With our area's tremendous growth over the past two decades, very few people living in the Lake Norman area can claim to be natives of the area.
Even fewer could probably trace their ancestral roots to the area back to the 1700s, but Bob McIntosh can.
His Scottish heritage can be traced through both of his parents, with his mother's ancestors settling in the Hopewell area in 1727 and his father's ancestors settling in 1772.
McIntosh currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Catawba Valley Scottish Society and is actively involved with the annual Loch Norman Highland Games. He'll also become the next chairman of the Board for the Lake Norman Chamber this month.
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When you meet McIntosh, his interest in genealogy transcends that of his own family, as he expresses a genuine interest in knowing more about people, where they're from and how they came to live in this area.
McIntosh also believes that the residents of Lake Norman who do have established roots are the people who attract others to the area.
"There's just a genuine sense of hospitality in our area, and I think it starts with the people whose families have lived here for generations," said McIntosh. "When people visit or move here, they end up staying because the people who are here are very special people."
McIntosh grew up in the southern part of Mecklenburg County, attending South Mecklenburg High. Following completion of law school at UNC Chapel Hill and soon after establishing his law practice, McIntosh Law Firm, he moved the firm to Davidson in 1991, where it is currently located in the historic Cotton Mill building.
Since relocating to the Davidson area, he's become involved in a number of community organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Hope House Foundation and becoming a member of the North Mecklenburg Civitan Club.
As both a business owner and a resident of Lake Norman, McIntosh has a keen perspective of the qualities of the area that attract new residents and new opportunity, which makes him a fitting choice for the next chairman of the Lake Norman Chamber.
The chamber faces its own set of challenges in a tough economy, but perhaps a more unusual challenge since the "business" of the chamber is helping businesses.
"Our theme for next year is 'Community is our Business,' and I really think that does a good job of reflecting our commitment to local business as well as the reality that people (community) are a critical part of that formula," said McIntosh.
Through a series of "Survive & Thrive" seminars that the chamber will offer to businesses, McIntosh hopes that the chamber will demonstrate how the programming adapts to meet the needs of businesses.
Again, McIntosh focuses on the people part of the equation.
"We faced some decline in membership, but not as much as surrounding chambers, and I think that reflects the quality of people that we have in the Lake Norman area," he said. "The connections that people have, both business and personal, with residents of this community have proved to be a strong force for weathering the economic storm."
"We're in a unique position in our area in that we were particularly hurt by dropping home values since so many of the business around the Lake Norman area have to do with housing, home construction and real estate," said McIntosh.
But, for every problem, McIntosh believes there's also a solution.
"I think it is important to be aware of an area's strengths and weaknesses, equally, because they have the same roots," he said. "The problems we're facing will yield solutions and new opportunities."