Gary Blabon

Your Rowan Favorites

Place to Eat: Mambo Grill & Tapas​
Outdoor Activity: Bell Tower Green

Gary Blabon, MHA

President and COO, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center

Native of Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Industry: Healthcare

Gary Blabon never expected to stay in Rowan County when he came here to attend Catawba College on a football scholarship. But like so many other out-of-state Catawba College students, he fell in love with the area. For the first time, he experienced the four seasons. “Everything was hot and flat in Florida,” he recalls. Rowan County is known for its rolling hills with elevations of more than 1,000 feet on Young’s Mountain in western Rowan and Dunns Mountain Park in eastern Rowan.

He also fell in love with a North Carolina girl and Catawba College cheerleader who became his wife. He and Deirdre have been married 29 years and have two daughters, Jacqueline, 24, and Gabrielle, 21. 

As President of the Medical Center, he finds the diversity of the housing market in Rowan County an advantage in recruiting doctors. “We’ve got neighborhoods with sidewalks, or if you want to live in a rural area, you can live out in the county and have 15 to 20 acres and a farm. We have doctors who choose to live in town in the Historic District, in the Country Club on the golf course, and in the county where they can have tractors. Rowan County has it all.”

As the only Medical Center serving the public in the county, Novant Rowan is well equipped, with a state-of-the-art Cancer Institute and certification as a Stroke Center and STEMI Center (Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction — the most severe type of heart attack). Specialties include urology, orthopedics, emergency and trauma, general surgery, women’s health, and bariatric surgery. The Medical Center is made stronger by very philanthropic supporters who are generous with donations, he says, making possible the Glenn A. Kiser Hospice House, 3-D mobile mammography, clinical equipment, and more. 

Gary’s personal definition of the county slogan, Be an Original, ™ is “to be proud of where we live and all the great things we have to do here.” 

He likes the small-town feel of Salisbury with less traffic and the ability to be more connected to people yet able to get to larger nearby towns if needed. “We are an hour and 30 minutes from the mountains to go skiing and three hours to the beach. We have wonderful lakes nearby for boating and water skiing which I love,” he says.

His community connections include serving as chair of the Rowan Economic Development Commission Board of Directors and on the Board of Trustees at Catawba College and the Rowan Cabarrus Community College Board of Directors. He previously served on the Rowan County United Way Board of Directors. He also works with local non-profits, such as the Community Care Clinic, as part of the Medical Center’s community involvement.

His favorite restaurant is the Mambo Grill & Tapas for its authentic Cuba food. Since he grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, he’s partial to Cuban food and restaurants. The Mambo Grill has great family ownership and  a good atmosphere, he says.

His favorite outdoor space is the Bell Tower Green Park in downtown Salisbury. “There is so much to do there and so many different festivals. I love the outdoor concerts. Every time I drive by, I see families and young children kicking and throwing balls, running around. I like seeing the park being used.”

For newcomers to the area, he would direct them to Bell Tower Green, the Historic District, and downtown Salisbury in general “to see all the great work we are doing.”

Your Rowan Favorites

Place to Eat: Mambo Grill & Tapas​
Outdoor Activity: Bell Tower Green