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Business Black Box

Quarter 1 • 2015

U.S. $5.95






Q 1 2015











Business Black Box Q1 2015

D E PA R T M E N T S 10














































Business Black Box Q1 2015


Photo by Carter Tippins/FishEye Studios


Q1.15 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.













Business Black Box is a registered trademark of ShowCase Publishing 2015. 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.





Go to your app store and download the Layar app. (available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Google Glass) When you see this mark on any page, the page has something else to show you. Just scan that page, in full, with your Layar scanner, and it will pop onto your mobile device’s screen.

Business Black Box Q1 2015

Annual Subscriptions are $20 and include four issues of Business Black Box. Think someone you know would like to receive Business Black Box? A complimentary gift card will be sent with each order indicating who the gift is from and when the recipient will receive their first issue. If you have a question about your subscription, call us at (864) 281-1323, ext. 1010, or reach us via email at

CHANGE OF ADDRESS When contacting us about changing your address, please provide us with both the old and the new addresses, as well as any other informational changes. The post office will only forward Business Black Box for 60 days, so make sure you let us know as soon as you have your information ready.

BACK ISSUES When available, back issues of Business Black Box are available for $9 by mail or for $7 for pick-up through our office.

FREELANCE OPPORTUNITIES Local talent is what keeps us moving. If you’d like to write or photograph for Business Black Box, please contact the editor at or by mail to Business Black Box, c/o Freelance Opportunities, 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607.

REPRINT / PHOTO / VIDEO REQUESTS If you’d like to request a copy or a reprint of a photo or an article you’ve seen in Business Black Box, or of a video we’ve done for your event, please contact us for info and pricing at info@insideblackbox. com or by mail to 1200 Woodruff Rd., Suite A8, Greenville, SC 29607.







BUSINESS Business Black Box (Vol.7, Issue 1) 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.


EVENT MANAGEMENT / SPONSORSHIP Business Black Box hosts events monthly from Business Connect networking held at local businesses to sponsoring events for other local organizations. If you’d like to find out more about hosting an event with Business Black Box, or about working with us to sponsor your event, please call our sales team at (864) 281-1323, ext. 1018, or email







TO INTERACT Interactive. If you’re anything like me, you constantly hear about how you (or your company) need to be more “interactive.” Companies are pressed to make websites responsive, social media personal, and create a realm of “interaction” with various customers in various ways. But on the other hand, interaction shouldn’t only be digital. We are, at the same time that we make everything digitally interactive, striving to make things humanly interactive. More face-to-face meetings. More talking. More connection. It’s also true that different people crave different things. It’s normal, I suppose, for an extrovert who is thick into social media to crave faceto-face networking. I’d guess that for someone who is a kinetic learner, writing becomes an important way to retain information. And, of course, in this digital world, we are constantly striving to do new things and make them instantaneous…engaging…and viral. Here in the print world, there’s a lot of talk of being more “interactive,” and in most instances, you’ll find that it means that someone added video to their website or that they’ve thrown in a QR code. At Business Black Box, however, we want interactivity to be measured by our readers, and so we’ve done, starting with this issue, a number of new things. You’ve likely already noticed the redesign of the magazine, but if not, let me point out some things: we’ve grown our page size, allowing for larger margins for notes, as some of you have mentioned to us. We also changed the type of paper, making your ink “stick” instead of smearing. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve also begun to implement something that few others have done before—using Augmented Reality within the pages of the magazine. While large publications like Inc. and Cosmopolitan have used it before us, few—if any—regional publications have gone that route yet, and so we are happy to be one of the first to bring it to the Upstate…with the help of statewide tech leaders at the Southeastern Institute for Manufacturing Technology in Florence. Want to see it at work? Check out page 1 for instructions and the Inside Front Cover for our first advertiser to use AR: Sandlapper Securities. Oh, and the cover. That’s got something hiding in it, too. Being interactive is a big deal, but it’s much larger challenge than can be solved by slapping a QR code on something or by having customer service watch your Twitter mentions. Interactivity is a state of mind, and a dual existence—being willing to try new things, while also being willing to open yourself up to others. I hope we’ve done both, but we’ll keep growing and trying anyway. P.S. – We’d love your feedback on the new stuff. What do you like? Send me an email at and let me know.

Publisher, Business Black Box | 864/281-1323 x.1010 | megonigal Photo by Carter Tippins/FishEye Studios


Business Black Box Q1 2015


R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T

MANUFACTURING GROWTH IN THE SOUTH In information provided by USC Economist Joseph Von Nessen during the recently-held 2015 Economic Forecast, data is clear: when it comes to manufacturing growth in the SouthEast, South Carolina is head and shoulders above its neighboring states.

Graph Source: State and Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings, N.S.A.



Business Black Box Q1 2015






Meet one of the drivers behind the Taylors revitalization. (p.64)

Find out what the job forecast for the year looks like. (p. 57)

Figure out how to be more productive. (p.88)

Get the resource guide for Collaborative organizations, (p. 72)

Set a goal for 2015— and figure out how to make it happen. (p.19)

R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T






The year that the BMW Spartanburg location became fully operational


Number of acres that the BMW plant took over in 1994


Number of jobs in South Carolina attributed to BMW


The economic multiplier attributed to BMW. (For every one job directly through BMW, another three jobs are created elsewhere through suppliers or vendors.)

$16.6 Billion Annual economic impact that can be attributed to BMW


Number of BMW sites around the world


Number of countries BMW operates in

OOPS! We made a mistake and ran an incorrect ad for McNair Law Firm, one of our partners, in our last issue. We’ll beg your forgiveness, but in the meantime, check out their (correct) ad in this issue on page 60.

2.6 million

Number of vehicles produced by BMW by 2014

Credit: BMW’s Impact in South Carolina: Two Decades of Economic Development, by Doug Woodward, USC Division of Research


Business Black Box Q1 2015

R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T




What we read:

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business The Gist: Written by the founder of Whole Foods Market, in collaboration with the founder of the Conscious Capitalism Institute, the book begins as a journey—first beginning with John Mackey’s transformation from anti-capitalism “hippie” to the owner of one of the largest growing companies out of Texas, then focused on the history of capitalism itself, and finally moving into an exploratory phase of identifying what Conscious Capitalism is—and isn’t.

Need some statistical information about South Carolina? Looking for economic data on comparative regions of the state? Start your search at SC Dash—a clearinghouse for economic data about South Carolina created by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.


How it’s Written: Broken down in clean chunks, the book was intentionally focused by its authors. From Part 1’s focus on the history of free-enterprise capitalism to a breakdown of the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism, the book is easy to digest and understand. Great if: You feel like there’s more to your business—something more that you can be giving back, past just making the wheels spin. Don’t Miss: The Chapter, “Imagine”. A poetic narrative of what socially-conscious companies look like—the dreams that drive them, the desires they hold for employees and shareholders alike, and what they want for their customers—and a long list of well-established companies that embody the same tenets. Our Read: Worth a look, especially if you’re looking to take your businesses’ community involvement to a different level, or looking to make a difference through your business model.


Business Black Box Q1 2015

The newly-founded Swamp Rabbit Angels, an angel investment group based in Upstate South Carolina and founded by entrepreneur Jason Premo, recently invested in Savannah-based startup Aetho. Look for the company, who manufactures video equipment based on GoPro cameras, to make some announcements regarding a new headquarters sometime soon, and is considering South Carolina as a possible location for their headquarters and production facility.


R A N D O M & R E L E VA N T



What: Greenville Chamber 126th Annual Meeting Where: TD Center, One Exposition Dr., Greenville When: January 27, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. The Greenville Chamber Annual Meeting is the largest business meeting in South Carolina, joining together around 1,500 South Carolina business leaders, community leaders and elected officials, and providing an overview of the Chamber’s 126th year of business and the past year’s accomplishments, as well as an extensive forecast on the Chamber’s existing programs and exciting new developments for 2015. Following an awards presentation, guests will enjoy remarks from a special guest speaker, David Trone, Owner of Total Wine & More. For more information: Contact Jennifer Powell at (864) 239-3731 or



What: 2015 South Carolina Manufacturing Conference & Expo Where: TD Center, One Exposition Dr., Greenville When: April 14-15, 2015


Touted as the “most significant manufacturing event of the year,” the S.C. Manufacturing Conference & Expo, hosted by SC Biz News and Dixon Hughes Goodman, will include a number of panels on manufacturing issues, a career fair, workshops, and more, as well as The Salue to Manufacturing Awards Luncheon, where the Silver Crescent Award will be presented, and Governor Nikki Haley will keynote.

If you’ve got an itch to get more organized in 2015 and be more productive, check out Timeful, one of the most comprehensive calendar apps that we’ve seen. What we like: you can tell Timeful your goals (“Exercise three times a week”) and the app will suggest the best days for you to slot that time. It’s an easy way to “live inside your calendar” (p.88) Even though the system is only on Apple iOS for now, we expect to see it expand after the online platform expands soon, and it does sync with all kinds of calendars. Our read: give it a shot for one week. and then decide for yourself!

For more information: Contact Jacquelyn Fehler at (864) 235-5677 ext.113, or


What: Business Black Box’s 2015 LEADER Series Where: McNair Law Firm, 140 S. Main St, Suite 700, Greenville, SC When: 2nd Tuesday of each month, 4 p.m.


Now in its second year, the LEADER Series provides open discussion and connection between local business leaders in a monthly setting. Presented by McNair Law Firm and Sandlapper Securities, the event covers topics of interest to business leaders and businesses in growing markets. For more information: Contact Business Black Box at (864) 281-1323 ext. 1010, or by email at


Business Black Box Q1 2015

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.





Production Hours


Individual Photographs Used

126 Photoshop Layers



Business Black Box Q1 2015

color, sharpening and light effects applied

frame added

text added




Catherine Crandall

Carter Tippins Fisheye Studios

Latia Curtis with Cotton Rouge & Company Chris Brank Films • Old Cigar Warehouse








1 2 3




Business Black Box Q1 2015


The Quick Goal Setting Sheet — This is a super-quick, down-and-dirty goals list that should take only about 30 minutes to think through. And it’s pretty easy—set your goal, and work through each step down the page.


To get more clients in 2015.



We will increase our revenue by 10% and our clients by 5.





No time to prospect — Build in five hours per week solely for prospecting.


No pipeline in process — Build a leads list and enter into new CRM system .


No ongoing sales effort — fund separate, fulltime sales position by Q2 2015.



1. find new CRM system and enroll . no later than 1/31/15. 2. set prospecting schedule into calendar 3. Email staff for personal contacts for start of leads list. 4. Meet with HR about possible new position requirements in Q2. 5. Email PrintCorp re: new mailing list for leads list.


Business Black Box Q1 2015

126Th annual mEETIng PresenTed by

updat e V e r s i o n 12 6



tuESday, JaNuary 27, 2015 td CoNvENtioN CENtEr 5:30 PM – rECEPtioN 6:00 – diNNEr aNd ProGraM

Join us for an overview of the Chamber’s 126th year of business and the past year’s accomplishments, as well as an extensive forecast on the Chamber’s existing programs and exciting developments for 2015.

estimated completion: 1.27.15 _ 126th annual meeting

Featuring SPECial GuESt SPEakEr

David Trone Owner

total Wine and More



for Chamber Members • $130 for Non-Chamber Members

Please register online at by Friday, January 23, 2015. Seating assignments are based on date of reservation. For questions or more information, contact Elise Nichols at 864.271.0718.



PlatiNum SPONSORS BmW manufacturing co. Bon secours st. Francis health system duke energy the greenville news scansource, inc.


td convention center



at&t Bank of america BB&t Bluecross Blueshield of south carolina Bon secours st. Francis health system dixon hughes goodman llp michelin north america ogletree, deakins, nash, smoak & stewart, p.c. the peace center for the performing arts reBound health international inc.


sYnneX corporation


acumen edge aloft greenville downtown Bank of travelers rest Berkshire hathaway homeservices c. dan Joyner, realtors Bi-lo, llc Blue ridge electric cooperative / Blue ridge security solutions Bradshaw gordon and clinkscales, llc Brown mackie college greenville central realty holdings, llc century BmW/mini certusBank / us&s, inc. cherry Bekaert llp city of greenville clemson university coldwell Banker caine courtyard greenville downtown/ hampton inn & suites downtown elliott davis, llc

emediagroup the Faust-Boyer group of raymond James & associates Find great people Fluor corporation gallivan, White and Boyd, p.a. ge power & Water godshall professional recruiting, staffing, and consulting goodwyn, mills and cawood, inc. greenville drive greenville technical college greenville Water system greenville-spartanburg international airport harper corporation haynsworth sinkler Boyd, p.a. hometrust Bank hti employment solutions hughes development / tpm lockheed martin ls3p associates ltd. mcmillan pazdan smith nBsc, a division of synovus Bank nelson mullins

nexsen pruet, llc northwestern mutual / Young office the palmetto Bank pepsi-cola of greenville piedmont natural gas rescom construction / serrus capital partners rosenfeld einstein, a marsh & mclennan agency llc company Business attire smith moore leatherwood llp south state Bank southern First Bank n.a. the spinx company, inc. suntrust Bank, inc. trehel corporation triangle construction co. inc. university center of greenville, inc. Wells Fargo WYFF 4





made by local manufacturers in Greenville, SC

P h oto

by C a r

ter T ip

Pho ishEye pins/F

tog r ap


for more info, visit


Business Black Box Q1 2015



THE TOP 9 TECH BOOSTERS OF THE UPSTATE The Upstate is growing on many levels with the influx of young, educated, wage earning transplants. An ingrained sense of being the underdog keeps our small businesses and startup entrepreneurs hungry to do more with our blue-collar roots. This unspoken but powerful work ethic is fueling the growth of a tech ecosystem locally; here is a list of nine great things that are boosting the Upstate tech scene. 1. UCAN. Early stage capital for tech companies to get to market is a needed component to grow a hub of startups. While there are no largescale Venture Capital funds in the area, Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) has been a leader for seven years. Recently ranked as a Top 10 Angel Network in the nation, UCAN is now expanding across the region supporting groups in Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia and Asheville. 2. Company Exits. When a company succeeds, it is not only a win for the shareholders and investors, it is also important for the employees who help build these businesses. Data shows that employees in successful companies go on to start future businesses, creating a ripple effect in the area. So while the Upstate has had multiple exits recently, the bigger effect will be felt in years to come as these teams move on to build the next successful company. 3. NEXT. Whether it’s the monthly lunches that attract CEO’s from tech companies or the countless behind-the-scene connections—the Greenville tech


Business Black Box Q1 2015

community is unique, thanks to NEXT. The organization is more than a name on a building—it is a group of 100+ entrepreneurs who believe that helping others get started benefits their bottomline as much as it does the other person’s.

with other like minded people. Ta5, Greenville JavaScript meetup, Code For Greenville, Upstate PHP user group,10-4 Good City, Technically-A-Beer, and others provide the platform for people to get out of the office and connect with others IRL.

4. Coworking Space. The way in which we work has changed. Coworking is a new type of workspace where multiple startups co-locate to share a larger office space. Tech companies fill coworking space in Greenville at CoWork and OpenWorks as well as at The Iron Yard and at USC Upstate in Spartanburg.

8. The Iron Yard. Now with 11 locations nationwide and investments in more than 40 startup companies, The Iron Yard is a national leader in producing technical talent to major corporations as well as mentoring and seed funding for early stage tech companies.

5. Clemson Connecting to Downtown Greenville. University students are providing a young, educated workforce to area businesses. Whether these graduates start their own company or work for existing companies, the Clemson-to-Greenville connection is having a positive effect on the region.

9. Main Street Coffee Shops. Spend time in the growing number of coffee shops on Main Street and you will likely find a number of heavily caffeinated tech folks working behind a laptop, not to mention the number of private meetings happening over coffee. But one question remains: why does Coffee Underground still use the paper Wi-Fi codes?

6. Local news outlets. Even in a digital age, traditional media remains a powerful voice to spread information about events and milestones by tech companies. Outlets like Business Black Box Magazine, The Herald Journal, Greenville News, GSA Business, Upstate Business Journal, WYFF4 and others have dedicated content focusing on tech companies in the area. 7. Tech Meetups. On any given morning or evening in downtown there is likely a group of organized tech professionals meeting to discuss trends, solve problems and network

ABOUT MARTY BAUER Marty is a two-time Greenville transplant. He is the co-founder of RidePost, a transportation software company, and the Managing Director of The Iron Yard Accelerator Programs. Connect with him on Twitter at @bauermarty.


If you’re on this list, we’re sold out.


As the region’s only medium offering category exclusivity, our loyal partners have locked out their competitors in the following categories • Technical Colleges • Residential Real Estate • Law • Accounting • Health Insurance • Art Galleries

• HR Consulting • Event Space • Hotel • Staffing and • IT


WE will never be more than 30% ads. EVER. (Other mags? Anywhere from 50% to 70%.)

HERE You can lock out all your competitors as long as you hold the partnership. (Them? Nope.)

We’ll take your ad outside of just print into digital, web, social media, and event marketing—all in one contract. (Over there? Maybe, but you’ll pay extra.)

Oh. And one more thing. We have the largest targeted business distribution. (No driveways; just inboxes, desks, and newsstands.)

To lock out a new category or get on a waiting list for an existing category, give us a call today. (864) 281-1323 X. 1010 | INFO@INSIDEBLACKBOX.COM



By Ben Muldrow As Wal-Mart recently posted its sixth straight quarter of declining in-store sales, and big box national retail chains are engaged in an all-out slugfest, the independent American retailers are seeing a growing customer base, and our communities’ historic downtowns are experiencing a true renaissance. This was evidenced by a strong showing during the 2014 Shop Small Saturday, which saw a 2.3 percent sales increase, bringing in a total of $14.3 billion on one day for locally-owned businesses. “Small businesses are critical to the stability of our local communities, and growth of our national economy. We are confident that the broad national support for these businesses will continue well beyond November 29,” said Denise Pickett, President of American Express OPEN. But this national trend is not just something happening in cities like Austin and Portland. South Carolina, too, is blossoming. Our former textile towns are reinventing themselves, and our lowcountry gems are hosting tourists and helping grow the next generation of entrepreneurs. Guided by the Main Street South Carolina program of the Municipal Association of South Carolina, 13 communities are using their Four-Point Approach™ to revitalization to create strong and sustainable economies, while preserving their historic character and sharing it with both locals and visitors.

But much like other South Carolina towns, Beaufort hasn’t always been basking. In the 1970s, the vibrancy of today was absent. Customers had left their Historic Bay Street, and had taken their dollars with them. In 1979, under the vision of their mayor, Henry Chambers, Beaufort created an expansive waterfront park and breathed life back into their community. Shortly after, in 1985, Beaufort created Main Street Beaufort, USA, and joined the growing national movement lead by the National Trust for historic preservation. They focused on the design of the physical environment, the vitality of the business community, engagement of an active volunteer base, and programming events to bring the community to life. Today, the Waterfront Park plays host to three signature events: The Beaufort Shrimp Festival, A Taste of Beaufort - Music, Arts & Seafood Festival, and The Beaufort Water Festival. These events bring thousands of visitors to the community, and create a vibrancy that helps to drive the economy. The foot traffic created by the efforts of Main Street and other partner organizations have help to create a stunningly low two percent vacancy rate among retail space. Low Interest Loan Programs, Facade Grants, Awning Programs, and Free Public WiFi have helped to nearly double the workforce downtown to over 1,300.

One of the shining stars of the Main Street South Carolina program is Beaufort, a two-time semifinalist for the Great American Main Street Award, which has been racking up awards, accolades, and articles from the likes of Southern Living and National Geographic.

Main Street Beaufort is constantly tapping into creative economic tactics to make the retail environment even more vital. In 2012, they launched a Main Street Dollars program, where they sold $15,000 in local retail gift certificates in just 18 minutes. With this kind of support system in place, it’s no wonder that the independent retailer is flocking to and thriving in Beaufort.

Nestled in Port Royal Sound and surrounded by tidal and barrier islands, Beaufort stands as the Queen of the Sea Islands—a title they have used for more than 100 years. Discovered in 1562 and chartered in 1711, Beaufort is the second oldest community in South Carolina, and proudly proclaims that “by the time Savannah was founded, Beaufort was old enough to drink.”

There is simply no wonder that Beaufort has played host to such films as Forrest Gump, Prince of Tides, and the Big Chill. The picturesque setting, the stunning architecture, and relaxed way of life, combined with the diverse economy driven by manufacturing, retail, and military make Beaufort, South Carolina an amazing community that is definitely worth exploring.

ABOUT BEN MULDROW: Ben Muldrow, a Partner at Arnett Muldrow & Associates, helps communities develop their brand identity through an open process including public design sessions and collaborative small groups. As the pioneer of their groundbreaking process, Ben has designed new branding and marketing elements for revitalization projects in over 300 communities in 29 states. In 2012, Ben also launched I Own, an effort to foster innovation in downtowns across America.


Business Black Box Q1 2015


Find out more about MASC’s Main Street Program at Pages/Main-Street-SC.aspx

ON TH E TOWN AWARDS 2013 Great American Main Street Semi Finalist 2014 Great American Main Street Semi Finalist America’s Happiest Seaside Town- Coastal Living Best Small Southern Town- Southern Living Top 25 Small City Arts Destination- American Style Top 50 Adventure Town- National Geographic


$13,000,000 Financial Reinvestment


Building Rehabs


Net New Business


Net New Jobs


Average rent rates in 1985 (per sq. ft.)


Average rent rates in 2014 (per sq. ft.)

MUST SEE 01 Explore the Waterfront Park 02

Get a Box of Chocolates (from the same place Forrest Gump did)


Shopping for the Highly Gifted at Lulu Burgess


Dinner-Wren-Innovative Bistro Fare. Unique Microbrews, wines and cocktails


Lunch- Q on Bay- Come Join us for Lunch and Dinner or even Happy Hour on the largest porch in Beaufort


Scout- Southern Market & Sweet Tea Bar


Visit America’s Only Domestic Kazoo Factory & Museum


Take the Beaufort Tree Walk tours/beaufort-tree-walk/


Photo by Ben Muldrow

Business Black Box Q1 2015



DON’T GIVE AWAY THE COMPANY All too often as a corporate lawyer, I come across startup companies that have issued stock to their founders without any restrictions or conditions. This is a recipe for disaster. If disaster occurs, it usually looks something like this: Two founders form a company and issue 50 percent of the stock to each founder. Their initial contributions to the company are a business plan and their personal expertise and labor. The company starts to become successful, but one of the founders turns out to be lazy, corrupt, incompetent or alcoholic. That founder leaves the company or is terminated, owning half the stock. The stock was not subject to vesting or buy back rights, so the other founder has no way to get it back except through a negotiated purchase, assuming that their former business partner is willing to sell at a price that the remaining founder is both willing and able to pay. All too often, the departed founder holds the remaining founder up for an unreasonably high price. The remaining founder faces the miserable choice of either paying ransom to get the stock back or building the business knowing that half of the value they create will benefit their no-good former business partner. The primary tools to avoid such a disaster are vesting and buy back rights. The types of vesting that may be used are the same types used in stock plans. In general, stock may become vested over a specified period of time, based on the founder’s continued service with the company and/or the


Business Black Box Q1 2015

achievement of specified performance goals. If the founder ceases to work for the company, any stock that has not vested generally is forfeited. Buy back rights typically give the company the right to repurchase the founder’s stock if the founder stops working for the company, usually at a nominal or low price. If the founder remains employed by the company, the repurchase price usually adjusts after several years to fair market value of the stock at the time it is repurchased, except in cases where the founder is terminated for bad conduct. In general, the only time that founder’s stock should not be subject to vesting rights is if the founder purchases the stock in exchange for cash or valuable property. Valuable property for this purpose does not include intellectual property with a speculative value. Stock purchased with cash or property generally will still be subject to buy back rights, but the repurchase price would typically be the amount of the cash, or the value of the property, paid for the stock or full fair market value of the stock at the time the stock is repurchased. The nightmares that can be caused by founder’s stock can be avoided, but it absolutely requires prior planning. Without proper preparations, you may end up at the mercy of your former business partner.

ABOUT ANDY COBURN 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 broadbased 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.




Business Black Box Q1 2015


BUSINESS BLACK BOX AWARDS By Jordana Megonigal and Josh Overstreet Photography by Carter Tippins

The Business Black Box Awards are back—and we’ve once again named the winners of seven different awards, based on your nominations. This time, with an entirely new group of award winners (eight, actually, which means—a tie!), we are excited to introduce you to a group of people whose ideas and actions are truly transforming the business community of the Upstate—and we are all made better for it, because of them.

SPECIAL THANKS Latia Curtis with Cotton Rouge & Company Chris Brank Films Old Cigar Warehouse


Business Black Box Q1 2015

JASON FLETCHER If you feel that The Green Room popped on to the scene out of nowhere, you’re not far off. In fact, from permits to opening day, the restaurant took only two and a half weeks to get off the ground. Of course, not everybody was starting businesses back in 2009—especially not in industries they weren’t familiar with. Except, of course, for Jason Fletcher, who, coming out of a long career in IT, did. The restaurant filled a gap—the gap between fine dining and sports bar, that hadn’t seen its match in downtown Greenville yet. “If I understood everything that I do now, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” Fletcher says. “There was a concept that was missing that I had experienced in Europe, which was great food in a casual setting. Before then, it was a lot of fine dining or sports bar, and not a lot of in between. We really thought that we could come up with a mix of a fun atmosphere and great food.” Hiring a chef a week before opening, The Green Room has been a major success and has gained national recognition such as being recognized as having the Best French Fries by CNN’s Travel and Leisure. And Fletcher has quickly become a force in the restaurant scene of downtown Greenville. Having now opened Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen (the first Cajun restaurant downtown), Sip Rooftop Lounge (a rooftop bar) and The Loft at


Falls Park, Fletcher is continuing to bring in new ideas to downtown. “It seems like every odd year, I do something,” said Fletcher, “and sometimes ideas get presented to me and I just can’t say no.” His current project—to launch Spring of 2015—is The Playwright Pub, which takes its inspiration from Irish playwrights. Using Guinness-certified builders from Dublin, the pub will be partially constructed in Ireland and then put together here—bringing a slice of Dublin to downtown Greenville. In a food-saturated town like Greenville, it would be easy to get wrapped into the competitiveness of the industry. But instead, Fletcher appreciates those around him, and before him. “What I really appreciate is that in a really competitive industry, it’s also a real collaborative industry,” he says. “We all meet; we’re all about bringing the industry to a higher level.” That vision—to bring new restaurant concepts to new locations—has been one Fletcher has consistently capitalized on. Looking back, it gives us all a chance to see how far the High Street Hospitality brand has come since that quick start in 2009. But for Fletcher, it is about a daily push to be and grow better. “I just go day to day and work on things and I try and make them the best that they can be,” he says.

“ It seems like

every odd year, I do something... sometimes... I just can’t say no.”



Business Black Box Q1 2015

KYLE SIMPSON “If you have a

couple people who are willing to take that risk...the world would be a better place.” KYLE SIMPSON


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/ G R E E N AW A R D

Being green doesn’t have to mean a complete, systematic overhaul. Sometimes, one small idea can have big impacts. Such is the case with Kyle Simpson, a Network Engineer with Green Cloud Technologies, who had an idea on how to bring “green” into more than just their company’s name. “I am not super environmental, but I’ve always been interested, so I’ve always kind of felt that it was something we needed to do, and that it was a good thing to do,” Simpson says. “We’re Green Cloud. We do green things, and we are “green,” but we’ve never done anything that went outside of the company.” So, Simpson planted a small idea. “A lot of people don’t want go out and plant a tree; it’s hard work,” Simpson says, “but a lot of people like the idea of having that tree planted, and they know that it’s good for the environment. “I felt there was a way for people to buy a server from us and in return help out the environment in the process.” So fully embraced by the company, the idea grew: Green Cloud would purchase—and plant—trees. Every quarter, for every customer. In 2014, that came to 1,100. But in 2015, the number is looking more like 5,000.

Those trees find their roots through the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Restoration Initiative and the Envira Amazonia Project in Brazil. According to the company, the response by customers has been great. Each bill notice (by email, of course) reminds customers of the initiative and that a tree has been planted in their honor. “Because our services are naturally green in themselves, customers appreciate that,” says Kendale Miller, the Director of Marketing for Green Cloud. For a company who’s entire purpose is to help companies be greener, by reducing paper waste through technology, it’s just one more way that they can give back to the environment, and their customers. For Simpson, however, he just sees it as one small thing that everyone can do. “Even something as simple as this—if you were to apply it to any company you could,” he says. Still, he adds that the first step to this type of initiative is to simply take the first step. “I think its cool,” he says. “I think it proves that anybody can come up with a good idea. If you have a couple people who are willing to take that risk and try it out, then more people would do that, and the world would be a better place.”


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JAMIE PRINCE The nomination reads: “Even though she is our boss, she never once seemed like a ‘boss’ to me. Jamie is a leader and a mentor in every respect. She values the talents of her team members and allows her team to flourish under her guidance. She welcomes bottom-up innovation and channels the power of collaborative initiatives.” It must be part of the culture over at Flourish—because Jamie Prince, founder of the local public relations, events and communications company, echoes the same sentiment. “I feel so grateful that somebody would think of me, but I don’t really like the word ‘boss’…its not one that I’ve ever used in my career, period,” Prince says. “It’s just such a humbling thing to know that I’m called every day to lead a team of people. I don’t really feel like a boss…I feel like I’m a just a member of my team.” Although that team is small by many standards—the Flourish team houses six full-time employees in house, as well as a number of outsourced designers and strategists—Prince points out that sometimes, smaller businesses can suffer under a hierarchal design. “In a small business you can’t have a lot of hierarchy and expect it to be successful,” she says. “I feel like maybe one reason for our success is that maybe we have a little less of that.”


And while Prince will admit that the role of ‘Best Boss’ is one she’s honored by, she’s also quick to point out that it’s the team as a whole that truly builds success for Flourish. Being in what she calls “the people business”, it’s necessary that the team works well with all types of people in all kinds of roles. At the heart of at all, though, she presses. “I do think that at the basis of it all is just a true heart for service,” she says. “You’ve got to want to roll up your sleeves and help people and if you don’t really have that in you, then it’s eventually going to show. You’re not going to be successful, but really you’re not going to be authentic, either.” That authenticity is vital, as is a high level of personal accountability. “ To me, when I think of who I report to, I report to my team. I have to hold myself accountable, and I report to my clients and to others in the community who count on me and who count on Flourish every day,” Prince notes. “I do feel that at the bottom of it all is just a commitment to truly wanting to help people.”

“ To me,

it is about trying to bring people together and find some unity.” JAMIE PRINCE


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FURMAN DRONE TEAM “ I look at what

is happening with drone technology... there could be huge business opportunities .” DR. JOHN CONRAD

When a co-worker started putting pressure on Dr. John Conrad to get a drone, there was no inclination about how far Conrad would eventually take the new hobby. As a physics professor at Furman, Conrad already saw the value in hands-on learning, and the newlyaccessible drone provided a new format for his students. Since that point more than a year and a half ago, Conrad has made history— not only operating a drone within his educational curriculum, but by using the technology to bring light—quite literally—to an otherwise dark situation. Conrad and his students took on a project: to study the patterns of light— namely, streetlights—within a low income neighborhood, and to correlate that information alongside crime data. The theory: more light equals less crime. The team, which has already won numerous awards—including the Drone Prize 2014 in Oregon—Conrad notes is “part of making history.” The research in and of itself is a gamechanger, but in that research they discovered something else: those neighborhoods have a greater challenge than others in bringing streetlights to the area in the first place. “In a neighborhood like Poe Mill—which is not in city limits—if you want a streetlight on the street, you pay for it,” Conrad says. “You pay to have it put in and you pay the power on it.” Why? “Because it’s not in the infrastructure of an incorporated city,” he adds. “So the population that can least afford it is most required to pay for it.”


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/ I N N O V AT I O N

It’s a problem, he says, that needs to be changed, but will take a lot of hard work. In addition to gathering more and more data night after night in neighborhoods like Poe Mill, the project means making further connections with community resources and energy providers. In the end, though, it’s all happening with a technology that is still new, underutilized and hotly debated. “I look at what’s happening with drone technology, and if the FAA and Congress ever get their act together and write meaningful legislation that protects privacy issues and is respectful of safety issues, then there could be huge business opportunities and commercial applications of drones,” Conrad says. “For agriculture, real estate photography, power line surveying… search and rescue…lots of things. But people hear the word ‘drone’ now and they think of Afghanistan.” But even as the technology comes into its own, Conrad and his team built of a handful of students is continuing to innovate with the technology—all for the sole purpose of helping better a community. “The main thing, as of right now, is drawing a social awareness to this issue that, in fact, if you want lights in those neighborhoods, you have to pay for them,” he says of the desired outcome of the project. “Maybe we can play some part in that.”

KEYMARK Whenever you think of what makes a “great place to work,” many think of the culture—namely, what the company does for its employees. But for Cameron Boland, VP of Operations at Keymark, it’s equally about who you hire to be in the company, as it is what the company does to keep them. “Essentially it’s a great place to work because it’s populated with great people,” Boland says. “We have very low turnover because we know that at a personality and a competence level that they’re going to be a good fit, and we make sure that people have all the tools that they need to succeed. Those are the things that come together that help us to come together and work well for our clients. “ Since 1996, KeyMark has been a leader in creating document management solutions for companies. Building relationships, utilizing the latest technologies, and unparalleled responsiveness and reliability have made them a leader in the market. “In the last four to five years, there’s been tremendous growth, and not only in our existing business selling document management software to industries, but there’s an opportunity we’ve seen for our own products start to come to fruition,” Boland explains of Keymark, which in simplest terms provides software related on acquisition of data and getting that data into the hands of people who need it. “We’re in the process of rolling out first product—that will be transformational for us.”


Hard work hasn’t been the only factor in this success, but by creating a working environment that brings out the best of each employee, Keymark has capitalized on its employees, resulting in a low rate of turnover. “What makes it a great place to work for me is that there is a shared since of purpose and a shared since of getting things done,” Boland says. Employees are encouraged to be creative in finding solutions, to ask questions and in general have a lot of leeway in order to not only do their job, but do it well. In turn, employees have thrived because of the personal responsibility that comes with the job. They also look for ways to build relationships outside of the work environment by holding special events or being involved in giving back to the community. From fundraising events like Splash Bash to bowling tournaments with personalized shirts, KeyMark does all it can to create both an environment that challenges its staff, but is also one that is enjoyable to be a part of. “A Best Place to Work is that place that when I get up in the morning, I want to go there,” he says. “I know I will do some good for somebody, and I’m going to leave fulfilled. That’s it, at the end of the day: If I can get up and feel good about where I’m going to spend the next eight to 10 hours of my day, then that’s a good place to work.”

“ Essentially,

it’s a great place to work because it’s populated with great people.” CAMERON BOLAND


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TAYLOR BEARD “ Entrepreneur-

ship is the means to change lives and to change communities .” TAYLOR BEARD


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Sometimes it is in doing the most unlikely things that we find our passions and callings in life. For Taylor Beard, it was as simple as finding an internship in her last months of college. “It wasn’t something I was looking for,” says Beard of the internship she received at Nasha Lending, then a start-up ministry of Grace Church. The goal was simple: to provide micro-lending—nointerest loans to under-resourced youth and adult entrepreneurs. For Beard, the internship stuck. Because she was overseeing Nasha lending, she saw the potential early, and eventually stopped looking for a new job altogether. Today, with Nasha Lending now its own non-profit under the umbrella of Mill Community Ministries, Beard helps make micro-loans to entrepreneurs who would otherwise be unable to secure traditional loans. “We’ve funded teenagers, individuals with criminal records, individuals with bankruptcies in their past…” Beard says. For many entrepreneurs, she says, “we are that first step in the program. We’d love to launch our people into the financial sector…but we are that first baby step.” The first loan comes from crowd funding—allowing the public to play a part in validating a local start-up business. And because the program is cyclical in nature—borrowers must pay back the loan in full before taking another one, and that payback goes immediately to another entrepreneur— Nasha is finding success in being the “ ‘micro’ of micro loans.”

“For someone who donated $20, that $20 has been loaned out two and a half times by now,” Beard notes. But lending is only one part of it of what Nasha is providing to entrepreneurs. The organization also serves to connect entrepreneurs with other organizations specializing in helping entrepreneurs, creating a web of communication that benefits the community as a whole. It is through this network that the entrepreneurs who get loans from Nasha find advice and guidance that will help them as they grow and thrive. While not her initial goal, Beard has quickly become an entrepreneur whose passion is to help other entrepreneurs putting her on track to really become a force in the Greenville and Upstate community. And her ultimate goal? To see Nasha thrive, and to play a part in growing the local business community. “I’d love to see Nasha Lending grow,” she says. “Entrepreneurship is the best thing to support the economy, and it’s a great way for individuals to grow and support themselves in their families. “Entrepreneurship is the means to change lives and to change communities. For us to be a part of that—to help individuals that may not have otherwise had that chance—that would be a dream come true.”



“What goes around, comes around.” While the saying usually applies on a personal level, you can look at it through the lens of a business—always look to not only be a part of a community, but also look for every opportunity to give back. It’s exactly what Herb Dew says got Human Technologies, Inc., which specializes in workforce and employment solutions to where it is today. “When we started, we were just the beneficiary of people giving us time, advice and help,” says Herb Dew, President of HTI, which began in 1999 in Greenville. As the company grew, they realized more and more that without that community around them, he says, they wouldn’t be the success they are today. It’s for this reason that the company is constantly looking for ways to give back in some way to the Upstate and Greenville communities. The company has gone so far as to create a completely voluntary, internal organization—T3 (which stands for Time, Talent and Treasure)—that coordinates all of their volunteer efforts as a company. “We are being deliberate as an organization in our outreach without the expectation of getting back,” Dew says. “We’re not doing it for the marketing, we’re doing it because it’s what we should do.” That’s more easily done by ensuring that the company as a whole—and the employees within it—are excited about giving their time and energy, too. This is accomplished in a number of ways—from providing vacation hours equivalent to

an employee’s donated hours, to simply ensuring a wide swath of opportunities are available for volunteering. “We want to be representative of what our employees are interested in,” Dew says, noting that organizations HTI works with are varied, and include Habitat for Humanity, Safe Harbor, Wounded Warriors, Hope Center, Pendleton Place, Meals on Wheels, and the American Heart Association. Of the options, he says, “We want everybody to get involved, but also that they have a place that feels close to them.” They also like to be where their skill sets in employment services can be of use. One example can be seen in their work with Safe Harbor, a counseling and advocacy shelter for victims of domestic abuse, where HTI employees help women re-enter the workforce by developing resumes and contacts. While Dew would love to see T3 develop into a foundation capable of fundraising and taking a greater part in giving back to the community that gave them so much, he admits that in the end, he simply wants anyone who interacts, in any way, with HTI to be in some way made better—from employees, to clients, to the community at large. That’s why, for Dew, winning the Community Impact Award is so significant. “Fastest Growing…Biggest…those are all growth measures,” he says. “When I think ‘Community Impact’ it means that we’re touching people. And so when you think about an award like this, gosh, that makes you feel good that you’re doing the right things to hit that bar.”

“ When I think

‘Community Impact,’ it means that we’re touching people.”



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RYAN MCCRARY “ People ask

me all the time what the next five years looks like, and I tell them, ‘I have no idea.’” RYAN MCCRARY


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When Ryan McCrary started mentoring at-risk youth almost seven years ago, he had no idea that it would change the direction of his life. Then a print production coordinator for a local ad agency, McCrary used the mentoring as an outlet—pulling on his past experience in outdoor adventures to instead take lower-income kids on hiking or rafting trips. “I was still always outdoors and loved working with kids, so just kind of did it on the side,” McCrary remembers. But as the trips gained notoriety, though, McCrary found himself the owner of something more. “I did that for a couple of summers and then it took on a life of its own after that,” he says. “I was doing more of these trips, and then kids were starting to call, and groups started calling to see if we’d take their kids on trips, and then people started sending checks in the mail for us to take these kids. And I thought, ‘This isn’t really a thing.’” Although he fought it for months, he says, it became truly obvious that this was what he was meant to do. So, he quit the agency, becoming instead the founder and executive director at GOAT (Great Outdoor Adventure Trips). “I left Bounce in 2009 and started at a desk in my apartment the next day,” he says. “I just kind of sat there and didn’t know what to do.” But from there, he gained his footing, gained tax exempt status, raised money and began formally taking groups. In the first year, GOAT served 150 kids. In 2014, they served almost 17,000.

But GOAT didn’t end with trips. What McCrary found next was a desire for a longer-term effect—the kids wanted jobs. Some graduated out of the program and came back to run the rock climbing wall for their peers and the general public. Others wanted to start their own business. “So, we built a little curriculum on how to start a business. It tanked. It was the worst,” he says. So, they started over; they asked the kids what kind of business they wanted to start, visited local companies for training, got micro lending, and started a small screen printing business called Swift Prints. Speaking of the three owners of Swift Prints, McCrary says, “They started it, they own it... Now they are looking to hire some of our other students.” For now, it would seem that there are few obstacles for GOAT. Their donor base—75 percent of which are younger than 30 years old—is strong, and the organization is settling into an average of helping 1,500 kids per year. But although the future looks bright, don’t expect McCrary to be able to tell you what the future of GOAT looks like. “People ask me all the time what the next five years looks like, and I tell them, ‘I have no idea,’” he says. “I mean, if I had told you that five years ago then it would have been awful compared to what we’ve actually be able to achieve.”



DIY OR CALL THE EXPERTS? One hot HR topic right now involves how much HR infrastructure to build—or whether to build any infrastructure at all. Many small and mid-sized companies are choosing to outsource the entire HR function in hopes of concentrating on revenue generation. Should you? Disclaimer: My company provides outsourced HR services. However, I’ll be the first to tell you that outsourcing is absolutely NOT the right answer for every company; and, even when it DOES make sense, considering carefully which outsourcing firm with whom to partner is essential. Size matters. Companies between 10 and 50 employees are perfect candidates for outsourcing the entire HR function, while those over 50 employees may want to consider having a generalist in house and outsourcing additional support. Good services— whether in-house or external—come with a price, but the services (and billing) of an outsourcer are typically less expensive per employee per service and come with greater flexibility. Want it your way? Remember the old Burger King commercials touting customized burgers? (I never understood why “holding the pickles” was so special!) The outsourcing model depends on economies of scale which implies lower levels of customization than might be available in house. For many businesses, this situation is perfect because there is little need for routine customization, but if this description doesn’t fit you, you will not


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be happy with most outsourced models. Of course, all HR outsourcers work to please their clients, and many firms offer levels of customized service, so if you think HR outsourcing might work for your company, be sure to interview several companies and ask specifically about how much individual attention you will receive. Think local. Technology seduces us into thinking all businesses can be global, but your HR outsourcer needs to be nearby. My company handles global clients in its education and coaching practice areas, but our HR business is limited to companies with headquarters in South Carolina and, preferably, concentrated in the Upstate. Why? We established this limit through experience. We attempted to serve clients several states away and were reminded of something very important. People do business with, for and through the efforts of other people—who need communication. Not just an email, text or phone call, but face-to-face communication.

Is HR Outsourcing in your future for 2015? One thing needs to be true—if you are going to DIY, be prepared for a lot of reading this year, starting with the next column!

ABOUT LESLIE HAYES 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.

What are you solving for? If you are considering outsourcing your HR functions, clarify what you hope to gain. Do you want to reduce costs, improve efficiency, increase compliance, eliminate headaches—or something else? Remember the old adage, “Faster, Better, Cheaper: Pick Any Two?” The same thing applies to HR outsourcing. There are trade-offs in any situation, so it is crucial that you and the potential outsourcer understand your hot buttons well before any agreements are signed.


Check out Executive as Coach program offered by the Hayes Approach. Check out a demo at



Business Black Box Q1 2015

Photo by Carter Tippins/FishEye Studios


RICHARDHAGINS By Josh Overstreet

An entrepreneur at heart, Richard Hagins became a “start up” after ending a full career in the military. Now widely successful and locally well-known, Hagins continues to capitalize on a culture of partnership, giving back, and mentoring to other minority-owned companies.

You can probably think of a moment—a time in your life—when someone else reached out and helped you. It may be a teacher, a coach or a boss—but at some point, someone took you on and taught you something that helped you reach your potential.

“E2 and US&S are a great marriage,” says Hagins, who likens business partnerships to marriage and dating. Businesses should “date” first, he says, to get a feel for matching core values and work ethic. Then, you can see if you can create something great.

For Richard Hagins, CEO and President of US&S, the mentality to give back is a part of his DNA. His grandfather, the Reverend Amos E. Hagins, first taught him to give until it hurt and to help others. Entering the Navy helped Hagins continue that lesson and make it a part of his life.

In any case, the partnership is good for those outside of US&S’ walls, too. It—and many others—are key to his business development and his goal of giving back to the business community.

“When I was in command, people sent their children there with me, and it was my responsibility that they came back safe,” says Hagins of his Naval career. But after retiring in 2000 as a Commander, Hagins wanted to do something new, and laid the groundwork for what would become US&S—a company that would soon be known for its facility support services. With its main contracts being with the Federal government, US&S manages grounds, janitorial and renovation work. Originally starting with two people, today Hagins has about 100 employees across the Southeast, Pittsburgh and Oregon. Recently, US&S, in a joint venture with E2 Consulting Engineers, Inc., landed a Department of Energy contract to provide infrastructure and base operations for the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL)—a $99 million contract that will include work in Albany, Oregon, Morgantown, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and create 175 to 180 jobs.

“It’s great for minority and women-run businesses to see this,” says Hagins, “It’s a game changer for a small business like us and is great press for Greenville.” Partnerships like the one with E2 Consulting are vital, and not just for what it promotes to the community. Partnerships are important to Hagins because of what they represent— the potential they hold, but also what they’ve already built. As an example, Henry Harrison of American Services helped partner with the young US&S and gave it vital experience and relationships that were key to its growth. When US&S was named 2012 Small Business of the Year, Hagins notes, “That wouldn’t have happened without that collaboration and those companies taking an interest and mentoring us.” Not originally being from Greenville, it has been these relationships that have helped Hagins become attached and involved in the local community such as being a part of the Chamber of Commerce and serving on the board for the Blood Connection.

In return, Hagins is constantly looking for ways to pay it forward—and is active in mentoring other businesses in order to accomplish great things and benefit the community as a whole. Today, that means mentoring and interaction with three different Upstate companies: The Jordon Companies (JCC), Visionary Services and Chanticleer Service Solutions. “As we continue to grow, we have to reach back and help other small businesses grow,” he says. But it doesn’t just mean that businesses alone are important—the community as a whole needs people to give back, too. So, in addition to mentoring local businesses and their leadership, Hagins is also heavily involved with the 100 Black Men of America, an organization that helps troubled minorities by giving them opportunities to rise above their surroundings and negative influences. By showing them a positive example instead of the negative ones they are constantly surrounded by, it helps them want to achieve more and become a vital part of growing the community for the better. “What they see is what they be,” says Hagins, quoting a motto of the organization. And no matter how far US&S climbs up the mountain, Richard Hagins will always look for opportunities to take a glance back and offer a helping hand to others. It is—and will always be—part of who he is. “That,” he says, “is Rich Hagins.”


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DEAR PROSPECT: PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS If you’re an effective salesperson, you know how important it is to clearly, and comfortably, manage expectations concerning your pricing or fees. But how should you interpret the prospect’s response? If he or she says your price “looks fine” or is “in the ballpark,” do you move forward? Perhaps, after hearing your price, the prospect asks you to put together a couple of samples or designs. You get to work, and then present them at a second meeting. The prospect seems excited about what you’ve done. Are you confident that you’re moving toward a quick sale? You shouldn’t be. Too often, prospects will use vague terms to make you think they’re ready to invest at the level you’ve discussed, then they’ll be very enthusiastic about your presentation—and then suddenly they’ll hit you with something like, “You know, I’m really not that comfortable with the price.” I can’t stress this enough: Don’t waste your effort on a prospect until you absolutely confirm his or her ability to make the necessary investment. This should be done at the beginning of every opportunity—before you work up designs, assemble samples, or do anything else that involves a significant investment of your time or resources. Here’s what the pricing conversation might sound like: “I’ll work up two designs from which you can choose, Bill. If you choose one, are you going to be 100 percent comfortable making


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a $_____ investment? If not, we should talk about that now. Do you want to start?” Then you wait in confident silence. Sometimes salespeople are afraid of trying to discuss pricing before presenting something that would justify the investment. Don’t be. Although the sample conversation above may seem too direct or awkward at first, you’ll save yourself (and, ultimately, the prospect) a lot of grief if you confirm in no uncertain terms that the prospect is 100 percent comfortable with your price. With that confirmation in hand, you’ve effectively taken the “your price is too high” objection off the table. Bringing up the pricing issue early and directly also allows you to draw out all the prospect’s concerns and nagging questions (“Can we really afford this?”, “Are there better alternatives?”, “Can I get a better price?”). And, of course, it allows you to quickly identify those who simply can’t afford to work with you. Once a prospect’s concerns are out in the open, you can address them collaboratively, in a manner that feels safe to the prospect and positions you as an important, consultative resource. With a little practice, it will only take you a few minutes to explicitly confirm that the investment a prospect is prepared to make matches what you will charge to execute the project. Once you make a habit of doing this, you’ll spend little or no time haggling over pricing, you’ll preserve your profit margins, and you’ll waste less energy on prospects who are unwilling or unable to pay.

ABOUT BILL MCCRARY Bill McCrary, a critically acclaimed coach and trainer, founded Strategic Partner in 1997 after a 20-year corporate career with Fortune 500 companies GeorgiaPacific and Wyeth Labs. Strategic Partner, a sales force development company, is an authorized licensee of Sandler Training. Sandler is the global leader in sales and sales management training with 275 training centers worldwide. You can contact Bill at 803-771-0800, or


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Get a holistic look at the trends shaping 2015—from income to jobs, real estate and tourism efforts.

It takes more than just a wild guess to make plans for your business’ future—and a solid look at the trends that shaped the years behind us can also show us a forecast of what to expect next. Here’s our take on what you can look forward to in 2015.

Income, Taxes & Workforce Development

While the employment rate climbs as more and more people find jobs, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for wages. The largest growing sector—employment services—had an annual wage of $26,382 in 2013 numbers, compared to $67,758 in management and $62,697 in professional and tech sectors. Still, according to a panel of economists that presented growth estimates to the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors, the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2015, is expected to see personal income growth of about 3.75 percent in South Carolina. They expect the next fiscal year to also increase by 4.1 to 4.5 percent. And as the public make more money, we generally spend more, so sales tax collections are expected to increase 3.2 to 3.4 percent. Still, providing a well-trained and motivated labor force is the key to increasing wages, tax base and successful economic development, and Mark Farris, CEO at Greenville Area Development Corporation, says Upstate leaders are doing a good job working with universities to create more diversified and advanced programs that fit the needs of potential new businesses. “It starts and stops with labor,” he says. “Our ability to be successful in the future depends on our ability to supply skilled labor, so we have to make sure we’re funding education.” He adds that communities and schools need to encourage students interested in manufacturing and show them that it is a viable track, especially with the growth the Upstate has seen and will continue to see in manufacturing businesses in 2015. “There’s been a resurgence in manufacturing, and if our prospect list is any indication, that’s going to be the case for the next several years,” Farris says.


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“The effort and attention being paid to market Greenville County is paying off in documented results.” – MARK FARRIS –


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As of November 2014, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics showed that in September 2014, the unemployment rate in the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley area was slowly dropping after a steady climb through late spring and summer, hovering at 5.8 percent. Spartanburg and Anderson were also showing signs of improvement in September after a slow climb throughout 2014, with 6.2 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively. But even with this trending pattern of growth, Farris says it’s hard to predict how many jobs will actually be produced in 2015. He points out that in 2007, the economy was booming and no one would have predicted the nosedive sectors across the border experienced in 2008. “Job creation goes in fits and spurts based on type and size of announcement, so it is extremely difficult to predict, but we have been successful in generating 1,000-plus announced jobs annually just about every year since the formation of GADC in mid-2001,” he says. Through October 2014, the GADC had announced 1,310 new jobs for the year, compared to 1,001 in 2013 and 1,454 in 2012. In addition, more than 18,000 jobs and an excess of $3 billion in new capital investment has been announced by GADC since its inception.

Real Estate & Development

Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson counties have all experienced strong sales in real estate in a variety of markets in 2014 and Jon Good, CEO at NAI Earle Furman, says they expect most of these sectors to remain strong in 2015. In Greenville County, multi-family, apartment sales and net leased investment sales have shown the strongest performance in 2014, he says. Anderson County had a great year in its industrial and retail sectors, and in fact, in response to their growth, NAI doubled the size of its office there. Industrial properties also had a good year in Spartanburg County, as well as central business district (CBD) properties. “In the last six months of 2014, we see as many transactions occuring as we did in the last six years in downtown Spartanburg,” Good says. The only sector he expects to slow down and become more moderate is Greenville County’s multi-family. “One of the biggest reasons why the market is strong—and why we expect it to be strong [in 2015]—is access to capital markets,” Good explains. “There’s more money sitting on the sidelines trying to be put out to receive a return on investment than there ever has been before, so you see the banks extremely competitive again for the projects they want.”

“What is exciting is that of the GADC announcements the last several years, the vast majority of them, and the job creation and capital investment that goes along with it, are occurring in GADCtargeted industries of advanced materials, automotive, aviation and aerospace, biosciences, data centers, logistics and distribution and office and regional headquarters,” Farris says. “This means that the effort and attention being paid to market Greenville County to those areas is paying off in documented results. And since those targeted industries tend to pay above average wages, we are also raising the per capita income bar for the county.”

While NAI has exciting projects coming up in 2015 in all three counties, Good says, but they are unable to talk about any of them publicly at this time. He says to anticipate both large and small announcements in all three counties, especially in the industrial sector in Anderson and Spartanburg County.

Much of this is echoed by Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist with the University of South Carolina, who notes that a “stable, but shifting” economy is providing a trend of employment that can help make assumptions about what 2015 may hold.

Likewise, large projects that went up in 2014—like the ONE Building in downtown Greenville—are a boon to the area, and Farris says we can expect to see similar projects in 2015.

In the past year, the state of South Carolina has shown employment growth of 2.1 percent overall, with Greenville coming in at 2.5 percent, Spartanburg at 1.9 percent and Anderson at 1.7 percent. But look back to 2010—as many companies began to crawl out of the recession—and you’ll see that Spartanburg and Anderson dominated job growth, with annualized growth of 3.2 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

The industrial market, he says, is the market that “proves out our economy...The Upstate sitting on the I-85 corridor and easy access to the new inland port—these are signs that show a steady growth moving forward.”

“Anytime there’s that kind of corporate headquarters activity, it’s a significant impact in terms of diversity and prestige for the community.”

Von Nessen adds that most of the state’s growth has come in the Employment Services sector, meaning that staffing and recruiting firms are staying busy as they place all the new jobs. Forecasting for 2015, Von Nessen estimates that Q1 of 2015 will show a small uptick in employment, but one that settles back down around 1.8 percent for the rest of the year.


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Public Policy

Farris says he was able to join members of the Greenville Chamber as they hosted city officials from the Florida hotspot. They toured downtown and took in the sights and sounds with hopes of going home and creating something similar to draw more people to an already hot destination. The Chamber hosts more than 30 cities every year with the same goal.

The coalition is considering several options to raise funding for road and infrastructure repairs, a hot topic issue that has already seen at least four bills pre-filed in the Senate for the upcoming session.

You know a community is doing something right with its tourism when delegates from other big name cities like Daytona Beach come to town to observe and experience everything you have to offer.

“They were coming to Greenville to figure out how they crack the code, how they put the puzzle pieces together,” Farris says. This is also a marketable aspect for future businesses interested in Greenville, to let them see how unique and special it is.

Jason Zacher, vice president of public policy for the Upstate Chamber Coalition, says the coalition has four public policy priorities for 2015—roads and infrastructure, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and good governance.

“The gas tax is a declining tax, as cars get more efficient, the gas tax revenues will go down,” he says. “That’s something that we need to consider as we look for long term solutions. We are planning to work with the general assembly on a plan that will provide a stable and recurring revenue stream for road repair and infrastructure needs.”

Jennifer Stillwell, chief marketing officer at VisitGreenvilleSC, says 2015 data shows an anticipated two percent decrease in hotel occupancy for the nation. In Greenville, however, they expect the average daily rate to increase more than four percent.

Workforce development is a huge issue across the country, Zacher says, and as technology changes it’s important to make sure the workforce stays up-to-date on training. While the technical colleges are doing a good job with this right now, he says, they have limited resources, so the coalition would like to see more funding for those schools.

“Transient demand will continue to drive and grow the industry as corporate profits rise and business travel increases,” she says. “Additionally, as consumer confidence continues and improvement in personal income levels improve, leisure demand will grow.”

Promoting entrepreneurship and assisting small businesses with regulation is also a hot topic for 2015. The Upstate has seen an uptick in high impact entrepreneurs building biotechnology and technology companies, which Zacher says will be the major job creators for the future.

Stillwell says hotel occupancy in 2014 as of September was at 70 percent occupancy, and increase of 1.4 percent from the previous year, compared to 66 percent occupancy for the United States, 64 percent for the Southeast and 63 percent for South Carolina.

“We wholeheartedly support incentives for landing these big companies like Boeing, BMW or Michelin,” Zacher says. “However, true economic growth long-term is going to be building up our own businesses from the ground up here in the Upstate.”

Hotel room room inventory in downtown Greenville is expected to double over the next couple of years, with up to six new hotels planned, adding more than 1,100 rooms.

The coalition’s fourth priority is good governance, he says, which includes ethics and regulatory reform.

In addition to this, several large groups have already announced events for 2015. “Living Proof Live with Beth Moore” anticipates 8,000 attendees in July, accounting for an estimated 1,600 room nights and $1.6 million economic impact. Greenville is one of only 11 cities hosting the event, and is the only city in the Southeast. In February, professional anglers will bring their cast and reel for the “Bassmaster Classic” on Lake Hartwell. Referred to as the “SuperBowl of bass fishing”, it will be televised on ESPN, and anticipates more than 5,000 attendees and a $17 million impact for both Anderson and Greenville Counties.

“We want to make sure, especially at the state level, that the executive branch agencies are not burdening us with regulations that are not getting a full review by the general assembly,” he says. Farris, who was hired for his position at GADC in October 2014 after serving in economic development in York County for more than 20 years, says he’s encouraged by what he’s seen so far in the Upstate and expects positive results in 2015. “In the first five weeks of my employment, I’ve noticed there’s a spirit of collaboration among the city and county government leaders,” he says. “I think if everybody has that attitude about being a team player, the future is pretty bright.” Zacher echoes this feeling. “When we talk to our Chamber members (about the economy), they are upbeat about the future. There is a sense that we are on the right track and that things are getting better.”


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“True economic growth long-term is going to be building our own businesses from the ground up here in the Upstate.” – JASON ZACHER –


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by Michael Bolick CEO SELAH GENOMICS

TAKING THE FIRST STEP TO BECOMING AN ENTREPRENER “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher The moment I resolved to leave a perfectly good job as a pharmaceutical executive to start my first company is etched in my memory. This first step on the journey into the second half of my career was a culmination of many factors. As a newly minted 40-year-old, one factor that loomed large in my mind was the thought that the window of opportunity to make the leap might close. Engineers are taught to analyze and then plan to solve problems so I resolved to plan to become an entrepreneur. Another resolution was not to resign my job until this plan had a reasonable chance of success. Looking back, my plan was well prepared in some ways and less so in others. One aspect of the plan that was wildly successful was to seek wise and diverse counsel. I reflected on Proverbs 15:22 which states “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed”.


in Greenville, South Carolina, where folks like Bill Masters and Leighton Cubbage were willing to spend time talking to a newbie who had little knowledge of raising capital, private placement memoranda, operating agreements, etc. As these conservations progressed, three major needs emerged and were integrated into my plan.

has helped me survive and thrive from its inception until today.

The first need was for top notch legal counsel that understands the entrepreneurial journey. More on that later.


The second need was to find mentors who will tell you that your baby is ugly before you begin the journey. Long nights and weekends crafting and then executing an extensive but ultimately flawed business plan can be avoided if you find the rare jewel of a mentor that can look you in the eyes and suggest you scrub the launch. When you hear this advice from more than one serial entrepreneur mentor, take heed.

My family and most of my friends at the time had no entrepreneurial experience so while I certainly valued their input I needed to find folks who had “been there and done that”.

The third, and perhaps most important, need was to connect with other similarly situated entrepreneurs who are traveling with you. Bill Masters introduced me to the concept of FORUM – a completely confidential round table of other Founder CEOs of non-competitive entrepreneurial companies. German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke once noted “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”

My goal was to find serial entrepreneurs who were blessed with a track record of success and, hopefully, overcoming adversity. Perhaps part of the reason this part of the plan worked was because I lived

It is immensely important to solicit feedback from others who get it and also have no stake other than your best interest in providing advice when you intend to pivot based on market realities. My FORUM

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Questions? Interested in joining a local FORUM? Feel free to contact me at

Michael Bolick attended his first InnoVenture conference in March 2006, and was so inspired by a presentation on carbon-based quantum dots that a few months later he licensed the nanotechnology and founded Selah Technologies to develop a tool to help doctors see cancer during surgery. In 2009, Michael sold Selah Technologies to Lab21, and in 2012, led a management buyout of Lab21’s U.S. operations to form Selah Genomics. In 2014, EKF Diagnostics acquired Selah Genomics and retained Michael in his current role as CEO. Bolick remains involved with the community, co-Founding and serving as Chairman of SC BIO, serving as an chairman for the Greenville Chamber’s NEXT initiative, as well as for USC’s NanoCenter.




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Photo by Carter Tippins/FishEye Studios


ALEXREYNOLDS By Josh Overstreet

It started off as a small project, but the revitalization of the downtown Taylors area has grown larger than many could ever imagine. At the forefront is Alex Reynolds, an “accidental” champion of small-town revitalization and growth, and now, the Chairman of Taylors Town Square.

“Two years ago, I was still Alex the gardener,” Alex Reynolds says, remembering the origins of the Taylors Mill revitalization project. What began back then, as a simple activity to bring a community together, soon became a movement in a local community creating widespread impact for an entire area. And Reynolds found himself in the middle of it. Originally from Greeneville, Tennessee, Reynolds came to the Taylors area to attend North Greenville University. Upon graduating in 2010 with a degree in Ministry Media, he began working as a media producer for Taylors First Baptist Church. “I’m one of those weird people who do what they went to school for, for a living,” he says with a chuckle. It was while working in that capacity that Reynolds began to feel a burden for the community in the immediate vicinity of the church. “We realized as a church, that we haven’t always done the best job of connecting with the neighborhoods and community immediately surrounding us,” he says. ““We just started getting to know them.” The original project started off as a community garden, partnering with R3 Ministries and the Generous Garden Project to begin using land at the Taylors Mill to plant. But through that undertaking, they met Kenneth Walker, the owner of the Taylors Mill Properties, and began discovering what was in place at the abandoned mill, where artists and craftsman had already started using parts of the mill for studio spaces and other businesses located, like Due South Coffee. Taylors was blooming, but few knew about it.

So, Reynolds asked himself one question: “What were we going to do about it?” And out of this question, Taylors Town Square was born. At the first community meeting on October 17, 2012, the goal from the start was to “keep it simple and about connecting individuals together,” Reynolds says. Ironically, he adds, “We were not going to be an action committee.” When they planned for five to 10 people coming to the meeting, and instead 25 to 30 showed up, it looked like Taylors Town Square was off the ground. Over time, the Generous Garden Project proved unsustainable, but the community had already begun building relationships that united it, showing them what Taylors had the potential to become. For Reynolds, building a community isn’t about how fast something is accomplished, but that it is thoughtfully planned and done right. “Things happen, things succeed, things fail, stuff happens, but keep at it and keep going,” Reynolds says, noting that “building community is a marathon.” Over time, outside organizations, such as Greenville County Rec, and County Planning began taking notice, and Taylors Town Square has become the vehicle to get things moving for the community. But Taylors is an unincorporated entity and wants to remain that way, so the non-profit Taylors Town Square is the vehicle for the community to hold land, raise finances and bring together resources and individuals to build up the community.

Fortunately, with the relationships that have been built from Taylors Town Square, they have been able to get the right guidance from other non-profits and organizations who may be working on similar initiatives on smaller scales. After all, Reynolds says, “I have yet to find a precedent for a non-profit for what we are doing here.” In addition to blazing new trails, one of the greatest challenges has been helping the community overcome themselves and work towards something bigger than just an individual. “We as humans get focused on ourselves. Given the choice in most situations we focus on what’s good for ‘me’,” he says. But steadily, for two years, people have continued to show up and passionately work towards building a better community. A disc golf course was one of the most recent projects to go in and was a great effort from all parts of the community. Now, the group is looking ahead to expand the park area to include trails around the Enoree River. In addition, the Town Square will continue to tackle coding issues regarding the Mill’s restoration for use, as well as continue to build the non-profit’s infrastructure and funding. For Reynolds, the future is uncertain, and just as easily could change with each email in his inbox. As the newly-elected chairman of the board of Taylors Town Square, it’s safe to assume that his inbox will remain full. “The lesson is this: I can tell you what I think it will be in two years,” he says, “But the journey is not straight.”


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THE ONE SALES REP YOU AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION TO What if I told you that one of your sales reps works 24/7? This sales rep is more available than any other on your team. They’re actually working right now, whether that “now” is while you’re reading this during a 9-to-5 work week, on your regular lunch break, or in the middle of the night. This sales person doesn’t sleep. I would bet (unless you’re an anomaly to the rule) this sales person talks to more prospects for your company than any other sales rep in your organization. As a matter of fact, your biggest prospect—the one you really want—might be talking to this sales rep as you read this article. Yes, right now, your biggest prospect may be meeting with your best (or worst) sales rep, along with your three biggest competitors’.  So, who is this mysterious, insomniac of a sales machine? For some of you, this will be followed by a sigh of relief—for you others…a small anxiety attack. As much as it daunts me to say, and as much as you may not believe it, this sales rep is your website. Whether you know it or not, your company website has a lot more to say about your company than you give it credit for, and how much (time and money) you’ve invested into it is telling your prospects everything they need to know about your business. The days are over where your site was merely a dusty brochure that was out there just in case you had a “tech-y” prospect. In most cases, your prospects are looking you up and learning everything they need to know about you before they ever call you.


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So, for the sake of metaphors, lets keep this one going. We’ll name your Sales Machine “Sales Rep Sally.” You may not know exactly how to review Sally since you’re not used to evaluating mute technology, but below are just three questions that may help you begin to understand I she needs a raise, is doing just fine, or if you need to look for a replacement. (For the sake of interaction, I’ve put a place for you to rank from 1 to 10, based on the questions below.) Job title: Interactive Sales Rep Name: Sally Interwebs 1. Is she dressed for the job? Like any sales rep, this is a huge factor in the case of first impressions. Think about it: how would you feel if a rep from a vendor came to a sales call dressed like they haven’t seen a fashion ad since the 1993 J.C. Penney Christmas ad? In most cases, the best sales reps are going to dress a little nicer than the prospects they’re selling to. How well does she represent the image of your brand? Rate 1-10: _____  2. Does she tell the right story about your company and its products/services? You need your all-night sales rep telling the best story about your business. Not the one that was relevant five years ago and is completely different than the one you tell now. If a prospect called you from your site, are they as educated as they should be?  Rate 1-10: _____

3. Does she convert prospects to leads? We’ve all met sales reps that like to talk but have no “close power.” How does your interactive sales ninja add up? Is she hoarding all of the leads for herself, never to see a contract or a fulfillment order? Or is she emailing you with the buyers that are ready to do business with you? Rate 1-10: _____ I hope this has either helped affirm your current interactive strategy or sound an alarm that something needs to change, fast. Happy selling!

ABOUT DANIEL LOVELACE Former Pastor and part-time alligator farmer (ask him!), Daniel combines a passion for helping others with all the tenacity befitting an All-American Defensive End. A native of Chester, S.C., Daniel now helps companies and organizations develop marketing plans to grow and fulfill their dreams. Daniel currently serves as Agency Director at ShowCase Marketing, doing what he does best: helping a dynamic, diverse client base move the needle and increase sales.

keller williams



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Learn more about the collaboarative culture in the Upstate that is growing our local entrepreneurs.

T here’s no “I” in startup. No one knows that better than Emily Wood, whose brand new business, Health in Hand Juice & Smoothie Bar, may not have happened if it weren’t for a supportive network of local innovators and leaders. Wood is one of many entrepreneurs taking advantage of the Upstate’s growing “collaboration nation”— an encouraging climate working hard to set startups on the path to success, and other business working together to help grow others.


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The collaboration culture hasn’t always been so prevalent in the Upstate. Jason Premo, an angel investor and local entrepreneur, says entrepreneurs can thank community leaders who focused on making the area a great place for startups.

The Upstate has become a haven for startups, ranging from juice bars to coding schools, and entrepreneurs like Kinley are only one example of who is taking part in the growth. After ending a twodecade-long career in wireless communications, the Anderson native returned to his roots, simultaneously launching a business incubator and a crowd-sourced craft beer business, both in his hometown. The Growler Haus in Anderson opened two years ago to great fanfare, thanks to Kinley’s marketing prowess.

“It’s definitely a pro-business environment. There are spaces and environments that exist that didn’t before,” he says. “I think the community really rallies around the entrepreneur.” The community rallied around Wood in an seemingly unlikely place—a craft beer shop in downtown Spartanburg. When Wood attended a meeting at the Growler Haus in Spartanburg, she had no idea what would come next. The program—called Grain Ideas—anyone with an idea access to great minds and resources. The idea is that people don’t necessarily need a degree to launch a great company, as long as they have passion, drive and experienced mentors. Wood’s mentor turned out to be the Growler Haus’ owner, Craig Kinley. A few days after presenting her business dream at Grain Ideas, Kinley called her up and encouraged Wood to enter Spartanburg’s Main Street Challenge. “Craig helped me construct my business plan, financial projections, and I went on to win the challenge,” explains Wood. “I knew what I wanted, and Craig knew how to help me get it.” She beat out nearly 40 initial applicants in the 2014 Main Street Challenge, a business competition that awards storefront space and thousands of dollars in prizes to three winners annually. (The competition was recently placed on hold for re-evaluation.) Health in Hand now joins a pet boutique as the newest retailers to make downtown Spartanburg home thanks to the Main Street Challenge. But the collaboration didn’t end once she got the idea out into the public eye.


“The value of us opening a craft beer venue was really about building that craft beer tribe that allowed us to be cash flow positive out of the gates,” he says. A year later, he replicated the idea in Spartanburg. But if he had to choose between beer and helping entrepreneurs, people always win, he says. “I really enjoy giving back to people who want to do something similar to what I have done,” says Kinley, 45. “That’s really my passion.”

“I really enjoy giving back to people who want to do something similar to what I have done, That’s really my passion.”

Since becoming an Upstate entrepreneur himself Kinley says he’s seen the startup support community grow significantly. In fact, it was Kinley who grow the recent E-merge @ the garage, a publicprivate collaborative in Anderson that engages South Carolina industry partners in Health Care, IT, Education & Culinary Arts, “Over the last two years the entrepreneurial networks in Anderson and Spartanburg have really flourished,” he says. “We’re in a business start-up renaissance.” In terms of helping entrepreneurs, Phil Yanov is considered one of the Upstate’s founding fathers. In 2008, Yanov launched Tech After Five (Ta5), the Upstate’s only afterhours networking event designed specifically to help tech-focused entrepreneurs and the professionals they serve. “We are relentless advocates for technology and entrepreneurship,” says Yanov. “We’re specific about getting things done. We want you to move the ball forward.”

— Craig Kinley —

“After the challenge, Craig has continued to work with me on anything I need,” says Wood, “it really is so helpful and good to know that I have such a great mentor who is just a phone call away, and who has the answers to all of my questions.”

He’s seen that happen in a big way through Tech After Five. One attendee told Yanov a quarter of his new business sprouted from the networking event; another did a million dollar deal with someone they connected with through Tech After Five.

Wood will open in early 2015 in a prime location between City Hall and Morgan Square, which may never have happened if it weren’t for groups like Grain Ideas, events like Spartanburg’s Main Street Challenge and mentors like Craig Kinley.

“I think we’re doing something here that matters,” he says. “It sounds like a simple model of bringing people together, but they’re building powerful networks that are allowing them to build some pretty significant businesses.”

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Ta5 (Tech after Five) now operates in nine different cities! Find out which ones at

A much newer networking group for entrepreneurs is 10-4 Good City, designed to bring diverse business leaders around the same table with a common goal of making Greenville better, started by local web developer Adam Gautsch, who started the group back in June, with hopes of encouraging more positive collaboration in the community. “There are obviously a lot of places to go and network in Greenville right now,” he says. “My hope [for 10-4 Good City] is to get a diverse group of people together each month and work on interesting problems.” Gautsch is a big believer in the value of collaboration, and says the Upstate is heading in the right direction towards improving communication between various entrepreneurs and business leaders. “If you’re working on something that’s big or wants to be big, you need data and input from lots of different people,” says Gautsch. “It helps you think better, it helps you think differently and allows for you to go further than on your own.”

GOING MAINSTREAM It’s only been seven years since Marty Bauer graduated from Wofford College, but after earning his diploma he’s seen a major shift in the Upstate’s collaborative energy. “When I graduated in 2007, there was one of my classmates who started a company and no one understood what he was doing,” recalls Bauer, who now serves as managing director for The Iron Yard in Spartanburg. In addition to being the largest coding school in the country, The Iron Yard is the only startup accelerator in the Upstate. Each year, The Iron Yard runs three accelerators, giving app-based startups big perks, including $20,000 in seed capital, a full year of free co-working space and three months of intensive mentorship. In New York and Chicago these tech startups would be considered little fish in a big pond, but in the Upstate, they receive more attention and support— encouraging companies to stay in the area where they can feed off the energy and entrepreneurial eco-system. The importance of that entrepreneurial eco-system and creating a climate for collaboration cannot be understated, says Premo, who works out of the NEXT Innovation Center, scouting for promising early-stage companies in the Southeast. He recently invested in Savannah-based company Aetho, creating affordable products that help consumers produce Hollywood-quality videos. Premo gave the startup $100,000 in seed money and is helping them launch production—his ultimate goal to have Aetho’s GoPro video accessories manufactured in South Carolina. In addition to his work with Aetho in 2015, Premo is also creating an accelerator program in Greenville that combines cowork space, an incubator and a maker lab in one location along with mentorship resources—proof of Premo’s belief that there is power in collaboration. “A lot of sparks fly when you get a lot of people in one place where they can communicate,” he says. “It’s definitely helped the person with an idea get that idea off the napkin and be able to make a prototype or meet other people that can help them whether it’s joining forces or getting funding.”

It’s a concept even Upstate educational institutions have started getting behind in recent years. In 2010, Wofford opened The Space @ the Mungo Center, a place to help students launch businesses by providing mentorship, consulting and even space to create. Originally housed in small offices in the Campus Life Building, fostering students’ entrepreneurial spirit has now grown into a priority at Wofford College. It is no longer a fringe opportunity, says Scott Cochran, Dean of The Space. “It used to be either risky people or quirky people that wanted to try a unique idea [to became entrepreneurs],” says Cochran. “I don’t think that’s the case anymore.” Cochran leads an innovative program that helps student entrepreneurs at Wofford College develop leadership skills, research ideas and understand market needs. “If you have a great idea and you get a support system that can help you move through the process of launching a business, you can make it,” he says. “Entrepreneurship has become more mainstream.” The term “mainstream” isn’t a stretch. After all, less than a mile away, in the heart of Spartanburg’s downtown district is the University of South Carolina’s new $30 million dollar, 60,000-square-foot facility affectionately known as The George. Named for hometown entrepreneurial legend George D. Johnson, Jr., The George houses the university’s business incubator, which opened about a year ago on the building’s third floor. Dean Frank Rudisill says five startup companies currently keep offices there, paying only a small program fee to access benefits like internet service, business coaching and meeting space. “My number-one focus is that we’re graduating students prepared to serve the business community in South Carolina,” says Rudisill, who believes more people are talking about the Upstate’s economic future rather than focusing on the past. “It seems to me like it’s our time.” The school just started offering a minor in entrepreneurship for students in the fall of 2014. That means soon graduates will be leaving college increasingly prepared to take on the business world. And if the last few years are any indication, there will be even more groups, events and mentors joining the collaboration nation, ready to help them experience startup success.

GOOD FOR BUSINESS The culture of entrepreneurship and collaboration is felt across the entire Upstate region—from Anderson to Spartanburg, from individual collaborative generators like 10-4 Good City to our university-based entrepreneurial extensions. It truly is, as Cochran noted, mainstream. But it’s important to note that just because entrepreneurs are becoming more mainstream in the Upstate doesn’t make what’s happening here ordinary. Cochran notes that it’s easier to access a support system here in the Upstate, as compared to other markets. “I think what you’re seeing in the Upstate is out of proportion to what we should be,” he says. “It’s a really good place to be an entrepreneur.”


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Opportunity is all around you! Here’s a list of collaborative networks, programs and systems that might be able to give you a boost. (or help you boost someone else!)

Social entrepreneurs meet monthly as a part of 10-4 Good City, brainstorming and developing ways to improve the community.


In a fun and informal atmosphere like minds connect with the goal of driving an idea revolution through conversations and connections. And maybe a few beers.


The mission of the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership is to promote economic development throughout the area with educational, research and outreach programs.

E-MERGE @ THE GARAGE Housed in the ground level of an Anderson City parking structure, e-Merge at the Garage is part incubator, part accelerator and part work force development. Using a $250 thousand grant from the SC Department of Commerce and hefty corporate gifts, startups will receive no-cost work space, mentors and funding opportunities.

GRAIN IDEAS Founded by entrepreneur Craig Kinley, owner of Growler Haus, Grain Ideas exists to plant and germinate the seeds of business in an entrepreneurial community. “It was really meant to take simple ideas and move a community forward,” says Kinley.

INNOVISION Created 16 years ago, the InnoVision Awards Program helps advance technology by applauding innovation. It’s the only awards program of its kind, honoring businesses, individuals and educators.


A model of collaboration and development, The NEXT Innovation Center opened in 2007 to bring together non-profits, architects, designers and more with the goal of creating the Upstate’s own technology hub.


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Something we’ve missed? Let us know—we’d love to include it in future resources.



Forty volunteers help entrepreneurs with everything from conducting market research to writing a business plan and it’s all available at no cost.

Tech After Five is a monthly professional networking event for IT professionals, entrepreneurs and the people who can help them. “I think it may look simple, but these conversations are how they build these businesses,” says founder Phil Yanov, who has expanded Tech After Five to six cities in the Carolinas and Georgia.

SC LAUNCH Credited with bringing 17 companies to the state and adding millions of dollars to the economy, SC Launch invests $6 million a year into qualified, South Carolina-based tech companies. Since starting in 2006, SC Launch Portfolio Companies have secured more than $301 million in follow-on capital.



Also known simply as The Center, The Center for Business & Entrepreneurial Development at Spartanburg Community College provides perks like up to one year of free office space for startups and growing businesses.

SC Small Business Development Centers offer free resources for every step including pre-launch research and tips for selling a business.

SPARTANBURG ENTREPRENEURIAL RESOURCE NETWORK, SERN SERN is a collaboration of businesses, schools and organizations working in unison to create an entrepreneur-friendly climate in Spartanburg. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t competing,” says member Frank Rudisill, Dean of the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics.

SPARTANBURG’S MAIN STREET CHALLENGE main-street-challenge Spartanburg’s Main Street Challenge is an annual business competition that whittles dozens of applicants down to three winners. Each receives a $12,000 cash reward, thousands of dollars worth of in-kind support from the business community and prime downtown retail space.

STARTUPWEEKEND Ideas become action at Startup Weekend events. It’s an intense 54 hours that culminates in a perfected pitch to a panel of judges.


The Main Street Challenge is on hold as they re-evaluate the program. Want to see it come back? Make sure to let the City of Spartanburg know.

THE GEORGE Named for hometown entrepreneurial legend George D. Johnson, Jr, The George is the University of South Carolina’s new $30 million dollar, 60,000 square foot facility dedicated to preparing students to become business leaders. The impressive space also houses the university’s business incubator.


The largest code academy in the US, The Iron Yard is also the Upstate’s only accelerator, hosting entrepreneurs from around the world at three events each year.


In 2010 Wofford opened The Mungo Center, a place to help students launch businesses by providing mentorship, consulting and even space to create. The Space is an innovative program that helps student entrepreneurs at Wofford College develop leadership skills, research ideas and understand market needs.


The Upstate Angel Network is comprised of 50 local investors that invest in early startups in the southeast. They’re focused on companies driven by technology with the potential for quick growth that helps expand South Carolina’s entrepreneurial footprint.


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A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON PRIVACY The Right to Privacy, while different than the expectation of privacy, has some similarities. There are two types of expectations of privacy: first, a subjective expectation of privacy which is that is in individual’s opinion, certain locations or situations are private (this can vary greatly from person to person) and second, an objective/reasonable expectation of privacy which is privacy generally recognized by society. The issue where law and technology collide is that technology can change the expectation of privacy. Before the Kodak Brownie, the taking of one’s photograph could— technologically—only be done with one’s permission. The concept of the “snapshot on the street” simply did not exist. Today, for someone to believe that there are no devices with cameras or video recording in their proximity is simply unrealistic. Further, the ability of a drone to carry a

camera and capture images, photographs and many other data points, certainly changes any expectation of privacy that we may have. When the privacy laws were written, it is doubtful that the lawmakers contemplated thermal imaging and audio recording through walls in rooms at the top of buildings. While the technology of drone can be a tremendous tool to progress society, it does not come without risks. The question becomes who will most influence the coming regulations: paparazzi, hobbyists, legitimate commercial users, nefarious “drone fiends”, or even law enforcement or the government. From the timeline shown, it seems that we are at risk of history repeating itself where the regulations (e.g. privacy laws) were crafted to respond to less than honorable uses of new technology.

ABOUT DOUG KIM: Doug Kim, a physics major and former computer programmer, likes to maintain a close relationship with both up-and-coming technology, as well as the history of its predecessors. Kim is also the head of the Intellectual Property Group of McNair Law Firm and current Chairman of the InnoVision Awards.


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Kodak introduces the $25 camera ($638 in today’s dollars). At this price (plus processing), photography is limited to a relatively small number of wealthy hobbyists. However, photography is introduced to the general public.


In Florida v. Riley (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court holds that police officials do not need a warrant to observe an individual’s property from public airspace. This further undermines the right to privacy in law enforcement activity.


Tesla demonstrates a radio-controlled boat. Ironically, the U.S. military sees no future in radio-controlled or remotecontrolled devices.



Kodak introduces the Brownie camera, which sells for $1.00 (about $25.00 today) with film costing $0.15, making photography available to just about everyone. The result is the ability to take the “snapshot” to capture any citizen at a moment’s notice without the need for posing. Prior technology required subjects to remain still—action photos and spontaneous photos were previously not possible.

In Kyllo v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the government in a case involving use of a ground-based thermal imaging to detect an indoor marijuana growing operation by measuring the temperature of the roof and outside wall of a house. The Court expresses concern that allowing the government to freely collect any information “emanating from a house” would put people “at the mercy of advancing technology – including imaging technology that could discern all human activity in the home.”


The FAA issues a statement that “no person may operate a UAS [unmanned aircraft system] in the National Airspace System without specific authority” and begins enforcing $10,000 fines against “commercial users.” There is limited exception for hobbyists flying (a) below 400 feet, (b) on your property, (c) not for commercial or business use, (d) within your line of sight and (e) not within five miles of an airport.

2010 -2012

Smaller, private citizen drones become available and can carry cameras. Occupy Wall Street uses drones to live stream images of protesters. In general, drones are banned from U.S. airspace by White House and FAA. The public begins to react to the ability of drones to use cameras in places not previously available (over protests, car wrecks, in swimming pools, in second story windows)— in a similar fashion as the 1890s.


Raphael Pirker flies a drone with a camera over the University of Virginia, with permission from the university. The FAA issues a $10,000 fine for flying a commercial drone and for flying too low. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor comments that changes in surveillance are frightening and that “there are drones flying over the air randomly that are recording everything that’s happening on what we consider our private property. That type of technology has to stimulate us to think about what is it that we cherish in privacy and how far we want to protect it and from whom.”


DJI generates $131 million in sales of non-military drones, 3D Robotics sells 30,000 units and Parrot (a European public company) generals 42 million euro in sales (about $51 million) revenues are up three to five times since 2009.


It is reported by Bloomberg that an unnamed source at Amazon states that Amazon is selling about 10,000 drones per month—it is a big Christmas gift. In contrast, Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (a trade group) says that every year the ban remains in place, the U.S. loses more than $10 billion in potential economic benefits from drones. Reported in the LA Times, over the span of 2014, are a number of stories regarding the technology. At a California beach, a mother reports to a lifeguard that a drone was hovering near her and her daughter, and snapped photos while they were tanning. In Connecticut, a woman attacks a man flying a drone at a beach, accusing the man of taking pictures of her. At Mt. Rushmore, a U.S. Park Ranger confiscates a drone that was flown near the monument and over the heads of visitors.


The Law requires the FAA to integrate the drone into FAA regulations. The FAA will miss this deadline, and safety concerns and privacy issues remain. Trade groups partner with FAA release



The “camera fiend” (paparazzi, voyeur, etc.) appears, engaging in activity that includes catching female bathers at beaches and capturing pictures of citizens in public without their permission. This is met with fear, and results in beaches banning Kodak cameras. Kodak camera is banned from the Washington Monument. A Connecticut newspaper publishes “the sedate citizen can’t indulge in any hilariousness without the risk of being caught in the act and having his photograph passed around among his Sunday School children.” Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis (soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Brandeis) publish The Right To Privacy in Harvard Law Review. The article is a reaction, in part, to technology such as the Kodak camera, and directed at the increase in newspapers and photographers taking pictures of every day citizens without regard to privacy of that citizen, when there are no real privacy laws. The focus of the article was to discuss every citizen’s “right to be left alone.” It states, “Now that modern devices afford abundant opportunities fot the perpetration of such wrongs [invasion of privacy/photos without permission] without any participation by the injured party, the protection granted by the law must be placed upon a broader foundation.


A British company builds and tests a radio-controlled, unmanned plane with a 100-mile range.


Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, who is concerned with technology undermining the right to privacy, writes a dissenting opinion, stating that “discovery and invention have made it possible for the Government, by means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet.”


The British company sells the first radio controlled planes.


The U.S. Supreme Court rules in California v. Ciraolo that police officers who identify marijuana plants in a suspect’s backyard from a plane at an altitude of 1000 feet do not violate the Fourth Amendment. When the individual claiming an invasion of privacy from drones is a drug dealer, the Court decides that the public policy of stopping drug manufacturers outweighs any privacy issues. Then, in Dow Chemical Co. v. United States, a decision addresses government use of a commercial mapping camera to take aerial photographs of an industrial facility. When a corporation claims an invasion of privacy by the EPA enforcement division, the Court decides that the ability for the EPA to protect the environment outweighs any other privacy issues.


Kodak, who developed the first massproduced camera, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Look for the brand once again in 2015 as they unveil a new baby monitor.


Business Black Box Q1 2015



GOOD PUBLIC POLICY REQUIRES CITIZENS WHO UNDERSTAND GOVERNMENT Can you name the three branches of the United States government? According to studies by Annenberg Public Policy Center, only about a third of Americans (38 percent) can name the three branches of government—the executive, legislative and judicial—much less say what each does. What is the supreme law of the land? Only 32 percent could correctly answer the U.S. Constitution, according to the Xavier Center for the Study of the American Dream. A mere 32 percent in the study knew the number of senators in the U.S. Senate, and only 29 percent knew the length of a U.S. senator’s term of office. This lack of knowledge about basic American civics is deeply troubling. We see its ramifications through declining voter participation—especially among younger voters. According to recent records, only about 65 percent of adult South Carolinians are registered to vote. Only a little over half (55%) show up in general elections. Primary turnout is even lower, meaning that nominees are selected by those who are the most right leaning or the most left leaning. That means less than a third of a percent of South Carolina’s adult citizens bother to vote, and that percentage is going down. And yet there is always a whole lot of complaining going on…. The success of our republic depends on an informed and engaged citizenry. As Thomas Jefferson admonished, “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” But


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when so few of our fellow Americans know how our actually government works, and even fewer choose to vote, is the American experiment of “We the People” at risk?

South Carolina is not alone in this effort. Civic and business leaders in 15 other states are launching campaigns to pass the Civics Education Initiative in their states.

Perhaps most disturbing are studies in Arizona and Oklahoma showing less than five percent of high-school students are capable of passing the U.S. Citizenship Civics Test, the same test of basic American history and civics that 91 percent of immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship pass. Yes, you read that correctly. Think of it: People from all over the world legally immigrating to the United States—many who speak different languages—are passing this basic American history and civics test—in English—while too few of our own students can.

This non-partisan effort is affiliated with the Joe Foss Institute and their goal is to pass the Civics Education Initiative legislation in all 50 states by Sept. 17, 2017, the 230th anniversary of our United States Constitution. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the anniversary of our Constitution than to ensure that every future high-school graduate knows its significance, importance and impact on his or her life.

There’s an effort taking shape in the S.C. General Assembly: The Civics Education Initiative. It’s simple: It will offer extra graduation credit for any high-school student in South Carolina who takes and passes a test of 100 basic U.S. history and civics facts from the United States Citizenship Civics Test—the same test all new immigrants are required to pass before becoming U.S. citizens. Supporters of the bill are working with Superintendent Molly Spearman, with the Leadership in both the House and the Senate on both sides of the aisle. The proposed state legislation would allow students to take the test any time during their high-school careers and as many times as they wish. By using this existing and well-established test and its study materials that are already available for free online, this effort will have little or no implementation cost.

The Civics Education Initiative is a first step to ensure all students are taught basic civics about how our government works, and who we are as a state and nation—things every high-school graduate should know to be ready for active, engaged citizenship. I’m happy to share more info on this effort. Contact me at

ABOUT CHIP FELKEL 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).

Road warriors





Business Black Box Q1 2015


What was your first job? Besides babysitting and a paper route delivering grocery store sales ads, my first real paycheck came in high school working as “Wendy” for Wendy’s International in Central Ohio. I enjoyed the job because I represented a brand that Wendy’s founder R. David Thomas grew locally, and it was highly embraced by the community.




What is your plan for yourself in the future? I plan to implement additional programs that will help local businesses grow, and continue with new projects as well as business recruitment. There is a lot of momentum taking place, and outside developers are very interested in what opportunities are available. Working with them, as well as local developers, is important in future projects that will help transform our changing downtown. I also hope to serve as a mentor to younger women and assist them with challenges as they advance in the workplace.


If you could be anything in any industry other than economic development, what would it be? I have always had an interest in sports, so I’d be in the sports marketing or broadcasting industry. My first post-college job was in Colorado and I worked promoting downhill skiing, tennis, golf and biking, working on many aspects of the events related to TV. College football season is one of my favorite times of year. With that being said, I’d join the ESPN College Gameday crew on Saturdays. In the off season, I’d cover golf, tennis and the Olympics!


What do you see the future of Spartanburg as? Geographically, Spartanburg could not be in a better location for its future growth. As the hub of two major interstates and two major railroads, we have the advantage to recruit new business and lure entrepreneurs and families to come and be part of the many changes taking place. I see Spartanburg as a vibrant community where businesses will thrive and participate in the growth of the downtown.

What’s your most difficult responsibility, and how do you deal with it? Keeping everything balanced at home. I think the children’s homework schedules are the toughest to monitor. With full workdays and even some weekday nights, it is a struggle to keep up. I don’t freak out over it because I know it will get done and that it’s better to unwind and spend time with family. Years ago I was going to hire a cleaning person. A woman told me not to because I would never be as happy with their work over mine. At this point I really wish I’d gone ahead and gotten that help…the little things can help alleviate the larger tasks at hand.

What was your biggest career failure, and how did you recover? So, let’s just call a failure a “miss.” I’ve had a few, but these are opportunities where I have grown personally and professionally with the lessons learned. I think evaluating and recognizing what occurred has helped in assessing what to do in the future. A strategy can be put in place that helps to control situations encountered down the road.

What are some strategies you use to keep yourself in check? To me, there is nothing like a good workout to clear the mind, reduce the stress and boost my spirit. This helps me cope with the everyday challenges that come my way. I try to see most of them as opportunities where there can be positive outcomes, but in reality, sometimes the gripes can get me down. I do have some great people in my life that mentor and keep me in check and on target. They don’t even know it, but they are my strategic army of support!



How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives? I think I do a fairly good job balancing work and my personal life, but combined they are a whole of who I am. I don’t mind sharing stories related to my work such as happenings in Spartanburg and the Upstate (unless it’s confidential). Why not promote where you work and live? This gets those “inquiring minds” informed and creates a buzz, but more important, it may be the catalyst that gets someone involved where they help make a difference in the community. If I can deliver information beneficial to the community, I hope it will help develop pride for what they are doing and where they live.

What do you struggle with? I struggle with the workforce and education challenges facing our community and how they relate to job creation and our aging out workforce. It is a regional and nationwide concern, but the more we get a grasp on it locally, the more we can get ahead of the game.

What are some of the skills you developed early, that you’ve found to be beneficial to you now? I have a positive attitude and I’m persistent. Previously being in commercial real estate development and also selling air time for a television station, I knocked on a lot of doors; spent countless hours on research for proposals of development projects, and only a low percentage ever come to fruition. Rejection didn’t stop me. Also, I enjoy talking to people and learning more about them and their needs. My ability to listen and connect people is a sincere desire, and it builds trust, which strengthens long term relationships in and out of work, and not just for me, but for those with whom I associate.




The Main Street Challenge has seen success in placing businesses into Spartanburg. What’s your take? The Main Street Challenge met its goals and objectives beyond expectations, including job creation and increased tax revenue. I was blown away by community engagement and “buy in” from the program, as well as attention from cities nationwide and even Canada, wanting to know details so they could follow suit. The forward momentum that the program created actually brought a multitude of new businesses to our downtown.


Get the whole story. See everything we asked Patty Bock—and her answers —online at


Business Black Box Q1 2015



AMERICAN LEADERSHIP STARTS WITH TRUST It is hard to believe that 15 percent of the 21st century is behind us already. And, while a lot has changed since the dawn of this century, one thing remains constant— the need for leadership in the world. In the past, world leadership was based on geo-political influence, economic strength and military might. While these factors are still important, guiding today’s interconnected, interdependent world along the right path requires a much more potent, yet fickle, type of power—the power of trust. It is the trust that is earned by playing fairly in business and in global affairs. It is the trust that comes from standing up to bullies, defending the weak, and acting in a considered yet resolute manner. The trust of other nations comes from an abiding sense that their unique perspectives, needs and interests are going to be taken into consideration. This doesn’t mean that everyone gets everything they want, it means that affairs are conducted according to transparent and open sets of rules. It means negotiating and making compromises and doing the messy business of diplomacy. It also means being decisive and taking action when others can’t, or won’t. The good news is, the U.S. has everything it needs to provide this kind of leadership. We have a vibrant and dynamic economy. We have a political system that, despite its current drift to the ideological fringes on both sides, is a 239-year-old bastion of democracy and is based on values that


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are fair and just. And, our ability to adapt and innovate continues to maintain the American standard of living at levels well above the majority of the rest of the world. The bad news is, while we have the right ingredients, we are at risk of losing our moral authority to lead. These past 15 years have seen certain American companies and investors engage in practices that have collectively made the world economy stumble and fall, twice. The fabric of our civil society has been stressed by increased levels of income disparity, racial tension, and questions of justice. We have also made highly visible mistakes as we prosecuted two wars acting in ways that tested our values to the limit. Yet, if there is one thing that defines we Americans it is our ability to self-critique, to openly debate issues in ways that expose wrongs to the cleansing power of daylight. Our ability to admit our wrongs and to adjust course is what helps us adapt and to win the trust of our fellow humans on this little rock called Earth. We need to continue to hold true to the values that made us the country that we are. We need to be inclusive, to be just and to lead by example. That is how we will win the trust of our fellow global citizens, and be the strong leader that the world desperately needs.

ABOUT MARC BOLICK 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. Marc is managing partner in the US of DesignThinkers Group, an international design-driven innovation agency. He is passionate about using the power of service design thinking to help companies build their capacity to work collaboratively, to innovate and to solve vexing problems..




CASH IS KING “Cash is King.” It is one of the most commonly known and used phrases in the business world. It’s succinct, and it’s true. Without strong cash flow, even a successful business with a positive net worth can find itself heading for bankruptcy. That’s why it’s important to consistently reconcile cash with actual bank statements and keep reasonably accurate projections of cash needs. With the advent of online and mobile banking, it is easier than ever for business owners to find the information they need to stay on top of their company’s financial activity. As opposed to the days when bank statements only arrived monthly and in the mail, cash balances can now be monitored on a daily basis. This level of access provides instant insight into how much money is on hand and how much has come in and out. That’s good to know. It keeps you in check with what cash is available to spend. The next step is to get a forecast of what cash will be coming in and what cash will be going out. Having an accurate forecast is crucial to keeping businesses from slipping into the red, as they provide early warning of cash shortfalls, allowing time to make financial arrangements. A good rule of thumb is to maintain a 13-week rolling forecast. A good cash flow forecast does not need to detail every penny. Choosing a 13-week time frame allows for as many details as desired while still looking far enough


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out that actions can be taken to change the results. Inputs to the forecast can be estimated based on high-level operating indicators—general trends in accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory increases or decreases. Cash flow forecasts kept on a weekly basis avoid surprises from expenses that cross over monthly financial periods—note that 13 weeks covers one quarter of the year, rather than three months. What are the cash activities of the business that are driven by calendar days rather than business days? Don’t forget to include special circumstances such as bonuses, liquidation of assets or new capital purchases that may not happen on a routine schedule. In the longer term, cash flow forecasts are a crucial tool to understand each organizational decision’s impact on cash flow. Examples include restructuring payment terms with suppliers, adjusting headcount, and expanding with new equipment. With the various ways of amortizing these items you will likely find that the impact to the cash flow statement is very different from the impact on the income statement. It is not uncommon for an income statement to show a positive net income while cash has actually decreased. That’s why cash flow forecasting is so important. Although this kind of constant monitoring may seem tedious or unnecessary, it is one of the most important practices a business can put in place to safeguard against unexpected financial problems. After all, you can’t spend a dollar you don’t have!

ABOUT ANNA LOCKE Anna T. Locke is an Upstate South Carolina business leader passionate about bringing relevance to financial data. She leads A.T. LOCKE, a company she founded in 2008, on a day to day basis while staying active in community conversations relevant to future business and educational needs. Locke currently serves as Treasurer of the Board for the NEXT High School, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Certified Development Corporation of SC, and serves on the Accounting Advisory Committee for Greenville Tech. Besides professional interests, Anna serves as a Board member for The Center for Developmental Services.

water of life



JULIAN REED ActiveEd, Inc.

THE PITCH: I have spent much of my academic career researching and promoting the positive impact of movement on learning—research that has led to published findings such as how elementary students who move while learning are significantly more likely to increase their on-task behavior, while increasing their cognitive skills and academic achievement scores. What I realized, however, was that data about the importance of movement in education may be abundant, but the resources to help teachers integrate movement in the classroom are not. ActivEd, the company I started with my business partner, Matt Ferebee, was established to address that need in the $17 billion supplemental curriculum market. Our first product is an online platform called Walkabouts, an on-demand, kinesthetic learning program that makes it easy for teachers to bring math and literacy fundamentals to life in short, movementrich, educational standards driven activities. Instead of just talking about Pre-K through 5th grade curriculum, the Walkabouts platform lets teachers and students walk, skip, hop, clap and move in a relevant learning context. The product itself—now in classrooms in 14 states—is a cloud-based proprietary program with a simple interface that lets teachers create seven- to 10-minute lessons in just a few clicks. The system has been well-received by teachers and students across the country. The platform has also been embraced by investors who share our belief in its potential in the classroom and beyond. Our next steps are to continue scaling our Walkabouts product while broadening our sales reach and customer base among the approximately 80,000 elementary schools across the U.S. We are also focused on cultivating relationships with larger investment groups and strategic partners to ensure we have the support and resources necessary to grow ActivEd into the meaningful company we know it can be. Photo by Carter Tippins/FishEye Studios


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THE FEEDBACK: Coming from a family of educators-turned-entrepreneurs, I love to see innovative solutions for America’s failed classrooms. Today America spends twice as much per pupil in real dollars than we did in 1960, yet have fallen from first to seventeenth among industrialized countries in educating our children. Education has completely missed 50 years of effective innovation that manufacturing, farming, utilities, mining, and every other area of productive output have experienced. This would lead a rational entrepreneur to believe there is a great opportunity to help transform a broken system. Unfortunately, this is where the logic breaks down, because to introduce an effective product you’ll be fighting the same issues that have left our schools where they are today. You first need to know who the real decision maker is in your product’s (and I use the term ‘product’ loosely…more on that in a second) adoption cycle. Is it the teacher? the principal? schoolboard? curriculum committee? Make sure you have a very clear understanding of who makes the ‘call’. Then, understand their influencers. Do motivated parents influence a curriculum committee? teachers influence a principal? Know who drives the driver and do not leave them out of your marketing efforts. In those efforts, you need to very clearly articulate what ActivEd does and why that matters. In doing those two things you need to describe it to your next door neighbor who knows nothing about the education industry. Your pitch describes it as a ‘program’, ‘product’, and ‘platform’ that is ‘cloud-based’, ‘proprietary’, and ‘ondemand’. I had to look up your website to understand what the product actually was. Make it very easy for a customer or investor who knows little to nothing about the space understand what you’re selling. For example, a “video-based curriculum delivery tool which teachers can customize in less than 10 minutes per lesson that physically involves students to increase test scores.” This is one quick example of 100 but a critical piece in delivering your message.

This is definitely a hot product category, and your pitch serves as a good, informational overview that would serve well for promoting awareness with potential customers and communities in general. However, it may not serve well as an investor pitch, so I will focus some observations and recommendations in this area, versus picking apart the business plan, based on personal opinion of market viability. Assume that most potential investor candidates know very little about the importance of movement in education and may need a lot of convincing that there is enough market acceptance to build a business, believe that school administrators who make decisions on purchasing won’t think it’s the best use of capital in a lean budget, or—worse yet—might even personally believe that learning to sit quietly in school builds much-needed discipline! However, a strong pitch that speaks in the language of the investor can overcome someone’s individual ideology or bias, and win them over to your side—specifically starting out with a “high concept pitch” which I will describe below. Additionally, it needs to be combined with a strong “elevator pitch” that describes how the product is sold (distribution), how it is different from the competition (defensible), actual market traction to date (how much in real sales), sales projections (how many can you sell in year 1, 2, etc)…and, most importantly, how an investor will make money. A high concept pitch captures an investor’s attention and a great elevator pitch gets a meeting. The major components of the pitch are traction, product, and team. If you’re building an interesting company, people will offer to introduce you to other investors — it makes them looks good. In Hollywood, content is king. In the investor world, dealflow is king. The combined high concept and elevator pitch kills the suspense by summarizing your company and product has traction and makes money, before an investor jumps in to the details and usually makes up their own mind in the first five minutes.

The first, among many, things I would want to know as an investor is who/what are you competing against. Is it apathy? The statusquo? Lack of funding? Other kinesthetic programs? Lecture based programs? Each of these foes will require a different attack plan and can greatly impact the question of whether you have a great product, a great business, or both. You’ll also want to pay close attention to your funding and growth models careful to align with your sales cycle and cost of delivery requirements.

Traction builds confidence with the investor and represents demonstrated profit, revenue, customers, pilot customers, or users (in order of importance), and their rates of change. Whether they’re reading an elevator pitch or listening to a presentation, investors care most about actual traction in a seemingly large market. If you have incredible traction in what seems to be a large market, you can raise money no matter what the product and team look like— although a good product and team will improve your terms.

There’s always 1,000 variables with any entrepreneurial venture but it looks like you have a promising product and a noble path to better educating our children.

The good news is that Angels and VC’s have money that has to be spent. And more good news is that they are not in the business of holding their Limited Partner’s investment in a five percent security indefinitely. They have to spend the money on startups. So, either your startup gets the money or someone else’s startup gets the money.

DAVID SETZER Co-Founder, The Bootstrap Engine CEO, MailProtector Past-Chair, Greenville Tech Charter High School


Did you know? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people aged 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

JASON PREMO Venture Manager, Swamp Rabbit Angels


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LOS RETOS A LOS QUE SE ENFRENTAN LOS NUEVOS EMPRESARIOS Es ampliamente conocido que los hispanos son más emprendedoras que el estadounidense promedio. Muchos hispanos simplemente tienen una gran idea para un negocio, mientras que otros comienzan un negocio porque no encuentran un empleo. Cualquiera que sea la razón, los hispanos han demostrado estar más dispuestos a asumir los riesgos de iniciar un negocio. Y mientras la mayoría de los negocios hispanos por lo general comienzan con una gran idea, muchos de ellos empiezan con muy poco capital, una formación técnica limitada y escasa experiencia en el mercado americano. Por desgracia, en nuestra economía, simplemente tener una gran idea no es suficiente para encontrar el éxito en los negocios. Los empresarios necesitan la cantidad adecuada de tenacidad, los recursos, las conexiones, la paciencia, la visión, la pasión, la formación, la experiencia y el camino correcto para crecer en el mercado actual. Empresarios hispanos, especialmente los de Carolina del Sur, están en gran necesidad de esta capacitación y apoyo técnico. Con frecuencia, veo futuros empresarios con grandes ideas, pero poca o ninguna formación para llevar esas ideas a la realidad. El ingenio o la idea nutrida por la semilla de comenzar un nuevo negocio es muy emocionante. De hecho, si alguna vez ha hablado con un empresario acerca de su idea, usted sabe lo fácil que puede ser dejarse envolver por la emoción y querer dejarlo todo y hacer que esa idea sea una realidad. Sin embargo, como con cualquier otra inversión o evento de la vida, un empresario debe tomar la decisión de construir un negocio alrededor de una idea sólo después de una cuidadosa planificación


Business Black Box Q1 2015

y capacitación adecuada en la operación de las diferentes facetas de un negocio. No importa lo pequeño que pueda ser el negocio, la comercialización sigue siendo un tema difícil, la contabilidad y temas financieros se vuelven complejos, la administración diaria, las leyes que aplican a cada mercado, al igual que licencias y regulaciones son necesarias. Todas estas funciones se convierten en la responsabilidad del empresario ,especialmente durante los primeros cinco años de existencia de un negocio, y el no hacer ninguna de esas correctamente puede resultar en un fracaso empresarial. Si bien puede parecer desalentador el educarse en estos temas, muchas veces una formación adecuada puede significar la diferencia entre el fracaso y el éxito. Usted no tiene que ir a buscar un título universitario antes de comenzar un negocio, pero la participación en seminarios de capacitación, buscar el asesoramiento de expertos y la lectura de libros y recursos en línea son maneras de construir ese nivel de experiencia que puede hacer un negocio exitoso. Existen organizaciones como la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Carolina del Sur que proporciona este tipo de asistencia. Por ejemplo, aproveche el curso en serie conocido como Desarrollo Empresarial (EES por sus siglas en inglés). Este programa ofrece seminarios educativos sobre cómo iniciar, hacer crecer y mantener su empresa desde la etapa de planificación empresarial hasta el desarrollo de una estrategia en caso de tener que cerrar el negocio. Estos seminarios se ofrecen de forma gratuita a la comunidad hispana y los seminarios se imparten en español.

Creemos que los negocios hispanos en Carolina del Sur pueden ser una fuerza económica aún más poderosa en nuestro estado. Con la capacitación y el apoyo adecuados, nuestra comunidad de negocios hispana puede tener mejores empresarios, con empresas más estables y que generen empleos a largo plazo. La Cámara Hispana de Carolina del Sur está aquí para hacer esta visión una realidad. Para obtener más información acerca de los talleres del EES, llámenos al (864)643-7261.

ABOUT EVELYN LUGO 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 non-profit organization in June 2009 by the IRS.


BBB ADVISORS 53 Carolina Gallery • 59 Fisheye Studios •

A team of experienced, connected business leaders from different regions and industries, who advise us regularly on trends, changes, growth, and progress in Upstate business.

21 Greenville Chamber • 77 Greenville Road Warriors • 11 Greenville Tech • IBC The Hayes Approach • the

Amy Wood, Anchor, WSPA Chip Felkel, CEO, The Felkel Group Julie Godshall-Brown, President, Godshall Staffing Andy Coburn, Attorney, Wyche Law Firm

BC Holiday Inn Express • 15 Human Technologies, Inc. • 49 Insurance Applications Group •

Maxim Williams, Leadership Develoment, Apple Tiffany Hughes, Director Of Marketing, Meyco Products Michael Bolick, CEO, Selah Genomics Greg Hillman, Executive Director, SCRA/SC Launch!

29 ITIC • 67 Keller Williams Realty • 60 McNair Law Firm •

Ravi Sastry, VP Of Sales & Marketing, Immedion Jil Littlejohn, President, Urban League of the Upstate Tony Snipes, Business Coach & Entrepreneur Coleman Kirven, Commercial Banking Executive, The Palmetto Bank

9 Palmetto Technology Group • 7 ProActive • IFC Sandlapper •

Todd Korahais, Operating Partner, Keller Williams Realty Terry Weaver, CEO, Chief Executive Boards International Sam Patrick, CEO, Patrick Marketing & Communications Matt Dunbar, Managing Director, Upstate Carolina Angel Network

22 Stax Catering • 83 Water of Life • 2 Zen •

John Deworken, Partner, Sunnie & Deworken Nigel Robertson, Anchor, WYFF Dean Hybl, Executive Director, Ten at the Top


Business Black Box Q1 2015


BE MORE PRODUCTIVE Most of us want to be more productive–to spend less time doing better work and getting higher results. But between the “want to” and the “be” is a big gap of “how,” and a lot of us don’t know how to bridge that gap. No worries, we’ve got five quick tips you can implement to “be” more productive.


1. Live Within Your Calendar. Shingo Research Award-winning author Dan Markovitz gave us this gem. When looking at your to-do list, don’t just stop with a list; estimate time for each task and actually schedule it into your calendar. The result: you’ll start re-evaluating priority and importance of those tasks, and start treating time as the valuable resource it is. Our own take? Be generous with your time estimates—if you don’t allow yourself room to get the task done you’ll start to feel like a failure. And, if you’re just starting out, be sure to check out the app Timeful, which takes this idea into a physical reality. 2. Work Smarter, Not Harder. Working hard is great, but it’s not sustainable forever. Working smart—taking breaks, using automators, focusing on your own needs (lunch, workouts), and napping (yes, napping!) have all been proven to improve your own mental and physical functionality, allowing you to accomplish more in less time. 3. Stop saying yes. It’s a principle long heard and longer still ignored—stop saying yes. In fact, just learn to say “no.” Project out of your lane? That task just handed to you more of a time sucker than time investment? Learn to— respectfully—decline or delegate those jobs and clear your schedule for the stuff that’s important and productive.


Business Black Box Q1 2015

4. Learn to Ship. Straight from the vaults of marketing mastermind Seth Godin, learning to “ship” something is increasingly valuable. Many of us will sit on a project, continually improving upon it and waiting for it to achieve perfection, but shipping that project that is still great, but not perfect, is vital. And, it gets something off your plate for good. 5. Use Technology. There are thousands (millions?) of apps out there to help you streamline your day. From comprehensive To-do lists that span all of your technology (we like Things for Mac) to quick list makers (Wunderlist), to platforms like Boomerang for Gmail or Hootsuite for social media updates, you can be sure that no matter what your need is, someone else has built something for it. (Advice: always test out a free version if it’s available; if you find, over time, that you don’t use it or it doesn’t work quite the way you want it to, at least you didn’t lose hard cash on the lesson.)

Business Black Box - Q1 2015  

Upstate South Carolina's Business Magazine

Business Black Box - Q1 2015  

Upstate South Carolina's Business Magazine