For Drew Edwards Temple, new administrative assistant to the Alleghany County manager and clerk to the county commission, her journey to that role followed a common path. Starting here in Alleghany, she explored several options in our region before returning home. Each step added a piece of life experience.
Drew grew up in the Twin Oaks community just outside Sparta. Her parents, Bill and Debbie Edwards, are graduates of Appalachian State University. Bill was an estimator with NAPCO and Debbie was a teacher. The Edwards family tree has roots spread across Alleghany and adjoining counties. Her mother’s family came to the county in 1963. After a stint in the military and college at Elon, Drew’s grandfather, Jack Martin, took a job with Sparta Pipes where he later became president of the company.
After graduating Alleghany High School in 2005, Drew attended Surry Community College for one year before transferring to Appalachian State University (ASU). After a few semesters at ASU, she decided to set aside school for a while (she later returned and earned her associate’s degree from Wilkes Community College) and took a job with Ryder Truck Rentals in Hickory.
Ryder has one of North America’s largest fleet of trucks with over 234,000 vehicles in operation. Drew worked as a customer service coordinator and helped ensure that customers were renting quality vehicles that were properly maintained and serviced.
Drew left Ryder and moved to Charlotte where she took a job with the Pennsylvania Steel Company. There she worked in sales with a primary focus on recurring customers. In 2013, she moved back to Alleghany County and continued to commute to the Charlotte area for her job.
As Drew wound her way through college and jobs at Ryder and Pennsylvania Steel, her future husband, Mac Temple, was laying the foundation for his career. Mac had attended Catawba Valley Community College and worked in automotive repair in the Hickory area. Sensing a need for Asian and European import repairs in Alleghany County, Mac and Chris Lucas opened Modern Province Imports in Sparta.
Drew and Mac were married in 2014.
Drew’s transition back to Alleghany County has been challenging. She took a job with Pioneer Eclipse in 2014 in inside sales where she marketed to governmental and school systems. These contracts are often accompanied by a mountain of paperwork because of the guidelines of the numerous governmental entities. She later shifted to field marketing to hardware stores that offer rental units to customers. That job played out in September 2017.
Following Pioneer Eclipse, Drew worked for several months as a teller at Skyline Bank in Sparta before she took on her new role in the county manager’s office.
When asked about coming home, Drew offered several insights that may hold the key for creating an environment that is attractive to young couples.
Drew and Mac now have a 16 month-old son, Graham. As a family with two working parents, they are acutely aware of the value of having high quality day care in our community. With the recent closure of the afterschool care program in our county schools, Drew is already thinking about how they will handle that issue of when Graham reaches school age. Drew acknowledges that they are privileged to have parents who can help out with childcare needs. She also realizes that many families don’t have that luxury.
Drew is quick to offer how fortunate she has been to obtain good jobs after moving back to Sparta. She recognizes that that isn’t the case for everyone. She points out that having steady employment in good jobs is the key to attracting people like her to the county. This includes supporting entrepreneurs like Mac as they seek to build businesses in the county.
Having grown up in Alleghany County, Drew and Mac knew what to expect when they returned. They had experienced the big city and were looking forward to a slower pace of life in which to raise their son. It is Drew’s opinion that we won’t attract young couple with more things. Instead, the Alleghany lifestyle is appealing. She mentioned spending time on the river and camping as attributes that appeal to her and Mac.
Perhaps most important in their decision to move back was the lure of being near family. A theme of the importance of family is continually woven into conversation with Drew.
We often think of the arc of a person’s life as one of smooth lines and linear transitions. But closer examination usually reveals a series of twists and turns coupled with peaks and valleys. When taken in totality, these give us access to perspective, wisdom and insight. These vantage points are what Drew Temple will bring to local government. More importantly, it is what she brings to our community.