NASCAR driver and team owner Michael Waltrip joined former Charlotte mayor and North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, Mitchell Community College President Tim Brewer and others at an open house at a tool and equipment company in the greater Troutman area Tuesday afternoon.
The event took place at Adept Machine Tools, Inc., which is on Ostwalt Amity Road, just south of Troutman.
Waltrip said he is "honored to be partnered" with Adept, which sells and services large tool machines. The two-time Daytona 500 winner said that the partnership has helped in "our team learning how to get faster, faster."
Waltrip also applauded Brewer and MCC, which is also partnering with Adept.
"Machines are great," Waltrip said. "But it really comes down to the people who operate the machines."
McCrory, a seven-term mayor of the Queen City, won the Republican nomination for the governor's race with 84 percent of the vote last month in a primary election that featured five other candidates.
Despite his popularity within the GOP, McCrory said the campaign trail has its inhospitable places the farther he gets away from his home turf.
"We're seeing attack ads everywhere we go," he said. "But you don't see them and folks around here don't see them because they don't show them here and that's because the people here would know they aren't true."
McCrory said his campaign is bracing itself for a "Wisconsin-type" attack, which he explained as "outside money" being used to "try to discredit me."
But, he added, "It's not going to work here because people are too smart in North Carolina."
McCrory was alluding to the recall election of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, which was taking place Tuesday. Walker, also a Republican, made national headlines last year when, soon after his taking office, he began the process of de-unionizing state workers.
Aside from perhaps putting the cart before the horse in terms of his campaign, McCrory addressed the issue of high unemployment in North Carolina, which is the fourth highest in the nation.
He said the state's economy has to be one "that makes things, not just buys things." And, he said, companies like Adept were leading the way in that area.
McCrory noted his place on the board of directors at the Statesville-based manufacturing company Kewaunee and said that the constant use of new technology and always-improving machinery was what was keeping the company stateside.
"Without it," he said, "overseas companies will beat us up."
McCrory also applauded the relationship between Adept and MCC and said that high school students should have "two paths:" one toward a four-year degree; and one toward vocational training and schooling.
Brewer said he was impressed with Adept's showroom (that featured more than $1.5 million in machines).
"But mostly," Brewer added, "we are excited about our partnership."
Adept President Chuck Schiefen said he was happy with the turnout at the open house and stressed machine companies need to get the word out about their products, which is one service Adept provides.
"Every manufacturer, from large to small, needs this kind of equipment," he said. "Machine tools are the mother of all products."