Join us at the 2022 State of the Region Breakfast. This interactive event will feature County and business leaders as they discuss innovative projects in the county as well as challenges facing local government and industry.
Attendees will have the opportunity to be a part of strategic solutions based conversations that will guide the Chamber and community leadership as the county grows and evolves.
Come prepared to listen, brainstorm, and create solutions.
Human Resource Manager
Dinika Chopra has devoted 15+ years of her career to human resources. Currently, she is the Manager of Human Resources for Studio TK, a manufacturer of commercial office furnishings in Clayton, NC. With Dinika’s assistance in recruiting top-tier talent, Studio TK is helping to change the culture of work by focusing on social applications and creating spaces that are responsive to all the ways we work. Prior to Studio TK, Dinika has held various HR positions in multiple industries, including mortgage, non-profit, pharmaceuticals, medical and financial. She has a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University in Texas and master’s degree from Keller School of Management in New York. When she is not at Studio TK, you can find her spending time outdoors or spending time with her wonderful husband Ashish and son Eshan.
North Carolina SweetPotato Commission
Michelle Grainger serves as Executive Director of the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission where she represents over 400 sweetpotato growers, along with packers, processors and agribusinesses that support them. The Commission has supported its growers and maintained North Carolina as the Number 1 sweetpotato producing state in the US since 1971.
Prior to her role with the Sweetpotato Commission she was Managing Director of the Executive Farm Management Program at NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She also served as the Managing Director for Innovation Management Studies at NC State’s Poole College of Management. She began her career as a Foreign Trade Zone administrator.
Michelle is known for the TEDx Talk she gave on the importance of agriculture and the farmer on national security.
R.S. Butch Lawter, Jr
Chairman, Johnston County Board of Commissioners
Professionally Butch is a Senior Delivery Officer with WithersRavenel, Inc. He is a graduate of Clemson University with a BS in Civil Engineering and a graduate of NC State University with a MS in Civil Engineering.
Prior to being elected to countywide office he served as Town Councilman in the town of Clayton. He has served as a County Commissioner since November 2018. He serves on a variety of regional boards. In addition, he is a member of the Johnston Community College Board of Trustees and the Johnston County Sports Council. All but two members of his family, including his six grandsons live in Johnston County.
Director, Production Support
Sean is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and holds a degree in aerospace engineering. In addition he holds an MBA from Kenan Flager Business School at the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served in the US Navy from 1996-2019, retiring as Commander. He began his career at Novo Nordisk in 2001 and has served in both production and process engineering. His volunteer service includes serving on the North Carolina Board of the JDRF, as well as serving the US Naval Academy Admissions Office.
Sean land his wife Brenda have been married for 25 years. They call Clayton home. Their daughter is in her third year at NC State studying Chemical Engineering. He enjoys playing soccer, paddle boarding, biking, and traveling.
Regional Director- East Region
AT&T North Carolina
Joey Nelson is the Regional Director – East Region for AT&T North Carolina.
In this role, he works closely with local leaders and community organizations in 29 counties to help encourage private investment in next-generation broadband infrastructure, attract new technology jobs, and improve the quality of life.
Prior to joining AT&T, Nelson served on the staff of U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in Washington, D.C., and, most recently, in Raleigh, where he was the Triangle Regional Representative. Previously, he worked in the Office of Federal Relations for the State of North Carolina.
An advisory Council member of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Fayetteville, Nelson lives in Raleigh. He enjoys golf, a sport where he is competitive, and fishing, where his efforts seldom worry the fish.
President & CEO
Restoration News Media
Keven Zepezauer is the President and CEO of Restoration News Media, the publisher of six newspapers.
He is active in the Wilson Rotary as well as the North Carolina Press Association and the Eastern North Carolina Press Association.
Keven is known for spearheading improvements to newspapers in the Restoration News Media portfolio based on market surveys, and comprehensive digital strategies that combine coupons smartphone apps and digital ticketing.
He is a graduate of NC State University and is the father of two sons, Tyler and Alex.