BARRY MATHERLY ('87) JUGGLES a unique hat-trick in his daily life: a career in economic development, an allegiance to civic leadership and a passion about croquet.
The economic developer was featured in the Charlotte Business Journal's 2002 "Top 40 under Forty," which recognizes Charlotte, N.C., area business leaders. Since 1999, Matherly has been the executive director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association in Lincoln, N.C., which is "a private, non-profit corporation charged with facilitating industrial, office, and commercial development" in the county. Matherly graduated from JMU with a bachelor's degree in business administration, then continued his education at Virginia Tech, earning a master's in urban and regional planning. He also served as director of economic development in both Pulaski, Va., and Goochland County.
Matherly says that what he enjoys most about being the executive director of LEDA is "the opportunity to bring about positive change in a community by improving its economy. It's a great feeling touring a new business and seeing people who are excited to be working there and knowing I played a major role."
Matherly was nominated for the "Top 40 Under 40" by Rhonda Hunter, the office manager for LEDA, and was not aware of it until he won. "Rhonda never told me she entered me," he says. "To win something you didn't know you were in the running for is a surprise."
A community builder, Matherly also serves on the boards of the United Way of Lincoln County, the Lincoln County Communities in Schools, the Industrial Managers Association, the Lincolnton/Lincoln County Chamber and the Downtown Development Association of Lincolnton. He is also a member of the Huntersville Planning Commission.
When he's not building communities or volunteering, the 6-foot-2-inch Matherly enjoys a good game of croquet. No, really - so much, in fact, that his fantasy job is to be a croquet pro. "I became interested in the game in my mid-20s, and have been a serious croquet player for over five years. For the past three years, I've organized a croquet tournament at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Pinehurst has the best croquet pavilion in the Mid-Atlantic and a full-time croquet pro. I'm waiting for him to retire so I can become their pro," Matherly laughs. "The first time that I hosted a croquet tournament at Pinehurst, I wondered if everyone would have a good time. As it turned out, the tournament went until 2 a.m., and now, every tournament includes Midnight Croquet."
Since his graduation from JMU, Matherly has visited the campus many times. He says that "most recently, Monica and I took our daughters, Brooke and Blair, to JMU in the spring of 2002 to tour the campus and raid the bookstore." He remembers his years at JMU fondly, especially "partying with my roommates, Ethan and Alex, my future wife, Monica, and my fraternity brothers at the SC house."
Matherly and Monica are the proud parents of two daughters, Brooke, 10, and Blair, 7.
- Allison Mall ('04)