About Us

The Johnston County Economic Development Office actively works to encourage and promote development opportunities throughout the County, including in all incorporated and unincorporated communities. One of our primary and most important roles is that of facilitator between government and the private sector.

Whatever your needs may be, the Johnston County Economic Development Office is prepared to assist you in a highly professional and confidential manner. Resources available to your company include custom digitized maps, labor and wage analysis, site selection assistance, and incentive packaging.

For more information, to schedule an existing industry visit, or to request assistance with a relocation or expansion project, please contact us at:

For further information, please contact:

Johnston County Economic Development
Post Office Box 1179
Smithfield, NC 27577

919-205-1232 (voice)

Johnston County Economic Development Board

Chris Johnson has been Director of the Johnston County Economic Development Office since 2013. He leads JoCo’s business recruitment, retention and expansion strategies, working closely with municipal, regional and state partners, as well as private allies, location advisors and real estate professionals, in bringing diversification, growth and sustainability to the county’s economy. During his tenure, Chris has supported plans by Grifols, Novo Nordisk, Berry Global, OPW, Amazon and other major companies to make significant new investments in Johnston County. He also chairs the Economic Development Advisory Committee at the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP). Chris previously led the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation for nearly 14 years. In 2021, Business North Carolina magazine recognized his leadership on its “Power List” of the state’s most influential leaders. A native of Jackson, NC, Chris earned a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University. He and his wife, Kim, have owned Jewel’s Formals in Smithfield for more than 30 years. The couple have two children – both recent ECU grads.

Janel Parker has served as Economic Development Operations Coordinator for Johnston County since 2007. She supports all aspects of JoCo’s job creation, corporate recruitment, and business retention and expansion programs and strategies. Janel’s 25-year career with the County also includes administrative responsibilities in both the Tax Office and Planning Department. A native of Tazewell, Virginia, she holds a A.A.S. degree from Johnston Community College. Janel and her husband, David, live in Benson. The couple has two children and four grandchildren. Their household also includes three horses, eight dogs and three Vietnamese pot-belly pigs. In her free time, Janel enjoys gardening and
riding her Harley-Davidson.

Joy Taylor Callahan has been Workforce Development Specialist for Johnston County since September 2021. A prominent name in Johnston County education and training circles, her important role centers on building local talent pipelines. Joy also is founder of Callahan Connections, which consults with education, government and businesses on human resource and training issues. She recently participated in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management, a collaborative between employers and workforce partners to source and develop talent critical for competitiveness and growth. Joy retired from Johnston Community College after 22 years building and managing economic and workforce development programs, including service as Director of the Johnston County Workforce Development Center since 2005. Prior to joining the JCC staff in 1999, Joy was Associate Director of Cooperative Education at N.C. State University. A Kinston native, she holds degrees in business education from East Carolina University. Joy and her husband, Jon, live in the Cleveland School community. The couple have two daughter.

Chairman Randy Jones is a commercial real estate broker in Smithfield. He is also general managing partner of RJS Limited and owner of JonRae LLC. For 30 years, Randy operated Jones Brothers Furniture, a family-owned retailer with customers across the eastern U.S. He currently chairs the Pine Level Planning Board and is currently a commissioner of the North Carolina Education Lottery since 2017. Randy also is former president of the Pine Level Lions Club. He holds an Associate of Applied Science in business data processing from Johnston Community College. Randy and his wife, Renee, live in Pine Level. They have a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren. Randy has represented Pine Level on the Johnston County Economic Development Board since 2007 and has chaired the board since 2019.

Ed Aldridge is vice president of business development for Riverwild/Providence Construction in Clayton. The fast-growing company has expertise in site infrastructure, sewer and stormwater management, environmental solutions and other systems. Ed’s career includes nearly 26 years as a strategic account manager at Gregory Poole Equipment Company. He and his wife, Missy, are parents to a son and two daughters. A native of Tarboro, Ed is a deacon at White Oak Baptist Church in Archer Lodge and is an engaged member of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. He holds a degree in business management from NC State University and enjoys attending Wolfpack sporting events. Ed has served as an at-large member of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2019.

Clyde Castleberry  has spent much of his career in service to the Town of Archer Lodge – as a Town Council Member from 2009 to 2018 and Mayor Pro Tem since 2018. He is a native and lifelong resident of Johnston County. Clyde works in the Selma office of Petroleum Carriers, LLC, a Richmond, Va.-based transportation company serving the mid-Atlantic. He has four decades of experience in the petroleum business. Clyde has served Archer Lodge as a volunteer firefighter, Little League coach and Christian education teacher. He and his wife Rhonda have four children: Seth, Pricilla, Dan, and Natalie. Clyde has represented Archer Lodge on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2011.

Kevin Dougherty is founder and president of AdVenture Development, a multifaceted real estate company providing development, acquisition, property management and other services across the mid-Atlantic. His 40-year career has included mortgage lending, consulting and development in Pittsburgh and Charlotte. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from John Carroll University. Kevin is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Urban Land Institute. He serves on the board of the YMCA and Triangle East Chamber of Commerce and is past chairman of the Princeton Veterans Committee. Kevin also is a member of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership Executive Board. He has represented Princeton on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2017.

Mike Fleming is CEO of, a manufacturer and leading provider of premium, custom printed wall murals and wall art for homes and businesses. Based in Smithfield, the company serves a customer base that includes homeowners, small business owners, Fortune 500 companies, medical facilities, museums, restaurants, churches, educational institutions, and others. Prior to starting Magic Murals, he worked with Carolina Pottery his family’s retail business. He holds a B.A. degree from UNC Chapel Hill, where he majored in political science. Mike has served as an Advisory Board Member for First Citizens Bank since 1996. He has represented Smithfield on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2014.

Steve Hargis is president of Hargis Construction, a general contracting company engaged in commercial and industrial construction. He established the Smithfield-based company in 1977. A retired Brigadier General, Steve built a distinguished career as a highly decorated officer in the North Carolina Army National Guard, beginning with his enlistment in 1967 and culminating with his appointment as Deputy Adjutant General, the NCNG’s second highest command, two years prior to retiring in 2011. He is a recipient of The Legion of Merit and was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Steve holds a BS from Liberty University and completed studies at the Army War College. Steve has served as an at-large member of the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2015.

Don Lassiter, a retired fintech entrepreneur, co-founded Credit Card Software Systems in 1987. The company ultimately became Heartland Payment Systems, Inc., where Don held several senior executive positions before retiring in 2006. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Mount Olive. His numerous community roles include engagement with Johnston County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited and as a deacon and trustee at Selma Original Free Will Baptist Church. Don earned a BS from Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College). He and his wife established the Donnie E. and Linda Vann Lassiter Scholarship at East Carolina University, which assists promising students in ECU’s Hospitality Management Program. Don has represented Micro on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2020.

Dale Moore owns and operates Independent Management Company (IMC), a holding company with businesses ranging from commercial foods and janitorial services to rental housing and commercial real estate development. A resident of Kenly from age 18, Dale is a licensed private pilot. He and his wife, Hope, enjoy flying to various coastal and mountain destinations in North Carolina and beyond. He also enjoys boating. He and Hope have a son, Ryan, who works in the family business. Dale chairs the Kenly Tourism Authority and has been active across his career in the Kenly Chamber of Commerce, serving as its president for four terms. He has represented Kenly on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2016.

Cheryl Oliver is a retired telecommunications executive and longtime municipal leader. She was mayor of Selma from 2011 to 2021, a decade that witnessed the arrival of significant new businesses and downtown redevelopment initiatives. Cheryl had previously served four years on the Selma Town Council. Prior to her service in local government, she built a career at AT&T Corporation, including the position of Director of Marketing Strategy and Internet Operations Division at the company’s New Jersey Headquarters. Cheryl’s community leadership roles include engagement with Johnston County Industries, Johnston County Serve The Need, and Selma Elementary School. Cheryl has represented Selma on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2012 and chaired the Board from 2016 to 2020.

Patrick Pierce has been economic development director for the Town of Clayton since 2020. The rapidly growing town is home to several of Johnston County’s largest employers. Patrick came to North Carolina from his home state of Washington, where he spent four years as CEO of the Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Prior to that, he was economic development program manager at Puget Sound Regional Council in Seattle. Patrick earned a BA from the University of Washington and an MA from Seattle University. He also holds a CEcD designation from the International Economic Development Council and is active in the NC Economic Development Association. Patrick and his wife have two young daughters. He has represented Clayton on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2021.

JC Triplett is mayor pro tem of the Town of Wilson’s Mills. He was first elected to the town council there in 2015. JC’s 43-year career as an educator included teaching high school math and coaching football, baseball and basketball at Clayton High School. When not engaged in his local leadership roles, he enjoys golf and works part-time at Powhatan Golf Course in Clayton. A native of Boone, NC, JC graduated from Appalachian State University in 1973. His wife, Caren, is retired from the NC Department of Revenue. The couple’s son, Will, is music director at a church in Kentucky. JC has represented Wilson’s Mills on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2020.

Hampton Whittington is an attorney in the Benson office of Narron Wenzel, P.A. Founded in 1979, Narron Wenzel also has offices in Raleigh and Smithfield. Prior to joining the firm in 1981, Hampton practiced law in Durham and was an Assistant District Attorney for the Eleventh District. He has long been active in the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce, serving as its president in 1984 and 2003. Hampton, who was named Benson Citizen of the Year in 1994, also served as a captain in the US Army Reserves. He earned a BA in history from Davidson College and a JD with honors from the UNC School of Law. Hampton has represented Benson on the Johnston County Economic Development Advisory Board since 2003.

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