Candice Moore appears to have quite a place to work in what is going to be the future state Division of Motor Vehicles headquarters along North Church Street just off U.S. 64.
The exterior of Moore’s cubicle is complete with posters of inspirational and uplifting messages, mainly emphasizing to enjoy life and not to sweat the small stuff.
Moore, who trains new employees to work in vehicle services, began working in the Twin Counties at the start of September, after having worked at the present headquarters in Raleigh.
“I like that the location of this building is close to the mall and a lot of eating locations,” Moore told the Telegram on Nov. 9. “I like that everything is pretty much convenient as far as I can cross the street and go to the track and walk if I want to.”
Moore was referring to the Rocky Mount Sports Complex opposite the future DMV campus, as well as to the Golden East Crossing mall along Benvenue Road and the eateries along Benvenue, Jeffreys Road and Wesleyan Boulevard.
“There’s a little bit more things to do in this area than it was in Raleigh,” Moore said. “I do miss Raleigh, but I am adjusting.”
The DMV headquarters is being shifted in phases from along New Bern Avenue in the capital city to Rocky Mount. That is because the General Assembly required a process for relocating the present headquarters due to health and safety issues beyond the state’s control.
Gov. Roy Cooper, as North Carolina’s top official, in December 2019 signed a 15-year lease with the landlord for the Rocky Mount location, sealing the deal on what had been the most competitive of 10 site proposals.
The future DMV campus had been the corporate headquarters of the Hardee’s fast food chain before being used by Centura Bank, RBC Bank and PNC Bank and becoming without an occupant by the 2016 timeframe.
The DMV’s sphere of operations is immense, from overseeing the processing of vehicle registrations, driver licenses, vehicle safety and emissions inspections to halting vehicle theft and identity fraud.
Work on the future DMV headquarters began in February and the plan is to have the relocation complete by Dec. 19, with five of six buildings on the future DMV campus to be in use.
Moore and her husband live in the Raleigh area and she has been making the drive from home to work in Rocky Mount.
Asked by the Telegram what she has learned in making the switch from one workplace location to another, Moore said, “Initially having to transition to Rocky Mount, making that commute, I was not happy about it, but I learned to cope with it.
“And it wasn’t as bad as what I was dreading initially,” Moore said.
Moore’s husband works in Raleigh for the State Employees’ Credit Union.
In the future, the couple will move and become residents of Zebulon — and although Zebulon is a bit closer to Raleigh, Moore’s commute will become much shorter.
“We’re doing the best we can to work everything out,” said Moore, who also is the mother of two young children.
Overall, Moore said, “I don’t mind sticking around and working here for a little bit longer.”
Moore works in a building just behind the six-story main building.
A Telegram reporter on Nov. 9 was given a tour of the future DMV campus by Portia Manley, who is DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup’s right-hand person for the relocation project.
Manley, who lives in Cary and is director of vehicle services, commutes to the future DMV headquarters, but she noted she and other employees also can telework.
Asked her opinion of the future headquarters, Manley said, “Well, I love it because it’s my project.”
“The project has been smooth going, even during the COVID (pandemic),” Manley said. “It’s on track.
“The Rocky Mount community welcomed us,” Manley said. “We are partners with a lot of the community people within the community, assisting us with our employment opportunities here in the Rocky Mount area and surrounding counties.
“So it’s a great location,” Manley said.
The Telegram late last month phoned Carolinas Gateway Partnership President and CEO Norris Tolson for information about an unrelated item and, by coincidence, he was driving in traffic and happened to be passing by the future DMV campus.
That is when Tolson for the first time saw the DMV sign in place.
“Boy, that’s beautiful,” Tolson said. “Wow.”
Mayor Sandy Roberson told the Telegram he is elated for many reasons, first to know there also will be some job opportunities for local residents.
“And to my knowledge, this is the only state division that’s not located in Raleigh proper,” Roberson said. “And, so, my hope is — and my belief is — that it will have such a positive experience that hopefully, maybe some other divisions might could move to Rocky Mount.”
Roberson cited the city’s proximity to Raleigh.
Additionally, Roberson said another fact not talked about very much is that while the location is great due to being just off future Interstate 87, there is the proximity to downtown Rocky Mount.
“So when we start talking about downtown development and redevelopment and small shops and restaurants, etc., I think it creates even more flow,” Roberson said.
“It’s just like your body,” Roberson said. “It’s all about the blood flow, oxygen reaching all your cells, etc., and this is just one more component to bring people into downtown — and to help local merchants.”
Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Farris said he is excited to see lights on in the buildings at the future DMV campus and cars in the parking lot.
“Where they are going to work now is light years ahead of what they were in just a few weeks ago,” he said.