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october 2011

   All About the

Pipes Plumbing

BUILDING a

   Tattoo Projects    H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness    A Love for the Game    Greenspring Energy

for the

ASC Leader is Change Agent for Innovation and Energy Scan to view greatercharlottebiz.com Scott Provancher President Arts & Science Council

Change Service Requested 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115, Charlotte, N.C. 28226-1310

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in this issue

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cover story

Arts & Science Council

At a time when the non-profit sector is still reeling from the after-effects of the recession, the Arts & Science Council (ASC) has been transforming itself, and Charlotte, toward a bright future. In fact, ASC President Scott Provancher wants to see our city become an innovator in the national cultural sector: “We have such great intellectual capital and creativity in this community. We need to be more aggressive and think a lot bigger for our institutions.”

12

All About the Pipes Plumbing “We treat our employees and customers with respect, show up on time and strive for excellence in our work—and we don’t forget the little things, like calling a customer to tell them we’re on our way or wearing shoe covers to protect a customer’s floor,” owner Chris Vigna says. “We want the customer to be satisfied. We don’t just want a job; we want to gain a customer for life.”

16 Tattoo Projects “We’re very aggressive,” says Buffy McCoy Kelly of the ad firm, one of this year’s Advertising Age Small Ad Agencies of the Year. We push our clients to step outside their comfort zones, and take risks. If they’re nervous, we know we’re doing our job right.” Co-director Rudy Banny agrees, saying, “We work hard to create awesome results that get our clients noticed.”

28 H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness “There’s nothing I would trade for this profession. I can help every person who walks through that door to change their life. That’s the best thing about this business. I can change people’s lives for the better,” says ex-All American pro football player, Tony George. When asked about his biggest challenge, he smiles and says, “Getting people to see that their lives will change.”

departments publisher’spost

4

legalbiz

5

Transforming the Business of Law to Meet the Needs of Business

consultingbiz

7

Managing and Delivering Change to Optimize Business Value

webbiz

9

New Media Strategies, Secrets and Solutions

accountingbiz

11

Accounting, Tax and Consulting Solutions

employersbiz

21

Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

biznetwork

44

on the cover:

legalbiz

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consultingbiz

webbiz

|

accountingbiz

|

employersbiz

october 2011

Scott Provancher President Arts & Science Council    All About the

Pipes Plumbing

   Tattoo Projects    H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness    A Love for the Game    Greenspring Energy

Photo by Wayne Morris

|

BUILDING a for the

ASC Leader is Change Agent for Innovation and Energy Scan to view greatercharlottebiz.com Scott Provancher President Arts & Science Council

34 A Love for the Game

40

This film being produced by Central Avenue Pictures celebrates Urban Ministry Center’s Street Soccer 945 program for overcoming homelessness, which produces a bond and level of accountability between coach and player and the players with each other that transfers into real life confidence and ‘I’ve got your back’ support, foster larger contributions to society.

Greenspring Energy is one of the largest solar energy providers from the mid-Atlantic to the Carolinas. “There has never been a better time to get a solar electric system on your home or business,” offers Jay Radcliffe. “With utility rate increases, incentives and prices are creating a compelling story: Solar is one of the best investments you can make.”

o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1

Greenspring Energy

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[publisher’spost] 704-676-5850

Unintended Consequences of Incentives or

October 2011 Volume 12 • Issue 10 Publisher

It seemed like the right thing at the time…

John Paul Galles x102 jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

Associate Publisher/Editor John Paul Galles

Tax incentives sound nice, but they often produce the wrong results down the line. For example, deductibility of interest payments on home mortgages encouraged home ownership, but it also encouraged buying up and buying more. Along with the tax-free nature of profits from home sales, we have witnessed home prices skyrocket and then crash. Spurring home ownership is supporting the American dream, but we now have 20 percent of all homes underwater—worth less than their mortgage, and people as well as banks are suffering as a result. With less home equity, less is available to invest in growth and expansion of our businesses. Energy incentives are likewise intended to stimulate business activity. Given the high cost of gasoline and global warming and clean air considerations, it makes sense to promote alternative forms of energy that are less costly and improve our environment. Yet, every time the government offers a tax credit or incentive, the prices of these alternative products seem to go up by the amount of the tax deduction created by the incentive. Benefit incentives brought about by World War II’s prohibition on wage increases encouraged employers to provide According to the Kaiser health care insurance to employees. Now, we learn that the Family Foundation, cost of health care insurance has risen another nine percent from last year. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual the average annual premium for family coverage through an employer has reached $15,073 in 2011. premium for family This steep increase coming in the midst of our recession coverage through an and period of high unemployment is extremely unnerving. In fact, premiums have doubled since 2001, when they employer has reached averaged $7,061. Many small businesses have raised the $15,073 in 2011. employee contribution to healthcare insurance, while others have abandoned coverage for employees all together. Some reasons for these increasing costs are a result of increased mandated coverage…like mandated coverage for all individuals up to the age of 26, coverage of pre-existing conditions, and unlimited benefits. Employer-provided health care coverage has led employees and their families to seek all the medical care and support they can gather that is paid for by their employer. In an effort to reverse some of these unintended health care consequences, the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 incentivizes health care insurance purchases up front and lowers deductibility of health care expenses incurred after the fact. New, refundable tax credits subsidize health care premiums for Americans with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line. That is about $88,000 for a family of four. The threshold for deductibility of medical expenses rises from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income to 10 percent after 2014. We are in a slow transition away from employer-provided coverage. In order to reduce costs, it is important for consumers to assume more individual responsibility for health and health care. We will not know the impact of these incentives for several years, but the sheer impact of shifting these costs from the employer to the employee will likely reduce health care spending to a significant degree. We all continue to live longer and our health care keeps advancing, becoming ever more expensive. At the end of the day, we simply cannot afford these year-over-year increases that reduce our net income and our quality of life. We can only afford what we can afford. Already people are living with less care and less preventive care, which will inevitably result in more costs down the road or dying sooner. It’s fair to say that the system as is, is killing us. biz

Let me know what you think - jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com

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o c t o b e r 2 0 1 1

Maryl A. Lane x104 mlane@greatercharlottebiz.com

Creative Director Trevor Adams x107 tadams@greatercharlottebiz.com

Sales Manager Chris Sessions x106 cell: 704.816.0605 csessions@greatercharlottebiz.com

partners CC Communications, Inc. Central Piedmont Community College hiSoft Technology International Limited Potter & Company, P.A. The Employers Association Wishart, Norris, Henninger & Pittman, P.A.

Contributing Writers Zenda Douglas Barbara Fagan Heather Head Casey Jacobus Sheila Neisler

Contributing Photographers Trevor Adams Wayne Morris Galles Communications Group, Inc. 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115 Charlotte, NC 28226-1310 704-676-5850 Phone • 704-676-5853 Fax www.greatercharlottebiz.com • Press releases and other news-related information: editor@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Editorial: mlane@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Advertising: jgalles@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Subscription inquiries or change of address: subscriptions@greatercharlottebiz.com. • Other inquiries: please call or fax at the numbers above or visit our website www.greatercharlottebiz.com. © Copyright 2011 by Galles Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, Galles Communications Group, Inc. makes no warranty to the accuracy or reliability of this information. Products named in these pages are trade names or trademarks of their respective companies. Views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Greater Charlotte Biz or Galles Communications Group, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. For reprints call 704-676-5850 x102. Greater Charlotte Biz (ISSN 1554-6551) is published monthly by Galles Communications Group, Inc., 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115, Charlotte, NC 28226-1310. Telephone: 704-676-5850. Fax: 704-676-5853. Subscription rate is $24 for one year. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Greater Charlotte Biz, 7300 Carmel Executive Park Dr., Ste. 115, Charlotte, NC 28226-1310.

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[legalbiz]

Real “bricks and mortar” robberies only amounted to $43 million last year. Security experts estimate up to $1 billion was stolen online from businesses’ bank accounts last year. If your business happens to be hit next, you should expect to bear at least some of this loss. One CEO got a call from the bank about a wire transfer. The wire had not been authorized by the CEO, but the wire had been authorized through one of the business’ computers. The total amount stolen was $5 million in a series of transfers. Fortunately, the bank was able to recover approximately $4.5 million. According to the bank, the remaining amount

was the business’ loss. However, a federal judge made the bank bear the loss in this case. Don’t expect your bank to be required to bear the loss. Another federal judge made the business bear the loss of approximately $345,000. The reasoning in that case was that the business had agreed with the bank’s security procedures. For your business, you need to check how electronic transfers can be made from your accounts. You also need to have your own safeguards to detect fraud before you authorize a transfer. In addition, make certain you understand who bears the loss among your bank, your business and your insurance carrier.

Jury Duty and Facebook If you were selected to serve on a jury and one of the parties to the trial was your Facebook “friend,” should you be excused from serving on that jury? [Note: You should not now try to “friend” every person in North and South Carolina in an attempt to avoid jury duty.] A juror in a civil auto accident case, while serving on the jury, attempted to “friend” the defendant in the case on Facebook. He also discussed the case on his Facebook page.

The juror pled guilty to four counts of contempt of court for his actions. After he was dismissed from the jury, he apologized to the defendant through Facebook. Twitter was not mentioned in the case. As walls of privacy come down through online postings, it is always important to remember to think before you post and to listen to what the judge tells you not to do.

Tax Benefits Disappearing in December

(Use Them or Lose Them!) Work Opportunity Tax Credit - Hire the right people and you can get an income tax credit of up to $6,000 per employee ($12,000 for qualified veterans and $3,000 for qualified summer jobs for youth). The targeted groups of qualified employees are based on where the employee lives, the potential employee’s history or government benefits the potential employee has received. Differential Wage Payment Credits. If your business paid wages to employees while they were on active military duty for more than 30 days as if the employees were still on the job, you may have a tax credit. The credit is available for businesses with, on average, less than 50 employees who have a written plan governing how these differential wages are paid. 100% Bonus Depreciation. This depreciation “bonus” applies to qualified property acquired and placed in service prior to January 1, 2012. Qualified

property generally includes tangible personal property, software and certain leasehold improvements. Expensing. Section 179 expensing is allowed up to $500,000 currently. That amount will be reduced to approximately $125,000 beginning in 2012. Section 179 assets include certain personal property and software. Charitable Contributions. If an “S corporation” makes a charitable contribution before January 1, 2012, a deduction is allowed based on the fair market value of the property contributed. However, instead of your stock basis being reduced by that same amount, your stock basis in the S corporation is only reduced by the adjusted basis of the asset you contribute.

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

Self-Employment Tax and the LLC As you may be aware, the IRS and Congress have not decided on rules for when an owner of a limited liability company should pay self-employment taxes. The basic rule is that all trade or business income to an entity taxed as a partnership should be subject to self-employment taxes.

Owners who are not actively working for the LLC typically take the position that they don’t owe selfemployment taxes. This position is based on certain rules in place for limited partnerships. However, the IRS has taken the position that the exclusion from self-employment tax liability is only available to limited partners in a limited partnership. A recent Tax Court decision provides some additional guidance for when the basic rule does not apply. The court discussed limiting the exclusion from self-employment tax to individuals who (1) do not actively participate in the business and (2) who receive income of an investment nature. If any of the income is tied to services provided by the individual, the individual should be liable for self-employment tax. For planning purposes with regard to when you pay self-employment tax, you should consider structuring your LLC with two classes of ownership where one of the classes is a true investment-only class not subject to self-employment tax. When owners also provide services to the LLC, you may want to consider creating two entities, one for the investment and one for providing services. That structure would allow you to further separate what you are paid for “working” from what you are paid for “investing.”

Content contributed 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 Gary Smith at 704-364-0010, follow on Twitter @ glawnews, or visit www.wnhplaw.com.

october 2011

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6225 Blakeney Park Drive Charlotte, NC 28277 704.752.9292 carolinapremierbank.com

Dear Neighbors and Friends: STEP INTO OUR TIME MACHINE AND JOIN US ON OUR FRONT PORCH… DESTINATION: THE AMERICAN DREAM OF OWNING A HOME. It was a time when you met with an old-fashioned banker and you talked about your life’s dreams and plans. Your banker really took the time to listen and you respected and trusted the advice you were given. DESTINATION: THE PRESENT. Phew! What a trip is had been over the past ve years. Home ownership has turned into a nightmare with sleepless nights and difcult decisions for many families across our nation that are now losing their homes through foreclosure, or making their ways through a labyrinth of negotiations while trying to save their American Dream. We passed unknowingly into an unchartered universe, what I call the twilight zone of the banking industry mortgage mess….a period when consumers were often victimized by predatory lenders. A period when the banker cared little about the dreams and plans but more about just getting the deal done and collecting a nice incentive and a myriad of fees through an impersonal assembly line process. This often led to aggressive and sloppy underwriting which steered the borrower to a mortgage that was barely affordable. O.K., BACK TO OUR FRONT PORCH. ric ican an We are honored to include an invitation to a new, yet old-fashioned experience in the American nal Dream of owning a home…creating Charlotte’s newest landmark. We have built a traditional front porch with rocking chairs, and a table where you could relax with a tall glass of lemonade nade na de or Cheerwine and a cookie, overlooking a well manicured yard complete with a tree swing.. As with all our dreams it is always sunny and the temperature is comfortable year round. From m its inception our mortgage division was designed to create an experience that will restore condence in home ownership. We are committed to having our neighbors, friends, and families pursue their American n dream, by extending credit safely and soundly… and in a way that evokes fond memories iess of ie better days. There is so much to be said about how important porches were to families, a gathering place lac acee for folks to share their thoughts, dreams, and even an occasional ‘tall-tale’ with families, friends and passersby. We would be delighted to listen to your thoughts and dreams on ou ourr front porch. Please join us at our ofce….We think the world would be a better place for everyone iff every bank had a large front porch and the family of customers used it like they did in years go gone ne b by. y. Sincerely,

John S. Kreighbaum President and Chief Executive Ofcer


[consultingbiz]

hiSoft Technology International Limited Global Partner for Success

(+) (-)

Are the Baseline Calculations of Your KPIs Hampering Your Ability to Drive Real Improvement?

M

anagement teams expend tremendous amounts of time and effort determining what should be measured and how. Some of these metrics are so important to the organization they are deemed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Once agreed upon, resources are then marshaled to monitor and act upon movement (or lack of movement) in these KPIs. Unfortunately, many teams then proceed to make a simple mistake and lose a significant amount of the value created in the KPI effort. The outcome of this error is wasted resources on failed projects and the business impact of not improving the KPIs. The mistake is, while establishing the metric’s baseline, they don’t take into account the variation inherent within the process being measured. There are two primary methods of making this error: ignoring and hiding. Standard Practice #1 – Ignoring Variation Assume the chart below graphically displays the results of a process over time (in this case higher is better). Also, assume the management team did not have any information prior to the point they selected. We can now discuss the potential impact if the organization establishes their baseline using only the time period A, B or C.

KPI 30

Standard Practice #2 – Hiding Variation Some organizations deliberately hide the variation within their processes. They use averages, rolling averages, deleting outliers, etc. Such practices are specifically intended to conceal variation and deny valuable information to management.

A

25 20 15

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10

C

5 0 1

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This is important to understand because when a process is experiencing CCV, improvement efforts will most likely need continuous improvement flavor. Instead of single “big win,” progress will most likely be from many smaller improvements and involve a longer time commitment. But if management expects dramatic improvement immediately, they will quickly grow frustrated with the improvement team’s results. The cause of management’s inappropriate reaction is that the measurement system isn’t helping them (i) understand what type of variation they are experiencing, (ii) determine if action is warranted and, if so, (iii) identify the type of action to take. Point C – If the organization selected point C as their baseline, then any improvement effort will appear to show positive impact because the process is experiencing SCV (the results are outside of what we would typically expect). As soon as the special cause is no longer present, performance will improve even if nothing is changed.

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 KPI

Point A – Point A seems to show good results and is actually in the top three. If our management team chooses KPI this data point as their baseline, they will 27.79 quickly30 become concerned when the results begin trending down. One typical A 25 reaction is to quickly assemble an improvement team.  19.46  20 However, if the improvement team is looking for a single root cause (or a 15 “vital few”) for the poor performance, they will likely be unsuccessful. Eventually B 10  11.13 performance remaining below the the effort will lose steam and fizzle out with C 5 level management, or the market, demands. 0 Point 1B –2 This point looks very low. If the baseline performance is deemed 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 too low and an improvement effort is chartered, it will quickly and easily show KPI x‐bar UCL LCL positive results. However the results will likely plateau around 20. But if the goal were higher than 20, the team may have a difficult time; especially if their search is focused on finding “the” issue. Again, the initiative will likely fizzle out with no real benefit from the time, effort and expense. In the above scenarios, management is reacting to Common Cause Variation (CCV) as if it were Special Cause Variation (SCV). CCV is simply the variation caused by the interaction of numerous relationships and is to be expected within a certain range of results. SCV is when something “special” happens within the operations and it leads directly to results outside of the typically expected range. Darrell Letourneau, Senior Managing Consultant in the U.S. Consulting Division of hiSoft Technology International Limited

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

Alternative Rather than ignoring or hiding the variation, a better option is to try to understand it. A control chart can aid this understanding. It is easy to construct and simple to use. Below is an example of one type of control chart using the previous data.

KPI 30

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25 20 15

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10

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5 0 1

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10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 KPI

One of the many benefits of a control chart is it visually displays whether or not a process is experiencing CCV or SCV. KPI 27.79 Using 30 this approach, our management team would have known points A and B A were simply CCV (they do not violate established rules) and there was very little use 25  19.46  in starting an improvement effort that would look for the “big win.” 20 Likewise, management would have known point C was SCV and rightfully 15 10 an improvement effortB to identify the “special cause” and make recomexpected  11.13  C 5 mendations to keep it from happening again. The0 important point is the management team is reporting results in a way that 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 facilitates understanding. With this information, they are able to more effectively KPI x‐bar efforts UCL bothLCL manage the expectations of improvement in terms of time and impact. This will result in fewer resources wasted on unsuccessful projects. Content contributed by hiSoft Technology International Limited, a consulting services firm. For more information, contact Darrell Letourneau, Senior Managing Consultant in the U.S. Consulting Division, at darrell.letourneau@hisoft.com or 704-944-3155 or visit www.hisoft.com.

october 2011

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The most trusted health insurer in North Carolina. Plans for you, your family and your business.

The most trusted health insurer in North Carolina based on FrederickPolls, LLC April 2011. An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. U7811, 9/11

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CC Communications, Inc.

[webbiz]

New Media Strategies, Secrets and Solutions

QUESTION

&

ANSWER I automate Q: Should my social media?

- Charlotte, N.C.

A:

Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Only you know what is best for your business relationships. On one hand, social media is just that. Social. The social element differentiates it from other online activities. Social media involves real people interacting with each other, sometimes even in real time. How can a bot locate and enjoy social media interactions, let alone channel online communication into profitable business relationships? On the other hand, consider the social media challenges presented by updates across global time zones, or the vast marketing opportunities associated with automated RSS feeds. There are definitely times that automation can be useful, as long as it doesn’t cause you to lose that important personal touch with your intended audiences. Have a question about Web design or online marketing? Submit your question to www.greatercharlottebiz.com/webbiz. Questions & Answers may be reprinted here in upcoming editions of Greater Charlotte Biz!

work ›

Stone Truck Parts – Heavy Duty Online Presence

Stone Truck Parts is a well-recognized industry authority when it comes to heavy duty truck parts. As a matter of fact, they were recently named Distributor of the Year at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2011. Stone Truck Parts sells replacement parts for heavy duty trucks, trailers, buses, and other types of on and off-road vehicles. A top notch website and exceptional online visibility are natural parts of their innovative business approach. Visitors to www.stonetruckparts.com will find a sharp, redesigned website offering valuable content like their line card, wholesale divisions and even online ordering. The site is also well-optimized for search engines, delivering excellent rankings for key industry terms and a consistent flow of positive traffic from major search engines. Pedal to the metal!

Content contributed 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, email, 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.

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

Getting to More Business Leads Within the last year, the number of LinkedIn users has doubled to over 94 million users globally and more than 40 million users in the United States alone. With over 114 million visits in the U.S. each month, LinkedIn has clearly emerged as one of the most active online tools that can generate immediate, qualified sales leads for your company. And, while other social media outlets like Facebook may be better suited to market directly to individual consumers, LinkedIn is specifically positioned to help you establish greater business-to-business relationships. Isn’t it time to fully leverage this free and powerful application for your business? Think “LinkedIn.” Pursue a Combined Direct and Indirect Strategy… LinkedIn offers two ways to market your services. You can deliver information directly within your LinkedIn pages, by listing detailed service descriptions and pricing information, displaying photos of your product in use, posting downloadable sales and specification sheets, including recommendations from colleagues and customer testimonials, presenting press releases, and providing links to a location map. You can also sell indirectly by first attracting the attention of new customers on LinkedIn and then leading them to visit your own website or landing page for more information. Consider offering free product advice or a white paper addressing common industry questions or techniques. Announce webinars and self-help online surveys. Encourage eNewsletter subscriptions and invite prospects to submit free estimate quotation requests. The key is to establish your expertise through your presence and activity within LinkedIn and leverage your online reputation to drive leads. Take Full Advantage of the LinkedIn Toolkit… Most users simply provide basic company and contact information through their default “Profile” page, but LinkedIn offers a much broader array of marketing tools if you only take the time to use them. Participate in LinkedIn “Answers,” where you respond to visitor questions related to your product area. Your answers begin ongoing dialogs that reinforce your expertise and often lead to new customer sales opportunities. Leverage LinkedIn “People” to request valuable online introductions with key decisionmakers who work within companies where you would most like to secure new business. Requesting online referrals from both your direct and secondary LinkedIn network of connections can produce immediate and effective results. Join LinkedIn “Groups” to expand your circle of sales prospects. Participating in group discussions and online networking activities will broaden your reach and allow you to become an insider within targeted industries where your services are needed the most. Invest in LinkedIn “Direct Ads,” a cost-efficient pay-per-click advertising opportunity that operates much like Google AdWords and is particularly well suited for B2B marketers. Also, explore the “Applications” section, where you can add additional lead generation tools, such as a blog or an interactive poll to your LinkedIn presence. Create a LinkedIn “Company” Page... Once your employees have each created their individual “Profile” pages, you can add greater cohesion and boost overall online search engine optimization for your business by also creating a LinkedIn “Company” page to convey essential and consistent information about your brand, your products and services, your corporate history and achievements and more. Moreover, every associated link leading from an employee “Profile” page to your unifying Company page improves your visibility within LinkedIn searches and adds even more weight to your company’s overall SEO ranking within Google as well. ~Kip Cozart

october 2011

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Leadership Insights Networking 3:30-4:00 PM | Program 4:00-6:00 PM

2011 Fall Session | By Invitation Only October 19, 2011

These times are especially challenging for business leaders like you, trying to deliver revenue growth in a down economy—a tough situation requiring the full engagement of your knowledge and skills.

Democratic National Convention Dan Murrey | Executive Director, Charlotte in 2012 DNC Host Committee

Join us for the fall series of Leadership Insights to learn how to better deliver your results.

November 16, 2011

This executive roundtable will provide a forum for CEOs, CFOs and business owners to seek advice and share experiences,

Creating Your Best Future

just as you would with a corporate board of directors. Come build relationships with each other that will help you grow.

Dave Zerfoss | Chair, Vistage International

Please contact Joan Haber of Knauff Insurance at (704) 405-0076 or jhaber@knauffins.com for more information.

Thousands Are Searching...

WILL YOU BE SEEN?

the visibility of your business with imapCharlotte.com 3D Online Interactive Map! With all the advantages of Google Maps and more, imapCharlotte.com is the Charlotte region’s premier 3D online and mobile interactive map, raising your business’ visibility and showing it off exclusively, putting you in charge of the way it is seen and found! Comprehensive interactive map allows browsing by category or business name. Prominently display your logo or use a billboard to announce your company location. Banner ads help your business get noticed!  Popup screen displays your company information exclusively. Add coupons and manage your promotional campaigns online quickly and easily. Easy-to-use user interface; listing can be edited 24/7 for immediate impact. Upload company content at the click of a button: logo, website link, social media links, coupons, images, slideshows, videos, and more, with dashboardtracking of ROI and lead generation sent directly to your email. Add-ons available including 3D building presentation and video tour of city.

1-877-823-4123 Welcome Screen + Top Banner + Billboard or Large Logo $3499 6 Spots Available

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Potter & Company, P.A.

[accountingbiz]

Accounting, Tax and Consulting Solutions

›What’s Your Game Plan When the

A

recent report by the IRS Oversight Board indicates that 64 percent of taxpayers fear being audited by the IRS. Should they? The following statistics were published by the Treasury Inspector General in its report released July 18, 2011. The IRS is in place to uphold the integrity of, and ensure compliance with, our tax code. One of the agency’s goals is to reduce “the tax gap”—a term used to describe the shortage of what the government should be collecting versus what they are collecting. In the most recent available study, the IRS estimated the tax gap to be roughly $345 billion or 16 percent of the total taxes it was entitled to collect. Much of the tax gap is the result of errors caused by the complexity of the tax code. Unfortunately, the tax code is not getting any easier; The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 when combined with the Affordable Care Act represent the largest set of tax law changes in 20 years. Even without such significant tax revision acts, the constant and dynamic shifting of power in our government nurtures a complex and confusing tax code. Although “down-sizing” has become common place in private business, the IRS is not following suit. IRS collection and enforcement personnel have grown by 19 percent since 2008 and more than 3,300 revenue agents and tax compliance officers were added in 2009 and 2010. So what does this all mean for you? The answer is an increase in the number of IRS examinations. For example, during 2010:  The number of individual examinations increased 23 percent from 2006 to 1 out of every 90 returns filed  C corporation return examinations increased by 5 percent from the previous year to 1 out of every 72 returns filed  S corporation return examinations decreased by 6 percent compared to 2009 to 1 of every 270 returns filed but have increased nearly 25 percent from 2006 to 2009 Examination rates were the highest over the past 5 years, and will likely increase due to fine tuning of the agency’s approach and increased efficiency of its recently hired agents. The increase in investigations, along with the seemingly ‘no nonsense’ approach the IRS has been criticized for taking, has led to a significant increase in the use of various collection enforcement tools: 1) Liens are up 74 percent since 2006 2) Levies and seizures are up 4 percent compared to the fiscal year ended 2009.

IRS Calls? prepare a power of attorney (POA) for the year in question. The POA will accomplish two things: a) it will allow your advisor to deal directly with the IRS on your behalf and b) it will enable your tax advisor to receive duplicate copies of correspondence the IRS issues pertaining to the examination. The POA will assist in limiting your involvement with many of the details of the examination.

2. Be prepared to provide substantiation in an organized manner. Since the “burden of proof” is on you, you should be prepared to provide documentation of deductions and positions taken on the tax returns. Supporting documentation and accurate accounting records, note agreements for loans between the company and related parties, and up-to-date corporate/ business minutes documenting business decisions are just a few of the documents that will become the backbone for a solid defense. Having the information in a simple to understand format and making the examiner’s job easier never hurts. 3. Answer questions truthfully and be concise. When you are asked a question, answer the question truthfully and answer only the question that you have been asked. Going into long, elaborate answers on another subject can lead an examiner down a path that could prove to increase the scope of the examination. “Yes” and “no” are acceptable responses. 4. Don’t panic and play it cool. As noted earlier, there is a connotation of fear associated with an IRS examination. Examinations should be handled in a professional manner. Examiners are professionals too and they want to do their job efficiently and effectively. Being cantankerous will not get you far in the process and will likely make the situation more inconvenient and lengthy. 5. If you do not agree with the proposed adjustments, first discuss your concerns with the examiner to ensure that they are working with the correct facts. If there is still a disagreement, the next step should be to discuss the situation with the IRS manager that has been assigned to the case. Unfavorable changes can be appealed within the IRS, and at the appeals level, you deal with different people who take a fresh prospective. In each situation, you should consider the cost and benefit of continuing to further the disagreement.

So, with the increased number of examinations occurring, what should a business owner do if he or she receives a notice of examination?

It is expected that the IRS will continue to increase examinations and collection efforts into the future. With budget shortfalls and increasing debt requirements, the Treasury will continue to seek out taxpayer compliance as a means to raise revenue. The steps outlined above can be used as part of a strong defense if an examination is imminent. Will you be prepared if they come calling?

1. Contact your professional tax advisor as soon as you have been notified of an examination. What you do not want to do is ignore the situation until the last minute. Once contacted, your tax advisor will likely

Content contributed by Bob Taylor, CPA, Partner with Potter & Company, P.A., a locally based certified public accounting firm offering core services of professional accounting, business consulting, and financial analysis. For more information, contact him at 704-662-3146 or visit www.gotopotter.com.

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[bizprofile]

by barbara fagan

y z a r C b Plum ot Please s r e m o t Cus

rd list? If Christmas ca r u yo n o ber od chance s your plum there’s a go en th ” es ed “y d president you answer a, owner an n ig V s ri h C er is your plumb ing, Inc. rly Pipes Plumb e th t u igna regula of All Abo as cards, V m st ri h C to d has even In addition customers an is h m o fr s ichelle had ou card d his wife M gets Thank Y an e h en h w ill? y gifts such goodw received bab hat inspires w , says, “All So . 8 n 0 re 20 their child mer since o st cu a , n ckso nal. It starts Courtney Ja y professio el em tr ex are through Pipes is About the job until they e th t k o o b e you n pipe burs an irrigatio from the tim ad h e er W . em their ean up n. We called with the cl w la t n e o n fr o e h ap oding th and received recently, flo 0 that night :3 8 at er b m gency nu r. ere hin the hou and they w call back wit ers before b m lu er p ev er t oth ouldn’ “We’ve used ble and I w ra o em d m en ’t m ey weren hly recom fine, but th others. I hig to k o em lo th ey le. Th mended st about a sa have recom ju t o n s ’ It . e Pipes r customers.” All About th hat’s rests of thei te in t es b igna says. “T e out for th g people,” V in p for life.” el had general h er m by ted “We’ve even that custo . ys ep sa their ke “I’m motiva e h to t s,” I wan call u r use us for rtant to me. ar who still e contracto ye th t rs at t.” fi th e lo s a th what’s impo s st m ho insi y mean stomers fro omer loyalt meowner w o st h ey write cu a f th f “We have cu o , o d rs t n o r neighb b. That ki the reques ei su th at al ll ll All su te u ca s r’ rs ey tracto rds. Th gnition for contracto d of the con hristmas ca on and reco C ea ti st d ta n in u se p rk o re st w g ju stron plumbing more than ave build a stomers do of which h l al s, Satisfied cu ew vi ost re and they p testimonials g. in b m had pes Plu ying. Norman About the Pi y Norman sa m A lls ca re . shop ” Vigna oll ater all over’, a local coffee t Honor R ness card at ll. “’I’ve got w si ca bu d. ne lie ng p ho bi Angie’s Lis p re nt Vigna pes Plum e with an urge 10 minutes,” About the Pi in ll e A throom. “W er ba an th It all started r d be he un “I’ll re but fo l leaks in fo ra so be ve as na se w ig d V y ha m “A Norman never used remembers. blem,” Vigna ro e was going p sh e at th th d xe us fi , she told rk o w as the e th h ’s List. She w happy wit us on Angie r fo ng ti ra to post a .” ost about us t many the first, bu first one to p en be ve ha ht business Norman mig llowed, and mers have fo o st cu wn with o py gr p more ha bing has um Pl es p Pi grew ut the six calls a day for All Abo once five or ➤ as w t ha W . each one twenties. and then the to the teens

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ipes P e h t t u o b All A rvice e S e h t t u o is All Ab

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“I’m motivated by helping people. That’s what’s important to me. I want to keep that customer for life.”

Chris Vigna Owner and President All About the Pipes Plumbing, Inc.

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“That’s when the people from Angie’s List called,” Vigna says. “They told me they were getting so much positive feedback about the company that they were going to list us on the Angie’s List Honor Roll.” In 2005, All About the Pipes Plumbing first earned Angie’s List Super Service Award, a distinction awarded on approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated who achieve and maintain superior service records with the rating company. All About the Pipes Plumbing has earned this distinction in every year since 2005 in multiple categories. The company was also featured in the Angie’s List magazine and recently Vigna was invited to attend an Angie’s List VIP event in Las Vegas honoring their service providers from around the country. All About the Pipes Plumbing’s outstanding reviews on Angie’s List caught the eye of Vicki Payne, producer and host of the PBS home improvement program For Your Home when she was looking for contractors to feature on her show. “We’ve worked with All About the Pipes since our third season,” says Payne. “We want to give the best information to our viewers so whenever we feature something mechanical, we bring in real contractors. Chris is delightful and professional. If it’s about the pipes, he’s on the show.” For Your Home, which is produced and shot in Charlotte, was syndicated a year ago and is now available in 60 percent of U.S. markets. Payne intends to use Vigna for future shows and for plumbing-related blogs on the show’s website. “Chris is part of the group, a loosely formed board of directors, that plan future projects for the show,” Payne says. Vigna admits, “Sometimes it’s hard for all this

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“That’s when the people from Angie’s List called. They told me they were getting so much positive feedback about the company that they were going to list us on the Angie’s List Honor Roll.” ~Chris Vigna, Owner and President Awarded the Angie’s List Super Service Award every year since 2005

to sink in. Just a few years ago I was running the business from a corner of our bonus room.” Following a Pipe Dream

Vigna had always been interested in different aspects of building. His dad was an architect and he started working in masonry as a part-time job while he studied architecture and industrial design in college. When the masonry work slowed, he helped out a plumber in the area who needed extra hands. He found he loved the constant problem solving involved in plumbing. “It was difficult work,” says Vigna, “but I enjoyed the challenge of figuring it out. The plumber was a big NASCAR fan who frequently travelled to Charlotte. He was always talking about the work opportunities here.” It didn’t take long to convince Vigna to make the move. The two worked for a Charlotte area plumber for a while, and then in 1997, his friend started a plumbing company that Vigna managed. In 2003, Vigna decided it was time to go out on his own with All About the Pipes Plumbing, an unusual name resulting from a friend’s offhand remark.

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“I used to be a pretty hardcore cyclist,” Vigna recalls. “I still am to some degree, and we cyclists call our legs ‘our pipes’. One evening a friend was joking around about how the guys who cycle are constantly talking about their legs and she said, ‘It’s always all about the pipes. You should call the business All About the Pipes.’ My wife and I started thinking about it and it worked on several levels, including alphabetically in the phone book, and so it stuck. Customers tell me it’s catchy and easy to remember.” Vigna’s brother came up with the logo of a pipe in the shape of a “C” for “Chris” and Vigna started handing out business cards. “The company literally started on the bike,” Vigna says. “I’d keep business cards in my jersey and hand them out to other cyclists.” Vigna had to build the business from scratch. “On my first few jobs I didn’t even have all the tools I needed,” he remembers. “The money from the first jobs went straight into buying tools.” Jobs picked up and equipment was moved from the backyard to a storage unit and then a second and even a third storage unit was added. What began as a one-man, one-truck operation now boasts six trucks and an office off of Woodlawn near South Boulevard. Vigna’s customer base is a mix of residential and commercial work, broken down further into new construction, remodeling and renovation with a core business of service. He credits this diversification as a key factor for his growth during difficult economic times. Vigna and his wife Michelle spend evenings scouring over reports. They want to ensure the current economic conditions don’t cripple the business or its employees. They noticed a shift in business in 2008

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through 2009. “New construction fell off and the gigantic remodels and additions we had been working changed to more modest remodels and renovations,” Vigna says. “But when there was a lull in new construction, commercial was still going strong,” Vigna adds. “When commercial started to slow, renovations picked up and then there’s always been the service business. That goes on no matter what the economy’s doing.” Remodels and renovations remain a strong business for All About the Pipes Plumbing and Vigna admits he’s partial to this business segment. “It’s the most intricate part of plumbing and I like the challenge,” he says. “With my background in architecture and drafting, I can review the prints and communicate easily with the builder, the architect and homeowner. It’s what I enjoy the most.” The Right Business Tools

In addition to five plumbers, All About the Pipes Plumbing also employs a business manager and a customer service manager in the office. Vigna is looking to hire another plumber and technician, but applicants may be surprised by the lengths to which Vigna goes to find the right employees. “I interviewed a plumber recently,” Vigna says, “and after the interview he told me, ‘I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never had a two-hour interview before. And I’ve never taken an assessment.’” The in-depth interview and assessments are just some of the tools Vigna now uses regularly. “I’ve been working with Carolina Business Coach for over a year now,” he explains, “and I’ve learned how to better manage my current employees and how to effectively hire new employees.” “Communication is key. It’s paramount,” says Vigna. “Coaching has helped me communicate more effectively with my employees. It’s shown me how to best motivate and retain them. It also lets us figure out the best way to communicate with our customers. Some people want a quick, to the point explanation. Others want more detail and to go through information more deliberately.” Ongoing training is also important to Vigna. “Employees meet regularly,” he says. “We review positive and negative feedback and I even ask employees to solve hypothetical scenarios to keep their skills sets sharp.”

“We treat our employees and customers with respect, show up on time and strive for excellence in our work—and we don’t forget the little things, like calling a customer to tell them we’re on our way or wearing shoe covers to protect a customer’s floor. We want our customer to be totally satisfied with our work. We don’t just want a job; we want to gain a customer for life.” ~Chris Vigna Owner and President

Vigna also researches and gets certified in any new technology in the industry. Many of the blogs on the company website highlight his research, explain new products or give helpful tips to homeowners. He considers the extra steps he takes to be an investment in the future of the company. “The business tools help me improve in-house and field efficiency and develop a marketing strategy and future goals,” he explains. Growth and Giving Back

Vigna has big plans for the future of All About the Pipes Plumbing. He was getting a lot of phone calls from South Carolina so he recently became licensed there to serve that market. He’s also looking to purchase a building to house his expanding business. Hiring plays a part in both current and future plans. “We’d like to be at 10 trucks in the next couple of years,” Vigna says. “We plan to hire a field manager now and a warehouse manager soon.” But business growth has an additional aspect for Vigna. He strongly believes in giving back to the community that has supported him for the last eight years.

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Recently All About the Pipes Plumbing donated their time and service to install a new water heater and repair and refit the bathrooms and kitchen of a town home for the local nonprofit, A Child’s Place. The town home will be used to transition a homeless family into permanent housing. And Vigna combined his love of cycling with community service when he organized a local bike festival in partnership with CharlotteSportsCycling.com and Bicycle Sport. In addition to a bike rodeo for the kids, the Bike Fest provided safety instruction and bike and helmet safety checks. All About the Pipes Plumbing also donated helmets to kids who needed them. Vigna is working with the other sponsors to make the Bike Fest an annual event. But even with all the awards, shows and community involvement, Vigna realizes that the success of All About the Pipes Plumbing rests solidly on the basics. “We treat our employees and customers with respect, show up on time and strive for excellence in our work—and we don’t forget the little things, like calling a customer to tell them we’re on our way or wearing shoe covers to protect a customer’s floor,” he says. “We want our customer to be totally satisfied with our work. We don’t just want a job; we want to gain a customer for life.” biz Barbara Fagan is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

All About the Pipes Plumbing, Inc. 4913 Chastain Ave., Unit 30 Charlotte, N.C. 28217 Phone: 704-559-5288 Principal: Christopher R.Vigna, Owner and President Employees: 8 Established: 2003 Associations: Member, Better Business Bureau (BBB); Member, National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Recognition: Awarded the Angie’s List Super Service Award every year since 2005, an honor bestowed annually on approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated; featured on syndicated home show For Your Home hosted by Vick Payne; rated Best of Charlotte, Charlotte Weekly Magazine Business: Provides complete plumbing service, repair and renovation for residential and commercial sites in the greater Charlotte region. www.allaboutthepipes.com

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Buffy McCoy Kelly Rudy Banny Executive Creative Directors Tattoo Projects, LLC

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by zenda douglas

[bizprofile]

Making

Their Mark Tattoo Projects leaves

Impressions

attoo Projects, founded in 2006 by Buffy McCoy Kelly and Rudy Banny, is a creative marketing studio located in the historic Cotton Mill building in uptown Charlotte. Tattoo is home to international award-winning talent, including creative directors, art directors, writers, and production staff. “No, we’re not a tattoo parlor,” explains the receptionist. The phone lights up with dozens of calls each day, from would-be customers looking to schedule an appointment for body art. The name raises eyebrows, garners questions, and has even scared some more conservative clients away. But it sticks—and it clearly describes what the company does: Tattoo helps their clients leave a mark. With only twelve full-time employees, the agency is one of the smallest ever to be named one of Advertising Age’s 2011 Small Ad Agencies of the Year. Hundreds of agencies were considered for the award—from the U.S., Canada and 20 other countries as well. Ultimately, 19 awards were given out. “We work so hard to create awesome results that get our clients noticed,” says Tattoo Executive Creative Director Rudy Banny. “It’s really cool to be rewarded for it. And to beat out agencies in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and bring this award home to Charlotte? That’s the cherry on top.” Getting Results Tattoo is known for creating daring work that gets noticed—and leaves indelible impressions, hence the name. The group’s portfolio consists of creative marketing for clients who include Hoover vacuums/TTI Floorcare International, Sheetz Convenience Stores, UNC Charlotte, Cozi.com, Dale Earnhardt Foundation, John Deere, Switzerland’s Valais Water and Frey Chocolate, to name a few. “We’re very aggressive,” says Executive Creative Director Buffy McCoy Kelly. “We push our clients to step outside their comfort zones, and take risks. If they’re nervous, we know we’re doing our job right.”

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With this unapologetic approach, Tattoo provides a complete range of marketing and creative services to their clients. From national television campaigns to print, billboards, radio, interactive, social media, non-traditional approaches, and even trade shows, Tattoo is anything but an ordinary ad agency. For Cozi.com, a Seattle-based organization committed to helping families stay organized, or “keep their ducks in a row,” Tattoo created and managed a national-scale multimedia event to bring Cozi’s whimsical and fun style to life by doing just that. They set a Guinness Record for the world’s longest row of ducks—precisely 17, 782 rubber duckies lined up in a mile-long row, in Seattle’s Magnuson Park. “Clients come to us for the most creative solutions for their marketing needs,” says Banny. “But getting results for our clients is first.” And getting results is apparently something Tattoo does well. In only one weekend, the Cozi campaign generated the highest amount of search traffic in Cozi.com’s histoy, a 168 percent increase in sign-ups, and 392 million media impressions—including a segment on NBC’s Today Show. For international vacuum brand Hoover, Tattoo creates dozens of unique creative elements every day. Earlier this year, ➤ they unveiled a 2-story vacuum canister, complete with a

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Tat

spiral staircase, for the International Housewares Show. To promote the Hoover Floormate, they conducted an open casting call, seeking women who would let them come to their homes to put everyday cleaning methods to the test. Called “The Hoover Floormate Challenge,” the campaign not only proved the effectiveness of the Hoover equipment, but also resulted in increased sales from approximately 10,000 units per week, to nearly 40,000 units per week during the campaign airtime. Engaging the Client’s Business At Tattoo, teams work in a highly collaborative environment and have fun doing it. “It’s our job to put ourselves in the shoes of many different kinds of consumers,” says Banny. And they do their homework, by putting themselves directly in the position of the consumer and fully engaging in their client’s business." “We’ve sent creative teams to work the sandwich line to learn firsthand about our client, Sheetz convenience stores,” Kelly explains. “We’ve put on hair nets and gone to the apple sauce plant.” “We have a great time with it all,” Banny says. He is hoping for a motorcycle account, so he can do the homework on the product himself. “That certainly would not stink,” he grins. While Tattoo Projects continues to work on national and international accounts, two of their local campaigns especially touched Charlottean hearts. At the 2010

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NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr., a team of models handed out engraved invitations to the press and NASCAR constituents for a private reception hosted by Ms. Teresa Earnhardt. They wore black cocktail dresses, Dale’s trademark sunglasses, and Dale-style moustaches. The media response was huge and the ensuing “There’s a little bit of Dale in all of us” campaign garnered much attention for the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. The agency had been in Charlotte about a year when they learned of UNC Charlotte’s request for proposals for a new brand campaign. Banny and Kelly believed that their more brash and edgy style was just what the university needed. The two caught the attention of the school’s new brand leader, Richard McDevitt, who was not satisfied with the status quo and wanted to shake things up. He responded to the agency’s energy along with its experience working with higher education and handling pieces of business that come with state stipulations.

t o o Gallery

“He stuck his neck out for us,” says Kelly. Working with McDevitt, Tattoo created the “Stake Your Claim” campaign for UNC Charlotte. The work literally staked a claim for the university with 18 foot by 10 foot pickaxe sculptures installed in downtown Charlotte, at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and on campus. Thirty-second TV was created to look like breaking news stories of a giant miner walking through the city; it was seeded through social networking sites and blogs. Print and billboards rounded out the campaign. Partners in Kind Banny and Kelly met when Banny was searching for outstanding talent for his agency in Harrisburg, Pa., where he was an owner and executive creative director. Banny had come up through the ranks of the Chicago advertising scene, working with international brands such as Culligan Water, Roto-Rooter Plumbing, Head Tennis, and Wilson Golf, with

“The ultimate test is what we bring to the table. We make our clients look like rock stars, The name also says a lot about the type of clients that want to do business with us; they are really ready to make a mark with their work.”

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~Rudy Banny Executive Creative Director

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Grant Jacoby, Inc. He became an agency owner in Harrisburg in 1998. “It was hard to recruit to Harrisburg, but I’d discovered Buffy McCoy Kelly and pursued her until she finally agreed to join the agency in 2000,” says Banny. “She turned me down several times.” Kelly had built her career thus far via agencies in Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Vermont, working on brands like Converse Shoes and Fidelity Investments. She was named one of the Top 25 Advertising Working Mothers in the Nation by Working Mother Magazine and Advertising Women of New York.

T a t t o o Office

“We’re very aggressive. We push our clients to step outside their comfort zones, and take risks. If they’re nervous, we know we’re doing our job right.”

WORLD CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE

~Buffy McCoy Kelly Executive Creative Director

SPECIALISTS IN VOICE NETWORKS FOR 32 YEARS.

In a short seven-year span, the team helped the Harrisburg agency grow from $7 million to $58 million in business. “We learned a lot about pushing the envelope during that time,” says Banny. Looking at how the ➤ industry was run, he and Kelly felt that they

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could build a better business from a creative standpoint. “So, we put that model on paper, developed our business strategy and it became Tattoo.” Banny and Kelly were equally deliberate in choosing Charlotte as the headquarters for their business. “In order to move our families, we needed to know that the quality of life was going to be awesome, that it was an excellent place to raise kids, that there was a friendly business and economic development environment, and that it was close to a major airport,” says Banny. Based upon research and rankings, they had looked at Las Vegas and Atlanta, but Charlotte caught their attention. Kelly and Banny’s wife Laura came to visit, stayed at the Morehead Inn, rented a red convertible, and put Charlotte to the test. “We returned home and said, ‘We’re moving there!’ and we’ve loved it ever since!” says Banny. He and his wife have four children ranging in age from 10 to 16. Kelly and her husband have a daughter and son, ages 8 and 12. A Place in the Sun “I want that space.” That’s what Kelly had to say when the Tattoo Projects group passed by the gutted space

on West 5th Street. Six months later the agency was installed in the 4,300-square-foot uptown warehouse. “It was serendipity,” says Kelly. The office is all at once welcoming, colorful, individualistic, inspiring, and strategically functional. Social media feeds stream on flat screens, a movie projects onto the wall, there’s even a motorcycle sitting in the entryway . It fairly bursts with energy. “We like being in the midst of the business community,” says Banny. “We do national-scale work and want to be near those clients.” The agency brings numerous clients to the city and utilizes the arts, entertainment and dining opportunities here. “We’re extremely excited to be able to grow our business here,” says Kelly, adding, “We’re a part of Charlotte, now.” Tattoo Projects has encountered some negative responses to its name,

At Daniel Ratliff & Company, we stress the importance of tax planning and being proactive. Knowing your tax consequences as well as tax strategies to reduce or defer taxes is very important to us and more important to you. Our tax professionals stay up to the minute on tax law changes and can assist you entity planning, succession planning as well as year-end tax planning. Tax planning can take that surprise element out of the equation. Call me, Larry Gerber, to discuss how Daniel, Ratliff & Company can help you.

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it all adds up! We’re not your typical CPA firm. Instead, we go beyond traditional accounting services, adding valuable insight and guidance to your growth process.

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Daniel, Ratliff & Company 301 S. McDowell St., Ste. 502, Charlotte, NC 28204 704.371.5000 www.danielratliff.com

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particularly in the hometown region of Charlotte, which is generally more conservative than the larger advertising communities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. “The ultimate test is what we bring to the table. We make our clients look like rock stars,” says Banny. “Imagine what Google went through when they started out,” muses Kelly. “The name also says a lot about the type of clients that want to do business with us; they are really ready to make a mark with their work.” The partners, who have a strong presence in the large advertising markets—they brought a following of clients from former agencies—admit that they are not very well known in Charlotte—yet. “We would like to change that,” says Banny. “We’re networking and extending our hand into the community every chance we get.” “Charlotte ranks sixth in headquarters to Fortune 500 companies,” points out Kelly. “Those are the kinds of companies that are taking their business to the larger metropolitan areas. We need them to know that the talent is here.” Meanwhile, as Charlotte and Tattoo Projects become better acquainted, the agency is growing at a fast pace. Its talent, energy and wit pulled in $4.5 million in 2010; an astonishing 184.5 percent growth over 2009. “We don’t do billable hours,” says Kelly. The commodity we deal in isn’t time—it’s problem-solving ideas.” The agency works on a project basis and bills a flat-rate fee. This approach carries economic benefits to both the agency and the client. Tattoo Projects is just getting started. “We’re always looking for new projects, the brightest talent, more banking clients, and would love to work with NASCAR, Bank of America, or Lance—and we want to do lasting good in the community,” says Kelly. Sleeves up, Charlotte. A tattoo—or several—is in your future. biz Zenda Douglas is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

Tattoo Projects, LLC 508 West 5th St., Ste. 225 Charlotte, N. C. 28202 Phone: 704-900-7150 Principals: Rudy Banny and Buffy McCoy Kelly, Executive Creative Directors Established: 2006 Employees: 12 Revenue: $4.5 million (2010) Business: Creative marketing services. www.tattooprojects.com

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THE EMPLOYERS ASSOCIATION

The Employers Association

Trusted HR Advice, Tools & Training

[employersbiz]

Legislative and Regulatory Highlights for Area Employers

NLRB New Poster Requirement

T

Employee R ights Under the

National Lab

or Relation

s Act

The National Labor Relations employers, Act (NLRA) and to engage guarantees in other protected covered by the right the NLRA* concerted activity of employees to organize are protected about your and bargain or to refrain from certain rights, and collectively from engaging about types of (NLRB), the with their in any of the Federal agency the obligations of employer employer and union above activity. misconduct. below, if you that s Employees This have any questions investigates and resolvesand unions under the NLRA. Contact Notice gives you general complaints about specific information the National under the NLRA, rights that may Labor Relations using apply in your Under the Board particular workplacthe contact informatio NLRA, you n supplied e. have the right • Organize to: a union to negotiate of employm with your employer ent. concerning • Form, join your wages, or assist hours, and • Bargain collective a union. other terms and condition benefits, hours, ly through represen s tatives of employee and other working • Discuss your s’ own choosing conditions. wages and for a contract benefits and or a union. with your employer other terms and condition setting your • Take action s of employm wages, with one or ent or union more co-worke complaints organizing directly with with your co-worke your employer rs to improve your working • Strike and or with picket, dependin rs conditions by, among other g on the purpose a government agency, • Choose not means, raising and seeking to do any of or means of help from a these activities, work-related the strike or union. including joining the picketing . or remaining Under the a member of NLRA, it is a union. illegal for your • Prohibit you employer to: from during non-work talking about or soliciting Under the NLRA, it is for a union time, such during break as before or illegal for a union that times; or from after work or represents union or for during non-work distributing you in bargain employer to: the union literature time, in non-work ing with your lots or break areas, such rooms. • Threaten as parking or coerce you • Question you about your in order to gain for the union. union support manner that your support discourages or activities • Refuse to in a process a grievance you from engaging • Fire, demote, criticized union or transfer in that activity. because you you, or reduce officials or because change your have member of your shift, you are not the union. you, or threaten or otherwise take adverse hours or a • Use or maintain to take any action against discriminatory you join or in making job support a union, of these actions, because standards or referrals from in concerte procedures or because • Cause or a hiring hall. d activity for you engage attempt to cause mutual aid because you and protectio against you an employer choose not because of n, or to engage in • Threaten your union-rel to discriminate • Take adverse any such activity. to close ated activity. action against union to represen your workplace if workers joined or do you because not support choose a t them. you have not the union. • Promise or grant promotio ns, pay raises, to discourag e or encourag or other benefits If you and e union support. your co-worke • Prohibit you from wearing rs select a collective bargaining union to act union hats, pins in the representative, workplace buttons, t-shirts, as your and the union except under your employe are required • Spy on or special circumsta and a genuine videotape peaceful r effort to reach to bargain in good nces. gatherings union activities faith in setting your a written, binding or pretend and to do so. terms agreement union is required and conditions of to fairly represen employment. The Illegal conduct and enforcin t you in bargaini g the agreeme NLRB promptly will not be permitted. ng nt. If you believe to protect your your rights without your rights, generally employer or within six months or the rights of others anyone else the employee have been being informed of the unlawful directly affected violated, you of the inquiry. activity. You to pay lost should contact by the violation. wages and may Charges inquire the The NLRB benefits, and may be filed about possible from the nearest may order an by any person may order an violations regional NLRB employer to employer or and need not rehire a worker office, which union to cease can be found fired in violation be filed by violating the You can also on of the law and the Agency’s law. contact the Web site: http://wwEmployees should NLRB by calling for hearing seek assistanc impaired. toll-free: 1-866-66 w.nlrb.gov. e 7-NLRB (6572) or (TTY) 1-866-31 If you do not speak or understa 5-NLRB (1-866-31 the toll-free nd English 5-6572) numbers listed well, you may above. obtain a translatio n of this notice from the NLRB’s *The National Web site or Labor Relations by calling and

he National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a final ruling that will require most private sector employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by requiring a new poster for the workplace. The new poster states that employees have the right to act together to improve wages and working conditions, to form, join and assist a union, to bargain collectively with their employer, and to refrain from any of these activities. It provides examples of unlawful employer and union conduct and instructs employees how to contact the NLRB with questions or comments. Employers should begin posting the notice on Nov. 14, 2011. The 11x17 inch poster will be available on the NLRB website as of Nov. 1, 2011 (www.nlrb.gov). Or, you may buy a poster from a vendor like The Employers Association. Translated versions will be available, and must be posted at workplaces where at least 20 percent of the employees are not proficient in English. If your company is a federal contractor, you have already been required to post a similar notice. Your federal contractor notice/poster will comply with the new regulations and you will not have to post an additional notice. The new poster must be posted in a conspicuous place, including all places where notices to employees are customarily posted. The new rule requires employers to post the notice on an Internet or intranet site if personnel rules and policies are customarily posted there. Employers are not required to distribute the posting by email, etc. Act covers domestic workers, most private-sec independent Act, and supervisor tor employers. contractors s (although Excluded from , workers employed supervisors coverage under by a parent that have been the NLRA are or spouse, discriminat employees ed against official Governm of air and rail public-sector employees for refusing carriers covered , agricultura to violate the ent Notice l 2011 NLRA may by the Railway and must not be covered). Labor

This is an

SepTemBeR

be defaced

by anyone.

As an employer, your interest in non-compete agreements is twofold: (1) protecting your business interests by having employees in certain jobs sign agreements as a condition of employment; and (2) making sure in the recruiting process that you determine whether a candidate you are considering is bound by a non-compete from a former employer, and if so, asking to see that agreement to determine the effect on employment with your company. Both employer and employee can be held legally liable for violation of an enforceable non-compete agreement. State law governs non-compete agreements. Non-compete agreements should be used for those employees who have access to confidential information like product design, trade secrets, customer lists and competitive information that could harm the employer if the employee left to work for another employer in the industry. The reasonableness of such an agreement depends on its fairness to the employee while accomplishing the need of the employer to protect its business. Under North Carolina law, measurements of reasonableness include: ■ length of time the employee is restricted in employment ■ territory restrictions (how broad are they) ■ restriction of activity ■ hardship to the employee

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

With schools back in session, employers should be aware of N.C. §95-28.3, commonly called Leave for Parental Involvement in Schools Law. The law requires all North Carolina employers to grant up to four hours of unpaid leave per year to any employee who is a parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis of a school-aged child so that the employee can become involved in school activities. This has been interpreted to allow four hours per calendar year, rather than school year. Also, it is four total hours, not four hours per child. For the purpose of this section, “schools” include public or private schools, preschools and child day care facilities. Leave under this section must be scheduled for a mutually agreeable time, and the employer may require written notice of leave and written verification from the child’s school that the employee attended or was involved. The statute prohibits discrimination against employees who request or take this type of leave. Employees claiming discrimination can bring a civil action against the employer seeking reinstatement and lost wages. Employers should be aware that they may require employees to use any available paid time off.

Enforceable non-compete agreements should be required at the time of hire since these agreements require consideration (something of value) from the employer to make them binding on employees. At the time of hire, the consideration is employment contingent upon signing the agreement. Seeking to have an employee sign a non-compete agreement after hire requires additional reasonable consideration relative to the rights the employee is giving up. Options may include a monetary payout and/or additional paid time off. Companies may choose to offer future considerations for wage increases or promotional opportunities along with a monetary incentive. The employee can refuse to sign the agreement after hire, forcing the employer to choose between terminating a valuable employee who can take their expertise to the competitor, accepting the employee’s decision or attempting to negotiate with the employee. (CAI) Content contributed by The Employers Association, providing comprehensive human resources and training services to a membership of over 860 companies in the greater Charlotte region. For more information, contact Laura Hampton at 704-522-8011 or visit www.employersassoc.com.

october 2011

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Photo: Wayne Morris

“We have such great intellectual capital and creativity in this community. We need to be more aggressive and think a lot bigger for our institutions.”

Scott Provancher President Arts & Science Council— Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc.

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Niki de Saint Phalle's "Firebird" on Charlotte's Wells Fargo Cultural Campus

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by heather head

[bizprofile]

ASC Leader is Change Agent for Innovation and Energy t a time when the non-profit sector is still reeling from the after-effects of the recession, the Arts & Science Council (ASC) has been transforming itself, and Charlotte, toward a bright future. In fact, ASC President Scott Provancher wants to see our city become “an innovator in the national cultural sector.” “We have such great intellectual capital and creativity in this community,” he points up. “We need to be more aggressive and think a lot bigger for our institutions.” Provancher’s vision of Charlotte as an innovator in the arts and science world comes as no surprise: He was brought to Charlotte in 2009 precisely for the purpose of innovating the organization’s way out of a financial rut. In each of several years prior to this recession, ASC had reliably raised more than $11 million through their Annual Fund Drive to support cultural activities and facilities in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. In 2009, that number dropped by more than 35 percent to just over $7 million. Furthermore, the organization was in the final stages of raising money for the Campaign for Cultural Facilities that would finance the Levine Center for the Arts, Discovery Place’s renovations, and the construction of the new North Carolina Dance Theatre. And it had become challenging. The ASC board of directors knew the organization would need more than a little work to make it happen. According to Mary Lou Babb, then chair of the ASC board, they needed creative energy and a new approach. Conducting Solutions Enter Scott Provancher. Provancher was recruited from Cincinnati, where he was vice president and campaign director for the Fine Arts Fund (FAF). He immediately impressed the board with his youthful energy and a history of thinking outside the box. It didn’t hurt that he had recently completed an initiative at the FAF that had increased revenue by 10 percent. And prior to that, he had rescued the Louisville Orchestra from financial straits to set it on solid ground and expanded both revenue and programming for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in Rockford, Illinois. Upon arrival in Charlotte, Provancher immediately set about building relationships and generating new ideas. Babb says, “I observed how quickly he makes friends and good relationships with people around the city. Plus, he handled the cultural facilities fundraising ➤ with grace and enthusiasm.”

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Oscar Williams

power2give.org allows non-profit organizations meeting certain specific criteria to post projects, along with photographs, descriptions, videos and their fundraising target, which is displayed as a green and white meter bar. Visitors to the site can easily view projects by type (education, arts, technology, etc.), newness, keywords, and other criteria, and choose where to put their money. Once a donation is made, the donor can see their amount stack up in the project’s meter in real time. In addition to quickly raising the remaining $20 million to complete the Campaign for Cultural Facilities, over the last two years under Provancher’s leadership the organization has raised its revenue from the annual fund drive by 14 percent, launched several new initiatives, and taken a stronger leadership role in many facets of the Charlotte cultural and educational community. Provancher says this success has been in no small part due to the support of the organization and its board. He says he’s been in other positions where he was hired as a change agent, but then spent the first six months convincing the board to follow through on its vision to implement change. But in Charlotte, “The board of ASC stuck to their commitment to innovate our way out of this challenge,” he says. “That’s not to say that there isn’t significant debate and discussion around specific directions and strategies, but there’s never a question that innovation is going to be a part of what we need to do.” For instance, in 2010 the board brought 10 innovative ideas to a retreat, and determined to leave the retreat with a commitment to invest in three. All three have since been implemented successfully and become a significant part of ASC’s strategy. Two of those ideas had to do with becoming more data-driven. One involves segmenting the donor population in order to market and communicate with each group more effectively.

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The second has to do with partnering with the Blumenthal to better promote both organizations. The third is a bit more visible and, in Provancher’s words, “charismatic.” It’s called power2give.org. power2give for Culture In the past, most of ASC’s fundraising has focused on the annual fund drive, where the majority of donations come from the more than 250 companies who give corporate gifts and/or run employee campaigns. Money raised this way goes directly to the general fund and is distributed among member organizations based on volunteer peer-review panels. That is still an important part of what the organization does, but Provancher and the board wanted to make sure that potential donors, especially those outside of the workplace, had a diverse choice of options when making their giving decisions.

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McColl Center for Visual Art

power2give.org allows non-profit organizations meeting certain specific criteria to post projects, along with photographs, descriptions, videos and their fundraising target, which is displayed as a green and white meter bar. Visitors to the site can easily view projects by type (education, arts, technology, etc.), newness, keywords, and other criteria, and choose where to put their money. Once a donation is made, the donor can see their amount stack up in the project’s meter in real time. Because project targets are often small amounts, even a modest donation has a visible effect, providing a powerful emotional incentive for the donor. For instance, one project aims to provide Jazz lesson scholarships to needy kids. Total goal: $1,250. An easily achievable donation of just $25 raises the completion percentage by 2 percent. Add the automatic matching donation from the Knight Foundation, and the total impact is 4 percent. Once a donation is complete, the site displays prominently the impact the donation has had, and encourages donors to share their enthusiasm by posting the project to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. Large, appealing buttons make it easy and fun to spread the word. The site also offers the opportunity to purchase donation gift cards. Provancher hopes that employers will consider offering these to their teams in place of flowers and other gestures

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of appreciation. He says, “This gives companies the opportunity to let their employees become philanthropists.” The idea for power2give originally came from a relationship ASC had with Donorschoose.org, an online platform that helps teachers raise funds for their specific projects. While several organizations have developed similar platforms, to date there is no generic platform that can be adapted directly for the purpose, so ASC had to build theirs from scratch.

an orchestra, you are told what music to play. The conductor tells you how to play it, when you’re going to play it, and where you’re going to play it. It’s actually a very structured job.” By handling the business end, rather than the performance, Provancher determined that he could have the opportunity to drive the larger vision behind the performance. So in addition to his B.A. in percussion performance, he earned a leadership diploma and went to work in development positions with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. From an Orchestra Management Fellowship with the American Symphony Orchestra League

“We’re changing our identity from being an organization that you hear about only in a fundraising context,into an institution that’s really taking a lead on important community initiatives, helping to both achieve those and drive real outcomes for the community.”

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It took a little over a year to develop, and the site just went live in August. The planning and development work has paid off. In the first month, the site raised more than $129,000 for the arts and cultural community, and successfully closed out funding for 29 projects.

to pivotal roles in arts organizations across the country, Provancher quickly developed an impressive reputation as a powerful change agent. At the tender age of 33, he felt ready to take the reins at ASC. In addition to his energy, reputation and ideas, Provancher brings to Charlotte a special enthusiasm for the city, and for ASC. “When I was looking at coming here,” he explains, “I saw that the Arts & Science Council had been rocked, like everybody else, with a big drop in revenue, but that the institution had great bones, really good governance, and a strong staff ➤ team. I knew it was a great opportunity for

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me to come and lead a really strong institution through a critical period.” “As for the city, despite being at the epicenter of the financial services challenge,” he says, “I saw the attitude and the investment this community made in building a city for the future.”

“There is a need in this community for a diverse array of engaging opportunities. Part of the vision I have for ASC is to figure out how to connect all the dots—provide what the community’s really asking for—and be smart about how to do that.” ~Scott Provancher President

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In fact, Provancher says one of his favorite things about being here is being plugged into the more than 70,000 cultural events the Charlotte area has to offer each year. Of course he can’t attend them all, but being president of ASC enables him to be a part of it all. “It’s exciting and enjoyable to be a part of helping to drive the direction of that too,” he says. “For me, it’s what gets me up in the morning and gets me excited, knowing that I can sit back and enjoy these programs and know that I had a piece in making them happen.” Cultural Leadership The Arts & Science Council in Charlotte is best known for its annual fund drive and the major facilities it helps support: The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, The Levine Center for the Arts facilities (the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Mint Museum Uptown, the John S. and James L. Knight Theater, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture), Discovery Place, and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte which makes its home at ImaginOn. But it has always played a big role in education as well. One of Provancher’s goals is to spread that reach and build a stronger education leadership position for the organization. In the past, Provancher says, ASC has been primarily a “passive grantor” to education programs. Under his leadership, the organization is actively connecting with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ (CMS) planning processes in order to connect cultural programs with education priorities. In September, ASC hired Barbara Ann

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Temple, former director of teacher professional development for CMS, to serve as vice president, education. In the role, she will oversee a new strategic partnership between ASC and CMS to align arts, science and history offerings with CMS’s core curriculum, as well as provide teacher training and development. In addition, ASC has created an online directory to help teachers sort through available programs and funding by discipline, curriculum, cost, and focus. And ASC’s new leadership role is not confined to education. Provancher wants to see the organization embrace a stronger leadership role throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community. “We’re changing our identity from being an organization that you hear about only in a fundraising context,” says Provancher, “into an institution that’s really taking a lead on important community initiatives, helping to both achieve those and drive real outcomes for the community.” Provancher describes himself as “bullish” on the role of arts and science in the Charlotte community. And for good reason. The facilities in the new Levine Center for the Arts have outperformed all attendance projections, and Discovery Place Kids that launched earlier this year in Huntersville has reached more than 200,000 people, more than four times their initial projections. “There is a need in this community for a diverse array of engaging opportunities,” he says. “Part of the vision I have for ASC is to figure out how to connect all the dots—provide what the community’s really asking for—and be smart about how to do that.” Now that’s a bright future worth innovating for! biz

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Arts & Science Council 227 West Trade St., Ste. 250 Charlotte, N.C. 28202 Phone: 704-333-2272 Principal: Scott Provancher, President Employees: 24 In Business: 53 years Business: Fundraising and community advocacy for arts, science, history and heritage; building appreciation, participation, education and support for the arts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. www.artsandscience.org

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Cindy P. Canty

“There’s nothing I would trade for this profession. I can help every person who walks through that door to change their life. That’s the best thing about this business. I can change people’s lives for the better.”

Tony George Owner and CEO H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness

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Cindy P. Canty

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Cindy P. Canty

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by barbara fagan

T

Cindy P. Canty

[bizprofile]

H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness is Fitness for the Soul

ony George—he’s not your typical jock,” Paul Tillman says of his personal trainer and the owner and force behind H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness. It’s a surprising comment given Tony George has an extensive athletic resume that begins on a high school football field in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was named a Parade magazine All American, continues with a four-year football scholarship at the University of Florida, and moves on to the extraordinary distinction of playing in the pros, first for the New England Patriots and then for the Tennessee Titans. “Tony’s complex,” explains Tillman. “There’s a lot more to him than you might think.” And while George definitely has the broad-shouldered physique of a pro football player, especially in his surrounds at the H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness gym on Park Road near Highway 51, Tillman is right. George has a story that involves not only football, but a whole lot more. Early Challenges George credits his younger sister Tari for getting him started in athletics. Tari has cerebral palsy and can’t use the left side of her body. Growing up, kids would tease her about her disability and George says, “I decided I needed to get strong to defend her.” Eventually George stopped the teasing in a creative way. “I challenged the bullies to try to do things, brush their teeth or ride their bikes, using only one side of their bodies,” he explains. It worked. Not only did Tari become the honorary “little sister” of many of the kids, but George learned something that stuck with him and led him to study rehabilitative therapy for quadriplegics and paraplegics while at the University of Florida. He ended up earning one degree in Therapeutic Recreation and another in Leisure Service Management while at Florida and credits these degrees as more important achievements than even his third round draft pick by the Patriots. But even with its meaningful beginning, George’s athletic career was almost over before it began. In 1991, while only a sophomore in high school, George was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and has been insulin-dependent since. “Diabetes has been a huge challenge,” says George. “My blood sugar has gotten as low as 16 and ➤ as high as 960. Both of those levels can cause coma and death.”

Cindy P. Canty

Cindy P. Canty

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But instead of letting the serious diagnosis destroy his dreams of a scholarship and a shot at a football career, George learned all he could about the disease and how he could manage it and still play sports. A better diet, frequent blood sugar level checks and daily insulin shots became his new routine. And exercise took on a new role. “I understand what exercise has done for me as a diabetic,” he explains. “Training is preventative medicine. If exercise can help me keep my blood sugar under control, just imagine what it can do for others. I decided I’ve got to pass this along.” This seed thought would eventually spur George to start H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness, but first, George admits, he had to have a serious reality check. The life of a pro football player is full of temptations and at one point George found his life as a young, single guy in Atlanta spiraling out of control. “I could spend $7,000 or $8,000 a night at a club,” he confesses. A call from his financial advisor after one especially extravagant week dragged him back to reality. George vividly recalls the conversation. “This is your money,” his advisor told him, “and you can spend it any way you want. But if you continue to spend this way, everything you’ve worked for your whole life will be gone in a month.” The phone call proved to be life-changing for George. He took what was left of his money and invested it, some for the future and some for a college fund for his young daughter, Soleil. He allocated only $10,000 for himself to start the next chapter of his life and vowed “to take that $10,000 and turn it into $1 million.” George changed his life in other ways as well. While still in Atlanta, he discovered a renewed interest in his faith and credits it as “the driving force to change his life around.” He also decided that Atlanta wasn’t the right place for him anymore. He had been to Charlotte working a couple of weeks with the Carolina Panthers and thought the area had a stability and atmosphere that would be good for him, so he chose Charlotte for his new home. H.E.A.T.; Highly Exclusive Athletic Training H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness began in Charlotte in 2005 as the brainchild of George and two other former football players:

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Cindy P. Canty

Rod Smart of the Panthers and Tory Woodbury of the New York Jets. H.E.A.T. is an acronym for “Highly Exclusive Athletic Training” as well as a humorous reference to that fact that George’s training clients often say that his more strenuous workouts made their bodies feel like they were on fire. Today, George is sole owner of the business and has three certified trainers that assist him. While each client receives a fitness program uniquely tailored for them and their goals, the programs are all influenced by George’s philosophy on health and fitness. “I emphasize body weight control,” George says referring to the use of someone’s own body weight as the resistance in an exercise. “First you learn the proper technique and how to work using your own body weight. Once you’ve gained that control, you’re ready to work with weighted objects.” Even the gym reflects George’s philosophy. Unlike some other fitness facilities, open space dominates the workout area. A Smith machine sits in one corner, free weights and a Captain’s Chair take up another corner, and wooden boxes of graduated heights used for plyometric workouts are stacked against a back wall. Part of the gym is dedicated to and equipped for cycling enthusiasts in a partnership with Total Cyclist, and a 300-pound tractor tire leans against the dividing wall. “All my exercises are timebased. There are no certain number of reps you need to do. I’ve found the body gets accustomed to

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“Parents use me as a mediator. If a parent comes here and tells me their kid’s been out of line, I tell them, ‘Okay, I’ll make him push my car around the building,’ and the parents laugh. They think I’m joking; until they see their kid pushing a car around the building.” ~Tony George Owner and CEO

doing reps but if I say, ‘You’ve got 45 seconds— you did 16 last time, let’s shoot for 17,’ it works. It’s also my job to join in on the tough exercises,” he adds. When asked how much of his old football training is reflected in his exercise programs, he shakes his head. “Zero percent comes from football training,” he answers. “Our workouts are specific for each individual and what’s right for a football player wouldn’t be right for a young girl or an older client. Besides, football training is more about watching game films. I’m in better shape now than when I played for the NFL.” George uses both resistance and cardio training in his program and keeps it interesting with 4,600 different workouts. He’s also a great believer in diet modification but not in deprivation. “Your body just goes into starvation mode when you don’t eat enough,” he explains. “The key is small portioned meals 5 to 6 times a day, about every 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Diet is the most important thing. Exercise is 25 percent and diet 75 percent in terms of importance. Get your eating right.”

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While getting fit requires discipline and effort, H.E.A.T Pro Fitness offers flexibility to make it easier to accomplish. Individual, Group and Team Training Plans are available to suit different needs and budgets. George encourages families to come and work out together as well. “I can be available from Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. I work when clients can work out and I offer unlimited workout sessions at different times during the day,” he says. “The goal is to give a client all the tools they need to get fit in two to three months. After that they know what to do to maintain it.”

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But even after they have all the tools, many clients choose to continue training with H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness. Paul Tillman has been a client for over four years. Tillman, a 69-year-old retired teacher now spends his time writing, conducting seminars and working with Queens University, and credits George as instrumental in his healthy, active life. ➤ “I don’t know where I’d be without

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Tony,” he says. “I’ve never felt better. Since I’ve been seeing Tony my weight set point has gone from 215 pounds to 200 pounds. I’m shooting for 185 next. Working out with Tony is like visiting with an old friend.” Tillman also mentions all the work George does with and for local kids. H.E.A.T. 4 Kids George had had enough success training clients in the community that it allowed him to put a special focus on a cause that was especially close to his heart—training children. Tina McCoy, whose two sons have trained with George for the past five years, claims George has an uncanny ability to work with kids. “It’s difficult to explain how much the kids respect and admire Tony,” she says. “He really connects with kids. He teaches them physical fitness, of course, but he also talks to them about being a good student, how they need to respect their parents and their teachers. And it works! The kids don’t want to disappoint Tony.” And although George’s clients range in age from 6 to 91, he says he gets a special satisfaction from working with kids. “It’s really something to take a kid who is a third string player and with hard work and

“I understand what exercise has done for me as a diabetic. Training is preventative medicine. If exercise can help me keep my blood sugar under control, just imagine what it can do for others. I decided I’ve got to pass this along.” ~Tony George Owner and CEO

diligence, see him make All City,” George says. “But I always balance the athletics with education. My parents taught me early on that education was always the priority.” George’s dedication to kids is most evident in his scholarship program for those unable to afford training. Scholarship recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA and are required to train three days per week. In the last 5 1/2 years, H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness has provided scholarships for 72 deserving student athletes. “One of our scholarship kids, Antonio

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Marshall, is a track athlete at East Carolina University now,” George says with obvious pride. George has big plans to expand the program in the coming year and is looking for a new facility to accommodate it. Ideally, the new program, called H.E.A.T. 4 Kids, will be located closer to uptown and, in addition to training, it will also provide a space for kids to study, access to computers and the Internet to assist with homework, and even in-house tutoring. George enjoys his time training kids but he’s quick to point out that he expects them to be accountable and do the right thing in return. “Parents use me as a mediator,” George explains. “If a parent comes here and tells me their kid’s been out of line, I tell them, ‘Okay, I’ll make him push my car around the building,’ and the parents laugh. They think I’m joking; until they see their kid pushing a car around the building.” Expansion Plans Currently, H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness has a hundred-some clients, mostly through word of mouth recommendations, and George is busy realizing his dream for H.E.A.T 4 Kids, but he has big plans for the future of the business. He’s looking for a larger facility for the Charlotte gym and investigating franchise possibilities in Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Miami and Los Angeles. “I would have to find the right people to run them,” he says, “people who feel the same way that I do about training. “There’s nothing I would trade for this profession. I can help every person who walks through that door to change their life. That’s the best thing about this business. I can change people’s lives for the better.” When asked about the biggest challenge to his work, George smiles and says, “Getting people to see that their lives will change.” biz Barbara Fagan is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

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H.E.A.T. Pro Fitness 10703 Park Rd., Ste. I Charlotte, N.C. 28210 Phone: 704-541-3636 Principal: Tony George, Owner and CEO Employees: 4 Founded: 2005 Business: Personal and group fitness training for adults and children www.heatprofitness.com

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r F o e v A Lo : e m G a The 34

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by sheila neisler

[bizprofile]

Central Avenue Pictures Brings Street Soccer 945’s Homeless Triumphs to the Big Screen n the 2009 movie Invictus, Matt Damon’s climactic 20-second speech implores his South African team to hear their fellow countrymen’s voices singing the traditional South African miner’s song (very engaging in a call-and-response style), and to reach deep within to play for a cause greater than themselves. The story recounts newly elected President Nelson Mandela’s decision to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup to bridge the chasm of hate, fear and prejudice in his deeply divided country. The team’s heroic win changed the arc of reconciliation in his country, and when put on the big screen, showed emotionally gripped viewers that out of humanity’s darker days can arise a brighter ending of redemption. This fall, the transformative victory of Invictus is being played out in new film based on a Charlotte true story about how a group of homeless men form a soccer team and go on to win the national championship. Titled A Love for the Game, it was inspired by the Urban Ministry Center’s Street Soccer 945 Program, and its mission to help homeless youth rebuild their lives through the use and dynamics of soccer. Charlotte’s own Bert Hesse and son Evan Hesse of Central Avenue Pictures L.L.C. are directing it and some of the filming will take place at the Urban Ministry Center in downtown Charlotte where this amazing story took place. The Storyline In the fall of 1995, Lawrence Cann found his way to Davidson College. He was a soccer player with a knack for writing and literature, and soon found himself recruited to play for the Wildcats, becoming a nationally ranked soccer player. He also generously volunteered at the Urban Ministry Center in downtown Charlotte, helping people overcome homelessness. For Cann, it was a natural fit. When he was a young boy, his family’s house burned to the ground. Luckily, the Canns had a support system of friends and family to help them through tough times, but it made the 9-year-old Cann realize how easily a turn of events can land young people on the streets. After college, Cann became art director at Urban Ministry Center. An artist himself, he noted the untapped talent of the homeless men involved in the center, and applied for and received an Arts & Science grant for supplies and support to hone their skills. Over the next six and a half years, he established an entire suite of programs serving the homeless yielding some $100,000 in art sales, and homeless men began to feel they could make a contribution to society. Spurred on by that success, Cann decided to engage them in sports, specifically soccer, falling back on his own success as a youth. With a lure of snacks and fruit, he rounded up three busloads of men and took them to Freedom Park for an afternoon of exercise in peaceful surroundings far from their asphalt jungles. Cann’s thought, “We’ll start with soccer and then go to basketball to see if something catches their interest. Soccer ‘stuck.’” Cann began putting together a soccer team for the homeless. By the spring of 2005, the team, named Art Works Football Club, had been invited to the Homeless World Cup in Edinburgh, Scotland. From there, it was only a matter of time before they won the Homeless World Cup itself. Because of the Urban Ministry Center program’s huge success, Cann decided to take the concept national, founding Street Soccer USA as a non-profit in late 2008, operating out of New York. Today, the program has expanded to 23 cities throughout the country, with 15 others looking to start a team. ➤

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The Real Scoop To the skeptical reader, this is not a play-date for homeless men and women; it’s an innovative solution to build an emotional connection between homeless men and women and the more fortunate members of our community. Urban Ministry Center employees and volunteers practice regularly with the homeless team, culminating in their participation in the annual Homeless World Cup. For the homeless, many experience a camaraderie they never have encountered. For the ‘homefull,’ many realize their own misperceptions of who lives on the street and why and gain a new perspective and understanding. Dale Mullenix, Urban Ministry Center’s executive director, explains, “Many in the homeless population face unique challenges and unintended consequences while growing up. Some feel levels of failure, rejection and shame—almost all feel alone. We focus our efforts on their capabilities versus their life situations in a non-threatening, non-judgmental environment. The outcome is a bond and level of accountability between coach and player and the players with each other. “These ‘I’ve got your back’ relationships give them a level of confidence and a support mechanism they were never raised with. Small achievements in small groups and on the field foster larger steps in life to become contributing members of society.” Those growing up on Little League teams and playing youth sports know very well, lessons taught on the field resonate in the game of life: show up on time, be ready to work, be prepared, be disciplined, give 110 percent, be a team player, have a positive attitude and take pride in your and your teammate’s achievements. The Urban Ministry Center’s Street Soccer 945 program (the number being the address of the Urban Center) has the same expectation with an accelerated agenda: players are required to have 3, 6 and 12-month goals for their life off the field. Soccer is a means to a greater end. Peter Fink, director of the program, puts it succinctly: “We’re not here to make better soccer players; we’re here to help people make better choices.” Both the local and the national programs’ overarching goal of changing lives has have more than their share of success. Fink ticks off stats like a major league commentator: “Seventy-five percent of the homeless have made significant life changes—facing their addictions, finishing their education, getting jobs and getting off the street. “The entire 2005 team moved off the street, all but three of the 2006 and 2007 teams are in permanent housing, and 90 percent of the U.S. National Teams are off the street.” The organization has expanded to 23 cities throughout the country, with 15 others are looking to start a team.

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Enter Bert Hesse Bert Hesse has built a successful career working on the business side of films. Behind the façade of stars, starlets and red carpet premieres are accountants, attorneys and developers grinding out long hours to put the story on the screen profitability. For all of its glamour and entourage accoutrement, it’s like any business—juggling finance (funding), manufacturing (making the film), distribution (getting the film to a theater near you) and marketing (getting you in those theater seats). Funding comes from pockets of money everywhere: private partnerships, hedge funds, government investment (state rebates), and high net worth individuals. Production is outsourced to locales across the globe. Hollywood has become merely a location, not an industry. Hesse had begun to see the power of the motion picture media—“feel good” films that inspire people and transform lives. “Sandra Bullock’s Oscar win last year for The Blind Side broke the glass ceiling in this genre of films,” notes Hesse. “She was able to deliver a critically acclaimed role in a movie which generated $ 225 million in revenue. In the past, this type of movie had limited box office appeal. Upliftingthemed films usually had no budgets, no quality production values and certainly no movie stars. That all changed with her win.” Additionally, he had noticed a change in audience’s tastes. “The pendulum is swinging from the ‘shock and awe’ computer-generated stunts on the

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screen to quality entertainment which challenges viewers to think and to reflect—witness the impact of The Help—in addition to generating some $141 million (and counting) in revenue, the film has spawned multi-racial discussions about growing up in South during the segregated 1960s,” adds Hesse. Most importantly, he had zeroed in on a huge untapped marketing opportunity: partnering with not-for-profits which relate to the movie’s theme to premiere the film to as a fundraising benefit. Explains Hesse, “Many executives and philanthropists are ‘tux’ tired of gala fundraisers with the same old, same old format. They have their own means and access to sporting events and entertainment options. A quality evening of client interaction may not result during half-time, between band sets or after a key-note. However, attending a one-of-a-kind movie premiere to benefit a charitable cause seemed like a win-winwin all the way around: the charity.” Hesse’s observations proved prescient. Just a few years ago, his earlier venture, Indievision, produced the documentary In The Steps of Elie Weisel for the Echo Foundation, a Charlottebased not-for-profit that sponsors and facilitates the conversation on human dignity, justice and moral courage in a way that leads to positive action for humankind. For Echo Foundation’s 10th anniversary in 2007, 12 Charlotte students experienced a life-changing journey tracing the Nobel Peace Laureate’s life from a youth growing up in the

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mountains of Romania to the WWII German concentration camps to becoming the world’s conscience and voice for peace, atonement and dignity for all of humanity. Hesse and his team were right there discretely covering the students’ journey for all of posterity. Using the movie as a fundraiser was an easy decision for Echo Foundation Founder, President and Steps director Stephanie Ansolado.

“These ‘I’ve got your back’ relationships give them a level of confidence and a support mechanism they were never raised with. Small achievements in small groups and on the field foster larger steps in life to become contributing members of society.” ~Dale Mullenix Executive Director

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(l to r) Dale Mullenix, Executive Director Charlotte Center for Urban Ministry, Inc. Bert Hesse, Executive Producer Central Avenue Pictures L.L.C.

“Throughout this economic downtown, everyone was looking for something different (in fundraising), something real, something of substance. The traditional “black-tie” gala wasn’t going to help us share our story or help achieve our fundraising goals. Like most not-for-profits, we’ve faced several difficult years. Using the film as a fundraising vehicle provided us a new medium to share our mission, our commitment to humanity. The media exposure and the money we raised really gave us an emotional and financial boost: in April 2010, more than 1,200 individuals filled the sold-out Knight Theater and we added some $960,000 to our coffers,” says Ansolado triumphantly. ➤

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As Seen Through the Lens One day Bert Hesse read an article about Charlotte’s presence in the Homeless World Cup. Street Soccer was in its infancy and as the Charlotte team was the only U.S. homeless team, they represented our country at the Edinburgh, Scotland games, winning the coveted ‘Fair Play Award’ for their sportsmanship. He reflected on two visions: make movies which can transform individuals—and make them in Charlotte. “We’ve got a great filming location here in Charlotte; we’ve got the talent, the amenities and the hospitality. Most of the time, Charlotte’s featured as a backdrop to another’s city’s story. It’s always been my goal to have this community be the setting for a movie. And when I cam across this positive, uplifting story based in this very community , it was a natural,” Hesse nods. In his current venture, Central Avenue Pictures, which has both Charlotte and Los Angeles ties, he plans to take advantage of son Evan’s producing skills as well. Pre-production titled A Love for the Game will be a loose adaptation of homeless to success soccer story and its impact of changing lives, one goal at a time. Son Evan serves as the screen play’s co-writer and will step in as producer when filming

Global markets, co-dependent economies, technologies that truly change the way business is done—all of these and more are offering challenges of a magnitude we haven’t faced before. Business as usual won’t get the job done.

“We’ve got a great filming location here in Charlotte; we’ve got the talent, the amenities and the hospitality. Most of the time, Charlotte’s featured as a backdrop to another’s city’s story. It’s always been my goal to have this community be the setting for a movie. And when I cam across this positive, uplifting story based in this very community , it was a natural.” ~Bert Hesse Executive Producer

begins in Charlotte. At 31, Evan has spent the last eight years in Los Angeles building a career as a successful musician and composer for Lionsgate Films and Fox Television. Says the younger Hesse, “Working in the trenches is almost an acid test for an entertainment industry career.

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The environment is so competitive—the hours are brutal and there are lots of ‘two-year” Hollywannabies—lots of people moving in and out of the industry all the time. To have staying power, you have to give it your all, all the time.” Evan also brings quite an ‘A-list’—an ‘Access List’ to help build the Central Avenue Pictures brand. “Through my composing work, I have met regularly with directors, producers, actors and fellow musicians. As a result, they’ve become friends and I can go to them directly instead of through agents, managers and ‘gate-keepers’ to move our projects forward.” In a world of so much turmoil and strife, it is refreshing to see the power of filmmaking brought by Bert Hesse and the Central Avenue Pictures team meet up with the power of goodwill in the Urban Ministry Center’s Street Soccer 945 program to illustrate the power of humanity on a big screen, telling the story of the heroic spirit within so many Charlotteans who have been touched by the program for the homeless and transforming and uplifting audiences all over. Casting is set to begin this fall, as is scouting for actual locations. All of Charlotte is certainly waiting for “Ready, set … and action!” biz Sheila Neisler is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

A Love for the Game Film Production in Charlotte, N.C. Producer: Bert Hesse, Executive Producer, Central Avenue Pictures L.L.C. Casting: Begins October 1, 2011 Film: Based on a true story of how a group of homeless men form a soccer team and go on to win the national championship; based on Charlotte’s Street Soccer 945 program at the Urban Ministry Center Street Soccer 945 Program: Urban Ministry Center’s street soccer program for the homeless and impoverished in Charlotte; uses the power of sports to deliver healthy living, a constructive use of leisure time, a community of supportive teammates, and personal relationships to help achieve personal goals, to people caught in the trap of homelessness. More information about the film: Bert Hesse at 704-502-7712 More information about the Urban Ministry Center’s Street Soccer 945 Program: Dale Mullenix, Executive Director, at 704-926-0619; Peter Fink, Program Director, at 704-926-0633 www.centralavenuepictures.com www.urbanministrycenter.org/ communityworks945/streetsoccer945

For times, locations and membership information visit www.business-success-institute.com or call Denise Altman at 704-315-9090

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. . . . . . ...

[bizprofile]

I

by casey jacobus

Maximizing your solar energy investmen t

n 2007, Paul Wittemann, now founder and CEO of Greenspring Energy, was at a crossroads. He had spent 11 years working for EchoStar Corporation, a premier global provider of satellite television operation, the last eight of those years in Baltimore, and had to decide whether or not to relocate to EchoStar’s headquarters in Colorado. During his tenure in Baltimore, he saw the delivery of television programming shift from cable to dish. In his dealings with the independent retailers who sold and installed those satellite dishes, he had learned a lot about small businesses. Wittemann had to decide: stay in an

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industry which he saw evidence was slowing, or move in a different direction. Also during this time, Maryland was enacting legislation to remove rate caps on the power companies’ delivery of electricity. Wittemann saw utility customers growing worried about the predicted 80 percent increase in utility rates over the next few years. Perhaps, he thought, it was time to take a serious look at solar energy. “The more research I did, the more interested I became,” says Wittemann. “I had seen new products like satellite TV and home security systems become widespread across the U.S. I believed solar energy products would be the next big success story.” “In 2007 solar was not a mainstream industry,” Wittemann explains. “But you could see the trends coming. The Al Gore documentary created a lot of interest. People were frustrated about the growing cost of utilities and were eager to talk about alternatives.”

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.

Turni ng

What sealed the deal was when Wittemann, attempting to contact existing solar contractors in the Baltimore/Washington area, never received any return phone calls. “I knew I could do better than that; I had to do better than that.” And so Greenspring Energy was created to focus on the customer experience; delivering top of the line brands, with the most dependable performance and lasting warranties. A Place in the Sun Wittemann made an initial investment of $50,000 from his personal savings and found an “executive” office on Craig’s List for $500 a month. Greenspring Energy opened in late May

: d l Green into Go

2007 in Towson, Md. There he could serve the Baltimore/Annapolis metro area, and the central Maryland region. Wittemann’s first goal: to learn everything he could about the solar industry. He attended trade shows, conferences and training courses; learning how homes and businesses use energy, and how they could save energy. He attained the first of his many certifications from RESNET, the Residential Energy Services Network. “I spent the first six months in training, learning about the industry and figuring out what brands I should offer, “says Wittemann. “I also did some grassroots marketing.” In July 2007, Wittemann hired his first

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employee. In September he started advertising, trying to get the word out about Greenspring Energy. That same month he sold his first solar system to a builder in the Annapolis area. In October he added a sales person to his now 3-person staff. By November he had his first big month, selling four solar installations at $6,000 to $7,000 each. During that first year, Wittemann worked 6 to 7 days a week, learning, researching, getting training and certifications and developing marketing materials. He traveled constantly; attending a lighting show in New York, a conference in Cleveland, and a green expo in Toronto. ➤ His goal was to make Greenspring Energy

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the premier solar, and energy efficiency, company in the mid-Atlantic. When Pennsylvania adopted a solar incentive program in 2008, Wittemann opened a company branch in Reading, Pa., so Greenspring Energy could serve the Philadelphia/Harrisburg metro area. In 2011, he welcomed a new partner, Jay Radcliffe. Radcliffe had grown up in Atlanta, Ga., and graduated from the University of Mississippi. He had gotten to know Wittemann in Baltimore when he worked for Georgia Pacific, an international manufacturer of tissue, pulp, paper, packaging, building products and related chemicals. Radcliffe had 15 years’ experience at Georgian Pacific managing, distributing and purchasing products. Radcliffe was intrigued with the green energy concept, and, with a preference for the South, suggested to Wittemann that Charlotte might be the next place for Greenspring Energy to expand. Wittemann agreed. So Radcliffe opened the Greenspring Energy branch here in Charlotte to serve the Charlotte metro area, extending from Greensboro, N.C., to Greenville, S.C. Planting Roots in Charlotte “Charlotte is a very sunny city,” says Wittemann. “It was very appealing to be able to shift our resources to North Carolina in the wintertime.” In addition to its sunshine, Charlotte has a business climate that encourages both small businesses and solar energy. A recent PEW Center report titled “The Clean Energy Economy: Repowering jobs, businesses, and investments across America,” listed North Carolina as one of the top 12 states growing green energy jobs. Both the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte Regional Economic Development Partnership are actively and aggressively promoting the importance and benefits associated with renewable energy. “We are proud that North Carolina was the first state in the southeastern U.S. to establish a renewable energy portfolio standard,” said Dale B. Carroll, Deputy Commerce Secretary, of their entry into the marketplace. “It is exciting to now see companies like Greenspring Energy establishing operations in our state, including in this case joining the growing energy cluster in the Charlotte region.” Before Radcliffe opened the Charlotte office of Greenspring Energy, he spent time talking with and getting to know some of the key leaders in both Charlotte and the state—people like Ivan Urlaub, executive director of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association. Urlaub has been

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Photovoltaic System

instrumental in creating the core state policy and market drivers of North Carolina’s clean energy economy, resulting in annual double-digit gains in clean energy industry growth, passage of more than 70 clean energy bills, and installation of more than 1,800 renewable energy systems statewide. “We applaud Greenspring’s expansion and job creation in North Carolina,” says Tom White, Economic Development Director at N.C. State University. “We welcome this exciting new partnership with open arms.” Radcliffe promised Bernard Torian, a leader in the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Business and Industries Division charged with the effort to increase jobs in the state, that Greenspring Energy would hire 20 people in its first two years. Now, they are on track to hire 30 to 40. “This is an exciting time at Greenspring,” says Wittemann. “Not only are we continuing to grow, but we also keep getting better.” The Charlotte branch of Greenspring Energy has already completed 30 solar installations, and doubled its office space from 3,000 to 6,000. In the next two years, Radcliffe expects to open a second location in the Carolinas. “We’re selling a product that really matters, that’s surprisingly affordable,” explains Radcliffe. “Solar energy is the only true investment that pays you back from day one. When you use the sun to power your home or business, there is a huge opportunity to save money, and you are also doing your part to save the environment.” Return on Investment In the relatively short time that Greenspring

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Energy has been operating, it has become one of the largest solar energy providers to commercial and residential customers from the mid-Atlantic to the Carolinas. With over 1,300 solar installations completed company-wide, it has become one of the most experienced independently owned solar providers on the East Coast. In an industry where 83 percent of solar companies are less than two years old, Greenspring has a longterm commitment to its customers. “We pride ourselves on our quality, products and experience,” says Wittemann. “We are a fullservice solar company that handles everything from the paperwork to the installation. We professionally install and service everything we sell.” Greenspring Energy has grown 8,700 percent over the past four years. Last year it did $10.5 million in business; it employs 57 people in three locations. In 2011, Inc. listed Greenspring 15th nationally in its Small Business Fast Growth category, and the fastest growing energy company in the United States. By providing a unique combination of solar energy and energy-efficient products and services, Greenspring Energy offers its customers a quick return on their investment and a comprehensive approach to permanent utility savings. The company’s goal is to cost-effectively and permanently reduce its customers’ utility costs through a combination of solar electric systems, solar thermal systems and innovative energysaving guidance, products and services. Greenspring Energy’s size and specialization allow it to offer high-quality products and services at competitive prices. It is an authorized dealer

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and installer for some of the industry’s highest quality solar and efficiency companies including: Schuco, Solarworld, SMA, Rinnai, Solatube, Kingspan, and Kohler. Greenspring Energy is also a Building Performance Institute-accredited energy auditing company and has been awarded the2009 and 2010 National Residential Dealer of the Year by Schuco Solar.

constituting the remaining 30 percent. However, as the company grows and expands, they look at ways to improve its portfolio of products and service offerings. “In an industry which is expected to grow 40 percent in the next decade,” Wittemann says, “we expect to focus on more than just growing sales. Our role is to look toward smart growth, to position the company strategically, and to increase the type of customers we service.” While many of Greenspring Energy’s business customers have been professional offices such as doctors or dentists, Radcliffe sees a whole new commercial market in rural North Carolina.

“Agricultural and industrial businesses are among those who can benefit from solar installations,” Radcliffe says. “We need to reach out to nontraditional customers.” One of these emerging, nontraditional, segments are homebuilders. “In my professional career, I have dealt with the building channel,” says Radcliff, “so I know for homes to sell in this type of market, builders need to differentiate their communities from others. Our products help them reach that goal.” Whether mainstream or nontraditional, Wittemann and Radcliffe believe solar is for ➤ everyone—particularly now when a

THE EMPLOYERS ASSOCIATION Trusted HR Advice, Tools & Training

Jay Radcliffe Regional President Greenspring Energy

“We’re selling a product that really matters, that’s surprisingly affordable. Solar energy is the only true investment that pays you back from day one. When you use the sun to power your home or business, there is a huge opportunity to save money, and you are also doing your part to save the environment.”

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Greenspring Energy’s customers are small businesses and homeowners. Solar electric installations account for 70 percent of its revenue, with solar hot water and efficiency products

For more information on The Employers Association please visit us at www.employersassoc.com or call 704-522-8011. Your Trusted HR Resource Since 1958 with 865 Local Member Companies

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october 2011

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[biznetwork] Thank you to our advertisers who make this publication and its distribution to over 100,000 readers possible! Enjoy their products and services as Charlotte’s leading business-to-business suppliers. 37

All About the Pipes Plumbing, Inc. allaboutthepipes.com

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Solar Thermal System

variety of federal, state and other incentives can pay for up to 70 percent of the initial investment.

“We pride ourselves on our quality, products and experience. We are a fullservice solar company that handles everything from the paperwork to the installation. We professionally install and service everything we sell.” ~Paul Whitamann Founder & CEO In August 2007 North Carolina overhauled its renewable energy rules with Senate Bill 3, which authorized a tax credit for up to 35 percent of a solar system, capped at $10,500 for a residence and at $2.5 million for commercial and industrial systems. The bill also requires the utilities to generate at least 12.5 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2021—the first state in the Southeast to adopt a renewal energy standard. The federal government also offers a 30 percent personal tax credit for property owners who opt for more energy efficient products in their homes. A solar electrical system will not only reduce utility bills up to 90 percent, it will also earn homeowners a discount on their tax bill. A solar water heater earns the 30 percent federal tax credit, while reducing bills by up to 25 percent. Adding more energy efficient products,

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such as a solar attic fan will reduce energy bills up to 15 percent and earn the 30 percent federal tax credit and 35 percent state tax credit. “There has never been a better time to get a solar electric system on your home or business,” offers Radcliffe. “With utility rate increases expected to continue throughout the mid-Atlantic region, incentives and prices are creating a compelling story: Solar is one of the best investments you can make.” biz

Casey Jacobus is a Charlotte-based freelance writer.

IBC Greenspring Energy South, LLC dba

Greenspring Energy 4324 Barringer Dr., Ste. 108 Charlotte, N.C. 28218 Phone: 704-525-6767 Principals: Paul Wittemann, Founder and CEO; Jay Radcliffe, Regional President Founded: 2007 Employees: 57 Locations: Reading, Pa.; Timonium, Md.; Charlotte, N.C. Recognition: Inc.500 15th fastest growing company; Schuco Solar Residential Dealer of the Year Award (2009 and 2010); NABCEPcertified solar insulation company; BBB accredited Business: Providing solar energy system installations and energy efficient products and services from the mid-Atlantic to the Carolinas. www.greenspringenergy.com

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Hood Hargett Breakfast Club hoodhargettbreakfastclub.com

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IFC

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2011 SPEAKER LINEUP Join us at Hood Hargett Breakfast Club for Charlotte’s premier networking experience NEXT MEETING

Carmel Country Club by invitation only

The Hood Hargett Breakfast Club

is a ‘category exclusive’ business development organization that develops and hosts some 36 events throughout the year for its members and guests. The goal of these events: to provide success-minded business owners with first-class venues to entertain clients and prospects.

Matt Eversmann Hero of Black Hawk Down and the Battle of Mogadishu

Nov. 11, 2011

3R s

Renowned RENOWNED SPEAKERS

Tobin Smith Fox Business Analyst and Co-host of FNCs “Bulls and Bears”

Oct. 14, 2011

“Prime-time is the best word that describes Hood Hargett Breakfast Club. It’s a networking and business development group that puts you at the right place, at the right time, every time. Run by quality leadership, the members of the group are all top quality people and businesses.” ~Daryl Larner, Larner’s Office Furniture Outlet

HHBC can provide your company with the 3Rs of business networking success:

We pride ourselves on bringing world-renowned speakers from all walks of life to these events on an on-going basis.

Relevant RELEVANT SUBJECTS

The highlight of the breakfast is an ‘educate and inform’ message from our keynote speakers addressing issues that members and guests can use to improve their companies’ performance. Our members invite clients, key employees and prospects to attend and participate with them.

Remarkable REMARKABLE MEMBERS

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The key to any organization’s success is the quality of its members. We’re proud to represent the best and brightest of the local business community: men and women who have built their own companies to become leaders within their respective industries.

“The Hood Hargett Breakfast Club is the premier business development group in Charlotte. They helped me launch my business when I came to Charlotte and continue to help me grow it through access to and relationships with top Charlotte business leaders.” ~ Lou Amico, L.A. Management Company, LLC

“Hood Hargett Breakfast Club has been instrumental in developing new business relationships and strengthening existing ones. It is respected among business leaders and serves as a valuable resource for philanthropic initiatives throughout the community.” ~ Gary LaBrosse, LaBrosse/Byerley Group, Merrill Lynch

Call For More Information Call Jenn Snyder at 704-602-9529 • jenn@hoodhargett.com www.hoodhargettbreakfastclub.com


4521 Sharon Road, Charlotte NC 28211 • 704.532.9041 or 888.400.4447 (Located across from SouthPark Mall) Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00-7:00, Saturday 10:00-6:00 www.Diamonds-Direct.com Diamonds Direct Birmingham | Mountain Brook, AL | 205-201-7400 • Diamonds Direct Crabtree | Raleigh, NC | 919-571-2881


Greater Charlotte Biz 2011.10