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Whitehead Associates

• Webb and Par tners

• Targeted Golf Solutions

Payroll Plus

Bobcats On The Prowl

december 2006

Bobcats Bobcats On The On The Prowl Prowl

Fred A.Whitfield President and COO Bobcats Basketball, LLC

Boosting Team Performance and Ticket Sales


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How a team of heart specialists helped Hugh McColl make the best investment of his life. When Hugh McColl, the man who changed American banking, learned he needed heart bypass surgery, he chose the team that has outpaced all others for years. He chose the Carolinas Heart Institute at Carolinas Medical Center and the Sanger Clinic’s Dr. Mark Stiegel. Carolinas Heart Institute has a rich and storied history of groundbreaking innovations; some of the finest medical minds in

America, and the latest, most advanced technology available – including the new revolutionary 64 Slice CT Scanner. Today, Hugh McColl is enjoying the success of his surgery with his usual zest for life. In fact, he calls his choice of care “one of the best investments I ever made.” We know Mr. McColl could have gone anywhere in the world for cardiac treatment. He chose the region’s premier team.

www.carolinashealthcare.org

Mr. Hugh McColl and R. Mark Stiegel, MD


in this issue

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Bobcats Basketball Fred Whitfield is a self-proclaimed optimist.That’s good, because the new president and chief operating officer of the Charlotte Bobcats realizes he has some hurdles to scale. He wants to improve the image of the franchise and its organization. He sounds like a realist as he ticks off his challenges. Whitfield’s job boils down to filling more seats for Charlotte Bobcats home games and improving community relations.

Mike Whitehead’s job is executive consulting. He conducts group and individual leadership, culture and team development for many of the most prestigious and successful companies in the area, who pay a considerable sum to share his point of view on their business. What they may not realize is that he had to pay a lot to learn what he knows.

departments publisher’s post

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employers biz

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Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

28 Webb and Partners

on top

Project manager means different things to different people but what Webb and Partners does is truly unique: they sit in the owner’s seat, overseeing everything required to take a commercial real estate development project from conception to reality and beyond.The number one benefit Webb and Partners’ clients receive is profiting from the project managers’ expertise.

bizXperts

32 Targeted Golf

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Smart Salvos, Select Strategies and Succinct Solutions

biznetwork

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bizview

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The Charlotte Region: The View from Another Perspective

executive homes

Golf is a frustrating game, but there is a teaching method that brings what Richard Brasser calls an epiphany for those who desire to play it well. Brasser knows and uses that method. Targeted Golf, founded in 1999, allows business people to use golf as a way to impress clients and recruit new ones.

december 2006

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cover story

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Luxury Homes above $350,000 on the cover: Fred A. Whitfield President and COO Bobcats Basketball, LLC

38 Payroll Plus Although working in salary commissions gave John Hettwer a large salary, the 90-hour workweeks eventually began taking their toll.Work and life were seriously out of balance. So when an old buddy approached him with the opportunity to open a payroll processing company, Hettwer dove into the payroll biz with his typical drive and passion. And he hasn’t looked back.

Photography by Wayne Morris.

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SouthPark is located on the corner of Sharon & Fairview Roads in Charlotte. Shopping Line速 704.364.4411.


[publisher’spost] The Swing of the Political Pendulum With the elections of 2006, we have once again witnessed the swing of the pendulum of public opinion from the political right to the political left. For the first time in nearly 12 years, the next Congress will have a majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. The impact of this election is even more dramatic considering that political control shifts not only from one party to the other, but also within the committees of Congress as new Chairs establish new agendas for action. The public pendulum is thusly magnified by the political system. Since 1994, Republicans have essentially controlled both houses of Congress. Before that, Democrats primarily controlled Congress for many years. When the public elects a President of one party, they often choose a Congress of the other party in the next election to keep a check on that President. Our Constitution established that system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative and judicial branches that continues to operate to this day. It seems that the public wants a few more checks and a little more balance. Ever since President Nixon and the Watergate break-ins, we have watched a perennial game of “gotcha” politics as the political pendulum has moved back and forth between the left and right wings of the political parties. With the powers of committee chairmanships and the accompanying subpoena powers, Democrats went after Nixon, Republicans went after Carter, Democrats went after Reagan, and, Republicans went after Clinton. Regardless of your political persuasion, it is easy to see how the system has functioned in recent history. Are we now to expect that Democrats will go after Bush? I hope not. We need to get past “gotcha” politics and stay focused on the issues that challenge our future. According to recent polls from the last election, about 47 percent of voters consider themselves to be moderates, 32 percent claim to be conservative and 21 percent identify with the liberal label. Many of those newly elected members of Congress won their seats by appealing to moderates unhappy with Republicans. Most of those new Senators and Representatives are more moderate than they are liberal or conservative, but they participate in a system that supports power to those in the majority with seniority. Democratic members with the greatest seniority will be chosen as committee chairs. What actions are they likely to take? Just like the Republicans in 1994 with their “Contract for America,” the Democrats have lined up their opening agenda for the new Congress. Democrats plan to open the new session with changes in the lobbying rules and passage of all the recommendations of the 9-11 commission in addition to passing a minimum wage increase, cutting student loans in half, requiring government negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices for Medicare, promoting stem cell research and instituting pay-as-you-go requirements so that future tax cuts or spending increases will have to be offset. Whether President Bush signs or vetoes any of those initiatives will be subject to the fine print or to the politics of the next presidential election. What remains to be seen is how far any of these new committee chairs will go to seek retribution for the War in Iraq or to undo tax cuts or to revisit spending and budget decisions. While their direction right now may not be clear, the loyal opposition will certainly engage their opportunities to ask tough questions and demand answers to questions that have gone unanswered for some time. They will also offer their own recommendations for change. If there is any lesson from history, it is most likely that we will witness a substantial stalemate between Congress and the White House for the next two years. Yes, there will be a few issues where they can find common ground and agree on agenda items. However, it is more likely that we are actually opening the debate to elect our next President. With a majority in Congress from one party and a President from the other party, we will witness an energetic debate that will help to set the course of our future. As business owners, we have a lot at stake in this debate. It is most important that we stay tuned, get involved, stay engaged. Participate! Our future depends on it! biz

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December 2006 Volume 7 • Issue 12 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

Editorial & Sales Assistant Janet Kropinak jkropinak@greatercharlottebiz.com

Business Development Sandy Rosenfeld srosenfeld@greatercharlottebiz.com

Account Executives Michelle Killi mkilli@greatercharlottebiz.com

Mimi Zelman mzelman@greatercharlottebiz.com

Contributing Editor Susanne Deitzel Contributing Writers Ellison Clary Susanne Deitzel Lisa Hoffmann 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. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Greater Charlotte Biz, 5601 77 Center Dr., Ste. 250, Charlotte, NC 28217-0736.

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[employersbiz]

Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

Bonus and Overtime Calculations Many employers may offer employees some sort of bonus this month. Do you count this as income when calculating an hourly or non-exempt employee’s “regular rate” for determining overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in the workweek? The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) spells out what types of payments may or may not be excluded in computing an employee’s regular rate. In general, discretionary bonuses, gifts, and employer payments to certain profitsharing, thrift and savings plans may be excluded. A bonus is discretionary when it

is an unexpected, one-time payment that is not part of a defined bonus plan with specific criteria. A bonus is non-discretionary when it is part of an announced bonus plan. For example, if your company says that employees will receive a $500 bonus if the company makes a $50,000 profit this year, this would be non-discretionary. Section 778.331 of the FLSA describes how to handle awards for performance on the job. It states that “where a prize is awarded for the quality, quantity or efficiency of work done by the employee during his customary working hours at his normal assigned tasks, it is obviously paid as additional remuneration for

employment. Thus prizes paid for cooperation, courtesy, efficiency, highest production, best attendance, best quality of work, greatest number of overtime hours worked, etc., are part of the regular rate of pay.” As such, non-discretionary bonuses like attendance bonuses, pay-for-performance bonuses, and bonuses given in lieu of an annual pay increase must normally be added to the employee’s regular pay in order to properly calculate the regular rate and the overtime rate. One exception is for bonuses that are paid as a percentage of total earnings, which provide for the simultaneous payment of overtime due on the bonus.

Holiday Pay and Overtime Many employers may close their facilities on Monday, December 25, and Tuesday, December 26, 2006, and again on Monday, January 1, and Tuesday, January 2, 2007. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires that overtime be paid on hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. So if an employee worked three 12-hour days, then had two paid holidays, there were only 36 hours worked in the week. Thus, you would not be required to pay the employee overtime for that week. The 52 hours (36 worked plus 16 holiday) could be paid at straight time. However, many employers choose to be more generous and include the holiday hours in computing weekly overtime. According to The Employers Association Policies and Practices Survey, approximately 50 percent of companies counted holiday hours toward computing of weekly overtime for nonexempt employees.

Holiday Gifts May Be Taxable As the holidays are upon us, we are looking for ideas for employee gifts. If we give gift cards or gift certificates, will they be taxable to the employee? What about bonus checks? Anything that equates to giving cash must be considered taxable income for the employee. This includes gift cards, gift certificates (even if they cannot be redeemed for cash and can only be used to purchase certain items), and bonus checks. The value of all of these must be included in the employee’s income and are subject to employment taxes. However, if the employer buys a gift that is not equivalent to cash and gives it to the employee, it is not included in the employee’s income. An example would be if the employer buys $20 boxes of Godiva

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chocolates and gives them as gifts to the employees: it is not taxable income for the employee. However, if the employer gives Godiva gift certificates to employees, it has to be included as part of the employee’s income. If the employer buys turkeys or hams and distributes them to the employees, it is not considered taxable income. However if the employer gives a gift certificate for a turkey or ham to the employee, it must be counted as income and is therefore taxable. Items such as turkeys, hams, chocolates and some entertainment tickets are considered de minimis benefits, which is “any property or service you provide to an employee that has so little value that accounting for it would be unreasonable or administratively impracticable” (IRS Publication 15-B, Employer’s Tax Guide to

Fringe Benefits, 2005). These gifts must have a low market value and be given infrequently; otherwise, the IRS may question the practice. The IRS has determined that if an organization pays its employees a specified percentage of their monthly salary as a holiday gift, the gift is paid as a result of the employment relationship and is therefore taxable. It is immaterial that the gift is not paid pursuant to work quality, quantity or tenure. In view of this, a common practice among employers is to “gross up” cash gifts so that the employee gets the full value of the gift. “Grossing up” is an IRS-approved procedure to calculate the gross payment that the employee must receive when the employer pays the employee’s taxes. (The Management Association of Illinois)

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Honing Your Negotiation Skills “Negotiation is more of a mindset than a skill set,” says Linda Finkle, founder of Incedo Group, an executive coaching firm based in Potomac, Md. “Power is all in the mind, not in reality,” she says. “If you feel powerless in the relationship, you come from a place of weakness in negotiating.” Believing in your position is important. In fact, a common error that ineffective negotiators make is “mistaking purposes and positions,” says Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. We lose flexibility and influence in negotiation, he says, “when we start to believe that the position our partner is taking represents their true interests.” It usually doesn’t. “Those who are skilled at getting beyond other’s positions to discover their true purposes gain greater influence, flexibility and power in negotiations,” he says. To do this, you need to “look past the specific negotiating positions others take to see the true needs behind them.” The flip side, of course, is recognizing your own purpose and position. “Be clear on your true needs before you start,” says Grenny. “You’ll come across more confident and effective if you know what you want and what you’re willing to walk away from when you come in.” So what, specifically, can you do to improve the outcomes of your negotiations? Negotiate for Results • Prepare. “I always ask people what they control in a negotiation,” Shapiro says. “In reality, preparation is the only aspect of a negotiation which you control. That’s why being systematic about preparation is so important.” Too many negotiators don’t research the situation. They don’t fully understand the other party’s interests and they don’t take the time to do a thorough job of planning. Shapiro himself plans every negotiation – even the small ones – using

greater charlotte biz

a “preparation planner” that requires a thorough look at the “PAIDS” of negotiation – precedents, alternatives, interest, deadlines, strengths and weaknesses. • Probe. Even though your preparation may have provided you with exceptional information about the needs, values and goals of the party you’re negotiating with, be cautious about revealing too much of this knowledge directly. “Probing helps you find out more about the other party’s needs,” says Shapiro. That involves learning how to ask the right questions, and learning how to really listen to the responses. “To me, the best negotiators are the best listeners,” says Shapiro. • Propose. If you’ve done your research, you’ve carefully probed for additional information and you’ve listened to the other party’s needs and interests. Now it’s time to move toward closing the deal. But, don’t move too quickly. “Try not to make the first offer,” Shapiro advises. “Try to find out what the other side is thinking about – you may discover that what they’re thinking is more than you expected or less than you were going to offer.” When you do make an offer, says Shapiro, “leave some room – aim reasonably high because human beings have a tendency to want to negotiate.”

Offering more than one option in your proposal can be an effective technique, says Peter Barron Stark, author of The Only Negotiating Guide You’ll Ever Need. Offering options, he says, “gives the client more ability to converse with

you. If you have three different options with three different levels of value, you have the opportunity to have a better dialogue about what could be done.” “One will often lose in a negotiation if you are attached to one outcome,” Finkle agrees. “If you go into the negotiation with only one possible way for this to work out, it’s likely you won’t win. Negotiation is a slow dance to match needs and have a win/win for both parties.” Selling Value Negotiating, says Stark, can be likened to being on a teeter-totter. “On one side you have value. On the other side you have price. What tends to happen is that people start attacking the price. Consultants are famous for this. In the client’s mind the price is on the high side and the value is on the low side. To be successful as a consultant you need to build up the value.” How do you do that? By communicating tangible, client-centered benefits that clearly convey financial impacts. For example, Stark says he recently worked with a mortgage company that was considering some training options. “We talked about what the value of this training would be if the client used the skills learned to save one house from going into default; they indicated they’d save approximately $40,000. Multiply that out by how many houses that could potentially be saved and all of a sudden it makes the price of the training pretty inconsequential.” (Society for Human Resources Management) 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 Accounting, tax and business services firm RSM McGladrey has been named to the 100 Best Companies list by Working Mother magazine. Grant Thornton, LLP has been named to the 100 Best Companies list by Working Mother magazine. Advertising & Media Moonlight Creative Group has received three silver awards at the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas 2006 ProAd Awards ceremony. The Marketing Consortium has received two awards at the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas 2006 ProAd Awards ceremony. Moonlight Creative Group co-founder and partner, Dawn Newsome, has been chosen by 107.9 FM The Link as Dawn Newsome one of its ‘Link Leading Ladies’ for 2006. Luquire George Andrews has appointed Judi Judi Wax Wax to senior vice president, director of public relations. Brand consulting and design firm, carbonhouse, inc., has named Brandon Lucas as principal and director of marketing. Internet marketing agency WebsiteBiz has hired Ron Hassay as campaign manager. Wray Ward Laseter has hired Elaine Manglicmot as graphic designer and Candace Doby as interactive account manager. Ellen Elliot has joined marketing communications firm HMH as media supervisor in its Charlotte office. Tony Peloso has been promoted to design manager for SouthWood Corporation, a signage and graphics firm. Walker Marketing, Inc. has appointed Kristen Swift as account coordinator. David Booth has joined Welcomemat Services as account manager. Business & Professional Labor law firm Fisher & Phillips, LLP, has received first place honors in public/media

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[ontop] relations from the Legal Marketing Association Southeastern Chapter. Law firm, Poyner & Spruill LLP, has announced the addition of five new attorneys: Chad W. Essick, Arathi Prabhu Nobles, John W. O’Hale, Andrew J. Petesch, Elizabeth Willoughby Riley, in its Charlotte office. Seven new associates have joined Hedrick Eatman Gardner & Kincheloe, L.L.P.’s Charlotte office: Margaret M. Kingston, Chanda W. Stepney, Mathew E. Flatow, Jennifer L. Gauger, Sarah Anne M. Reamer, Michael G. Soto, and Jeremy A. Stephenson. Seven new associates have joined Kennedy Covington’s Charlotte office: Michael Bailey, John Blair, Ashley Everhart, Lisa Forman, Elizabeth Fowler, Daniel Mumford, and Emily Zimmer. Brook Hobgood has been promoted to general manager of Shred-it Charlotte, an on-site document destrucBrook Hobgood tion company. Rutherfoord, a risk management and insurance brokerage firm, has welcomed Brad Gibson to its Charlotte office. Danielle M. Walther has joined the Charlotte office of Danielle Walther Nexsen Pruet Adams Kleemeier. Valoree Eikinas, vice president for Mulkey Engineers & Consultants, has been named to the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board. The firm has also named Greg Jones, PE, as vice president and branch manager of its Charlotte office and Quinton Epps as a senior environmental scientist for the South Carolina branch. Construction & Design Dale A. Fite has joined Tyler2 Construction as vice president of finance and accounting. Dale Fite Custom home builder The Salins Group has named Adam Schooler as project manager. LandDesign, an urban planning, civil engineering and landscape architecture company, has promoted Heather Brown Wathey to survey technician.

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[ontop] John Castano has joined A&W Electric as a project manager. Weldon’s Windows has hired Marcus Williams as outside event manager.

Networking Services “No business is too small”

If you are looking for a company that gives a personal touch and honestly cares about their clients, then give us a call!

©2006 Galles Communications Group, Inc.

Local & Wide Area Networks Wiring Routers Switches Servers Wireless Workstations We are an innovative, high tech company, specializing in local and wide area networking to the small and medium business market. We provide complete turnkey solutions from concept to reality. For more information call: Walt Fields at 704-560-4897 or Dwayne Stone at 704-560-4900 FieldStone Networking Services • 16041-G Johnston Rd. #161• Charlotte, NC 28277

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december 2006

Education & Staffing UNC Charlotte benefactor and former trustee Irwin “Ike” Belk has made a gift to The Foundation of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Inc. to honor his wife and establish the Carol Grotnes Belk Endowed Chair in Nursing. North Carolina’s Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund will match the gift for a total endowment of $1 million. Gilda Rubio-Festa, director of International Outreach with Central Piedmont Community College, has been named the Southern regional winner for the Faculty Member of the Year Award by the Association of Community College Trustees. Dr. Charles M. Ambrose, president of Pfeiffer University, has received the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award from Furman University. Dr. Charles Ambrose Queens University of Charlotte has named Marcy Meier Braselton and her husband, Mitch Braselton, as the new co-chairs of its President’s Advisory Circle. Gaston College has appointed John Anderson as new director for the Textile Technology Center in Belmont. Shon Herrick has been Shon Herrick named vice president for advancement at Pfeiffer University. Dr. Godfrey Gayle, a biological engineer professor at NC A&T State University has been elected to the Engineering & Technology Accreditation Committee of the American Association of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Dr. Nita M. Dewberry, associate dean for curriculum and student affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at NC A&T State University Dr. Nita has been invited to serve as a Dewberry

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[ontop] member of the Special Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS). Dr. Jagannathan “Jag” Sankar, a NC A&T State University professor in the College of Engineering and director of the Center for Advanced Materials & Smart Structures, has received a one-year $210,000 award from the National Science Foundation for advanced materials research. Valerie Nieman, an assistant professor of English and journalism at NC A&T State University, has been featured on the North Carolina Arts Council site as a Poet of the Week. Lillian D. Harris has donated $10,000 to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to establish the John W. Dillard and Lillian D. Harris Scholarship Fund. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has announced assistant professor Dr. Phoebe Butler-Ajibade has received an award from the American Cancer Society to establish a Colleges Against Cancer chapter. Engineering Derick J. Ritter of ClarkNexsen, an architectural, engineering, planning, and interior design firm, has earned his LEED Accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Burst Into Next Year With

Derick Ritter

Financial & Insurance Ryan Platt, special care planner with Hinrichs Flanagan Financial, has been elected to the board of directors of The ARC, formerly, Association for Retarded Citizens of Mecklenburg County. First Colony Capital, LLC has welcomed Timothy Walters as vice president of asset management. First Charter Denver Financial Center manager Hillary Hutchison has been promoted to banking officer. Alan Romack has joined Hillary the Charlotte branch of AXA Hutchinson Advisors, LLC as a financial professional. Government & Non-Profit Eric Dudley, founder of Internet marketing

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Phone: 704.357.3347 info@basicsplus.net december 2006

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[ontop] agency WebsiteBiz, has been elected to serve as first vice chair for the Charlotte Chamber Center City board of directors. Dudley has also been elected to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Charity Perkins has been named director and Wynne Speir has joined as assistant director of the communications department at The Duke Endowment.

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©2006 Galles Communications Group, Inc.

it all adds up.

At the lake:

Uptown office:

Daniel, Ratliff & Company 107 Kilson Dr., Ste. 205, Mooresville, NC 28117

Daniel, Ratliff & Company 301 S. McDowell St., Ste. 502, Charlotte, NC 28204

704.663.0193

704.371.5000

www.danielratliff.com

Health Care Chuck Long, M.D., of Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants, has been named new chief of anesthesiology at CMCUniversity; Richard C. Rauh, CPA, has been named executive director of Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants. Dr. Claxton Baer with the Cabarrus Eye Center in Concord has been awarded the 2006 Bausch & Lomb Fellows’ Forum Research Award. Local acupuncturist Denise Slavich has been chosen to serve on the Clinical Editorial Board for the American Association of Oriental Medicine. First Colony Healthcare, LLC has added Henry Trost to its team. Manufacturing Blair D. Shwedo, president of SouthEastern Petroleum Systems, Inc. has been appointed treasurer by the board of directors of the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Spiroflow Systems has appointed Deron Seibert as regional sales manager. Sales administrative assistant Jennifer Jackson of Harper Corporation has been recognized with the president’s Going the Extra Mile Award. Retail & Sports & Entertainment American Express has named the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center as one of 12 recipients of the American Express Performing Arts Fund grants for 2006. Douglas Young has joined the senior management team of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center as director of theatrical programming. Tim Mueller and Randy Long have been promoted to vice president and general manager

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[ontop] of the Kannapolis Intimidators, Minor League Baseball Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Cheryl Jordan has joined The Oceanaire Seafood Room restaurant as sales and Cheryl Jordan event coordinator. Sharon Campbell has been promoted to regional marketing director for Mills Corp. CVB Sports Marketing Manager Scott Aldrich has been elected to the board of directors of the NC Sports Association. WCNC-TV has announced that Daniela Lopez has been added as a new weather forecaster. Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte has been awarded a $10,000 grant by The Sella Foundation. Charlotte-based event planning firm Blueprints For Successful Events has opened a second office in Fayetteville. John Cutitta, former executive chef at City Tavern in Charlotte, has been named executive chef at DELECTABLES by holly Catering. Technology NuVox Communications has named Chris Brennan as district sales director. John Brannan has joined NouvEON Technology Partners as a senior consultant. Tourism & Travel Horizon Lines, Inc. has announced that Charles G. Raymond will serve as its first chairman of the Board of Directors. DeSales Wagster has been named the new president/CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention & DeSales Wagster Visitors Bureau. The Light Factory has been honored with the prestigious 2006 McColl Award, and has honored Jonathan Taplin with its 2006 Power of Image Award, and Herman Stone with the 2006 Pillar of Image Award. biz To be considered for inclusion, please send your news releases and announcements in the body of an e-mail (only 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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Duke University Tax Free Municipal Bond Issue As a North Carolina investor, you may be interested to know that we will be serving as manager on this upcoming bond issue. If you would like to receive more detailed information on this bond issue, please contact me or return the reply care below, and I will forward you additional information as soon as it is released. Brian Roland, Financial Advisor brian.roland@ubs.com For more information, email or call: 704-343-4086 800-421-2148 401 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 The securities may not be sold, nor may any offer to buy be accepted prior to the time the OfďŹ cial Statement is delivered in ďŹ nal form. This announcement is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor should there be any sale of these securities, in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualiďŹ cation under the securities law of such jurisdiction. The preliminary OfďŹ cial Statement is subject to completion or amendment. To receive a copy of the Preliminary OfďŹ cial Statement, please call your Financial Advisor. UBS Financial Services Inc. does not provide tax or legal advice. Please contact your tax advisor regarding the suitability of tax-exempt investments in your portfolio. Income from municipals may be subject to state and local taxes as well as the Alternative Minimum Tax. Municipal securities are subject to gains/losses based on the level of interest rates, market conditions and credit quality of the issuer. Additional information available upon request. Municipal bond underwriting and trading are conducted by UBS Securities LLC, an afďŹ liate of UBS Financial Service Inc. Š2006 UBS Financial Services Inc. All Rights Reserved. Member SIPC. UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG.

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bizXperts: Smart Salvos, Select Strategies and Succinct Solutions

bizXperts biz

act NOW to retain your key employees

It’s Tuesday, January 2, 2007. You, a business owner, are just a little depressed. As you sit at your desk thinking about the New Year, there is an ominous feeling in the air. You can’t quite put your finger on it. You’ve been up since 3:00 a.m. with a feeling of anxiety as if something bad is about to happen, but you can’t quite figure out what is causing you this anxiety. You think back over 2006 and the great year your company has just experienced. You exceeded your profitability goals and were able to pay some significant bonuses at yearend to your employees. In fact, 2006 was your best year ever. So what could possibly be making you feel this way? Your thoughts are interrupted by someone knocking on your door. “Come in,” you say. In walks Bob, vice president of sales, and a key employee who you have thought might one day be your successor. Though normally vivacious, Bob has a serious look on his face as he tells you that, after a great deal of soul searching, he has decided to take a position with your most fierce competitor. You feel like someone just kicked you in the stomach. This could not be happening. Bob has always been your most trusted and most loyal key employee. Why would he do this? You then remember back a year ago when you and Bob were together on a fishing trip and Bob brought up the possibility of his having some type of ownership stake in the business. You told him you would get back to him. However, you haven’t had any discussions with him since. Of course, you have been very busy. But more than that, you have been fearful of the ramifications of taking on a partner. Now, it is too late. There is no chance to explore Bob’s ownership desires. Oh, yes, you also remember that Bob never signed the noncompete agreement you had recently proposed that he sign. Thus, you are left without either a “carrot” or a “stick” to deal with this crisis. If this has never happened to you, consider yourself lucky. One of the greatest risks that we find in our client’s companies is the failure to properly address issues related to retaining key employees. These are the people that you absolutely cannot afford to lose without a substantial loss to your business. In Good to Great, author Jim Collins states “The old adage ‘people are your most important asset’ turns out to be wrong. People are not your most important asset. The ‘right’ people are.” Compensation and ownership-based incentives are necessary to get the right people in your organization in the first place, and to keep the right people there.

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We find that most business owners do not understand the myriad of ownership-based incentive compensation arrangements available for key employees. Thus, we recommend the first step a business owner should take to address these issues is to become educated as to the variety of ownership-based incentive arrangements that are available. There are many options, from purchase of actual ownership to stock awards and stock options (qualified and unqualified) to phantom stock and Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs) plans. Each option has different control, tax and liability consequences to the employer and employee. All can have vesting schedules and protections for both the employer and employee to meet the particular situation. Next, the interests, objectives and goals of the owner in creating an ownership-based plan for the key employee should be determined. Normally, these objectives include motivating the key employee as well as aligning the key employee’s interests with that of the owner by creating an ownership-based arrangement whereby the employee benefits to the extent that his efforts cause the value of the company to increase. The owner wishes to cause the key employee to begin to think like an owner. Remember though, that for a particular arrangement to be effective, it must actually motivate the employee. Thus, the owner should next determine the interests, objectives and goals of the key employee through interviewing him. In many cases there is a dream of ownership because of the ego desires of the key employee, the income and wealth implications of ownership, and the input and control implications, which are normally the result of ownership. Once the objectives of the owner and key employee are determined, an optimum ownership-based arrangement which best meets these objectives can be structured with the help of the owner’s tax and legal advisors. One last comment. Take action NOW to address these issues before January 2nd comes … and it’s too late. Robert Norris is managing partner of Wishart, Norris, Henninger & Pittman, P.A., a law firm which focuses on helping business owners define and achieve their business and personal objectives. Contact him at 704-364-0010 or www.wnhplaw.com.

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change is hard. change is easy. Organization-wide change can provoke resistance, hostility and fear, even when it is most needed. But the majority of people would say they are eager to improve their lives and their work. So what’s going on here? A story might help. The story of the man and the jar There once was a man who got his hand stuck in a jar. He tried everything. He tried hot water. He tried cold water. He tried grease. But still, the jar would not come off. He got angrier and angrier. And he clenched his fist tighter and tighter. Until one day someone asked him, “Why don’t you open your hand?” “You’re not listening to me. I don’t have a problem with my hand. The problem is this damn jar.” The problem may not be the problem In our little parable, it’s easy to see that the man was paying attention to the wrong thing. And, if he could focus on something other than the jar, his other problem would work itself out. Chances are he will seek out the advice of a jar removal expert. But what our man really needs is a change of perspective. He needs to change the way he thinks about his situation. And this is exactly why change is hard. A new policy or set of guidelines will

influence what someone does, but can never change someone’s worldview. But, change is easy When you look at change in this way, it’s easy, at least in a physical sense. You don’t have to move mountains, or relocate a building. You only have to change the way people think. And if that seems more daunting that mountain relocation, it is probably because you don’t know the secret of change. “You must become the change you want to see.” These are the words of Ghandi. It’s hard to see how anyone has ever faced a greater organizational challenge than he did – to throw off the shackles of the most powerful empire in the world without using violence. But he did. And because he changed himself first, he was tremendously persuasive. It is one thing to tell a person to do something differently. It is entirely another to show, by example, that an alternate way is better. Mike Whitehead is president of Whitehead Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in leadership and culture development. Contact him at 704-331-9091 or www.whiteheadassociates.com.

don’t go it alone… I know dozens of people who own and operate businesses all by themselves. Their organization chart has one square – and the owner’s name is in it. The owner does everything from sales to collections, purchasing to accounting. These men and women have unique challenges. I know, because I’m one of them. My business, Altman Initiative Group, Inc., is a one-person business by design. I never intended to have employees. I knew that this decision would place some limitations on my growth, but the upside was worth the price. For those of you who have made the same decision, here are some lessons I’ve learned that have helped my business grow faster than I ever imagined – without giving me a nervous breakdown. First, time is your most precious asset, and you have a limited supply. You have to figure out where to focus your time. “But I have to do everything,” you say. No, that’s not true. You have to get everything done, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it. For example, my highest value falls into three categories: providing services to clients, selling and developing new products. If I don’t spend a sufficient amount of time in these categories, my business will not be profitable and continue to grow. Every minute that I spend doing something else is time I’m taking away from these core processes. Second, there are lots of resources that can help you save time. You don’t have to have employees to be able to delegate. You can outsource many functions from Web design and marketing to accounting and

greater charlotte biz

payroll. Think of the tasks that are non-revenue generating. Now, look for resources that can take those tasks off your hands. If you use that time to work on your core categories, the money you pay for these services will be a drop in the bucket. Third, though you work alone, you shouldn’t always be alone. There is great value from brainstorming ideas with other business people. Sometimes we just need the energy we get from being around other bright people. Connect with others who understand your world. Talk with them, share with them, and be enriched by them. Finally, you have to find ways to set goals and be held accountable. Everyone needs a “boss” sometimes. It’s too easy for us “solos” to let ourselves off the hook every now and then. We need associates and business friends who won’t let us off so easily. If you’re a Solo, think about these issues and how they might enhance your business. Denise Altman is president of Altman Initiative Group, Inc. and the director of the Business Success Institute – SOLO, a group designed for owner/operator business people. Learn more at www.business-successinstitute.com or call 704-708-6700.

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

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Mike Whitehead Founder and President Whitehead Associates, Inc.

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by susanne deitzel

[bizprofile]

Re-creating Our Future ”

We must become the change that we want to see in the world

~ Mahatma Ghandi

The Vision of Whitehead Associates Today, Mike Whitehead has a comfortable view. His office, the helm of Whitehead Associates, Inc., sits in a Victorian manor nestled in three acres of land off of Sardis Road, which he owns. The Whitehead Manor executive center is filled with color, light, fresh flowers and cups of freshly brewed hot tea. Whitehead sits in a coat and tie atop an ancient rocker, just across from his computer screen splashed with pictures of his kids. Whitehead’s job is executive consulting. He conducts group and individual leadership, culture and team development for many of the most prestigious and successful companies in the area, who pay a considerable sum to share his point of view on their business. What they may not realize is that he had to pay a lot to learn what he knows. Adversity Yields Diversity If there were such a thing as a school of hard knocks, then class 101 would have to be Whitehead’s childhood. Born Terry Michael Gladden in Columbia, S.C., Whitehead’s early childhood was spent in poverty. At the age of 6, he and his four siblings entered the foster care system. The children were separated into different homes; Whitehead’s mother died and his father passed away shortly thereafter. From the age of 6 until the age of 14, when the Whitehead family adopted him, he lived in three orphanages and 13 foster

greater charlotte biz

homes. His life became a kaleidoscope of different families with their incumbent religions, wealth or lack thereof, race, disposition, and values. As a child he felt exposed to almost every permutation of family there is. He explains, “My childhood, as I experienced it, was adverse and diverse. I lived with wealthy families and I lived in poverty. I lived in the city and the country; I lived among atheists, Catholics, devout Christians, black and white families, kind people and abusive people. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy existence for a child.” If Whitehead’s story were in today’s newspapers or on television, you would expect to read about it in the crime pages, or worse, the obituaries, because as truth would have it, that is where a lot of lost kids end up. Fortunately for Whitehead, and for everyone whose life he touches, that isn’t his story. “Looking back now, I can see that I went through what I did to be able to make a difference. While I was living through it, it was difficult. But if it weren’t for that experience I wouldn’t be who I am or be able to do what I do,” he explains. A Vital Transformation Whitehead’s disparate childhood stands in marked contrast to his steadfast demeanor and confidence today. As president of Whitehead Associates, he answers calls from high-level executives looking to take their business to the next level. By assessing, deconstructing and reconstructing a team, corporate culture or leadership style, Whitehead Associates outfits a company to break out of habits and perceptions that threaten to limit its potential. ®

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And this is a task for which He recalls, “On the first Whitehead is uniquely qualiday of class this professor fied. Whitehead received his told us that we could return master’s degree in counseling our textbook – that this and development, and class was going to be all received accolades for several about us, and learning how years with the consulting firm to speak authentically. I was Dorrier Underwood before terrified, but her honesty, beginning Whitehead sincerity and genuineness Associates almost 10 years was too striking for me to ago. He is a voracious reader drop the class. Of course, and seminar attendee, and our first assignment was a participates on too many nonspeech on our family and profit and leadership organizaour childhood.” pictured (l to r): Tom Lane, Consultant, Chief Operating Officer; Lauren tions to count – so he has the “I planned on giving a Casat, Client Services Manager; Mike Whitehead, Owner, Consultant; credentials of many of the canned, sterilized, and generic Chris Bolinger, Property Manager. consulting firms that are perversion of what my experience school just to feel like I could finish vasive in today’s marketplace. was, but when I got to the words ‘foster something. But something kept telling me But Whitehead brings something home’ I clammed up. At this point she that I wasn’t as smart as other kids.” more to the table, and that something convinced me that whatever I had to At this point, Whitehead’s story takes a it is evident from the first time you share was okay, that I had something to dramatic turn. A psychology professor lock eyes with him. Because, in order offer, and then I was able to tell my classintroduced him to the “seven types of for this extremely successful businessmates about my past. It was a defining intelligence,” as defined by Howard man, real estate investor, coach, husmoment, because that decision and the Gardner, which suggested that he scored band and father to get where he is, it relationship I took away from that experivery high on interpersonal and intrapertook a lot of soul searching, and a lot ence freed me to look at my life as an sonal intelligence. Then, a public speakof hard work. asset instead of something to just lock ing professor, who later became his menRecalls Whitehead, “Since my family away,” he shares. tor, helped him make the breakthrough didn’t have much money, I didn’t know that would change his life. exactly how I would pay for college, but I Cultivating Inspiration had an entrepreneurial sense and a powFrom that point forward Whitehead erful drive to find out what made people was able to focus on his strengths, and he Whitehead Associates Inc. successful and to find it for myself. As it realized that what he did with his life 5901 Sardis happens, I was a pretty good, if scrappy, could be predicated on the choices that Road basketball player, which helped me get he made, as opposed to the storyline he Charlotte, accepted into Winthrop University. I had been handed. “I suddenly recognized N.C. 28270 Phone: 704-366-5335 knew if I made it in, I could figure out a that my life did not have to be determined Principals: Michael T.Whitehead, Founder way to pay for it.” by the fact that I was an orphaned kid. I and President;Tom Lane, COO and And pay for it he did, through grants, could choose my outcomes, and this was Consultant loans and working through school with an awakening.” Employees: 8 Business: Management Consulting: homemade ideas like a birthday cake/care Whitehead says that he still had to Leadership Development,Team package delivery service, microwave overcome pretty rigid armor in terms of Development and Culture Development rental service, and being a resident advirelationships, but that through the conSampling of Clients: sor at one of Winthrop’s dorms. versations with his professor, meeting his Harris Teeter,Wachovia,Ameritrust, But college didn’t take the way he extraordinary wife, and working intenMortgage,Tyler2 Construction, Leadership Charlotte,Adams Outdoor Advertising, thought it would. “In high school, I was sively on personal development, he found Mecklenburg County BAR Leadership good at basketball, I was the class presiboth the support and guidance that he Institute, CPI Security dent and I was voted ‘Most Dependable,’ needed to be up to the task. He laughs, Sampling of Civic Involvement: but I didn’t make great grades. My early “In college, I was a bit of an odd bird. Dowd YMCA Alexander Children’s Center college experience was the same, and I There were more than a few occasions Jacob’s Ladder Job Center began to doubt whether or not I where I had to miss a party so I could Substance Abuse Prevention Services belonged there.” deliver some birthday cakes or attend a Charlotte Advocates for Education Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools He continues, “It turned out I wasn’t Wayne Dyer seminar. But, I was conwww.whiteheadassociates.com good enough in basketball to graduate to sumed with finding out more about the varsity team, but I wanted to stay in myself and other people.” ®

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When Whitehead graduated from college he enjoyed enormous success and gratification as a teacher in one of Charlotte’s most challenging middle schools. He was voted the school’s teacher of the year, and he attributes this to being able to identify with the kids. “I had experience in what they were going through; I had been them. So, I intuited ways to reach them.” Whitehead exhibits the same versatility in the corporate world. “Because of my diverse history, it is just as easy for me to relate to an employee on the factory room floor as it is the president of a major corporation. If it hadn’t been for what some people call an unfortunate childhood, I might not be able to do that.” The same can be said of community building. “I have been in the projects. If I were on the street talking to a homeless person today, they would have no idea of the privileges I have unless I tell them. It is just easy for me to identify with people.” Whitehead has been able to turn his experience into strength, and leverage that into a currency that has become extremely valuable to the corporate world and the community. Effectuating Change With the strategic savoir-faire of his partner, Tom Lane, Whitehead has developed a practicum that promises to transform the organizational landscape of many businesses central to Charlotte’s framework. Whitehead Associates converts the self-limiting constructs of people and organizations that stand in the way of setting and meeting their goals, into the power to achieve substantive results. One such business is the grocery store chain, Harris Teeter. President Fred Morganthal says that Whitehead Associates has been an integral part of developing its team, leadership and culture. “Colleges spend a lot of time on practical business knowledge, but a lot of people still graduate without knowing how to truly manage people. One of the things that Mike is able to do is take a person and teach them

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how to inspire and be effective with other people.” Adds Morganthal, “Mike can take a player and turn him into a coach, and he can take a coach and turn him into the general manager. He can take what it takes some people three or four years to learn, and teach that lesson in three to six months.” Morganthal says the results speak for themselves. “Mike’s training increases the proficiency of individuals and teams, and operational performance follows. We have internal measures that demonstrate that the success factor of the individuals who go through Mike’s training is above 90 percent. His training improves efficiency, turnover and the bottom line. It is noticeable to the point that you can overhear people talking about it in the halls.” Scores of companies including Ameritrust Mortgage, Adams Outdoor Advertising and Leadership Charlotte, to name a few, could line up and say the same thing about Whitehead Associates and Whitehead’s impact on its culture. He is his own walking testimonial, despite the fact that until now, he has rarely divulged his personal story outside of sessions with his clients. But his name is on the lips of many business and civic leaders, and he hopes that by spreading his enthusiasm we can transform the community that we live in. Comments Whitehead, “Whitehead Associates is a results-oriented organization that has repeatedly demonstrated positive change in many Charlotte businesses, and Whitehead Manor is a great training ground for us to do that. But in addition to everything we offer here, we want to invite discussion to encourage positive change in our community as well. There are many avenues to make a difference, and we need to tap into our vast leadership resources, merge our focus, and envision a credible, optimistic future for our economy, our businesses, our schools, our kids and families, and our city.” And if anyone can do it, Mike Whitehead will make believers of us all.biz Susanne Deitzel is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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photo: Wayne Morris

Fred Whitfield President and COO Bobcats Basketball, LLC

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by ellison clary

[bizprofile]

Bob Bobcats ats On The Prowl Boosting TeamPerformance and Ticket Sales Fred Whitfield is a self-proclaimed optimist. That’s good, because the new president and chief operating officer of the Charlotte Bobcats realizes he has some hurdles to scale. He sounds like a realist as he ticks off his challenges. He wants to improve the image of the franchise and its organization. He’s ready to deal with bad feelings left over from the departure of the Charlotte Hornets. He would dearly love to attract more people to Bobcats Arena, a state-of-the-art facility dogged by a dark cloud because the city chose to build it after voters nixed it. Whitfield’s job boils down to filling more seats for Charlotte Bobcats home games against NBA opponents. When he assumed his position in early August, Whitfield joined his longtime friend Michael Jordan, who bought part of the team from owner Bob Johnson and took the title of managing partner for basketball operations. The dust was still settling from the abrupt departure of top executives Ed Tapscott, Chris Weiller and Peter Smul under pressure from Johnson. ®

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Bobcats Basketball, LLC 333 East Trade Street Charlotte, N.C. 28202 Phone: 704-688-8880 Principals: Fred A.Whitfield, President and COO; Robert L. Johnson, Majority Owner; Michael Jordan, Owner and Managing Partner for Basketball Operations Whitfield’s Background: Raised in Greensboro, N.C.,Whitfield played basketball at Campbell University and attended the basketball camp where Michael Jordan was a counselor.Whitfield earned an undergraduate degree and MBA there, and a law degree at North Carolina Central University. He started a law practice in Greensboro that evolved into a business of representing professional athletes; he joined sports agent David Falk’s organization; he worked for Nike (based in Charlotte) negotiating shoe and apparel contracts with National Basketball Association players; he and Jordan worked with the Washington Wizards; he rejoined Nike to promote Brand Jordan; and he joined the Charlotte Bobcats in August 2006. Business: The Bobcats play in the NBA Eastern Conference’s Southeastern division, along with the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards. The team plays their home games in the Bobcats Arena located in uptown Charlotte. www.nba.com/bobcats

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to NBA basketball and our franchise, in particular, it could be exciting.” Whitfield, who turned 48 on the day the Bobcats opened their third season, says he wanted to assemble the best group of executives possible to help him build the excitement. He worked a deal with NBA commissioner David Stern to hire the league’s chief marketing officer, Greg Economu. It helps, Whitfield says, that Economu lives on Lake Norman. Whitfield also embraced the presence of Tim Hinchey, whom the league had placed with the Bobcats to help with corporate sales and sponsorships. Hinchey has experience with the Sacramento Kings and helped the New Orleans Hornets find acceptance in their temporary home of Oklahoma City in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. “Between Tim, Greg and me, we’ve hit the ground running,” says Whitfield, who admits to working 14-hour days on more than a few occasions. “We’ve started to establish a brand around who we are.” Branding the Bobcats What is the Bobcat brand? Whitfield says it has several elements. Perhaps the most important is being known for grassroots involvement in the community. The Bobcats plan to fund improvements to outdoor basketball courts in neighborhoods throughout greater Charlotte, from the lowest income to the highest. “You’ll see a lot of backboards that say ‘Bobcats’ and will have the names of our corporate sponsors,” Whitfield says. The team is also looking for a home for less fortunate children that it can take under its wing as a major charity, he says. That will come soon. On the court, Whitfield wants the Bobcats to be known as a “blue-collar” team, made up of athletes hungry for success and eager to overachieve. Players such as Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton are already fashioning that image, he thinks. That kind of community caring, hard working image should entice more people to see a game and sample what the Bobcats are all about, Whitfield believes. To help these potential fans make up their mind, he’s devised some interesting ticket purchase plans. First, the Bobcats cut season ticket prices

by about 17 percent for the 2006-07 season. Then Whitfield added some additional incentives. In conjunction with the NBA, he initiated a $199 full-season package. “These were for seats in the far corners of the building that we weren’t going to sell anyway,” Whitfield explains. “We sold 1,100 of them. That’s $5 a game per season. If we can just get people to test our product, see what an exciting event it is, then those are the people hopefully we can upgrade to higher priced tickets.” Then there’s the $999 full-season ticket package that Hinchey came up with. Buyers sit in first level seats except for games against the best 12 NBA teams – Cleveland, Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers among them – when crowds are naturally larger. Then they move to the first few rows of the upper level. How are these efforts working? Speaking just before the season started, Whitfield says the Bobcats have sold 2,600 new full-season ticket packages, ranking them fourth in the NBA. For the 2005-06 season, the team sold only 461 new season ticket plans. Overall, the Bobcats had 5,100 season tickets last year. Whitfield says his goal is 10,000 season tickets, but admits he might not get there this year. As many as 8,000, plus a healthy number of partial season packages, would be acceptable for now, he says. Personal Connections Help Whitfield has several other initiatives, including his personal sales efforts. He knows many influential Charlotteans from living in Charlotte during the ’90s, working as an agent for players in the organization of noted sports businessman David Falk, and then for Nike, managing player endorsements for shoes and apparel. He has connections with those who belong to established clubs such as Myers Park and Quail Hollow, Whitfield says, and he communicates ®

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Kent Smith/NBAE

Whitfield took on what he calls “a reexpansion team,” because the NBA awarded Charlotte the Bobcats after George Shinn moved the Hornets, the city’s first major league team, to New Orleans. When Whitfield lived here during the Hornets’ glory days, he saw Charlotte set NBA records with consecutive sellouts that strung out over several seasons. By contrast, the Bobcats have struggled to attract decent crowds to their new arena in Charlotte’s Center City. “I saw the great teams the Hornets had,” Whitfield says as he leans forward in his Bobcats Arena office, elbows on knees. “I saw the energy this community had behind their team. I knew this town was a great sports town,” he says, adding that he’s been a Carolina Panthers season ticket holder from day one and is a NASCAR fan, too. “I just felt this was a unique opportunity,” he says of his new position. “If we could reconnect the sports fans in this community


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with them regularly. Many are gradually coming around to the idea that the Bobcats are worth supporting. But sales efforts extend far beyond Whitfield’s Charlotte contacts. He’s pushing for regional identity, promoting appearances by Bobcats players and coaches in cities such as Raleigh, Hickory, Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg. With one appearance in Greensboro, the Bobcats sold 36 season ticket packages. That encourages Whitfield to believe the team can draw from a 100-mile radius, at least for weekend games.

Adam Morrison, Bobcats Forward

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He also wants the Bobcats to connect with NASCAR. At its fall Bank of America race, Lowe’s Motor Speedway honchos Bruton Smith and Humpy Wheeler gave the royal treatment to Head Coach Bernie Bickerstaff and players Emeka Okafor, Adam Morrison, Felton and Wallace, as well as Whitfield. “Right before the race, they brought us up on stage and introduced us and let us stand in front of 130,000 fans,” Whitfield smiles. Then there’s Jordan, Whitfield’s friend of more than 20 years. “Michael will be very involved,” Whitfield says, adding that the man acclaimed as the best basketball player ever is looking for a residence in Charlotte. “He’s going to be totally focused on doing everything to help our team on the floor get better. He is the expert in this organization for what makes a great player and what makes a great team. He’s going to work with our basketball operations staff in making the right moves to help us gradually become better.” This is not the first time Whitfield and Jordan have worked together on an NBA franchise. They hooked up with the Washington Wizards in 2000 when owner Abe Pollin brought Jordan in as a partner in charge of the team’s basketball operations and Whitfield joined as director of player personnel and assistant legal counsel. Whitfield managed the team’s player salary situation and its compliance with the league’s rules on how much a team can spend in compensation. Ultimately, Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Wizards for two seasons, but Pollin soured on his team’s administration. When Jordan and Whitfield left together in 2003, they heard criticism that their administration had not been connected to the District of Columbia’s community.

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A Learning Experience Whitfield says both he and Jordan learned a great deal about managing a basketball team and view the Washington experience positively. The Bobcats, he reiterates, will be connected to Charlotte. “Bob Johnson will be here a lot, Michael will be here a lot,” says Whitfield as he reminds that he and Hinchey live in Charlotte and Economu resides at The Pointe, just across the Iredell County line.

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“We’ve got other minority owners who live here,” Whitfield adds. “You’ll see Skipper Beck on the floor at every game.” What NBA teams does Whitfield think set the bar for intelligent management? He likes what Detroit and Dallas have accomplished, not only in winning games but also in involving fans in the overall experience of following the team. Whitfield is accustomed to success. When he left the Wizards, he returned to Nike to work on marketing for Brand Jordan. Whitfield says, “Brand Jordan has a great executive team. When I got there we were able to double sales in less than three years. People thought once Michael walked away from the game that the brand would start to decline. In actuality, we took the brand and had it continue to escalate to where it doubled in value in two years.” Asked to relate something about Jordan that would surprise people, Whitfield pauses and then grins. His story relates to late this summer when he and Jordan joined the Bobcats in their Wilmington training camp. Wilmington is Jordan’s hometown and he couldn’t pass up a chance to visit his old neighborhood. “People would never believe,” Whitfield says, “that a guy who’s been as successful as Michael has on the floor and in business would want to go back to his old neighborhood and invite people to our first scrimmage.” What would surprise people about Whitfield? He’s quick to answer. “I’ve run a basketball camp in my hometown of Greensboro for 22 consecutive years,” he says. “It’s Achievements Unlimited Basketball School. We had 350 kids last summer and 250 were underprivileged and came at no cost. For a week every year, I go back and do this camp. I love doing grassroots things for kids.” If he could start one initiative to improve the NBA, Whitfield says, it would be to require all the league’s players to participate in some charity event each summer. That brings him back to branding in Charlotte. “I want to see a building full of energy,” he says. “That comes from connecting to this community and building a brand this community can embrace.” biz

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Sherwood Webb Founder and Partner Webb and Partners, Inc.

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by lisa hoffmann

[bizprofile]

Planning to Succeed Webb and Partners Offers Invaluable Guidance and Expertise When people casually ask Sherwood Webb, founder and partner of Webb and Partners, what he does for a living, he’s never quite sure how to answer. “Project management” doesn’t really tell the whole story yet “overseeing everything from feasibility studies and construction to documentation, furniture procurement and IT setups for commercial real estate projects, often saving the owner hundreds of thousands of dollars” seems like a bit too much. And even that doesn’t say it all. “Project manager” means different things to different people but what Webb and Partners does is truly unique: they sit in the owner’s seat, overseeing anything and everything required to take a commercial real estate development project from conception to reality and beyond. As an agent for the owner, they have only the owner’s best interest in mind. “If you build widgets, your whole focus in life is on how many do I need to make, where can I sell them and how do I market them?” Webb says. “But if you’re doing really well you have to grow. Yet your expertise is widgets. You probably don’t have the experience and knowledge, or the staff, to effectively build another plant. We do.” Webb and Partners doesn’t just coordinate and oversee the architecture and construction, they’ll hire an IT company to wire in and set up the telephone and computer systems, negotiate for and purchase furniture, artwork and live plants, and plan and oversee the move-in process. “A lot of people say they don’t need a project manager, that they’ll just hire an architect and a contractor and that’ll be fine,” Webb explains. “But if you ask your contractor, ‘How do we lay out the computers?’ he’ll probably say he doesn’t know. Many architects don’t do interior design within their building design contract, which a lot of owners don’t realize. There are many pitfalls owners don’t see ahead of time. That results in a lot of wasted time, money and energy. We can save them from all that.” Mismanagement causes the vast majority of cost overruns and time extensions Webb sees. “So many of these projects are managed by committee,” Webb says. “No one’s making any decisions. Decision-making has to happen regularly in order for the project to move ahead.” ®

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Webb and Partners, Inc. 4110 Old Pineville Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217 Phone: 704-945-0374 Principals: Sherwood L.Webb, Founder and Partner; Lee Lyles, Partner; Gene Harris, Senior Project Manager Employees: 10 Established: 1992 Business: An independent program management firm that oversees commercial real estate projects of all sizes and scopes. Offers an impartial advisor to consolidate the elements of strategic planning, budgeting, design and construction thereby reducing risk, eliminating waste and conserving resources. www.webbandpartners.com

Accountability is key. One of the first things Webb’s project managers do for each project is assign something to everyone on the team to do. Making someone accountable for each facet of the project keeps things moving along. Webb and Partners works projects backwards, considering furniture types, sizes and configuration into account during the design phase for example, in order to come out at the end with the product the owner envisioned. Experience and Expertise The number one benefit Webb and Partners’ clients receive is profiting from the project managers’ expertise. The firm has more than 100 combined years of national experience in construction management. Being a national company helps it stay abreast of the trends. With Webb and Partners’ guidance an owner is less likely to sign on for an overblown contract. “We see the trends. We know who the stable contractors are, who the architects are who specialize in designing your type of project,” Webb says. “The first way we save clients money is by bringing the right team to the table. Sometimes the best architect for a Charlotte project is in New York, or vice versa. Most owners won’t know that and if they

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get the right architect for the job its just luck. Banking on luck isn’t a great way to start off a multi-million-dollar project.” Webb and Partners operates on a flatfee basis, at between three-quarters of a percent to four percent of project cost, based on the needed services. Once the fee is agreed on, that’s it. Webb and Partners sees the project through to completion without any surprises. “This works for the owner because it eliminates conflict of interest,” Webb says. “We have no incentive for the project to go higher or lower.” Webb and Partners’ expertise extends to material cost savings too. They know the markets and they will do the cost-comparison legwork for their clients. It’s not a good day when the crew realizes that the lights that were ordered won’t mount on the steel structure that was installed. With Webb and Partners at the helm, those bad days go away. “I see a big part of my role as carrying out due diligence,” says Gene Harris, a senior project manager for Webb and Partners. “We make sure we cover all the bases and capture everything that’s going into a project.” Webb and Partners works to prevent what can amount to a disaster. “We’ve already got the knowledge and experience to foresee problems,” Webb says. “We’re not learning on the client’s dime. They make back more than what they pay for in financial savings and they save themselves a boatload of stress.” From High Fires to High Rises Webb grew up in Asheville and earned a civil engineering degree from North Carolina State University. He was just out of college in the late ’70s when he was offered the opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia for a construction project. The project had inherent risks but

the financial prospect was impossible to resist. In Saudi Arabia natural gas seeps up to the surface of the ground, causing a deadly risk. The Arabs would maintain huge fires, with 300-foot high flames, to keep the gas under control. Then a company discovered a way to capture the natural gas fumes and convert them back to liquid. They would then sell the liquid gas. Webb built a one-square-mile natural gas gathering plant. “It was an amazing learning experience,” Webb says. “I gained a lot of management experience at a young age that I could not have gotten here in America. It was tough, very tough. And as people left we’d have to fill in the holes. I got more and more responsibilities that way.” Webb later married and moved to New York where he worked in high-rise construction for ten years. There he discovered that the construction process was evolving in depth and complexity, revealing the need for owner’s agents. While working on the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts he oversaw other general contractors building smaller surrounding structures and the idea of starting a project management company began to take shape. But New York didn’t fit his vision. “I was traveling and working so much that I wasn’t seeing my wife and children very much, so we started looking for a smaller city to move to,” Webb explains. “But I also didn’t want a too-small city. And I needed a convenient airport. With the great quality of life here, Charlotte fit the bill.” Webb’s first project was overseeing the construction of the Nations Bank Tower. By then he was surer than ever that there was a niche for a program and project management firm. After he opened his doors in 1992 one of his first projects was renovating a bathroom facility at Piper Glen. “Yes we started small,” Webb says with a chuckle. “And we’ve moved on to much larger projects. But we still take on small projects and we enjoy them.” Although the company rapidly grew, cash flow was a problem. “The absolute biggest challenge for a new business is getting someone to believe in you enough to back

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Now and Later The firm’s size fluctuates dependant upon the number and scope of the projects it’s overseeing, but it usually hovers around 10 to 15 people. The number of projects it oversees can go as high as 1,000 per year. That’s when the firm’s employee base spikes to 40 or so. “When we have a client who is on a rapid growth program, we have to readjust our employee base,” Webb says. “But we have such great contacts that we can reach out and bring them in when we need them.” Some of Webb and Partners’ biggest projects include a $70 million project for Dominion, an energy company in Virginia. The firm spent seven and a half years overseeing all of First Union Bank’s real estate development, managing up to $300

greater charlotte biz

million per year. It has also built sports stadiums around the country and even Manhattan high rises, although Webb hasn’t chased that type of work down lately. “A project of that scope just absolutely consumes you and I want to maintain that work-life balance I sought out when I moved out of New York,” he explains. First Colony Health Care is one of Webb and Partners’ biggest current clients. The firm is overseeing the construction of long-term acute care hospitals and medical office buildings across the country. Webb and Partners typically has 10 to 12 clients per year but the size of the projects varies greatly. Consider the difference between building a $3 million restaurant and a $300 million hospital. Webb and Partners can manage both projects, and manage them well. The firm manages between $200 to $600 million per year, resulting in revenue ranging from $2 to $13 million. All this fluctuation keeps Webb on his toes. He plans to retire in about 15 years, after which he predicts his project managers and partners will take over the company. Webb recently brought a partner, Lee Lyles, on board after captaining solo for three years. Lee, a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in architecture, has over 30 years in the real estate development business. He has extensive experience in office, hospitality, retail, mixed-use, medical and senior housing projects. Webb plans to bring another partner into the fold in January. Webb chooses his partners very carefully and recently turned down a few eager candidates. Before he’ll consider anyone, he has to be convinced that he or she brings the right things to the firm, is willing to be accountable and take the necessary risks. It’s a tall order, but so are the projects Webb and Partners oversees. “We’re not just trying to build beautiful buildings,” Webb asserts. “The buildings have to serve a purpose. If they’re beautiful too that’s great but I’ve got to make sure our clients can build the widgets, seat the diners, run a call center or whatever the client needs. That’s our focus, always. What the client needs.” biz

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you,” Webb says. “I met with more than 30 banks before I found one that was willing to give me a $50,000 loan and I had to put up $50,000 cash collateral.” Finding and keeping employees is another challenge Webb continually faces: “My project managers have to be entrepreneurial so they can think like our clients, business owners. They have to have good business acumen and they must know how to manage people.” “In our job we’re interacting with a lot of sharp business leaders and they have to have confidence in you and your abilities,” Harris adds. “Past experience plays a big role in getting that confidence.” “Then once they get good enough I face another challenge when my client wants to hire them permanently,” Webb says. Webb and Partners’ biggest competitors are actually the clients themselves. Many big companies have a large in-house staff to handle real estate development. What they don’t realize is that Webb and Partners can do the job better, less expensively and more efficiently. Webb’s challenge is to get the word out about what his firm does and how it benefits clients and improves the bottom line. “We haven’t done a great job of marketing ourselves and that’s something I’d like to concentrate more on in the future,” Webb says. “It just goes right back to educating potential clients. And that takes time.”

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Richard Brasser Founder and President Targeted Golf Solutions, Inc.

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by ellison clary

[bizprofile]

AN EPIPHANY

Better Golf Blends Effectively With Marketing

Golf is a frustrating game, but there is a teaching method that brings what Richard Brasser calls an epiphany for those who desire to play it well. Brasser knows and uses that method. As the son of a marketer who earned a degree in psychology, Brasser also knows how to promote a business. He’s combined those concepts in Targeted Golf Solutions, Inc. The company Brasser founded in 1999 allows business people to use golf as a way to impress clients and recruit new ones. It teaches golf in a way that can be branded by the company footing the bill. Brasser says his firm produces clients and prospects that are proud of their newfound links prowess and beholden to the business executive who shared the experience with them. “There’s no other company in the country that does exactly what we do,” says Brasser, who is president and chief executive of Targeted Golf. “We are a marketing company that is based on teaching how to play golf.” greater charlotte biz

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Based in Charlotte since its inception, Targeted Golf operates in 3,800 square feet in a South Boulevard office and commercial building. The South End location is in the shadow of Charlotte’s skyline, making it convenient for many businesses, Brasser says. Brasser and his executive team are turning Targeted Golf into a private membership club for business people. By January 1, 2007, Targeted Golf will add office workstations, a bar and other creature comforts to its state-of-the-art golf simulators and teaching services. Wireless Internet is already available. Membership costs vary with several packages, some of which allow unaccompanied guests and other perks. Loyalty plans and turnkey marketing programs are available, as are special events. Jeroen Renirie, director of operations, thinks the club atmosphere will enhance the Targeted Golf experience. Members and their guests can play famous courses such as Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, St. Andrews and Oakland Hills. “You can bring your own clubs in,” Renirie says. “You can use every club in your bag and our simulator will tell you the details of each shot. If our client has a corporate event, we can upload their business graphics on the simulator.” There will be 24/7 keyless access for members and a concierge who

will handle their needs and wishes and those of their guests. Targeted Golf also has plenty of clubs on hand for those who decide to visit on the spur of the moment. “You can have dinner at The Palm with a business prospect,” Renirie says. “When it’s done, around 9:00 p.m., you can look him in the eye and say, ‘Let’s go to my club and play Pebble Beach.’” Powerful Teaching Method That’s powerful, Brasser says, but the golf teaching method he and his staff uses is at the core of the Targeted Golf experience. It’s a process that transformed Brasser from a frustrated amateur into a touring professional. A natural athlete who played soccer for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Brasser was losing his battle to master golf. “I had come to the point where I had just about quit playing,” he recalls. Then he met A.J. Bonar, a former golf coach at Bowling Green University who operates a San Diego Golf Academy. “He was a bit of a Yoda character to me,” Brasser smiles. Bonar showed Brasser how to use

his clubs and how to make the game athletic, Brasser says. “He transformed my game and I went from a relatively average player to a tour player in a year,” he adds. Indeed, Brasser competed more than six years on the Australian PGA, the Asian PGA and other foreign venues. He did well financially, “but I didn’t give Tiger Woods a run for his money,” he chuckles. “I like to say I played with everybody’s brother,” Brasser jokes, citing his competition with the brother of V.J. Singh,

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who is among the rivals to Woods in global golfing circles. Brasser, now 39, never won a tournament and by 1999 he was ready for a career change. A knee injury had forced surgery and he’d met Megan, his future wife, through a friend in Chicago. He was anxious to get back to North Carolina, but realized Wilmington, where he grew up, didn’t offer the dynamic business atmosphere he sought. Charlotte did. When Brasser started Targeted Golf, his idea was to host corporate events that revolved around learning to play the game more effectively, using the concepts Bonar had taught him. Brasser even gave Bonar, who continues to teach in San Diego, a piece of his company in recognition of his unwitting contribution. Early on, Brasser recalls, he noticed that the powerful, Type A personality business people who were streaming through his course had an Achilles heel. “This little game of golf made them absolutely insane,” he says. “Once I told them a better approach to learning and experiencing and having a pleasurable time with this game, they were really

emotional. A lot of them had an epiphany, if you like, about their golf game. Generating Emotion Is Valuable “Being the son of a marketer,” Brasser adds, “I realized that generating that kind of emotion was a lot more valuable than teaching golf.” Still, Targeted Golf built its local reputation as an innovative and successful golf teaching company. “We were known for our golf instruction,” Brasser says. “We know we have a process that when we communicate a message to you in a very particular way and with very particular timing, you come out with your golf epiphany,” says Brasser, citing the statistic that 85 percent of Targeted Golf students shoot their lowest scores ever and 100 percent improve their game. Part of the reason for this phenomenal success is that the teaching process takes the mystery out of golf. Lots of people who try to play the game simply cannot figure out what they are doing wrong, Brasser says. “We make golf like other sports,” he explains. “If you hit a shot and it goes

off into the trees, you know exactly what happened, you know what to do about it and you don’t have to come running back to us and get another tip. It’s about empowering people to become a better user of the golf club.” He recalls a local executive who told the Targeted Golf staff he had to learn golf in six weeks because his boss was planning to take him to Augusta National. Though he’d never played the game, he took the course. “He called me from Augusta,” Brasser says. “He did really well. People congratulated him.” Over the years,Targeted Golf has grown, but in a strange way. As successful as the golf instruction was, few in the Charlotte region realized that Targeted Golf is also a successful marketer, even though the marketing side was fueling most of the company growth. It was using experience-based marketing – the experience of learning golf – to promote businesses. Targeted Golf has built a list of national clients that include Siemens, CitiGroup and Inc. magazine. “What was frustrating was not having the community understand what Targeted Golf does and the results we achieve,” Brasser says. Slowly, Targeted Golf has brought in well-known local names such as EquiFirst, McGuire Woods LLP, Helms Mulliss Wicker, and Grant Thornton. Mike McGuire, Carolinas managing partner for Grant Thornton, realized the power of improving a client’s golf game,

Targeted Golf Solutions, Inc. 1520 South Blvd., Ste. 120 Charlotte, N.C. 28203 Phone: 704-332-GOLF(4653) Principal: Richard C. Brasser, Founder and President Founded: 1999 Business: Targeted Golf Solutions offers business leaders an exclusive new environment where they can focus on business while enjoying a cutting edge experience. Beyond marketing, beyond golf and beyond the executive club,Targeted Golf offers a setting that fuses business with innovation, branding and environment. www.targetedgolf.com

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Brasser says, and even good-naturedly embarrassed him at a Charlotte Chamber event honoring entrepreneurs. Part of the golf teaching process involves drawing on people’s hands in permanent marker, Brasser explains. While speaking from a podium, McGuire acknowledged Brasser and his company and asked Brasser to show the audience his palm. “Richard and his crew are really sharp teachers,” says McGuire. “They make things simple.” For his swing, McGuire says, the instructors told him to concentrate on the 18 inches before the club hits the ball and the 18 inches after impact. Thinking about 36 inches, he says, is a lot easier than worrying about the whole swing. McGuire adds that clients and prospects really do appreciate and remember trips to Targeted Golf. “Plus, it opens more avenues to deal with people,” he says. “You can talk with them on a social basis about golf.” Client Survey Clears Picture To figure out how to entice more companies into the two-fold Targeted Golf

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experience, Brasser surveyed his clients. “What we heard,” Brasser says, “was we need a business environment where a partner in a law firm can bring a client in for lessons, then go to an on-premises business lounge and do some work and make some phone calls. Later, they can check back with their client and ask, ‘How are things going? Let’s get together when you’re through with your lesson and talk business.’” In short, they wanted a private golf and business club geared to the needs of a corporate executive or a small business owner. Hence the transition phase that is taking Targeted Golf through internal renovations aimed at providing a true “club” experience. Targeted Golf has had good success with this plan and it shows in the bottom line. “We matched our 2005 revenue in the first quarter of 2006,” Brasser says. “We had 400 percent growth in the first quarter.” That was a significant gain in momentum compared to the 100 percent growth from 2004 to 2005. Targeted Golf will expand soon, Brasser says. Attractive locations include New York City and Chicago, cities where

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there are lots of business headquarters and where it isn’t convenient to slip away for some quick links time. “Maybe you’ve got a stock broker who says to a client, ‘Hey, let’s go play some golf. Come to my club right down the street. We can play Pebble Beach and hang out, have a couple of beers and talk business or whatever you want to talk about,’” Brasser says. That’s possible because of the various simulators that Targeted Golf employs. “We have more technology in this little golf space than most high-tech companies,” he says. “We can do unbelievable things.” The company is at a crossroads, Brasser believes, and either fork looks bright. “One path is extreme growth and the other is very rapid growth,” he smiles. Very rapid growth would come organically, he says, but there is the possibility of major outside investment that could send the company on a rocket ride. “In five years,” Brasser says, “this company will be somewhere between a $20 million and a $100 million company. We’ll have a national presence.” biz Ellison Clary is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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John Hettwer J. Hettwer Owner and President Payroll Plus, Inc.

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by lisa hoffmann

[bizprofile]

Payroll

So Much More...

Helping Companies

Get Back to Business When John Hettwer, owner of Payroll Plus in Cornelius, was 13 years old he started his own lawn mowing business. The following year he bought a ride-on mower worth thousands. In college he was a top salesman for a national educational book publisher. After college he became a straight commission salesman for Trane, selling commercial HVAC systems, some which had to be transported on a series of 18-wheelers. He was a top seller earning a fat paycheck. But the 90-hour workweeks started taking their toll. Work and life were seriously out of balance. Then an old college buddy approached him with the opportunity to open a payroll processing company. Hettwer left Trane and dove into the payroll biz with his typical drive and passion. And he hasn’t looked back since. Payrolling Uphill When Hettwer reflects on his days as a salesman he can see little comparison to his current life. His blue eyes flash when he talks about having lunch with his wife and newborn son. “There were just so many things missing from my life back then,” he says. When his college buddy and former business partner Jeff Zink approached him to start a payroll company, Hettwer’s first question was “Why payroll?” Zink, who was equally frustrated with his own sales career at the time, extolled the virtues of reaching January 1st each year with money coming in. “As a salesman you start each year at zero,” Hettwer explains. “With payroll, you start out where you left off on December 31st. That sounded pretty good to me.” Hettwer’s starting salary at the brand new Payroll Plus was about onetenth of his commissioned income as a salesman. Seeing it as a long-term opportunity, Hettwer was willing to take the cut. He leveraged his experience as a salesman and hit the streets to find companies eager to outsource their payroll services. In 1996, when the company opened, it cost about $40 every two

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weeks to process the payroll for a company with 10 employees. They started out with two clients. With $5,000 in monthly overhead, that $160 fell far short of the mark. But each month Hettwer doubled the client base. Hettwer and Zink had the liquid capital to persevere and had planned for years of negative revenue. “We hoped to turn a profit within two years,” Hettwer explains. “We didn’t really know the business and we were optimistic entrepreneurs. It took longer than two years. But we kept with it.” For a short time Hettwer backed off and became a silent partner, giving up his small salary to become a sales manager for another company. Zink oversaw operations until 1999, when he called Hettwer and told him he and his wife were contemplating a move to Wisconsin to be near family. He wanted out. The partners had agreed to give one another first right of refusal if they ever wanted to sell. After a little thought Hettwer decided to divest a large portion of his stock portfolio and buy Zink out. He also bought Carolina Payroll Solutions, a company Payroll Plus had been working with cooperatively, and went back to payroll full-time in 2000. ®

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Payroll Plus became profitable in 2001. “I never gave up because I was convinced the numbers would work,” Hettwer says. “A combination of determination – some would call it stubbornness – and naiveté kept me going.” Challenging the Process Hettwer has a mechanical engineering degree, with an emphasis in industrial engineering. “It’s a strange combination, I know – engineering and sales,” he acknowledges. But the combination really works. Payroll is a process and industrial engineering is all about evaluating processes. The challenge has been in making the system as efficient and effective as possible. Payroll Plus has always placed customer service high on its priority list. The company has had one specialist take care of everything for each client right from the start, ensuring continuity and familiarity with the clients’ needs. It worked great most of the time but there was an inherent weakness in this system. One of the first challenges Hettwer faced was standardizing procedures. “Clients love dealing with the same specialist all the time but when someone was out sick or on vacation another specialist would take over,” Hettwer explains. “That specialist would do things differently and confusion would often result. After we made things more consistent across the board we eliminated that problem.”

Payroll Plus, Inc. 19300 Statesville Road, Ste. 302 Cornelius, N.C. 28031 Phone: 704-895-0777 Principal: John J. Hettwer, Owner and President Employees: 9 Established: 1996 Business: Provides complete payroll and employee services, including federal deposits and filing quarterly and federal tax return documents for small and medium sized companies in the Southeast and across the country. Payroll Plus also offers client base options for group health insurance, supplemental insurance, pay-as-you-go worker’s compensation and retirement plans. www.payrollplusus.com

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Payroll is an ever-changing landscape. It’s imperative that technology keeps pace with those changes. Hettwer has had to change software companies three times to stay ahead of the curve. His latest investment is a $50,000 software platform that will allow client’s employees to tap into their online databases and view and print

Hettwer operates on four core principals: offering great customer service; offering a good quality of life for his employees; giving back to the community through charitable donations and services and getting involved in local activities; and employing sound business principals that allow the company to run profitably.

A business consultant once told me, 'Do what you do well, and write a check for everything else.' And that has proven to be so true, especially with Payroll Plus. I have been with you for over seven years, and would not think of leaving. Our focus is on customers, not payroll, thanks to you.

~Tom Cox, The New Telephone Company, Inc

out documents such as direct deposit records and paycheck stubs. This service will be available to all clients, whether they have one employee or hundreds. Payroll Plus is also changing over from windowed envelopes to pressure sealed envelopes – the kind with the perforated edges that rebate checks and many paychecks come in – this year. They’re less expensive and simplify the printing process. Hettwer will offer both windowed and pressure-sealed envelopes for a while until all his clients are accustomed to the change. “Some people resist change and I want to be sensitive to that.” “It’s so important that we consider the customer first, to offer a high level of service to our clients and the same level of service to small businesses that are offered to larger businesses in order to compete,” Hettwer says. Payroll Plus’ biggest competitors are also two of the largest payroll processing companies in the country: Automated Data Processing, Inc. and Paychex, each of which has hundreds of thousands of clients. Hettwer is aiming to reach 2,000 clients by 2012. Payroll is About People Technology is not the only thing Hettwer focuses on to remain competitive. He never forgets that payroll isn’t really about software and packaging methods. It’s about people. “I’ve always gone on the principal that if I keep small business owners’ best interests in mind, and think about their employees, it’ll all come out fine in the end,” Hettwer says. “It’s not just about money.”

Employees work better and treat clients better when they’re happy, Hettwer explains, and they are more likely to stick around. He tries to be flexible about meeting employees’ needs. And he keeps a close eye on the office culture. Cattiness and disrespect are not tolerated. It’s just not the kind of environment Hettwer wants to cultivate and work in. Hettwer’s focus on offering superior customer service means Payroll Plus is extremely flexible with its clients too. He’s developed the company so that clients can send their payroll information in via delivery, phone, fax or electronically. He sends paychecks to 27 different states even though the bulk of his clients are companies with between five and 300 employees based in western North Carolina. “They have plants and offices in other states, too,” Hettwer says. Hettwer is proud of the personalized approach Payroll Plus takes with clients. While some payroll powerhouses are too big to notice if a client’s bi-monthly payroll report hasn’t come in, Payroll Plus’ specialists call clients if they notice that they haven’t received a report. “That paycheck may be very important to someone’s employee,” Hettwer asserts. “He may be waiting on it to make a mortgage payment or take his wife on vacation.” The biggies will sometimes require clients to make their own 401(k) deposits or send in their own tax payments. Payroll Plus simplifies things for its clients. When Hettwer calls on a potential client he tells them that once they’re in the system all they’ll need to do is send in their employees’ hours and put the money in the bank. Payroll Plus will do the rest. Even the

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smallest businesses can benefit from outsourcing their payroll services and find it to be cost effective, Hettwer insists. “Keeping payroll in-house is just a bad decision for most small business owners,” he says. “Paying 10 employees every two weeks with us costs less than $100 per month, that even includes direct deposit of the employees’ checks if desired. But it saves a ton in headaches. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, owners of very small businesses don’t need payroll services.’ But think about it. The owner of a business with only three employees is probably doing everything including emptying the wastebaskets. He doesn’t need to be pulling his hair out over the payroll.” In the spirit of keeping business owners’ best interests in mind Hettwer always tells potential clients, “If you don’t hire me, hire one of my competitors.” “A lot of our clients are more successful today because they hired a payroll processing company,” he says. “It frees up the time they need to focus on their businesses.” Many of Payroll Plus’ large competitors are content with a 30 percent annual client turnover. Payroll Plus loses less than four

percent per year, Hettwer is proud to report. And most of that is due to business failure, not customer service issues. Banking on the Future The way Hettwer looks at it, there are two kinds of companies out there: growth and lifestyle. While he is looking at good strong growth in the future, he plans to grow the company naturally, primarily as a lifestyle company. “One year after I took a 90 percent pay cut I was happier than I’d been in a long time,” he says. “That speaks to keeping money-making in its place.” Hettwer plans to hire a couple more salespeople in 2007 to free up some of his own selling time. The payroll processing industry is unique in that payroll companies tend to sell at two to two-and-a-half times their revenue. Hettwer sees that as nice safety net. Hiring another salesperson will bring in at least another $100,000 in sales which will bump up his equity by about $200,000. The trick is to employ enough discipline to remember that equity is not the same as liquid assets. Hettwer is also looking at the possibility

Payroll Plus handles the entire process leaving me the freedom to concentrate on patient care. The employees are always pleasant, knowledgeable, and most importantly, available.

~Ruth Barnes, Lake Norman Hematology Oncology Specialists

of opening another location in Philadelphia, Pa., partnering with a C.P.A. who serves a few hundred clients in that area. Adding salespeople one at a time and slowly expanding – following an organic growth trend – is a strategy Hettwer favors. Payroll Plus has consistently sustained 20 to 40 percent growth per year and he is content to maintain that trend. “I could start opening offices in Charleston and Atlanta, expanding in every direction,” Hettwer says. “But the reason I left my sales job was that I was making ridiculous amounts of money, by my standards, but I was miserable. I don’t want to go back there.” biz Lisa Hoffmann is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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N

Site of NASCAR Hall of Fame

Aerial, Architectural and Stock Photography Larry Harwell 704-334-7874

The Charlotte Region:The View from Another Perspective

Transportation Bobcats Arena Center

ImaginOn

[bizview]

Located in the heart of Charlotte's Center City, the Bobcats Arena is the round building between Trade Street, Fifth Street, Caldwell Street and Charlotte's Light Rail Transit line. It is directly across the street from the Charlotte Transportation Center. This recent aerial photo of the Center City shows new growth and development in nearly every direction. With the addition of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and new buildings being built and developed by Bank of America and Wachovia, the Charlotte skyline will continue to change dramatically over the next 10 years.


Featuring Executive Homes in the Charlotte Region WESTPORT WATERFRONT Denver, North Carolina This home is a great find. Enjoy beautiful lake views from almost every room. Hardwood floors, high ceilings, cherry cabinets and granite countertops are just a few of the extras. This plan features a main-level owner’s suite and lower-level guest suite. An additional 300-square-foot room above the garage makes an ideal home office. 3BRs/3.2BAs MLS# 623842 - $889,000 Property Address: 2766 South Lakeshore Road

Lee Ann Miller - 704-896-5141 www.LeeAnnMiller.com

THE GARDENS ON PROVIDENCE Waxhaw, North Carolina Expect to be impressed. This home has it all, from the quality craftsmanship and exquisite details by Edmondson and Company, to the outstanding location on a quiet, wooded cul-de-sac. A fabulous gourmet kitchen is located in the center of the home and gives entry to the covered back porch overlooking the beautiful yard. 5BRs/4.1BAs MLS# 625199 - $799,900 Property Address: 2028 Sherringham Way

David Deal - 704-362-6386 www.allentate.com/daviddeal

LAKE SHORE LUXURY Tega Cay, South Carolina The floor plan and upgrades in this fabulous home offer both luxury and convenience for everyday living.The spacious kitchen features hardwood floors, 42-inch cabinets, granite countertops and ceramic tile backsplash.The two-story great room has a fireplace. Retreat to the main-level master suite, wonderful bonus/loft or deck that overlooks the wooded back yard. 4BRs/3.1BAs S.C. MLS# 1035533 - N.C. MLS# 627891- $432,000 Property Address: 1722 Colville Lane

Kay Grigsby - 803-322-7024 www.kaygrigsby.com

ENJOY VIEWS OF LAKE WYLIE Belmont, North Carolina This stunning custom home is located in the gated, waterfront community of Reflection Pointe. It boasts panoramic views of Lake Wylie. Built for entertaining family and friends, this estate features an amazing master suite and tremendous bonus room. Enjoy the mountainlike feel on the sprawling, double-tiered deck overlooking lush, wooded surroundings. 4BRs/3.5BAs MLS# 63328 - $865,000 Property Address: 4017 Beechwood Spring Lane

Kohleen Nornes - 704-533-2818 www.Kohleen.com

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Featuring Executive Homes in the Charlotte Region TRADITIONAL EXCELLENCE Indian Trail, North Carolina This beautiful country home is nestled in a wooded setting of more than three acres in Indian Trail. Room by room, there’s a great flow and feeling of comfort. Enjoy fall evenings on the rocking chair porch or get warm by the fireplace. Anytime of year, this house is enchanting. 4BRs/2.1BAs MLS# 596176 - $415,500 Property Address: 333 Red Barn Trail

Russell Wing – 704-291-8908 www.thewingteam.com

THE LANDING Lake Wylie, South Carolina This one-owner, custom home is just two years old. It features an all-brick exterior and a gorgeous, very private back yard. The floor plan allows for a large dining room, finished bonus room, sunroom and screened porch. Other interior extras include custom paint, tumbled tile and granite. 4BRs/3.1BAs S.C. MLS# 1035724 - N.C. MLS# 629487- $475,000 Property Address: 1734 Mineral Springs Road

Kay Grigsby - 803-322-7024 www.kaygrigsby.com

GOLFER’S DREAM IN RIVER HILLS Lake Wylie, South Carolina Space abounds in this incredible custom-built home that offers quality and design. A huge deck offers a panoramic view of the golf course. Main level contains large, open rooms, soaring ceilings and walls of windows. The secluded basement area has a large recreation room/office with a bath. It totals 5,129 square feet. 4BRs/2.2 BAs MLS# 590196 - $595,000 Property Address: 52 Honeysuckle Woods

Kay Westmoreland - 704-913-6547 www.allentate.com/kaywestmoreland

PRIVATE RETREAT IN ROSECLIFF Charlotte, North Carolina Enjoy your privacy in this stunning home located on a dead-end street in the community of Rosecliff. Numerous custom features including hardwood floors throughout the main level, numerous built-ins and an intercom/whole house stereo system.The gourmet kitchen has new granite countertops and is open to the family room and large screened porch. 4BRs/3.1BAs MLS# 631412 - $469,900 Property Address: 8408 Strawberry Lane

Lee Reynolds - 704-996-1351 www.allentate.com/leereynolds

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BLINK AND IT’S GONE

Stationary, the S-TYPE is muscled and primed. Ignited, the responsive engine powers it quickly out of sight. And with JAGUAR’S attractive lease offers, the S-TYPE will be gone before you know it. 2006 S-Type Charlotte SCOTT JAGUAR 400 Tyvola Road 704-527-7000 scottjag.com *Call to schedule a private showing.

SCOTT JAGUAR

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