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Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Announces 4 Winners Under 40 | Local News

BOONE – Four emerging leaders and a revered community advocate have been honored at the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s 6th Annual 4 Under 40 Awards. The event was staged Thursday night in front of a crowd of more than 150 attendees at The Mill at Rock Creek in Boone. The 4 Under 40 awards are presented annually by Appalachian Commercial Real Estate.

Over 30 nominations were submitted by members of the local community and 16 finalists were recognized at the event. Applicants were sought in the categories of business owner, education professional, non-profit business professional and rising star.

Business Owner: Megan Ward, The Care Collective






Megan Ward, The Care Collective.




Megan Ward is from Watauga County, grew up in Zionville, attends Mabel School and is a graduate of Watauga High School. She stayed close to home to attend Appalachian State University, where she earned a degree in business management and minors in art and art history in 2007.

Shortly after graduation, Megan began her journey to become a massage therapist, completing her training and earning a full license in 2010. Her first business venture opened Everybody Massage & Bodywork in 2011. Four years later, she opened The Care Collective inside Shear Shakti downtown. Boone, hiring its first employee in 2015.

After six years of successful downtown business, Megan has moved The Care Collective to a new space inside the Forestview Professional Building on State Farm Road, expanding services and growing its staff to 16 professionals. The Care Collective team works from the mission of conscientiously serving the community, helping clients heal injuries, avoid surgery, find relief from chronic pain, reduce stress and maintain a body without pain.

Additional finalists: Carrie Canviness, Interface Environmental Consulting, LLC; Angela Heavner, 180 Float Spa; Bryan Kossol, Everyone’s Loaded Cookie.

Education Professional: Dr. Jamie Parson, Acting Director of Diversity, Appalachian State University







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Dr. Jamie Parson, Appalachian State




Dr. Jamie Parson is Acting Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Professor in the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance at Appalachian State University. She teaches undergraduate courses in business law and insurance. Parson previously led the Inclusive Excellence Team at Walker College of Business, served as the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center, and served on numerous boards and committees.

Prior to coming to Appalachian, Parson served as a Title VII Investigator for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission and Special Investigative Unit Liaison and Fire Claims Representative for the State Farm Insurance Company.

Parson holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology-Anthropology from Wesleyan University of Nebraska and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska School of Law in Lincoln, Nebraska. His research interests focus primarily in the area of ​​insurance regulation, including significant involvement in the passage of the North Carolina Foster Care Family Act.

Additional finalists: Dustin Kerley, Watauga County Schools; Dr. Katie Talbert, Lees-McRae College; Laura Turner, Watauga County Schools.

Nonprofit Business Professional: Caroline Poteat, Director of Development, Blue Ridge Conservancy







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Caroline Poteat, Blue Ridge Conservatory.




Caroline Poteat was born and raised in Drexel, North Carolina. After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from American University in Washington, DC, she moved to Boone in 2006 to pursue her graduate studies at Appalachian State University. She holds a master’s degree in Appalachian studies and geography. Since 2018, Caroline has been Director of Development for Blue Ridge Conservancy.

Prior to joining the Conservancy, she served as executive director of the Valle Crucis Community Park for nearly a decade. Caroline is passionate about philanthropy and community service, particularly related to the environment and women’s issues. Its past board and committee members include the High Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Girls on the Run of the High Country, Blue Ridge Conservancy Land Care and Stewardship Committees, High Country Local First, and the Town of Boone Planning Commission and Affordable Housing Task. Strength. She is a member of the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club and serves as Vice Chair of the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge Board of Directors.

In 2021, Caroline was honored as a Trailblazer by Business North Carolina magazine, recognizing professionals under the age of 40 who work in North Carolina cities and towns with populations under 100,000.

Additional finalists: Alex Fish, Valle Crucis Conference Center; Sarah Grady, Watauga County Habitat for Humanity; Tom Henry, director of Appalachia

Rising Star: Danielle Neibaur, General Manager, The Horton Hotel







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Danielle Neibaur, The Horton Hotel.




Danielle Neibaur was born and raised in Homestead, Florida. After graduating from high school, she moved to the High Country to become an App State Mountaineer.

She graduated from Appalachian State University in May 2018 with degrees in hospitality and tourism management, marketing, and a minor in dance. As an undergraduate, Danielle held leadership positions in several campus organizations and completed an internship with The Walt Disney Company. It was through the Disney internship that she discovered a passion for customer service and landed a position at The Inn at Crestwood, where she started as a front desk associate and worked her way up to General Manager. . Danielle coordinated a renovation of the facility and worked tirelessly to keep the doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also found time to complete her Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership and Human Resource Management at Appalachian State, graduating in 2020.

In February 2022, she accepted the position of General Manager of the Horton Hotel in downtown Boone. Danielle continues to look for opportunities to get involved and volunteer with organizations across the High Country.

Additional finalists: Jaco Gerbrands, Allen Tate Realtors; Megan Mason, Lost Province Brewing Co.; Nicole Norman, Town of Blowing Rock.

Respect Your Elder Award: Reba Moretz, Appalachian Ski Mountain







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Reba Moretz, Appalachian Ski Mountain.




Reba Moretz is a pioneer in the sectors of education and tourism which have been characteristic elements of the unique quality of life of the High Country.

Earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Appalachian State Teacher’s College in the early 1950s, her career in education began as a local educator, teaching at Parkway School for eight years as a as a class and music teacher. In 1968, she and her husband Grady opened Appalachian Ski Mountain, and Moretz’s passion for education helped lay the groundwork for the creation of the Collège de ski franco-suisse, a ski school that initiated people of all ages to winter sports activities and serve as a catalyst for the exponential growth of the ski industry that we see today in the southeastern United States.

While Moretz was a formative figure in creating North Carolina’s ski industry, Appalachian State University remained a priority for the education advocate. Her campus experience began earlier than most, moving to Boone with her family when she was three years old. Her father, Dr. Wiley F. Smith, taught at Appalachian from 1936 to 1964 and was the first chair of the Department of Psychology. She has known every president or chancellor of the university, from Dr. BB Dougherty to the current chancellor, Dr. Sheri N. Everts.

Throughout his career, Moretz has devoted countless hours advising university boards and committees. She was a member of the Appalachian State University board of trustees for eight years and also served on the university’s board of visitors. In 2015, the Appalachian State Alumni Association presented Moretz with an Outstanding Service Award at its annual Alumni Awards ceremony, citing his outstanding service to the university. She and her family have financially supported many areas of the university and lent their expertise to help create many landmark programs, such as An Appalachian Summer Festival.

Whether through its professional associations or support roles with community service organizations, Moretz has set the standard for mentoring and supporting students and young business leaders. While she was an Appalachian state administrator, the visibility and openness of her campus as a communicator gave faculty, staff, and students a strong voice and a willing advocate to meet the needs of a growing university. The time she spent talking to young professionals about business and life decisions is matched only by her persistence in following up those she mentored, making sure they had trusted support. which would fuel the confidence they would use to seize the next opportunity in life.

“The depth and experience represented in this year’s group of finalists once again demonstrates the quality of emerging talent that will guide our community through our next set of challenges and opportunities,” said David Jackson, President of Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s meaningful and exciting to see women making a clean sweep of each of our categories. It is a visible sign that communities like ours are strengthened by embracing all perspectives. Reba Moretz is a shining example of the impact women have had at pivotal times in the development of our community. The achievements displayed by those recognized today will further motivate the next generation of leaders who will guide our community in the years to come.

This showcase of emerging leaders is presented by Appalachian Commercial Real Estate with additional support provided by Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business. Sponsors of the award included Mast General Store, Spangler Restoration, Beech Mountain Resort and Truist.