Name: Tommy Hester
City of Residence: Henderson
County of Residence: Vance County
Appointed by: Governor
Golden LEAF Board Leadership Roles: Treasurer (2018-2019), Secretary (2016-2017)
Describe your role with the NC Rural Infrastructure Authority and how that intersects with being on the Golden LEAF Board.
I serve on the NC Rural Infrastructure Authority as the Board Chairman. The RIA awards grants in rural counties for infrastructure, businesses and education.
What activities or leadership roles do you provide for the community?
I am currently serving a 4th term as a Vance County Commissioner. I also serve as Chair of Vance County Economic Development Commission Board of Directors and for thirty consecutive years have served the community as a member and past president of the Rotary organization. I am also actively involved with the Vance County Chamber of Commerce and served as an ex-officio Director of the Board. In December 2016, I received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Governor Pat McCrory. In 2017, I was recognized as Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. In 2017, I was recognized as Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce.
What is your connection to rural, tobacco-dependent or economically distressed areas?
I am a life-long resident of Vance County, which is a rural tobacco-dependent county. My wife, Jenny, was also raised in rural, tobacco-dependent Northampton County. I attended Chowan College my first two years of higher education studies and then graduated from Campbell University with a bachelor’s degree. The economies of all these areas were farming and tobacco driven.
How does your personal and/or professional life complement Golden LEAF’s mission and priorities?
My priorities as a county commissioner and my goals and objectives in serving on these Boards is to assist and advance education and job creation in rural and economically distressed counties of North Carolina.
What are you most excited about seeing happen in economic development in rural NC in the next 5-10 years?
I am excited about assisting and contributing to the continued success of rural counties to develop and be more economically independent.
What do you want people to know about the Golden LEAF Foundation?
Golden LEAF is a Foundation that has continuously assisted in economic development and education in North Carolina, especially in rural counties. I am proud of the service that the Foundation has provided in contributing to rural North Carolina’s financial stability and growth.