David Day Class of 1982
Downtown Director and Economic Development Director, City of Cherryville, NC

In recent years, the development and redevelopment of small towns has become an important part of American culture. Many small cities have realized the importance of having a director to guide the process and help bring new activities, business, and quality of life to their area.

David Day serves as the Downtown Director and Economic Development Director for the City of Cherryville, NC. I enjoy working with all the merchants and new businesses coming to the town, explains David. I recruit business to come to the city and work with them on locations, grants, and marketing, helping them transition and develop business relationships. My rewards come from seeing our town grow and offering new and exciting opportunities for business to bring new people to our town.

Over the past three years, we did a major $8 million renovation to our downtown. This revitalization has encouraged building owners to upgrade and restore their historic buildings and bring our main street back to life. Every week work is being done throughout our town, and its very exciting to read the publics comments and watch them as they see this historic city come back to life.

My previous career was as a minister of music for three churches. I served at Augustana Lutheran for thirteen years, First Baptist Hildebran for eight years, and First Baptist Cherryville for thirteen years. I currently lead the contemporary services at St. Stephens Lutheran Church MS in Hickory. I also served as youth pastors and Minister of Education in both Baptist churches.

David earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Education and Sacred Music with a concentration in Voice from Lenoir Rhyne University. He also has an associate degree in business management.

One of the mentors who always comes to mind is Mr. Jim Williams. He helped me develop my passion for music and conducting and demonstrated how to lead by example. By leading through music, a person can reach people in ways that normal verbal conversations could never do. Another inspiration was Pastor Ron Arndt, who taught me the skills of working with church members in many different situations to help them find peace and comfort through Gods work. It was through putting these skills into practice that my passion for worship leading developed.

I feel worship leading is a spiritual gift I have and enjoy worship during every service. Helping a congregation prepare their minds, hearts, and spirits to hearing Gods word through music and message is such a tremendous pleasure each week. Helping groups and individuals develop their musical skills and performance gives them confidence to be the best they can be in music and leading worship.

Even my worship skills come to play in my daily job for the city. I have learned from many great people while working in local, county, and state government. They have given me the skills needed to develop into a Downtown Director. I help encourage merchants in a slower time of retail to find new ways to promote their business and think out of the box. I visit each merchant weekly and share with them ideas, promotions, and other information which in turn gives them new ways to grow. This practice has been very successful with many small business owners, and they continue to bring people from outside the city to visit and shop.

One other skill I learned at East Burke is American Sign Language (ASL). I took the class my senior year, and I still use it frequently. I also took classes at Lenoir Rhyne to enhance my ASL skills. I am often called upon to translate for meetings or help communicate with individuals. Its most rewarding when I meet someone with a hearing impairment and I can communicate with them. I have developed many friendships over the years, and its helped me to find ways to work with them in music and business.

As I draw closer to retirement, my goals have changed a lot since I was in my 30s, 40s, and 50s. My goal is to put in place a strategic plan that keeps the city progressing forward and helps prevent it from relapsing to empty buildings and forgotten businesses. I feel a person is not a good leader if he leaves and his work stops. I enjoy creating excitement and implementing plans to encourage new people to carry on with new and fresh ideas. I look forward to the day when Im totally retired and spending time with my family but can also enjoy seeing the town thriving knowing I had a part in its success.

I carry the same approach in my music ministry as I do in my city endeavors. It is important to prepare others to take my place. I enjoy encouraging younger individuals in their worship and in their worship leadership to grow and bring fresh aspects to worship and music. Over thirty years of working in churches, music has changed so much. We need to hold on to the traditional songs and hymns, teaching them to the children while also exploring the contemporary and not being afraid to blend. If one does ministry well, there will not be a divisive tone but one of unity.

My current goal is to retire in a few years, spend more time with my wife and family, and travel to Europe as many times as possible. I want to enjoy the art, music, and culture and share it with my grandchildren. I have traveled seven times to Europe, and I always learn something new. Whether it be food, art, or music, the experiences I have always excite me.

Published January 2024

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