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Skip Taylor installed as new Rotary Club of Tryon President

What qualifies a Rotarian to be elected president of a Rotary Club? There may well be as many abilities and experiences as there are Rotary presidents, but because Rotary Clubs internationally are community-focused, Fredrick “Skip” Taylor’s extended experience in community-building and international Rotary activities certainly adds to his list of qualifications.

A formerly active member of the Highlands Rotary Club and the Mountaintop Rotary Club, Skip Taylor will be installed as president of The Rotary Club of Tryon July 2, providing the Club with a leader with an extraordinarily wide range of community involvement. While he is rather new to Tryon, having moved here in 2017, his western North Carolina experiences go deep.

Skip launched his media career in 1975 with Community Newspapers, Inc., first with the Black Mountain News, and later transferring to the staff of The Highlander Newspaper, where he eventually became editor. He left the world of weekly newspapering in 1980, joining the Asheville Citizen-Times as western bureau reporter. However, after four years of covering western North Carolina from Canton to Murphy, he returned to the Highlands-Cashiers area and the weekly newspaper business, again as part of Community Newspapers. He started a newspaper in Cashiers for CNI, and later moved back to the staff of The Highlander as editor for a second time, taking that paper from a weekly to a twice-a-week publication. He eventually became the publisher of both The Highlander and the Cashiers Crossroads Chronicle.

Leaving print journalism behind in 1996, Taylor joined the administrative team of Highlands-Cashiers Hospital as director of communications. But after 13 years in public relations, he decided to launch his own business, Taylor Restoration and Square wrights, tapping into his 35-year love affair with woodworking, furniture making and antique repair. He relocated his business to Tryon in 2017.

Throughout his years in Highlands and Cashiers he was involved in numerous civic, church and community groups and was honored in 2017 by a mayoral proclamation for his years of service by the Town of Highlands. He has also helped lead international projects that brought wheelchairs and water purification systems to the people of Bolivia. Since moving to Polk County, Taylor has been an active member of Tryon Presbyterian Church, serving on a number of church committees. He also serves as a volunteer at Thermal Belt Outreach.

When asked what brought him and wife to Tryon he responds, “Ken Shull, my friend and former boss at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, had come to Polk County to be CEO at St. Luke’s. We came over on a visit and just fell in love with Tryon, and with the area as a whole. We were starting to search for somewhere to slowdown and eventually retire, somewhere still in the mountains, yet with warmer winters, and Polk County went to the top of the list. We absolutely love it here.”

What made Skip willing to reduce his activity as a period furniture designer and refinisher and tackle his new responsibilities as Rotary president?
“The Tryon Rotary Club is a really great group of folks and I’m honored to serve as president. While I have been a Rotary club president before, I know there are some very big shoes to fill here. The footprints left by past presidents and other club leaders over the 93-year history of this club are evident almost anywhere one turns in this community,” he said. “We want to build on that legacy of service in the year ahead. It’s a big responsibility.”

Submitted by Les Stobbe