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Rodney Pitts (standing), Southern Elevator and Mike Monk, Scott Insurance

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USLEC

Operating quietly in the South Park area providing business telecommunications services from New York to Miami and westward to New Orleans and nearly all points in between, US LEC's story is one " .. .that people in the marketplace believe in," says president and CEO Aaron Cowell.

12 UNCC Motorsports and Automotive Engineering Program Responding to student interest and the economic necessity to keep the NASCAR industry in our area, this

publisher's post

6

community biz

8

program has garnered national esteem.

~

•

18

Deploying War Archives and Launching a

Sherpa LLC

Documentary: One Charlotte Rotarian mobilizes

Specializing in finance and accounting,

the city to preserve our WW II history

this recruiting and staffing company expertly guides its clients in their

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quest to find quality professionals to

Legislative and regulatory highlights for

fill temporary and permanent

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area employers.

business needs.

28

biz digest

40

Wagner Murray Architects

biz resource guide

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David Wagner of Wagner Murray

on top

42

Architects designed some of Charlotte's most iconic structures

on the cover: Aaron D. Cowell, ) r.,

and. as designer of record for the West Trade Street Multi-Modal Station, he's poised to help create another

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may 2004

34 Golden State Silk Flowers Jack and Star Yang are busy

President and CEO, US LEC Corp., pictured outside the company's headquarters in South Park.

Photography by Wayne Morris.

growing their artificial flower and import business but still find time to invent and patent new implements.

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In te gri ty is doing what is right for our customers.

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The following was received in response to last month's Publisher's Post

Manufaauring is Our Economic Growth Engine I want to thank Greater Charlotte Biz publisher John Galles for his thoughtful column on the need to aggressively encourage economic growth in the Carolinas and mentioning Duke Power's 100th anniversary and the Carolinas Competitiveness Forum held on April 29 and 30, 2004. Duke Power has a long history of encouraging economic growth, particularly in the energy intensive manufacturing sector. We are proud of this history, but clearly we all must do more if we are to respond to tough global competition and reverse manufacturing's dramatic decline in our region . The power of manufacturing to drive economic growth is staggering: • Manufacturing salaries average $54,000 a year, about $20,000 more than the average service sector jobs. • Each manufacturing job supports 2.5 to 3 jobs in the services sector. • Every dollar in demand for manufacturing goods generates an additional67 cents in demand for other manufactured goods and 76 cents in demand for products and services from non-manufacturing sectors. • Manufacturing is responsible for approximately two thirds of all private research and development funding in the United States- approximately $127 billion in 2002. • Manufacturing accounts for 62 percent of all United States exports. We also must find new and creative ways to help

cllaflotte

WI

IZ

May 2004 Vo lume 5 • Issue 5 Publ ishe r John Paul Galles jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

Associa te Publis her/ Editor Maryl A. Lane maryl.a.lane@greatercharlottebiz.com

Creative Director/ Asst. Editor Tara Miller tmiller@greatercharlottebiz.com

Account Executives Crystal W . Chappell cwchappell@greatercharlottebiz.com John Patterson

existing businesses better manage their costs as they face regional and global competition . We have an excel-

jpatterson@greatercharlottebiz.com

lent transportation system in North and South Carolina,

Contributing Writers

but it must be constantly evaluated, maintained and

Ellison Clary

expanded. Our community colleges have done a

Susanne Deitzel

tremendous job in driving economic growth, but they

Heather Head

need new investments to train and retrain workers for

Lynn Mooney

an increasingly complex economy that is losing textile,

Sherri O osterhouse

furniture and tobacco jobs. In addition, we need to better fund and leverage the research and development capabilities of our excellent universities. We need to give economic developers better ability to provide targeted and performance-based incentives to ensure we can compete nationally and internationally. We also must pass the Self-Financing Bond referendum that will be on North Carolina's ballot this November to give economic developers a tool

Contributing Photographer In February Duke Power broke ground on a $400 mll/1on project at 1ts Marshall Steam Swuon located on the north

end o( Lake Norman. The project will employ hundreds of workers and reduce the plant's sul(ur dsox1de emisstons by 90 percent It IS the (lrst of a senes of construction projects related ro North Carolina's "Clean Smokestacks"

leg1slauon. wh1ch passed w1th Duke Power's full support The company w11/ make mvestrnent.s totolmg $1.5 bii/Jon

m lhe1r power plants. which represents the largest series of constructJon projects m North Carolrna over the next decade.

W ayne Morris Greater Charlotte Biz is published monthly by the Galles Communications Group, Inc. • 560 I 77 Center Drive, Suite 250 • Charlotte, NC 28217-0735 704.676.5850 Phone • 704.676.5853 Fax • www.greatercharlottebiz.com.

that is used by 48 other states to help pay for needed public infrastructure improvements. Mr. Galles rightfully points out the importance of the vision of entrepreneurs to our eco-

Press releases and other news-related information, please fax to the attention of " Editor" or e-mail: editor@greatercharlottebiz.com.

nomic growth . Buck Duke, Duke Power's founder 100 years ago, was one of these visionaries. The result was that low cost electricity helped transform our largely agrarian economy into a manufacturing powerhouse.

Editorial or advertising inquiries, please call or fax at the numbers above or e-mail: info@greatercharlottebiz.com.

Today at Duke Power we are working with large commercial and industrial customers to help them become more competitive. In recent months, we have installed large electric boilers that give customers the option of using electricity to produce steam instead of burning increasingly expensive natural gas and oil. The payback for the cost of purchasing and installing these boilers is often only a year or two- and it gives customers a major new option to reduce their operating expenses. We also offer large customers special hourly pricing products that enable them to manage their electricity costs using day-ahead electricity price projections. I am convinced that if leaders in business, government, academia and the nonprofit

Subscription inquiries or change of address, please call or fax at the numbers above or visit our Web site: www.greatercharlottebiz.com. © Copyright 2 004 by G alles Communicatio ns G roup, Inc. A ll r ights reserved. The infor mation contained herein has been o btained from sources believed to be reliable. H owever. G alles C om mun ications G roup, Inc. makes no warran ty to the accuracy or reliability of th is information. Pro ducts named in these pages are trade names or t radema rks of their respective companies. V iews expressed

sectors come together with renewed creativity and focus, we can restart the manufacturing sector to drive economic growth in the Carolinas.

herein are not necessari ly those o f

Greater Charlotte Biz

or G alles C ommunications Group, Inc. No par t of this publ ication may be repro duced or transmitted in any

Tony Almeida

form or by any means without written permission from

Vice President, Economic Development

the publ isher. For reprints call 704-676-5850 x I 02.

Duke Power

6

m ay 20 04

g r ea t er c h ar lo tt e b iz


SALUTING 100 YEARS OF POWERFUL IDEAS Since April 30, 1904, Duke Power has powered the Carolinas with innovation in electric generation, customer service, community leadership, environmental stewardship, and career opportunities for generations of Carolinians. The electrons that flowed from the Catawba Hydro Station on that date powered a century of development and progress. We are proud to have been a partner of Duke Power for decades of its first century of service. Ogletree Deakins congratulates Duke Power and its employees for an outstanding legacy and a bright and promising future.

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Employers and Lawyers. Working Together. www.ogletreedeakins.com 1-800-603-1 252 Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham, Charleston, Chicago, Columbia, Dallas, Greenville, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Morristown, NJ (Metro New York), Nashville, Raleigh, San Antonio, St. Thomas, Washington, DC


by heather hea d

**********~

Deploying War Archives and Launching a Documentary: One Charlotte Rotarian mobilizes the city to preserve our WWII history ichard Bailey, retired UMC minister, may have been only seven years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked , but growing up in wartime America inspired him. Now, more than sixty years later, he has deployed a project to preserve the memories of those who fought in the ensuing war. Thanks to his efforts, the Rotary Club of Charlotte, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Central Piedmont Community College, has produced a collection of video interviews with more than 100 WWII veterans native to Charlotte, and is currently raising funds to produce a two-hour WTVI documentary based on those interviews. As the "greatest generation" ages, according to Bailey, over 7,000 WWil veterans die each week, taking with them their memories of this defining era in American history. "l felt that we ought to do something to preserve these stories," says Bailey, who began brainstorming for the project in 1999. He garnered the support of his rotary club, whose members today include about fifteen WWll veterans, and recruited Dan Morrill, professor of histo ry at UNCC, to perform the interviews. "l decided right away to be a part of the project," says Morrill , whose background in history and experience in public television made him the perfect candidate. The interviews are preserved on DVDs, accompanied by a transcript and photos of each veteran's memorabilia medals, uniforms, newspaper clippings, even guns. They will be archived and digitally indexed, and will be available at the Mecklenburg County public libraries as well as the libraries of UNCC, CPCC, and any other interested local university.

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8

may 2004

General Themes

Although Morrill cites a "compelling diversity" among the interview subjects, he and Bailey agree there were some common threads among them, including a certain modesty about their role in the war. For instance , one gentleman who, at the age of 18 was promoted in the field to commanding officer, insisted that he wasn't a hero: "Those who didn't come back are the heroes." But along with the modesty abides a common sense of pride in having done their duty. Also, says Morrill, a sense that they "had to grow up very, very fast ." But that doesn't mean they wanted to remember the war. "lt was a tough war," says Bailey. "The worst thing was seeing their buddies killed." Morrill concurs that one of the most emotional aspects for many was the question of why they had survived, when "I had so many friends that wanted to live JUSt as much as l did, and they didn't live. "

Finally, adds Morrill , "One thing l don't think has gotten the attention that it deserves is the place of religion in sustaining these people. Many felt that God's hand was upon them." And that, he says, was what helped many of them get through the war and helped them adjust afterward. Some other frequently raised issues fell along racial and gender lines, or varied according to whether the subjects served overseas , in combat, or on the home front. For instance, segregation in the military deeply impacted black veterans. Morril describes one African American gentleman who served in combat and came back from the war determined "not to put up with all that [segregation] crap any more. " The first thing he did when he returned to Charlotte was to buy himself a firearm to protect his rights. Others , including a gentleman who served in the Tuskegee Airmen, expressed frustration and disap point-

"I was just a kid. You had to become a man fast," says Tom Burgess. Burgess enlisted in the Army at age 17 and grew up quickly during his tour in France and Germany.

greater charlotte biz


****** ment at the lack of recognition given to the black forces who served in the war. At the same time , African American contributions to the war increased their own sense of pride while beginning to open doors toward equal treatment.

A Research Arsenal

The final collection of DVDs is expected to be a major boon to WWll researchers. The archives will be indexed by ategory, so that researchers can readi ly find interviews covering their area of interest. And the oral histories included in the collection aren't limited to just recollections of the wa r itself or the memories of those actually in combat. "We studied other [WWll oral history] archives," says Bailey, "and the most success ful were those that were whole life interviews. " So his project includes subjects' memories of childhood , upbringing, religious values, and how the war affected the rest of their lives. In addition, they recorded the memories of those working on the home front- administrators, nurses, and civilians, for example. They also strove for racial and gender diversity in their subjects. The project even includes a few ve terans who fought for the Germans and later immi-

Ray Killian, who flew missions for the Navy in the Pacific, says, "Every time you took off you didn't pray to get home. You prayed to get back from that one mission."

grated to Charlotte and became U.S . citizens. The archive "will be very valuable for research, especially as the years go by," says Bailey. "We've uncovered stories that have never been told before. " Shooting for the Limelight

The project has garnered so much enthusiasm and support that additional projects have sprung from it, including the upcoming WTVI special and a book. The WTVI documentary boasts an award-winning crew including producer Eric Davis, photographer Randy Fulp, editor Del Holford , and executive producer Elliot Sanderson. The documentary wi ll feature

WTVI O

And the rest of my life

between ten and twelve of the individuals interviewed in the archives, and will include additional footage shot on location around Charlotte specifically for the documentary. It will stan with a segment highlighting pre-war America and the interviewees' backgrounds and training. Later portions of the first segment carry the titles "Sh ipping Out," "Living on the Battlefields," and "Worried at Home." The second segment includes portions titled "The Edge of Life," which wi ll cover the heart of the war itself and the experiences of those in the thick of it; "Returning Home"; "The Challenges of Everyday"; and "So What," which will cover the opinions and outlooks of the interviewees, and thoughts on the meaning of the war. The documentary will broadcast initially in 15 counties and will then be available for distribution to public television stations across the nation; educational materials will be developed to expedite its use in classrooms. Then, if sufficient funds are in place, the fi rst half of the documentary will air at the beginning of September, to coin ide wi th the end of a summer-long celebration in honor of "the greatest generation." biz Heather Head IS a Charlotte-based freelance writer. Contribution form located on page I 0.

greater charlotte biz

may 2004

9


You are invited to contribute to "How I Survived the War" and "The Rest of My Life" A WTVI- Rotary Club of Charlotte Oral History Project

WTVI O

The WW II Oral History Archives is a lasting gift to our community that will preserve stories of men and women who served in the armed forces during the war years, and on the home front. We have completed 98 one-hour interviews, and plan to do 12 more. The stories are powerful and real and will be available in the archives for historians and the general public. They will be the basis of two 60-minute television documentaries, How I Survived the War and The Rest of My Life, about Charlotte during WW II. Eric Davis, WTVI's award-winning producer, will produce the shows.

In cooperation with The Rotary Club of Charlotte and WTVI, contributors are being solicited at the following levels: General - $50,000 Admiral - $25,000 Colonel - $10,000

Sergeant - $5,000 Victory- $1,000

Charlotte Rotary Club WW II Oral History Archives Centennial Project Documentaries: How I Survived the War and The Rest of My Life _ _ $50,000

_ _ $25,000

_ _ $10,000

_ _ $5,000

_ _ $1,000

Enclosed is my (our) contribution in the amount of$_ _ _ __

__ Cash __ Check __ Visa __ Master Card __ American Express Exp. Date _ _ _ _ _ __

Number Please Bill Me: __ Quarterly

__ Once in the month of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

Full Name_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ,Name as appears on card if charging _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ Address

Zip _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

E-mail address - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Phone number _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ Signature of Donor - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Our accounting procedures require a donor signature on all pledges. May we publicize your gift? _ _ Yes

_ _ No

Please make checks payable to WTVI Rotary WW II Project and mail to: Rotary Office, 841 Baxter Street, Suite 118, Charlotte, NC 28202. Questions? Call Ken Harris at 704.367.5130 or Richard D. Bailey at 704.554.7470. Individual donors, business partners and corporate sponsors are encouraged and will be recognized as part of the project archives. Contributions are deductible to the full extent of the law.


Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employees Accidents at Company Events

state. Employment at-will means that

Associated Press reports. About 70 million

employers may terminate employees at

workers - representing half of the American

companies will be sponsoring activities such

any time for any reason (other than those

workforce- are on the far side of 40.

as an employee picnic or a company softball

prohibited by law), and likewise employees

team. Employers should be ready to address

may quit at any time for any reason.

With warm weather approaching, many

any potential injuries. Two questions arise:

Many employers will also be happy that

It came as no surprise, therefore, that the case drew lots of scrutiny The AP reports that about 200 people who worked

is the accident compensable under workers'

the legislation clarifies that employee hand-

in Ohio and Pennsylvania for a division of a

compensation and is it recordable on the

books are not employment contracts. The

military contractor had brought the lawsuit. They claimed that a change in the benefits

OSHA 300 log7 We advise companies to

legislation states that a "handbook, policy,

check with their workers' compensation

procedure, or other document issued by an

program there discriminated against them,

carrier to answer the compensability issue.

employer. .. after june 30, 2004 shall not cre-

since they were too young to receive benefits

From a recordability standpoint, these acci-

ate an express or implied contract of

being offered to older colleagues.

dents are generally not recordab le on the

employment if it is conspicuously dis-

OSHA log. Here is language taken directly

claimed." The new law includes a specific

reversed a lower-court ruling, said the

from the Department of Labor's OSHA

disclaimer procedure that will help compa-

ADEA is meant only to protect older work-

nies avoid creating an express or implied

ers from preferential treatment given to

record keeping guidelines:

But the court, in a 6-3 decision that

contract when they issue an employee

younger workers - not the reverse. "The

or illness occurs in the work environment

handbook. The disclaimer must be typed

statute does not mean to stop an employer

and is not considered work-related7

in all capital letters, underlined, and placed

from favoring an older employee over a

A: Yes, an injury or illness occurring in the work environment that falls under one

on the first page of the document and

younger one," justice David H. Souter

signed by the employee.

Q: Are there situations where an injury

of the following exceptions is not workrelated, and therefore is not recordable ..

Employers must realize that they still cannot rely on employment-at-will to keep

wrote on behalf of the majority The Bush administration had argued - unsuccessfully - that the law was "crystal clear" in protect-

1904.5 (b) (2) You are not required to

them free of all liability lt is important that

ing people over 40 from discrimination,

record injuries and illnesses if. .. the injury

employers continue to document cases of

even when contested actions help more

or illness results solely from voluntary

performance deficiencies of employees as

senior co-workers.

participation in a wellness program or in

well as document and express the employer's

justice Clarence Thomas, in a dissenting opinion, agreed with the Bush administra-

a medical, fitness, or recreational activity

expectations for employees. And the new

such as blood donation, physical examina-

legislation does not apply to employment

tion. The ADEA "clearly allows for suits

tion, Ou shot, exercise class, racquetball,

documents or handbooks drafted before

brought by the relatively young when dis-

or baseball."

the june 30, 2004 date. Employers would

criminated against in favor of the relatively

be wise to carefully draft all employment

old ," he wrote. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The more a company can do to separate itself from the activity or sports team, the

documents and have them reviewed by

better it can reduce its liability for accidents.

knowledgeable human resource experts

For example, activities should be away from

and!or legal counsel.

Detailed policies and procedures are a

the premises, preferably outside normal business hours, no attendance record kept, no pressure to participate, and as little finan-

NC Courts Reject Handbooks/ Policies as Contracts

ADEA Can't Be Used in Reverse, Supreme Court Rules

recommended tool that employers use to govern various aspects of an employee's

cial support as possible. Companies would

The Age Discrimination in Employment

work environment and performance. A new

be wise to consider having employees sign a waiver to participate on a sports team, to reduce the company's liability

Act (ADEA), of 1967 prohibits discrimination against workers over the age of 40. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that

decision from the North Carolina Court of Appeals confirms that with the exclusion of

SC EmploymentAt-Will Becomes Law

does not apply when those same workers believe that more-senior colleagues have received preferential treatment. Before the ruling, companies that offered attractive

unusual circumstances, these policies and procedures will not be considered binding contracts. The case, which brought about this new decision, involved an employee of a

Carolina Senate finally passed a significant

retirement packages to workers in their 60s

medical center's security force . The employee alleged that he was terminated for oppos-

bill confirming the concept that "employment-at-will" is the public policy of the

might have been vulnerable to lawsuits from

ing illegal and unethical practices. The

After a full year of debate the South

greater charlotte biz

employees in their 40s or 50s, the

>

(continued on page 39) may 2004

II


12

may 20C4

greater charlotte biz


~-

~ --------------------------------

here's always a kid in the schoolyard with the biggest bag of marbles. And, often he can be a little careless about the less-flashy mibs in his bag. Almost inevitably, he will one day notice his pile is much smaller. . .his rivals have been winning his marbles and have even invested in some special shooters of their own. Now, that easygoing player begins scrambling to keep his assets in check. >

UNC Charlotte's Automotive Engineering Center Fuels the Effort to Keep Motorsports in the Charlotte Region

greater ch a rlotte biz

ma y 2004

13


Carolinians have begun to recognize that, barring action, that scenario could exist here, the marbles representing the innumerable NASCAR teams and shops forming the base of the region's NASCAR industry Since the sporL received national broadcast rights, the appeal of NASCAR has expanded exponentially from its traditional fan base , as has interest in the incredible dollar power of the NASCAR fan. With major races now located in western sites like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and soon, Texas , the Carolinas are no longer the geographical center of NASCAR. ecessarily, it has become ever more important that the motorsports industry base stays right where it is, in Cabarrus and Iredell counties, North Carolina. Enter UNC Charlotte's Motorsports and Automotive Engineering Program. Begun in 1983 by Dean Bob johnson, and Dr. jerre Hill, the initiative for the program was formalized by offering a motorsports concentration in the mechanical engineering department in 1998. ln the late nineties, the program had budded into a formidable force seeking to fulfill the needs of the motorsports industry in and around Charloue. Now estimated to be an economic force of $1.5-2 billion dollars in the region, the 300+ race teams and numerous mowrspons shops are finally getting the recognition they deserve from state and local government and area businesses. Championed by Dr. Jim Cuttino of the Research and Development arm of the Mowrsports Engineering Program, a concerted and official initiative is underway to document the significance of NASCARs economic impact, as well as implement additions to the program that will address the industry's needs. Revving The Engine

What began as a grassroots effort to answer students' desire to indulge their interest in NASCAR, has evolved into a highly esteemed Motorsports and Automotive Engineering program. Says Dr. Jim Cuttino, "One of the most unique things about this program, is that it was fueled from the onset by a passionate and sincere interest on both the part of stu-

14

may 2004

dents and staff. We began by literally walking through hallways and asking who was interested in becoming involved in a motorsporLs concentration." Since that rather casual poll in the early days, the program has evolved into a multi-disciplinary endeavor involving six UNC Charlotte departments. The

WAITING FOR RACE DAY With the teamwork of local industry and business leaders, increasing attention from lawmakers, and the resources provided by UNC Charlotte and the Center for Motorsports and Automotive Research Engineering Program, there is a "four on the floor" effort to cement the current motorsports community in the area as well as develop incentives to keep it here. The efforts of Dean Johnson, Dr. Hill and Dr. Cuttino are invaluable in this quest. By virtue of their technical expertise, industry connections, and affection for motorsports, the team has provided valuable insights and gleaned invaluable face time with the powers-that-be. Says Chancellor Woodward, "We are incredibly fortunate to have the vision and talent of these guys working for us. They not only are faculty members of the highest caliber and extremely technically skilled, but they provide a credibility and appreciation for our efforts. They are able to fuse industry and academia with a true playfulness that really makes it tangible to those our efforts will ultimately benefit." Over the next several months, the region and NASCAR fans will be waiting with bated breath to see what happens to its favorite sport. And you can bet that regardless of team loyalty, they are watching UNC Charlotte, the North Carolina Motorsports Association, the local chambers of commerce and the Charlotte Regional Partnership thinking one thing ... " Hurry- turn leftgo fast!" Else we'll all be looking back and wondering where we lost ... our marbles.

greater charlotte biz


attend, the team must present a full business report to the judges, as well as a marketing plan to get the car to the track. Cuttino says this not only allows students from other schools to indulge their automotive passions while pursuing their course of study, but also exposes the engineering students to the flip side of racing. He jokes, "l had a student so proud of the work he had done on a Formula car that he displayed it backwards in the foyer. When l asked him why he did this he answered, 'l wanted to put the business end out front. ' From there , of course we had a talk about corporate sponsors."

Motorsports and Automotive Engineering Program offers undergraduate concentrations, graduate programs, research and development, involvement in several national design competitions and partnerships with local businesses. Yet, while the curriculum might not be unusual, the character of the program is undeniably unique. Explains Cuttino, "We have a fantastic opportunity to give our students true hands-on training in their area of study With two legends cars, state of the art dynamometers, machining and metrology equipment, and high-tech computational and simulation software, we can translate theory into practice and vice versa." He continues, "When l was in school, our instructor demonstrated a lab, we wrote down the necessary figures , and went home to do the computations. That is not what we want in our program. If a student is working on an engine dynamometer, they will be doing an engine pull every two weeks, get their hands dirty, and really understand the theory inside and out by seeing its tangible representation. " Why the emphasis on hands-on labs7 Says Cuttino, "There is no substituting for experience. Rather than memorizing a bunch of theory for an exam and doing a 'brain dump ,' the students can learn why that theory is important. Plus, it equips them with the knowledge and confidence to walk into a shop and get a job. My idea is to have our graduates walk into joe Gibbs Racing, and say 'Hey, that's the same

greater charlotte biz

Superflow Engine Dynamometer I worked on in school, how do you like the layout of the new software menus ... ' The interplay between the Automotive Engineering students and other involved departments also provides for a wellrounded view of the industry. For example, the school participates in the SAE Formula Car Competition in Detroit annually To

Workings in the Pit The passion and commitment of Cuttino and his students is so infectious , it is easy to forget that there is a bigger picture. The motorsports program is a major cog in Chancellor john Woodward's vision for UNC Charlotte. The program effectively demonstrates the school's ability to feed talented labor into local businesses, as well as provide technical and theo- >

Prepare to develop tomorrow's new products and services! New York - Oct. 28, 2003 -

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• Certifications MCSE, MCDBA, MCAD, Cisco, Oracle • AutoCAD • Web Development • Programming

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Call 704.330.4223 or visit: www.cpcctraining.org Central Piedmont Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

may 2004 IS


expertise to local industry Comments Chancellor Woodward, "The University has a responsibility to support local industry, and we are particularly equipped to do so if that industry is technology and science-based. By providing a connection to the source of scientific breakthroughs and emerging technological advances, the University's influence is significant." Anticipating the decline of area manufacturing, and the exit of major corporations, Woodward and his industry peers favored supporting the dynamic interplay of the small businesses in the NASCAR industry. "Having a variety of products and ser.ri.ces worki ng within an industry, parti:::ularly an existing one, is a more stable working model than spending countless dollars to attract a large corporation whose demise or relocation could sink a whole community" Cunino concurs, "We consider our role to be that of a technical consultant to the community, in addition to being a resource for the best-trained talent in the

industry Instead of simply sitting back and demonstrating engineering theory, we consider it our responsibility to evaluate the needs of the motorsports and, to a larger degree, the automotive industry, and shore up our resources to fulfill those needs. " Yet, UNC Charlotte is not alone in these pursuits. Clemson University in South Carolina recently received $140 million to develop an automotive complex, which has made local motorsports personalities jittery Yet, both Cuttino and Woodward contend that this development could be very positive for the region. Explains Cuttino, "Plans for the Clemson complex are centered aro und automotive manufacturing and passenger vehicles, while UNC Charlotte's emphasis is geared more to high-performance vehicles and motorsports. By providing both ends of the spectrum in such a discrete geographic area, the labor pool and technological benefits become very attractive to potential employers in the automotive industry" He adds cheerily, "Automotive Engineering is certainly big enough to

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keep both universities busy " To that end, UNC Charlotte is doing its part to facilitate a variety of initiatives to add to its motorsports offerings. Ranging from expensive testing equipment for area race teams, to the possibility of a local test track, the potential for growth is tremendous. "Consider," says Cuttino, "these racing teams that have to travel to Detroit to test their instrumentation and design. They are traveling 35 weekends of the year, and spending an additional week doing something that UNC Charlotte could potentially provide if we had the right equipment." "Then," he adds, "consider the fact that NASCAR mandates a maximum of five two-day race tests, and five one-day race tests on any given track. Given the variety of track design and conditions, this can be prohibitive to a team. If we could somehow facilitate a local test track, that would bring an enormous advantage to the area." This, says Cuttino, not only supports the industry, not only benefits the community economically, but also provides an interface between the teams and UNC Charlotte students. He remarks, "This level of communication facilitates a venue for students to reach out to their potential

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Principal: Dr. Jim Cuttino, Director of Research and Development, NC Motorsports and Automotive Research Center Program: Began as an offering of a motorsports concentration in the Mechanical Engineering department in 1998, this program has budded into a formidable force, seeking to fulfill the needs of the motorsports industry in and around Charlotte. www.uncc.edu

greater charlotte biz


employers and demonstrate their talent, and also gives the teams a sounding board as to their needs and wants. Efforts like these provide an amazing synergy between the university and the community" Getting the Right Spin Of course, every pie-in-the-sky

initiative comes down to funding. This is why industry stalwart Ed McClean founded the North Carolina Motorspons Association (NCMA), and why the North Carolina Motorsports Caucus (NCMC) was created. Comments Cuttino, "The area was ready and waiting for someone to provide leadership to this rather dispersed group of businesses. McClean created a movement to unify the regional motorsports industry into one voice, and since then, has generated the huge amount of awareness we are experiencing now." ln fact, the U C Charlotte Urban Institute, under the leadership of jeff Michael, recently received $150,000 research grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation to determine the economic tmpact of motorspons in the region. Remarks Cuttino, "Motorspons m North Carolina grew as a collage industry, of its O\Vn accord. As it grew, no one has ever provided a comprehensive examination of its influence. At the conclusion of the study we will have the necessary figures in hand to demonstrate the facts, figures and needs of the industry and surrounding communities." While a research grant might not be as exciting to fans as hearing the crank of one of the Legends engines, its importance should be just as cacophonous. Shoring up this important information could mean keeping several area races like Darlington and Rockingham , rather than losing them to other venues. While some might think, "Whats losing a couple of races7 ," the reality is, there is strength in numbers. By diminishing the concentrations of races in the area, there is less incentive for fans to bring their pocketbooks to Charlotte, rather than to a competing series of races. jz,

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greater charlotte biz

may 2004 17


by sherri oosterhouse

SHERPA

NAVIGATES THE FINANCIAL TERRAIN FOR MOUNTAINEERS ATTEMPTING TO CONQUER MT. EVEREST THERE ARE NO CERTAINTIES.

THOSE LOOKING

TO BETTER THEIR ODDS HIRE A SHERPA TO GUIDE THEM. BUT EVEN UNEXPECTED, UNCONTROLLABLE FORCES COULD STILL PROHIBIT SUCCESS.

W

hen former co-workers Melissa

hurdle. But as mountaineers who attempt the

Hanel decided to form th eir

climb, perseverance and focus was key.

business, they could not anticipate th e

"A fnend once offered a quote," laughs

econo mic down turn o n th e horizon .

Promer, Tough umes spawn great stan -ups."'

"We fe lt good go mg mt o th1s - we felt

Th1s would prove to be the1r mantra.

good abou t 2002," says Pro nier. The trio launched Sherpa, a Charlott e-

These partners, wuh twenty-fi\'e years of finanCial expenence combmed and another

based recruiting and staffing company

thnty-six in the recruiting arena, relied on

specializing in finance and accounting,

expenence, education and mstinct as they

on September l, 2001. In ten short days, they would re-evaluate everything. The

qUickly regrouped. just as the Sherpa leads expeditions to reach

events of 9/ll brought economic doubt and a wave of uncertainty to employers

the summit, these pros were poised to gwde their fuwre The group would later find that their

and em p loyees eve rywhere. Companies were feve rishl y revising their

name would not only resonate with the1r target market, but would take on new meaning

fo recasts and business plans we re altered to mirror the state of th e nation . Then months

mternally. "For us 'Sherpa' means ex')Jerience, trust,

later, a seri es of acco unting scandals shoo k the financial world - Sh erpa's terrain .

wouldn't go up the mountain without a

This unexpected crevasse in the economy on

g reater cha r lott e b iz

the trek up the mountam was no small

McGuire, Barry Pronier and joe

reliance and integrity," says McG uire. "You Sherpa."

>

m ay 2004

19


Mapping the Expedition So where does a financial recruiting company fit into an economy on the slide7 How

of people and the job they did." When Sherpa

and trust. It's the kind of recommendation

opened , Hofmann followed them.

that comes only with experience.

Since then, Pillowtex has fallen on hard

"We talk a common language," says Laura

do you bring credibiLty to a profession tainted

times, but Hofmann still relies on Sherpa

Belcher, who runs a sixty-person operations

by the Enron scandaP Like smart entrepre-

exclusively to fill project -related positions

group at Transamerica Reinsurance. "They

neurs, you put one finger on the pulse of the

"They don't throw resumes at you like other

understand that transactional activity drives

market and go for the strongest need.

recruiting firms. ItS a very personal business."

financial results."

"When the economy is soft, this type

Pronier leads Sherpas Project Solutions

Belcher has consistently used Sherpas

of business doesn't typically do well," says

division, filling the need for senior level proj-

McGuire. "We service a broad spectrum,

ect positions. More often, companies are rely-

president of operations fifteen months ago.

but we were effective in finding our niche."

ing on seasoned professionals during transi-

Sherpa has placed numerous candidates at

services since she took on the role of vice

tion periods such as expansion, acquisition or

Transamerica, from permanent-to-contract

:orporate conscience ..ssues, and finger point-

restructuring. Or in Wachovia's case, they

and temporary positions. According to

_ng at congressional rea rings , Sherpa zeroed

need project augmentation assistance when

Belcher, Sherpa allows her to stay focused on

n on the importance Jf quality accounting

they are trying to find a candidate with a very

her work as they collapse the hiring lead time.

:xofessionals. The Emon effect trickled down

specific set of skills.

While the nation was preoccupied with

_hrough boardrooms to the finance depart-

"We have a number of good generalists,

"My Lime investment is efficient," she says. "They bring prescreened, qualified

llents of publicly traded companies across

but when it becomes a niche request, we don't

he country Arthur Andersen's obstruction

warehouse that on an ongoing basis," says

understand our culture here and can identify

路:harges shed light on _he importance of quali-

Ned Sergew, vice president and senior busi-

a good match for our company."

ty accounting here in the Charlotte area.

ness consultant for Enterprise Business

Good news for Sherpa.

Solutions at Wachovia. "Sherpa's network

Jobs surrounding corporate governance, Securities Exchange CJmmission (SEC) reporting and internal audits, were critical

candidates to me. Beyond skill set, they

Base camp

is one of the broadest in town - they know people who know people."

Today, Sherpa employs sixteen professionals, each with credentials in finance and/or

Hiring for a specified period, Sherpa says

accounting and recruiting. Important, says

taking this route allows for the ability to man-

McGuire, because "you wouldn't want to be

themselves in a fish bcwl. Sherpa was poised

age labor costs associated with the project.

tied to a Sherpa who didn't know their way."

to navigate the path to identify the perfect

Although now Sherpa is seeing their largest

LO

the survival of publ c companies finding

candidate. With their collective experience, extensive contacts and their first employee on board, tl.ey talked to their corporate colleagues about

As the business grew, the staff increased.

growth in the area of Project Solutions and

But when you hire people for a living, is it

Accounting Operations, initially, their growth

harder to hire for your own staff?

boom was in permanent placement. McGuire, responsible for the Accounting

Pronier doesn't think so. "We are focused on self-motivated sales people who are good

t-1e need to upgrade their staff to minimize

Operations division, claims that accounting i..s

at what they do and share our same core

f-nancial risk.

what information technology was in the

values."

Building Trust One Step at a Time

under-glamorized- and today is more impor-

desks and partitions in a room geared for

tant than ever."

communication. With three specialty areas,

1990s. "Accounting was overlooked and Hanel heads the S:Jecialized Financial Recruiting division at Sherpa, placing chief

With a diversified inventory of candi-

Sherpa's offices are filled with adjoining

each with a dedicated team, they encourage

fbancial officers to sen_or accounts in highly

dates, the recruiters at Sherpa draw on their

cross-over. McGuire, Pronier and Hanel sit

ci.tical positions. He c::mcedes that recruiting

industry background to march skill sets with

amongst their recruiting and account man-

i~

their clients needs. They access the market

agers, leading by example.

a relationship busine3s. "We pride ourselves in delivering on hard

fbds "

with a high degree of precision, delivering the best talent for the job. With a prescreening

Since the best people are often those not actively seeking employment, contacts are key. T:1e importance of their network and growing

"We didn't put ourselves in offices," says McGuire. "We want to foster a team environ-

process in place, candidates are carefully

ment and we are set up to function as a team.

matched to fill positions with speed and ease.

In the end, l believe we attract good people

"We also offer our clients options," says

list of candidates is crucial to the success of

McGuire. "A client might come to us looking

recruiting. For Pillowtex director of finance,

to fill a pennanent position for a particular

because we are passionate about our business

No Where to Go But Up

Rch Hofmann, it was critical. To build his

task and we might recommend a resource

department, Hofmann worked with McGuire,

with senior experience, then suggest they fill

H3.nel and Pronier while they were recruiters

the position permanently with a junior staff

place, coupled with impressive growth, the

at another company. "We worked together to

member once the heavy lifting is done." As a

sky is the limit for Sherpa. The company$

With nearly three years in the market

cr::are an entire finance department- from job

result, the overall cost to the client is much

revenue has increased 126 percent in the past

descriptions to salary," says Hofmann. "In

lower.

year. Pretty good for a start-up spawned in

tfE end, we were very bppy with this team

20

may 2004

Its this type of insight that builds loyalty

tough times.

greater charlotte biz


And while the economy proved deuimental for some, it helped boost revenue for Sherpa in their temporary and contract businesses- the sector with the highest growth . ot surprising in today's skeptical state chilled with hiring freezes where shan-term jobs filled the void. Success is sweet, but has Sherpa reached the summit? just as Sherpas blaze their trail, this team of entrepreneurs has lofty ambitions. "We can see ourselves expanding to other locations," says Pronier. Currently Sherpa focuses on a sixteen county region surrounding the Charlotte metro area. While finance and accounting are a natural fit given their experience and education, they see the benefit of specializing in one area as the common thread in a successful recruiting and staffing business. They are considering recruiting in other specialized fields as their journey continues. "Right now," says Pronier, "We know this business and are committed to continuing what we know best." When asked of their desire to ever climb Mt. Everest, this team of risk takers surprisingly shakes their heads. Perhaps with a Sherpa leading the way they could be persuaded. biz

[The Carolinas' Premier Remittance Processing Service Provider. .. ] Congratulations to First Charter Bank and Michael Smith of the ChorloHe Chamber of Commerce, 2003 recipients of our Crown Jewel Award. Crown Solutions' mission is to be an exceptional Service Bureau and Corporate Citizen. The Crown Jewel recipients are recognized lor their "Generous Contributions of Time, Talent and Resources" to Crown Solutions' mission. Crown is a premier service provider lor: • Retail and Wholesale Payments Pra<es~ng •Image Archival and Retrieval 2200 Executive Street • ChorloHe, NC 28208

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Sherri Oosterhouse is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

Sherpa, LLC I 00 I Morehead Square Drive Suite 290 Charlotte, NC 28203

IT'S MY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT. CATS CHARL

T~E

AREA

TR

N

IT

"YSTEM

Phone: 704-374-000 I Directors: Joe Hanel; Barry Pronier; Melissa McGuire, incoming president of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) Number of Employees: 16 In Business: since September 200 I Business: Recruiting and staffing company specializing in placing talented and committed finance and accounting professionals with corporate clients. www.sherpallc.com

gre at er c h ar lotte b iz

m ay 2 004 21


by lynn mooney

ne of Charlotte's best kept business

Homegrown competitive carrier focuses on customer care

secrets operates quietly in the South Park area providing business telecommunications services from New York to Miami and westward to New Orleans, and nearly all points in between. It is a survivor in a tough, litigious and boom-bust industry that has seen more than its share of failures including the infamous downfall of telecom service provider WorldCom, the largest bankruptcy in history. The story of US LEC is one " ... that people in the marketplace believe in," says president and CEO Aaron Cowell. It's a story he tells hoping to improve the reputation of the industry and one he hopes will bring his company additional recognition within North Carolina, and particularly Charlotte, where the company's headquarters is located. ~


Like thousands of other telecom companies, US LEC was spawned by The Telecom Act of 1996, which established for the first time that competition in the telecommunications industry would be allowed . No longer would ILECs (incumbent local exchange carriers) - the Bells and Verizon for examp le - operate as monopolies. ln fact, the incumbents would be required to make facilities available for interconnection with any competitors, which are known as CLECs, competitive local exchange carriers. The Act ushered in the infamous telecom boom. "Everyon e looked at that landscape of millions and billions of dollars to be spent on telecom and began launching business plans," says Cowell. "At one point there were something like 2,000 certified carriers across the country. " Boom. Millions of miles of fiberoptic cable are laid down across the country, billions of dollars are invested in hardware and software to feed

Business BIT US LEC services more than 18,000 customers located in over 100 mid to large-sized markets, operating digital switching centers in the following cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Charleston, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Fort Myers, Greensboro, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Mobile, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Richmond, Tampa, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach.

sumer demand , supply far exceeds demand and few companies are winning. By 2000 , the race ends for many telecoms. "People th ought they could build companies and sell them quickly doubling and tripling their money overnight. The bubble kind of burst over the industry," says Cowell. "The hundreds and potentially thousand of competitive carriers suddenly became 200 again ." Although , Cowell adds , the bust continues in one form or another even today as US LEC survives. A crucial decision to survive the telecom bust

consumer demand for Internet , voice and data communicati~ns, and entrepreneurs race to market with business plans designed to harness a critical mass of users and win big in the burgeoning market. Bust. New telecoms incur unprecedented amounts of debt to get to market raising capital via banks and the capital markets . Despite anticipated levels of con-

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Richard T. Aab and Tansukh V Ganatra, industry veterans who understood the benefits of competition in telecommunications , founded US LEC in 1996. Ganatra had retired to Charlotte following service in the industry in Rochester, N.Y. "lt was a happenstance decision to locate in Charlotte," says Cowell, who joined the management team as executive

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vice president and legal counsel in 1998. The company was built to be a North Carolina-only competitive provider with its first switching centers located in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro. "We rapidly outpaced that business plan once we realized the market opportunity," says Cowell, who went on to head up sales and marketing, and then was named president and chief operating officer in 2000 and chief executive officer in 2002. Like other telecoms, US LEC's first mission was to compete with the lLECs. "Everybody had to show dramatic cost-savings because CLECs were a riskier venture then, " says Cowell. "Nobody really understood there was competition. It goes back to the days when you saw a pin drop and nobody knew what it meant . Now when you see a pin drop you know it means Sprint. And how many people knew what MCl was?" Cowell says the telecom bust was in one way well timed and that it was fortunate US LEC was one of the first companies that didn't perform to expectation. "lt was early in 2000 when we didn't live up to what we,

US LEC Corp.

USLEC

"It's a story that people in the marketplace believe in." -Aaron D. Cowell, Jr., US LEC President & CEO ourselves, thought we would do ," says Cowell. "That realization caused us to sit back and consider what was really important for us long-term. " "We then began a process of looking at what we call our road to profitability. Different companies took different paths and at least in hindsight we chose the right one. " Gone would be the days of competing on a price basis and US LEC would refuse to cut its costs through lay-offs. Instead, the company focused on holding costs at current levels and waiting for the customer base to expand,

knowing that one day, revenue growth would out-pace cost growth. It took six quarters for US LEC to ride out the worst of telecom times, its stock price as high as $45.62 and as low as $1.61, but by the first quarter of 2002, the company had realized a key financial milestone - positive EBITDA. "Once we held the cost structure and focused on building and keeping customers, we worried less about eliminating cost and more about growing the customer base; that's when we really began to see the bottom line result we had p lanned for," says Cowell. "That difference was important. Customers saw that we didn't abandon the marketplace. Employees saw that we were still investing in the team and investing for growth." Loyal customers, local teams the key to success US LEC's management team has been together for five or more >

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President and Chief Executive Officer: Aaron D. Cowell , Jr. Number of Employees: I,000 (500 in Charlotte) In Business: since 1996 Business: US LEC (NASDAQ: CLEC , IPO 1998) with headquarte rs in Charlotte, is a telecommun ications carrier providing a full suite of integrated voice, data and Internet services to business customers and enter prise organizations in over I 00 markets throughout the Eastern United States. www.uslec.com

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years; and under that leaders hip has created and maintained a business plan intended to distinguish US LEC in the competitive carrier marketplace. Some key strategies include: purchasing its own switches and related software and hardware to connect customers to its network ; achieving cost-savings for its custo mers while being proactive to issues such as co rrect billing; co-locating sa les teams and tec hnica l teams in each of its markets; mainta ining redundant power and en vironm ental systems; investing in state-o f-the-a n tec hnology (includin g the recent rollout of a Voice over !P (Vo!P) initiati ve) and an increased ability to offer custo mers se lf-care technology. But technology isn't the main dri ve r for US LEC. "We are a compa ny th at is so mewhat technology agnostic, " says Cowe ll. "C usto mers wa nt reliable service, a responsive team , and acc uracy upfronl. If that can be supported by imp roveme nts in technology then we will invest in those. " US LEC

Business BIT US LEC (U-5-Iek) CLEC (see' -lek): a competitive local exchange carrier; The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years. The law allows anyone to enter any communications business and to compete in any market against any other communications business. (Source: Federal Communications Commission.) ILEC (eye' -lek): incumbent local exchange carrier providing service prior to The Telecommunications Act of 1996.

initially in vests approximately $5 to $6 million in each switching center. "People see a company that provides a higher quality of care,"

ple are wi lling to pay for. This is an industry that has focu sed too much on saving customers $2 a month . Our proposition is that not only will we save you som e money, but also over time, you'll see the bene fits of accurate bills, of our responsiven ess and ability to adapt to yo ur changin g need s. And when we have a se rvice issue, which every company is go ing to have - back hoes d o ex ists - we respond promptly and honestl y." On the road to profitability There is no a rguin g that US LEC is well on the road to profitability according to Cowe ll. "We've had extraordinary good luck ove r the last few years," he recounts. " We've been doubling our custome r base on a fairly regular basis. We add roughly 4 ,000 to 5,000 customers in a year. These are not sma ll businesses. They are hosp ita ls, law firm s and auto dealerships. '' US LEC has more than 18,000 customers and an average share o f close to lO percem in each of

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"We are looking to be the premier competitive carrier in each market. We think we've achieved that in many of the markets we are in today. " - Aaron D.Cowell, Jr., US LEC President & CEO its 26 markets. "We are looking to be the premier competitive carrier in each market," says Cowell. "We think we've achieved that in many of the markets we are in today. V\'e are at our best now, in terms of adding new customers, in the history of our company. It's strong, yet consistent, growth that has even surprised us somewhat." While the market share may be in the single digits in some markets, Cowell says it's an enormous business base to ha\'e acquired. He says 80 percent of the company's business comes from incumbent carriers - customers either have a contract that is expiring, are having trouble with an incumbent and want to make a change, or are a new business. "We think there is no end in sight because there is so much business still siuing out there," says Cowell. Recent expansion has included moving into the New York City market during the fourth quarter of 2003. US LEC also recently acquired FASTNET Corporation, which will provide the company with deeper market penetration in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New jersey and southern New York. "US LEC is no longer a company that can be ignored," says Cowell. "I think when you look out in the world today, if you're running a customerfocused side of an incumbent such as BellSouth or Verizon, you see US LEC, a company that is very difficult

to compete with. To a great extent, we are almost the incumbent now of the business customer base. People seeus as the quali ty provider, an alternative to the incumbents, and not j ust because of a price differential, but because of the total pac kage we provide." Additional signs of future profitability include US LEC's ability to raise $10 million in common stock, which also took place during the fourth quarter of 2003. Cowell says that probably makes US LEC the only competitive carrier to raise money in the form of common stock in several years. "That tells me that the market still respects and rewards good business plans," says Cowell. Cowell adds that the analysts realize that when they look at a competitive carrier such as US LEC, they need to look to the future. "It's not something that today makes a difference, or that tomorrow makes a difference," says Cowell. "They look at trends, customers additions, cost Solutions to all your technology needs

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discipline and customer retention." He says US LEC is doing well in all of those areas yet realizes that it will be some time before investors as a whole look at the telecom industry as a reliable sector. Plans for Charlotte and North Carolina

US LEC has no intention of forgetting its Charlotte and its North Carolina roots. Ha lf of its l ,000 employees are located in Charloue at its corporate office, its net work operations center and its digital switching center. "That should be something people understand and value," says Cowell. "There aren't many companies homegrown in Charlouc that have gone public, that have created a thousand JObs and that provide a lot of benefits to customers m the way they do their business. " bi Lynn Mooney 1s a Charlotte-based freelance wnter.


by ellison clary

FIRM IS POISED TO HELP SHAPE CHARLOTIE'S MULTI-MODAL STATION Perhaps David Wagner's passion fer his adopted city is understandable. The president of Wagner Murray Architects designed some of Charlotte's most iconic structures and, with a 21st century train , station, he's poised to help create another. >-

greater charlotte biz


From Seventh Street Station, whiclWagner calls "Americas first musical parking deck," to South Tryon Square, which he says is Charlottes "first re-skinned office tower,' Wagner can point out numerous design contributions, mostly in center city Wagner and panner Mike Murray have grown with Charlotte. After working together as principals at the now defunct firm of Clark Tribble Harris&: Li, they formed Wagner Murray Architects in 1989. Since then, they've panicipated in the urban boom that trarsformed the city in the 1990s and beyond. ·'Charlottes the kind of city where }OU can build culture," says Wagner, who movec to the Queen City from his native Pittsburgh ir 1974. "Nothing is implanted here, nOLhing is taken for granted. So we have an opportunity unique for a city our size to position who we are ani what we want to be." Wagner says hes particularly encou-aged with the regions suppon for building a public transponation system that includes rail as well as buses. He can't contain his excitement about his firms newest project, which he calls careerdefining. Wagner Murray will be the des gner of record, working with a team of consultants, for

the West Trade Street Multi-Modal Station. That station is a major element of the Charlotte Area Transit Systems $2.9 billion transportation plan. At a cost of more than $200 million, the station and track system probably will begin operating late this decade, Wagner reckons. The Amtrak station on North Tryon Street will consolidate with the Greyhound Bus Terminal in the new facility on the bus station site near Gateway Village. That facility also will serve light rail as well as city buses, taxis and personal vehicles and it likely will house retail and offices. The multi-modal station will stand a stones throw from Gateway Center, which Wagner designed in 1986 while still at Clark Tribble Harris&: Li. It was the first structure in what has become West Trades Gateway Village, a mixed-use office, residential and commercial center housing a Bank of America technology center as well as the Charlotte campus for Johnson &: Wales University As pan of the 2025 Integrated Transit! Land Use Plan for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the new station will be financed with funds from a local half-cent sales tax, as well as from state and federal appropriations.

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Wagner is proud, he says, that the Charlotte region and Nonh Carolina have decided to join states such as California and Florida which are repositioning old rail systems for high speed commuter travel. He sees the design of the multi-modal station as a chance to make "a major statement about Charlotte and where this city is headed." Carroll Gray, president of The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce calls Wagner "a good example of the new Charlotte. David is passionate and he cares," Gray says, adding, "He gives back to the community." Wagner designed the interior of the Chamber building 10 years ago, including Info Charlotte, an exhibit geared to newcomers and visitors. Last year, Wagner redesigned and upgraded that exhibit, now called Main Street, making it what Gray calls "a microcosm of things to see and do in Charlotte." Firm Benefits From Community's

Rapid Growth Wagner praises the citys political and business leadership for setting the tone for rapid growth. 'We've had a vision about this city and this community which far exceeds even some of the older cities," he says. The fast growth has been good for Wagner Murray. Among the firms projects is the Levine Museum of the New South, which occupies the drastically redesigned space that Clark Tribble Harris &: Li once occupied on Nonh College Street. "He took a building that felt dark and cramped and closed in and opened it up and created a real sense of volume and light," says Emily Zimmem, the museums executive director. "He was fun to work with. He sees possibilities." Wagner also designed the interior of Bank of America Stadium and revamped an upper level just prior to the 2003 National Football League season for the Carolina Panthers. That initial stadium work led to contracts from the Pittsburgh Steelers to design their new home called Heinz Field, and from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to work on Raymond James Stadium. With a growing spons facility reputation, Wagner Murray continues its relationship with the owners of all three franchises. Returning his attention to Charlotte, Wagner says the firm has been lucky to have worked on multiple high-profile projects in center city "For a firm that has fewer than 10

greater char lotte b iz


people, its a testament to our skills, our commitment, perseverance, attitude and desire to do the best we can." He feels Wagner Murrays small size is a positive. "We've never been larger and we're not likely to be," he says. "We don't want to lose our connectivity to the client. We have designers, creative people and principals dedicated to delivery and producing work." Like South Tryon Square, which Wagner Murray revamped as a mixed-use project for Spectrum Properties in the second block of South Tryon Street, Wagner and Murray renovated the building they partly own at 1000 West Morehead Street. Known as the Boxer Building, the three-story brick structure originated in the 1920s as a transfer and storage facility. Later, it took the name of a textile repair firm. Wagner and Murray gutted it, cleaned it up and occupied it in 2000. Now its fully leased with six professionally-related tenants. In their 15 years as parrners, Murray has been the managing principal. The Conneclicut native with a Clemson University degree produces projects while Wagner concentrates on design. Calling architecture a tough business, Wagner says the firms profits fluctuate. He'd like it to make more money, but believes that comes with choosing solid clients and nurturing relationships. "I think there are good times ahead," he says. "I think we can get our >-

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revenue back to seven figures hopefu[y this year, maybe next year." Wagners interests vary widely, fran reading, writing and oil painting to intemaional travel (he and his family try to visit a different foreign city each year). Accordingly, Wagner Murray has no specialty. "We've chose:~ to find the distinctive, one-of-a-kind pro~ects," Wagner says. A recent addition to the firms center city portfolio is the interior of ARPA restamant in the Interstate Tower at The Square. Same of Wagners oil painLngs decorate the walls and a chandelier he designed and assembl~d is a colorful centerpiece. Wagner thinks of Charlotte as sioilar to a painters clean canvas. Because the SJuth didn't develop industrially until the 20th century, Wagner says, Charlotte is a late bloorring city. "Charlotte is still defining who and what it wants to be," he adds with bright ey~. "Where we fall a little shon," he adds, "is making our public commitment to the ans as strong as our private commitment ~ been to business and industry And thats our next hurdle. Once we get through that, I think this city will emerge as a great cultural center." Wagner Always Wanted To 'Build Stuff' One of five siblings, the son of a Pittsburgh truck driver and a homemaker mother, Wagner says he knew early on he wanted to ~ an architect. By age 8, he was drawing, cutting out paper and sticking it together. "I just bved to build stuff," he says, and quickly adelE, "Still do."

While earning his architecture degree at Virginia Tech University, Wagner met wife Cassandra. They have two sons and two daughters and live in Myers Park. Wagner was attracted to Charlotte fresh out of college by Harry Wolf, another architect who saw the regions potential. Now practicing in Los Angeles, Wolf in 1974 operated Wolf Associates and was "the greatest architect in the southeast, by his own admission," Wagner chuckles. Though egocentric, Wolf pushed Wagner for design refinement and attention to detail and preached quality above quantity. Wagner believes those lessons have carried over to his and Murrays practice. The firm is committed to high quality, well-crafted design, he says. What hes delivering is more than work to Wagner - its an. "Architecture is the greatest of the ans," he says. He quotes Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late New York senator: "Architecture is inescapably a political an and it repons faithfully for ages to come what the political values of a particular age were." What do Charlottes structures say about it7 "We are fast and furious, loose and on the run," Wagner says with certainty "We've been really successful in that we've built a city from scratch in 20 years." Charlotte Must Strive For Memorable Architecture But Charlotte still must strive for architecture that is memorable, he adds. "You want a visitor to this community to leave with a legacy of memory Great public space, great buildings,

great connectivity We're ready for that." Wagner can deliver it, says Dennis Rash, visiting professor ofTransponation Policy Studies at UNC Charlotte. Rash has worked with Wagner on projects dating to Gateway Center in the late 1980s when he was a senior vice president in Corporate Real Estate at Bank of America. "What really engages David is a sense of the interaction that his particular project might play with the community at large," says Rash, who also collaborated with Wagner on Seventh Street Station, a building that invites pedestrians to press panels to produce sound and light shows. "He sublimates his design ego to dynamics in the community Thats a special talent." Charlotte needs more structures that promote interactivity, Wagner believes. Public spaces must invite pedestrians to touch them and feel a pan of them, he says, and points to his design for The Green, an urban park atop an 850-vehicle parking deck. Developed by Wachovia, the park forms a front lawn for the Charlotte Convention Center. It features sidewalk games, whimsical signs and fountains built to encourage children to play in them. Pat Mumford, a Wachovia senior vice president who was responsible for getting the park completed, praises Wagners creativity- and more. "What drives Dave is a desire for Charlotte to be the best it can be," Mumford says. "That space, I believe, is one of the nicest spaces in this region. " Wagner smiles. "Its the old adage of you know you're in a great place because you can feel it," he says.

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greater charlotte biz


That brings him back to the multi-modal station. 'This station should make a contemporary statement about our community," he says. "I think this building should be open, fearless and expressive of our citys highest aspirations." When that facility opens around 2010, where will Wagner Murray be? Designing good buildings, says the 53-year-old Wagner, who claims he'd rather die at his desk than retire. "Look at the opportunity I have," he says. "With bricks and mortar, I can put something in the ground that a hundred years from now may still be here. Can any other profession actually say that?" IZ Ellison Gary is a Charlotte-based freelance wnter. WAGNER MURRAY PROJECTS Bank of America Stadium (fonnerly Ericsson Stadium) - 1996 Wagner Munray was the owner's representatiVe on the design team and interior designer of record. It was also architect for 2003 club level renovations. Seventh Street Station - 1999 America's first musical parking deck. it invites pedestrians to touch multi-colored panels and produce sound and light displays. The I0-floor structure features retail at street level and parking on 2-I 0. South Tryon Square - 1999 The old American Credit/Barclay's Bank building, It IS the first re-skmned office tower in Charlotte's history It houses retail at street level and offices above. Levine Museum of the New South - 200 I Recognized among museums for its interactve features, it was birthed through a remaking of the building that house the defunct architecture finn Clark Tribble Harris & Li. The Green - 2002 Charlotte's first urban park on top of an 850-vehicle parkng deck. it features a nationally recognized art installation program. Pedestrian Tunnel Between Wachovia Towers Two and Three - 2002 One ofWagner's personal favorites, its design is based on the Munsell color theory widely used by artists in the early 20th century

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ma y 2004

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.路t路

~

~,.

"I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one." - Edna St. Vincent Millay, Tilling the Garden

Nestled rather obliquely near the intersection of Arrowood Road and South Boulevard is a 24,000-square-foot building formerly housing a roller skating rink. The modest brick fa~ade of the building is offset by a large yellow banner which blazes "Wholesale Silk Flowers - Public Welcome!" ~

greater charlotte biz

may 2004

35


The

building~

sign reads 'Golder State

utilize his business relationships across the

so incredibly much , and the number of

Silk Flowers' in a 路ather unassuming ;tyle

ocean. Having some familiarity with a friend 's

young, style-conscious professionals has risen

that betrays the ai5les and aisles of co orful

successful silk nower business, Yang decided

accordingly. Honestly, I have never seen a

stems abounding nside. Boasting ovu

to implement his own plan across the country

10,000 items in a, inventory which changes

Remarks Yang, "My friend in California

every week , the store has become the desti-

created a business that was very successful,

nation and wellspring of inspiration br inte-

which he enjoyed. Of course, [ had no desire

rior decorators am retailers looking br the latest in nora!

styl ~s

and quality, as

w~ll

do-it-yourself nor"] fawners looking

t::l

as add

some color and d-ama to their own 1-omes. Golden State .'iilk Flowers is the Jnder-

place whose people enj oy beautiful things more than Charlotte. We just love to decorate I" The Yangs have other secrets rooting

to compete with his business, so [ looked

them firml y in their niche, not the least of

across the United States for the best wholesale

which is jack Yang's eastern business connec-

markets for silk flowers. I considered

tions. Says jack Yang, "Of course, the most

Pennsylvania, Florida and the Carolinas before

visible advantage is the cost savings by

deciding to open a location on South Tryon

importing products directly from manufac-

taking of Jack Yano6 and his wife, Star who

Street as my headquarters. From there, I could

turers in China. But also , there is a very

toil together everrday to provide the -nost

attend all the wholesale markets in the

important cultural connection which helps

unique, diverse and comprehensive <rtificial

region."

us provide a premium product."

Oower presematioo in the region. Says Star

Yang's original location was a mere 1,000

Yang continues, "In my culture, business

Yang, "People corr.e here from all over the

square feet, but it was the seed for a business

is conducted in terms of mutually beneficial

country seeking the variety we offer."

that would grow like ... a weed. Centrally

relationships and loyalty A very high premi-

located between Columbia, S.C., High Point,

um is placed on performing for one another.

Jack Yang's impor: business, formerly head-

N.C., and Lexington, N.C. (the site of his sec-

Of course, there are also challenges."

quartered out of Los Angeles. Devote:i pri-

ond store), Yang was able to travel easily

marily to toy impJrts, Yang became f-ustrat-

between markets. Plus, adds Yang, "The silk

example, many people don't realize there are

ed with the seasonality of his busines and

floral industry is still relatively young; there is

over one hundred shades of burgundy We

determined to pu-sue a new product line.

a lot of room for growth and this area caters to

have to be able to communicate which shade

Born in Taiwan, 'cang also hoped to te able

that."

we are looking for, which isn't easy for an

The enterpri5e began as an evo!Ll.ion of

to continue a bus ness that would

36

may 2C 04

eff~ctively

Star Yang concurs, "Charlotte has grown

Star Yang completes his thought, "For

American without the benefit of a translator.

greater charlotte biz


Plus, the Chinese ideas of traditional colors

that Star and jack encourage thei r customers

differ widely from the American. In China, the

to take photos and duplicate the arrange-

color 'red' is a deep, blackish, almost maroon

ments they display on the sales floor. "A lot

hue, whereas when we typically think of 'red ,'

of florists insist that you buy an arrangement

we are thinking of a Christmas red, or a candy

before you can duplicate it, but we don't see

apple red ." Star Yang says, 'Tastes vary widely too.

much sense in this. Part of the joy of what we do is sharing the beauty, and by sharing

Charlotte is the only region that requests blue

the ideas to display them attractively is an

flowers. Imagine how difficult it is to explain

extension of that. " To accomplish this,

- - www. c hilrlotte c ent e rcit y. or g - -

to a supplier a "Panther Blue" flower! Yet, we

Golden State also offers floral design classes

absolutely have to stock them for ou r cus-

every other Saturday that Star has dubbed,

tomers. There is a surprisingly high demand

"Make It and Take lt."

here, but no where else. " jack Yang says that Chinese manufactur-

Join us for the following upcoming events in the center city:

This conceptual generosity also allows the couple to showcase Golden States con-

ers also take orders very literally. "lf you send

stantly updated inventory Remarks Star,

a shirt to a factory and say; 'Reproduce this

"People literally feel like they need to come

product exactly;' you had best mean what you

visit us every month to see whats new." In

say If that sam ple has a small hole cut in the

addition to the large warehouse space,

April 30 - May 2 A Taste of Charlotte/ Avenue of the Arts

front by customs agents, you could end up

Golden State has makeshift 'satellite ware-

with thousands of holey shirts sitting on your

houses' adjacent to the loading dock- seven

shelves."

additional trailers packed with merchandise.

One can only assume that the Yangs have

The Yangs make large semiannual buy-

overcome these hurdles, for the warehouse is a

ing trips, and as wholesalers, get to eye the

cornucopia of everything from silk lady slip-

freshest looks of the season well in advance

pers to faux pomegranates leaking nectar, to

of retail buyers. Says Star, "It is great to antic-

small spherical ornaments wrapped in pheas-

ipate what new looks wi ll be coming around

ant feathers. In fact, it is Golden States ability

the comer. january, February and March we

to showcase its $1 million dollar inventory

display our spring/summer merchandise,

dramatically, artistically and practically that

and finish the season with a 50 percent off

makes it a wonder to walk through its aisles of

sale on April 15th. Then, in july, we start

neatly displayed wares.

with our Christmas merchandise. Honestly, it is really nice being in wholesale - you stay

>-

May7-9 Cityfest Live!

Creating a Sense of Style Florists travel from all over to view Golden States floral displays, which the staff creates after making a careful study of the nation's premiere designers and showrooms. jack Yang says that more than the beauty and design of

Golden State Silk Flowers, Inc.

MayS Golden State Silk Flowers

Center City Green Market Kick-off

the stems themselves, the industry is increasingly focused on more elaborate and inspired arrangements. Golden State boasts the talents of in-

71 I 5 South Boulevard Charlotte, NC 28273 Phone: 704-55 3- 1288

house designer j en nifer Weber who is respon-

Principals: Jack and Star Yang,

sible for setting and sharing intricate floral

Owners

designs with Charlottes creative set. A veteran

Number of Employees: I 0

of the industry for over twenty years, Webers designs are recognized by some of the best names in the business. From the latest and greatest natural-grass arrangement, to the

In Business: 13 years Locations: C harlo tte, N .C. an d Lexington, N.C.

talents are admired and emulated by just

Business:Wholesale and retai l silk flowers an d accessories.

about everyone who walks through Golden

www.gssfinc.com

ornate flounshes of a wedding trellis, Webers

May23 Thunder in the Streets

May 26-28 Speed Street Charlotte Center City Partners

128 South Tryon Suite 1960 Charlotte, NC 28202 Ph : 704-332-2227

States door. Golden State is also unique in the regard

greater charlotte biz

may 2004

37


Accessories.

ahead of the curve, and come Novcmber, we

When asked about the inspiration to

can enjoy the holidays. "

undertake these projects, Yang says modestly,

Golden States' major customer.> include

"U you see a need , there is no reason why

retail flower sho;JS, gift stores, inter or designers, real estate offices, indivic ual crafts-

you shouldn't try to fill it." His wi fe adds,

people displaying at traveling shows such as

"Much of it is cultural, too. j acks mentor at

the Southern Shows, and what the Yangs call,

the Soochow University of Taiwan said , 'U you want to be successful , you have to create

jobbers,' floral s3lespeople who operate traveling displays fro m city to city.

Say~

something that nobody else has thought of.

Star, "We

If you invent something, you are secure for

try to stay away from major shows or any

fourteen years (the life of an unrenewed

venue where we would end up com peting with our custorr_ers. They are largely responsible for our suc:::ess, and we are ccmmitted

Reba Yang, jack and Star Yang's daughter, is the store manager of Golden State Silk Flowers.

patent)."' So it is not surp rising that Yang spends much of his free time making wood prototypes looking for the next bright idea.

to honoring those relationships. " the styrofoam of an arrangement.

A New Arrangement Despite spending countless hours creating arrangements, managing all asrects of the

Yang has recently attained a patent for another practical idea, the "Tombstone Topper®," an improved plastic 'saddle' for

Perennial Care ln the meantime j ack and Star Yang work long, but satisfyi ng hours prepa ring for

business, unl oading merchand ise, :ond stock-

floral arrangements set in gravestones, which

the next design season . Having recently host-

ing shelves with everything fo rm fl oral stems

significantly reduces scratches and rust, has

ed an open house attended by such artists as

to East Indian vases, artwork and design

no hooks and is more stable than its counter-

Brad Schmidt (floral designer to personalities

accoutrements, _'ack Yang also has a 'side gig.'

parts. Star Yang says the product is very popu-

like Bruce Willis, Pam Anderson and a pre-

lar, giving great piece of mind to loved ones

miere designer fo r FTD), and industry

wa nting to keep an attractive floral tribute and

favorite, Robert Della Barba, their showroo m

a definite sense <Jf immediacy, impa ient to

remembrance for those who have passed on ,

is bedecked with the latest floral trends.

Mr. Yang is a twice-patented inventor!

A soft-spoken and ge nial man, Yang has find better tools for use in the trade. He was

because it is easier and more practical in

particularly d issatisfied with the mammoth

usage, especially for those who want to do-

industrial metal pick installer, one of the

it-themselves for a more personal touch.

more frequently used tools, too cumbersome

As you might expect, j ack Yang's inven-

Now joined at Golden State by their children, j ack and Star Yang are cultivating their business for the next generation . Says Star, "When you are surrounded by such

to accommodate his needs. So Yang

tions have added a new dimension to Golden

beauty, when you enj oy your work so pas-

designed , patented and had m anuf1ctured a

States business. The Handy Pick® and the

sionately; and when you are surrounded by

hand-operated tool he dubbed the "Handy

Tombstone Topper® have found their way into

family all day, you really have a winning

Pick®." The Handy Pick® slightly r~se mbles

mega-retailers like Michaels and Hobby Lobby

arrangemen t!"

a heavy hole-puncher. lt one swift ction , it

and have had a very successful feature on

cuts a stem and attaches a metal pt:k, allow-

HGTV Last year it was also honored in

ing the stem to be immediately inserted into

Michaels' listing of the Top Ten Craft

biz

Susanne Deitzel is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

TRUGREEN LandCare 704-375-7555 38

ma y 2004

greater charlotte biz


(continued from page 11)

14 months of active duty, and that entitles

important.

employers code of conduct included detailed procedures for reporting improper practices and prohibiting retaliation against employees who make such reports. The employee alleged that by firing him, the

the employee to reemployment rights if he applies up to 90 days following his return from service. In addition, this employee's

Mistake #2 - Letting bias creep into the appraisal or being less than truthful. The value of appraisal is diminished by rating everyone average, believing some people can do no wrong, believing that some people can do no right, or being less than truthful to avoid conflict. Mistake #3 - Believing appraisal is an

employer breached terms of its employment contract as set forth in a code of conduct. The Court of Appeals rejected this claim, confirming established North Carolina law that declines to recognize the terms of handbooks, policy manuals, and codes as contractual in nature. The issuance of policies and procedures to employees does nor change the at-will nature of employment regardless of their level of detail. These policies will not create contracts unless the employer explicitly incorporates them into a written employment contract at the time of hiring. The Court also refused to recognize policies, as independent contracts binding the employer, noting that such a finding would essentially eliminate employment at-will. North Carolina employers can require employees to acknowledge receipt and review of policy manuals in writing, but should avoid reference to such manuals in employment contracts or agreements. However, an at-will employee cannot use such documents as the basis of a breach of contract claim. Parker Poe

Worker's Compensation Case Q. We have an employee who has been released from military service after serving active duty overseas for more than 14 months. He is unable to return to full-time employment at this time due to an injury sustained while on duty Will this employees employment status suffer as a result of not being able to return to work immediately after discharge' Can he apply for a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)7 A. ln the circumstances described above, the employee is protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which specifically designates reemployment rights of those employees who are returning from active uniformed service. The employee served for more than

greater charlotte biz

reemployment application deadline may be extended for two years or more as a result of the service-related injuries that prevent him from applying for reemployment. USERRA also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for physical and mental limitations of an employee that were incurred or aggravated during uniformed service. Employers must make "reasonable efforts" to accommodate an employee's service-connected disability so that the employee can perform the job he or she would have held if he or she had been continuously employed during periods of uniformed service. Due to this employees protection under USERRA, he would not be required to apply for leave under FMLA. Upon return to active employment, should the employee require a medical leave of absence, he could then apply for leave under FMLA. (Military service is considered "hours worked" for the purpose of determining FMLA eligibility) The application of reemployment rights under USERRA vary based on the length of absence from employment due to uniformed service. Management Association of Illinois

Mistakes Leaders Make in Performance Appraisals The performance appraisal process serves three important functions: It helps companies encourage good performance, identifies and discourages poor performance, and allows employees to see how they contribute to the company$ overall progress. For most people, having their performance appraised is not a favorite activity If this important process is not done well, it can actually destroy morale and do more damage than good . Leaders should be careful to avoid these common appraisal mistakes. Mistake #l -Not doing the appraisal at all or giving it little attention. Appraisal is about improving future performance. Not doing it assures that things will not improve. Doing it late sends the message that performance improvement is not

event and not a process. Without feedback on an ongoing basis, appraisal will do no good ar all. Mistake #4- Blaming. Appraisal should not assess blame, but should encourage a two-way exchange in a safe environment with improvement as the goal. Mistake # 5 - Ranking. Comparing people with one another causes dissent. Rating against a standard or agreed-togoals is a much better alternative. Mistake #6 - Thinking appraisals are only about salary. Appraisals should help drive better performance. Some organizations plan salary increases off cycle from appraisals to avoid this problem. Mistake #7 -Doing an appraisal without help from others. With today$ diverse technology and matrix organizations, leaders may not have complete knowledge of their subordinates' work. lt may be necessary to get input from others. Mistake #8 -Assuming there must be negatives in every review. If performance is outstanding, there is no need to think of someth ing negative to say Mistake #9 - Failure to set goals. A performance appraisal should always include goal setting and a review of performance against goals. This assures accountability and responsibility Accomplishmenr should be rewarded, not just effort toward accomplishment. biz

The Employers Association is a nonprofit Charlotte organization providing comprehensive human resources and training services. Founded in 1958, the Association maintains a broadbased membership of over 700 companies from all industries in the greater Charlotte region. The above excerpts were taken from The Management Report, the Association's monthly newsletter. For more information, please call Laura Hampton at 704-522-80 I I or visit the Web site at www.employersassoc.com.

may 2004

39


[bizdigest] Wake Forest MBA Program Ranks in Top 10 Percent Wake Forest Lniversity's Babcock Graduate

positions in the ranking. The Babcock School's

Minneapolis Firm Buys Prudential Carolinas

School of Manage a1ent is ranked in t he top I0

part-time MBA program is ranked No. 24 in a

Minneapolis-based HomeServices

percent of the nat on's best MBA sch::>ols in a

specialty category of the survey. The ran kings

of America, Inc . has acquired Prudential

survey released b> U.S. News & World Report.

are based on quality assessments by business

Carolinas Realty and its affiliates,

This is the seconG consecutive year t1at the

school deans and MBA program directors,

Professional Home Mortgage Lenders

Babcock School made the survey's to:> I0

recruiters, job placement success and student

and Preferred Carolinas Title Agency.

percent. In a speci:t lty category of the ranking,

selectivity. The specialty ran kings, including part-

Financial terms were not disclosed .

the Babcock School also is ranked No. 26

time MBA programs and entrepreneurship pro-

nationally for entre preneurship progr:tms.

grams, are based solely on ratings by

largest residential real estate agency

Prudential Carolinas is the third -

educators at peer schools. Business school

in the Charlotte area , based on the

and the recogniti 01 that comes with : hese

deans and program heads nominate the top

number of full-t ime agents . The company,

ran kings ," says Bal:cock Dean Ajay Patel.

programs for excellence.

"I am extremett pleased with this outcome

" Recruiter assessment of our graduates and

The Babcock School offers five MBA pro-

headquarte red in Winston-Salem, employs 750 statewide , including more than

our placement success played imporunt roles

grams: full-time, evening and fast-track execu-

250 licensed agents in the Charlotte

in this outcome. Focusing on activities that

tive MBA programs in Winston-Salem, and

region .

further increase tre desirability of, an~ outlet

evening and Saturday programs in Charlotte.

available to, ou r g8duates will continue to

The ran kings are part of a comprehensive

HomeServices of America is the second-largest full-service residential

annual survey of graduate programs published

real estate brokerage firm in the United

in the April 5, 2004 edition of U.S. News

States. It is an affiliate of Berkshire

from No. 37 last year, among the nation 's 377

& World Report. The MBA rankings are

Hathaway Inc ., the Nebraska- based

accredited master "; programs. In the past two

available on the magazine's Web site at

investment company run by financier

years the Babcock School has moved up I0

www.usnews.com.

Warren Buffett.

remain our No. I. xiority." The Babcock School is ranked No. 36, up

40

may 2004

greater charlotte biz


bizresource guide Average Driving Cost Per Mile in North Carolina Below National Average North Carolina motorists are expected to spend $4 72 less than the national average to

owners. Nationally, vehicle owners will pay about

Take actvancage of these products and serv1ces from Charlotte "s lead1ng bus1ness-to-busmess suppl1ers. Altman Initiative Group

pg. 25

Blair, Bohle & Whit sitt PLLC

pg.16

Carolina Foot Associates Carolina Vo lkswagen

pg. 41

CATS

pg. 21

Center City Partners

pg. 37

BC

own and operate a motor vehicle in 2004,

$975 per year for fuel , but in North Carolina,

according to AAA Carolinas.

motorists are expected to pay $870 a year.

Charlotte Help Desk

pg. 27

College Fund of North Carolina

pg. 2

Compass Career Management Solutions

pg. 24

It is expected to cost 53.1 cents per mile

(This variable increases to $1 ,079 a year

on average , or $7,959 a year, for operating and

for fuel nationally and $1 ,035 for fuel in

owne rship expenses to drive a new passenger

North Carolina, using today's higher gasoline

car in North Carolina in 2004.

prices.)

CPCC

pg. 15

Crown Solutions

pg. 21

Dilworth Hair

pg. 17

Du nhill Hotel

pg. 14

Employers Association

pg. 30

End II End

pg. 26

5 Off 5 On

pg. 17

The national average cost of driving predic-

AAA calculates typical finance charges to

tion is 56.2 cents per mile or $8,431 per year,

be $741 a year based on a five-year loan at

First Citizens

pg. 5

AAA's Annual "Your Driving Costs" study

6 percent interest with a I0 percent down

FN Thompson

pg. 32

Homearama

pg. 44

shows.

payment. The IRS tax allowance for business

All gasoline estimates used for calculation

mileage does not allow full reimbursement

of operating costs were based on December

of all expenses associated with automobile

31 , 2003, prices. In North Carolina, that was $1.43 for a gallon of self-serve, regular, unlead-

ownership and use. This year, the methodology used by AAA

Hood Hargett

pg. 42

Lessons from the Big Guys

pg. 33

Meeting House

pg. 33

Memories of WW II Documentary

pg. 10

Ogletree Deakins

pg. 7

RBC Centura

IFC

Regent Park

pg. 31

Road Runner Business Class

pg. 1 pg. 3

ed gasoline. With today's North Carolina ave r-

to calculate driving costs was changed to

Scott Insurance

age of $1.70 per gallon, that increases the per

better reflect the average use of a vehicle

Scott Jaguar

pg. 36

Tathwell Printing

pg. 40

mile gasoline operating cost from 5.8 cents a

over five years (instead of four) and 75,000

TruGreen LandCare

pg. 38

mile to 6.9 cents a mile. Other costs are

miles (instead of 60,000).

United Mailing Service

pg. 24

Wachovia

IBC

Westport Marina

pg. 26

unaffected. North Carolina benefits from lower average gasoline and insurance costs than the national

Consequently, while estimated costs for 2004 are similar, they are not directly comparable to costs reported since AAA began

average. However, the state's license, registra-

reporting on the average estimated cost of

tion and vehicle taxes are $352 more than

own ing and operating a new car in 1950.

the national average of $415 . North Carolina imposes a one-time 3 percent tax on a purchased vehicle. " In addition to lower fuel costs, North Carolinians also paid less for insu rance , which helped offset the higher taxes, registration and

AAA's cost figu res are based on a compos2004 cars - a subcompact Chevrolet Cavalier LS, a mid-size Ford Taurus SEL Deluxe and a full-size Mercury Grand Marquis LS. These vehicles were similarly equipped to

license fees," says David E. Parsons, president

include ai r conditioning, automatic transmi ssion, power steering,AM /FM stereo, dual air bags, antilock brakes, cruise control, tilt steer-

estimated average of $713 less for insurance

ing wheel, tinted glass and a rear-window

than the national average of $1 ,603 . North

defogger. Averages are based on traveling

Carolina's insurance rates are ninth lowest

15,000 miles a year.

in the nation, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. AAA Carolinas computed vehicle operating costs for North Carolina by substituting state-wide gasoline and insurance costs -

The pamphlet "Your Driving Costs" is available through AAA Carolinas. The pamphlet provides detailed information on the costs associated with each of these three vehicles. An affiliate of the American Automobile

two of the biggest cost variables in calculating

Association, AM Carolinas was founded in

operating costs.

1922 as a not-for-profit organization that now

The cost of fuel - based on prices posted

serves more than 1.3 million members with

on AAA Carolinas' daily, online Fuel Guage

travel, automobile and insurance services

Report (www. fuelguagereport.com)- is the

while being an advocate for the safety and

fourth largest expense incurred by vehicle

security of travelers.

greater charlotte biz

Committed to the health of your feet

ite national average of th ree domestically built

and CEO of AAA Carolinas. North Carolina motorists will pay an

CAROLINA FOOT ASSOCIATES Great news for those with chronic heel pain We are very exci ted ro introduce a new non, invasive treatment for those with heel spurs and planta r fasci itis. This new treatment is called ESWT,

exrracorporeal shock wave therapy. • ESWT uses shock waves created by sound energy to reduce the inflatmnation and alleviate the pain . • Performed in the offi ce with no hospital stay. • ESWT helps those who have had heel pain for at least six months anJ failed to respond to other conserva ti ve treatments.

Dr. Thomas Hampton, DPM Board Certified 2200 Randolph Rd . Charlotte, NC 28207

704 .. 376.. 3947 Please call for information or .ln appointment.

may 2004

41


[ontop] Venetica, a provider of enterprise content integration software, h.s been named once again to KMWorld Magazine'~ ' I 00 Companies That Matter in KM', the annual list · ecognizes companies that have made the most impact on the knowledge management industry. Mooresville has b~en tapped as "One of the 25 Best Managed Small Cities in America" by Pat Summerall Productions ofTexas.The Town will be listed with the other 24 winrErs in Forbes Magazine. 'The lnvestigators',WCNC-TV's 6 News investigative unit, has been a-varded the Scripps Howard Foundation's Nation;tl Journalism Award in Journalistic Excellen:e in Electronic Media (large market TV) for recent reports on questionable dental practices entitled "Medi:aid Dental Investigation." Walker Marketi~Advertising & Public Relations, Inc. of Corr::ord, N.C. has won a Best of Division award in the Business Marketing Association's 29th annual Pro-Comm Awards for Web sites produced for less than $25,000. American Express h~s recognized Mann Travel & Cruises as a winner :>f its Representative Excellence Award, ho1oring the accomplishments of outstanding member~ of the American Express US Representative Travel Network who have achieved superior sales results in support of preferred cruise and tour suppliers. WCNC-TV/6 News has been honored with the awarding of 5 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The winning entries from WCNC are: Writing: Ann Sheridan; Feature Repcrting:"The Tim Hayes Story," Ann Sheridan - reporter, Stephanie Johnson photographer/editor; lnv~stigative Reporting: "The

42

ma y 2004

Textile Center Investigation," Jeff Sonier - reporter, John Gray - photographer/editor; News Series: "Medicaid Dental," Stuart Watson - reporter, Rick Yarborough - producer, Stephanie Johnson photographer/editor; Sports Reporting: "Fore Eyes;' Mike Redding - reporter, Andy Benton photographer/editor. Crosland Inc. has won the 2003 National Multifamily Customer Service Award for Excellence for the fourth consecutive year. Based on resident surveys conducted by an independent real estate consulting firm, the award recognizes Crosland for its management performance and commitment to the highest level of quality and service across all of its apartment communities.

Wake Forest University's Babcock Graduate School of Management has been ranked in the top I 0 percent ofthe nation's best MBA schools in a survey by U.S. News & World Report. This is the second consecutive year that the Babcock School made the survey's top I0 percent. In a specialty category of the ranking, the Babcock School also is ranked No. 26 nationally for entrepreneurship programs. In celebration of the first Chef's Choice class at Johnson & Wales University's Charlotte Campus, President Art Gallagher presented the proceeds from the inaugural class to the Community C ulina ry School of Char lotte (CCSC), at a bistro luncheon created by the CCSC students on March 25. The check totaled $2,300 and represented 48 Charlotte residents who signed up for American Pie: Making Perfect Pizza, the first class at the University's newest campus, set to open in Fall 2004. Belmont Abbey College has been awarded an

$80,000 grant from the Department of Education under the Business and International Education Program. K. Hovnanian Companies, parent company of Fortis Homes• ,Westminster Homes• and Four Seasons at Gold Hill, has won first place at the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association's Annual Builder/Realtor Fair. The Bainbridge Crew has won a second place for Best Exhibit in the Building and Home Improvement category at the recent spring Home and Garden Show. The Arts & Science Council Campaign Cabinet has announced that $10,379,792 million has been raised for the 2004 Annual Fund Drive on a goal of $1 0.3 million.This year's intensive six-week campaign was chaired by Frank Blanchfield of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. Congratulations to Ron Hinson, CEO and president of S&D Coffee, one of the largest coffee, tea and juice foodservice providers in the country; Hinson is now celebrating his 25th year with the company that gave him his first job! Dena Shenk, professor of anthropology and director of the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has won this year's Distinguished Teacher Honor from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. Consolidated T heatres' president and CEO, Herman Stone, has been appointed by NC Governor Michael Easley to serve a three year term on North Carolina's Film Council. Congratulations to Premier Resources, a provider of professional office support, on its fifth anniversa ry. Russell M. Robinson II, a Charlotte attorney and

greater charlotte biz


chairman of the UNC Charlotte Foundation, has been awarded the Commonfund Institutionally Related Foundation Award, presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Wake Forest University has appointed Ajay Patel as dean of the Babcock School of Management; Patel has been serving as interim dean of the Babcock School since August, 2003 . Ann Christie, GRI, a realtor with Allen Tate Realtors, has been awarded the National Sales Award in recognition of an exceptional performance as one of the leading Residential Real Estate Professionals by Realty Alliance. A team of UNC Charlotte undergraduate business students has participated in a national personal-finance case study competition sponsored by Students in Free Enterprise. Students on the UNC Charlotte SIFE team are Brian Hamlett, a senior marketing major from Reidsville, N.C.; Katy Kosatschenko, a junior marketing major from Gastonia, N.C.; Caroline Shrewsberry. a senior from Lincolnton, N.C., with a triple major of accounting, finance and Spanish; and Lauren Welch , a junior economics major from Charlotte. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Centers, Inc. has announced the appointment of Trena K. Palmer to executive director. Derek W. Royster, CPA and director of the Charlotte office of RGL- Forensic Accountants and Consultants, has received his Accreditation in Business Valuation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Introduced at North Carolina's 8th Annual Elder law Symposium as "a risi ng star in the field of elder law," Nicole V. Bryan, partner in the Estate & Elder law Firm ofVandiver & Bryan, has been elected to the Executive Council of the Bar Association's Elder Law section . Two students from the Belk College of Business Administration, Courtney Peters of Columbia, S.C., and Daphne Neal, of Harrisburg, N.C., have been selected for a leadership program sponsored by the national Risk and Insurance Management Society. The National Art Materials Trade Association has announced the following individuals were elected to the board of directors: John R. Leuck, Steve Golian and Ron Whitmore. Robyn Crigger, CEO of Compass Career Management Solutions and a member of the Metropolitan Business & Professional Women's group. has been named co-chair of the 2004 National Business Women's Week. The Hospice of Union County Board of Directors has named Mike Linker as its new executive director; Linker had been serving as interim executive director since June 2003. The following two executives have joined the Quaero Advisory Board: Bob Drummond, operating partner, Advent International and co-founder of Epsilon; and Patricia Cook, Ph.D., founder, Cook & Company, and formerly a senior partner and director at Heidrick and Struggles. Nancy A. Ridenhour, CDP, a member firm of the Independent Computer Consultants Association has been elected to a two-year term as director on the National Board. Pease Associates, Inc., 65 year-old Charlotte based architectural and engineering firm, has designated the following people associate vice presidents and elected them to the board of directors: Robert Bernard, PE;Joel Johnson , PE; and Steven Young, PE. Three Charlotte families will be connected forever with UNC Charlotte with pledges totaling $3 million that will enhance the university's capability to serve students, alumni and the greater regional community for years to follow. The Cato, Dickson and Harris family

grea ter ch arlott e biz

commitments of $1 million each will be used for university programs, buildings and structures that will bear donors' names. A UNC Charlotte graduate has earned the highest score in North Carolina on the most recent Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Toshio Osaka of Concord, N.C. graduated from the Belk College of Business Administration last August with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.A native ofTokyo,Japan, Osaka is currently employed as an associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Charlotte. Three former employees of Charlotte-based information management company InfoVision Inc. have formed their own tech-services firm : George Hayner, George Heck and Sherwin Roberts are the principals of the new business, Charlotte Help Desk, Inc. , which provides personal computer and network support, network security, firewall support and Web development, mostly on site at its clients' businesses. Fatz Cafe has announced plans to open its first restaurant in Lincolnton, bringing the total number of Fatz Cafe locations to 23 in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee.The new restaurant will be located at 1430 East Main Street (Hwy 150). Sandie Ridings, president of Professional Growth Institute, has announced a new promotional marketing division, PR Packages. Crosland Inc., has expanded into Florida. Former Disney executive and Celebration Company president Perry Reader will run Crosland's Florida operation, which will be headquartered in Orlando. Crumley & Associates, PC has announced its expansion into the Metrolina region of North Carolina with the opening of five offices in Charlotte, Concord, Gastonia, Hickory and Monroe. Harmon Homes, a division within Harmon Media Group, has announced their entrance into the metro Charlotte, N.C. home guide market, producing a bi-weekly, 32-page, full-color publication for real estate professionals. Connectivity Network Cabling & Computer Relocation Services has provided computer move support for the recent relocation of Crosland. ebasedevolution.com has announced that they have entered into an agreement to launch a national marketing plan in conjunction with Council on Education in Management, the nation's leading provider of HR and employment law training and information. Corder Philips Wilson has promoted Bill Norton to director of public relations and Mark Harrison to director of interactive marketing. Bissell Hotels has announced the following appointments: Steve Brooks as director of sales and marketing; Brian C. Schleicher as marketing promotions manager; julie Foster as express sales manager and entertainment coordinator; and Justin Nels as sales manager. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte has announced the following staff agency news: Greg Hood has been named director of programs; Ginger Moore has been named director of recruitment; and Sondra E. Z. Hines has been named director of marketing and intake.The agency has also hired Kimberly Sellars, an enrollment & match support specialist. First Sun Consulting has announced the appointment of Jay Werth as executive vice president-chief marketing officer. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte has tapped Katrina Harvey as the first assistant director for Camp Harrison at Herring Ridge. the new YMCA co-ed resident youth camp slated to open this summer near Wilkesboro. Brad Warren has joined the J. Murrey Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as the new public relations and grants librarian.

Future exec Callie Beardslee, 2, polishes up on more than her nails at the beauty salon. Send your high resolution photos with print permission to tmiller@greatercharlottebiz.com. Crosland Inc., has hired Mike Wiggins as senior vice president of the company's retail division. Jemi Johnson has joined the Office of Public Relations at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte as communications coordinator. The Arts & Science Council has hired Cassandra Harris Tydings to The Foundation for the Arts & Sciences as its new planned giving officer. Georgetown Day Spa has hired veteran hair stylists Jasper Hensley and Wanda Sweeney-Holman. Stormwater Management Inc. has hired Corwin Pinabell as its new regional manager for the Southeastern U.S. PAM Fastening Technology has announced the appointment of Matt Minchew as sales representative to coordil: nate sales efforts in the Midwest and develop new distribution channels in that region. Richard Drake has joined the Charlotte office of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP . Drake is now a partner in the firm 's Corporate group. RE/MAX Executive Realty has hired new sales associates Linda Beer, Heather Henderson, Mireya Llusca, Laura Miller, Jack Oudin, Tom Sauer, Ron Sausville, and Stuart Wagoner. David Hewitt has been appointed vice president of KM Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of agta record, Europe's leading automatic door manufacturer. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC has announced that Eric Zion has ~ -'' joined the firm and will practice with the N. - ..... Labor and Employment Group. F&M Bank has announced the addition of longtime Cabarrus County bankers Gary Bunn and Bob Fallis in preparation for its entrance into the area. Shea Homes has added the following new employees: Alan C . Hill, Raleigh division manager; Pamela M. Price, sales and closing coordinator; Bryan (Eric) Johnson , superintendent; Robert L. Danty, assistant superintendent and Thomas Galuski , assistant superintendent. Joya Curcuru has joined The Bainbridge Crew as sales and marketing manager and Katy Schuster has joined the firm as production assistant. biz

i

may 2004

43


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Greater Charlotte Biz 2004.05  

Greater Charlotte Biz