ABOUT 2019-03-04T14:14:28+00:00

OUR STORY

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In March of 2018, Eastern North Carolina gained a premiere meeting space in Wayne County – The Maxwell Regional Agricultural and Convention Center. Owned and managed by the County of Wayne and partnered with The City of Goldsboro who supplied the land and support to this great project, The Maxwell Center consist of two sprawling wings totaling 66,000 square feet.

The east wing is home to the offices of Wayne County Cooperative Extension, Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation, and USDA National Farm Service Agency. The west wing is flexible space consisting of multi-size classrooms, event halls, and outdoor space that is rented to the public for various events.

The top quality rental areas include a 14,500+ sq. ft. ballroom, multiple smaller size rooms, pre-function and post-event space in lobbies and halls, plus a 9,500 sq. ft. outdoor courtyard.

The Maxwell Center provides many in-house services that include soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, audio visual, internet access, electrical, and trade show decorating services, creating ease and convenience for any event. Working with regional caterers, The Maxwell Center offers a list of delicious food options. Our expert event team will help you to not just plan an event, but to offer your guests and attendees an experience. It’s Our Place, Our Home – Bring Your Event Home!

TEAM MEMBERS

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James Wade Jr.
General Manager

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Joined our team May 2017

James began his career after Marshall University with 5 years of traveling the road working for Feld Entertainment’s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Promotions and Marketing Department where he worked in all 48 continental states, most major U.S. cities and Japan.

Born and raised in Charleston, WV, James most recently lived in Owensboro, KY working as Director of Ticketing & Events at the Owensboro Convention Center and The Owensboro Sportscenter; two buildings managed by Spectra Venue Management. Before that he was in Louisville, KY working for the KY State Fair Board’s multiple venues and assisting to open the KFC Yum! Center Arena in 2010.

Wayne County’s The Maxwell Center was the 5th new facility he has had the opportunity to be a part of opening and he enjoys the excitement and stress that comes with such undertakings. “I am enjoying living, meeting and working with the residents of Wayne County. I appreciate being selected to work with this facility, which is a great asset to the community.”

James has also been employed by SMG Management, where he worked in three of their facilities – Pikeville and Corbin, KY and Saginaw, MI. With 30+ years of experience in the entertainment and venue management industry, James still loves the work he does. He is very happy to have found a new home in Wayne County.

HOMETOWN: Charleston, WV

ACHIEVEMENTS: Have successfully assisted with the pre-opening construction and grand opening of five different event venues. Responsibilities have included hiring and training staff, developing operational policies, purchasing FF&E (Furniture Fixtures & Equipment) and other duties.

James was a 2018 class member of the Wayne County Leadership program. Is Currently on Wayne County Tourism Development Authority, which works to promote tourism and bring tourists into Wayne County. Also on the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Junior Leadership Committee, which works with area high school students to instill leadership qualities.

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Loves reading, writing and photography

SOMETHING ABOUT ME, NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE: While in college, I wrote and produced two children’s television specials for the local PBS station. I worked my way through college by doing comedy magic shows for public, private and corporate parties.

Christina Williams
Sales & Marketing Director

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Joined our team January 2018

Christina Williams, a Wayne County native, returned to her hometown in 2013 after receiving her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in Business and Marketing Education. Christina most recently worked as Senior Advisor with the University of Mount Olive Evening College campus. Before that, she was employed with Wayne Community College as a specialist in the Admissions and Records Department.

Born and raised in Grantham, Christina now resides in Mount Olive, NC. During her time with University of Mount Olive, Christina worked in different facets of education involving sales and marketing as Admissions Representative and Recruiter, prior to her role as advisor.  Christina began pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration Marketing from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA and completed her degree in May of 2018.

While Christina has experience in sales and recruitment, she recognizes that The Maxwell Center will be a new challenge for her. “So far, my career experience is specifically in education and for me, it was a great place to start. But, I was ready for the next big adventure. The Maxwell Center is just that, my next great challenge. I am so excited to be a part of history here in Wayne County, especially being that this is home. I could not be more appreciative for this opportunity.”

Christina had the opportunity to learn a great deal through the different professional organizations she participates in, including the Wayne County Leadership program and Board of Regents through the Chamber of Commerce. Christina comes from a four generation farm family in Grantham which she feels has also helped to prepare her for being a part of The Maxwell Center.

HOMETOWN: Goldsboro, NC

ACHIEVEMENTS: Successful implementation of marketing and recruitment strategies. Served on advisory boards and committees such as: Distance Education, Admissions Onboarding, and Board of Regents.

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Just recently started playing golf and enjoys beach music.

SOMETHING ABOUT ME, NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE: While in college, I played for the Women’s Club Softball Team. Senior year, we received a bid and attended the 2013 College World Series.

Camille Gayden
Event Manager

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Joined our Team: February 2018

Camille Gayden came all the way to Goldsboro from Kansas City, Missouri. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Event & Convention Management from Stephens College, private, all women, liberal arts college, in December of 2017. Upon obtaining this degree, she became the First Woman of Color to do so.

Camille hadn’t been out of college very long when she joined us, however, she received a vast amount of knowledge in the event industry by being an Event Assistant for the University of Missouri-Columbia Athletic Department, as well as a Game Day Operations Intern for FC Kansas City, Women’s Professional Soccer Club.

Although North Carolina is much different from Missouri, she has embraced this change in her life, “I am very grateful for this opportunity and that I am able to showcase my passion for events so soon after graduating! Even though I am 16 hours away from Kansas City, I am glad to call Goldsboro, NC my new home.”

HOMETOWN: Kansas City, MO

ACHIEVEMENTS: First Woman of Color to graduate from Stephens College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Event & Convention Management

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Cooking, swimming, DIY projects

SOMETHING ABOUT ME, NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE: I am obsessed with pickles so I am glad to be so close to Mt. Olive!

Merisha Simmons
Event Manager

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Joined our Team: February 2018

Merisha Simmons is a native of Mount Olive, North Carolina and a current resident of Goldsboro, North Carolina. Merisha graduated from Southern Wayne High School and holds an Associate’s Degree in General Education from Wayne Community College. She is currently in the process of completing her undergraduate degree at North Carolina Central University in Hospitality and Tourism Administration.

Merisha currently serves as our Event Manager. In that role her primary duties are to plan and coordinate events including board meetings, corporate events, weddings, receptions, conferences, and other events as needed. She will manage every aspect of the assigned events from the advanced planning stages through the end of the event, to ensure a positive overall customer and lessee experience. Merisha has over 10 years of event management and planning experience. She possesses the talent, skill, and passion that will make every event at The Maxwell Center a success.

Prior to joining The Maxwell Center staff, Merisha served as an Income Maintenance Caseworker in the Program Integrity and Transportation Department with the Wayne County Department of Social Services. She also served as an event planner for ADLA, Inc., and an Office/Clinic Assistant for Chesterfield County Schools in Chester, Virginia.

HOMETOWN: Mt. Olive, NC

ACHIEVEMENTS: Has received her Nursing Assistant Certification, Phlebotomy Technician Certificate, and Medical Office Administration Certificate

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Coaching the Mini Saints Cheerleaders at Southern Wayne High School

SOMETHING ABOUT ME, NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE: Merisha is creative and known for being the “family cosmetologist.” She styles hair and provides haircuts, makeup and skincare services.

Darren Phillips
Venue Services Manager

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Joined our Team: August 2018

Before working at The Maxwell Center, Darren Phillips was an Income Maintenance Worker II, working for the Wayne County Department of Social Services for three years.  Prior to that, he worked at Lowes for two years as a Customer Service Representative/Plant specialist and in the Receiving section.  He also served in the United States Air Force for 26 years and retired as a Senior Master Sergeant.

Darren attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Business Management and Technology degree.  He also attained an Associate Degree in Human Resources/Personnel Administration from the Community College of the Air Force.

From Plattsburgh, New York, Darren was a military child and lived in many places.

HOMETOWN: Plattsburgh, New York

ACHIEVEMENTS: Being selected Personnel Superintendent of the Year and Personnel Technician of the Year for Air Mobility Command, but the most satisfying achievements were guiding the younger Airmen to win awards and be successful in the United States Air Force.

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Darren enjoys watching soccer, programs about history and loves to travel.

SOMETHING ABOUT ME, NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE: Darren was deployed six times to different areas of responsibilities in service to our nation and is a Gulf War Veteran.

Aimee Carsten
Staff Assistant

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Joined our Team: February 2018

Aimee Carsten, a Virginia native, has lived in North Carolina since the mid ‘90s with Wayne County being “home” for the last 15 years. A graduate of Ivy Bridge College, she took online classes to earn her degree in liberal arts while working and raising her two young boys.

After working in customer service and guest relations in a public setting for over 14 years, the event business is an exciting new setting for Aimee. Being part of the close knit team at The Maxwell Center, she has the opportunity to give back to the community.

A mother first, Aimee, is very involved with her children’s pursuits. Her dedication to volunteering and participating in their many academic and extracurricular activities keeps her busy. A great deal of her free time is spent working with their Boy Scout Troop and Pack.

HOMETOWN: Farmville, NC

ACHIEVEMENTS: Graduated Cum Laude

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Reading, listening to music, and spending time with family

SOMETHING ABOUT ME, NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE: I love musical theatre, and in high school performed in our schools productions of L’il Abner, Cinderella, and Little Shop of Horrors.

Jose Perez
IT/AV Specialist

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Joined our Team: July 2018

Jose Perez is a small town guy with a fresh outlook on life. He feels extremely fortunate in life to have been able to learn and experience lots of different things that have given him a wide pallet of skills. He loves learning new things and really digging deep into how stuff works. Jose loves music and says when there’s a solid beat thumping he feels like he can accomplish any task.

Jose graduated from Lenoir Community College in 2005 with a degree in Applied Science in Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology. After 8 years as a Systems Administrator with McRae & Associates, he started work for the County of Wayne as an IT Support Technician for one year before transferring over to The Maxwell Center.

Jose enjoys helping others succeed. Seeing expectations get met and exceeded lets Jose know he is doing something right. He looks forward to helping make your event at the Maxwell the best it can be.

HOMETOWN: Kinston, NC

ACHIEVEMENTS: Has received FAA Part 107 USAS Certification, drone pilot license

SPECIAL INTERESTS: Gaming, Music, Aviation

SOMETHING ABOUT ME, NO ONE WOULD EVER BELIEVE: Jose is a great graphic designer and he designed The Maxwell Center logo used today. It was one of dozens of possible logos designed by several graphic artists and firms.