Sally (left) and Rep Tillis (middle)

Sitting with my husband in the Cabarrus County suite at the Coca-Cola 600 this past May, I was truly enjoying the feeling of intense energy as the cars sped by.  We were fortunate enough to have been invited by Donna Carpenter, the CEO of the Cabarrus CVB, a great partner of our organization, and a wonderful friend as well.

 While listening to the rushing sounds, I became aware of the discussions of the crew chiefs as the commentators tuned into them.  I started to think about all the different things that a chief and his spotter could see that a driver could not, and how much faith the driver needs to have in following certain directives, especially when he may not be able to see what is coming around the turn.

As a yellow flag slowed the intensity for a moment, I watched the pit crews descend on the race cars quickly to get their drivers and cars whatever was needed to continue the race.  It is amazing how many people have to work together in their respective roles just for a single car to cross the finish line.  Of course, in thinking about the teamwork and support, my mind turned to the race track that I feel like Visit Lake Norman (VLN) has been on for the last few months.  So many people involved with our organization have worked tirelessly, stopping for those brief precious moments to refuel before continuing to speed on ahead.

As if on cue from my thoughts, Thom Tillis, the Speaker for the NC House of Representatives joined us for a minute to say hello. Thom has been part of a larger crew, our state legislature, working with his team to get our state across the finish line.  While Thom and our County Delegation have been focused on significant statewide issues, they have been critical to issues back here at home.

After Thom moved on to greet another group, I began to think about how different people may perceive the same race.  It may seem to a casual observer that the driver is in it alone, or that it is all up to the chief to make it happen.  However, the truth is that behind it all there is an entire crew of folks that are just as invested, just as passionate and just as dedicated in making it to the finish.  They are all behind the effort hoping that the hard work each contributed will withstand the challenges to be met in order to cross the finish line.

In our case, VLN may be the driver of the car for travel and tourism, but we would not be where we are without the incredible crew behind us. We are not alone in our efforts ensuring that our industry will continue to provide economic benefit and return to the residents and businesses of our Lake Norman region.

I know that regardless of what the future holds for our organization I have been a part of since its inception on 2001, we could not have reached the potential that we have demonstrated, or created the impacts that we have made without our own crew and chiefs.

We have an incredible team that is committed for the next race!

Sally Ashworth

Executive Director