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MARCH 10, 2017 | VOL. 6 ISSUE 10

SCIENCE FRICTION PAGE 12

Photo by Will Crooks


3.10.2017

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TOP-OF-MIND AND IN THE MIX THIS WEEK

| THE RUNDOWN | 3

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 10 Featured this issue: Smoothing the surface with tech company Hoowaki ..............................................12 Inside the C-Suite with Total Wine’s David Trone....................................................14 Montgomery Building renovation is good to go.......................................................19

Last week, 18 executives from Upstate companies came together to raise the first wall for the fifth annual Habitat Greenville CEO Build. The event unites companies from across business sectors to fund and construct a home for a Greenville family. Each executive’s company will support the build through both financial sponsorship and volunteer hours.

WORTH REPEATING “I believe there are many ways that we can raise money, and have the money, without increasing taxes. The question is, will it be enough?” Page 4

“I think I’m a better husband and a better dad than I would have been had I decided to run a nightclub.” Page 8

“We funded Andrew’s Ph.D. project and gave him four years to develop a process … He finished it in seven months and asked, ‘What next?’” Page 12

TBA The Organic Cat Café – where visitors can sample organic snacks and drinks while playing with a few dozen cats — is making plans to open in the old JB Lacher Jewelers building in downtown Greenville.

VERBATIM

On the SEC and the NCAA “The NCAA is going to love being here.” Chris Stone, president of VisitGreenvilleSC, as reported in The State newspaper. Last weekend’s SEC tournament, which Stone says is a “test run” for next week’s NCAA Tournament games, brought an estimated $1.7 million to Greenville’s economy.


4 | GOVERNMENT |

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3.10.2017

McMaster weighs in on roads after Michelin criticism Photo by Will Crooks RUDOLPH BELL | STAFF

rbell@communityjournals.com Gov. Henry McMaster met with Michelin North America President Pete Selleck 10 days after Selleck declared that it was “unacceptable” for South Carolina to have no plan to fix its roads and bridges. Selleck made the remark at a Feb. 21 press conference in Columbia that was called to show support for a House plan that would generate an additional $600 million a year for road improvements, in part by raising the gas tax 10 cents a gallon over five years. McMaster has declined to endorse the plan, saying he hopes to find

other ways of generating road money and would raise the gas tax only as a “last resort.” But neither he nor any other South Carolina politician can afford to ignore Selleck, whose Greenville-based company has invested billions of dollars in the state and employs 9,000 South Carolinians, most of them in the Upstate. At the Columbia press conference, Selleck praised various improvements around the state, including harbor-deepening plans at the Port of Charleston, where he said Michelin contributes 30,000 cargo containers to the annual volume. "But there's one area that clearly is flashing red, and that's the road

and bridge system in this state,” Selleck said. “And it's flashing red not just because it's degraded but more importantly because, as of right now, there is no plan. There is no plan to address this problem. And that is unacceptable. It's absolutely unacceptable for the future of this state.” McMaster mentioned his meeting with Selleck while talking with reporters March 3, following a speech to Greenville Chamber members at the Westin Poinsett Hotel. Asked for his reaction to Selleck’s comments at the Columbia press conference, McMaster said, “He’s right. I think everybody understands that the roads need to be fixed. That’s

part of our infrastructure that allows commerce to flourish. But the question is, is there another way to do it? Is there a better way to do it, without raising taxes? Is there another way to get the money?” Asked if he’d veto a road-funding bill that included a gas-tax hike, McMaster said he has not concluded that a tax increase is necessary. “I believe there are many ways that we can raise money, and have the money, without increasing taxes. The question is, will it be enough? So I’m studying. I know a lot of others are as well. But everyone agrees, as a part of our economic future, we must have good roads and we need to start now.”


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| CHAMBERS | 5

Spartanburg Chamber honors Sue Schneider TREVOR ANDERSON | STAFF

tanderson@communityjournals.com For Sue Schneider, the spirit of Spartanburg’s business community can be summed up in just four words: “reaching out” and “lifting up.” Last Thursday, Schneider, the CEO of Spartanburg Water, received the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s most prestigious honor, the Neville Holcombe Distinguished Citizenship Award, during the business organization’s annual celebration at the Spartanburg Marriott. Schneider, who was the first chairwoman of the Spartanburg Chamber, joins a list of former winners that includes the late Roger Milliken, Neville Holcombe, John Poole, and others who have received the award since its inception in 1943. “The best awards are not about people,” Schneider said. “They’re not about events. They are about ideas. I’m honored. I’m humbled by this recognition… This is a generous community. We champion diversity. We fight for the right ideas. We are welcoming. But we challenge each other… I’m proud to be a part of it.” On Feb. 20, Schneider received the United Way of the Piedmont’s 2017 Morgan Award. She serves on the boards of Ten at the Top, the Urban League of the Upstate, the S.C. Association of United Ways, and the Rotary Club of Spartanburg. Schneider is also a former second vice president of the Breakfast Busi-

ness and Professional Women’s Club of Spartanburg. She was named the organization’s 2013 Career Woman of the Year. She has served on the boards of Partners for Active Living, Spartanburg Area Conservancy, and the Spartanburg County First Steps Board. Schneider is a graduate of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Regional Fellows, Leadership Spartanburg, Leadership South Carolina, and the Diversity Leadership Institute at the Riley Institute at Furman University. Several hundred business leaders from across the community rose to their feet to cheer for Schneider as she took that stage to accept her most recent accolade Thursday night. The Spartanburg Chamber hailed her as a “driver of innovation and creativity” and “an early adopter of cutting-edge leadership practices.” Schneider joined Spartanburg Water in 1998 as the utility’s assistant general manager. She was named its first female CEO in 2007. The chamber introduced its Chairman-elect John Easterling. Outgoing Chairman Todd Horne said local leaders have raised $3.6 million of the $5.15 million needed to fund the county’s new vision plan, One Spartanburg. The chamber also gave out several other awards during the celebration.

See photos of the Spartanburg Chamber’s annual celebration on page 23.

THE AWARD WINNERS WERE: • Meredith Lindsey, Young Professional of the Year • Jennifer Evins, Elaine Harris Tourism Person of the Year • Contec Inc. and Partners for Active Living, Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award • Michelin North America, Economic Futures Award • Allison Owens, Ambassador of the Year • Hope Blackley, Bruce Holstein, and John Miller, Chairman’s Award • A-Line Interactive, James B. Thompson Small Business of the Year

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6 | Q&A |

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‘Make It Easy’ Marc White of Audi Greenville on award-winning public service, getting his hands dirty, and the importance of saying ‘I’m sorry’ RUDOLPH BELL | STAFF

rbell@communityjournals.com PHOTOS BY WILL CROOKS

R

ecently, Audi Greenville was ranked the country’s No. 3 Audi dealership by Audi America. The ranking was based on a Performance Index score that Audi calculates each month for its 290 dealerships across the country. UBJ sat down with Marc White, dealer principal at Audi Greenville, for a conversation about one of the keys to his success, customer service.

How has your customer service changed in the last four or five years?

Is customer service especially important for the luxury car business?

Our customer service scores with Audi were average to below average. … So Audi brought in a consultant that spent several days with us and watched our operations, observed the way we were interacting with customers. … They said, “Hey, you guys need to greet your customer when they pull up. Don’t let them get out of their car and walk all the way inside and look around, like ‘Where do I go?’ Open the car door for them. Greet them by name. Make them feel like they’re at a luxury car dealership and not at the Chevy store.” And we’re like, “That’s a great idea, and we can do that.” … They looked at the refreshments that we were serving, and they said, “Hey, it’s kind of nice that you have a Diet Coke and a pack of cheese crackers for your customers, but that’s not really what the luxury customer expects. Have a really high-end coffee. Have fresh fruit. Have maybe some fresh pastries or fresh bagels.” … And we were like, “Gosh, that doesn’t cost a lot of money to do that. We can do that.”

That customer has a lot of options, right? They’re spending a lot of money. They’re investing a lot of money in the car. They don’t have an issue of like, “Who can get me approved in financing?” They say, “Hey, I’ve got $600 a month to spend on a luxury car lease.” Well, everybody is vying for that business. I mean, Lexus would be happy to lease you a car for $600 a month. Mercedes and Audi as well. … So I do feel that, by making it very easy to do business with us on the sales and the service side, it causes a lot of those customers to say, “Man, I’m happy with Audi. I don’t want to change. I want to stay right where I am.” And that’s what drives up that loyalty rate.

What are some examples of what not to do? I think we make it so hard to spend money with us sometimes. I have these frustrations in my own life where I say, “Gosh, I’m just trying to give you some of my money. Don’t make it so hard to do business with me.” We see that, and so we’re constantly >>


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“My personality and my approach to management have been not to avoid conflict. Actually, I look at it as an opportunity.”

| Q&A | 7

24/7 Emergency Power For Your Business

Marc White

>>

working on that. … We actually have all of our incoming phone calls recorded and transcribed. So we have a service that literally listens to every call coming in and transcribes that and emails our managers when they hear a problem. And then we coach with that.

What advice would you give other business owners? I think you have to be willing to get your hands dirty. One of my beliefs has always been not to be afraid of the customer. I think at certain levels of management you can kind of tap out and say, “I don’t really want to talk to this customer because they’re upset, so I’m going to pass it along to somebody else.” My personality and my approach to management have been not to avoid conflict. Actually, I look at it as an opportunity. So when that customer sends me an email or they call me and

they say, “I’m unhappy with your dealership,” I’m disappointed, but I’m excited to talk to them because No. 1, I can learn where we failed. No. 2, a lot of times I can turn it around. And the statistics show that if we can turn that situation around and end up with a happy customer, they’re actually much more loyal to our dealership than they would have ever been if they had had no problems. Also, I feel like it’s really important to say, “I’m sorry.” That means a lot to me when I have a frustrating experience and I’m hot about it and that business is in denial or they’re brushing me off. It means so much if a business says, “Gosh, we really messed up on this, and I’m sorry for that.” It’s very disarming, and I think once you get past that point, then you can have a fruitful conversation.

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8 | VENUES / MANAGEMENT |

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Downtown Spartanburg's iconic Magnolia St. Pub up for sale TREVOR ANDERSON | STAFF

tanderson@communityjournals.com A once-popular downtown Spartanburg music venue is on the market after sitting vacant for nearly 13 years. Magnolia St. Pub is for sale along with two adjacent buildings that sit on nearly a half-acre at the intersection of Magnolia Street and Daniel Morgan Avenue about a block away from the Spartanburg Marriott. Sander Morrison, principal of Kelestatio LLC, the property’s owner, said Friday he hopes to attract economic development to the northern part of downtown. “There is a lot of growth potential in that area,” he said. “I would love to see it remain a music venue. We have plenty of places that offer music but not a music venue.” Magnolia St. Pub opened in 1994. Morrison bought into the business in 2000 and became the majority owner in the venture with John Dannert. Morrison said he hoped to someday reopen Magnolia St. Pub as a music venue, but instead decided to dedicate his time to his family. “It just never happened,” he said. “I think I’m a better husband and a better dad than I would have been had I decided to run a nightclub. It’s bitter-

sweet. I loved being a bar owner. I think we did a good job. I hear all of the time from women who said ours was the only bar they felt safe in. If you’re going to have a reputation, that’s a pretty good one to have.” According to property records, Magnolia St. Pub is located in a more than 8,000-square-foot building at 261 Magnolia St. The two buildings next door at 253 and 263 Magnolia St., which together encompass more than 10,000 square feet, once housed Morrison’s guitar showroom and some storage space for the bar. Since the business shuttered, the buildings have been locked up tight, with no visitors except a flock of pigeons who over the years found their way in through the roof and turned the upstairs music hall into their own gathering spot. The pigeons have been cleared out, but all of Magnolia St. Pub’s furnishings remain mostly as they were almost 13 years ago. Band posters, stickers, pool tables and sticks, bar stools, music equipment, beer bottles, framed images of rock ’n’ roll icons, coffered tin ceilings, wood floors, exposed brick walls with antique ads painted on them, an air hockey table, and other items are a testament to the building’s colorful past. “It’s like stepping back in time more than a decade,” said Tim Satterfield, a

Tim Satterfield with Coldwell Banker Caine stands in the old Magnolia St. Pub building in downtown Spartanburg. commercial broker with Coldwell Banker Caine, who is helping Morrison sell the property. “It looks like they just closed it up and walked away. It’s pretty cool. It will be great for this to be active again.” Throughout the years, Morrison said he has received several offers to either sell or redevelop the buildings, but nothing has materialized. He has fond memories of the pub’s jukebox and remembers most of the artists who played there, which included a range of local, regional, and national performances.

The list includes Kevn Kinney, Edwin McCain, Vertical Horizon, Tonic, Marvelous 3, Jump Little Children, Acoustic Syndicate, Cowboy Mouth, the Wailers, Monster Magnet, Dezeray’s Hammer, and many more. Patty Bock, economic development director for the city of Spartanburg, said she too is hopeful the property will once again be a boon for downtown. “I’d love to see that happen,” Bock said. The property's sale price was not available by press time.

J M Smith Corp. names new CEO and chairman TREVOR ANDERSON | STAFF

tanderson@communityjournals.com Spartanburg-based J M Smith Corp. named A. Alan Turfe as its new chairman and CEO. Turfe, who most recently served as senior vice president and chief procurement officer for Germany-based Fresenius Medical Care, began his duties on March 1. William R. “Bill” Cobb retired in late February after 41 years with the company, including 19 years as chairman and CEO. During Cobb’s tenure, J M Smith has become the third-largest privately held company in South Carolina, employing hundreds in Spartanburg and beyond across its five divisions — Smith Drug Co., QS/1, Integral

Solutions Group, RxMedic, and Integra. Turfe, a native of Michigan, cut his teeth in various leadership roles at A. Alan Turfe General Motors, Fisher Scientific, and IDEX Corp. J M Smith’s board members selected him after a nationwide search. “In a pool of incredibly qualified candidates, Alan demonstrated the leadership skills, business acumen, and background best suited to lead J M Smith Corporation into the future,” said Terry Cash, a J M Smith Corp. board member who led the search committee, in a statement. “Alan is growth-minded and believes, as we

do, that the future is bright for J M Smith Corporation. We believe he will both honor the proud history of this organization while leading it through dynamic times ahead.” Turfe started working for GM as an assembly associate while he was a student at the University of Michigan. After earning his Master of Business Administration degree in 1992, he worked as a financial analyst for the automaker. He was promoted to finance director of GM’s automotive components division in Europe and then became CFO of GM Worldwide Purchasing and Logistics. Turfe led the company into e-commerce with the joint venture Covisint, which generated more than $4 billion in shareholder value and resulted in

his appointment to co-CEO of the venture. After a decade at GM, he joined Fisher Scientific, where he was president of the anatomical pathology group. He then joined IDEX Corp. and served as president of Micropump Inc. Turfe has worked for Fresenius Medical Care since June 2014. “J M Smith Corporation is a phenomenal organization with a proud history,” Turfe said in a statement. “I believe in the importance of listening to employees and to customers on a personal level, asking, ‘How can we help them achieve?’ and then working with them to do just that.”


3.10.2017

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Music venue pitch wins Startup Weekend Spartanburg TREVOR ANDERSON | STAFF

tanderson@communityjournals.com A pitch for a downtown Spartanburg music venue claimed first prize at Startup Weekend Spartanburg held Feb. 24 through 26 at the University of South Carolina Upstate’s George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics, aka The George. For 54 hours, a group comprised of 72 aspiring entrepreneurs worked to make their small-business ideas a reality. Brian Brady, director of the GreenHouse Business Incubator at the George and co-organizer of Startup Weekend Spartanburg, said 30 business ideas were submitted. The field was whittled down to 17 and participants split into small groups of four or five to develop a pitch for their concepts with help from a team of 11 mentors and coaches. Teams made their pitches before a panel of judges on Sunday before the winners were chosen. “This is an experiential learning exercise,” Brady said. “We were trying to expose as many people as we could to entrepreneurship. And we wanted to raise awareness of entrepreneurship in Spartanburg — to make it known how vibrant the ecosystem is here.” The proposed music venue, The Sparrow, which can accommodate 500 to 800 people and provides local musicians with a place to ply their craft and attract regional or national acts to the city, was named the winner. The concept’s founders were gifted a year’s worth

of public accounting firm services. ToGo, a ride-sharing app that solves the problem of expensive taxi or Uber rides by connecting individuals who need to go to the same long-distance location, came in second. In third place was MeetRx, an app that gives doctors a better onboarding experience and sense of community by connecting them in a secure location. MeetRX is a proposed app that addresses physician burnout by allowing doctors to connect and network with each other. Grate, a grill grate that links to a smartphone and shows hotspots on a grill’s surface to make sure meat is cooked perfectly, was named the crowd favorite. Reid Johnson, a member of the Sparrow squad and a musician who recently moved back to Spartanburg after touring the country as part of several bands, said he plans to take make the concept a reality. It won’t be called The Sparrow, as there is already another venue in the state operating under that name, he said. He said the loss of the Handlebar in Greenville, Magnolia St. Pub in Spartanburg, and other venues has created a void in the local music scene. The panel of judges was made up of Melinda Lehman, founding partner at Happen; Brendan Buttimer, a community development loan officer; Elizabeth Smith, area manager of the Spartanburg Small Business Development Center; and John Bauknight, president of Longleaf Holdings USA.

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10 | MANUFACTURING |

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3.10.2017

IT’S PLANE SIMPLE MORE NONSTOPS • CONVENIENT PARKING LESS HASSLE • LOW FARES

Photo by Jack Robert Photography

Greenville Tech opens business incubator for manufacturing startups

OVER

95

TOTAL D NONST AILY OPS

RUDOLPH BELL | STAFF

rbell@communityjournals.com Donald Medlin said he wanted

Detroit

Chicago (O’Hare)

NYC (LaGuardia) Newark

Philadelphia

Washington (Dulles & Reagan)

GREENVILLE/SPARTANBURG

Charlotte

1 ST CONNE OP CTIONS

TO OVE R 200 CIT IE WORLD S WIDE

Atlanta Dallas/Fort Worth

Orlando/Sanford Tampa/St. Petersburg

Houston (Intercontinental)

Fort Myers/Punta Gorda

Fort Lauderdale

NEARLY

7%

CHE THAN C APER HAR ON AVE LOTTE RA GE

Domestic Round Trip Fares (exclusive of all taxes & fees except passenger facility charges) Source: U.S. DOT Period: 12 months ending Q1 2016

www.gspairport.com

Beam Lab, the startup company he runs, to be part of Greenville’s business community after it was born in the medical physics lab at Clemson University. The 28-year-old doctoral student and five other Beam Lab founders are developing a radiation therapy machine they say will be better than what is on the market now. Medlin said he considered putting Beam Lab in a business incubator that’s located in the offices of Clemson’s graduate business school on Main Street in downtown Greenville. Ultimately, though, he chose a business incubator designed specifically for manufacturing startups. It’s inside Greenville Tech’s new 100,000-squarefoot Center for Manufacturing Innovation on Millennium Boulevard in Greenville. The new incubator officially opened with a special ceremony on Tuesday, March 7, though Beam Lab and one other startup, Constructis, have been occupying office space there for months. Medlin said not only was the office space nice at CMI, but Beam Lab also gets access to manufacturing equipment, such as Haas machine tooling, as it develops a prototype medical device. Beam Lab can also consult with Greenville Tech experts in precision manufacturing, he said. “As soon as we came and visited we

pretty much fell in love with this place,” Medlin said from one of two workstations that constitute his company’s headquarters for now. “It was perfect for our needs.” Constructis, the other startup in the incubator, makes a product designed to generate electricity by capturing the energy of vehicular traffic. Both Beam Lab and Constructis are using grants from SC Launch, a state program that funds promising startups, to pay their initial rent at the incubator. The main mission of the Center for Manufacturing Innovation is teaching Greenville Tech students the latest advanced manufacturing techniques in order to generate a skilled workforce for local manufacturers. Students learn to operate sophisticated equipment such as 3-D printers, CNC machining tools, and assembly-line robots. They work on projects with established manufacturers such as Bosch Rexroth, which makes hydraulic pumps in Fountain Inn. Having manufacturing startups on-site is another way for students to interact with industry, said David Clayton, CMI’s executive director. He said the 2,000-square-foot business incubator has room for eight more entrepreneurs. Clayton formerly worked as an engineer with General Electric Co. in Greenville and Westinghouse Electric Co. in Columbia and as research director for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.


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launch of the all-new 5 Series now underway,” said Ludwig Willisch, head of BMW Group Region Americas, in a statement. “The trend towards Sports Activity Vehicles is strong but so is demand for the new 5 Series, especially the new M550, which goes on sale in the spring along with the hybrid-electric 530e.” The company’s light trucks division, which is built exclusively at BMW’s Spartanburg plant and includes the X3, X4, X5, and X6, experienced a decrease of six-tenths of a percent during the month, but is up 12.8 percent for the year. The company said its brand division sales increased three-tenths of a percent in February and have gone up two-tenths of a point since the start of 2017. —Trevor Anderson Amy Zimmer (left) of Spartanburg has purchased Pink on Main in Greenville.

RETAIL

New Lilly Pulitzer boutique will open in downtown Spartanburg The radiant colors of Lilly Pulitzer brand clothing and accessories are brightening a new space in downtown Spartanburg. Spartanburg entrepreneur Amy Zimmer has purchased the women’s apparel boutique Pink on Main from Greenville businesswoman Jarrett Kraeling. Zimmer has relocated the store from 156 W. Main St. to the 1,000-square-foot space that previously housed her luxury consignment concept Couture Closets at 115 W. Main St. between The Palladian Group and Delaney’s Irish Pub. “We’re really excited about it,” said Zimmer, who opened Pink on Main — A Lilly Pulitzer Premier Specialty Store on Monday. “For us to be able to keep this brand in Spartanburg is huge. I think it was at a pivotal point.” Zimmer said she decided to shift her business Couture Closets from a traditional brick-and-mortar boutique to an online store, which created space for Pink on Main. Lilly Pultizer is one of four brands owned by Atlanta-based Oxford Industries. The company’s portfolio also includes Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide, and Lanier Apparel.

Zimmer plans to offer 100 percent Lilly Pulitzer items within one year. “I have a lot of flexibility,” Zimmer said. “Lilly is the quintessential Southern brand. I want to serve our current audience, but I want that audience to grow.” To help manage the store, Zimmer has retained Pink on Main’s manager, Jane Marie Edwards of Spartanburg. She also hopes to hire an assistant manager in the near future. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. —Trevor Anderson

MANUFACTURING

BMW's US sales decline in February Sales of certain BMW models produced in Spartanburg County — the X3 and X5 — increased in February, but that couldn’t keep the German automaker’s U.S. business from falling 2.5 percent. BMW of North America reported last week it sold 24,712 vehicles during the month, compared with 25,337 during February 2016. For the year, the company’s sales are down 1.6 percent to 45,931 vehicles, compared with 46,657 during the same period of the previous year. “March is the real beginning of the automotive selling season in the U.S., and BMW is well positioned for success with the right mix of vehicles and with the

BMW FEBRUARY SALES Model

2/17

2/16

+/-

YTD 2017

YTD 2016

+/-

X3

4,020

3,733

+7.7%

7,174

5,735

+25.1%

X4

282

522

-46%

493

784

-37.1%

X5

3,900

3,842

+1.5%

7,176

6,426

+11.7%

X6

469

624

-24.8%

898

1,009

-11%

X models made in Spartanburg

INFRASTRUCTURE

Spartanburg attorney John White appointed chair of State Infrastructure Bank Gov. Henry McMaster appointed Spartanburg attorney John B. White Jr. to chair the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank (SIB) board last week, filling an Upstate void on the powerful seven-member body. White replaces Mt. Pleasant developer Vincent G. Graham as chairman. Graham

| NEWS IN BRIEF | 11

was appointed chairman in 2015 by thenGov. Nikki Haley. “The term of office for the chair position is coterminous with the governor who makes the appointment,” Brian Symmes, McMaster’s press secretary, said in a statement. “Gov. McMaster appreciates Mr. Graham’s service. The governor felt the bank would benefit from an Upstate representative and has the highest confidence in Mr. White’s ability to work with statewide leadership to secure our state’s economic prosperity.” White, an attorney with Harrison, White, Smith, and Coggins, challenged state Sen. Tom Corbin unsuccessfully for the District 5 seat. His father founded The Beacon Drive-In, a Spartanburg landmark. Last Friday, White told UBJ he was working to get up to speed on Infrastructure Bank business. Greenville developer Bo Aughtry had been the Upstate’s only representative on the bank board, but House Speaker Jay Lucas recently replaced him with Chip Limehouse of Charleston. The SIB provides loans and other financial assistance for building and improving highway and transportation facilities needed for public purposes, including economic development. —David Dykes

Attention: Sidewall Pizza Is Offering This “Buy 1 Pizza, Get 1 Free” Voucher For All Hungry UBJ Readers.

This Is a Time Sensitive Offer and Expires at 9PM on Monday, January March 20, 2017. Saturday, 28th 2017. Available at at Greenville Greenville or or Travelers Travelers Rest Rest Locations. Locations. Please Please Available present this this voucher voucher at at time time of of ordering. ordering. Dine-In Dine-In only. only. Not Not valid valid present with any any other other offers. offers. Warning: Warning: the the ice ice cream cream is is delicious. delicious. with


12 | JUMPSTART |

UBJ

COMPANIES BLAZING A TRAIL IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

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3.10.2017

e c n e i Sc N

N O I T C I R F

WORDS BY SCOTT PFEIFFER PHOTOS BY WILL CROOKS

H

oowaki knows friction. In fact, Hoowaki knows more about friction than any other company in the world, according to co-founder Ralph Hulseman. The Greenville-based tech firm didn’t start out that way. It started with ice. Hulseman is an MIT-educated Nebraskan who spent 25 years as a scientist with Michelin, after meeting his wife working for MIT at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A lifelong executive at a large corporation, Hulseman always wanted to be an entrepreneur. “At MIT, we all talked about how we were going to found companies and change the world,” Hulseman said. “It

is a part of the MIT culture.” In 2002, Hulseman started talking to John “Swampfox” Warner, a Greenville entrepreneur and business advisor, about founding a company together. Hulseman’s job at the time was looking out for new technologies for Michelin. “We talked about a lot of different ideas,” Hulseman said. “We thought about licensing technology to make wheels for a lunar rover, but it turns out you need to be located in Los Angeles to do that.” In 2006, the right technology came along, in the form of Dr. William King.

FINDING PATTERNS King, along with his research assistant Dr. Andrew Cannon, was working

on a process to make ceramics and metals in the micron size range. A micron is a unit of measurement that is 1,000 times smaller than a millimeter. Your hair is about 100 microns thick. This is important because it would allow a company to pattern different surfaces in metal at the micron level. It turns out that many of the properties of surfaces — slipperiness, stickiness, resistance to ice forming, etc. — are physical properties of the patterns of the surface at the micron level. “We funded Andrew’s Ph.D. project and gave him four years to develop a process to make metals in the micron range,” Hulseman said. “He finished it in seven months and

asked, ‘What next?’” Armed with the technology to make micron-level patterns, Hulseman, Warner, and King founded Hoowaki in 2008. Their first product was creating lotus leaf surfaces — surfaces that mimic the ultra-waterproof, or “superhydrophobic,” properties of the lotus leaf — that didn’t allow ice to form. The result was a dead end, at least temporarily. Along the way, though, the team returned to their first love, friction, and the business took off.

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE “Most people believe that friction — essentially the slipperiness or stickiness of a surface — is a >>


3.10.2017

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upstatebusinessjournal.com

COMPANIES BLAZING A TRAIL IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

| JUMPSTART | 13

HOW IT’S USED

Hoowaki’s surfacing technology can be used in:

• Vascular and urinary catheters • Rhythm management lead covers • Valves • Syringes • Tubing >> physical property of the material itself. Some things are inherently slippery; other things are inherently sticky,” Hulseman explained. Hoowaki found, however, that the patterns of the surface on the micron level determine friction. “Armed with that knowledge, we can alter the surface patterns of almost any surface and make it 10 to 100 times more slippery or more sticky.” THE RESULTS ARE ASTOUNDING Some of the recent products Hoowaki is developing are stents — hollow plastic or metal cylinders that are placed in people’s blood vessels and other channels to keep them open. These are starting animal trials. The problem with stents is that they often slip out of place. Someone who needs the stent to survive often must undergo surgery after surgery to replace it correctly. These stents can’t be sewn in — the muscular force would tear them loose and create massive problems — so they rely on outward pressure to stay in place. With Hoowaki’s technology added to the exterior surface of the stent, they stick in place. No more dislocated stents. No more unnecessary surgeries. Hoowaki can make medical devices slippery as well. Anyone who has had to endure a catheter might appreciate the idea of a catheter with a super-slippery surface that slides in and out of place with almost no resistance. Hoowaki’s tech is finding partners not only in the medical field, but also in packaging, where they are making labels for slippery products like soap or oil containers more grippy, and

• Automotive extruded and molded seals • Wire and cable jackets and conduits • High-pressure hose • Stents • Packaging

where they are enabling bags of liquid, like the wine in your wine box, to fully leave the bag. Hoowaki’s technology has so many applications that they are keeping Doug Kim at McNair Law Firm busy filing patents. “We have about 20 patent applications filed and are ready to file many more,” said Kim, a specialist in intellectual property rights.

LOCAL BENEFITS, LOCAL CHALLENGES Hulseman is quick to point out the help Hoowaki has gotten here in Greenville. “John Warner has been a great partner,” Hulseman said, “I would start a company with him again.” Hulseman also credits SC Launch, a program of the S.C. Research Authority, for early funding and advice; Clemson University for early support; and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s NEXT program for providing facilities and help with talent. “John Moore and Brenda Laakso have been an incredible part of the team,” Hulseman said. Being based in South Carolina is not without its challenges, according to Hulseman. “We don’t have any customers located in South Carolina,” he said, “and some of our competitors are in states that provide more funding and support than South Carolina does.” However, Upstate South Carolina is catching up, thanks to initiatives from Clemson, the Chamber, and others. “The bottom line is that our incredible team can solve surface friction problems faster and easier than anyone,” Hulseman said. “Our greatest challenge is narrowing down the opportunities.”

Ralph Hulseman, Hoowaki co-founder

THE PARTNERS Hoowaki partners with market sector leaders to jointly develop products in their areas of expertise. Currently, Hoowaki has partnered with Havi to create or improve products in the packaging industry, and with BvW Holdings AG and their U.S. subsidiary Mast Biosurgery to develop medical products. The specific applications are confidential.


14 | PROFILE |

UBJ

DAVID TRONE

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3.10.2017

‘I Love Coming to Work’

A Q&A with David Trone, Total Wine founder and Paladin at heart

Words Leigh Savage | Photo Katie Fenske

B

usinessman and philanthropist David Trone received the Carl F. Kohrt Distinguished Alumni Award at this year’s Furman University Bell Tower Ball, Saturday, Feb. 25. The award recognizes significant professional accomplishments as well as loyalty to the university, said Furman President Dr. Elizabeth Davis. Trone, who graduated magna cum laude in 1977, is co-owner of Total Wine & More, America’s largest independent retailer of wine, beer, and spirits, with more than 150 stores in 20 states. In 2016, the Bethesda, Md.-

based company worked with 7,000 nonprofits and donated more than $6 million. Through a family foundation, Trone and wife, June, gave Furman a $5 million grant to build a student center and establish men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. He also provided the initial $500,000 to the Riley Institute’s endowment to help disadvantaged students throughout the state. For Trone, it’s part of his philosophy that success should be shared. “We’ve been lucky,” he said. “Some folks are not as lucky, so we want to help however we can.”

How did your years at Furman benefit you? Furman really gave me that grounding that you get from a great liberal arts education, which helps you be successful in the world and not just a job. It introduced me to how to be a leader, how to work with students on projects, how to move projects along. It really helped build the basics of leadership and the importance of giving back to the community.

You’re being awarded for your community involvement and your success as a leader. What do you think it means to be a leader? Leadership is something everyone has. Everyone needs to be leaders in their lives, their communities, their jobs. It’s having a clear vision of outcomes and painting a road map that gets everybody there together. More than the vision, it’s creating the road map where everyone can see their part and feel valued. That builds a strong team, and a leader is about creating great teams.

>>


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>>

What do you think is the key to the growth of your business?

How are you involved at Furman apart from your financial gifts?

Success is really about a complete focus on the customer. Then we can better serve them through great prices, great selection, and educated employees who know about the wines, beer, and spirits. The Total Wine team is what drives this business, and the customer is the king.

I was on the committee to hire Dr. Elizabeth Davis. I’ve been on the board, though I just came off of it in 2016. But I’d like to do that again. I am in Greenville at least 10 days a year. I enjoy working to show the rest of the world what the Furman Advantage is, how to get the best students at Furman, and making sure they have a great experience. I give Furman credit for helping to create balanced people who understand work but also people and the world.

As a Furman supporter, is it challenging to decide how best to use your contributions? We’re very passionate about the student experience, so rebuilding the student center was key. That was deficient before. And the Riley Institute is so fortunate to have a leader like Dick Riley and his commitment to diversity, his commitment to folks who don’t need a handout but need help up. What he’s done throughout the state, we’re very passionate about helping to build that endowment.

Did you intend to become an entrepreneur? I wanted to work in agribusiness, because my dad was a chicken and egg farmer in Pennsylvania. I was also looking to be involved in politics, because that’s a place you can make a big difference. But my dad’s farm failed and went bankrupt when I was 28, so I had to get a job. I started an MBA at Wharton, and while there, I opened a small beer-only store in Pennsylvania in 1984. That small business slowly grew.

When you started your store, did you envision growing it to 150-plus stores? We added another store a year later, and then added wine and spirits, and it took until 1994 to build our third [Trone co-owns the business with his brother Robert]. So it was slow growth over 25 years. It’s a success, but not an overnight success. Success takes luck and a lot of hard work.

You’ve built a business that has topped $2.5 billion in sales. What’s next for your company? We’re adding 25 new stores this year throughout America. We have more than 5,000 employees and we’ll add 800 more in these new stores. We’ve always embraced change. Our selection keeps growing, and we are expanding the educational piece, so our customers can learn more about the products. We have virtual classes, maybe with a winemaker in Bordeaux or a spirit-maker in Scotland, and people can tweet questions.

What’s next for you personally? I’ll keep working seven days a week. I love coming to work. I ran for Congress in Maryland last year and wasn’t successful, so I might run for Congress again or run for county executive in Maryland. I keep thinking, what can I do to help a greater number of people? I want to bring a CEO mentality to politics that is also empathetic and wants to think about costs and benefits and hear both sides.

DAVID TRONE

| PROFILE | 15

Politics at Work After one of the most negative presidential elections in American history, everyone hoped that the nation would begin to heal and that divisiveness would end. However, every time we see a glimmer of harmony, something happens and we are at odds again. Sadly, our nation feels like the “Divided States of America” and this division can be felt even in the workplace. With a 24-hour news cycle and a charismatic President who tweets, the first 100 days of the Trump administration are turning out to be very eventful. Both sides of the aisle are inflamed and temperatures are rising. At work, the latest news can turn into an unhealthy debate. Politics or Discrimination? Employers need to be aware that one person’s “political” talk can be perceived by another as discrimination. For example, you may have an employee who is passionate about curbing illegal immigration and is often overheard talking about building “the wall.” An employee of Mexican descent may feel that these comments are considered harassment or even discrimination based on national origin. • Supervisors need to be trained on how to handle similar situations to reduce employer liability. Conduct harassment and diversity training for all employees and remind your staff of the avenues available to them if they have concerns such as an employee assistance program or an HR hotline. Political Protest or Protected Activity? Generally, private sector employees are not protected by the First Amendment when they engage in political activity at work. If an employee chooses to march at a protest instead of showing up for work, they are not protected. An employer may have the right to discipline or terminate employment. Just be careful and assess each situation individually. • Contact HR and review the facts. What is the goal of the march or protest? Is the specific issue employment-related? The National Labor Relations Act ( ) protects employees who engage in “concerted activities” in relation to wages, workplace conditions, and other employment issues, regardless of whether the workplace is unionized. Friendly Debate or Hateful Discourse? As we have all learned during the election and since the inauguration, the nation is deeply divided. While there is a need for people on both sides to be heard and for conversations to take place, the workplace is not the appropriate setting. Debate at work can lead to anger among employees, low morale, and decreased production. Supervisors and business leaders need to channel diverse teams into building a better widget or improving customer service, not debating foreign policy. • Review your workplace conduct policy. Does it include political expression? Are the consequences clear? Is the policy consistently being enforced? Politics, protests, and debates all have a place in American democracy, but when politics enter the workplace, there is a risk that differing opinions can be misconstrued. Business leaders must be aware of the potential liabilities among divided workers and must establish policies, trainings, and a positive culture to reduce risks. Regardless of political views, everyone has the right to be treated with respect and professionalism while at work.

Lee Yarborough President

669 N. Academy St. Greenville, SC 29601 propelHR.com Info@propelHR.com 800–446–6567


16 | FEATURE |

UBJ

M. JUDSON BOOKSELLERS

Debi Horton

June Wilcox

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3.10.2017

Ashley Warlick

UNBOUND

M. JUDSON BOOKSELLERS LEARNS TO THRIVE IN THE DIGITAL AGE BY BREAKING BOOKSTORE TRADITION Words Melinda Young | Photos Will Crooks On Valentine’s Day morning, 17 giggling preschoolers sat for cellphone pictures on the grand marble staircase leading into Greenville’s only public Beaux Arts-style building, the old Greenville County Courthouse, today the home of M. Judson Booksellers and Storytellers. The children are at the end of a field trip that included a tour of The Chocolate Moose’s kitchen, eating cupcakes, and listening to an apropos rendition of “How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?” M. Judson, which opened in June 2015, has built not just one niche as the only bookstore featuring new titles downtown, but maybe a half dozen niches. The field trip is just one example. Every one of its business and revenue-building sources points to one goal: “We find different ways to bring people in — not necessarily just to buy books, but to bring them in so we could become

a community hub,” says Debi Horton, M. Judson’s “event goddess,” who manages the store and its 30-plus public and private events per month. And while the fledgling local business still is finding its wings on a competitive retail street, Horton and the store’s four partners have hit on something new. Even for book lovers, it’s no longer just about finding the right book or right product. Online booksellers like Amazon have a greater than 40 percent share of the overall book market. Within seconds, their search engines can help someone find about any obscure title. So for local bookstores to thrive, they need to focus attention on specific book genres and think creatively. M. Judson does this by narrowing its focus to three main literary categories: food books, Southern literature, and children’s and adolescent novels. They also share space with The Chocolate Moose, which

serves confections and coffee. “If you limit your focus, it’s much easier to highlight what’s unique,” says Ashley Warlick, a novelist, co-partner, and buyer for M. Judson. For instance, Warlick, who also is an editor at large for Edible Upcountry magazine, is particularly fond of “Southern Provisions” by Clemson professor David Shields. “He has been instrumental in bringing back lost foodstuffs, plants, and vegetables that have gone extinct and are part of our Southern heritage,” Warlick says. M. Judson approaches non-book selections the same way, looking for local artisans, including vendors, woodworkers, jewelry, and candle makers, who might appear at the downtown farmers market. “We highlight local vendors who come into the store and have some

weekends with new local producers,” says June Wilcox, a partner. “We have a quarterly authors market where we can highlight the talent that’s here in Greenville.”

The retail experience Another key to revenue growth is to create a unique retail encounter. “What is happening with this generation of shoppers is we’re becoming more and more interested in the experience,” Warlick says. “If you’re shopping online, you can have the experience of shopping at 2 in the morning in your pajamas, and that’s a great thing. But to come to a physical store like this one, in a beautiful historic building, with knowledgeable staff, and items beyond books for sale that are carefully curated and paired with the books themselves — well, that creates an experience.”


Events held at M. Judson include weddings, adult birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, baby and wedding showers, and graduation parties.

She has a point. Just walking up the steps of M. Judson is an experience in and of itself. The bookstore is located in the former home of the Greenville County Courthouse, built with brick, concrete, and terra cotta in 1918. It later was used for the Family Court until 1991. In 1994, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Philip Thornton Marye, the Atlanta architect of the 130 S. Main St. building, also designed the Atlanta Terminal Station in 1903. The building’s elegance has helped the bookstore attract private events, such as weddings, adult birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, baby and wedding showers, graduation parties, and Sweet 16 parties. One of the newest celebratory occasions is the gender reveal party, in which expecting parents invite close friends and family to join them for a reception where everyone

– including the soon-to-be-parents – learn the gender of the baby. The couple cuts into a cake that Horton creates after receiving a sealed envelope from their obstetrician. “I make a white or chocolate frosting with a pink or blue cake,” Horton says. “We’ve had eight gender reveal parties in the past year.”

Staying nimble, finding opportunities Event planning wasn’t part of the store’s first six months, and it wasn’t something the store’s owners anticipated initially. “It wasn’t part of our original plans to have so many events,” Wilcox says. “One lesson we’ve learned in the last year and a half is how to be nimble and change with new opportunities.” The store’s space lends itself to events, she notes.

Making it work Product revenue mix: 60% books, 40% gifts No. of monthly public and private events: 30-40 Events’ expected share of total 2017 revenue: 25% Wednesday night pop-up dinner attendance: 4 to 70 people Bookstore staff: 11 employees Inside the bookstore, shelves and tables are moved around to seat as many as 80 to 100 guests for private events or the monthly literary dinners, in which an author and chef pair up to

recreate food that has ties to the book participants have read. For example, in fall 2015, there was a dinner with novelist Pat Conroy, who died March 4, 2016, and chef Cassandra King. King created a Sea Island red pea salad and Charleston shrimp and crab-stuffed trout, both inspired by Conroy’s bestseller “Beach Music.” “It’s such a wonderful space,” Wilcox says. “We can use the space in a lot of different ways.” The public events have become increasingly creative, including the recent Book and a Beer monthly gathering. The first one, held in February, featured beer by 13 Stripes Brewery, which is opening in Taylors Mill. The accompanying book was “Fallen Land,” a Revolutionary War story by Taylor Brown. The free event included beer samples M. JUDSON continued on PAGE 18


18 | FEATURE |

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M. JUDSON BOOKSELLERS

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3.10.2017

M. Judson hosts Sunday Sit-Down Suppers once a month. In February, attendees enjoyed a four-course Italian meal from Chef Michael Kramer of Jianna. Photos by Jack Robert Photography. M. JUDSON continued from PAGE 17

and the sale of beer cheese balls. “It was a very hip, guy-focused crowd, and they did buy books,” Horton says. “It was a really interesting group, a new crowd for me.” Events like that are held more to

create awareness of the bookstore and to build toward its mission of becoming a community hub, Horton says. Another community event is the weekly Wednesday Pop-Up Suppers. At 6 p.m., anyone can walk in and take a seat at a table by the Chocolate Moose to sample a $10 dinner prepared by a

BRIDGING PHILANTHROPY & PURPOSE Jeannette and Marshall Winn established a Donor Advised Fund to make their charitable giving easier, tax-effective, cost-efficient, and more powerful.

local chef. Menus have included Moroccan-inspired chicken and cumin-steamed Chinese dumplings, a Brazilian feijoada (black bean stew with pork sausage), and Spanish canelones de carne — pork, beef, and chicken-filled pasta rolls, topped with bechamel and manchego cheese. “We find different chefs to give them exposure downtown,” Horton says. “There are no reservations and it’s first come, first serve.” The chefs keep 80 percent of the dinner price, so it’s not a revenue generator, but the suppers often bring in new book customers, she says.

Kids as core customers The business also focuses on a core customer base of children and their parents or grandparents. Teenage events include trivia nights, Harry Potter celebrations, a Friday 4 p.m. Minecraft club, birthday “cupcake wars”

parties for younger children, and Sunday brunches for mothers and daughters to read and discuss a young adult novel. “I’m trying to figure out ways parents could do something special with their kids, getting to know them and relate to them,” Horton says. Horton also has plans to introduce a “Night in the Bookstore,” in which a youth council selects a book to read and has an overnight with pizza in the store. While downtown rents are costly, the bookstore’s bottom line is helped by having the Chocolate Moose share its space and having a landlord, Bob Hughes, who is “a wonderful advocate,” Wilcox says. “Greenville embraces its local business community,” she says. “We’re still learning, but we’re very optimistic, and it’s a good time to be in a business on Main Street.”

Where are books being bought? E-COMMERCE: 42% BOOKSTORE CHAINS: 15% INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES: 6% MASS MERCHANDISERS: 6% BOOK CLUBS: 5% NONTRADITIONAL BOOKSTORES: 3%

864-233-5925 • cfgreenville.org

WAREHOUSE CLUBS: 3%

Source: Bowker Market Research 2013 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics & Buying Behaviors Annual Review


3.10.2017

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upstatebusinessjournal.com

REAL ESTATE DEALS AND DEVELOPMENTS ACROSS THE REGION

TREVOR ANDERSON | STAFF

| SQUARE FEET | 19

tanderson@communityjournals.com |

@AndersonTrev

Montgomery Building renovation ready to move forward The

transformation

of

Spartanburg’s 93-year-old Montgomery Building into a thriving multiuse facility is finally set to begin. Greenville-based developer BF Spartanburg finalized its purchase of the iconic building on Tuesday. Interior renovations were to begin this Wednesday, and work on the exterior will begin March 27. James Bakker, principal of BF Spartanburg, said the project should be completed in August 2018. Property records showed BF Spartanburg bought the building from Cypress Lending Group for $680,000. Cypress Lending purchased the building out of foreclosure in 2007 for $1.9 million. “This feels great,” he said. “We’re excited. We’ve been working to get our team mobilized. A lot of good stuff is about to happen.” Bakker said the renovations will bring 72 apartments, 10,000 square feet of space for restaurants and retail, and 11,680 square feet of office space to the decrepit building. The basement will have a conference room, fitness center, tenant storage space, and a business center with a coffee bar and office equipment that will be available to the public for a monthly rental fee. The apartments will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units

that will be priced between $700 and $2,300 per month, Bakker said. Rental rates will be lower for units on the lower floors and higher for units on the upper floors. Bakker said the building will have 25 parking spaces in the lot adjacent to the building. The city has also provided 130 spaces in the nearby St. John Street parking garage. The developer said the apartment units will have ceilings that are 10 feet tall in the living spaces and 9 feet tall in the bathrooms. The units will also be heated a cooled via a ductless HVAC system. “This is incredible, unbelievable,” said Kevin Pogue, a broker with NAI Earle Furman who represents BF Spartanburg. “Generations of Spartanburg residents have stories connected to this building. … We are grateful for BF Spartanburg taking on this challenge.” Pogue said he already has had several positive discussions with local and nonlocal groups interested in occupying the building’s commercial space. Mike Bedenbaugh with the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation said his group has signed a long-term lease on the former Carolina Theatre adjacent to the Montgomery Building. He said the group plans to restore

Renovations of the iconic Montgomery Building will include 72 apartments, 10,000 square feet of space for restaurants and retail, and 11,680 square feet of office space. “We will be working hard to attract the theater as the pilot project of the investment capital to turn it into a new Spartanburg Endangered Places thriving theater once again,” he said. Fund. “This was one of the most difficult and The revolving fund was created with complicated projects we’ve done. I $10,000 originally raised during a think it shows what can happen when grass-roots campaign to save the everyone pulls together. Miracles can historic mansion Bon Haven from the happen.” wrecking ball. In September, city council unaniSadly, those efforts fell short. The mously approved a development city’s inspection department issued a agreement with BF Spartanburg for demolition permit for the north-side the Montgomery Building’s renovahome this past week. tion. But Bedenbaugh said there is a The project will require the closure silver lining in that the Carolina of one lane on North Church and East Theatre and other historic structures St. John streets throughout constructhroughout the city could be saved. tion.

New Legacy Suites planned along Woodruff Road Co

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planning to open a second property along Woodruff Road in Greenville. Midas Hospitality launched a 97-room Candlewood Suites along Woodruff Road in 2013. It’s located at 25 Green Heron Road next to the Nutra Manufacturing plant. Now Midas is spending $13 million to build a 114-room Legacy Suites not far away, said Michael Heater, general manager of the Candlewood Suites. He said the new hotel is planned

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mid-March, while construction is expected to take a year, said Heater, who will also manage the new prop-

erty. He said Greenville is now drawing leisure travelers in addition to the business travelers it has always had. “We’ve got the best of both worlds,” Heater said. He said Legacy Suites is a new brand in the extended-stay segment and every room has a kitchen. The Legacy Suites planned at 1011 Woodruff Road will be the third. The first is already open in St. James, La., and the second is scheduled to open in Rock Hill this spring. Midas also owns and operates a Courtyard by Marriott in Clemson.


20 | INNOVATE |

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MOVERS, SHAKERS, AND DISRUP TORS SHAPING OUR FUTURE

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3.10.2017

Four more myths about angel investment By PAUL CLARK

Managing Director, VentureSouth

The last time I wrote this column before the holidays, I shared a few myths about angel investing — providing business capital for a startup company. Contrary to popular impressions from “Shark Tank,” angels are not rare creatures. Being an angel does not require millions of investable capital. It need not take years to build up a portfolio of investments; there are 12 live investment opportunities in VentureSouth groups today. And you don’t need to be an expert already to contribute to the group. At VentureSouth, we derive our strength from the diverse backgrounds of our members and run frequent educational events to make sure everyone can be an expert. With this column, I’d like to address four other misconceptions we often hear when discussing angel investing with new audiences.

MYTH 1: You can’t make money on angel investment. REALITY: There is a widespread misunderstanding that angel investment is purely philanthropic — a way to create local economic development — or done just for leisure and you can’t make money doing it. This is just not true. Our groups are fully focused on making good investments and generating strong financial returns, and as people that run the groups we only really get paid when investments pay off. (Job creation, wealth generation, and economic development are the frosting on the angel cake.) Angel investors nationally have made money from angel investing. The most recent studies from last year reported portfolio returns for investors over the last three decades of around 25 percent per year – at least as good as other “alternative asset” classes like private equity funds. Investors in our groups have made money investing locally too: Overall the 11 companies

You need patience to be an angel, but not the patience of a saint. that we have exited successfully have generated a 60 percent annual rate of return.

MYTH 2: It costs too much to be an angel investor. REALITY: This can be true, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding investments, doing your due diligence, negotiating the deal, paying attorneys to create transaction documents, paying accountants for tax returns each year (a topical cost), and monitoring your investments cost time and money — and quite a lot of both if you do these things solo. Doing these things through a group reduces the time cost (and some dollar cost as we can leverage economies of scale) in exchange for the group’s membership fee. If you invest efficiently, the cost of these investments is again no higher than other alternative assets. (The carried interest on our Palmetto Angel Fund, for example, was half the rate of a typical venture capital fund.) And that’s before the value from the networking, education, and the intellectual challenge of being part of a group of business and community leaders.

MYTH 3: It takes too long for angel investments to generate a return. REALITY: Some investments do Independent Living Patio Homes • Independent Apartment Homes Assisted Living • Memory Care • Rehabilitation • Skilled Nursing

1 Hoke Smith Blvd., Greenville 864.987.4612 • www.RollingGreenVillage.com

indeed take too long to grow sufficiently to generate an attractive return. Yet the average investment time for successful exits from the VentureSouth portfolio is only 1.6 years. If you deliberately target investments than can generate an early exit, sometimes you get it right and they do. You need patience to be an angel, but not the patience of a saint.

MYTH 4: There are not enough great deals in the Southeast to generate good returns. REALITY: Reading the tech press focused on billion-dollar IPOs and Silicon Valley unicorns, you are probably aware that Southeastern companies do not feature prominently there. But that does not mean there are no great investments here; they are just different. Though some of our companies may be on track for a $1 billion IPO, we generally aim for companies whose goal is be acquired for $20 million to $50 million (and perhaps, if things go very well, more). Thanks to the Southeast being good at business formation, a tradition of light(er) regulation, a gradual accumulation of entrepreneurial talent and experience, and an active small-cap M&A market, there are plenty of companies around the Carolinas that can, and do, follow this trajectory. And as there are not many people actively trying to invest in them, local angels can cherry-pick the most appealing. Angel investors are not necessarily maverick billionaires and early-stage investing experts. And we are not philanthropists with infinite patience content to make mediocre investment returns from subpar companies. Angels are regular people investing in solid local companies — and making money doing it.


3.10.2017

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upstatebusinessjournal.com

THE TECHNICAL SIDE OF BUSINESS

| DIGITAL MAVEN | 21

Cloudland Revisited Every once in a while, the internet gives us a sucker punch By LAURA HAIGHT president, portfoliosc.com

It's been a rough couple of weeks for internet users. And an eye-opening one for IT engineers and security analysts. Both the Cloudflare data leak and the Amazon Web Services crash were self-inflicted wounds. Add to that the internet of things (IoT), which is already delivering on its promise to change the way we do just about everything. But not in the way we hoped. Instead, even child's toys — like CloudPets — can be a Trojan horse. CloudPets lets parents and kids communicate through a cuddly stuffed animal. But those audio files have been living on a completely unsecured database, used frequently by app developers because it is flexible and free. Unfortunately, the hidden cost of "free" is the lack of security and user passwords, as well as the fact that the audio files themselves were freely accessible on the internet. While the 583,000 records that were unsecured in the CloudPets database may seem small,

the bigger issue is the many thousands of app builders utilizing this and other free databases that are storing sensitive information with little or no security. SC Media, a cybersecurity news service, reported that FireMon CTO Paul Calatayud had renamed the IoT to “the IoMT, as in the internet of malicious things.” The cuddly teddy bear exposure, he says, illuminates two big problems: the growing use of open-source databases that lack security, and putting devices on the internet. For most of us, Cloudflare may have seemed a nonstory, but it was only because we didn't really understand how deeply it might affect us. Cloudflare is a company that provides enhanced security to nearly 5 million websites. Those websites have tens of millions of users, and you are probably one of them. Techies now call the Cloudflare incident #cloudbleed to tie it to the disastrous #heartbleed attack in April 2014. Both incidents are leaks, not hacks. And they are the result of a bug among millions of lines of code, which exposed private messages from major dating sites, full messages from a well-known chat service, online password manager data, frames from adult video sites, and hotel bookings in the data that had been saved by search engines. The exposure was a slow leak, and the bad code exposed data only about 0.00003 percent of the time. But when you are dealing with traffic on 5 million sites with an untold number of users for a six-month period — well, that's a lot of hits. And a lot of errors. And although there is no evidence that

When the dust clears, we can resolve to be smarter and, in turn, ask better questions, and demand better answers from ISPs, online services, and third-party vendors.

any passwords or other sensitive information were definitely exposed, it must be assumed.

If you have an account on Netflix, Uber, Medium, Yelp, or literally any one of millions of other sites, you should change your password. You can check to see if your frequently used sites — and certainly anywhere you have stored credit card information (never do that, BTW) — is a Cloudflare client at doesitusecloudflare.com. And then there's Amazon's web services. Home to more than 150,000 websites and cloud services, the world notices when something goes wrong at Amazon, such as the four-hour outage last Tuesday. The company has had a significant outage just about every year, but this one was an unforced error. It happened when an engineer made a typo that took out a large swath of Amazon's servers across the country. If your website was not running on an Amazon server, you might still have had a problem. Much of the data — photos, videos, logos, and databases — used to populate websites were on crashed servers. In some way, all of us were affected. The outage was mostly annoying for consumers, but a very big headache for big business. The Wall Street Journal reported that the outage "cost companies in the S&P $150 million,” according to Cyence Inc., a startup that specializes in estimating cyber-risks. A website-monitoring company said “54 of the internet's Top 100 retailers saw website performance slow by 20 percent or more." Technology and cybersecurity analysts are working overtime trying to find the meaningful takeaway from these events. Some fall into "we've-created-a-monster" camp; others are in the "stuff-happens-don't-sweat-it" group. There's a middle ground, however. Yes, we've

become over-dependent on something we don't understand, and sometimes it will rear up and bite us just to show us it can.

That was last week. We got bit. As an IT executive, my post-event focus was to classify what happened and then determine if it was or could be within our capabilities to stop it. If not, what did we need to work on to develop workarounds and redundancies to ameliorate the problems the next incident would cause? When the mass of interconnected devices, servers, toasters, furry toys, and Fitbits that we call the internet gets us back, there is little we can do while we're in the thick of it. But when the dust clears, we can resolve to be smarter and, in turn, ask better questions, and demand better answers from ISPs, online services, and third-party vendors. How are you protecting my data? Have you ever been hacked? What did you change after the hack? Have you tested a total failure to see how long it would take to come back up? The postmortem on Amazon's server event is focusing on the lack of redundancy. Only the largest companies have enough money or foresight to distribute their data across multiple companies and servers so they can never lose access to everything. Fewer still maintain high availability with redundant servers in geographically diverse locations (such as East and West Coasts) that back each other up fully in real time. Those are expensive options.

But smaller regional and local business can still ask online cloud providers about redundancy. Most providers promise that they are doing daily backups. You might ask where the backups are located. They will be far less use to you if your backups are in the same building, even sometimes on the same server. It's also important to ask how you can quickly switch over to a West Coast backup server if the East Coast goes down. Most of us will muddle along, swearing under our breath, when once or twice a year the internet rears back and throws a sucker punch our way.


22 | PROFESSIONAL |

STRATEGIES FOR HONING YOUR PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

UBJ

|

3.10.2017

Know Your Boomers Insights on leading a multigenerational workforce By MANFRED GOLLENT CEO, QLI International

It’s complicated … somewhat, at least. We face a challenge that is new to everybody: a truly multigenerational workplace. How should we operate in such an environment? How can I be most effective as a leader and create productive results? It’s important to recognize what the differences are. And yes, there are some significant cultural and attitudinal differences between the boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (and soon Generation Z) to consider when thinking about teamwork and a coordinated approach to conquer business challenges.

WE ARE ALL A PRODUCT OF OUR PAST

One of the fundamental reasons for the divide between generations is that

boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y think differently due to their early life conditioning and circumstances. In their book “13th Generation,” William Strauss and Neil Howe state, “A generation is shaped by the events and circumstances its members experience at certain phases in life, beginning with childhood. Common generational traits initially develop as a result of social attitudes toward children and child rearing norms at the time.”

ARE GEN X AND Y REALLY LAZY SLACKERS, AS MANY BOOMERS CLAIM?

I am a boomer and I remember my parents’ consternation when I was a teen with long hair, a new taste in music (like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, and Jethro Tull), and huge bell-bottom pants with a color insert. What parent out there

doesn’t think their child is a lazy slacker sometimes? Or that their clothes, hairstyle, or makeup should be different? Or doesn’t understand how anyone could enjoy their music? This is not what is fundamentally wrong or different with Gen X, Y, and Z. It is about the differences forged between generations based on being exposed to a different life, and a different fast-changing business and social environment. For a productive outcome, we must seek to understand the differences that exist today without judgment. In future columns, I’ll focus on Gen X, Y, and Z, but for now, let’s take a look at my fellow boomers.

WHAT MAKES A BOOMER?

They were born between 1945 and 1964, and there are still well over 65 million in the U.S. They fall into two categories with somewhat distinct features. The first group contains those born between 1945 and 1955. They were affected by some key events like the rapid rise of JFK, RFK, and MLK; the buildup toward the start of the Vietnam War, which led to protests; the growing popularity of drug experimentation; and the beginnings of the civil rights and women’s movements. CHARACTERISTICS: Experimental, individualistic, free-spirited, social cause-oriented. Then comes the Boomer “group 2,” also referred to as “Generation Jones” (1956-1964). They grew up learning great optimism from the messages of the Kennedys and King — and the crash after the subsequent assassinations was very impactful. It hurled those optimists into the pessimistic ’70s, when they felt the unrequited “Jonesing” quality of comparing themselves to others, or “keeping up with the Joneses.” Key events during that time were Watergate, the Cold War, the lowering of the drinking age, the oil embargo, raging inflation, gas shortages, and the reinstatement of the draft. CHARACTERISTICS: Less optimistic, distrusting of “The Man,” more cynical in outlook, and a “Big Brother’s watching” mentality.

WHAT GENERALITIES CAN WE MAKE ABOUT BOOMERS OVERALL?

They are associated with rejection and redefined traditional values. They became the healthiest and wealthiest generation. They are often seen as workaholics, had many career options, worked their way up the ladder, dealt with a sink-or-swim environment, and learned that hard work gets rewarded. Knowledge also gets rewarded, so they tend to guard their experience and knowledge. They also define their success by their wealth. As an additional perspective, for the first time, women began to think of careers, not just jobs — marking the start of the juggling act between their careers and their families. The latchkey kid was created, which contributed to significant social changes in society.

GOING FORWARD

The boomers are currently strongly entrenched in “running things” from business to politics with Gen X in a strong “takeover” position. Obviously, the situation is quite dynamic. To develop a more collaborative environment, we must learn more about each other while abandoning judgment. For us boomers, it might help to reflect on the way we come across to those we actually have created and attempt to make our knowledge and expertise available for the benefit of the next generations. Making it easy for them to “buy in” is the key. For the younger generations, dismissing the knowledge and experience repository we boomers possess as old-fashioned and unusable may be unwise at best, and potentially foolish. Take as much of our expertise as you can gather and add it to your repertoire. You don’t have to use it, but it still is good to have, as it may come in very handy in the future.

NEXT COLUMN An exploration of Generation X


3.10.2017

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INSIDE THE UPSTATE’S NETWORKING AND SOCIAL SCENE

upstatebusinessjournal.com

SPARTANBURG CHAMBER ANNUAL CELEBRATION The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual celebration last Thursday at the Spartanburg Marriott.

Photos provided

MAKERS SUMMIT Last weekend, the Makers Collective hosted the Makers Summit, a two-day business conference for creative entrepreneurs, in Greenville.

Photos by Katie Fenske

| SOCIAL SNAPSHOT | 23


24 | ON THE MOVE |

UBJ

PLAY-BY-PLAY OF UPSTATE CAREERS

HIRED

PROMOTED

HIRED

HIRED

SAMOTRIA HOLMES

COURTNEY HAMILTON

CLAY DAVENPORT

JEAN A. BERTRAND

Joined BANDWAGON as chief operating officer. Holmes has 10 years of sales and marketing experience. She most recently worked as a sales manager with Scansource, where she was responsible for a sales team that managed 300 accounts and more than $100 million in revenue. Holmes will oversee operations and direct sales strategy for the company.

Promoted to corporate and social sales manager at the Old Cigar Warehouse. Hamilton began her career with Liquid Catering as an intern in 2016. She received a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from Cedarville University in Ohio.

Joined SVN BlackStream as an associate advisor, specializing in various investment properties. Before joining SVN, Davenport gained experience in IT sales and consulting. He graduated from Clemson University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and minor in legal studies.

Named Clemson University’s College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences associate dean for undergraduate studies. Bertrand has served as assistant dean for academic affairs for the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences since 2006.

VIP JACK BACOT Jack Bacot was named marketing creative director and a member of the practice growth department at Elliott Davis Decosimo. Bacot is based in the firm’s Greenville headquarters and brings more than 30 years of experience in creative marketing communications. Bacot has been an editorial, creative, and media consultant for several regional publications. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and currently serves on the board of trustees for Bon Secours Wellness Arena as well as the board of directors for Visit Greenville SC, Euphoria Greenville, and the Upstate Heart Ball.

Advertising The 2017 American Advertising Award winners were announced at the American Advertising Federation of Greenville’s annual awards gala on Feb. 18. Top honors went to Erwin Penland for a Tumblr blog for Denny’s. Other professional winners who received gold awards included Bright+Co, Jackson Marketing Group, and ZWO. Silver award recipients included VantagePoint Marketing, FUEL, FishEye Studios, Infinity Marketing, Let People See, Photoelectric, ZWO, Bright+Co, and Jackson Marketing. A student category was also included. Joanna Daniels won Student Best of Show. The Special Judges Award went to Yvonne Tanbonliong, Jennifer Jefferson, and Cameron Ohls.

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3.10.2017

HIRED

TISH YOUNG MCCUTCHEN Joined the Jolley Foundation as program officer McCutchen, who previously was vice president for impact strategies and investments at United Way of Greenville County, will serve as the foundation’s primary community contact.

Law Jackson Lewis P.C., a national workplace law firm, announces Greenville attorney T. Chase Samples has been elevated to principal. Samples is one of the firm’s 21 newly elevated principals.

Construction and Design O’Neal Inc., a Greenville-based integrated design and construction firm, has hired Chris Bowers as a project manager. Bowers has more than 20 years of project management experience. He previously worked for CCC Group Inc. and Texas Industrial Partners. He earned his master’s in construction science and management from Clemson University and his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University.

Marketing Crawford Strategy recently received an award from the Carolina Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society for a community report produced for Thrive Upstate, a nonprofit organization that serves those with disabilities, in the category of Collateral – Internal Publication.

Leadership Liberty Fellowship named Ann Marie Stieritz chief impact officer. A leading strategist in economic development and education, Stieritz will be responsible for building and strengthening solutions designed and implemented by Liberty Fellows who are working to advance South Carolina in the areas of public policy, education, health and wellness, economic development, and environment. A Fellow from the Class of 2016, Stieritz will be joining Liberty Fellowship from the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, where she is president and CEO.

CONTRIBUTE: New hires, promotions, & award winners may be featured in On the Move. Send information and photos to onthemove@upstatebusinessjournal.com.


3.10.2017

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upstatebusinessjournal.com

PLAY-BY-PLAY OF UPSTATE CAREERS

| NEW TO THE STREET / THE FINE PRINT | 25

Open for business 1

Photo provided

1. The Haven in the Village at Chanticleer, a senior living community, recently celebrated the completion of their renovations.

2. Five Star Painting of Greenville, a local painting services company owned by Doug Burry, hosted its grand opening recently. Five Star Painting has more than 200 independently owned and operated franchise locations throughout North America. For more information call 864-610-5580 or visit fivestarpainting.com/greenville. CONTRIBUTE: Know of a business opening soon? Email information to aturner @communityjournals.com.

Psychology firm Lowdergroup renamed Synergy Group A Greenville-based psychology firm announces a name change from Lowdergroup to Synergy Group. Milt Lowder, Ph.D., started the practice in October 2005 and will continue to serve as founder and CEO. Drew Brannon, Ph.D., CCAASP, joined Lowdergroup in 2010 and will serve as president and COO. In addition to renaming the practice, Synergy Group will also separate their services into two business units: Synergy Psych and Synergy Performance. This division will ensure clients receive the best customized approach in care to assist in reaching their personal and professional goals.

Southern Tide signs a multiyear agreement with OCEARCH In a multiyear agreement, Southern Tide and OCEARCH, a nonprofit marine conservation and research group, will partner to build awareness on the conservation and education of keystone marine species, such as great white and tiger sharks. Through the partnership, Southern Tide and OCEARCH will strive to raise awareness of the preservation of marine life through social media integration, the creation of a short film series, and cross-promotional marketing efforts. The two brands will collaborate on a co-branded capsule apparel and accessories collection to be sold online and with exclusive retail partners, while also engaging in on-ship expeditions to support OCEARCH’s research. For more information, visit SouthernTide.com or OCEARCH.com.

“Purveyors of Classic American Style” 23 West North St. Downtown Greenville 864.232.2761 rushwilson.com


26 | #TRENDING |

UBJ

INFORMATION YOU WANT TO KNOW

OVERHEARD @ THE WATERCOOLER RE: KITTIES AND COFFEE ARE A PURRFECT PAIR AT ORGANIC CAT CAFE

MARCH 3, 2017

| VOL. 6 ISSUE 9

DIGITAL FLIPBOOK ARCHIVE >>

> Maggie Blair “$10 an hour seems a bit steep… but I am interested.” CLEMSON

GROWS UP

town is the drive behind Keeping businesses in TANK, as the city and ERIC NEWTON’S THINK space to put them the university try to find

> Chad Carson “Great write-up about entrepreneurship, growing pains in Clemson, and the future of the town. Also features my friend Eric Newton!”

The layout of print meets the convenience of the Web. Flip through the digital editions of any of our print issues, and see them all in one place. >> upstatebusinessjournal. com/past-issues

>> WEIGH IN @ THE UBJ EXCHANGE

RE: MEETING WITH MCMASTER FOLLOWS MICHELIN CHIEF’S ROADS CRITICISM

Got something to offer? Get it off your chest.

> JH Boman “Of course big business can get our governor’s attention whenever. How remarkably predictable.”

3.10.2017

BIZ BUZZ

Distilled commentary from UBJ readers

RE: CLEMSON 2.0

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We’re looking for expert guest bloggers from all industries to contribute to the UBJ Exchange. Send posts or blog ideas to mwillson@communityjournals.com

The Top 5 stories from the past week ranked by page views

>> 6,367

1. Alternative to Woodruff Road moves forward

>> 2,384 2. Downtown Spartanburg’s iconic Magnolia St. Pub up for salel

>> 1,209 3. Bacon Bros. Texas location to open within a week

>>817

RE: BMW’S US SALES DECLINE IN FEBRUARY

4. Coast Apparel opening flagship store in downtown Greenville

> Sally Eastman “Gee, I hope they don’t start laying off people.”

>> 783 5. Montgomery Building renovation in Spartanburg ready to move forward

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3.10.2017

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upstatebusinessjournal.com

DATE

EVENTS YOU SHOULD HAVE ON YOUR CALENDAR

EVENT INFO

WHERE DO I GO?

HOW DO I GO?

Multicultural Open House

Greenville Chamber 24 Cleveland St. 5:30–8 p.m.

Cost: Free; registration requested For more info: bit.ly/2lZxhhs

Basic Small Business Startup

Tri-County Technical College 7900 US-76, Pendleton 5:30–8:30 p.m.

Cost: Free; registration required For more info: bit.ly/2m4y40k, 864-271-3638

March Madness & St. Patrick’s Day

Local Cue Game and Sports Bar 30 Orchard Park Drive, Suite 7 2–5 p.m.

For more info: 864-288-6873

Basic Small Business Startup

NEXT Innovation Center 411 University Ridge 6–8 p.m.

Cost: Free; registration required For more info: bit.ly/2lE3SWs, 864-271-3638

Clemson University's Men of Color Summit: TIckets available now

TD Convention Center 1 Exposition Drive 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Cost: $329 (thru 4/15) For more info: clemson.edu/inclusion/ summit, menofcolorsummit@clemson.edu

Tuesday

3/14 Thursday

3/16 Friday

3/17 Tuesday

3/21 Thursday-Friday

4/27-4/28

| PLANNER | 27

CONTRIBUTE: Got a hot date? Submit event information for consideration to events@upstatebusinessjournal.com.

MARKETING & ADVERTISING SALES REPRESENTATIVES PRESIDENT/CEO

Mark B. Johnston mjohnston@communityjournals.com

UBJ PUBLISHER

Nicole Greer, Donna Johnston, Annie Langston, Lindsay Oehmen, Rosie Peck, Caroline Spivey, Emily Yepes

ART & PRODUCTION VISUAL DIRECTOR

Ryan L. Johnston rjohnston@communityjournals.com

Will Crooks

EDITOR

Bo Leslie | Tammy Smith

LAYOUT

Chris Haire chaire@communityjournals.com

OPERATIONS

MANAGING EDITOR

ADVERTISING DESIGN

Holly Hardin

Jerry Salley jsalley@communityjournals.com

Kristy Adair | Michael Allen

DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER

Anita Harley | Jane Rogers

Tori Lant tlant@communityjournals.com

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Emily Pietras epietras@communityjournals.com

STAFF WRITERS

Trevor Anderson, Rudolph Bell, Cindy Landrum, Andrew Moore, Ariel Turner

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sherry Jackson, Melinda Young

CLIENT SERVICES EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Kristi Fortner

HOW TO CONTRIBUTE

IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE OF UBJ? WANT A COPY FOR YOUR LOBBY?

MARCH 24 THE INNOVATION ISSUE What’s the big idea(s)?

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

UBJ milestone

UBJ milestone jackson Marketing Group’s 25 Years 1988 Jackson Dawson opens in Greenville at Downtown Airport

1988

1997 Jackson Dawson launches motorsports Division 1993

1990 Jackson Dawson

acquires therapon marketing Group and moves to Piedmont office Center on Villa.

>>

with a majority of them utilizing the general aviation airport as a “corporate gateway to the city.” In 1997, Jackson and his son, Darrell, launched Jackson Motorsports Group. The new division was designed to sell race tires and go to racetracks to sell and mount the tires. Darrell Jackson now serves as president of the motorsports group and Larry Jackson has two other children and a son-in-law who work there. Jackson said all his children started at the bottom and “earned their way up.” Jackson kept the Jackson-Dawson branches in Detroit and others in Los Angeles and New York until he sold his portion of that partnership in 2009 as part of his estate planning. The company now operates a small office in Charlotte, but its main headquarters are in Greenville in a large office space off Woodruff Road, complete with a vision gallery that displays local artwork and an auditorium Jackson makes available for non-profit use. The Motorsports Group is housed in an additional 26,000 square feet building just down the street, and the agency is currently looking for another 20,000 square feet. Jackson said JMG has expanded into other verticals such as financial, healthcare, manufacturing and pro-bono work, but still has a strong focus on the auto industry and transportation. It’s

Chairman larry Jackson, Jackson marketing Group. Photos by Greg Beckner / Staff

Jackson Marketing Group celebrates 25 years By sherry Jackson | staff | sjackson@communityjournals.com

Solve. Serve. Grow. Those three words summarize Jackson Marketing Group’s guiding principles, and according to owner Larry Jackson, form the motivation that has kept the firm thriving for the past 25 years.

Jackson graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in video and film production and started his 41-year career in the communications industry with the U.S. Army’s Public Information Office. He served during

Vietnam, where he said he was “luckily” stationed in the middle of Texas at Fort Hood. He left the service and went to work in public affairs and motorsports at Ford Motor Company in Detroit. After a stint at Bell and Howell, where he was responsible for managing Ford’s dealer marketing and training, the entrepreneurial bug hit and he co-founded Jackson-Dawson Marketing Communications, a company specializing in dealer training and product launches for the auto industry in 1980. In 1987, Jackson wanted to move back south and thought Greenville would be a good fit. An avid pilot, he

learned of an opportunity to purchase Cornerstone Aviation, a fixed base operation (FBO) that served as a service station for the Greenville Downtown Airport, providing fuel, maintenance and storage. In fact, when he started the Greenville office of what is now Jackson Marketing Group (JMG) in 1988, the offices were housed on the second floor in an airport hangar. “Clients would get distracted by the airplanes in the hangars and we’d have to corral them to get back upstairs to the meeting,” Jackson said. Jackson sold the FBO in 1993, but says it was a great way to get to know Greenville’s fathers and leaders

>>

2003 motorsports Division acquires an additional 26,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space

1998 1998 Jackson Dawson moves to task industrial Court

also one of the few marketing companies in South Carolina to handle all aspects of a project in-house, with four suites handling video production, copywriting, media and research and web design. Clients include heavyweights such as BMW, Bob Jones University, the Peace Center, Michelin and Sage Automotive. Recent projects have included an interactive mobile application for Milliken’s arboretum and 600-acre Spartanburg campus and a marketing campaign for the 2013 Big League World Series. “In my opinion, our greatest single achievement is the longevity of our client relationships,” said Darrell Jackson. “Our first client from back in 1988 is still a client today. I can count on one hand the number of clients who have gone elsewhere in the past decade.” Larry Jackson says his Christian faith and belief in service to others, coupled with business values rooted in solving clients’ problems, have kept

2009 Jackson Dawson changes name to Jackson marketing Group when larry sells his partnership in Detroit and lA 2003

2009-2012 Jackson marketing Group named a top BtoB agency by BtoB magazine 4 years running

him going and growing his business over the years. He is passionate about giving back and outreach to non-prof non-profits. The company was recently awarded the Community Foundation Spirit Award. The company reaffirmed its commitment to serving the community last week by celebrating its 25th anniversary with a birthday party and a 25-hour Serve-A-Thon partnership with Hands on Greenville and Habitat for Humanity. JMG’s 103 full-time employees worked in shifts around the clock on October 22 and 23 to help construct a house for a deserving family. As Jackson inches towards retirement, he says he hasn’t quite figured out his succession plan yet, but sees the companies staying under the same umbrella. He wants to continue to strategically grow the business. “From the beginning, my father has taught me that this business is all about our people – both our clients and our associates,” said his son, Darrell. “We have created a focus and a culture that strives to solve problems, serve people and grow careers.” Darrell Jackson said he wants to “continue helping lead a culture where we solve, serve and grow. If we are successful, we will continue to grow towards our ultimate goal of becoming the leading integrated marketing communications brand in the Southeast.”

2011 Jackson marketing Group/Jackson motorsports Group employee base reaches 100 people

2008 2012 Jackson marketing Group recognized by Community Foundation with Creative spirit Award

APRIL 7 THE PERSONAL FINANCE ISSUE Keeping your bottom line top of mind.

pro-bono/non-proFit / Clients lients American Red Cross of Western Carolinas Metropolitan Arts Council Artisphere Big League World Series The Wilds Advance SC South Carolina Charities, Inc. Aloft Hidden Treasure Christian School

CoMMUnitY nit inVolVeMent nitY in olV inV olVe VeMent & boarD positions lArry JACkson (ChAirmAn): Bob Jones University Board chairman, The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center board member, Gospel Fellowship Association board member, Past Greenville Area Development Corporation board member, Past Chamber of Commerce Headquarters Recruiting Committee member, Past Greenville Tech Foundation board member David Jones (Vice President Client services, Chief marketing officer): Hands on Greenville board chairman mike Zeller (Vice President, Brand marketing): Artisphere Board,

Metropolitan Arts Council Board, American Red Cross Board, Greenville Tech Foundation Board, South Carolina Chamber Board

eric Jackson (Jackson motorsports Group sales specialist): Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Advisory Board

November 1, 2013 Upstate bUsiness joUrnal 21

20 Upstate bUsiness joUrnal November 1, 2013

AS SEEN IN

UP NEXT

NOVEMBER 1, 2013

Order a reprint today, PDFs available for $25. For more information, contact Anita Harley 864.679.1205 or aharley@communityjournals.com

APRIL 28 THE DIVERSITY ISSUE There’s room for the whole spectrum of backgrounds, ideas, and talents.

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UBJ welcomes expert commentary from business leaders on timely news topics related to their specialties. Guest columns run 700-800 words. Contact managing editor Jerry Salley at jsalley@communityjournals.com to submit an article for consideration. Circulation Audit by

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Copyright ©2016 BY COMMUNITY JOURNALS LLC. All rights reserved. Upstate Business Journal is published weekly by Community Journals LLC. 581 Perry Ave., Greenville, South Carolina, 29611. Upstate Business Journal is a free publication. Annual subscriptions (52 issues) can be purchased for $50. Postmaster: Send address changes to Upstate Business, P581 Perry Ave., Greenville, South Carolina, 29611. Printed in the USA.

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March 10, 2017 UBJ  

Upstate Business Journal published for the Upstate of South Carolina. Designed and created by Community Journals. www.communityjournals.com...

March 10, 2017 UBJ  

Upstate Business Journal published for the Upstate of South Carolina. Designed and created by Community Journals. www.communityjournals.com...