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October 7, 2019
Contact: Scott Dadson, Executive Director
828-287-2281, ext. 250


Upcoming Meetings and Events

Housing in the Isothermal Region

Invitation to Isothermal Housing Summit

In the Isothermal Region, Owner-occupied home percentages fell from 66.51% in 2000 to 57.37% in 2016.

The Isothermal Regional Commission will hold its first Regional Housing Summit, scheduled for November 7th, 8:30 to 1:00 pm with a $5 lunch, here in Rutherfordton at the Rutherfordton Club House on 210 Clubhouse Dr, Rutherfordton, NC 28139. Our Region includes the Counties of Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, and Cleveland and the towns within same.  Many of our local member governments have identified housing as a major issue in their jurisdiction.  Here at the Commission, we administer the Housing Choice Voucher program for all of the Counties in our region and are a Housing Authority under the Housing and Urban Development program. 

But what is the housing issue? While many of us deal in the area of affordability, senior housing and the like, the “housing issue” lacks a focused definition.  Is the issue home repairs for needy families, available housing, workforce housing, tract housing, middle housing, and the age of current housing stock?  All surface as part of the conversation.  For most, Affordable housing is defined as housing affordable for a household with income of up to eighty percent (80%) of area median income (AMI), and moderate income housing is defined as housing affordable for a household with income that is greater than eighty percent (80%), but not more than one hundred twenty percent (120%) AMI.

There are 109,612 housing units in the Isothermal Region.  14.24% or 15,608 units were built after 2000. 51.44% or 56,381 units were built before 1980.

We would like to get this conversation started and defined at the regional level and we would like your help in this matter.  We are inviting NGO Housing advocates and groups, PHA’s, Regional government managers, planners and elected officials, Health Department, Social Services, Real Estate Agents, Developers, Federal and State Partners to include NC Housing Finance and NC Dept of Commerce, Transportation Planners and providers, Hospitals and other Health Care Providers, Workforce partners, industries, Tourism Folks, Chambers to attend this event and share in the discussion regarding this topic.

In the Isothermal Region, the median income is $47,550. So, 80% of AMI is $39,640 to 120% of AMI is $59,460.

Our Agenda will include a presentation of Isothermal Region Housing Data (study done in 2019), presentation on the Affordable Housing Data, and break-out discussion.

 To RSVP to this event, please click here to respond to the invitation.

If you have any comments or questions regarding this event, please feel free to contact Scott Dadson, Executive Director at 828-287-2281 or at  

Business Courses Coming to Polk County this October


The Foothills Launch initative is excited to be offering two of Mountain BizWorks flagship courses, Foundations & Alpine, in Polk County this October. Foundations, which meets once a week for 6 weeks, is a great fit for those trying to go from concept to creation. Alpine, which meets once a week for 5 weeks, is perfect for existing business owners seeking ways to streamline, strengthen, and ensure their business is making the right critical decisions. 

Learn more and register here! 

Regional Sessions to Inform the NC Strategic Economic Development Plan


Eight Locations Across NC - including Lenoir on October 29

On behalf of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government will host eight regional sessions to collect input from stakeholders across the state that will inform North Carolina’s Strategic Economic Development Plan. A session is available in each of the state’s prosperity zones. Please click here to see a complete list of regional sessions and register for the one you choose to attend.

For more information about this project and what you can expect at the regional sessions, please watch this brief video.

The regional sessions will be critical to creating the state’s new strategic economic development plan, which will guide policymakers and practitioners in their work to generate more economic prosperity to the state. We want to hear from you about what works in your region and what additional supports from the state could maximize opportunities. We expect rich discussions with a gathering of diverse stakeholders.                   

Lunch will be provided. Registration is free, but please register for the regional session you select. Capacity is limited. Once we reach capacity, we will maintain a waiting list and release spaces as they become available. If for any reason you need to change sessions or cannot attend, please email Toogie Hampton at so we can accommodate those on the waiting list.  

Please share this invitation with other individuals who may be interested in participating. We look forward to seeing you this fall in your region.

Regional News

Personnel Changes at the IPDC Offices


There have been several personnel changes at the IPDC office.  These changes are highlighted in the department descriptions found below.

Administration and Finance:

Becky Evans, CPA, our Finance Director has announced her retirement effective December 31, 2019.  Becky has been with us for over three years and her impact can be felt wide and deeply within the organization.  Becky has organized our Financial Services to better serve our Divisions and their Performance Programs with State and Federal Agencies, worked to improve our Health Insurance with her work to Bring on the NCLM MedCost Program, and Improved the IPDC Budgeting process and Financial Quarterly Reporting Program for the IPDC Management and Board of Directors.  She will be missed by all, but we wish her the best as she begins her new adventures in life.

The Commission will be advertising for this essential position soon.  Please see  for further information on this position. 

Community, Economic and Workforce Development

Business Services Representative Brandon Ruppe is currently on leave as he is deployed overseas with the NC National Guard.  He has been gone since July of this year and is expected in Summer to Fall of 2020.  We wish Brandon God Speed and look forward to his returning to the good work that he has done and continues to do for the Region C Workforce Board and the IPDC.

Serving in his stead is Patty Thompson who formerly served as career pathway facilitator for NC Commerce.  She can be reached at or 828-351-9892 for Business Engagement Services. 

Ben Farmer, Project Manager for this division, will be leaving us in October as he embarks on a new position with the Upper Coastal Plains Council of Governments in Wilson, NC as an Economic Development Program Coordinator.  Ben and his Fiancé, both from Raleigh/Zebulon area, will be getting married in February and settling near family there as well as continuing work in Regional Government.  Ben has done a great job for us here in serving and working with our membership on everything from Grant Writing, to park planning, to code enforcement, grant administration and local government assistance.  We wish Ben best of luck on his new adventures!  In the meanwhile, we are advertising this very important position which can be found at

We are advertising for a Program Coordinator with the Rural Planning Organization (Transportation Planning) who will serve as Bike/Ped Coordinator for Rutherford County, under a grant from NCDOT in coordination with the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition and RHI Legacy Foundation and the Region Transportation Planning Services (IRPO)as well as other Technical Assistance for our RPO members in Transportation Planning Services.  Contact Karyl Fuller at or check  out our website for further information at 

Christy Lewis, the Worker Wellness Coordinator for IPDC has taken the Directors position with McDowell Health Coalition.  Congratulations to her on this opportunity and we look forward to our continued work with her as continue to administer the Worker Wellness Program, a product of the Good work of the McDowell Health Coalition, the McDowell Pipeline Committee, Region C Workforce Board and the Kate B. Reynolds Trust.  We are currently advertising for the Worker Wellness Coordinator position here at IPDC and the details can be found at 

And lastly, long time employee of the Region C Workforce Board (IPDC) Diane Hodge has put in for her well deserved retirement at the end of the year.  Diane has been with us here at IPDC for over 30 years and has seen the ups and downs of the local workforce issues from all sides.  Her work has resulted in excellent performance reviews from the State of NC as well as placement of many displaced workers into retraining and retooling opportunities, and on the job training opportunities for employers and employees alike in the Isothermal Region.  She will be missed but her well-deserved retirement will be filled with family and travel.  We wish here the very best and thank her for her services to the Isothermal Region. 

Workforce Director Steve Lockett will be putting together his plans for the department and deployment of resources over the next month.  Look to our newsletter for further information about changes, employment opportunities in Workforce, Economic and Community Development at  

Housing and Community Development:

As you are aware, Kim Johnson came on board as our new Director of Housing here at the Isothermal Regional Housing Authority (IPDC) in August.  With a Board approved Reorganization Plan in January of this year, there have been some additional changes in personnel in the IPDC Housing Division that we wanted folks to be sure of. 

With the promotion of Pam Hall to Assistant Director of Housing, this opened up the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) position (see:  As part of the reorganization of the Department and in an effort to enjoin the Community Development efforts of other parts of IPDC, we have combined this position with our Grant Administrator position.  This position will not only manage the FSS program but is also administering Grants such as CDBG, USDA, and others in helping our membership in the areas of Housing, Utilities, Transportation, and other Community activities.  We were fortunate to bring back Tammy Phillips, formerly of the Region C Workforce Board (IPDC), and recently with Rutherford Hospital to manage these programs.  You can reach Tammy at 

A transfer and promotion opportunity became available for Sharanda Brown, a Housing Program Specialist with our Main Office Quality Control group, to the position of Lead Housing Counselor for the Shelby office.  Sharanda will manage an office of 4 people, to include Housing Counselors and Administrative Support.  The Shelby office manages 60% of the Housing Choice Voucher program portfolio which means over 829 families in Cleveland County.  

The Housing Management program, under Kim Johnsons leadership is in process of transitioning from a paper heavy operation to an on-line management system, in order to promote efficiency and so as to free up office staff to work on Landlord Appreciation and Development and other Community Development activities that promote the addition of affordable Housing Stock in the Isothermal Region.  For more information on our first ever Housing Summit, slated for November 7, 2019 at the Rutherford Clubhouse (see:

From: Executive Director, Scott Dadson
General Office Number 828-287-2281

Come find Mountain BizWorks in McDowell County

Mountain BizWorks has opened its third pop-up office in Marion, McDowell County. Get access to small business capital and business training, and maybe even run into Big Foot, when you stop by our new pop-up office, co-located in Mica Town Brewing. We are open Tuesdays and Wednesdays until mid-November. 

Sign up for a one-on-one consult here:

EDA Seeks Public Input on Opportunity Zones


The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) has published a Request for Information (RFI) notice in the Federal Register seeking public input on how the federal government can better align its economic development programs and resources in order to encourage and facilitate investments in economically distressed communities, including in qualified Opportunity Zones.


EDA requests information and input from stakeholders who support economic development in Opportunity Zones, including state, local, and tribal officials; institutions of higher education; nonprofits, philanthropic organizations and other impact investors; economic development practitioners and other experts in relevant disciplines; and affected stakeholders in the private sector. More information is available here. Comments must be submitted by October 18, 2019.


NADO will be submitting comments and encourages our members to take advantage of the opportunity to submit your input to EDA as well. We also encourage you to share your feedback with NADO as well. Please reach out to Mirielle Burgoyne, NADO Director of Government Relations and Legislative Affairs at with your input and feedback.

IPDC Seeking Finance Director


The Isothermal Regional Commission has an opening for the Director of Finance.  This is a hands-on key organizational financial and management position reporting directly to the Executive Director.

The Finance Department administers numerous federal, state and locally funded programs and projects with the four county-twenty three municipality planning district in the foothills of the Blue ridge and between Charlotte, Asheville, Greenville SC, and Hickory, NC metro area.  This critical position is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of all financial records, accounting activities and budgeting of a governmental regional planning agency. 

Tasks include but are not limited to:  accounting activities, payroll, budgeting, purchasing, preparing and administering cost allocation plans (including indirect cost allocation plans), preparing financial reports to state and federal agencies and personnel administration.  All financial activities are performed in accordance with the NC Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act. 

The Finance Director is a critical member of the Commissions’ management team and will also work to develop the Commissions Back Office Support System with its local membership to provide financial services.

The successful candidate must be well organized, detail oriented, familiar with governmental accounting standards and the NC Local Government Fiscal Control Act, and able to effectively delegate and supervise financial and accounting tasks.  The ideal candidate will be a motivated self-starter, who continually seeks to improve and expand services and can meet crucial deadlines.  This position requires at a minimum a BS Degree in accounting, finance, business administration or related field and considerable experience (5 years minimum preferred) in governmental accounting including federal and state grants accounting and non-profit accounting methods.  A Certified Public Accounting (CPA) designation is required. Job description can be found here.

The Main Office of the Isothermal Commission Office is located at 111 West Court Street, Rutherfordton, NC. A copy of the job description and qualifications can be downloaded by clicking here.

Hiring Range: Grade 32 $66,936 – $95,624

Position is open until filled with first round of review beginning on November 1, 2019.

Final candidates will be subject to a background check followed by an interview process with the selection committee.  This position has a competitive salary (depending on the experience of the candidate) and an excellent benefit to include NC Retirement, Health Plan for employee, 401(k), paid holidays, and professional continued education. 

A job application is linked at the top of this page. Resume, cover letter, and signed application must be submitted to Executive Director Scott Dadson:


Special Training on Domestic Violence in October

United Way of Rutherford County is working with a collaborative group to host a special training on Domestic Violence in October. We're bringing in a nationally renowned trainer/speaker for this event. This training is multi-disciplinary and open to those who want to learn more about the topics listed on the flyer. We encourage you to please share it with your contacts across the region. Those who might find it highly useful include law enforcement, EMS, DSS workers, behavioral health providers, ED staff, medical providers, social workers/school counselors, those working in agencies that serve individuals affected by domestic violence, shelter workers, and other human service providers. CEUs are available for law enforcement officers and some other disciplines as explained on the registration site.

The event brite registration link is open, click here. FYI- day two of this training is for Rutherford County professionals only please as it is dedicated to collaborating and problem solving across local systems.

Economic & Workforce Development

2019 NC Rural Assembly Registration is Open!

New Opportunity Zone Web Resource Available


The newly created White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council's Opportunity Zones web page can be found here.  On the site, there is a page dedicated to Investors, Local Leaders, and Entrepreneurs.  You can also find information about the Council, Opportunity Zone News, a photo gallery, and additional resources including a map of all Opportunity Zones in the nation.

Click here to go directly to the Council's Opportunity Zone map.

To learn more about IPDC's role in promoting the region's Opportunity Zones and for Opportunity Zone resources, visit our page here. 

Click here to learn more about IPDC's Membership Capacity Building and Technical Assistance. 
NC State Rural Works! Employer Internship Opportunities

Rural Works!

NC State University’s Rural Works! program brings qualified, high-caliber students to your business for paid summer internships.  We are currently seeking employers to host interns for summer 2020. Rural Works! welcomes private, public, government and nonprofit organizations in rural communities to participate in the program.  
Watch this video to hear employers and students share their experience with Rural Works!

Employer Eligibility

In order to participate in the Rural Works! program, employers must meet certain criteria, including:
  • Being located in or work with a rural community in North Carolina
  • Being able to compensate the intern a minimum of $10 per hour for 40 hours a week for 10-12 weeks
  • Being willing to help identify housing in the community for the intern
  • Providing the intern with interim and post internship feedback (template will be provided)
  • Completing a post internship evaluation survey
  • Agreeing to provide each student 8 hours of compensated time to conduct or participate in a community engagement activity outside of their job to deepen their understanding of the community
  • Agreeing to meet Rural Works! deadlines


  • Submit the Employer Interest Form by October 11, 2019
  • Submit the Internship Description Form by October 31, 2019 (form will be posted on ePack)
  • Rural Works! will promote the internship opportunity to NC State students November 2019- February 2020
  • Employers will review applications, conduct interviews, and hire an intern by March 25, 2020
  • Employers should complete the Employer Hiring Form once they have selected an intern (no later than March 25, 2020)
  • Employers may begin their hiring process on October 1, 2019. All hiring must be complete by March 25, 2020.

Support from Rural Works!

The Rural Works! coordinator is available to assist employers throughout the entire process.  If you need help creating an internship description, developing interview questions or onboarding the intern-- we can help. If you would like to hold interviews on campus, we can reserve space for you.  
Students that participate in the Rural Works! internship program are required to attend an orientation on campus in late April 2020.   The orientation includes an overview of the Rural Works! program, professional and leadership development activities and prepares students for their internship experience.  Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, be enrolled full time and be clear of suspension/expulsions and current disciplinary sanctions. The Rural Works! coordinator will verify these requirements. 
Rural Works! aims to help rural employers achieve their workplace goals while providing NC State students with a hands-on internship experience. If you are interested in participating, please contact Rebekah Dunstan at or 919.515.1575.
Project Manager
Economic and Community Development Division

The Isothermal Regional Commission has an opening for Project Manager in the Economic and Community Development Division. A Project Manager performs economic development, local government management and regional planning work in the Isothermal Region.  This position is expected to interact with the Member Governments and their partners accordingly. 
An employee in this class performs professional economic and community development work for the Commission.  Project work may include but is not limited to researching and analyzing data; preparation of reports, spreadsheets, and presentations; preparing planning recommendations; presenting to member governments and the public; maintaining social media accounts, and; providing technical assistance to local government members.  The employee may develop new projects and seek funding to support them.  Work requires independent judgment and initiative in the performance of duties.  Work is performed primarily in an inside environment.  Work is performed under general supervision and is evaluated through conferences, observation, reports, progress on projects, and feedback from the clients.
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a major in business, planning or related field, and some experience in a non-profit organization or in municipal, county or regional government; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.  Master’s degree Preferred.
The Main Office of the Isothermal Commission Office is located at 111 West Court Street, Rutherfordton, NC. A copy of the job description and qualifications can be downloaded by clicking here or found at

Hiring Range: Grade 19 $35,497 - $50,711

Position is open until filled with the first round of review beginning on November 1, 2019. 

Final candidates will be subject to a background check followed by an interview process with the selection committee.  Background Check required. This position has a competitive salary (depending on the experience of the candidate) and an excellent benefit package to include NC Retirement, Health Plan for employee.  This position is open until filled.
Applications are accessed on the Isothermal Planning Commission Website at  Resume, cover letter, and signed application must be submitted to Steve Lockett:
Isothermal Planning and Development Commission is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer.


Housing Survey for Governments in the Isothermal Region

The Isothermal Regional Commission is putting together a Housing Summit, scheduled for November 7, 2019  at the Rurtherfordton Clubhouse in Rutherfordton, to help identify issues around Housing in the Region.  Our Region includes the Counties of Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, and Cleveland and the towns within same.  Many of our local member governments have identified housing as a major issue in their jurisdiction.  Here at the Commission, we administer the Housing Choice Voucher program for all of the Counties in our region and are a Housing Authority under the Housing and Urban Development program. 

While many of us deal in the area of affordability, access to housing, tax credits for low income housing, senior housing and the like, the issue of housing is a broad question when discussing this with our membership.  Issues such as workforce housing, tract housing, middle housing, and the age of current housing stock also surface as part of the conversation. 

We would like to get this conversation started and defined at the regional level and we would like your help in this matter. Affordable housing is defined as housing affordable for a household with income of up to eighty percent (80%) of area median income (AMI), and moderate income housing is defined as housing affordable for a household with income that is greater than eighty percent (80%), but not more than one hundred twenty percent (120%) AMI.

Using Senate Bill 316 as a guide, we are interested in gathering information about our local government’s role in Housing in the Isothermal Region.  We are looking to map the different types of initiatives in our region and learn what others are doing as well.

We have developed a survey on this issue and would invite you to participate in this specific survey, designed for our local governments for response.  While this survey is designed for our participating Local Governments in the Isothermal Region, we will be also doing surveys for the other groups in our Region, who have a stake in the Affordable Housing arena, in order to gain better insight into the work that is being done in our region to address this important issue.  

As of Friday, October 4th, we have received 9 responses out of 37 government members in our Region, to our Housing Survey. To access this survey, please click here 

If you have any comments or questions regarding this event, please feel free to contact Scott Dadson, Executive Director at 828-287-2281 or at  
Isothermal Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) Wait List will open soon
The Isothermal Regional Commission’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Program) is improving its ability to serve all four counties in the most efficient and effective way possible.
  • HCV applications will be taken online at  
  • Applicants will be able to check the status of their application online and update their information at any time they wish
  • The HCV waiting list will be opening soon and the Department will be accepting 1000 applications to its waiting list

On line waiting list can be found at this link:

Rural Transportation

Shared by IRPO–Build NC Funds Applied to Rutherfordton Bypass


Start of construction targeted for next summer

ASHEVILLE – The N.C. Department of Transportation recently informed local officials in Rutherford County that two projects to construct the U.S. 221 Rutherfordton Bypass have been placed on the 2020 Build N.C. bond issuance list.

The announcement allows for preliminary engineering and right-of-way negotiations to resume after being suspended due to statewide cost constraints several weeks ago. 

This construction project will build a new four-lane highway with a median and three interchanges between U.S. 74 and Roper Loop Road. The section from Charlotte Road to Roper Loop Road will have a contract awarded in July 2020 followed within weeks by the start of construction at an estimated construction cost of $92 million.

The section from U.S. 74 to Charlotte Road is scheduled for right-of-way acquisition in June of 2020 and construction beginning in 2023, with an estimated construction cost of $97 million. 

Build N.C. is a financing tool that helps ensure NCDOT can continue strong delivery of critical road projects at the regional and division tiers that do not qualify for a similar federal funding tool. 

“We know this new highway will provide a safer and quicker transportation route for thousands of people who live and work in Rutherford and the surrounding counties,” Division 13 Assistant Construction Engineer Nathan Moneyham said. “This is an excellent use of Build N.C. funds. It’s anexcellent example of funding a local project that will help a lot of people.” 

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is coming to Tryon International Equestrian Center

The show will be held at Tryon International Equestrian Center, 4066 Pea Ridge Road, Mill Spring, from Nov. 21 to Jan. 6, according to Shadrack’s website.

The event will include over two miles of custom-made displays.

The hours of operations will be 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6 to 10 p.m. or later Saturday and Sundays. Holiday dates are included. They are anticipating high car volumes Fridays-Sundays….

For more info, see the article link below.


Thank you for subscribing to our regional newsletter!


Isothermal Planning and Development Commission
111 West Court Street Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Phone: (828) 287-2281
Fax: (828) 287-2735

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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission · 111 West Court Street · Post Office Box 841 · Rutherfordton, NC 28139 · USA

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