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cover story

Charlotte Douglas International A irport Jerry Onr, the aviation director for Charlotte Douglas International A irport, stands finmly and decisively amidst the sunrounding debate about the future of the airport he runs. The fact that the airport's major canrier is in flux adds to Orr's challenge. He believes, however, that once all is said and done, Charlotte will be one of two major airports left in the Southeast.

16 Griffin Brothers Since Larry Griffin bought into the tire and auto repair business over 40 years ago, Griffin Brothers has grown into a mulrt:dimensional family business including property development.

·•

tire sales and auto repair, and landfill management.

28 Party Reflections

publisher's post

4

employers biz

6

Legislati ve and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

on top

8

Take the hassle out of throwng your

biz digest

next party Whether rt:'s an intimate affair

Health Care Costs Show Signs of Moderating; "Consumerism" - Will lt Work?

or a corporate gathering, this is your one

I4

stop party shop. Serving about 15,000 events annual ~ Dan Hooks has over-

biz outlook

seen the expansion of a business his

Urbanization and the Service Economy: Charlottes Evolution

father started in 1958.

biz resource guide

42

44

34 Clickcom By offering clients an array ofWebrelated services and products, Clickcom survived the bursting bubble of the dot-com industry in 2000. Clickcom's proprietary application 'Wrzzy" allows business owners to point click and type to update their Web sites.

on the cover:

j er·ry Or·r, Avialion Director; Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

38 Choice Translating Budding the Carolinas' premier full-servICe linguistics company concentrating

Photogmf'hy h \\(rVIlt' \1o rTiS.

on translating, 1nterpret1ng. brand analySIS and tagline localization, the Menards have taken the1r company to the top one percentile of rts 1ndustry. translating 65 different languages.

2

no ve m be r 2004

cliaflotte iz www.g r ea te r c h a r l o t t e b 1z . co m


(Seated) Andrew C hambers, Mike Monk; ( tanding) Lat Williams and Tar Reid of Scott Insurance

Scott Insurance: Over 140 Years of Results "By focusing on safety improvements, loss prevention and claims management, Scott actually lowered our dependence on insurance."- Charlie Tew, Southern Pump & Tank "We've been with a large national broker. After being with Scott Insurance, we now realize we're with the best. Their innovative and proactive services are the best we've ever come across."- Sheila Williams, B&B Contracting "Scott Insurance has done a great job of further educating us on key issues, especially Workers' Comp. Their comprehensive approach to our risk management is helping MGM Transport take control of the future and be a better company."

Empl o yee Owned

- Ross Windsor, MGM Transport Find out how you can benefit from the knowledge and service that have made Scott an exceptional Insurance firm since 1864. Call Andrew Chambers, Mike Monk, Lat Williams or Tar Reid in Charlotte at ( 704) 556-1341.

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[publisher's

st I

Healthcare Consumerism is a Long Way Off

clraflotte z Wi

November 2004 While emp loyer-provided healthcare coverage is a wonderful benefit for employees who work for employers that can afford their premiums, double-digit increases in health care premiums pose a substantial challenge for U.S. employers struggling to compete in th e world marketplace. As healthcare costs continue to escalate at an accelerating rate, employers cannot continue to afford increases of this magnitude, but they are reluctant to quit on the commitments they have made to their employees . This problem has only been exacerbated by the increased healthcare offerings available (and the high costs associated with them) and the longer life span of those eligible to benefit from them . Employer-provided health care originated during World War II with the Stabilization Act of 1942 which froze wages during the war and permitted the adoption of employee insurance plans . Unable to bargain for wage increases, collective bargaining efforts began to focus on the adoption of employee benefit plans. Although only 10 percent of the work force participated in healthcare insurance in 1940, by 1949 employer-provided benefits including health insurance were widespread. Employer-provided health care has grown ever since . Only recently have premiums escalated to the point that employers are dropping employee health plans and encouraging employees to find their own coverage. Efforts to improve healthcare availability and contain costs have not been very successful. A major effort proposed eleven years ago, unveiled as the "Clinton Health Care Plan," failed miserably when the voting public came to believe that thei r healthcare choices were going to be eliminated or substantially re duced by a huge government program. Members of Congress roundly rejected mandated employer-provided health care when small business owners, frightened by the Clinton plan, fought against its passage. The wake of its failure precipitated the advent of "managed care" by healthcare providers as the next method of controlling costs, utilizing "gatekeepers" at HMOs and PPOs. While some savings were achieved by managed care, they have been absorbed and medical costs are rising once again at a rapid pace. The newest theories for managing healthcare costs include such vehicles as Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and the more popular Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). These methods encourage employees to take more responsibility for their health and their use of available health care. By educating employees about health care and its costs, employers are trying to impact the demand for health care. This movement is known as consumerism . According to a recent Towers Perrin study, however, while employers regard consumerism as a potential solution to their health care cost problem, employees are far from engaged in consumerism today and, in fact, are becoming increasingly resistant to their employers' cost-management efforts. Clearly focused on their own self-interest and the impact on their take home pay, employees are substantially resistant to these plans. The healthcare crisis is not helped by our federal tax code, which allows no deduction for healthcare premiums paid by individuals. Although it allows businesses to fully deduct the costs of healthcare premiums (since 1942), and more recently, allows deductions for self-employed individuals, individuals purchasing healthcare coverage for themselves cannot deduct the cost of their own premiums from their earnings. As more and more employers opt to not provide healthcare coverage, the costs are being shifted to individuals who are forced to find th eir own coverage and not given the same opportunity to deduct the cost. While it is true that individuals can deduct actual medical expenses that they incur exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income, few meet that test. We are witnes sing the expanded deterioration of health care coverage within this co unt ry. More an d more people are going without and risking th eir own health in so do ing. In order to afford inc reas in g pre mium s, at so me poin t in tim e, individuals will demand their own tax ded uctions to cove r their own co st of premium s. Wh en th ey do , t hen they will act as healthcare consumers, helping to rein in costs an d live health ier lives. While it is happening to some, too few are engaged in cons um eri sm now to have any significa nt impact on skyrocketing costs an d pre miu ms. It is an unh ea lthy situatio n. biz

4

no vember 2004

Volume 5 • Issue I I Publisher John Paul Galles jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

Associate Publis h e r/Edi t or Maryl A. Lane maryl.a.lane@greatercharlottebiz.com

Cont r ibuting Edit or Susanne B. Deiuel

Creative Director/ Asst. Editor Paul Bo nd pbond@greatercharlottebiz.com

Account Executives Bill Lee blee@greatercharlottebiz.com Amy Jo Robinson arobinson@greatercharlottebiz.com Barbara Votik bvo tik@greatercharlottebiz.com

Contributing Writers Ellison C lary Susanne B. Deiuel Heather Head Casey Jacobus Lin dsay LeCo rchick

Contributing Photographer Wayne 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. Press releases and other news-related information, please fax to the attention of "Editor" or e-mail: editor@greatercharlottebiz.com. Editorial or advertising inquiries, please call or fax at the numbers above or e-mail: info@greatercharlottebiz.com. Subscription inquiries or change of address, please call or fax at the numbers above or visit our Web site: www.greatercharlottebiz.com. © Copyright 2004

by

Galles Communications Group, Inc .

All rights reserved.T he information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However. Galles Communications Group, Inc. makes no

warranty to the accuracy or reliability of this information.

Products named in these pages are trade names or trademarks of their respective companies. Views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Greater

Charlotte &z

or Galles Communications Group, Inc . No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. For reprints call 704-676-5850 xI 02 .

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Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employees Survey Underscores Increasing Need for Long-Term Care Plans New market research by Metlife indicates that employers and employees should be taking a harder look at long-term care insurance. The MetLife MatLtre Market Institute's 2004 Survey of Nursing Home and Home Care Costs notes that the average cost of U.S. nursing homes is $70,800 annually, up more than $4,000 from last year. Meanwhile, home care remained steady, at $18 an hour. Broken down by region, Alaska had the highest average nursing home rate of $204,765 per year or $561 per day The lowest rate, meanwhile, was in Shreveport, La., \Vith $36,135 annually or $99 per day According to the survey, the average stay in a nursing home is 2.4 years, bringing the average cost of a nursing home stay to $168,192. (The Advise1; September 29, 2004) Holiday Pay and Overtime 'Tis the time of year to wonder whether or not holiday hours count as hours worked when computing weekly overtime. Many employers will close their facilities on Thursday, November 25th, and Friday, November 26th, and again on Friday, December 24th. In addition to closing on December 24th, employers who usually provide two paid holidays in December are either closing their facilities Thursday, December 23rd , or Monday, December 27th. As a result, many employees may have to work longer hours than usual earlier in the workweek to complete their assignments before the holiday The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that overtime be paid on hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. So if an employee worked three 12-hour days, then had two paid holidays, there were only 36 hours worked in the week. Thus, an employer would not be required to pay the employee overtime for that week. The 52 hours (36 worked plus 16 holiday) could be paid at straight time.

6

november 2004

However, many employers choose to be more generous and include the holiday hours in computing weekly overtime. According to The Employers Association 2003 Benefits Survey, approximately 50 percent of companies counted holiday hours toward computing of weekly overtime for non-exempt employees. Background Checks Online Employers have an overwhelming number of choices when it comes to background checks. Many wonder about the growing number of online firms that offer checks, some for as low as $9.95. The old adage "you get what you pay for" comes to mind. Employers should be wary of those who say they can provide a thorough, detailed check at such a low cost. Contrary to popular belief, there is no master database of all criminal record information. Vendors must check multiple sources to get the full story on any individual. The process becomes even more complicated the more jurisdictions where the person has lived, and the more names they have had . Companies need to make sure they thoroughly evaluate any potential background check vendor. One study by a criminologist at the University of Maryland reviewed the criminal records of 120 people on parole in the state of Virginia. The names were processed through a popular online provider (unnamed in the published report) . Sixty of the individuals came back reporting no criminal record at all, and others were so jumbled that it was difficult to identify their criminal history of offenses. Hundreds of upstart background check businesses have emerged in recent years to cash in on the nation's heightened security concerns. In some instances, they provide little more than false assurances to those vetting everyone from truck drivers to child care providers. It's absolutely impossible to know who these companies are.

They're not responsible to anybody about anything. (The Background Investigator) Inclement WeatherTo Pay or Not to Pay Predictions for this winters chance of severe weather are much worse than last year. Because of this, employers would be wise to revisit their inclement weather policies. Employers should address two key questions: How will employees be notified whether the business is open or closed7 How will employees be paid if the business is closed all day, or closed for only a partial day? The method of payment for hourly employees when they miss work due to inclement weather lS quite simple. If an hourly paid non-exempt employee does not work, the company is under no obligation to pay the employee. This is true regardless of whether the company is open for business or closed due to the weather. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) says that you must pay non-exempt employees on ly for time "actually worked." The same holds when an hourly paid non-exempt employee comes in late or leaves early due to the weather - he or she is only paid for actual time worked. For salaried exempt and non-exempt employees, the method of payment is more complicated. For salaried non-exempt employees, the method of payment depends on what has been communicated. If they are paid a set salary based on a set schedule (i.e. $400 for a 40 hour workweek), they are essentially being paid by the hour. They can be treated like an hourly employee as outlined above. But, if they are paid a set salary for "all hours worked," then they are treated more like a salaried exempt employee. Salaried exempt employees must be paid if they miss work due to weather, if the company is closed a day or so for business. The FLSA states "an employee will not be considered to be on a salaried basis if deductions from his predetermined compensation are made for absences occasioned

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by the employer or by the operating requirements of the business." If the business is closed for an entire week, and an employee performs no work, then the employer does not have to pay for that week. In both cases, it would be permissible for a company to require a salaried employee to exhaust days of paid vacation/sick/personal leave; it is not permissible to dock the salaried employees pay, unless he or she misses the entire week. If the business is open, and a salaried exempt employee does not report for work and performs no work at home, then the company may require the employee to exhaust a day of paid vacation/sick/personal leave. In this case, if the employee has no available vacation/ sick/personal leave, it is permissible to dock their pay for the day, because work was available, and the employee is in essence staying home for personal reasons. lf the salaried employee reports for part of the day, they must be paid for the entire day. lt is not permissible to dock a salaried exempt employee for a partial day absence. Interestingly, for salaried non-exempt employees, it depends on what has been communicated. For example, if the employee is being paid half time for overtime premium, their pay cannot be docked. However, if the employee is being paid time and a half premium, and it has been communicated that their pay will be docked, then it is permissible to do so. Companies should balance the legal requirements under the FLSA as compared to the "employee relations" issue of paying/not paying employees for inclement weather days. Highly Compensated SalesExempt or Non-Exempt The revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding exempt and nonexempt employee status have taken effect. Although the "tests" for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions were simplified from the existing "long" and "short" tests to one "standard"

greater charlotte biz

duties test, and a "highly compensated" exemption was added to the regulations,

ing at least one of the exempt job duties of an executive, administrative or professional

not all questions have been specifically addressed. There is one "job" that still creates a

employee is much less clear. If an employee

great deal of confusion under the regulations- an "inside salesperson ." This is the

regularly directs the work of two or more other employees (but does not meet any of the other requirements under the executive exemption), slhe could still qualify as an

individual who sits at a desk and uses a telephone, computer, fax, etc., to make sales. Courts have consistently ruled that inside sales employees are non-exempt and

exempt highly compensated executive if slhe earns at least $100,000 per year. However, if the highly compensated inside sales person does not supervise any

subject to overtime pay requirements. A number of rulings have compared inside sales to "production" work that is not

other employees, it may be difficult to prove that he performs any of the exempt duties of an administrative employee. The Wage and Hour Division and the courts have not necessarily considered "negotiating" prices or other issues related to the sale of a product or service as the "exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance." To show that the inside sales person meets this criteria, the employer would likely have to argue that the sales person regularly and customarily acts independently, has the authority to bind the company on significant matters, and that his recommendations to management are given "particular weight." The bottom line is that highly compen-

directly related to the management or general business operations of the company (a key element of the administrative exemption.) Reading the administrative exemption closely, it might seem that an inside sales person would be exempt from overtime, but that is not the case. Under both the old regulations and the revised regulations, inside sales personnel are non-exempt. One question not clearly answered is "What about an 'inside sales person' earning more than $100,000 per year7" From an employers perspective, an employee generating enough sales to warrant a salary of $100,000 would likely be considered very important to the overall business. This "war of words" has not been specifically addressed in the revised rules. Under the revised regulations, an employee is considered exempt under the "highly compensated" exemption" if: • The employee earns a total annual compensation of at least $100,000 (at least $455 must be paid per week on a salary basis), AND • The employees primary duty must be office or non-manual work, AND • The employee must "customarily and regularly" perform at least one of the exempt job duties of an exempt administrative, executive or professional employee. Although the argument can be made that an inside sales person is performing office or non-manual work, the issue of perform-

sated inside sales staff should not automatically be considered exempt employees. Employers are cautioned to carefully evaluate the specific job duties of each employee. Until the Department of Labor or the courts rule on this question, it is likely to remain a source of confusion for employers. biz

The Employers Association is a nonprofit Charlotte organizatiOn providing comprehensive human resources and training services. Founded in /9 58, 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 II or visit the Web site at www.employersassoc.com.

november 2004

7


Awards and Achievements The Charlotte Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has honored

Ruth Shaw, president of Duke Power Company, with the Pegasus Award for demonstrating superior knowledge and use of public relations for the betterment of the community Mecklenburg Countys online mapping services have been judged among the best in the nation according to judges in the national

"Best of the Web" competition; the county's Information Services & Technology department's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) placed second in the Center for Digital Government's competition in the "Govern-ment to Citizen" category Clark Nexsen architecture and engineering firm has been awarded the seventh annual 2004 Impact on Learning Award in the category of Historic Preservation for the expansion and renovations to Elizabeth Traditional Elementary School (in Charlotte) by the Council of Educational Faci lity Planners International. Two Charlotte companies have been named as finalists in the 2004 Stevie Awards for women entrepreneurs, a new national competition recognizing the accomplishments of female small business owners in the United States. Karen Mcisaac and her company, Project Managers Inc., were selected

IT'SMYE : H A R L

"1

A R

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among finalists for best entrepreneur and best overall company in the service-business category, and Modern Salon and Spa was named a finalist in the category of company Web site of the year. TlAA-CREF, a national financial services company, has been named "Corporation of the Year" by The Charlotte Post, for its commitment to diversity and community outreach. The International Whos Who of Chefs has announced that the biographies of three chefs from Charlotte appear in the first edition of The International Who's Who of Chefs book 2004-2005. Chef Marl1 Hibbs of Cosmos Cafe, Chef Timothy Groody of Sonoma Bistro and Chef jason Pepin of Capital Grille are among 3,000 of the best chefs from 70 countries selected for induction after a rigorous screening process.

8

november 2004

wwvv.g reate rc h a r Iotte biz. com


Advertising and Media Luquire George Andrews has transitioned Thomas Senger from his role as vice president, business development, to a new posiThcmas Senger tion of vice president, management supervisor. ]enifer Smith has been named media director at Corder Philips Wilson, a Charlolte-based, full-service marketing communications agency. Durham-based 21 CD, lnc., a multi-media marketing company, has opened an office in Charlotte and added Deniz Evin to its manageDeniz Evin ment team. Business and Professional Services Deborah L. Blankenship, senior management consultant with Project Managers, lnc., has been awarded certification as a Project Ceborah L. Management Professional. B ankenship Kristin White del Rosso, president of Charlotte-based Pea Organizing Services, Inc., has been accepted as a professional member in the International Association of Kristin VVhite del Rosso Professional Organizers. Grant Thornton LLP has an nounced that Randy Robason has joined the firm as the Carolinas Tax Practice Leader and Brad Gabosclt has assumed the role of Carolinas As:urance ?ractice Leader. Horack Talley has announced four new ass-xiates i:l various practice areas: john W Bowers in commercial litigation, and real estate and title insurance litigation; Amy E. Buaerworth in family law; David L. Edwards in commercial litigation and creditors' rights; and Phillip E. Lewis in commercial and residential real estate. Attorney Shannon Sha~non Sumerell "Missy" Sumerell has )>

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Education/Staffing Psychology professor Lawrence Calhoun of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has been named recipient of the Lawrence 2004 Bank of America Award Calhoun for Teaching Excellence. Gaston College has received a $1 million gift (the largest donation in the college's 40-year history) from the &lk Foundation and the $1 million gift David Belk Cannon Foundation to help construct the David &lk Cannon Health Education Institute on the Dallas Campus. Randy Brantley has joined University Advancement at Queens University of Charlotte as the new associate vice president for development. Christopher Gilbert has been named associate director for the Charlotte Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. john David Smith has joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor in the department of history Central Piedmont John David Smith Community College's Corporate and Continuing Education has announced that its Personal Interests program has established a partnership with the Cruise Lines International Association to be the sole provider of CLlA certification training in the region.

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Aelmings Human Resource Corporation, the nationsla::-gest minority, female-owned hutTan resource organization to Fortune 500 C::lmpanies, has relocated their headquarters to C 1arlotte, Deborah Millhouse, president of CEO Inc. a sta!Tmg, search, and consulting firm, has earned designation as Certified Staffing Frobsional (CSP) by the American Staffing Asscciatior ; the company recently relocated and expanded its office space to accommodate the firms growth. Richard G. Knunel, president of Career Transition Solutions, Inc., has been elected president-elect of the North Carolina Association of Ri:::hard G. Staffing Professionals, a nonl<::rumel profit organization promoting the prof~ional growth and positive image of staffing and personnel services. Charlotte-based Choice Translating, a linguistics firm, has hired Maria Teresa (Tere) Roldan as project manager in the company$ Mc:.ria Teresa Roldan Interpreting Department.

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Local lender Wyndham Capital Mortgage has received the 2005 "Best Conversion for Prime Refi'' award from LendingTree, Inc., given to recognize a lender involved with LendingTree }en Miles that closed the most loans per leads within the last year. goodmortgage.com has added ]en Miles and Mario Roberts to its team of Loan Specialists. Ma-io Roberts

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The Charlotte Business Hub, Inc. (Bi::Hub™), a 50l(c)3 organization dedicated to facilitating regional business growth, has appointed Frank Gilmore as the executive director for the newly established regional "center Fr<.nk Gilmore for business success." >-

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Solid Waste Association of North Americas Gold Excellence Award, for its Commercial Recycling Programs marketing campaign managed by Audrey Mershon. Health Care

Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) has been recognized as Charlottes Most Preferred Hospital by National Research Corporation for the seventh consecutive year. Presbyterian Hospital and the Charlotte Checkers have announced that Presbyterian has been chosen as the hockey team's official healthcare provider through the 2007-08 season. Union Regional Medical Center has selected Southeast Anesthesiology

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f Business Success Institute

Consultants, a Charlone-based practice staffed by 50 anesthesiologists and pain management specialists, to provide anesthesia for its surgical patients.

Chapters in Charlotte • Mooresville • Matthews

Applied Medical Systems has changed its corporate identity to Applied Medical Services, promoting Michelle Dumer to president.

We would like to thank this year's sponsors:

Manufacturing

Charlotte: Altman Initiative Group, Inc.; Derby & Associates, Inc.; Daniel, Ratliff & CJ., CPA's; Greater Charlotte Biz; Wishart Norris Henninger & Pittman

Gastonia-based CurtissWright Controls, Inc. has announced the appoint-

Malthews: Altman Initiative Group, Inc.; Action International- Jim Booker; CFO to Go; Heinz & Inglefield, LLC; Wishart Norris Henninger & Pittman

ment of Tom Quinly as

Mooresville: Altman Initiative Group, Inc.; Daniel, Ratliff & Co., CPA's; L.E. Goodgarr e

Computing group.

president of its Embedded

& Associates; Lutzel, Gandy & Associates; Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber Micki Fisher of First

For specific dates, times, locations and membership information

Charlotte Properties in

visit our Web site at www.business-success-institute.com or call Denise Altman at (704) 708-6700.

inducted into its Hall of Fame

Charlotte was recently

Micki Fisher

for her outstanding service to the real estate profession.

Southampton Homes, a Charlotte home-

12

november 2004

www.greatercharlotte biz. com


bJilder, has been named the fastest growing lumebuilder in the U.S. by Entrepreneur 1\!agazin.e for 2004 and #16 on their "Hot 100" li;t of fastest growing companies in America.

Retail/Sports/Entertainment PIT Instruction & Training, LLC has added j ohn Buck to its Performance Training & Research Institute. Buck will serve as head athlEtic trainer for the new facility It has also added Angela Shirk to its events staff as event coordimtor for corporate and social events held at the fc.cility located in Talbert Pointe Business Park. Charlotte-based Autobell Car Wash's Charity Car Wash Program has increased its c:mtribution to local charities by 44 percent in the company's fiscal year 2003-2004 by helping raise $344,000 fo r North Carolina and \"irginia charities, schools and other non-profits. The nation's third largest full-service car wash chain has also opened its 40th unit in L ptown Charlotte managed by Kyle Kirksey. Leigh jenkins Goodwyn, a former Discovery Channel marketing veteran, has assumed the newly-created post of vice president of marLeigh Jenkins keting and communications Goodwyn for Discovery Place and the Charlotte ature Museum. Technology Docuworx and VIsion Business Products have merged with Charlotte-based Technocom Business Systems to provide copiers, printers c.nd duplicators for the region; the new entity vvill retain the Technocom name. Tourism and Travel Mark Urbania has been promoted to senior vice president, finance and administration, of Horizon Lines, a U.S. domestic ocean carrier. The D.L Phillips Company has promoted Terri Boucher from its Ramada Inn ·-ales division to head the sales office for the •:harlotte Merchandise Mart. biz To be considered for inclusion, please send your news releases and announcements in the body of an ~-mail (only color photos attached) to editor@greatero:harlottebiz.com, or fax them to 704-676-5853, or ;JOst them to our business address - at /east 30 days ;Jrior to our publication date.

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Health Care Costs Show Signs of Moderating, but Still Outpace Inflation U.S. Companies and Employees Continue to Struggle With Double-Digit Rate Increases

HMOs; $6,823 to $7,573 for PPOs; $7,192

Employer Reaction to Rate Increases Companies have been forced to make some substantial changes to handle everincreasing health care costs. Many large

to $8,0 19 for POS plans; and $6,793 to

employers are working to develop and

erating next year, according to a recent study

$7,506 for indemnity plans, according to

implement new ways to proactively reduce

by global human resources services firm

Hewitt's database of more than 2,000 health

costs and assist employees with handling the

Hewitt Associates. For 2005, Hewitt is pro-

plans in 139 U.S. markets, including 300

increases, including:

jecting an 11.3 percent average increase for

major employers and more than 18 million

employers, which is lower than 20045 12.3

health plan participants.

bution strategies. plans.

ued double-digit increases, and are making

Cost Increases by Major Metropolitan Area Double-digit rate hikes will continue to affect nearly every major U.S. city next year,

plan design changes, such as raising co pay-

after most already experienced significant

U.S. health care cost increases escalated sharply again this year, but may begin mod-

That means from 2004 to 2005, the average cost per person for major companies will increase from $6,519 to $7,269 for

• EJ>..'Panding consumer-driven health

percent increase. While most large companies will continue to absorb the majority of next years cost rate hikes, many are struggling under the contin-

ments, deductibles and out-of-pocketlimits, and increasing employees' share of health

• Re-evaluating cost-sharing and contri-

increases in 2004. Hewitt data reveals that the following

care premiums. Hewitt projects that the aver-

cities recorded the highest rate increases in

age employee contribution for 2005 will be

2004: Memphis (22.6%), Pittsburgh (19.1 %),

•Contracting with plans that offer specialized or disease management programs and focus on wellness. • Requiring more quality data and price transparency. Employers have begun to require greater cost transparency, especially in the area of prescription drugs. • Employing health savings vehicles and linking active and retiree health care

$1,481, representing 19 percent of the over-

Cincinnati (18.5%), Charlotte and Raleigh

all health care premium, and up from $1,288

(17.3%), Hartford (16.9%), San Francisco

programs. Contributing funds to help cover

in 2004.

(15 9%), Milwaukee (15.7%), Dallas/Fort

employee out-of-pocket expenses, employers

Worth (15.5%) , and Phoenix and St. Louis

are looking to encourage greater consumer

"Rapidly increasing health care costs continue to be a major burden for employers

(both 14 9%).

responsibility and enable employees to bal-

and employees," accord ing to Jack Bruner,

"While there are many different variables that factor into regional health care cost

ance their current health care needs with the longer-term need to accumulate savings for

increases, one of the most powerful drivers is the level of consolidati on in the market,"

retiree health care .

national health care practice leader at Hewitt Associates. "While this problem is clearly not going away, there are some signs of moderation indicating that the cost savings initiatives ~mp loyers ;~go-

began implementing several years such as disease management and well-

ness programs and a focus on greater

according to Bruner. "Plans and providers continue to merge in many cities, reducing the purchasing power and number of options available to employers."

:onsumerism- are beginning to bear fruit in :erms of reducing hospitalization costs, helping to stabilize prescription drug costs and :!riving more effective utilization. "

2005 Cost Increases by Plan Type On average, Hewitt forecasts that compa:lies will experience 2005 cost increases of 11.5 percent for health maintenance organization plans (HMOs), 10.5 percent for traditional indemnity plans, 11 percent for preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and l l.5 percent for point -of-service (POS) plans, with projected employee contribution increases of 15 percent across all plan types.

r4

november 2004

Other Factors Driving Health Care Costs In addition to consolidation , other primary drivers for health care cost rate increases include prescription drug increases , cost for new medical treatments and technology, liability concerns (which could heat up if the Patient Bill of Rights is resurrected), an increasing cost shift from a growing uninsured population and the fact that a large percentage of Americans are either at or approaching an age when they will require more health care.

•Changing prescription drug coverage. Prescription drug costs continue to be a major driver behind insurance hikes. Companies are mandating low-cost substitution provisions for certain therapeutic classes, mandatory mail-order and offering so-called "generous generics." • Focusing on participant education. Online decision support tools to help track expenses and compare/model different health plan choices, with respect to individual needs, are growing in popularity.

Hewitt Associates is a global provider of human resources outsourcing and consulting services. Their data is derived from the Hewitt Health Value Initiative, a cost and performance analysis database of more than 2,000 health plans in 139 U.S. markets, including 300 major employers and more than 18 million health plan participants. For more information, visit: www.hewitt.com.

www .greate rcharl otte biz. com


"Consumerism" Will It Work? Ongoing double-digit increases in health

them from understanding the total cost of their choices.

society. Given this mindset, it's easy to see why employees increasingly view their

Consumerism strategies, by contrast, typi-

employers' efforts

lO

share part of the

cally focus on managing demand by educating

increase in health care costs as takeaways

employees about health care and costs, and by

and cost shifting.

care costs pose a growing dilemma for U.S.

ensuring that employees pay a more meaning-

employers in today's global marketplace who

ful portion of the cost of care. This encourages

So, how can employers get employees more actively involved in managing the

simply can't afford cost increases of this mag-

them to make informed decisions about a

demand for health care services? Once

nitude year after year in a competitive

broad range of health-related issues from

consumerism has been established and

business environment. But they can't aban-

lifestyle choices (e.g., diet, exercise, smoking),

articulated as the company's health care

don their current commitments either,

strategy, the benefit design should provide

because they must offer some level of health

to the type of health plan they select, to how (and how often) they use health care services

benefits

and which providers they choose. To succeed,

lO

compete in the marketplace for

transparency to employees in terms of the true cost of care, as well as accountability

talent and sustain the positive work environ-

consumerism strategies must engage employ-

for inefficient purchasing decisions (e.g.,

ment needed to run a successful business.

ees and, ultimate!)~ encourage employees to

employees should pay more for inappro-

Many employers have begun moving

change their behavior.

wward health care "consumerism" strategies designed to encourage employees

lO

take

more responsibility for their health care and

How do employees view this new framework? ln a nutshell, relatively few employees are buying the company line about how

priate emergency room visits or specialty services.) Delivery should align employer and employee interests by, ensuring that vendors

the cost of that care. "Consumerism" gener-

health care costs are affecting the business.

understand the employer's consumerist phi-

ally describes a new kind of partnership

More employees disagree than agree that ris-

losophy and monitor performance against

between employers and employees with

ing costs could impact their company's ability

employer goals, including employee satisfac-

regard to how employees use and pay for

lO

needed health care services. Focusing on

half of employees responding lO the survey

also include making changes in the work

managing both costs and quality, this new

say they believe what their employers com-

environment so that the company doesn't

partnership requires a significant shift in

municate about health care costs.

send mixed signals about the importance of

employee behavior away from the managed

succeed. What's more, only slightly over

Employees have built up a strong sense

tion. Getting the delivery model right may

employee health (e.g., changing company

care model, where employees had little

of entitlement around health benefits along

cafeteria menus

incentive to be vigilant consumers of health

with an inertia and resistance to change

of a healthy diet)

care because their health plans paid for

that reflects the complex personal nature of

almost everything and effectively shielded

health and health care issues in today's

lO

reinforce the importance

Successful consumerism strategies require sustained communication efforts and a range of educational tools and information that respond directly to employees'

1992 Public 41.8% I Private 58.2%

2002

health information needs, concerns and

Public 44.2% I Private 55 .8%

preferences. And, ultimately, employers need to craft messages and change processes that acknowledge the emotional aspects of

Consumer Pocket

health care and appeal

lO

employees' self-

interest, rather than positioning health care issues exclusively in the context of the company's business interests.

Med

A variety of funding sources, both public and private, contribute to U.S. personal health care expenditures and their relative shares have shifted over time. In recent years, public sources have accounted for an increasing share of total payments, from 41 .8% in 1992 to 44.2% in 2002, with a corresponding decline in private sources from 58.2% to 55.8%.

greater charlotte biz

Towers Penin is a global human resource consulting and administration firm. Their employee survey was conducted injanuwy 2004 among U.S. employees workingfor midsize and large companies in a wide range of industries. Their employer survey was conducted in April 2004 among executives and managers who participate in an ongoing series of Towers Penin employer surveys. For more information, chech out the full report at ww1v. towerspenin.com. biz

november 2004

15


Pictured tl tor). Micha.e L. Grifli.-; Larry Griffin S President; Larr)' Griffin Jr: Griffin B-othe

16

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te n

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row路 ng Di fe ent directions but o ire Out Widening tire and auto repair tread into multidimen-

he Griffin family's association with the tire and auto repair business dates back to 1940 and a single store located on West Trade Street in Charlotte. Today Griffin Brothers is a diversified family-owned business with si~ tire

si nal business

gr e a1er ch arlo -:t e biz

and auto repair stores in the Charlotte area, five construction and ~olition landfills in North and South Carolina, aad the management of over 150,000 squa:re feet in conunercial properties. Griffin Brothers Tire SaLes was originally Honest Tire Service, fomuled by Clarence Harrison and Mark Swearinger in 1928. Larry Griffin's uncle, Frank Tndd, bought Swearinger's half of the business in 1940. When Harrison died in 1961, Larry Griffin acquired his half. A couple of years later, Ronnie Griffin, Larry's brother, joined the company. They all continued to operate under the name of Honest Tire until Frank Todd retired in 1965, and Larry and &Jnnie incorporated the company as Griffin Brothus Tire Sales, Inc. Both br-others worked at the 1545 West Trade Street location until the late '70s, when Ronnie branched off and opened a new stol!e. The brothers decided to split the company in 1981. Larry Griffin retained the original building and continued to operate under the Griffin Brothers name. >-

no vem be r 2 0 C4

17


The

bu~ine:s

·.:::uiliing <:ustor::t ha-res. Thw, in 1989, ::..an:y Jr. _oined Griffir Brotters Tire Sales, =n::. as vt:::e presid ~m. D-Jnrg the next 15 yeJrs , Grillin Brothers gre""' frail a small ti ~e sto::-e ..viL'1 15 enploye.::s and 1.25 nilicn in re~nue to a di'lersi£1e::! business eoploying 150 people nd Te'/enues of $25 tJ 53;) milli:m. It alsJ e:qx.nded into constTLction a::J.d demclition <C&D:•lmdfi] mana~me::J.t en:! into pro?ertydevel.opme::J.t ~rd mna.senem, adding a va:it.ty o[ miscellaneous holdings ir. other area~ as \Jell.

Je::c.oe a family a Tair again

whet Larrys scr~. lvhl:e and Larry _1 ~.• jo)ined

u1= in the lae '!:C~. Mi~e started wa·king in the e::dmini3traa\C: -epnrnent whi" still in :o lege at l N::: C~.ape 1-lil. Arter ~duating .n December 1987, Uze hecame :;.ecretary/u:ast-T~ anc sprr.t the next tWO ;e:~.r:. autornatiL£ the crr.pany Larys older ~on Larry Jr. J:-.dgradLated fran: U'-IC ::1-arlotte ir De:e-nbet 1984 and b~come a -eel estate trokeL In ~ 938 he started the anilys de~lop--er:t tusiLess, GriCin ::::>evelopmett C<rtpany, Ire, to spt.ciahze in

"Dad laid the foundation for us to be successful with twenty-five years of hard work," says Mike Griffin. "It was easier to build on that foundation than it would have been to start from scratch." Larry Griffin taught his sons the value of hard work, integrity and patience. He also taught them how to treat customers, putting their interests first. "Dad always said the minute you stop worrying about your own wallet and worry about the customers instead, you'll be rich," says Mike. Widening the Tread

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It was a customer at the tire and auto repair shop who convinced Larry Griffin to invest in the landfill business: In 1988, he purchased a 37.5 percent interest in North Mecklenburg Landfill , Inc. In 1993, he purchased the rest of the business and by 1994 Larry Sr. was focusing most of his auention on expanding the C&D landfill division.

"Dad laid the foundation for

us to be successful with twenty-five years of hard work. It was easier to build on that foundation than it would have been to start from scratch." - Mike Griffin "After 25 years behind the counter of the tire store, Dad fell in love with the landfill business," says Mike. "He applied the same skills he learned in the tire business to the landfill business." Today the North Mecklenburg Landfill in Huntersville is one of the largest C&D landfills in North Carolina. Griffin Brothers also owns Mining Road Landfill in Lancaster County (S.C.), the Highway 49 Landfill in Cabarrus County, and the Highway 55 C&D Landfill near Raleigh. ln 2004, the company opened its fifth landfill , Marion County C&D Landfill, in Mullins, S.C., near Myrtle Beach. Two other projects in South Carolina and Alabama are in the works. Mike, who spends much of his time locating sites for new landfills and dealing with 18

novem Jer 200.L

www.greate rch arl otte biz. com


Last year Griffin Brothers signed a 30-:â&#x20AC;˘ear franchise agreement with Hanisburg to process the wwns yard waste and openeâ&#x20AC;˘1 a com posting and reprocessing center for the town of Apex as well as commercial customers. Mike says these private/public partnerships with host LOwns will be the cornerswne of the companys future ex-pansi:m plans. just this year the company enterec into a unique relationship with Marion Coun ;which allows it to operate the county Ian_ fill.

PINE ISLAND

COUNTRY

ClUB

Rolling Along

An artist's rendering of the view from the rear of the club house at the Pine Island Country Club, the Griffin Brothers' latest venture.

public hearings and the politics of geuing the necessary pennits and approvals, says the landfi ll business has changed dramatically in the past fifteen years. "ll used lO be landfills were located on fal111 land way out in the country on ru ral two-lane roads," he says. "Now we have to locate sites near the growth with beuer road

acc~ss

and minimal residential impact. This is vert hard to find and much more expensive to c.cquire. Most people think we accept household garbage, but it is only construction ma:erials or trees and inert debris. l prefer lO call it a reclamation effort. The real challenge is educati ng people on the difference between C&D facilities and garbage landfills.

~

When Larry Jr. joined the company m 1989, he took over the tire and auto repc.:ir division and immediately began preparirg it for expansion. In 1991 , Griffin Brothers opened its 12,500-square-foot store in Cornelius equipped with 12 bays, a shoV"room and offices. Another swre in the University area followed in 1996 with a third and fourth opening in Mooresville and Concord in 2000. ln 2002 Griffin Brothers added Haefner Tire, an existing swre in Lincolnton with over 50 years of experie:-~ce and a very loyal base of customers, to its inventory The companys seventh locatioo )o-

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november 2004

19


will open in south Charlotte near Pineville next summer. "While our original store is still open on

"While our original store is still open on West Trade Street,

West Trade Street, our new locations are mostly centered in suburban locations," says Larry Jr. "This reflects the evolution of the business from commercial to retail. During

our new locations are mostly centered in suburban

the early '80s we were servicing more com-

locations. This reflects the

mercial customers with fleets of cars or

evolution of the business

trucks. Now the bulk of our customers are individuals with 2.5 kids and 2.5 cars. " While Mike spends much of his time in the office behind the computer dealing with financial aspects of the business, Larry

Jr. supervises the 80 to 90 employees at the tire stores and travels between the six locations. This division of labor is just one of the things that makes the family business run successfully: "Because we have multiple businesses, we

from commercial to retail. During the early '80s we were servicing more commercial customers with fleets of cars or trucks. Now the bulk of our customers are individuals with 2.5 kids

each have different responsibilities," says Mike. "That way we don't step on each others

and 2.5 cars."

toes. We operate pretty independently:"

-Larry Griffin Jr.

"We don't necessarily see each other every day," adds Larry Jr. "Although we have lunch

"Please continue to be just the

134 town homes being built by Torrey

together every Tuesday, we basically do our

Homes and Parker & Orleans Homes, and

own thing. Mikes more the financial type,

524 single family homes being built by

while I deal with the guys in the shop and the real estate."

Homes. It also includes about a dozen out

Treading on Real Estate

restaurant chains wanting to expand into

Niblock Development and Parker & Orleans parcels, some of which are being bought by

Larry jr.s background in real estate

Lincoln County:

way you ar":'!; you are a great

helped propel Griffin Brothers into the arena

In 1998, GBA developed a 22,000-

role-mooel for how a

of property development and management. As a licensed real estate broker in North and

square-foot two-story multi tenant office

compa~

South Carolina and a licensed general contractor, he is responsible for the daily

should be. "

0t.mt!T ofTowsmd's G<urmet Cuisine, Ltd., a caterer specializing in corporate and o'her Ia~ roents.

hi~-pro.file

operations of this division.

Griffin Brothers

Griffin Bros. Acquisitions, LLC (GBA) was formed in 1996 and developed Waterside

Companies

Landing, a waterfront community in Iredell

191 09 W. Catawba Ave. Cornelius, N.C. 2803 I

County, in partnership with Niblock Builders

Phone: 704-896-6650

which contracted all the lots and built the project. Another residential development,

Principals: Larry Griffin Sr., Founder and President; Larry Griffin Jr., Vice President; Michael L Griffin, Secretaryffreasurer

Madison Court, followed in 1998. Located in Cornelius, this project had two different

www.danielraUIII.com 3111 s. McDowell Street Suite 502 ~llarlotte, NC 28204

125 EPlaza Drive Suite 101 Mooresville, NC 28115

784.371.50111

784.66.1.0193

builders and price points, Madison Village and McKenzie Place. In 1997, GBA started its most ambitious project, which is ongoing today: Waterside Crossing is a mixed-used development on 326 acres at the intersection of Highways 16

it all Adds up.

and 73 in Lincoln County: It includes a 19acre retail site anchored by Harris Teeter and

Affiliated Companies: Griffin Development Company, Inc. ( 1988); Griffin Bros. Acquisitions, LLC ( 1996) Employees: ISO In Business: Since 1961 Business: Family-owned business specializing in property development, ti re and auto repair, and landfill management. www.griffinbrothers.com

Blockbuster, a 15-acre office/medical park,

20

november 2004

www.greate rc h arl otte biz. com


Swinging into t he Future

The current Griffin brothers are both highly optimistic about the future . They believe that all three businesses operating under the Griffin Brothers' umbrella will continue to grow over the next ten years. Three new landfill projects are in the works and a new tire and auto shop is scheduled to open near Pineville in the summer of 2005 . Their experience with Waterside Crossing has been a "learning" experience, which Mike says could prove extremely impcrtant in the future . And, golf course management is a brand new avenue for the company. Larry Jr. has four children, 13 , ll and six-year old twins, while Mike has a The Griffins are optimistic that the money spent on improving the facilities at Pine Island =ountry Club will attract more membe n.

2-year old son and a baby girl on the way. Both indicate they would be happy for any of their children to join the business wh~n

=•uilding in Cornelius, of which Griffin :;rothers itself occupies 4,000 square feet. It o1so owns the property on which four Petro ::xpress convenience stores operate in th~ : harlotte area. And, just this year, GBA

the n me comes, if they are interested . Continuing to diversify means there will be plenty of opportunities for the next generation. And, the nature of a privately owned family business is that it can

~ cquired

a golf course.

Mike and Larry Jr. grew up in west :harlotte near the Pine Island Country Cl\i), 132-acre private golf course. In recent ,-ears, Pine Island was suffering from the :teed to make improvements with not =.nough capital to make them. It was losircg members and close to bankruptcy when G3A 7

~ tepped

in. "Its a new endeavor for us," says Mike, but we had an emotional attachment to Pbe

Island. Despit£ the saturation of tt_e market with golf courses, we believec. that if we spent money en improving tl-e focili:y, we would attract members. Its th:: old chicken and the egg th.ng. " GBA plans to tear down the o d clubhouse and bu· d a new one, :liang w.th a junior Olympk-size swimming r:ool The plans alone have attracted ne"¥ rrembers with membership growing from ~: O to 270 since the beginning ofjune. Larr; Jr.. who attended college on a golf sc:10la!.!:hip, is particularly eager about the Pine Island project. "We're risk takers," he nces. <Getting intc• the golf course business at th::s po:.nt takes some optioism."

react to challenges quickly while holding oper_certain possibilities until the market is ready. "Publicly traded companies are under pressure to develop profits in the short tenn in a way we aren't," says Mike. "Pine Island Golf Course wouldn't look gocd on their balance sheets. We're looking for the long tern1 gain." biz

Casey jacobus is a Charlotte-based freelance writ=r.

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s_s<nn =: b :J eit!ZI

listening a ·verse group of ople talk ati attheywoul like to see Char o Douglas ho,n-,..,..

a l:

eady Des_p ·te

Alrlir1e Turbulence

Intemationa _<\:irp is similar o listening an argum t at a family reunioo: everybody shares his pinion~ thm walks a'\Va.~ kno-wing why ey don't get together re ofte .

from consumers tittd of pa ;ing op lar fur nonstop flio ts, to business travekrs re uiring o.-tensive con~ nectivity and frequency for these flights, to · line ~ploye~ an a· · e management ointing fingers at failed contract neg , atWos, the atmos hrre is often contentiolti, · ot downri t dismal. > IOv~mber

20C4

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Then, of cour,e, there is the airport eEtit? iLSelf. Enter ]eery Orr, the pragmatic and outspoken aviatim chrector of Charlotte Dm;.glfs International Airport. Surrounded on all sides by the debate of 'Vhat is best for the city -of Charlotte an:i the ai::-pcrt he runs, Orr offers decisive opinions on the subject. In the wake of the ~ecurity operations that have been insti~uted sLice ;l-11, the downward spiral of econom:.c C.istress facing rnajcr carriers, land U3e issue3, and competition from other airpocs for its carriers, Charlotte Douglas has a:1 unabailied and vocal advocate in Orr. Amid contract negotiat.ons with the US Airways' pilots urion c~ventually approving an 18 percent ~alary rducrion), he shares 113 thoughts on the woes facicg the airline industry: "Of course I ::1m empathetic for what the legacy airlines are facing. Of the remaining six networlG, two are in bankTUptcy, one is proJably hec.ded for bankruptcy, and a seventh completely failed These airlines are old, established companieo who, due to their longevity, are burdened with the fact t:ut they :1.ave unfunded pension plans, an older vvorkforce, and a mo:e

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-he: air traffic repCTt t ower at Charotte

Do~l c.s ~~~ m ction ail

::xp::rsi..re workfc·r::e. Lnfortt..uatcly uer ~rien::e has brCJtgh£wi:h t fimLdal b.ar:hc~s that pre<.-ert thfiD :'roiL hingsc::es:;f-Jl n the curot -:-.arkt cl.hrntec' ·Nhie Or ke~:p3 a~oo:J d:.stance f:oo L--r:: =·Jtior.s rur..ning =rn.Jc< ir. tre coot.B:t nl~, =·ne get:' a sense thEt 1-.c a~o o~:atc.s -._ril-l those at the l:Erg3S:lirg tc.b1e "!-__o~ ::Sp:'cialy the prc:s:ec: of bsmg ooe. l5 LJ.tensely pers:mzl, -\ccc·rding to .Jr, _he le.5acies .arc alsc fanga m.lr:Zet repE:k ~i.:h newer 'ro;.T t::r oht' a·rlines whi.c1 'cherri' -;ick' high-cer:3ty rou _es, a cheap::r :A.ay :o celi·.:er :he ro:h:.cl In c::mt~, e5ac~· cc:rriers lie u.:. sir~=. built on c: 'hub and ~o~ :::uC.d; :-ffc the great~t n_rn::er o:: lc catilr..;, TCTJt:O= illC comecti·vity oo::·tioas. Since s~•rr:.: :-oUe3 :cre mJe ?ro:1tal::l.E thn orietS, c-JSI.5 1r.d Evcn-JES are sprea: across thE wi-:Jl= ~s-en ~it turns out, costs ar~ sp-ead.ir,s :ao _er ::la:-tre\.enues and 3S3..result~USAirv.-a)S

Airport t rcc ks 521 fights<da y.

ffiL.St c:aw iG way through corJ:racr neg:Jti~ tions and plms to :rJnsJtior. tl::e mrrier imc c w:xkal::e b1..':5iness model. J>s th:: carrie-s bigsest :.ub,Charlone uouglas :.S tow :po~­ li~htedcn tl:..e nationc1 sr:age as a pime e:•Emp e of '"'hat face~ tie a:.rline industry: -::-=-e debate i; loud an:l ::antc.nke:cus, ~th b:s of .Jpini'Jns, and ~eemingly :Cv sol•tio.Jill:. Alttough Orr has de~lopec scvera.. sc;onc.ric>S :c pncpare his :1nswer to :ic out :on:e o[ lhes~ :alk= , the rna:n que"tion :.:;, "\M.ll CS Krway.: la:~st hub c::r:r:inu~ tc o:Jerae, a~~.c \\':lat lBpper.s nex:T' A Hub of Activity "-::-II ccn:;umer of ::o rse. C.ocs:-t't really ; c \\':lat goes on behind ihe scenes wth rega:d tJ tir rna_or aiiines. All they lmc\\:" ~ that1h.e:' \i-"nt their fl:~ht at the: nght timE, LLeyvan L c.hoap, and ney wantlt now." says Orr. Ho-.;,'ever, Charlotk: travde:= ~ card1.:T \.l.':lat pu wi;h for. \\bile the buz;: aboJt

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town is enthusia:;:n or lo\Jer "c:re.>, us Airways employs 'P-r 5,700 pwple- morE. than the number d Jobs lest Gt. tie closure -f textile giant Pillo.JY.T:o_ Toe, th:: volume of travelers and em;::b-,ees ~thi< the airpJrt serve to maintain L-e jobs of C\.er 1,60C employees within ~L-port =hopt and co nee~ sions. While a ch~aper tid:.et certainly loo!G attractive to thox "YlD ha·e n~ptied treir pockets paying s=ce of Lle hipe3t fare.> m the U.S., the tra:::.e:of ::ould be considerable: Take, for exampl2, the ~elo:::::tti:m of :rru•tions giant, Genea Dynanics I1 2003 fro::ll Burlington, Verm·n . Pres-den Linda Hudson has been JC-:eateoy CLot.ed as o:itir:..~ the virtues of Cib-ecue Dcugb~ Inte:natbr.:tl as a primary reas(l• ::hat tre company c=·1.0sc. Charlotte over olh.:r cities Charlotte Doq;hs wa,; also the site ::~: (-e meeting of Arthur GaHagl:-er ad ciry leadas as they pitched Q _aLotte for :lte n::w location of Johnson & \'Vales J ni>J-:rsty. Whe.r= would plans for GJ.aeway villa~e b~ no·.v t[ Gallagher hadn't :JeW abk to get the nsht .flight and, instead flew srraigh to Charleston to sigc a contB.ct? Remarks Orr, ' frink that ne hub is a

I:B.sic piece of Charlottes economic platbrm. ~gardless of the outcome with US Airn·ays, the airport will continue to be a viable a:1d lealthy entity. The risk is to the Charlotte community, and the implications of reducd run-stop and international flights. " He adds, "Of c::mrse. Nashville and Raleigh-Durham lest hubs and continue to operate, but 01arlotte has been a hub f.Jr much long::r and has a considerably different profile.'·

' ' The worst case scenario is that US Airways folds, no other hubs take its place, and we gain a lot of service irom low cost carriers. ...

77

. _rerry Orr, Aviation Director This having been said, there is little concern about the welfare of Charlotte Douglas a~ a whole if the US Airways hub discontinu~ or redt:ces operations. The airports fhancial stability, low~:ost facilities and Olarlottes increasing prominence among Southeastern cities prcvide an attractive lure tc other hubs and the rising stars of low-cost

carriers SLch as Jet Kue, Irdeper.dence kr andAi-Tr~nAcan_ir_.~ to 8r, the ai-:J Jrt and Cha~ OLE city lea:iei'S are pre-:Ja-ed to =.c: qt.:icky arc de isi·.rdypending ary outwme of tle u:. .'\ii"W"ayo d.Jemma. ' ay~ Orr 'The wo:-st we scer.ari:J 1,c tl:a: US Airways hc!E, no othehubs take its 1= lace, and we 5lin a lot of service Eron k•w-cost :.:uTie:rs. 1hc b::3t Clse is _hat we can retain tl:-_e ocb and continue b pro"'>i~ a comj::eti ive: mix o: :ow-ccst car:ier:;. So whi e u_.\irways is ve~ i~:?·Jrta:lt LJ the lancscape of Charlort:: Dou~<-S, it dces no1 ma1.e cr l:xezk our success. He 1dds, '~i!o/e 1:-.ave put ::-nserher :1 finmcial prc·gr;~.m that is indepe-.cerL of- he l5 Airways lub, oJr L:,e presen:::e of any othe:r hub for tl:at rm.tter. All our fi.:la:1£ial heab is based upcn :s carrers bein.s inte:res~d in sup:?l:r..ng fitghts to an:i frcm. Our~ tte, nd this is c:. ncar certainty· M.a!'or Pat McCro~ ecooEs tbs ~nti­ ment, ' Regard1ess ·Jf the ot:tome o[ the current ttrrr_oil, ve are pomi>ned to ma:<e sure. th.lt the in:r~:-ucture o( the a:rport i3 stro•g. W>. are conLr.t:ing ""i'i. h _he tnird parallel m :tw::ay, t.~ ir.t.e:-natioJ:u.. co:J.ccurse ~

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and enan >ion p-o]ects Ue:t vill h;t.-e a 8:K L.~ appeal to all atrll1es." H< adds, "We ~c ~G·J c:::>mmiued to conrnue c[erillg th~:;e s~£\k<~ a.. the bw :os· tl-at has bstor.caL;. bee~ a l.o:~ c:::>mponem of _he airpor:'s su:cess' Charlotte Douglas DEiivetS

Under Orr's l~aderslLp, Cllar.cne Dou~.k: h .~mz.tional1a~ s~en rcrr_arl::able .;;n..,-:} and sustainabl' ill. EschewinE the :ri:E:".Juld it and the:; will come" philo:q:>.:- i f m:I~y

new airport!:, Orr says the C:-~orlctt?

atrport was desi§IIed to 1ccommocaK: n;: a..rin~

and the rraveler. Says Orr, ·:Ju-l:u:r: Do_glas was created to make rrarl eficic.na..1d afbrdablc. We were builJ:ng£n a..1p:x- . net a mon.Jm~.t. l have neve:r seen tie~­ ft of walkir.g on~ and a half 11ile~ :hmL~ 1 cx coLrse t::J -ea:h a gac, or ha\i-g _c r :':I fivE levels :o get ~rom g~e to baggr.ge: d:rn It :1ay be shinier, bm it .::ena..nly cbes"l_ 'I::p me get from ny :ar to IIY se1t on -~~ p_;r;: an~' easier Orr say~ tlu t fancy l:uildi1gs ito c.cri. 1-e tp tr.e airlir.es reduce :heir far~- ' 7-v-£ p dt: cu-selves on provid ing;:. ver:' effie ent lU-<cL \ e and a[ ordal: le situaion -or th: airlre:;

-hec white, ·oc!.i~ ch; r~ il th~ c. r:>::>rt wer: origimlly :>.rt. of a :emp:> rary '1'orcr 5it:ing'' c.n: =.xhibitior_ Tra·.·;;!ler:; D IO"Ed he1:harc? t:> rock aV"ay te r-~ icn t'lat t~ =rocke,r:; are 1ow a pe-oanent airport: fec.:ure.

..1hi.:h in ·un t:.all p :::=s S:a "-hg~ tc Ll:ei- c_~ ::lln:rs. If t:Je :;,_rlt ~~ren t is a:tr.::n.::nnic;:ll, <ere is a ,_ces.;ity f .112 :UrlrJe:: .•) afts~t _1.0~- costs '

1

349r~c

3 ~ ~.tE) l'fTI-l L~E="

400 T:Nola Road • 1-865-2Xl -3J31 • ,'\IWW.5.:oticg.cc , "Not zU leases wil =1uclify for lowst lease :JZ',Y,mert Scm! pa:~ t-i_;ter, .s.=ne 1:-Ner. Resi::lf31cy-:- trillti7li l.::)ly. la::E- neV" '~'et .. ~I VB) ·ICrr d..a~ stock by '1-30-<l4."2)0< JaJuar X-IPE 3.0 .,,RP Hl)• 5 E<cKE5 ~> >•. title .nd l<ense fee_ ot' bu·~ "I ~uai~, ""2lC4 ~r X_8 v.sR r Si0.-95. le:ue patments SJbject t•12,00t jecjet asl wi I ~ry IEe:J C1 actual J~er li::::OHI: h.luce;PresiOC'lt': _et.fiGtE.

n

:26

n ovem b er =:.004

*

C'larl.·-· t~ =•ou s' cost= ::~re c:o:rtainly c::J::npcli •.e fc·- ai.rin;;:s and. traY':i~rs ali ~ r Cr ar Jtte-:; ~ 2 -:>cr PJSoengc- cos hls si§Ti i o ntL L -..:e- lhe i _J per J=<s:.Sengr:r in


Pittsburgh, and $16 in Denver. Says Orr, "While the per passenger cost is somewhat of an artificial figure since no one actually pays it walking into the airport, it is an excellent yardstick for comparison's sake. If you multiply the savings per passenger by the ten million passengers we transport a year, that is

Charlotte Douglas International Airport 550 I Josh Birmingham Parkway Charlotte, N.C. 28208 Phone: 704-359-480 I and 1-800-FLY-CDIA Aviation Director: Jerry Orr Employees: I,600 within terminal (US Airways 5,739; other airlines/tenants 6,000) Facilities: Terminal 1.7 million square feet; 85 gates; 3 runways plus one more proposed Flights: 524 daily departures; non-stop service to 120 destinations; served by 17 carriers; 23 million passengers annually Rankings: 13th nationwide in operations; 17th nationwide in passengers; 30th nationwide in cargo Economic Impact: Contributes nearly $4 billion in annual total economic impact to the Charlotte region; over 72,000 jobs in the region directly or indirectly related to the airport and its services; workers in those jobs earn $1.968 billion in wages and salaries. Significant Events: In business since 1935 when it was a municipal airport operated by the City of Charlotte; 1941 Army Air Force established Morris Field Air Base; 1954 70,000-square-foot passenger terminal opened becoming Douglas Municipal Airport {former Mayor Ben Elbert Douglas Sr.); 1982 new 325-squarefoot passenger terminal opened becoming Charlotte Douglas International Airport; 1990 80,000-square-foot international and commuter concourse opened and Queen Charlotte sculpture placed in courtyard; currently working on a new 3,000-space customer parking deck and new runway. Business: Municipal airport under the stewardship of the eleven-member Charlotte City Council, the Charlotte city planner and the airport aviation director. www.charlotteairport.com and www.flycdia.com

greater charlotte biz

a significant figure that hits rigrt a: de botLorn line." Orr says Charlotte Douglas us ben :1ble to offer affordable costs due to its higl bo<.rdir.gs and transfer traffic, ar.d construction factors that proved very economical fc·::- t:le airport. "The airport was built at a UJ.TJ:: very favorable to construction, our financit.g was very good, and we only built what wa; needed. This kept our rate; very af-ordable." Despite many calls for Orr t.J expc.nd marketing efforts to recruit oth>!r cc.rri~rs :o the airport, he rejects this conc>!pl errphatically. "I object to the terrn 'marl:eting· when people start talking about recruiting c:irline~. More often than n::>t this means fir.an-:ial incentives, essentially paying a ·ansor. to get them on board." He adds, "I .hint<. it is a lot more practical to offer a quality ?educt that attracts carriers on its own meri~ than to pay someone $2 millior. to bing tl-ern mto the airport." Instead, Orr points to market >trengfls tha ::-nake Charlotte a fierce competitcr in anactmg carriers. 'We have a great cmrmunity, a great quality of life, growth , oppo-Lun·ty a low cost airport, and space availc.ble- what c_se wculd you say to market it?' Orr adds that any funding th,. wem :nto promotional marketing efforts wCt..ld be: illplaced. "Airlin~ ha•.•e very e>..-pensive :Jverhead and do their own in-depth c.na.ysis :Jf where it is practical to fly. They have people who sit at calcuhtors all day long to figt::re out .vhere they are Leaded next. They go wlere heir people and their numbers tel.ltherL to ;_,o, not where I or the mayor tell them."

Vvrile Orr and city l~rer, a::-e heady invested i-l the plight cf:JS: 1-irways ani ar legacy :::arriers. all hold :a5t tc the belie£ the£ Charlotte Dou.5las Internatxr a! will be one of the major airpcrts left strn.iing. Says Maror McCrory, "Most h:s::ncsses in Charlotte realize Ll-tat \.V t Je scme cities are well-served by lim.ted lgh..s. hubs are important to the dty, thE m1.ion :1nd the wor.d, and are SteJdfas:l{ sn)T•Ortive of the airline. At the oame time 'VP- ~ecognize lhat there are a lot of factors at. pa; here thar are out of our sphere cf influtL:e So we arc doing everything we can t:J position Charlotte Douglas and lle d~ as an attlA'lCtive, low cost, money-ge:-.enti.".g rr.ar~t th,. carriers will want to serv re." P._s for Orr and 'his ai~o·t . he is aler an : poised as he awaits the rn;:;jcr ::arriers to Louc1. down, and the rur..,ays to be cle,~ed for takeJIT. "My bet is that : :mce ali~ o4:d and dcne, Charlotte will be one of t..vo rr;:;jor airpo-rs left in the Southeast. It's ;:; ~a. atq:on. I !-au: seen none better." biz

:>ealing with Turbulence Charlotte Dcuglas lnterr.atior.al, 1-nder :te stewardship of the eleve:~-me-uber City =ouncil, the city planner and Orr, cont::nue .,.rit:t plans to bring .he airport imo i:s rew ;hc.se, hoping to complete the new run.Nay by 2007. This demonstrates a shc•w of bith i:lthe resilience of the airport anc. the c ty's _onunitment to the airport's future. In addition to pr:::>ceeding with airpc:rt ::ievdopment, and developing a financia .3-rategy to address every scenario in the US ~0Jrways saga, the airport will add irs na::ne a; o1e of the final airports in the coLntry t:: inplement the $3 per passenger b:ility •.:harge to pay for FAI\-approved f:~cility :xoje::Ls and to pay off airport bends.

Who has it? Teach s, rru.il carriers, rUlll1ers, athletes - anyune with j_obs requiring a loc of standinf oc wall<.in§.

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iz pro e)


Pany Reflections was established in 1958 by Dans father, Wayne Hooks, with just a few ta!Xes and chairs. &ginning in his youth, the sor has worked in every department of the business from washing dishes to making deliveries to finally being in charge. After 12 ye;rrs at Providence Day and a degree from Wake Forest University, Hooks was ready to fill the shoes of his father. And as the years wnt on those tables and chairs multiplied, and other pany necessities were added. Now almost 50 years and one generation later, this $3 million-plus bu.;iness is equipped to handle any size event, regardless of location. "We do everything for an event, except for the food, the flower; and the entertainment," Hooks touts. "We p:-ovide the tents, tables and chairs, linens, glassware, draping for conven-

A beautiful setting for a wedding: Carolina blue sky and th e calm of a gentle waterfall.

tior, service type things, lighting- you name it,

inventory to be upwards of five or ten million

salespeople. One group handles general

we pretty much provide everything."

individual pieces and, while that may seem

inquiries and private events; the other group

And any size event really means any size. Tho:: business caters to small dinner parties in need of servingware and glasses as well as

like a lot, with approximately15,000 events to

handles corporate events and business brought

;erve annually, every bit of it is used .

in by regular partners such as caterers and event

Needless to say, organization is key for a

planners, which constitutes a good half of Party

large scale events such as Taste of Charlotte

:ompany running so many different things at

anc the Wachovia Championship. Hooks and

::me time. Hooks credits a "good computer sys-

Reflections' business. "We've split up our sales force to handle

his crew of approximately 55 employees are

tem" and his staff of warehouse and operations

business the way we need to," Hooks says. "We

rea:ly for any challenge. Hooks estimates their

managers. Also on the payroll are two groups of

have retail out from taking care of Mrs. Smith who wants some glassware for a party for the weekend, and we've got people in the back that actually go on site for corporate events." One Stop Shopping

Trying to be the best doesn't come easily in this market. Hooks says his company has about three big competitors; however, he has worked to offer a product/service that is more universal and appeals to anyone who may be in need of temporary equipment for an event. Pany Reflections carries all items necessary to tum any dream into reality, from tents to full table set-ups to color-coordinated bamboo chairs. Customers, regardless of size or prestige of the event, can truly get it all at this accommodating place.

or course having the most up-to-date selection is another way to beat out the competition in this line of work. Many people can attest that their wedding day or other major event is one they will remember forever. Most customers want the current trend in decor, and Hooks and company are constantly updating the selection. From their years of experience, the company knows what to look for- and where. "Colors go out of style. Colors come in style. Fabrics, patterns, different things are always on the cutting edge," Hooks explains. "And gener-

30

november 2004

www.greaterch arl otte biz. com


ally if you see it in California today, wait a year and it will be here." Party Reflections also maintains a Web site that allows customers to browse the selection and even order online. While the company lays the groundwork for some of the most successful events, there still is a need to build up their offerings to potential new customers. In that regard, Party Reflections utilizes local print magazines to get its message across to targeted customers. Since a large amount of the company$ business comes from corporate events, publications geared toward businesspeople are a good bet. Significantly, an estimated 35 percent of the company's business comes from weddings alone. Obviously bridal publications and events are venues for Party Reflections' advertising dollars, however, in the case of nuptials, Hooks takes it to the next level. For area brides-to-be, the biannual Bridal Showcase is a must-attend at the Charlotte Convention Center. Being such a large part of their business, Hooks decided to capitalize on access to all the potential customers. In order to get his name out there, he, along with a partner and both of their wives, started up Carolina Weddings and Events and purchased the rights to the bridal show four years ago.

Party Reflections handles all the rental needs for the event, at the same time showcasing what they can do for prospective weddings. Hooks estimates that well over half of the bridal business coming in to the company has stemmed from the Bridal Showcase. Despite their expansive reach, Hooks says there are no plans for the business to branch out further into other facets of a production. For example, major lighting and sound is "left to the professionals." And the same goes for Carolina Weddings and Events. While Hooks and his partners certainly have the know-how and supplies, he works too closely with wedding and event planners on a day-to-day basis to want to start taking clients. And besides, Party Reflections has enough to worry about. Behind the Scenes

"We're the first in and the last out. Nobody sees us come in, and everybody is gone by the time we come back to pick up our stuff," Hooks says of the covert nature of his work. "The better we do our job, the less apparent we are\" Although most events go off without a hitch, for many of the larger corporate )>-

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there is a company person on the scene to iron out the kinks. "For the Shout Festival and Speed Street we acually have the staff person on site to take care of any needs that night come up. lf somebody needs an extra table, we have a stash of tables ard chairs they can get to quickly and get that ha"ldled," Hooks explains mauer-of-factly "V!hether a tent needs to be moved or someth ng other needs to be taken care of, we can deal with it on site pretty quickly" T .. is Party just Gets Bigger

Growth has been the order of this business since its inception in 1958. From a few tables and a few chairs, Party Reflections has grown, firot adding more of the same, then later br:mching out to linens, dishes, glasses, tents ard so much more. The business hls really seen a boom in the l~t decade. In that period of time, Hooks estinutes his company revenue has quadrupled_ He credits this rap:d growth spurt to various external factors. "The market is just getting much more advanced and culturally diverse," he postulates. "YJu have customers coming in from all differ-

A perfect sunny afternoon gathering held at Davicson College. ent walks of life, all different parts of the country We're sort of a melting pot here in Charlotte. You're getting influences from a lot of different places which require our inventory to grow." Hooks is quick to give credit where credit is due, explaining that a lot of the credit is due to his fathers good business sense. He says his dad was constantly putting money back into the business, always adding new inventory and keeping abreast of the latest trends. That was,

708 Hawthorne Lane Charlotte, N.C. 28204 Phone: 704-332-8176 President: Daniel W Hooks Employees: 55 In Business: 46 years Awards: Many awards from the International Special Events Society and, most recently, for their display at the Southern Women's Show. Business: Largest full-service party rental supply company in the region. Equipment rental for events of all sizes. Extensive provisions include special event tents; flooring and carpeting; tables and chai rs; linens; china, flatware and glassware; catering equipment; champagne fountains; bars; festival equipment; exhibition equipment; business equipment; and wedding equipment. Showroom decorated with ideas for events of any size and budget. www.partyreflections.com

and still is, a business philosophy that remains intact at Party Reflections. Increases in inventory obviously lead to the need for more space. That is something the company is currently facing, and Hooks says negotiations are currently underway to purchase a new location within the same Elizabeth neighborhood that will give them over twice the space they have now. Currently operating with 50,000 square feet in two separate locations, Hooks and his employees are inconvenienced by having part of their inventory, specifically, the tents, in a separate location. With the advent of their new llS ,OOO-square-foot location, which they hope to operate out of by June of next year, space will no longer be a problem- at least for the time being. At more than twice the square footage of their present facilities, Hooks would consider renting out the extra space but he remains realistic as well saying, "We have doubled in seven years; if we double again in seven years then we will need every bit of that warehouse. Thats the hope." The patriarch of Party Reflections, the senior Hooks, is still around. Son says of father that while his dad does have other projects hes taken on in retirement, he still finds time to drop by weekly. The younger Hooks modestly says his dad is impressed with where the business is going, and it's safe to assume hes proud of his son who has so competently carried on in his father's footsteps, being a part of Charlotte's biggest and best parties. biz lindsay LeCorchick. is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

3~

november 2004

www .greate rc h ar l otte biz. com


THE

PRESIDENTS' FORUM IN CHARLOTTE

AN INVITATIONAL PROGRAM FOR CORPORATE LEADERSHIP ADAM'S MARK HOTEL 555 South McDowell St., Charlotte, NC Wednesday, November 17,2004 The Presidents' Forum was created through the e./forts &]the Advisory Board ofCharlotte and The Entrepreneurship Institute (TEl) to provide practical .-olutions, relevant information and valuable contacts ~eeded to thrive in the "new economy. " TEl is the most successfUl independent, non-profit educational corporation organized so!e!J to assist :~nd encourage the growth ofAmerican enterprises. Since 1976, TEl has !l.Ssistl'd thousands ofcompany presidents in solving problems and developing business contacts that contribute positivery to the bottom line. For Business Owners, CEOs and Presidents T he Forum's powerful format lets yo u access information from your peers and other professionals.

Presentations Successful business owners and other prominent business leaders make presentations to stimulate your thinking with enlightening strategies and techniques that build profit.

Roundtable Interaction H ighly imeractive ro und table sessions allow presidents to discuss key issues in a smaller group setting.

Networking Informal ne-on-one conversations enable participants to discuss business in a less formal atmosphere, develop key contacts and build bus iness.

THE PRESIDENTS' FACULTY & BUSINESS RESOURCES (Facul ty of Over 30 Presidents and Other Business Resources) Partial List of Presidential Presenters:

Tim Newman, President, Charlotte Center C ity Parmers - In his role as President, Mr. Newman is responsible fo r the management of Center City Parm ers' three core tasks: Economic Development, Event Production and Center City Management, and :'vfarketing. Prior to his current position, M r. Newman served as Vice President and General Manager of the Charlotte Knigh ts. In 2003, the Charlotte Jaycees named him to the list ofTen Outstanding Young Charlotteans.

Katie Tyler, President & CEO, Tyler 2 Construction- Tyler 2 Construction President & Founder Ms. Tyler has 30 years of experience in commercial construction. After obtaining a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and working in a variety of companies, she

fo unded Inside Moves in 1983, which later evolved into Tyler 2 Construction. Ms. Tyler's leadership skills and ability to motivate associates have resul ted in numerous local, regional and national awards.

Matthew E. Wmter, Executive Vice President, MassMutual Financial Group - Matt W inter is head of the Individual Insurance Group, which includes the Individual Life and Annuity Businesses, the Career Agency System, MassMurual Trust Company, and MassMurual Settlement Solutions. Prior to his current role, Mr. Winter practiced whitecollar criminal defense and complex commercial litigation, and held various positions during his twelve-year active duty career with the U.S. Army.

Jill Flyrm, Managing D irector, Flynn Heath Leadership, L.L.C.Flynn Heath Leadership is a leadership consulting firm that Ms. Flynn founded in 2001 along with her business partner Kathryn Heath. Before fo unding Flynn Heath, Ms. Flynn was Senior V ice President and Director of Organization Effectiveness for First Union Corporation (now Wachovia). She was recognized as Charlotte Woman of the Year in 2000, and received the one-of-akind "Keeper of the Flame" award from Ed Crutchfield, CEO of First Union, in 1998.

The Presidents' Forum- Schedule (November 17, 2004) 7:00- 8:00a.m. Regist ration/Networki ng Continental Breakfast 8:00- 8:30 a.m. Kick-Off Address 8:30- 9:45 a.m. Case Study Presentations: • Judo Economics: Size Doesn't Matter- Strategy Does! • How to Build a High Performance Company Throu~ Your Strongest Asset: Your People 9:45-12:15 p.m. Breakouts/Peer-to-Peer Interactions (2 sessions of each): • Business Killers: Succession and Estate Planning Pitfalls • Build, Buy or Borrow? Growing t hrough Mergers and Acquisitions • Risk Management-Thinking Like an Outsider 12:15- 1:30 p.m. Lunch /Luncheon Address 1:30- 3:30p.m. Afternoon Panel Presentations • You 're Taking Care of your Business- Are You Taking Care of Yourself? Executive Health Panel • Lessons Learned-Business Owners' Perspectives 3:30- 4:30p.m. Networking/Business Solutions/Reception 4:30 p.m. Adjourn

Sponsoring Organizations: Administaff, Inc. Moore & Van Allen, PLLC Grant Thornton LLP Morris, Manning & Martin Greater Charlotte Biz Office Environments, Inc. Hinrichs Flanagan Financial/ Scott Insurance MassMutual Womble Carlyle Sandridge Monaghan Group, PLLC & Rice PLLC


Do You Hate Your

Web Site? J

ohn DiCristo knows how to tum a losing situation into a winner. Take the dot-com fiasco. For a company with two "com"s and a "dot" in its URL (www.Clickcom.com), DiCristo's hardly seems to have noticed the bubble's burst in 2000. Founded in 1997 by three partners with one employee, Clickcom, Inc. now employs twelve people in their 2000-square-foot SouthPark office and is preparing to take their operation national with a contest that turns the traditional concept of winning upside down. Clickcom offers an array of Web-related services and products, including hosting, site development, colocation services, site promotion, and domain registration. Far more than just a design service, Clickcom's state-of-the-art proprietary applications allow clients to manage content, produce newsletters, conduct online training, give flash presentations, organize data, and improve search engine placement all with a simple "point, click, and type" interface. New clients at Clickcom first receive one-on-one consulting. Clickcom takes the time to understand the client's business and to tailor solutions to meet their needs. And once plans are agreed on, new Web sites can be up and running within days. Then, the training that Clickcom provides their clients provides an example of the dedication to small business that sets lickcom apart from other Web developers. Where many Web developers have enjoyed the dependence of their clients on them to update and manage their Web sites, Clickcom's owners saw early on that small business owners want, and need, a more hands-on role in their own sites. According to DiCristo, one of the most important aspects of a good Web site is its currency. And the best way for a Web site to stay current is to enable the business owner to update it easily without being dependent on the developer. Clickcom's trademarked content management application, dubbed "Wizzy," allows business owners to "point, click, and type" to update their Web sites. Other proprietary applications allow business owners to easily produce high impact custom newsletters, register domain names, manage data, conduct online training, give flash presentations, and improve search engine placement. The cutting-edge Web applications, designed to serve the needs of small business owners, are a big part of Clickcom's success. But DiCristo says that what really sets his company apart is their commitment to customer service:

Charlotte-based

Clickcom Provides Web Expertise to

Small Business

greater charlotte biz

"We uy to answer the phone ," he says. And clients can walk into Clickcom's office and speak directly to whomever they wish. The company's innovative approach and commitment to small business has not gone unnoticed. The Charlotte Business journal has named Clickcom Charlotte's top Web design company for the past three years. Among their more than 2,000 clients are the Charlotte Cobras, McColl Garella, Noble's Restaurant, and the Land view Group. Click Back

he end of 1997, DiCristo was working for NTN Communications, the developers of (among other things) the interactive trivia games and consoles commonly encountered in bars and restaurants across the U.S. DiCristo, his brother ick DiCristo, and former college roommate jon Szymanski were the company's master distributors for North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. "We were happy with NTN Communications," says DiCristo, "but we wanted to start our own thing. " Although DiCtisto's degree is in computer information systems, his career, as well as those of Nick and Szymanski, had been in sales and marketing. After college DiCristo had joined another brother in running a real estate company, and only later joined NTN Communications.

>-

John DiCristo's Top Five Rules for a Great Web Site

0

Be unique. Your site is the first impression for many of your prospects, so use it to extend your brand with custom graphics. 8 Update frequently. Use tools that allow you to stay current without relying on your Web developer. E) Produce an e-mail newsletter. Use a system that allows you to produce a regular newsletter to reach out to clients and prospects. 0 Use the latest tools. Video, audio and other current tools provide high impact. 0 Remember the details. Working links, easy navigation, site map and contact info, and correct spelling are basics that shouldn't be ignored.

november 2004

35


Seeing a need for greater Internet accessibiilj, _he DiCristo brothers and Szymanski formcrd Clickcco to provide both access and ~b

centage. "We've always tried to understand

but we never had a lack of new customers,"

the small business market," says DiCristo.

claims DiCristo. "As a matter of fact, some of

"Clickcom has proven to be a true partner

the bigger dot-corns lost a lot of their con-

to small business," says Sherre L. DeMao,

tracts and went out of business -but we

bean and Click:om found plentiful business

owner of SLD Unlimited Marketing!PR, =nc.

picked up a lot of their small business clients

in Ourlotte. so much so that the company

"They are an incredible, service-minded team

because we were always strictly a small busi-

gi:WV â&#x20AC;˘:JUickly encompassing

of innovators that want to help small busi-

ness company"

a

tasting. The Internet was just starting to

more services

more empb)lees.

nesses succeed and flourish."

:=:om the star.:, DiCristo honed in on the smdl business market. Companies with

It was that commitment that helped Clickcom weather the dot-com bust, and

While Clickcom historically has served a wide variety of small businesses, and continues to do so, DiCristo says they are beginning

bEL7VEen one and 50 employees form the

tum what was a losing situation for many

to hone in on a few vertical markets, particu-

bc.ÂŁ.s .Jf Cl:ckcom's clientele, with divisions of

companies into a winning scenario.

larly speakers, authors and writers. Why7

la-t,er comp3nies making up a smaller per-

"We had to tighten our belts a little bit

DiCristo laughs, "If you make one speaker

"Clickcom has proven to be a true partner to small business. They are an incredible, service-minded team of innovators that want to help small businesses succeed and flourish." Sherre L. DeMao, owner of SLD Unlimited Marketing!PR, Inc. happy, they have big mouths and they tell all their friends." The one speaker Clickcom made happy early on is the nationally recognized sales columnist, jeffrey Gitomer. Says Gitomer, "My relationship with Clickcom is natural and relaxed . It's based on fri endship and mutual need . I believe that America is Web-site deprived. The people at Clickcom are on the right track. I respect their ideas, I respect the people, I respect their work ethic, and most important - l have become friends with them. My customers need them, and they need people like me to help them expose their products and service offerings- our marriage was a natural one. We have both delivered on our promises, and the relationship has endured based on mutual respect and performance. The friendship has blossomed, and our genuine 'like' for one another has solid ified the relationship."

35

november 2004

L _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ - -

--

-

www.greate rc h ar l otte biz. com


Another niche Clickcom is carving for itself is among women business owners. DiCristo maintains close ties with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and works with many companies in the organization including his accountant and his business consultant. In return, Clickcom has received a good reception among womenowned businesses. 'The Charlotte group has been incredible to us," says DiCristo, who admits to a special appreciation for working with women business owners. And its no wonder, given the close but complicated relationships DiCristo has weathered with the main (male) business owners in his career- first his older brother with the real estate company and now his younger brother. Laughing, DiCristo unhesitatingly names working with a brother as his number one challenge. "We both know we can count on one another," he says, "but at the same time, Thanksgiving dinner is sometimes a little stressful." He cites a competitive streak between brothers that he finds refreshingly absent among women business owners. In keeping with DiCristos affinity for women-owned businesses, Clickcom maintains a commitment to making their own company a family-friendly organization. For instance, one of their employees works from home on Friday afternoons so that she can be there with her children. Others have flexible work arrangements to accommodate their family needs. In addition, Clickcom meets its community citizenship goals by reaching out to the nonprofit community Currently, they provide free or reduced-fee services to more than sixty nonprofits including the Make a Wish

Clickcom, Inc. 4521 Sharon Rd., Ste. 41 0 Charlotte, NC 28211

Click Com

Phone: 704-365-9970 President: John J. DiCristo Employees: 12 In Business: 7 years Business: Offers a suite ofWeb-related

services and products including site development and management, shared hosting, server colocation, and Internet marketing for small businesses. www.clickcom.com

greater charlotte biz

Foundation, junior League of Charlotte and Childs Place. Click Forward

he companys core business has moved away from Internet access because, says DiCristo, they simply don't want to compete with the big companies like Time Warner and AOL. Instead, they've grown the hosting end of the business and added other services with great success. And Clickcom has no intention of standing still in that success. They plan to take the company national over the next two to three years, starting in St. Louis. "St. Louis has two and a half million people as compared to our one and a half million," says DiCristo. 'That will be a good test ground and then we're going to take it national." The first stage in the companys plan to grow nationally was completed at the end of September with the presentation of their "l Hate My Web site" competition award. The award, won by Carolina Clay, was given to the company that submitted the worst Web site for consideration with the prize being an "extreme Web site makeover" valued at $10,000. DiCristo had the idea for the contest earlier this year and decided to move quickly in order to capitalize on the current craze for "Extreme Makeover" reality contests. Clickcom hired Emily Hickok in july to head the project and they promptly began putting the pieces together to make it reality. Cliteria for "worst Web site" included navigability, uniqueness of design, current status and usefulness. The board of judges included such well-known Charlotte personalities as radio host Mark Packer, author and speaker jeffrey Gitomer, publisher John Paul Galles, business consultant Sheila Neisler, and nonprofit director Frank Gilmore. The "winner," Carolina Clay, was chosen for its one-page, almost content-free site presented in black lettering on a white background. lf everything goes according to plan, Carolina Clay won't be the last loser to win. Their $10,000 makeover is slated for completion by the beginning of 2005 and a new competition begins in St. Louis injanuaty Clickcom already has some clients in St. Louis as well as a partner there who helps with sales and is eager to assist with the next

T

"l Hate My Web Site" competition. The following "I Hate My Web S路te" competition in the fall will go national. Almost two hundred companies entered the Charlotte competition and Hickok is confident they garnered attention from many more. They expect the upcoming competitions to receive even more attention. "We're good visionaries," says DiCristo, who adds that the company's natior_al plans go beyond simply garnering national clients. For instance, they would like to help establish a reputable national Web developers association and DiCristo plans to qualify for membership in the National Speakers Association soon. Clickcoms national plans are arr_bitious but DiCristo is confident. And he should bethe companys visions have always been grand and ahead of the game, and so far they've been right on target. just don't be surprised if they find some upside-down methods for reaching their goals. What else would you expect from a company that takes itself national by turning losers into winners? biz Heather Head is a Charlotte-based freelance

november 2004

write~

37


ITLt.NTIC

.:.

t.

,

;


by ellison cla

Olarlotte

Dalysis 1nd tagline lco.lization. The indusr-ies it scf\·es include rrarketing, rivertising, medical, l~al, pharmaceutical, educational, manufact~r ng and

Frm Puts

financial as well as go\·~rnment agencies.

Words into

.,.hat her mmd's eye sa-v that November e\·ening in 1994. "=told ny friends

Obdously, Menard_ who was Michelle bhr at .he time of her viswn acted on a:Jout mr \1sion and t!-ey were happy for me but they thought I v,.as crazy," she :calls. "My family thonght I was crazy"

Words

She was undeterred. "I got a couple of 1undred dollars and sta-reJ in '-larch 1995."

If the vision came a.tt of the blue, the managers questio:1 didr ·t. :-ie knew ~1enard was fiuent In french , that she did SJme fr•2elance trans]atin~.. and that she

SJmetitres edited her 1-.other's translating assigr ments. It came natt.Ially to '-lenard. born in CharC:ston, S.C., of a Fren:h mother and schooled in France fa grades 1 ard 3. "Unnli was 18 I spoke more French than English." she sa)'S. With her mother,

~1enard

sorted Chmc,.

Translating & Interpreting, he. From their home, they translated \\Titter oocuments and tnterpretcd the spoken \\'o-d.

lmema·ional Business at th ~ University of NorLl Caolina at

Growing Up -A Business It worked that wa} until 19 iS. Menard graduated from UNC Charlene and mothe1 and daugh·er took separate bu~iness path5 Soon after, the daughter met Vrrnon Menar::. vho 0\med a Charlotl2 company that made and exported racks anc er.:los;;res br COITLllunications eq..1ipment. Vernon Menard had concentrated on International Studies anL ~adsh 1t th, Univers:ty of St. Thon~s in Minnesota. He spoke fiuent Spanish bur knew he needed professional hdp with translating sales and marketing rn<.terial for ::out}

Chatloue when the manager of a restau:-a1t wrere the was

~etica.

r\ any entrepreneurs craft avi~on fot their business, but few are as vivid as tle onE M. helle Menard conjured up uninten:ion3lly. Mer.ard was pursuing degrees i:1 Frmch and

a par -nme ser;er asked about her post .graduation : lans.

"Vernon was workLl.g on a Saturday and faxed a document to _h.:: oFice, will.,

She ~plied that she wasn't sure. H~ aslcd, "W1 y don't you

"'as a sl-.ack behind th ~ house," Michelle re:nembers. She arranged ;~.business

start your own business?' Seeing ~r blmk exp:-ess·on, he added, "translating. "

meeting with him . Ter months later, they stand dating; they marri~d in

" had this nash of pictures and they were ir brcwns and reds ani splashing one behind the o~hcr of wh:~t tlu businesswould lock like ,'' Menard rememb:rs. T1e result ts Choice Trmslating In: .. "'1th more than a mL.lion doll<. rs in <.nnua. revenues a.ld l3 emp;oyees. In 2 4C·O square feet :m the 26th floor of t:te me-state To~r.

the firm's offices afiord strkinE views J f Cha-b .te's center city. Inside, ma?S aco ~n :hE w

~sa nd

stan::ls display globes perfectly fitting ~or this Chalotte-

~·eptember

2001.

Vernon invested in Choice, which helped at a time when the coopany need'-d growth funds but was being turned down f.x lcar.s by bankers who dicn't undcr=tand the translating b_;siness. In 1999, Vernon and Michelle movec the firm in o the Ben Craig Center. :1 University City-area business incul:ator. ThE same year fley hired their first employee. Vernon sole'. his business in 2000 In tte incubator, ti-e couple learned quickly 'They taught us ho» to get go·.£rnment contracts," tv'i.chelle says. 'They taugh: us how to grow, btt: not toJ fa, . c.nd abcut human rescurces issues and hiring the right pec ple."

base::l company which provides t:-anslating a.d

When the pair em£:-ged from the incubator last year, they'd sim::>lib~d the name to Choice Trans.a.ting and adopted a gyroscope logo "because it represenG

interpreting services in 65 languages.

ttability in motion ." T1ey picked an uptowll location, centTal to their regional

Choice Translating, lee. is a fuL-ser<ice lin~isti:s compan) concentrating on tr:mslating, interpreting br::1.1.d

customer base. The o!ices are designed with a quiet area for transla.:ing, separac:i :rom the louder interp-eting function. )o-

greater charlotte biz

november 2004

39


The couple decided to live downtown as well, moving into a second-floor condominium on North Church just blocks from their office. Although they work hard, Michelle and Vernon maintain their sense of humor. They have no children but do have Chaika, a 10-year-old black Labrador retriever. She has learned to open the front door - and operate the elevator. Recently, she was discovered in the lift, seven floors up. Back at the office, President Michelle and Chief Operating Officer Vernon preside over a business that has grown to well more than a million dollars in annual sales and is the Carolinas' biggest linguistics agency The company is in the LOp 80 such firms in the United States, out of several thousand. Industry-leading clients include Bowne&: Company, Inc. of New York, a billion-dollar firm whose translating business approaches $200 million annually, and Lionbridge Technologies Inc., a Massachusetts translation company with sales of $140 million. "Its a very fragmented industry," Vernon Menard explains. "We're already in the LOp one percent. There's a small group of companies that are significantly larger. We intend LO join that group." Michelle smiles about her goal of attaining an annual sales number that required two commas. "We first hit $1 million in 2001," she says. "We've grown every year. We should do $2 million through the end of]une 2005." Keeping Growth Coming

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Choice Translating recently hired a senior project manager from TransPerfecL Translations, culminating an 18-month pursuit by the Menards. She left the Manhattan-based corporation with sales of $25 million. "She felt comfortable in the direction we're going and decided she would be appreciated here," Michelle says. Besides its full-Lime staff, Choice Translating employs free lancers from around the globe. The Menards used to find them while attending industry conferences but, these days, linguists as far away as Russia and Saudi Arabia contact them. The Menards quote prices based on individual projects. "We have experience handling lots of different projects, so we give firm quotes," Michelle says. "The first thing l ask them for is an estimate and its something they can give me

within hours," says Adriana Taylor, an immigration paralegal at the Charlotte office of Moore&: Van Allen. "Generally, they are very competitive." Taylors projects run from birth certificates to contracts and needed languages often are Italian, German or Spanish. "They're also good at quality control," Taylor adds. "When a corporate client asks about a translator, I don't hesitate to refer them to Choice." Translating services deal with written documents and include applications such as packaging, online training programs, immigration documents, patents, contracts and business cards. Gary Klipp ofThe Quality Group in Charloue was glad to find the Menard's firm nearby when he recently needed Lo translate a Six Sigma course into Spanish. Headquartered in Atlanta, The Quality Group specializes in Web-based training. ''I'm absolutely impressed with what they did ,'' says Klipp, product development president. Previously, he used a company that had him dealing with translators in Ireland at 5:00a.m. Eastern Lime. "Its a lot better faceto-face," Klipp says. "When you've got somebody here and willing to work with you, you can turn around the product much

Choice Translating, Inc.

~ Choice li-anslaring

Interstate Tower 121 West Trade St., Ste. 2650 Charlotte, N.C. 28202 Phone: 704-7 17-0043 and

1-888-721-2077 President: Michelle Menard Chief Operating Officer: Vernon J.

Menard Ill Employees: 13 In Business: Since 1995 (originally as Choice Translating & Interpreting, Inc. until2003) Business: Provides comprehensive linguistic services, including translating, interpreting, brand analysis and tagline localization. Clients typically are in the marketing, advertising, medical, legal, pharmaceutical, educational, manufacturing and financial industries.The company also serves government agencies. www.choicetranslating.com

www.greate rc harl otte biz. com


quicker." He'll come back to Choice Translating soon, he adds, because he has a tool-makers Spanish translation project in the pipeline. Customer Satisfaction a Top Priority

"We want repeat customers," Michelle says. "If you've got someone who is extremely satisfied, they're going to spread the word about your business." For Choice, interpreting is primarily a Carolinas-centric business, often involving government agencies such as police and social services as well as hospitals. The company offers interpreters on call24 hours a day For brand name analysis, the Menards consult with linguists in target markets. Using a custom-built Web-based application they answer questions about the possible meanings and connotations of proposed product names. Michelle remembers a name for a diet pill that its maker was high on. Research showed the proposed moniker meant "you're fat" in French. Often, the Choice Translating tagline "meaning turns on a word" - is pertinent. Vernon Menard recalls the document a Spanish-speaking man received, directing him to a specific location. "He couldn't tell what city because the document read 'Carlotta, North Carolina.' Turns out Carlotta is Spanish for Charlotte." That document might have been produced with computer software, a procedure the Menards are wary of. "Theres no replacement for the human brain in looking at the whole project and knowing how it's going to be used and what the target market is," Michelle says. Still, Choice Translating uses high-end technology in many applications. One such situation was with a training document for a gas turbine power plant in Mexico. It was filled with thermodynamics terminology and technical terms. Software helped the Menards create a 3,500-line glossary of technical terms that kept word usage consistent for 3,000 pages. Although that project took 22 people and six weeks, Choice Translating prides itself on quick turnarounds. Christy Gordon, communications coordinator for IRWIN Industrial Tools in Huntersville, likes that when it comes to translations for packaging. "We have worked with several other translations firms and we were always given

greater charlotte biz

promises of quick service, but we'd be waiting a while for the translations to come back," Gordon says. "Choice always guarantees a time and it's usually 24 hours or less. They're willing to work with us on ways to expedite things and willing to come out and visit with us. They go out of their way" That willingness to go the extra mile has paid rewards other than financial. Michelle won the U.S. Small Business Administrations "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award in 2000. She serves on the executive committee of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory's International Cabinet and chaired the Charlotte Mayor's International Community Awards Selection Committee from 2002 through 2004. She and Vernon serve on the board of the Charlotte Chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization. Vernon also is a board member for the UNC Charlotte Chapter of Students in Free Enterprise. Obviously both Menards enjoy community service and they add that they find business rewards in civic activity Both have worked with the Small Business and

Technology Development Center (SBTDC) for the last four years. "SBTDC has been a valuable sounding board for discussing current issues and long-term growth strategies," Michelle says. "They have provided help in most areas of our business." But linguistics is their first love. "We enJOY them all," Vernon says of the world's languages, 92 of which are spoken in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Michelle enjoys the challenge each language poses. She remembers dealing with Russian financial projects several years ago when the country was emerging from a cashbased society The language had no words for such terms as line of credit and interest. 'The Russian translation community and everyone was working together to devise financial terms," she says. 'The most exciting thing," Michelle adds, "is that you always get that sense of completion and satisfaction in seeing the results of your work. You find out the impact that it has with a client. That makes a big difference." biz Ellison Clary is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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41


Urbanization and the Service Economy: Charlotte's Evolution Commentary by John E. Silvia, Ph .D., Chief Economist, Wachovia Corporation

times the change is so subtle its barely perceptible. For example, have you noticed the new housing developments off Providence Road south of 4857 At other times the change can't be missed. Witness the announcements concerning condo and office building ground breaking in the uptown area - thats "in-your-face" urban explosion. Both examples speak to an urbanization of Charloue quite unlike anything we've seen in the past and they also demonstrate an evolution of Charlottes labor market that suggests a significant tum toward the service sector. Economic Geography: "Suburbanization" and Urbanization in Concert

Population growth and "in-migration" allow for two distinct trends in the economic geography of Charlotte. On one side there is a significant "suburbanization" of Charlotte, i.e. the rapid population growth we've seen in the surrounding counties of Union, Cabarrus and Lincoln, and also stretching into York, South Carolina (Exhibit 1). This "suburbanization" is typical of the experience of many American cities, including Chicago, Kansas City and Indianapolis. What is not typical about Charlottes expansion is the contemporaneous urbaniza-

Lion of the Charlottes Uptown along with this "suburbanization". For a while now I have heard Charlotteans express concern that Charlotte may become another Atlanta. I presume this to mean a megalopolis with lots of traffic that lacks a distinct, vibrant urban core. In my opinion, this is a very unlikely outcome for the Queen City Given the history of annexation here in Charlotte, unlike what we've seen in Atlanta, Charlotte's center city has continued to dominate the economic landscape of the region. This suggests that the primary focus of traffic f1ow will still be toward Uptown during rush hours, thereby providing the opportunity for public transit to better serve the needs of the urban core while still allowing the circumferential highway to serve the shopping! residential/trucking needs of the metropolitan area. Certainly the economic geography will allow less-dense office/residential development along the highway while greater density drives the Uptown core. Even now, we can see a pattern of rings developing around Charlottes city center where the traditional suburbs such as South Charlotte exist. These traditional suburbs are being surrounded by the newer suburbs of bordering counties and the highway ring.

Charlotte MSA Population: Suburbanization (Percent Change)

Blue Bar= Percent Change in 2003 Green Bar= Average Annual Growth , 1997-2003

From an external perspective, by someone not as familiar with Charlotte, the existence of South Charloue and other inner suburbs is a very unique feature of our city IL provides an urban, livable lifestyle that simply does not exist in most American cities. However, preservation of these inner suburbs remains another challenge city leadership must address. Urbanization of Uptown

Still, the biggest distinction between Charlotte and Atlanta (as well as several other cities) is the urbanization of the uptown area while the region itself, in concert, ex'Periences "suburbanization." The employment and population growth dynamic suggests that the size of the whole "development" pie is increasing, which is dissimilar to the experience of many other cities. In these cities, their suburbs and the city core compete fo r population and economic development. Interesting to note, this urbanization suggests a denser city core with vertical housing and retail needs quite distinct from the traditional Charlotte image of a family-centered community with big churches and big parking lots, schools and parks with lots of green space. A younger urban population that brings diverse backgrounds to the city creates the demand fo r entertainment and social needs that are quite different from the Charlotte centered on a traditional family framework. City leadership that is more familiar with the latter image of Charlotte may find this change in need difficult to understand and manage. Policymakers and business leaders are challenged by this bi-directional growth, i.e. Charlotte is becoming both "suburbanized" and urbanized. Transportation needs require both a completion of key highways and a core urban transit system in key dense corridors. Evolution of the Labor Market

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For the past twenty years, Charlottes employment pie has become increasingly diversified with a greater orientation towards the professional service sector. This is consis- ~

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tent with the "in-migration" of young professionals seeking an urban lifestyle while families seek a suburban experience. This pattern represents a challenge to both the transportation and educational systems of the region. Diversiftcation in employment is one of the true strengths of the Charlotte economy and is well represented in Exhibit 2. Our economy is not dominated by any one industry Moreover, some may be surprised to learn that Charlottes largest employment sectors are actually services and trade, as well as large contributions from manufacturing and government. The importance of trade to the regional economy suggests that completing construction of the circumferential highway should remain a priority Moreover, surface routes are critical to the smooth functioning of a service economy where workers travel during work hours much more than traditional manufacturing workers did in the past. Service sector employment growth also increases the demands on our secondary and junior college education systems. Charlottes society needs them to step up their production of computer-literate, English-speaking workers ..Historically, the higher rate of high school dropouts did not present as big of a societal issue as it does today This is, in part, because many of those high school dropouts with limited skills could find work in the factories. This option is no longer available to

the schools nor to the students. Moreover, many Per Capita Income workers today recognize (In Thousands of Dollars, BEA, 2002) that they are not likely to work for the same company for their entire careers and often not even in the same profession for their entire employment period. Therefore, our educational infrastructure needs to develop additional flexibility to provide lifetime education. Finally, there is clearly a need for professional education in Charlotte Mecklenburg MSA N.C. S.C. given the anticipated aging of the baby boom along with the prefgreater commitment to quality and reliability erence for better health care as incomes rise. of both systems that was not the historical For a sizable city with better educated and norm in a small Southern city of just twenty more prosperous citizens, the demand for years ago. professional services such as law, dentistry, medicine and pharmacy requires a city effort bizresource guide to fill in this underrepresented portion of the Take advantage o( these products and services (rom economy Charlotte's lead1ng bus1ness-to-business suppl1ers.

Rising Expectations and Community Services

Urbanization and the growth of professional services in our region have given rise to economic prosperity for the average citizen. Per capita income in the Charlotte metro area is Charlotte Employment greater than both the North Percent ofTotal Emp loyment, 2003 Carolina and U.S. averages Transportation (Exhibit 3). This, perhaps, Education & & Utilitites is surprising to some but Health Services also represents a challenge to community leadership. Our community leaders Leisure & need to recognize that the Hospitality level of expectations of the 8% citizens has risen and will Finance, continue to rise. This sugInsurance &Real Estate gests that the demand for 8% better transportation and education will increase over Manufacturing time. Moreover, the nature 13% of these demands suggests a

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ABC Cleaning ATCOM Blair, Bohle & Whittsitt Breakfast Club America Business Success Institute Carolina Foot Associates Carolina VW CATS Charlotte HelpDesk Charlotte Steeplechase Choice Translating Compass Career CPCC Corp. Training Daniel Ratliff Dilworth Hair Center Employers Association Exervio First Citizens Bank 5 Off 5 On Land America Liquid Design MacThrift Office Furniture Mecklenburg County Recycling Party Reflections Presidents Forum PR Store Regent Park Scott Insurance Scott Jaguar Staton Financial Advisors Tathwell Printing TimeWarner Business United Mailing Service UNCC Belk College Wachovia Bank Wake Forest University- Babcock School

pg. 18 pg. 30 pg. 12 pg. 19 pg. 12 pg. 27 BC pg. 8 pg. 41 pg. IBC pg. 11 pg. 9 pg. 10 pg. 20 pg. 8 pg. 13 pg. 10 IFC pg. 32 pg. 25 pg. 9 pg. 21 pg. 36 pg. 18 pg. 33 pg. 40 pg. 31 pg. 3 pg. 26 pg. 37 pg. 43 pg. 1 pg. 24 pg. 43 pg. 5 pg. 11

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Greater Charlotte Biz 2004.11