Friends of Panthertown Welcomes New President

An accomplished local resident with extensive experience in management and planning has been selected to lead the area non-profit devoted to protecting and maintaining Panthertown Valley.

Margaret Fry Carton
Margaret Fry Carton
In January of 2012, Margaret Fry Carton was elected as President of the Friends of Panthertown, the 501(c)(3) organization that works in partnership with the USDA Forest Service on the conservation of Panthertown Valley. Panthertown is a unique natural resource located in the Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina between the mountain communities of Cashiers in Jackson County and Lake Toxaway in Transylvania County. Margaret is also the Chairman of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School (Rabun Gap) Board of Trustees, a college preparatory, independent school founded in 1903 located in northeast Georgia. In addition, Margaret serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Atlanta Ballet, where she chairs the Governance Committee, and is a member of the Western Carolina University Computer Information Systems Advisory Board.

“I feel honored to be in a leadership role with Friends of Panthertown. This organization represents a unique partnership between conservation minded individuals and the U.S. Forest Service. We will continue our work to ensure that Panthertown Valley remains a vibrant and protected natural resource for our community, and for the unique flora and fauna the flourishes here.”

In 2005, Margaret retired from Coca-Cola Enterprises, one of The Coca-Cola Company’s largest bottlers. During her 18 years with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Margaret managed a variety of financial and information technology functions, including serving as Vice President, Chief Information Officer from 2000 to 2005. From 1991 until 2000, Margaret was Vice President of Investor Relations and Planning and managed several financial functions, including investor and share-owner relations, employee communications, financial media relations, and strategic financial planning and analysis. Margaret joined Coca-Cola Enterprises as the Director of Cash and Banking in 1987. From 1981 until 1987, Margaret served in various marketing, training, and communications positions in the Cash Management Department of Wachovia and First Atlanta (prior to its merger with Wachovia in 1985).

Margaret received a Bachelor of Arts in economics and history from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1979, and a Master in Business Administration with a focus on finance and accounting from Emory University in 1981. Margaret is married to Robert (Bob) Carton, associate professor and department head for Entrepreneurship, Sales and Marketing, and Hospitality and Tourism at Western Carolina University. Bob and Margaret live in their home Fernwald, located in the western North Carolina community of Longview Ridge, near the towns of Cashiers and Highlands, North Carolina.

“We are excited to have Margaret join our organization and look forward to her leadership in the years ahead,” says Jason Kimenker, Executive Director of Friends of Panthertown. “Her strong public relations, financial management and strategic planning background will be an asset to continuing the mission of our growing organization.”

Margaret is the second President of Friends of Panthertown. She is succeeding David M. Bates, the organization’s first President and co-founder.

Friends of PanthertownFor more information about volunteer opportunities in Panthertown Valley and on becoming a member of Friends of Panthertown, visit our website at or call (828) 269-HIKE (4453). Donations are tax-deductible and new volunteers are always welcome.

Our next trail maintenance work day is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at Salt Rock. To find out more about upcoming events, visit our Calendar of Events.

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