Issuu on Google+

publisherspost

|

legalbiz

|

accountingbiz

|

techbiz

|

webbiz

march 2012

CHAPTER & VER THE

OF INVESTI

CHAPTER & THE

   NewDominion Bank    Carolina Sporting Arms    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC    Express Employment Professionals    Archadeck of Charlotte

VERSE OF INVESTING Chapter IV Returns More Than Book Value Scan to view greatercharlottebiz.com

W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer Chief Executive Officer Chapter IV Investors, LLC Chairman of the Board of Directors YMCA of Greater Charlotte

Change Service Requested 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115, Charlotte, N.C. 28226-1310

PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 505 Charlotte, NC

PUTTING QUALITY FIRST IS DAVID’S BUSINESS. WE ARE PROUD HE HAS MADE IT OUR BUSINESS, TOO. David is driven to meet his customers’ needs. And Time Warner Cable Business Class helps him achieve this. To expand his business online, we set up High-Speed Internet and a Web Hosting solution that lets him take orders. At Time Warner Cable Business Class, we listen — so you get the right mix of Internet, Phone, Ethernet and Cable TV solutions. We have seen how that works for David. We will make it work for you.

1.866.TWC.4BIZ | TWCBC.COM

Some restrictions apply. Time Warner Cable Business Class is a trademark of Time Warner Inc. Used under license. ©2012 Time Warner Cable. All Rights Reserved.

INTERNET | PHONE | CABLE TV | ETHERNET

MARCH IS COLORECTAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

TRUE or FALSE? Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cancer killer. TRUE

FALSE

Colorectal cancer often starts with no symptoms. TRUE

Both men and women get colorectal cancer. TRUE

FALSE

You can stop this cancer before it starts.

FALSE

TRUE

FALSE

Testing for colorectal cancer can save your life. Screening tests can nd precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening can also nd corectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective. Talk to your doctor and Screen for Life.

General Info: 704.372.7974 | Appointments: 704.372.1615

www.carolinadigestive.com

Talk To Your Doctor!

in this issue

f

2

e

a

t

22

u

r

e

s

cover story

Chapter IV Investors

The “we” of Chapter IV Investors is a team that has been together since the firm’s founding and, maybe not so coincidentally, numbers five. “Just like on the basketball court,” Barnes Hauptfuhrer says with a smile. Naming the investment fund for the current chapter of his life, he still is all about “bringing together a team, improving performance and helping produce excellence in the division.” Of his investment strategy: “We’re a proactive investor. If we have ideas, we’ll interact with management.”

10

NewDominion Bank John Hipp, the bank’s new CEO is a self-described bank builder and fixer. He and Marc Bogan are counting on their extensive expertise and skills, the brand new management team and the major changes they have made in policy, goals and culture to position NewDominion as an alternative to big banking. As he says, “I came to build this into Charlotte’s favorite community bank.”

16 Carolina Sporting Arms “We started this business because we loved to hunt and shoot,” says David Drummond. “But it turns out guns are just an avenue to meet great people. My biggest thrill is to see people walk out with a big smile on their face. We know there are other places our customers can shop, so we want them to have a great experience every time that they deal with us.”

28 Blue Cross and

Blue Shield of NC As one Charlotte manager says, “BCBSNC is using a highly collaborative approach, soliciting and listening to input and ideas from physicians, employers and patients. We want to sit down and listen to each other and find the common ground...to ensure the best possible outcomes for all.”

departments publisher’spost

4

legalbiz

5

Transforming the Business of Law to Meet the Needs of Business

accountingbiz

7

Accounting, Tax and Consulting Solutions

techbiz

8

Moving Technology from Strategy to Implementation

webbiz

9

New Media Strategies, Secrets and Solutions

biznetwork

44

on the cover: W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer Chief Executive Officer Chapter IV Investors, LLC Chairman of the Board of Directors YMCA of Greater Charlotte Photo by Wayne Morris

publisherspost

|

legalbiz

|

accountingbiz

|

techbiz

|

webbiz

march 2012

CHAPTER & THE

   NewDominion Bank    Carolina Sporting Arms    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC    Express Employment Professionals    Archadeck of Charlotte

VERSE OF INVESTING Chapter IV Returns More Than Book Value Scan to view greatercharlottebiz.com

W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer Chief Executive Officer Chapter IV Investors, LLC Chairman of the Board of Directors YMCA of Greater Charlotte

34 Express Employment

40

“It’s easy to find people with the right skills,’’ Bill Sofio says. “It’s much harder to find people who will fit the client’s culture. When we make the perfect match, it is so gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the person getting the job and of the client who is getting an employee who fits cleanly into the organization.”

“Just when you begin to wonder if words such as craftsmanship, workmanship, pride, and quality are things of the past, along comes a company like Archadeck that restores your belief that yes, even today, you can get your money’s worth, and more.” The customer testimonial speaks well of Charlotte’s premiere builder of decks and so much more.

Professionals

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

Archadeck of Charlotte

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

Reacquaint Your Bottom Line With Some Familiar Faces. Let The Experts At LEAN SIGMA PROFESSIONALS Show You How. We deliver simple, reality based solutions that your team will believe in and champion.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

How can Lean Six Sigma help?

Lean Six Sigma is an execution framework used to remove sources of errors, eliminate waste, and decrease inconsistencies in business processes.

Lean Six Sigma is focused on a company maximizing its financial results by achieving Operational Excellence through project execution and/or education of the workforce.

Lean Six Sigma is for you if your company is experiencing:

Why Lean Sigma Professionals?

„ Increased cost with stagnant or decreasing top line revenues „ Increased customer complaints „ Competitors dominating marketplace by producing quality products faster „ Technology solutions disconnected from business procedures „ Current resources incapable of solving recurring operational issues „ Business decisions being made independent of data and facts

Our experience lets us take a practical approach in delivering fast, effective, and sustainable solutions for: „ Attacking core of problem, not symptoms „ Identifying, analyzing and controlling root causes „ Leveraging internal resources to solve operational issues „ Delivering average Return on Investment valued between 30-100X „ Working within company culture to minimize disruption and maximize adoption of solutions „ Creating an atmosphere focused on Continuous Improvement

Contact us today and let us custom tailor a solution for you. 704.875.1585 LSSPROFESSIONALS.COM Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina

[publisher’spost] Economic Outlook from a Local Pro— A Lackluster Recovery John Silvia is the chief economist for Wells Fargo Bank. He can be quite scholarly in his interpretations of the multitude of charts and graphs that he reads and digests and their application to different countries, regions, industries and political propositions. He has even written his own book, Dynamic Economic Decision Making, published in August 2011. John Paul Galles However, Mr. Silvia is especially good at helping business people examine economic conditions and determine how they might affect business operations, growth and development. His recent presentation before 250 members and guests of the Charlotte Rotary opened with five benchmarks that are critical to good business decision-making. They include inflation, interest rates, profits, growth and the dollar. He suggests that the collective interpretation of these benchmarks at any point in time will provide an important foundation for business plans, objectives and expectations. He implores business leaders to reach a consensus about these factors so that they can successfully push forward in alignment with each other. Mr. Silvia’s expectations are that the United States and the Charlotte region will experience: ■ Sustained growth that continues to be less than previous economic recoveries. While real GDP continues its growth into its fourth year since the recession, growth lingers at about 1.5% to 2% per year, instead of the previous recovery trends of 3.5% to 4 % per year to which we had grown accustomed. The bright light for recovery is shining on large global businesses that are entering an expansion mode. ■ Continuingly cautious consumer behavior. Claims for unemployment are down. Many businesses have stopped laying off employees and are actually hiring again. Actual job growth has been upwards for many months, albeit at less aggressive rates than previous economic recoveries. Employment is expected to continue to grow, but not quickly. That is leading to some growth in the consumer confidence index. Personal consumption is also increasing, but again at slower rates. ■ Continuingly cautious housing growth. Housing starts are also growing again. While they are down significantly from their high in 2005 of 2.1 million units, they have grown from .5 million in 2008 to an expected level of .75 million in 2012. Home improvements now account for the largest share of residential investment in the economy. The steepest declines in housing prices are behind us, but the recovery will be slow in areas with excess supply of homes. Interestingly, median home size is getting smaller while household size is increasing. ■ Substantial restructuring of federal, state and local governments. Reduced consumer spending and continuing high levels of unemployment dramatically affect government revenues. At the same time, property values have fallen and result in further reduction in revenues for state and local governments as property tax revenues fall. These, in turn, require re-examination, restructuring and re-adjusting of governmental spending programs. Many larger states like California, Illinois and others have had to radically alter spending programs to bring their budgets into balance. ■ Significant cyclical and structural change in employment. The decline of manufacturing, the cataclysmic decline in housing and commercial construction, and the systemic reform of the banking and health care industries are causing huge changes in U.S. employment distribution. Recovering employment in these industries will take many years as workers expectations and need for transition training takes place. It took many years to create this economic struggle and it will take many years to work ourselves out of this position. Beyond all of these factors and expectations, our federal government spending will need to be brought under control. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, and interest outlays substantially exceed revenues over the long term and need to be changed. Unless or until employment levels recover and revenues recover, government spending must be managed carefully. Government spending cuts cannot be so reduced that they become a drag on economic growth, but at the same time, the deficits are not sustainable. And that leads to the political dilemma and the judgments to be made in our elections process and how/whether agreements will be reached to forge a new direction. We will see. biz

Let me know what you think - jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

4

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

704-676-5850

March 2012 Volume 13 • Issue 03 Publisher John Paul Galles x102 jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

Associate Publisher/Editor Maryl A. Lane x104 mlane@greatercharlottebiz.com

Creative Director Trevor Adams x107 tadams@greatercharlottebiz.com

Sales Manager Talbert Gray x106

partners Central Piedmont Community College hiSoft Technology International Limited Knowmad Technologies Potter & Company, P.A. Wishart, Norris, Henninger & Pittman, P.A.

Contributing Writers Zenda Douglas Barbara Fagan Jim Froneberger Suzanne Fulton Heather Head Casey Jacobus

Contributing Photographers Trevor Adams Wayne Morris Galles Communications Group, Inc. 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115 Charlotte, NC 28226-1310 704-676-5850 Phone • 704-676-5853 Fax www.greatercharlottebiz.com • Press releases and other news-related information: editor@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Editorial: mlane@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Advertising: jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Subscription inquiries or change of address: subscriptions@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Other inquiries: please call or fax at the numbers above or visit our website www.greatercharlottebiz.com. © Copyright 2012 by Galles Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, Galles Communications Group, Inc. makes no warranty to the accuracy or reliability of this information. Products named in these pages are trade names or trademarks of their respective companies. Views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Greater Charlotte Biz or Galles Communications Group, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. For reprints call 704-676-5850 x102. Greater Charlotte Biz (ISSN 1554-6551) is published monthly by Galles Communications Group, Inc., 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115, Charlotte, NC 28226-1310. Telephone: 704-676-5850. Fax: 704-676-5853. Subscription rate is $24 for one year. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Greater Charlotte Biz, 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115, Charlotte, NC 28226-1310.

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

[legalbiz]

Survival Training:

How to Minimize the Risks and Costs of a “Business Divorce”

I

n these times of economic uncertainty, many business owners have been faced with a “business divorce.” The risks and costs associated with these ownership disputes can often be minimized with proper planning at the outset of any business relationship. Over the course of the next several months, we will explore some of the most common challenges business owners may face by examining a year in the life of “Bob Businessman.” Throughout the course of this year, Bob Businessman will grapple with the following issues:

I. II. III. IV. V. VI.

Tracking and Managing Company Cash Marital Disputes and Your Business Bank Defaults and Bank Workouts Income Tax Issues Employment Issues Asset Protection

For now, let’s set the stage upon which Bob Businessman’s bad year is about to begin. Bob has just learned that his business partner of 20-plus years (who incidentally has been oddly absent over the last several weeks or even months) has been speaking with an attorney about Bob’s “overreaching” management decisions and has decided to immediately sue Bob for half of the company. Bob’s business partner has also informed Bob to expect a In these times of court order requiring a thirdeconomic uncertainty, party to run the company. if Bob’s business many business owners Certainly, partner carries out on his have been faced with threats, the greatest harm to occur will be to the company a “business divorce.” itself as disputes among business owners often result in The risks and costs costly litigation, loss of cusassociated with these tomers at times, and employee morale and retention issues. ownership disputes An often underestimated can often be minimized or even unconsidered conof owner disputes with proper planning sequence is also the loss of information—whether it is through at the outset of any insufficient systems (i.e., Bob business relationship. cannot find certain documents on the company’s server) or through intentional misappropriation (i.e., Bob cannot find his partner’s laptop because his partner took it with him and plans to keep it). What should Bob do now? He should: ■ locate and review his organizational documents; ■ once he has gotten familiar with any agreement in place between the

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

owners of the company, his next step should be to consult with his attorney; and ■ Bob’s attorney should be able to answer questions that Bob may have regarding the effect of the ownership agreement, as well as address whether the provisions are relevant to the dispute and whether the issue of an oral modification may be present. Agreements between the owners of any entity typically determine the rights between such owners with respect to their ownership interest in the company. Such agreements also often dictate certain aspects of the management of the entity—for instance, the number of directors each owner may elect, who will serve as the managers of the entity, and how compensation and distributions are to be determined. These agreements are typically entered into at the outset of any given business venture when the owners are working synergistically together, have significant momentum, and cannot or do not conceptualize a time when their business relationship may come to an end. When a dispute arises, to the extent such an agreement is in place, it will often dictate the outcome of the dispute. (If no such agreement exists, in certain instances North Carolina law provides limited remedies to the owners.) A properly structured agreement (i.e., the “right contract”) between the owners will: (1) provide for a “relatively fair” outcome in the event of a dispute; (2) limit opportunity costs; and (3) provide a process for an orderly transition. Additionally, the “right contract” is tailored to the specifics of the owners by contemplating worse-case scenarios as well as best-case scenarios and takes into account the industry in which the company operates and its long-term goals. However, once the “right contract” is in place, it is imperative that the owners periodically review this contract to ensure compliance. Noncompliance with the contract could mean a number of things including, at the most basic level, that you do not have the “right contract” in place or that the agreement has been modified or amended. What does all of this mean for Bob Businessman? Unfortunately, Bob likely has approximately three to 24 months of litigation to look forward to (depending on whether arbitration is required under any existing relevant ownership agreement). And, unless Bob has the “right contract” in place, the end result will likely ultimately be that Bob will either buy his partner out or be bought out himself at an amount decided by an individual (judge or arbitrator) who is not as familiar with the company or the industry in which it operates. Content contributed by Wishart, Norris, Henninger & Pittman, P.A., which partners with owners of closely-held businesses to provide comprehensive legal services in all areas of business, tax, estate planning, succession planning, purchases and sales of businesses, real estate, family law, and litigation. For more information, contact Megan Sadler, J.D., at 704-364-0010 or visit www.wnhplaw.com.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

5

6

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

Potter & Company, P.A.

[accountingbiz]

Accounting, Tax and Consulting Solutions

The Importance of A

Sound Succession Strategy

E

ntrepreneurs who operate their own business wear many hats—chief executive officer, controller, chief operations officer, to name a few. The focus of their efforts is commonly on matters that affect today. How can we generate more revenue? How can we increase our profit margins? How can we handle our ever increasing working capital needs? These are the “fires” that are fought daily. While most business owners are very astute in handling the day-to-day matters, the future, and more importantly the future of the business without them, and what to do about it, is something that is commonly glossed over. A closely held business without a succession plan, coupled with inadequate or nonexistent estate planning, can result in excess estate taxes, family feuds and general chaos upon the retirement or death of a significant owner. This is why a succession strategy is such an important piece of the puzzle for the future success of the business. Ask Yourself Some Questions. Before getting started with the process of succession planning, it is worth the effort to ask yourself a few questions:  Is there someone available within your company to take your position? Do you feel confident in their ability? Be honest and objective when evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and capabilities of the people who will be running the business when you’ve stepped aside. If nobody currently exists who fits your profile, you may have to look to selling to an outside party.  Consider what will happen when you no longer receive compensation as an owner? Will you be financially secure without having to receive additional compensation after your ownership interest has been transferred? If additional compensation will be needed, make sure that it is discussed and agreed on how it will be achieved.  Have you prepared your key members of management for the transfer? Are they adept enough to handle the “known” and the “unknown” of what you do? If they include members of your family, do they have the capability and more importantly the desire to become the next face of the company?  What is the value of the company and what price are you willing to accept for your ownership interest? Often owners believe that the value of their company is one thing, while an independent party believes it to be another. Having a valuation of the business performed or a buy-sell agreement in place can assist in the process.  Where will the funding come from? Consider what the funding mechanism will be for the transfer. Will it be a seller-financed note, cash, the future earnings of the company, or a combination of all three? Once you have determined how you want to transition your business and have invested time and resources to draft documents for the process, you need to step back and ask the question: What could go wrong? The following are a few of the common pitfalls that can plague even the most adroitly drafted succession plans.

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

■ Inadequate or nonexistent communication If the company has a mission, then everyone has a role in its success. But members of the prior generation and members of the next generation often don’t discuss exactly what the plan is when the current ownership leaves. Who gets what, who owns how much, what will happen when the business owner leaves the company, or who will be responsible for what duties are some of the questions that need to be adequately covered. ■ An over-promising and non delivering owner The owner promises all things to the next generation but doesn’t put a plan in place to ensure promises are kept. This results in disappointment, anger and confusion when the owner retires or dies. This can commonly be an issue when the transfer of ownership is within a family. ■ Lack of liquidity Failure to plan ahead from a liquidity standpoint can reap havoc on the next generation’s ability to manage operations. Limited working capital can strain cash flow when the buyout of an owner is added to the company’s existing operating needs. Additionally, insufficient reserves may also cause those left behind to be faced with a massive estate tax bill and no way pay for it. Without sufficient liquidity to pay the estate tax bill, the company may be forced to sell the business at a bargain price. ■ Delayed planning There are numerous effective ways to help minimize tax and succession problems, but procrastination is not one of them. Planning early is essential. A successfully operated closely held corporation can often be the most valuable asset that you own. Some of these entrepreneurial ventures will grow to the point that they become publicly traded companies, making their founders millionaires. But what about those that are not that fortunate? What will happen to that valuable asset that you have nourished, and cultivated when you are no longer there to run it? Will it wither and die on the vine because there is no plan in place? Or will it continue to grow and provide fruit for yourself and future generations for years to come? A diligently planned out succession plan is vital to the continuity of any closely held business and the blueprint for not only your future, but that of the next generation of owners. If you are in need of a succession plan, talk to your accountant. With the knowledge that they already possess of your company, they can assist in developing a plan tailored to your needs. Content contributed by John W. Kapelar, CPA, CVA, Managing Director with Potter & Company, P.A., a locally based certified public accounting firm offering core services of audit, business consulting, tax, and financial analysis. For more information, contact him at 704-283-8189 or visit www.gotopotter.com.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

7

[techbiz]

Helix Biz Moving technology from strategy to implementation

What if you knew at what time of day a specific customer is likely to be in the mood for coffee and could text her a timely coupon for a store located nearby? How about if you could predict what year and month a homeowner is likely to be thinking about a new roof and could send him a mailer containing a discount on your service? Marketing feats like these are the promise of Big Data, and if you’re paying attention, you’ll be ready to pounce on that advantage as soon as it’s ready for you. First, let’s demystify the concept of Big Data. The term gets thrown around a lot by people who seem to understand little of what it means. It’s different from data analysis and informatics, terms that refer to taking structured data, usually voluntarily offered by the subject, and analyzing it. This structured data may include names, addresses, birthdays, and behavior patterns tracked directly through forms, surveys, website analytics, and preferred customer programs. Easy to gather, easy to analyze. Think of this as “domesticated” data—cultivated and nurtured and harvested by and for business. But there is a gigantic world of data out there that is much more complicated, wild, and difficult to tame—but in many ways significantly more valuable because of its very spontaneous nature. Twitter posts, comments on blogs, reviews on products at any of a hundred different sites, credit card purchases, Facebook updates—these are all sources of “wild-caught” data. Traditional data analysis simply can’t handle it, any more than dog trained to herd sheep could wrangle a wild horse. That’s where Big Data comes in. Think of it as the Great Wrangler. Big Data refers to technologies designed to gather, organize, and harness the enormous wealth of “wild” information for business purposes. Large companies like Target are already taking advantage of Big Data and using it to predict things like when a woman is pregnant, and then market baby products directly to her. At the same time, companies walking on this cutting edge must be careful not to slice themselves on the sharp point of consumer rage over privacy violations, as occurred when a dad learned about his teenager’s pregnancy directly from the department store. While Big Data technology is out of reach for most SMBs at this time, it won’t take long for it to mature and trickle down. So pay attention. Your market share is at stake if your competitors catch this one before you. And if you begin following Big Data—and its many privacy concerns—now, you’ll be poised to competently navigate the many government regulations and rulings that will be evolving around privacy and security in the next few months. Keep your eyes open, and Happy Wrangling.

8

Why You Want Nosy Tech Leaders in Your Company he British cult classic series, “The IT Crowd,” portrays an IT department cloistered in a basement, populated by weirdoes concocting creative (technology) ways to get out of actually performing their function. And no wonder—more often than not, they are called on to pick up dead flies, restart locked computers, and guide employees through the process of retrieving passwords. Unfortunately, the fiction often bears a close resemblance to reality. For too long, businesses have thought of technology as separate from business function, at great cost to effectiveness. Fortunately, more companies are seeking better results from their technology leaders. A department that understands your business goals can help you optimize your use of technology, uncover new technologies that will better serve your needs, and complete projects in a timely fashion. How do you know if your technology department is functioning optimally? Use the “nosiness” scale. If your technology leaders are in the habit of keeping their noses clean by saying, “Yes, sir,” “No, ma’am,” and “We can do that,” without asking questions, then your technology department is not operating as an effective business unit. If your technology projects are often late, underperforming, or over-budget, then your IT department is not getting nosy enough. You’ll know you have a healthy technology department when your senior tech officer is asking questions about business goals, wanting to know why a project has been requested and how you plan to use it. If he or she has taken the time to gain a detailed understanding of your company’s genetic code, then you’ve got a nosy technology leader—which means you’re on track to leverage your technology resources wisely.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

Content contributed by Helix Biz, a custom application and automation developer located in Charlotte, N.C. Helix Biz acts as a technology partner, assembling the right team to construct the right solution, and overseeing every stage to ensure a smooth and successful implementation. For more information, contact Carey Head at 704-877-4323 or visit www.helixbiz.com/blog.

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

Knowmad

[webbiz]

Advancing Business Online

• •• •••

The Business Value of Your Web Presence

Quantifying the business value of your Web presence will help guide you on investment decisions, determining when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” Note that we’re talking about the overall online presence of a business, including the website and Internet marketing. Most businesses aren’t successful online without the support of Internet marketing to drive qualified traffic to the company website. Most businesses use their online presence to provide sales support and branding awareness. Other businesses may also use the Web as a customer support tool. The online presence of a company is always changing, so it’s important to prioritize the goals of the Web presence to guide decision-making. What is the primary goal? Quantifying the value of a Web presence utilizes goal priority to determine value. Sometimes goals appear to be of equal value. These competing goals put the overall investment at unnecessary risk because decision-making becomes unclear. Tying goals to an economic driver can help create clarity on priority. It’s important that all goals are prioritized and tied to an economic driver because the purpose for any financial investment is a return on that investment. Lead generation and brand awareness are common goals that compete when they haven’t been prioritized. When you dig deeper, oftentimes the reason a company wants brand awareness is to drive sales. Therefore, it makes sense to prioritize lead generation over brand awareness because lead generation ties directly to an economic driver, sales. Brand awareness will occur as part of the lead generation activity.

No matter what business you’re in, nothing should undermine the primary goal of your online presence. By focusing on the most important goal, you can easily say “no” to ideas that will undermine the top priority, or “yes” to ideas that support it. How do you quantify the value? Once you’ve established your primary goal, the next step is to determine how to measure the value it brings to your company. Given the scenario above, the primary value of a lead generation Web presence can be derived by looking at the quality and quantity of leads, the sales cycle for those leads and the value of closed sales. Also, be sure not to overlook cost-reductions that occur because the website exists. For instance, you might have lower costs related to customer service if you offer self-serve options on the website. If you didn’t offer this cost-saving service online, what additional costs would the company incur? We often find that a qualitative analysis is very eye-opening to businesses, and vary greatly from impressions held without the benefit of actual numbers. With a better understanding of the quantitative value your Web presence brings to your business, you can take steps to improve it. When you’re clear about the priority of online goals and the business value your Web presence brings, the path to achieve online success becomes much clearer. For more clarity, download our free Web Presence ROI Calculator at www.knowmad.com/roi-calculator. It can help you easily see the return on your online investment.

Tracking and Managing Leads Online With all the marketing tools available online today for lead generation, how does a savvy marketer know which to use? Let’s take a look at a few of most popular services.

website visitors. For instance, you can track the number of website visitors who submitted a sales form or made an online purchase.

Call Tracking Tracking leads from online activity includes telephone calls, in addition to website forms. A popular method for tracking inbound calls from the Web is the use of online services like Twilio or Marchex. These services allow call tracking by providing a dedicated phone number for the website and forwarding that number to existing phone systems.

Conversion Tracking Many websites use Google Analytics to track visitors. An underused feature of this service is conversion tracking via goal setting where goals correspond to a measurable action performed by

Lead Management There are several options available to capture and manage the leads generated from online marketing activity. Popular online services include Infusionsoft, Eloqua and Hubspot. These services typically provide closed-loop reporting to allow marketers to see which channels are generating the most qualified leads.

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

Google+ Business Pages Google Plus (Google+) has been in the news a lot lately because of its growing importance to online marketers. Google is driving this change via a new product called Search Plus Your World (Search+) that promotes personal profiles and business pages in search results. To find out how to setup your business page on Google+, visit blog.knowmad.com

Content contributed by Knowmad, a Web strategy, design and Internet marketing company located in Charlotte, N.C. Knowmad guides clients on the most effective ways to advance their business online. For more information, contact Diona Kidd at 704-343-9330 or visit http:// www.knowmad.com/gcb.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

9

[bizprofile]

by zenda douglas

“What we want is to be the alternative to big banking. We’re trying to build a super community bank which operates with local decisions, less red tape and more responsiveness. We’re not going to charge fees galore and for most loans, we’ll have an answer within 48 hours. We’re building on high touch and relationships.” ~C. John Hipp III Chairman and CEO

E

veryone has certain strengths and abilities,” says C. John Hipp III, CEO of NewDominion Bank, whose own have become well recognized in the banking industry as both a bank builder and, more recently, a bank fixer. With remarkable successes at South Carolina Bank & Trust and Rock Hill National Bank to his credit, Hipp is here in Charlotte to effect a turnaround for the youthful, but troubled, NewDominion Bank. “I was one of the few CEOs that had done a successful bank turnaround,” says Hipp. “When you do that, you develop a certain reputation with the bank examiners; you develop credibility.” Along with his extensive expertise and skills, Hipp is counting on his brand new management team and the major changes they have made in policy, goals and culture to draw new investors to NewDominion. Hipp makes clear one point: “I came to solve problems, but I didn’t come just to work through struggles. I came to build this into Charlotte’s favorite community bank.” 10

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

a Rock-solid Community Bank NewDominion Sees a New Dawn

NewDominion carries about $400 million in assets currently. Hipp hopes to build that into a $2 to $3 billion enterprise. Joining Hipp at the bank’s mid-town offices are Marc Bogan, COO; Blaine Jackson, CFO; and Greg Burke, CCO (chief credit officer). All are seasoned banking executives. Additionally, Bogan and Hipp have worked together a number of times in the past at South Carolina Bank & Trust and Ameris Bank. Within a couple of months, the group will begin to raise additional capital in hopes of doubling the bank’s current assets to $800 million. This level of fundraising generally takes four to five months to complete, according to Hipp. “What we want is to be the alternative to big banking,” says Hipp, which he says controls more than 80 percent of the market. “We’re

trying to build a super community bank which operates with local decisions, less red tape and more responsiveness. We’re not going to charge fees galore and for most loans, we’ll have an answer within 48 hours. We’re building on high touch and relationships.” Charlotte is the only city east of the Mississippi of its size that does not have a two to three billion dollar community bank, according to Hipp. “Charlotte is perfectly suited with 1.7 million people in the metropolitan statistical area. Plus, we’re not total outsiders. This will be my fourth time living here; Marc’s second. We know a lot of people here. When you add it all up, we’re pretty knowledgeable about this market.” Owning the Problem NewDominion Bank was established in

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

2005 with an initial capitalization of $40 million. It was reportedly the largest start-up bank in North Carolina history. The bank experienced exponential growth between 2005 and 2007, but then began to feel financial pressure, mostly due to unpaid or distressed loans. “NewDominion had loaned a lot of money right at the peak of real estate values,” says Hipp. “There is nothing inherently wrong with making real estate loans,” explains Bogan, “but it becomes a problem if you don’t have a diversified loan base.” “In the case of NewDominion, the bucket named real estate just got too big,” echoes Hipp. “People got carried away and a lot of banks overreached. Rather than having 20 percent of their loan portfolio in real estate and develop➤ ment, it became 85 percent.”

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

11

“Larger banks focus on satisfying Wall Street, the financial community, stock analysts and big investors. My philosophy is that if you put your customers and employees first, the shareholders will make a lot of money.” ~C. John Hipp III Chairman and CEO

(l to r) Marc Bogan President and COO C. John Hipp III Chairman and CEO NewDominion Bank additional time to reposition the bank,” credits Hipp. No TARP funds were received by the bank. “A consent order is really nothing but best practices,” says Hipp. “We are in full compliance with the consent order other than the capital component. The capital we raise will allow us to exceed the regulatory minimums, after which we hope the regulators will consider terminating the consent order.” NewDominion aims to focus more on small business; more specifically, service, owner-operated and manufacturing businesses, and professionals such as doctors, lawyers and CPAs. “We want to do the kind of lending that is traditional for a community bank: a car loan, equity loan, house or apartment or small shopping centers where there are high quality tenants.” Bogan reports that the bank is poised with $20 million dollars in the loan pipeline: “Once we have achieved additional capital and satisfy all the regulatory pieces, those loans in the pipeline can be accelerated.”

Plus, while the bank was growing, it had borrowed 10 million dollars from another bank in North Carolina to help cover the growth, a move that caused concern in the subsequent economic downturn. In late 2010, NewDominion was placed under a consent order by the FDIC and North Carolina Banking Commission. Hipp was invited in to restore the bank and move it forward. One of his first acts was to persuade the bank it had borrowed money from to convert the debt to equity. “Having them transition from creditors to investors had a huge impact on our capital ratios and gave our new management team

12

Righting the NewDominion Story Hipp, Bogan, Jackson and Burke, together with the people they’ve been able to attract and those who’ve stayed on, all share a vision of a community bank that will be meaningful in Charlotte for decades to come. “Although some people think of a ‘community bank’ as being small, most people think of it as one they have a real relationship with,” says Hipp. “It could be a $100 million or a $5 billion community bank; it’s how you do business,” affirms Bogan. First, the bank will be focused on the banking needs of Charlotte area residents and the business community. “There is so much opportunity right here that is not being well served by the larger banks,” says Hipp. At the same time, through a concept Hipp has named “the reverse solution,” the bank will focus on its customers and employees. “Larger banks focus on satisfying Wall Street, the financial community, stock analysts and big investors. My philosophy is that if you put your customers and employees first, the shareholders will make a lot of money.” “It’s not likely at a large bank that you will get the president or the CEO of the bank to come out and walk through your plant or business and be able to make decisions right on the spot. We can offer that,” says Bogan. “When you call us, you will always get a live person. John’s accessible, I’m accessible; everyone who works with us is accessible. We give all our customers our cell numbers. They can call us—even on a Saturday.” Customer services also include mobile remote deposit for consumers which allows an individual to utilize the NewDominion application on their cell phones to make an immediately credited deposit. Bank workers go out to ➤ customers’ businesses or workplaces and open accounts.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

Work place injury...is it legit? Knauff can help.

We’Ve GOT YOUR BACK. your trusted advisors at knauff are here to help you. workers’ compensation | property - liability | surety bonds | employee benefits | safety | 401-k | homeowners - auto

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 400 Charlotte, NC 28203-0013 800.849.8008 | knauffins.com

8FCÀ1BDLBHJOHÀ4IFFUGFEÀ%JHJUBMÀ.BJMJOHÀ'VMGJMMNFOUÀ101À(SBOE'PSNBU Web • Packaging • Sheetfed • Digital • Mailing • Fulfillment • POP • Grand Format 8PSL4NBSU4VJUF WorkSmart Suite: FOEUPFOEUFDIOPMPHZGPSDSFBUJOH EJTUSVCVUJOHNBOBHJOH end-to-end technology for creating, distributing & managing CSFBLUISPVHINBSLFUJOHDBNQBJHOT break-through marketing campaigns

Breaking the mold of traditional traditional printing printing by offering customer-driven solutions solutions to transform your marketing dreams dreams into a reality.

www.hickoryprinting.com | 1-800-Hickory c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

725 Reese Dr Dr SW SW Conover, NC 28613 28613

308 308 Friendship Friendship Drive Drive Greensboro, Greensboro,NC NC27409 27409 m a rc h 2 0 1 2

13

“When you call us, you will always get a live person. John’s accessible, I’m accessible; everyone who works with us is accessible. We give all our customers our cell numbers. They can call us—even on a Saturday.”

Customer services also include

~Marc Bogan President and COO

immediately credited deposit.

mobile remote deposit for consumers which allows an individual to utilize the NewDominion application on their cell phones to make an

community through the Chamber, Rotary Club, City Center Partners and hospitality/tourism groups, and Hipp expects the bank to participate on a number of boards in the future. “We allow employees the time and support to do what they have a passion for,” says Hipp. “The bank most often follows with financial support.” One employee has already been recognized nationally for her work with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, according to Bogan.

Customers who use their debit card 10 times per month can earn cash back on up to four percent of their debit card purchases. The bank also allows customers to use other banks’ ATMs without incurring fees. “We don’t have 10,000 branches, so we differentiate by giving customers access to any ATM anywhere free!” As with customers, the management team is committed to treating employees “like they’ve never been treated before.” Hipp says, “People want to be recognized, have time off and know that what they think matters. Marc and I walk around and sit in people’s cubicles and find out how people are. These people are family to us. They are not numbers.” Hipp points out that employees who are engaged are generally 30 percent more productive than those who are not. Most of the bank’s employees are located in the Metropolitan Avenue offices; a few work out of the Lake Norman retail space. “We see this, ultimately, as a 10-office market,” says Hipp. “We already know we’ll have four additional offices over the next couple of years spread out in the areas of HuntersvilleUniversity, SouthPark, Arrowood-Ayrsley, and Ballantyne-Providence.” Expansion will then likely move to Matthews, Rock Hill, Crown Point and Gaston County. “We want to have branches within a seven mile proximity of each other,” says Bogan. Both the management team and bank employees are actively involved in the

14

Coming Full Circle Hipp started his banking career here in Charlotte with Wachovia Bank in 1975. “I started at the bottom. I had to go out and knock on the doors and collect car payments,” remembers Hipp. Over 16 years with the bank, Hipp was moved away and then back to Charlotte three separate times. Hipp left Wachovia in 1990 to successfully turn around Rock Hill National Bank. In 1995, Hipp was recruited to be the CEO of South Carolina Bank & Trust. Hipp tried to retire in 2004, but was drawn back into the banking world to head up Ameris Bank in South Carolina. He tried again in 2009, but was called upon as a banking consultant and approved by the Federal Reserve to do board and management assessments. That is how he was recruited to come to NewDominion. As his career proceeded, Hipp developed what has turned out to be a fortuitous habit— hiring Marc Bogan. Hipp first hired Bogan out of college to work at Wachovia. Then he hired Bogan as a regional executive to head up retail banking at South Carolina Bank & Trust. Later, when Hipp departed from Ameris Bank, Bogan remained in place as the company’s COO. Says Hipp, “Marc and I know each other; we know all the good and the bad.” With law school as his original plan, Hipp didn’t major in finance or accounting before graduating from The Citadel. After fulfilling an obligation with the Army, the first job he was

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

offered was as a manager trainee with Eckerd Drug. Ironically, it stood on the same spot (it used to be Charlottetown Mall) as the bank does now. “I’ve come 360 degrees from where I started,” jokes Hipp. “Marc is the clear-cut successor here,” says Hipp. “I’m 60 and have a lot of energy. I have a vision and passion and I’m here to do what I can to build this super community bank, but he’s the future.” Hipp calls the board “blessed” to have Bogan who provides depth and succession in the company. “In the next 10 years, he will be running something that is a much bigger player. As long as he sends me my dividend check, I’ll be fine,” laughs Hipp. For now, Hipp and Bogan are engrossed in building a rock solid community bank that will be ready for the tremendous growth and opportunities to come. biz Zenda Douglas is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

NewDominion Bank 1111 Metropolitan Ave., Ste. 500 Charlotte, N.C. 28204 Phone: 704-943-5700; 800-592-6248 Principals: C. John Hipp III, Chairman and CEO; Marc J. Bogan, President and COO; J. Blaine Jackson, Executive Vice President and CFO; Greg Burke, Executive Vice President and CCO Established: 2005 Assets: $400 million Employees: 45 Business: Innovative community bank which provides financial services for customers in Charlotte, Mooresville, and surrounding North Carolina cities and towns. www.newdominiondirect.com www.newdominionbank.com

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

CENTRAL PIEDMONT COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Representing our community For almost 50 years, CPCC has been building leaders who pursue meaningful careers that significantly contribute to the community. One such alumnus is former Olympic and professional boxer, Calvin Brock whose career has been dedicated to representing our community. Says Calvin, “CPCC was a gateway to opportunity for me – its quality, accessibility and affordability all combined to help me earn my degree and achieve the professional success I enjoy today.” To learn more about CPCC and its programs and alumni or to support the College, visit www.cpcc.edu or www.cpccfoundation.com.

Calvin Brock CPCC Alumnus, College Transfer Program Former Olympic and professional boxer CEO, Accord Roofing & Servicing

[bizprofile]

by jim froneberger

Better Service, Better Products,

D

“We started this business because we loved to hunt and we loved to shoot. But it turns out guns are just an avenue to meet great people. My biggest thrill is to see people walk out with a big smile on their face.” ~David Drummond Owner

16

avid Drummond used to worry about being targeted by an undercover agent. As owner of local firearms retailer Carolina Sporting Arms, he worried that one day his store would be secret-shopped by firearms trade magazine Shot Business. “We always strive to provide great service, but I’ve feared they would happen to come in here sometime when we were having a really bad day,” admits Drummond. Shot Business picks a city for each of its issues and sends an undercover shopper to local firearms dealers to score them on customer service, product knowledge and product selection. As it turns out, Drummond’s fears were unjustified, because when the magazine actually did shop Carolina Sporting Arms for its February/March 2012 issue, Drummond’s business was top ranked, the only one of four Charlotte retailers to score five-stars in all three rating categories. Drummond points to the results of the undercover shopper and several years of increasing sales as proof that his strategy of focusing on the customer is working. “We started this business because we loved to hunt and we loved to shoot,” he says. “But it turns out guns are just an avenue to meet great people. My biggest thrill is to see people walk out with a big smile on their face.” Carolina Sporting Arms traces its roots back to 1968 as Collias-Lawing & Co., Inc. in the Dilworth/ Uptown area. The business had operated under multiple owners until Drummond and partner Scott Pope bought it in 1998. Pope ran the store for about 10 years, while Drummond kept his full-time job as a sales manager at Livingston & Haven, an industrial technology and solutions provider. When Drummond and Pope bought the business it was located on Kingston Avenue near the South End area. “It was the worst retail location in the world,” laughs Drummond. “You couldn’t see it from any major road.” So in 2002, they moved to a new 10,000-square foot building on South Boulevard, just north of Sharon Road West. The new location put them on a high-traffic artery between Uptown and their core customer base in south Charlotte, setting the stage for growth. Pope eventually decided he wanted out of the day-to-day grind of retail, so Drummond left his job at Livingston & Haven in 2008, gradually expanding his role, taking over full ownership and management of the business in 2010. “Scott went over to the wholesale side,” explains Drummond. “He actually calls on the store now, ➤ so all of his knowledge and contacts have really served him well.”

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

For a Better Experience

Carolina Sporting Arms Aims to Please the Customer

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

17

A Changing Marketplace The firearms business is unique because government rules for gun sales require that sellers obtain a considerable amount of information from their customers every time a sale is made. “We have to store this information forever,” says Drummond. “So a few years ago we did some fullblown data mining and it gave us a great look at who our customer was. It was a strong demographic: customers were 93 percent male, were 35 to 65 years old, and 90 percent of them owned a house.” In the last two or three years, the entire gun industry has seen an influx of female customers looking for concealed carry handguns for personal protection and home defense. “We’ve got so many new female gun owners that I’ve hired a new female employee for the store,” explains Drummond. “She helps put the women customers at ease. That’s something every business owner has to do—to see where the business is going and adapt to it.” The firearms industry as a whole is growing at a record pace, despite the background environment of a slow economy. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation trade association, gun sales in 2011 were up 14 percent over 2010, hitting an all-time high of just under 11 million firearms. David Drummond Drummond says that Owner Carolina Sporting Arms has Carolina Sporting Arms mirrored the national trend with double-digit sales growth in three out of the last four years. He says the boom started in late 2008, and coincided with fears among gun owners that changes in control of Congress and the White House as a result of the election could result in further restrictions on gun rights. While those restrictions have not materialized, Drummond says the gun industry is expecting another big 2012 as uncertainty persists in yet another election year. Another factor in the growth trend may be the general increase in fear and uncertainty that accompanies an economic downturn. “Whenever there is fear, people want to do something tangible to address that fear,” opines Drummond. “And a lot of times that tangible thing is to go buy a firearm to protect themselves.” Getting the word out to potential customers is another ongoing challenge for the company and is a key focus for Drummond. “We’ve reached out to the news media so that when they need a comment on a firearmrelated story they will come to us instead of one of our competitors,” he explains. “We’ve also launched an aggressive radio campaign after we found that radio outperformed the other options by a wide margin.” The company has also embraced social media through their Facebook page and close to 100 instructional videos on YouTube.

18

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

“Whenever there is fear, people want to do something tangible to address that fear. And a lot of times that tangible thing is to go buy a firearm to protect themselves.” ~David Drummond Owner

Training and Education The entrance of women into the ranks of gun owners and the influx of other new owners has created a demand for education and training. In response to that need, Carolina Sporting Arms offers classes for new and experienced gun owners. “We tell people that self

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

• Corporate • Advertising • Industrial • Editorial

• Web Images • Architectural • Interiors & Exteriors • Professional Portraits

wayne@wmphoto.biz www.wmphoto.biz

704.545.7001

Professional Portrait Services Featured are Jeffrey Huberman & Harvey Gantt Founding Partners of Gantt Huberman Architects, PLLC

defense and home defense are not just about the equipment,” says Drummond. “We really like to see them getting training rather than just buying something to get checked off the list.” This need for more training is driving a major new initiative for the company. Plans are in the works to add training and shooting facilities at the South Boulevard location. “Our customers are always asking us where they can shoot and where can they train,” remarks Drummond. “So we’re going to add a shooting facility out back and we’re going to put a classroom in here as well.” The new classroom will have an interactive simulator with pneumatic-powered guns where new shooters will be able to take their first shots in a completely non-threatening environment. The sensation of the pneumatic gun will give them a realistic feel, but there is absolutely no danger. The new 4,000-square-foot addition will be two levels, with seven shooting lanes on top and five underneath. The layout will allow daily shooting on top while more focused training is taking place simultaneously down below. “The technology for ranges has changed so much,” explains Drummond. “There are baffles, bullet traps, and a high tech filtration system to get the smoke and the lead out of the air. The noise containment has come so far you can literally have a range out back and not hear it in the store. “We think it will be a great addition to the community and a great addition to our business.” Once the city of Charlotte gives the go ahead, Drummond says the new facility could be completed in less than six months. The Customer Experience In the early days, Carolina Sporting Arms also carried clothing, boots and other accessories not directly related to guns. “We decided we really needed to focus on firearms and firearm accessories,” remarks Drummond. “That is what ➤ we do really well. If you look in our store

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n sBizEducation.indd c i o u s n e s s 1

m a rc h 28/2/11 0 1 2 8:18 AM 19

today, you’ll see a large selection of firearms and all the accessories that go along with the use, cleaning and safe storage of those firearms. We’re not a hunting store.” Carolina Sporting Arms sells firearms at a variety of price points, but they have elected to avoid the lowest-end products. “We don’t carry under-$100 pistols,” admits Drummond. “We have a width breadth of price points—good, better, and best in class—but we believe there is a certain minimum to have reliability and a factory warranty. We believe that minimum starts around $300.” Industry data also shows that under-$100 handguns have a higher likelihood of being used in illegal activity, so that is another reason to avoid those products. According to Drummond, “We want to be known as a community partner and a good steward.” “We sell more handguns than we do anything else,” he continues. “Ten years ago we were selling sporting shotguns. We still sell those, but the mass numbers of handguns we sell now is amazing.” There is also a huge market for quality used firearms. “The manager of my collectibles area was out this morning going to pawn shops and other dealers trying to find quality used stuff. It’s no problem selling used guns, but often it’s a problem finding used guns to sell.”

Drummond says the vast majority of their business comes from the typical five to seven mile retail draw radius, but that due to their extensive selection of products, customers also come from as far away as the Triad, Research Triangle or Columbia, S.C. Carolina Sporting Arms competes with independent gun shops, big-box retailers and online sellers. “There are several other independent firearms retailers in town, plus the big box stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shop,” notes Drummond. “And then there’s the Internet which has exploded with outlets to buy guns.” Although the retail store represents the core of their business, Carolina Sporting Arms now also has an online store that sells less-thanlethal self-defense items like pepper spray.

NAVIGATING THE SEA OF TECHNOLOGY

e Companies

wing Privat

Fastest-gro

They also use an online auction site—gunsinternational.com—as their portal for online firearm sales. Federal law prohibits online gun sales direct to an individual, so while an out-of-market buyer can pay online, they must designate a local gun shop in their area to which the gun is shipped. The buyer then goes to that local shop to complete the required paperwork and pick up the firearm. Drummond says his biggest competitive challenge is when a customer asks him to match a low online or big box price, but then also expects the high level of personal service provided by an independent dealer. “If you buy your gun here and have a problem, we’re going to take care of it for you,” says Drummond, explaining their buyer protection plan. “Many of the discount sellers will just say that it’s the manufacturer’s issue, give you the address, and tell you to go handle it.” Drummond also takes pride in his experienced sales staff and the overall customer experience they aim to deliver. “All of our folks have 10-plus years in the industry,” he says. “They are trained to uncover the true needs of the customer, to understand what the customer wants, and to help them make an informed decision. We do understand there are other places our customers can shop, so we really want them to have a great experience every time that they deal with us. We know the minute they don’t have a good experience they’ll seek out somebody else.” For David Drummond, it’s all about creating that great experience for the customer. “That’s what makes Carolina Sporting Arms who we are,” he concludes. “At the end of the day it’s all ‘Better Service, Better Products, for a Better Experience.’ That’s what we’re all about.” biz Jim Froneberger is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

REAL SUPPORT Regardless of your business's needs, basic or complex, Waypoint Solutions Group is the IT consulting firm that can help you. Whether you need to build your IT network from the ground up, are ready to refresh your existing network, or just need reliable IT support, Waypoint Solutions Group can help you.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Learn how Waypoint Solutions Group can cut your IT costs and improve computer uptime

9305 Monroe Road Suite L Charlotte, NC 28270

Phone: 704-246-1717 Toll Free: 877-4U-EASYIT 20

Carolina Sporting Arms Company, Inc. dba

Carolina Sporting Arms 8055 South Boulevard Charlotte, N.C. 28273 Phone: 704-554-9511 Principal: David Drummond, President and Owner Employees: 7 full-time and 2 part-time Established: 1968 as Collias-Lawing & Co., Inc.; 1998 (current owner) Business: An independent retailer of new and used firearms as well as ammunition, optics, gun safes, cases, holsters, and other shooting accessories. www.csaguns.com

www.waypointsg.com

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

www.cabosmexicanrestaurant.com

All Makes All Models All Repairs

KIRK BROWN & SONS expert auto repair

(704) 759-9886 6676 Carmel Road Charlotte, NC 28226

Is your vehicle

Buy:

2 Lunches & 2 Soft Drinks

Come in today for a free battery check, coolant test, and tire inspection!

Family Owned and Operated Since 1973

(704) 366-5321

$4 off

nch Only

Monday-Friday Lu

LARGE PARTIEe S 6 or Mor

15% OFF (food only)

1118 McAlway Rd | Charlotte, NC 28211

w w w. k i r k b r o w n a n d s o n s . c o m

The YMCA Honors... John R. Mott Award John R. Mott (18651955) was one of the great Christian leaders of the YMCA movement. He was known as a ‘citizen of the world’, served as Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946. The name John R. Mott is respected globally as a shining example of servant leadership. Each year, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte presents an award in honor of John R. Mott. The 2012 recipient is the Bill Southerland. Prior John R. Mott Award honorees are: 2011 Ward Pritchett 2010 The Tom Dooley Family 2009 James (Jim) H. Morgan 2008 J. Frank Harrison III 2007 Steele Dewey 2006 The Dowd Family 2005 Russell M. Robinson II 2004 Malcolm (Mac) Everett 2003 Robert (Bob) King Jr. 2002 Graeme M. Keith

2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996

H.C. (Smoky) Bissell Harry H. Brace Thomas M. Belk James J. Harris William M. Barnhardt Joseph W. Grier Jr.

George Williams Awards The original YMCA started in London in 1844 as 22-year-old George Williams and 11 friends came together for prayer and reflection. They were compelled to help other young men find what they felt: God’s grace. In recognition of George Williams’ leadership, each year YMCAs across the world recognize outstanding volunteers at their branches. This year, YMCA of Greater Charlotte branches honor… • Nat Hyde, Camp Thunderbird & Camp Harrison • Michael Howley, Childress Klein YMCA • Ann B. Clark , YMCA Community Development • Davis Kuykendall, Dowd YMCA • Nancy McNelis, Gateway Village YMCA • Bridget-Anne Hampden, Harris YMCA • Stacy Sumner Jesso, Johnston YMCA

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

• Bobby Cashion, Lake Norman YMCA • Ken Rudisill, Lincoln County YMCA • Mike North, Lowe’s YMCA • David Yorker, McCrorey YMCA • Cathie Weeden, Morrison YMCA • Beth Yarbrough, Sally’s YMCA • Martin Greene, Simmons YMCA • Chris Moran, Siskey YMCA • David Jones, Steele Creek YMCA • Fred A. Whitfield, Stratford Richardson YMCA • Joseph E. Hanel, University City YMCA Willie J. Stratford Sr. Diversity Award In 1998, an award was established in recognition of Willie J. Stratford Sr., a devoted champion of diversity in the YMCA and community, for his faithful service and dedication to practicing John 17:21, “That they may all be one even as thou, Father, art in me and I in Thee, that they also may be in us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send me.” This award is given to someone who recognizes, leads and inspires others to help create a stronger community through valuing diversity. This year, the award honors Tom Webb.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

21

Photo: Wayne Morris

“Today the overwhelming risks associated with every investment have nothing to do with the actual company. They have everything to do with whether Europe is going to melt down, what the U.S. is going to do to arrange its financial house, and whether the politicians in Washington will stop behaving like children in a sandbox.� W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer Chief Executive Officer Chapter IV Investors, LLC Chairman of the Board of Directors YMCA of Greater Charlotte

22

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

by barbara fagan

[bizprofile]

CHAPTER & VERSE THE

OF INVESTING

I

n retrospect, all the chapters of Barnes Hauptfuhrer’s career dovetail in the perfect-bound “book” of his professional experience, but Hauptfuhrer is the first to say that was not by any plan on his part. Hauptfuhrer is the CEO and portfolio manager of the unique, Charlotte-based investment firm, Chapter IV Investors, LLC. The firm’s name has special significance; Hauptfuhrer marks its 2006 founding as the start of the fourth chapter of his professional career. Going back to his college years, Hauptfuhrer admits, “I had no idea what I wanted to do.” What he did know was that he loved sports, something he came by easily since his mother was a skilled athlete and his father had been the first pick of the Boston Celtics in the very first NBA draft. When offered opportunities to play college basketball at Duke University and Princeton University, Hauptfuhrer had a difficult choice: “My mother was raised on the Duke campus—both her parents taught there—so I was inclined to go to Duke. But at the time Duke’s basketball program was somewhat uncertain, so I ultimately decided against it.” At 6 foot 8 inches, Hauptfuhrer became a Princeton Tigers’ forward. “It was a phenomenal period,” Hauptfuhrer says. “The Tigers were a Top 12 team my junior and senior years.” He graduated from Princeton in 1976 with a bachelor’s in politics and economics but career plans were put on hold when the professional sports world called. Hauptfuhrer was drafted by the Houston Rockets. “When I went to Houston it quickly became obvious that I didn’t have the talent to be in the NBA. It had always been obvious to me,” Hauptfuhrer says with a chuckle. “But it soon became clear to the Rockets and I was cut pretty quickly. Then I had to become serious about a career.” Hauptfuhrer’s father was a lawyer with the Philadelphia firm Dechert, Price & Rhoads and enjoyed the business aspects of the practice, so Hauptfuhrer decided on a joint J.D./M.B.A. degree, graduating from the University of Virginia in 1981. “Those years at UVA gave me a chance to try summer jobs, two at law firms and one on Wall Street,” Hauptfuhrer says. “I liked investment banking and in 1981, if you ➤ wanted to be in investment banking, you had to go to New York.”

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

Chapter IV Returns More Than Book Value

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

23

The “we” of Chapter IV Investors is a team that has been together since the firm’s founding and, maybe not so coincidentally, numbers five. “Just like on the basketball court. Each member of our team is critically valuable.” ~W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer CEO (l to r) Robert G. Lesley, Jr., Kathleen M. Buck, Kimberly Zeitrogel, Ryan J. Jack, W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer

The First Three Chapters “My first chapter began with Kidder Peabody and Company on Wall Street. I worked 80 percent of the time in Mergers and Acquisitions. It was the time when M&A took off and few people had joint degrees then. 1981 through 1988 was an important development period for me,” Hauptfuhrer recounts. It was a wonderful time in his personal life as well. In 1984, Hauptfuhrer married Cammie Robinson. Hauptfuhrer met Robinson while they were both studying law at UVA. After the birth of their first child in 1986, the couple agreed they wanted to raise their family in one of their hometowns. Cammie Hauptfuhrer, whose father, Russell M. Robinson II, is founding partner of the prestigious Charlotte law firm, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson P.A., had strong roots in Charlotte. “I’d always wanted to get to North Carolina,” Hauptfuhrer says. “I grew up in Philadelphia but my family had always vacationed in the North Carolina mountains, so in ’87 we moved to Charlotte.” At the time NCNB and First Union Bank were starting up investment banking divisions and both were interested in Hauptfuhrer leading them.

cash flow generation

return on invested capital strong

barriers to entry

high market share

excellent management

“I had some good conversations with Ed Crutchfield [then chairman and CEO of First Union],” Hauptfuhrer recalls, “and I agreed to come to First Union—not to run an investment bank or capital market business—but to start a principal investing business where we could use the bank’s capital to make private equity investments in companies and help them grow.” Hauptfuhrer describes it as the beginning of his second chapter. “Crutchfield was a big believer in entrepreneurial people and incentives and that allowed me to recruit an excellent team. As First Union Capital Partners, we invested about $750 million in a 10-year period, which not only earned about a 40 percent return annually for the bank but also initiated a number of broader relationships for the bank,” he continues, with satisfaction. But by the end of 1998, soon after First Union purchased CoreStates Financial, the bank experienced a setback. Hauptfuhrer recalls the period was difficult. “Crutchfield had moved on and the bank was weakened. I loved private equity and I loved my team,

24

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

but I wanted to see the larger organization turn around and I felt compelled to do what I could to accomplish that.” So Hauptfuhrer turned over management of First Union Capital Partners to his colleagues, and, in 1999 began the third chapter of his career as co-head of Corporate and Investment Banking for First Union. In 2001, First Union merged with Wachovia, a move that Hauptfuhrer believes “created a lot of value for the bank.” But in 2002, when Hauptfuhrer turned 48, he approached his wife with a surprising plan. “I don’t want you to think I’m having a midlife crisis,” he remembers saying, “but if the bank gets turned around, I’m going to step down when I turn 50.” Some colleagues questioned his decision. They wondered why he wouldn’t remain to reap the rewards of his hard work. “The truth was, the reward was actually turning the bank around. It was about bringing together a team, improving performance and helping produce excellence in the division,” Hauptfuhrer says readily. Hauptfuhrer’s departure from Wachovia in 2004 preceded the banking crisis and many congratulated him on his good timing but Hauptfuhrer admits, “What ultimately happened to Wachovia wasn’t evenly remotely visible in 2004.” “I left because I wanted a better life balance. My daughter Dillon was a high school senior. My son Barnes had already gone off to Duke, but I was able to max out my time with both. Investment in family and in health was the way I wanted to transition into the next chapter.” Life Balance and the YMCA His investment in health began with the YMCA. “Back in 2003 or so, the Greater Charlotte

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

Y asked me to be on their board. I got involved with their ‘Promises for the Future’ campaign. At the same time, I was working out regularly at the Childress Klein Y with trainer Brian Manion. I credit Brian with helping me avoid back surgery. With Brian’s program, the back pain went away, I didn’t have to have the surgery and I dropped 35 pounds. “Through my one-on-one experience with the Y, as well as my board and capital raising experience, I got to appreciate the YMCA’s unique mission. It’s a wonderful mission. For me, the Y is all about the Four Fs: fun, fitness, family and faith. It’s all about engaging and connecting. Why wouldn’t I get into that mission?”

“Through my one-on-one experience with the Y, as well as my board and capital raising experience, I got to appreciate the YMCA’s unique mission. It’s a wonderful mission. For me, the Y is all about the Four Fs: fun, fitness, family and faith. It’s all about engaging and connecting.”

much leverage on balance sheets.” With that in mind, Hauptfuhrer created the Chapter IV Special Situations Fund. “The Special Situations Fund is its own distinct animal,” Hauptfuhrer explains. “It’s a hybrid fund that can invest in public or private equity securities. This gives us the ability to pursue the best investment opportunities no matter where they originate.” Hauptfuhrer targeted 25 prospective investors for the fund but ended up with 27. “The fund was oversubscribed, so we closed at a higher level than we initially anticipated—$270 million.” Investors are confidential but Hauptfuhrer

says the list includes institutional investors and high net worth individual investors. “I’m a major investor in the fund as well,” he adds. “I put my own money on the line so my investors know that I’m in it with them.” There are other qualities that make the fund different. “This is a very concentrated fund,” explains Hauptfuhrer. “We only hold eight to 12 investments at any time. In most investment firms, the mantra is to grow assets under management. If you grow assets, you grow fees. I have nothing against asset growth or fee growth, but we stay focused on one mission—serving the best inter➤ ests of our current clients. That starts with

I have worked at my company for 8 years & have rave reviews.

No one will suspect I have recent felony convictions.

~W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer CEO

Hauptfuhrer is greatly expanding his involvement with the Y’s mission this month as he has recently taken on the responsibilities of chairman of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. “When I look at past chairs like Stick Williams, Pamela Davies, Ward Pritchett or Jim Morgan, I don’t view myself as in their league. By the same token, I have learned a lot watching their different leadership styles. I can take away something from what each of them have accomplished and hope to become a good steward of the Y in my own right,” he says. Chapter IV More than a year after his departure from Wachovia, Hauptfuhrer decided to use the unique skills he’d acquired in the three previous career chapters and take on a new entrepreneurial challenge. In September of 2006 Hauptfuhrer began the fourth chapter of his professional life by founding his own investment firm: Chapter IV Investors. “I knew I was a long-term investor, a relationship-oriented investor,” explains Hauptfuhrer, “and I saw that the private equity world was paying too much for businesses and putting too

Infinity Screening Advanced Post Hire Monitoring Solutions

Smart Screening. Smart Hiring. To learn how Data Facts can help you, contact Tracie Coronado at 704.562.4925 or tcoronado@datafacts.com

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

25

VoIP one company | one call

Unified Communications ›Business Telephone Systems ›Structured Cabling Systems ›Office & Warehouse Paging ›Data Networking Build & Design ›Telecom Management & Consulting 1824 I NDUSTRIAL C ENTER C IRCLE C HARLOTTE , NC 28213 704.598.4700 W W W . T E LWA R E . C O M

For over six decades, residential and commercial customers alike have come to rely on Ross & Witmer for high quality, professional heating and air services. We are proud to say that our friendly, knowledgeable technicians, along with a superior office and sales staff, are the backbone of Ross & Witmer’s success.

est. 1945

4620 Rozzelles Ferry Rd. Charlotte, NC 28216

704-392-6188 26

“The Special Situations Fund is its own distinct animal. It’s a hybrid fund that can invest in public or private equity securities. This gives us the ability to pursue the best investment opportunities no matter where they originate.” ~W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer CEO “Today the overwhelming risks associated with every investment have nothing to do with the actual company. They have everything to do with whether Europe is going to melt down, what the U.S. is going to do to arrange its financial house, and whether the politicians in Washington will stop behaving like children in a sandbox. “Those issues put at risk all categories of equity investing. You can pick any one of the top money managers in the world and I will tell you that they don’t know how those risks play out. You have to count on continued uncertainty and look for the best return propositions within that uncertainty.”

Charlotte’s Full Service Residential & Commercial Heating, Cooling and Ventilation Contractor

H.V.A.C.

preserving principal and includes taking prudent risks to achieve returns for them.” “Achieving acceptable returns has been plenty challenging given the financial crisis, housing crisis and the Great Recession,” Hauptfuhrer continues, “2008 was a difficult year for us. We’ve rebounded nicely since then, but the world was fundamentally shaken by 2008 and remains shaken today. “In the past, when we’d study an investment in Company X, we’d list 10 risks and 10 reasons to invest to determine how we felt about the risk/ return balance.

Heating & Air Conditioning since

1945

Scan Here

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

Investing Proactively “At Chapter IV, we focus on core investment criteria and themes,” Hauptfuhrer describes. “Investment criteria include a business’ cash flow generation and return on invested capital. Recurring themes include investing in businesses that have strong barriers to entry, high market share and excellent management. We think these are winning themes for the current uncertain environment. “But we don’t stop there. We stress test our investments regularly. We’re always doing research to find themes and companies that can go the distance.” “We’re a proactive investor. If we have ideas, we’ll interact with management. A good example is containerboard company RockTenn run by

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

CEO, Jim Rubright. Rubright came into the industry without any paper or packaging experience but we realized he knew what he was doing. “Our team met with him and advised him, ‘Jim, you’re going to think this is crazy but we think you should acquire a company that’s about $5.5 billion.’ Given RockTenn was only worth about $3 billion at the time, Jim initially thought the idea was crazy. Six months later, though, he inked the deal, RockTenn became the No. 2 containerboard company nationally, and Rubright was subsequently voted the ‘Pulp and Paper CEO of the Year.’” The “we” of Chapter IV Investors is a team that has been together since the firm’s founding and, maybe not so coincidentally, numbers five. “Just like on the basketball court,” Hauptfuhrer says with a smile. Hauptfuhrer heads up the team which includes two other investment professionals: Robert Lesley Jr. and Ryan Jack. Kimberly Zeitvogel is CFO and Kathleen M. Buck is the office manager. “Each member of our team is critically valuable,” says Hauptfuhrer. It’s logical to question if there will be a Chapter Five for Hauptfuhrer. “I don’t know what the future will be,” he says, “but I know that it will include my most important priority—my family. Cammie and I couldn’t be more proud of our children. It will include community involvement and it will include investing capital.” And if the past chapters are any indication, it should be a real page-turner. biz Barbara Fagan is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

WE THINK OUTSIDE THE FISHBOWL... SHOULDN’ T YOU? AUDIT & ATTEST SERVICES ACCOUNTING SERVICES GOVERNMENTAL & A-133 AUDITS MERGER & ACQUISITION PLANNING TAX COMPLIANCE & PLANNING MULTI-STATE TAX PLANNING ESTATE & TRUST TAX PLANNING REAL ESTATE CONSULTING SERVICES

10815 Sikes Place, Suite 100 Charlotte, NC 28277 704-841-9800 (fax) 704-841-9802 www.bbwpllc.com

Accountants First, Advisors Foremost

Hampton Inn & Suites

Chapter IV Investors, LLC Two Wachovia Building 301 South Tryon St., Ste. 1850 Charlotte, N.C. 28202 Phone: 704-644-4071 Principals: W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer, Chief Executive Officer; Robert G. Lesley Jr., CFA, Partner; Ryan J. Jack, Partner Employees: 5 Founded: 2006 Assets Under Management: $270 million Business: Unique investment firm with a flexible charter, a concentrated portfolio, a long-term investment orientation and a highly experienced portfolio manager; manages a Special Situations Fund which is structured as a “hybrid” fund allowing the investment latitude of both a hedge fund and a private equity fund. www.chapterivinvestors.com

SouthPark at Phillips Place

SouthPark’s most prestigious hotel. Surrounded by retail shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. Features 124 beautifully decorated guest rooms and suites. We offer special Bridal, Shopping, and Couple’s Night Out Packages. Select rooms feature balconies, patios, mini refrigerators, microwaves, whirpools, and garden bathtubs. Two room suites feature full refrigerators, microwaves, sofa, recliner, end tables, and select suites have a whirlpool spa and replace.

›704.319.5700 www.hamptonsouthpark.com

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

“A SouthPark Tradition of Execellance”

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

27

Collab

28

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

borating Collaborating by heather head

[bizprofile]

for Real Health Care Solutions

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Champions Community Initiatives “BCBSNC is using a highly collaborative approach, soliciting and listening to input and ideas from physicians, employers and patients. We are not dictating to anybody how this is going to play out. We want to sit down and listen to each other and find the common ground.” ~Cooley Smith Manager, National & Major Accounts

H

ealth care reform has been a roundly contested topic for employers, consumers and politicians even before Theodore Roosevelt campaigned on a promise of national health insurance 100 years ago. Group health programs have evolved for decades alongside constantly changing government regulations and growing involvement. It’s hard to envision what health care and insurance will look like next year, let alone decades from now. That uncertainty, coupled with persistently rising costs, presents a daunting challenge for businesses and individuals alike. Against that backdrop of history and conjecture, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) endeavors to provide physicians, consumers and business owners with the tools and information necessary to make smart financial decisions and maintain better health care options.

Although headquartered in Durham-Chapel Hill, BCBSNC is emphasizing and enhancing its presence in western North Carolina; particularly, the greater Charlotte area. Presently, there are more than 50 employees in its Ballantyne office, led by Patrick Brady, Cooley Smith and Shannon Buckner. Smith, manager of national and major accounts, emphasizes the fluidity surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. Though no one knows the shape that legislation will take by its scheduled full implementation in 2014, he says, it is critical to plan for change. “Any employer who is not currently taking a good look at the situation is going to be in trouble once those regulations come into full effect,” says the 12-year veteran of BCBSNC. To help businesses stay abreast of changes, Smith points to BCBSNC’s myriad tools and systems that facilitate an employer’s preparations for multiple scenarios. BCBSNC’s website contains up-to-date information on health care reform, designed to inform businesses and individuals. The company follows new regulations, analyzes pertinent data and provides expertise through sales and account management teams to clients, consultants and brokers. “We’re encouraging an open dialogue with businesses large and small around the changes ahead,” says Buckner, in charge of middle markets retention, who has been with BCBSNC for nine years. “Those stakeholders include patients, physicians, insurers and employers,” he adds, “and their continued communication is a key component in health care evolution.”

Focusing on Charlotte Participating actively in that conversation helps BCBSNC become more involved in civic life throughout North Carolina and increasingly in greater Charlotte, Buckner emphasizes. The Gaston County resident points out that he and the vast majority of BCBSNC’s 4,000 employees use the same schools, churches, businesses and health care facilities as their customers, so they have a personal stake in ensuring that the community is strong and that services are the best they can be. “Our desire to be so deeply involved in the community is what makes us stand out from our national competitors,” Buckner says. “To add value and remain relevant to our clients, we must innovate to improve health and well-being in each and every community,” says Brady, director of major and national accounts. Brady is a Mebane native who has called Charlotte home since 1999. “This health-related work is going on nationally within BCBS plans,” Brady adds. “BSBC is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of North Carolinians through community betterment initiatives across the state and through the BCBSNC Foundation.” Separate and independent, the BCBSNC Foundation has, since its inception in 2000, invested more than $70 million and supported more that 500 grants and special initiatives in communities across the state. These far-ranging programs involve the Foundation in efforts ranging from nutrition to health care for low➤ income families.

BSBC is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of North Carolinians through community betterment initiatives across the state and through the BCBSNC Foundation. Since 1997, BCBSNC employees have logged more than 265,000 volunteer hours; nearly 95 percent of corporate officers participate in outreach programs. Chancellor’s Speaker Series

Shape NC: Healthy Starts for Young Children

partnership with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, whose goal is to create a minimum of one urban garden in all 100 counties. BCBSNC President and CEO Brad Wilson kicked off the program in 2011 at a garden at Charlotte’s Winterfield Elementary School. Mecklenburg County will have multiple plots. Nourishing North Carolina

7th Street Public Market

UNC Charlotte Chancellor’s Speaker Series

One important initiative of the Foundation is a full-fledged fight against childhood obesity. The Foundation is in the midst of a three-year, $3 million partnership with The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. to focus on healthy weight for children from birth through 5 years old. Called “Shape NC: Healthy Starts for Young Children,” the program focuses on changing the reality that 31 percent of North Carolina children ages 2 to 4 are considered at risk for becoming overweight or are already overweight. A BCBSNC corporate program of note is Nourishing North Carolina. It is a statewide

Partnering in Charlotte BCBSNC is particularly intent on enhancing its Charlotte presence. Ellison Clary, a native Charlottean and a veteran public relations executive, was brought on board in late 2010 to help strengthen the company’s ties to the Queen City and help develop BCBSNC community initiatives. With his assistance, BCBSNC has been able to increase its participation in the Charlotte Chamber, take a founding sponsorship in 7th Street Public Market, and help UNC Charlotte create its Chancellor’s Speaker Series and its celebration of National Public Health Week. Other recent Charlotte efforts have included partnerships with 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte, The Arts & Science Council, Care Ring, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce Charlotte, Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Center City Partners. Clary says his 15 years with Bank of America taught him the value of teamwork across department boundaries, and he sees many of the same cooperative principles practiced at BCBSNC. “There’s a healthy spirit of camaraderie; a feeling that we are all in our situation together and that we want to help each other succeed,” Clary says. BCBSNC employees are also known for their individual commitments to community betterment. Since 1997, BCBSNC employees have logged more than 265,000 volunteer hours. Nearly 95 percent of corporate officers participate

No one can predict what turns health care reform will take, but BCBSNC will continue providing options and giving patients more control and tools for better decisions, and finding more ways to encourage and teach people to live healthier lives and realize a better quality of life. 30

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

in outreach programs. Such unselfishness is vital for BCBSNC to address the complex issues affecting health care, Brady, Smith and Buckner agree. BCBSNC is doing its part to encourage and support collaborative innovation to improve what CEO Wilson calls a tripod of concerns: cost, patient experience and patient outcomes. BCBSNC actively seeks to partner on community initiatives that help employers and employees understand their options and costs. Collaborative Solutions Abound Collaborative solutions to improve health care quality and reduce costs take center stage in BCBSNC’s newly refreshed Let’s Talk Cost campaign. The statewide effort includes advertising, social media and community outreach all focused on bringing ideas to the forefront and others to the table to improve North Carolina’s health care system. “The ‘scapegoat’ phase of the Let’s Talk Cost campaign was important because it pushed the blame game to the side and got everyone talking about what we can all do to improve quality of care and rein in costs,” says CEO Wilson. “These conversations matter.” Another example is the Carolina Advanced Health initiative, a cutting-edge patient-centered medical home that focuses on care for chronic conditions. Developed by BCBSNC and UNC Health Care, the medical practice focuses on patients, not just their symptoms. All of a patient’s caregivers, from the chief physician to the physician assistant, physician therapist and even the pharmacist, are under the same roof. The arrangement saves time and money and ensures a smoother patient experience. Another patient-centered medical effort was founded just across the Catawba River through (l to r) Cooley Smith Manager, National & Major Accounts Shannon Buckner Middle Markets Retention Patrick Brady Director, Major & National Accounts Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

a partnership between BCBSNC and Gastonia’s CaroMont Health. It created a new model for knee replacement surgery. Formerly, as with most procedures, a patient would visit multiple care providers and pay each separately. Under the new arrangement, a patient pays a single fee and receives care from a coordinated team of experts. The plan will be evaluated later this year and possibly expanded to cover other procedures and illnesses.

We push the boundaries of the web like no one else for clients who are ready for something new.

TheIdeaPeople where the web is going 704.398.4437 theideapeople.com

At LetsTalkCost.com, CEO Brad Wilson talks about the problem of medical costs and how BCBSNC is responding with collaborative initiatives. He also invites and encourages you to share your own ideas—“After all,� he says, “they could become our next initiative.�

Today, more and more business owners are looking for ways to cut costs and boost their bottom line. With utility rates on a constant rise, reduce your monthly utility bills and “go greenâ€? with your solar and efďŹ ciency partner, Greenspring Energy. Greenspring Energy is one of the most experienced and trusted solar providers in the Carolinas’ region, specializing in custom solar energy design, installation and efďŹ ciency products for business and home.

For more information on solar solutions for your business or home, contact Greenspring Energy at (704) 525-6767 or visit us online at www.greenspringenergy.com.

AL RESIDE N ON

AL TI

BCBSNC also has developed better tools for physicians to manage data and respond proactively to patient needs and requirements. A collaboration with Allscripts, a company that specializes in communication with hospitals and physician practices, will make electronic health records available to more than 750 N.C. physicians, including over 150 physicians in 39 free clinics. Electronic health documents allow physicians to set up systems to ➤ keep them proactively updated on patient

NAT I

www.LetsTalkCosts.com

There has never been a better time than now to go solar, with countless ďŹ nancial incentives available for business and home owners in the Carolinas:  tUp to 100% depreciation in 2012  t30% Federal tax credit  tUp to 35% State tax credit of the installed cost  tRenewable energy incentives and recurring rebate payments  tIncrease the value of your property

Dealer 2009 & 2010 OF

SOLAR AND EFFICIENCY SOLUTIONS

R T HE YEA

#BSSJOHFS%SJWF4VJUFt$IBSMPUUF /$]  ]XXXHSFFOTQSJOHFOFSHZDPN

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

31

needs. Further, it’s easier to notify patients when they are due for treatment. Smith contrasts programs such as these with reform efforts of the past and points out a chief difference. “BCBSNC is using a highly collaborative approach,” he says, “soliciting and listening to input and ideas from physicians, employers and patients. We are not dictating to anybody how this is going to play out. We want to sit down and listen to each other and find the common ground.” Additional programs that have arisen from conversation and collaboration include employer-sponsored initiatives that reward employees for healthier lifestyle choices, such as losing weight or exercising regularly. From a National Perspective Brady, Smith and Buckner say BCBSNC lives by what in preaches. The company has

tightened its own operations, pledging to cut more that $200 million in costs while working to retain as many of its 4,000 employees as possible. Consolidated branch offices and reduced overhead helps. And BCBSNC has not found it necessary to outsource any administration functions overseas. BCBSNC has the strength and funding for great accomplishments, the Charlotte leaders add. Approximately one in three North Carolinians is covered by BCBSNC, the highest market share among health insurers operating in the state. To explain that impressive position, Buckner again points to the company’s North Carolina roots and interests. BCBSNC is an independent entity, licensed by the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It operates separately from BCBS organizations in other states, and makes decisions based on the needs of individual communities. Smith is quick to point out the larger perspective: BCBSNC is local, he agrees, but

“There’s a healthy spirit of camaraderie; a feeling that we are all in our situation together and that we want to help each other succeed.” ~Ellison Clary Director, Charlotte Community Relations

SPECIALISTS IN VOICE NETWORKS FOR 33 YEARS.

32

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

maintains national reach. The company provides the largest national provider network in the market, ensuring that individuals can find quality, covered care whether they’re in California, Ohio or Charlotte. Employers based in North Carolina can access BCBSNC coverage for their workers in any other state. More innovation overall, chimes in Buckner, is another result of BCBSNC’s local focus. “Changing the way physicians do business can’t be mandated from above,” Buckner says. “Doctors have to alter the way they practice because they believe in new methods and are confident they will benefit their patients as well as themselves.” Predicting the future for health care and how to pay for it is well-nigh impossible in volatile times such as today, Brady, Smith and Buckner agree. No one can predict what turns health care reform will take nor draw up what a company such as BCBSNC will look like five years into the future. But BCBSNC will continue accelerating the pace of providing options and giving patients more control and tools for better decisions, they promise. And BCBSNC intends to find more ways to encourage and teach people to live healthier lives and realize a better quality of life, they add. BCBSNC is poised to respond to whatever health care directives may be dictated by health care reform and its inevitable changes. “Whatever happens,” Brady says, “we will be here—collaborating with physicians, employers and patients to ensure the best possible outcomes for all.” biz Heather Head is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Charlotte Operations 3530 Torringdon Way, Ste. 404 Charlotte, N.C. 28277 Phone: 800 242-1293 Principals: J. Bradley Wilson, President and CEO; Patrick Brady, Director, Major & National Accounts; Cooley Smith, Manager, National & Major Accounts; Shannon Buckner, Middle Markets Retention; Ellison Clary, Director, Charlotte Community Relations In Business: 78 years (a nonprofit licensee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association) Employees: More than 4,000 Headquarters: Durham, N.C. Business: Providing quality products, information and services to improve health and wellbeing to more than 3.5 million individuals in North Carolina. www.letstalkcost.com www.bcbsnc.com

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

»Come Visit Our Showroom

3111 Freedom Drive, Charlotte NC 28208 704.399.1948 | www.larnersoffice.com

Executive Looks. Exceptional Prices

SERVICES OFFERED New & Used Office Furniture Competitive Rental Rates Space Planning & Design Upholstery File & Storage Cabinet Painting Custom Furniture Chair, Carpet and Cubicle Cleaning Moving & Installation Furniture Repair, Touch up and Refinishing Brokering New, Remanufactured and Used Cubicles Used Artwork, Lamps, Rugs, Etc. New & Refurbished Carpet Squares

WE PROMISE OUR CUSTOMERS OUTSTANDING

SERVICE WHILE PROVIDING QUALITY NEW AND USED OFFICE FURNITURE AT AFFORDABLE PRICES .

PLEASE CHECK OUT ALL WE HAVE TO OFFER:

scan our QR code for a virtual showroom tour

Do you need help reaching the local marketplace? Are you having trouble getting product or services information out to prospective customers and potential clients? Are you tired of lackluster results from digital advertising? Want to reach the most receptive viewers in the most credible manner in the local marketplace? Then you need to be in Greater Charlotte Biz magazine! What? You cut down on marketing/graphic design? No problem! We’ll be happy to craft the message for you! Tell us your idea and we’re so sure you’ll like our exposure, we’ll do the design work for you free! Call and ask about our free ad design services while this offer lasts!

Our magazine reaches over 100,000 business decision-makers at their desk where they work. Call us at 704-676-5850 x 102 and let us help you get your message out!

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

www.greatercharlottebiz.com

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

33

Bill Sofio Owner Express Employment Professionals

34

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

by casey jacobus

[bizprofile]

Respecting People;

Impacting Businesses;

Making a Difference Express Employment Professionals offers more than jobs

W

hen Bill and Gina Sofio chose to move to Charlotte to be closer to family, they were also looking for new careers. Both of them had worked for large multi–national corporations for over 20 years and they wanted a change. Bill had experience in a variety of sales management positions, while Gina had a broad knowledge of human resource issues from her work with giant pharmaceutical companies. They weren’t eager to rejoin Big Corporate America. They wanted to follow something that was already successful with a proven track record, but they also wanted to do something on which they could put their own stamp and which would draw on their skills and experiences. While researching job opportunities in Charlotte, the Sofios were excited by one company in particular: Express Employment Professionals. Express Employment Professionals had been helping people find jobs and helping businesses find the people and human resources support they needed for over 25 years. “This was such an impressive company,” says Gina. “Although neither one of us had ever worked in staffing before, this company was an incredible draw.” Express Employment Professionals was created in 1983 by founders Robert A. Funk, William H. Stoller, and James Gray after the dissolution of Acme Personnel, a Washington-based staffing company in which all three were associates. Although it was established in a time when the oil industry took a devastating downturn, and had its headquarters in Oklahoma City where banks and business were failing daily, Express Employment Professionals was able to generate impressive gross revenues of over $2 million during its first year. ➤

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

Our Vision: To help as many people as possible find good jobs by helping as many clients as possible find good people.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

35

In 1984, Express Employment Professionals acquired the franchise rights to 30 Acme Personnel staffing agencies across the United States, and in 1985, when the first Express employment agency was franchised, the staffing company experienced phenomenal growth. Within five years, Express ranked among the top staffing firms in the U.S. and was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the country. By 1994, Express Employment Professionals had 180 franchised employment agencies with sales of more than $325 million. Today, Express Employment Professionals has more than 550 franchises in the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia. In 2011, the staffing company generated $2.1 billion in sales in 2011. “We spoke with both new franchise owners and long-term owners and they all praised the training, support and leadership that Express Employment Professionals provides,” reports Bill. “They put the focus on customer service and believe they are doing something very worthwhile in putting people back to work. We were absolutely drawn to this company.” Employing Themselves Fortunately, the Sofios were able to step into an Express Employment Professionals territory in Charlotte that had been vacant for about five years. Their franchise covers Charlotte south of Trade Street. They opened for business on January 3, 2011, with a staff of two. In the first six months they met their sales goals and hired two more staff members. While it may seem counterintuitive to start an employment agency during a recession, Bill explains that it was really a good time and getting even better. “The economy is wobbling, but it’s wobbling upwards,” he asserts. “Many small and mediumsize businesses are reaching out for assistance in meeting their staffing needs.” As a full-service staffing agency, Express Employment Professionals offers a full range of employment solutions for area businesses and job seekers, including professional search, temporary and contract staffing, evaluations and direct hire, flexible staffing, and onsite services. For employers, Express Employment Professionals can also help provide solutions to HR challenges, including an HR Helpline, HR compliance audits, employee handbook creation, Organizational Effectiveness Surveys, onsite client training programs, and affirmative action plans. For the job seeker, Express will evaluate individuals’ skills, offer interview and resume writing tips, and work to find a job that fits the candidate’s skill and abilities. “Our efforts impact people’s lives,” Bill states

36

(l to r) Nancy M. Dunmyer, Staffing Consultant; Jeanette Flint, Staffing Consultant; Dana R. Both, Business Development; Anne Marie Parent, Staffing Consultant; Bill Sofio, Owner. Not pictured: Gina Sofio, Owner

simply. “Every day we make a difference. It is extremely gratifying.” The Sofios say their goal is not to just place people in jobs; it is to form business partnerships. They try to understand their business clients so well that they know an organization’s goals and challenges and understand its culture. “It’s easy to find people with the right skills,’’ Bill says, “It’s much harder to find people who will fit the client’s culture. When we make the perfect match, it is so gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the person getting the job and of the client who is getting an employee who fits cleanly into the organization.” Janis Mire, HR manager for several local interconnected firms, told Bill and Gina when she first met them that “she never used placement firms.” However, they stayed in contact, sending her interesting articles and invitations to seminars, and a year later she called them to fill a position for her. “They really listened to what I wanted and sent me terrific candidates, one of which I hired,” says Mire. “The fact that I got exactly what I needed right away was because they understood exactly what I wanted.” Now Mire has asked Express to fill a parttime vacancy for her as she doesn’t have the time to do the legwork herself.

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

“I was very impressed with their depth of knowledge of the business of placement,” Mire adds to her glowing review of Express. Staffing at Its Best According to the American Staffing Association, the staffing industry generates more than $97 billion in sales in the U.S. annually. Nearly 2.6 million people are employed by staffing companies every business day. And U.S. firms hire 9.7 million temporary and contract employees each year. In fact, 25 percent of companies use staffing firms. A decade ago, a job seeker could whip up a resume, send it off to prospective employers, job boards and websites, sit on the couch and wait for the phone to ring. Those days disappeared with the recession. Today a business receives hundreds of applications for an open position and, for many companies, reviewing all those applications can be a time-consuming addition to an already overloaded workforce. For companies needing assistance, Express Employment Professionals can provide the answer. “Because many companies have already cut staffs to the bare bones, their employees are overloaded,” says Gina. “They don’t have the resources available to do a thorough search when they decide to hire. What’s more, many employers aren’t

looking for people straight out of school. They want people who can come in, sit down at the computer and make an immediate contribution.” Express Employment Professionals places people in all sorts of positions. The lion’s share of the Charlotte franchise business has been in office administration, including executive assistants, data entry and entry level accounting positions. But, Bill says, the manufacturing industry is also stable, if a shade unpredictable, and blue collar positions account for about 35 percent of Express’ business. In its first year of business, Express has placed about 200 people in permanent jobs and served over 50 companies. “We’ve been particularly busy the beginning of this year,” Acknowledges Gina.

“It’s easy to find people with the right skills. It’s much harder to find people who will fit the client’s culture. When we make the perfect match, it is so gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the person getting the job and of the client who is getting an employee who fits cleanly into the organization.”

18th Year

For Business Owners of Closely-held Businesses

Sponsored by: Daniel, Ratliff & Company | LB4G Consulting | SunTrust Greater Charlotte Biz | Altman Initiative Group

Your Revenue

In 2012! Growing sales revenue is a major focus of business owners in 2012. How will you do it?

Do you have a plan?

Sales growth doesn’t happen by accident, and selling today isn’t the same as selling in the past. Join us for this year’s programs, where we’ll be exploring behaviors and selling strategies to help your company increase its top line. Company memberships (up to 4 attendees) available at $495.

Apr 24 | Keeping Your Pipeline Full Jun 26 | Profitable Sales Growth Aug 28 | Building a Sales Team Oct 23 | Sales Successes

www.business-success-institute.com or call Denise Altman at 704-315-9090

~Bill Sofio Owner

The average Express Employment Professional franchise generates a gross margin cash flow of $695,000 annually for approximately $3 million in sales. In 2010, company-wide sales were up 46 percent. Express has been particularly aggressive in meeting its own staffing needs. As Bill and Gina meet the talent first, they pounce on the most appropriate for their own company. “I don’t want sales to get too far ahead of staff,” Bill insists. “We probably have more staff than most comparable organizations, but that means we are set up better for greater growth and superior customer service.” Adding Extra Value Both Sofios say that what sets their Express Employment Professionals franchise apart from competing staffing agencies is their passion for high quality output and customer service. “Our goal is to form business partnerships with our clients,” Bill reiterates. “This allows for customized solutions for their problems.” ➤

“I’ve been working with Daniel Ratliff and Company for several years during their consulting and audit engagements with The Park Ministries. They have an in-debt understanding of the complicated issues facing non-prot organizations. They are professional, easy to work with and thorough. Their staff is highly competent and a pleasure to work with. Daniel Ratliff and Company is a top notch accounting rm.” ~Jacqueline Jimoh, CPA JJ Business Solutions, LLC

trust+strategy+integrity+planning+insight+experience

it all adds up! We’re not your typical CPA firm. Instead, we go beyond traditional accounting services, adding valuable insight and guidance to your growth process.

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

Daniel, Ratliff & Company 301 S. McDowell St., Ste. 502, Charlotte, NC 28204 704.371.5000 www.danielratliff.com

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

37

Amy Garrison, HR manager for a medical device company, calls Express Employment Professionals “absolutely great to work with.” Garrison has called on the company to help primarily with temporary staffing needs and says, “Express is my preferred vendor.” In addition to meeting their staffing needs, Express has provided services that go beyond meeting employment needs. “If I need tools or research information, they get it for me quickly,” says Garrison. “We partner together. We’re like family.” One of the strengths of Express Employment Professionals is that each Express Employment agency is locally owned and operated, but is backed by the expertise and support of an international headquarters. Drawing on Gina’s experience in Human Resources and the leadership and training provided by headquarters, Express is able to offer a variety of HR support to its clients. Among these added values are a Human Resources Helpline which gives clients immediate and direct access to experts who can provide coaching on handling specific HR issues, sample policies and forms, and information on compliance issues. To ensure that a company follows current HR laws and regulations, Express can conduct an HR Audit and identify areas that present

“Once we know the organization and are able to have a serious, ongoing conversation with them, we can provide incredible service. Our goal is to know the organization so well we hire the applicant who is the right fit for them.” ~Gina Sofio Owner

potential liabilities. Through a full day, onsite or remote audit, Express specialists will review a business’s interview processes, time-off

Use BusinessWise

...to grow business.

practices, performance evaluations, state and federal postings, handbooks, and so forth, and produce a comprehensive report with recommendations for improvement. Express can also conduct an organizational effectiveness survey which can increase recruiting and retention by providing employers with the opinions of their employees about a variety of issues including leadership, rewards and recognition, training, communication, compensation, openness to change and conflict management. Express can also provide customized onsite training on a wide variety of topics, ranging from team building and managing conflict in the workplace to performance appraisal processes to handling accident investigations and reporting. Its most popular seminar is a three-hour presentation that covers the 10 most common employmentrelated lawsuits employers face. “All of these are complementary values we can bring to a business partnership,” says Gina. “Once we know the organization and are able to have a serious, ongoing conversation with them, we can provide incredible service. Our goal is to know the organization so well we hire the applicant who is the right fit for them.” Rather than setting financial goals for the growth of his young company, Bill says his goal is for Express to be the place where Charlotte companies go when they need help with staffing needs, leadership training or HR services. “We want to be at the top of the line for companies in Charlotte,” both Sofios agree. “Five years from now, we want Express Employment Professionals to be a respected company where we are viewed not only as the top choice for staffing but as a strong business partner, adding value to our clients while at the same time having the privilege of putting many, many people to work in the metro Charlotte area!” biz Casey Jacobus is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

www.businesswise.com Charlotte 6100 Fairview Rd. Suite 330 Charlotte, NC 28210 Phone: 704.554.4112

38

Atlanta 6190 Powers Ferry Rd. Suite 190 Atlanta, GA 30339 Phone: 770.956.1955

Dallas 15851 Dallas Pkwy Suite 600 Addison, TX 75001 Phone: 214.561.8692

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

RDS Enterprises, Inc. dba Express Employment Professionals 7510 Pineville Matthews Rd., Ste. 14-B Charlotte, N.C. 28226 Phone: 704-752-1988 Principals: Bill and Gina Sofio, Owners Founded: 2010 Employees: 6 Business: Charlotte franchise of an international full service staffing agency offering employment services and human resources solutions to small and medium size businesses. www.expresspros.com

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

edia m l l ad a ust and e l s zine ting tr ity. a g Ma enera eptiv in g ad rec

t sisten st con unnel o m he hase f y are t ines the purc in the ke z a g Ma rmer in rength ty and t i perfo rticular s favorabil a p d . n h t wit s of bra e inten stage purchas

The number of magazine readers has grown over the past five years.

Magazine advertising leads in prompting online search and traďŹƒc.

31 percent

of digital ads are not even seen by consumers!*

Magazine media engage readers signiďŹ cantly more than television or the Internet.

Two separate sources show that more than half of all readers (54%) act on magazine ads.

*comScore study finds that ads are delivered but not in-view or on target and therefore never have a chance to make an impact. Source: www.magazinemediafactbook.org

7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115 Charlotte, NC 28226-1310 Contact John P. Galles | 704-676-5850 x102 www.greatercharlottebiz.com c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

39

[bizprofile]

by suzanne fulton

W

ith the addition of attractive and functional outdoor improvements, homeowners can enjoy their yard year round and even feel like they’re relaxing at a high-end resort. Adding and enhancing outdoor living environments has been a popular trend in home ownership for quite some time, but it is definitely on an upswing driven by the soft real estate market and renewed appreciation for home—and yard. Especially here in the Carolinas, where the climate has made it one of the top retirement destinations in the country, the improvement of outdoor spaces not only adds value, but may make the difference between your home selling versus another of equal value. Aware of the ever-widening array of outdoor surfaces, products, furniture, water features and design options, increasing numbers of homeowners are seeking professional help to enhance the space a few steps outside their doorways. That’s where the designers at Archadeck of Charlotte come in. Owners Eric and Susan Kent assist customers with everything from determining which improvements to choose, to drawing up structural plans, to choosing suitable materials, to…well, making it a reality—in both a cost-conscious and expeditious fashion. In addition, they keep on top of what’s hot, like outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and fire features (no pun intended), as well as the new building materials and convenience innovations as they come along. “We are probably the largest builder of outdoor fireplaces in the city, and we are also building a lot of outdoor kitchens,” notes Eric. Architecting Archadeck Archadeck of Charlotte has been building decks, porches, sunrooms, fire features and related outdoor living structures since 1988. Under Eric’s leadership, the company has grown to be the 89th largest in the nation for volume of business (Qualified Remodeler magazine) and has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau of Charlotte as well as multiple industry awards. Running 30 to 40 projects concurrently, Archadeck of Charlotte has long been the largest of parent Archadeck’s more than 60 franchisees in the nation and one of the oldest. In fact, Archadeck of Charlotte has been recognized each year since 2007 by Qualified Remodeler as one of their Top 200. The Kents and their employees have been the recipients of multiple awards from Archadeck for largest sales volume, top selling franchisee owner, second place salesman of the year, rookie salesman of the year, outstanding marketing achievement, ➤ president of all franchises, and achievement in design.

40

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

Outdoor

Living at Its Best “Until we met Archadeck, we thought a deck was a deck…”

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

Susan Kent Vice President Eric Kent President Archadeck of Charlotte

We pride ourselves on quality materials and workmanship with great customer service and we back up our work!

We boast more references and

satisfied customers by far more than anyone in the

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

Carolinas!

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

41

“Just when you begin to wonder if words such as craftsmanship, workmanship, pride, and quality are things of the past, along comes a company like Archadeck that restores your belief that yes, even today, you can get your money’s worth, and more.” ~S. Newman of Charlotte

We consider our employees like family,” notes Susan, vice president. “We took them all with us on a cruise last year to reward their stellar achievements.” Employees earn high praise from customers, too. Laudatory comments like those of “Judy M. of Charlotte” are not unusual: “We LOVE our roof! Dave and Valentino were wonderful...their attention to detail was superb. They were conscientious at cleanup and even made sure the gate was closed when they left. Please thank them for a job well done. We can’t wait to show off the final project.” Eric’s background is in the construction field, having been hired out of college by a manufacturer of siding and windows. When he established Archadeck of Charlotte, he decided to focus solely on deck and screened porch design and construction in the early years. As such, his company was a subcontractor to major homebuilders like Ryland Homes and Mattamy Homes. In 2007, Eric began to expand the company’s offerings and services beyond decks to the greater outdoors—creating living and entertaining spaces that feature shade, functionality, fire and water features, stone surfaces and more. As licensed general contractors who work together, Eric and Susan have credentials to ensure that all steps in the design/ build process are completed, meet current building codes and satisfy customer requests. Adds Susan, “All of our sales and design staff members have construction experience. We are blessed with talented people.” Their own depth of experience, plus access to advice from the parent Archadeck to help solve complex design issues or unusual construction challenges, allows Archadeck of Charlotte to meet an array of design requests. All Plaudits On Deck Archadeck of Charlotte has designed and constructed well over 20,000 projects over the past 23 years. Susan points out that referrals are by far the biggest driver of new customers to their company. Eric adds that repeat customers contribute substantially as well. In fact, some outdoor projects are planned to progress in stages, either to see how improvements “feel” before adding the next stage, or purely for financial reasons. The many testimonials they’ve received reflect customer appreciation for Archadeck of Charlotte’s employees’ professionalism and attention to detail as well as the overall execution of design and construction. “S. Newman of Charlotte” praises the firm saying, “Just when you begin to wonder if words such as craftsmanship, workmanship, pride, and quality are things of the past, along comes a company like Archadeck that restores your belief that yes, even today, you can get your money’s worth, and more.” Real estate broker Marjory Bell applauded her new outdoor feature, emphatically stating: “Working with the folks at Archadeck has been a joy. From the moment we met with Eric Kent we knew we were in good hands. The construction crew was dependable and on time! Their attention to detail was

42

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

impressive. The end product, a gorgeous arbor, is beautiful. I heartily recommend Archadeck and know that the consumer will never be disappointed with this company.” Another satisfied customer “M. Trunk of Charlotte” lauds: “The investment turned out to be an excellent one both financially and aesthetically.” Or, as one customer remarked succinctly, “Until we met Archadeck we thought a deck was a deck.” “We want our clients to get the outdoor structure they’ve always wanted so we offer a free, no obligation design consultation that explores their individual wants and needs. Based on those requirements, we custom design each project,” says Eric. “Our 3D software design capability for architectural renderings shows the client exactly what their finished project will look like.” Eric points out that once a contract is signed, the customer will be protected by two separate guarantees, constituting the most expansive customer protection plan in the industry: “Every outdoor living project we design and build is backed both by an Archadeck warranty and the National Guarantee Corporation. The Archadeck warranty includes a one-year workmanship warranty and a five-year structural warranty. The National Guarantee Corporation guarantees that our structures will be completed to the agreed upon specifications, no matter what.” Many, Many Offerings The National Association of the Remodeling Industry points out, “There’s a lot more to be gained through remodeling besides increased functionality, new appliances, efficient systems, updated décor, additional space or the pure enjoyment of making your home your own. There’s also the increased value your home receives when you make improvements.” Home improvements will generally yield some

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

percentage return on investment. According to the 2011-12 Cost-Value Report by construction industry publisher Hanley Wood, homeowners in the South Atlantic region can recoup 45 to 75 percent of the money spent on a remodel or addition, depending on type. But customers do need to be aware of their homeowner association covenants which can challenge or thwart many improvement efforts. Says Eric, “Fortunately, that is not as much of an issue as it used to be, since our designers can use 3D renderings to show exactly what the improvement will look like and garner speedier approval from homeowner associations as well as municipal authorities.”

CANON BUSINESS SOLUTIONS TERECK Inc.

(704) 525-5390

Canon Business Solutions: Now in Charlotte!

Canon Business Solutions, offering award-winning equipment and support, has expanded our operations in the Charlotte area. Call us today to find out how our unique business analysis can substantially reduce your overall costs!

Multifunction Copiers Production Systems Wide Format Printers HP Printers Document Management Supplies and Media

Eric remembers one particular project: “We worked with a customer to conceptualize their vision for stone work integrated with wood as well as a fire feature for the back of their house. We were able to get their association’s approval because of our 3-D renderings of our design. The project took less than two months to construct and yielded a handsome covered, raised patio accented with a metal rail and a stone outdoor fireplace that compliments the treetops visible in the background. In the evening, the soft built-in lighting draws eyes to the stone work of the soaring chimney.” The Kents have listened and responded to customer requests to take care of a wide variety of projects. They have strategically expanded their menu of services and products over time. One new venture of theirs is an enterprise that focuses on remodeling and handyman services, Value Remodelers & Handyman Services. A natural extension of their existing business, the remodeling and handyman offering is enabling them to meet customer requests and better utilize employees—like electricians and carpenters—who are already on board, an important element that ➤ helps everybody’s bottom line and engenders

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

?

704-540-2255

www.ballantynedentistry.com m a rc h 2 0 1 2

43

“You delivered exactly what you promised, on time, to a much higher standard of quality than I dreamed possible…” and “The whole experience with your company was super…” and “Thank you, Archadeck, for turning our rather dull backyard into a showcase that we can be proud of.” trust by all parties. Projects range from room remodels and additions to basement beautification—even simple tasks like faucet fixes. Eric says landscaping services will be the next offering—and soon. He has recruited two established and reputable companies to join forces with his to provide landscape design and architecture. With artistic license, he says, “Landscaping will be the ribbon on our package!” Show and Tell Archadeck of Charlotte has innumerable offerings: decks, sunrooms, screened rooms, screened porches, pool decks, spa decks, gazebos, pergolas, porches, loggias, arbors, privacy screens, fencing, planters, benches, ramps, bridges, walkways, docks, garden structures, outdoor kitchens, outdoor rooms, and much more. While there are many photos of Archadeck’s completed projects on their website, a tour of their showroom and yard environment on Village Lake Drive offers an excellent opportunity for customers to make design, material and hue selections based on touch as well as sight in real light. An array of types and colors of surfaces are on display inside and out. Many types of hardscapes, walkways and decking materials are set up juxtaposed to each other in the display space just outside of the showroom. For example, a shopper can compare the look and feel of low maintenance, wood-look-alike decking up close against the

44

real thing on a much bigger scale than by merely comparing one plank to another. Or they can look below their feet at uniform sized pavers and, in the next few paces, stained concrete or a unique arrangement of stone slabs, and so on. A family can also walk into the sunroom on display and touch the Eze-Breeze system that combines vinyl and screening on the floor-to-ceiling windows. Notes Susan, “Customers say they have a much easier time choosing materials when they come and walk around our outdoor display.” Eric and Susan Kent have raised their family in Charlotte and are active members of the community. They give back by donating to church and school and a few years ago, they participated in an Extreme Makeover-Home Edition project. Eric recently accepted an invitation to serve on the board of directors of the local chapter of Better Business Bureau. Archadeck of Charlotte has many projects to its credit all over, serving the metropolitan Charlotte area from Lake Wylie to Lake Norman with an extended footprint over many North and South Carolina counties. With comments like, “You delivered exactly what you promised, on time, to a much higher standard of quality than I dreamed possible…” and “The whole experience with your company was super…” and “Thank you, Archadeck, for turning our rather dull backyard into a showcase that we can be proud of,” you know they’re doing something right! biz Suzanne Fulton is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

[biznetwork] Thank you to our advertisers who make this publication and its distribution to over 100,000 readers possible! Enjoy their products and services as Charlotte’s leading business-to-business suppliers.

Kent’s Backyard Vision, Inc. dba

Archadeck of Charlotte 2311 Village Lake Drive Charlotte, N.C. 28212 Phone: 704-944-1350 Principals: Eric Kent, President, and Susan Kent,Vice President; Owners In Business: 24 years Employees: 18 direct and 25 crews Awards: Many industry awards, including Ethics in Business, plus BBB’s A+ rating Member: National Association of the Remodeling Industry; National Association of Home Builders Business: A design/build outdoor living company that specializes in decks, patios, screened porches and outdoor fireplaces; subsidiary Value Remodelers and Handyman Services provides full-scale kitchen and bath remodeling and complete handyman services. www.charlotte.archadeck.com

m a rc h 2 0 1 2

32

ATCOM atcombts.com

43

Ballantyne Center for Dentistry ballantynedentistry.com

27

Blair, Bohlé & Whitsett PLLC bbwpllc.com

37

Business Success Institute business-success-institute.com

38

BusinessWise businesswise.com

21

Cabos Mexican Cuisine & Cantina cabosmexicanrestaurant.com

43

Canon Business Solutions/Tereck, Inc. tereckoffice.com

01

Carolina Digestive Health carolinadigestive.com

15

Central Piedmont Community College cpcc.edu

37

Daniel, Ratliff & Company danielratliff.com

25

DataFacts datafacts.com

BC

Diamonds Direct SouthPark diamondsdirectsouthpark.com

19

Gardner-Webb University gardner-webb.edu/gsb

31

Greenspring Energy greenspringenergy.com

06

Group Benefit Solutions gbs-benefits.com

27

Hampton Inn SouthPark hamptonsouthpark.com

13

Hickory Printing hickoryprinting.com

IBC

Hood Hargett Breakfast Club hoodhargettbreakfastclub.com

39

iMapCharlotte.com/iMapCities.com imapcharlotte.com/imapcities.com

21

Kirk Brown & Sons kirkbrownandsons.com

13

Knauff Insurance knauffins.com

33

Larner’s Office Furniture Outlet larnersoffice.com

03

Lean Sigma Professionals lssprofessionals.com

06

Nexcom nexcomgroup.com

26

Ross & Witmer rossandwitmer.com

26

TelWare Corporation telware.com

31

The Idea People theideapeople.com

IFC

Time Warner Cable Business Class carolinas.twcbc.com

19

Wayne Morris Photography wmphoto.biz

20

Waypoint Solutions Group waypointsg.com

21

YMCA of Greater Charlotte ymcacharlotte.org

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m

e t t o arl

Ch n i up o MAR r G g Next kin r Meeting 09 o w 2012 t e N ier m e Call For More Information r P Call Jenn Snyder at 704-602-9529 e Th jenn@hoodhargett.com www.hoodhargettbreakfastclub.com

2012 SPEAKER LINEUP

The Hood Hargett Breakfast Club is a ‘category exclusive’

Gregory Zuckerman Writer for The Wall Street Journal and Author of The Greatest Trade Ever

Mar. 9, 2012

James E. Rogers Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Duke Energy

Apr. 13, 2012

business development organization that develops and hosts some 36 events throughout the year for its members and guests. The goal of these events:

David Feherty Professional Golfer and PGA Announcer

May 4, 2012

Jeff Henderson

New York Times Best-Selling Author and America’s Most Inspirational Culinary Star

Sep. 14, 2012

to provide success-minded business owners with firstclass venues to entertain clients and prospects.

Lisa Ford

Customer Service Expert and Best-Selling Author

Oct. 12, 2012

Kirk Lippold

Inspirational Leader and Commander of the USS Cole

Nov. 9, 2012

Exclusively Available At

4521 Sharon Road, Charlotte NC 28211 • 704.532.9041 or 888.400.4447 (Located across from SouthPark Mall) Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00-7:00, Saturday 10:00-6:00 www.Diamonds-Direct.com Diamonds Direct Birmingham | Mountain Brook, AL | 205-201-7400 • Diamonds Direct Crabtree | Raleigh, NC | 919-571-2881


Greater Charlotte Biz 2012.03