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INTERNET | PHONE | CABLE TV | ETHERNET

Thursday, 12:01 p.m.

ED REALIZES THAT TWO NEW LOCATIONS REQUIRE ONE BIG CHANGE IN HIS COMMUNICATIONS.

TIME WARNER CABLE BUSINESS CLASS GAVE ED A COMMUNICATION SOLUTION THAT KEEPS HIM CONNECTED. Ed’s company was adding more offices, and they needed communication services that would help them stay in touch. So he called Time Warner Cable Business Class. Our local representatives worked with him to provide an Internet and Phone solution that allowed him to connect to multiple locations. With scalable Internet, Phone, Cable TV and Ethernet services, Time Warner Cable Business Class can tailor the right solution for your business needs. FOR JUST

GET 7MBPS INTERNET & PHONE

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Save up to $1,900! Guaranteed for term of contract.

1.877.759.2179 www.carolinas.twcbc.com Offer available to new subscribers who purchase one line of Business Class Phone and 7Mbpsx768Kbps Internet access. Three-year term agreement required. Standard installation rates apply. Standard construction rates (if applicable) apply. Additional Business Class Phone lines are available at standard rates. Additional charges apply for taxes, fees, Directory Assistance, Operator Services, and calls to International locations. Business Class Phone does not include back-up power, and should there be a power outage, Business Class Phone, including the ability to access 911 services, may not be available. Offer valid for business customers in Business Class Phone serviceable areas. Actual speeds may vary. Contract must be signed by 12/31/2010 to take advantage of the offer. Time Warner Cable Business Class is a trademark of Time Warner Inc. Used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2010 Time Warner Cable. All Rights Reserved.


in this issue

f

e

a

t

22

u

e

s

cover story

Muzak Holdings

After 75 years, Muzak has celebrated its deliberate evolution from being recognized as the leading producer of ‘elevator music,’ to being seen as an industry vanguard for environmental brand experiences. Says CEO Steve Villa, “I am really excited that we are no longer waiting for things to happen, and are creating our own destiny. We are constantly looking at how we can grow—not just in terms of products, but also in our legacy processes.”

16

Jerald Melberg Gallery

“The city is becoming more aware of visual art and is translating that awareness into a long-term commitment,” says Jerald Melberg. “I hope it means that we recognize that visual art adds an important component to our urban life. Works of art have, for centuries, been the primary form of man’s recording himself, others, the human condition and the environment.”

2

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University City Partners

Mary Hopper was poised to help retrofit an area developed as a suburban area into a thriving commercial urban center when she was chosen as executive director. The group has benefited from strong partnerships and cultivated excellent working relationships with a wide range of government and community groups to show up the area and its many positives.

34

publisher’spost

4

legalbiz

5

Transforming the Business of Law to Meet the Needs of Business

webbiz

7

New Media Strategies, Secrets and Solutions

accountingbiz

9

Accounting, Tax and Consulting Solutions

consultingbiz

11

Managing and Delivering Change to Optimize Business Value

bizprophet

12

Engaging and Inspiring Thought Leadership in the New Millennium

employersbiz

14

Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

David R. Badger, P.A.

David Badger brings feline-like ferocity to battling creditors. Badger says when he receives a notice that a creditor wants to go to court, his first thought is: “Bring it on. We could use a change around here.” Walking through his door may be the hardest step a person ever takes, but most people walk back out feeling like an enormous weight has been lifted.

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departments

biznetwork on the cover:

legalbiz

|

webbiz

|

consultingbiz

|

accountingbiz

|

employersbiz

|

bizprophet

november 2010

Stephen P. Villa Chief Executive Officer Muzak Holdings LLC ! ! ! Jerald Melberg Gallery ! ! ! University City Partners

!" Addison Whitney

“Our clients think of us as the naming guys although we do so much more,” says President Brannon Cashion. Their list of clients is so familiar it could be read straight from the shelves of our kitchen pantries, living rooms, garages and offices—names like Nestlé, Sara Lee, Motorola, Dell, Goodrich, Duracell, Pfizer…and these are but a fraction of their followers.

44

! ! ! David R. Badger, P.A. ! ! ! Addison Whitney

Stephen P. Villa Chief Executive Officer Muzak Holdings LLC

Orchestrating

the Muzak Audio Architects Choreograph a Rebound

Photography by Wayne Morris

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bcbsnc.com

Health Care Reform. It’s here.

But what does it mean for you? Find out what health care reform means for you — today — and in the years ahead. + For employers and employees + For health care providers + For all North Carolinians Visit nchealthreform.com

An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. U7369, 9/10


[publisherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;spost] Do What You Say You Will Do! Growing up, Thanksgiving seemed to be the time to visit with relatives. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would all meet at one familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home and spend all day and sometimes the next day catching up with each other. The women would drift toward the kitchen to prepare the meal, while the men watched football and told stories. At dinnertime, everyone would somehow fit around the dining *OHN0AUL'ALLES room table and one or two card tables or TV trays and consume great quantities of food. Our plates were heaped with turkey, potatoes, green beans, stuffingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;all the fixings. For desert, pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top. After the meal, for some, there was no choice but to nap. For others it was a time for more talk and watching â&#x20AC;&#x153;specialsâ&#x20AC;? on TV. The kids would go outside and play until dark. It seemed that every year followed the same tradition. Traditions (i.e. beliefs or customs taught by one generation to 4/$-($(:7#(//$"9#$ the next) provide a sense of what is normal and accepted. We grew 2#)%&%9+(;$-($'9/%$ up expecting that life will remain essentially the same with little *(<(#$3"#2(%$%,)%$%,($ adjustments along the way. My parents and their parents would ,&2,(/%$)77#(8&)%&"*$ talk a little about the depression and the war, but they celebrated &/$*"%$%"$9%%(#$-"#+/;$ life and the joy of living through those events and bringing up =9%$%"$.&<($=6$%,('0 their children as the American economic engine was in full growth ~John F. Kennedy mode. They were proud to live in the productivity and safety of the United States. Life has changed. The last three years have radically !"#$%&'($)*+$%,($-"#.+$+"$ changed our country and our ways. To a large degree, we *"%$/%)*+$/%&..0$1,)*2($&/$ have lost our confidence and maybe our way. Our world has %,($.)-$"3$.&3(0$4*+$%,"/($ become more complicated. We have learned that we cannot grow like we have grown in the past. Competition is -,"$.""5$"*.6$%"$%,($7)/%$ simply now worldwide. Our banking system nearly failed. Our hous"#$%,($7#(/(*%$)#($8(#%)&*$ ing market ballooned until it burst. Health care in America %"$'&//$%,($39%9#(0 is being systemically reformed. Much of manufacturing has been taken overseas. We now face the â&#x20AC;&#x153;new normal.â&#x20AC;? ~John F. Kennedy We can no longer take life for granted or as if we are entitled to life as we have known it. It is time to get back to the principles upon which the United States has grown and meet the challenges head on. We must get smarter and more creative; we need to step up, affirm our intent, and follow through on what we say we will do. That is the first step in this recovery program. Just, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do what you say you will do.â&#x20AC;? And if you possibly can, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do even better than what you say you will do!â&#x20AC;? It creates greater goodwill when you add a little surprise to what you do. Make people happy by adding that surprise. I recently heard a speaker on the subject of customer service suggest, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Take their breath away!â&#x20AC;? We must resist lapsing into the lull that things will get back toâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;well, anything. Our economic momentum is diminishing. We need to continue working hard, and hopefully smarter over time. We must leave this earth better than when we came into it. We cannot expect the next generations to pay for the promises that we made. We cannot live with unacceptable levels of unemployment. >"$*"%$7#)6$3"#$()/6$.&<(/0$ We have great and important work to do. We are proud ?#)6$%"$=($/%#"*2(#$'(*0 Americans with the freedom to pursue our dreams and our ~John F. Kennedy ambitions. We must look beyond our differences to how we can do better. We are most grateful for what we have been given. We pause to give thanks. Then itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back to work every day to renew strength and realize our potential. We must do what we say we will do and then do even better! Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wishing you continued strength and vitality. biz

!"##$%&'"()*+,-,(+. Let me know what you think - jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

4

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704-676-5850

October 2010 6OLUMEs)SSUE Publisher *OHN0AUL'ALLESX JGALLES GREATERCHARLOTTEBIZCOM

Associate Publisher/Editor -ARYL!,ANEX mlane@greatercharlottebiz.com

Creative Director 4REVOR!DAMSX tadams@greatercharlottebiz.com

Sales Manager 3COTT#-AYERX smayer@greatercharlottebiz.com

partners !CC Communications, Inc. !#ENTRAL0IEDMONT#OMMUNITY#OLLEGE !%LLIOTT$AVIS 0,,# !.OUV%/.4ECHNOLOGY0ARTNERS )NC !4HE%MPLOYERS!SSOCIATION !7ISHART .ORRIS (ENNINGER0ITTMAN 0!

Contributing Writers 3USANNE$EITZEL :ENDA$OUGLAS Carol Gifford Heather Head Casey Jacobus

Contributing Photographers 4REVOR!DAMS 7AYNE-ORRIS Galles Communications Group, Inc. #ARMEL%XECUTIVE0ARK$R 3TE #HARLOTTE .#    0HONEs  &AX www.greatercharlottebiz.com s0RESSRELEASESANDOTHERNEWS RELATED information: editor@greatercharlottebiz.com. s%DITORIALMLANE GREATERCHARLOTTEBIZCOM s!DVERTISINGJGALLES GREATERCHARLOTTEBIZCOM s3UBSCRIPTIONINQUIRIESORCHANGEOFADDRESS subscriptions@greatercharlottebiz.com. s/THERINQUIRIESPLEASECALLORFAXATTHE numbers above or visit our website www.greatercharlottebiz.com. © Copyright 2010 by Galles Communications Group, Inc. !LL RIGHTS RESERVED4HE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN HAS been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. How ever, Galles Communications Group, Inc. makes no warranty TO THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF THIS INFORMATION 0RODUCTS 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 Com munications 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  X Greater Charlotte Biz )33.   IS PUBLISHED monthly by Galles Communications Group, Inc., 7300 Carmel %XECUTIVE 0ARK $R 3TE  #HARLOTTE .#   4ELEPHONE  &AX  3UBSCRIPTIONRATE IS  FOR ONE YEAR 0/34-!34%2 3END ADDRESS CHANGES TO Greater Charlotte Biz,  #ARMEL %XECUTIVE 0ARK $R 3TE #HARLOTTE .# 

w w w. g re a t e rc h a r l o t t e b i z . c o m


7ISHART .ORRIS (ENNINGER0ITTMAN 0!

[legalbiz]

Transforming the Business of Law to Meet the Needs of Business

!Overview of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 !"#$%&'%()%*#+,-#+./.-#'0%#1*%234%"'#235"%4#3"'6#789#'0%#:$(877#;<23"%22#=6)2#>?'#6@# +./.A#B:>?'AC#903?0#3"?7<4%2#8#"<()%*#6@#3(&6*'8"'#'8D#&*6E3236"2#@6*#)<23"%22F Increased Section 179 Expensing Limits Prior to the Act, for tax years after 2010, capital costs for property like machinery, equipment and software put into service during the tax year could be expensed up to a limit of $25,000. Amounts not able to be expensed would be subject to normal depreciation rules. This $25,000 limit would be reduced for each dollar in excess of $200,000 that the business spent on these capital assets. This means that no expense deduction would be available for businesses spending more than $225,000 for these capital assets. For 2010, prior to the Act, the amount that could be expensed under Section 179 was $250,000. This amount would be reduced for each dollar in excess of $800,000 that the business spent on these capital assets. The Act changes the law for 2010 and 2011 so that businesses can expense up to $500,000 of qualifying property placed in service during the tax year. The amount will be reduced dollar for dollar to the extent amounts spent exceed $2,000,000. The $25,000 and $200,000 limits return for tax years after 2011. The Act also makes certain real property eligible for expensing. The $500,000 amount can include up to $250,000 of qualified leasehold improvement, restaurant and retail improvement property. Extension of Bonus Depreciation Prior to the Act, businesses had the opportunity to write off 50 percent of the cost of certain capital assets for property placed in service in 2008 or 2009. The Act extends the â&#x20AC;&#x153;bonus depreciationâ&#x20AC;? another year through 2010. The prior rules that applied to certain aircraft and long production period property in 2010 have been extended to 2011 as well. Boosted Deduction for Start-up Expenditures The Act has increased the amount of start-up costs that you can expense in 2010 by double. Generally, expenses incurred before a business begins donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t generate any deductions or other current tax benefits. Prior to the Act, taxpayers were permitted to expense up to $5,000 of start-up costs in the year business began. The remainder of the startup costs would be deducted over 15 years. The $5,000 figure was reduced dollar for dollar to the extent that the start-up costs exceed $50,000. The Act doubles the amount that can be expenses off for 2010 to $10,000. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;phase outâ&#x20AC;? amount is increased from $50,000 to $60,000. This ability to expense start-up costs only applies to years beginning in 2010. If you do not want this deduction to apply for your business, you have to â&#x20AC;&#x153;opt-outâ&#x20AC;? of the deduction. Start-up costs include expenses incurred to investigate creating or buying a business, creating the business, or otherwise engaging in an activity with the expectation of that activity being â&#x20AC;&#x153;for profitâ&#x20AC;? and becoming an active business. An expense must be one that would be deductible if it were incurred after the business began. An example of a startup expense is the cost of analyzing the potential market for a new product. Sale of Small Business Stock An opportunity has been created in years past to exclude a portion of the taxable gain on the sale of â&#x20AC;&#x153;qualified small business stockâ&#x20AC;? in certain circumstances. This means that the owner is not required to pay tax on the full amount of the gain. The Act has created an ability to exclude, from regular tax and alternative minimum tax, 100 percent of the gain from the sale of qualifying small business stock that is acquired between September 27, 2010, and December 31, 2010, and held for more than five years.

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

Five-Year Carryback for Unused Business Credits Generally, a businessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unused general business credits can be carried back to offset taxes paid in the previous year, and the remaining amount can be carried forward for 20 years to offset future tax liabilities. The Act, for the first tax year of the taxpayer beginning in 2010, allows eligible small businesses to carry back unused general business credits for 5 years instead of just 1. Eligible small businesses are sole proprietorships, partnerships and non-publicly traded corporations with $50 million or less in average annual gross receipts for 'ARY3MITH the prior three years. In addition, the Act allows eligible small businesses to use all types of general business credits to offset their alternative minimum tax in tax years beginning in 2010. Health Insurance and Self-Employment Tax The Act allows business owners to deduct the cost of health insurance incurred in 2010 for themselves and their family members in calculating their 2010 self-employment tax. However, there are certain stipulations about the deduction. The taxpayer must not qualify for subsidized insurance from an employer. In addition, a spouse or dependent having insurance available from an employer will impact the deduction. Cell Phones Just Got Easier Cell phones are no longer â&#x20AC;&#x153;listed property.â&#x20AC;? This means that the cost of cell phones may be deducted by your business (or depreciated) like other business property without the heavy recordkeeping requirements that have been required. S Corporation Built In Gains Tax If you own an S corporation that was previously a C corporation, you may have gotten a BIG break. As you know, there is a tax on the gains that were â&#x20AC;&#x153;built inâ&#x20AC;? at the time your corporation made its S election. That tax exists for 10 years after your corporation elects S status. The Act has changed that. If your corporation elected to be taxed as an S corporation in 2005 or before, so that your fifth tax year as an S corporation happens before 2011, your â&#x20AC;&#x153;built in gains periodâ&#x20AC;? has been reduced from 10 years to 5. Percentage of Completion Accounting The Act states that in determining the percentage of completion under the percentage of completion method of accounting, bonus depreciation in 2010 is not taken into account as a cost. This prevents the bonus depreciation from having the effect of accelerating income. Keep this in mind in your year end planning. Content provided by Wishart, Norris, Henninger & Pittman, P.A., which partners with owners of closely-held businesses to provide comprehensive legal services in all areas of business, tax, estate planning, succession planning, purchases and sales of businesses, real estate, family law, and litigation. For more information, contact Robert Norris at 704-364-0010 or visit www.wnhplaw.com.

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As a proud partner of NetApp, we’re committed to helping you deploy the right storage and data management solution. Call (704) 831-2500 or visit www.at-net.net for more information. We are AT-NET Services... Making IT Work!

Introducing AND. It’s the new OR. Finally, a storage solution that doesn’t force you to choose either cost efficiency or improved business performance. NetApp’s uncompromising approach to storage and data management can both lower IT costs and help to bolster your company’s competitiveness. See how storage efficiency without compromise can help you go further, faster.

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w w w. a t - n e t . n e t © 2010 NetApp. All rights reserved. Specifications are subject to change without notice. NetApp, the NetApp logo, and Go further, faster are trademarks or registered trademarks of NetApp, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other brands or products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and should be treated as such.


CC Communications

[webbiz]

New Media Strategies, Secrets and Solutions

â&#x20AC;&#x153;POINT, SNAP & CONNECT.â&#x20AC;? !Instant Marketing with QR Codes

12#ODES1UICK2ESPONSE#ODES 12#S AREAREL ATIVELYNEW  DIMENSIONALFORMOFBARCODESSUDDENLY GETTINGALOTOFBUZZHEREINTHESTATES!LREADYVERY popular in Europe and Japan, businesses and consum ERSTHROUGHOUTTHE53AREDISCOVERINGHUNDREDSOF EXCITINGUSESFORTHISmEXIBLE CONVENIENTANDFREE information connection. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what all the buzz is about yet, maybe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to learn how your business can take advantage of this emerging PORTABLEMARKETINGTOOL4HINKh12#ODESv How QR Codes Workâ&#x20AC;Ś12#ODESCANBEDISPLAYEDALMOSTANYWHERE4HEYCAN be found on printed literature, business cards, highway billboards, product packaging, ADVERTISINGBANNERSANDMORE4HEY CAN BE INSERTED INTO DIGITAL SIGNAGE AND EVEN SCREENPRINTEDONTOAPPAREL12#ODESINCLUDEEMBEDDEDTEXTINFORMATION WEB page links and simple programming commands that directly connect customers to timely information about you, your business, and your products or services. 5SINGAMOBILEhSMARTPHONE vEQUIPPEDWITHABUILT INCAMERA CUSTOMERSSIMPLY SNAPADIGITALPHOTOOFTHECODESYMBOL4HENAFREE DOWNLOADABLE12#hREADERv interprets the code and initiates one or more actions, such as accessing a Web page or online map using the phoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Web browser, displaying onscreen text information, OPENING AN E MAIL DELIVERY MAILTO FORM SENDING A 3-3 TEXT MESSAGE DIALING A phone call or other actions. What QR Codes Do for the Customerâ&#x20AC;Ś 12#ODESAREFAST EASYANDPORTABLE SOURCESOFADDITIONALINFORMATION7HENSOMETHINGCATCHESTHEEYE SIMPLYh0OINTv THECELLPHONECAMERAANDh3NAPv4HESYMBOLISCAPTUREDANDSAVED TRIGGERINGA DIRECTRESPONSEh#ONNECTIONvTHROUGHTHEREADERAPPLICATION4HERESNONEEDFOR the customer to type in a Web page address or remember a phone number to get more information. What QR Codes Can Do for Your Businessâ&#x20AC;Ś12#ODESCANBEYOURON DEMANDSALESANDCUSTOMERSERVICEREPRESENTATIVES$ISPLAYTEXTMESSAGESUPTO   CHARACTERS EXCHANGE V#ARD VIRTUAL BUSINESS CARD INFORMATION INITIATE A PHONE CALL LINK TO PRERECORDED AUDIO OR VIDEO COLLECT CUSTOMERhLOYALTY POINTS v FACILITATEONLINEPURCHASESLIKEE TICKETS ANDEASILYPERFORMOTHERCUSTOMERINTER actions. You can specify a limited date range to convey your content or provide ONGOINGACCESSTOYOURINFORMATION!ND EACHCUSTOMERCONNECTIONCANBETRACKED by your organization. Further, you can update and personalize information provided at the point of the EXCHANGE-ESSAGESCANBEUPDATEDMANUALLYORPROGRAMMEDTOCHANGE automatically based on the time of day, day of week, weather condi TIONS ETC-ANY12#READERSCANUTILIZETHEMOBILEPHONESBUILT IN '03LOCATORANDCUSTOMIZEINFORMATIONBASEDONTHECUSTOMERSCUR rent proximity. Content can be changed by the business any time to take advantage of current weather or business conditions. Sample QR Code Generators: tag.microsoft.com WWWQRSTUFFCOM www.snapmaze.com QRMECOUK Sample QR Code Readers: WWWMAADQR APPCOM WWWQUICKMARKCOMTW%NBASICDOWNLOADASP GETBEETAGGCOMENQR READERDOWNLOAD WWWMOBILE BARCODESCOMQR CODE SOFTWARE ~Kip Cozart

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

QUESTION

&

ANSWER Q:

What is a 301 redirect?

~Charlotte, NC

A:

301 redirect is a status code that means a Web page has been permanently moved to a new location. 301 redirects are used to make sure visitors and search engines are directed to the right page(s) of a website. 301 redirects are most often used during website redesigns or website consolidations where new domains are employed or page addresses (URLs) change.

They are also used when websites answer to more than one version of a domain, such as http://website.com and http://www.website.com, or when pages can be reached via several different URLs. It is best to pick one preferred URL (typically www) and 301 redirect other URLs to the preferred URL. This directs visitors, search engine robots, link building and other online activities to the right address. Have a question about Web design or online marketing? Submit your question to www.greatercharlottebiz/ webbiz. Questions & Answers may be reprinted here in upcoming editions of Greater Charlotte Biz!

!!!

WORK Barloworld Handling â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Forklift Service Search Engine Advertising Campaigns

!

Having to increase your call center staff to handle more sales is a problem weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d all like to experience. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exactly what happened when Barloworld Handling put the Web to work. Barloworld Handling is the largest lift truck dealer in the Southeast, and the largest independent Hyster lift truck dealer in the world. They needed advertising that was more economical, more action-oriented, and more effective at reaching Southeastern forklift service and parts prospects. Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) search engine advertising provided just the lift Barloworld needed. Using campaigns featuring targeted keyword ads, 7 state-specific landing pages, and innovative action steps like live chat, helped Barloworld generate thousands of visits and pageviews, not to mention conversions healthy enough to require backup.

Content provided by CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company providing a full array of services to businesses and organizations to enhance and produce effective Web, e-mail, multimedia marketing initiatives and business process improvements. For more information, contact Kip Cozart at 704-543-1171 or visit www.cccommunications.com/resources_articles.cfm.

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Now it is easier than ever to get people to your website and all the investment you have put into it. QR codes can take your customers directly to your:

!Websites !Applications !Videos !Photos !Maps !Surveys !Coupons !Advertising !Manuals !Listings

8

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t From Prin to Digital

/01"2'1%3,41%5(26% 7680%90,(2%:;-102,*,(+ Call us today and we will show you how! 704-676-5850 x106

"

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%LLIOTT$AVIS

[accountingbiz]

Is

$

Accounting, Tax and Consulting Solutions

$ $

Accounting for You?

@

s your business in need of a bookkeeper or controller? Perhaps you already have one but are looking to cut personnel costs. Or, are you a small business owner who has been handling your accounting functions yourself but no longer have the time, desire or expertise to adequately handle this task? If these concerns resonate with you, then outsourcing your accounting may be the solution. For many years, outsourcing payroll processing has been common practice. But did you know that outsourcing of your total accounting department is gaining in popularity? There are a number of considerations to take into account before making this significant decision. Effectiveness and Efficiencies As a business owner, how much time do you spend keeping the books for your company? What is it really costing you? Time spent on bookkeeping is time you are not spending growing your business, relationships and profits. Not only is this task time-consuming, it also can be cumbersome if you are not highly proficient in this area. Outsourcing allows you to focus on what you know best—your customers, products and/or services. An outsourced accountant can often provide bookkeeping solutions more effectively and efficiently than you can. Expertise Now that you have considered effectiveness and efficiencies, you want to consider the third “e”—expertise. If your accounting is outsourced to a CPA firm, you are receiving services from professionals who are experts in their field. They will also have the benefit of other tax and industry specialists within their firm who can be valuable resources to you. One-stop shopping If your accounting is done by a CPA firm, you have the benefit of a one-stop shop for all of your financial needs. You will have assurance that when tax time comes, everything will be well-organized and easily passed to a tax professional in the same firm for tax return preparation. In addition to tax compliance, many CPA firms have consulting practices that can help you with strategic planning, transaction services, business valuations, investment management and loan proposal reviews. Cost-savings You may be thinking that it’s not possible to save money by outsourcing your accounting work, but consider this: You will pay for only the services that you need when you need them—which may be weekly, monthly or quarterly. The outsourcing cost can end up being much less than having a full-time person on staff (and paying benefits) whom you may or may not be able to keep busy. Fraud mitigation The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that a typical business loses about 5 percent of its annual revenue to fraud. Many times, when small businesses fall victim to fraud, it is due to

c o n s t r u c t i ve c a t a ly s t fo r c re a t i ve c o n s c i o u s n e s s

limited staffing. The segregation of duties and crosstraining among accounting functions is important in helping to prevent fraud. Outsourced accounting allows for an independent perspective and a segregation of duties, therefore mitigating your risk. Temporary relief We have all been there. You lose a key employee but think you can cover for him/her until a replacement is found. Unfortunately, when you are wearing Cathy Redfern, CPA, too many hats, things start falling through the cracks. Director of Accounting One task on which you should not fall behind is your Resources accounting. Whether you are temporarily without an accountant; interviewing potential candidates; or needing extra help due to a medical leave or uptick in accounting demand, outsourced professionals can help you out in a bind. Technology investments You have capital expenditures planned for the fiscal year but new accounting technology did not make the list. Did you know that special services like payroll, bill pay and online banking are now inaccessible if you are using QuickBooks versions prior to 2008? While QuickBooks is not the only accounting software out there, upgrades and conversions are common to all of them and it can be difficult for a small business to keep pace. An outsourced CPA firm should have the latest and greatest technologies. Further considerations and questions to ask when selecting an outsourced accounting firm: # Inquire about the size of the firm’s accounting staff. Be sure it is adequate to address your needs in any situation. A smaller firm may be affected by illnesses and vacations that may in turn affect service to you. # Ask about the firm’s technology. Are they utilizing the newest version of their accounting software? Also, are their people certified in using it? # Consider a firm that can also prepare your tax return at the end of the year. Communication will be more fluid, saving you time and money. # Think about your needs—both short-term and long-term. Look for a firm that is flexible in meeting these needs—one that can provide the exact services you want and can customize additional services as needed. # Ask if the firm has experience in your industry. If so, it can make your working relationship easier and more effective. # Leverage your network for referrals. Ask other business owners whom they use for outsourced accounting.

If you still are not sure if outsourcing is right for your business, you may want to set up meetings with several firms to explain your situation. Reputable professionals will meet with you at no cost and may uncover other considerations that will help with your decision. Content contributed by the Charlotte office of Elliott Davis, PLLC, an accounting, tax and consulting ser vices firm providing clients the solutions needed to achieve their objectives in 10 offices throughout the Southeast. For more information, contact Dan Warren at 704-808-5210 or visit www.elliottdavis.com.

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We have some ideas about protecting yours. Your vision might change the world, but

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Managing and Delivering Change to Optimize Business Value

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When seeking options to improve the performance of their organization, many managers believe they need to go “all in” with the full-scale implementation of an existing program. While the potential rewards of such an approach can be significant, the risk involved is often too high for the management team to take on. Instead, they simply continue to live with the inefficiencies thinking, “The devil I know beats the devil I don’t know!”

The benefits of utilizing the PDSA cycle include a reduction in the upfront financial and reputational investment reducing the cost of failure.

And there is no denying the implementation of a business improvement program can be very expensive. Hard dollar costs include the cost of consultants and training, and softer costs include the impact of organizational disruption. But perhaps one of the greatest, least quantifiable costs is the damaged reputation of management. If the program ultiPlan mately fails, it could adversely impact the organization’s future willingness to adopt change. Yet, if approached differently, a prudent management Act team can simultaneously increase the likelihood of sustained success and reduce the upfront investment of financial resources and reputation. To do so they simply need to apply a fundamental tool of Process Excellence, the PDSA cycle. PDSA is an acronym the stands for: Plan—Do—Study—Act, based on the work of W.Edwards Deming. It can be an incredibly valuable tool to gain an understanding of the organization’s readiness for change. It is this readiness for change (or lack thereof) that will ultimately have the most impact on whether or not ANY improvement program will have sustained success. Plan and Do are straightforward. A project needs to be selected that is small enough to be manageable, yet large enough to be meaningful. It is critical to restrict the scope of the project to facilitate completion in 6 months or less. Next, a small team (one or two individuals) successfully delivers the project Darrell Letourneau, Managing Consultant, following an established Business Process improvement methodology Improvement or components of different

P A

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methodologies as appropriate. Here again, a key consideration is size. A small team will be less disruptive to the larger organization. It can simply pull in subject matter experts on an “as needed” basis. To maintain independence, this team should report directly to senior management. The next phase, Study, is one of the most important phases. Throughout the life of the project and upon completion, the project team will provide an objective analysis of the organization’s readiness for change. The analysis will focus on major components of the management system: the existing metrics and their use, the understanding of key processes, the performance management systems, etc. The final phase is an opportunity for senior management to Act by either moving forward with a larger implementation, delaying full-scale implementation in favor of another PDSA cycle(s), or, based upon the findings of the team, investing time and resources to strengthen aspects of the management system identified as major concerns. The benefits of utilizing the PDSA cycle include a reduction in the upfront financial and reputational investment reducing the cost of failure. A small team of consultants on a short-term project should be able to successfully deliver a project and potentially cover most of the incremental cost of the project. Additionally, the use of consultants reduces the disruption to the organiDo zation and enables access to a wide range of potential tools for evaluation. Using this approach also provides senior manageStudy ment an opportunity to understand what will be required of them to successfully implement structured, sustainable improvement. Some things can’t be learned by reading a book. But the biggest value is in the objective assessment of the organization’s readiness for change gained by evaluating the existing management system. Regardless of the improvement program selected or designed, one of the major factors determining the likelihood of sustained success is the organization’s management system. Thus, it only makes sense to gain as much understanding of it PRIOR to making major decisions.

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Content contributed by NouvEON, a management consulting firm. To learn more about Business Process Excellence, visit www.nouveon.com or e-mail marketing@ nouveon.com. To contact NouvEON’s Business Process Improvement expert, e-mail him at dletourneau@nouveon.com.

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[bizprophet]

4HE0ERFORMANCE'ROUP Engaging and Inspiring Thought Leadership in the New Millennium

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A($'9/%$%)5($/"'($"3$%,($(*(#26$ !"#$"%&'()"*%+,-'%.(/0//+,1%'()% (*%#(7#(*(9#&).$&*+&<&+9).&/'$ )*+$39**(.$&%$&*%"$+&/8"<(#&*2$)*+$ #(.()/&*2$"9#$8"..(8%&<($2(*&9/0 Sam Frowine

What in the World Can I Do Differently? Over the past two years, I’ve focused on adaptive strategies to help enterprises—mine as well as others’—get healthy or remain healthy despite the economic slump. Most of the businesses I know have been concerned with the pressing issues of meeting payroll, retaining market share, holding talent and keeping the doors open to fight another day.

This spring, I set out on a quest to gain perspective on this ubiquitous question, “What in the world is going on?” In May, I travelled to Book Expo in New York City, the world’s largest conference for the publishing industry, where I met and exchanged ideas with other authors. In June, I went to Boston for the Futures Conference to experience some of the best minds in the world, who were also searching for fresh answers to perplexing global challenges. While in that historic city, I also followed the trail of our country’s founders as part of studying their search for answers at a defining time in our history. In September, I spent time studying the economy in China, where I had unprecedented access to entrepreneurs, government officials, the working class citizens they call “commoners” and members of our own U.S. Consulate. Most recently, I attended the World Business Forum 2010 in New York City, the leading international symposium for executives. Having processed all that I’ve experienced, I have a modest proposal: We must take some of the energy we’ve poured into fulfilling our entrepreneurial individualism and funnel it into discovering and releasing our collective genius. Yes, private enterprise is the backbone of the U.S. economy. Private enterprise offers hope for job creation. It births innovation. It’s the source of economic freedom. It’s where leaders are grown and launched. Our model of private enterprise is so powerful the Chinese are emulating it right now. But overextending the individualism of private enterprise has become a liability to tapping our creative power as a society. We must balance the individualism inherent in entrepreneurship with the synergy to be found in releasing our collective genius. We must tap the collective genius in our enterprises. We must prepare to do so by tapping the collective genius found in groups of other owners and thought leaders. It’s time to stop asking, “What in the world is going on?” We must start asking, “What in the world can I do differently?” “How in the world can I look at this problem from a different perspective?” “Who in the world should I invite to think with me about this?” The secret is in the collective genius of our enterprises and organizations. It’s time to stop sitting on it.

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!Food for Thought Here’s some of the best thinking I heard during my travels. These aren’t direct quotes; they’re big concepts boiled down into brief comments.

markets before you need to. ~Renee Mauborgne, co-author of Blue Ocean Strategy The overriding challenge of our time is the sustainability of our planet. It will be the source of millions of jobs as it is affecting millions of lives all over the globe. Either embrace sustainability as a business issue or accept the consequences for missing your cues. ~Al Gore, former Vice President

See where your customer is going before they do. ~Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP

Content provided by Samuel E. Frowine III, founder, owner and president of The Performance Group, Ltd., a business consulting firm aligning enterprises with the ambition of owners. For more on Sam’s experiences in China, check out his blog at www.OwnershipSuccess.com; contact him at 704-597-5156 or visit www. theperformancegroupusa.com.

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Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

THE EMPLOYERS ASSOCIATION Trusted HR Advice, Tools & Training

Employer Health Care Costs to 42)&*/%$)$=)85+#"7$"3$ 8"*%&*9(+$(8"*"'&8$9*8(#B %)&*%6;$('7."6(#$,().%,$8)#($ 8"/%/$3"#$)8%&<($('7."6((/$ )#($7#"C(8%(+$%"$#&/($D0EF$ G)3%(#$7.)*$8,)*2(/H;$%"$ )*$)<(#)2($)**9).$8"/%$"3$ IJK;LMK$&*$EKJJ;$)88"#+&*2$ %"$)$#(8(*%$/9#<(6$"3$NOO$ .)#2($)*+$'&+/&P($('7."6B (#/$8"*+98%(+$=6$Q"-(#/$ A)%/"*$GRSTU;$R4T>4VW$ QAH;$)$2."=).$7#"3(//&"*).$ /(#<&8(/$8"'7)*60

Employees today are adjusting to historically lower-than-average merit pay increases, while at the same time facing higher health care contributions, copays and deductibles. This combination could adversely affect many employees and intensify the growing affordability crisis. With employers also facing the challenge of steadily rising costs plus the advent of health care reform, the need to rethink employer approaches to health care is greater than ever. Not since the late 1980s —a time of unprecedented health care cost inflation in the U.S.—have the nation’s leading employers given as much attention to their organization’s health benefit plans as they are today. As companies assess the impact of health care reform, senior managers are once again closely involving themselves in health benefit strategy. Most employers are currently focused on compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), while some are already making significant changes to their health benefit plans. According to survey respondents, 59% of employers plan to implement significant or moderate health care plan design changes in 2011, and two-thirds (67%) plan to do so in 2012. While more than half of employers (57%) report that compliance with the PPACA is their top priority today, 43% plan to rethink the long-term benefit strategy for active employees as their primary focus next year. In light of the complexities around all of the regulatory guidelines and mandates, most employers are taking the time to understand the new legal environment before making too many long-term changes to their health benefit strategy. Nonetheless, the earlier employers consider the strategic ramifications of the law and can act, the better they can assess their future role as health care benefit sponsors, and understand the implications on their business and employees. Many employers today, however, are not staying the course. Survey respondents are looking to: U Accelerate account-based health plan (ABHP) adoption: By 2012, 64% of employers are projected to offer an ABHP, and 39% of employers are projected to have ABHP enrollment of more than 20%. U Raise employee contributions: Employees must continue to cope with the increasing affordability gap, as merit pay increases have gone up 16% while employee contributions have risen 49% over the last five years. UÊShift from incentives for employee participation in wellness programs to incentives for improvements in health metrics: 62% of employers are projected to apply outcome-based incentives by 2012.

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Health care reform has reinforced employers’ commitment to wellness [health management] programs. Employers today understand that one of the keys to controlling long-term health care costs is to provide employees with the tools to personalize and manage their health. They are also offering incentives to encourage employees to maintain their well-being and access to clinical support and advice. According to the survey, 86% of U.S. employers plan to increase efforts to encourage employees to engage in wellness/health promotion programs, with 65% already or planning to increase incentives for these programs and another 17% considering this action for 2012. Among specific health promotion programs, employers plan to increase efforts to encourage employees to engage in behavioral health programs (78%), biometric screenings (74%), health risk assessments (71%) and disease management programs (67%). In other revealing findings, employers expect to: # Continue offering employer-sponsored health care plans for active employees (94%) # Lose their plan’s grandfathered status by 2011 (55%) or by 2013 (85%) # Increase efforts to encourage employees outside the U.S. to engage in their wellness/health promotion programs (54%) # Eliminate or reduce sponsorship of retiree medical plans (51%) # Examine new engagement strategies, such as using social networks and other channels to communicate about employee health and well-being (40%) (CCHOnline) Content provided The Employers Association, providing comprehensive human resources and training ser vices to a membership of over 865 companies in the greater Charlotte region. For more information, contact Laura Hampton at 704-522-8011 or visit www.employersassoc.com.

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[bizprofile]

by carol gifford

A

itness the flourish of development in the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus—the recent opening of the new Mint Museum Uptown, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture—and the esteem with which Charlotte holds art and artisans is evident. That’s none too soon for one local art gallery owner. “It’s an enormously exciting time for visual arts in Charlotte,” says Jerald Melberg, founder and curator of Jerald Melberg Gallery, who has been quietly but intentionally building a reputation as a purveyor of fine art for private and public collectors for the past 27 years. Melberg started up in a downtown gallery, subsequently moved to the Morrocroft area, and seven years ago settled in his South Sharon Amity Road location, where he designed and built a 4,000-square-foot gallery large enough to display two art exhibitions at a time, with the artwork on display changing every five to seven weeks. Melberg currently represents 25-plus artists, more than half living artists but also including nine or 10 estates such as 21st century abstract expressionists Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann, James Rosati and Romare Bearden. In 1986, the gallery presented the first Pablo Picasso exhibition in the state. In 2005, Jerald Melberg Gallery was elected to the Fine Art Dealer’s Association, a select group of the nation’s fine art galleries. It has been called “one of the 10 best galleries outside of New York City.” Melberg runs the gallery with his wife Mary and five other employees. %

L’ART POUR L’ART

Jerald Melberg Gallery Transcends the Every Day

(Sculpture) James Rosati’s graceful steel form reaches up and out like a stairway to heaven and is an excellent example of his reliance on the power of the angle. To see a couple stellar outdoor works visit Two Angled Forms, his 18-20-foot metal piece in front of the Charlotte Plaza building at College and 4th Streets and the Triple Arc I on the front lawn of Queens University on Selwyn Avenue.

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“Works of art have, for centuries, been the primary form of man’s recording himself, others, the human condition and the environment. It’s a very interesting business and I love what I do. If we can help people see the value of art and how it adds to the quality of their lives, then we’ve succeeded.”

(Painting) Employing an unorthodox approach to acrylic on canvas, Paul Jenkins’ fame is as much identified with the process of controlled paint-pouring and canvas manipulation as with the gem-like veils of transparent and translucent color, which have characterized his work since the late 1950s. This large scale painting from the mid ‘70s, is an exuberant tribute to these vary characteristics that make Jenkins paintings highly sought after still today. Jerald L. Melberg Founder and Curator Jerald Melberg Gallery Inc.

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“Art speaks to you. It feeds you in a certain way that nothing else can, and it’s often not easy to describe in words.” ~Jerald L. Melberg Founder and Curator The Canvas of Charlotte “The city is becoming more aware of visual art and is translating that awareness into a long-term commitment,” says Melberg, who was at one time curator of the Mint Museum of Art. “I hope it means that we recognize that visual art adds an important component to our urban life.” He also hopes the new facilities will increase the maturity level of art in the city and make people more discerning about art. He champions partnerships and collaborations between institutions and existing art venues, and has been instrumental in bringing major pieces to Charlotte. In 1983, while at the Mint, he brought American sculptor James Rosati’s “Two Angled Forms” to the Charlotte Plaza building at College and Fourth Streets. And in 2009, he placed Rosati’s “Triple Arc I,” an abstract stainless steel sculpture rising more than 16 feet, at Queens University campus along busy Selwyn Avenue. The latter is on loan to Queens from the Jerald Melberg Gallery, as

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the national agent representing Rosati’s estate. “Any time we can get a major work of public art placed in our community it strengthens our cultural threads,” maintains Melberg. “I immediately thought of Queens because of the beauty of the campus and for the opportunity for students and the public to interact with the sculpture.” Melberg explains that Rosati was an abstract American sculptor, and a member of the New York School of Abstract Expressionists. The group was at the forefront of American art in the 1940s and 1950s, representing the era in which American art emerged center stage in the world in the form of abstract art. He says about 40 of Rosati’s monumental works are on display in the United States and abroad. Rosati’s best known work includes a 24-foot stainless steel “Ideogram” that was located in the plaza between the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. Commissioned in 1969, the sculpture was lost when the towers collapsed during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The artist once described how he hoped the public would perceive his art: “It should be like a great piece of music: Every time you play it you’re astounded by it... but every time you play it, it shows you more.” Next September, on the 100th year anniversary of the birth of Charlotte-born Bearden, a prominent African-American artist, Melberg’s gallery will premiere a special exhibition of works. Melberg

became personal friends with the artist and “Romie” asked him to open a gallery in Charlotte so he could have an exhibition venue in his hometown. That show will be part of a Bearden retrospective that will also include special programming and exhibits at the Mint Museum and the Gantt Center. “The only way to learn about art is by looking,” says Melberg. “People in our community now have more access to public museums and they can see different artwork and learn the language of art. “Art speaks to you,” explains Melberg. “It feeds you in a certain way that nothing else can, and it’s often not easy to describe in words. “Oscar Wilde once said, ‘Art is not a thing. It is a way,’ and I try to instill that concept into my collectors. What they are acquiring is a part of what has always set man apart: his ability to pictorially present himself, others and the environment. The product is simply a vehicle to the soul.” Art for Art’s Sake “Museums and art galleries can be intimidating to people. People don’t know,” says Melberg, “how they are expected to experience art or how to describe what they see in it and like about it.” “Not all of us have a background in art, and people are fearful of the unfamiliar,” he adds, admitting that he sometimes feels intimidated visiting art museums and galleries in New York City. An art gallery can be a more comfortable way %

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to view art, says Melberg, because it offers people the chance to spend more time with art and ask questions about it. “We do our part to remove the mystery of visiting an art gallery, but not the mystery of the art,” says Melberg. “When people come in to see a work of art, we explain the history of the artist and the piece. We want to open the door to help you appreciate it.” Jerald Melberg Gallery has more than 12,000 works of art. The extensive inventory can be viewed on exhibition or in a private screening room. Picture sizes range from 2 feet by 3 feet to 6 feet by 12 feet. Sculpture is also on display; all the art is sent on consignment. “We never own the work,” explains Melberg. “Ownership passes directly from the artist to the collector with the gallery receiving a commission on the sale.” “I never apologize for making a profit,” he says, “because if I don’t, I won’t be here to support my collectors’ purchases.”

“We do our part to remove the mystery of visiting an art gallery, but not the mystery of the art. When people come in to see a work of art, we explain the history of the artist and the piece. We want to open the door to help you appreciate it.” ~Jerald L. Melberg Founder and Curator

and my friends are located.” “We developed a history with the city,” Melberg continues. “One of the things I’m most proud of is that my collectors have become my friends. They enjoy receiving invitations to openings and visiting with other art collectors.” Art education and appreciation is just part of Melberg’s business. “Art is a commodity—bought, sold and traded in the marketplace like all other articles of commerce,” he says, “and I am the shopkeeper. Prices are determined by supply and demand and can fluctuate based on what the marketplace will bear,” says Melberg. Art doesn’t originate as something to sell or buy, because its creation is personal and an individual form of expression, explains Melberg. It is a product of an artist’s confrontation with, reaction to, and interpretation of life and the specific reality of his or her existence. The difference in selling art and another good, such as new furniture, is that other businesses can track their anticipated purchases. Melberg’s gross annual revenue is in the millions, and he describes his gallery as a significant contributor to the local economy, although sales have dipped in the last two years. His business, though located in Charlotte, attracts clients from around the country and the world. He estimates approximately 20 percent live within 100 miles of the gallery, 70 percent from around the country and 10 percent international. Prices for object d’art range from $1,000 to $750,000, with the average range of purchase between $6,000 and $30,000. The profile of a private collector, says Melberg, is a male professional between the ages of 45 to 60, who is well-educated and has disposable income. His public collectors include museums and corporations such as the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Mint Museum of Art, Bank of America, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, Texaco, Hilton Hotels, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Mitsubishi. “We’re a destination, so our geographic location is secondary,” says Melberg, explaining that people in the Charlotte region who come to the gallery do so intentionally, as do people from the Southeast or other parts of the U.S. “I couldn’t survive off my Charlotte customers. I could exist anywhere but I chose Charlotte because I enjoy being here. This is where my home is

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Artful Strategy Melberg has built his client base by carefully choosing his artists, looking for “visual poetry and an aesthetic quality that’s not easy to describe.” He is invited to attend several art fairs or “trade shows” each year held in large cities like New York City, Miami, Chicago to meet other dealers, gallery owners and collectors from Europe and Asia. His marketing strategy is narrowly focused because his target audience is very small. “I reach people who are specifically interested in purchasing works of art,” he says, through advertising in national art magazines such as Art News and American Art Collector, sending out newsletters and exhibition openings in the mail. “We use the Internet to its fullest

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capability. We have an extensive and user-friendly website that is visually oriented,â&#x20AC;? he adds. Other ways Melberg stands apart from other galleries is by his public speaking and the individual research he pursues which includes a compilation of the Catalogue Raisonne on Romare Bearden to cover the life span of his prints, a venture he is funding himself. He decided to take on the exhaustive project after viewing a catalogue for a Bearden traveling show in the 1990s that contained many errors and omissions. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bearden was like a grandfather to me and I want to make a personal tribute to his legacyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and leave it behind as part of my legacy,â&#x20AC;? says Melberg, who has been working on the catalogue for nine years now. Collectors shop for goods they want in terms of quality, price and the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If someone wants to buy a regionally known artist in a moderate price range, they probably are not going to come in my door,â&#x20AC;? says Melberg. â&#x20AC;&#x153;On the other hand, if they are looking for highquality, internationally acclaimed artists who were significant players in the major 20th century art movements, they will probably seek me out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Works of art have, for centuries, been the primary form of manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recording himself, others, the human condition and the environment,â&#x20AC;? says Melberg. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very interesting business and I love what I do. If we can help people see the value of art and how it adds to the quality of their lives, then weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve succeeded.â&#x20AC;? biz

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photo: Wayne Morris

Stephen P. Villa Chief Executive Officer Muzak Holdings LLC

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by susanne deitzel

[bizprofile]

Audio Architects Choreograph a Rebound

“I am really excited that we are no longer waiting for things to happen, but are creating our own destiny. We are constantly looking at how we can grow— not just in terms of products, but also in our legacy processes—how we do things and how we view our roles. If we find something that we are doing just because it is convenient—then it’s time to get rid of it.” ~Stephen P. Villa Chief Executive Officer

Q

he name Muzak has been a staple of Americana since the company was founded in 1934. Since then, the company has survived economic calamities, the fickle tides of technology, and schizophrenic whims of popular culture. A close look at ‘the why’ behind Muzak’s longevity reveals foremost, a steadfast commitment to innovation. Originally “Muzak” referred to the invention of the first wired radio, but since then the company has also given birth to ideas like the first 33 1/3 vinyl record, and the first national franchise system. Ironically, Muzak’s most successful innovation—connecting mood, music and behavior—also associated the brand with the hard-to-shake nickname of “elevator music”—a languid, lyricless, sonic experience originally used to calm the nerves of anxious elevator passengers. Over the past few decades, Muzak has celebrated its deliberate evolution from being recognized as the leading producer of background music, to being seen as an industry vanguard for environmental brand experiences. Playing It Through Last year Muzak experienced an unusual juxtaposition of events—its 75th anniversary and its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Interestingly, their coincidence opened up a compelling opportunity to create anew, and think bigger. For CEO Steve Villa, the economic challenges register as a blip alongside many other blips in the long history of the organization. “Muzak was founded during the Depression and has survived every downturn by growing, adapting and changing using the emotional power of music,” he surveys. “The concurrence of the anniversary and the bankruptcy was very galvanizing. It gave us a chance to come together as an organization, and communicate our vision and plans to our clients—I couldn’t be more proud of % how it has turned out.”

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In the spring of 2008, prior to its bankruptcy filing, Muzak had been engaged in a courtship of competitor DMX, and received antitrust approval for a potential merger and sale to a third party. Due in large part to the tightening credit markets, that potential combination never materialized. Instead, Muzak filed for bankruptcy in the hopes of reducing its outstanding indebtedness and becoming a healthier company. In February of this year, Muzak emerged from Chapter 11 as a leaner and more focused company. Three units were created which leverage the use of media (voice, music and video), creative branding strategy and design, and the installation and service of technical systems. “I am really excited that we are no longer waiting for things to happen, but are creating our own destiny. We are constantly looking at how we can grow—not just in terms of products, but also in our legacy processes—how we do things and how we view our roles. If we find something that we are doing just because it is convenient—then it’s time to get rid of it,” explains Villa determinedly.

The company embraces the artistry of its people. the muzak dress code is just as open to tongue studs and tattoos as ties, and employees are just as comfortable at lunch as at media extravaganza sxsw. It’s also pretty common to hear the remark that muzak “acts more like a start-up than most start-ups.” This bucking of the status quo is a mainstay of the Muzak culture. The company embraces the artistry of its people. The Muzak dress code is just as open to tongue studs and tattoos as ties, and employees are just as comfortable at lunch as at media extravaganza SXSW. It’s also pretty common to hear the remark that Muzak “acts more like a start-up than most start-ups.” All this expression takes place in the company’s Fort Mill-based office—an award-winning facility spanning 110,000 square feet. It was designed to emulate a small European city, with neighborhoods that radiate like spokes from what the company calls its “city center.” City center is the hub of the organization, and is where the company’s 500 employees gather to hear company announcements, offer a musical welcome to major clients, or host concerts to showcase and celebrate the musical talent of employees. Not surprisingly, the building is wired for sound, with over 47 miles of cabling and wire. Wide open spaces conspicuously absent of offices throb with conversation, movement and music throughout the day. In a somewhat unconventional fashion (at least for CEOs), even Villa’s desk sits underneath a speaker channeling U2, flanked by a bowl of chocolates, a few CDs and a bookcase of memorabilia, including the guitar Villa hoisted performing as KISS in the company’s Muzak Idol event. Fashioned after American Idol, Muzak Idol is one of many events that the company hosts to celebrate and showcase the rich musical talent within its walls. Approximately 300 artists including musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers, stream through Muzak’s corridors. The only offices with doors in the building are the production studios—a quiet, crescent-shaped hallway where the company’s programmers work their magic. Architecting the Music Perhaps the most recognized role at Muzak is the programmer or “Audio Architect.” Audio architects are responsible for intuiting the essence of a company’s brand, and strategically assembling and choreographing musical selections from “The Well”—Muzak’s archive of over 2.7 million songs. Audio

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architects use variables such as energy, tempo, mood and other “levers” that determine the flow of the program to create a specific experience for the listener. Explains Vice President of Music Programming Dan Turner, “In the age of iPods, almost everyone considers himself qualified to be a programmer, but it takes a lot of talent, skill and experience to understand and package genres in a way that works to meet a client’s brand experience.” In addition to sequencing musical components, programmers also design special transitions between songs, and “day-parting” where they shift the musical experience according to audience changes. For example, a program for a restaurant targeting a family audience for dinner but a lively bar scene after 9 p.m. would be designed with an ear for significantly different listener experiences. Turner says that audio architects train for at least three years, and a large part of their experience includes what he calls “Living the Life.” He explains, “I tell our programmers to read the same magazines, go to concerts and clubs, and dig into the musical personality they are working with. Music is not a static proposition—it is our job to ensure it is reflective and dynamic while at the same time serving the client’s needs.” An industry veteran and XM Satellite expatriate, Turner is clearly impressed at Muzak’s ambition. He shares that Muzak is on the precipice of the largest programming line-up shift in the company’s history, adding and revising core programs, and adding new holiday programs that increase the Muzak lineup to beyond its current 100-plus core programs and 200-plus custom programs. He also says that he is working on an explosion of foreign language-based programs, like Thai Pop and Indian Pop—sounds that contribute to an increasingly global repertoire with innovative applications. Turner is also responsible for supervising the voice department, where alongside the creation of musical experiences, his staff designs messaging to speak directly to customers via in-store ads and phone hold messaging. In 2009, Muzak began offering digital signage alongside its audio solutions, and the vision for a fully integrated media offering came into view.

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Muzak became able to synthesize music, voice messaging, video, and even aroma-marketing to create a fully integrated brand experience. It was clear that Muzak’s understanding of its client’s brand experience went far beyond music. So in March of 2010, it launched Touch: a Muzak Company—an in-house agency that designs and develops brand experiences using integrated media solutions. Bob Finigan, vice president and general manager of Touch, says that the agency infuses a strategic edge into the development process, “isolating specific brand objectives, directing creative services, and creating opportunities for customers to take the brand experience with them—using vehicles like e-mail, Web-based, and social media solutions.”

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“Muzak has a lot of unfinished business as a company. We are finding new and exciting ways to demonstrate the influence that our products offer, continuing to listen to and provide what our clients need more effectively and efficiently than other solutions, and leveraging the talent of our people to create an exciting new era of growth.” ~Stephen P. Villa

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The Touch offering has been dubbed “Media Architecture,” and a recent promotion with Cost Plus World Market provides a powerful example of its application. When Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling book Eat Pray Love made it to movie screens this past summer, the World Market cross-promotion used story elements from Italy, Indonesia and India, matched with somatic elements like sound, video and aroma in its merchandizing program. Touch also integrated an e-mail campaign with the % importer’s in-store explorer rewards program.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the age of ipods, almost everyone considers himself qualified to be a programmer, but it takes a lot of talent, skill and experience to understand and package genres in a way that works to meet a clientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brand experience.â&#x20AC;?

~Dan Turner Vice President of Music Programming Other examples include outdoor outfitter The North Face which engaged Touch to design an integrated media solution to convey its bold approach to exploration, and an integrated online platform to enable customers to experience and share music featured at Qdoba Mexican eateries. Playing to Its Strengths Muzak is also finding that there is incredible potential residing in industry-specific solutions. Medical and dental offices, banks, universities, hotels, convenience stores and fast-food restaurants all have unique needs and touchpoints that are being effectively managed by Muzakâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brand architecture. Villa says that Muzak is emphasizing specific solutions like reducing perceived wait times, upselling and other metrics reflecting their clientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; business or brand objectives. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the 1990s we really tapped into the emotional power of the brand experience; a key part of our strategy going forward is integrating aspects that help us measure factors influencing consumer behavior and business development,â&#x20AC;? he explains. Another dimension to the Muzak model is its evolving relationship with the music industry. Muzak pays licensing fees for the rights to play artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; music (legal security is a key benefit to choosing a Muzak system over other sound solutions). However, as the music industry encounters challenges, it seeks new ways to introduce new artists into a crowded marketplace. A rich opportunity appears to exist in Muzakâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

100 million listeners as they shop, wait in line, or fill up their gas tanks. Bruce McKagan, director of company communications, provides a clear example of the shift. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the 1980s, the band Guns and Roses hit #3 on the charts with 997,000 record sales. Compare that to Velvet Revolvers new disc that hit #2 on the charts in 2008â&#x20AC;&#x201D;but reached only 35,000 in record salesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and the conclusion is dramatic. When you also take into account that we get 25,000 new tracks sent to us every single month, it is clear that there are ways for us to partner with the music industry and artists to spread good music.â&#x20AC;? Villa says that in addition to serving listeners, Muzak is passionate about supporting young musicians who face school music program budget cuts. In 1998 the company started its Heart and Soul Foundationâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a 501(c)(3) which strives to support and redefine music education through Music Matters grants, and an annual Noise! Camp for 15-18 year olds who want hands-on experience and interaction with music industry experts in places like L.A., New York and Nashville. Says Villa eagerly, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Muzak has a lot of unfinished business as a company. We are finding new and exciting ways to demonstrate the influence that our products offer, continuing to listen to and provide what our clients need more effectively and efficiently than other solutions, and leveraging the talent of our people to create an exciting new era of growth.â&#x20AC;? biz Susanne Deitzel is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

Muzak Holdings LLC 3318 Lakemont Blvd. Ft. Mill, S.C. 29708 Phone: 803-396-3000 Principal:3TEPHEN06ILLA #%/ Employees:!PPROX NATIONWIDE LOCAL Established: 1934 Sales:- Other: Over 200 sales and service locations NATIONWIDE-UZAKPRODUCTSREACHOVER million people daily. Awards: Media and Entertainment Industry Turnaround of the Year Award from the Global -!.ETWORK WEBBY and ADDY AwardsFORITSTHANNIVERSARYWEBSITE  "USINESS)NDUSTRYStevie Award  Business:-USICPRODUCTIONANDDISTRIBUTION -UZAK,,#ISTHELEADINGPROVIDEROFMUSIC and sensory branding services to business. www.muzak.com

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by casey jacobus

[bizprofile]

from suburban

outpost to

TRANSIT­READY URBAN CENTER

University City Partners is the Community’s Champion

U

niversity City is not, exactly, a real city. It is a community in the northeast section of Charlotte, stretching from Interstate 77 to the Cabarrus County Line, surrounding the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus. It is neighbored by the town of Harrisburg to the east and the city of Concord to the northeast. The Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord Mills Mall and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre are on its outskirts. The community began to emerge in the mid-1960s, after UNC Charlotte was established as the fourth campus in the University of North Carolina System and the concept for the University Research Park was created. These two institutions are the anchors around which University City has developed. By the time University Memorial Hospital (now a major hospital in the Carolinas HealthCare System) opened in the mid-’80s, the farms that once populated the area had all but vanished. The intersection of W.T. Harris Boulevard and North Tryon Street has become both the center of University City and the northeast gateway to Charlotte itself. The four corners of the intersection are occupied by the hospital; the Hilton, a major hotel and convention center and part of the 745,000-square-foot center known as University Place; the Grande Promenade Village, a mix of shops, restaurants and service establishments; and the 46-acre University Executive Park. Today, University City is the largest “noncity” in the Carolinas. It is home to more than 150,000 residents, provides 74,000 jobs and, according to a recent study, contributes more than $8.4 billion annually to the regional economy. In 2003, the Charlotte City Council established a Municipal Service District (MSD), beginning at the Highway 29/49 “weave,” and bordered by Interstate 85 to the west, Mallard Creek Church Road to the north, and University City Boulevard on the east. North Carolina law allows cities to establish MSDs to offer services beyond those normally supplied by the city. MSDs are funded by an additional tax on the proper! ties in the district, with University City’s tax equaling 3 cents per $100 valuation.

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Designated Advocate Soon after the MSD was designated, University City Partners was formed to advocate for and coordinate marketing and other activities in the new district. Mary Hopper was chosen as its executive director. Hopper, who holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Missouri and has lived in Charlotte since 1967, brought a wide range of experience and personal contacts to the job. After teaching Spanish for five years at Queens College, Hopper moved on to manage public relations for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library. She served eight years on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission. Her work there included authoring the first report on Big Box retail and leading two summits on regional planning. She was a consultant on the city’s original 2025 Plan and gained firsthand experience with street design, road planning, and transit projects. Hopper also had direct experience with MSD start-ups, having served eight years on the board of the Charlotte Uptown Development Corporation (predecessor to Charlotte Center City Partners) and helping get SouthEnd organized and financed. She even served on the board of directors for the North Carolina Zoo. Mary Hopper was the perfect person to head up the new University City Partners (UCP). “I was in that specific time and place in my life for a reason,” says Hopper. “I was poised to help retrofit an area developed as a suburban area into a thriving commercial urban center.” The original MSD covered roughly 1,300 acres, 1,000 of which didn’t pay taxes. With a budget of only $150,000, UCP had to operate out of Hopper’s home and could afford only part-time staff. Nevertheless, UCP accomplished several community improvement projects in its first five years. It sponsored a street design competition and funded the Urban Boulevard Study, which took a ground-breaking look at University City’s transportation needs. UCP also created a University City Area Plan, which was approved by the city council in 2007, and led efforts to remove construction roadblocks that were delaying much needed improvements to the “29/49 weave.” Throughout its first seven years, UCP worked continuously to plan for the transformation of University City into a transit-supported urban center. It kept the mass transit issue front and center in public attention with frequent testimony before the Metropolitan Transit Committee and by bringing national transit-oriented development experts to annual conferences. The Area Plan it developed includes specific recommendations for station locations in University City.

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“We want people to pay attention to University City and to appreciate its positives. We want the people who have made the choice to live and work here feel good about their choice and to educate other people about all the things that are going on up here.” ~Mary Hopper Executive Director “We’ll have rail; we just don’t know when,” says Hopper. “We can’t not do this or we’ll have to give back $50 million. It will come.” A Collaborative Effort From the beginning, UCP benefited from strong partnerships, which helped it tackle University City’s needs. Among UCP’s many partners are the Charlotte Chamber University Chapter, University City Community Building, UNC Charlotte, Carolinas Medical CenterUniversity and neighborhood leaders. Under Hopper, UCP has also cultivated excellent working relationships with a wide range of government and community groups. “We take the name ‘Partner’ very seriously,” says Hopper. “We believe in advocacy in collaboration.” In 2008 the Charlotte City Council expanded

the boundaries of the University City MSD to include University Research Park, a 2,200-acre office and industrial park that houses more than 20,000 employees in 80 buildings, and adjoining office and retail development. Drawing on the research park’s tax base, UCP’s budget jumped to more than $600,000 in 2009. UCP moved into offices on Mallard Creek Boulevard and hired permanent staff. It also jumped into some new projects, designed to promote the University City Area. “We want people to pay attention to University City and to appreciate its positives,” says Hopper. “We want the people who have made the choice to live and work here feel good about their choice and to educate other people about all the things that are going on up here.” UCP has recently launched a full-scale advertising campaign to highlight University City’s

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assets, including its diverse population, many international businesses, variety of restaurants and living options and other amenities. Coined as “Great Ideas Live Here”, the campaign includes a series of ads for television, radio, and print. UCP has also redesigned its website to be more visual and interactive. Other marketing efforts are aimed at promoting University City as an area that is innovative, international and, increasingly, green. The addition of University Research Park to the University City MSD not only increases UCP’s budget and clout, it increases the challenges. If UCP is to achieve its vision for University City as a transit-supported urban center, the Research Park will play a major role in the community’s success. “The Research Park helps fuel amenities, shopping and residential development in University City,” says Hopper. “Its future is key to the future of the entire area.”

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The concept for University Research Park began to take shape about 10 years after Research Triangle Park was developed in the RaleighDurham area. When W.T. Harris became president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce in 1966, he organized a committee to plan the development of a park between UNC Charlotte and Davidson College with a “university city” around UNC Charlotte. The proximity of Charlotte-Douglas Airport, Concord Regional Airport and Interstates 85 and 77 made the area attractive to potential tenants. Realtors and bankers began assembling a tract of land that would attract a national corporation to establish a research and service center in the area. The Park’s first tenant was Collins & Aikman Corporation, a textile manufacturer. The second tenant was Reeves Brothers, also a textile manufacturer. In 1970, IBM gave the park project a tremendous boost when it bought 428 acres at $5,000 an acre and planned to build a facility that would employ 2,500 workers. Unfortunately IBM delayed construction, and development in the park was slow for several years, but in 1978 IBM finally announced it would build its facility. Philip Morris announced a facility in nearby Cabarrus County and Electric Power Research Institute decided in 1979 to locate in University Research Park. Major investments in infrastruc% ture were made to the area in the mid-1980s,

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including the expansion of Harris Boulevard and the extension of water and sewer lines. Today, major tenants at URP include Duke Energy Corporation, Fifth Third Bancorp, TIAA-CREF and Wells Fargo. For a number of years, URP has suffered declining occupancy and use, in part because of company failures and mergers. In 2002, IBM sold its 12-building complex to Blackacre Capital Management and the property was renamed the Meridian Corporate Center. First Charter’s former headquarters is now home to Electrolux North America. Even before the current national financial crisis, available buildings and sites in URP were not selling or leasing at market rates. Protecting and promoting this $1 billion-plus asset will be among UPC’s most important tasks in the immediate future. Forward Focus “We need to focus on commercial development, while conserving URP’s beautiful natural setting,” says Hopper. “There are still 600 vacant acres in the park and we need to attract future development that will follow sustainable development principles and respect the natural environment.” Wells Fargo’s recent announcement that it intends to keep Wachovia’s 2-million-square-foot

“I feel like I have to be Mother Goose. I have to grab people by the lapels and tell them the story of University City.” ~Mary Hopper Executive Director center, known as the Charlotte Information Center (CIC), in the research park was a step in the right direction for protecting the park’s future. The CIC occupies 150 acres and employees 9,000 people. And, last March BECO South purchased The Meridian Center for $42 million, renamed it Innovation Park, and announced plans to spend another $25 million on the first phase of improvements. UCP has another important partner in the effort to transform University Center into a transitsupported urban center—UNC Charlotte. The

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University, which started as Charlotte College in 1946, is the fourth largest among the 17 schools in the UNC system. Its 25,000 students have a spending power of $88 million. The main campus sits on 1,000 wooded acres between Highways 29 and 49. In 2000 UNC Charlotte started the development of its new Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) on 100 acres off North Tyron and adjacent to the main campus. CRI is designed to accelerate UNC Charlotte’s development as a research university and to stimulate entrepreneurship and economic growth in the Charlotte region. “UNC Charlotte will continue to grow,’ says Hopper. “Eventually it will have 35,000-40,000 students. We’ll have light rail transport by then with a stop on the UNC campus. The impact of a rail line on both University City and UNC Charlotte cannot be overstated.” UNC Charlotte is building a new entrance and planning more development on the North Tryon side of its campus to accommodate the planned light rail line which will also strengthen its relationships with the community. The pedestrian-friendly high density development that will come with the rail line will provide increased amenities for the students at the University as well as for the residents and workforce of University City. Meanwhile, UCP will continue its work to prepare the community for the day when Charlotte’s Blue Line light rail line runs through University City. In addition to its efforts to help transform the area from a suburban outpost into a transit-ready urban center, UCP will continue to sponsor and fund projects to educate people on the major assets of the community it champions. “I feel like I have to be Mother Goose,” says Hopper. “I have to grab people by the lapels and tell them the story of University City.” biz Casey Jacobus is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Walking through the door may be the hardest step people ever take in their lives, but most people walk back out the door feeling like an enormous weight has been lifted from their shoulders.â&#x20AC;?

David R. Badger, Esq. 0RINCIPAL David R. Badger, P.A.

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by heather head

[bizprofile]

A START

61$#7 David Badger Brings Feline-like Ferocity to Battling Creditors

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o one—corporation or consumer—wants to file corporate and/or personal bankruptcy. For those who are in dire financial circumstances, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can make all the difference. Not many people can say that bankruptcy has been good to them, but that is exactly what David Badger (“Dave”) claims. Over the past 36 years, he has filed bankruptcy for so many clients he has lost track. His years of experience from both the debtor and creditor sides have gained him the respect of his clients and peers—an accomplishment he cherishes and tries to maintain with each new corporate or consumer client. Badger grew up near the wharfs of Boston, a gritty, blue-collar world. He experienced firsthand the challenges that the underprivileged faced and, as a sophomore when he transferred to Myers Park High School in Charlotte, he worked to assimilate the different culture, both regional and societal. The strong education he received there and at UNC Chapel Hill prepared him well to do what he had always wanted to do: Become a lawyer. Badger foresaw the life of an attorney as a way to indulge his passion for prosecuting victimizers and defending their victims. With an undergraduate degree in English, history, and political science, he attended UNC Law School with trial advocacy as his focus. From the beginning of his professional life, Badger’s prowess lay first and foremost in the courtroom. He loves to argue, and he does it exceedingly well. At Whitfield & McNeely, the firm where he began his career, he was thrown into the courtroom almost immediately despite his relative inexperience. He won his first case and realized his desire to be a trial lawyer. From that day on, Badger has worked relentlessly to hone his courtroom skills as the backbone of his career as a confident negotiator. By 1976, he had opened his own practice handling civil and criminal trials and being introduced to bankruptcy cases by then Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee Robert Burroughs. He especially enjoyed the challenge and the frequent courtroom appearances required by criminal cases, but over time it was bankruptcy clients and challenges together with the guidance of the late Judge Marvin R. % Wooten that fostered his desire to specialize his practice.

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By the early 1980s, Badger’s practice focused on two areas of expertise: criminal and bankruptcy. It wasn’t until nearly 10 years later that Badger let go of the criminal side of his practice and embraced bankruptcy wholeheartedly. “And bankruptcy has been good to me,” he remarks, without a trace of irony. A Comforting Approach Although consistently ranked among the top attorneys in the country for several years running, Badger’s style remains comfortable and unassuming. His trendy office with a loft in SouthEnd boasts exposed ductwork, a wrought iron spiral staircase, and an airy feel that calmly counters any apprehension of clients as they enter the office. As if the atmosphere isn’t enough to soothe a troubled spirit, most visitors to the space are immediately greeted by a large, warm, purring feline presence who offers himself up for attention and gazes soothingly into their eyes while they relate their financial difficulties to Badger and his staff. Target (pronounced Tar-zhay) is the office cat (but don’t tell him that, because he thinks he’s top dog). Besides comforting worried clients, Target’s job (and he does it well) is to sit at the top of the spiral staircase and use his feline intuition to initially screen clients as they enter the office. On occasion, after a brief initial conference, potential clients are simply referred elsewhere on the basis of the cat’s intuition and the initial interview, Badger says with a wry smile, not entirely tongue in cheek. But for those who do receive the friendly feline’s leg rub of approval, the cat’s presence adds one more layer of desperately needed down-to-earth comfort that one doesn’t expect to find in a bankruptcy attorney’s office. “Walking through the door may be the hardest step people ever take in their lives,” acknowledges Badger, “but most people walk back out the door feeling like an enormous weight has been lifted from their shoulders. That isn’t just because of the cat. Having a clear picture of where they stand and the path ahead helps clients put their situation in perspective.” Knowing that their case is in the very capable hands of Badger’s staff helps relieve the pressure too. Turning Complexities Into Advantages Today, filing bankruptcy is harder and more complicated than ever before, thanks to legislation enacted in 2005 still being analyzed in the courts and legislatures around the country. According to Badger, the law was promoted to reduce alleged bankruptcy fraud and prevent people able to pay their debts from filing for

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#$%&'()*+,&-.-/0&1'+-& ,2-/-&'/-&'&)0/3'4&*5& 67-+,3*%+&,2',&'/3+-8 9:-);,3*%+<&/-+34-%10& /-673/-)-%,+<&=2-/-&'%4& =2-%&,*&53(-<&=2-,2-/&0*7& 67'(350>3,?+&-%4(-++8@ David R. Badger Principal

bankruptcy relief. The combination of poor draftsmanship and the complexity of the various types of bankruptcy proceedings render even a good general practitioner ripe for malpractice issues. “In almost every case there are a myriad of questions that arise,” says Badger. “Exemptions, residency requirements, where and when to file, whether you qualify—it’s endless.” Recent mortgage loan modification laws have complicated matters even further. In theory, banks are urged by the government to offer discounted interest rates, lower payments in proportion to a borrower’s financial circumstances and other mortgage modifications to minimize the impact of the economic downturn on the property owner, his neighborhood, and the mortgage holders. In practice, however, it’s not so simple. Several programs, all voluntary on the part of the financial institutions, have been ineffective causing banks to be overly cautious in negotiating these consumer

and commercial situations—even “cat-atonic” to the frustration of all participants. “It is not unusual for clients to be driven to my door by loan modification complications and the untenable practices of banks offering the programs,” says Badger. “Often, hopeful borrowers compile the lengthy and burdensome list of information required and mail it in, only to have it lost, ignored or rejected seemingly with a rubber stamp on the other end. By the time they realize they have to start over again, their situation has usually deteriorated further.” Because banks were apparently unprepared for the economic downturn, operate to a large extent with their eyes on government regulators, and have devoted insufficient resources to solving the issues shared with their customers, Badger believes the reported “shortcuts” taken by the financial institutions like “robo-signing” and inability to track legal documents evidencing liens were bound to occur.

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Cutbacks on governmental enforcement of lending regulations simply exacerbated the problems. Even when a borrower is successful in getting the paperwork processed, the new terms of the loan are often ignored entirely by the bank. Badger tells the story, which he says is not uncommon, of a woman who had made all the proper arrangements with her bank for a required temporary loan modification and faithfully paid the adjusted amount for six months. At the end of six months, the bank notified her that they were initiating foreclosure proceedings. Their reason: She had been making the lower payment agreed upon in her loan modification program, instead of the full payment required by the loan documents. “Banks are not your friends,” Badger says, shaking his head. “They advertise that they are, but you have to realize that they are first and foremost profit-seeking institutions, and operate on that understanding.” He estimates the number of permanent loan modifications at less than 10 percent, which means greater than 90 percent of people and businesses trying in good faith to pay their bills while adjusting to new circumstances are being driven unnecessarily toward bankruptcy. An advocate’s ability and experience can often allow both consumers, businesses and their creditors to avoid stressful, expensive and time-consuming bankruptcy filings once the parties are shown both sides of a typical “Minimize Loss— Minimize Loss” situation. Badger’s involvement in the local, state and national legal communities, together with his extensive continuing legal education schedule (often as a speaker) a enable him to quickly recognize issues from both the debtor and creditor perspectives, which often promote a cost-saving solution for all parties without unnecessary posturing and expense. ‘Bring It On’ It is no secret that the periodic economic recessions have provided full employment for bankruptcy professionals, assuming you don’t mind working long hours. The number of bankruptcies filed in 2009 skyrocketed 35 percent over 2008. With continued high unemployment levels, a stagnant economy and the history of downward economic cycles, even if the economy slowly recovers, Badger believes bankruptcies will remain a vital process to promote resolution of financial disputes well past the end of his life’s work. While most of those bankruptcies are personal, Badger says a large portion of his clientele are business owners who secured business debts with both property and personal guaranties of loved ones having no ownership or involvement with the % business. Banks historically have tried, even

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;requiredâ&#x20AC;? a spouse to sign personal guaranties for business loans. When the business fails, the ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assets, as well as those of the spouse are jeopardized. And when that happens, domestic bliss is more often than not falls victim. Fortunately, Badger has had success invoking federal statutory protection for the spouse and the spouseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s property in commercial debt negotiations with banks. He says the hardest part about being in this business, other than working 60-hour weeks, is watching entire companies and lifestyles disappear overnight for people who a few years ago felt themselves financially secure. He adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;A large number of my clients used to be big-name developers. Their unsuccessful efforts to convince their lenders to continue business as usual has left many in the position of not being able to pay the mortgage on their personal residence before they seek professional assistance. Once they walk through his door, though, they are on their way to recovery. It may be years before a business owner recovers a former lifestyle, if ever, but after months or years of anxiety, stress and friction, most are relieved to be unburdened and look forward to their financial fresh start. Clients are comforted by a justifiable confidence that Badgerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience and his aggressive, but realistic approach will promote the best possible

#A'%B+&'/-&%*,&0*7/& 5/3-%4+8&C2-0&'4.-/,3+-&,2',& ,2-0&'/-<&D7,&0*7&2'.-&,*& !"#$%&"'()#('()"*'#!"'+!,(' #-.'/0!"10,('2!0+(3,""4%-5' 3%+,3,7,3*%+<&'%4&*;-/',-&*%& ()#('6-."!,(#-.%-578 David R. Badger Principal

outcome for themselves and their businesses. In addition to extensive expertise in the industry and an understanding of the complexities of the current laws, Badger offers his clients an advantage

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few bankruptcy attorneys can: Fearlessness and a love for the courtroom. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Intimidation is a standard tool of unhappy creditors,â&#x20AC;? Badger says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many bankruptcy attorneys choose the specialty precisely because it rarely involves trials. Creditors use that knowledge to their advantage, often threatening litigation to get the opposing attorneys to cave in. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work when an experienced litigator, who is very comfortable in a courtroom, is on your side.â&#x20AC;? Badger says when he receives a â&#x20AC;&#x153;threatâ&#x20AC;? that a creditor wants to go to litigate, his first thought is: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bring it on. We could use a change around here.â&#x20AC;? It provides an opportunity for him to get out of the office and do something he loves to do. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also good at it. Sometimes, too good. In one instance, he won the case for a debtor, but had his court-ordered compensation payable from the creditor reduced 30 percent by the judge. The judgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reason: Badger was â&#x20AC;&#x153;overzealousâ&#x20AC;? in the defense of his client. Badger considered the judicial statement to be an expensive compliment. Badgerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s courtroom skill and bankruptcy experience have served him and his office well. Comfortable though it is, the current Atherton Mill loft is beginning to feel a little tight thanks to recent growth. When they add another staff member or two in the near future, they are going to have to find new digs. Wherever they go, they will take their commitment to their clients, work ethic, and, of course, their feline gatekeeper Target. biz Heather Head is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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David R. Badger, P.A. 2108 South Blvd., Ste. 118 Charlotte, N.C. 28203 Phone: 704-375-8875 Principal: $AVID2"ADGER %SQ Employees:  In Business: YEARS Recognition: "EST,AWYERSIN !MERICA3UPER,AWYERSTHROUGH .#,EGAL%LITE THROUGH !62ATEDFORYEARS.# !DVOCATESFOR*USTICE/RDEROF3ERVICE !WARD.ORTH#AROLINA3TATE"AR "OARDOF#ERTIlCATION#ONSUMERAND #ORPORATE"ANKRUPTCY !MERICAN"OARD OF#ERTIlCATION"USINESS"ANKRUPTCY 0AST #HAIRMAN .ORTH#AROLINA"AR!SSOCIATION "ANKRUPTCY3ECTION#O &OUNDERAND0AST #HAIRMAN .ORTH#AROLINA!DVOCATES&OR *USTICE #ONSUMER,AW3ECTION Business: !SSISTINGBUSINESSESAND individuals in achieving optimum bankruptcy ANDOUT OF COURTWORKOUTSOLUTIONS

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Brannon M. Cashion 0RESIDENT Addison Whitney LLC

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ands r b t g hr n i o ld

“Our clients typically think of us as the naming guys although we do so much more. One of our beliefs is that it’s good to be known for something rather than not to be known for anything. If naming were an easy task, our relevance would be a lot different.”

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by zenda douglas

T HE

We all know them—they’re likely us—people who will drink only Coke, drive only Fords and wear exclusively Nike shoes. The list goes on and on of favorite, gotta-have products. Millions of consumers stand behind their products of choice with a loyalty that ranks next to that given church, school and country—things close to the heart and mind. That is no accident, and is exactly the goal for Addison Whitney LLC, a fullservice, global brand consulting firm, which seeks to achieve total brand equity ownership—also known as heartshare and mindshare—for its clients and their products. “When many people think of branding and advertising, they think about what they see and hear such as a name or logo,” says Brannon Cashion, Addison Whitney’s recently appointed president. “These things are crucial but there are many more components and levels to the branding process.” Cashion explains that branding creates an experience for the customer or target audience. One person may believe that a Nike shirt is of higher quality while another may not, but Cashion argues that wearing the Nike shirt creates a certain feeling for the consumer: “It sends out and receives different messages.” Crafting and instilling messages around the product or service is at the core of Addison Whitney’s brand development. Using mental and emotional triggers, verbal and visual images, and tactile experience, it strategizes to create names, logos, marketing language and packaging to unveil and endear the product to the consumer, resulting in habitual buying behavior.

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Addison Whitney Procures Heartshare and Mindshare

Branding Themselves Headquartered in Charlotte, Addison Whitney was established in 1991 to fill a gap in the marketing communications space. “There was a lot of excitement. We weren’t just providing a product to buy or service to hire, we were on the forefront of the industry as an industry,” says Cashion about his company and the branding industry. “In the early days, we didn’t have a lot of direct competitors,” continues Cashion. “In the beginning we were competing against would-be clients who were trying to do the work internally or through their trademark attorney.” Many of the company’s first clients were brought on by the pain they suffered; spending a lot of money to do it themselves with little result, according to Cashion. Attesting to Addison Whitney’s success and effectiveness, the list of their clients is so familiar it could be read straight from the shelves of our kitchen pantries, living rooms, garages and offices—names like Nestlé, Sara Lee, Motorola, Dell, Smuckers, Goodrich, Yoplait, Duracell, Pfizer, Bayer Healthcare, Campbells, Panasonic % and Rubbermaid. And these are but a fraction of their followers.

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“Our clients typically think of us as the naming guys although we do so much more. One of our beliefs is that it’s good to be known for something rather than not to be known for anything. If naming were an easy task, our relevance would be a lot different,” says Cashion. “We named Outlook for Microsoft,” he continues, with obvious satisfaction. At the time, he explains, the Outlook product was more of an organizer and calendar but with many more versions envisioned, including capability for e-mail. “The discussion was whether the name should be descriptive around the first function or do we build a brand that is much more futureoriented about what the offering will be in version 2.0, 5.0, 8.0 or 9.0. The name we chose will always be able to include other

things. When you think about Outlook—it’s the future.” Another project was Way2Save for Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) and represented a second-tomarket savings program, following Bank of America’s Keep The Change. Whereas Bank of America’s program rounded debit card usage to the next dollar, Wachovia provided a dollar for each transaction. Addison Whitney positioned this as significant, especially to audiences that didn’t have very robust ways to save. The wording sought various meanings: this product is a way to save; for the account holder it is the way to save; and it is a congratulatory statement—“Way to Save!” “If a name can take on a double or triple entendre, you have a win,” says Cashion. “You have a chance to tell the story in multiple ways.” Another favorite naming project was the Cadillac Escalade. The name Escalade helped Cadillac launch a whole new segment to their competitive space, according to Cashion.

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It was the first high-end luxury SUV, boasting leather seats and wood grain panels. “The name needed to speak to moving up to the next level. Thirteen years and thousands of projects later, people still say they love the brand and it’s the one that stays with me,” shares Cashion. Addison Whitney also named Honda’s Element. “We’ve named something in just about every industry or category,” says Cashion. “If you randomly pull from industry space, we’ve probably done work there.” That even includes the verbal branding/name development of CATS Lynx.

Drug of Choice Addison Whitney’s specialized health care division serves the branding needs of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, life science, and medical specialties companies, such as Abbott Laboratories, Genzyme, Novartis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline and Celgene. This segment has grown significantly since the company’s $17.5 million acquisition by InVentiv Health, Inc. in 2007. The parent company is an insights-driven global healthcare leader that provides dynamic

solutions to deliver customer and patient success. It has four core business segments through which it delivers customized clinical, sales, marketing, and communications solutions to more than 350 leading pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, and healthcare payor companies, including all top 20 global pharmaceutical manufacturers. New drugs candidates, known as new chemical entities, are incredibly challenging to brand and name, according to Cashion because

of the legal and regulatory aspects and number of trademarks already out there. “There are only 26 letters in the alphabet, but not a lot of combinations left that won’t infringe on a trademark in some way,” says Cashion. “We are fortunate to be ahead of the challenge in building methodologies, processes and experience to know what questions to ask and what path to take.” An increasingly involved FDA and advertising to patients have complicated the task further. “The name is the first thing you want them to remember so they can go into a doctor’s office and say, “I want to know more about…,”” says Cashion. Opportunities for branding generic drugs are growing because of pricing and health care reform. Also, pharmaceutical companies are trying to differentiate their products through various ways to administer their drug. Other segments of the company’s business are well entrenched including consumer packaging and restaurants. Addison Whitney is responsible for the look and feel of the Olive Garden chain of restaurants, as well as the Damon’s chain. Work is

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“WE MAKE CELL PHONES WORK IN BUILDINGS.” Indoor Antennas

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currently underway with BYB Brands to develop a new visual brand strategy and package design for Country Breeze Tea and a new product not yet announced. “We can’t talk about the details,” jokes Cashion with a grin. “Like Men in Black [referring to the movie], we go up there and they give us this little light that makes us forget everything.” Confidentiality is actually a critical concern, according to Cashion. “Information getting out prematurely can affect market price and market share potential.”

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A Good Fit Brannon Cashion took over the presidency of Addison Whitney in May of 2010, following a 13-year tenure with the company in positions leading up to that role. Cashion was made vice president within a year of joining the company. “The past three years have been spent fitting the boutique Addison Whitney into the very large inVentiv organization,” says Cashion. inVentiv’s high expectations of Addison Whitney coincide with identifying Cashion as the one they wanted to drive that growth. Raised in New Jersey, Cashion came south to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a degree in business and marketing. After college he worked in the capital markets area with Commodities Corporation., a company owned by Goldman Sachs. Missing the south but not missing the snow, Cashion returned to North Carolina after three years and joined First Union National Bank. A little over a year later, he met the principals of % Addison Whitney. “They were very small and

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#$?)&1*%,3%7'((0&')'F-4& D0&*7/&,-')&'%4&,2-3/& 90-(#5%06,:'9#-3.0'#((%(6."7' C2-0&'/-&';;/-13',3.-&*5& ()"'9$%"-('#-.'5%;"'()"' 1(3-%,&=2',&,2-0&%--4&,*&D-& +711-++57(8@&& Brannon Cashion President

Cashion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are a creative firm; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nice to have a balance of people who can think structurally.â&#x20AC;? The company also employs a panel of practicing pharmacists and nurses in an advisory capacity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m continually amazed by our team and their contagious, can-do attitude,â&#x20AC;? beams Cashion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are appreciative of the client and give the client what they need to be successful.â&#x20AC;? As Addison Whitney celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, it will continue to help clients understand their brands and build new ones from a position of strength and experience. This year the company grew by 25 to 30 percent and next yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s projections are similar. Cashion explains his confidence: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Over the last 18 months weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve grown significantly in a scary economic environment. But we are brought on very early in the innovation process, so maybe there is a light at the end of that tunnel. Something is happening or they [the companies] wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be innovating.â&#x20AC;? Cashion acknowledges that the branding industry has grown as well: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a few competitors now, but joining inVentiv provides a big engine behind us.â&#x20AC;? For consumers, the next time youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re wondering why you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get enough of Stoufferâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Corner Bistro meals, Hersheyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Take5 Candy Bars or Coca-Colaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vault soft drinks, thinkâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and thankâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Addison Whitney. biz

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very entrepreneurial,â&#x20AC;? says Cashion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I really liked that. That was a decade and a half ago. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a fun ride ever since.â&#x20AC;? Married with three boys, ages 10, 8 and 6, Cashion balances a busy work schedule with home life. He is still able to coach a junior football team despite heavy travel demands that include at least one international trip per month. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My wife is a superstar,â&#x20AC;? he says in summation. The Addison Whitney headquarters, with most of its 50 employees, is ensconced amidst the trees and small lakes of Ballantyne, having relocated five years ago from the Wachovia Tower downtown. Cashionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office is a veritable shrine to his beloved Tar Heels. Cashion refers to Charlotte as a great place to have headquarters with its many direct flights to Europe and one-stop flights to almost anywhere. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very manageable city and the banking industry has significantly grown the talent pool in the last 20 years. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t usually have to run a national search to find the best talent; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re already here. Addison Whitney also has satellite offices in New York City, San Francisco and Munich, Germany, which serves as the European headquarters. Another office in Tokyo, Japan will open within this next year and will serve as an Asian base for future growth. Through inVentiv, the company has gained an additional network of potential areas in which to grow. Cashion describes the Addison Whitney team as deliberately eclectic. The group includes people with sophisticated language skills, creative writers, professionals in packaging, marketing, advertising and public relations, as well as those from Fortune 500 companies within a wide range of industries. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When you are small you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always have people that have that large business experience,â&#x20AC;? explains

Zenda Douglas is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

Addison Whitney LLC 11006 Rushmore Dr., Ste. 350 Charlotte, N.C. 28277 Phone: 704-347-5700 Parent: Wholly owned subsidiary OFIN6ENTIV(EALTH )NC A communications and outsourcing services firm specializing in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries Principal: "RANNON-#ASHION 0RESIDENT Established: 1991 Employees:  Revenue:  Additional Locations: .EW9ORK 3AN &RANCISCO -UNICH AND4OKYONEXTYEAR Representative Clients: 0lZER #OCA #OLA +RAFT #ALLAWAY'OLFAND4AKEDA 0HARMACEUTICALS Business: &ULL SERVICEGLOBALBRAND consulting firm; capabilities include verbal branding, visual branding, brand strategy, and market research. www.addisonwhitney.com www.addisonwhitneyhealth.com

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