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Meet Our Connectors

What’s a Connector? We’re so glad you asked!

 

Your Rowan’s Connectors are our ambassadors to the things that make Rowan County an original place to live, learn, work, and play. They have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening. Think of them as bloggers and social media influencers for everything you need to know Rowan. They each represent a different category to focus their storytelling. These categories are called Connections and they include Arts, Attractions, Business, Education, Greenspace, Health, High Rock Lake, and Municipalities.

As Your Rowan progresses, additional Connectors will be added in Connection areas that will benefit from more content to help make the biggest impact. By adding more individuals to our pool of Connectors, we will ensure that many perspectives and voices will be heard, to truly show the originality of Rowan County.

Our Connectors are focused on leveraging the valuable assets we have right in our own backyard to their full potential so all of us celebrate and rally around Rowan County. We call it a ROCO thing, and it can be your thing too!

#itsaROCOthing

Subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us on social media so you never miss a behind-the-scenes moment or inside scoop from our Connectors!

 

Tameka Brown

Tameka Brown

Education Connector

I am a proud Livingstone College graduate. Go Blue Bears! I was a social worker for Rowan County Department of Social Services for 10 years, and I have been employed by Rowan-Salisbury Schools for the past 8 years as an Intervention Specialist. Meeting the needs of our students and providing options for students to be successful is important to me. I am the mother of three wonderful children, Jaylen, Tamia, and Latasha and have been married to Edward for 20 years. I have a love for good music and when time permits I enjoy acting at our local theaters. I am so excited to have this opportunity to share with you some of the wonderful things going on right here, in Rowan County.

Q&A with Tameka

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is that there are four institutions of higher education: Livingstone College, Catawba College, Hood Theological Seminary, and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Mykonos Grill


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Jestine’s Jewels and Anna Craig Boutique


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I look forward to spring and seeing people out and about in the county enjoying the weather.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: Sno Biz, a snow cone shop in Salisbury as you head to Granite Quarry on Highway 52. They have the best snow cones with so many flavors! Sno Biz is the best on a nice, warm Sunday afternoon.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Family friendly, diverse, with some great people.

Joyce Caron-Mercier

Joyce Caron-Mercier

High Rock Lake Connector

After decades of working within NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws, I opened up my own motorsports marketing agency, Mercier Marketing.

My husband and I discovered High Rock Lake in the summer of 2009 while looking for a potential weekender home on a quiet lake within commutable distance to Charlotte and Mooresville. Three years ago, we became full-time lake residents on North Carolina’s second largest lake with our two great danes, Max and Molly.

I currently serve as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the High Rock Lake Association. I am also active in the community with charitable events such as the Partners In Learning annual “Just As I Am” Fashion Show, High Rock Clean Sweep, and Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival.

Q&A with Joyce

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: What I love the most about Rowan County is how easy it is to meet people in business and in the community. We have the best of all things a medium size city should offer: a vital downtown, a nice selection of restaurants from casual to upscale, live theater, art galleries and museums connecting to our heritage, shopping, craft beer and wine establishments, nature trails and more! And of course with living on the lake, I am extremely lucky to have access to all of that within minutes of my home.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: I am still getting to decide on that. I have discovered that greater Salisbury area has lots to offer in the food selection category – Thai, Italian, Vietnamese, Brazilian, steak houses, and of course BBQ. We even have ‘hypster’ coffee shops with Mean Mug and Koco Java, which are great for working, meeting, and munching over a cup of joe. We even have a few casual dining options on the lake with Tamarac, Lakeview Family Restaurant, and TJ’s High Rock Lake Restaurant & Lounge.


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: I love the variety of shopping downtown from special gifts and ladies’ apparel to specialty cooking equipment and even puppy treats at Bella’s Barkery.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: My two favorites, although I am learning about other activities from the Your Rowan Connectors, is the Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival and Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving. The Dragon Boat Festival is the biggest lake activity all year! Not only do we attract teams from all over the region to participate in a day of competition, but now locals know it’s the place to be for a free day of outdoor entertainment. Nothing brings in the holiday spirit better than traversing Main Street, hearing Christmas music, trying yummy samples, and shopping discounts while looking for that special gift for friends or family, all wrapped with the warmth of our very own Main Street store owners.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: Morgan Ridge Vineyards is quaint and has a super selection of wines and food. It has a fantastic rustic, welcoming feel for new visitors or just us locals who just want to relax, enjoy wine, and have great conversation with friends. Even the goats seem to like us.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: A community that cares about its citizens and visitors equally. Rowan County has the normal city conveniences, but without the crazy traffic. Rowan County embraces activities that celebrates us as unique individuals while promoting the community assets to everyone.

Madison Kluge

Madison Kluge

Greenspace Connector

You might see me on the city of Salisbury’s greenways sporting a pair of rainbow roller skates! I officially graduate(d) May 2021 from the Environment & Sustainability program at Catawba College and I have/will soon take on the role as Salisbury’s Sustainability Coordinator. At Catawba, I researched the Emerald Ash Borer for a couple of years, spearheaded campus composting, and became heavily involved with environmental education planning. My goal as a connector is to establish a non-formal greenspace pedagogy with you and navigate the great outdoors by engaging with a variety of local farmers, NPO’s, parks, trails, preserves, educational institutions, and sustainable events. I will also explore available technologies/ apps that enhance our experience of the great outdoors in plant and animal identification and citizen science initiatives. To my fellow nature and environmental enthusiasts: get to know Rowan County better with me in the evolving greenspaces. Let’s get dirt under our nails!

Q&A with Madison

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: The people that I have been lucky to meet are my favorite part of Rowan County. Hearing their input on local matters has been very impactful of my Rowan experience.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: My favorite restaurant would have to be L A Murph’s. Good home cookin’!


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: I like to shop at the Salisbury Emporium and Goodwill for special finds and clothing and Father & Son for fresh and local ingredients.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I love the Salisbury Pride event that they have in Salisbury annually. The drag shows are sensational and the event has a great sense of community!


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Where preservation and progression meet.

Sabrina Harris
Sabrina Harris
Connector – Arts, Attractions, Business & Family

I guess you could say I’m a housewife on steroids! I’m always busy and I hardly ever sit still, even late into the night. The reason for this is because I believe in life living on purpose which means that you touch as many lives as you can while being a positive productive citizen in the community you live in. I’m a mother to 5 beautiful children, a new age minister wife (in my book that’s a thing), and a successful Small Business owner of Sabrina Bougie Styles of Salisbury where I sew. I look forward to sharing with you why I love Rowan County and what’s keeping me busy.

Q&A with Sabrina

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is the sense of peace you feel compared to bigger cities where everything is happening at a fast pace! Things are more relaxed and most people know who you are in the stores you frequent.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: My favorite place to eat is Go Burrito!


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: My favorite place to shop Food Lion! I’m a mom whose kids love a home cooked meal.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I look forward to Wine About Winter in Downtown Salisbury.


Q: What is your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: My favorite hidden gem is Mt. Ulla! It’s where I live and the beautiful scenery of the farms always put me at ease.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Simply put, Rowan County is the best place to live in North Carolina and people are starting to move here! It’s because of the peace they can experience here, the fresh food you can eat, and the people you can meet. It’s a sense that we are all connected in some way; whether it’s because of owning a small business or cheering on our children at sporting events. You can be yourself; you can be an original.

Daniel Lancaster
Daniel Lancaster
Connector – Business, Community & Family

I have been proudly serving with the Salisbury Police Department since 2009. Throughout my time with the department I have served in several different capacities. I currently serve as a Patrol Sergeant. When I am not policing, I enjoy landscaping, working on home improvement projects, and spending time with my wife and three children. I can’t wait to share with our community why I do what I do and what a positive influence our police force is having on the quality of life of our citizens.

Q&A with Daniel

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is that it has a small town feel, but it also has big town attractions.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Pinocchio’s Restaurant in Spencer


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: The Holiday Parade


Q: What is your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: Koco Java


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Inviting, Family Oriented, Historic

Janet Ruffin

Janet Ruffin

Attractions Connector

I’m an adventurous soul that loves to interact with people everywhere I go.  You might say I’ve never met a stranger! I look forward to discovering and sharing all the things Rowan County has to offer because it’s Your Rowan!

Q&A with Janet

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: Hands down the people!


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Please don’t make me choose! I love all different foods and people that know me know not to ask me where I want to go because it’s so hard to choose! We are blessed to have so many options!


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Again! I love the variety of shops and I rarely can’t find what I am looking for somewhere in Rowan!


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: The Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Races each summer are definitely number one. Then I just try to take in as many and as much as my schedule allows.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: There are a lot of neat shopping spots from Spencer to Kannapolis and all in between!


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Consistent change for the better! A great place to work and play!

Dari Caldwell

Dari Caldwell

Health Connector

I was born and raised on the northern end of Kannapolis, NC and after college (UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University) I lived away from North Carolina for 12 years, during which I earned a doctorate in Health Care Administration. My career has been in healthcare for over 40 years and in addition to being a Registered Nurse, I have held healthcare executive positions in Los Angeles, California, New York, Concord, Charlotte, and finally completed my career as President of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, where I retired in 2020.

I live in and love Rowan County and have enjoyed immersing myself in the community on various volunteer boards such as Rowan Cabarrus Community College, Rowan Chamber of Commerce, Rowan Economic Development, Novant Hospice Advisory, Healthy Rowan, and am now Board Chair for the Rowan Board of Health.

In retirement, my husband David and I have enjoyed our hobby of vegetable gardening, and visiting our children. We have two sons – Trent, who is the head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Lenoir Rhyne and is married to Brittany. They have 3 children including brand new twins! Our younger son Chris lives in Shreveport, Louisiana where he is an orthopedic surgery resident physician. We love sports, and also enjoy time at the lake, the beach, and with my 93 year old very spry mother!

Q&A with Dari

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: We have so many options for restaurants and entertainment.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: I have many! Stag and Doe held a lot of great memories but is closed now. La Cava is my favorite.


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Caniche and Stitchin Post


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: Patterson Farm Strawberries


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Up and coming!

#YourRowan   #itsaROCOthing

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