Being Bruce -: North Carolina Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis Addresses the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

North Carolina Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis Addresses the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce

We had another fantabulous North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce speaker luncheon yesterday and it was notable for several reasons.

The first headliner was the speaker herself, of course, Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis. If you don't know her this may sound odd to say about a judge (yes, in the real NC court system, NOT on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars) but Judge Ola is a personal powerhouse, a judicial gem, and a compassionate Rockstar!

I imagine Judge Ola would be pretty tough to be up against from the wrong side of the bench (that's just imagining, no first hand knowledge), but even then there's no question one would be facing a person who combines intense intelligence with burning concern for all the people involved and for our whole region.

May sound like high praise, and it is. One measure that I'm not Judge Ola's only fan is that we had (by far) the largest crowd at a speaker luncheon all this year, with almost 60 active community members taking time from their days to hear the Judge.

In the photo below Judge Ola Lewis (in the center) laughs with NBCC Chamber members and staff before the luncheon.

The second headline of the story is where it was held! Steve Pagley of Antonio's Pizza and Pasta Restaurant has been promising to open the space adjacent to his original restaurant as a much-needed area meeting place and it was finished just in time (the C.O. was issued at 5PM Monday!) Wow, Steve, even though I'd seen the space while it was in transition from a skate and surfboard shop, it looked fabulous! I'm not sure the official room capacity, but we easily seated nearly 60 folks for a virtual panapoly of pizza selections (plus salad, of course).

Below Jay Merritt and Brenda Bozeman check in with Steve Pagley and Chamber Luncheon Chieftress Alice Razzano.

Early arrivals got the first pick of the pizza - Joyce clearly thinks that's a great idea!

NBCC Executive Director Terry Grillo in a quick video welcome:

If you look closely youo can see Chamber President Peggy O'Leary doing her best imitation of Adam Lambert.

Check out the new space. The projection system will be installed next week but the screen's already there.

Justin Williams and Marge Brown plan their personal pizza procurement strategy.

Here's a happy table.

More eager eating.

A view from the line. (My fav, btw, was the crumbled bacon pizza.)

We had two guest speakers prior to the main event, plus a special announcement of a new chamber affinity program. George Murray also showed the brand new banner created for The Buckingham concert on June 20th.

The first guest speaker was Sharon Mariaca, representing the Brunswick Community College Small Business Council. The SBC has many classes and services (many cost-free) for local business owners. In order to assess the needs and preferences of local entrepreneurs the SBC wants to survey as many local businesses as possible. To participate in the survey, contact Sharon at

The second speaker was Michael Roberts, Co-Chairman of the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizens Advisory Committee. Mike spoke with us about the area's many transportation needs, proposed projects, potential funding, and timelines. The name of their overview project is Cape Fear Commutes 2035, aptly focusing on long-term transportation needs of our rapidly-growing region.

To participate in a survey of area transportation needs, go to

The photo below caught Mike in mid-presentation:

I missed the chance to grab a photo of George Murray's super concert banner for The Buckinghams, but the bottom line is there are still sponsorship opportunities available although many have already signed on. The VIP tickets ($45 for preferred seating, a party with the band the night before AND a pre-concert party) are about 2/3 sold out and there are still, to this date, plenty of general admission seating tickets for $25, but sales are moving right along for this sure-to-sell-out concert. Here's the concert poster.

I captured the video clip below to give a quick sense of Judge Ola's presence and energy (this is not the whole presentation, just the first minute or so):

The next five photos, taken as quickly as my flash would recharge, attempt to convey why Judge Ola Lewis is so well respected and loved in our region. Before you look at them, also note that she shared the speaker's position with two participants in the Brunswick County Drug Program - a proactive, very successful program that works to help people with substance issues. Both gentleman were articulate, open, persuasive, and pretty funny, too. (One guy threatened to get out his Bible and keep us there all night!)

After the luncheon Terry Grillo tried to explain the Gina and Ken Schiess and Mike Roberts that if they wanted Tiramasu for dessert they'd have to order it in the restaurant, it was NOT included in the luncheon menu.

Judge Ola's two guests speak with Chamber Ambassador Bob Koenig.

After the luncheon people didn't want to leave.

Plus Dana Fisher wanted to pose with her snazzy black and yellow ensemble (actually I asked to her to, not that she was terribly shy about it - LOL).

Leland Police Community Relations Officer Robert Ernst and Mayor ProTem Brenda Bozeman spoke with Terry Grillo.

The North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce's new affinity program offerred in conjunction with Marge and Bruce Brown of Fat City Cards, an independent SendOutCards distributorship, is a relationship marketing program NBCC members can join to simultaneously help their own businesses maintain great customer relations and help the Chamber of Commerce make money.

During the luncheon it was announced that any NBCC member who signs up as an Entrepreneur with SendOutCards through the Chamber program through June 6th will be entered in a drawing for two VIP tickets to the The Buckinghams concert!

Below Chamber Ambassador and PrePaid Legal representative Monica Clark speaks about how using SendOutCards helps her business.