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Alex Lee Leadership Lecture Series

The Charles M. Snipes School of Business and Economics of Lenoir-Rhyne University in partnership with the Alex Lee Foundation has announced its speakers for the 2018 Alex Lee Leadership Lecture Series. Speakers will share their individual experiences and insights as successful leaders. All presentations are scheduled for Wednesday evenings at 6 pm in the Fintel Room of the McCrorie Center. Convo Credit is available for students.

All events are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required. For more information, email Clem Geitner or call 828.328.7346.

Series Schedule

Jan. 31 - Dr. Fred Whitt

Jan. 31
Dr. Fred Whitt
President, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Dr. Fred Whitt became Lenoir-Rhyne University’s 12th President on February 1, 2017. A native of Mt. Holly, N.C., Dr. Whitt brings over 30 years of successful leadership experience in higher education to Lenoir-Rhyne.

Most recently, he served as founding dean of the Beaver College of Health Sciences at his alma mater, Appalachian State University. He served in that capacity beginning in 2010, when he was appointed to lead the development of the first new college at ASU in over 40 years. Whitt earned his doctorate from the University of Tennessee, and his Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from ASU. Prior to joining ASU, he served as dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia Southern University from 1992 to 2010.

Dr. Whitt and his wife Donna have been married for 39 years and are the proud parents of two adult married sons.

Feb. 7 - Randy Isenhower

Feb. 7
Randy Isenhower
Chair, Catawba County Board of Commissioners

C. Randall (Randy) Isenhower began his role with the Catawba County Board of Commissioners in 2010 and currently serves as board chair. He is chair of the Golden LEAF Foundation, a statewide agency whose mission is to make grants for rural, economically depressed areas of the state. He served as past chair of the Newton-Conover City Schools Board of Education.

A Newton native, Isenhower attended Newton-Conover City Schools and graduated from Newton-Conover High School. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School. He is an attorney with the law firm of Sigmon, Sigmon & Isenhower in Newton from 1979 to the present and has been a partner in the firm since 1983.

Isenhower’s community involvement has been extensive, including current service on the Partners Behavioral Health Management Board and the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee.

He and his wife, Carmen, live in Newton and have two daughters, Charlotte and Whitney.

Feb. 28 - John Gordon Ross

Feb. 28
John Gordon Ross
Music Director and Conductor, Western Piedmont Symphony

When he was 15, John Gordon Ross began conducting a church choir and has been directing ever since, including nine years in various northeast Ohio positions and 10 years as conductor of the Kingsport (Tennessee) Symphony and Youth Orchestras and Symphony Chorus. Since 1991, Ross has been the music director and conductor of the Western Piedmont Symphony and Youth Symphony. After 27 seasons, he will officially retire on July 1 with plans to appear as guest conductor at some non-Masterworks concerts through fall 2018. He will also serve as interim music director of the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra in Ohio during summer 2018.

At LRU, Ross has served as an adjunct instructor in the music department and led the A Capella Choir for two semesters during the tenure of Paul D. Weber, Ph.D. He is also a regular community performer with both the LRU Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble.

March 21 - David Moore

March 21
David Moore
President, Hickory Mechanical, Inc.

In 1985, David Moore, a third-generation mechanical contractor, founded Hickory Mechanical, Inc., after having worked for several years with other mechanical companies in various capacities. Hickory Mechanical believes in being a responsible corporate citizen and supports a broad number of local organizations and nonprofits both with monetary and personal involvement. Moore has held leadership positions in both civic and trade groups at state as well as national levels and has been recognized as HVAC Contractor of the Year. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from LRU.

Moore’s community involvement has been extensive, including service on the Chamber of Commerce Board, Hickory Rotary Club, and the North Carolina Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors.

He and his wife, Sara, live in the area and have a son, Adam, and daughter, Emily.

March 28 - Sheree B. Watson

March 28
Sheree B. Watson
CEO, Graystone Eye

Sheree Watson’s health care career began at Watauga Hospital in Boone, where she established the first full-time physical therapy service for that institution. She quickly moved into both a leadership and clinical role immediately as a new graduate physical therapist and loved both the clinical and business aspects of health care. Her management experience continued at Frye Regional Medical Center, where she spent nine years in the establishment and development of its physical rehabilitation programs. Over the next 10 years, she was involved in establishing, developing, and managing rehabilitation services in freestanding clinics, hospitals, and industrial settings for three different corporations – an operation that grew into a 63 facility, six-state network. Watson has held the chief executive officer role for Graystone Eye for the past 17 years, where she is responsible for overall strategic and operational leadership of the organization.

Watson’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Science in health professions leadership from Georgia State University.

Watson has served on several boards including past chair of the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, past Vice President of the North Carolina Physical Therapy Association, and a four-term member of the Board of Trustees at North Carolina Baptist Hospital/Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where she currently serves as the board chair. She has also served on the advisory board for the Division of Physical Therapy at UNC Chapel Hill and is a current member of the advisory board for LRU’s Charles M. Snipes School of Business and Economics.

Locally, Watson has served as a deacon, deacon chair, and chaired several committees at First Baptist Church, Hickory. She is a current board member and former board chair for the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. She also serves as an inaugural board member for the innovative K-64 initiative for education and workforce development in Catawba County.

A native of Burnsville, N.C., Watson has lived in the Hickory area for 34 years, with her husband, Mike, a financial advisor for Mass Mutual. They are empty nesters with two grown children.

April 11 - Alan Barnhardt

April 11
Alan Barnhardt
Executive Director, Catawba Science Center

Since 2009, Alan Barnhardt has served as the executive director of the Catawba Science Center. He is an advocate for environmental education and is an active community volunteer. Barnhardt began his career as the founder of Alanby Outfitting for Outdoors, a specialty retailer located in Charlotte. N.C., and Greenville, S.C. After 24 years in retail, he joined the staff of the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, N.C., where he expanded the programming and doubled visitation over a period of 10 years. Barnhardt earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Clemson University and a master’s degree in organizational development from McColl School of Business.

Barnhardt has served as chair of the Hickory Bond Commission, Riverwalk Committee and secretary for the Lake Hickory Rotary Club, who awarded him the 2015 Rotarian of the Year.