Sharon Decker named senior vice president of strategic initiatives for TIEC

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is excited to announce the addition of Sharon Decker, former North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, who will join the TIEC team as the newly appointed Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives beginning Sept. 1, 2015. Decker will join the leadership team at TIEC as the venue prepares to host its inaugural and highly anticipated Tryon Fall Series beginning Thursday, Sept. 17.


Decker will provide her extensive corporate experience and impressive background to help further extend and develop the reach of TIEC within the local community and at the state level in both North and South Carolina. A graduate of University of North Carolina Greensboro, Decker began her career with Duke Power Company, now formally recognized as Duke Energy, where she was named the first female vice president in the company’s history. Since that time, she has held significant leadership roles in public, private and non-profit corporations.


“I am very excited to be joining the team at TIEC and am thrilled to be working in the foothills region of Western North Carolina again, a place our family calls home. TIEC is a significant economic catalyst and our challenge together will be building upon that. It’s not only about expanding for the equestrian industry, but helping to create businesses and opportunities beyond that within the community and throughout the local region,” said Decker. “We want to grow the attraction and attendance to the facility beyond those who understand equestrian sport and create a reach that impacts job creation and economic growth throughout the region and the Carolinas.”

Her valuable leadership skills will benefit TIEC as the venue moves forward with extensive expansion plans in addition to the current world-class facility already in full use. TIEC has drawn some of the best equestrian competitors from around the world to its doors this season and the potential for the future is bright, an aspect Decker will greatly influence as she begins her new role this September.


“We are privileged to have a person of Sharon’s caliber join our management team at Tryon International Equestrian Center,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners. “Sharon brings to the team a wealth of experience and understanding of the region. We’re confident that her contributions will make a significant difference in the trajectory of the resort.”


In one of her most recognizable positions, Decker, a North Carolina native, was appointed Secretary of Commerce for the state of North Carolina in 2013 by Governor Pat McCrory, serving the state government for two years. During her time as Secretary of Commerce, Decker oversaw the creation of The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, responsible for marketing the state of North Carolina on a global scale. She also took a large leadership role in developing the Rural Division of the Department of Commerce dedicated to creating and aiding economic growth in the rural areas of the state. Decker also serves on the board of Coca Cola Bottling Consolidated and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


“Together we will be focusing on strategic directives and strategic initiatives for the venue as it continues to grow and expand. I’m looking forward to working with the Tryon Equestrian Partners in developing a long term vision for job creation and economic impact within the area,” continued Decker.


Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) will host the Tryon Fall Series beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 16, continuing through Sunday, Oct. 25, hosting six consecutive weeks of elite competition, including two FEI CSI 3* weeks (Oct. 14 – 25).


For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit


-Submitted by Michelle McConnell Yelton