In recognition of his 20 years of service as Mayor of Holly Springs, the Town Council announces that the field at Ting Stadium will now be called “Dick Sears Field”.
The surprise honor by the Town was announced at a retirement celebration for Sears as he prepares to leave office after 20 years as mayor.
Ting Stadium, sponsored by Ting Internet, is home to the Holly Springs Salamanders collegiate summer baseball team and is used for Wake Futbol Club collegiate summer soccer as well as Town recreational leagues, rentals, concerts, and festivals.
“We are honored to partner with the town for this tribute to Mayor Sears,” said Todd Rubin, Regional Manager of Ting Internet. “As one of the Salamanders’ most loyal fans, it’s fitting to see the stadium field carry Mayor Sears’ name in recognition of all he has done for Holly Springs.”
At the community retirement celebration, Sears was also presented with a prestigious honor from the Office of Governor Roy Cooper. Mayor Sears is the recipient of the Old North State Award for 20 years of dedication and service to the State of North Carolina. The Governor’s office received letters of support for the nomination from elected officials and business leaders.
During his two decades in office, Holly Springs has become known as one of the most desirable towns in N.C., appearing repeatedly in “best places” lists and perennially ranking among the state’s safest towns.
At the same time, Holly Springs built a reputation as a preferred location for life sciences, attracting major companies such as Novartis (now Seqirus), FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, and Amgen.
The opening of UNC Health Rex Holly Springs Hospital last month was a fitting cap to Sears’ career. Almost from the time he took office in December 2001, bringing a hospital to Holly Springs was his quest.
The stadium, the recruitment of major employers, and the hospital are part of town leaders’ long-term strategy to make Holly Springs one of the most desirable places to live in Wake County. Throughout his tenure, Sears has pursued a vision of Holly Springs as a place where residents could live, work, and play. At the same time, he has prioritized retention of its small-town charm.
“I wanted to build a town that you don’t have to leave unless you want to,” he explained.
Holly Springs’ population has quadrupled during Sears’ 20 year tenure, transforming from mostly a bedroom community to a vibrant town of about 44,000. In addition to ranking as one of the state’s safest cities, Holly Springs has been designated as being among the state’s best places to get a job and to raise a family.
Sears moved to Holly Springs in 1995 after a long career with Sears, Roebuck & Co. in New York and Chicago. He had risen to National Group Marketing Manager for the Women’s Store, which had one of the highest profit margins in the company. He also founded the Gray Group Consulting Network, Inc., and remains active in the business and marketing firm.
In 2001, Sears ran for office on a dare from a Town Council member and friend who thought he could make a difference. Sears’ then 3-year-old granddaughter was his campaign manager. He ran unopposed in 2005, and was re-elected three subsequent times.
Through all his successful campaigns, Sears’ motto has remained, “If it's good for the kids, it's good for Holly Springs.”
“I try very hard to live by that motto,” he has said.
Sears founded the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board and the Mayor’s Anti-Bullying Committee. He also was a founding member of the Fuquay Youth Initiative, an after-school program for middle school students.
Sears and his wife Mollie have been married for 62 years. They have three children, 13 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
His more than a quarter century in Holly Springs has included community involvement in numerous capacities. Among these are charter memberships in the Kiwanis, Civitan, Lions, and Rotary clubs, and board membership in the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce.
Current and former professional associations include serving as President of the Wake County Mayors Association and being a member of the National League of Cities’ committee for Community and Economic Development Policy and Advocacy.