Business Buzz: 9/21/21

September 21, 2021


  • Two national college ranking guides again have given Mars Hill University high marks. In its 2022 Best Colleges rankings, released last week, U.S. News rated Mars Hill University 29th in the category of Best Regional Colleges – South. U.S. News defines regional colleges as those with a strong focus on the liberal arts and programs such as business and nursing, and with a primary focus on undergraduate education. The rankings are based on such criteria as graduation rates, faculty expertise, class size, and incoming students’ college entrance exam scores. The magazine also rated Mars Hill in the number 25 position for Top Performers On Social Mobility. That category focuses on institutions which enroll and graduate large proportions of students from economically disadvantaged families. Washington Monthly’s 2021 rankings, released in its September/October 2021 issue, put Mars Hill University in the number 59 slot among Bachelor’s Colleges. It also places Mars Hill 68th among the Best Bang for the Buck institutions in the southeast. Learn more here.


  • Bhagwanji “Bob” Patel, a self-described “accidental hotelier,” was presented with the William A.V. Cecil Tourism Leadership Award at the Buncombe County Tourism Authority’s annual meeting on Sept. 15 at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, joining 21 other award recipients who’ve been recognized over the years for their exceptional leadership in making the community a special place to live and visit. Patel is president emeritus of Virtelle Hospitality, his family-owned and operated management company that has relationships with Hilton, Marriott, IHG, and Choice Hotels. Learn more here.
  • Formation PR + Brand, a public relations and branding agency serving the healthcare, higher education, nonprofit, public health, and regional planning sectors, was recently recognized as a platinum and gold winner of the 2021 Hermes Creative Awards.  The platinum award was given for the “Electronic Interactive Media” category for Dogwood Health Trust’s Digital Annual Report. The Formation team received the gold award for “Print Media” category for the Pisgah Legal ACA Enrollment Campaign. The Hermes Creative Awards are an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional and emerging media. Administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), the awards recognize outstanding work in the marketing and communication industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of industry professionals. Since its founding in 2007, Formation PR + Brand, formerly Allison Development Group, has won the Hermes Creative Awards nine times and the MarCom Awards eight times – 17 awards in total from the AMCP. Learn more here. Learn more about Formation PR + Brand here.


  • NC Stage is reopening with a 2021 Fall Season, including three productions and one special guest performance. The season kicks off with Breach of Peace, written and performed by Mike Wiley October 6 – 17, 2021. Next up is Dom Flemons Performing Live! Sunday, October 10, 7:30pm. Immediate Theatre Project returns to NC Stage with, Live from WVL Radio Theatre: The Word Exchange, from October 27 – November 14. The season concludes with Charles Dickens’  A Christmas Carol – A Play With Music December 7 – 19. All shows will be offered as limited capacity in-person at NC Stage, 15 Stage Lane, Asheville, and virtually via Zoom. Learn more about safety policies and procedures here. In person theatre seating will be extremely limited, and all tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information about all productions, showtimes and tickets, visit
  • AdventHealth Hendersonville has announced the newest recipient of its Sunshine Award is Purvi Patel, the Administrative Coordinator for the Emergency Department. The team members she works with describe her as professional, compassionate, and skilled, with a sweet spirit that brings calmness to all. The AdventHealth Emergency Department has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, balancing the care of people with the virus and others experiencing a variety of medical emergencies. The pressure on this team is great, and that is where Purvi steps in to be a source of information and a resource of support and encouragement. Learn more about Purvi’s accomplishments here.


  • AdventHealth Hendersonville has welcomed welcome Gwendolyn Smith, DO to its team of primary care providers at AdventHealth Medical Group Multispecialty at South Asheville. Dr. Smith is board-certified in family medicine and focuses on integration of health for the body, mind and spirit. Dr. Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of William and Mary and her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She went on to complete the UPMC Susquehanna Health Family Medicine Residency Program in Williamsport, Pa., where she focused on full spectrum family medicine, including strong inpatient medicine, obstetrics, and women’s health training. Learn more here.
  • Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers (AMCHC) has announced Shantelle Simpson, MSN, RN has been named President & Chief Executive Officer of the organization. She has been in the role since September 6. Simpson is originally from Louisville, KY. She holds a Master’s in Nursing and Science from Western Governors University and is currently completing the doctoral program at Spalding University where she will obtain her Doctorates in Education & Leadership. Simpson is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Fellow of the Healthcare Executive Network. Simpson comes to Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers with more than ten years of progressively responsible Operations leadership in Federally Qualified Health Centers.


  • The retailers of Asheville Mall are joining together for a job fair on Friday, September 24 through Sunday, September 26 during Mall operating hours.Looking for a part-time job? Full time? Holiday? Come out to fill out applications and talk with managers. If you like fashion, food, or want to be a brand representative, there is a position for you! Learn more here.