“Bill Cole has devoted himself to this organization and has done the work of 10 people. He’s a generous, driven and community-loving person,” said Angie Schwab, Folkmoot’s executive director. “We are sad to see him roll off the board, but know he will continue to participate in activities that improve the Friendship Center.”
Cole spent two years as president of Folkmoot’s board of directors, after spending two years as a board member. Schwab said he’s to be credited with several important achievements during his time there.
“First, he made the Friendship Center revitalization a priority. If you have visited the center in the last year, we look great for being 80 and 100 year-old buildings. They’re brighter, cleaner, safer and well-maintained,” she said. “Bill worked with architect Joe Sam Queen to invest campaign dollars to make construction improvements and now the center is a resource for the community.”
Perhaps more important, Cole focused the group on fiscal sustainability and new program development, especially in terms of special events.
“Bill has been very encouraging and helpful in regard to use of the building and has been a true ally to the staff in building high-quality community programming,” said Schwab.
Replacing Cole will be a former member of the board who also happens to be a high-level county official, Haywood County Program Administrator David Francis.
“David Francis is entrepreneurial, innovative and strategic. In his previous terms on the board, he held leadership positions and was thought of as an activator — he got a lot accomplished and was well respected by his peers,” she said. “David has been a supporter and volunteer of Folkmoot for decades and has paid close attention to what’s developed at the Friendship Center buildings.”
Schwab said that Francis was elected unanimously and that she was grateful to have someone with his skillset.
“We have a lot going on at Folkmoot with the building and the festival, and are working on what Folkmoot will look like at the 40 year-mark,” she said. “The community is going to love what’s coming up over here.”