Alexis Smith spent years keeping her disease a secret. Only her closest friends knew she had cystic fibrosis. Alexis admits, she was not the perfect patient. It wasn’t until she graduated high school that Alexis accepted her situation. Now as a CF Ambassador, the 28-year-old uses her life experience to help other patients and families cope with the stress of CF, while educating others on the toll the disease can take.
Mitchell Slaggert was walking to class at Cape Fear Community College in 2015 when a stranger, and fate, tapped him on the shoulder. Weeks later, Mitchell was modeling Calvin Klein underwear, appearing on runways and in magazines around the world. He has also appeared in several films and television shows, studying to take his acting career to the next level.
Success? Daniel Peddle has achieved it on many levels. Casting Director, artist, filmmaker, author. The native of Winston-Salem graduated from UNC Chapel Hill before setting up in New York City. He’s screened films in Wilmington, and discovered an underwear model here too. But when Daniel needs inspiration, and a backdrop for his most recent project, he's chosen Carolina Beach.
As Executive Vice-President of EUE/Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, Bill Vassar runs the largest full-service film and television production facility east of California. Vassar got his start in radio as a teenager, worked at NBC Studios in New York with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live, before joining EUE/Screen Gems. He later moved to the North Carolina coast, seeing productions like One Tree Hill, Iron Man 3 and Good Behavior use his studio.
Kimberly Lawrance is one of the strongest women in the world. She’s won several competitions that prove it. Along with lifting stones and pulling trucks, the 27-year-old from Wilmington is also doing her best to lift the sport to new heights.
Early in his career, Sam Gore sold insurance as a second job while he worked as the “Voice of the UNCW Seahawks”. His goal was to become a network play-by-play sports announcer. Never wavering in his belief that God opens doors along the way, Sam took advantage of every opportunity and now has a “dream job” at ESPN.
When Tiger, Phil, Sergio and Dustin finish their rounds of golf, Todd Lewis is one of the first people they meet. Lewis covers the best players in the world as a reporter for the Golf Channel. The North Carolina native shares memories from his life on the road and inside the ropes, years after getting his first full-time job at WECT in Wilmington.
Solomon Harvey’s athletic abilities took him to the finals on two network television shows, American Ninja Warrior and Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge. He’s now using those talents, along with his martial arts expertise, to grow a new career as a stuntman in the television and film industry.
With coaches and mentors like Kay Yow, Anne Donovan and Sheila Boles, it’s easy to see how Carithia "Nanna" Rivers excelled on and off the basketball court. Her Hoggard High teams won 100 games, at North Carolina State she went to the Sweet 16, and Rivers won two championships in her five pro seasons in Europe. Rivers joined an exclusive club in 2018, when she was enshrined into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame.
Brad Brownell is coming off his most successful season as a men’s basketball head coach since leaving UNC Wilmington. His 2017-18 Clemson Tigers won 25 games, finished 3rd in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Coach Brownell looks back at the UNCW days, the circumstances that made him leave and coaching in the toughest basketball conference in the country.
If you want to know anything about the history of Wilmington, NC, Wilbur Jones is the best person to ask. He’s lived it, researched it, written about it and helped preserve it. Wilbur is about to publish his 19th book, a memoir that recounts a life of service to community, country and family.
Bobby Sanguinetti’s grandmother bribed him to take medicine as a child. Bobby used that money to buy his first pieces of hockey equipment, and he hasn’t stopped skating since. Playing professionally around the world gave him the chance to play for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in 2018. Bobby talks about his career, the support of his family and life near the beach.
Joshua Johnson had some big shoes to fill in January 2017. National Public Radio fans that had listened to Diane Rehm for decades heard his voice as host of the new show 1A. Johnson honed his talents in Miami and San Francisco, and now interviews the biggest newsmakers in the country. We sat down with Johnson during his trip to Wilmington, and found out he got interested in broadcasting as a five-year-old.
His name is Brandon Hickman. But fans know him best as ‘Bigg B’, the man behind the voice they hear on the “Bigg Ride Home” every weekday on Coast 97.3. Bigg B’s impact on Wilmington goes far beyond his DJ work. He is a mentor, a volunteer, a leader and an entrepreneur, always encouraging others to know “Better is Possible”.
Beth Troutman met one president and campaigned with another. She hosted nationally syndicated television shows, appeared on network news programs and anchored newscasts in North Carolina’s largest media market. Then she walked away, telling God she would “listen to His call”. The 2018 Azalea Festival Queen explains why working in Haiti is the best assignment of her life.
Chip Mahan bought a book to learn how to run a bank. It worked. He rose to leadership positions in two companies, then took the bold step to launch the world’s first internet-only bank. Mahan's most-recent success story, Live Oak Bank, survived tough times during the recession and is now flourishing along with its’ spinoff, nCino. The entrepreneur shares his stories of success, falling short, and the challenges ahead for banks to survive.
Lyberty Anderson will tell you transferring from the University of Virginia to UNC Wilmington saved her life. Lyberty has achieved unparalleled success on the golf course. But the game of life became much tougher for Lyberty to play, leading to depression and thoughts of suicide. But a phone call, a change of scenery and two years later, this new college grad is ready for a much brighter future.
Nina Repeta spent six years playing Katie Holmes’ big sister on Dawson’s Creek. With fans celebrating the 20th anniversary of the show’s debut, the East Carolina University grad looks back at how she got the part of Bessie Potter, why Dawson’s Creek remains popular around the world decades later, and the decision she and her husband Mike made to raise a family in Wilmington after the show ended.
Monica Caison has spent more than 20 years hiking through woods, turning over rocks and brush, trying to find missing persons. She founded CUE Center for Missing Persons in 1994 and has grown it into a national organization, supporting families whose loved ones have disappeared. Caison had to first find her own way, overcoming a troubled childhood to raise a family and become a lifeline to strangers desperate for her help.
Eddie Biedenbach was not a “prized recruit” coming out of high school near Pittsburgh. But hard work made him an All-ACC basketball player at North Carolina State. When he became an assistant coach, Biedenbach recruited players that led the Wolfpack to a pair of national championships. As a head coach, he took UNC Asheville to new hoop heights before retiring in Wilmington with several records to his credit.