02 Pub PenI believe Fayetteville is a wonderful place to live, serve, work, raise a family, educate children, grow a business and enjoy the golden years.

I have traveled the world and lived in many places, large and small. Fayetteville is special. Our amazing arts, business and banking, churches, downtown, education, families, geography, homes  (are wonderful) ... but the people, they make Fayetteville special. I challenge those with repeated negative thoughts to take the time to share what is great about the place we call home.

Fayetteville and Fort Bragg are primed to experience a historic revival led by Generation Z and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are primed to realize the tremendous competencies from Fort Bragg, which will fuel our future. We are on the eve of breakthroughs in economic, community and quality-of-life advancement grounded in cyber, drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, data and the careers of the future. The future is here.

We should spend less time on the last 150 years and the history it produced and more on the next 50 years and the value and quality of life it will birth. Populations are changing and citizens are moving. We are in the perfect location to benefit from this change.

The future is very bright, and it is about people first. When we make people first and operate with integrity and fairness, then we will realize our best future. The future is bright, and that is where we are wise to place our focus. People first, our best future.

 Rodney Anderson, soldier for life and proud parent of three young adult children — Lindsay, Danielle and Rodney Jr.

I covet my editorial space in our community newspaper and I’m reluctant to yield it to others unless their message is of vital importance to the residents of Fayetteville, and Cumberland County retired Maj. Gen. Rodney Anderson has such a message with his response to my editorial last week, “People Over Politics.” For the most part the general and I agree on the virtues of this community and the opportunities afforded here. Actually, we agree on almost every point. However, his experience, training and intellect being what they are, he introduces two concepts that I doubt many people in our community are familiar with — the first being Generation Z and the second and, most important, the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Granted, together these two phenomena are the reality of the nation’s future. So, if you have never heard these terms then I suggest you Google them right away.

In addition, Anderson puts tremendous value on the virtues of integrity and fairness. This is what “people first” is all about. The reality is that intelligent, focused and visionary leadership puts people first. It is this type of leadership that is needed to attract young talent to our community and keep them here to capitalize on the changing nature of our world and community. He is right. The question now is do we have the leadership and resources to attract and retain such talent to grow our population here in Fayetteville and Cumberland County? Well, as Margaret Dickson points out in her article “Growing Pains,” probably not. In eight years, 2010-2018, Cumberland County’s population grew a measly 1.4% lagging embarrassingly far behind smaller counties like Harnett (+15%), Hoke (+13%) and Moore (+12%). So, while Anderson provides us valid and intellectual insights into the future, in reality, it is history that becomes the looking glass into our future. In this particular case of 1.4% growth in eight years, a study of our past would reveal what we have done or, not done, that resulted in these dismal numbers. It’s the difference between “talking the talk” and “walking the walk.” The proof of success, or failure, is always in the net result. Knowing what to do and understanding what to do are useless if the leadership is not there.

People first! We always enjoy hearing from our readers. I want to personally thank Anderson for his letter and his valuable insights. Now, let’s see where this will lead us. Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

  — Publisher Bill Bowman

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