Skip to main content

Cabarrus Magazine

Kannapolis Unveils New Logo; Names New Planning Director

Sep 23, 2014 10:03AM ● By Jason Huddle
Kannapolis – The City of Kannapolis has been busy in the last few days, naming a new Planning Director and, just yesterday, unveiling a new logo to assist in branding efforts.  Zachary D. (Zac) Gordon has been selected as Planning Director for the City of Kannapolis and the new logo has been introduced as part of a comprehensive plan to implement the City's strategic vision for economic development, job development, and quality of life, which was begun a few years ago. This plan includes identifying the City’s brand and then implementing this brand in all aspects of the City’s services and functions.

After a thorough research phase the City Council approved a brand in December – Healthy Living. Hundreds of citizens, business people, and tourists participated in the focus groups, surveys and interviews. Branding is understanding your identity and your image. What do people think of when they hear the name Kannapolis? What assets does the City have that make it special, unique or unusual?

The top unique asset was the North Carolina Research Campus. Other statements identified with the brand included:

The City is a place where you can live a good life. A healthy holistic life.

A community that welcomes new people, new ideas and new businesses.

A place where there is a balance between work, family, and social living.

A unique place where health, nutrition, science and education are becoming the business of the City and where a significant investment of the business sector has already been made.

Other assets included the Kannapolis Intimidators, and heritage of Dale Earnhardt, N.C. Music Hall of Fame, health systems such as the hospitals, health alliance, and many others.

Officials say this brand is important as the competitive environment of the region requires Kannapolis to be assertive in the promotion of the City in order to recruit businesses, employees and visitors. A Strategic Branding Plan will serve as a roadmap for the brand marketing plan. “In order to recruit companies, new investment and opportunities for our residents we have to be competitive with every other City in the U.S. and even internationally. We have to sell who we are and the advantages to having your business in Kannapolis. This brand will be one of the tools we use to compete globally,” said City Manager Mike Legg. “We will work with our community partners to capitalize on the healthy living aspects of our City – those which are already in place and additional ones which will make our City stronger.”

An element of the brand includes a refreshed logo for the City. The logo and tagline are the most visual aspects of the brand. The new logo places an emphasis on the City’s name – Kannapolis. No other city is named Kannapolis. It is unique and memorable. It also includes the cupola which will be on top of the new City Hall * Police Headquarters Facility. The colors are navy, white and silver. The new logo combines architectural elements and deep rich colors which are professional, classy and memorable.

The logo will be integrated over time throughout the City. A slogan – Discover a Healthy Life – will be used in marketing and promotion of the City. A strategic plan will be implemented over the next few years and will include working with businesses, community organizations and other partners on initiatives that bring the Healthy Life brand to life.

Zachary Gordon comes to Kannapolis from Huntersville, NC, where he has served as the principal planner there since 2005. There, he was responsible for the Town’s long range planning efforts and oversight of its growth management ordinances. During his time with Huntersville, Gordon oversaw a number of long-range plans, including the Town of Huntersville 2030 Community Plan, which was the recipient of a 2012 Outstanding Planning Award from the NC Chapter of the American Planning Association.Zachary Gordon - mug

Gordon will serve as the City’s first in-house Planning Director. Since 1987 the City has contracted all its planning and development services work through the Kannapolis based firm, Benchmark, Inc. He was chosen from 50 candidates after an intensive qualification and interview process.

“As our City continues to grow we are seeing an increase in commercial and business development. As we prepare to centralize all of our city services and staff in the new City Hall the timing was appropriate for us to bring our planning and development services in-house. Benchmark has been a great partner over the years and is committed to work with Zac as we begin this transition,” said Legg.

Gordon will be responsible for hiring additional staff members who will oversee the City’s long-range land use and planning efforts, transportation planning, code enforcement, mapping, adherence to the Unified Development Ordinance and zoning ordinances. He will also be an important addition to the current efforts to revitalize downtown Kannapolis.

He has 26 years of planning experience and a bachelor of geography and political science degree from State University of New York and a master of city and regional planning degree from Cornell University. He has served as the Planning Director for the Town of Exeter, N.H. and senior planner for the City of East Providence, R.I. before joining the Town of Huntersville.

Gordon is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the American Planning Association – NC Chapter and the Urban Land Institute. He and his wife, Lisa, have four children, and are active in their church and community. He will assume his duties in Kannapolis on October 27.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Cabarrus Magazine's free newsletter to catch every headline