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Business Black Box

Quarter 4 • 2016

U.S. $5.95

It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.

Pay less taxes.

Want to reduce your 2016 tax burden? Act today, because planning on December 31 is too late. Call or visit our website today for a complimentary consultation at (864) 751-7272 or


TRIPS is a cooperative of professionals who will work together and seek to identify those areas where it may be able to help you reduce your tax burdens. TRIPS is not a CPA Firm or a Law Firm. Some recommendations made may be accomplished through partners of TRIPS on an independent non-affiliated basis. Some recommendations for tax planning, tax reduction, estate or retirement planning may include the use of certain types of securities that may not be available or even suitable for all investors. No fees for legal services are charged by or shared with TRIPS, and any fees will be separately billed by any Law Firm providing those services. Securities are offered through SANDLAPPER Securities, LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC). Advisory services are offered through Sandlapper Wealth Management, LLC an SEC registered investment advisory firm. Members of TRIPS are/may be registered representatives of SANDLAPPER Securities, LLC and/or investment advisory representatives.


Q4 2016











Business Black Box Q4 2016

D E PA R T M E N T S 08

















C O LU M N S 16























Business Black Box Q4 2016

Photo by Rhett Bingham/FishEye Studios


Q4.16 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 2016. 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.

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, 18 S. Markley Street, Suite B, Greenville, S.C. 29601.



Business Black Box (Vol.8, Issue 4) is published four times per year by ShowCase Publishing, 18 S. Markley Street, Suite B, Greenville S.C. 29601 phone (864) 281-1323; fax (864) 281-1310.





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@ or by mail to 18 S. Markley Street, Suite B, Greenville, S.C. 29601.

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. 1010, or email sales@

GET MORE BUSINESS BLACK BOX Whether you are looking for a story we did in 2010, or are curious about what is in the current issue of Business Black Box, check out our new online digs at


Business Black Box Q4 2016




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


1 2 5



9 6


10 8 12



13 17




Amy Wood, Anchor, WSPA


Chip Felkel, CEO, The Felkel Group 2.

11. Tony Snipes, Business Coach & Entrepreneur 12. Coleman Kirven, Commercial Banking Executive, The Palmetto Bank

Julie Godshall-Brown, President, Godshall Staffing 3.

13. Todd Korahais, Operating Partner, Keller Williams Realty

Andy Coburn, Attorney, Wyche Law Firm 4.

14. Terry Weaver, CEO, Chief Executive Boards International

Dean Hybl, Executive Director, Ten At The Top 5. Tiffany Hughes, Director Of Marketing, Meyco Products 6. Michael Bolick, CEO, Selah Genomics


Greg Hillman, Director, SCRA/SC Launch! 8. Ravi Sastry, VP of Sales & Marketing, Immedion 9. Jil Littlejohn, President, Urban League Of The Upstate 10.

15. Sam Patrick, Chief Revenue Officer, EDTS 16. Matt Dunbar, Managing Director, Upstate Carolina Angel Network 17. John Deworken, Partner, Sunnie & Deworken 18. Nigel Robertson, Anchor, WYFF 19. Douglas W. Kim, Shareholder, McNair Law Firm, P.A.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


THE PASSING OF THE BATON If you watched the Olympics this summer, you might have seen the incident where the U.S. Women’s team dropped a baton during a relay race. It wasn’t without incident, but it boiled down to a simple cause— somewhere, somehow, someone dropped the baton. That switch—passing the baton off to a new runner without dropping it— happens in business all the time. A new hire takes someone else’s old place. Family-run businesses pass the torch to the new generation. People step up to new positions or step out to new opportunities. The reality is that Growth always comes with Change, and it’s how you manage that switch that’s important. Will you drop the baton? Or will you pass it on successfully? It’s also important to note that when you do pass it on successfully, very few people can identify the point where the baton truly changed hands. Both runners run alongside each other until the switch is fluid and a natural part of the next phase of the race. And you hope, in your career or in the race, that what you built or helped accomplish lives on beyond your own capability. For Business Black Box, that happened almost two years ago. We brought in a fantastic editor who has, more and more, run every detail of the magazine. But more than that—he never skipped a beat. No one ever knew that it was no longer me behind the scenes, pulling the strings to keep everything moving along toward yet another issue. And so, I continued to get the credit —in emails and in conversations—for “another great issue” or “another great article.” And while I’ve been involved—and will continue to be involved in Business Black Box—my hands are not the ones deep in the mud, working to produce issue after issue. Now, it’s time for me to give the credit where it is due, and has been due, for a very long time. Black Box is run by a team of people—small, yes, but much larger than little ol’ me. We have designers and advisors and marketing minds and sales, photographers and writers, and all of them work very hard to bring each issue to light. And championing all that work has been our associate editor, Josh Overstreet. So, it’s time. Time to publicly turn my last foothold—this column—over to the person who deserves it. This is my last Gut Check, and I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a bit emotional about it. To be frank, it’s quite a painful switch. But after eight years, Black Box has a new generation running the show, and they’ve been doing it all—and allowing me to take the credit—for almost two years. As I look back over eight years I’m consistently humbled at our reception in the Upstate. We’ve been nimble and flexible when necessary, and I’m proud of our ability to reinvent and renew the magazine when it called for it. Now is no different—we have big plans for 2017, and I’m excited to reveal all that to you in the next issue. Make no mistake; Black Box is a huge piece of my soul—and will continue to be. I will be here, working toward bigger things in the future and throwing my two cents in when I need to, but at the end of today, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. To the Upstate—thank you for your support and your reading of Black Box. Thank you for letting me tell your stories for so long and for working so hard to have stories worth telling. And to the team—get back to work.

Publisher, Business Black Box 8

Business Black Box Q4 2016 | 864/281-1323 x.1010 | Photo by Shawn Stom/FishEye Studios


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

SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE WORKPLACE According to a study done by Pew Research Center, social media is used in the workplace for a variety of reasons, both personal and workrelated. While 34 percent use it as a way to take a mental break from work, 27 percent use it as a way to keep up with friends and family.




solve problems

keep up with friends & family

ask work-related questions




take a mental break from work

interact & learn more about coworkers

make professional connections *Information based on 2016 data








Meet the family behind the Upstate’s largest publishing empire. (p. 18)

Find out Pam Evette’s secret to success with award-winning QBS. (p. 30)

Meet the new leader of the European American Chamber of Commerce. (p. 38)

Check out the brand that is building the next generation workforce in Greer! (p. 42)

Learn how Spartanburg is growing as a travel destination. (p. 60)

Business Black Box Q4 2016

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




Top Manufacturing Employers (by Individual Employees)


Michelin North America


8,000 BMW




GE Power and Water

ZF Transmissions

The Timken Co.

Nestle USA

3,000+ 1,200 Milliken & Co.

Robert Bosch Corp.

2,400 Cryovac




Electrolux Home Products



*Information courtesy of

$30.9 Billion

Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.

Value of export sales for the state



Business Black Box Q4 2016

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



Visit Spartanburg Want to know what’s happening in and around Spartanburg? The Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website is a helpful, onestop resource to find out what is going on in Spartanburg— from events, to recreation, or even the hotel to stay in.





Stuffstr A majority of purchases that we make more often than not end up in a landfill. The Stuffstr app helps you keep track of items and helps you find a place to recycle or reuse it in some way. It will even let friends and family know you are getting rid of it, so they can have first dibs on it. What We Read: The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford The Gist: Bill is made VP of IT at Parts Unlimited in an upheaval of IT leadership and a large key initiative failing. The book follows his journey learning how to apply LEAN principles to the software development lifecycle. How It’s Written: One of the things that makes this book interesting is that it is written as a novel. There isn’t a ton of character development, but there doesn’t have to be. If you are reading this book, you can already relate to Bill and want him to learn and succeed. Great If: Your team struggles with firefighting interrupting planned work and are seeking to make changes to improve the execution of planned work. “[Bill’s] job as VP of IT Operations is to ensure the fast, predictable, and uninterrupted flow of planned work that delivers value to the business while minimizing the impact and disruption of unplanned work, so you can provide stable, predictable, and secure IT service.” Don’t Miss: Your experienced development team is your constraint that you are maximizing. They know the most about your business and can generate the most ROI for you when they are moving business projects forward. This book can provide a framework for doing so in an interesting format; and, if you are an Audible subscriber, the narrator for the spoken version of the book is great, too.

*Thanks to Kopis for the recommendation of this book.


Business Black Box Q4 2016




What: 2016 InnoVision Awards Where: Hyatt Regency, 220 N Main Street Greenville S.C. 29601 When: November 3 Join InnoVision, the premier organization for advancing communication about technology in South Carolina, for their 18th Annual Awards Dinner, to celebrate and announce the award winners for 2016. For more info: http://www.innovisionawards. org/2016-awards-dinner/



What: S.C. Chamber of Commerce 37th Annual Summit Where: Wild Dunes Resort, 5757 Palm Blvd. Isle of Palms, S.C. 29451 When: November 16-17 The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting brings together the state’s top business leaders for awards and discussion on pressing and topical issues in the business community of the state. For more info: events/37th-annual-summit




If logo prints full color on a light background USE THIS LOGO

If logo prints one color on a light background USE THIS LOGO

Bon Secours Wellness Arena & Greenville Swamp Rabbits The Cliffs ECPI University

Contec, Inc. Muncaster Financial Services Self Family Foundation United Capital

Upstate United Ways (Born Learning Initiative) Upstate Workforce Board

AFL Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce Anderson University AT&T Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative BMW Manufacturing Bon Secours St. Francis Health System Broad River Electric Cooperative CBRE City of Pickens Community Works Carolina

Countybank The Greenville Drive Greenville Technical College Greer State Bank Laurens Electric Cooperative Maddrey & Associates Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County (MCPC) Mary Black Health System - Spartanburg McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture Oconee County

Parker Poe Pintail Capital Partners S&ME, Inc. Seamon Whiteside & Associates Shriners Hospitals for Children® - Greenville Spartanburg Community College Town of Due West Tri-County Technical College Union County Chamber of Commerce WCM Global Wealth

If logo prints one color on a dark background USE THIS LOGO


Join a Committee • Attend a Forum • Follow Us Online


SCIO DIAMOND Made in Greenville, S.C.

Scio Diamond manufactures high quality, single-crystal, Type IIa diamonds for the jewelry market and for industrial applications. Scio’s lab grown diamonds are proudly produced in South Carolina and offer consumers timeless beauty in an ecologically friendly and socially conscious diamond.

For more info, visit: Photo by Shawn Stom/FishEye Studios


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by Chip Felkel


THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS? NO, THANK YOU. I think I speak for a lot of people when I ask—is THIS is the best we have? THESE two, are the best choices we can come up with out of 300 million people? With both major political parties and thousands of good people with extensive political, policy and business experience, THIS is my choice? No doubt, voters across South Carolina and around the United States of America are shaking their heads as the November presidential election nears and wondering out loud in exasperation. Forums like this provide me an opportunity to do so in print and online, to the angst of some, I am sure. But look, the sorry truth is, hell no, it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the best we can and should do. And yet, here we are. Side note: It is important to know less than 10 percent of the eligible voters actually took the time to participate in the primary process, in part because regular people think the GOP has spent too much time doing the bidding of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street and that the Democrats have never seen anything they don’t think another government program, funded by your taxes, can’t solve. To get to the point, I am really tired of the “lesser of two evils line.” I am not buying it. It is a flawed justification for a potentially worse decision. My vote, for which hundreds of thousands have died, is important. I believe that I should cast it—and I will—for the person who is best suited not just ideologically, temperamentally, morally and who, I can support and comfortably explain said support, to my children. I am also taking other factors into consideration: pending openings on the Supreme Court and the balance of power in Congress, our relations and standing with other countries, a realistic solution to our


Business Black Box Q4 2016

immigration challenges, our role as a part of the world community, and perhaps just as important right now, our relations with each other in this country. Neither Trump nor Clinton give me comfort on these points. And when I look at all of those very important matters, simply using “the lesser of two evils” barometer, it doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s too simple, and these are not simple times. From those on the right, the “lesser” argument seems as much as anything to justify their acceptance of Trump’s excessive contradictions, hyperbole, personal foibles, questionable business practices, his propensity for self-aggrandizement, his comfortableness with outright lies, his embrace of and by extreme ideologues who want to reshape or take over the GOP, and having what might, might be described as the level of maturity you would expect out of a 14-year-old. The primary response is you have to vote for him because he is not Hillary Clinton, whose name evokes immense distrust and unadulterated hate. Despite all there is not to like, he is not her, and therefore they will support him. You can’t say you are supporting the team, because to do so ignores that there is nothing in his history to suggest that Donald J. Trump is actually a Republican, and that a closer look might easily lead to the conclusion that he is, in fact more of a Democrat. On the left, there are some but not as many who are taking the same approach, having had misgivings about the nominee for years, and having gone as far as supporting Sanders or O’Malley. Sure, she has allegedly violated laws when it suites; she has leveraged her position for financial gain; has been reported to have made personal and professional decisions that look more

politically motivated than anything else, coordinated with the DNC to undermine the Sanders effort, been linked far too closely with Wall Street, and more. There is a lot not to like. And so, many who on the Left, who are far from enthusiastic about HRC, buy into the “vast right wing conspiracy”, ignore Clinton’s vicious attacks on her husband’s peccadillos and so they are going to take one for the team and support her because she is not him. Nor is she a true blue, progressive Democrat in many eyes. What an absolutely awful way to select a candidate for any office and especially for the Presidency of the United States. Here’s something you might consider: Make your own statement. If you are registered to vote in South Carolina, submitting a “protest vote” will not affect the outcome of the election. Trump will likely win here and since we are not in a Battleground State it won’t affect who moves into the White House. You can consider walking into that booth and making a statement about the state of our choices. Do what you want but voting for the lesser of two evils, no matter what you say to make yourself feel better, no matter what you ignore in order to justify your choice, no matter how much you dislike the other candidate, or the things they have done or said, is still, voting for evil.

ABOUT CHIP FELKEL Hollis (Chip Felkel) is a veteran public affairs strategist and political advisor who has worked in the state and national arenas for almost 30 years. He is the CEO of Felkel Group and of RAP Index, a web based advocacy service. Follow him on Twitter: @ChipFelkel


In every community, communication is key. Local news is valued; relationships treasured. In every community, someone must tell the stories. In the quiet hub of the Village of West Greenville, the recently-acquired office of the Community Journals sits, rested among storefronts with no tenants, no shoppers, and no traffic. At least, not yet. Ryan Johnston fills up the otherwise quiet space— his energy discussing the growth of the area and the new businesses soon to move in is palpable. And although, for now, the hub of 30 or so full time employees in the Journals’ offices falls on few other ears within the direct community, that won’t be the case for long. “This community is us,” Ryan says, pointing to a local artist’s painting of the same street back in a faraway time. “There is so much happening here and we want to be involved as much as possible. Who else will tell everyone what is going on here?” After all, he notes, “If you look at the definition of infrastructure in the dictionary—the key elements that build communities—communication is one of those major words.” It’s a question that has long rung true for the group—who else will tell the local stories that communities are built on? Who else will serve as a communication hub for the city of Greenville, grown far beyond itself already in the 18 years the Journals have existed? It’s a question that began with Ryan’s father, Mark Johnston, when he decided to start a small local paper after leaving Gannett back in 1998. Once recruited by Steve Brandt to serve as Vice President of Advertising for The Greenville News, Mark left St. Louis for Greenville, but when Gannett acquired the paper not long after, Mark eschewed corporate options to move out of the Upstate, and instead made plans of his own. Special Thanks to 4Rooms for Providing Furniture for our Cover Shot.


Business Black Box Q4 2016

“I hung around for a little while,” he says. “I did not want to leave this market, because I had four little boys, and we realized at the time how special Greenville was. So, we started looking around.”

“We are entrepreneurs, so you know there is no corporate entity standing in our way,” Mark says. “We are literally market driven, with the market being two consistencies: advertisers and readers.”

In “looking around”, Mark and his wife, Donna, realized the need for true community news; a source that would focus on and celebrate the local, in contrast to the constant stream of national and global news that came in on the wire. But their focus, at least at first, wasn’t in Greenville.

But the market eventually presented a problem, as the recession hit the Upstate in early 2009. Immediately, advertisers had to choose between paying staff or advertising, and in most cases, advertising left the table.

“Actually we started with a different model in Simpsonville, Mauldin and Fountain Inn,” Mark recounts. “We were going to create these clusters of these newspapers in high growth markets.” Soon, however, Gannett got wind of the plan and subsequently expanded their offerings in that area through the Tribune Times. That wasn’t enough to deter the Johnstons, however, so they decided to refocus—on downtown Greenville itself. With foundational support from other business leaders like Doug and Lynn Greenlaw and Leighton Cubbage, he soon garnered enough support (“And took on some debt,” Mark notes) to get the idea—soon given the moniker The Greenville Journal—off the ground. As most entrepreneurial ventures are wont to do, the business immediately became a family effort. Mark immediately sunk his teeth into getting off the ground and growing the business. And while Donna remained a stay-at-home mom in the early years, caring for their four young sons, she took on her own responsibilities, as well. “I drove the disc to Columbia to have it printed,” she remembers, of the early years before files could be sent digitally. “When we first launched, they would work until like, 3 o’clock in the morning. I would go to bed, and then Mark would call me when they got done and I would drive the car to the State Newspaper, because everybody else was exhausted.” The work paid off, and the model worked. Over the next decade, the brand grew, adding in home magazine At Home in 2003, journals in Anderson and Spartanburg in 2005, and Foodie Fest, a local cuisine-based event, in 2008. The venture continued to grow with Mark, as entrepreneur, at the helm.


“All of our advertisers where in exactly the same boat,” Mark remembers. “Nobody did well. Again, it was Greenville. But everybody pulled together. We helped them; they helped us; our vendors helped us.” Still, as it did for many entrepreneurs, the recession served as a wake-up call. “The recession forced us to stop and evaluate. Once you get it in your head ‘Man, I am this successful entrepreneur….we are just going to rock and roll,’” Mark says. “Then that happens, and no. So what the recession did was it made us look at ourselves, and we said, ‘Listen, here’s what we are going to do.’ We made some decisions, and one of them was to double down in Greenville.” For Mark and Donna, who was now selling ads for the publication lineup, “doubling down” meant reallocating resources, and presented a harsh reality. “We knew what Greenville needed—recession or no recession— and we needed more resources in Greenville,” Mark says of the decision to make his first product exit in Anderson. “By closing Anderson Journal, we were able to reallocate those resources back home and do a better job. We hung around for a couple of years in Spartanburg…but we learned that Greenville is about the smallest market we can float our boat in, to do all of this.” Moving out of the recession, and re-gaining traction with a local base of advertisers, plus some, Mark knew that while the two Journals didn’t work, the brand had plenty of room to expand and grow. And not just that, but the reality was: they had to expand and grow. “We knew in Greenville—considering the amount of talent it takes to publish the Greenville Journal—there is no way to carry it by

What’s it like, working so closely with family in a family-run business?

RYAN: I would say, that when you hear about folks who work together, how they talk about how they balance each other. There is not a lot of balance. We both are almost the same person when it comes to our behavior and that works well sometimes, because I will sit down with him and address an issue or a concern I want to do and he will go, I completely agree.


Business Black Box Q4 2016

MARK: And I think we are both very proud of the work we do. This isn’t the thrifty nickel we are throwing into Greenville, this is some of the best journalism, these are nationally-recognized products for what they are and we are proud of them.

“We are literally market driven, with the market being two consistencies:


advertisers and readers.” – MAR K J OH NSTON


itself. There is no way,” Mark says. “This is not “big time”, but it is every single week. We are in the newspaper publishing business. So in order to make that work, we needed a bigger product portfolio.” So, they began researching markets in Columbia and Charlotte—both areas that the cost of implementing a Journal-type footprint was prohibitive.


“We looked at taking this model to other markets, but it was too expensive,” Mark says. “You have to replicate the whole deal; you can’t run local Greenville news in Charlotte. And that’s what facilitated this deal—we decided to double down in Greenville and buy into it.”


Coincidentally, in 2011, Upstate-local lifestyle magazine G closed. Almost immediately, the Johnstons snapped up the displaced staff and started Town to fill the gap. That fall, they first held Fashion on the Town, a fashion event tied to that brand.


All this time, Ryan, the oldest of the four boys, was living in Charlotte. Entrepreneurial at heart, he served as a sounding board for his parents through the many changes. According to Donna, Ryan was a natural fit for the brand. “We tried to convince him to come on at least three times,” she says. “At first he didn’t want to work for the family business, but eventually he changed his mind.” Still, it was a conversation with Mark about their business opportunities that created the window of opportunity that Ryan was looking for—an opportunity that came to light over a beer with his dad. “Over that beer, we realized the competitive advantage we had in the market. When you distribute the Journal based on average home value, and using that as an indicator, those will most likely end up being the same folks in the high level business positions,” Ryan notes. “We were able to pull the business section out of the Journal and put it back in with the Journal as a stand-alone pub. That gave us the ability to distribute it as free-standing into businesses that might not want the Greenville Journal but would want a business journal in their lobbies.” Still, the idea to create an entirely separate publication was daunting. “We still had to do it every weekend, and we had to print 35,000 copies, which is a lot,” Mark notes. Ryan adds, “And, we had to do it without any money.” And with that decision, Ryan made the decision to move his own family back to Greenville and start the Upstate Business Journal. “Ryan made the decision to come in and he has kind of grabbed the baton and is out on the business front,” says Mark. “He’s




TOWN MAGAZINE 2011–Present





WHO’S WHO 2014–Present

GVL TODAY 2016–Present


Business Black Box Q4 2016


Business Black Box Q4 2016

If we stay humble & we put our customers first, we will always succeed. ” – DON NA J OH NSTON

developing relationships with the next generation, so if that hadn’t happened, you know…I don’t know that I would have had the fortitude to do UBJ.” That was 2012, and in 2014 the UBJ brand launched their own signature event, the Who’s Who, recognizing local talent and leadership. The Community Journals, then with four publication brands and three signature events in their arsenal, were ready to sit back and breathe. “In 2015 I had to make a pledge to the company—literally—that in 2015 we were going to take a breath. We were going to focus,” Mark notes. “If you look at, we spent a couple of years developing Town and then there were a couple of years developing UBJ; we wanted to keep the momentum and make 2015 the year of the Journal.” Instead, there was one more brand to launch. In the middle of 2016, they launched their most recent brand, GVL Today, which shows up in email inboxes every morning. And while Mark notes that publishing GVL Today has “been a blast,” he also notes that a break is very much needed. “I think we are done for awhile,” he says. Now, with more than 350 advertisers across the entire family of Community Journal brands—some of which “have been with us from the very start,” Mark says—there is, quite literally, no stopping the organization. Still, Mark says, the reality of what such a small office produces is amazing. “To get back to brass tacks…every week we produce a Greenville Journal out of this office. We print UBJ every week. Since Town is such an extensive product, we publish that 12 times a year and we are working and selling it constantly. We sell four At Home magazines a year. We have a go-to brand Behind the Counter, which is probably one of the most successful things that we do. And now, with a daily email, we are in the daily news content business with GVLtoday. We have websites that we update for Greenville Journal, we have a website for Town, we have an website for UBJ. And since we are totally driven by advertising revenue, we have to maintain and grow those relationships and we have to kill what we eat. Once the week’s over, we start again, and we’ve been doing that for 18 years.” Even now, with so many brands and deadlines and moving parts, the thing that motivates the Johnstons today is the same thing that prompted them into existence 18 years ago—a responsibility to the community they love. “We have a responsibility to take what all these community leaders and businesses are doing and communicate it,” Mark says. “Not everybody gets to sit on the Greenville Chamber’s board and know what’s going on. Not everyone is in commercial real estate development. They don’t know. But who is going to tell them…who has the responsibility to do that? Well it’s ours, and we’ll gladly take it, because nobody else is doing it.” After a much needed break, what’s next? If they know, they aren’t telling, but one thing is certain—they have created the largest local privately owned media house in Greenville, and they aren’t going anywhere soon. It might be Donna who sums it up best: “If we stay humble and we put our customers first, we will always succeed.”


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by Lindsay Buchanan


YOU HAVE TO BE SOCIAL— LIKE IT OR NOT As consumers, being part of the technological age has changed the way we communicate with businesses and even how we make purchasing decisions. Whether we’re choosing where to eat dinner or what type of laptop we want to buy, consumers now have the power of information and practically limitless options. Most businesses have acknowledged the necessity of having an online presence to meet that demand—one that provides information for customers through a website, of course—but also a presence through advertising and social media that addresses that business’ online marketing and customer service demands. But for those businesses that have not made the jump, consider this: Being available to customers online is not only a necessary evil in order to be taken seriously as a legitimate business, but it has also become a mandatory requirement in order to excel at customer service. Consumers want their questions answered at the touch of their fingers on their smartphone, not by tracking you down in person or by a phone call. If you aren’t online to answer customers’ questions or fill their needs, another business has probably already grabbed their attention and is helping them right now.


a constantly evolving one, requiring constant on the job training. The most popular social platforms seem to change their algorithms for getting information in front of people every week. And at least once every few months a new popular platform pops up—stealing the attention of the potential customers you’ve worked so hard to draw in on the original platform. Then there’s the question of what type of content to share in order to stand out from the mass of other businesses who are also vying for the three to five second attention span of the average consumer. Still, despite the headaches, businesses know they need to be investing in reaching their customers where they are online, but very few have the time, money, or resources to devote to this newest marketing strategy and often aren’t sure how it fits in with their traditional methods.

While social media marketing and online customer service may seem time-intensive, making the shift is ultimately the best way to appeal to consumers who, let’s face it, are already online looking your business up anyway. And by utilizing the data, analysis, and strategy of a social listening center, you’ll not only be where your customers are, but one step ahead of them as well.

So, where does a business with limited resources turn to keep up with its competitors and the realities of current day marketing? That’s where a social listening and marketing consulting service can really come in handy.

However, acknowledging that businesses need to be engaging with their customers online does not particularly mean they know how to do it well, or at all.

Just as technology has changed consumers, it has also changed our ability to pull limitless data from around the world. By utilizing the services of a social listening center, a business can learn, with just a few keywords, what people are saying about them online, where those people are talking, what demographic groups they fall in, and even what topics they’re most interested in discussing.

Social media marketing, as it is often called, is a fairly new field and due to its very nature, is

This type of information allows a business to not only know where they should have

Business Black Box Q4 2016

a presence online, but also what type of content or ads they should be generating to grab the attention of their current and potential customers. Equally important, by engaging more actively with consumers right where they are, customer service is automatically improved with faster response times and personal service.

ABOUT LINDSAY BUCHANAN Lindsay Buchanan is manager of The Listening Center, a business unit of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT). The Listening Center helps businesses of all sizes and backgrounds by offering social listening and social media marketing strategy and consulting based on each business’ unique needs.


In the next decade, the U.S. manufacturing economy will need an estimated 3.5 million workers.


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By Reba Hull Campbell The old adage in the real estate business is “location, location, location.” Residents, business owners, elected leaders or students will likely give a similar answer if asked why they live, work or shop in the City of Cayce. Whether it’s proximity to downtown Columbia; easy access to the riverfront, three interstates, the airport, or its central location in the state, Cayce is ideally situated in the center of economic, recreation and quality of life activities in the Midlands. This city of just over 13,000 residents sits in Lexington County but shares borders with Columbia, West Columbia, Springdale and Richland County. The city can trace its roots back to Native Americans who likely lived in the area as far back 12,000 years ago. Much of the city’s history over the years centers around trade from the river and the railroads. The city was chartered in 1914 as Cayce’s Crossroads. When the Blossom Street Bridge was built over the Congaree River, connecting Cayce to downtown Columbia in the 1950s, city leaders laid out a master plan for commercial growth along the city’s main thoroughfare. Today, Cayce continues to flourish as a center of commerce with major corporations like SCANA, Amazon, Lexington Medical Center and Nephron calling the city home along with some 700 other businesses. While city leaders have worked to distinguish Cayce with its own identity, being part of the greater Midlands community also brings benefits. Cayce teamed with Columbia, West Columbia, and Richland and Lexington Counties to create a vision for their valuable shared asset—the Congaree River. The River Alliance partnership includes a trail that threads seamlessly along the river, and the whole region benefits from this collaboration. Cayce is also part of a regional infrastructure partnership to supply water in the area. In 2012, the Cayce Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant began operation, replacing the existing plant built in the early 1970s. The facility also provides wastewater services to the Town of Lexington and the Lexington Joint Water and Sewer Commission. It has enough capacity to serve its customers for the next 30 years, which is a strong selling point for businesses looking to locate in the area. While some Midlands residents may have once perceived Cayce as the path to the airport or Lake Murray, the city has distinguished itself as far more than a bedroom community to Columbia. City

leaders point to Cayce’s quality of life as one of its draws with low taxes and fees but all of the services of a big city. The small town feel fosters a sense of pride among its close-knit residents. Long-time residents are working side-by-side with the increasing number of young professionals and families who are getting involved in city committees and events. The city’s tax base is expanding, meaning the city can provide the increasing variety of amenities that long-time and new residents are demanding. The city’s old downtown area, the Knox Abbott Drive corridor, is experiencing booming redevelopment with recently completed high-end apartments and the new Neighborhood Walmart grocery store. A Marriott Courtyard is under construction at the city’s I-77 interchange with more than 350 acres of land remaining available for development in that same area. Housing choices in Cayce range from historic neighborhoods to new subdivisions. Student apartments and high end condominiums also are starting to dot the Cayce skyline. The historic “Avenues” neighborhood was established when World War II veterans came home looking to buy new homes in the area. But there are also new developments such as Concord Park where homes are selling before construction even begins. The city boasts more than 8.5 miles of trails and 400 acres of parks, including the 12,000 Year History Park. The park has archaeological evidence of more than 12,000 years of inhabitants and includes the artifacts from Columbia’s stand against Union General Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War. SCANA donated the property to the city, and plans are underway with the state and the National Parks Service to build and an interpretive center. The Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center not only provides recreational opportunities for residents but also brings visitors to the city for tournaments. Several outdoor adventure businesses take advantage of the locals and tourists’ access to the riverfront, while the Timmerman Trail adds yet another option for enjoying the outdoors. Adding to the list of recreational opportunities are the historic Columbia Speedway and a number of city parks. From the historic neighborhoods to the peaceful Riverwalk and the lively restaurant scene to the activity-packed tennis center, Cayce leaders believe the city’s small town atmosphere just across the river from larger city amenities will only mean success for this city’s future.

ABOUT REBA HULL CAMPBELL Reba Hull Campbell is the deputy executive director of the Municipal Association of S.C. that represents all 270 South Carolina cities and towns. Reba has spent more than 25 years in communications, government relations, fundraising and campaigns around S.C. and in Washington, DC. When not working to promote the interests of S.C. cities and towns, Reba is a writer, traveler and frequent bicycle rider on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.


Business Black Box Q4 2016



Residents in the City of Cayce


Businesses that call Cayce home


Lower than the average U.S. average cost of living

$88, 200

Housing cost median



#1 City in S.C. for Millennial Job Seekers


#2 In Women in the Workforce for S.C.

03 04

#6 In Happiness of City Residents in S.C.

#9 Tax Friendly places for retirees

COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES IN CAYCE Otarre Development Situated just off I-77 on 12th Street, the Otarre Development is next to the future 12,000 Yeark Park, and is ready for commercial development.

Brickworks Development Located on the main commercial corridor in Cayce on Knox Abbott Drive, this site offers a great skyline view of the capital. Currently home to Southern First Bank.

Saxe Gotha Industrial Park The 160 acre Saxe Gotha Industrial Park serves as the home for Amazon, Nephron Pharmaceuticals and SCANA Corporation’s Natural Gas Training Facility.

Photo courtesy of Reba Hull Campbell.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by Sharon Day


BIG DOG, LITTLE DOG Are you in a business that is smaller than the major competitors you battle against? If so, you are the Little Dog and you will likely compete against larger companies with greater revenues. Until you gain market traction and your brand is well established this can be quite challenging. If you are the Little Dog battling the Big Dog, here are some realities that you and your team may have to live with. Not forever, but probably for the first few years of your existence at least. Being aware of these will help you temper your expectations and best define your marketing and sales strategies. Most large prospects are likely to make ‘A Safe Choice.’ The first time choosing an outside supplier, a lot of businesses— especially big businesses—choose to partner with other large companies. Big, respected firms have processes and systems that are proven in the market, so they are perceived to be less risky. Back in the day, there was a saying among C-suite execs: “Nobody got fired for hiring IBM.” Deciding to go with the Big Dog will likely be understood and respected by the team as well, leading to quick buy-in. That’s a definite plus in times of change. They’re also likely to stick with the ‘Big is Safer’ theme for a while. If the larger supplier doesn’t produce expected results, the big client tends to blame them for nonperformance. While not always the case, at times this is true. The same processes and systems that allow a large business to scale often make it tough for them to customize their approach to individual


Business Black Box Q4 2016

clients. This is where Big Dog suppliers begin to have some challenges. By not being able to customize their solution or give personalized attention, larger suppliers may create enough dissatisfaction to open themselves up to being displaced. That sounds like an excellent opportunity for the Little Dog— but hold on—most times the big client still isn’t ready to let go of the safer choice. So they choose another Big Dog supplier as their partner, believing that switching Big Dogs will change their results. Eventually Some Are Ready for RealWorld Service. After a couple of rounds with larger suppliers as partners, many companies are ready for real change. They find out that what they want is a partner who is willing and able to customize a solution specifically tailored to them and their business. This is when the playing field becomes leveled and Little Dog competitors who have made themselves known and have done their homework have a chance to win. Will you be Ready for Their Call? Little Dogs, you have to start connecting with your dream clients now so you’ll get an opportunity to compete. Every 90 days in every business something major happens. If you aren’t top of mind you’ll be left behind. When you’re given a shot and still don’t win, remember that ‘no’ is only a directional indicator leading you to come up with a better solution and new ideas. Little Dogs Stand Tall and Remember. As you begin to engage you will either meet with the people who make decisions, or

find out exactly who they are. You also get a chance to start building your case. Be prepared. From there you’ll have the chance to deepen those relationships by demonstrating your ability to develop opportunities and relieve their burdens. When the time comes for a change, if they’ve come to trust and respect you, your odds of winning greatly increase because they remain disappointed with their current supplier. Begin to engage with your ideal clients who are currently working with your competitors. Make sure they come to know you and what you’re capable of. Start today. Successfully make your case now so you can confidently stand tall among the Big Dogs later.

ABOUT SHARON DAY Sharon Day is President of Greenville-based Sales Activation Group. She and her team focus on recruiting, educating and motivating sales teams to produce at higher levels. Everything is customized for each client and their offerings range from fractional sales management to one-of-a-kind sales contests and promotions. For more information call 864.451.7676 or e-mail:



Get a behind the scenes look at the entrepreneur behind one of Greenville’s best business success stories.

A 100 percent woman-owned business, Quality Business Solutions, Inc. provides professional employer organization (PEO) and administrative services organization (ASO) outsourced employee and Payroll, Benefits and HR management services. Founded in 2000, QBS has experienced revenue growth of nearly $300 million over the past three years, making it a $1 billion enterprise. We sat down with President/CEO of QBS, Pamela Evette, to talk about how it all happened. BBB: QBS is relatively young—you were only founded in 2000. But in a short 16 years, you are a billion-dollar enterprise. What does it feel like when you step back and reflect on that? PE: It sometimes feels like a dream that we are able to do so much. Sixteen years ago I had big aspirations, but I never thought we would reach almost a billion dollars. When I think about it now, I humbly step back to say, “God had a much bigger dream for us than we could’ve ever dreamed for ourselves.” It gives me a lot of pride to know we were able to build a business that was so successful. Most of the time when I look at Quality, I don’t see at it as a large corporation. We run it as a small business to give a high level of customer service to our clients, and since that is and has always been our goal, we can sometimes overlook how big our numbers have gotten.

BBB: So when is it that you sit back and realize how big you’ve actually gotten? Is it like personal meditation where you focus on your successes, or is it more like something happens and you’re floored for a minute realizing how big things have gotten around you? PE: It’s a little bit of both. I mean, I know how big we are. I just think when you’re in it everyday, it’s hard to see. So…I went to Ohio State. It’s a huge campus and your first week you are simply in awe of how big it is. But then, a few months in, it doesn’t feel that big at all, because it’s familiar. It’s the same for us. As big as we’ve grown, we’ve really had a lot of controlled growth. For example, we brought on our first large client and that client has grown—almost doubled in size since we’ve taken them on. But for a year after we took them on, we made a very conscious attempt to not take on any new business unless it was a direct referral, because we wanted to make sure that we didn’t lose what was important to us—our customer service. We pay very close attention to our capacity and how quickly we can grow.

My older children are always here helping out and learning about what we do and how important what we do is for our clients, their businesses and their employees. My dream one day is that my kids want to be part of the business and someday run it—that would bring me a lot of joy.

BBB: So, how do you balance or prioritize the needs of the family and the needs of the business? PE: If it is not a critical matter at the office that could end up harming one of our clients, then family comes first. Someone once told me I was rather elusive, because they had heard my name and they had heard of Quality, but I’m not at a lot of things that happen after hours. I explained that that comes second to what my kids are doing. So when my daughter has something going on at college or my son is starting a football game, that’s where I will be. Those are things that will happen for a short time and once my kids are grown, there will still be plenty of networking sessions I can attend. That is how I prioritize who needs me the most.

“I think most women are really afraid to say that—that they’d rather be at their kid’s soccer game than networking at a meet-and-greet.”

BBB: Did you ever imagine back in 2000 that QBS would be so big so fast? Was it always part of the vision you had? Or has that vision grown and changed as the company grew?

BBB: That’s pretty bold—to be building a business and skipping out on networking in lieu of a soccer game. Do you think your kids see the balance you are working for?

PE: My vision for QBS hasn’t changed much from then to today. I wanted to build a customer service-oriented company that held the highest of moral standing; it was more important to me to run a business the right way than to be a profitable business. I really believe that that’s how you become profitable, because in the end that really starts to show. I realize now, because we have grown so much, it’s not that our vision has changed, it’s just that we just want to be able to offer that same customer service to a large company that we would to a smaller organization, and give them something they aren’t used to seeing for a company their size. But in the end, I always wanted to grow QBS because I wanted to do something that my children could look at and be proud of.

PE: I think most women are really afraid to say that—that they’d rather be at their kid’s soccer game than networking at a meet-and-greet. But if there is a dropdead emergency here at work, my kids get that. They get it because there isn’t an emergency every day, and I’m generally right there for nearly all their occasions.

BBB: Let’s talk about that for a minute. Because in addition to being an entrepreneur and business leader, you are also a wife and mother. So expand on that: What role does your family play in the business, and in your success? PE: More important than being a business owner and entrepreneur is being a wife, a mother, and a daughter. Family is very important to me, and it has been a struggle from the first day to have a good work/life balance. It helps that my family is very involved in the business. Without my mother to help me when the kids were young, I may not have had the opportunity to do as much in the business world; she was a very strong foundation for helping me by watching the kids when they were little. My husband, David, works with me at the business.


Pam Evette was named our Entrepreneur of the Year in the 2016 Business Black Box Awards.

In these emergencies, we always focus on the reality that what we do impacts people’s lives in a major way. I remember one time, a hurricane hit Alabama and took out FedEx. Well, all of our payroll packages for 30 facilities were in the FedEx building that had collapsed. We thought about the fact that many people, especially those who had been hardest hit by this storm, were depending on getting these checks to help them make ends meet. We knew we had to take immediate action to help. So, the storm hit on a Friday night, and, by Saturday morning, we were in the office. We reprinted the checks, packaged them, and David met someone from our client office halfway between here and Alabama just to get their checks to them. So, if my son had a soccer game that Saturday, he would know exactly why we missed it and be okay with it.

BBB: So, you’ve talked about your priorities, but what other sacrifices have you made to get to where you are today? PE: Time and money, mostly. I worked two other jobs in the early years of starting Quality because I kept putting money back into the company to let it grow. Even though time was a big sacrifice for me, I tried to use sleep time hours to do a lot


Business Black Box Q4 2016

instead of awake time hours, because I have three children, and I did not want to miss out on the key things they were doing, or parts of their day. I never got to those tennis lessons I would’ve taken, but I sacrificed my time for me rather than my time for the kids.

BBB: Now, that’s really counter to what a lot of “experts” will tell you—that if you don’t take care of yourself and have time for yourself that you will burn out or be less effective. So how did you do that and not reach that stage of burnout? PE: It’s funny, I told somebody once that I never thought about all the things I had to do in a day, because I was worried that it would scare me off. I come from a first-generation European family. My dad worked all the time. His “me” time was cutting the grass. I don’t know if I learned a different kind of work ethic from that, but what was important to him was that he be there and have dinner with all of us. It was important to him that he was there on Friday night to watch our cheerleading or basketball games—that was fulfilling to him. I think that somehow in my life, that is what makes me happy. Going off and playing tennis for a few hours, or whatever that would be… it’s nothing compared to sitting at my son’s football game, screaming and cheering. That is what’s really fulfilling to me. If I worked out for two hours and got my stress level down, but missed all that, I would be a miserable person. So I think it’s a mental thing…what makes me happy is being at my kids’ stuff. Someday I hope to do all those things, but in my head I know I have this very short window of time to be a mom, and I’ll never get that back. God willing, one day I’ll wake up and not have to pack lunches or something, and then I’ll go to yoga.

BBB: You’ve mentioned before that you are, by nature, fairly risk-averse, but also recognize that taking risks is what took your company to a whole new level. How does a risk-averse person learn to not only accept risk, but to embrace it? PE: It’s not easy. I am an accountant by nature, so risk isn’t really in our bloodline. I think over the years you become more confident and you assess your risks better. You don’t just look at the risk, you take a more well-rounded look. Then, you know that once you do all of that, you now just have to take a leap of faith and know that you’ve done everything you can. In the end, the worst opportunities are the ones you didn’t take.

BBB: The “Worst Opportunities.” What do you mean by that? PE: When you look back and you say, “Wow, I wish I would have.” Those are things you can never get back. My dad was my biggest and best teacher. But he was afraid. He was first generation to this country, and it was all about security for him. He was a phenomenal die-maker. He always had this passion to go and do something with that, but he was afraid. He had four children that he had to put through college and what if no one wanted him or if it didn’t pull through? Then he retired, and the bottom dropped out. He was a free agent and everybody swarmed him to come teach what he did. You could tell he was sad—he realized that he could have made five times as much working for himself, and not by working like a dog for someone else—but he was afraid. When you look back on it, it was probably a lesson he didn’t mean to teach, but we were so close that he did. The worst thing you can do is have regret, and the worst opportunity is the one you just let pass by.

BBB: But to do that, you have to learn how to balance risk and reward. That’s not something easily learned, is it? PE: We always assess what risks we will be taking to make sure that the rewards outweigh the risks. When you look at any situation, you have to make sure the risks you are taking are ones you can bounce back from. We have been very blessed in that when we have taken risks in the past, some have worked out great and some haven’t. We always looked at it not as a failure, but more of something to learn from and build on and be smarter around the next corner.


Business Black Box Q4 2016

“In the end, the worst opportunities are the ones you didn’t take.”

BBB: What risks, specifically, have you taken that helped propel your company forward? PE: So, an example: Early on, we made the decision to make a large investment in technology, and soon after that we had the opportunity to quote a very large client. Because of the risk we took with adding in that technology, we were able to get that client, and by risking taking on a client so large it made us have to put other things in place for our business. That made us reach out to technology even further. So one risk that we took led to another risk, and when that panned out well, that led to more risk. But all of those risks made us better. All the things that we had to do to satisfy that large client just made us a better company for our small- or medium-sized clients.

BBB: So it sounds like taking risks became easier and easier as they paid off? PE: We would have never been able to get our large client if we hadn’t made that leap of faith and investment in technology. And even then, we were like, “Can we even do this?” I mean, Michelin doesn’t have as many employees as our large client does. Shell Oil in the Americas doesn’t have as many employees as our large client. So we sat back and we had a lot of faith in the fact that we could do

it, but in the back of your mind you are still scared, because one wrong move and you’re done. Even our mentors cautioned us that “this will be really good for you, but it could kill you.”

BBB: Touch on that. You’ve had mentors and people close to the business giving you advice. How important is mentorship to you? PE: Having a mentor is important. I think in this world of successful people who sometimes do very unethical things, it is very important to mentor young people coming up. My mentor was my father. It may seem odd, but he was somebody who was afraid to take risks and didn’t and those were some of his biggest regrets. But he always encouraged us to not be afraid, and knowing the regrets he had in his life helps me to take risks. In terms of mentorship, we at Quality embrace internships. We didn’t do it until a few years ago because we wanted to make sure we could give students a sound experience—something more than stamping letters and counting paper clips. So they work with HR and in all the individual departments. They understand how important quality work is for us, and I think they leave with a sense of knowing that you have to do what you say, provide good customer service and treat your customers how you would want them to treat you.


Business Black Box Q4 2016

BBB: There’s a big difference between working in your business and working on your business, and separation from daily tasks is key to being able to see the bigger picture. How do you make create this time to work on your company?

to do business with minority businesses or have specific budget dollars set aside to spend with diverse companies. The challenge is that some companies tend to confuse diversity businesses with small businesses and may not consider some of us large enough to handle large projects or high volumes.

PE: Having a well-trained staff gives you the freedom to focus less on the day-to-day and more on your overall business. Being a part of groups; I was asked to be a part of WPO (Women’s Presidential Organization), a group where you have to be invited, but then you are placed in a group of peers who are all other women in the same revenue spectrum, so we are all dealing with a lot of the same challenges, which is very helpful.

For example, I was at an event where a diversity buyer from Wal-Mart was sitting next to me. When I explained that we do benefits and payroll, he was genuinely surprised to learn that our largest client has 48,000 employees and is publicly traded. After admitting that he assumed we were too small to handle his business, he inquired about how he might use us. I think this is indicative of a need for a constant level of education to inform would-be customers that women-owned businesses are like any other businesses—large and small, niche players and generalists, progressive and conservative, visionary and routine. With that in mind, I don’t focus on being a woman-owned business, I focus on being a great company that happens to be owned by a woman.

Being a part of WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) or working with other businesses helps me look at the bigger picture of my business. Getting other people’s ideas, seeing what they’ve done, seeing what they say they would never do again. I think the bigger your company gets, the more you have to look at that and let go of some of the things that you do on a day-to-day basis as you move forward in an ever-changing business world.

BBB: You mention groups like WPO and WBENC as example; What value do organizations like that bring? PE: They bring a ton of value both personally and professionally. I have made great connections that bring on new and exciting clients to QBS. I also think I’ve helped other women-owned businesses, in return. This giving back, especially helping guide someone who is where I was 16 years ago, provides me with a great amount of personal amount of satisfaction and keeps me motivated to strive to do more.

BBB: Let’s talk about the connection to woman-owned businesses. QBS is a 100-percent woman-owned business. What does that status mean to you? PE: Being a woman-owned business provides tremendous advantages in the marketplace, because most larger corporations are actively seeking opportunities

This status has also opened up other doors for us. We have gotten so much attention lately for being part of the Inc. 5000, in which I was ranked number three in the Top 50 female entrepreneurs. This gives us instant credibility, and the more these bigger companies Google us and see all these awards and accolades, the more they want to do business with us. While we’ve pushed to earn more honors of this type, being a woman-owned business also comes with a responsibility to turn around and help the next one in line, a cause to which I am firmly committed.

Many women-owned businesses are very small, and for any small business it can be hard to grow. So how do you personally interact with other women to help them grow? PE: It’s great to connect with other women, and I find it very satisfying to connect with other women-owned businesses. Women can really help each other. Like, if I’m buying mugs or something, I’m probably just going to buy from the company that sends me all those big catalogs and promotional items. I’m not emotionally tied to that company for any reason. But then, I see there’s this company called

“I don’t focus on being a woman-owned business, I focus on being a great company that happens to be owned by a woman.”


Business Black Box Q4 2016

“We’ve found that the best way to get more people involved is by giving kudos so they aren’t afraid to be open with their ideas.”

Impressions and they are out of Georgia and are woman-owned and have all the same stuff, why wouldn’t I use them? I mean, I’m not married to anything—it’s just a business I’ve used. So why not use her instead? Why not help her grow? If I don’t ever get a Wal-Mart or Macy’s, I’m still meeting a lot of great women who are in this space that I think I can bring a great service to, and they can bring a great service to me.

Let’s shift a little and talk about hiring. What things are you unwilling to compromise on in a new hire or a partner vendor? When hiring people for Quality we look for very self-motivated people. We have never been a micro-managing kind of company. We want people to look at what we are doing and bring fresh perspectives and maybe improve on what we are doing. Self-motivated business conscience employees. We won’t work with anybody that doesn’t have the same ethical level as we do. We look for partners who are very customer service-oriented, who are more worried about getting a problem fixed than pointing blame when a problem arises. Those are things we won’t ever compromise on.

What are the skills that you don’t have—and how do you balance that out in your workforce? I’m not a sales person. I can go in and help close any deal, but to just walk in or cold call and start talking—that’s not me. I know where everybody’s needs are, but I’m not the person to go in and just say, “Hey, let me tell you about me.” What have I done to balance that? Hired good sales people.

How do you determine when a job is something you should hire for, as opposed to finding a vendor to handle the task? I look at it as is it something I need to have control over when helping service my clients. If it is something I need to have immediate reactionary time to, then I can’t always count on a third party with the level of service that I like to offer, because I realize that they have other clients also. If it’s something that is a very specific skill level that I can manage that wouldn’t be a critical issue, then we do like to outsource because it’s always nice to go to some place where that is their specific duty. That is why people come to us, and we recognize what we do for people is very time sensitive, which is why customer service has always been our number one priority.

How do you create a culture where employees can vocalize concerns or ideas to you? We have a very open-door policy. We give people credit for ideas or bringing a valid concern to you that could be a potential be a problem. We praise and reward those who come up with solutions. We’ve found that the best way to get more people involved is by giving kudos so they aren’t afraid to be open with their ideas.

Give us an example. What is the biggest idea that has affected QBS that was born out of an employee? So, this is hard, because what we do is so regulated, that we don’t have control over a lot of things that might be seen as innovative. But there are simple things—like our distribution room, as an example. We were wondering, “What is the best way to package 24,000 checks that were going out to 2,000 locations?” So we had this one employee, and she came in and came up with this system that included foam blocks, and this organization of the codes we use. It was so simplistic, but it literally was a dream the first time we did it. Six years later, we still use the same process. And it’s that process that today allows us to get out 48,000 checks to 4,800 distribution facilities across the country for our largest client. To anybody else, it wouldn’t seem like a big thing, but when you’re trying to sort and organize 48,000 pieces of paper, it’s huge.

Last question, but I want to ask about your industry as a whole. What are the biggest challenges that your industry is facing right now, and how are you addressing them? Our biggest challenge is the ever-changing regulatory landscape. We stay current on new rules and regulations from the time they are being considered or proposed and give our people all the tools they need to stay on top of what is happening in HR or in the payroll world, with different governmental legislation that may be coming out. ACA is a big burden for us to shoulder for our clients, mainly because it was so abstract and no one really knew what the clear-cut laws were around it. We’re razor focused on keeping our clients compliant, ahead of and well-prepared for legislation that is coming down the pike and helping them make tough decisions within their own company about how best to tackle these changes.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by Anna Locke


ONE TIME OUT REMAINING Football season is upon us—just as many businesses head into the fourth and final quarter of the fiscal year. How are you going to use your one and final ‘time out’ remaining? A time out in football allows the players on the field a chance to regroup with the coach and set plans for the next play. Businesses have one final quarter to meet current year projections or sales targets, one final quarter to get a budget written and agreed upon, or 90 days to figure out financing on that next product line or set of promises made to customers that go live on January 1. In 2016, companies need to also have addressed the updated salary and wage rules that will increase the minimum salary for exempt employees effective December 1, 2016. How will this affect the 2017 budget and considerations for headcount? Have you discussed this with your HR department? Or better yet, with the employees who will be affected? No matter whether the organization has a not-for-profit or for-profit focus, the final quarter of fiscal year is an important one. This is the time to set plans for the future and particularly a time for connecting with each of the stakeholders related to the organization. Now, the accountants will think this is the time for getting things caught up and not necessarily jump at the chance for more brainstorming sessions toward the future. Keep this in mind as you build in time to connect across all functions of the organization. Just like the football coach walks directly onto the playing field, build in direct connections between the ownership/management group with


Business Black Box Q4 2016

those expected to work toward the goals of the new year. Take time to coordinate communication at a time that captures the momentum for that group, not necessarily to all employees all at once. Connecting across the organization has been referenced as a key to an organization maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage. Great football teams use their time out’s to their advantage and they are limited to just a few minutes for this time together. Pit crews on race teams have precious seconds to change the tires and send the racecar back out on the track. Businesses have days, weeks and months. If you are the coach, what is going to be your message to the players during fourth quarter? If you are the player, what are your ideas for the next play? Go team!

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 S.C., 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.




Business Black Box Q4 2016

Photo by Shawn Stom/FishEye Studios


VICTORIAKIRBY By Josh Overstreet

Victoria Kirby lives to create. An entrepreneur at heart, her true passion is not only creating and growing new ventures and companies, but to do the same in the people she interacts with, making them the best they can be. “I started my career as an entrepreneur and have been fortunate at a young age to be exposed to some fascinating people; business people who taught me many, many things,” says Victoria Kirby, the executive director of the European American Chamber of Commerce. A Greenville native, Furman grad and a “technology geek,” Kirby got involved early on in the technology sector. Through her work ethic and entrepreneurial drive, she became involved with others who were like-minded. “We started a company, I had two partners, we started a company and then over a period of 10 years, we built the company,” says Kirby. “That was back in the ‘90s and that was when the internet rage was about to happen.” Over time, that company was folded into State Communications, which became Trivergent, then Nuvox, and then eventually what it is known today: Windstream. Kirby served as vice president of integrated services, and as part of her role, she traveled extensively and built a wide range of contacts that helped her step into leadership training and corporate consulting roles. Through those contacts, she was able to create the Women’s Leadership Institute at her alma mater. “I took on a project a couple of years ago with Furman that was to build a corporate


The Upstate of South Carolina hosts more than 350 companies that hail from one of 32 different countries. international.php

development center and also to launch the Women’s Leadership Institute,” says Kirby. “I love doing things like that. It’s creating something new and innovative. That’s where I thrive.” Recently, when meeting with a friend, Kirby was introduced to the European American Chamber of Commerce and found that they were opening up a charter in the Southeast, located right in Greenville. “So that’s how it all started, it was over a cup of coffee,” says Kirby. “The board was already in place. When I learned what the mission was from a trade and investment standpoint, that was right up my alley. Over the years I have worked with diplomats, with organizations whose primary focus is to open up investments and trade and show the people what Greenville was about.” The European American Chamber of Commerce is based out of Paris, France and has charters here in America located in New York City, Cincinnati and Princeton, New Jersey. Greenville is the Southeast location of the chamber. Still, Kirby notes, “This could have easily landed in Charlotte or Atlanta.” What set Greenville apart from those other cities were several factors. The diverse industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive—among others that call Greenville, the Upstate and the Carolinas home—aided in having

the European American Chamber look at Greenville for a charter. One of the other separating factors was quality of life. When you ask the question: “Is Greenville a place you want to live and would you want to move your family here?” The answer is a solid yes. Now, Kirby and the European American Chamber want to establish themselves and work with the established organizations in the area, such as the other chambers and the Upstate Alliance. “We are a connector,” says Kirby. “Let me connect you with this CEO or this organization. We can bring you together and show you ways in which you can work together. We love doing that.” As part of that mission, the Chamber is actively recruiting members, in an effort to have a wide base of companies that they can connect together for the betterment of the region. “It will, of course, continue to grow pretty rapidly because of the value that it brings to our community and our state,” says Kirby. “I’m very dedicated to seeing this becoming successful. As a new venture, there is a lot of work to create that and I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a board that wants this to be successful.”


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by Leslie Hayes


SHOULD I PAY OR SHOULD YOU GO? Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably aware that the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For those of you who have been living under a rock (or touring foreign countries or living off the grid), here is the bottom line: If you have anyone making less than $47,476 per year ($913 per week), you now have to pay overtime for all hours worked over 40 in a work week regardless of their job responsibilities. You have until December 1, 2016 to transition. This new rule has many employers (especially those in industries like retail) carefully entering numbers into spreadsheets to quantify the impact on their salary budgets, revenue targets and staffing projections. For many, the implications of continuing to have first level managers and employees work overtime is financially daunting and substantially impacts profitability. For every cloud, however, there is at least one silver lining—and one big one in this situation has the potential to address not only the overtime issue but also the ubiquitous concern of employee engagement and retention. This silver lining is this—restructure the jobs and schedules in your organization so that your team members do not work overtime! In fact, there is ample evidence that working more than 40 hours per week actually creates diminishing

returns in quality and creativity and results in more absenteeism, turnover, and preventable mistakes.1 If you are one of the millions of leaders who do not believe that work can be completed in only 40 hours, consider Sweden for a moment. According to the World Bank, the gross national profit (GNP) per capita in Sweden between 2011-2015 $61,570 while the GNP in the United States came in at $55,230.2 While there are many factors contributing to these numbers, Sweden is definitely doing something right; and one of these “right” things may be the small but growing trend of companies instituting six hour days.3 How are they doing it? By creating two 3-hour focused work periods each day, restricting all personal activity during that time, and providing employees with ample time to take care of personal outside of work. There are absolutely compromises—especially when working with colleagues who do not keep these hours and are accustomed to faster response times. The full impact of Sweden’s experiment has yet to be seen, but there are additional examples of times when this kind of schedule has produced remarkable results (see just one example at http://www. I’m not advocating a 30-hour work week. (Ironically, I am writing this article at 12:30 a.m.!) However, I am suggesting that the new overtime rule is a perfect opportunity to revisit the 40-hour week—and consider where you may be burning out your employees (or, perhaps, even yourself). Reiva Lesonsky (2015) has some great

suggestions for covering your customers and still keeping work weeks in check.4 One of her suggestions includes setting up a seasonal or cyclical approach to work weeks by working 30 hours during slower seasons and 40 hours when it is busier. Another suggestion is to stagger shifts so that each person works four days per week and has one day off. These suggestions have been used by many organizations for years, but, as technology has increased our accessibility and the pace of work has increased, many people in salaried positions feel obligated to be available 24/7—leaving the 40 hour work week behind. Now that many people will suddenly be required to track time (and be paid for overtime) it is a terrific opportunity to revisit work structure, quality, creativity and work weeks in your organization. If you do something different, will you get something better? As for me? I’m thinking about starting an office in Sweden!

ABOUT LESLIE HAYES For Leslie Hayes business is people. She tested a Harvard education and graduate leadership degree with over two decades of practical experience and currently serves clients of The Hayes Approach in the Upstate and globally. Leslie’s expertise, humor, compassion and realism keep her in demand as an HR expert, coach, educator and author.

1. Retrieved from:, June 3, 2016. 2. Retrieved from:, June 3, 2016. 3. Savage, M (2015). The truth about Sweden’s short working hours. Retrieved from:, June 3, 2016. 4. Lesonsky, R. (2015). Can the 30-hour work week fit your business? Retrieved from:, June 3, 2016.


Business Black Box Q4 2016

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Greer needed something to address future workforce issues and unite the community. Here’s how they did it.


Business Black Box Q4 2016

A LOOK BACK In 1914, the Piedmont and Northern railroad laid tracks in Greer, S.C., cementing it as a hub for manufacturing. At the time, Greer was home to four textile mills—Victor, Apalache, Franklin and Greer Mills—in addition to be known for growing and exporting peaches, which it still does today. But while the textile mills became a thing of the past, Greer has remained a place that makes and crafts things, from culinary to manufacturing. It is this maker’s spirit that Greer Chamber President Mark Owens wants to celebrate. “We wanted to show that Greer has a long history of being for mills, making products here and having a pride about making things,” says Owens. “We come from that.” When Owens became the president of the Greer Chamber in 2014, one of his first goals was to meet with Greer companies and see what they were needing and how the C hamber could fill those gaps. “We kept hearing some of the same feedback,” says Owens. ‘Things are going great; we are growing,’ but the Chamber isn’t doing much in workforce development side of things.”

Greer’s history is steeped in manufacturing. Originally a textile town, it has grown over the years to be a hub of both local and international manufacturing­—home to companies like BMW and Mitsubishi Film. Now an initiative is shining a spotlight on products made in the Greer community and how it can impact the future of workforce development in the Upstate.

Another eye-opening experience came when Owens attended Greenville County school meetings and realized tha,t in terms of employment clusters chosen by students, manufacturing always landed at 14th of the 16 career choices students usually go with. “We are pretty strong right now, but if the students aren’t interested, there will be a gap,” says Owens.

GREERMADE The idea for GreerMade began as a way to address the growing need for manufacturing to become a highly pursued career by students and as such, they needed to find a way to get the message out. “It was really the idea of taking something that is perceived as one way and making it cool to the younger generation,” says Katie Witherspoon, communications director of the Greer Chamber of Commerce. According to Witherspoon, they are fighting the stigma that manufacturing is an old, dated and dirty field to get into, when in actuality, that isn’t the case. “Making it a little slicker and making it a reflection of what it actually is,” says Witherspoon. “I think that for talking to parents, that’s where the gap is; they (the parents) see it as a lesser thing and it’s not. It’s a growing industry and it takes a lot of skill and time to learn and most of the design and graphics you see are meant to further that. It can be cool, it can be an interesting career, it can be more than what everyone thinks of.” After looking around for other similar campaigns and finding one in Brooklyn, N.Y. that showcased local music and art, the Greer Chamber started designing and creating a new brand. “That’s where it was born as GreerMade and it started by looking at companies and certifying them,” says Owens.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


After long hours of brainstorming and work, the GreerMade logo was crafted. It gives nods to everything that has built or is building Greer and shines a light on what a career in manufacturing really looks like.

After the initial launch of GreerMade, the next step was starting to dive deep into the educational institutions in the area and engaging students who are looking at careers in manufacturing.

“The logo took many different edits to come to life,” says Owens. “The four mills in the background represent the history of our community, the manufacturing wheel represents manufacturing that built Greer up and Greer City Hall represents those buildings that built Greer up and it is reflected in our logo.”

One of the most important steps was being involved with the J. Harley Bonds Career Center, which is less than a mile from the Greer Chamber and is fed by five area high schools: Greer, Eastside, Wade Hampton, Blue Ridge, and Riverside.

HOW IT WORKS GreerMade is comprised of an advisory board that decides on which companies can qualify as truly made in Greer. The process by which a company can become certified starts with an application and a $75 fee, which according to Owens is to keep it from being prohibitive. In addition, applicants are not required to be a member with the Greer Chamber. “Our goal is to meet some companies we haven’t met before and see if we can provide them with a value,” says Owens.


Then they look at the company’s process and determine if at least 60 percent of the product is either made or sourced within Greer. “Once a company is certified, they have the license to use our GreerMade logo, they will be featured on our website, all of our social media, all of our upcoming opportunities, they have different access to our schools,” says Owens.



The increased access to local schools gets companies in front of students through career exhibitions, internships and apprenticeships, which in turn will make it more likely that a student will choose to study a career in manufacturing, the cornerstone of GreerMade.

“A lot of people don’t know the career center is here. A lot of people in the community don’t realize what an asset that is,” says Owens. J. Harley Bonds’ programs are designed for students looking into technical careers after school and offers programs in machine tooling, mechatronics, culinary arts, firefighting, welding, automotive, computer programming and construction. According to Owens, manufacturers around the Upstate hire directly from J. Harley Bonds, making it an invaluable economic development asset and a reason that they have a presence on the board for the school. Expanding from that, the Greer Chamber is working with other local schools in order to encourage apprenticeship, internship and other student programs designed to showcasing the students who are interested or are currently involved in technical career education in manufacturing.

“We are very passionate about education and exposing students to the workforce,” says Owens. “We really are looking forward to getting going on the GreerMade side.




Business Black Box Q4 2016


The location that is now Greer, S.C., was once a 200-acre farm called Blakely Place, owned by James Manning Greer.

A COMMUNITY BRAND As soon as GreerMade was launched, the community buy-in was almost instantaneous. From the start, the Chamber’s plan was to getcertify six to seven companies from various sectors such as culinary, start-up, retail, agriculture, manufacturing and industrial. It quickly blew up from their initial announcement and other companies from the area were clamoring to be a part of it. “They were calling the next morning,” says Witherspoon. The Chamber then launched a social media campaign that grew very quickly and organically, with the brand taking on some new meaning with people who are from Greer. One of the most memorable first Tweets Owen remembers was a Greer native who lived in New Jersey saying that they were proud of their hometown and proud to be GreerMade as well. “I think organic was a good word for that. It wasn’t something that we necessarily planned on, but it has grown leaps and bounds since we announced it,” says Witherspoon. In the end, it wasn’t just businesses, but people in the community wanted to take on the brand and become a part of GreerMade. “So we reacted to that element of people who wanted that sticker on their car, a tshirt; that wanted to sign up,” says Owens. “That could be a sign on their window, or a badge on their website. Whatever it may be, people started saying, ‘I am proud of Greer.’ It was an encouraging thought for us, when people are proud of being from here, or live here.”

FUTURE Announced in February of this year, GreerMade is already seeing tons of traction both locally and nationally. In August, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives named GreerMade as Best in Show in its annual Awards for Communication Excellence program. Having first won a Grand Award, GreerMade went on to win the Best in Show award in August for campaigns from Chamber with budgets under $1 million dollars. “We were humbled and thrilled at the same time,” says Owens. “What meant a lot, was that it wasn’t just that me and Katie worked on it; our whole team did. Our development corporation was thrilled our city was thrilled; The companies that were a part of it were thrilled.” With all of this recognition, the future seems bright for GreerMade and the Greer Chamber of Commerce as they continue looking to meet the needs of the local businesses in Greer.


/// JAGGED GLASSWORKS Moving from Atlanta two years ago, Julie Graham of Jagged Glassworks, a stained glass artist, happened to meet Roselyn Westbrook from GSP and who is also on the GreerMade board. Westbrook was looking for a local artist to make something from Greer, so she placed an order with Graham for 350 stained glass pieces for the Annual Southeastern Executive Conference held at Greenville-Spartanburg Airport. “I love playing with glass,” says Graham. “She told Mark Owens this story and he got me into GreerMade.”

/// THE STRIP CLUB 104 “It’s a nice thing to say that we are made in Greer,” says Jason Clark, owner and founder of The Strip Club 104. The Strip Club 104 is in its fifth year and the restaurant is one of the highlights in downtown Greer. Clark uses the GreerMade brand to highlight locally made menu items and his own Flying Pig Bourbon.

/// BMW BMW’s presence in Greer is largely viewed as one of the main factors responsible for the economic prosperity of not only Greenville County, but the entire Upstate. Because of their strive to be a part of the local community, the X-Series, which is made at the plant in Greer, is a part of GreerMade.

/// EMPIRE LTD STUDIO In 2014, James Carter of Empire Ltd. Studio opened his men’s consignment clothing and shoe store in downtown Greer and was one of the first GreerMade companies. “You didn’t have to make tires or auto parts, you could be a chef or a small business owner,” says Carter. “The effort is the highlight people who actually make things in Greer.” Carter and Empire created their own line of custom made bow ties and pocket squares made in house in their downtown location.

“We want to continue to do that as this program evolves and we can adapt and still meet that need or fill a need that isn’t there yet,” says Owens.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by Marc Bolick


KEEPING TRADE FREE AND FAIR What exactly can we take away from the UK’s vote to leave the European Union? It was a tense time, not only for Europeans and their erstwhile British friends, but also for the global financial markets and companies doing business in Europe in general. Brexit was a moment when the world held its breath, hoping that it would not trigger another global crisis of some sort.

U.S. jobs, and both have promised to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement. Donald Trump goes further by saying he will declare China a currency manipulator and impose some sort of penalties for various market-distorting barriers the Chinese regularly raise to American companies. For those interested in the details, check out the candidates’ positions on their websites.

In the end, that didn’t happen. London’s FTSE index recovered fairly quickly to its pre-Brexit level, and some businesses in the UK had a rush of export business as the result of the fall in the pound. The pre-Brexit doomsayers are turning their attention to the longer-term consequences of the vote, notably the process Britain will follow as it attempts to negotiate the exit path and how those negotiations will affect the British, European and global economies. In short, no one truly knows what will happen, but the UK will leave the EU. The question is what trade structure will exist between the UK and other economies going forward.

As influential as the U.S. presidential elections are on the tone of global affairs, there are other forces at play. Increased immigration and refugee pressures in Europe, literal land-grabbing in the South China Sea, increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia, and the wild-card, nucleararmed crazy man in North Korea to name a few. But, perhaps the biggest undercurrent that Brexit represents is an increasing pressure from disaffected populations in mostly Western and developed countries to reverse globalization.

Business hates uncertainty, and the Brexit vote provides a lot of that for companies doing business in the UK or Europe. This uncertainty will probably result in lower growth for both economies in the short and medium term. The bigger question is, does Brexit foreshadow a greater trend towards less free trade globally? There is definitely evidence to support that conclusion. Look no further than our own political season. Both candidates for president are thumping isolationist drums­ —both oppose President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, both have spoken out loudly about negotiating agreements that create


Business Black Box Q4 2016

Simply put, this will not happen, we cannot ‘put the cat back in the bag’. In fact, the negative pressures that an increasingly globalized economy generates are likely to only get more intense. Rather, as labor, goods and services are traded and produced in webs that are bound to be more, not less, integrated and interdependent, we need thoughtful and deliberate approaches to bring a balance to the benefits of commerce. Trade is something that lifts people out of poverty, distributes ingenuity efficiently, and generally makes human life a more healthy, safe and prosperous endeavor. Like any force, there are actions and reactions, beneficiaries and net losers. It is our job—as thinking people with the

power to create, balance facts, and, yes, influence others through our beliefs and actions—to advocate for free and fair trade. We do, however, need to keep in mind that it is never a steady state; the balance of benefits is always shifting. Keeping that balance is our insurance against an uglier and more chaotic world.

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..

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by Andrew Kurtz


LEAN PRINCIPLES: IDENTIFYING AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT Lean production began in the manufacturing industry as a way to eliminate waste. Not only material waste but also the waste of productive hours caused by inefficiencies in the system. Of course, “Lean” is everywhere now—Lean management, Lean architecture, Lean software development—and for good reason. The core ideas behind the Lean Method are applicable to many different business models. Since Lean, at its heart, is simply a method for making continual incremental improvements, and a guide for measuring those improvements, it’s a methodology that works well with the Agile Process. With our clients, we typically apply several key Lean Principles as we begin any new project. Lean Principle #1: Begin by identifying your constraints One of the most basic tenets of Lean is that you have to begin to improve the system by identifying and eliminating the waste created by overburden and by uneven workloads. Because Lean began in manufacturing, it’s helpful to think of this principle in terms a linear assembly line. Let’s say that you oversee a plant that produces car rotors. If Step A in the process takes 30 minutes and Step C in the process takes an hour, you can’t estimate your production based on A or else you’ll cause unnecessary challenges. Step C becomes your constraint. In the business world, which is often less linear, think about constraints in terms of your most valuable people. Do you have team members that seem to be involved in every process? Lean Principle #2: Maximize your constraints At this point, you have to choose which processes to maximize, and it makes the most sense to maximize your constraints. In fact,


Business Black Box Q4 2016

you should go after your biggest constraint first or else all of the improvements you make may have no effect, or even a negative effect, on your end results. Going back to our earlier example from manufacturing, if you find a way to automate part of Step A and get production down to 20 minutes, all you’ve done is create a greater unevenness in workload between Step A and Step C, and most likely slowed down overall production. Outside the manufacturing world, this means that you need to find ways to maximize your most valuable people. Find ways to either automate or delegate the tasks that your MVPs perform that are not driving the most business value. Maximizing your constraints not only leads to challenging your Michael Jordan to take your company to new places, you also spread the ball around so a double team doesn’t shut down your only playmaker. Lean Principle #3: Move quickly to decisions Another core tenet of Lean is to minimize the time and effort in order to get to the next decision-point. In our business, if we are creating a complex module for a client, we don’t want to write the entire module and come back in a month to find out if we nailed all the nuances that a custom solution requires to be successful. So, we may start with mock-ups to find out what’s working and what isn’t and what’s valuable and what isn’t. This way, we spend half-a-day to get to key decisions rather than spending weeks developing fully coded screens. Lean promotes progress through finite, measurable, predictable decisions. Ultimately, Lean is a method designed for long-term growth, improvement, and culture change

rather than for overhauling everything at one time. Because of this, Lean is usually more approachable, and more sustainable, than other improvement methods. The core principles of Lean production are a natural fit for many industries. By focusing on the elements of your process that are the most important, and have the most potential to impact your success, problems that may have felt overwhelming at first become much more manageable. For any problem, you have to understand the why behind the process in order to give solid guidance on the how. At Kopis, we invest a lot of time studying and understanding not only how to solve problems through software but also how to identify the most important problems in the first place and why following a predictable model matters. We know that Lean works because we use these principles every day to guide our own business practices. Lean principles are so deeply ingrained into who we are and what we do, that we feel confident helping our clients apply the same principles to their crucial business decisions.

ABOUT ANDREW KURTZ Andrew Kurtz is the president of Kopis (formerly ProActive Technology), which has been serving Greenville, S.C. with custom software development solutions since 1999. Andy and his team are experts in business intelligence, custom software development, SharePoint development, database administration, mobile app development, and much more.


The Greenville Chamber exists to develop a globally competitive Upstate economy where businesses succeed and people prosper. We connect, convene and mobilize the business community to drive regional economic growth. If you’re in business, you have a partner in us.



Business Black Box Q4 2016

Photo by Rhett Bingham/FishEye Studios


RAVENMAGWOOD By Josh Overstreet

For most, being a successful motivational speaker, published author, screenplay writer and a national gymnastics champion would be a pretty fulfilling set of life goals. For Raven Magwood, she is all of those things at 23 years old. “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t,” said former NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice. For Raven Magwood, author, filmmaker and motivational speaker, those words aren’t just motivational; they are something to live by. “Everyday, that is how I wake up,” says Magwood. “What can I do that other people aren’t doing?” Growing up in Greenville, S.C., Magwood is a graduate of Greenville Tech Charter High School and Clemson University, the latter of which she graduated at the age of 19. “I was always that precocious child that knew what was going on and was interested in learning, but I didn’t recognize that my IQ was as high as it was until the 3rd grade,” says Magwood. Her IQ scored at 150, which places her as more intelligent than 99 percent of the population. “I didn’t get my score until my mom got to school and they showed her the paper,” says Magwood. “I just thought: ‘Was my score that bad? Are they going to hold me back?’” Instead, she would jet through several grades starting in 6th grade, when she got all 100s on her report card and was subsequently bumped into 7th at the age of 10. She had the option to bump up to 8th, but according to Magwood, her parents wanted her to develop socially.


She then attended Greenville Tech Charter high school and by the age of 13 she was walking over and taking full college classes at Greenville Tech. By 16, she graduated with a 5.1 GPA. In 2009, she attended Clemson University, which her family has strong ties to, with her father Frank Magwood playing for the 1981 National Championship football team. For her first three years, she studied premed with aspirations of being a doctor, but that changed after a conversation with her mother. “I had a conversation with my mom about what I wanted to do, and she asked me why I wanted to be a doctor,” Magwood. “There was no passion in my answer.” That conversation with her mother made her realize that her true passions were writing and speaking. With that information, she changed majors and took 22 credit hour semesters her senior year to graduate with a degree in Communications Studies. “I loved it. I felt like this was what I was supposed to do to begin with,” says Magwood. “I talk about that in my speeches—about following your passions and doing what you want to do. If you wake up every morning and you hate going to work, that’s a horrible way to live. You should live in such a way that it doesn’t feel like work.”

seniors, to CEOs, business leaders and even to football teams. “Speaking actually came from my first book, On to Victory! The Winning Edge,” says Magwood. “My first speech was for Stedman Graham, Oprah Winfrey’s partner. He heard about my book through a mutual friend. I ended up speaking for him and got a standing ovation.” Just like her first book leading to her love of speaking, her second book, Double Sided, a story of two girls running track from a segregated town in modern day and how that mends the town, got her into the film industry, becoming the movie Switching Lanes. “I’m hoping to get those on the big screen and really into the film industry,” says Magwood. “I co-produced Switching Lanes and now I want to get into producing and directing as well.” In addition to all of and her mother have City Gymnastics and involved, coaching the of gymnasts.

this, Magwood opened Sparkle she is heavily next generation

“It’s awesome. So between the gym, the movies, the speaking and the books I definitely have a lot on my plate, but I enjoy every second of it,” says Magwood.

Now Raven travels and speaks to all audiences—from kindergarten to college

Public speaking is a 2500 year old skill, first studied and taught by the Greeks and Romans to prepare citizens for public service.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by Daniel Lovelace


MY CUSTOMERS AREN’T ON FACEBOOK Well, Mark Zuckerberg would disagree. Seemingly, every time I talk about the importance of an active social media presence to a B2B company leader, that is the usual response. My rebuttal? What if I told you that all of your customers were sitting at a specific intersection at a specific amount of time per day and that the billboard at that specific intersection was incredibly inexpensive? Chances are, you would jump all over it. Why should social be any different? Facebook just reported that they have just over 1.65 BILLION active users that spend an average of 50 minutes per day perusing their feeds. That’s alot. In fact, if Facebook were a country it would be the largest country in the world.

Be Frequent and Intentional Social Media is drenched with content; some good and some bad. Your customers want real content. Shareable, likeable, and personable content. Bad or irrelevant content gets ignored and eventually your followers will ignore you too. (Pro Tip: Use photography and video)

Similar to every department in your company, your social engagement will need to measured, evaluated, and tweaked. This isn’t rocket science but it takes time and attention. If you don’t like your results, don’t quit. If you don’t have time, effort, or the know-how: call a professional.

Everything in your company that doesn’t have a champion gets abandoned like a three-month old treadmill. Find someone that is not only passionate about your company and social media but a leader that knows what the heck they’re doing. This is the voice and reputation of your company at stake here. Know your Audience If you choose to brave the elements and embark on multiple platforms, do NOT assume that your audience is the same on every platform. Each platform has its own unique audience and they consume media and content differently.

Don’t Ignore The Reviews/Comments

#Don’t #Overuse #Hashtags

Your response to your reviews is as much about the people that are watching how you respond than the actual person you are responding to. They want to see how you treat your customers. Are you rude? Do you shrug off customer feedback? Do you ignore it all together? Or, worse, do you delete it and pretend it was never there?

Although hashtags are a good way to make your content discoverable and part of a bigger conversation, if overused, you can come across as cheesy and desperate.

Business Black Box Q4 2016

Measure, Evaluate, Tweak, Repeat

Have a Champion

For the sake of me staying within my word count, let’s skip through the sales pitch and assume two things: I’m Right, and you’re going to make the decision to use Facebook (or LinkedIn) to engage with your customers.

Your potential customers that are researching your services online are also


watching you set the pace for how they will be treated once they do become a customer.

Make Goals and Set Realistic Expectations Like everything else in your company, you’ll need to set goals for what you hope to achieve. Grade your Likes, Shares, Comments. If they aren’t performing to your expectations: (see next point).

ABOUT DANIEL LOVELACE Former Pastor and part-time alligator farmer (ask him!), Daniel combines a passion for helping other 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, helping a dynamic, diverse client base move the needle and increase sales.



by Andy Coburn


WHY MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS GO WRONG There are a million reasons why acquisitions go wrong for a buyer, and we certainly don’t have space to cover them all in this column. But it is worth revisiting the related issues of culture and integration. In my experience of doing deals for nearly twenty years, these remain the often neglected stepchildren of mergers and acquisitions that probably have created as much heartache for buyers as virtually any other cause. Given the amount that has been written about corporate culture in the modern era, it is surprising how often culture is still neglected in corporate acquisitions. Buyers always look at “hard information’ such as financial statements, financial projections, products, services, market position and trends, and intellectual property. Buyers typically do extensive due diligence in those areas, but many do little or no investigation of the target company culture—how it makes decisions, communicates internally, develops employees, etc. The greater the cultural differences, the greater the chances of deal failure. The best target employees don’t have to put up with a new culture they don’t like. They just find new jobs. Many who stay are likely to be demoralized, damaging creativity, proactive behavior and productivity and leading many of them also to leave over time when they have the chance. Except in certain cases where a financial investor is buying a standalone business, post-deal integration is crucial. Culture, of course, is one key issue in integration. Cultural training and adjustments are critical if the target company and its employees are going to work effectively with the acquiring


Business Black Box Q4 2016

company and quickly get back to hitting on all cylinders to achieve the performance that the buyer expects. Systems integration is an obvious issue. Information technology integration can be extremely complex and expensive. Botching payroll systems integration creates the nightmare of unpaid employees and 401(k) plan violations. Failure to integrate well in one or more areas often means that expected cost savings or other synergies never materialize. Slow integration can be nearly as bad as failed integration, as it too is likely to sap morale and productivity and drive up deal expenses. Culture needs to investigated in due diligence just as any other important aspect of the target business. Integration planning needs to start in the due diligence phase and ideally should be completed before the deal closes. Experienced acquirers know this and act accordingly. Buyers who neglect either or both too often end up doing the deal that never should have been done or, perhaps even worse, turning what should have been a silk purse into a sow’s ear.

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.



Wachiwit /

HOW AUGMENTED REALITY IS “AUGMENTING” LEGAL LIABILITY On July 5, 2016, Niantic, Inc. (partially owned by Nintendo) released Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game that superimposes computer generated images over a display of the real world to create a composite image. Pokémon Go achieved immediate success and has been downloaded over 100 million times, has more than 20 million active daily users, occupies over 10% of all Android devices, and has generated over $200 million in revenues. Generally, the game overlays Pokémon characters with a display of the real work and allows you to capture these displayed characters. The success of Pokémon Go will almost certainly lead to greater variety and availability of augmented reality games in addition to challenging the slow-to-change legal system. As augmented reality is adopted, injury, crime and other liabilities will rise. In July, USA Today reported that a driver crashing his car into a tree while driving and playing Pokémon Go. The Washington Post reported that a user slipped and fell into a ditch, fracturing his foot. CNN reported that two men fell down a 50-90 foot cliff while playing Pokémon Go (they were also trespassing). There have been several auto accidents (including one where a user drove into a police car). Accidental injuries involving users and trespassing are not the only risks. Criminals have quickly made use of the game to lure unsuspecting victims. reports stabbings in NC and OR, shootings in CA, and numerous robberies and assaults in Missouri, Colorado, NY, Tennessee, Florida, California, Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Maryland. These issues raise a few questions concerning the liability of injuries and crimes that can be attributed to game designers, game distributors, and users. Since the early 1990’s, plaintiffs have attempted to sue game makers alleging that video games caused seizures, but few have been successful. In addition, there have been numerous patent, copyright, digital rights and trademark infringement cases dating back to 1977. One recent case is Solid Oak Sketches, LLC v. Visual Concepts, LLC et, al., where Solid Oak brought suit against the maker of NBA 2K, alleging that actual tattoos, inked by Solid Oak

By Doug Kim

on LeBron James and other NBA players, were copied in the video game. The Solid Oak case promises to be an interesting case and certainly not a “slam-dunk” for either side. The popularity of augmented reality games promises to revive attempts to impose liability on game designers and distributors. Generally, a product is defective in the eyes of the law if injury is caused by a manufacturing defect, by a defect in its design that makes it inherently dangerous, or where there is inadequate warning of non-obvious dangers or the inclusion of instructions would have helped avoid the danger. The legal risks associated with Pokémon Go are not hypothetical; the first class action relating to the game was filed in California on August 10, 2016. It alleges trespasses and other claims across the U.S., including in part: an “increase in the number of visitors to Wahby Park, from an estimated 15 to 20 visitors at any given time to at least several hundred, most of whom were visibly using their mobile phones”; “Defendant Niantic had placed a Pokémon Gym and at least seven Pokéstops on the park, and had placed Pokémon on Plaintiffs’ property as well”; “Pokémon Go players trespassed on Plaintiffs’ and their neighbors’ lawns”; “(an) Alabama cemetery complained that the presence of Pokémon Go players was detracting from the cemetery’s decorum”; and “Niantic even placed three Pokéstops within the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.” For now, game designers would be well advised to: provide detailed and complete warnings of the risks associated with their AR games; have Terms of Use to provide protections for the game designers (including disclaimers, indemnification, and limitations on liability); include safety features in the games themselves (such as stopping the game if the player is moving too fast, such operating a vehicle) and preventing “stops” on private property or dangerous locations; improve privacy settings; and obtain commercial liability or other insurance covering potential liabilities, including products liability. It remains to be seen how augmented reality will implicate free speech, copyright laws, real property rights, “digital assaults”, digital security, and privacy.

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.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


Nintendo is founded to produce handmade hanafuda cards (playing cards).


Nintendo releases Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue on the Nintendo Game Boy.


Westinghouse receives the patent on “Machine to Pay Game of Nim,” which automatically makes moves of one party in a two party game of Nim.


The Matrix hits theaters, using an elaborate integration of augmented reality in a Kung-Fu scene.

Claude Shannon and Alan Turing create a chess playing computer program.




Los Alamos Laboratories create a computerized blackjack program on an IBM 701, IBM’s first commercially available scientific computer.

Wearable Computer Lab releases ARQuake, the first game to allow play without a joystick or handheld controller for navigation. Instead, it detects physical movement and uses a head-mounted display to show composite images.


The U.S. Military creates the Hutspiel, where computer players representing NATO and Soviet commanders simulate war.

Microsoft releases the XBox. Someone releases Star Walk, which overlays constellations with the sky.


Nintendo releases the Wii, allowing for enhanced physical movement in video gamesand would go on to sell 10.9 million units in the U.S. by 2008, outpacing the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.



MIT students invent Spacewar!, the first computer based video game that spreads across the country.


The Sears Roebuck catalogue distributes the first home version of PONG, called Home Pong that would plug directly into a television set.


Harmonix and MTV Games release Rock Band, which utilizes physical guitar, bass, microphones and drums in gameplay.


Atari releases its 2600 model, joystick, color and interchangeable cartridges with difficulty level settings. Millions of units are sold.


Mojang releases the beta version of Minecraft and it quickly sold $33 million U.S. by April of 2011.


In a few short years, gaming takes a huge leap forward. Taito releases the Space Invaders arcade game, Namco releases Pac-Man and Nintendo releases Donkey Kong.


War Game, where a young hacker accesses the War Operation Plan Response computer and almost starts WWIII, hits theaters.


Alexey Pajitnov designs and programs Tetris. It becomes the first entertainment software exported from USSR to US.


Nintendo launches NES in the United States.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit? hits theaters, integrating cartoon characters with physical charactersand also rekindled an interest in cartoon animation in the 1990s.


Virtual Fixtures creates an augmented reality system providing a new method of training for pilots.


Sony releases the Playstation in U.S., selling each unit at $100 less than Sega.

April 2013

Google sells Google Glass on a limited basis.

June 2014

Surgical Theater, LLC receives FDA clearance on its Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform (SNAP), which integrates with operating room technology to provide advanced 3D capabilities and augmented reality, allowing for real-life “fly through” of a “patient-specific” surgery.

January 2015

The Meta 2 head-mounted display headset launches, which uses augmented reality to blend digital elements with real-world elements, as opposed to being 100 percent virtual display.

January 2016

Goldman Sachs releases its analysis of the Augmented Reality market stating that the combination of AR and VR will create new markets and that many existing market will, in the process, be disrupted.

July 2016

Pokémon Go launches in the United States. Nintendo’s price per share rises 10 percent (Nintendo owns an unknown percentage of Niantic).


Business Black Box Q4 2016


by David Setzer


__________ ISN’T A PLACE TO GET YOUR EMOTIONAL NEEDS MET For success in the business world you could go ahead and fill in the blank with just about anything…”sales”…”the office”… ”running a business”…”pitching investors”… the possibilities are as unending as our daily responsibilities, but what does that really mean, why is it important, and why are we so BAD at actually following this advice? As the founder and leader of your team (even if your team is just you right now) this business you’re creating is not there to build you up. People don’t buy your products and employees don’t dedicate their energies for you to feel important, accepted, or loved. They do it to meet their needs. This is why you’re there and if you can’t maintain a level of emotional objectivity then you can’t do the hard things like: •

Firing that long-time loyal employee you really like but just isn’t doing the job any more, or even harder, let her go because the business has simply outgrown her skillset;

Killing that product you love which brings you so much attention and adulation in your community but really isn’t profitable;

Refusing to accept substandard performance from your team because you don’t want to upset anyone and risk being ridiculed.

If maintaining emotional objectivity is so important then why do we seem to have so much trouble with it? The answer is simple, because we’re people. We’re people built with emotional needs and we want to meet those. It’s where we naturally drift. So, if we’re convinced of the importance of


Business Black Box Q4 2016

maintaining emotional objectivity but we struggle to do so, what are some tools we can use to help? Here’s a couple of ways I’ve found that help: 1.

This is going to sound stupid simple and not very sophisticated but I just make that mantra part of my own internal self-talk every single day. “As a leader, this isn’t the place to get my emotional needs met”


Never stop sharpening the saw. Every day you should be pouring in books, articles, podcasts from successful founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, business leaders who have navigated the same waters so you can start thinking like them. A few of my recent favorites are Gary Vaynerchuck’s YouTube channel and the book “The Hard Think About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz.


Grow your self-awareness in this area. Sit down with yourself or a trusted confidant who will REALLY tell you the truth and try to figure out where your weak areas are, where you look for emotional support when you shouldn’t, and then put some rearview mirrors in place. Identify those actions/thoughts/feelings, which indicate you’re crossing the line so you can become aware and take corrective action.


Find a network or a group of likeminded leaders that you can be a part of who CAN help you meet some of those emotional needs. These are peers in similar situations that you can work through issues with in a completely confidential environment.

There are many groups (free and paid) out there with these missions. If you have to, pay for it. It’s worth every dime. In the end, when you can walk into work every morning emotionally healthy with the ability to help meet others needs rather than look to have yours met you’ll end up being a more compassionate leader who can make better decisions and who’s not afraid of the hard conversations it takes to move your business forward.

ABOUT DAVID SETZER David Setzer has been an entrepreneurial coach and mentor to thousands of business owners in former communist Eastern Europe for 20 years. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of Mailprotector, a global IT security firm based in Greenville, S.C. and co-founder of The Bootstrap Engine, an entrepreneurial greenhouse located in downtown Greenville.

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Business Black Box Q4 2016

Photo by Shawn Stom/FishEye Studios



What was your first job? As a kid, I sold Christmas cards door to door. Then after college, I was the sports editor at a weekly newspaper in Kennebunk, Maine. I really enjoyed the journalism field, but learned quickly that it didn’t pay well, and that in order to grow professionally, I needed to explore a different career path. What are some of the skills you developed early, that you’ve found to be beneficial or essential to your practices now? I have learned that customer service is essential. I grew up a “hotel brat,” with parents and grandparents running a resort in New Hampshire. The customer is always right. Period. I also used to be very shy about public speaking. I learned quickly with my first government job that I had to relax and become comfortable speaking to large groups, public officials and the media. Respect your colleagues and give them the credit as your organization succeeds. Teamwork is essential, and I see myself more as a cheerleader and co-worker than a boss.



What vision do you promote for your community, and how do you get others to buy into or tap into that vision? Spartanburg is changing so fast, I tell folks they need to be part of that momentum. The downtown is bustling with new hotels, retail and restaurants and several organizations have teamed up with the governmental agencies to invest in new trails, sports facilities, redevelopment of textile mills, and public art. It’s amazing, and we don’t brag enough about all the “firsts.” As our Chamber slogan says—There’s only one. Spartanburg.



What is your plan for yourself in the future?


What goes into making Spartanburg a destination, both tourist and sports?

I’ll figure that out after our three daughters graduate college (attending USC Upstate, Clemson and College of Charleston)!

Spartanburg’s emergence in travel and tourism began when our leadership—both industry and governmental—realized the potential and invested in a strategic plan more than six years ago. It outlined the major assets we have in this county, and recommended strategies to grow our visitor economy. We have used that plan as our blueprint, and you are seeing the success it has generated.


In terms of the development of Spartanburg as a destination, what are some of the challenges that come with that? We don’t have an ocean beach like the three major tourism spots in South Carolina. Spartanburg needs more hotel development to meet the current visitor demand. We also have to be careful not to compare ourselves to Asheville or Greenville—we have plenty to brag about here in Spartanburg.

What are some strategies you use to do so/keep yourself in check? I like to explore new places around the state and the Southeast, especially with family. I also escape on a bicycle two or three times a week to exercise my head and body.

What was your biggest failure as a professional and how did you recover? I would say having to close a small business and terminating four employees, and being unemployed for three months during the Great Recession (2009). Moving to Spartanburg, S.C. and growing the tourism destination here has been the best medicine.

How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional lives? I love my job, and I really love this place—its people and its history. Telling visitors the stories of Spartanburg, and showing all the famous—and the undiscovered— gems of this county is very satisfying. But I sometimes need to be reminded to turn “off” to just enjoy time each day with my family and friends.




How do you get the word out about what Spartanburg has to offer? Traditional advertising (broadcast and print) is important in increasing awareness, but public relations and social media are vital to building brand awareness. But the best way to get the word out is through our residents and visitors alike and the word of mouth—they can be our best advocates. Once they visit, they will love it!

What do you struggle with? It’s hard to say no to interesting ideas and projects. However, one of the challenges of any successful organization is to stay focused. We concentrate on our mission of increasing the length of stay and spending by travelers. I’m reminded of the Polish proverb, “not my circus, not my monkeys” when someone asks the CVB to take on a project that does not meet that mission.


Business Black Box Q4 2016


Por Evelyn Lugo


ORGANIZANDO MI NEGOCIO– COMO ME AYUDA LA TECNOLOGIA En la edición anterior hablamos sobre una de las nuevas tendencias en el área de mercadeo. Con esto en mente, me parece apropiado seguir la línea de lo innovador y cómo la tecnología nos puede ayudar a mantenernos organizados. La gente de negocios llevan vidas ocupadas llenas de reuniones, correos electrónicos y la acumulación de correspondencia y/o el papeleo asociado con el negocio. Con tanta actividad, mantenerse organizado es un desafío constante. ¿Alguna vez ha pensado que tiene que haber una manera más eficiente para mantenerse al día? ¡Bueno, hay una aplicación para eso!... En realidad, más de una docena de aplicaciones. He aquí solo algunas de las que pueden revolucionar el día a día de cualquier persona de negocios. MailChimp: Este sistema es perfecto para comunicarse con una gran cantidad de clientes. MailChimp enviará correos electrónicos en masa y le dará seguimiento a los resultados. Por esta razón es una gran herramienta para los vendedores que utilizan el correo electrónico. La creación de los mensajes de correo electrónico es simple, gracias a sus plantillas y direcciones claras. Además, si tienes miedo que se te olvide enviar el material promocional en el momento adecuado, se puede programar para que se envíe en el momento deseado. La aplicación móvil incluso le permite manejarlo desde su celular. Pocket: ¿Dónde se puede almacenar esa noticia interesante para leerla más tarde? Y, ¿cómo recordar dónde la guardó una vez que esté listo para leerlo? Seguro que podrá, si los guarda todos en el mismo lugar. Pocket


Business Black Box Q4 2016

es un lugar donde puede almacenar todo lo que ha encontrado en la Web con un solo clic. Y no solo artículos, pero videos, fotos, entradas de blog; lo que sea. ¡Usted puede accesar la información en cualquier lugar y en cualquier momento, con o sin una conexión de Internet! OneReceipt: ¡Nunca pierda de vista sus recibos! Al inscribirse a OneReceipt y conectarlo a su correo electrónico, usted recibirá los recibos electrónicos cuando usted hace compras. La información se guarda automáticamente en su aplicación OneReceipt. Así usted puede darle seguimiento a sus compras, le recuerda si tiene que hacer alguna devolución, lo mantiene organizado, y mucho más. Es gratis y se puede desactivar si no está satisfecho; así que ¿qué tiene que perder? Evernote: Esta plataforma se ha diseñado para tomar notas de sus reuniones, registrar los esfuerzos de colaboración, al igual que tiene la habilidad de compartir documentos o archivos con los compañeros de trabajo. Puede subir archivos o crearlos directamente en la aplicación, organizar todas sus notas en cuadernos y tener acceso a todo, desde cualquier equipo electrónico y en cualquier lugar. Incluso, bajo la cuenta corporativa, todo el personal tiene un cuaderno privado para almacenar sus notas personales. Y las notas no se limitan solo a texto. Pueden ser fotografías, extractos de la Web, notas de voz, o incluso notas y bocetos dibujados a mano que se pueden crear en la aplicación. Esta aplicación facilita la comunicación a través de los distintos departamentos y equipo electrónicos y llena todas las necesidades de su negocio.

Hootsuite: El manejo de múltiples cuentas de redes sociales puede ser lento, monótono, y abrumador. Hootsuite simplifica el proceso de seguimiento e incluso ofrece opciones de planificación y análisis. No importa qué tan básico o avanzado sea su plan, los servicios de HootSuite son innegablemente útiles para su publicación, la programación y el análisis de sus medios de comunicación social en sus esfuerzos de mercadeo. Como les mencioné al principio, solo hemos tocado la superficie en el mundo de las aplicaciones. Permita que estas herramientas alivien su estrés y despejen no solo su mente, pero el espacio en su escritorio. Y si usted está buscando una aplicación para satisfacer necesidades específicas, haga una búsqueda en la Web y probablemente hay una aplicación para ello también!

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-profi organization in June 2009 by the IRS.









1. Leadership As with most initiatives in the workplace, wellness needs to be a top-down effort from owners, CEOs, managers and policy makers. “Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of employees with senior managers who show support through involvement and commitment to well-being initiatives said their organization helps employees develop a healthy lifestyle,” says the American Psychological Association in their article “Workplace Wellbeing Linked to Senior Leadership Support, New Survey Finds.” Not only is it good enough to initiate efforts, but involvement in them needs to start at the very top. 2. Needs “A common characteristic of top wellness programs is that they are customer driven, which means they solicit ongoing feedback from the target audience on program design and operation,” says the Health Enhancement Systems’ article “Corporate Wellness Needs Assessment.” You need to know what your employees need. Is your office a high-stress environment? Do most of your workers sit down most of the day? What sort of pre-existing conditions do your employees have? All of these questions should factor into the initiatives you introduce. 3. Incentives “Coaches aren’t just for professional athletes. Executives and business professionals alike rely on coaches to help Wellness is a good thing but in order to help encourage it, look into implementing incentives to encourage healthier habits among your workforce. “We have found, time and again, that rewarding employees for getting healthy and achieving results encourages the type of change needed to get a program off the ground and encourage a real shift in employee culture,” says Joshua Love, president of Kinema Fitness, in his article “Four Steps to Implement a Successful Employee Wellness Program.” Make a game of it in the workplace, with rewards for those who change habits, lose weight etc. While promoting wellness, it also improves team dynamic among your employees. 4. Review Aside from actually implementing your plan, the most important part is reviewing it. Look back at the programs you introduce and ask, “did they really help employees?” Has wellness gone up, stress gone done or have unhealthy habits been changed for healthy habits? Do you see a more positive team dynamic and better workplace moral? Review, rework and reimplement until you see the results you want to see.


Business Black Box Q4 2016

Business Black Box - Q4 2016  

Upstate South Carolina's Business Magazine

Business Black Box - Q4 2016  

Upstate South Carolina's Business Magazine