Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Justin Belleme of JB Media Group Graduates from Leadership North Carolina

Justin Belleme, Asheville-based owner and founder of Internet marketing firm JB Media Group and the JB Media Institute, recently graduated from Leadership North Carolina (LNC), along with fifty-four other civic and community leaders from across the state.
Belleme is one of two Asheville-based graduates in this, the twenty second class of Leadership North Carolina, the other being Richard Fort, Architect and Vice President of Clark Nexsen Architecture and Engineering.

Each year, LNC chooses a class of established and emerging leaders from across the state in government, business, nonprofit, and education sectors, to participate in its acclaimed program. The mission of the program is to inform, develop, and engage committed leaders by broadening their understanding of and involvement in issues and opportunities facing the state.

With the graduation of this year's class there will be close to 1000 LNC alumni.

"It's humbling to think about the impressive list of other alumni that I am joining by completing this program," said Belleme.

Past Leadership North Carolina graduates include individuals from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Asheville City Schools, Facebook, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and the Biltmore Company, among others.

LNC sessions are held around the state, highlighting the social, geographic, and economic diversity of North Carolina. After graduating, Belleme will step into his next role with Leadership North Carolina, joining the planning committee for the LNCXXIII Environmental session taking place in Asheville next April.

"Asheville is a great location to explore the state of the environment in North Carolina and I look forward to meeting the next class when they make the trip west next spring," he said.

Other Leadership North Carolina program sessions for 2016 include a Government session in Raleigh, an Education session in Greensboro, a Health and Human Services session in Charlotte, and an Economic Development session in Wilmington.

"It has been such as honor and an amazing experience to be part of the LNC 22 class. I've been so impressed with the diverse group of upcoming and seasoned leaders who made up this years class," said Belleme.

"This program is so well organized and executed. I would like to thank the LNC staff, our program chair Elaine Loyack, and the class of LNC 21 for making our class experience so amazing and memorable," Belleme added.

The application process for LNC Class XXIII (2015-2016) opens May 18 and will remain open through June 30. To find out more about Leadership North Carolina, please visit:

About JB Media Group

JB Media Group is a full-service Internet marketing agency in Asheville, North Carolina, made up of writers, researchers, strategists, and trainers. They specialize in integrating all aspects of Internet marketing including strategy, SEO, online advertising, online public relations, content development, and crowd funding.

About Leadership North Carolina

Leadership North Carolina is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages current and emerging leaders from across the state through the Leadership North Carolina Program and ongoing networking and service opportunities.

Asheville Beer Week Beer and Food Pairing with FIG Bistro and Catawba Valley Brewing

In celebration of Asheville Beer Week, FIG Bistro and Catawba Valley Brewing will be hosting a beer and food pairing dinner.  The evening will feature five courses, each appropriately paired with a Catawba beer that accentuates the culinary experience.  Beers featured will include Le Sexy Saison, Revenuer’s Red, The Nose IPA and the Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown Bear.  We’ll also feature a “grudge match double tasting/pairing” with the Zombie vs. the Zombie Sour.  Details about the dinner are still under development and will be forthcoming.

In addition to great food and beer, pros from FIG and Catawba Brewing will be on hand to discuss each pairing. The event takes place on Sunday Evening, May 24th beginning at 6:00 pm.  The cost of the dinner is $60 per person (not including tax or gratuity).  Reservations are required and can be made by calling FIG Bistro at (828) 277-0889.

Export University program provides information on website globalization

Export University
Export 201- Website Globalization
If you have a website that you use to market your company internationally, you will want to participate in this seminar.

This one-day program will give you detailed information about how to develop a website that attracts business from around the world, how to avoid cultural pitfalls in designing your website, the resources available to assist you to design a website that best represents your company to global buyers, and how to use the internet to sell your products and services globally.
Featured Speakers:
• Tom Robinson, Vice President, ERD, ltd.
• Jorge Arce, Sr. Int’l Trade Specialist, US
Commercial Service
• Brandon Facher, Client Liaison, Choice Translating
• Justin Seibert, President, Direct Online Marketing
Learn from Website Globalization Practitioners:
• How to “localize” your website
• What languages you should use
• What images should you NOT use
• What resources are available to assist
• Should you use Social MediaWho Should Attend?
• Companies that are currently exporting but want to better market their companies through their websites.
• Companies that are new to exporting and need to learn more about using their websites to sell internationally.

Who Should Attend?
• Companies that are currently exporting but want to better market their companies through their websites.
• Companies that are new to exporting and need to learn more about using their websites to sell internationally.

How to register:
For more information: Please contact Juanita Harthun at 704-333-4886 ext. 224, or email at or Stephanie Heckel at 336-333-5345 or at

When: June 4, 2015
Registration – 8:30 am
Program – 9:00 am. to 4:00 pm
Where: A-B Tech – Enka Campus
Haynes Conference Center
Room 128
1459 Sand Hill Road
Candler, NC 28715
Cost: $95.00 (includes continental
Breakfast, lunch and course

The Cliffs and UNC Asheville Team Up for Women’s Golf

The Cliffs Clubs, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove community, and the University of North Carolina at Asheville have teamed up to create the university’s first women’s golf program. The Bulldogs’ first season, to begin in the 2016-17 academic year, along with its new coach, Breanne R. Hall, were announced at the university’s annual “Our Turn to Play” luncheon benefitting UNC Asheville Women’s Athletics and Scholarship Fund, held on May 11 at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C. The Cliffs at Walnut Cove’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course will serve as a primary practice facility for the team, and Coach Hall will have the opportunity to enhance The Cliffs’ golf instruction team for its members and their guests.
David Sawyer, Managing Partner of The Cliffs Clubs, said, “On behalf of our board, members and staff, I speak for all of us at The Cliffs in bestowing a well-deserved congratulations to UNC Asheville on the formation of what we know will be a successful women’s golf program. The Cliffs at Walnut Cove is honored to serve and support the university, and we look forward to seeing the team on the range. ”

"UNC Asheville wants to thank The Cliffs, Walnut Cove, and David Sawyer for believing and investing in our inaugural women's golf program,” said Janet R. Cone, Director of Athletics for UNC Asheville. “We recognized early that having key community partners would be vital to the long-term success and sustainability of women's golf at UNC Asheville. Our partnership with The Cliffs will serve as a tremendous asset to not only the golf program but our entire university."

A Michigan native, Hall became the first amateur to win the Women’s Michigan Open Golf Tournament in 2003. She is a 2004 graduate and former collegiate golfer at the University of Toledo and received a bachelor’s degree in organizational management after being a member of the Mid-American Conference Honor Roll. Hall also worked as the head golf professional at the Grove Park Inn Resort and is a PGA instructor. She is presently working to complete her LPGA teaching certificate.

Women’s golf will become UNC Asheville’s ninth women’s sport and 16th NCAA Division I athletic program.

The Cliffs at Walnut Cove’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Golf Course will be a primary practice facility for the Bulldogs. The par-71, located in Arden, N.C., approximately 10 miles from downtown Asheville, was recognized by the PGA Tour as the only championship golf course to debut in tournament-ready conditions when it opened in 2005. Walnut Cove spans 4,646 yards from the ladies tees and 7,270 yards from the championship tees, with a respective rating of 66.7 (74.7), and slope of 117.0 (141.0). Golfers enjoy playing through rolling hills and woodland vegetation, accented by the natural buffer of both Pisgah National Forest and America’s scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Cliffs at Walnut Cove community of members and employees have been a strong source of support for the university, assisting with the formation of the women’s golf program, a mentorship program for student-athletes, and fundraising and donor support for various initiatives, events and programs.

“As a member of The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, I am excited for the opportunity to support and nurture young women golfers in their pursuit of an education at UNC Asheville,” said Donna Bailey, who also serves on the LPGA Foundation Board. “What better way to give back to the game of golf than to encourage young women to participate in a sport that teaches integrity, leadership and empowerment all important skills for their futures. These young women will go on to be professionals in all aspects of the workforce and become the leaders of tomorrow.”

About The Cliffs

The Cliffs is a collection of seven premier, private residential golf club communities located between Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC. Members of The Cliffs have access and privileges to all seven of The Cliffs’ clubs. The golf experience at The Cliffs includes seven award-winning, championship 18-hole golf courses, including two by Tom Fazio, two by Jack Nicklaus, and one each by Gary Player, Ben Wright and Tom Jackson. The Cliffs’ golf courses have been honored in the Top 100 Modern Courses in America by Golfweek, among the “Best of the Best” of America’s Premier Properties by LINKS, and in the Best New Private Courses by Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine. To learn more about The Cliffs’ golf experience, visit or watch this brief video. Homes at The Cliffs range in price from $500,000 to $4 million+; homesites, from $150,000. Contact The Cliffs at 866.411.5771 or to arrange a Discovery Tour.

About UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville is the designated liberal arts institution for the UNC system, with Bulldog Athletics competing in 15 Division I sports. Enrolling about 3,700 students and offering more than 30 undergraduate majors and a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree, UNC Asheville encourages students to take part in a nationally acclaimed undergraduate research program and participate in interdisciplinary learning that extends beyond campus into the vibrant City of Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. For more information, visit For information on Bulldog Athletics, visit

WNC’s four theatrical divas are back! FORTE at Crest Mountain Dinner Show

Well-known WNC theatrical divas, Liz Aiello, Carol Duermit, Katherine Sandoval Taylor, and Beverly Todd have joined forces as “FORTE” and will take the stage by storm again on Wednesday, June 3rd in a cabaret performance at Crest Mountain Dinner Show. After a blockbuster weekend of performances last November at The Altamont Theatre, they return to the stage accompanied by a 3 piece band, to continue their tour de force, recently described as a cabaret “filled with energy,
passion, humor, and soul-stirring moments, presented by four inspiring women whose personalities and backgrounds are as diverse as the music they sing.”

Showing this group’s immense range, where prior performances spanned the landscape of vocal performance, this show is tailored specifically for the musical theater lover. Offering hits from favorites such as Les Miserables, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Shrek the Musical, Wicked, Jekyle & Hyde, among others, this show promises to deliver power, intrigue, romance and beauty, that will leave musical theater lovers begging for more.

FORTE, is the product of 4 women from various musical backgrounds who all share a common passion for cabaret. On any given night you could hear one or more of them performing musical theatre, opera, country, rock n roll, jazz, and the list goes on.

“We all knew of one another and admired each other’s work, but had never collaborated on a project until our first cabaret performance last November. I’m delighted to be working with a group who brings so many diverse styles to the table. The many facets of these women will blow you away,” Taylor boasts, “Not only do they know how to sell a song and communicate with an audience, but each of their powerhouse vocals are undeniable and unmistakable. It’s an honor to share the stage with such talented performers.”

Taylor, who has performed on nearly every stage in WNC including Flat Rock Playhouse, Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, Asheville Lyric Opera, Asheville Symphony Orchestra, Asheville Community Theatre, The Altamont Theatre, Diana Wortham, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, and White Horse Black Mountain to name a few, is very excited to debut FORTE at Crest Mountain. According to Taylor, “knowing the astonishing visual beauty of this amazing performance space, FORTE is humbled and thrilled to provide the sound accompaniment to the stunning visual setting known exclusively and iconically as Crest Mountain.”

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for children. To purchase, contact Crest Mountain Dinner Show at 828-252-2637 or

Partnership between Asheville's PLI Cards & Sustainable Cards in Hede, Sweden

PLI, the largest manufacturer of hotel keycards and leading specialty printer in the commercial card space has entered into an exclusive commercial sales and marketing partnership with Sustainable Cards out of Sweden, the world’s leading manufacturer of wooden gift cards, hotel key cards, loyalty cards and retail point-of-sale signage.

PLI has grown to become the world’s largest supplier of hotel key cards with several exclusive global supply agreements in place with some of the most recognizable hotel brands in the world.

“Our growth and customer relationships have come from our ability to listen to our customers and offer a high-quality product at competitive prices,” said Peter Krauss, CEO of PLI. “As more and more of our Hospitality and Gift Card customers challenge us for more sustainable solutions and ask us for innovation and alternatives to PVC, adding wood cards to our product portfolio was the next natural step for us to take,” continued Krauss.

Sustainable Cards has spent over five years and several million dollars developing and patenting its unique wood substrate and manufacturing process.  The company has also worked very closely with independent environmental research firms and NGOs to ensure full transparency and verification of its sustainable footprint.

“As an ever growing number of hotels and retailers continue to build awareness for their sustainability practices and eco-initiatives a relationship with PLI is the best way for Sustainable Cards to continue its North American growth strategy,” said Peo Akesson, CEO & Founder of Sustainable Cards. “With PLI now fully behind the product we will immediately reach a much broader audience for our product,” continued Akesson.

“We have followed the wood card since its inception in 2008 in the U.S. market and we have seen the quality improve and interest grow year over year,” continued Krauss. “Recent research and discussions with key customers convinced us that the time was right for PLI to add this product to its portfolio,” added Krauss.

PLI will be responsible for all manufacturing, sales and marketing of the product in North America with Sustainable Cards working closely adding its know-how and experience to the PLI management team and its sales force.

PLI is the Largest Key Card Manufacturer in the World and the Largest Manufacturer in the Commercial Card Space with the capacity to produce more than 1.5 Billion cards per year. With more than 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space, operating two full scale plants and four additional global distribution facilities in Canada, The Netherlands, Hong Kong and Dubai. PLI's Customer First approach continues to drive unprecedented growth year after year.

Established in 2006, Sustainable Cards is the world’s leading sustainable wood card manufacturer, specializing in the most earth-friendly hotel key cards, gift cards and retail point-of-sale signage. Sustainable Cards is committed to reducing toxic plastic waste in the world and supporting efforts to preserve and protect a greener planet.


TSAChoice, Inc., a technology integrator based in Asheville, NC, and Greenville, SC, announces the addition of a new Network Operations Center at its company headquarters in Asheville. The new Network Operations Center is a state-of-the-art hub that allows TSAChoice to monitor and respond even more quickly to managed network service customers.

According to company president Dan Watts, “TSAChoice continues to refine and grow our managed network offerings, providing managed IT customers with continued service improvements and outstanding technical support.”

The operations center is a product of the company’s considerations for its Complete IT managed service customers but will benefit all clients. The center consists of a four-person team with 60-inch monitors providing instant views of managed networks, dispatch boards, and current locations of engineers on service calls.

TSAChoice is the largest business technology integrator in Western North Carolina and has a second office in Upstate South Carolina. TSAChoice’s more than 60 highly trained technology professionals and support staff deliver turnkey telephone, computer, network, audio-visual, and security solutions