CARY – Officials with Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Corp, the franchisor of Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q (founded in 1964), and Cary Keisler, Inc., the service company, has announced that Luther D. (Lew) Starling, Jr., has been named president of both corporations effective immediately. Starling is the first non-family member to be appointed president.
Gregory A. Moore will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board and will continue to advise and lead the companies as well.
Based in Cary, there are 39 stores from Charlotte to Morehead City which employ over 1,100 team members. There is a store just off I-40 near Newton Grove and one on N.C. 24 between Turkey and Warsaw.
“We are pleased that Lew has agreed to serve as president, and he will do an excellent job,” Chairman Moore said. “Lew has served as legal counsel for the companies and has been involved extensively with the companies for the last two years.”
Starling said, “I am very excited about this new role. We will continue to improve, strengthen, and grow the companies.”
Starling also continues the full time practice of law and is the managing partner of the law firm of Daughtry, Woodard, Lawrence & Starling. He has a general practice with a concentration in civil litigation.
Having served as counsel for Platinum Corral, North Carolina’s largest Golden Corral franchise, Moore said, “Starling has tremendous experience in the franchise restaurant business. Smithfield’s future is extremely bright.”
Starling was reared in Sampson County. He is a graduate of Clinton High School where he was president of the Senior Class, president of Future Farmers of America, and received the American Farmer Degree, the highest degree given by the organization. He was also voted most likely to succeed by his senior classmates.
Starling graduated from Campbell University in 1987 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. While at Campbell, he served as President of the Adam Smith Club, Campbell’s second largest campus club, and was nominated and placed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He is also listed in the United States Directory of Outstanding Young Men in America. He is also listed in the Twentieth Edition of “The Best Lawyers in America.”
In 1990, Starling graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law where he served on the Wake Forest Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Contracts as he was the top scorer for contracts in the Law School Division. He was also on the Dean’s List.
He also serves as Mayor of the City of Clinton, is very active in the community, and is a Mason and Shriner.
Starling has been unanimously appointed by the Sampson County Board of Commissioners to the Board of Trustees of Sampson County Memorial Hospital in Clinton and is the youngest member in the history of the board, where he served for 18 years and is now general counsel for the hospital. Starling is also general counsel for Johnston UNC Health Care and Mutual Distributing Company, North Carolina’s largest wine distributor.
A lifelong member of First Baptist Church in Clinton, Starling serves his church as a deacon.
Starling was appointed to the Campbell University Board of Trustees in 1998 to fill the unexpired term of Mr. William M. Womble, Sr.; in addition, he has served three four-year terms on the board. (2002-2005; 2008-2011; 2013-2016). Starling was reappointed to another term from 2017-2021.