umbln oct 2019 pic 2
Our luncheon on Oct 17, 2019 focused on educating attendees on the topic of 0pioid addiction –  an issue that’s affecting so many individuals and families in our community.  We were joined by a panel of local experts on the subject to include: Kenny House (VP of Clinical Services at Coastal Horizons); Lisa Edgerton (Pharmacist and New Hanover Regional Medical Center Opioid Task Force Member); Ben David (District Attorney, New Hanover & Pender Counties) and Brandon Toro  (Celebrate Recovery Program Leader).  Jim Busby, UMBLN Steering Committee member, moderated the panel.  Our goal for the event was to become better equipped to help those struggling with this destructive addiction.
Allen Rippy at UMBLN breakfast
On April 11, 2019 we spoke with Wilmington area business leader, Allen Rippy Sr. of Rippy Cadillac about the role that his faith has played in his life . .  .  from his family to business to community outreach.  Among other things Allen shared with us the very interesting and inspiring story of his involvement with Bitty & Beau’s coffee.
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On Sep 52018 we held a breakfast at Pine Valley United Methodist Church in Wilmington. The topic was an overview of the high quality training/education programs offered by New Hanover County Schools and Cape Fear Community College that area available to local youth and adults pursuing careers in the trades and various technical fields. Our guest speakers will included:  Ben David, District Attorney of New Hanover and Pender Counties; Josh Davis,  Director of Customized Workforce Training and Workforce Development, Cape Fear Community College and Duke Wallin, Program Coordinator, Southeast Area Technical HS (SEA-Tech).


Larry Julian UMBLN

On July 19, 2018 we held a Phone Interview Event with bestselling business author, speaker and executive coach Larry Julian.  Larry discussed some of the principles in his book “God Is My CEO:  Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-Line World.  The book, which has been featured on and in the Wall Street Journal explores the ten most common issues facing businesspeople today and applies God’s principles to these dilemmas.  Among the things he discussed, Larry explained that leading by faith isn’t just about feeling good—it’s about not being afraid to let your faith show; trusting in the Lord with all of your heart; and also giving the Lord room to work in situations that we might otherwise seek to control.  Larry has been facilitating discussion groups with business leaders on the topic of applying one’s faith to one’s work since 1994.


Owen Metts

May 2018 – We’d like to welcome Owen Metts (pictured above) to the UMBLN Steering Committee.  Owen is the Owner & President of Owen Metts Realty which is based in Wilmington, NC.   Among his many accomplishments he was recently honored by receiving the CDC’s NC Innovators & Entrepreneurs Award.  Owen is a member of St. Luke AMEZ and will be working with us to expand and strengthen our partnership with AMEZ business leaders as we explore ways in which we can work together in the community.


UMBLN at BRC breakfast

On Apr 4, 2018, several of our UMBLN members (pictured above) attended the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence (BRC) annual breakfast to learn about the BRC’s VOYAGE summer jobs program for at-risk youth.  VOYAGE offers youth the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a part of the local workforce.  Youth are assigned to a company or organization that serves as a host job site.  They are provided various life skills training and coaching throughout the process.  The program has been very successful and is now in it’s third year.  If your company is interested in learning more about serving as a host site please contact BRC Executive Director Jana Jones Halls at 910-508-2838.   For more information about the summer jobs program, including a video with testimonials from job site hosts click  HERE


John Adams head shot

We’d like to welcome John Adams (pictured above) to the UMBLN Steering Committee.  John retired from business after a successful career in the yacht manufacturing industry.  Among his leadership positions, John served as SVP of Product Development, Design and Engineering with Hatteras Yachts and as President and CEO of Betram Yachts and Trojan Yatchs.  John is a member of Wrightsville UMC.  We are honored to have him on the team.



On Jan 31, 2018 we gathered for our Winter Luncheon at Wesley UMC in Wilmington.  Our conference Bishop, Hope Morgan Ward was our guest speaker.  Bishop Ward discussed the work of The United Methodist “Commission On A Way Forward” and answered questions from our members on the topic.


Dan Cathy 3

On Oct 24, 2017 we held a Phone Interview Event with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy.  Dan spoke with us about his background with the company and the impact that his Christian beliefs have had on his leadership style.   He also talked about the culture and character of the company and why Chick-fil-A is able to maintain an extremely low employee turnover rate.   Dan also shared some of his favorite scripture verses and discussed how he applies them in a business setting.   Our UMBLN members had an opportunity to engage in some Q&A with Dan during the call as well.


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On June 29, 2017 we gathered for our Summer Luncheon at Trinity UMC in Wilmington.  New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon was the keynote speaker.  Sheriff McMahon shared with us the impact that his faith has had (and is having) on his decision making philosophy and his leadership style. The Sheriff also led the group through some discussion questions related to major law enforcement issues affecting local businesses and ideas for how business leaders and church congregations can partner with local law enforcement.  We also recognized several Harbor District pastors for their service as law enforcement chaplains.



On April 18, 2017 we held a Phone Interview Event with Lead Like Jesus CEO Phyllis Hennecy Hendry.  Lead Like Jesus ( is global leadership development organization (co-founded by well known business consultant Ken Blanchard) that helps individuals and organizations lead more effectively by following the model of Jesus.  Phyllis discussed some of the leadership principals that they teach and shared some examples of business leaders who have incorporated the principals into their leadership style and/or company culture.  Our UMBLN members had an opportunity to engage in some Q&A during the call as well.


March 30 UMBLN luncheon

Chad Porter presents to UMBLN members and guest at 2017 Spring Luncheon

On Mar 30, 2017 dozens of business leaders from 17 different United Methodist churches in Harbor District gathered at Pine Valley United Methodist Church for our spring luncheon. Guest speaker Chad Porter (pictured below) delivered an inspiring personal testimony about how he, with his faith and a positive mindset, overcame a very challenging circumstance and that we can do the same.  He also encouraged us as leaders to be more intentional about expressing our love and appreciation to others, including to the youth of our churches.  That we should strive to be “difference makers’ in the lives of our youth and young adults.  We were also honored to have several clergy leaders of the AMEZ Church’s Wilmington District attend as our guests.  For more info about Chad see


Bishop at UMBLN Dec 2016

Bishop Ward gives the UMBLN an update on the UMC’s Hurricane Matthew Disaster Relief efforts

On Dec 1, 2016 we held our Winter Luncheon at Trinity UMC’s Family Life Center in Wilmington. The program included examples of local, regional and international mission opportunities and was centered around Jesus’ words to us in Acts 1:8 “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Business leaders present were encouraged to consider how they (and their companies) might engage in local, regional and international mission opportunities. NC Conference Bishop, Hope Morgan Ward, was one of the guest speakers.  The mission opportunities highlighted included:   LINC – Leading Into New Communities (;  The Hope Center (; Phoenix Hometown Hires (;  Blue Ribbon Commission (; NC Conference Disaster Response and Mission Of Hope (



On Nov 29, 2016 we held a Phone Interview Event with Aflac Corporation’s President, Paul Amos II.  A member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Columbus, GA, Paul talked with us about how he strives to live out his Christian faith as a business leader and also how the corporate culture of Aflac reflects Christian values. Our UMBLN members on the call were also able to ask questions of Paul during a Q&A session which followed the interview portion. Aflac is ranked 135 on the 2016 Fortune 500 list and has appeared both on the “100 Best Companies To Work For” list (for 17 consecutive years) and the “American’s Most Admired Companies” list (for 14 years).


Jack Fuller pic Bill Norris

Jack Fuller (pictured to the left above), retired Chairman and CEO of GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Bill Norris (on the right), Senior Vice President and Manager of Commercial and Business Banking at First Citizens Bank in Wilmington recently joined the UMBLN Steering Committee.  Jack is a member of Wrightsville UMC and Bill is a member of Wesley Memorial UMC.  Both will play an important role in helping the committee to guide the vision and activities of the UMBLN going forward.  We are honored to have them on the team and look forward to benefiting from their invaluable input and insight.


On Jun 23, 2016 business leaders from 14 different United Methodist churches in Harbor District gathered at Wesley Memorial UMC in Wilmington for the 2016 Summer Luncheon of the United Methodist Business Leaders Network (UMBLN).

UMBLN_June 23 2016_5The UMBLN members heard from a panel of local Education Leaders that included: UNCW Chancellor,  Dr. Jose “Zito” Sartarelli; Cape Fear Community College President, Dr. Amanda Lee and New Hanover County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Tim Markley  The panel was moderated by Jim Busby who is president of Del Mar of Wilmington Corp.; a member of the UMBLN Steering Committee; Chair of Communities In Schools of Cape Fear and a member of Wrightsville UMC.

The panelists discussed how their respective institutions are developing the workforce for local businesses and also highlighted some examples of how educational institutions, businesses, local government agencies and churches are working together as it relates to addressing critical human needs in the community (i.e. poverty, unemployment, literacy etc.).   For more details click HERE


On Apr 15, 2016 business leaders from 15 different United Methodist churches in Harbor District gathered at Pine Valley UMC in Wilmington for our United Methodist Business Leaders Network’s 2016 Spring Luncheon.

UMBLN_Apr 15        Fruit At Work

Our guest speaker – award winning entrepreneur and business consultant Chris Evans – shared insights with the group around the topic of how Christian virtues can be applied in a business environment. Chris explained how displaying the nine Fruits Of The Spirit in the workplace is not only a way in which we can live out our Christian calling during the work week, but if done on a consistent basis, it can also have a tremendous positive impact on our business. Thanks to Chris’ kind generosity, each luncheon attendee received a complimentary copy of his book “Fruit At Work: Mixing Christian Virtues With Business.”  For a summary of the nine Fruits Of The Spirit and the value of each to your business click on link below.

In our “Making A Difference” segment, Sandy Spiers, Wilmington President of SunTrust Bank, shared some of the ways in which she strives to serve as the hands and feet of Christ in the community.  We give thanks for Sandy and all of the great things she’s done and does for the Kingdom!