Tri-City, Inc. was founded in 1964 by founder and sole proprietor, Claude F. Smith, a life long native of Richmond County, North Carolina. Since its inception, the company has constructed and owns a vast array of shopping centers, apartments, homes, clubhouses, golf courses, office buildings and commercial retail buildings for most major tenants. The results of strong visioning and planning, diligent hard work and sound execution can now be viewed across 23 states nationwide in a variety of retail, residential, professional and resort development projects. For nearly fifty years, Tri-City, acting as owner, developer, and construction manager, has completed innumerable projects which included the installation of construction of over 10 million square feet of office, retail, industrial, and residential space and the on-going management of the completed properties.
Claude F. Smith • Founder
Patriarch of the company, passed away in January of 2014. He was a lifelong resident of Richmond County, North Carolina. He cultivated a keen entrepreneurial spirit dating back to the 1940s beginning before college when he owned and operated a harvesting and crop dusting operation. After graduation from North Carolina State University in 1950, he acquired the family broom business where he invented and patented a machine that produced multiple straw brooms from which he collected royalties from manufacturers throughout the US over the next 20 years. He was one of the first during this time to set up international manufacturing and assembly operations to bolster profits. In 1964 he started his long tradition of developing land and fostering tenant relationships, which has expanded into 23 states. While acquiring and developing land he has owned or is currently involved with numerous companies in the air freight, home improvement, textile, oil, paper, tobacco and other various manufacturing industries. He was founder and President of First Scotland Financial, a bank with over $100 million in outstanding funding. He was well known and respected in the development industry with commanding knowledge of all aspects of land development and construction.
Claudia Robinette • President
A life long resident of Richmond County, North Carolina. She is a 1978 graduate of Lenoir-Ryne College in Hickory, NC where she received a BS degree in Business Administration and she holds a Masters degree in International Business from the University of South Carolina. She has been an integral part of the Tri City Development Team since 1980 including the oversight of numerous commercial development projects and the management of the company's resort development projects.She presently serves on the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees, Richmond County United Way Board of Directors and Richmond County Education Foundation Board of Directors. Her prior offices and appointments include; Wingate University Trustee, Richmond County 2010 Index Committee, Former President of Richmond County Education Foundation and former PTO President. She received the Richmond County Co-Citizen of the Year award for 2006. She and her husband Kenneth have two children.
Kenneth Robinette • Asset Manager; COO
Born and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Kenneth moved to Richmond County after graduating from Newberry College with a Business Management degree. He quickly became ingrained in the community and has served as a County Commissioner for 18 years, 17 of which have been as Chairman where he has helped grow the community through economic development initiatives and industry recruitment. Kenneth also has extensive experience in construction and development, both from a residential and commercial perspective. Over the years with Tri City and otherwise, he was intimately involved with the development of multiple grocery anchored centers, numerous build-to-suit retail establishments for Dollar General, Advance Auto Parts and others. He has been involved with residential community development at Pinehurst Plantation (now called Mid South Golf Club), National Golf Club, and McLendon Hills. Kenneth helps lead Tri City with his experience in all aspects of real estate development, investment and management. In addition to his service as a County Commissioner, he is also a member of the Southeast Economic Development Commission.
Barry Embler • CFO
Joined the Tri-City team in 2006. Barry was formerly a senior level auditor for 4.5 years with Arthur Andersen and Co. in Charlotte before leaving to become CFO of Club Development Associates in 1989. He formed his own company in 1996, Signet Golf Associates, where he managed the construction and operations of multiple Golf Courses and Clubhouses throughout the Southeast and performed consulting services for real estate developers and financial institutions. He has significant experience in real estate development and manufacturing environment. He received his BS degree in Accounting in 1985 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and successfully completed the CPA exam in 1986. He has served as President of the West Pine Middle School Boosters Club, Pesident of Sandhills Optimist youth football, Vice President of Sandhills Optimist baseball, Treasurer of Sandhills Alliance Church and served numerous Golf Club Boards. He currently resides in Southern Pines, NC with his wife and seven children.
Neil Robinette • CEO
Joined Tri-City in 2014, returning to the family business after residing in the Upstate of South Carolina for 8 years. Neil graduated from Wofford College in 2010 where he studied finance and was a four-year letterman on the baseball team. He also received his Masters of Real Estate Development from Clemson University in 2012. Neil worked with Titan Real Estate, a multi-family investment firm located in Greenville, South Carolina. At Titan, he was responsible for various asset management functions for 7 apartment communities in South Carolina and Georgia. Later, he joined McCall Capital, a multi-family developer, owner and manager. There he was the development manager for the firm and also assisted with asset management and accounting functions. During his tenure, the firm developed apartment assets totaling approximately $45MM in value.
Vickie Cox • Controller
Vickie has her BS in accounting from East Carolina University and has worked in both public and private accounting in a variety of settings including construction, manufacturing, and at a NASCAR Speedway. Vickie has managed multi-million dollar projects including the press box at North Carolina Speedway which included luxury suite accommodations, race control, and a bird’s eye view for spotters. She was also the controller during the installation of lights at Darlington Raceway for night racing. She currently resides in Richmond County where she has served as treasurer for the Richmond County Historical society and on the Finance Committee of Richmond County Hospice. She is a deacon and elder at First Presbyterian Church and a member of the Le Mardi Book Club. When not working, Vickie enjoys spending time with her two sons and granddaughter, going to the beach, and performing in Richmond Community Theater.
Brittany Lyerly • Staff Accountant
Brittany graduated from Wingate University in December 2017 with a BS in Finance. From February 2015 until December 2017, Brittany interned with Tri-City, Inc. before graduating college and joining our team full-time as a staff accountant. Brittany currently attends the University of North Carolina at Pembroke where she is working towards a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Brittany is a native of Richmond County and resides here with her husband, Dustin, and their toy Schnauzer, Gizmo.
Mandy McGee • AP Manager/Leasing Administrator
Mandy graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2006 with a BA in Communication Studies and a minor in Journalism. During her college career, she worked in the UNCC Financial Aid Office before moving on to the Accounting/HR department of Charlotte-based steel fabricator. Upon relocating back to Rockingham in 2009, Mandy was employed as the primary legal assistant at a local law office. Mandy now serves as Accounts Payable Manager and Leasing Administrator of Tri-City, Inc. In her spare time, Mandy enjoys reading and has published two novels.
Jyoti Patel • Operations Manager
Jyoti joined Tri-City, Inc. in June 2016 as an Office Administrator. She currently serves as the Operations Manager where she ensures that the daily operations run smoothly for Tri-City, Inc and Town Park Apartments, a subsidiary affiliation of Tri-City, Inc. She wears several hats by maintaining HR records, taking lease lead calls, providing assistance to Property Management/Construction department, overlooking Accounts Receivable, and being a point of contact for tenant issues, concerns, and lease renewals. Jyoti is a graduate of S. B. Garda College in Navsari, India with a Bachelors degree in Commerce in 1986. After getting a Secretarial Diploma from Heald Business College in California, she started her career as an Administrative Assistant to the VP and Treasurer at the corporate office of the college. She later became the Assistant Director of Financial Aid, before moving into hospitality industry. Over the last 30 years, she has owned and operated a variety of hospitality businesses across the country before moving to Richmond County in 2008 with her husband and 3 children. She is an active Chamber member and serves as a Board Member of Richmond County Tourism.
Dennis Holloway • Construction/Property Manager
Dennis joined Tri-City in 2015, after owning a construction firm dealing primarily with commercial, military, and light industrial projects. He is a Licensed General Contractor with over twenty years of experience in the construction industry and a graduate of UNC Pembroke with a Bachelor’s in business management. Continuing in the construction field after college, he designed and erected commercial steel buildings, for varying needs and markets. His experience also includes extensive work in the Restoration Market in both residential and commercial capacities. Dennis supervises Tri-City’s maintenance teams, as well as budgeting and overseeing construction projects.
Doug Cowick • Maintenance Technician
Tray Powell • Maintenance Technician
Michael Whisenand • Maintenance Technician
Austin Orr • Development Intern
Austin graduated from Clemson University in 2016 with a dual Political Science and Philosophy degree with an emphasis in Law, Liberty, and Justice. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from Clemson University and is expected to graduate in December 2018. Austin joined Tri-City, Inc. in June 2018 as an intern and provides market analysis, financial feasibility analysis, and due diligence tasks for the team.
PINEHURST NATIONAL REALTY COMPANY, INC.
Dave Hanna •
Tim Hanna •
Tim attended Washburn University in Topeka Kansas. He retired from AT&T after 25 years and went into the golf business - first being the tournament director and finally earning his PGA Apprentice status and becoming the Assistant Golf Professional at Grey Rock Golf Club Austin, Texas. Tim joined Tri-City, Inc. in 2015, after coming out of retirement to help manage and perform the maintenance duties for The Cottages at Pinehurst National and other rental properties owned by Tri-City in Pinehurst. He has two children and six grandchildren and currently resides in Pinehurst, NC.
Kim Ayers •
Kim is a 1994 graduate of Gardner-Webb University, where she earned a BS in Business Management. Kim is licensed to sell real estate in North and South Carolina and has actively practiced residential sales since 1994. She joined the Tri-City, Inc. team in 2015 as a Property Manager and Member Services Specialist at Pinehurst National Realty. In 2018, she became Broker in Charge of the Pinehurst Sales Office. Here she focuses on Cottage resales, residential sales, and lot sales. During her 24 years of practicing real estate she has earned many designations and certificates, including becoming a Certified Residential Specialist, Graduate of the Realtor Institute, Accredited Buyers Representative, Certified Residential Brokerage Manager, and receiving a certification on Home Staging. Kim lives in Rockingham, NC with her husband, Timmy. They have four kids and four grandbabies.
Kathie Drake •
Prior to relocating to Pinehurst, Kathie was in the travel industry from the mid-80’s through 2015. Twenty-five of those years, she was with United Airlines, traveling as an International and Domestic Flight Attendant. She has spent a lot of her travels all over Europe, South America, and also enjoyed time in Australia, New Zealand, China and all over the USA. She previously resided in the VA suburbs of DC. Prior to traveling, she solicited “Requests for Proposals” (RFP’s) from the US Government. In her early years, she held her Private Pilot’s license and loved to fly aerobatic airplanes. She studied music at ECU, and enjoyed singing in several choral groups. She currently wears a couple hats in the Pinehurst Realty Office with Housekeeping and Member Relations. Kathie loves classical concerts, traveling, live theatre and volunteering in her church. Kathie lives with her British hubby, Ian and perfect Shih-Tzu doggie, Fairway. She also has a pretty darned smart son, John, who resides in Colorado.