Less than an hour drive from Wilmington and the North Carolina coast, on the outskirts of the small town of Wallace, is a sprawling community that features world-class golf, shopping, dining and living.
The community is River Landing.
This 1,700 acre, residential, gated community along the banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River, that offers over 1,000 property owners “the lifestyle that you deserve”, is incredibly energized. At the center of it all is Central Connecticut alum and former Blue Devil student-athlete Richard Phaneuf.
Phaneuf is the General Manager of The River Landing Companies and Senior Vice President of Murphy Family Ventures, a wide-ranging role that gives him oversight of every enterprise at River Landing. Managing a 1,700 homesite residential community, two “top 50” golf courses, a 60,000 square foot clubhouse, a 17,000 square foot fitness center complex, 10 acres of working vineyards, shops, restaurants, a hotel, a land development operation and a real estate office and its 230-plus employees can be daunting, but it’s a task that Phaneuf relishes.
“The alarm clock doesn’t wake me up in the morning, I love this work,” Phaneuf says. “My job is predominantly centered around two important tasks. First, providing the support needed and removing all obstacles to ensure all of our employees are well positioned for success both professionally and personally. Second is learning to anticipate the needs of our customers and provide proactive solutions. Exceeding the expectations of every member and every customer in every situation is the goal we all strive for at River Landing.”
The second member of his family to attend college and the first to graduate, he has a high respect for the well-balanced education that he received at CCSU. A 1992 grad, with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology, the East Haddam, Connecticut native transitioned into the business world after college, but carried many of the principles that he learned in the classroom into his new career. Applying those concepts to the areas of leadership and team building has helped him in his current role with River Landing. Already a community resident and member of River Landing, Phaneuf was initially brought on as a consultant and was later offered the opportunity to lead the restructured company.
“I have a passion for trying to figure out what motivates people and how to help everyone succeed to the best of their abilities,” he says, while emphasizing the importance of taking care of your employees.
In addition to successfully managing the operations of the various ventures at River Landing, Phaneuf is also active in his community. He is a member of Wallace Rotary Club, the Duplin County Economic Development Commission, Duplin County Community Foundation, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Wallace Chamber of Commerce, Meeting Professionals International and Association Executives of North Carolina.
A loyal CCSU alum, he also gives back to his alma mater, including welcoming the Blue Devil men’s and women’s golf teams to River Landing for early spring practice time.
“Not sure there is anyone that embodies the Blue Devil Family spirit more than Rich Phaneuf,” head women’s golf coach Carly Ludwig said. “He has been amazing to work with and has graciously helped both our men's and women's programs. He's charismatic, polished, kind, generous and most importantly a proud alum!”
A sentiment echoed by head men’s golf coach Kevin Giancola, “River Landing is one of the finest golf resorts I have ever visited in my 27 years as a golf professional. Rich and his entire staff are gracious, professional and attentive to all the members and guests. River Landing has proved an invaluable facility for the CCSU men's golf team in preparation for the championship season. We are indebted to River Landing and very thankful for their generosity and support.”
Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann added, “It has been a great pleasure getting to know Rich during the past couple of years. He is a first class gentleman, a passionate Blue Devil alumnus and an astute businessman. We are extremely grateful to Rich for providing the student-athletes of our men’s and women’s golf programs with unforgettable learning experiences at River Landing. We are blessed with an extensive, intensely loyal and powerful alumni network here at CCSU. Rich is a supreme example of those in that network who combine a devotion to their institution with a desire to impact the development of young men and women. He has accomplished both objectives with his exceptional generosity toward Blue Devil Athletics and by serving as a role model for our student-athletes.”