CVCC unveils Tarlton Venture Wing at Workforce Solutions Complex

HICKORY, N.C. — Catawba Valley Community College unveiled the James “Vernon” Tarlton III Venture Wing during a special dedication ceremony held on Saturday at the Workforce Solutions Complex.


photo of tarlton painting

The wing honors the memory of the late James “Vernon” Tarlton III, who passed away in 2018. Tarlton was a military veteran who owned Vernon Tarlton Construction for more than 30 years.


Catawba Valley Community College President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw spoke during Saturday’s dedication about Vernon Tarlton and the positive impact he had on the community.


“When you walk through the halls today, you will see displayed one of Vernon’s favorite lines from one of his favorite musicians — Frank Sinatra. It is ‘I did it my way,’” Hinshaw said. “Vernon lived out this philosophy in the way that he served others and made everyone he encountered feel valued regardless of their background or station in life — a value we hold dear here at CVCC. Catawba Valley Community College is open to anyone who wants to further their education, and we value every person we encounter just like Vernon did.”


The Workforce Solutions Complex is an 80,400-square-foot facility funded through a $26 million investment by the Catawba County Commissioners. This state-of-the-art facility currently houses technology and engineering programs, including Computer Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Computer Integrated Machining, Electronics Engineering Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Welding, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Mechatronics and Robotics, and Heating/Ventilation and Air Conditioning.


Sue Tarlton, wife of the late James “Vernon” Tarlton, believes her husband would be proud to have his name synonymous with the building and wing of the trades he was so passionate about.


“Vernon would have absolutely loved this building because this was pretty much what he was about in many ways,” Sue Tarlton said. “He tinkered in his garage. He was very mechanically minded. This building would have been right up his alley.”


Also unveiled during Saturday’s dedication ceremony was a new painting honoring Vernon’s father — James “Jim” Vernon Tarlton, Jr. The painting will be displayed prominently in the building on campus that bears his namesake — the Tarlton Complex, which is CVCC's athletics complex and welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually at various campus and community events.


“Jim has been dedicated to his work and his community for many years and continues to work even though he just recently retired,” said Kelly Farr, chairman of the CVCC Foundation Board. “He raised his family to serve others and to see the value in everyone. Jim believes the foundations of learning have no regard for class or race and that everyone deserves an education. He is a champion for his fellow man and is dedicated to helping students succeed. Without Jim’s generous support, Catawba Valley Community College would not be where it is today.”


Jim is proud of the painting, but more so of the new wing named after his late son.


“I love it,” Jim Tarlton said of the James “Vernon” Tarlton III Venture Wing. “I don’t think we could have ever done a better thing for this college. This building is really needed, especially with unemployment. This will get you ready for a good job. If you want a good job, you need some training.”


CVCC Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Jones said, "We are truly honored by Mr. Tarlton's investment in Catawba Valley Community College through his generosity to the CVCC Foundation. It is a privilege to help carry forward the Tarlton family's legacy of valuing people and investing in their future."


For information about naming opportunities and other ways to support Catawba Valley Community College through a tax-deductible gift to the CVCC Foundation, please contact CVCC Chief Development Officer Jennifer Jones at or by calling 828-327-7000.

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