When business owner Graham Wilson moved to Apex in 1989, the town’s population was around 4,000 people. In the ensuing years, Wilson has seen the town grow nearly 10 times that size.
With the town on the precipice of another growth boom, Wilson is very familiar with all the challenges such drastic change can bring.
Possessing a wealth of business acumen, vast knowledge of public relations and years of experience on the town’s planning board, Wilson became the perfect choice as the new executive director of the Apex Chamber of Commerce.
Wilson, who founded PRStreet Inc. in 1992, will officially begin his new job on Oct. 1. He takes over after former director Brenda Steen stepped down several weeks ago to spend more time with her family.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Wilson. “I’ve worked with the chamber on different events through the years and I have always been a big cheerleader for Apex. This is a wonderful opportunity to help promote Apex in a more official way.”
Chamber board president Jess Hastings said Wilson possessed all the traits he wanted to see in a new director.
“We are very excited about having Graham,” said Hastings. “He has the ability to positively move the chamber forward and expand our membership base. His background in PR certainly didn’t hurt and neither did his time on the planning board. He knows how things operate, understands all the dynamics and can get people to work together as one group. Graham really is the whole package.”
But Wilson’s biggest asset to the chamber, said Hastings, is his ability to deal with change.
With the new section of I-540 opening, the construction of regional wastewater plant underway in New Hill and plans in motion for a second high school in town, Apex is on the verge of another population surge.
“Really, the biggest thing about Graham is that he has lived in Apex for 23 years,” said Hastings. “He has seen Apex change and was here during the early stages of its biggest growth. With Graham leading the way, I truly believe the chamber can help the town grow in a positive way.”
“The town has really grown and I’ve seen that change firsthand,” said Wilson. “As a member of the planning board and serving as the chairman for the past two years, it has given me a great perspective of what is happening as well as the great potential for Apex.”
Wilson said he plans to put his business, PRStreet Inc., in an active state and also will step down from the planning board.
“I’ve had to scale back with my business the past year anyway because of some health issues in my family,” said Wilson. “My term on the planning board is up in December, so it works out.”
Wilson also give up his duties with the annual Peak City Pig Fest in downtown, a festival he planned and organized.
“I’m going to have to step back on that,” said Wilson. “At times, that can become just like a full-time job. But I know it’s going to move ahead without me and it’s going to be even bigger next year.”
Wilson said it’s far too early to discuss about any potential changes he might make at the chamber.
“I just want to get in there and see how things are being run,” said Wilson. “Right now, the biggest thing is that I’m not sure many people realize that Apex is the third largest municipality in Wake County. I think we get overshadowed at times. I would really like to see Apex’s profile as a destination for businesses a little higher.
“When people want to bring their business to Wake County, I want them to think of Apex.”