Above all, Steve Showfety was a good and decent man
We keep losing good people ...
Only two days after the death of former Sen. Kay Hagan at 66, one of the Greensboro’s most influential and powerful business leaders succumbed to cancer last week.
Steve Showfety, 72, had retired earlier this year as president of the Koury Corp. after an exemplary career there.
But even as master of the sprawling empire that the late Joe Koury built, Showfety was kind, decent and unassuming.
He didn’t wear his prosperity and prominence on his sleeve. He didn’t have to. The results spoke for themselves.
And as a graduate of Grimsley High School, he had an abiding love for his hometown. That explains his dedication to the community and the region, which included his involvement on the board of the Piedmont Triad International Airport Authority.
As the News & Record’s Richard Barron reported last week, Showfety was chairman of the airport board until he died.
And even after surgery for the brain cancer that ultimately took his life, remained involved in PTI board meetings via telephone.
Showfety was a pragmatic and analytical leader, who didn’t shy from grandiose visions, but required that they be built on firm foundations of careful planning and due diligence.
On his watch Koury remade the Sheraton Hotel and Koury Convention Center with a massive, 22-month, inside-out, $30 million renovation that was completed in 2015. You could call it a smart business decision. But it also was a vote of confidence in the future of Gate City Boulevard, which is not what it used to be decades ago, but appears poised for a comeback.
For all of his successes, Showfety didn’t shy from local media when the Airport Authority decided to rename PTI in late 2017.
After the public greeted the idea with anger and ridicule, the board reconsidered. Amid it all, Showfety patiently and gracefully answered reporters’ questions. Which is to say, he defended the idea without being defensive.
Among his many honors Showfety received the Stanley Frank Economic and Workforce Development Award from the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the state of North Carolina.
In an interview in 2018, Showfety was asked if he, as a native son, might some day team with other homegrown Greensboro developers on a “mega project” that would boost the economy and promote civic pride. He said yes, comparing the idea to the public/private collaboration that spawned the downtown Tanger Center for the Performing Arts
“That concept is exactly what happened with the arts center,” Showfety said of the notion of pooling resources with the likes of Roy Carroll, Marty Kotis and Andy Zimmerman. “You had the city and individuals but neither could do it on their own.”
Who knows? Such a thing still may happen.
It’s a shame he wouldn’t be here to see it.
Bennett, not Benedict
Bennett College is in North Carolina. Benedict College is in South Carolina.
Bennett College is a historically black college. So is Benedict. Bennett is a women’s school. Benedict is co-ed.
Yet, as John Newsom wrote last week in the News & Record, somebody got very confused. So, when President Trump spoke on Oct. 22 at Benedict and a national reporter typed “Bennett” in story picked up by a national radio show, our school in Greensboro got the blame/credit.
That’s because Trump spoke and received an award before an invitation-only audience of 300 that contained only nine students, in what seemed to be an effort to shield Trump from possible criticism. Bennett got blowback on social media for an event 183 miles away, in Columbia, S.C.
So, understandably, Bennett was moved to post an item on its website that was headlined: “President Trump Did Not Speak, Receive Award at Bennett College.”
To repeat: Trump did not come to Bennett. And Bennett students were not restricted from attending a program that Trump did not participate in here.
And we’re not at all unhappy that none of that happened here.