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Business Black Box

Quarter 4 • 2013

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This year, celebrate the holidays with your loved ones at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown. Nestled at the center of Greenville’s dynamic Downtown District, you will be steps away from the charming United Community Bank Ice on Main, as well as the vibrant shops and restaurants along Main Street. As the streets come alive with the spirit of the season, join us and create memories that will last forever. Make your reservations today to add some magic to your holiday season.

50 West Broad Street • Greenville M A R R I O T T C O U R T YA R D G R E E N V I L L E . C O M





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Out of the Shadows

The Iron Yard Spartanburg



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Real Estate Hot Spots


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Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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11 Questions: Nayef Samhat


Trailblazer: Scott Harke


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What Matters: John Baker






Jordana Megonigal

OUR STORY... Whether planes crash or crews overcome obstacles to successfully complete flights, airlines go to the black box to discover secrets, answers, and missing information to explain what happened and learn for the future. That’s the mission of our magazine, our connect events, and our interactive platform. News of businesses succeeding, failing, merging, hiring, firing and more are reported everyday, all over the Upstate. But in business, the real power is not just hearing the news, but about going behind the scenes, discovering, connecting, and learning from those that made it happen. At the heart of every event, every blog, every magazine issue, and every documentary Business Black Box produces, you’ll find a relentless passion for connecting, advising and growing Upstate business.



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Peter Barth Marc Bolick Andy Coburn Chip Felkel Steven Hahn Leslie Hayes Evelyn Lugo Walker McKay Chad McMillan Josh Overstreet Alison Storm Geoff Wasserman

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Business Black Box (Vol.5, Issue 4) is published four times per year by ShowCase Publishing, 1200 Woodruff Rd. Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607; phone (864) 281-1323; fax (864) 281-1310. Business Black Box is a registered trademark of ShowCase Publishing 2013. Content may not be reproduced without written permission of Business Black Box. Excerpts may be reprinted, provided that credit is given to the author and to Business Black Box magazine.

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amy wood, anchor, wspa



tony snipes, business coach & entrepreneur

chip felkel, ceo, the felkel group



coleman kirven, commercial banking executive, the palmetto bank

julie godshall-brown, president, godshall staffing


13. todd korahais, operating partner, keller williams realty

andy coburn, attorney, wyche law firm


14. terry weaver, ceo, chief executive boards international

maxim williams, leadership develoment, apple


15. sam patrick, ceo, patrick marketing & communications

tiffany hughes, director of marketing, meyco products


16. matt dunbar, managing director, upstate carolina angel network

michael bolick, president, lab 21



john deworken, partner, sunnie & deworken

greg hillman, upstate director, scra/sclaunch



bill west, managing partner, the atlantic partners

ravi sastry, vp of sales & marketing, immedion


19. steven hahn, director of entrepreneurial systems, spartanburg chamber of commerce

jil littlejohn, president, urban league of the upstate 10.

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box




Building a culture of altruism

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his year marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht — the “night of broken glass”—which is typically considered the beginning of the Holocaust. In remembrance of this event, the Upstate community has embraced the Year of Altruism, where more than 60 organizations will focus on others—in the definitive “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.” It’s a beautiful concept—one that should not be lost to history and media recounts in off years. It’s a culture we should be embracing…cultivating… even on a corporate level. And make no mistake—altruism is about a culture, not a cause. Take, for instance, the bookkeeper in Georgia who talked down the student gunman. Take, for instance, the kids at camp who pack “care kits” for the homeless downtown. Take, as an example, a teacher who provides out of her own pocket for a lower-income student. Or, think of a company who dictates percentages of their profits (or time) to help certain non-profits or causes. Each serves as proof that altruism is something cultivated in each of us—something that we deem worthy of consciousness—and in its best forms, something worthy of sub-consciousness. But, as anything good in this world, altruism has its enemies. Fear, of course, is an enemy, as it keeps us focused on all the “what ifs” that prevent us from doing good. “What if I help that guy change his tire and he turns out to be a serial killer?” “What if I buy that kid an ice cream cone and people think I’m a kidnapper?” “What if I talk to that guy on the street and he steals my wallet?” It’s a threat that’s been bred into us, decade by decade, as we learn the truths of the world and its uncertain possibilities. It becomes scary to help someone, because you don’t know who that someone is or what he or she might do with a bit of kindness. But—and this is important—the biggest enemy to altruism is not fear. It’s indifference. German pastor and theologian Martin Niemöller said “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.“ It’s easy to become indifferent. We get busy. There are bigger fish to fry. And really, how does it affect me anyway? So, realizing that 1) altruism is a culture and 2) indifference is the largest obstacle to a culture of altruism, how can we say that altruism relates to the business economy? Well, what if our businesses and organizations created their own culture of altruism? What would it look like to start there, as each employee then took this same paradigm back home…to their friends…to their children….to the world? What if we could look back and say “this happened because the places that people congregate most often—their jobs/offices/workplaces—took it upon themselves to change their own culture, and in doing so, changed the people who worked there so much that they left, naturally more altruistic?”

Editor, Business Black Box | 864/281-1323 x.1010 | megonigal Photo by Wayne Culpepper/Fish Eye Studios


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

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Trude Heller Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

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A Global View According to a survey done by the Pew Research Center in 2002, six out of every 10 Americans were more likely to say that their culture is superior to others. Today, however, that number has declined to around half. The younger generation in America is less likely to believe that their culture is superior, while that is still an opinion held by the elder generations. In the most recent study (February 2012), it is clear that Americans differ greatly in many other areas to Europeans. While Americans are more likely to champion individualism over state involvement, European countries are more apt to agree that the state is necessary and should see to the needs of its people, especially Spain and France at around 60 percent. Only 36 percent of those in the U.S., however, believe that one’s success in life is determined by forces outside of their control.

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“My Culture is Superior to Other Cultures�

Of those that agreed, older Americans (50+) were more likely to agree than younger Americans (under 30) and those who did not hold a college degree agreed more than those who did. 18

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box




Isolate? Or Engage? Should we, as a country, help other countries deal with and resolve their problems, or keep our mind on our issues at home? Interestingly enough, more than a third of Americans say that we should help other countries across the globe; which is low compared to countries like Spain and Germany.

% of people who feel we should help other countries with their problems.

Of the countries surveyed, Britian was almost evenly divided between those who say they should deal with their own problems rather than letting another country help with their problems.

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Individualism While Americans are more likely to champion individualism over state involvement, European countries are more apt to agree that the state is necessary and should see to the needs of its people, especially Spain and France, who tap in at around 60 percent.

% of People Who Believe the Government Should Provide for Those in Need

The study, in its entirety, can be found at:

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box








WHAT: Innomobility 2013 WHERE: Gunter Theatre (Peace Center) Greenville, South Carolina WHEN: November 6 & 7 The Innomobility Conference is a gathering of minds from major corporations, middle market companies, entrepreneurs and education institutes in order to create conversations and ideas for transforming mobility. Under this year’s theme of “Connected, Multi-Model Transportation,” the conference will showcase more than 30 business ideas that are shaping the future of mobility over the course of two days. These emerging ventures will be presented by leaders in major corporations, middle market companies, entrepreneurial businesses, and academic centers.


Greenville Works

Focused on training qualified workers to fill the gaps in our workforce, Greenville Works is a partnership of local, state and federal organizations working together to help new and existing businesses meet their workforce and business growth needs.



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WHAT: InnoVision WHERE: The TD Center Greenville, South Carolina WHEN: November 14, 2013 For 15 years, The InnoVision Awards have become the mark of distinction for outstanding leadership, innovation and technological excellence. As the only awards program of its kind in South Carolina, The InnoVision Awards distinguish businesses, individuals and educators who set new standards for innovation in finding, developing and retaining profitable business. FOR MORE INFO: Email or visit

“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” HENRY FORD


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

Michael Bolick, Selah Genomics, Biotechnology

“Innovation is our calling card, so we needed a bank with innovative solutions. That’s why we chose The Palmetto Bank and their Commercial Banking Team. Their local decision making and flexibility are crucial to our growth-mode business plan. We can’t afford to wait in this industry. They provide the lending solutions and customized cash management tools which enable us to grow. The Palmetto Bank gives us the edge we need. They get it.”

1 . 8 0 0 . PA L . B A N K Member FDIC





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A BETTER BLADE INDUSTRIAL KNIVES AND BLADES made by the knifesource fountain inn, sc

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From S.C. to the World



ducation has been a hot topic for a while, and everyone likes to point to a different cause for the turmoil. Parents point to the government, politicians point to the other party, and everyone points to the pocket book. Here’s one thing we know for sure: technology has changed education as we know it. Until the recent past, educational institutions derived a significant amount of value from their possession of knowledge. Be it in books or teachers, on some level, schools were places you went to access information you couldn’t get anywhere else. Now, much of that information is available for free to anyone with a smartphone.  Of course, simply having access to information doesn’t mean you can make meaningful use of it, but it definitely means changes in educational distribution channels as we’ve known them, as well as people’s perception of the value of the information itself.  Take Georgia Tech’s Computer Science program, for example. A master’s degree used to cost tens of thousands of dollars in tuition only, not including living costs (and for many, a move to the Southeast). Today they offer the same degree online for $7,000 through a service called Udacity.  A Greenville-based startup I’ve written about before, Pathwright, has built a platform that allows teachers of any subject to deliver their courses online. That includes class discussions, homework assignments, and the ability to adjust curriculum and resources on the fly. 


Peter went to Vanderbilt University, where he studied computer engineering. After school he moved to Manhattan to become an options and securities principal at Duke & Company (and later Morgan Stanley). A few years on Wall Street reminded Pete he was a hacker at heart, so he packed up and headed to Indianapolis to develop software for SinglePoint, an enterprise payroll service. With hard work and technical expertise, he worked his way up to CTO and purchased a stake in the business. In 2006, Peter moved his family to sunny South Carolina. In Greenville, Peter has taken leadership roles in the development of NEXT, the NEXT Innovation Center, InternGreenville, and the southeast’s premier startup accelerator, The Iron Yard.


Skill-based education isn’t immune, either. Treehouse offers classes on almost every code language out there, and it’s all through online videos, projects, and discussion forums. (Several of their employees work in Greenville.) Some people are wringing their hands at the thought of our educational future, but these changes are exciting for several reasons. First, more people than ever in the history of the world have the opportunity to learn about almost anything they want. That fact alone has the potential to change entire economies. Second, we believe that this massive momentum in online education will ultimately make in-person instruction more powerful. Direct interaction with a human teacher is one of the most powerful ways to learn, and our code and design classes are tangible proof that it’s true. The tools mentioned above allow our instructors to distribute incredibly rich resources and assignments outside of class, making their time with students in person that much more focused, personal, and productive.  We’re launching new, tech-augmented classes for kids and adults this fall and next spring, and we’re excited to be forging a new path in an industry that will have significant influence on the world our children live in.

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n July 10, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finally adopted regulations to permit “general solicitation” in “Rule 506” private securities offerings. The intent of the regulations is to assist companies in raising capital by permitting them to offer securities to a wider group of investors than they could have under the older Rule 506 rules. However, companies that want to take advantage of the new regulations will need to comply with new requirements to do so. Securities offerings must be registered with the SEC or must qualify for a registration exemption. Registered offerings are expensive, so many companies use exempt offerings to raise capital. A Rule 506 offering is an exempt offering that complies with SEC Rule 506. The new regulations are significant because the Rule 506 offering is the most widely-used type of exempt offering. What exactly do the new SEC regulations do? Previously, a company could not engage in any “general solicitation” when conducting a Rule 506 offering. This limited the potential investors that a company could approach because the SEC had taken the position that, in a Rule 506 offering, a company generally could only solicit potential investors with whom it had a pre-existing relationship. The new regulations remove the ban on general solicitation, subject to certain new requirements. If a company complies with the new regulations, they will be able to use internet, TV and newspaper advertising, seminars and mail solicitations to seek investors in a Rule 506 offering.


As an attorney with Wyche, Andy regularly represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, structuring of joint ventures, securities offerings and other financing transactions. He has extensive experience with growing companies and private placements of securities. Andy also advises and assists public and private company clients in the design and implementation of executive compensation arrangements, equity compensation plans and broad-based employee benefits. Outside of his legal profession, Andy is on the board of the Greenville Little Theatre, a project leader for Habitat for Humanity, and serves as a Business Black Box advisor in law.


What are the additional requirements that need to be met to engage in a general solicitation? The two primary additional requirements are that (a) only “accredited investors” can participate in the offering and (b) the company must take “reasonable steps” to verify that all investors are accredited. How can a company satisfy the verification requirement? Whether or not a company has taken “reasonable steps” to verify accredited investor status will be determined based on all of the relevant facts and circumstances. Factors involved in this determination will include the information that the company has about the investor and the nature and terms of the offering. The SEC has specifically stated that relying on an investor’s self-certification in a written questionnaire will not be adequate, absent other evidence that the investor is accredited. The regulations provide certain non-mandatory, safe harbor verification methods, including review of relevant IRS forms (such as a W-2 or income tax return) to verify income, use of brokerage statements to verify net worth and reliance on written confirmation of accredited investor status provided by a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser or licensed certified public accountant or attorney in good standing Do companies have to comply with the new additional requirements if they don’t intend to engage in a general solicitation? No. A company can still conduct a Rule 506 offering without a general solicitation in compliance with the old Rule 506 requirements. What effect will the new rules have on raising capital? The new regulations are not effective until September 23, 2013. This means that a company cannot legally engage in general solicitation with respect to a Rule 506 offering prior to that date. It is unclear whether the new regulations will have a significant impact on raising capital. The biggest question is probably whether verification procedures can be developed that are acceptable to both companies that want to make sure their offerings comply with the new verification requirements and investors who may be reluctant to share too much personal information.

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Election 2014:

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What should we look out for?


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Brian Aufmuth

COO, The Felkel Group

We are at a critical juncture where decisions being made in the next couple years will impact the long-term ability for South Carolina to maintain and grow the economic vitality and quality of life for those living here today and those coming in the future. Instead of always being reactive, it is critical that our leaders become proactive and lead the charge to invest now in those areas that are crucial to our economic and community success—including transportation & infrastructure, workforce & skill development and education. Instead of simply being satisfied with getting by and putting Band-Aids on problems, it is time to make systemic changes that have the ability to strategically position South Carolina for long-term success. Our elected leaders must champion efforts to prioritize and, over time, address all the issues that impact our ability to be economically competitive and provide for the needs of our residents. Taking a pro-active approach is not always easy because some of the solutions necessitate making hard choices and supporting unpopular solutions. However, if our leaders are willing to work together in taking a comprehensive approach and make choices based on what is good for South Carolina and its residents. Doing anything less would be a missed opportunity.

As an election year, 2014 promises to be an interesting one. There are several important topics that should be at the forefront of debate next year. Ethics reform is an issue that nearly all primary and general electorate voters feel should be stronger in S.C. I fully expect an ethics reform bill will pass the legislature and be signed by the Governor next year. The proposed Department of Administration or “government restructuring” legislation has been one of Governor Haley’s priorities for several years now. Expect this issue to surface once again. The elephant in the room is still the issue of infrastructure funding. While the General Assembly and the Governor should be commended for passing a nearly $600 million funding bill in 2013 ($800 million to $1 billon after federal matching), it is still a drop in the bucket. Transportation officials say we need $29 billion over the next 20 years just to meet our maintenance needs. It’s an economic development issue, a safety issue, and a quality of life issue. Workforce development will continue to be an issue discussed in 2014. There are numerous examples across S.C. of companies who simply cannot find skilled workers that they need to fill critical positions. Look for various proposals to be introduced and discussed on how to better educate, train and retrain our workforce.

“Instead of simply being satisfied with getting by and putting Band-Aids on problems, it is time to make systemic changes that have the ability to strategically position South Carolina for long-term success.”

Dean Hybl

Executive Director, Ten at the Top

Workforce and Education and the alignment of the two are key issues that we are dealing with and are of prime importance. If South Carolina, and the Upstate in particular, are going to continue to attract industry and jobs to our area, then our workforce must be aligned with the needs of more advanced manufacturing than ever before. The worker of today and tomorrow has to have a greater capacity of “thinking skills” than yesterday. They must be more skilled in math and science and critical thinking. The good news is that our educators are starting to “get it.” We have several initiatives going on at the Spartanburg Chamber that are addressing these areas and we are encouraged by the early results.

Jim Thomas

Government Relations Director, Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce

You cannot have an election year in S.C. without having a debate on education and tax reform. Everything from the expansion of K4 to school choice to increases in college tuition will be discussed by the candidates. The need for comprehensive tax reform comes up every election cycle.

In the Governor’s race, Governor Haley has touted job creation numbers across S.C. for the past two years. Her Democratic opponents will question those numbers by pointing to state unemployment rates which are higher than the national average. They will also put an emphasis on rural areas where those unemployment rates are the highest in the state. With both U.S. Senators and all of our U.S. Representatives on the ballot next November, there will be a trickle down effect of federal issues and buzzwords that will make there way into our state level elections. The issue of government waste and government spending in Columbia may come up along with the always popular topic of government transparency. We can also expect some partisan debates around the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion as some Republicans will try to distance themselves from the President and his legacy healthcare legislation. As for cyber-security and the data breech that occurred at the Department of Revenue, I do not think that you can pinpoint the blame on any one person or legislative body. Mistakes were made and the legislature and Governor took steps during the 2013 session to begin addressing those mistakes and to further protect taxpayers’ info. I do not see this having much impact on the outcome of the elections.

Mark Cothran

VP Public Policy, Greenville Chamber of Commerce Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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There are several key issues that will come before the S.C. General Assembly in January: The Department of Administration (which gets rid of the Budget and Control Board), Ethics Reform, and Tax Reform are the largest, but there will also be attention given, (hopefully) to addressing the state of our roads in SC. Keep in mind that during an election year (and this is one with the House, Senate and the Governor all up for re-election) there are issues they want to address and some they want to ignore. I expect any controversial issues, if they are tackled at all, to be on hold until after March 30, which is when Members of the House and Senate will know if they will face any opposition for re-election.




any frequent travelers develop a mental checklist of things to do pre-departure, however the list gets more complicated when you travel abroad. Consider these things as you plan your next business (or leisure) trip abroad.


What to pack Pack lightly. Pack a number of undergarments for every day you’ll be away, and about half that number of outer garments (ok, easier for us guys, but you get the idea). If you plan on being away more than a week, plan on doing laundry. Plan to carry-on a small backpack for your crucial documents, electronics, in-flight essentials, and a long-sleeve item to keep you warm (depending on season and destination).

How to pack Compact packing is an art, but a few basics can ensure you’re using your space economically. Pack shoes with soles facing the outside walls. If you carefully fold your outer garments and either pack them flat on the bottom of your bag, or roll them, they should stay fairly wrinkle free.


Marc Bolick replanted his native roots in Greenville after living in Europe for 13 years. He has worked in all aspects of product and service creation for companies ranging from Fortune 100 multi-nationals to mid-sized European firms to startups. For the past ten years he has run Dmarc8 International, a consulting firm that helps clients to qualify, plan and implement innovative growth strategies. Marc is also a partner with the international design driven service innovation firm, DesignThinkers Group.


Pack electronics chargers, cables and other small bulky items in gaps and voids, then use undergarments, socks and other small items to fill remaining gaps. Don’t be afraid to compress things. Remember, you’ll be glad to have smaller luggage if you have to run for a train, navigate a crowded street, or even squeeze into a tiny elevator.

Business travel tools Consider leaving the laptop at the office. A tablet or smart phone plus a thumb drive can handle most of what’s really needed. Don’t forget a universal plug converter, ideally one that has a built-in USB charger for your devices. Plan on keeping your smart phone in airplane mode. Using voice and data abroad will cost you a fortune! The following applications (all available on iOS and Android) will save you serious money while still keeping you wired in. All you’ll need is a wi-fi connection. • Google Drive: With a Google Drive account you can store a picture of your passport, health insurance and other important documents in the cloud. Even if you lose your phone, you’ll have access in case of emergency. • Skype:With this app you can call other Skype users anywhere for free, or for pennies per minute you can call any telephone number with prepaid minutes.Voice quality will depend on a good wifi connection, but it works very well. • WhatsApp: This text messaging application lets you send text messages for free to any other WhatsApp user, anywhere. So, get your family signed up and stay in touch. • TripAdvisor, Kayak, These apps can help you search and book accommodations (something that you hopefully take care of before you leave), in case your plans change. Finally, ask your mobile service provider to enable international roaming so that you can make calls in case of emergency. But, keep in mind, it will cost you upwards of $1.25/minute. So, the apps listed above, and a reliable wi-fi connection, should be your mainstay.

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n a voice tinged with an accent that never left, and a lexicon sprinkled with Yiddish, Trude Heller recounts her life story—a story that began back in the early 1900s in Vienna, Austria. It’s a story that took her through the Holocaust, into the United States, to eventually become the “first lady” of Greenville. It was in 1937, at a resort in Voslau, Austria, that a 14-year-old Trude Schonthal was asked to dance. The 17-year old boy was confident and self-assured, and so she accepted. When the boy, named Max, told her that night that they would marry some day, Trude thought he was insane. Still, they became friends as the year passed, and the relationship bloomed. Their introduction was indicative of what their future relationship would look like— bold steps taken in good faith, and an ability to see the good in everything. But that ability would soon be tested, to a degree that few would ever have to endure. Trude—tall, blonde, and blue-eyed—knew she was “sheltered”, she says, and didn’t pay much attention to politics, but knew that a vote would be had that weekend to determine whether or not

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The Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933. By 1938, the Germans had extended their power by annexing Austria and Czechoslovakia. In 1939, war broke out as the Nazis invaded Poland. Over the next two years, the Nazis had conquered most of Europe The Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. By the end of WWII, the Nazis had killed millions in their quest for power. 40

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Austria would become a part of Hitler’s Germany. But as she walked into a gym class in Vienna on a fateful Friday back in March 1938, she didn’t know that life would allow her to be sheltered no longer. Only an hour later, as she walked out of class into the city, all she saw were swastikas. Flags, stickers, badges, banners. Hitler’s mark—in less than one hour—had coated Vienna. “Every policeman. Every building. Jewish buildings were already ablaze,” she says. “They never had the vote, they just marched in. Germany took over Austria that day.” It seemed like the beginning of the end for Trude and her family, who were Jewish and now marked as such. While they discussed plans to leave, few countries would offer a visa for fleeing Jews from Europe. It wasn’t long before German soldiers knocked on their door to demand their car keys. Not long after that, they came back to demand the very apartment the family lived in. In six hours the family packed what they could, and moved into a place in a ghetto. Then, they lost one of their stores. For months they lived there, considering escape.

Yet a life lived in the ghetto was tolerable, at least in comparison with what was about to happen. In early November 1938, in response to the shooting of a German embassy official stationed in Paris, Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels announced “the Fuhrer has decided that…demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered.” In essence, he declared an “open season” against the Jewish people.

In response to Goebbels’ directives, Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Security Police, delivered orders as to how the pogroms (violent massacres or persecutions of an ethnic or religious group) should be carried out, not least of which was that officials should arrest as many Jews as the jails could hold—especially young, healthy men. The Schonthals had not heard about these active pursuits when Trude’s father, Schimek, left the house on the morning of November 9, just before a friend of Trude’s called the house. “Don’t let your father leave,” she said. It wasn’t long before her father returned, though, having convinced officers to let him return home to say goodbye before boarding a train—one likely headed to a concentration camp. “‘I’m lost,’ he said,” Trude remembers. But the family was not yet ready to give him up. A neighbor hid him in a closet until they were able to get a taxi, where the driver hid him on the floor as they transported the family to their last open store. They would hide for almost two days there, while German soldiers and citizens destroyed everything Jewish in what would be come known as Kristallnacht— “The Night of Broken Glass.” “We had an iron curtain on the store, and we closed it,” she says. “And we stayed there for 36 hours.” Soldiers knocked on the door, and the family remained quiet. But when they sealed the lock with a swastika sticker, it was up to Trude to get the family out after the program had eased. “To destroy a swastika is death,” she remembers. “It was up to me to take the big key and open the lock without disturbing the sticker. So I did.” The family returned to their home, knowing that now, for good, everything had changed. So when her father got an invitation to go to the Gestapo (“Nobody ever came back from that,” she says), he decided that it was time to leave. He boarded a train destined for Rotterdam, bribed a waiter to hide him, and eventually made it to Antwerp, Belgium, where they could get temporary, 30-day visas. Back in Vienna, Trude and her mother, Rose, were facing their own demons. Trude, being a blonde, blue-eyed beauty, struggled against offenses by German predators, all while helping Rose maintain her sanity.

Q4 Q42013 2013//// Business Black Box


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Nights of Brokenness

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“I was the one keeping it together,” Trude says. “My mother was too hysterical. The only time I saw her face relax was when she died…she carried it with her.” Still, it was vital that the Schonthal women followed Schimek’s lead, and so, with the guidance her father had sent back, Trude made moves toward an escape. They boarded the same train, but when Trude found the same waiter, he cut her off. “Don’t speak to me. I’m being watched,” he said. With nowhere else to go, Trude and Rose were forced off the train at the border, completely unprotected, in the middle of winter. But they had heard of an hourly hotel that would hide refugees under the eaves, and so they went there, paying a scout to pick them up after dark and smuggle them across the border. But time after time, for six weeks, they were caught and sent back. “We tried almost every night and were caught. We ended up in ditches with a gun in my ribs, and were sent back each time,” she says. At that time, she adds, “there were no camps for women, and that’s why I’m still here.” Soon, though, her father met a man whose brother agreed to smuggle them out—for a price. After a three-hour walk, they werepicked up in a car, and the Schonthal women made it to Belgium, where they were reunited with Schimek. For a year, every 30 days, Trude would re-negotiate their visas. The family stayed on in Belgium, falling into a somewhat “normal” lifestyle that included dancing and music. But Belgium wasn’t their landing place, and so they continued to try and find asylum elsewhere on the globe. The efforts were made more difficult by the fact that because Rose and Trude were born in Austria, and Schimek in Poland, the family could not obtain visas together. Eventually, after hearing that the Chilean ambassador was out of town, and that his vice counsel was illegally selling visas, Trude managed to obtain visas for her and her family. They prepared to sail on the Simon Bolivar in November—one year after Kristallnacht changed their lives in Vienna. But the night before the ship was to leave, a knock came on the door. The Chilean embassy had discovered the fake visas, and was cancelling them. The family was devastated. But the next morning, as the ship pulled into the English Channel, it hit two mines, killing hundreds and sinking the ship. One more miracle kept the Schonthals safe yet again. It took until the following March for Rose and Trude to gain visas into the U.S., where they would start off in New York. Schimek made plans to follow, and would leave Antwerp on May 11. On the 10th of May, Hitler marched into Belgium.

Two Different Paths Meanwhile, Max Heller had made his way to South Carolina, in a twist of fate born from his love of dance. After meeting Trude back in the summer of 1937, Max— who loved to dance—asked an American girl to dance. They


Q4 2013 ////Business BusinessBlack BlackBox Box

June 19, 1922

Trude Schonthal is born in Vienna, Austria, to Rose and Simon Schonthal

Summer, 1937

A 14-year-old Trude meets a 17-year-old Max Heller while on vacation

March 12, 1938

Hitler invades Austria prior to the planned plebiscite. Max immediately writes to a friend, Mary Mills, in Greenville, S.C. asking for a sponsor

May 9, 1938

Max hears back from Mary Mills that Shepherd Saltzman, a local businessman, will sponsor him and any other family

November 9, 1938

On the morning of Kristallnacht, Trude’s family goes into hiding at one of their family-owned shops.

January 1939

Simon Schonthal (called Schimek) is summoned to the Gestapo. He decides, instead, to flee to Belgium. Rose and Trude follow a few months later.

November 1939

With bought visas to Chile, the Schonthal family plans their leave. However, the night prior to their leave, their visas are revoked. The ship sinks in the Channel the next morning.

Q4 Q42013 2013//// Business Black Box


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danced for two hours, but couldn’t converse because of the launguage barrier, so he took her on a walk the next morning, bringing along an English dictionary. The girl—Mary Mills— was from Greenville, South Carolina. “[That summer] he brought a map to my house and we couldn’t even find Greenville on it,” Trude remembers. So when the Germans invaded Austria, Max wasted no time in securing a sponsor that would get him to America. He wrote Mary—in broken, pieced-together English—and asked for help. Through her family’s connections, Mary contacted Shepherd Saltzman, who owned the Piedmont Shirt Company, and he agreed to help. “How could I, a Jew, not help when she, a Christian, wants to help?” Saltzman is quoted as saying. And so, Max made his way to Greenville, S.C., working for Saltzman upon his arrival. Then, one day in the summer of 1940, Trude answered the door to find Max at the door. Beside him: a Western Union telegram delivery boy with a note from Schimek, whom they had not heard from since word of Hitler’s march on Belgium, saying he was okay. “They were together,” says Trude of the good news and Max. “I told [Max]…he’s been my good omen ever since.” It wasn’t long before Max made good on the promise he had made so many years prior, and asked Trude to marry him. On August 2, 1942, Max and Trude were married on Greenville’s Main Street. Max proved to be a shrewd businessman, becoming general manager of Piedmont Shirts before starting a number of companies in the heights of the textile boom. Eventually, he sold his business and, looking for another opportunity, ran for City Council. In 1969, he became part of City Council, and only two years later became Mayor of Greenville. In the eight years that Max served as mayor and Trude as— essentially—the first lady of a city that only a few decades before she hadn’t been able to find on a map, the two were inseparable. She went with him on every trip, to many meetings, and was generally by his side. “I was with him all the way,” she says. “He never went anywhere without me. Even when he disagreed with me, we did everything together.” In fact, it was together in Europe that the vision for Greenville finally materialized. “We were sitting at a table outside, watching the world go by, and I said, ‘Gosh, I love this,’” Trude remembers. “He said, ‘That’s what we’re going to do in Greenville.’ So when we got back he went to a little shop, and he said, ‘Do me a favor: I want you to put a little table and chairs outside and see if anybody would like to eat outside.’ And the guy said, ‘I can’t do that… there’s a law against that.’ And Max said, ‘You leave that to me.’” Over the next decade, the city of Greenville became a place of revitalization and growth, even as Max convinced the city, its businesses and citizens to invest upwards of $30 million in the mid-‘70s. Together, Max and Trude went to San Francisco to


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

March 1, 1940

Trude and Rose board a ship bound for the U.S., and end up in New York

May 9, 1940

Schimek telegrams the family that he is booked for passage from Antwerp on May 11.

May 10, 1940

Hitler invades Belgium.

Summer 1940

Max visits Trude in New York; Schimek sends a telegram that he is safe.

August 2, 1942

Trude and Max are married on Main Street in downtown Greenville, S.C.


Max serves as Mayor of Greenville, building out the European-style vision he has for the city’s downtown.


Max is asked by Governor Richard Riley to serve as chairman of the S.C. State Development Board. The couple travels the globe on behalf of the Palmetto State.

MAy 28, 2009

The City of Greenville unveils the Max Heller statue downtown

June 13, 2011

Max Heller passes away

meet a designer who would bring forth the European feel that they so wanted to see again. “He wanted it to be a people’s place, a place with dogs, and children and people,” Trude says. Under his leadership, Greenville saw the additions of the Main Library, the Museum of Art, and the Hyatt, along with numerous others. Even as he was appointed to start and lead the S.C. State Development Board under Governor Riley, recruiting companies like Michelin and starting up organizations like the South Carolina Research Authority, Trude was a constant presence. For five years, they travelled the world together, entertaining and visiting on behalf of the state and making friends in unlikely places. At one point, the Hellers ended up at the embassy in Japan. While others were bowing, as is custom, the ambassador walked over to Trude and, recognizing her, gave her a hug.

In Final Days In June of 2011, with Max’s health failing, he still kept thinking of the city he called home. “He was thinking until the last minute,” Trude says. “The day before he died he said to me, ‘Please, quick, get me a paper and a pen. I just had such a great idea, and I need to run it by some people.’ My daughter said, ‘Daddy, what is it about?’ and he said, ‘Diversity. There’s not enough at Furman; there’s not enough in Greenville. But I have this idea and this is what we’re gonna do.’ “That was the day he died,” she says. “And then he took it with him.” And with all her tales of the Holocaust and the trials of Nazi Europe, the only time Trude Heller is taken by emotion is when she speaks of Max. The mother of three, grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of 16 tears up remembering the man who, while dancing 77 years ago, told her they’d one day be married. She points at no one, shaking her finger to make a point. “He always kept his word.” Today, at 91 years of age, Trude Heller is still a force— spending much of her time speaking to groups about the Holocaust and its modern-day equivalent. The woman who lost 90 members of her family to an effort that killed six million Jews now speaks against bullying, and cautions against man’s inhumanity to man.

The Holocaust, after all, she says, did not come from pure ignorance; Hitler’s regime targeted some of the most influential and educated of his time. “I can’t imagine how people can change like that,” she says. “And then, I wonder…can that happen to all of us?” And so, in what time she doesn’t spend with her family, she spends much of her time now travelling locally, speaking to schools, children in foster care, and church groups. There, she transports the audience to a time that many will hear about and still forget—where she, a 15-year old girl, was tormented, teased and threatened; where her 80-year-old grandmother was beaten to death in Auschwitz, and her cousins were pummeled into trees until they passed away; where her father would try fate time and time again looking for escape; where her mother sunk into herself, never to return quite back to normal; and of course, where she met a 17-year old boy that would, in time, change everything. “I lived it all,” she says. “And I am so lucky.”



o create a tangible and vibrant local entrepreneurial community, it takes collaboration. It’s never one visionary business person, an adventurous venture capitalist, or a single campus based research effort; it takes a village. Quick: who started Silicon Valley? It was not a single entity, but rather a community effort comprised, over time, of “geeks”, visionaries, financiers, bankers and academics. It took an entire village. Between the rolling hills of northern California, one pioneering business inspired other startups and, in the early 1980s, the term “techies” was first coined. A profitable loan attracted further investment, and suddenly “venture capitalist” became a new job description. The snowball effect created an avalanche. A well-equipped incubator amounts to very little without a group of burgeoning startups, an angel fund without prospects sees no return, and an entrepreneur with neither facilities nor capital is doomed. Community collaboration is the key. As an example, you need look no further than Spartanburg, where every single person whose responsibility it is to support our entrepreneurial culture is an active member of an organization


About the author...

Steven Hahn is a former partner in a management consulting firm, and has launched several successful businesses. He presently serves as the Director of Entrepreneurial Systems at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.


we call the Spartanburg Entrepreneurial Resource Network (SERN). Specifically this includes the local Small Business Development Center executive, the Managing Counselor at Piedmont SCORE, the Economic Development Directors for the City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg Community College’s Tyger River Business Accelerator, the Dean of the USC-Upstate School of Business, the Director of the The Space in Mungo Center at Wofford College and my office at the Chamber of Commerce. A true collaborative effort with diverse backgrounds and skills, the group meets regularly and is fully committed to assisting all entrepreneurial efforts within the county by sharing projects and resources. Additionally, SERN members have direct access to more than a hundred of Spartanburg’s most influential business leaders to serve as mentors—all told, a formidable team indeed! The result of all this collaboration is several exciting new entrepreneurial programs, including The Iron Yard’s Digital Health program, more total incubation space than any county in the southeast, and dozens of startups—some small, some big, but all well on their way to success. Ultimately, the goal is to cause a tangible shift the business culture of a community. And while that may sound daunting, it simply takes a village.

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Get ‘em while They’re hot. 2014 Festival tickets on sale now. March 6-9, 2014





Trash is a hot topic these days, and not only just for those who want to be “green.” For Scott Harke, director of Divergent Energy, finding solutions to our waste challenges is about responsibility and sustainability—a necessity for generations to come.

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios


TRAILBLAZER. Even at eighteen, Scott Harke knew what he had a desire to do. He even wrote a paper on it. “I came across this paper I wrote as a senior in high school for a scholarship, and it was about how we didn’t manage our resources sufficiently; how we aren’t good stewards of energy—and here I am at 50 doing what I wanted to do when I was 18,” he says. Today, Harke is the director for business development for Divergent Energy, a waste stream solutions company. After moving in 1981 from the Catskills of New York, and graduating with a bachelors in Industrial Management from Clemson University, he began looking for work. “At that point in ‘85, the economy was horrible. I figured I would go into banking and be an intermediary between banks and industry, but that didn’t work out,” he remembers. That did not pan out however, and due to prior experience working as a photographer for the alumni magazine and yearbook, Harke was hired by Clemson as a photographer. Realizing he would need to move on and continue his education, he participated in an intensive MBA program in Venice, Italy. Upon returning, he worked with a technology supplying company that transferred him to Denver, but, having grown fond of the Greenville era, Harke eventually returned. At that time, a friend from Clemson was working on start-ups and Harke joined with him. Thus, Divergent Energy was born. “As we started talking about all we could do with food waste and other waste streams, we decided Divergent Energy was the right place to start developing these solutions.” Two and a half years later, Divergent Energy has acquired instillations and key accounts that

have been very successful. One of the largest is the Culinary Institute of the Carolinas, where, after discovering the Institute goes through 25,000 pounds of waste annually, Divergent provided solutions for diverting their waste streams—first installing a bulk densifier, which takes organic waste material and processes it into a more useful and compact product. “The material that comes out of the machine is super rich, so if you mix it into the soil, a little bit goes a long way. It can compost really quickly, it can be pelletized as a fuel source, and it can be used as an animal feed supplement.” The chefs who oversaw the running of the machine also began to notice trends. Students would be somewhat careless with what they were wasting; as now the chefs could oversee much of the waste going in, they were able to identify these areas and began to save more food waste just by being more observant. During this process, another by-product of this food waste was discovered. According to Harke, who notes that 85 percent of organic food waste is water. While maybe not useful for drinking, this water can be filtered into what is called “gray water” and is useful for cleaning, watering, and other utility type uses. “As we continue growing as a population, water will be an increasingly precious commodity,” says Harke, “So to be able to capture and repurpose it, has gotten a lot of people’s attention.” While the Culinary Institute is their biggest success to date, there are other avenues Divergent wants to work with. “School budgets aren’t getting any bigger and to be able to put a whole solution in place, the school becomes its own ecosystem.” By making schools selfsustaining ecosystems, we can provide three important benefits: environmental,

economic, and educational. Additionally, because of the federal mandates on ethanol usage, Divergent is looking into being able to take “sweet water,” or sucrose-heavy water from organic waste, and distill it to make ethanol. “What you’re doing is taking trash… and creating an absolutely necessary commodity,” he says. Currently, Divergent Energy’s main business strategy is to come alongside businesses and other organizations and help them find other means in which they can remove their wastes. “I guess I’m just an unrepentant hippie,” says Harke. “It sounds corny, but what excites me every morning when I get up is that what we are doing can change the world and make it a better place.” But aside from the desire to change the world, Divergent Energy is still a money-making enterprise whose principles are also very mindful of the economics of recycling waste into useful commodity. “We don’t go to businesses and tell them to recycle just because it’s the right thing to do; we look at it from an economic standpoint.” With a few successful projects, Divergent Energy is focused on having conversations and building relationships to find ways in which they can partner with either institutions or other waste stream solution companies in order to provide the best solutions possible. “We want to be symbiotic, there are some instances were its beneficial for Divergent Energy to own that relationship, and there are others that let us be bolted on as part of your solution.” At the end of the day, Divergent Energy is working for the best possible solutions because when it comes to sustainability, everybody wins. “The native Americans believed you didn’t rule for yourself or for your kids, but for the seventh generation,” he says. Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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By Josh Overstreet




t’s been a fairly busy fall in the “arena” in South Carolina. Incumbents and challengers are announcing, organizing and of course, fundraising with an eye towards the March 30 filing deadline and the June 2014 primaries. Taking shape, we have primaries or contested general elections for governor, two for the U.S. Senate, potential Congressional battles and of course, all members of the S.C. House of Representative are up. Thanks to Jim DeMint’s unexpected exit from the Senate, we actually have two races for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Both Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Tim Scott are facing the voters, Graham for reelection and Scott, appointed by Gov. Haley, is actually seeking not just the governor’s approval but the voters’ as well. Scott looks like he will get a free ride in the GOP Primary which—given the raucous environment within the party—is a gift. It is not all that surprising though. Scott is well liked by various factions in the GOP, has been strategic and smart in his positions, has hired well and has taken a “listen and learn” approach since his appointment that has served him well.The senator has visited all 46 counties and frankly, he hasn’t been there long enough to do anything that might lead to a challenge.There are some rumblings of a potential candidate on the Democrats side for the general, but so far, it’s just talk.


Chip Felkel is a veteran public affairs strategist, media relations expert and advocacy innovator with over two decades of experience in the State and National arenas. Felkel’s extensive political resume includes roles with Campbell for Governor, the South Carolina Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, as well as the 1988 Bush-Quayle Campaign (Executive Director, Georgia), DeMint 2002 Congressional Re-elect (campaign manager) and in strategic and communications roles with Bush-Cheney 2000 and 2004. He also serves as a political analyst for WYFF (NBC).


Clearly the most watched race, as far as primaries go, will be Graham’s. He is being challenged by several candidates from the Tea Party (Richard Cash of Powdersville, State Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg, and Nancy Mace of Charleston). These challengers are all from the more libertarian wing of the GOP, but each represents a different segment of the disaffected and disenchanted, making it hard to mount a serious threat. The Tea Party mindset seems to be that everyone in the GOP must be totally in sync with their positions and their approach.To me, these RASCALs (Republicans Against Solutions, Communication and Logic) need to learn that politics is about addition, not subtraction.The GOP won’t win another national election until that point is not just recognized, but accepted. That said, this current challenge is no surprise for Graham, and he seems to be well prepared for the coming battle. Still, there are those who find his willingness to work across the aisle as sign of weakness or lack of commitment to conservative principle. I don’t see any substantial evidence of that. Graham has never felt the need to bolster his “true conservative” bona fides with fire-and-brimstone rhetoric, but rather seems to be quite comfortable taking sometimes unpopular, but logical positions for what he sees as the country’s greater good. You may disagree, but I like having a U.S. Senator who has the common sense to know that communication and civility are necessary requirements for the job, and who also has the fortitude to act on it. Like the U.S. Senate race, the general election for governor is over a year away, but the battle lines are already drawn between Gov. Haley and State Senator Vincent Sheheen, who have now both formally entered the race. Haley chose the Upstate for her kick off and was joined by the governors from Texas, Wisconsin and Louisiana in late August. A lot was made of the turnout for that event by the S.C. Democrats who claimed is indicative of her low approval. It was also a late August afternoon.You can come to your own conclusions. That’s all for now, next time we will look at important policy battles in the S.C. General Assembly’s Session which will be addressed starting in January.

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Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

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Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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f ever a startup had the potential for market disruption, Prime Genomics has it. Potentially able to reduce the need for mammograms, painful procedures and other medical challenges, the company has developed a product with the capability to detect diseases like breast cancer with a simple saliva test. With a background in math, physics and bioinformatics, founder Sandy Shaw had a head start in working with data. Alongside Scott Greenstone and Steve Smith, Shaw took what started as simply investigating patterns in genetic data into a product that addressed one of the most critical medical challenges in the world—breast cancer—which kills almost 40,000 women in the U.S. alone each year. The test, which looks at RNA instead of DNA, doesn’t tell women their potential to get breast cancer; it actually identifies the presence of the disease itself. “It actually says you have breast cancer,” Shaw says. “It’s telling you what your genes are doing in real time.” Already having raised the funding to do a 50-patient clinical trial in the U.S., the next goal for Prime Genomics is to head overseas to India, where around 95 million women who should be getting mammograms are far underserved. Eventually, Shaw and his team hope to bring the product back to the U.S. and other developed countries, where the saliva test can simply become part of a woman’s annual exam. Additionally, breast cancer isn’t the only medical condition that you will see Prime Genomics working in. According to Shaw, this test is just the beginning of what the company can provide. “We actually have 17 other diseases and conditions along with breast cancer that we’ve identified that we can detect using our platform— but we’re focused on the breast cancer saliva marker because we feel that will have the biggest impact.”

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magine if going to your doctor was as easy as going online. Imagine if instead of a long office wait, it actually meant more time with your physician. And imagine if you could manage your healthcare all from your mobile phone or iPad. Shameet Luhar and Philip Rub did, and used the Iron Yard as a launch pad to “transform personalized medicine” through their startup, Vheda. Meaning “knowledge” in Sanskrit, Vheda is a care management platform that offers patients that are suffering from chronic disease or experiencing life events (like type 2 diabetes, obesity, or even a high risk pregnancy), a more individualized, simple approach to their healthcare. “We offer them live video coaching sessions with a medical practitioner, all from their handheld mobile device,” says Luhar. For those with chronic conditions, consistent care is key, and through Vheda, patients can ease some of the challenges of maintaining and keeping doctors appointments, while at the same time have ready access to doctors on a week-by-week basis. At the same time, doctors’ offices should see a reduction in no-show rates from toobusy patients. “By you being on our plan, you get to see the same practitioner—or the nurse who knows you—working with you on your specific needs through the disease,” says Luhar. Rub agrees. “It’s really about convenience and personalization,” he says. “We’re trying to build a platform that is convenient and also is tailored to your specific needs, based on how you are doing with that disease.” Under new healthcare regulations, healthcare that happens virtually is eligible for reimbursement, so Vheda could gain traction in the industry very quickly. By targeting employer groups, insurance companies and hospital systems—and with an early focus on diabetes care—they hope to show the potential cost savings for all involved. “There’s about a $7,000 difference between a diabetic who is managing their diabetes and one who is not, per year,” says Luhar, referring to a study that says that diabetes patients, over the course of their lifetimes, can spend upward of $85,000 out of pocket for managing their diabetes care. “What we want to do is minimize that $85,000 over the lifetime of their care and make it as small as possible.”


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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ealthcare has a lot of players in it—between providers, insurers and patients, there’s a lot of focus on the industry from different vantage points. But according to Senthil Premraj, there’s one group that is too often forgotten. “There’s this subset that a lot of people forget about— the employers—who are predominantly subsidizing a large portion of the health insurance for their employees,” says Premraj. “They are essentially the real payers [into the healthcare system], because they are putting in the money. The insurance company is just collecting the money and putting it out to different groups.” Employers were looking at how to trim costs in employee benefits and healthcare, even long before the Affordable Care Act, but today, that consideration has turned into a major focus for most employers, where getting lower premiums is relatively unheard of, and consumer-based plans have a tendency to backfire. It was out of this that Premraj created HealthPlotter. It’s well known that “incentivizing employees to be healthy can increase a company’s ROI in this matter—the healthier that an employee is, the less likely he or she will need constant healthcare, therefore reducing premiums overall. But HealthPlotter takes a deeper look—unlike the programs where employees out of “healthy” range (BMI, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol) pay more in premiums for their insurance, HealthPlotter flips that on its head, determining whether or not an employee is in the “normal” range, or outside of it, and then incentivizing each employee to get—and stay—within those healthy parameters. “Employers can customize how much incentive they want to give,” says Premraj. Employees outside of the normal range can earn money proportional to how well they do in getting closer to that goal; those within the healthy range earn money consistently, if they maintain healthy ranges. “You have to be within the normal range to earn money,” he adds. “It’s a full blown financial rewards program, with the communication and engagement aspects built into the program, for the employee population.”


oday, health care is fragmented—one person may have numerous doctors, stacks of historical records, a list of past prescriptions, current health scores and ranges, and everything in between. It makes a complicated industry more complicated—even for those who want to maintain their own health records and information. Part of the problem, at least according to Sean and Meredith Elwell, is that in the current systems, consumers (patients) aren’t allowed to act like consumers. “We’re helping consumers to act like consumers, which is something that’s very difficult to do in the modern paradigm,” he says, pointing to the fact that in the current fee-for-service structure, people not only aren’t paying for what they need when they need it, but they also don’t know the cost of their procedure until they are billed. “There’s a huge fog on the consumption side and complete clarity on the supply side.” To clear the fog, the Elwells, a married couple from Connecticut, joined the Iron Yard to launch Care.IT (pronounced “carrit”), to help aggregate and simplify a (self-insured or un-insured) patient’s health information into one place. Care.IT is a dashboard, where all your information—your fitness “score”, current prescriptions, upcoming appointments and more—is featured on one page. Going deeper into the site will offer health archives, online consultations with physicians, and even a place to aggregate all the information from different online or mobile apps into one place. “We ask you to access your healthcare in a certain way; we ask you to start virtually,” says Sean. “This doesn’t get in the way of people going to see doctors in the flesh and blood, its just that the default is not to go see your doctor in the flesh and blood.” “That’s how we’re envisioning healthcare,” says Sean. ”Step one is to roll this out to the 56 million uninsured. Step two, we want to be a health insurance company.”


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


ow will you burn your lunch? Darlene Rodillo wants to know. As founder of Blaze Health, Rodillo wants to change the conversation around food and exercise to one more focused on a positive approach to personal energy usage. “We’re really focused on obesity, as it’s related to pretty much every other chronic condition out there,” Rodillo says. And while there are many apps and services that help track food or activity out there, many boil down to a conversation about calories— a measurement that evades many of us on our quest for healthy foods and f it bodies. “What is available is clearly not addressing the need,” Rodillo says, “Obesity is growing year over year. And it leads to a lot of other problems. While tracking does work, Rodillo notes, it’s a pain to do and many are turned off of the system over time. But through Blaze Health, Rodillo hopes to change the center focus of health and diet tracking from the calorie to an easier method—one that could be as simple as taking a photograph of your plate. “It’s really more to get a food landscape of what you’re eating,” she says. “Being able to see something visually helps you see where you’re falling off the plan.” By partnering this system with one that takes into consideration what activities you already do, (walk the dog, go to the gym, play basketball), the app (and future web portal) can take an active approach to balancing food and activities. For example, that apple may fit in with with your plan. That cookie, however, might trigger a kickback: “How long will you be playing basketball tonight?” While Rodillo continues raising funds to push Blaze Health into development, she continues to draw the correlation between what we eat and how active we should be. “It’s all about looking at food and how foods translate to activities,” she says. “We want to start creating better habits, and find ways to do that.”



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ith advancements in Internet technology, several services have been available for both instant and widespread use by people. One such example is banking. We can now log on to a bank’s website and monitor accounts that have been made with the bank. Why not apply this to healthcare? “It’s empowering the patients to take care of their own healthcare records,” says Lawless. is the creation of David Lawless and brothers John-Michael and Patrick Carter. Using market research showing 80 percent of healthcare purchasers are women with 62 percent being mothers, they want to tap into a niche market with their interactive healthcare information app. “Mothers tend to be the most engaged healthcare users,” says Lawless. The app is designed for mothers to keep detailed records on their family’s health such as immunization records, insurance info and birth certificates. These detailed records can be sent to whomever needs them and doctors have a detailed record on patients that is updated more constantly then just the periodical doctor visit. Working through Iron Yard as an accelerator program has brought the product up to almost 90 percent completion. They knew Spartanburg would be special when they joined, citing a “unique feel” to the program as inspirational. Their next step is to finish development then have the product out in prototype and testing phases, having doctors prescribe them to patients for testing in order to keep records. Future plans for the app include physician accountability, increased interconnectivity between devices such as scales and glucose monitors, as well as finding a provider for mass marketing and selling the app.


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


ith healthcare reform, nurses are asked to see more people; do more,” says Daniel Godla, the man behind Thoroughcare. Godla, originally from Pittsburgh, has lived in Philadelphia for the past eight years before coming to Spartanburg for Iron Yard, where he’s been impressed at how much the local medical community of Spartanburg has supported Godla and Thoroughcare. “They really want this to succeed in Spartanburg.” Iron Yard has been perfect fit for Godla, because of the focus on healthcare and the availability of experienced mentors to help the entrepreneurs along. Thoroughcare is a software designed to be give fast and accurate diagnosis and is designed to go deeper than any current survey software out currently. “This is the TurboTax of healthcare,” says Godla. By using a guided interview style of surveying a patient, it works with a nurse’s workflow to help them meet the increasing number of patients, yet still remain accurate with a diagnosis. At this point, Thoroughcare is in the product development phase. Once a prototype is developed, Godla wants to get it into hospitals for testing. He’s excited for nurses to be able to implement the systems and see if it makes their jobs easier when initially talking to patients. After that, Godla eventually wants to take it to Silicon Valley, hoping to establish contacts with other CEOs and get the product into the hands of more companies to get more exposure and feedback. “It’s hard to do on your own…meet with the CEO of another company…that type of introduction makes it much easier.”


ven while our population ages, technology remains new and changing. At the crossroads is Second Light, a startup that focuses on new developments to help bridge these new technologies into usable formats for an older population. Meshing social media platforms like Facebook with a dashboard that can help caretakers keep up with their patients, Second Light effectively brings the two worlds together. On one page, an elderly patient can keep up with family and friends, while at the same time see appointment reminders and medication schedules set up by their caregiver. For founders Sachin Soni, Ajay Pal Singh and Kamaljeet Singh, it’s a highly relevant solution to a growing demographic of the world’s population, who want to keep up, but may find the unending flow of social networks and new additions daunting.

“It not only addresses the healthcare needs of elders, but also their social requirements,” says Soni. “They can see the social updates of their family and friends, they can see the reminders set by caretakers or family or friends, or they can set them themselves. As their child, I can sign up for my parents or my grandparents. They just log in to the screen and can see everything.” But the platform—which after development will be rolled out to communities like assisted living facilities and nursing homes—is more than a simplified version of Facebook; as patients check off various “tasks” (like taking medicine), the data provided also gives their caregiver an accurate snapshot of the patient’s lifestyle, hopefully bettering the level of care for that patient. “It’s like a recording of actual activities that are done at home,” Soni adds. “It’s very important for caregivers, who can see the lifestyle of the person they are caring for.”

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magine a mouse. Not the whole mouse. Just the mouse’s brain. Imagine that that mouse is sick. Maybe there is a spot that could be a tumor. Maybe something is misfiring. You don’t know, but you want to find out. Now, imagine that in 100 hours or less, you could have a digital map of every neuron in that sample. Such a technology could, very simply put, revolutionize our abilities in drug discoveries and medical devices. That technology is not far off— in fact, 3Scan’s technology can do just that. Using knife-edge scanning (or KESM), it can create 3D models of tissue samples. Different diseases have different scales, explains founder Todd Huffman. For some, like cancer (especially cancers that form tumors), the diseases start at a tissue level. Through pathology, you might take a chunk of tissue, then manually dissect it to examine thin layers under a microscope—a very slow and tedious process. But all that changes with 3Scan’s technology. “What we’ve done is applied automation and robotics to the process of microscopically examining tissue,” explains 3Scan’s founder Todd Huffman. “Instead of having a human manually moving around very small pieces of tissue and then looking at them under a microscope, we put the tissue into our robotic system, and it automatically slices and images the tissue. It then makes a digital representation of it, and then you can either visualize or run analytics over the 3-dimensional reconstruction.” The potential rings clear for neuroscience and histology, but 3Scan’s technology can also be used in areas like composite materials science, where one might need to examine flaws in carbon fiber composites.


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

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As a doctor, keeping track of patients is stressful enough, but what if you had a software that did all of that for you? Or, as a patient, what if there was a way to instantly see if an appointment time opened up and you have the ability to jump right on it? According to Jim Ness, CEO of My Doc Time, the program is like Travelocity for doctors. Based on ZocDoc, it is a scheduling and appointment service for both patients and doctors to access. Doctors pay to be a part of the service and can keep updated calendars, appointments, patient records etc. in the database for easy access by both parties. Ness, along with Mike Roberts, President, and Max Gillespie, investor came up with the concept seeing how ZocDoc was succeeding in larger cities. They wanted to see how it would translate in small and mid-sized cities. With backgrounds in telecommunication, and the Upstate’s history as a hub, it was an easy fit for the trio. Coming to Iron Yard very late into their development process, they were welcomed with open arms into the program. “You can never have access to all of this in such a short amount of time,” said Max. Having already launched in the Upstate, they are looking to expand in Myrtle Beach and establish accounts at doctor’s offices. With the changing climate of healthcare, patient/ doctor communication and relations are more important than ever, and My Doc Time wants to be there to help that transition.

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


EvEry EvEnt hErE is a homE run. Fluor Field makes special events more special. With so many versatile spaces, we’re able to accommodate just about any event you can dream up. Whether it’s a rehearsal dinner in the luxury suites, a community fundraiser throughout the concourse, a wedding reception in The 500 Club, a holiday party in the clubhouse, or even a road race with the finish line behind home plate, we promise a professional, fun and unique event experience unlike any other.

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had a baseball coach in high school who, when he saw any of us standing around, would shout, “Get moving, you’re not here to kill grass and make my turf brown!” People who stay in one place too long, get offended, or refuse to recognize their own pride usually get their toes stepped on by those following a leader’s vision. For a vision to be fulfilled, leaders need people willing to constantly be moving, growing, changing, challenging “the way we always did things” and carving out new ground of opportunity and new turf. Those who complain about their toes getting stepped on are usually spending far too much time attaching their self-worth to the turf they’ve firmly planted their own feet on. Problem is, when leaders cast vision, those called to the leader respond by blazing trails to fulfill the vision. The only way new ground gets plowed is by digging up old turf. Progressive, growing organizations have leaders who are constantly willing to allow people to take risks, challenge old paradigms and build new bridges to the future. But you can’t build two sets of bridges simultaneously, in opposite directions. It drains too many resources, zaps too much energy and sucks too much life and joy out of the journey. In large organizations especially, when teams begin building bridges to the future, the hope is that everyone will cross the bridge. In reality, not everyone will. As a leader, the easiest way to figure out


TO BUILD A VISION, GET THEM MOVING who’s on board, who has their own agenda and who can’t go with you is to see who’s trying to build a bridge between where you are and where you used to be. In other words, they’re building a second bridge to create a path—a way for them to stay the way they are and not work with those you’ve brought in to effect change. You can’t afford two crews, so make a decision which crew to pull, and give everyone the opportunity to get on the same bridge-building project. As a leader, you aren’t responsible for the feelings and frustrations of those who feel their toes are being stepped on, if you’ve clearly articulated the vision and given them every opportunity to get off the old turf and start building toward the future.You are, however, responsible for recognizing who’s complaining about their toes getting stepped on, and helping them see that, in reality, they are getting their toes stepped on by the very people you’ve put in place to bring the organization to the place you envision. The other responsibility you have, to them and to the team, is to give them only one choice, and give it to them with compassion:They can stay if they get their toes out of the way, off of the turf they think is theirs, and get their feet moving on the new bridge. If not, that’s okay. There will always be people assigned to different stages of your vision who helped you get here, but can’t help you get there. People who stay in one place too long are the people who get their toes stepped on because they’re standing idle, pointed in the wrong direction, and a vision only waits so long.

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About the author...

A native of Montreal, Canada, Geoff started the company in 1999. A successful entrepreneur with a heart to help others grow and succeed, Geoff’s career includes seven years of sports marketing with the Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves, as well as seven years as a Managing Director in the financial services industry with two fortune 500 companies. Geoff spends the majority of his business time advising and consulting business owners and leaders to develop strategies and practical marketing, operational and leadership solutions to help organizations grow and reach their full potential. Geoff resides in Greenville with his three children: Noah, Rebecca, and Alana.




By Josh Overstreet

A generation’s success, or lack thereof, is vitally dependent on those who come before it. Many use the word stewardship— however stewardship is just as important when we realize that we are responsible for the next generation. “To be able to take a kid that hasn’t had a job before and teach them a work ethic, to teach them to think entrepreneurially, to get them to see a part of a business and to have the responsibility of showing up to work on time and doing your job with excellence,” says Dan Weidenbenner,“that’s what gets me going every day.” Weidenbenner is the director of Mill Village Farms, an organization whose goal is to plant small, urban farms in communities where fresh produce is hard to come by. Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Weidenbenner attended Furman University and graduated with a degree in psychology in 2011. While at Furman, he participated in farming outreach and its various benefits for senior citizens. “We did a bunch of different things—what were the cognitive benefits, what were the social benefits, what were the environmental benefits of seniors involved in gardening and farming.” During the outreach, he found that the use of gardening helped

improve quality of life, built stronger communities, and also increased the attention rates of aging people. After graduating he began working with Grace Church and Masha Lending, building contacts and getting involved with the community that would lay the foundations for his future career. His work with Grace Church took him to Allendale, S.C., and while there, Weidenbenner’s eyes were opened to the needs of the community. Soon, he realized that there are communities in Greenville who have the same needs. “I was exposed to all kinds of needs and issues that opened my eyes to a whole different world,” says Weidenbenner, “I knew the same needs and issues were in our community as they were there.” So, he returned to Greenville to the Greater Sullivan neighborhood and joined Long Branch Baptist Church. Weidenbenner quickly saw that the church had a vision for not only meeting the spiritual needs in the community, but also the physical. “The immediate need for our neighborhood is that people need jobs; they just don’t come easily anymore,” he says. “A job has a transformative quality, it teaches the value of hard work.” With this vision, Mill Village Farms was created to start impacting the community’s youth and through them

transform neighborhoods. By reaching the kids and giving them jobs, Mill Village Farms can then have those teens impact their own homes. “We take vacant properties in our neighborhood that are either condemned houses or property that was never built on, then turn them into small, dense farms where we can grow a lot of food in a small area,” Weidenbenner says. Since their start in 2012, they now currently employ 10 kids with two farms in the Mill’s Mill community as well as another 50 acres off of Saluda Dam Road in Easley.They drive the kids to the farm in Easley where they work on the farm, then take the produce back to their communities. Other partnerships have been built along the way— one with Clemson to help entrepreneurial education for the youth and another with Loaves and Fishes to begin using one of their refrigerated trucks to begin a mobile market. “A lot of kids start seeing the farm as a stepping stone to better jobs, colleges and starting their own businesses,” he says, noting that when the kids move on to their next step, other kids see that step and decide to begin working as well, changing their neighborhoods from the ground up. “The kids are able to shape their culture. The kids give back to the neighborhood

and the neighborhood wants to give back to the kids,” says Weidenbenner.And as an added bonus, “They are now eating healthier because the kids are the ones changing the culture.” In addition to renewing these older communities through their teens, other benefits have appeared with the urban farms. According to Weidenbenner, the farms have increased biodiversity, beautified vacant properties, increased storm water management and created community relationships. In the short term, MillVillage Farm’s next goal is to create a central hub for themselves. “Short term we want to create a system to process our produce.We would love to create a hub—a space for Mill Village farms to have a classroom, office and work space,” he says, “then within five years we would like to develop for-profit businesses that help fund our non-profit, with more opportunities for our kids and others to come alongside and help our business sustain itself.” But even at its most basic, the economic impact of Mill Village Farms is impressive. After all, if just one of the kids creates a new business through Mill Village, then South Carolina will have five to 10 more jobs that didn’t exist before. “The success of our farms is the success of our youth. If they are not successful,than our farms are not going to be that successful,” says Weidenbenner.

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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Mill Village Farms is more than just a few gardens sprinkled across the Upstate— it’s a chance for young men to find a cause and for food deserts to become a wealth of local produce. And Dan Weidenbenner knows:it takes a village.




en years ago, I suffered from terrible insomnia (as if there is any other kind). One morning I was leading a training class in Greenville and was barely able to function. As I staggered into the very full training room, one attendee said loudly, in her very distinct southern accent: “Walker, you look like Hayell!!” (Do let me say: I have a well-deserved reputation for being direct and my clients often follow my cue.) I thanked her for noticing and told her that I was really having a bad bout of insomnia. “You should eat more fish!!!” she replied, loudly and insistently.I kept my emotions to myself, chugged a cup of coffee, and went on to teach the class. Two hours later, her comment, as well as my reaction to it, really stuck in my craw. Why had I gotten so angry? She certainly had no ill will. In fact, she was actually trying to help. What was it about that interaction that made me flip out, if only in my mind? Then I got it. She didn’t understand the details of my issue. She hadn’t asked any questions, and therefore she hadn’t learned enough about my insomnia yet to earn the right to solve my problem. How often is our well meaning advice dismissed because we did not take the time to really understand?


All you do is help them figure out what’s real. It’s not just a business philosophy, it’s a life mantra for Walker McKay. Innately curious, disarmingly honest, and—let’s just say it-liable to say anything at any time to any one—he’s a trusted coach and mentor to entrepreneurs and business owners across the state. Walker is a proud graduate of Washington and Lee University. Prior to serving as president of Sandler Training, he worked in commercial real estate, a career choice for which he says he was “wildly unprepared.” That led to his interest in helping other high achievers learn the skills they need to effectively navigate a business world in which everything can become a negotiation.


As salespeople, it is our job to fully explore and understand, to diagnose before we prescribe a treatment. Let’s suppose that the conversation had been instead: Client: “Insomnia? Tell me more about that?” Me: “I am stuck in this pattern of going to bed at 10:00 exhausted, then I wake up at 1:30 am like a shot has gone off. I am then wide awake until 5:00 when I usually fall into a deep sleep until my children wake up at 5:45.” Client: “How long has this been going on?” Me: “Six months, at least.” Client: “Wow, that’s terrible. What have you tried to do about it?” Me: “I bought a new mattress, went to my doctor, gave up caffeine after lunch, quit drinking alcohol (for a couple of days), bought a bunch of relaxation CD’s, you name it. Client: “What do you suppose that has cost you?” Me: “Including lost productivity? Probably $50k.” Client: “Couldn’t be that much…” Me: “It’s probably more!” Client: “This may sound like a stupid question, but does it impact you personally that you aren’t sleeping well?” Me: “It’s killing me. I am not sure how much longer I can take it.” Client: “I am so sorry. Have you given up trying to fix it?” Me: “I can’t. I just don’t know what else to do… Client: “I have a friend with a similar condition who was told to eat more salmon because of the Omega 3’s. Helped her considerably.You open to trying that?” The message is the same: eat more fish. But this time the client earned the right to share her solution. Had it happened that way, I’d probably have gone straight to the store and eaten salmon on my drive home! The point is this. Don’t rush in with a solution until you have earned the right to offer it. Then instead of looking like an idiot, you’ll be on your way to a trusting relationship. For more on this topic visit




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Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

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Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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e’ve hit the fall of 2013, andThe Season is nearly upon us! No, not football. I’m talking about (insert drum roll here) Performance Appraisal Season. Someone must love performance appraisals, but I have never met this person. Most entrepreneurs I know despise them and most human resources managers I have worked with see them as a necessary but tedious part of the workplace routine.The question I have is,“Why are we doing this to ourselves?” In the last century, the U.S. workforce experienced times of truly horrible conditions, blatant mistreatment and rampant overt and subtle abuse and exploitation. These events led to a series of reforms and laws that now make the American work environment (while not perfect) among the best in the world. But, in the words of writer Oscar Wilde, “No good deed goes unpunished.” To comply with increasingly complicated and litigated rules, many companies have resorted to lengthy and multipart performance systems that attempt to grade objectively work that, often, does not fit easily into “good” and “bad” categories. At the same time, many small businesses have decided to forego appraisals entirely as useless bureaucracy. The result is a workforce complaining that feedback is poor, inaccurate or completely lacking, which results in floundering, unmotivated employees and frustrated managers.



Professional Coach, Workplace Educator, HR Consultant and Author, Leslie Hayes has used her Psychology degree from Harvard University to spark a diverse career. Beginning as an abuse investigator and counselor, Leslie transitioned into Corporate HR, building HR teams from the ground up. The Hayes Approach, formed in 2007, provides a platform to assist clients large and small in all areas of workplace effectiveness and productivity.


Enter Generation Y, Facebook, Pinterest and email world of instant commentary (read “feedback”)—plentiful, often uncensored and available at the “like” of a mouse click. Who wants to wait for the annual performance appraisal ritual? Indeed, with shortening product cycles and instant world-wide communication, how realistic is it to confine feedback to an annual conversation? In an effective performance review, nothing is a surprise. People need feedback. Laws are real and companies need to have sufficient documentation for personnel actions—good or bad. Yet the majority of performance management systems are infuriatingly inadequate at best and dangerous demotivating at worst! What’s an enlightened employer to do? Based on two decades of work inside large and small companies across multiple industries, I offer the following: Have a plan for feedback conversations. Whether or not your company uses an official form or appraisal system, establish a time for frank, individual conversations with your team members about their successes, mistakes, lessons learned and future goals. Put these conversations on your calendar at a minimum every four to six weeks, and keep the appointments. Write something down. Once every week or two, take 10 minutes per team member to reflect. What have they done well? What needs improvement? Where do they seem to want to learn more? Record these thoughts in a notebook or electronic journal along with the date, and you will be ready with concrete examples for your next conversation. Use electronics to your advantage. Did someone do a great job? Send a quick email letting them know it, or post a recommendation on their Linked In account regarding the terrific project they just managed. A few honest words delivered in a timely way have remarkable impact. Consider using shared work platforms where team members can post work, feedback, suggestions and praise in real time. There are many platforms out there, but to get your creative juices flowing, take a look at Sharepoint or for ideas. Don’t give up! You will miss a scheduled meeting, forget to reflect on your team, recognize one team member and somehow completely miss something another team member did. When this happens, take a deep breath, apologize if appropriate and start again. The momentum you will build with honest, consistent, frequent performance feedback is worth it. For more on this topic visit

Real estate agents are feeling it, developers are driving it and homebuyers are paying for it. Real estate hot spots in residential, commercial and industrial markets are popping up across the Upstate. Some may not come as a surprise, driven by major capital investments, but others have been quietly simmering for years and only recently have plans materialized, driving up market values and creating a run on property. Plans passing through area building permit offices include proposals for mixed-use development, major industrial projects and housing. According to the Greenville Building Permits office, approved construction permits totaled

in 2012. In the first seven months of 2013 that number was already closing in on approximately

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More than 500,000 square feet of retail space is either under construction or recently completed in the Greenville Spartanburg area. That has made for the most active retail market in the last five years. While growth is happening throughout the Upstate, these seven areas are particularly active.

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


This year alone, more than half a million new square feet of retail space has been added to the Upstate, with more than one-fourth of it happening in one spot: Woodruff Road.

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The Magnolia Park development is adding an additional 140,000 square feet of retail space, according to CBRE Global Research and Consulting, where a flagship of the development includes Cabela’s, which is currently under construction and expected to be completed next year. Michael Hatcher, Vice President of Real Estate Development for Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s, was behind the company’s decision to locate on Woodruff Road. “That area of town, right across from Magnolia Town Center, is kind of a retail bulls-eye of Greenville,” says Hatcher. Beyond looking at traffic counts, he says, the company pays special attention to nearby businesses, since 40-percent of their sales happen during lunch. “BMW, Michelin, Hubbell Lighting—those are all great daytime drivers which we love,” he explains, “It was kind of a nobrainer for us.” It seems the only thing that will slow development on Woodruff Road is the traffic, and Dan Hamilton, founding partner of Keller Williams Realty Greenville-Upstate (and member of the South Carolina House of Representatives), agrees. The Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study, GPATS, presented a $27 million plan to create a parallel route that gives drivers alternatives to the already jammed Woodruff Road. “That is going to be a linchpin for any further development in 2020 or 2025,” says Hamilton. “If things go the way they’re going it will be worse than Atlanta.” But finding the funding for the project may be tougher than scoring a parking spot at the Shops at Greenridge in December. “There are plans on the books,” says Hamilton, “and we have to figure out how to get it done.” 82

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

In terms of the ability of a development to impact our community, it doesn’t get much bigger than the inland port project. Some leaders have compared it to the arrival of BMW in the 1990s. Although the South Carolina Port Authority purchased the 40-acre plot off Highway 290 and J. Verne Smith Parkway in Greer more than three decades ago, construction on the inland port didn’t begin until earlier this year. Delayed by 58 rain days, the approximately $45 million project was completed in October with the first cargo arriving in mid-month. Containers from around the world shipped to Charleston will be loaded onto a train and make the 212-mile overnight journey to the Upstate. According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the state’s exports hit a record high of $25.3 billion in 2012, and that number could continue to grow, according to Jim Newsome. As President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports, Newsome says development officials have fielded more than 150 inquires in the last year from companies interested in locating to the area because of the inland port development. Of those, nearly 30 have resulted in visits. “The area surrounding the inland port is ideal for distribution, e-commerce and export consolidation activities,” says Newsome. As an example, BMW is already working on a $13.4 million expansion in response to the project. Carter Smith, Executive Vice President of Spartanburg’s Economic Futures Group, says his development organization isn’t back to pre-recessionary numbers in terms of project traffic, but they’re close. And the inland port project could make all the difference. “It has generated a good amount of interest from companies that move goods in from the port or companies that have the opportunity to export product,” he says. “The airport adds another dimension to the movement of goods that a lot of communities don’t have.”

“The West Greenville neighborhood has the potential to be one of the City of Greenville’s most desirable places to live,”

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says the West Greenville Master Plan, created after a year-long series of community meetings more than a decade ago. Bounded by the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks to the north and less than a mile west of the Central Business District, the area has yet to become one of Greenville’s most coveted, but local artist Jim Gorman says it’s getting there. When he set up his studio five years ago he says you’d still see the occasional panhandler, and there were far more derelict buildings than there are now. “It’s a really positive environment down here,” he says, “It’s really an up and coming area.” Dan Hamilton recently announced his company’s plan to invest in West Greenville real estate., as they will move the Hamilton & Co. Keller Williams office into part of a redevelopment project on Academy and North Markley Street. For more than a decade they’ve leased office space off Haywood road, but Hamilton says attractive interest rates and burgeoning opportunity made this the right time to move. “We’re planting our flag in West End of Greenville,” says Hamilton, “We feel confident that’s a place to invest our dollars.” In the area, conversations are once again happening among developers and city leaders to turn the Brandon Mill into a mixed-use development complete with 173 apartments, restaurants and even a much-needed grocery store, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated West Greenville a food desert—a community without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. In the meantime, a mobile market called Good to Go makes regular stops in the neighborhood to sell residents fresh produce. Then, there are business owners like Mandy Blankenship, who located her business ShopKeep to Pendleton Street in 2012, as she and her husband Joshua are hoping to buy and renovate a mill house nearby. Blankenship says even though the original artists located to the neighborhood a dozen years ago, they’re still working hard to get the word out about the area. “I think we’ve been fighting an uphill battle letting people know who we are,” she says. Local business leaders recently rebranded the neighborhood, once known as the Pendleton Arts District. It’s now called The Village of West Greenville, paying homage to the area’s mill village vibe, where rebranding efforts included creating a logo and launching a website, “I feel like there’s a beautiful history that’s really rich to this area,” she says, “I want to see things coming in that are going to be accessible to everyone from the hipsters to the people who are lower income.”


Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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What’s the most exciting thing happening in Spartanburg? For Mitch Kennedy, Spartanburg’s Director of Community Services, it’s the revitalization of the city’s Northside. “There’s so much anticipation about the possibilities and what could happen,” says Kennedy.

Two years ago, conversations started about transforming the area and now progress is well under way.

This fall the city is starting construction on a “model block”—12 townhomes complete with updated lighting and fresh streetscape design that puts the neighborhood’s potential on display. But the revamp of the Northside won’t stop at housing.“You have to make sure you are addressing all things that create sustainable communities,” says Kennedy, and that includes components like education, recreation and jobs. In 2011, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine opened the doors of its Carolina Campus on Howard Street. In 2012, nearby Cleveland Elementary became the first elementary school in the state to try a yearround curriculum.There are plans that include building a new community center in the neighborhood—plans that leaders are hoping the momentum of development will also attract new businesses. In early 2014, the $1.6 million Healthy Food Hub will open its doors on Howard Street, housing the Hub City’s Farmer’s Market, an urban farm, community kitchen and more. The Healthy Food Hub will add 22 jobs, with 17 workers coming from within the Northside neighborhood. “I think it will be great for serving the residents,” says Liberty Canzater, President and Founder of the Butterfly Foundation, which initiated the project. “It will help the area from being a food desert by giving fresh produce to the community.” The city also hired Columbia Residential to create a master plan for the community, which is expected to be complete in 2014, and plans to pursue federal grants to fund much of the work. In the end, Mitch Kennedy hopes to be one of the residents who call the Northside home.“We envision a neighborhood where the people who live there choose to stay there,” he says, “and the people who can live anywhere choose to move there.”

Vardry McBee, known as the father of Greenville, was also known to be generous. According to historical records, McBee gave his son, Pinckney, 22 acres of land. The younger McBee built himself a home there—the very first in what is now known as HamptonPinckney, according to Greenville’s website. Hampton-Pinckney was considered the first “trolley car” neighborhood in Greenville— highly desirable because of the easy access to Main Street. But as the city expanded, Hampton-Pinckney was no longer the place to be, making way for decay and disrepair.

When Setian moved his family into a townhome near the intersection of Mulberry and Pinckney in 2009, demand was sluggish. Out of 14 townhomes constructed the year before, just seven were occupied. While he says the neighborhood’s reputation among long-time Greenville residents was not good, he saw an area prime for investment. “People from Greenville frankly feared the area,” he says, “They had perceptions that were untrue about it being dangerous and crime-ridden.” Setian, a real estate agent, owns four single-family homes and one lot in Hampton-Pinckney with three other properties currently under contract. He also leases office space in the neighborhood. “I’ve put my money where my mouth is,” says Setian, who sees increased potential with the city’s plans to create a massive public park near the Kroc Center and develop Washington Street with restaurants and retail.The city also purchased Green Plaza Shopping Center at the corner of Pete Hollis Boulevard and Mulberry Street, and is relocating current tenants that include ABC Bartending School and Just Right Barber Shop.Then, they’ll demolish the strip mall to make room for new development. For homebuyers, Hampton-Pinckney offers the opportunity to buy property for a fraction of the price of other neighborhoods that surround downtown, but the good deals may be fleeting.“You can walk downtown from North Main, but you’re going to be tuckered out by the time you get there,” says Setian, “I can be there in 10 minutes.” Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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In recent years the historic neighborhood has seen a renaissance, thanks to residents like Haro Setian.

Alesia Hunter, Anderson County Development Standards Manager, says once-dormant Anderson County housing projects have begun to pick back up, with the bulk of activity happening in Powdersville.

“It’s a beautiful area,” says Hunter. “We have an influx of people who want to be in that area.” And developers are responding to that increase in demand.

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Three new subdivisions have recently received phase-one approval, which means ground could break before the end of the year. Sixtythree new homes are proposed in an extension of Airy Springs off of Highway 81 North called the Enclave. Forty-five lots are being prepped for construction in the Ellison Plantation subdivision and another 35 are in the works for James Lake. Sally Ballentine, New Homes Specialist for Airy Springs, says the Wren School District is a big draw for families, as is the convenient location in between downtown Greenville and Anderson. “I live off Woodruff Road and I appreciate the lack of congestion,” she says of Powdersville. But despite the variety of choices home buyers have for new construction, she believes Powdersville is transitioning to a sellers’ market. “We’re in a place now where buyers are having to change the way they’re thinking,” she says, “You can’t just ask for everything and get it for a song.” Besides hundreds of new homes, a new YMCA is currently in the works on Wyatt Road and Highway 81. Recently completed projects include a new Walmart, CVS and a medical complex, which is now “the busiest part of development we have,” says Hunter. During the first seven months of 2013 county officials issued 294 single-family home permits—poised to surpass last year’s number of 369 and double the number of permits issued in 2009 when just 195 new homes were constructed in Anderson County. 88

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box

Homeowners have already been hard at work in the North Main area, uncovering the beauty of its historic homes through painstaking restorations. It’s hard to find a block that doesn’t show signs of a major renovation project. Meanwhile, the nearby thoroughfare of Stone Avenue hasn’t seen as much activity. But in as little as a year, Stone Avenue is expected to change from being simply a downtown gateway to having its own distinct character and community for the residents of North Main. According to the Stone Avenue Master Plan, 73,454 people live within three miles of the intersection of North Main and Stone Avenue. Yet, more than five acres of prime land at this corner sits barely used. Many things have come and gone: a grocery store, a gas station, residential homes and an auto service shop, to name a few. But now it’s mostly just a few patches of concrete and a billboard. That could change in 2014. The Charleston-based The Beach Company is in the process of buying the land and constructing a mixed-use development complete with residential and retail. Dan Doyle, Vice President of The Beach Company, says they’ve met with nearby residents and will continue to gather their opinions throughout the process. “We received great feedback and were very encouraged about their support and excitement for seeing that site develop,” says Doyle, who hopes to present plans to the planning commission this fall. “I do believe it will be something that hopefully when we’re done, everyone can look back and be proud of.” A second mixed-use development is in the works for the corner of Stone Avenue and Rowley. Plans include 1,600 square feet of retail space on the ground level and 51 apartments above with a rooftop deck, bike parking and a fire pit in the back. At Vannoy and Stone Avenue, a new neighborhood restaurant called Universal Joint is moving in. City officials say some landscaping, streetscape and sewer improvements are also likely.







e have just completed the first half of the regular session of the 120th South Carolina General Assembly—a gathering fairly unremarkable, even by Columbia’s standard. Sessions are two years long, with the Legislature meeting from the second Tuesday in January through the first Tuesday in June, giving us one of the longest part-time legislatures in the country.A two-year session means that if a bill is still alive in a committee, or not addressed by both bodies, it can be carried over to the following year without technically having to be reintroduced. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what they’ve been up to in Columbia since mid-January. (By the time you read this, and with some luck, the Conference Committee will have agreed on provisions for the creation of a Department of Administration (getting rid of the antiquated Budget and Control Board) that will let our governor actually govern like a chief executive, and passed the much needed Ethics Reform.) The Conference Committee did, in fact, agree on a budget. However, it did nothing about the way state aircraft are used. Senators originally had sought to sell two state-owned aircraft following controversies involving how legislators and governors have used the planes.They did, however, limit the use of the planes by state universities for recruiting trips.


Chip Felkel is a veteran public affairs strategist, media relations expert and advocacy innovator with over two decades of experience in the State and National arenas. Felkel’s extensive political resume includes roles with Campbell for Governor, the South Carolina Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, as well as the 1988 Bush-Quayle Campaign (Executive Director, Georgia), DeMint 2002 Congressional Re-elect (campaign manager) and in strategic and communications roles with Bush-Cheney 2000 and 2004. He also serves as a political analyst for WYFF (NBC).


The budget rejected $2 million that Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee) had requested to set up a fund for victims of a 2011 amusement park train accident in Spartanburg that injured 28 and killed one. Spartanburg County owns the train and, because of a state cap on payouts, the injured, almost all children, had to split $600,000 to help cover their medical expenses. Education received $26 million to expand the state’s four-year-old kindergarten program for at-risk children into 17 additional high-poverty school districts, and will now operate in 37 school districts. And, thankfully, in a long overdue move, our roads will finally get some attention. The committee agreed to borrow up to $500 million to fix the state’s interstates and primary roads, spend $41 million collected from the half the sales tax on motor vehicles on the state’s secondary roads, and use another $50 million in one-time surplus money on bridge replacement and rehabilitation (The State). Another bill that is finally getting some decent traction in the Senate is one that will shorten the Legislative Session. A shorter session not only could save tax dollars but also force the Legislature to work more efficiently. It did not pass this year, but a very big topic in next year’s race for governor between the incumbent Governor Nikki Haley and her former and current challenger, Sen. Vincent Sheheen will be the expansion or lack of expansion of Medicaid. She is against it; he is for it. Most of the House of Representatives are against it, but many are taking a look at how we might offer a state-based solution that would tackle the issue. These folks realize something must be done as it also affects our state’s ability to successfully compete for economic development projects. The data breach fiasco will also be a topic in 2014 as will the need for continued funding for free credit monitoring for those affected (all of us). The question is: how long will the state cover that cost? Will it be for another two years, or 10? That will likely depend on just how many instances of fraud are reported that can be accurately attributed to the breach. A very positive outcome of this session is the passage of the Angel Investor bill which provides tax credits to those who invest in new ventures in S.C. These investments will go to assist in the funding of start-ups which are approved through the Secretary of State’s office. This bill will go a long, long way in promoting innovative ideas, and creating new jobs. Credit should go to Bill Wylie, the former Upstate representative who championed the bill initially, and who passed away in 2010. For more on this topic visit

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For my first job, as a kid I carried out cases of soda pop for customers at my dad’s pop shop in Warren, Michigan. I’d carry a wooded case of 24 twelve-ounce bottles of pop and get tips. A quarter or 50 cents was huge. And during holidays like the Fourth of July, I could make $25 in tips. A fortune.

[2] What are some of the skills you developed early, that you’ve found essential now?

I think the most important skill is to sit back and listen to what people have to say, and to model civility. It is not often that people all agree on the same thing at the same time. Creating conditions for people to hear each other, respect various perspectives and to engage in a civil dialogue, recognizing that everyone is after the same thing—the best for the institution— has been an important lesson and operating principle for me.

[3] What vision do you promote for your

staff, and how do you get them to tap into it? Higher education institutions are unique in their commitment to shared governance. Everyone I talk to feels a deep sense of commitment and loyalty to Wofford. So, several things come to mind. Invest the community in the creation of a vision of Wofford, listen to them and their aspirations, create channels of communication through shared governance, and be direct with everyone—trust them as I want to be trusted.

[4] What’s your most difficult responsibility, and how do you deal with it?

I think the most significant responsibility that one has leading an organization is responsibility for all those who work for the organization. Decisions that one makes impact the livelihood of others, so they—decisions—individually and collectively must be made with great care. Importantly, decisions that advance the best interest and mission of the institution, educating and transforming the lives of young women and men, will most effectively ensure and sustain all of those associated with the institution.

[5] What do you struggle with? I am not sure “struggle” is the right word, but a great challenge at the moment is managing time and tasks. There is good reason to use a phrase like “drinking water from a fire hose” when starting a new position. There is a lot to learn, and one must pace oneself and understand that there is time enough ahead to do the things that one wants and feels need to be done.

[6] What is one of your favorite hobbies? I enjoy cooking. It is relaxing, creative, it involves a variety of skills, and I can realize great fulfilment in eating the end result… assuming it turns out well.

[7] What was your biggest failure as a professional and how did you recover?

I think a better approach is to reflect on learning opportunities I have had. For example, early in my administrative career I can think of a decision or two that was made quickly, perhaps too quickly. Ultimately, I believe the decisions were right, but I probably could have laid the groundwork a little better. Now when you make a mistake, I believe it is necessary to acknowledge it, take ownership, and change direction. No one benefits from heading down the wrong road.

[8] If you could be in any career other than academics, what would it be and why?

This may sound corny, but I am a great football fan. I’d love to coach. But it is much easier to be an armchair coach….

[9] What is one challenge you are currently working to overcome?

The opportunity before us at Wofford is to harness the energy and enthusiasm to take a great institution to even greater heights. Mobilizing students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and friends of the college to imagine what Wofford can be in the future is an opportunity that does not come around often. When it does, we must take advantage of the moment.

[10] What is your vision for Wofford College? Wofford will distinguish itself as an institution defined by excellence in all of its dimensions—from the curricular and co-curricular learning that students will experience, to the support and services provided by members of the community. And Wofford will distinguish itself as an institution that truly transforms the lives of students, creating for them new horizons of ideas and opportunities in their lives that they never before imagined possible when they arrived.

[11] You have extensive background in

international relations, especially regarding the Middle East. What is the one thing you want people to understand about our current international standings in the world? I think it is important to realize that no matter what we may think and feel about our place in the world, American leadership has been complex and at times contradictory. The impact of our role in the world has often been felt and perceived by people whose experiences and history is considerably different than our own. We would benefit from putting ourselves in the position of others, to understand their perceptions, hopes and dreams, which more often than we might imagine are closely aligned with our own. We should never forget that the U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world, and so every interaction, every policy, around the world is defined by an unequal power relationship between us and others. Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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[1] What was your first job?






THE PITCH: I started Vagabond Barista about a year and a half ago when I was 19 years old. At the time, I was working in a coffee shop and had recently realized that the coffee industry was the industry for me. It is full of art, culture and influence, and it is all about people! I had about a year of experience in the specialty coffee industry, but I knew I wanted to share the incredible culture of craft coffee with everybody I could and break the pretentious stereotype so many people have associated with coffee professionals. I learned that coffee can be enjoyed in the same way wine connoisseurs enjoyed wine. Vagabond Barista does not have a brick and mortar location. All I do is travel, from wedding parties to business meetings, small gatherings to festivals with foot traffic in the thousands—as far as clients need me to travel. I have my craft brewing equipment, my glassware, and hopefully an engaging personality and all I ask for is a water supply, electricity, and table space (although I could muster up a table if need be). After the event, I pack up all my belongings and head out. Vagabond Barista is a traveling coffee brew bar sharing good coffee and good experiences with as many people as possible. I wanted to reach people where they were and give them a stunning coffee experience, as well as an incredible relational experience. Also, I wanted to spread the word of this new coffee culture and of good community among people. So that is Vagabond Barista, a traveling craft coffee brewing bar.

Photo by Wayne Culpepper/FishEye Studios




The way I see it, your long-term success depends on two key factors: quality and scalability. Your quality is excellent (I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the Vagabond Barista first hand) and your passion for coffee is evident. Your presentation is engaging, unique and draws crowds. From my perspective you’ve got that piece nailed. The issue you need to address is scale. One person traveling from site to site is great for a hobby, but not for a business. Going solo limits you to one event or customer at a time. And since you craft each cup of coffee with painstaking care, you can’t produce a very large quantity at any one event. If you can’t scale your business it will not survive over time. I would consider ways to increase the number of people who can experience the Vagabond Barista at any given time. How? You might consider hiring and teaching others to do what you do. Think of an ‘army’ of Vagabonds. A dozen Vagabond Baristas working simultaneously will smooth the impact of any one barista doing poorly, getting sick, etc. Longer term, what about franchising? The point is that if you aren’t able to scale you will never grow and you might not be able to sustain what you have now.

The pitch well defines an interesting life style; have some great conversation about a topic that is as broad as you would like to make it, great refreshment, make a few dollars... whoops! A few dollars may not be enough. As traveling consultant you’ll have limited time for focused marketing / selling and responding to inquiries. Good word of mouth advertising from a cool experience will be likely, but that may not be enough. Think about including a comment about a small commission for productive leads to the next gig. One difficult issue with a single person business is that stuff happens in life. If you are out of commission for a time, there is no income? Consider addressing an opportunity to take on a working partner or two. You might want to add some thought to the business and the pitch regarding availability of a “special, take-home premium brand” both on-site and at your web page, to build an opportunity for a residual revenue stream that continues after the event. Last thought in the pitch is let folks know you have sewn-up the brand and that it is growing (during the recent year sales went from here to something about projected revenue /growth).

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You don’t need to look very far to know that coffee is big business. There’s a shop on every corner and the U.S. consumes about three billion pounds of coffee annually. So, demand for coffee—especially high-end coffee—is strong.

GREG HILLMAN Director SC Launch

SCOTT COCHRAN Dean, The Space Wofford

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box





na cámara de comercio es una forma de red de comercio. Los dueños de comercios y empresas de una región forman estas sociedades locales para proteger sus propios intereses. Los empresarios locales son miembros, y eligen un cuerpo ejecutivo para hacer funcionar la cámara. Son organismos extendidos por todo el mundo, usualmente regulados por ley. En los Estados Unidos, las cámaras de comercio son entes jurídicos de gran poder e importantes para el desarrollo y crecimiento de los empresarios. Las cámaras de comercio son entidades sin fines de lucro que desarrollan programas de educación, velan por las políticas públicas que afectan el sector empresarial y a diferencia de nuestros países latinoamericanos, no son regidas por el gobierno. Encontramos unas 200 cámaras de comercio hispanas en los Estados Unidos. En el estado de California existen unas 40, y le sigue Nueva York con 30, Texas con 17 y la Florida con 10. Estos mercados son tradicionalmente hispanos y la actividad comercial y de negocios ha conducido al desarrollo de éstas. En la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Carolina del Sur es nuestro derrotero el servir a nuestra comunidad, reconociendo la necesidad de educar y apoyar al empresario. En nuestros seís años de existencia hemos desarrollado el “Entrepreneur Empowerment Series” que se ofrece en ambos idiomas (español e inglés). Esta serie basada en módulos, se ha llevado a las ciudades de Columbia y Charleston.Al igual que a Greenville, SC.


Evelyn Lugo is the founder and President of the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SCHCC). With a background in business administration, Ms. Lugo obtained additional experience in working with corporations such as Eastman Kodak, Abbot Pharmaceutical and 3M. Her motivation is to help entrepreneurs, identify business growth opportunities, and help others to overcome challenges during their business development. The South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in August 2007 and designated a 501(c)6 nonprofi organization in June 2009 by the IRS.


Reconocemos la importancia de las redes comerciales y ofrecemos reuniones trimestrales, ya sean en conjunto con otras cámaras o grupos, dirigidas a conectar individuos y negocios. En el sector público colaboramos con el Departamento del Trabajo, la Comisión para Asuntos de las Minorías, el Departamento de Rentas Internas, el Departamento de Rehabilitación del Empleado y nuestro propósito principal es el conectar sus servicios con el mercado hispano. Este año 2013 ha sido uno de mucho trabajo y continuo crecimiento. Nuestro sitio en la Internet, el “Weekly-Connection” y “Newsletter” se han convertido en un instrumento importante de comunicación e información para miembros y no-miembros por igual. Hemos estrechado los lazos de comunicación con los oficiales electos, tanto a nivel local, estatal y federal. En estos momentos estamos en el proceso de solidificar un acuerdo importante con la Cámara de Comercio de Cali, Columbia siendo este el comienzo de nuestro enfoque en el desarrollo de relaciones con cámaras de comercio en Latinoamérica. Desde el 2009 celebramos nuestro cierre de año con una gala corporativa, un evento que nos permite hacer un recuento del año que pasó y la oportunidad de mirar hacia el comienzo del próximo con optimismo y renovadas fuerzas. La Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Carolina del Sur (SCHCC) es una organización sin fines de lucro, fundada e incorporada en el 2007 y designada 501(c)6 por el Departamento de Rentas Internas de los Estados Unidos. Nuestra misión es el educar y apoyar a los empresarios en el desarrollo de sus negocios. Si necesita más información o desea ser parte de esta organización, favor de comunicarse al (864)643-7261 o visite nuestra página en la Internet

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Carolina Gallery •

49 Charleston Wine + Food Festival • 2 Courtyard Marriott •


10 Fisheye Studios • 68 Greenville Drive • 5, 53 Greenville Tech • 37 Hampton Inn Riverplace • BC Holiday Inn Express • 9 Keller Williams Realty •

ANDERSON Anderson CVB SPARTANBURG Carolina Art Gallery Chapman Cultural Center Hub-Bub ShowRoom Hub City Bookshop Spartanburg Chamber

1 Michael’s Janitorial and Floor Service, Inc. • 21 Palmetto Bank • 29 Paul Johnson Interiors • 26 ProActive • 33, 79 Quality Business Solutions •

GREER Greer Chamber GREENVILLE Barnes & Noble | Haywood Rd Barnes & Noble | Woodruff Rd Broadway Bagels Coffee Underground

16 Stax Catering • 24 Summit Janitorial • 7 Water of Life • IFC Wyche, P.A. •

Newsbox @ Blueberry Frog (downtown) Newsbox @ Wells Fargo (downtown) Newsbox @ Washington St./Laurens (downtown) Fisheye Studios Greenfield Bagels Greenville Chamber Michelin on Main NEXT Innovation Center

IBC Zen •

Runway Cafe Soby’s on the Side Stax Epicurean Stax Omega Swamp Rabbit Café

Q4 2013 // Business Black Box


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Commerce Club 12 Sandlapper •





Jobs. Even putting Ashton Kutcher aside, it has become a buzzword recently. People are looking e have been through some hard times, and the U.S. economy still has a long way to for jobs, employment rollercoasters up and down go to full recovery. With bad economic news still dripping in from many corners of and businesses are having hard times filling certain the world, you might wonder if there’s such a thing as the American dream any more. gaps in their workforces. And yet…the economy is recovering and things are starting to feel a bit more Fortunately, John Baker normal. has hadThe first-hand interesting thing is, there are some good reasons to be optimistic that the American experience working both with dreamemployers will comeand back stronger than ever. Gjob LO B A in L the market. Baker Consider seekers is the director what of the U.S. has going for it: Greenville Works, an organization• wasThe born from dollar is still the world’s reserve currency of choice. This makes our earnings American a partnership of several other organizations that go further in purchasing foreign goods and services, not to mention keeping our government wanted to unite corporations and helprunning them work on vapors for longer than most. in tandem to create a better workforce. • We speak English, still the language of choice for most business transactions. Oh, and a growing According to John, there was no part shortage of ourofpopulation is truly bi-lingual, speaking Spanish fluently, the second most widely entry level applicants for available jobs, but spoken there language on the planet behind Mandarin (English is third, by the way). was an enormous need for next level employment, • The U.S. economy is still roughly 2.5 times the size of our nearest competitor, China, on a such as machinists, general technicians, and GDP basis. We are the second largest exporter behind the Euro area countries (on a country chemical operators. basis, we are the first ahead of China). From businesses searching such “next level” employees, Baker says, “the biggest response by far was the inability to find a qualified workforce.” In 2011, Greenville Works was given money by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and by combining it with other raised capital, they began sector-specific training programs to take entrylevel job seekers and shepherd them through a program, all in order to create a worker who will • In terms of natural resources, the shale gas revolution has pushed the U.S. to become the top be willing to climb employment ladders. natural “We created a four-tier career ladder,” he gas says.producer in the world. That, combined with being third in oil production and coal production, puts the U.S. in a position of energy competitiveness that many “We made it generic because we wantsecond to showinjob About the author... could have barely imagined just five years ago. seekers out there ‘this is the path you go.’” what and does are all this have to do with sharing the American dream? Just two weeks after taking Marc Bolick replanted Today, these classeshisare goingSo,strong native rootsworkers in Greenville after taking up the ladders.power, Ideally,the he new says, leader “we of our biggest global competitor, Xi Jinping, began openly talking about what living Europe for years. he and referred to to as go “the Chinese dream.” Like many slogans in one-party China, there are nuances wantin people that13are committed willing He has worked in all aspects of move inup what is meant by the Chinese dream; anything from military superiority (nationalists), to more back and get training and a step.” product and service creation economic By doing this, the program createsfreedom another,(the wealthy middle-class). for companies ranging from Should we feel threatened by this Chinese dream? Perhaps we should be wary, but it is likely that less risky alternative to hiring an employee from Fortune 100 multi-nationals the Chinese dream is more about a country aspiring to better things for its people, than tyrannical somewhere else in the country, which has inherent to mid-sized European firms world domination. to itFor such culture or real estateIt’s a dream of prosperity and a better life for future generations. to risks startups. the as past nine assimilation us back to the current state of America, to the fact that, if you are reading this, you difficulties. kindbrings of worker years he hasBy runcreating Dmarc8 a better That likelycan live and work International, a consulting firmbusinesses from within companies, improve the in the United States, and you enjoy an immeasurable level of fortune just by virtuenot of being part of this dynamic and vibrant society.You have plenty of room to dream, and there’s that helpsofclients to qualify, quality life for those who may have many plan other and implement no reason to be threatened by other people’s dreams. chances. innovative strategies. The U.S. in a historically pivotal position, and there are many sound reasons to think that we Whatgrowth Greenville Works is doing is sits a new will fullythe recover from the Great Recession reinvigorated and stronger than ever. approach to solving what is probably number The American dream is alive and well. It’s also something that is “open source,” an idea, and we one problem in workforce development. They be happy for it to spread and inspire others to more prosperous futures. work in the middle betweenshould employers, finding out what they need, and with employees, giving them opportunities to work and improve their own quality of life. “It’s not just about showing up, you have to change your life, your attitude, your aspirations and your goals and you have to be willing to go to that next step.”

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Business Black Box - Q4 - 2013  

Upstate South Carolina's Premier Business Magazine

Business Black Box - Q4 - 2013  

Upstate South Carolina's Premier Business Magazine