New Friends of Panthertown president brings wealth of skills

Margaret Fry Carton of the Cashiers area has been elected president of the Friends of Panthertown, a nonprofit that protects, preserves and promotes Panthertown Valley, a national forest enclave of unusual beauty and stunning natural features near Cashiers.

"We will continue our work to ensure that Panthertown remains a vibrant and protected natural resource for our community, and for the unique flora and fauna the flourishes here," Carton said. "This organization represents a unique partnership between conservation minded individuals and the Forest Service."

Carton, who lives in the Cashiers, retired in 2005 from Coca-Cola Enterprises as the vice president, chief information officer. Before that, she was the vice president of investor relations and planning and managed several financial functions, including investor and share-owner relations, employee communications, financial media relations, and strategic financial planning and analysis. Her husband is an associate professor and department head for entrepreneurship, sales and marketing, and hospitality and tourism at Western Carolina University.

Panthertown is located in the Nantahala National Forest between the mountain communities of Cashiers in Jackson County and Lake Toxaway in Transylvania County. Carton is also the chairman of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School Board of Trustees in northeast Georgia. In addition, she serves on the board of the Atlanta Ballet and is a member of the Western Carolina University Computer Information Systems Advisory Board.

Carton is the second president of Friends of Panthertown, succeeding David M. Bates, the organization's first president and co-founder, who passed away last year.

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