News and Information

CaroMont Health Recognized with 'Salute to the Economy' Award


Orr, Adam. (2014, October 17). Watson, CaroMont earn chamber’s salute. The Gaston Gazette, pp. 8A.

The Gaston Regional Chamber’s 12th annual Salute to Business and Manufacturing celebrated the stellar 50-year career of Tom Watson Jr., owner of Watson Insurance, and the contributions hometown healthcare provider CaroMont Health makes to Gaston County.

Thursday’s black-tie event was held at the Schiele Museum’s Matthews Belk Cannon Environmental Studies Center.

“It’s important to pause, step back, honor and recognize those things we value in this community,” said Ann Hoscheit, chairwoman- elect of the chamber’s board of directors. “This event does exactly that. It celebrates our manufacturing legacy and sends a message of appreciation to our local businesses, their leaders and their employees.”

‘Humbling honor’

Watson, who’s been in the insurance business since 1965, brought home the chamber’s Spirit of the Carolinas Award. He’s helped grow the tiny firm his father founded in the 1930s to 70 employees today.

“This is just a special, humbling honor,” Watson said. “We’ve been really, really fortunate over the years.”

Since the mid-1960s, Watson has seen massive changes in the insurance industry, including a growing reliance on technology that radically simplified how firms like his serve customers. He’s also weathered disasters like a tornado outbreak in 1974 and Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

The secret to his success? Hoscheit said it is Watson’s ability to create personal relationships with his customers, his commitment to employees and his desire to give back that has allowed him to thrive over the past five decades.

Overcoming adversity

CaroMont Health was recognized with the chamber’s Spirit of the Economy Award.

“It is challenging to think of a business that has a greater impact on our community,” Hoscheit said. “Whether a person receives their healthcare from a CaroMont doctor or facility, we all benefit from their presence.”

The nonprofit has bounced back just a year after a series of company decisions — including changing the names of CaroMont Regional Medical Center to CaroMont Regional Medical Center and a controversial marketing campaign — drew fire from patients, employees and the community.

“What a special, special honor this is,” CaroMont Health CEO Doug Luckett said. “As a local award, this means more than you could possibly imagine.” Luckett was named CaroMont’s CEO in October 2013. “I admire Doug Luckett … as a visionary leader, but even more so as a man who understands and values relationships,” Hoscheit said. “He is among the best bridge builders I know.”

Hoscheit emphasized the necessity for CaroMont to remain independent and why Gaston County should care about the organization’s future.

“Locally based healthcare means we have access to specialty services,” Hoscheit said. “As
one of the largest employers in our county, we could lose hundreds of jobs if we were merely a satellite to a larger system.”


“The Salute to Business and Manufacturing Awards and Gala is a very special event and we at CaroMont Health are especially pleased that the Gaston Regional Chamber chose to honor our health system and CEO, Doug Luckett, with the Spirit of the Economy Award. Since Doug assumed the helm at CaroMont, he has thoroughly embedded himself in the community through volunteerism and has become an active participant in the Chamber. He has tirelessly reached out and made himself available to all stakeholders to foster collegiality and cooperation for the good of Gaston County. He has and continues to work to make CaroMont Health a premier healthcare organization that responds to the needs of Gaston County residents and its family of employees. To that end, the hospital emergency department is getting a facelift, and the new Mount Holly facility is well on track. CaroMont has won several awards, but this award from the Gaston Regional Chamber is the “icing on the cake.” We are very proud of Doug and are grateful for his leadership.”

-Sheila S. Reilly, Ph.D., Chair of the CaroMont Health Board of Directors

“Doug is hands down the best CEO I have ever worked with/for. He is the definition of a servant leader. He takes the time to get to know our staff and as a result he is well-loved by all. I feel so incredibly fortunate to be on his team.”

-Bonnie Faust, VP, Chief Nursing Officer, CaroMont Health