Having your name mentioned during a session of the U.S. Congress is not something that happens to everyone, but this distinction has brought special recognition to one local woman.
Rep. Virginia Foxx paid a visit to the headquarters of WorkForce Unlimited in Mount Airy late last week to present a framed plaque including a copy of the Congressional Record to Teresa Lewis, WorkForce founder. It documents statements made on Lewis’ behalf by Foxx when speaking on the House floor.
Foxx, a Republican who serves Surry and other area counties of North Carolina’s 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, at that time referenced Lewis’ accomplishments as a minority business owner and her years of dedication to the local community.
With few resources, Lewis launched a small professional staffing business in 1987, sitting on a floor equipped with only a telephone and an IBM Selectric typewriter to build a client base, she recalled during a 2015 interview.
Today her company occupies a 10,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at 1908 Caudle Drive here, and has offices in a number of states which provide recruitment, interview and skills-assessment services.
The WorkForce Unlimited CEO also has been a huge supporter of the local business, educational, recreational and arts communities, both financially and in service on various boards. She has been involved in local government, including formerly serving as the at-large representative on the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners.
Her mention on the House floor came in conjunction with the celebration of American Business Women’s Day, which occurs each September in Congress to recognize the many different backgrounds and diverse occupations of American women.
Foxx addressed the session with Lewis’ story of starting her business and successfully operating it for more than 30 years.
The congresswoman added that the local resident’s success was born out of determination and the desire to provide a better life for her family. Lewis has employed thousands of people over the years and is a boon to the North Carolina economy, Foxx stated.
She is a role model to both men and women in the country, the congresswoman further pointed out during her remarks.
Lewis did not see a broadcast of the remarks by Rep. Foxx when first made on the floor, which was possible due to congressional sessions being telecast live by a station on the local cable system.
“I didn’t know anything about it until the congresswoman showed up,” she said Monday. Lewis is looking forward to watching a video of the presentation in Congress which Foxx is providing.
But even without seeing it, the local business owner is glad to have become a part of the nation’s legislative history.
“It’s an honor I can hardly describe,” Lewis said. “Just having her (Foxx) here and knowing this is in the Congressional Record forever.”
Lewis said she was told that Foxx became emotional while speaking about her in Washington. “So it really touched me, my staff and my family.”
In addition to WorkForce Unlimited staff members, Lewis’ husband, Jim Lewis, and children, Michael Brannock and Kendra Clabo, attended the plaque presentation.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.