CCCC's Nancy Blackman celebrates retirement
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By KEILAH GOFF, From The Daily Record of Dunn. Well-wishers filled the banquet room at the Triangle South Enterprise Center Tuesday to celebrate the retirement of the dynamic woman instrumental in success of the small business incubator.
In her 25 years as director of the center, Nancy Blackman has helped numerous local budding entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground with affordable office space, shared support services, solid advice and assistance with grants and loans.
The organization has operated in affiliation with the Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center and with the Dunn Area Committee of 100 Inc. since 1990. Mrs. Blackman has been at the helm since the beginning.
Her dedication earned her recognition as the N.C. Business Incubation Association Incubator Manager of the Year for 2009 and 2012. She was also named Dunn's Woman of the Year Award in 2005.
Dr. Marvin R. Joyner -- who hired Mrs. Blackman for the position -- served as president of Central Carolina Community College from 1983 to 2004. During that time, the first community college Small Business Assistance Center in North Carolina was started.
He recalled Mrs. Blackman's first days on the job setting up the program in the old Magnolia Avenue School building were not glamorous ones.
"One of Nancy's first jobs was to get the pigeon poop out of this place -- because the windows were all open and pigeons had taken over," said Dr. Joyner. "The rest, as we say, is history."
Those who addressed the guests spoke of her can-do attitude, her skills and knowledge and of the thousands of jobs she helped create in the area.
County Commissioner and Dunn Area Committee of 100 president Abe Elmore said, "We have created over 4,000 jobs out of this old school building, and I give this lady 99 percent of the credit."
"Nancy's longevity in this position with the college speaks volumes," said Bill Tyson, provost of the CCCC Harnett County campus.
Dunn Mayor Oscar Harris pointed out that Mrs. Blackman played an integral part in Dunn being named an All-American City, both in 1989 and 2013 when she served on the All-American Award Committee and traveled to Denver, Colo. for the presentation.
Curtis Parker, owner of Parker Tech and a former tenant in the center, told the story of founding his business and the how the assistance from Mrs. Blackman got him off the ground.
"I am happy you are retiring - for you - but, I also know you leave some very big shoes to fill," he said.
Mrs. Blackman's plans for retirement sound anything but restful. She said she will continue to do contract work with the Dunn Area Committee of 100 loan fund to help ease the transition.
"I am not sure if it's going to be six months, a year, a year and a half -- whatever -- because, I think it will be a bit much to try to transition everything over to somebody," she said.
"I am going to stay active with the chamber, because they have been wonderfully supportive over the years. I am going to still stay on some of the other boards that I am involved with. I plan to travel a little bit more, and might be able to do something with my grandchildren," she added, laughing. "I am not going to go home and clean out closets."
Mrs. Blackman took time at the podium to recognize all who attended and reflected on her career.
"I think you can measure the success of your career by what you have done for others," she said.
She closed her remarks with some of her favorite quotes, including one that definitely defined her positive attitude.
"If you like your job, you never go to work," she said.
Before inviting guests to join in the "Electric Slide" - a nod to Mrs. Blackman's involvement with the Harnett Area Shag Association and the Plain View Kickers - Dr. Pamela Senegal, CCCC vice president of economic and community development, made a prediction.
"My suspicion is that you are going to fail retirement, and when you are tired of being retired, come on back to us," she said.
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