Coughlin speaks out on Cabarrus accomplishments




Dec. 4. Terry Crawford, the immediate past chair of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber, has been named CEO after Patrick Coughlin was fired Thursday two years into the job. Tammy Whaley, board chairwoman, said it was a “personnel decision,” code for a termination.

Coughlin seemed to take issue with the decision, saying he was “very proud of the accomplishments the team and I achieved in the past two years.”

“When I came to Cabarrus County, the board very clearly communicated its priorities for a strategic direction for both the Chamber and EDC,” Coughlin said, explaining that he was surprised by the termination.

In a detailed statement for Business Today, he said he accomplished a wide variety of goals, including a dramatic improvement in the chamber’s financials.

“The Chamber was operating with a deficit for several years before my tenure. I was able to reduce that operating budget deficit by 25 percent in my first 11 months. The last projections I saw, the 2015 year-end deficit would be reduced by another 60 percent,” Coughlin said.

The chamber’s relations with Cabarrus County government were strained during the early part of this decade, culminating in significant cuts to the EDC budget. Coughlin said he played a key role in improving the relationship, which resulted in the budget cuts being restored. Much of it had to do with analysis, planning and product development.

“Because of these planned and measured approaches, I was able to reinstate the county’s funding to the EDC in January of 2015. Just six months later the EDC received a 20 percent increase for FY 2015-16. Similarly, each municipal government increased their investment through a cooperative marketing plan,” Coughlin said.

The Town of Mount Pleasant said it has “seen more activity in our community in the past six months under Patrick’s leadership than we have seen in the previous 10 years,” Coughlin said.

It was only two years ago when Coughlin replaced Cabarrus’ interim CEO, Carroll Gray, the former head of the Charlotte Chamber. This was after long-time Cabarrus Chamber CEO John Cox was recruited by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce in Florida, only to be fired earlier this year. Cox still maintains a home in Concord.

Crawford is a fixture in the Cabarrus business community. Until his retirement, Crawford was general manager of the Embassy Suites Golf Resort & Spa in Concord. He is vice chairman of the City of Concord Planning and Zoning Board of Commissioners. He has also served as chairman of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Whaley said she is “confident the chamber’s future is bright and we’ll continue to successfully promote and serve our businesses and communities.”

She said Crawford’s business and leadership experience will help guide the chamber into 2016 as a search for a new CEO gets under way. Crawford, meanwhile, said he would focus on chamber employees and day-to-day management issues.




One Response to “Coughlin speaks out on Cabarrus accomplishments”

  1. This is not surprising at all. Patrick was also fired as CEO of the Winchester-Frederick County (Top of Virginia) Chamber of Commerce in 2005. He nearly ran it into the ground, and had the same shocked reaction when he was fired.

    Posted by Akeen Byrd | November 28, 2023, 12:15 pm

Post a Comment