The Transylvania Times -

Rosman Booster Dalton Was Early Recipient

Connestee Falls Scholarship


August 12, 2019

Dalton's family, from left to right front row: Jake's daughter Shanequa holding her son, Brohn; her daughter, Jaylen is in front. Jake's wife, Tanya is in the middle; next is Jake's younger daughter, Chantel, holding her daughter, Annistyn. Back row: Jake, Jake's younger son, Keagan and Jake's older son, Kline. (Courtesy photo)

In 1988, John "Jake" Dalton received the second scholarship made possible by the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program; the first had been awarded in 1987. At that time, money for the scholarship was raised solely through the Connestee Falls golf tournament.

The amount awarded was not huge, but it afforded Jake the opportunity to attend Brevard College, then a two-year institution, and to cover the cost of his books.

Dalton attended Brevard because of the scholarships and because it was close to his home in Rosman. Proximity to Rosman is a recurring theme in his life.

Dalton was born in Florida but he considers himself a lifelong resident of Rosman. Because his grandparents lived in Rosman, his family eventually moved to the area too. At Rosman High School, Dalton was editor of the Rosman High School student newspaper. He also played sports and was quite an athlete. He played basketball for Brevard College, but afterwards he decided to put down the ball and pick up the books.

After his two years at Brevard College, he went to Lander College, now Lander University. There, Dalton majored in exercise science with a minor in gerontology. He had hoped to go to medical school, but, Dalton admitted, with a somewhat sheepish grin, life had other plans for him. His minor in gerontology was something fairly new, but it gave him a bit of an advantage when he started his career selling insurance.

First, however, came working in Raleigh for a while. With his whole family and many friends in Rosman, he soon decided to return to the area. Wendy's had just opened a store in Brevard and Dalton became a manager. One day an insurance salesman came in and handed him his card. He said he thought Dalton looked out of place and that working in the insurance industry might be a good career move for him.

Dalton began his insurance career selling door to door. After a few years of doing that, he started his own agency, working out of his house. Because Dalton still exercised and worked out on a regular basis, he turned his garage into a very well-furnished gym. He and his wife had two sons and a daughter that they raised in Rosman. After some time, he needed the space and donated his gym equipment to Rosman High. He stipulated that he be allowed to have a key to the gym so he could go in and work out. He got his key. Over time, he helped advise some of the high school athletes on weight training and using the equipment properly.

The day came when the gym got a new access system. Only county employees could have keys so Dalton needed a new place to work out.

After 20-some years of owning and managing his own ever-expanding insurance company, Dalton decided it was time to restructure his life. First, he sold his insurance company, although he continues to work there by appointment only. Then he set about researching how to start and operate a gym. He wanted the gym to be in Rosman. He wanted it to be as automated as possible so that members could come and go whenever they wanted. He found a good location in Rosman and opened Next Level Fitness.

It quickly became a family business. His wife, Tanya, got excited about the gym. She earned her certification as a fitness instructor. Now she works there on a regular basis.

Dalton still enjoys giving back to Rosman and Transylvania County. In 2014, he was selected to join the board of the Transylvania Economic Alliance as the repre-sentative for Rosman and the Western part of the county.

The Transylvania Economic Alliance is a public-private organization made up of an 11-member board of directors, as well as the executive director. The board members consist of appointments from the Transylvania County Board of Commissioners, the city council of the City of Brevard, the Board of Alderman for the town of Rosman, the Brevard/ Transylvania Chamber of Commerce, Transylvania Tourism Development Authority (TDA), the Heart of Brevard and five members from the private sector. Today, Dalton serves as the vice chairman of the board. Through his activities with the board, he continues to champion Rosman and Transylvania County.

For further information about the scholarship program and to donate securely online, visit

(O'Brien is a Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program publicity committee member.)


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