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Man who helped bring Google to Caldwell County receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine



LENOIR, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Caldwell County’s Bobby White has landed the governor’s highest honor for his role in economic development. 

For more than 50 years, White has played a vital role in growing commerce within Caldwell County and the Unifour region. For his years of service to the area, White received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine at a ceremony on Thursday. 

“People who have never met or heard of Bobby White are benefiting from his work and dedication,” said Scott T. Hamilton, president and chief executive officer of the Golden Leaf Foundation. “His work will have a positive impact on generations of North Carolinians.”  

White received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine as he retires as the Caldwell County Economic Development grants coordinator and special projects manager. 

During his public service career, White also has served as Caldwell County manager, Burke County manager and in leadership roles with Western Piedmont Council of Governments.  

As Caldwell County manager, White helped bring the first data center to North Carolina with Google.   

“By bringing Google to Lenoir, Bobby paved the way for the North Carolina Data Center Corridor. This corridor now includes Disney+, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft,” said current Caldwell County Manager Donald Duncan.  

Other projects White played a key role in include preventing the loss of the National Guard Armory in Caldwell County. And with the help of N.C. Rep. Cass Ballenger, he secured an $8 million grant to demolish the aging armory structure in Lenoir and rebuild it on newly purchased property near Gamewell.

He was also involved in the expansion of the Morganton-Lenoir Airport and the construction of the Sheriff’s Office and Health and Human Services Building on Morganton Boulevard.  

“I learned from Bobby that people do business with people they know and trust, that relationships are an important part of accomplishing your work,” said Hamilton. 

Since 1963, North Carolina’s governors have reserved The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.    

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