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Charlotte Research Institute • Integraphx • Carpenter, Cammack & Associates • Lindsay Daniel Architecture

january 2006

CRP Teams Up for Charlotte USA

Success

An

Economic Developer’s

Dream Ronnie L. Bryant President and CEO Charlotte Regional Partnership


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in this issue

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cover story

Charlotte Regional Partnership

Ronnie Bryant comes to the 16-county CRP from a similar position with the 10-county Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. After having regularly competed with Charlotte for corporate relocations, he considers his new position to be an economic developer’s dream job. He has been making the rounds, putting names with faces, and gearing up to present CRP’s five-year economic development plan in first quar ter of 2006.

16 Charlotte Research Institute

Dr. Robert Wilhelm, CRP’s new executive director, has been characterized as an eloquent scientist and communicator who seeks to keep his organization and partners moving forward in synchronization. He’s looking forward to developing university business and technology partnerships within their research centers, generating valuable results.

28 Integraphx Athough this company has been in the same family for 25 years, they are far from old-fashioned. State-of-the-ar t integrated graphics capabilities, high-end digital printing, and interactive online services and products serve a diverse client base that constantly seeks the latest technologies and capabilities. It’s a really cool printing company!

32 Carpenter Cammack Although Carpenter and Cammack were already seasoned veterans in the commercial insurance industry, forming their own company from scratch and cold calling out of a car was no lark.Their company has since grown to a four-office, full-service commercial insurance agency specializing in insurance and risk management for medium-sized and large companies.

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departments publisher’s post

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employers biz

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Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

on top

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bizXperts

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bizXperts: Smart Salvos, Select Strategies and Succinct Solutions

executive homes

37 & IBC

Luxury Homes above $500,000

biz resource guide

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workforce biz

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Central Piedmont Community College Turns “Fun and Games” Into Lucrative Careers

on the cover: Ronnie L. Bryant, President and CEO, Charlotte Regional Partnership.

38 Lindsay Daniel Lifestyle is everything: that’s Lindsay Daniel’s creed, and it’s one she lives by. She practices “Couture Architecture,” providing architectural service, design quality, and personalized attention to the client and the project, going beyond typical architectural practice, involving elements of fine arts, interior design, architecture, and family management.

Photography by Wayne Morris.

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Charlotte’s New Executive Conference Center Where ideas and results meet.

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[publisher’spost] It’s Time to Give Healthcare Tax Credits to Individuals as Well as Employers! Nearly 46 million Americans have no health insurance and that number is expected to climb to 53.7 million by the end of 2006, as the percentage of all employers offering healthcare coverage to their employees continues to decrease, down already from 69 percent five years ago to 60 percent this year. Of those uninsured, nearly 60 percent are employed by small businesses that cannot afford healthcare coverage for their employees. Out of nearly 300 million Americans, about 159 million are covered through their employment and another 76 million are covered by the government. Nearly 17 million Americans purchase their own individual or family coverage. The cost of healthcare itself has continued to rise. Employers’ average annual premium for single coverage in 2004 was $3,695. It is expected that healthcare premiums will rise to an average of more than $14,565 for family coverage by the end of 2006, more than double the average family premium of $7,053 in 2001. Total annual spending on health care now exceeds $1.7 trillion. In recent years, we have witnessed an increasing number of business failures precipitated by the burden of healthcare expenses that must be managed, not only for their current workforce, but also for their retired workers. American companies are being crippled by these costs, both because they have set aside inadequate reserves to handle them (reserves were based on significantly shorter life expectancies), and because the cost of healthcare tests, procedures and medications has significantly risen as well. Ever since World War II when health care was offered as an incentive during wage freezes, American workers have become increasingly dependent upon employer-provided healthcare coverage. Tax deductions have been provided to employers for providing health care to their employees as a tax advantage for over 50 years. Efforts to impose mandates on all employers to provide coverage failed along with the complexities of the healthcare plan developed under the Clinton administration in 1994. Since defeat of that reform package, lawmakers have been reluctant to do more than mandate minimal changes to deliver more coverage to youth and the elderly. Health care for larger enterprises is governed primarily by ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security) rules established by the federal government. Health care for smaller businesses is generally governed by insurance laws established by state governments and administered by insurance commissioners within states. Health care for the elderly is delivered by federal Medicare statutes. Health care for the poor and indigent is delivered by Medicaid regulated by states. The current tax code creates a significant tax advantage for employers providing coverage by exempting the total value of the benefit from a worker’s taxable income. With an unlimited tax credit for employers, wealthier companies can provide huge health care benefits at the expense of others who cannot afford any coverage. That is not fair. The only real way to expand coverage to more people is to revise the tax code so that employers and individuals alike receive tax credits for healthcare premiums for coverage on a truly basic and uniform benefit package up to a maximum premium level. By applying equal tax credits to employers and individuals, we will end the unfair and unequal delivery of healthcare coverage and offer all workers the chance to participate in the healthcare system at a more reasonable cost spread over more workers. Those who choose more substantial coverage can pay for that extra coverage with after-tax income. Our health care system was never intended to be a health expense reimbursement mechanism. It should be returned to its important role as a financial backstop. At the same time, given the tremendous advances in the amount of tests, procedures, and medications available, individuals must also play a larger and more active role as consumers making appropriate healthcare purchasing decisions throughout their lives. biz

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January 2006 Volume 7 • Issue 1 Publisher John Paul Galles jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

Associate Publisher/Editor Maryl A. Lane maryl.a.lane@greatercharlottebiz.com

Creative Director Rebecca G. Fairchild rfairchild@greatercharlottebiz.com

Business Development E.Ward Norris wnorris@greatercharlottebiz.com

Account Executives Gary Biernacki gbiernacki@greatercharlottebiz.com

Michelle Killi mkilli@greatercharlottebiz.com

Mimi Zelman mzelman@greatercharlottebiz.com

Contributing Editor Susanne Deitzel Contributing Writers Ellison Clary Susanne Deitzel Heather Head Casey Jacobus Contributing Photographer Wayne Morris Galles Communications Group, Inc. 5601 77 Center Drive • Suite 250 Charlotte, NC 28217-0736 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 2006 by Galles Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved.The 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 Biz 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 x102. Greater Charlotte Biz (ISSN 1554-6551) is published monthly by Galles Communications Group, Inc., 5601 77 Center Dr., Ste. 250, Charlotte, NC 28217-0736. Telephone: 704-676-5850. Fax: 704-676-5853. Subscription rate is $24 for one year. Periodicals postage pending at Charlotte, N.C., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Greater Charlotte Biz, 5601 77 Center Dr., Ste. 250, Charlotte, NC 28217-0736.

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Come beInspired... HOOD HARGETT Breakfast Club America gives “Wake up and smell the coffee” full-bodied meaning!

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hroughout the year, the Hood Hargett BCA hosts a series of business-to-business development events, business entertainment events and business training events exclusively for its members and their employees and customers. These are exclusive events, not available to the general public. You must join or be Featured Speakers: invited as a guest of a breakfast club member. January 13, 2006

Horst Schulze Founder, President & Former COO The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

February 10, 2006 Dr. William Freund Chief Economist Emeritus The New York Stock Exchange

March 10, 2006 Joe Theismann ESPN NFL Analyst Washington Redskins Star Quarterback

April 7, 2006 TBA

May 12, 2006 Kyle Maynard ESPN 2004 ESPY Award Winner Success Without Excuses

September 15, 2006 Geoffrey Colvin Editor at Large Fortune Magazine

October 13, 2006 Howard Putnam Former CEO Southwest Airlines

November 10, 2006 William Shipman Expert Social Security and Retirement

Meet Our Members! Apple Rock BE&K Business Wise Carolina Traffic Devices Catalyst Consulting Charlotte Bobcats Charlotte Copy Data ClickCom CNP Technologies Consolidated Planning Diamond Springs First Citizens Bank Greater Charlotte Biz Hood Hargett Interact Juba Aluminum Products

L.A. Management Company Make-A-Wish Foundation Nash Institute / Ross W. Nash DDS Noble's Resturants Paige Bickel Fine Jewelry & Design Queen City Audio Video & Appliances Rose Limousine Scott Jaguar Signal Graphics/ Vision Envelope Sprint Taylor Richards & Conger Thunder Road Brandworks Tice McNinch Wagner Noble & Company Wishart Norris Henninger & Pittman

To attend or learn more or to find out about membership,

call Jennifer Snyder at 704-602-9529 j enn@ho o dhargett.c om

©2006 Galles Communications Group, Inc.


[employersbiz]

Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY!! In a recent article of HR Magazine the topic was “SDB’s” or Self Defeating Behavior, what it is, and what to do about it. We all have them to some degree, repetitive behaviors that derail you from moving forward in your life. They are what the author calls “distress” relievers; that overwhelming feeling that occurs when stress builds up and all you want to do is get some immediate relief. SDB’s have the ability to derail you from your long-range plans. Self-Defeating Behaviors rob you of your energy and they cause you embarrassment because you are always coming up with excuses as to why things aren’t finished on time or correctly. Productivity, results and growth come to a standstill, or worse, decline. Some common workplace SDB’s include procrastination, not delegating, not listening, defensiveness, people pleasing, and fear of learning new things. So how do we get over this phenomenon? Take a minute and fill in the blanks of the following paragraph: “If I had this to do over again, instead of what I did, I would have done _____. If I had done _____, it would have prevented these negative consequences because _____. The best way to catch myself before I engage in this SDB and then try this alternate behavior would be to _____.” In addition, the author spelled out a 10-step plan designed to help ourselves and others as we recognize or observe these behaviors: 1. Determine the “stakeholders” in your life – those people who are most affected by your actions and whose behavior most affects you. 2. Approach the stakeholders and tell them you have committed yourself to working on your professional development and you’d like their help.

3. Figure out which two SDB’s most significantly hinder your performance (ask family and friends /co-workers who would like to help you succeed). 4. Ask your stakeholders if they agree with the SDB’s you’ve chosen.

5. Work together with your stakeholders to determine your new and improved behavior and what it would look like so it is easily recognized. 6. Set a time to get together with your stakeholder to discuss your progress (e.g. every two weeks).

National Executive Compensation Survey

The Employers Association is once again co-sponsoring the National Executive Compensation Survey. You are invited to participate in the 2006 National Executive Compensation Survey. Since recruiting at the executive level is often done on a regional or national basis, this survey may serve as a valuable resource for your organization. Additionally, you may benefit from this survey if your organization has facilities in other parts of the country, or is planning on expanding operations in different areas. Last year, 20 employers associations from across the country co-sponsored the survey. Data were represented from 1,578 organizations. Survey participants contributed compensation data for 10,720 executives in 34 positions. With participation, members may order a copy of the final report for only $50 (the cost for non-participants is $250). The final report provides national and regional analyses by position and industry type, with breakouts and comparison charts. In addition, executive perquisites are also surveyed in order to get a well-rounded view of the trends in Executive Compensation packages. The final report is scheduled to be released in May 2006.

Virus Use in Workplace Violence Increases For most of us, when we think of computer viruses ravaging workplace networks, our minds conjure images of employees accidentally down loading infected attachments or teenage hackers determined to demonstrate how much damage they can do to businesses. However, in today’s hostile business environment of increased outsourcing, corporate downsizing and salary reductions, company computer systems are increasingly being attacked by disgruntled employees. A recent study sponsored by Risk Control Strategies found that an overwhelming majority of security and human resources executives surveyed said that workplace violence is a bigger problem now than it was just two years ago. Just under one-quarter of those surveyed reported that, in the last year, employees at their company have intentionally and maliciously downloaded viruses at work. To prevent these potentially devastating attacks, experts recommend the following strategies: are predominantly males between 25 and verbal outbursts, harboring grudges or 1. Employ Background Checks - Using a 40 who succumb to stress easily and are brandishing weapons to gain attention. Also, thorough background check, the purposeful manipulative, chronic complainers. Since remarks to friends and co-workers that reveal destruction of property is just one of the these criteria could describe individuals intentions often precede violent acts. An many criminal offenses that can be uncovered who pose no threat to workplace safety, estimated 86 percent of past workplace pre- or post-hire. Assessment tests that gauge however, they should be used in context violence incidents were apparent to co-workers attitudes and work-related values are another with other warning signs. and were brought to management’s attention weapon that can be waged in the war against 3. Be Prepared to React to Red Flags before an incident. Astonishingly, over 75 workplace violence. Perpetrators of workplace violence typically percent of these incidents continued to 2. Pinpoint Potential Perpetrators - Because display warning signs of impending violence develop as a result of inaction on the part of workplace violence is rarely spontaneous, it is including leveling verbal threats, physical or managers. (InfoMart) preventable. History shows that perpetrators

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IRS Announces 2006 Standard Mileage Rates 7. Ask them if they would like to join you in working on eliminating one of their own SBD’s and join you in working together toward a common goal. 8. Ask them to choose two SDB’s they would like to work on. 9. Or, you can determine which SDB they have that they should work on. 10. As you both gain success, continue to choose other SDB’s and work on eliminating those together. Remember, it takes 21 days to change a behavior and create a habit, and a minimum of six to twelve months for a habit to become internalized, but it CAN be done! Recognize and eliminate Self-Defeating Behaviors in 2006! (TEA Executive Update)

As The Flu Season Approaches... Question: There has been much said about the possibility of a severe outbreak of influenza this winter, specifically the avian flu. Are there additional resources available that provide further information and guidelines on what employees and employers can expect during the upcoming winter months? Answer: Because of the concern that the avian flu has the potential to reach pandemic levels, the White House recently launched a Web site, www.pandemicflu.gov, with specific information about pandemic and avian influenza from various health organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Web site defines a pandemic influenza, describes the characteristics and challenges when dealing with pandemic influenza, summarizes what is currently being done by many health organizations, and has a helpful section of frequently asked questions (FAQs). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also provides information on their Web site (www.hhs.gov/flu) about the seasonal flu and what employees can do to protect themselves throughout the coming winter months. (The Management Association of Illinois)

greater charlotte biz

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2006 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. As of Jan. 1, 2006, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (including vans, pickups or panel trucks) is: •44.5 cents per mile for business •14 cents per mile driven in service miles driven of charitable organizations, other •18 cents per mile driven for medical or than activities related to Hurricane moving purposes Katrina relief. The new rate for business miles compares to a rate of 40.5 cents per mile for the first eight months of 2005. In September, the IRS made a special one-time adjustment for the last four months of 2005, raising the rate for business miles to 48.5 cents per mile in response to a sharp increase in gas prices, which topped $3 a gallon. For the first eight months of 2005, the standard rate for miles driven for medical or moving purposes was 15 cents per mile, and, except for special Hurricane Katrina rates, the standard rate for miles driven in service of a charitable organization was 14 cents per mile. For the last four months of 2005, the agency raised the standard rate for miles driven for medical or moving purposes to 22 cents per mile. The standard rate for charitable miles remained at 14 cents per mile – except for charitable miles relating to Hurricane Katrina. For the period Aug. 25 to Aug. 31, 2005, the rate for miles driven for charities providing Hurricane Katrina relief is 29 cents, for deduction purposes, and 40.5 cents, for reimbursement purposes. For the months of September through December 2005, the special Katrina-related rates are 34 cents for deductions and 48.5 cents for reimbursements. For 2006, these Katrina-related charitable rates are 32 cents per mile for deduction purposes and 44.5 cents per mile for reimbursement purposes. (Revenue Procedure 2005-78)

No Whining Policy? Reality or Just Wishful Thinking? A German company recently created a new policy – one that many HR managers have likely dreamed about numerous times – making whining a terminable offense! The information technology company is so fed up with its employees’ habit of griping that it’s instituted a “two moans and you’re out” policy. Company staffers now have to adhere to a clause in their contract that requires them to be in a good mood to keep their jobs. Moaning and whining are forbidden, unless accompanied by suggestions for improving the source of the complaint. Reportedly, at least two workers have been fired for violating the policy. According to one company vice-president, one hour of employee whining each week, taken cumulatively, cuts into productivity and costs the company an average of 15,000 Euro (nearly $17,600). In addition to the “no-whine” policy, the company also implemented more employeefriendly benefits and programs that have

bolstered company morale. As appealing as this policy might sound, implementation in the U.S. could be more difficult. If your company seeks to outlaw moans, or punish moaners, remember that American laws may allow some forms of perceived moaning and possible whining. For example, many laws prohibit retaliation for assisting in discrimination or other legal claims. The National Labor Relations Act allows employees to talk together about acting together to improve their working conditions. biz The Employers Association is a nonprofit Charlotte organization providing comprehensive human resources and training services. Founded in 1958, the Association maintains a broadbased membership of over 700 companies from all industries in the greater Charlotte region. The above excerpts were taken from The Management Report, the Association’s monthly newsletter. For more information, please call Laura Hampton at 704-522-8011 or visit the Web site at www.employersassoc.com.

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[ontop] Awards & Achievements David Hollars, executive director of Centralina Workforce Development Board, has been honored as the recipient of the George B. Autry Leadership Award, (left) David Hollars one of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Workforce Development. US Oncology has presented Congresswoman Sue Myrick with the 2005 US Oncology Medal of Honor Award for her leadership and continued support of the Congresswoman Sue Myrick war on cancer. Advertising & Media Moonlight Design Group, Inc. has been honored with two gold and one platinum MarCom Creative Awards. Jesse Weser has joined the company as a graphic designer. Walker Marketing, Jesse Weser Advertising & Public Relations, Inc. has appointed JoAnne Laffey Heckman to the new position of vice president, Client Services. Heather Sharrett, campaign manager with WebsiteBiz, has received certification as a Google Advertising Professional. Roy Morejon has joined the company as a search engine campaign manager. Keela Wilson has joined Welcomemat Services as an account manager; Chris Summerville has joined as a graphics coordinator. Chris Summerville Powell & Partners Creative has announced the addition Matt Merkel of Matt Merkel as senior art director. Business & Professional Lesesne & Connette and Essex

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[ontop] Richards, P.A. have announced a merger; the combined firm retains the Essex Richards, P.A. name and shares offices in Charlotte’s SouthEnd. Alliance of Professionals & Consultants, Inc. with North Carolina offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro, has been ranked as the ninth fastest growing Native American business in the nation and the seventh fastest growing diversity-owned business in North Carolina by DiversityBusiness.com, a multicultural Internet site. Wishart Norris Henninger & Pittman, a law firm representing Megan Sadler Trey Baker closely held, including family-owned, businesses and their owners, has added Megan Sadler and Trey Baker to its Charlotte office. Compass Career Management Solutions, an OI Partner, has been recognized for completing the Internal Self-Certification Process, for commitment to consistency and reliability, as a career transition services firm. CourierNet Inc. of Charlotte and Atlanta, has named Chip Horton as Charlotte operations manager.

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Construction & Design NRS Corporation and Professional Builder magazine have announced that Arcadia Homes has won the 2005 NRS Award in Customer Satisfaction – Excellence in Class, recognizing the company as the #2 custom builder in North America. Thomas P. Duffy, AIA, has joined the staff of Peterson Associates, a Charlotte-based integrated healthcare design Thomas P. Duffy firm, as project manager. The Salins Group, custom homebuilders and home remodelers, has named Chris Inglehart as project manager. Education/Staffing The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has dedicated its new Science and Technology Building, The James H. and Martha H. Woodward Hall, to honor the work of Chancellor Emeritus James Woodward and his

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[ontop] wife, Martha, for their contributions to the university. Robert Wilhelm has been named the executive director of the Charlotte Research Institute at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Terry Broderick has been Robert Wilhelm named dean of the McColl Graduate School of Business at Queens University, after serving as dean for an interim period since June 2005. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education has selected Cindy Combs at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte from nearly 400 top professors in the United States as the 2005 North Carolina Professor of the Year. Cindy Combs Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) has recognized artist and teacher Elizabeth Sproul Ross for her 36 years of service to the College and her impact on young artists by naming its new art gallery in the Academic and Performing Arts Center in her honor. CPCC’s new performing arts theatre has been named the Halton Theatre to honor benefactor, Dale F. Halton, recently retired president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Charlotte. The Charlotte School of Law (CharlotteLaw) and the InfiLaw Consortium of Independent Law Schools have appointed Dr. E. Eugene Clark as dean of the city's first law school, which is scheduled to open in August 2006. Dr. Clark will assume the deanship in January 2006; he is currently dean of the School of Law, Business and Arts at Charles Darwin University in Australia. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Department of Transportation has been recognized by the Carolinas Clean Air Coalition with an Airkeeper Award. CEO Search has hired Jennifer Parker as an account executive and Anita Peek-Brinson as staffing coordinator. Dale Jordan has joined

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[ontop] CEO Healthcare as account executive, and Rita Pope has joined CEO Inc. as administrative assistant. Financial & Insurance Grant Thornton, a leading accounting, tax and business advisory firm, has announced the opening of an International Business Center in Charlotte. Wachovia Trust has announced the retirement of Ray McKinney, executive vice president and managing executive of Fiduciary Risk Ray McKinney and Administrative Services for Wachovia Trust. Two executives of Charlotte-based Cogdell Spencer Inc. have announced the creation of a $1 million charitable gift in conjunction with Foundation For The Carolinas. The executives were also given the opportunity to ring the opening bell at the NYSE on November 28, 2005. Thomas Scharf has joined First Citizens Investor Services as a financial consultant in Charlotte. First Trust Bank has Thomas Scharf opened a new loan production office in Concord, N.C., to be headed by Leonard H. (Buddy) Barlow III, vice president/commercial banking. Leah M. Long, chartered Leonard H. Barlow III financial analyst has joined WEDGE Capital Management as executive vice president. David M. Armstrong CLU, Leah M. Long assistant general agent, brokerage director and disability income specialist with Hinrichs Flanagan Financial, a MassMutual general agency in Charlotte, has been published in Broker World magazine. Allstates Technical Services, Inc. has announced its recruiting staff has been recognized as Certified Staffing Professionals through the American Staffing Association.

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[ontop] Government/Non-Profit Mecklenburg County Commissioner Norman A. Mitchell Sr. has been appointed to serve on the Justus-Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force. Health Care John T. Klimas, MD, has received the first Maribelle G. Connerat Preventative Health Award from Community Health Service for his work in building the coalition for Physicians Reach Out. John T. Klimas, MD Charlotte Radiology has announced the opening of its new comprehensive breast imaging center, the area’s first MRI dedicated to breast imaging and biopsy, at Morehead Medical Plaza. Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates has announced the addition of physiatrists John A. Welshofer, MD, and David R. Wiercisiewski, MD, to the practice, as well as licensed physical therapists, Graham Claytor, MPT, and Ryan Klomparens, MSR, PT. Real Estate Commercial/Residential Timothy B. Sittema has joined Crosland, Inc., a Southeast developer, as senior vice president of its retail division. Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, has named Wallace Perry president and chief operations officer for the company’s Carolinas Region to oversee the operations of 15 Coldwell Banker offices throughout North and South Carolina. ForSite Development Partners, LLC, based in Charlotte, has announced the purchase of the former Robert Bosch Tool Corp. facility in Fountain Inn, S.C. John Alexander, Kelly Bost, Rima Jordi and Melissa Randolph have joined Prudential Carolinas Realty in Charlotte. Weichert, Realtors - Rebhan & Associates has announced the addition of agents, Trish Wallin and Tommy Williams, to its sales team. First Colony Capital, LLC, a real estate investment firm specializing in investment and corporate real estate services, has added

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[ontop] Nancy Burghart as project coordinator to its team. J. Brent Blane has joined T.B. Harris, Jr. & Associates as a research assistant, and James Knott Jr. has joined as a registered appraiser trainee.

Nancy Burghart

Retail/Sports/Entertainment Reigning NASCAR Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and 2005 NBA Rookie of the Year Emeka Okafor have announced the creation of Team 950, a partnership created to provide opportunities for kids in need. Stephanie Sego of Carmel Day Spa & Salon has earned the competitive designation of Master Hair Colorist, certified by the American Board of Certified Haircolorists.

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Technology Peak 10, the Southeast's leading data center operator and managed services provider, has received an award for IT Support Services by the North Carolina Technology Association. Luvon Hudson has joined NouvEON Technology Partners as a recruiter, and Jill Channer has joined the company as a managing consultant. Tourism & Travel The Center for Transportation Policy Studies at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in partnership with the Charlotte Chamber have released estimates that Charlotte Douglas International Airport contributes nearly $10 billion in total economic impact to the Carolinas, and creates over 100,000 jobs throughout the region, feeding over $5 billion into the region’s economy through wages and salaries each year. Charlotte has been recognized in the November 2005 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine’s Hot-City Guide. biz To be considered for inclusion, please send your news releases and announcements in the body of an e-mail (only color photos attached) to editor@greatercharlottebiz.com, or fax them to 704-676-5853, or post them to our business address – at least 30 days prior to our publication date.

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bizXperts: Smart Salvos, Select Strategies and Succinct Solutions

bizXperts

what’s next for my business?

“I just didn’t know what to say. I felt like a deer in the headlights!” The social chat started innocently enough with “How’s business?” Sharon enthusiastically described her growing client list and increasing profits. Then her friend dropped the bomb: “What do you plan to do with your company? Where are you taking it?” Great questions, but Sharon had no answers. She had been so busy building the business she hadn’t thought about her endgame. After several sleepless nights pondering the ‘What’s next?’ question, she called us. We started by assuring Sharon that her situation is typical. At start up, she focused on developing a steady stream of paying customers. Marketing success soon had the company struggling to meet demand: work was backlogged; invoices were going out late, employees felt overwhelmed. Sharon responded effectively. She added staff, invested in new technology, and streamlined operational processes. Most importantly, however, Sharon shifted her role from employee to manager, focused on improving business performance. “Sharon, your success has brought you to that enviable ‘What’s next?’ point of business ownership: value creation. It feels uncomfortable because you’re used to thinking like an employee who generates sales or a manager who drives operational effectiveness. It’s time to shift your mindset and think like an investor in your business. That means establishing value goals, then

creating strategies to ensure the enterprise meets those goals.” We started with a value inventory: What value did Sharon want to create? What was her timeline? Did she want to sell the business to a third party or to employees? Did she want to take money out of the business or reinvest in further expansion? How comfortable was she with more debt? More risk? Did she need more financial flexibility? Did she want to work, more hours or less? With Sharon’s goals established, we recommended several value creation options which would help her achieve them. The options not only fit with her investor expectations, they were consistent with her personal lifestyle and her vision of the business. After Sharon chose an endgame path, we moved quickly to design and implement appropriate strategies. Now Sharon is eager to attend the next neighborhood party and share her endgame strategy with that friend. “Once I shifted into an investor mindset, I began to see value creation as the fundamental purpose of my business and my primary responsibility. I now know where I’m taking my business and why.” Mary Bruce and Tracey Gillespie of Kaleidoscope Business Options specialize in advising business owners on building the value of their enterprise. Contact: 704-375-1970; www.kboptions.com.

not another meeting... Meetings take up a tremendous amount of time in most companies. Rarely do you hear people say, “You know, we don’t have enough meetings around here.” Too often, however, the true benefit of meetings is unclear. Getting people together is important. Keeping people informed is important. But meetings should be more than a gathering for relaying information. They should be productive. If your meetings aren’t as productive as they should be, consider these tips: 1. Always have an agenda prepared in advance. If you don’t know what you need to cover in the meeting and why, you won’t use your time productively. Distribute the agenda to all who will attend so they can prepare for the meeting. 2. Start on time. Time is money. If you say a meeting will start at 9:00 a.m., but you don’t really start until 9:10 a.m., you’re sending a signal that time is expendable, and you’re training people to show up late. Start on time with whoever is present. The others will quickly learn that 9:00 a.m. means 9:00 a.m. 3. Clearly state your desired outcome. If the meeting is being held to discuss sales plans for the coming month, the outcome might be a list of

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prospects each sales person will call on. Or, the desired outcome might be to ensure that each sales person can clearly describe the newest product being offered. By stating the desired outcome, you’ll be better able to judge the productivity of the meeting. 4. Get specific. Good ideas that arise during a meeting are often assigned to “somebody.” You know, “Somebody needs to evaluate new copiers.” Always remember that “somebody” doesn’t really work for your company. If a person and deadline aren’t assigned to that good idea, it won’t get done. “Somebody” should be a red flag to the meeting leader that specific responsibility needs to be assigned. Don’t leave the meeting without doing so. 5. End on time. If you have a good agenda, stay on task, and start on time, you should be able to end on time. This will help your employees better manage their schedules and get to the tasks they’ve been assigned. It may help to have an outside facilitator lead your meeting if you have strong personalities to manage or if you will be discussing a sensitive or controversial issue. When needed, outside facilitators are well worth the investment. Denise Altman is president of Altman Initiative Group, Inc., and a nationally known speaker and meeting facilitator. Contact: 704-708-6700; www.altmaninitiative.com.

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the “right” lawyer for your growing business... determining the criteria It is now four years since you started your business. Luckily, it’s still alive. More than 50 percent of closely held businesses fail within the first four years. You’ve beaten the odds. You have 20 employees and $3 million in annual revenues. You are certain of your survival and believe you can triple your revenues and produce handsome profits in the next four years. Preparing for this growth, one of the issues you face is finding the “right” lawyer for your business. So far, the only time you’ve felt the need for a lawyer was to incorporate. Somehow, you know the attorney you used then is not the right person going forward. You’ve looked around and discovered there are more than 3,400 lawyers in Mecklenburg County alone. The law firms range in size from sole practitioners to more than 300 attorneys. You can imagine nothing worse than spending several days meeting and interviewing prospective lawyers. What do you do? You first must decide what role you want the attorney to play in your business growth. Is he (or she) just someone who will help put out fires and address crises as they arise? You should find a lawyer and firm that also provide preventive maintenance and planning services. They make it their business not only to fight lawsuits when they’re filed, but to assess their client’s overall risk in the way he does business. These lawyers focus on understanding the business owner’s personal and business objectives. They are familiar with the options to help meet those objectives. In short, if you’re using the “right” attorney, you will never know everything he really did for you because very few bad things will happen. Do you want your lawyer to develop into a “trusted advisor” who can help you reach your business and personal goals? If so, you should follow a process calculated to find that person. First, you need to define the criteria for your selection. Some important factors are: • Does the attorney possess utmost personal integrity and honesty, as well as a determination to find the “optimum solution” to a problem? After all, this is what you expect from a trusted advisor. Is the attorney someone you can trust, who will always have your best interests in mind? Does he listen carefully to your objectives? Is he easy to communicate with? Does he always “simplify” and never “complicate”? Does he really try to understand your problems? Does he recognize you as the boss? Will he give you his best “unfiltered” advice without hesitation, regardless of whether you want to hear it? • Does the attorney possess the necessary legal and business expertise? Does he understand not only legal issues but also

greater charlotte biz

business and financial issues? Does your prospective lawyer also have business training, such as a business degree, MBA, or CPA? Does he have experience running or helping run a business? The more business expertise and experience the attorney has, the easier it will be for him to truly understand your business and how to help you reach your goals. • What is the attorney’s actual experience as a “trusted advisor”? What other companies does he regularly represent in this role? Do they include businesses that are much larger than yours? Will he provide references from business owners? • Does the attorney focus on handling growing businesses? Does he (and his firm) target this market and want you as a client? If so, the attorney and his firm will focus on the particular issues affecting the successful growth of a closely held business. These include issues such as ownership incentives for attracting and retaining key employees, succession planning, purchase and sale of businesses, commercial real estate, and other matters. • Does he appear organized? Does he have competent staff to assist him? Is he easily accessible and responsive? Will he promptly return your calls? • Is he “result” oriented, rather than “process” oriented? Does he talk in language you can understand? • Does he have contacts with other service providers, banks and CPAs who can help you grow? Will he be willing to introduce you to them? • Will he look for ways to get you and your business recognition? • Will he agree to make sure there are never any “surprises” as to his charges or the outcomes of his work? Will he let you know what his services will cost upfront? • Finally, do you really “like” him? Is there a natural “chemistry” between you? Once you’ve established the criteria, the next step is deciding who you will interview for the job and how you will select the winner. That will be our subject next month. Robert Norris is managing partner of Wishart Norris Henninger & Pittman, PA, a law firm specializing in all matters pertaining to closely held businesses. Contact: 704-364-0010; www.wnhplaw.com.

If you are interested in contributing to bizXperts, contact John Galles at 704-676-5850, ext. 102, or jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com. biz

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Dr. Robert Wilhelm Executive Director UNCC – Charlotte Research Institute

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by susanne deitzel

[bizprofile]

COLLABORATION, RESEARCH AND INNOVATION CHARLOTTE RESEARCH INSTITUTE BRINGS IT ALL TOGETHER

W

hile political posts may be the most visible of Charlotte leadership, there is a cadre of leaders in the academic, scientific and business world that wield considerable leverage over the direction in which the city is headed. And, despite their diversity and individual agendas, they all agree on one thing: building and nurturing a significant research university is an absolute must in terms of keeping the region healthy. Thank goodness for this consensus, for it appears that Charlotte and the surrounding region has caught the science and technology bug, and there are outcroppings of activity at every point in the regional compass.

As the world leader in dimensional metrology, the Center for Precision Metrology within UNC Charlotte’s Lee College of Engineering conducts measurement research to sub-atomic levels.

Perhaps nowhere is the interest more visible than north Highway 29, where UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) campus is now perched. Formidable new buildings bring an air of prestige and solemnity, and one can almost hear in passing its new 

Charlotte Research Institute

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floors being spattered with eager student footsteps. But these buildings are more than just classrooms; they are collaborative environments for the intersection of science and commerce. Coming to the Fore The University’s extensive commitment to business partnerships was planted in the considerable vision of former Chancellor James Woodward, which he executed gracefully for sixteen years. During that time, significant investments were made toward science and technology that were eventually manifested in the creation of CRI. Current Chancellor Philip Dubois has chosen Dr. Robert Wilhelm as the Institute’s new executive director and guardian of the growth of the Institute. According to a substantial number of people, the assignment has been left in very capable hands. Wilhelm follows in the footsteps of Deborah Clayton, who stepped down from the position in early 2005. The two leaders share weighty experience in research, high profile laboratories and technology transfer. However, where some characterized Clayton as a dynamic and effective marketer, Wilhelm is an eloquent scientist and communicator who seeks to keep his organization and partners moving forward in synchronization. Comments Chancellor Dubois, “I have been impressed with Bob’s ability to bridge the communication gap that often separates the private sector from the academy. Since CRI is the portal through which businesses seek research support from the University, Bob is the perfect person to help forge mutually beneficial relationships.” Wilhelm assumed the position in an interim capacity in June of 2005 before he was appointed for a three-year term in late November 2005. Prior to the directorship of CRI, Wilhelm served as associate director of the Center for Precision Metrology, now one of the four major centers of CRI. Now a professor of Mechanical Engineering, he has been on the faculty at UNC Charlotte since 1993. He came to Charlotte from the prestigious Rockwell Science labs in Palo Alto, California, where he had worked for a 100-year old engineering company, Cincinnati Milacron, and co-founded a high tech manufacturing company called OpSource in 2001. As to his qualifications for the position, Wilhelm is conspicuously humble. He says,

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“More than anything, I have a strong interest and background in engineering and science, academics and industrial settings. Since the aim of the Institute is to attract people and research groups interested in applied research, the fit has been quite good.” Wilhelm says the decision to move to Charlotte was a challenging one. “I was offered two positions, one at the University of Washington in Seattle, which was familiar and comfortable, and the other in Charlotte, which seemed more uncertain. But I chose the path where I could grow the most, and am glad I did.” In fact, the Charlotte Research Institute appears to personify growth. Originally inspired by a 1998 ICF Kaiser Study that recommended accelerating the University’s standing in research to fuel economic development, and a pro-bono study by McKinsey and Company which corroborated those findings, the potential applications of CRI continue to expand. Created to develop technology-based academic and business partnerships culminating in research to outfit the region with intellectual capital and growth, the Institute originally included three centers: eBusiness, Optoelectronics and Optical Communications and Precision Metrology. Last year, the state of North Carolina also approved funding for a building for Bioinformatics, which holds promise for the emerging biotechnology leanings of the region. Maturing Mission Wilhelm says, “The mission of CRI is to develop university business and technology partnerships within a number of research centers, generating valuable and informative results that can be used for industry. By leveraging the resources of the University we can attract businesses to partner in research. As more national and international companies and more researchers are attracted to the region, the strength of our University grows.” Wilhelm has four strategic goals to bring CRI’s strength to its full potential. “One, we must grow research activity by working with and developing the Centers, and bringing more resources onto campus. Two, we must develop more presence both in the region and

greater charlotte biz

nationally for the work done at CRI. To this end, we are developing marketing collateral and partnering with economic development agencies to explain CRI’s story.” He continues, “Three, we must increase the infrastructure for research and business collaboration. As a student and professor, I wrote proposals to support my own research. Now, my efforts are focused on proposals to support the needs of the Centers, various colleges, and programs, to draw more funds to build infrastructure on campus.” CRI houses its technology research in buildings on 100 acres of the UNC Charlotte campus. The CRI campus is a geographically defined part of the University known as the Millennial Campus, a specially designated footprint that allows the University to conduct activities in partnership with the private sector by virtue of state legislation called the Millennial Campus Act. Explains Wilhelm briefly, “The Millennial Campus Act facilitates effective use of resources for both business and universities, and brings more opportunities to create partnerships.” Wilhelm’s says his fourth goal is a longterm endeavor to find ways to provide more stable funding for CRI as well as other initiatives on campus. “That will always be a large component of my job, especially as we increase research.” He quips, “That’s just part of the job. Find space; find money. Kind of like breathing.” As far as funding goes, Wilhelm says he sees CRI on pretty solid footing for the moment. “The 2000 bond initiative allowed us to build significant new building stock that is good for both educational and research purposes. We received more state funding last year for a building for our Bioinformatics program. We have significant state support in terms of salaries and operating budget, not to mention the sizeable endowments we have received from companies such as Duke Energy and Wachovia. All of these provide a steady stream of income to initiate new partnerships and develop new research activity on campus. There is a significant amount of funding in place to make this a successful enterprise. We want to keep it that way.” He hastens to add, “We have done pretty well so far in terms of buildings, but it’s not so much the bricks and mortar as the people and the results they generate. My focus is first and 

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foremost to support the Centers to make them as productive as they can be to generate more research and more partnerships.” Looking Into the Future Another concern for some is sharing the nascent technology playing field with the muchhyped North Carolina Research Campus being developed in Kannapolis by Dole Foods billionaire, David Murdock. With Murdock’s shiny new Core Lab In the new state-of-the-art laboratories of UNC Charlotte’s Center for Precision Metrology, Dr. Ed Morse researches competing for top-notch the capabilities and calibration techniques of a coordinate researchers, where does that measuring machine. leave CRI? Wilhelm appears undisturbed by the research. “Right now there are a lot of very question. “While many people have become talented graduates ready to work, and we are more aware of the growth in science and fortunate to be in the position to hire them.” biotech as a result of the Kannapolis undertaking, the growth itself has been anticipated for some time. UNC Charlotte has made Charlotte Research much studied, very strategic, decisions that Institute will carry the University well through the The University of North Carolina next twenty years.” at Charlotte “As far as competition between the two 9201 University City Blvd. Charlotte, N.C. 28223 campuses, I don’t think anyone who has Phone: 704-687-4100 significant experience in research communities Principal: Dr. Robert Wilhelm, would characterize it as such. When I Executive Director worked on the West Coast, I lived and Inception: 2000 worked in the middle of hundreds of science Mission: The Charlotte Research and technology based companies, and Institute (CRI), part of the non-profit dozens of universities and medical schools. University of North Carolina at There was a pool of researchers and entreCharlotte, is the portal for businessuniversity technology partnerships at preneurs that wanted to be there for the UNC Charlotte. With its research community of knowledge, and the flexibility centers housed in three new customof knowing there were plenty of job oppordesigned buildings on the Charlotte Research Institute campus, CRI helps tunities. Our proximity to the Kannapolis companies initiate new partnerships at campus will be a considerable asset.” UNC Charlotte and offers a variety of He adds, “The programs CRI and the opportunities to engage talented faculty and make use of specialized facilities that North Carolina Research Campus are develare available only at UNC Charlotte. oping will complement and contribute to These efforts attract expertise and one another, as well as other research uniresources to the region resulting in the versities. We will continue our efforts in creation of a top-tier interdisciplinary technology research community. bioinformatics, biomedical engineering sysImportant products of this endeavor tems, exercise genomics and health services include regional cooperation, entrepreresearch, which should all provide synergy neurship, and economic development. with the nutrition, food genomics and other Major Centers: Support of education and research includes eBusiness, research in Kannapolis.” Optoelectronics and Optical And attracting researchers shouldn’t be a Communications, Precision Metrology, problem. UNC Charlotte, according to and Bioinformatics. Wilhelm, has been in a very advantageous www.charlotteresearchinstitute.com position with regard to hiring talented faculty, particularly those interested in science

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He says that once faculty candidates experience the campus, see the caliber of people on the faculty, the facilities, the commitment of the administration, and the support of the state and the region, a lot of times they want to stay. “Charlotte is growing in terms of the economy, the population, the diversity and the opportunities. All of these together provide for a very strong draw for researchers and businesses both nationally and internationally.” When asked if perhaps the “business” mission, the economic forces drawing these staffers and business partnerships weren’t perhaps notably stronger at UNC Charlotte than other institutions, Wilhelm gives a measured response. “I don’t want anyone to think that our major concern isn’t the students. Our focus is to provide accomplished students with the experience that they come to a university for, that they cannot get anywhere else, and to prepare them for their goals.” He adds, “The effort to engage business partnerships is strong at UNC Charlotte, as it is at many other universities. But we have the benefit of being a young, growing, modern university, which has had the chance to look over the horizon and see what would be best for our future. We don’t have the baggage of some older universities, and we have the benefit of being well-positioned in the here and now.” Here and now is a pretty good place for Wilhelm. In addition to enjoying and excelling in his new capacity, he says that the administrative support he has received, in addition to the personal interest, support and unfettered access to his board of directors, has made his job run pretty smoothly so far. Wilhelm concludes, “I am very pleased in terms of the resources I have to work with.” Chancellor Dubois returns the compliment, “I was vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNC Charlotte when Bob was hired. It has been a pleasure to see the promise he demonstrated as a young faculty member being continued for more than a decade. Leading CRI is a great opportunity at this stage of his career, but it is of tremendous value to UNC Charlotte as we continue to build our research enterprise.” biz Susanne Deitzel is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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photo: Wayne Morris

Ronnie L. Bryant President and CEO Charlotte Regional Partnership

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by susanne deitzel

[bizprofile]

An

Economic Developer’s

Dream

CRP TeamsUp for Charlotte USA

Success

P

resident Ronnie Bryant of the Charlotte Regional Partnership (CRP) isn’t a stranger to the occasional sports metaphor. The morning we spoke, the Dallas Cowboys had just pulled off an incredible last minute victory that kept him up a little later than usual. greater charlotte biz

“That’s the lesson alright,” he chuckles roundly, “two touchdowns in the last four minutes. Just shows you gotta play the whole game.” And this comparison is quite appropriate. In Bryant’s business, building regional economic development, there are some days that make the gridiron look like a tea party.  januar y 2006

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MVP Ronnie Bryant came to Charlotte from the ‘Other Team.’ As president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, Bryant served a parallel function overseeing development for a 10-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania, just as he will lead CRP to serve the 16-county region in the Piedmont. He also regularly competed with Charlotte for corporate relocations, such as the coveted transplant of General Dynamics to Charlotte from Vermont in the fall of 2003, and for the retention of business, by fighting to retain a US Airways hub in 2004. When asked what the tipping point was for the munitions manufacturer and the airline, Bryant is plainspoken, “It appears from information we received, that the future and stability of air service simply looked brighter for Charlotte.” Bryant says that the strength of Charlotte Douglas International Airport was a key factor in Charlotte’s victory over Pittsburgh. Concurrent with a recent economic impact study conducted

on the airport, Bryant comments, “I believe that airports are significant economic engines. Dallas/Ft. Worth and Atlanta would not be what they are today without their airports. The accessibility that Charlotte Douglas provides this region to major domestic and international business centers is, without a doubt, a dominant factor in our competitiveness.” At 51 years old, Bryant has spent almost half of his life in the development game. Before his seasoning in Pittsburgh, Bryant served at the St. Louis Regional Commerce & Growth Association. Both positions offered considerable experience and significant challenges, particularly those characteristic of older cities: old assets in a new economy, dated infrastructures, and amenities perhaps a little less shiny than the up and coming cities of the 21st century. Bryant appears charged to have the chance to work with a region with the resources of Charlotte USA. “The region has a solid and growing economy, positive population growth, and relatively young

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demographics; this is really an economic developer’s dream job.” Leadership at Charlotte USA was equally enthusiastic about the pairing. Bryant became the unanimous choice of the CRP search committee after an exhaustive nationwide search when prior CRP President Michael Almond stepped down. Comments former Partnership chair, and Bank of America executive, Michael Mayer, “Everyone was impressed with Ronnie’s broad experience and leadership skills.” Mayer adds, “Ronnie Bryant is very forthright and very good at consensus building, as well as being a very dynamic, hands-on leader. He visited all 16 counties in the Charlotte USA region early on, and I think that is emblematic of his commitment to the organization.” Name of the Game: Cooperation Bryant is charged with promoting the 16-county region of Charlotte USA, the Charlotte Regional Partnership’s brand for an area including Mecklenburg, Alexander, Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba,

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Chester, Chesterfield, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster, Lincoln, Rowan, Stanly, Union, and York counties. A regional approach to economic development is rather progressive when compared to marketing a single metropolitan area. It has significant benefits such as diversity of industries, a larger population pool, and more powerful workforce figures. It also pairs the quality of life and amenities of a metropolitan area like Charlotte, e.g., the new arena, restaurants, museums, arts and recreation facilities, with the benefits of surrounding counties, such as low tax rates, larger plots of land, and suitability for manufacturing, logistics or agriculture. Comments Bryant, “Accepting this position was easy. The fact that Charlotte and the surrounding area have already embraced the concept of regionalism impressed the heck out of me. I don’t have to educate about or justify regionalism here, my job is to execute and raise the bar.” However, the regional approach also

has significant challenges – namely cultivating cooperation and consensus. Bryant likens the 16 counties to siblings. He comments, “Each one is different with its own personality and identity and strength. As a whole, the region is greater than the sum of its parts.” But lots of kids means lots of scuffles and competition for attention. But Bryant doesn’t like that particular ‘c’ word. “Listen. Clearly, Anson County and Mecklenburg County aren’t competing against one another. You can’t put a manufacturing facility in downtown Charlotte, but the facility’s senior management will probably want to be close to a vibrant city. It is only when you pair the draw of the Center City with the real estate and industrial assets of the surrounding counties that you have the combination necessary to attract businesses.” He adds, “Plus, we have in the 16-county region a population of over two million, a workforce of over one million, and a wide variety of options for businesses. With four to five counties

trying to attract the same company, the area appears considerably better equipped than an area that can only offer one site option. If we work together, we win.” The Play Book In the past several years, CRP has managed with the help of Charlotte corporate leaders, city, county and state partners, and other organizations such as the Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Center City Partnership (CCCP) and Advantage Carolinas, to pull off some fairly substantial coups. General Dynamics’ move from Vermont, the addition of Johnson & Wales, the retention of the airport as a US Airways hub, and the new North Carolina Research Institute being developed by David Murdock in Kannapolis, all testify to the power of the regional model. Bryant is unwavering in his confidence that the organization will continue to be successful in recruiting new businesses. Says Bryant, “We are actively engaged in partnering and 

“Who needs light rail? Why not just build more roads?” JOHN AGRESTI // CHARLOTTE

Good question, John. The fact is, rapid transit provides a more efficient alternative to congestion. Consider this: A light rail line can carry as many people as an eight-lane freeway, using one-tenth of the land.* While we’ll always need to widen roads and build new ones, we can't pave our way out of congestion with roads alone.

More questions? Visit charlottefuture.com.

* Source: Response to criticisms or questions about investing in public transit, CATS, 2004.

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strategic thinking to support the continued development and growth of this market. In addition to its dynamic, hands-on corporate civic-mindedness, Charlotte also has a young, energetic new leadership roster at CRP, the Chamber, and CCCP, as well as the Charlotte Tourism and Visitors Authority. As a team, we share the same objectives and a renewed sense of purpose which is seated in collaboration and cooperation. We have and will continue to meet together to make sure we are on track with fulfilling the obligations we have been charged with.” The responsibilities for this group are rather heady. Public murmurs about spending have graduated to a rallying cry, and as evidenced in the Arena debacle and the controversy concerning building the NASCAR Hall of Fame, one can’t help but wonder if Bryant and his compadres have concerns about eroding support for development, of any kind. Bryant’s short answer: “Nope.” He suggests, “There has been no let up in

the commitment of this community. Corporate involvement is as strong as it’s ever been. You need only to look at Bank of America and Wachovia to see that. I think that, as long as the private sector steps up, the public sector will find a way to play its role.” Right now, transportation is a major, if not the major issue in terms of money. Highway construction, light rail, increasing public transportation, inner belts, the outer belt, bypasses, toll roads, congestion issues, and competition for projects present major headaches. Bryant concedes transportation issues should be at the top of the ‘to-do’ list. “We are a growing community and good or bad, we are spreading out. Everyone says, ‘We don’t want to be like Atlanta,’ and the only way we can avoid that is to build the infrastructure. We have people that want to move here, and not many people are leaving. While we are nowhere close to the degree of congestion Atlanta has become famous for, we cannot let our

population growth outpace our development of infrastructure.” Regional challenges also include the decline in textile manufacturing and the tobacco industry, and the naturally evolving character of the economy. But Bryant is familiar with these challenges and adheres to the basic game plan. He explains, “Industry isn’t hiring bodies anymore. It’s hiring brains. The sad reality is the days of making a decent living with low skills are gone – those jobs have gone overseas. But the region is active in taking advantage of advanced manufacturing opportunities and the technology related to supporting them. Plus, we have significant resources to train our population to fill those jobs.” Bryant cites the Kannapolis-based North Carolina Research Campus as a shining example of private and public synergy meeting regional needs, and with extensive experience in recruiting for biotechnology, he should know. “Investors have put together a plan to ensure that the amenities and initial development will be very attractive in terms of money to support research, providing a first class lab and vital university support.”

Charlotte Regional Partnership, Inc. 1001 Morehead Dr., Ste. 200 Charlotte, N.C. 28203 Phone: 704-347-8942 or 800-554-4373 Principal: Ronnie L. Bryant, President and CEO Employees: 17 Inception: Since 1991 Business: A nonprofit, private/public organization dedicated to the planned growth and economic prosperity of the 16-county Charlotte USA region – 12 counties in North Carolina and 4 in South Carolina.The organization brings together government and local businesses to market and promote Charlotte USA to industries and their executives, nationally and internationally, as a highly competitive, vibrant region with an increasingly attractive quality of life. www.charlotteusa.com

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While he cedes that sustained commitment and smart development will determine the degree of success of the campus, he is satisfied that it will be worth the effort. “It is a well-researched vision with a lot of resources behind it. So, I cannot help but be optimistic.” In fact, the cover of the November 2005 issue of industry publication Site Selection Magazine touted Murdock’s North Carolina Research Campus as a case study for endeavors of its kind. In the very same issue, North Carolina won the honor of receiving top billing for the Nation’s Best Business Climate as ranked by state. For Ronnie Bryant, who has been recognized on the covers of the magazine several times, North Carolina seems like a pretty good place to continue his professional development, as well. Player Stats These days Ronnie Bryant is making the rounds of the region, putting names with faces and gearing up to present CRP’s anxiously awaited five-year economic development plan which is due for its big reveal in first quarter 2006. One of his daughters is currently attending CPCC, and two other children are enrolled in universities in Pittsburgh and St. Louis. He and his wife, a teacher, look forward to finalizing the purchase of a property in southeast Charlotte and undertaking community involvements. Bryant is eyeing the Urban League and the United Way as possible interests, both of which he had participated with in other cities. Bryant is also presiding over the 2006-2007 Board of Directors for the International Economic Development Council, which governs a 4,500 member organization tackling economic development concerns throughout the United States and other member countries. The post, for which he is well suited, will also give him ample insight into themes that will directly benefit his day-to-day affairs at CRP, and in good stead, the rest of us in his care. biz Susanne Deitzel is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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(l to r) Edward D. Nowokunski President Linda Kirby General Manager Scott Nowokunski V.P. Sales and Marketing Integraphx

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by heather head

[bizprofile]

Getting Right to the Point... Integraphx delivers integrated marketing, Web and print services

greater charlotte biz

Spell out my name in alphabet soup, tattoo my image on your midriff, and highlight the route from my place to yours: I will take notice. Integraphx can help you do it for every one of your most qualified prospects and loyal customers. And that’s only the start of the integrated Web and print marketing capabilities Integraphx brings to the Charlotte area. The 30-employee company has been in the same family for 25 years, but they are far from old-fashioned. State-of-the-art integrated graphics capabilities, high-end digital printing, and interactive online services and products serve a diverse client base that constantly seeks the latest technologies and capabilities. Keeping up with the demand for new technologies has been a hallmark of the company’s success. Says Scott Nowokunski, a principal at Integraphx, innovation and flexibility are cornerstones of the Integraphx company culture.

Copy to Print to Bam!

Scott’s father, Ed Nowokunski, founded the company in 1979 with what was at the time an innovative concept: corner copy shops in convenient retail locations. At its height of popularity, Kopy Korners as it was called, had eight retail locations in Charlotte. By 1993, with national copy chains established in the business, the “copy shop on every corner” concept was no longer fresh. The Nowokunskis saw that in order to remain flexible and innovative – and competitive – they needed to evolve. “We looked at our customer base and realized that 90 percent of our customers never even walked in the door,” explains Scott. “So we said, ‘Hey, what do we need all these doors for?’” They consolidated to one big location and began serving customers through account managers. They changed their name to “The Printing Office” to reflect their new thrust. This format allowed them to place employees in more specialized positions that took better advantage of their strengths and skills and interests. Result: better customer service that became a differentiating factor for the company through the 1990s. But by 2004, the company had already begun to evolve into something else. Advances in technology had vastly changed the face of the printing industry. 

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To remain competitive and maintain their edge,

company is the value they bring to direct mail

tattoo it on a swimsuit-clad thigh. Combining

The Printing Office had entered the world of digital

campaigns. They combine a qualified market-

PhotoShop-type technology with database integra-

color printing, integrated Web and e-mail services,

ing and design staff with cutting edge dynamic

tion, the company can print out thousands of

and cutting-edge dynamic mapping technologies.

technologies to create direct mail pieces that

pieces, each one distinct from the previous, with

boast astounding response rates. Where most

each photo-quality image seamlessly incorporating

copy services, they had added marketing and

direct mail campaigns are considered success-

a different prospect or client’s name, logo, or other

design services, large format printing, e-mail design

ful if they get a one percent response rate,

information gleaned from the database.

and delivery, and many other high tech and inte-

Integraphx often boasts a 15 to 30 percent

grated services. But they were finding it difficult to

response rate on its customers’ campaigns.

In addition to all the traditional printing and

communicate their cutting edge culture to potential clients and they realized they needed a new image.

For example, Ed talks about a financial advisor

Then, giving another level of meaning to the term “integrated,” each direct mail piece can print out a Web address that incorporates the prospect’s

they recently helped. Before coming to

name. When the prospect clicks through to the

Integraphx, the client would send out eleven

Web address with his or her name in it, the

Scott, “of thinking about changing our name.” One

thousand direct mail pieces inviting people to his

Integraphx customer can then track response and

day, the office manager came into a brainstorming

seminars at a steakhouse. By contrast, Integraphx

capture additional information about that prospect.

session and said, “Integraphx.” Recalls Scott, “Bam!

leveraged integrated database technologies to

That was it. That was what we wanted it to be.”

include not only each prospect’s name on the mail

bilities, Integraphx serves its customers with out-

It was an instant facelift. “The name

cards, but also a map from that prospect’s address

standing return on marketing dollars, and cus-

change opened a lot of doors for us, and a lot

to the steakhouse. They sent out only seven thou-

tomers are taking note.

of new markets,” says Scott. It has also

sand, to a carefully screened mailing list obtained

brought a lot of well qualified potential

by Integraphx, and the client’s seminar was filled

tapping into a growing consumer market, especial-

employees to their doors: “People who wouldn’t

to overflowing. “He had to cut it back to only

ly through their Web site, www.mymagicmemo-

apply for a job at The Printing Office are

four thousand pieces the next time,” recalls Ed.

ries.com. They have an interactive tool that allows

“It took us three or four years,” remembers

applying for a job at Integraphx.” At the same time that they changed their

The dynamic mapping technology, lever-

By combining all these technologies and capa-

In addition to business services, Integraphx is

people to upload photos and create personalized

aged through a partnership with Mapquest, is

calendars, which are then sent directly to the print-

name, they moved from a 16,500-square-foot

available only through a very few companies in

er with minimal human handling. It’s even barcod-

facility to their current 24,000-square-foot

the United States, and is ordinarily not avail-

ed and mailed automatically. On the same site,

facility, and soon after added their new tag

able at all on a small scale. But because they

consumers can order photo blankets, Christmas

line, “A really cool printing company.”

see a growing demand for it, Integraphx has

cards, and many other personalized products.

invested heavily in the partnership with Really Cool Says Ed, they grabbed their slogan from Scott’s line at networking events. “I’d spend 25 minutes trying to explain to someone what we do,” laughs

Mapquest plus the programming time to get it customer-ready, and are now able to offer it at an affordable rate even for small runs. Another technology Integraphx leverages for

Learning from Loss Although Integraphx currently has a diverse and loyal customer base, of which no single customer comprises more than six percent, times

Ed. “Scott would just say, ‘It’s a really cool printing

customers is called “DreamType.” Dream Type

haven’t always been so rosy for them. In 1998, as

company.’ That answered all the questions.”

allows companies to put their customer’s name on

they were beginning to transition from pure print-

a birthday cake, spell it out in water droplets, or

ing services into more integrated offerings, they

One thing that’s really cool about this printing

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received the bad news that would become one

Charlotte area, the company was without power

and opportunities for growth and development.

of the two greatest challenges the company

for ten days, during which they lost $170,000.

Scott says other ingredients in their relation-

ever faced: they were about to lose 50 percent

“We didn’t have $170,000,” says Ed grimly.

ship with employees include keeping the

“But we survived it. Stupidity, grit, hard work – we

employees well informed, even to the point of

At that time, two customers constituted

just really hung in there. These things are really

handing out abbreviated financial statements,

half their customer base. “That was scary,” says

good tests, because if you can survive them, you

so employees can see where the company’s

Ed. And when they lost them both in one year:

come out a lot better on the other side.”

money is going. They also give them a voice in

of their customer base.

what the company is doing, and they’ve

“We cried.” It was 1999 when the losses hit, and that year Integraphx barely broke even. But it was the company’s flexibility and

Caring People

avoided the micro-management trap, allowing

One thing that has helped the company

innovation that led them through and that

survive and thrive, agree Scott and Ed, is a

ultimately turned the loss into a win.

great employee base. Scott likes to tell the

individuals to manage their own departments and be responsible for their own work. “Ed allows us all to make our own mistakes,”

“We increased our sales force and our

story of their latest move, which was completed

says Scott. “We are held responsible for our

marketing,” says Scott. Adds Ed, “We took some

in a single weekend. At the end of the weekend,

mistakes, but we’re allowed to make them.”

major investment and changed our whole focus.”

several of the vendors who had helped came

They moved from primarily a volume producer of

up to Linda Kirby, the general manager and

headed in the future. The changes over the past

black and white copies – which they still can do,

also a principal in the company, and remarked

five years have been so dramatic and far-reaching,

into digital color and began building the wider

that they had never seen employees work so

that he says he just can’t predict what might

offerings they’re known for today.

hard for their company.

happen in the next five.

Scott hesitates to say where their company is

As a result, while 1999 was tough for them,

Says Scott, the loyalty goes both ways. One

They will remain flexible and innovative.

they were ready to grow again by 2002 – a year

method they use to thank their employees is at

“We're going to do more creative, integrative

when most companies were in decline.

monthly meetings. Employees spend part of

marketing campaigns, combining direct mail, Web

every meeting thanking each other from line

sites, and whatever else we can come up with,”

Scott, “So by 2002 we were geared up to

workers up to management for specific contri-

assures Scott. “We’ll be working on projects then

acquire new customers.” It’s a trend that has

butions they’ve made. One observer called the

that we can’t even conceptualize now.” biz

continued into 2005, when many printing

event a “lovefest.”

“We’d already had our 9-11 in 1999,” says

companies are once again experiencing layoffs,

Heather Head is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

They also offer a comprehensive set of benefits

but Integraphx is still hiring. But 1999 wasn’t the first time the company had shown uncommon toughness in the face of disaster. Ten years earlier, when Hurricane Hugo hit the

Integraphx, Inc. 656 Michael Wylie Dr. Charlotte, N.C. 28217 Phone: 704-529-5044 Principals: Edward D. Nowokunski, President; Scott Nowokunski,V.P. Sales and Marketing; Linda Kirby, General Manager In Business: 26 years; founded in 1979 as Kopy Korners, Inc./Kopies, Inc.; named changed to The Printing Office in 1994 and then to Integraphx in 2004 Employees: 30 full-time and contract Annual Revenue: Approximately $4 million Awards: Ed Nowokunski named 2004 Printer of the Year by PrintImage International, an industry trade group Business: Delivering integrated marketing, Web and print services to businesses and individuals; new Web-based line of personalized photography calendars. www.integraphx.com www.mymagicmemories.com

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(l to r) Thomas S. Carpenter IV Chief Operating Officer Chris Cammack President Carpenter Cammack & Associates, Inc.

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by ellison clary

[bizprofile]

Taking Risks Insures Success Carpenter, Cammack Take Their Shot

P

ivotal moments abound for the co-owners of commercial insurance agency Carpenter, Cammack & Associates, Inc., Chris Cammack and Tom Carpenter. But perhaps the most vivid occurred when the two of them happened to be visiting with Carpenter’s parents at a beach house. Carpenter and Cammack were licking their wounds from a failed attempt to buy a commercial insurance agency. That’s when Carpenter’s father jolted them. “If you guys don’t start an agency now,” Tom Carpenter Sr. admonished, “you’ll never do it.” For good measure, he added, “And you’ll always regret it.” The elder Carpenter was speaking from long experience. For years, he managed a regional branch office for Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. in Charlotte that was one of the nation’s largest and among the most admired. Upon returning to the office, the younger Carpenter and Cammack remember staring at each other and saying out loud, “Let’s give it a shot.” That was 1992. Now Carpenter Cammack & Associates (CC&A) is a four-office, full-service commercial insurance agency specializing in insurance and risk management for medium-sized and large companies, mostly in North Carolina. Headquarters is in 6,000 square feet in Charlotte’s SouthPark area.  greater charlotte biz

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Cammack is president and Carpenter is chief operating officer. The pair owns the vast majority of the privately held company. Carpenter, now 49, and Cammack, now 56, already were seasoned veterans in the commercial insurance industry. Cammack had worked for a time for Carpenter’s dad, after earning an economics degree at N.C.

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State University where he was also a twotime All American baseball player and ACC player of the year. Carpenter, who received his business degree from The University of North Carolina, never worked for his father, but grew up around the business and had been with the Aetna in Denver, and with an agency in Charlotte for seven years. Still, forming Carpenter, Cammack from scratch was no lark. “Nobody does what we were trying to do,” Cammack says. As in banking, the routine way to crack the commercial insurance industry is to buy into it. “We had people telling us, ‘You guys are crazy,’” Cammack adds. Carpenter resigned from Cameron M. Harris & Co. in Charlotte and Cammack walked away from a commercial agency in his hometown of Fayetteville. Both were saddled with non-compete clauses, so they didn’t bring any business with them. But they’d known each other for years and found comfort in remembering another defining moment. It was nearly a year earlier when, after dinner at Belle Acres, the venerable Charlotte membership spot, they’d decided they wanted their own business while watching the start of the Gulf War on television. “We really thought we could build a better mousetrap,” says Cammack. For eight months they tried to buy an agency in Pinehurst, N.C., and thought they had it. But at the 11th hour, the owner sold to BB&T instead.

That led to the kitchen session at the beach and the subsequent decision to move forward. Armed with the knowledge that they liked working with each other, Carpenter and Cammack hired an administrative assistant and opened an office in Matthews. Cammack also operated out of his Fayetteville home. Cold Calls Yield Benefits They bought two Toyota Camry company cars and met for breakfast once a week. After coffee, they’d pile in one of the compacts and make cold calls. “Honestly, we’d look for buildings with a lot of cars in the parking lot and we’d walk in,” Cammack says, then chuckles. “That’s not the way to do target marketing. It’s more like desperation marketing.” In another defining moment, they paid a cold call on the chief executive of a manufacturing company near Albemarle. He was using a national broker for commercial insurance. “He just liked our story and he liked us,” Carpenter says. “He said, ‘I’m going to let you bid. One thing I need is two or three customer references.’ We said, ‘We don’t have any customers yet, but we’d love for you to be one of our first.’ And he was.” It took four months for Carpenter and Cammack to generate their first dollar in revenue. “But we planned for that,” Carpenter says. “Once you get going, you have a high retention rate if you do a good job.”

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They particularly liked talking to owners of middle-sized companies, those with 50 to 500 employees. “A business owner respects what we’ve done,” Carpenter says. “We had better luck selling to chief executives than to chief financial officers. A CFO works for somebody else. It’s a lot easier for him to say, ‘Here’s the biggest broker, here’s their laundry list of clients, let’s go with them despite what these new guys bring to the table.’” With dogged determination, a personal touch and a penchant for innovation, Carpenter and Cammack gradually built the business. “We started in 1992 and our revenue was zero,” Carpenter says. “Our revenue in 1993 was $99,000. The way we funded the business was by not taking salaries. But every time we made a nickel, we’d hire somebody. We’ve always taken every opportunity to bring on high quality people.” And that strategy has paid off. Revenue for 2005 will exceed $5 million, Carpenter says. The firm has 34 employees, including 18 in its Charlotte headquarters, seven in Fayetteville, seven in Raleigh and two in Greensboro. Of the company’s 500 clients, 95 percent are in North Carolina, although the agency is licensed in 42 states. Although the typical CC&A customer employs between 50 and 200, Carpenter says the company currently serves three of the 50 largest privately held Tar Heel businesses. Often, CC&A competes against the insurance arms of banks BB&T and Wachovia, as well as national brokers. Although consolidation is rife in the commercial insurance business, Carpenter and Cammack still have never bought another agency, and don’t foresee that happening. In North Carolina, they estimate there are 250 to 500 independent commercial agencies, but they count only about a dozen or so that they consider to be peers. Pride in Innovation The partners take pride in what they call their client management imaging, a software system that keeps their agency virtually paperless. “We’ve tried to be on the leading edge of agency technology,” Carpenter says. A CC&A brochure lists dozens of commercial insurance products, but 

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the co-owners say they focus on commercial insurance and workers compensation, property casualty services, general liability and risk management. “We’ve got a guy, Scott Parrish, who joined us in 1999 with a background in workers compensation loss control from Key Risk Insurance Company,” Carpenter says. “Scott designs a safety program specifically for your operation and we keep him busy all over the state. We add his services as part of our package.” This approach is a huge point of differentiation for the agency. Carpenter and Cammack believe their real point of sale is with the insurance company, or carrier. Once they negotiate the programs with the carriers that they want to offer, the partners have seen that these packages sell themselves to clients and prospects. CC&A simply outlines the benefits. To get that far, CC&A does what it takes to learn the prospect’s business and operating mode. CC&A can negotiate a better price on products, Cammack says, if it can give a carrier an accurate picture of the prospective client and the business to be served. Jamie McLawhorn, president of Marsh

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Carpenter, Cammack& Associates, Inc. 2101 Rexford Rd., Ste. 236 E Charlotte, N.C. 28211 Phone: 704-362-2992 or 800-968-1631 Principals: Chris Cammack, President; Thomas S. Carpenter IV, Chief Operating Officer Offices: Charlotte (headquarters), Raleigh, Fayetteville, Greensboro Established: 1992 Employees: 34 Customers: 500 Awards: Named to Partners for Success program by Amerisure for 2005;VIP agency with Hartford; Keystone Agency for Penn National Business: Full-service commercial insurance agency specializing in insurance and risk management services, offering a complete range of commercial insurance products including general liability, workers compensation, commercial property damage and more. www.ccainsurance.com

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Associates in Charlotte, says he respects the integrity of CC&A as well as its knowledge of the commercial insurance business. He recalls a situation when CC&A helped Marsh put together the facts about a specific claim. “They stood by us,” McLawhorn says. “I highly recommend them.” Evidence that the CC&A approach is working came earlier this year, when the company was named by regional property and casualty insurance group Amerisure to its Partners for Success program. The program recognizes profitable results, earned premium volume and mutually beneficial performance. Cammack says that’s a big deal for CC&A as well as Amerisure. CC&A also is a VIP agency with Hartford and a Keystone Agency for Penn National. It is represented on agents advisory councils with AIG, Berkley, Hartford, and Penn National. CC&A is also one of the core Carolinas agencies for major insurance corporations such as St. Paul Travelers and Chubb. Besides quality products, Cammack says, the best way to get business is through customer referrals. “What you’re

trying to win from a client is their trust and confidence,” he explains. Character of Employees Is Critical That puts a premium on the character of persons CC&A hires. “We look for somebody who’s competitive,” says Cammack. “You’ve got to be analytical and have empathy – understand the client’s situation.” They’ve done well at finding the right people, says Howard Pitt, 74, a consultant with CC&A who has worked in commercial insurance in Charlotte since 1956. “Tom and Chris are outstanding leaders and caring people,” Pitt says. “This office in Charlotte is as professional and enjoys as much esprit de corps as any company I’ve known. They don’t put any time clock on you. They tell you the goals they expect you to meet and let you do it in a way you know best.” The company has had a penchant for adding the right person at the right time, Cammack says. He believes continuing with that approach will pay dividends. Asked to envision CC&A in five years, Carpenter says the firm will be bigger and

better. The 12-person sales staff – the “producers” – probably will increase by 50 percent, he says, and they will concentrate more on specific industries. CC&A will likely develop a couple of new niche specialties along the way, he adds. “I’d like to say we’d double our annual revenue in five years,” Carpenter smiles. CC&A is active in business associations such as Associated Builders and Contractors, the North Carolina Association of Staffing Professionals, and other industry specific groups. Meanwhile, the partners admit they enjoy seeing the company make reality out of their vision from more than a decade ago. “Our reward now,” Cammack says, “is watching our employees start to blossom. We’re in our 14th year, and there has been a lot of turmoil in our industry with mergers and acquisitions. This has been a good place to be. We’ve built a good, stable, growing and positive environment for people.”biz Ellison Clary is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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Lindsay Daniel Founder and President Lindsay Daniel Architecture, Inc.

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by heather head

Couture Architecture

Bringing to

[bizprofile]

Lindsay Daniel Architecture Tailors Design to Lifestyle

L

ifestyle is everything: that’s Lindsay Daniel’s creed, and it’s one she lives by. And when she talks about lifestyle, she means understanding the way people really live, and creating environments that make it easy and enjoyable to maintain that lifestyle. That’s why her employees work flexible hours, it’s why for years she worked out of her home, and it’s why she asks her customers questions like what they serve their guests for dinner. And, it’s the philosophy that underlies a growing trend that Daniel has dubbed “Couture Architecture.” “This is what couture designers do,” she explains: “They fit the style to you. In fashion, that means they choose the fabrics, the styles, the accessories, the colors – everything to match your personality, your tastes, your body, your coloration, and to coordinate with the other aspects of the ensemble. Everything about it is fitted to the person. And that’s what we do, too.” 

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fixtures. It means making sure that those selections match the customer’s personality, match the style of the house, and match the rest of the selections. It’s a depth of service available only through a very select few firms, and rarely available at all to the residential customer. And that may be why, in her own words, Daniel is something of a “grande dame” in the Charlotte architecture world. (l to r standing) Lindsay Daniel, Yvonne Bartos, Cathy Hedman, Chuck Kibler (l to r sitting) Cathy Payne, Sarah Richardson

In architecture, that means understanding the lifestyle of the clients, from where they put the Christmas tree to the kind of entertaining they do, as well as their hobbies and interests. It means designing buildings that fit into the context of the community, the landscape, and the style of existing buildings (in the case of additions). It means helping customers pick out everything from flooring and lighting materials to crown moldings, exterior siding, paint colors, and bathroom

Breaking Down Walls Daniel’s grande dame status has something to do with her longevity as well. She’s been in the business in this area for close to 35 years, since before women were commonly accepted in the architecture field. In fact, although her mother and stepfather were both well established in the Charlotte art scene, she was encouraged not to pursue her drafting talents, because it was considered unladylike. Myers Park High School, at the time she attended, did not accept girls into its drafting classes. But that didn’t stop Daniel. She worked in

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painting and printmaking, then as a secretary, and then back to a drafting board and to interior design. By 1985 she had added a degree in architecture to her credentials, and in 1991 – after teaching architecture at UNC Charlotte for five years – she opened Lindsay Daniel Architecture out of her home. Despite her early experiences, Daniel claims her gender has never impacted her business negatively. “Men have always been wonderful mentors for me,” she remarks.

(l to r) The old deck of this 1950s home was made into a “living porch,” blending the existing sunroom with the new porch addition, building in proportion with new, but matching, materials.

Surveying Obstacles A much bigger challenge has always been the cyclical nature of the architecture business. Because people tend to build and expand their homes only when they have expendable income, the architecture industry is tied tightly to economic fluctuations. As a result, banks are reluctant to lend money for business expansion. “Even though I’ve been in this business for 16 years exercising good business principles and practices, bank financing can still be a challenge,” she shrugs. Daniel overcame that obstacle with help from the Business Expansion Funding Corporation, a non-profit organization chartered to act as a conduit for the Small Business Administration’s 504 Loan Program. The 504 Program provides long-term, fixedrate financing to small businesses at favorable rates for fixed-asset financing as a means to foster economic development and create and preserve jobs in urban and rural areas. It was that money that helped Daniel meet another challenge that had presented itself last year: how to continue providing couture service to an ever-expanding client base in an increasingly complex market without sacrificing her own family’s lifestyle. Until last year, Daniel had been running her company out of 850 square feet of her

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Elevating Residential Architecture Fortunately, Daniel doesn’t seem to have any trouble recruiting a terrific team, as she glowingly admits, describing in detail how each of her five employees contributes expertise and skills that her couture architecture requires. And whatever her human resource challenges, Daniel doesn’t lack for clients, who clamor for her high level of customer care. One thing Daniel has done to ensure that high level of care has been to focus exclusively on the residential market. In most architectural firms, she explains,

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smaller jobs. I couldn’t continue to stay status quo.” With her oldest child graduated from college and her second nearing the same milestone, Daniel decided to take the plunge. “It’s so much fun to work on complex jobs, where you can get into depth. But if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to have a big team behind you, a really skilled, highly trained team.” And that’s where Daniel says she meets her biggest business challenge: employee retention. “You train someone and then they’re gone – they are hired away by another firm or start their own firm, or whatever. That’s big.” Recently, she lost an employee she had been training for two years. That’s a pretty tough blow, and Daniel admits she doesn’t have any quick and easy answers for it.

residential jobs get pushed to the back by big commercial projects. “Architects love residential projects, because they can get more in depth, but then the big kahuna job comes in from a big developer, and it’s more demanding, and that little residential project just keeps getting pushed to the backburner. It gets treated like the redheaded step child.” At Lindsay Daniel Architecture, residential is the only business, and it gets all their attention. And that, combined with Daniel’s commitment to fitting architecture to lifestyle, means that “it’s always about what the client wants.” And often, that means helping the client find out what he wants. “For the client, the sheer complexity of options and exposure is overwhelming,” says Daniel. “You can stand in the grocery store aisle and pick up three or four magazines having to do with architecture, interior design, and so on. That’s good and bad. The bad part is that people get completely overwhelmed.” And most of the time when people hire an architect, they get only a three- to eight-page set of building plans that cover only the structural and exterior aspects of the building. This leaves the owners still to

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Lindsay Daniel Architecture, Inc. 1920 Abbott St., Ste. 301 Charlotte, N.C. 28203 Phone: 704-376-5325 Principal: Lindsay Daniel, Founder and President Employees: 5 permanent, 3 contract In Business: Since 1990 Certifications: 30 years as established residential architect – Fine Arts, Interior Design, and Architecture – national and state certifications in these professions (NCIDQ, ASID, and NCARB) with North Carolina and South Carolina architectural registrations Business: Provides upscale residential architecture and design services in tiered levels; offers couture architecture, a unique form of architectural service, design quality, and personalized attention to the client and the project, going beyond typical architectural practice, involving elements of fine arts, interior design, architecture, and family management. www.lindsaydaniel.com

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own home. The arrangement had worked well for her when her children were small, and had continued to work as they grew and began school, but as she hired more people to help and took on more complex jobs, the space began to feel cramped, even as it crowded into her living space. Soon, she found herself at a crossroads: “With the jobs that were coming in, I needed either more people, or to let people go and take on only

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handle all the logistical details, as well as the interior architecture, by themselves. And that interior architecture can constitute 50 percent of the total project cost, and four to five times more detail than the (l to r) This historic 1920s home in Myers Park standard building plans received a two-story addition and complete kitchen remodel, preserving the look and feel contain. “Interior of the original home but with modern touches to architecture constitutes reflect contemporary lifestyles. picking out every single thing you touch in a building – what the wall partnership with Lindsay Daniel’s team. is made of, what the floor is made of, the The book contains details on every single countertop, the kind of fabrics used, the type color, every single surface, every single of lighting, the location of the lighting, the appliance and piece of hardware to be bulbs used in the lighting, finishing matericontained in the finished home. It includes als, furnishings, moldings, the colors and instructions on where to order materials, finish of the paint, sinks, decorative hardand how to have them installed. And to ware, appliances – the list is almost endless.” make sure everything comes off smoothly, a That’s why when one of Daniel’s couture Lindsay Daniel specialist makes regular site clients begins a construction project, they are visits and helps smooth out the construction equipped with a construction document set issues for client and contractor. 30 to 35 pages long and an interior “I’m fortunate that I get to work in architecture notebook of finish material beautiful old architecture and a wonderful specifications that they have helped design in variety of styles, as well as a lot of additions

and new construction,” she says, adding that it’s the opportunity to work in many different styles, from Georgian to Tudor and encompassing modern styles, that keeps the work interesting for her. But the full couture treatment isn’t the only thing Lindsay Daniel offers. The company also opens its doors for customers seeking a lower level of attention, which is why Daniel has designed three “tiers” of service. The third tier is the couture treatment. On the first tier are basic, threeto eight-page building plans. A second tier includes more detailed building plans and a higher touch, but not the detailed attention of the couture architecture. In addition, Daniel offers by-the-hour consultation for people who simply want to toss ideas around with an architect. In fact, all her services can be billed by the hour, to provide clients with flexibility. Drafting for Tomorrow Flexibility has been a hallmark of Daniel’s entire career – from turning a secretarial position into a leg up into the design world, to working out of her home part-time so she could be close to her young children, and now moving her business to a new level of service to meet increasingly complex demands. And she is keeping her options for the future flexible as well. Currently, she has her eyes open for the right partnership or merger. She says she wants to keep the company small in order to continue to provide the high-touch service she offers, but by the same token, she strongly desires a partner to take some of the load off her shoulders. Specifically, she would love to hand off some of the production management aspects of the business. By offloading some of those responsibilities to a partner, Daniel feels she’d be able to focus on offering more products and more options to her clients. After all, it’s all about what the client wants, and offering them the flexibility to get it. biz Heather Head is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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[workforcebiz]

Workforce Training and Development

CPCC Turns “Fun and Games” Into Lucrative Careers Since the early 1970s when the first video game “Pong” was invented, followed by the infamous “Pac-Man,” the game industry has taken off like wildfire. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the game industry is an $11 billion per year industry, and the number continues to rise daily. Leading analysts forecast video and computer software sales will soon surpass $40 billion with a household penetration of 70 percent. That would make video and computer software and games as commonplace in American homes as video recorders were in the past. Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) recognizes the potential in this area and is now offering an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Simulation and Game Development. Leading the way with cutting edge programs, CPCC is the first community college in the nation to offer this exciting new program. The program, which was approved by the North Carolina Community College System in October 2005, offers a two-year degree as well as several certifications. The program is led by Farhad Javidi, program chair in the IT Division at CPCC. In addition, a national advisory committee composed of game industry professionals is assisting with the design and development of the curriculum. “The future of industry, education and entertainment all rely on simulation and game development,” says Javidi. “CPCC understands the value of this industry and the exciting jobs that are available in this field. As a leader in workforce development, CPCC administration has jumped at the chance to offer this exciting new program with a very promising future.” Careers in the industry are almost limitless. In fact, the Bureau of Statistics ranks software

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engineering jobs as one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. Many industries today including medicine, manufacturing, energy and defense all employ simulations because they have proven to be highly effective. Target markets include the entertainment industry, engineering, health care, forensics, education and even NASA. “While one quickly associates simulation and games with video games, perhaps their biggest impact is beginning to be seen in other fields,” according Tom Idema, CPCC’s Information Technology (IT) division director. “Simulations are now created for surgeries, manufacturing methods, energy systems and defense training, which includes the pilot in the cockpit as well as the soldier on the ground using virtual reality to enhance his abilities in urban combat situations.” After gaining a degree in simulation and game development, graduates are eligible for careers in art and animation, simulation and game design, audio/video and much more. Salaries range at the entry level from $40,000 to $70,000, while programming positions range from $50,000 to $110,000 after one or two years of experience.

“The game industry is being fueled by a generation of young people who have grown up on video games, making the crossover to training and other industries seamless,” explains Javidi. “As baby boomers leave the workforce, the demographic changes dramatically, with a shift toward employees who embrace electronic games intuitively and who have never experienced the world without the Web.”

Game Industry Facts • Game industry grew eight percent in 2003 to $7 billion more than tripling industry software sales since 1996 • In 2003, more than 239 million games were sold, which amounts to nearly two games per household • Half of all Americans age six and older play computer games • The average age of video game players is 29 • 43 percent of all video game players say they play online one or more hours per week, up from 39 percent in 2003 • 39 percent of game players are women

As we move further into the 21st century, it becomes evident that the future of industry, education and entertainment is one in which games and simulation will play an increasingly important role in our society. In fact, gaming and simulation will change the way people live, work and play. This is an astonishing development for an industry once viewed as a niche business for teenagers. Given the overwhelming evidence of the growing demand for a workforce well trained in simulation and game development, Central Piedmont Community College is committed to supporting this initiative. Interested in finding out more about the simulation and game development program at Central Piedmont Community College? Contact Farhad Javidi, CPCC Program Chair, 704-330-6398, farhad.javidi@cpcc.edu. biz This section is intended to highlight workforce training and development programs and initiatives delivered by community colleges within the Charlotte region. Community colleges are invited to submit substantive content ideas to editor@greatercharlottebiz.com.

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Featuring Executive Homes in the Charlotte Region WATERFRONT PALACE Cornelius, North Carolina This one-of-a-kind, waterfront estate has 3 levels and spectacular views. The exterior features hard coat stucco and a Spanish tile roof. A unique glass elevator shows visitors the features on each floor, including a home theatre, wine cellar & 2 fully equipped bars. There is an indoor spa and sauna, as well as a heated outdoor pool. The boat dock is equipped for 3 boats. MLS# 553368 - $3,899,000 Property Address: 18432 Harbor Light Blvd.

Christy Walker – 704-896-8283 www.allentate.com/christywalker

DRAMATIC SKYLINE VIEWS Charlotte, North Carolina Have it all in this extraordinary home. The open living room features a tray ceiling and built-in bookcases, a gas-log fireplace with marble surround. An oversized dining area accommodates guests who will enjoy spectacular views through the wall of windows. Step outside to the terrace from the living room, dining area or master bedroom. MLS# 557907 - $989,000 Property Address: 546 N. Church St.

Alice Gallagher – 704-331-2128 www.allentate.com/alicegallagher

ENGLISH COUNTRY ESTATE Kannapolis, North Carolina This beautiful estate is located on a 1-acre, wooded lot. The large covered porch overlooks the patio and is perfect for relaxing. The library, on the second level of the great room, is complete with custom-built shelves and an imported, antique, stained glass window. It is located in the exclusive, gated community of Pine Creek. MLS# 556997 - $1,195,000 Property Address: 3613 Richwood Circle

Team Honeycutt – 704-721-7130 www.teamhoneycutt.com

WATER VIEW Lake Wylie, South Carolina This new construction is exquisite. It features a formal living room and dining room. Great room enhanced with fireplace. Cherry, built-in cabinets grace the gourmet kitchen. French doors lead to deck overlooking the water-view lot. Full, finished, walkout basement with recreation room, office, 1BR/1BA and exercise/playroom. Clover School District. MLS# 500949 - $534,900 Property Address: 1739 Mineral Springs Lane

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