A few days after President Barack Obama visited Raleigh and thrust several Raleigh businesspeople into the spotlight, a Charlotte corporate chief got a turn today.
Dan DiMicco, CEO of Charlotte-based steelmaker Nucor, was one of four CEOs who had lunch with Obama at the White House. The others included Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg, Wal-Mart's Michael Duke and Starbucks' Howard Schultz, Bloomberg News reported. Seidenberg said they discussed topics including health care, the economy, infrastructure development and taxes.
DiMicco ate a cheeseburger, waffle fries and iced tea, reports Charlotte Observer staff writer Stella M. Hopkins. Alas, there was no beer.
DiMicco proclaimed the not-quite-gourmet food “very good” and found the President to be “a good listener” and “unafraid to think out loud,” Hopkins reports.
The 90-minute lunch was part of Obama's on-going effort to stay connected with the leaders of corporate America as the country weathers the recession. But the White House didn't foot the bill – DiMicco and the other executives each paid for his own lunch.
“We were happy to pay,” said DiMicco, noting the relaxed atmosphere of the lunch and the conversation, which touched on topics from health-care to the enforcement of trade agreements. President Obama "took his jacket off, and we all followed suit.”
DiMicco's company has been hit by the recession, as demand for steel shrunk. He has been a vocal supporter of including a "buy American" requirement with stimulus money, to ensure that projects supported by the bailout money help U.S. producers.
On Wednesday, Obama turned two Raleigh business owners into local celebrities. Sara Coleman, owner of the Cupcake Shoppe, introduced him. Patty Briguglio, president and CEO of MMI Public Relations, asked a question about health-care costs and got her picture on the front page of the New York Times.
Briguglio is making the rounds of TV news and will be on CNN at 8 p.m.