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WNC Business

White receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Sep 28, 2023 03:03PM ● By Randee Brown

For more than 50 years, Bobby White has been a leader in economic development, playing a vital role in growing Caldwell County and the Unifour. White received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for his years of service to the area. 

“People who have never met or heard of Bobby White are benefiting from his work and dedication,” said Scott T. Hamilton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Golden Leaf Foundation. “His work will have a positive impact on generations of North Carolinians.” 

During his public service career, White has served as Caldwell County Manager, Burke County Manager, Grant Administrator for Caldwell County Economic Development, and in leadership roles with Western Piedmont Council of Governments. 

As Caldwell County Manager, White helped bring the Google to North Carolina as the state's first data center.  

“By bringing Google to Lenoir, Bobby paved the way for the North Carolina Data Center Corridor. This corridor now includes Disney+, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft,” said Caldwell County Manager Donald Duncan. 

White has been part of projects to improve the Caldwell County School System and Caldwell Community College. He assisted with the creation of the Caldwell Applied Sciences Academy, the first academy of its kind in the state and a precursor to what are now known as Cooperative Innovative High Schools. He also helped pave the way for the Caldwell Early College and the Faye Broyhill Appalachian State Building on the Caldwell Community College campus. 

"Always a forward thinker, Bobby has played a vital role in bringing communities together and seeking a unified consensus to help make government accountable and beneficial to its people,” Sherry Long, Western Piedmont Council of Governments Assistant Executive Director. “He is known for being a sincere and enthusiastic advocate for Caldwell County and the region. His impact on communities is evident, and his folksy, relaxed demeanor helps make him on of the region’s greatest ambassadors.” 

Other projects White played a key role in include preventing the loss of the National Guard Armory in Caldwell County. White, with the help of North Carolina Representative Cass Ballenger, secured an $8 million grant to demolish the aging armory structure in Lenoir and rebuild it on newly purchased property near Gamwell. He was also involved in the expansion of the Morganton-Lenoir Airport and the construction of the Sheriff’s Office and Health and Human Services Building on Morganton Boulevard.

“I learned from Bobby that people do business with people they know and trust; that relationships are an important part of accomplishing your work,” said Hamilton. 

White received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine as he once again retired from public service.  

Since 1963, North Carolina’s governors have reserved their highest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and  exceptional accomplishments.

Source: Caldwell County