Cindy Cobb

Interview by
Published on
August 10, 2022

In this episode...

One of the most challenging but rewarding journeys in life is entrepreneurship. Starting a business isn’t easy, and thriving in today’s market takes a lot of effort. Whether you own a bakery at the corner or a trucking company, businesses big and small can always use a helping hand when it comes to growth. The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to doing exactly that - helping create a healthy environment for businesses to thrive, knowing their struggles and connecting them to concerned government departments that can help, networking and sponsorship opportunities, and even making sure they provide marketing and advertising support by giving these businesses space on their online platforms. Executive Director Cindy Cobb is at the forefront of the chamber’s efforts to build the future in Rutherford County - a long-time resident, she has a genuine love for the county’s history, passionate about engaging everyone in today’s community, because a unified community can build a better future. Find out more about Cindy’s vision for the future on Life By The Mile, delivered by FreightWorks.

Cindy Cobb

Cindy Cobb is the Executive Director of The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce


we love the truck drivers we need them and you know as we've certainly experienced like the supply chain issues and going through the pandemic those truckers are the ones that kept everything going i was amazed when i came through here the first time just how far-reaching it is and how much goes into making sure that goods are delivered that truckers are safe and have good equipment welcome to life of the mile delivered by brakeworks one of america's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by trucks indicted to tell stories compelling drivers i need to do something

all here right now

this is life with a mile delivered by freightworks i'm your host butch malpe real quickly make sure you subscribe to the youtube channel hit that bell to get the notifications like share engage become part of what we believe is the fastest growing podcast for a trucking and logistics company actually produced by them i'm thrilled to have a friend not just a guest today cindy cobb is the executive director of the rutherford county north carolina chamber of commerce and cindy it's great to have you here well thank you it's an honor to be invited and we're going to have just a kind of an open-hearted conversation about a lot of different things but you know folks uh rutherford county is a strategic county and this is where freight works has their headquarters you know we're close to interstate 40 we've got uh 221 we've got 64. we're close to charlotte close to atlanta it's a strategic place and we thought it would be great for you to have the opportunity to take kind of a conversational tour through rutherford county and i don't know anybody who's better to do that than cindy cobb because your family's back how far here oh my with what i have seen through the ancestry dna uh at least on my dad's side it goes back to 1726 and on my mother's side uh back every bit that far or maybe even a little further right so your your life is kind of a walking genetic expression of what rutherford county is all about now yes i want to start out by saying you're the newly selected executive director for the chamber of commerce it's growing fast tell people what a chamber does well um the chamber the main purpose is to help create an environment that is friendly and healthy for businesses to thrive and so we want first of all to have like a relationship with our our businesses those that are members and those businesses can include non-profits faith-based those small business owners up to large industries because they're each one important so what we do is try to develop that relationship i also um in discussion with them find out you know exactly what their product is because i really want to know what what is your business like and be able to share their story with others as well as listening and find out what their struggles are and how as a chamber we can be an advocate whether it's on the local level with government or even relaying that up to like a state representative or even our our federal level um having that in place so um yeah that's that's one of the main things and we do you know in a sense we're we're marketing uh because we're helping to market and we put businesses on our website and share things on our facebook page and this good old word of mouth advertising too well we we love our relationship with the rutherford county north carolina chamber of commerce and the reason we do is that we feel like it's a it's a partnership it's not just an association where you pay your dues and and frankly cindy it's one of the reasons why you know we make it a point i make it a point for us to regularly connect because we know we need you and we want to also make ourselves available like for this podcast to tell your story now for people that have never come to rutherford county which is most of the subscribers right can you take a few minutes and just describe rutherford county and you know what i'm going to sit back and listen because i love this too i mean just talk about you know the floor of the fawn or the land where it is and and i'll be i'll be a good student okay i'll well i will try my best well geographically we're part of the western region of north carolina and the south part of of that region we're the largest county in north carolina land wise land wise we uh definitely not population we have lots of room where we can grow but yeah land wise we're the largest county we have the the foothills is what we're not but we have actual mountains here in rutherford county but also in our our eastern part of our county it's more that a little flatter more the lowland but i would say just about everywhere you would see rolling hills we have um rivers we have the two of the main ones i think about you know is broad river and green river and those can be used for recreation whether it's fishing kayaking but we also have those water sources that go back and this would be back to our early years of where there was mining and if you go up into the northern northwestern part of our county you'll see little gem mines that are available and we also as one of our communities is known as golden valley and it's because gold was actually found there and um we had the first minute coin came from rutherford county that was minted in in our country um and so that was the bechtler yes the bechtler and beckler mint and so we like to share that because we do have the signs like with rutherfordton that says a minute community right and that's exactly what it's alluding to um we uh do have like the battlegrounds if you travel the roads you do see those historical markers talking about the uh where the you know the over mountain group the the men that fought to have a free country so it's very strategic we have um you know we have farmland we but we have what i think are are very beautiful and just um very friendly main street communities too that uh are are growing and bringing in more and more tourists to it we have the uh the farsi owls which is you know like a minor league baseball robert mcnair uh who uh on the texans and he is a rutherford county or was he's passed away but from rutherford county went to cool springs high school running for a city and he and his wife established the mcnair foundation which helps to award the the students of rutherford county with a lot of opportunities not just when they graduate even starting before graduating high school so we we just have a lot of diversity the real trail yes the rail trails that that is something you know long ago we counted so much on like the rivers that i mentioned that you you saw community springing up around those water sources and because it was a means of transportation shipping goods out which very much goes along with this podcast but um also as the railroads came in you saw those towns come along with the with the railroad tracks and so as that has you know gone more of the way of trucking um the rails the trails has been set where it actually is the old railroad right tracks right and so it's become a huge biking and hiking and running running clubs come cycling clubs come yes yes it's it's very nice you can you you know a good place like say for biking or if you just want to go out in the afternoons just to get in your your little bit of exercise to go walk go you know with whether it's family friends um to go out and and get your exercise but we are seeing a huge influx of of people actually coming here whether it's with their bikes or to run as a matter of fact the chamber is going to be sponsoring a um a half marathon using the rails to trails going from trailhead to trailhead it will it would be a half marathon really so we'll have to next year looking at possibly uh in february or first march having a half marathon to take advantage of that and hopefully attract even more people you know it's it's so incredible because uh one of the monikers for rutherford county also is small town friendly and you can get to know people and i know i've been here less than five years and what i did is i just started going out meeting people and asking questions and listening and it's it's been it's been great and of course for freight works uh one of the things that we've talked to you about cindy is we want any driver that watches this podcast but beyond that any driver that's in rutherford county that has a commercial driver's license we want them to consider freight works as kind of the home team you know the home place to consider and we're kind of a quiet secret we haven't really told our story which is one of the reasons why we have people coming out and one of the reasons why we're so grateful for the relationship with uh with the chamber can you talk to me a little bit cindy about what you think some people's misconceptions might be about trucking and logistics now that you've gotten to know the company a little bit right well i think they just think of of the obvious first of all just truck drivers which we love the truck drivers we need them and you know as we've certainly experienced like the supply chain issues and going through the pandemic those truckers are the ones that kept everything going but i think a lot of times that's for they just take it for face value that's all there is and i tell you i was amazed when i came through here the first time just how uh far-reaching it is and how much goes into making sure that goods are delivered that truckers are safe and have good equipment um so you know when they when someone passes by and they see it you know i think they may think oh okay well that's that's kind of truck that's it yeah it's just a center you know where okay they get their kind of their marching orders where to go um so it's definitely been a learning experience for me with with um you know actually visiting and we're unapologetic about saying we want you to know everything you can know because you're out and about in the county so much we want you to be like an ambassador for what really goes on here and people don't realize that by the time a truck is on the interstate you have load planners you have driver managers you have finance people customer relations people you've got leadership you've got a shop and mechanics that are all working as a big team to make sure that the loads get delivered safely and on time to the customer's satisfaction and it's often said and it's true if all the drivers in america decided they were going to have a bad few days in three days there'd be nothing on the shelves that's it yeah which means your toilet tissue your mascara your favorite steaks whatever it might be you're just not gonna not gonna be there what would you say to people who would ask the question cindy you're the head of the chamber of commerce why are you optimistic about rutherford county going forward what are the things you would say well for one we we do have such a um a unique situation with where we're located describe that in more detail so that people understand why it's important well um spartanburg south carolina yes they're kind of little saying that they're the hub city but more and more i'm seeing where rutherford county is becoming the hub county because we are uh we're you know basically an hour from asheville an hour from charlotte where you're located not even an hour from like spartanburg maybe close to an hour to greenville south carolina you can easily access interstate 40 from here which goes across the country yes yes interstate 26 is easily accessible from here and 74 highway 74 they're really pushing for that i have the interstate destination which is going to help tremendously while also um highway 221 which for years and years was just two lanes you remember that don't you absolutely travel did a lot and uh you know it was two lanes from you go and keep going north and you're up in the mountains or all the way into uh south carolina it was it was two lanes and so they whiten the ones in south carolina first uh starting outside of chesnee south carolina uh well and then parts of it uh just below chesney where it was changed to four lanes which helped tremendously but north carolina still had just the two lanes so they have already widened part of it and they're working like crazy i see it every day because where i live i go by and i'm just amazed at the progress they're making to to make 221 you know a a better and more traveled road because honestly when it was two lanes people didn't want to they they would do what they could to avoid it of course freight works currently is located right near the intersection of 74 and 221 which we believe in the days ahead especially when the interstate designation happens absolutely we believe it's going to be just a prime area on so many different levels for so many different development initiatives let me let me ask you this when you uh we were talking earlier and i was fascinated you're part of some discussion that relates to trying to help younger students young people identify earlier on in their educational life potentially vocational careers and like can you tell us about that sure i was just recently earlier this week at community college haywood community college where it was sponsored by the north carolina state emerging issues institute where they have looked at demographics for and they actually broke it down by each of the 100 counties in north carolina whether it was looking at race ethnicity gender socioeconomic and looking at the education level the the the different types of disruptors as they called it that would possibly kind of knock people out of the workforce as things have become more automated automated exactly and so looking at those you know the pandemic obviously was one of the big disruptors so that was one plus the third one was our our state is getting browner and grayer they said we're not predominantly white anymore we have we have a more diverse population as far as race but we also the the group that has been the the main ones out there on the workforce are getting older and aging out since we're you know getting grayer and so really wanting to target what can we do to prepare these younger people starting as young as pre-k to expose them to the different types of careers and going ahead and and putting in their their thoughts their minds about what what do you what do you have interest in not just what's going to make you the most money yeah um and what were you gifted to do right yeah because people are gifted differently that's right what your calling is and i feel like and i've heard it said before if you know a calling is different than just going to a job or just having a career because you have a passion for it so the uh my future nc it's a non-profit what they're trying to do and working with nc state um is trying to target by 2030 having 2 million north carolinians with not not necessarily just them but having that post-secondary education and it doesn't always mean that you have to have a four-year degree or your master's but that's great and we certainly want as many as possible to get those levels if where it's neat but also the uh with the with the traits so that way they can cross over and um you know so if they they go through um like a trade school and have that exposure too and that certification where it will carry with them so um that's that's one of the things and with that uh you know i've i thought what a a great idea to have a group of young people to come through like with freight works because we've already had them in place thanks to our foothills commission and workforce they've done a great job with connecting with the schools and getting some to go through some of the manufacturing but also expose them because this like with your earlier question what do people think of right you know and so to let them see oh it's not just about driving a truck if you if you like working with computers you know logistics computers if you're mechanically inclined you want to be a mechanic in the shop i mean the reality cindy is people don't realize this you get a commercial driver's license you're a good driver responsible you run hard you run safe you know within a couple three years you could be making a hundred thousand dollars a year and most people don't realize that they don't realize that it's a trade and not everybody needs to go to college and frankly a lot of people go and waste the money and and so we want to partner with you and with others to posit freightworks as a living example in rutherford county of a trade of a professional career you can pursue that you can take care of your family take care of those needs and have a fulfilled life right right and you know and with doing that look how you're blessing the rest of us right providing all those things that we count on every day well and it's the way that counties and communities are supposed to work where your economic development your chamber of commerce your local businesses are all trying to accomplish the same thing because at the end of the day regardless of a person's skin color their religious convictions or lack thereof everybody wants a safe community they want a good place to have their children go to school they want good job opportunities and want to have a pleasant life right right right and you know if you're employed if your unemployment's lower those things just tend to fall in place you know you um i guess you say you know idle hands is the devil's workshop so if you're if you're employed and those you know you are economically sound it does make for a better community um so absolutely we need to to let people know more and more about the opportunities through trucking and the logistics the mechanics because it is each one is so important exactly exactly and you know what folks here at life by the mile delivered by freight works we want you to know that if you or somebody has a commercial driver's license and you're considering the possibility of getting back into the workforce or you're at a company and it's maybe time to move on we want you to consider freight works we're committed we're not a perfect company but we're committed to keep our promises to celebrate all of the different values that guide what we do and while we have a diverse group of drivers and staff we are people that are basing our decisions on biblical values we're unapologetic about saying that so if you know somebody that wants to be engaged or involved have them call or go to the website and and check us out also want to make sure that you subscribe like share and become part of the life of the mile community now i want to ask you a couple of final quick questions here when you look at rutherford county for the days ahead do you and you've grown up here you've been here your family has been from here do you see can you envision what it's like when we're double our population size and i mean what do you what do you see ahead well you know i remember something where it was um thriving more when we were counting on textiles and then we had you know the textiles leave and so we went through that that dark valley period i guess you would say and we're we're on the uphill climb and it's very encouraging and this you know it encourages me to see people moving here and that's one thing with the chamber that to me is so fulfilling is uh hearing people share with me about why they've chose to live here and the values that people have here and that that's values they share so um and with that they're bringing a lot of talent their their business skills and um we're seeing you know some some really great things i've seen um just recently a meeting where housing affordable housing for the workforce and making it so you can own your home you can actually own your home and you know that is so important you know home ownership so we're um we're growing in that aspect we've uh we're having housing coming in and providing like that and the towns are excited about providing those we've got some great town managers and count a great county manager that's doing a lot to really help our county and so um you know between that and the uh like with the roads you know that you know something we've wanted for a long time it's finally happened i just you know i just there are great days ahead absolutely the best is yet to come right and and it's a and it's a county that i think is pretty flexible i still remember and i tell people the story going to walmart for the first time in the cashier saying you're not from around here are you but you know what i'm still here and i'm going to stay here and so is freightworks you know cindy it's been a delight to have you come you can look at the clock and see the conversation's almost over but not before we give you a gift oh and uh so you may have one of these already but we're we're gonna i'm gonna do my qvc imitation here okay so one option you know trucking trucking and you do i do okay well you just said that publicly i do trucking and logistics uh trucking and logistics is very motivated by hats and so this is one that went over very well at the mid-america truck show it's got a leather leather uh patch there that says light by the mile that's one option it's gonna be cold before we know it and when it is we've got our beanie here with a life by the mile patch there's another one of these yeti mugs i think you may have seen and then a life by the mile not like by the mile but freightworks one had of course this is freightworks one studio that we're in so we won't have to mail this to you we could just give it to you which one would you like oh well you see what a war i've got the patriotic thing going so i'm gonna have to go with the patriots right well this is the life by the mile hat and now listen i'm going to ask you to consider the possibility where it's appropriate whenever you have to wear a ball cap if you're out somewhere we want you to consider wearing this so people will say what is life of the mile and you would be able to tell them it's the honor it's the podcast for freight work so you take that as our thank you go ahead and try it out there we go you know what you didn't even know when you came here that it was going to be a patriotic theme but that is that's right it was meant to be but it's meant to be this is life of the mile delivered by freightworks we come twice a week we've also have shorts we call them video shorts i want to make sure that you know our desire is to create a really open-hearted conversation one that is focused on what trucking and logistics is all about cindy cobb has been our guest the executive director of the rutherford county north carolina chamber of commerce we are so pleased to be part of this experience with you but also loved the fact that we're right here in rutherford county we look forward to our partnership in the days ahead thank you may as well thank you so much thank you have a great day thanks for watching this episode you know life 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 the channel by clicking here we'll see you there


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