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40 Under 40 – Matherly Picked for Regional Honor

Barry Matherly is a dream boss. That’s one of the reasons Rhonda Hunter, office manager for the Lincoln Economic Development Association, decided to secretly nominate him for the Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. This is the Journal’s way of recognizing men and women in the Charlotte region who are making tremendous strides in their careers and playing active roles in their communities. Other winners include: Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Jeff Carter, chief technology officer of Elogex, Inc.; Afshin Ghazi, president of the Ghazi Co.; and Wynn Davis, president of HR America. When Hunter got the call that Matherly had won, the first thing that crossed her mind was, “Oh my goodness, I guess I better tell Barry.” LEDA’s executive director was out with a client at the time, so Hunter called him on his cell phone. He was surprised. “Rhonda never told me she entered me,” he said. “To win something you didn’t know you were in the running for is a surprise.” While Matherly doesn’t know how he won – “I have no idea,” – he knows why he does what he does. “I’ve always enjoyed doing this,” he said. “It’s something I wanted to do. I didn’t just happen into it.” Matherly became involved in economic development in the early 1990s while living in Springfield, VA. He worked on a community revitalization project there as a resident, and quickly realized that he enjoyed that more than his real job. He decided to go back to school, and earned a masters in urban and regional planning at Virginia Tech. His job is fun, Matherly said. “It’s something different every day. You’re not doing the same thing. Even hard projects are fun.” He’s committed to Lincoln County and plans on staying in the area long-term. “I’m still having fun, and as long as that’s the case, I’ll still be here.” Most of the winners are from the downtown Charlotte area, and Matherly said it is refreshing to be included. “It’s nice to see people in the outlying counties be considered part (of the region),” he said. “You can contribute from anywhere in the region.” It also provides an opportunity for ongoing networking with others in the area. Before coming to Lincoln County, Matherly was the director of economic development in Goochland County, VA. He was also the director of economic development in Pulaski, VA. He attended James Madison University and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Matherly currently is on the board of directors for the United Way of Lincoln County, the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Development Association. He considers raising his two daughters, Brooke and Blair, his greatest accomplishments. Top 40 Under 40 past and present winners were honored with a reception at Morton’s in Charlotte. Matherly said he was allowed to bring one guest. There was only one choice. He took Rhonda Hunter.