Business Buzz: 8/9/23

August 9, 2023


  • IFB Solutions, the top U.S. employer of visually impaired individuals, recently honored standout personnel in their 2023 Employee Awards. Tony Brake, visually impaired and a Georgia Academy for the Blind graduate, earned Asheville Facility Employee of the Year. Former fast-food manager Brake excelled in packaging and assembly roles despite vision loss. His adaptability, commitment, and leadership led to this recognition. Additionally, David Horton received the Commodore Funderburk Visionary Award for advancing opportunities for the blind. Demarious Bowens, visually impaired, made strides from machine operator to finance in IFB’s Winston-Salem branch. Angela Jordan’s problem-solving and dedication also earned her an award. Learn more.


  • Montford Park Players, an Asheville theatrical tradition, is proud to announce their upcoming production of the ethereal comedy The Tempest. All performances will be held at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre at 92 Gay Street in the heart of Asheville’s historic Montford District from September 1st through the 30th on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 pm. In the effort of safety, only those with tickets will be allowed at each performance. Tickets are available at and are, as always, FREE. Learn more.
  • Experience an emotionally engaging synchronization as Jazzville majestically weaves yin and yang into balanced harmony on September 16 at 7 p.m. at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. This musical offering is a celebration of both individuality and collaboration. You will enjoy selections that are both timeless and flexible in their ability to withstand countless interpretations. This dynamic jazz quartet will ignite your imagination with its boundless and transformational creativity. Learn more and get tickets.
  • Beer City Comic Con (BCCC) welcomes guest speakers for an exclusive lecture series on Friday, September 29, 2023, 3:00 pm – 6:30 pm at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville’s Banquet Hall. Beer City Comic Con’s CONx (Community. Ontology. Noetics.) is a unique lecture series featuring locally, regionally, and nationally renowned philosophers, psychologists, community and religious leaders, and social justice experts, sustainability experts, and others. The event takes place on the Friday of the Con’s weekend, from September 29—October 1, 2023. Guests can expect to hear insightful and inspiring stories that detail years of passion, vision, and research conducted by top experts. To learn more about CONx and to purchase tickets, please visit
  • Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture is hosting a listening session at The Collider (Boardroom 467) on Tuesday, October 24 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. with business leaders in Asheville to help them better understand the local business community’s challenges and identify shared interests with conservation initiatives. The discussion will circle around the day-to-day operations of your business, what ecological sustainability means to your company and how conservation initiatives can support economic development. RSVP by October 10th by emailing!


  • The Board of Directors of OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling recently announced that Melinda Bullen has joined the agency as Executive Director at OnTrack WNC, replacing Celeste Collins, retiring on August 14th. Melinda Bullen’s career has been shaped around her passion for working alongside individuals in Asheville and worldwide. Melinda sees OnTrack WNC’s work as an essential community resource. A career public servant, Melinda has served in roles at the Portland Water Bureau, Mt. Hood Community College, and UNC Asheville. Bullen holds an Executive Master of Public Administration from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Fine Art from UNC Asheville. Read more.


  • Would you like to be a mentor? Mission’s Parent Mentor Orientation Training is for parents who understand the unique experience of raising a child with a disability, mental health challenge, or special healthcare need. Since 1985, Mission Children’s Hospital Family Support Network (FSN) has connected parents to volunteer parents who are uniquely qualified to help because of shared experiences. At our upcoming Parent Mentor Orientation Training, parents are trained to offer support in meaningful ways for families undergoing a new diagnosis, transition, or crisis. This training offers volunteer parents the tools they need to support others and become an official FSN Parent Mentor. Training is being offered three times: Tuesday, August 22 from 5:30pm-8pm; Wednesday, September 13 from 10 am to 12:30pm and Monday, September 18 from noon to 2:30pm. All sessions will be at Mission Children’s at 11 Vanderbilt Park Dr., Asheville. To register, call 828-213-0047 or email


  • MANNA FoodBank has announced the return of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort as a Premier Platinum Partner for MANNA’s 2023 Signature Events. The $40,000 investment in support of MANNA’s vision of a hunger-free Western North Carolina continues a cherished partnership that began in 2001 and has continued for over 20 years.  Commemorating its 40th anniversary of feeding WNC in 2023, MANNA has distributed over 300 million pounds of food since food distribution first began in 1983. This equates to a staggering 250 million meals provided to people in WNC over the last four decades. MANNA FoodBank’s signature events for 2023 include a planned celebration of its milestone 40th anniversary on August 24, and the 22nd Annual Empty Bowls event on October 23. Information about both events can be found at