Neal Alexander '84 Takes Post in N.C. Governor's Office
Many people use the term “retired” very loosely. While the roles and responsibilities of one position may no longer be required, individuals who are used to being productive often “retire” and end up contributing even more to the organizations and communities where their passions lie. Gardner-Webb alum Neal Alexander is such a retiree. After 43 years of service at Duke Energy where he served as vice president of human resources, Alexander retired in April 2011. He continued his valuable service on many boards and community organizations, including Chairman of the GWU Board of Trustees, and was recently tapped by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to fill a full-time role as the Director of the State Office of Personnel. It’s a safe bet that Alexander can drop the word retired, as duty now calls for not only his alma mater, but the state of North Carolina as well.
“My relationship with Governor Pat McCrory goes back to when he worked with me in human resources at Duke,” said Alexander. “He presented this opportunity to me to help improve services for state employees. I’m proud to be a part of his administration and support his goals.”
Alexander will be traveling across the state to help push several goals for North Carolina employees such as how to create a culture of customer service for state citizens. In addition, Alexander hopes to insure, motivate and retain talent in order to better meet the needs of the state and improve human resources (HR) services for employees, managers, and supervisors.
This native of Walhalla, S.C. graduated from the Gardner-Webb University GOAL (Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners) program in 1984 and can now reflect on how his GWU degree helped him succeed in his longtime role with Duke Energy, a role that ultimately led him to his current state appointment.
Alexander became involved with Gardner-Webb as an undergraduate student in 1965. However, as a member of the National Guard, he was called into active duty during the early stages of the Vietnam War and was forced to leave GWU. In the summer of 1967, Alexander was released from service and accepted a job at Duke Power, where he became an engineering surveyor.
His career led him to Duke’s McGuire Nuclear Station near Charlotte, N.C., in 1971. Around the same time, Alexander and his wife moved to the small community of Denver, N.C.
Alexander’s career with Duke Energy was advancing, yet he wanted to achieve more. “A colleague had mentioned—and I realized myself—that if I wanted to do more administratively and move up the corporate ladder, it meant I needed to continue my education,” said Alexander. He reconnected with Gardner- Webb in the early 1980s where he discovered that the GOAL program offered exactly what he needed to achieve his educational ambitions. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and graduated from GWU in 1984.
“It (GOAL) opened many doors for me at Duke, as well as other things in life. I was so thankful for the program’s flexibility that still allowed me to balance my job responsibilities, while furthering my education,” said Alexander.
Alexander’s advice to those who have not completed their four- year college degree is to simply stay resolute. “If you have the determination to complete the goal, the program provides a way,” he encouraged. “You will work with a great group of advisors and professors. In other words, someone will help you the best they can. GOAL courses are offered at numerous remote facilities and even online.”
His role as a GWU Board of Trustees member has kept him intimately involved in the University’s challenges and opportunities over the last several years, and he remains committed to his alma mater. “Gardner-Webb will still be a priority,” he affirmed. “I think the University is well positioned for the student of tomorrow. We are continuing to add programs where there is a need for workers like the new physician assistant (PA) program. We’ve added buildings. Fundraising has been wonderful and most of all, the University is committed to the student.”
As GOAL celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, Neal Alexander will be one of its strongest supporters. He is most certainly one of its greatest successes.