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Continuing Education and Conferences | Columbia, SC 29208 | 803-777-9444 |

Tiffany Hoefer manages the Professional Education Programs in USC’s Office of Continuing Education and Conferences.

USC Professional Education Programs assist professionals in expanding careers


usiness professionals looking to expand their careers or develop skills for a new career path can look to the Professional Education Programs at the University of South Carolina. These continuing education opportunities are designed to give businesspeople certifications as well to make them more marketable in their existing or new fields. Key programs are Paralegal, Six Sigma, Project Management and Grant Writing. Classes vary in length and some have an option for online or evening courses. The Paralegal Program is offered online as well as in person. It’s a six-month course appealing to those looking to grow their paralegal careers, enter a new field or test out the legal field

before making a commitment to law school. The Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate is a one-month program, and the Black Belt Certificate takes two months. Offered online, students participate in a virtual classroom where they learn the standards of Six Sigma, a customer-focused, disciplined problem-solving process. USC’s Introduction to Project Management class and the Project Management Certificate program are covered in an intense two- or four-day course. Professionals will be prepared for advanced project management career opportunities as well as taking the Project Management Exam. Grant writing classes are spread out over two

to three months. Class topics are Introduction to Grant Writing, Needs Based Assessment and Research, Intermediate Grant Writing, and Program Development and Evaluation. Taught by practicing professionals, all courses are classified as continuing education and students do not receive college credit, explained Tiffany Hoefer, program manager. Rather, these certificate programs provide practical training to launch professionals into a new career or enhance an existing one. “We want people to understand we offer career quality training,” she said. Continuing education programs do not qualify for financial aid. For some classes, students can apply for low-interest personal student loans.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


A Note From the Publisher Publisher Bob Bouyea • 803.726.7541

We are proud to present to you our third annual issue of the Columbia Regional Business Report’s Profiles in Business. One of the things I’ve noticed about the Midlands is its diversity of businesses, from manufacturing to technology firms to health care and insurance and so many more in between. All of these organizations are loaded with talented people.

Newsroom Profiles in Business Editor - Licia Jackson • 803.726.7546 Senior Graphic Designer - Jane Mattingly • 843.849.3118 Account executives Senior Account Executive - Robert Reilly • 843.849.3107 Account Executive - Alan James • 803.726.7540 Account Executive - David Lorick • 803.726.7543 Contributing Writers Mary Jane Benston, Christine S. Carroll, Holly Fisher, Mike Fitts, Nike Kern, Licia Jackson Contributing Photographers Jeff Blake, Thomas Hammond

President and Group Publisher - Grady Johnson • 843.849.3103 Vice President of Sales - Steve Fields • 843.849.3110 Creative Director - Ryan Wilcox • 843.849.3117 Director of Audience Development - Rick Jenkins • 864.235.5677, ext. 112 Event Manager - Kathy Allen • 843.849.3113

Going about our daily routines, we Bob Bouyea find it easy to let the things that make the Midlands unique fade into the background. We forget about all the expertise that is at our fingertips. We created Profiles in Business as a vehicle for companies to offer our readers a small sample of the knowledge they possess and the work they do. The narrative format of Profiles in Business allows these advertisers to share with you what they do day in and day out — things that are sometimes too complex for the usual display advertising format. In addition, we feel the information provided in these pages delivers value to you as you search for information that can help you make wise decisions for your business and personal life. Turn the page to start learning more about our community’s businesses. We hope you enjoy it! Bob Bouyea Publisher

Audience Development & IT Manager - Kim McManus • 843.849.3116 Event Planner - Jacquelyn Fehler • 864.235.5677, ext. 113

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Accounting Department - Vickie Deadmon • 864.235.5677, ext. 100 Custom media division Director of Business Development - Mark Wright • 843.849.3143

South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth

Account Executive - Reneé Piontek • 843.849.3105


2013 Profiles in Business | Special Advertising Supplement

The entire contents of this newspaper are copyright by SC Business Publications LLC with all rights reserved. Any reproduction or use of the content within this publication without permission is prohibited. SCBIZ and South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Featured Profiles 1st Priority Alarm.............................................................. 9 Apex Investment Advisors.............................................. 11

ECPI University................................................................ 30

Central Carolina Community Foundation........................ 26

Executive Construction................................................... 10

Columbia College.............................................................. 8

The Hobbs Group............................................................ 29

Columbia Marriott........................................................... 16

Jimmy Dixon of Oliver Wight........................................... 25

Columbia Metropolitan Airport.......................................... 7

Keenan Suggs Insurance................................................ 20

Comfort Services............................................................ 28

NBSC............................................................................... 15

Corporate Concepts........................................................ 27

Pollock Company.............................................................. 6

DayBreak Adult Care Services........................................ 14

Splash Omnimedia......................................................... 24

DoubleTree by Hilton....................................................... 22

Transfer Point................................................................. 13

DPX Labs........................................................................ 18

US Foods......................................................................... 21

Echerer Painting Co........................................................ 12

USC Continuing Education & Conferences........................ 3

112 Corporate Blvd. | West Columbia, SC 29169 | 803-233-0900 |

Gaylon Scoates, vice president of Pollock Company, explains the features of a Ricoh printer to a customer.

Pollock Company takes the local approach


or the folks at Pollock Company’s West Columbia location, community involvement is more than a passing interest. It’s the very reason their workplace exists. Pollock, which provides copiers and services for offices, was founded in Augusta in 1965. Gaylon Scoates, who has worked for Pollock for 19 years, says that when a major manufacturer needed a service provider in the Columbia market, it asked Pollock Company to take on that responsibility. Owner Joe Pollock’s philosophy, Scoates says, required “if we’re going to do business in a community, we want to be part of that community.” So in 2001 Pollock Company opened its Columbia office. Scoates and his family moved to the area,


and he became vice president and manager there. “We’ve always been mindful of the communities we’re in, but we’ve stepped up those efforts in the last few years as far as being involved with more community nonprofits, organizations of that type,” Joe Pollock says. On the business side, Pollock Company has found much success in Columbia. About 42 percent of revenues are coming out of that market. Scoates says, “Our success is based upon the leadership and vision of our owner and our general manager and having a Pollock team that believes in what we’re doing, and that is providing products and services that help our customers with their goals.” Pollock Company develops partnerships

2013 Profiles in Business | Special Advertising Supplement

with customers and helps address a concern many businesses share: handling documents efficiently, securely and in an environmentally sound way. Pollock and Scoates say they are committed to providing customers with “the best of the best.” The company recently began representing Ricoh. Pollock also represents Konica Minolta and Canon. “We just continue to be blessed with a lot of long-term employees and good products,” says Pollock, stressing “local accountability” – a commitment to customer service that sets his company apart from competitors that have “gone corporate.” Scoates says, “Many of the relationships developed in the early days are still not only business customers of ours, but they’re friends as well.”

125-A Summer Lake Drive | West Columbia, SC 29170 | 803-822-5012 |

From left: Thomas Tapp, Chappelle Broom, Tamie Head, Sharon Eargle, Deborah Taylor, Theresa Guinyard, Robert Mapp

Columbia Metropolitan Airport helps small businesses take off


urns out, what’s good for planes is good for business: a level field. Which is why Columbia Metropolitan Airport’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or DBE program, has worked for more than 30 years to ensure that women and minority-owned businesses have a fair shake at laying the asphalt, providing the lighting and delivering concessions that keep the airport vital and growing. “We identify every single article we buy here, from pencils to fire trucks,” says Chappelle Broome, human resources director and DBE liaison, in charge of overseeing the DBE program. The airport’s DBE program has been in effect since the 1980s to ensure that federal

transportation financing is made available to as diverse a field of businesses as possible. Those businesses range from services – custodians, painters and plumbers – to more technical enterprises dealing with airport lighting, engineering and information technology. To qualify as a DBE, a business must be “minority” or “women owned,” meaning that 51 percent of the ownership – and responsibility – of a business falls to someone of Hispanic, Asian, African-American or Native American descent, or to a woman. That owner must be involved in operating the business, not merely a figurehead. When the feds make money available – $29 million over the past five years – the airport staff

consults its lists of minority vendors and seeks bids. The airport then monitors which minorityand women-owned businesses land contracts. For four of the past five years, the airport has met its percentage goals for minority and female receipt of federal Airport Improvement Project grant money. In 2012, the S.C. Chamber of Commerce recognized the airport for surpassing by 4 percentage points its goal of engaging 11 percent minority- and women-owned contractors. “We’re just at the beginning of this,” says Kaela Harmon, governmental affairs manager for the airport. “We want . . . small businesses to understand that we’re very serious about this effort and (it’s) going to continue.”

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


1301 Columbia College Drive | Columbia, SC 29203 | 800-277-1301 |

President Beth Dinndorf, right, visits with students on the Columbia College campus.

Columbia College students are getting down to business


resident Beth Dinndorf has a clear vision for the future of Columbia College. “We’re in a unique position to empower young women,” she says with a can-do optimism heard often around this small campus. “That’s been the great history of Columbia College—long before I arrived. The college is located in the heart of the city of Columbia, the hub of business and government in South Carolina. Students at Columbia College can feel the pulse and vibrancy and be part of political, societal and economic change. Now we’re looking forward with new insights and new energy. To be relevant to present and future generations of young women, we have to evolve and become better in every way.”


How is a small college that educates and empowers young women essential to the successful future of business? Columbia College believes that the best way to grow opportunity in the world is by broadly improving the capabilities of the people in it. So that’s exactly what they’re doing—one student at a time. “We know exceptional education is the foundation of economic progress and prosperity. Young women who chose today’s Columbia College enjoy world-class education that includes practical experience and professional career counseling. With big dreams, strong motivation, and ambitious goals for the future, these students are on their way to the real world with real skills,” says Dinndorf.

2013 Profiles in Business | Special Advertising Supplement

A full-scale revitalization is underway at Columbia College, aligning the historic institution with the demands of 21st-century education and business. This is how Columbia College is transforming young lives. Like never before, Columbia College is focused on the overall success of women and the careers, communities, and families they build. How can you get involved? “When higher education and local business work together, a new generation of leaders can rise with confidence and make the future better for us all,” says Dinndorf. Businesses interested in sponsoring a new internship or participating in a work-study program are encouraged to call 888-997-5188 or to visit the Columbia College website at

PO Box 2492 | Lexington, SC 29072 | 803-520-4532 |

Todd Bunting, owner of 1st Priority Alarm, is proud of the company’s Hometown Heroes program.

1st Priority Alarm offers expert service


n the field of security technology, customers need a company that is honest and that they can depend on for service long after a system is sold. Sometimes, though, many businesses are focused more on making sales, according to 1st Priority Alarm owner Todd Bunting. 1st Priority Alarm is different, Bunting said. His company is ready to support all a home’s or business’s security needs, before and after a sale. They are willing to take the time after an installation to make sure that the customer’s needs are met. That support includes the sound judgment that Bunting and his team bring. Instead of just selling equipment, they will look around for security risks that property owners might be missing.

One such risk that business owners often miss, Bunting said, is securing the digital video recorder that is key to a hard wired video system. He has repeatedly seen systems where the digital recorder lacked the protection of a lockbox. If thieves grab that, the system is defeated. Also, if a phone line is cut with many older systems, they are disabled. To keep businesses and homes secure, 1st Priority Alarm offers a variety of video security systems. It installs systems using wires and a digital recorder on site or wireless systems that store video via the Internet. 1st Priority also installs systems that combine security and home automation, allowing users, for instance, to activate lights or set their alarms via a computer or cell phone.

1st Priority also will integrate fire monitoring into its security system for no extra monitoring charge. Bunting, a military veteran, is proud of the Hometown Heroes program offered by 1st Priority. The discount is available to active duty and military veterans, law enforcement, first responders and medical personnel. It applies to the top-end security system, including free installation and activation, as a “thank you” for the service they provide. Bunting believes customers should turn to a security expert for their system. Don’t leave your security to someone who also installs home entertainment systems, Bunting advises. Let an expert assess your needs and install a tailored system in your home or business.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


117 Beaver Ridge Drive | Elgin, SC 29045 | 803-748-1234 |

Eddie Yandle, owner and founder, with his son Dawson

Executive Construction has been building distinction and value since 1989


ddie Yandle, owner of Executive Construction LLC, has been bringing people home in the Midlands since 1989. Bringing innovative ideas, custom details and value to consumers are the goals of this community-oriented homebuilder. Executive Construction’s newest project, The Villas at Woodcreek Farms, brings a new concept to the Midlands’ homebuilding and neighborhood arenas. Tucked away in Elgin and minutes from Northeast Columbia, the detached luxury homes built by Executive Construction offer maintenance-free exteriors, designer kitchens and recreation rooms with kitchenettes – so there’ll be no space crunch when adult children come to visit or Mom moves in.

“Customers work hard for their money,” says Yandle, who – with his wife, Shanna – owns Executive Construction and has earned the designations of certified master builder and certified green professional. “We allow them the opportunity to customize each home to fit their needs.” Those who build villas at Woodcreek Farms may choose from six customized plans. The choices include an array of the standard flooring, including hardwood and tile, and a range of high-end appliances. Custom home offerings also include landscaping plans, fire pits for backyard entertaining and patio packages – personalized amenities that add to a long list of communal offerings: more than a dozen lakes and parks, hundreds of acres

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of lake shoreline, nature trails and preserve areas, and a pool area with bathhouse. At Woodcreek Farms, homeowners can also enjoy the privileges of The Members Club at Woodcreek & WildeWood. Villas boast 1,800 to 2,600 square feet. Cost ranges from $299,900 to around $500,000. Yandle’s commitment to the Midlands extends beyond homebuilding. The company also emphasizes working with local vendors and organizations. “I am a local business owner, and I support the other local companies in the area,” he says. “Our state economy depends on us all.” The company also offers custom and semi-custom homes in communities in Columbia, Irmo, Lexington and Elgin, and along Lake Murray.

1345 Garner Lane, Suite 201-A | Columbia, SC 29210 | 803-454-0900 |

Linda Padgett and Jim Teeter

Apex Investment Advisors offers long-term guidance


pex Investment Advisors knows that for a sound financial future, investors need both a well thought-out plan and the flexibility to change as needs and markets do. Apex crafts investment solutions designed to help you reach your financial goals. Investing is not a single purchase, according to Apex Investment Advisors President Jim Teeter. Done right, it is a continuing process. With a broad team of experienced experts to tap into, Apex offers long-term financial planning, including continuing investment management and tax planning. One question that Apex helps investors assess is their tolerance for risk. Apex believes that investors do better when they understand the design

of their portfolios and the true challenges and risks of the markets. As Teeter explains, a portfolio designed only with fixed-income investments can seem comforting to some investors, but the proper portfolio could require a greater rate of return. Investors need a plan that reflects their views on risk while also meeting their long-term needs. One change in interest rates, for instance, quickly can make an investment fall short of meeting the client’s long-term needs. That’s why an investment plan needs to be reviewed as conditions change, Teeter notes. Tax laws change every year, with important implications for a portfolio. These changes can greatly impact your overall taxation during your lifetime, and this can be reduced with

minor strategy changes, said Teeter, who worked as an accountant before becoming a financial consultant and investment advisor representative. Often good money management means adjusting to the ever-changing markets, but it also can mean adapting to a change in the financial needs of the investor, Teeter notes. One question that Apex can help investors answer: which is the right type of investment account for them? The best answer to that could change over time. Even a single year with a shift in the investor’s income can prompt a re-evaluation of the options, Teeter notes. To assist with these questions, Apex can tap into years of experience to help create a personally tailored plan to reach an investor’s financial goals.

Jim Teeter is an Investment Advisor Representative with Apex Investment Advisors, llc a Registered Investment Adviser. He is also a Registered Principle and Securities are offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and Apex are not affiliated.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


120 Kaminer Way | Columbia, SC 29210 | 803-798-7202 or 800-948-0244 |

Larry Echerer, president and CEO, and Todd Warren, director of operations

Echerer Painting offers local pride, professionalism


arry Echerer recounts with pride a recent compliment paid to his business, Echerer Painting Co., by an architect, who told him: “You always make me look good.” That’s the business that Echerer Painting has been in for almost 50 years, Echerer said. “We complete somebody else’s dream.” Echerer Painting is a full-service painting and wallcovering contractor, one that has built longterm relationships with some of the top businesses in the Midlands and across South Carolina. Echerer Painting has considerable expertise with design/ build projects, working with interior design companies and general contractors. General contractors keep coming back to Ech-

erer Painting because they know it is dependable, President and CEO Larry Echerer said. Contractors are glad to have one section of a building project that doesn’t require their direct oversight. “They have to manage a lot of people, but they don’t have to manage us,” Echerer said. There are a lot of companies that come and go in business, Echerer notes, but his company has lasted for decades because of its professional staff. The team at Echerer has the experience and skill to work with contractors through the planning and execution of a project. Why do some of the biggest businesses in the Midlands keep coming back to Echerer Painting? In Echerer Painting, they find a collaborator who

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understands how a business should be run. The team at Echerer understands the overall picture on projects, whether big or small, and is ready to help them go smoothly with top-quality results. The projects they have worked on in the past include some of the biggest ones around the Midlands and the coast. They have particular experience with hospitals and health care facilities, churches and automobile dealerships. They’ve even worked at Williams-Brice Stadium. The team at Echerer takes pride in the projects they complete, Larry Echerer said. To them, it feels great to pass a structure and know that people are having a more pleasant experience there because Echerer Painting has done its work so well.

1225 Laurel St., Suite 427 | Columbia, SC 29201 | 877-407-3999 |

From left: Rachael Scott, Marilyn Becker and Jennifer Williams

Transfer Point targets healthy immune response


arilyn Becker and Jennifer Williams say their emphasis on customer service and education sets their business apart. Transfer Point Inc. distributes a dietary supplement, Beta-1,3D Glucan. “The product is an extremely effective immune booster or modulator,” Becker said. Becker started the business 15 years ago, working in her Irmo home. Williams, her daughter, was a teen then and has been involved with Transfer Point for most of its history. Eventually the company outgrew Becker’s home, and today it has four employees and an office in the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator in downtown Columbia. The incubator program has fueled further growth

through mentoring, workshops and connections. The company sells to international and domestic distributors, natural health practitioners, health food stores and pharmacies. It also offers private labeling and sells raw materials to other product formulators. The company is working to expand international sales. The U.S. and S.C. Departments of Commerce have been “very key to helping us maintain and establish new international accounts,” Becker said. The business has grown every year since its founding, she said. Williams said the product has consistently outperformed other popular beta glucans in many published studies. She believes the reason is its purity. “Our product works. It produces a result. We

receive more referrals than we can keep up with.” And, while Transfer Point is making international contacts, “on the consumer level, we spend a good part of our day talking to individual people about the product. Our phone number is right on the bottle, so if someone has questions, they contact us,” Williams said. Transfer Point also supports research on the immune impact of beta glucan. The company contributed its Glucan 300® to the University of Louisville for a placebo-controlled clinical study that produced positive and encouraging results. “We know beta glucan can play an important role in supporting good health, and this study adds to that body of evidence,” Becker said.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


123 Library Hill Lane, Suite A | Lexington, SC 29072 | 803-356-4451 |

Owner Coker Day serves clients in Columbia, Lexington, Aiken and Hilton Head with DayBreak Adult Care Services.

DayBreak assists with daily living – at home


oker Day is glad he got in on the ground floor in the business of helping seniors with their daily activities. When he started DayBreak Adult Care Services 13 years ago, he had the field almost to himself. Now there are many similar businesses, but DayBreak’s early start has given it advantages in flexibility, size and experience. DayBreak provides nonmedical services, and customers’ needs vary greatly. Some seniors might just need someone to drive them to run errands, or someone to help them take care of a pet. Others might need around-the-clock assistance. Care is generally given in private residences, but some clients are in assisted living facilities and nursing

homes. “It’s a business that we built from scratch. Our policies and procedures have been formed by us over the years as we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work.” Because his company is independent, service agreements and policies are flexible. “I can change them if I want to,” Day said. DayBreak can accommodate just about any reasonable request from a client.” DayBreak has about 180 workers. “We’re a lot bigger, so we have a lot more resources.” If a caregiver isn’t at work one day, someone else will be there. “I guarantee you that we won’t miss a shift, just because we have so much backup.” On the other hand, Day doesn’t want “a revolving

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door” of people coming in and out. “We try and do everything we can to make sure you don’t have too many caregivers and that you have consistent caregivers coming out to your home.” Longevity offers other advantages. “If a problem arises, you’re probably not the first person to experience it, and we probably know how to react.” The DayBreak website has become quite a magnet for charities and their supporters. Each month DayBreak donates $500 to a nonprofit, and anyone may cast an online vote for the next winner. “This is a way we are able to give back to the community,” Day said. DayBreak Adult Care serves clients in Columbia, Lexington, Aiken and Hilton Head.

1221 Main Street | Columbia, SC 29201 | 803-929-2015 |

Chuck Garnett, President and CEO, NBSC

NBSC known for strength, stability, market presence


here is a common misconception that banks are hesitant to lend. Lending is an essential part of what we do as community bankers and we are actively looking for new loan opportunities,” said NBSC President and CEO Chuck Garnett. “We have a really strong team in all of the communities we serve,” Garnett said, noting NBSC operates in 17 of the state’s 46 counties. “Our management team is active and visible in the community, averaging 27 years in banking, all in South Carolina. That strength, stability, and market presence sets us apart in a business that is going through a tremendous amount of change.”

NBSC, which originated in Sumter in 1905, became a division of Synovus Bank in 1995. “Being a part of a larger company operating in five Southeastern states gives NBSC the ability to offer products and services that compete with the big banks while its structure preserves the community bank look and feel for the customer,” Garnett said. “Our strength is catering to both the individual consumer as well as private companies,” Garnett said. In addition, the large corporate banking team within Synovus allows NBSC to serve the largest companies doing business in the state. Headquartered in Columbia, NBSC has a strong commitment to South Carolina, serving four

major regions: Central, Upstate (I-85 corridor), Northeastern (Pee Dee to Myrtle Beach) and South Coastal (Charleston to Hilton Head). It also has a commitment to its team members, as reflected by its selection as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina in 2012. Earlier this year, Synovus received 21 national and regional awards for customer service from Greenwich Associates. NBSC has ambitious plans for growth in the state, focusing on building relationships. “We think South Carolina has a lot of positive momentum,” Garnett said. “There have been many significant economic development announcements in recent years. There are great opportunities ahead.”

Loan products subject to credit approval. NBSC is a division of Synovus Bank. Synovus Bank, Member FDIC, is chartered in the state of Georgia and operates under multiple trade names across the Southeast. Divisions of Synovus Bank are not separately FDIC-insured banks. The FDIC coverage extended to deposit customers is that of one insured bank.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


1200 Hampton Street | 803 771-7000 |

General Manager Joel Darr in the concierge lounge

Director of Sales Nancy Wagner visits a guest suite

Columbia Marriott remodels with guest’s success in mind


magine this: You arrive downtown and enter the quiet elegance of the lobby of the Columbia Marriott. No need to check in – you’ve already done that on your mobile phone, so a customer service representative hands you your key. You pause at the bar to order a cocktail of premium spirits, which arrives with space-age compressed ice to keep your drink cold for hours without diluting it. On your table are power outlets allowing you to recharge your tablet computer and check your email. After a few minutes you board the elevator for your top-floor room, plush with new paint, bedding and furniture. You relax a bit and then take that drink to the concierge lounge, overlooking the twinkling lights of Main Street. These improvements and more – a total of $12 million in refurbishments – are in progress at the Columbia Marriott, a 300-room hotel with 26,000 square feet of meeting space. The project will be fully completed in September. “We understand you have objectives in your travel,” said Joel Darr,

general manager. “Marriott’s focus is to help our customers be productive, to be successful.” In June 2012, the Columbia Marriott was purchased by Garrison Investments, who employed Aimbridge Hospitality to manage it. Aimbridge is the second-largest independent hospitality company in the United States, Darr said. The new owners made a commitment to upgrade the 30-year-old hotel. The project began with a refresh of all 300 rooms and suites in the hotel, completed in April. The work was done one floor at a time to avoid disturbing guests. Walls were painted, new draperies, furnishings and bedding were added and the color scheme was changed to Marriott’s new color palette, gold and red. On two floors, bathtubs were replaced with showers with tile, glass doors and marble thresholds. Twelve rooms with ADA features were added for disabled visitors, exceeding code requirements, Darr said. Marriott’s highly successful Great Room concept is being carried out in the redo of the lobby. It will have numerous zones – social, individual and relax-

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ation; included within the area will be the front desk, the restaurant and bar. Wood and brass is coming down, to be replaced with modern stainless steel. The At Your Service zone, where guests stop first, will have check-in pods with no barrier between guests and check-in personnel. The refurbished restaurant will keep its name, City Center Grill, but new food and beverage director Jeff Kaplan will introduce new Southern cuisine. “We’ll feature modern Southern food with a strong Columbia and South Carolina focus,” Darr said. The banquet and catering program will follow the same concept, delivering a restaurant-quality experience for all events. An exciting part of the update will be the Marriott’s new Day/Night Bar. In the morning, the bar will open as a Starbuck’s, with coffee drinks and pastries. It will have individual and group tables with power outlets for computers and other electronics. As the day goes on, the space will become a lounge serving Carolina-crafted beers and high-end Scotch, bourbon and spirits. The former sports bar, Garnet’s, will become a private lounge. “It will be ideal for private social events like client entertaining, employee appreciation, bridal showers, and holiday parties,” said Nancy Wagner, director of sales. The covered front entrance on Hampton Street is being completely redone, in line with the design focus throughout the building: palmetto, river and flow, Wagner said. The banquet and meeting rooms are being refreshed, with new lighting, chandeliers and modern stainless trim, and flooring of hardwood, tile and new carpet. The Marriott’s Meetings 101 will provide a high-tech meeting package, Darr said. For example, the meeting planner will have the ability to control the temperature, lighting and sound for each room remotely. Another amenity for the meeting planner is Marriott’s Red Coat on Demand program. A mobile phone app allows the planner to communicate – quietly – with the hotel about anything needed, receiving an immediate response. One meeting space is being transformed into an executive board room with a flat screen monitor with plug-and-play technology built into the conference table. “This will be the highest-level meeting room in the market,” Darr said. The hotel has been a fixture at Main and Hampton since opening 30 years ago. “Downtown Columbia is in the midst of a renaissance with dozens of storefronts lighting up with new businesses and an estimated $300 million in new capital investment over the past two years alone,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “From the very beginning, the Marriott has not only participated in this movement, they’ve helped lead it. “Through this renovation they are once again demonstrating that leadership and we’re incredibly excited by its potential to further enhance downtown and help us realize Columbia’s promise as a truly world-class city.” The Marriott is appreciated for its role in the vitality of the downtown area. “Main Street is blessed to have the Columbia Marriott – the premier business, leisure, and convention hotel located in the very heart of our City Center,” said Matt Kennell, president and CEO of the City Center Partnership. “It is the gold standard of our hospitality community and with the many improvements now underway, will be a key destination for many years to come.” Besides its significant contribution to Columbia’s tax base, the Columbia Marriott works to be a good steward to the community. The hotel supports the local and state Chambers of Commerce, and has a top-level executive team in place which serves on many community boards. The Marriott donates room nights to local nonprofit organizations. It also works with USC’s hospitality students and supports Fort Jackson through the Association of the U.S. Army.

City Center Grill’s new take on shrimp and grits

A pulled pork sandwich has that Southern touch

New on the City Center Grill menu is chicken and waffles

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


151 Powell Road, Suite 116 | Columbia, SC 29203 | 866-628-1150 |

DPX Labs revolutionizes chemical analysis process with new technology


ore than a decade ago William (Bill) Brewer, PhD, DFTCB, had the idea for a solid-phase extraction device while working for the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. He realized there had to be a way to extract samples while transferring blood and other liquid samples through a pipette tip, eliminating several steps in the process. In his free time, Brewer perfected his idea for a product to improve chemical analysis and, in 2003, was awarded a patent for DPX, which stands for disposable pipette extraction. DPX uses pipette tips that incorporate loosely contained sorbent material that is mixed with the sample solution. Brewer first licensed the concept to a company based in Ohio, but wasn’t satisfied with the direction his invention was headed. After terminating the license agreement, Brewer launched DPX Labs in 2007 with his brother and uncle. A fourth investor preliminarily set up shop in his garage where they began figuring out how to manufacture the product. “We went through some typical trials and tribulations dealing with suppliers,” Brewer said of the startup. “It really took two years to solidify the relationships and have everything we needed to have a good quality product.” DPX Labs initiated further investments from family and friends, received a grant from SC Launch, and obtained a small business loan. The company expanded to a Lexington warehouse and secured its first few customers, mostly small government labs. One of the first customers was the S.C. Department of Agriculture, which was able to double their production (for pesticide residue analysis) at half the cost using DPX technology. Over the next couple of years business started booming, and by the beginning of 2012, DPX Labs had paid off its debts and moved into the Midlands Technical College Enterprise Campus, which allowed the company to improve the quality of its manufacturing process. The company is currently selling tens of thousands of DPX tips per month, and is anticipating monthly orders into the hundreds of thousands within one to two years. To handle the anticipated growth, DPX Labs is investing in robotic platforms for manufacturing and is working towards ISO accreditation. The

DPX Labs is located at Midlands Technical College Enterprise Campus in Northeast Columbia.

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company’s goal is to make and sell the highest quality products. The company has a full-time sales representative in California as well as reps in Texas and around the Northeast. Plans are to double the number of manufacturing employees and add two researchers for the company’s R&D focus. DPX Labs has also contracted distributors in Europe (Germany), Australia, China, Korea, and South America. While other companies have attempted to mimic Brewer’s technology, DPX Labs maintains a competitive advantage and unique position in the industry. Essentially DPX Labs has taken a process that involves five to 10 steps down to one to three steps. For all labs – large and small – saving time means saving money. Think about an episode of “CSI” where you see lab chemists placing liquid samples – maybe blood or urine – into test tubes of solution. To process the sample for drugs or poisons, it may take 30 to 45 minutes to prepare it for chemical analysis. DPX Labs allows the chemists to prepare the samples in just one to five minutes. “In blood, there are a lot of proteins, peptides, metals and salts that will interfere with the chemical analysis,” Brewer said. “Our product helps to separate the matrix from the analytes (compounds) of interest. It allows us to do the separation in the pipette tips, which makes it convenient, fast, low cost and greener. There’s less organic waste.” Brewer is also giving students at the University of South Carolina a glimpse into the real-life applications of science. An instructor in the chemistry department, Brewer’s students have an opportunity to do research and applications associated with DPX Labs. Brewer also has a license agreement with USC so he can develop some applications in the labs on campus. Teaching also gives Brewer the opportunity to focus on what he loves most: the science and chemistry that helped him launch DPX Labs. The day-to-day business operations, such as accounting and manufacturing, are run by people with that area of expertise. Brewer interacts with the sales teams, performs R&D and does troubleshooting for customers. “I focus on what I like to do,” he said. By having highly qualified and responsible personnel, Brewer dedicates his time to the development of products and applications. Brewer’s technology is being used all over the world. Two of the biggest markets are toxicology and food safety. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has validated a method for assessing antibiotics in meats because of concern over antibiotic resistance, Brewer said, so the USDA is using this technology to analyze meat products for certain antibiotics. DPX Labs’ international customers include Brazil, where food safety is a high priority. A growing area of focus for DPX Labs is clinical toxicology. One clinical lab saved over $500,000 in new instrumentation costs because DPX products increased their throughput by two-fold. Numerous other applications are being developed that provide costs savings for high throughput labs. DPX Labs is staying on the cutting edge of technology by continuing extensive R&D, and it has raised the bar for high throughput sample processing. The company has established its position as a leader in extraction technology through technical support and customized products and solutions. For more information about DPX Labs, please send Dr. Brewer an e-mail at:

DPX tips are very easy to use and can rapidly separate chemical compounds of interest from sample matrix, taking just seconds to perform.

DPX tips can separate chemical compounds in solution based on their chemical properties.

Multi-channel pipettors or robotics can readily utilize DPX tips to process multiple samples simultaneously for high throughput analysis.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


1330 Lady Street | Columbia, SC 29201 | 803-799-5533 |

Tommy Suggs, President and CEO of KeenanSuggs

KeenanSuggs lives its values of Professionalism, Service Excellence and Relationships every day


nsurance is complicated and can be very confusing. That’s why knowledge and experience are important, but equally so are trustworthiness, compassion and discipline. Those are qualities honored – and promoted – at KeenanSuggs, a fully integrated insurance, risk management, employee benefits and HR services firm with offices in Columbia, Greenville and Raleigh. “Our values – Professionalism, Service Excellence, Relationships – are lived by our firm every day. We believe in them and realize that although individuals and businesses need insurance, they do not have to buy it from us,” says Tommy Suggs, President & CEO.

What brings people into KeenanSuggs is the firm’s employees, insurance knowledge, variety of carriers and reputation. It has repeatedly been honored as both a strong partner in insurance and also a good place to work. “We always talk about that – that our job is to take care of our clients,” Suggs says. “In our profession, it is important to have a Sales Culture but equally important to have a Service Culture.” The present company began as the Rooney McArthur Insurance Agency in 1949 and underwent a name change when Keenan Insurance Services was acquired in 2001. “We’ve been very fortunate,” Suggs says. “We’ve had excellent growth since we bought the

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company and most of it has been organic.” At KeenanSuggs, keeping people happy doesn’t apply only to clients. The company also emphasizes employee happiness. It promotes education, grants bonuses for longevity of service and even promotes architectural comfort. “It’s been fun to watch our team grow,” says Suggs. Starting with a dozen employees in 1995, KeenanSuggs currently employs over 100 insurance professionals in three locations with over 70 alone at their headquarters on Lady Street in Columbia– all of them providing dependable personal service to individuals, public entities and corporations throughout the Southeast.

655 St. Andrews Road | Columbia, SC 29210 | 803-772-8585


US Foods’ CHEF’STORE serves up essentials for chefs and restaurateurs


S Foods is assisting chefs and restaurateurs seven days a week at its new CHEF’STORE in Columbia, which offers more than 4,000 pantry staples, specialty products and other items. “Chefs and restaurant owners in Columbia are always on the go and they are looking for a more convenient, quicker way to get everything they need,” said Bob Stout, president, US Foods southeast region. “CHEF’STORE features an intuitive layout and wide aisles for fast, easy maneuvering and checkout.” The St. Andrews Road location is just the third CHEF’STORE in the United States. Others, opened in the past year, are in Charlotte and Oklahoma

City. The Columbia store is conveniently located near the interchange of interstates 20 and 26 and close to the Harbison area and downtown. While CHEF’STORE focuses on meeting the needs of the area’s restaurant and culinary community, the store is open to the general public and requires no membership fee. The 37,000-square-foot Columbia store stocks staples ranging from a gallon jug of barbecue sauce to 50-pound bags of onions to 30-pound bags of snow crab clusters. The store also sells commercial kitchen equipment as well as items such as skillets and serving trays. Food safety is a top priority for the company, with temperature-controlled areas in the

CHEF’STORE ensuring that food is always kept at the proper temperature. When customers need to transport perishables, the store provides complimentary frozen gel packs and offers cooler bags and other products to keep the temperature constant. The new store employs 30 workers, most of them with culinary skills or experience in the restaurant or grocery industry. Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., US Foods has about $22 billion in annual revenue and is the 10th largest privately held company in America. It offers more than 350,000 products to customers across the country including its own high-quality, exclusive brands.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


2100 Bush River 100 S.Road Main |St., Columbia, Suite O SC | Summerville, 29210 | 803-731-0300 SC 29483 | |843-832-4614 |

The DoubleTree by Hilton has many updates, including an inviting pool and fitness center.

DoubleTree by Hilton upgrades rooms, amenities in transition to Hilton brand


arm chocolate chip cookies, a Hilton Honors Executive Lounge, meeting space and luxurious guest rooms are just some of the amenities at DoubleTree by Hilton. Over the last year, the DoubleTree has made the transition to a full-service Hilton hotel with the highest of products and services. This hotel has been through several brand changes, including as a Radisson and a Sheraton, but when the hotel became a Hilton product in June 2011, management knew it had settled on the last – and best – brand change. “Having taken this hotel through the transition, it gives us great pride to continue to improve all of our facilities for the comfort and ‘little extras’ in a full-service Hilton experience,” said Pamela Stoy, director of sales and marketing. The upgraded guest rooms are outfitted with a new Serta mattress made just for the Hilton brand along with “Sweet Dreams” bedding, including jumbo

hypo-allergenic down pillows. The guest rooms and suites also have 32-inch LCD flat-panel televisions and comfy chairs for relaxing. Business travelers will appreciate the large desk, adjustable ergonomic executive chair and complimentary Wi-Fi. Two-room suites are also available for guests who need a little more room on their travels. Columbo’s restaurant and lounge is located within the DoubleTree. It is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks. Check the game scores on the bigscreen TV or enjoy a late dinner with friends. Columbo’s full menu is available until midnight seven day a week. The lounge serves up specialty martinis, happy hour prices and an appetizer menu. The restaurant is also available for private parties. Start the day at the breakfast buffet with freshly made omelets or grab a lunch of pasta, soup or shrimp and grits in the casually classy atmosphere with affordable prices. In September 2012, the DoubleTree introduced a new Hilton Honors

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All guest rooms and suites now have the Hilton Serta mattress and upgraded bedding.

Complimentary WIFI in all public areas, including guest rooms.

The Hilton Honors Executive Lounge provides private club setting.

Hilton Honors members receive complimentary breakfast.

Executive Lounge. Gold and diamond Hilton Honors members can enjoy complimentary breakfast, social hour and desserts Monday through Friday, snacks, specialty coffees and an hour bar in a private club environment. The club also provides a computer station, copy machine, HD TV and a library with magazines and newspapers. Other guest amenities at the DoubleTree by Hilton include complimentary Wi-Fi in all public areas including the lobby’s Cyber CafÊ and a fitness center open to guests 24 hours a day with cardio, free weights and strengthening equipment. The DoubleTree by Hilton is also the largest area group hotel with 22,000 square feet under one roof and 16 flexible meeting rooms. The hotel is well equipped to host social events, weddings, business meetings or corporate conferences. The 11,000-square-foot Congaree Ballroom, as well as the Lexington Ballroom and all other meeting rooms have been upgraded to enhanced LED energy efficient lighting, new paint, wallpaper and carpeting.

Columbos Restaurant is available for private parties up to 100 people.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


711 E. Main St., Lexington, SC 29072 | 803-785-5656 |

Back, from left: Jayson Bocook, Jesse Burnett, Shelley Lyles, James Bozard, Ann-Kathryn Jordan, Jeff Floyd, Brooke McAbee, David Ruff, Sheri Thompson. Front, from left: Chancy Ripley, Matt Thompson, Michael White, Troy Williams.

Splash Omnimedia: where “comprehensive” makes all the difference


plash Omnimedia isn’t your typical marketing firm. They do it all, and then some! You’ve likely seen and been influenced by their work, though you may not have realized it. They represent hundreds of clients across a variety of industries, equipping them with coordinated, comprehensive marketing strategies that produce measurable results. Today, consumers’ attention is fragmented — they view the content they want, when they want it, and do so across an abundance of devices — often all at the same time. This creates significant challenges for brands as they attempt to navigate various options, leaving them unsure of which marketing and advertising

tools to use and how to use them. To complicate matters even more, the nuances and opportunities provided by these media have led many marketing firms to focus on just one or two, leaving the challenge of assembling various tactics into a cohesive plan to the client. Matt Thompson and Michael White, two business executives, had first-hand experience with the frustration that derives from trying to juggle the daunting tasks of orchestrating marketing-related activities while also leading and managing an organization’s day-to-day operations. Out of this frustration, Splash Omnimedia was born. In 2006, founding partners Thompson and White began the process of building a company

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that would meet all of a client’s marketing and advertising needs. “Limiting the marketing tools in your arsenal is counter-productive,” said White. “We leverage every media opportunity — from time-tested traditional media to digital inbound marketing — to help our clients deliver impactful brand experiences across all screen types, formats, and channels.” To do that, Thompson explains, “We’ve assembled a team of professionals, including web developers, graphic designers, digital media specialists, video and motion graphic experts, social media managers, public relations, and strategists to execute a wide range of tools, tactics, and media that actually work.”

PO Box 23006 | Columbia, SC 29224 | 803-381-1572 | |

Jimmy Dixon, Principal with Oliver Wight

Increasing profitability. Achieving breakthrough results.


olumbia resident Jimmy Dixon, an Oliver Wight principal and founder of Dixon-McRae Inc., counsels senior executives and their teams to create winning strategies that drive success. His greatest strength? Making organizations more profitable. Dixon offers 25 years of corporate success combined with senior leadership expertise within strategy, transformation and supply chain management. His clients run the gamut from Fortune 500 companies to smaller businesses with the common aim of achieving breakthrough results. He is a sought-after speaker on Integrated Business Planning as it applies to strategy, business planning, innovation, sales and marketing, supply chain and financial planning. Dixon is currently

co-authoring a book about developing and advancing competitive strategies. He was elected to the Oliver Wight Board of Directors this year. “Our vision is to change the face of business,” says Dixon. “Utilizing research and best practices compiled over the last 40 years, we perform diagnostics, lead relevant education and redesign business processes while offering ongoing coaching. We have helped diverse companies achieve significant improvement to their P&L utilizing our fast track methodology. Our approach is focused on rapid knowledge transfer that strengthens companies to stand on their own at the end of our engagement, fully capable of sustaining progress while successfully managing

future challenges.” While he plans to continue his work with national and international clients, Dixon is also committed to building relationships with local executives, businesses and other organizations in a way that adds value for the Palmetto State. “I believe in what we have to offer as a city and state. My goal is to support South Carolina’s businesses in developing strategic roadmaps for unparalleled business success. We have tremendous possibilities.” Dixon relocated to Columbia seven years ago after a successful career with GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals in Research Triangle Park, NC. He is married to Columbia native Terry Joye Dixon and has three children.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


2711 Middleburg Drive | Columbia, SC 29204 | 803-254-5601 |

Central Carolina’s President and CEO, JoAnn Turnquist

Central Carolina Community Foundation investing millions in Midlands communities


hether you have $100 or $100,000, you can make a difference in the Midlands through Central Carolina Community Foundation. Since 1984, the Foundation has been working in 11 central South Carolina counties helping donors connect to charities and organizations close to their hearts. JoAnn Turnquist, president and CEO, said the Foundation serves two primary missions: • To promote and increase philanthropy by building a substantial endowment to address community needs. • To be a vehicle for philanthropy, helping donors invest in effective organizations that produce results.

A $100 million foundation, Central Carolina Community Foundation invested more than $10 million in nonprofits last year, and this year will have given out $13.1 million in grants. “You do not have to be wealthy to make a difference in the community,” Turnquist said. “The Community Foundation offers several types of fund options to meet the varying charitable and financial goals of our donors.” In addition to establishing a fund during one’s lifetime, many people set up charitable giving funds as part of their estate for their children to manage. Legacy funds are often established with proceeds from a life insurance policy or IRA, as all estate and income taxes are avoided leaving 100% of the assets to charity.

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If an individual fund is not an option, donors can make smaller gifts and have their dollars bundled with others to create a larger donation. One of the benefits of going through the Community Foundation is that it is well informed about the charitable organizations and the greatest needs in the community. Organizations are verified through GuideStar and the Secretary of State. The Foundation’s fees are about 1% and that money is reinvested in the community, through impact studies and community-wide initiatives. For close to 30 years, the Foundation has been a trusted resource for charitable giving. If you, your family or your business is interested in creating a legacy of giving, please contact us.

2412 Main Street | Columbia, SC 29201 | 803-758-2900 |

Corporate Concepts Co-Owners Bruce Fewell and Rutledge Davies

Corporate Concepts sells office furniture that promotes collaboration


n a “Bring Your Own Device” world, the big, polished mahogany conference room table is losing its luster for business, state Bruce Fewell and Rutledge Davies, owners of Corporate Concepts, Inc. The tendency to work collaboratively rather than privately, especially among Generation-Y, is having a huge impact on the office culture. Enabled by technology, work is no longer tethered to individual workspaces. Going from a “me” workplace to a “we” workplace, workers look for smaller activity spaces, which they find make them more creative and productive. New generations of employees are embracing these changes. Organizations are quickly becoming more open and collaborative to better foster innovation and

productivity. “In today’s world, work takes place everywhere,” says Fewell, “and you want to promote the unscheduled two-minute meeting.” One product that promotes this innovation is The Power Cube, a recharging hub for casual collaboration, from Knoll. The Power Cube offers easy access to power and communication at the table top, supporting collaboration wherever it happens. With a functional writable surface and power and USB access, these “recharging hubs” lead to a “campfire effect” where multiple users end up huddling around the activity space to share ideas. Corporate Concepts represents a wide range of furniture makers, but much of their focus is on Knoll, a Pennsylvania-based company, with

versatile choices for the modern office and a rich design heritage. Corporate Concepts is the oldest Knoll dealer in the Southeast. As Columbia businesses renovate or relocate, they are modernizing furnishings to the collaborative model, Fewell and Davies say. The company has worked with USC, BC/BS, state and federal government agencies, hospitals and law firms. Corporate Concepts started in 1986. After working in the office furniture industry for 15 years, Davies and Fewell bought the company in 2007. Though they offer the latest in office furnishings, “it comes down to how you treat the client,” Davies says. The firm takes pride in its level of service and sees successful years on the horizon.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


128 Sparkman Drive | Columbia, SC 29209 | 803-772-4490 |

Todd Wagstaff, President of Comfort Services

Comfort Services: optimizing the comfort of your home and budget with new technologies


ou don’t become one of the top HVAC companies in the Midlands by skimping on the latest technologies and advancements. Then again, Comfort Services didn’t get where it is today by skimping on anything, especially customer service. Since its founding in 1976, the Columbia-based HVAC company has become renowned for providing innovative and cost-effective solutions customized to each client’s needs. “There’s so much more to comfort than the temperature inside your home,” says Todd Wagstaff, President of Comfort Services. “For many people, comfort is also about the size of their budget or their carbon footprint.” That’s why, he says, Comfort Services offers new technologies and solutions that are cost-effective and energy efficient, saving customers money upfront and down the road. For instance, Comfort Services’ focus on renewable energy sources now includes geothermal systems. This system taps into the naturally stable temperature underground to meet your heating and cooling needs. It’s incredibly energy efficient, producing five units of energy for every one unit used—you’re literally getting more out of it than you put in.

Comfort Services has also embraced smart, programmable thermostats. The stored daily settings can be manually overridden whenever you need, and can even be controlled by any smartphone, tablet, or PC connected to the Internet. Comfort Services can use the thermostat to monitor performance of your HVAC system and alert you to potential issues before they become a problem. What makes Comfort Services notable, however, is that they pair these technological innovations with exceptional customer service. In addition to high-quality installation and repair services, Comfort Services offers diagnostic home energy audits to help identify and provide energy-saving solutions for their customers. Ultimately, the dedication of Comfort Services to its customers’ satisfaction means that these technological innovations won’t be the last that it embraces. “We want to provide our customers with the highest level of knowledge and professionalism possible,” says Wagstaff. “That means not only offering these great new technologies, but knowing the variety of ways they can be implemented, so that we can give each customer a unique solution for their needs.”

28 2013 Profiles in Business | Special Advertising Supplement

1704 Laurel Street | Columbia, SC 29201 |

Tony Callander, Allison Pena, Christina Kelly, Mark Hobbs

The Hobbs Group puts client service first


local CPA firm with high standards where client service is foremost – that describes The Hobbs Group perfectly, says shareholder Christina Kelly. Mark Hobbs, managing shareholder, founded the full-service CPA firm in 1986, and in the last 15 years, it has doubled in size to 20 employees. “Across the board for our services, our commitment is to client service,” Kelly says. “We pride ourselves in that and work very hard at it.” As the firm grows, its leadership – Hobbs, Kelly and shareholder Allison Pena – are careful to make sure to keep the personal side of service. The Hobbs Group has a high retention rate among its 11 CPAs on staff, which means that the clients see familiar faces and the level of experience is assured. The Hobbs Group offers audit and attest work, small business services such as bookkeeping and payroll, consulting including financial and litigation support, tax services including tax planning and estate work, forensic investigation, and valuation services with two Certified Valuation Analysts on staff. An affiliated company within their office has a Certified Financial Planner on staff and offers retirement services, financial planning and investment

advisory services. Across South Carolina, the firm works with nonprofits, construction and real estate, government services, retail, manufacturing and distribution, professional services and employee benefit plans. Growing out of their work with nonprofits, staff members volunteer and serve on boards of community organizations, Kelly says. The staff has a commitment to excellence in their profession as well. Hobbs is a past chair and past member of the South Carolina Board of Accountancy, the regulatory agency for the profession. Hobbs also served as President of the South Carolina Association of CPA’s in 2005. He is serving on the national board for peer review, a process all firms that perform audit and attestation must undergo every three years to make sure they are following professional standards. Kelly is the chair of the South Carolina peer review committee and all three shareholders are qualified to be team captains for peer review. The Hobbs Group takes pride in dedicating its people, resources and time to building a better world.

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


250 Berryhill Road, No. 300 | Columbia, SC 29210 | 803-772-3333 |

School of Health Science

School of Computer & Information Science

ECPI University works with business community to supply skilled workers


CPI University is an educational facility built on industry-driven curriculum designed to produce graduates ready to meet the needs of today’s employers. A keen focus for Campus President Jim Rund is working with the Midlands business community to make sure the programs align with available jobs. “We feel accountable not just that students finish school but get into a new career,” he said. “We feel responsible to their future even after graduation. This is not just an academic exercise to go through and get a degree, the purpose is to get a job in the graduate’s field of study.” To that end, ECPI maintains close ties to the Midlands business community. It has an advisory board for each degree program. The boards – comprised of about 25 people – meet twice a year to review curriculum, meet with faculty and staff and offer up recommendations for enhancements, explained Brett Hall, director of career services at the Columbia campus. “This gives us an opportunity to adjust our curriculum biannually, so our graduates are getting the most up-to-date skills and knowledge that businesses are looking for,” he said.

Hall is always open to adding new board members to keep ideas and perspectives fresh. ECPI students are also required to complete a field externship so they have not only classroom training but hands-on experience with perspective employers. The length of the externship depends on the degree program. Hall said ECPI is always looking for employers who want to offer externships and play a key role in the educational process. Across the ECPI university system, about 40% of students are hired by the company where they completed their externship, Hall noted. ECPI University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees and diploma programs. ECPI University in Columbia offers programs in both technology and health sciences. Students can earn a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in computer and information science with a concentration in database programming or network security. An associate degree program is also available that can prepare graduates for entry level employment in the network security field.

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Electronic Technology

Health Information Management

Software Development

Also offered through the School of Technology is an associate’s degree in electronics engineering technology. This program was added recently to meet the growing demand for jobs in this field thanks to Boeing’s presence in South Carolina as well as SCANA’s plans to build additional nuclear facilities. Students have the opportunity to prepare themselves to work in a variety of environments, including automation and manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, the computer industry and homeland security. The School of Health Sciences offers associate’s degrees in health information management and medical assisting. Also available is a bachelor’s degree in health care administration, which can provide students with the skills needed to pursue careers in medical units, long-term care centers, hospital departments and community health and physician offices. Students come to ECPI with a mix of backgrounds, Rund said, ranging from students who realize they need a degree later in life to those looking for a new career path. Classes are offered during both the day and evening to accommodate working students and those with families and other responsibilities. Students can pursue an accelerated program – few breaks between sessions – so they have the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree in two and one-half years. In addition to their regular degree program, students receive vouchers for additional certifications. ECPI University will cover a majority of the cost for a CCNA certification for IT students or a phlebotomy certification for medical assisting students, for example. It’s all about providing a skilled local workforce for existing and new businesses in the Midlands, Hall said.

ECPI University: Training South Carolinians to Qualify for Local Jobs

Network Security

Database Programming

Medical Assisting

Health Care Administration

Special Advertising Supplement | 2013 Profiles in Business


2013 Profiles In Business  

The Columbia Regional Business Report and local business and industry partners present the 2013 Profiles In Business, a look at some of the...

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