TDDA welcomes new board members

Published 8:00 pm Friday, July 8, 2016

On Monday, June 27 the Tryon Downtown Development Association hosted a record crowd at their annual meeting at Sunnydale. New board members Jim Van Hecke, Kevin Sturm, Julie McIntyre and Ronnie Reid were elected to the board and President Wanda May honored outgoing board members Dean Trakas and Judd Daniel.

Julia McIntyre is a practicing architect at Brady/Trakas and is a former partner in Hale/McIntyre Architects of Atlanta, Ga.

Julie attended Pennsylvania State University’s Architectural School for her undergraduate degree and Georgia Institute of Technology’s Architectural Graduate School where she was a member of the Tau Sigma Delta Architectural Honor Society.

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She moved to Tryon in 2001, and has served as a board member of the Tryon Downtown Development Association, past board president and senior director for Tryon Arts & Crafts School, as well as eight years as Crafts Fair chairperson of the Blue Ridge Barbeque Festival.

Julie’s vision for Tryon is to promote the appropriate historic renovation and beautification of downtown Tryon, as well as special event planning, with the intention of promoting Tryon’s retail and commercial business.

Jim Van Hecke moved to Polk County in 1999 and stayed with his wife, Marsha ever since. He spent his early career in executive positions for Fortune 500 and small businesses. He has spent the past 22 years serving in executive positions in nonprofit behavioral health organizations, recently retiring as executive director at Burke Recovery.

Jim would like to see more diverse retail stores and to expand on opportunities to bring people downtown.

Ronnie Reid has been with First Citizens Bank for 28 years serving in retail banking management and in business and commercial relationship management and currently serves as First Citizens Banks market leader in Polk County. Ronnie has a BSBA in finance from Western Carolina University.

Ronnie currently serves on the Carolina Foothills Chamber board and executive committee and was the president of the chamber in 2001 and 2002. He also served on the TDDA board 16 years ago and was president of the Thermal Belt Rotary Club. In 1992-93 Ronnie was on the Heart of Brevard board, helping to form the Brevard Main Street Program.

Ronnie is married to Angie and lives in Laurel Park with his wife and two children, Meghan 17, and Daniel 13.

Kevin Sturm is the senior partner with Sturm & Cont, P.A. in Spartanburg, S.C. He has been representing the interests of both private and public employers across the country in all aspects of labor and employment law for over 35 years.

In addition, he has defended numerous state agencies, counties, and municipalities in general litigation. A large part of his current practice focuses on advising over 70 municipalities in employment law matters.

He has been a member of the board of directors of the South Carolina Occupational Safety Council and The Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg.

In January of 2016, Kevin and his son Ross purchased Lavender Bistro in Tryon with Ross taking on the role as executive chef. He looks forward to bringing his experience with numerous businesses and municipalities to Tryon in an effort to continue the progress that has already occurred in the development of businesses as well as the overall enjoyment of all that this beautiful town has to offer to residents and visitors alike.

TDDA’s board of directors is composed of members of the community, business owners and volunteers, including: Wanda K. May, president; Anne Day, vice president; Carol Browning, treasurer; Penny Padgett, promotions; Scott Lane, economic vitality; Julie McIntyre, design; and board members-at-large Patty Aldred, Christine Cowles, Paula Edwards, Kim Karaman, Ashley Menetre, Allison Osteen, Ronnie Reid, Joan Roseberry, Kevin Sturm and Jim Van Hecke.

TDDA works to revitalize and preserve downtown Tryon through economic development, quality design and preserving the historic nature of downtown, and promotion of downtown. We do this through partnerships with businesses, local government and governing boards, and more.

For more information, please visit

– article submitted

by Jamie Carpenter