition of his service, the college, business community, and State of North Carolina honored him at his Feb. 22 retirement reception at the Civic Center.
Dr. George Millsaps, director of the North Carolina Small Business Center Network and N.C. assistant commissioner for Small Business, presented to Felton a certificate of appreciation from Gov. Beverly Perdue for his “dedication and outstanding service to the Great State of North Carolina.”
Millsaps noted that, in his years as director of CCCC’s Small Business Center in Lee County, Jim counseled more than 1,000 individuals who were interested in starting a business. From these, more than 100 businesses were established which have created and retained more than 400 jobs in the county. Felton also oversaw more than $10 million in small business loans.
Felton worked to keep the Civic Center as the central location in Lee County for holding public and private events, from weddings to the annual Sanford Pottery Festival. ¬He said the Center is not only a venue for events, but also helps the local economy. Many people from out of the area come for events, boosting the local economy by staying at motels, eating at restaurants, and shopping at stores.
“It’s been a wonderful time,” said Felton, reflecting on his years of service. “I’m pleased and proud to be part of this community. It wasn’t me that created all the success — it was the team that made things happen, the business people we’ve worked with.”
Over the years, Felton not only served the college well, but also his community. That service included positions such as president of the United Way, president of the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, and president of Pinehurst Rotary. The Chamber honored him as its 2010 Small Business Advocate of the Year. Triangle South Enterprise Center, in Dunn, also recognized him in 2010 for his years of service to the small business community.
“I have been very impressed with Jim and his abilities in running the Small Business Center and the Civic Center,” said CCCC President Bud Marchant. “I know he will continue to be an asset to the community even in retirement.”
With Felton’s retirement, the responsibilities of running the SBC and the Civic Center have been divided. Dale Fey, formerly vice president of The Color Works, takes over as SBC Lee County director. David Foster moves into the position of director of the Civic Center after more than a decade in hospitality management.