Kevin Harris, Rocky Mount Downtown Development Manager Retires

A Main Street building, unoccupied and silent is now the new offices of Rocky Mount Downtown Development. The repurposed space that Architect Milan Mehta designed is another successful project in his portfolio. The repurposed historic building speaks to what Preservation, Restoration, and Repurposing can be. A tribute to Architect Milan Mehta is in order. What a creative impact you are making. Not a bad life, preserving, restoring, and repurposing yesterday’s Main Street and beyond. Thank you.

I count the new office as a preservation model; a source of pride in the revitalization line-up downtown. You know me well enough by now to know I had some happy tears for this success story. Here is the link to a Main Street blog post I wrote about the ribbon cutting with interior photos.

I hope you will take time to read this past Blog Post, one of several I have written about the significant role of a Downtown Development Manager.

There is a great candidate that should be at the top of the list to fill this vacant position. TIERRA NORWOOD, whose resume is amazing, but beyond that is a beautiful person inside and out. She has this caring heart, a passion for small businesses, a great understanding of the revitalization of Rocky Mount that is necessary to build a future. These are some highlights from an article written about her in March 2020.

A native of Rocky Mount, Norwood graduated from Rocky Mount High School in 2008. She went on to earn a certificate in radio and television broadcasting from the Carolina School of Broadcasting in Charlotte.

“I have worked with WLNK 107.9 FM, the Bob and Sheri Morning Show, WBT 1110 AM, WGIV 103.3 as a copywriter for Mr. Bizness and Charlotte Magazine,” she said.

While in Charlotte, Norwood even performed standup comedy at the Comedy Zone and led an improv comedy troupe.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in marketing at N.C. Wesleyan College, Tierra served as a program associate at the state Department of Commerce, where she worked with the Main Street and Rural Planning Center staff to create strategic economic development plans for communities receiving services through a new initiative, Downtown Strong.

Through her work with Downtown Rocky Mount, she assisted entrepreneurs and small business owners in starting and growing businesses. That is what Norwood is known for — making a difference in the lives of others.

In May 2020, she was named director of the Small Business Center at Nash Community College. At the college, she provides free, confidential counseling services for new and existing businesses in the community as well as seminars, a complimentary resource center, business and industry training and local educational partnerships.

“I treat others as I would like to be treated and get the most fulfillment from being able to do something to support the happiness and success of others,” she said. “I have learned when you do what you love and you walk in your purpose, you are never working.”

Norwood is a respected advisor for new and existing businesses and for people who dream of one day owning their own business.

“It has been an eventful few years assisting small businesses as they rise to the challenges presented by the pandemic,” she said. “I am grateful for the support of the North Carolina Small Business Center Network for community college centers around the state as we navigate and support our local businesses through these uncharted waters.”

Norwood has led successful Ice House and Launch Rocky Mount programs, grown the NCC Small Business Center partner list, assisted with the establishment of the new Minority Economic Development Committee with the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce and worked with Nash County Economic Development to identify public Wi-Fi locations and contacts throughout Nash County in order to expand services to additional areas of the county.

Through the R3 initiative, every Small Business Center in North Carolina received an additional allocation to help businesses affected by the pandemic. NCC’s Small Business Center received $51,000. This supported Tierra’s establishment of a Small Business Wellness Clinic at NCC to help new businesses continue startup efforts previously halted by the pandemic and to assist established businesses in creating and retaining positions.

“It brings me so much joy knowing that every day I can make a difference in someone’s life,” she said.

Norwood is a trailblazer in the N.C. Community College System, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2021, she was the recipient of the N.C. Small Business Center Network’s Rookie of the Year award for her outstanding performance on the job and significant growth in the Nash Community College Small Business Center.

I will be adding to her resume a list of current responsibilities ASAP. All of you that know Tierra’s work agree with me that she is an excellent choice for this significant position. Those of you that have not had the pleasure, trust me, Tierra is what we need in this vital role for downtown economic development.

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