Birgit Dilgert

Interview by
Published on
November 10, 2022

In this episode...

Imagine this: you’re looking for a beautiful place to live in - a place with picturesque views of the mountains, you can breathe fresh air when you go biking or hiking, and you’re just a drive away from different cities. This is what it’s like in Rutherford County. But mountains and lakes and beautiful weather aren’t the only things that merit special attention about the county - it’s also the strategic advantage of doing business at a place that’s close in proximity to the metropolitan areas of Asheville, Charlotte, Greenville (SC), and Spartanburg (SC) as well as several major highway corridors. In fact, the intersection of major north-south and east-west interstates in North Carolina makes it a natural hub for trucking access to points nationwide.

Birgit Dilgert

Birgit Dilgert is Rutherford County's Economic Development Director


okay my office is so focused on diversifying our manufacturing base we feel that bringing in more manufacturers that pay good paying jobs and bring benefits for our citizens will then further enhance the need for additional retail and Commercial Welcome to Night for the mile delivered by freightworks one of America's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by Trucking indicted to tell stories

all here right now slight by the mile delivered by freightworks I'm your host Butch Balki now listen you don't want to leave this broadcast we've got an incredible guest before we even get into that make sure you like share and subscribe and get the notifications on the YouTube channel and make sure that you make comments you know today it's so wonderful to have not just guests but friends and and I'm so grateful that Target dilgart the executive director of the Rutherford County Economic Economic Development agency is here with us today and and burger you and I have spent time in your office yes and now you get to spend time in mine yeah what a privilege thank you so much for inviting me exactly now now now listen uh we we have talked a lot in recent weeks on this broadcast about what's going on in the country and and you're in fact an expert when it comes to Rutherford County and what's happening economically here you know I want to say this to you real quickly Rutherford County is centrally located along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States it's a strategic Advantage for business opportunities now when you hear that what do you think I mean why is this an important place so it's funny that you say that I did take a marketing course at one point and we were told never to use that cliche saying that we're in the middle in the center of it all but I honestly believe that Rutherford County is in the center of it all and so we use that in our marketing even though you know it's not best practices type thing but for us we just feel we're so Central like you said we're along the Eastern Seaboard items and products can be distributed within in most cases within a day of trucking services could get to any location whether it be south of us or north of us so it's a strategic place to be um and just our proximity to Charlotte and to Greenville and to Hickory and to Asheville it just puts us and in Atlanta exactly right yeah yeah it puts us literally in the center of it all and I think that's one of our biggest features on top of that you know we've got such beautiful County as far as the mountains and the main streets that we have to offer so I think we're the whole package and we're kind of a little Hidden Gem that maybe not everybody knows about uh but we we need to start tooting our own horn and getting that word out there so others can take advantage of the wonderful life that we have here you know what's given me a lot of Joy it's given me joy to meet you because in our meetings uh you know I I'll just confess this 104 countries 4.7 million miles on American Airlines alone I landed here in Rutherford County God did that but I love meetings that are productive and and Burgett every time I've ever met with you at the economic development office I feel like this is not going to be a long-winded meeting she doesn't want me to wax eloquent she's not going to we're going to get down to to business and and uh and of course our county has dealt with stresses right Rutherford County has dealt with stresses can you talk about some of the challenges the county has had so I'd say um back in the 90s early 2000s sort of thing um we tended to have all of our eggs in one basket and so textiles were a huge part of our interest industry and an integral part and everything kind of focused around those textile Industries and by textiles you mean like fabrics and correct yeah exactly and then a lot of those entities moved away and even left the country and so we were very crippled by that we a lot of we lost a lot of employment opportunities within a matter of very many short years so that was kind of crippling for us since then our goal has been to diversify our manufacturing and industries here so that we're not all just counting on one industry to carry us through and we've seen great strides made in that area we've got Advanced Automotive we've got plastic companies we've got major trucking companies a gem right here in Rutherford County that a lot of people don't know about right and and of course that diversification is is so key especially as the marketplace is is changing now listen I I know this about about you already and I or and I and I'm just going to confess this I used to wish I had a Canadian passport traveling around the world there were there were times where people didn't like Americans I'm just going to say that but you're from Canada yes that's correct where did you come from so I grew up in the Niagara region of Ontario Canada uh we moved here in 2001 um to take on an opportunity to construct some homes for an investor probably about several months later several sorry I'm confusing myself several years later we opened our own construction company okay yeah okay and and so was that near Buffalo yes that's correct right across the uh border from Buffalo right and of course so many people have gone to Niagara Falls and and that's such an interesting story you know I I've gone across Canada and I've seen so many different places and it's so different I mean Quebec City is so different than Vancouver or from uh Banff where I used to go to ski and and just the beauty and people don't realize how big Canada is that's correct right it's too fast yes right it's it's like it's like the former Soviet Union most people don't realize they have 11 different time zones we have three right right now when you when you think about Rutherford County for the days ahead what are some of the things because you're able to look up around the corner in your position what are some of the things that you see coming in the days ahead I mean you got your finger on the pulse what's what's happening give us some updates sure so let me just backtrack slightly and to say that we have Commissioners right now that work for Rutherford County that have such a vision for growth and prosperity moving our existing businesses forward and having the foresight to get things in place for future development and so I'm looking at the project like 74 and 221 there are years worth of Investments that the Commissioners were willing to make to get infrastructure in place to make something like this possible exactly and then the other thing aspect to that is we were always looking for an investor who would step up and be willing to take hold of a project and start marketing it and see it through and so we're just so thrilled that freightworks wants to play that role at this particular development and just to bring in new commercial retail opportunities for our citizens right and you know you look and and you you jumped ahead which is great because you know what truck drivers I've learned this and by the way this freightworks one studio right around the corner from the driver's Lounge by the way folks I used to have an office over in the administrative little building here and I said you know what I want to be with the truckers you know what's interesting they'll often say to me my truck is broken and and they think I know what they're talking about and then I can fix it but I I don't but I care about them and I love them and that certainly comes from the top of leadership here but we're very excited about what God's doing with 74 and 221 of course we've got a groundbreaking on the 22nd you're the point person helping us mobilize the efforts with that along with Cindy Cobb supporting you at the Chamber of Commerce what do you think in your heart and mind what does it mean to a county to get a loves to come I mean what what is that some people would say that's just another construction project what do you think it means with the vision that you're aware of that Josh has so I don't moving forward and us really gaining trajectory like um initially we started to see some commercial and Retail fill in in our downtowns and on College Avenue and that sort of thing but this is just such the magnitude of this potential development and what it's going to create for our county is just going to start a Synergy where more people are starting to take notice of us and say hey what's this County doing correctly why are we seeing all this growth here and I I just see us moving forward in the next coming years and having many more opportunities for our citizens and for our visitors because what often happens haven't you seen this is you'll get a major retailer a major entity you know loves just opened her six times their store and they're known as a Marketplace leader in travel support so they're they're going to come here they're going to break ground and uh by August of next year we believe a loves will be there but the vision for that property is much bigger right it's for hotels and Retail climate controlled storage uh all kinds of other entities I've even gone in the air with Jim Bishop wcab locally and ask people okay if you had a restaurant you could put there what would you want you know what they called in you know what it was disproportionate it was like 15 calls for one particular chain can you guess what it is

um most likely I could because considering where it was Cracker Barrel the calls kept coming in for Cracker Barrel and look we can't promise anything and we said that on the air but what's so interesting is when you look at land you know which is a finite resource and you look at 74 and 221 so strategically located there's going to be an opportunity there for a couple of hotels for retail light retail for restaurants and the like and and folks of the county want that don't they yes most definitely we want to see that growth we want to see those opportunities and that's why my office is so focused on diversifying our manufacturing base we feel that bringing in more manufacturers that pay good paying jobs and bring benefits for our citizens will then further enhance the need for additional retail and Commercial and so this project just works right in hand with the vision that my office has and it really floats everybody's vote right I mean you bring in your and and all of a sudden you start getting major national retailers like we've had Hobby Lobby come in recently and you know it's little things but you get small retails like a Dunkin Donuts and others they start looking at you and and saying this is a county that's going to grow and you know most people don't know here in North Carolina this is one of the largest if not the largest county in terms of land mass right 576 square miles right right what what does that say to you is the economic development person it's like a canvas you can paint on right exactly what what would you see as some of the other kinds of industries that ought to consider coming here so um really we're almost poised for any industry to come but I could see us strongly following with Advanced manufacturing related to Automotive getting further into that um we're not far from BMW or right or or Michelin or some of these other places exactly exactly um and then the like I said the retail and commercial that could follow that our office keeps hearing about everybody wanting a Target and like you mentioned um Cracker Barrel and a steakhouse so we hear a lot of those things but we just know that we've got a little bit of growing to do to some of those entities will look at us but we're at that point we're at that cusp and this development just uh seems to lend right into that opportunity you know it's so interesting because back in the days the old west they would talk about the lead Buffalo it would talk about Buffalo herds and you would watch to see the lead Buffalo and you know we we don't presume on any of this and you know that Josh farmer Andrea's wife the leadership of this company were people of Faith so we don't do anything recklessly we do things in prayer and faith and and commitment but we really believe burgit that this in partnership with you the Chamber of Commerce the County Commissioners Town Council and Spindale and others we really believe this is going to be something special for the county yes I agree do you I do 100 agree right and and in the midst of all of that there are these details like you you've been helping us with Grant requests and and all of that when you when you look at your your average day what what does your day look like it and I I know you're going to say it's as unpredictable as yeah definitely no two days are remotely the same but but give us an idea of what your week looks like okay um I think if I could sum it up in maybe two or three points as to what our function of our office is uh number one is we are a public private C3 C6 not what does that mean public private so we receive funding from public being government and we receive private funds as well that's how we operate and function and we are a non-profit and we are the lead uh we serve as the lead recruiter for manufacturing and Industry for the county that's one of our roles another one of our roles is that we have a program called a business boost yes and that is a business retention and expansion program so we get the opportunity to go in and visit industry talk to them one-on-one we get to hear their stories we get to hear success stories we get to hear stories about hardships that they might be facing and then we like to hear about their vision and how they plan to move their organization forward this is where we see our role as stepping up and providing a valuable resource resource to them where we can connect them with organizations and entities that they didn't know existed that could help them take their business being like a broker of information where their need you can connect with a potential resource to help them yep so I can give you an example of something like that we once walked into an industry and the representative for the company told us that production and sales were going phenomenal they were doing really well but they had a hardship with shipping and packing and they had outsourced that service to another entity and that vendor was not coming through for them our office was able to connect them with a local industry right here in the county that was able to meet their shipping and packing needs it was a win-win for both companies well it and it's it's a win for both companies and a win for the county I agree right because right so you were able to broker broker that so so often you're the one that has the information to help an Enterprise understand what they can do to grow and improve agreed and um one of the things that we pride ourselves in is strengthening our relationship with the other support entities so we work with NC works we work with uh um to tell people what that is so that's the employment office that helps you find uh employees they post your jobs for you that sort of thing we work with the development Workforce Development board we work with the TDA we work with the chambers we work with a college we work with the school system the Small Business Center everywhere that we can get a relationship going with other support entities just so that we can walk into an industry and offer them seamless comprehensive support that's our role so we're so thrilled that we can make a difference and we welcome any business that does want to take part of that that they would contact our office we'd be happy to talk to them real quickly because it's the marketing part of me if people want to call what number should they call um we're at

828-287-6200 thank you for that opportunity exactly and you know what I just want to say this real quickly I've gone to burgett's office many times before I'm a plant lover I I'm never shared this with you no you haven't I love plants you know I wrote in a blog many years ago when I lived in Colorado the plants are quiet and the dirt never lies and I have no idea what that meant then but but it means a lot to my heart you know God made this beautiful world and if you go to their office you've got incredible plants and and all of that there and it's a real reflection of just the the life-giving heart of what's there now let me let me ask you this burger what do you believe loves coming here will mean to the county um I believe number one the investment dollars coming in are huge uh and it will support further government services which in fact help the citizens we can offer more services when you talk about the services you mean what um just uh the policing services that we do the libraries that the county operates all functions of local government are supported by the tax dollars brought in through this project but even more than that is the potential jobs that they're going to bring in my understanding is that a typical loves can have anywhere between 30 40 even upwards of 60 jobs that makes a difference in our community when we do have a number of people that are unemployed and our employee unemployment rate is still slightly higher than the counties around us so we just see this being a major opportunity for our citizens you know and it's so interesting I've talked to Josh about this of course the founder and president of freightworks and Joyce Sakura who's the vice president of operation loves has such a stellar reputation nationally they bring in clean stuff they bring in great design strong infrastructure support and it's a perfect partnership given the values that freightworks has which are driven by our Biblical values we're not apologetic about telling people we keep our promises because because God tells us to and while we have a very diverse company and drivers that are people of faith and not of faith and staff that are people of faith and not of Faith we're a faith-driven company and it's been in that faith that we've been so graciously given the opportunity to work with your office Chamber of Commerce County government and and the like so when you look when you look ahead in our County what what do you see I see the word getting out that we're the place to be and more growth Happening Here both residential and housing and we've already started to see those starts happening and I just see more commercial retail opportunities and more career positions available for all of us so I think we're going to see an influx and growth and and we have isn't it true we've had folks from the Northeast and Atlanta and Midwest and other places saying especially post-pandemic we just want to find a place that feels like home right and we're getting more of that and you look at like Lake Lure and the amenities there and all of that are you seeing an influx from other places yes we see a lot of interest and questions coming through our office people wanting to get out of big cities and come somewhere rural but then still like I said in the center of it all right and and we're I tell people how far we are from Charlotte for example within about an hour and five minutes we can be in Charlotte uh 45 minutes to Greenville 45 minutes maybe 50 minutes to Asheville um Hickory would be an hour hour and 15 minutes so those are all large metropolitan areas that we have access to we can go to shows we can go to entertainment venues and then we can come back to our quiet little County and still live the quality life that we want you know and all of this of course is against the backdrop of the state of North Carolina and Bergen I was reading some things again this morning that really struck me North Carolina number one lowest corporate income tax rate in the United States North Carolina number one best state for business three years running North Carolina top 10 state for starting a new business and North Carolina top five fastest growing state in the United States is the head of economic development for Rutherford County or as they say here rofton I don't say that I use all my stuff you know what's you know what's really interesting I'm going to say I'm going to chase not a rabbit but I'm going to say this real quickly when I came here and I checked out of the Walmart for the first time it's five years ago in one week they said you're not from around here I hear that yes and so we both share that Fellowship of suffering but I've I've committed to try to learn a little bit the language so it's Chevy not Shelby okay very good charitable yeah not sure of Cherryville and it's more often but I it's hard for me to do that yeah me too but anyway when you hear these National Publications like Forbes and business week usaid and and others making this mention of North Carolina what do you think about that we've strived very hard to be the number one in many of those regions we've always got competition with Texas and South Carolina and that I'm a named Texan budget are you really yes okay but it gives us real Pride to know that people are starting to see and notice in North Carolina as the place to be and just in general with talking with other economic developers we're so pleased that we're finally getting the recognition that we feel that our nation our that our state needs and so it's exciting if if you were to give some encouragement to the leadership of freightworks which has been sort of Josh and I have talked about this Josh Joyce and I uh we we call him Papa Ray Ray Farmer oh yes yeah um if you were to give some encouragement we've always been sort of a quiet presence right here in the county what would your encouragement to our company be what should we be doing we're not doing so not so much as what you're not doing but what you've just stepped out to do it's a great step of faith that you're taking and I think you're going to see dividends coming down the road and the county is going to benefit from this so stepping up in that role as being the investor who's willing to pour back into our County I just would encourage you to keep doing that and keep moving forward we're willing to support you and work with you and help you get there and keep going you've done a great job so far every single I've told this to Josh many times I've never had a meeting with you that I didn't leave feeling like something was accomplished and I have to humbly say this having traveled the world and sat in many boardrooms I can't say that for many of the meetings that I've been in so you've been a tremendous encouragement we're looking forward to this groundbreaking on the 22nd we're actually going to create I think I mentioned to you a sub Channel on YouTube for our County resources for you and Don and and and Cindy and and so many others we're going to make sure that we've got all of the YouTubes there that are that are in place that's wonderful and I thank you for your partnership with us and letting us be a part of what's going on and we continue to hope for a continued long relationship okay so we're we're rounding uh towards the end here and I've got something to offer you in a minute let me ask you this what makes a good groundbreaking um um I think that it's just wonderful news and the fact that we get to share it with everyone so the more people that could possibly be there I see that as being a wonderful success and making it a good groundbreaking great well we're going to make sure we've got heavy equipment and we got a tent and some chairs maybe some food and and food okay we're we're working on the air here right now on on different things you know it's it's a wonderful opportunity to symbolically say Rutherford County is moving forward we're doing it in partnership with economic development the Chamber of Commerce local government officials and freightworks which wants to be the tip of the spear in making this County which we love so much yeah even better yeah okay this is the point in our time by the way this is this burget uh dilger she is the executive director of Rutherford County's Economic Development they're important folks to whatever freightworks is doing if you're a prospective driver by the way we want to let you know we're a company on the move all you have to do is reach out to our company freightworks or life of the mile reach out and we'll have one of our recruiters talk to you we're not perfect but we're trying to be everything God's called us to be and if you're somebody that wants to make a change we're a great place to come to especially now all right so I'm not a home shopping person I say this often but I am somebody that has the opportunity to give you a gift for being here and I love that you don't mind the cool Ambiance of the studio this is our life of the wild hat we debuted this at the Mid-America truck show more than a million square feet of exhibit space I think 70 plus thousand people there folks loved the Patriotic theme it's got the Life by the mile patch that's option number one option number two of course we're at freightworks one studio right around the corner from the driver's Lounge which is Butch Maltby your host office this is the logo freightworks One logo have that option is an opportunity and then for those people that recognize that we're on the front edges of winter this is the light by the mile leather patch on a beanie I used to live in Minnesota by the way and I used to fish in The Boundary Waters my father-in-law at the time used to tell me if you if you don't catch walleyes and muskies and Pike you're not really a guy and so I would go up there and fish with them but anyway so this this is in recognition that winter is on the way so which one of these might we give to you so I'm already eyeing this one right here but I do need to let you know that this is referred to as a toque it's not a beanie it is not a toboggan this is a two okay I would be honored to own this okay now now listen folks we we told you when we started life of the mile delivered by freightworks you would hear things you never heard before it's a two how do you spell that t-o-q-u-e it's a toque okay I love learning new things and I learned something new today and you know what it's our honor to give you that too and it's got that leather patch life of the mile and you know what will be even better what's that when the snow comes down this winter if we can get a picture oh yeah and and the picture is going to be one that has you with that took good and you you know what I'd love to do that um I would be honored to be able to give you this gift which is a little padfolio where you can reflect North Carolina and specifically Rutherford County wherever you go folks I want to make sure you know this it's the first time in our 108 episodes of life of the mile there's no disparagement for anybody else who's been here it's the first time we've ever had a gift that's been given to us I'm going to make sure that Josh farmer gets this oh awesome yes okay and uh it this is this is this is so nice you know folks when we launched life of the mile a little over a year ago we said it was going to be an opportunity to tell you inspiring stories this has been another inspiring story it's a little more local but you know what if you're a driver considering coming here you ought to feel good about the fact that you got a company that's engaged locally to try to build new terminals create new opportunities have a brand new loves that's going to come and have partners that are willing to partner with us right at Burger it's been so great to have you here today thank you so much we're going to look for it we're gonna look forward to our time on the 22nd right we got a lot of work to do in the next three weeks we do and you're the person that's gonna make me feel and sleep better at night knowing that you're helping thank you you're too kind the life of the mile delivered by freightworks make sure that you like share subscribe engage help us grow the audience we're working towards a thousand subscribers soon you can help us make that happen thank you thanks for watching this episode you know like by the mile delivered by freightworks is one of the newest largest and fastest growing podcasts actually produced by a trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes click here and make sure that you subscribe to this channel by clicking here we'll see you there

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