Long-time Raleigh City Councilman Thomas Crowder died last October at the age of 58 after a battle with cancer, but WakeUp Wake County is remembering his legacy and eye towards the future with a new award in his name. CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon proudly received the first annual Thomas Crowder Visionary Award at WakeUp Wake’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, February 12, 2015.
WakeUp’s Board of Directors established the award to honor Crowder, calling him “a true visionary leader of our time.”
“Back in 2006, he and I along with a small group of citizens met to share concerns about challenges of rapid growth,” explained Dr. Yevonne Brannon, Director of the Center for Urban Affairs and Community Services (CUACS) at North Carolina State University. “We talked about how decisions were being made influencing development with little or no input from local organizations and essentially no representations from average people. From that meeting, Thomas helped launch WakeUP as a non-partisan non-profit to represent taxpayers and to ‘wakeup’ decision makers.”
Crowder was elected to multiple terms on the Raleigh City Council; he also served on the City of Raleigh Planning Commission and a variety of other organizations.
“Thomas engaged the community in many ways to develop solutions and to speak up for effective growth policies that ensure sustainable, healthy communities,” said Brannon.
An architect by trade, Thomas was an advocate for his hometown of Raleigh.
“He wanted Raleigh to be a great, environmentally conscious city, but one that did not lose its small town charm,” said Brannon. “He cared about the little details of how our communities worked to the big ideas of how we could develop and sustain in the decades to come. Possibly Thomas’s greatest legacy is that he always listened to his constituents and he looked for ways to help regular people and neighborhood leaders advocate before city leaders.”
Crowder and Goodmon were friends and fellow visionaries in the Triangle.
“When the board discussed who would receive the first Thomas Crowder Visionary Award, it was an immediate and unanimous decision. Jim Goodmon,” said Brannon, who made the presentation. “We could think of NO one in Raleigh, Wake County or the triangle region for that matter, who had shown more commitment to our quality of life than Jim Goodmon.”
“Jim is the perfect example of how visionary leaders can guide us in bold, new directions. His passion and strong leadership for high quality public schools, transit, and fair treatment of the least among us, the arts, economic development, regionalism, and Dix Park has been significant,” said Brannon. “Because Jim not only shares his dreams and goals and vision for our future, he listens to our ideas and incorporates them into the larger goal.”
Brannon cited Goodmon for speaking up for what is right and championing and enabling the work of others. She also talked about his ability to help differing factions in the Triangle work together. Calling him a leader and a trailblazer, WakeUP honored Goodmon for being a “great strategic planner.”
“Like a chess player, Jim is thoughtful, always plans ahead, keeping a vision in mind of what something can look like in the future and how they can impact our quality of life for the better,” said Brannon.
The presentation took place at the 2015 Annual Meeting of WakeUP Wake County, an evening event at the Junior League of Raleigh Center for Community Leadership in Raleigh, ironically housed in what Capitol Broadcasting refers to as the 711 Building, on Hillsborough Street, a previous home of the corporate offices of CBC.
- Read Brannon’s full remarks from the presentation of the Thomas Crowder Visionary Award to Jim Goodmon: Thomas Crowder Visionary Award _Jim Goodmon (pdf)
About WakeUP Wake County
WakeUP is a nonpartisan group of citizens concerned about growth and the future of Wake County. WakeUp is comprised of voters, business people, educators, homemakers, grandparents, volunteers, and more who want to ensure that Wake County and the Triangle are healthy, competitive and sustainable in the long run. They love living in the Triangle area for its good quality of life and want to ensure a bright future for themselves, their communities and those who come after them. WakeUP is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.