What constitutes “Greatness”? In a sports team, do we measure greatness by how old the team is or by how many games they have played? In a restaurant, is it the number of items on the menu or how much is charged for the meal? When it comes to a city or town, is greatness determined by the population or where that municipality is located? Finally, is the greatness of a lake measured by how deep, how wide or how much shoreline it has?

The Mooresville South Iredell and Lake Norman chambers of commerce have recently, at the request of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission, examined the branding of the lake region. We first looked to the past, recognizing that long before the creation of the lake itself, the Catawba Indian Nation, referred to the Catawba River as “The Great River.”

I am sure in the eyes of those from the Mississippi Delta, such a notion might be met with ridicule. However, for the Catawbas, as is the case today, greatness lies in the land and the people itself, not the water contained by its shore.

Some might point out that Lake Norman is a man-made creation, not a body of water carved out from the land over time. But aren’t both the handiwork of our Creator?

I have visited the northern Great Lake sregion several times and enjoyed the scenic beauty. I marveled at trucks and cars driving over frozen Lake Michigan. They are indeed majestic “Great Lakes.”

As a product of the Carolinas, I know it causes some degree of anxiety for those on the West Coast that “The USC” is in Columbia, S.C. Likewise for people of the South, real barbecue is pork, mustard or vinegar base, not chopped up beef with some tangy ketchup slapped on it.

While we can debate which state university should bear the name “Carolina” or whether New Jersey is really “The Hot Dog Capital of the World,” it is not debatable for me that we live and work in a great community.

Like the Catawbas who settled this great land, I believe I live in the most dynamic and vibrant region of the nation. It is defined by the people who live here and who accept nothing less but their very best. It is the legacy of a people whose heart is as large as the shoreline itself and whose compassion for projects like Big Day at the Lake are deeper than her deepest point.

I am fortunate to live, work and play in the greatest region of our country – “Lake Norman, The Great Lake”. To some – our lake has become a destination and still others a relocation. However, for the rest of us, it is simply the place we call home.

– Bill Russell, President & CEO,
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce