By DAVID BORAKS
John and Laurie Venzon, two Davidson residents who traded corporate jobs for early retirement and community service in the Lake Norman area, will move to Kansas City this summer, leaving vacancies on the boards they serve. She’s in her third term as a Davidson town commissioner. He’s board chairman of MI-Connection, the local communications network owned by the towns of Davidson and Mooresville.
The Venzons, both former Bank of America executives, have lived in the Charlotte area for 28 years, the past 21 in Davidson. They say the decision to leave brings a mix of sadness at departing and excitement about a new opportunity for Mr. Venzon.
Mr. Venzon, currently president of the Huntersville-based environmental services franchiser AdvantaClean Systems, has accepted a job running the internet and mobile banking division at Jack Henry & Associates, a top provider of software and technology services to the banking industry.
He’ll start the new job March 18, and plans to commute from Davidson for the next several months. He said he plans “at a minimum” to complete his current term as a MI-Connection chair, which ends this summer. He’s talking to local officials about what happens after that.
The job returns Mr. Venzon to the banking and technology world. For about 20 years, he worked in technology, sales and operations at IBM Corp. and Bank of America.
Laurie Venzon worked 21 years at Bank of America, where she held executive roles in operations, mergers, procurement, vendor management, project management, and risk management. She has been working in recent years as a consultant.
She and the couple’s two children will remain in town until the school year ends. She says she’ll remain on the Davidson Town Board “at least until summer.”
“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity, but hard to leave after being in the Charlotte region for 28 years and Davidson for 21 of those.”
Said Mr. Venzon: “We’re very sorry to be leaving, of course. It’s a great opportunity, but it’s been very tough for me and my family.”
The couple, who live in the River Run neighborhood, have been active in a variety of public and nonprofit boards in recent years, as well as their church. They’re quick to say they’re not cutting ties to the area.
An avid golfer, Mr. Venzon says, he’ll maintain his membership at River Run Country Club. And he dreams about coming back one day. “If we ever get to retire, this would still be the place we’d come back to. We have great friends, we love the community,” he said.
Local officials said they’re sorry to see the Venzons leave.
“Obviously, we are pleased for them and for the incredible career move for John,” Davidson Mayor John Woods said Thursday. “They have been incredibly active as a couple, and as individuals, in Davidson.”
He praised Ms. Venzon for her work as a “productive and diligent member of our Town Board,” and for her efforts at community building across town. Ms. Venzon was the first resident of the River Run neighborhood ever elected as a Davidson Commissioner, and has spent the past half-dozen years building bridges between that east Davidson neighborhood and other parts of town.
Meanwhile, Mayor Woods, cited Mr. Venzon’s volunteer leadership helping to revive the once financially troubled Davidson Cornelius Child Development Center, on Davidson’s West Side. And in the past couple of years, he has helped the two towns find a path forward with the money losing MI-Connection Communications System.
“His business expertise has brought both of those (organizations) that are so important to our town back into a positive mode,” Mayor Woods said.
As MI-Connection chair, Mr. Venzon has often acknowledged that he thinks the towns should not have bought the cable system in 2007. But with a businesslike approach, he has tried to focus public debate – and elected officials’ efforts – on improving marketing, finances and strategy at the company.
Mayor Woods said it’s not clear yet what the town board might do about the commissioner vacancy created by Ms. Venzon’s departure. The board could appoint a successor, or leave the seat open until the next election, which is this November. Candidate filing for the town election will be in July.
“We really don’t have any plans at this point,” Mayor Woods said. “I think we’re all still absorbing the change.”
He said town will have to work hard to fill the Venzons’ shoes. “Losing them is a great loss for Davidson,” he said.
Nov. 6, 2011, “Candidate profile: Laurie Venzon.”
April 13, 2011, “Changing of the guard: Venzon to chair MI-Connection”
Nov. 23, 2011, “Ex-Time Warner exec Auger to run MI-Connection.”