Welcome Mr. Secretary

Published 5:06 pm Saturday, June 6, 2009

MURFREESBORO – “You have an obvious love of history and a sense of identity that shows,” North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco told a group of Murfreesboro residents and visitors to the town Friday afternoon at a reception in his honor at the Hertford Academy.

“I wish every town in North Carolina had your sense of history and identity.”

Crisco, who was accompanied by his wife, Jane, told the group he has been secretary of commerce for only four-and-a-half months, but has visited the northeastern part of the state four times in that capacity.

“That shows what I think of you,” he said.

He said his North Carolina roots date to the 1700s, but until Friday he had not visited Murfreesboro.

“I was incomplete before coming,” he said.

Crisco arrived at Chowan University in Murfreesboro shortly after 12 noon and spent several minutes visiting with Chowan President Dr. Chris White. He then boarded the “trolley” used during the Murfreesboro Historical Association’s Candlelight Christmas Tour for a ride to the Meherrin River where he and a group of local people enjoyed a 90-minute pontoon boat ride on the river and a sandwich lunch. Before the boat began its trip, Murfreesboro attorney Bob Lee spoke of the history of the town, which once was the furthest point inland that merchant vessels could travel.

Returning to the trolley, Crisco was given a tour of the community’s historic district before being taken to the Hertford Academy for the reception, where he was presented with a gift basket by Murfreesboro Mayor Lynn Johnson and other gifts by Dr. White.

Entertaining at the reception were the Potecasi Strings bluegrass group.

He left the reception to tour the Jefcoat Museum.

Crisco was appointed by North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue in January 2009. He brings 38 years of experience in business and commerce to the position.

For more than 20 years, Crisco served as president and chairman of Asheboro Elastics Corp, a company he formed with partners in 1986. The company has offices in seven countries, manufacturing facilities in Central America and the United States, and sales around the world. Prior to that, he worked for eight years as the president of Stedman Elastics in Asheboro.

Crisco earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. After graduate school, the Stanly County native worked as assistant to the executive vice president for Burlington Industries. He worked for the company for 10 years, including stints in Chicago and New York City.

From 1970-1971 Crisco served as a White House fellow in Washington, D.C., as assistant to the U.S. Secretary for Commerce during the Nixon administration.

Born and raised on a farm near Aquadale, N.C., Crisco has served on the Asheboro City Council, as chairman of the Pfeiffer University Board of Trustees, as chairman of the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research and as chairman of the National Elastic Manufacturer’s Association.

He and his wife live in Asheboro and the Town of Oriental in Pamlico County.