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NC Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson

Safety award winners are honored at banquet

ASHEBORO — North Carolina Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson gave some thoughts on leadership during the 2023 Safety Awards Luncheon on March 21 at AVS Banquet Centre.


The luncheon is an annual event coordinated by the NC Department of Labor and the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce. It was sponsored by the City of Asheboro and Randolph County.


“We’re proud to be a sponsor and celebrate workforce safety,” Asheboro Mayor David Smith said. “There will be lots more opportunities to work on safety,” he said, referring to a future when “growth is going to be phenomenal.”


Darrell Frye, chair of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners, told the assembly, “This is your day. Thank you for what you do every day you come to work.”


Dobson, noting that most in the audience were either leaders or going to be leaders, admitted to his own naivety on becoming commissioner of labor in 2021. He soon learned that “the skill set in the legislature is different from the executive branch. And I didn’t realize the icon (his predecessor Cherie) Berry was. She was charismatic. I’m not that.”


His point was, “Ask yourself as a leader what are your weaknesses? How can you be better?”


Dobson said it can take time to sort out your pros and cons as a leader.


Another fault of his, Dobson said, was impatience. Upon entering the executive branch, he was expecting a seamless transition but learned that “it takes time to steer an organization. It doesn’t start right away. I learned from that and became a better leader.”


Another question to ask, Dobson said, is “What’s your leadership style?” His answer was to be collaborative, then decisive.


“Part of the problem with the country is we’re not listening (to the other side) but demonizing them. We should talk less and listen more,” he said.


Along with that, Dobson said, “Every situation has a life of its own. We need to be adaptable. You can’t apply one management style to every issue.”



Another question to ask, as a leader, he said, is “How do you inspire your team to be better and do better?” His answer: “Be an example. You never know who’s watching. Be real, with authenticity, not just words but actions.”


Dobson added to that, “Lead with humility. Be kind, nice and humble. That goes a long way to inspire your team.”


Just as important for a leader is asking, “What do I look for in an employee?” On his list were people who were committed, competent and curious.


Quoting retiring University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, “If you want to be popular with everyone, be an ice cream salesman.”


Dobson said, “You can’t make everybody happy all the time. When you’re the decider, you’re not going to make everybody happy.”


Finally, Dobson thanked those in attendance “for giving me the chance to make the state better.”


He has announced that he will not be running for re-election to labor commissioner this year.


2023 Safety Award Winners



Rate of days away from work must be at least 50 percent below the industry average.

First Year

City of Archdale Police Department

Energizer Plant 2

Randolph County Public Library

Randolph Senior Adults Association RCATS

Seventh Year

City of Asheboro Fleet Maintenance



Rate of days away from work, job transfer or restriction must be at least 50 percent below the industry average

First Year

Chandler Concrete Asheboro Plant #108

City of Asheboro Environmental Services

City of Asheboro Fire Department

Lawrence Industries

Post Consumer Brands

Randolph Senior Adults Association

North Carolina Zoo Environmental Services

Technimark LLC-AccuChrome

Technimark LLC

Second Consecutive Year

City of Asheboro Cultural and Recreation Services

City of Asheboro Facilities Maintenance

City of Asheboro Street Maintenance

Randolph County General Services

The Timken Company Asheboro Plant

Third Consecutive Year

City of Archdale Administration 

City of Archdale City Hall

City of Archdale Facilities and Grounds 

City of Archdale Parks and Recreation

City of Archdale Public Works

Fourth Consecutive Year

Randolph County Public Works

Fifth Consecutive Year

City of Asheboro Operations/Public Works

Sixth Consecutive Year

Chandler Concrete Siler City Plant #109

Seventh Consecutive Year

Martin Marietta East Division-Greensboro Division, Asheboro Quarry

Eighth Consecutive Year

City of Asheboro Water Treatment Plant

Tenth Consecutive Year

Randolph County Tax Department

Twentieth Consecutive Year

Randolph County Social Services

Twenty-Second Consecutive Year

Randolph County Public Works

Thirtieth Consecutive Year

City of Asheboro City Hall-Administrative