Two New Leaders Join Commission Board

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Two longtime leaders from business and government were sworn in this summer as members of North Carolina’s Southeast Commission’s board of directors. Beth Dawson of New Hanover County and Cleveland Simpson of Pender County have now begun their three-year terms on the Commission’s 15-member governing board.

Ms. Dawson is a real estate broker and former banker from Wilmington. She launched her career as a banking professional in1978 with North Carolina National Bank (NCNB). NCNB later became Bank of America, from which she retired in 2000. Ms. Dawson served two terms on the Board of Trustees of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center and is currently a member of the Cape Fear Museum of History and Science Advisory Board. She was educated at Salem Academy and North Carolina State University. She is married to Dan Dawson, vice president at WK Dickson & Co., a Wilmington civil engineering firm.

Mr. Simpson, who resides in Rocky Point, served on the Pender County Board of Commissioners from 1994 to 2000. In 2000, he was appointed by then-Governor Jim Hunt as assistant secretary for community development at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Mr. Simpson continued serving in that role during the Easley Administration before returning to Pender County in 2009. “Being on the Southeast Commission board allows me to move from the policy-making aspect of economic development to the implementation part on the ground,” he says. Mr. Simpson is also a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force. His 26-year military career took him to Korea, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Spain, as well as several stateside postings and an assignment at the Pentagon. 

“With the addition of these two outstanding regional leaders, North Carolina’s Southeast Commission now taps an extraordinary array of talent and experience from both the public and private sectors,” says Commission Chairman Jane W. Smith. Reappointed to the Commission’s board this summer were Delilah B. Blanks (Bladen County), Mary H. “Meezie” Childs (Brunswick County), Billy D. Horne (Cumberland County), Wyatt G. Upchurch (Hoke County) and J.D. Willis (Scotland County). “We look forward to the fresh ideas and insight our new board members bring, complementing the seasoned leadership from those who are returning,” Ms. Smith adds.

Appointments to the Commission board are made by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the N.C. House and N.C. Senate President Pro Tem.