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INNOVATION | EDUCATION | COLLABORATION

NEXT INDUSTRY & COMMUNITY INSIGHTS

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A Look at Bailey South: Wake Forest Innovation Quarter’s Newest Gem

Powered by a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, Winston-Salem ranks as a top city for start-ups


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Remarkable care in your area provides: • Our industry-leading online physician finder with options to browse by doctor, location, symptom or specialty • Extended clinic hours and same-day appointments • Convenient urgent care and emergency sites near you • MyChart app to manage your health, schedule appointments and email your care team

Find out why your neighbors call Novant Health their provider of choice at NovantHealth.org/welcome. © Novant Health, Inc. 2019 11/19 • GWS-516458


President’s Letter

Visionary Investors: BB&T Novant Health Reynolds American Wells Fargo Platinum Investors: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Cook Medical Forsyth County Hanesbrands, Inc. Kelly Office Solutions OnPar Technologies Twin City Quarter Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County Schools Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

An Innovative Economy BUILT BY ENTREPRENEURS, innovators, educators, and artists, Winston-Salem is constantly pushing forward, creating a community that’s resilient and thriving. Our time is now, and our strong foundation has prepared us for what is NEXT. You might say that starting and growing companies is in Winston-Salem’s DNA, and more small businesses than ever before are succeeding here thanks to the many organizations working together to help companies start and scale. From Fortune 500 companies like Hanesbrands to new blockchain technology start-ups, widespread business success is a testament to the spirit of collaboration that has only grown with time. We know it’s a bold statement to say our community is one of the best places in the nation to start and grow a company, but we’ve got the accolades to back it up. It’s not only start-ups having success in Winston-Salem. Recent job numbers show the highest level of non-farm em-

ployment growth of any North Carolina metro- and comparable cities throughout the Southeast. As we look forward, maintaining and cultivating this success is critical. We must position Winston-Salem as a hub for entrepreneurialism and innovation on the national stage. By doing so, we can be sure to attract talent and economic investment while growing our workforce. Our unique value proposition is our competitive advantage. Winston-Salem is about endlessly reimagining what could be, about pushing boundaries and bringing in new industries. We invest in the thinkers, the problem solvers, the healers. We make it happen. Our economy continues to grow, and through collaborative efforts we are set up for continued success as we look ahead at what’s NEXT. Mark Owens President & CEO

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INDUSTRY & COMMUNITY INSIGHTS

NEXT 1 PRESIDENT’S LETTER

Mark E. Owens

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EDITOR’S CORNER Robin Sutton Anders

7 NEXT IN INNOVATION 9 11 13 15

Clinical Research Reaches New Heights By the Numbers Cutting-Edge Solutions Access for All

17 NEXT IN EDUCATION 19 21

Apprenticeship Program Makes Employees of Students The Economic Impact of Higher Education

23 NEXT IN COLLABORATION 24 26 27

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Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter

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Industry Hill An Emerging Vision for Whitaker Park Cooking Up Success


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28 UP AND RUNNING

These successful entrepreneurs tapped into Winston-Salem’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to grow their businesses. 40 POWERING INNOVATION

THROUGH DIVERSITY As she heads up Wake Forest University’s new undergraduate engineering program, Olga Pierrakos brings a fearless approach to empowering students and faculty.

44 PREPARING FOR TAKEOFF

With a laser focus on preparing students for well-paid jobs, Forsyth Technical Community College launches two new aviation programs.

46 NEXT UP: On the Horizon 52 PROFILE: A Driving Force

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Editor’s Corner

PRESIDENT AND CEO Mark Owens

VP, STRATEGY AND ENGAGEMENT Katie Collins

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Ethanie Good

PUBLISHER Steve Mitchem

EDITOR IN CHIEF Robin Sutton Anders

DESIGN DIRECTOR Holly Holliday

WRITERS Susan Cosier, Laura Lee, Matt Shipman

COPY EDITOR Lance Elko

An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem THE ACCOLADES KEEP ROLLING IN: In 2016 and 2017, the online financial service Wallethub ranked Winston-Salem as one of the top 20 best large cities to start a business. And this year, WinstonSalem tied with its Charlotte neighbor and Austin, Texas, as the top city in the country for small-business growth. The honor comes as no surprise to local business owners. Here in the City of Arts and Innovation, entrepreneurs find passionate mentors around every corner; financial resources within reach; highquality, affordable office space; and a network of like-minded professionals proud to call Winston-Salem home. Throughout the pages of this inaugural issue of NEXT, a new magazine we’ve launched to celebrate industry and to share community insights, we meet a few of these entrepreneurs. Sarah Lupton, for example, is the founder of Shift Creative Agency, a firm that tripled its revenue after joining the start-up incubator Winston Starts. “In bigger cities, people are competitive and not willing to help,” Lupton told NEXT reporter Laura Lee. “But here, people are all pulling in the same direction to help others succeed.” Read more about Lupton and other entrepreneurs in “Up and Running,” page 28. Two years ago, Olga Pierrakos moved to Winston-Salem to chair Wake Forest University’s new undergraduate Engineering department. As she got to know her new city, she’d often ask people for their impressions of Winston-Salem. “The theme I heard over and over again is that Winston-Salem is a city that continues to reinvent itself,” she says. “This reinven-

tion starts with a realization of the current state and a vision of what the future could hold. It is innovation, growth, and community intertwined.” Learn more about what drives Pierrakos in “Powering Innovation Through Diversity” on page 40. Companies like Inmar, Novant Health, and Hanesbrands stand as pillars in the community, supporting the local economic ecosystem not only by employing thousands but also by reaching out to colleagues across industries and embarking on mentorships with start-ups. It’s all part of an interconnected network, rising together with a common mission to share resources, talent, and tools that strengthen businesses — and, as a result, the community. Big or small, well-established or just up-and-running, Winston-Salem businesses boast a strong workforce. Thanks to a high concentration of local colleges and universities, a pipeline of well-educated and ready-to-work talent fuels these companies’ growth. It doesn’t just happen — local leaders in education pave the way through initiatives such as Forsyth Tech’s Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Program (page 19) and aviation education (page 44). Across the city, this is the kind of foresight and leadership that turns parking lots into urban green spaces and ushers in a new health-based economy. From innovation to education to collaboration, join us as we share the stories of our people and look ahead to what’s next on the horizon. Robin Sutton Anders, Editor in Chief

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Next in Innovation INNOVATION | EDUCATION | COLLABORATION

On the Cutting Edge Wake Forest Biotech Place, a 1930s manufacturing building, was the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter’s first transformation. Today, a four-story, curved glass atrium anchors the surrounding custom-built laboratories and serves as an event space where entrepreneurs and innovators gather to share ideas. Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter

Photography courtesy of the Innovation Quarter

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Next in Innovation

Photography by Kyle Duncan

‘‘

Through collaboration with Wake Forest Baptist Health, local investors, and other community leaders, we are working to establish WinstonSalem as a Global Clinical Research hub.

Clinical Research Reaches New Heights

‘‘

—Jennifer Byrne, Javara CEO

THIS LOCAL COMPANY FINDS THE IDEAL MIX OF STAKEHOLDERS TO SHAKE UP THE CLINICAL TRIALS INDUSTRY. JENNIFER BYRNE, CEO of the WinstonSalem-based Javara, believes her company’s home in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is more than just a headquarters — it’s a competitive advantage. “Javara offers a unique service that will benefit health care providers, patients, and medical researchers around the country,” says Byrne. “Through collaboration with Wake Forest Baptist Health, local investors, and other community leaders, we are working to establish Winston-Salem as a Global Clinical Research hub.” Javara was founded to address a growing frustration: The lag time between the point that researchers discover a new medical treatment and when it becomes available to patients can be maddening. The clinical trials process can take years. Enter Javara, a company that works to make the process more efficient for hospitals and biopharmaceutical companies while improving patient access to care options. Launching in Winston-Salem and integrating into local health care systems is the first

step in what Byrne envisions achieving on a national scale. The company is poised to expand nationwide over the next five years, growing from seven employees in WinstonSalem to more than 2,000 by 2023, embedded in health systems across the United States. “Our company’s trajectory for growth will likely impact millions of patients through better access to clinical trials, giving them more treatment and care options,” says Byrne. Byrne is a seasoned veteran of the contract research industry, which was born in North Carolina and continues to thrive here. Locating Javara’s headquarters in Winston-Salem allows her to leverage local partnerships and engage fellow clinical research experts to maximize Javara’s growth. Byrne is an active collaborator in efforts to raise the profile of the biotechnology sector in North Carolina. She serves on the Piedmont Triad Advisory Committee for the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, a group that advocates for industry growth — ultimately impacting not only Javara but the industry as a whole. —M.S. NEXT |

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Next in Innovation

By the Numbers

%

That’s the percentage of Winston-Salem-based Hanesbrands’ renewable energy sources — already surpassing the company’s 2020 goal. “We’re celebrating a decade of environmental excellence with the honor of a 2019 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award because Hanesbrands’ 68,000 Economic output generated by Novant Health across North Carolina in 2018, worldwide employees have according to a recently released economic impact analysis commissioned embraced environmental by Novant Health and conducted by FTI Consulting’s Center for Healthcare stewardship and actively led our energy management Economics and Policy. initiatives,” says Mike Faircloth, group president, Global Supply Chain, Information Technology and E-commerce for Hanesbrands. “And we’re very proud to remain the only apparel company to earn sustained excellence The number of companies supported through their honors in the EPA Energy Star critical development stages by the start-up incubator program’s 27-year history.” Winston Starts. “Every day I feel like we’re a step closer to getting to where we want to go, expanding our vision, and really being the start-up we wanted to be,” says Sara Simpson, co-founder of Conventional, one of Winston Starts’ success stories that builds immersive travel experiences for mobile devices.

$9 BILLION

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TOP 6

Winston-Salem’s Wake Forest Innovation Quarter was recently selected as one of six inaugural members of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts. Joining leaders from St. Louis, New York, Pittsburgh, Amsterdam, and Melbourne, Winston-Salem change-makers will help steer the success of innovation districts around the world.

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Next in Innovation

Cutting-Edge Solutions AS CLIENTS GET TO KNOW FLUREE’S NEW TOOL, THEY FIND GREATER OPPORTUNITIES TO MANAGE THEIR DATA. TODAY’S ECONOMY relies on storing, retrieving, and sharing more data than ever before — and data management is constantly evolving to ensure businesses not only have easy access to information, but that the data they’re accessing is reliable. Enter Fluree, a start-up company with an elegant, modern solution to the data-sharing problem. Fluree developed a tool that combines the flexible, easy-to-use database model with the security and integrity of blockchain technology. The end result? “We allow companies to trust, secure, share, and leverage data at enterprise scale — opening up new breadths of disruptive opportunities across all industries,” says Brian Platz, Fluree co-founder and co-CEO. The business community is buying in. In addition to existing partnerships with business giants like Cisco, United Airlines, and Deloitte, Fluree secured $4.7 million in seed round funding in 2019, one of the largest seed rounds of funding in North Carolina history. That investment has Fluree optimistic about the future: growing the company and expanding its strategic partnerships, while keeping its focus on constantly improving data management tools. Another reason for that optimism is Winston-Salem itself. “Winston-Salem has provided a powerful combination of ample local resources and support from community partners to facilitate steady growth through fundraising,” Platz says. “In addition, the high quality of life juxtaposed against the lower average cost of living has allowed us to build a strong team of multidisciplinary talent.” What’s next for Fluree? New jobs and opportunities for Winston-Salem residents and a positive impact on the local economy, Platz says. “We are looking to amplify the city as the premier entrepreneurial hub in North Carolina.” —M.S.

“We’ve Got Everything” NEXT CAUGHT UP WITH BRIAN PLATZ, THE CO-CEO OF FLUREE, TO FIND OUT WHY HE’S BULLISH ON HIS HOME TOWN. NEXT: Why did Fluree choose the Innovation Quarter’s Bailey Power Plant as its home base? Platz: Bailey Power Plant provided us with great access to the resources located in Innovation Quarter, including Digital Health Interest Group, Wake Forest, and Venture Cafe. The Bailey Power Plant space was a perfect fit for our period of growth, where we added eight new team members over the course of three months. NEXT: Have the Innovation Quarter’s long-term efforts played a role in Fluree’s plans to scale up? Platz: Scale requires a mixture of a few environmental elements — community, resources, great infrastructure, and strong partnerships. Innovation Quarter aptly places these elements at the core of its vision. Fluree is prepared for accelerated growth over the next two years, and being able to leverage these elements will be of great importance in realizing this scale. NEXT: What would you tell other entrepreneurs who are thinking of basing their operations in Winston-Salem? Platz: Come and build a great company in a great city. We’ve got everything — from cool bars to incredible accelerator programs.

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$4.7 million

The amount of seed round funding Fluree has already received in 2019 — one of the largest technology-infrastructure seed rounds of funding in North Carolina history. NEXT |

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Next in Innovation The ACCESS center offers businesses support and coaching, access to capital, and classes that bring business owners together to build stronger networks.

‘‘‘‘

WINSTON-SALEM’S NEW BUSINESS CENTER PROMOTES MINORITY- AND WOMEN-OWNED COMPANIES. SINCE THE ACCESS CENTER FOR EQUITY AND SUCCESS opened in June 2019, it’s helped more than 40 minority- and women-owned businesses access capital or other resources. Take Hay Trabajo, for example, a job platform that connects businesses with the Hispanic blue-collar workforce. “ACCESS helped me complete the Historically Underutilized Business certification application,” says founder Elizabeth Escobar. “Once the application is complete and approved, my business will be listed in a database of HUB-certified businesses that is accessed for government contracts. This certification will open doors to my businesses that will propel Hay Trabajo and create more jobs for the Hispanic community.” Ultimately, Escobar believes that will increase upward mobility opportunities for a population often segregated from working opportunities due to language barriers. ACCESS is a joint effort of Venture Café Winston-Salem and Piedmont Business Capital, and is supported by a $200,000 grant from Wexford Science and Technology, LLC. The ACCESS center offers services to help minority- and women-owned businesses that, historically, have had less access to certifications, contracts, and capital. The center does that in a number of ways, explains community manager Hasani Mitchell. For starters, ACCESS helps business owners navigate the process to become certified

i l i t y • �a n

as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise or an Historically Underutilized Business. In North Carolina, state departments are required to work with a certain percentage of minority- or women-owned businesses. Once certified, a company can be included in a state database. Businesses also get the center’s help to become federally certified by the Small Business Administration, which helps companies get low-interest loans, counseling, and qualify for government contracts. ACCESS promotes the businesses it supports. “If there’s a local opportunity that exists for bid or contracting, we try to house that here to disseminate that to the community,” says Mitchell. “We believe our approach in assisting minority-owned and women-owned firms creates immediate and measurable impact and fills large gaps in the economic landscape. No other center provides the strategic resources that ACCESS currently provides.” Finally, the center offers businesses a way to get capital through ACCESS’s funding partner, Piedmont Business Capital, for qualifying loans. Mitchell hopes the center will continue to tap into Winston-Salem’s local resources to accomplish its ultimate goal. “We want to be able to provide resources that allow these sorts of businesses to thrive and compete with their non-minority or non-women-owned counterparts.”—S.C.

Added to the demands of starting a business, the HUB certification seemed impossible to achieve until I met Hasani Mitchell at ACCESS. He walked me through the application, step by step, and let me know all of the information needed to apply. All the ACCESS consultations for this work were provided free of cost. — Elizabeth Escobar, Hay Trabajo

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Next in Education INNOVATION | EDUCATION | COLLABORATION

On Demand The Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Program teaches students like Colin Tompkins (pictured at Siemens) the skills employers are looking for to fill open technical and industrial positions. Read more about LEAP on page 19.

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Next in Education

A NEW FORSYTH TECH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM GIVES STUDENTS ON-THE-JOB EXPERIENCE. STARTING THIS YEAR, as many as 14 firstyear Forsyth Technical Community College students will earn an income as professionals in the field they’re pursuing. Thanks to the new Learn and Earn Apprenticeship Program, students who are part of LEAP@Forsyth Tech will graduate after two years with a degree and 3,000 to 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience in a career track like CNC machinist or industrial maintenance tech. By working with companies and industries across the Triad, Forsyth Tech is helping to marry employee demand with experienced and skilled workers. The program, says John Carstens, dean of Engineering Technologies at Forsyth Tech, is designed to give people the chance to take advantage of education. The apprenticeship program lasts for students’ entire two-year college experience and allows them to “contribute to local economic development and establish the foundation for a new career with sustainable earning potential.” The idea for the program began a few years ago as local companies began to see a wave of retirements. Although the graduates of Forsyth Technical Community College had classroom knowledge, they often didn’t have work experience. “Companies that operate in the region realized they needed a talent pipeline,” says Danielle Rose, the apprenticeship

coordinator at Forsyth Tech. This program offers a solution to that problem. Students accepted into the program have to get a job offer from a company, as well as acceptance to the college, before enrolling in the program. The company that hires the student then pays that person’s salary, which includes time spent taking classes. As a college-sponsored apprenticeship program, Forsyth Tech makes sure that students complete their competency requirements. Progress Rail, Triumph, Siemens Energy, and Corning Winston-Salem Cable Plant are initial participants. Siemens Energy, a company with a division in Winston- Salem that manufactures and services power generation and industrial turbines and generators, has been making steam turbines in the city since 1970 and repairing gas turbines there for the last decade. This year, the company hired four machinists and two industrial maintenance technicians. According to Cory Phillips, Siemens operations manager, the program furthers a mutually beneficial relationship that will benefit the company, the college, and Winston-Salem overall. “It’s a great opportunity,” he says, “and we’re really proud to be able to be a part of it.” —S.C.

‘‘

Apprenticeship Program Makes Employees of Students

‘‘

Companies that operate in the region realized they needed a talent pipeline.

—Danielle Rose, Apprenticeship Coordinator at Forsyth Tech

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Next in Education

The Economic Impact of Higher Education

10K

alumni living and working in the Triad

Winston-Salem State University

The university has significant impact in the Triad, generating more than 8,300 jobs and creating an annual economic impact that exceeds $420 million. With more than 10,000 alumni living and working in the Triad, the red and white Rams drive the local economy at every turn.

$3.3 BILLION Wake Forest University

Ranked as one of the top 30 universities nationwide, Wake Forest offers programs ranging from business and law to medicine and engineering. Wake Forest University creates about $3.3 billion of added economic value for North Carolina per fiscal year.

Piedmont International University

$2 Million Invested in Campus Expansion Offering an urban campus setting adjacent to downtown WinstonSalem, Piedmont International University is a faith-based institution that offers both theological and secular degrees. With over 800 students, PIU is growing its footprint in the West Salem neighborhood to accommodate a growing student population. It plans to invest further in the creation of new student housing in the near future.

JOBS

8,600

Forsyth Technical Community College

With dozens of degrees and certifications that prepare students for a competitive workforce in fields ranging from industrial technology to cybersecurity, Forsyth Tech had a fiscal-year economic impact of $627 million for Forsyth and Stokes counties. That’s equivalent to more than 8,600 jobs.

Salem Academy and College Salem College’s roots trace back to the early 1700s, making it the country’s oldest educational institution for women. Today the university’s fiscal-year impact is $59.4 million. The college’s focus on a liberal arts education prepares its graduates to help change the world — globally and locally.

$102 MILLION University of North Carolina School of the Arts

The first public arts conservatory in the country, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts cultivates the next generation of artists in dance, music, drama, film, and design. It also has a $102 million fiscal-year impact in Forsyth County. That number doesn’t include the institution’s thousands of hours of community service — or the benefits that accrue from having a conservatory in your own backyard.

—M.S. NEXT |

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Next in Collaboration INNOVATION | EDUCATION | COLLABORATION

Best Face Forward

Venture Café’s Thursday Gatherings invite innovators and entrepreneurs from around the Triad to network and share new ideas.

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25+

Next in Collaboration

businesses and 125+ employees

Industry Hill

Once home to furniture factories, tobacco warehouses, and the packaging industry, the Industry Hill neighborhood now welcomes a community of makers who’ve injected a new energy and fresh vision — plans call for community gardens, public art, and even bike paths. These seven businesses are just a few of the artisan shops, restaurants, and start-ups contributing to Industry Hill’s success. For more information, visit industryhill.com

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Sunnyside Mercantile Home goods, art, jewelry, apparel, and leather goods: At this Industry Hill shop, unique handcrafted wares have one thing in common: They’re all made by local artisans.

Fiddlin’ Fish Brewing Owners Stuart Barnhart and David Ashe have created a 15-barrel brewhouse that’s all about community. Ramkat Music Venue About 72,000 annual visitors come to Industry Hill’s newly renovated neighborhood venue to hear local up-and-coming musicians paired with national acts.


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Sayso Coffee From its North Trade Street home base, Sayso’s mobile espresso bar provides a full cafe experience for events around town. Gallery VI In her bold fine arts gallery, owner Sue Poovey showcases local and national artists. She also makes her space — complete with a skyline view — available for special events.

Mission Pizza Here, Napoletana pies are fired at 900-plus degrees in a handmade Stefano Ferrara oven. Pair a cheesy slice with a locally brewed beer.

Earl’s The perfect comple­ ment for Southern favorites like fried catfish, meatloaf, and pork chops? Whiskey and honkey tonk. NEXT |

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An Emerging Vision for Whitaker Park NEW INVESTMENTS FUEL THE REINVENTION OF A PRIME INDUSTRIAL SITE IN WINSTON-SALEM. WHITAKER PARK MADE headlines as a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility when R.J. Reynolds first opened its doors in 1961. Today, the 100-acre campus holds new promise as a prime site for industrial expansion and a key link between the Innovation Quarter, Smith Reynolds Airport, and Wake Forest University, strategically shaping WinstonSalem’s economic development. The Whitaker Park Development Authority — a nonprofit created by Winston Salem Business Inc., the Winston-Salem Alliance, and Wake Forest University — aims to repurpose the site, creating lucrative employment opportunities. Cook Medical kicked off the revitalization initiative in 2018 when it acquired an 850,000-square-foot space for its new headquarters. The local, family-owned medical device manufacturer will employ 650 people in the new space. “Being such a community-minded company, Cook saw an opportunity to be the example of what the Whitaker Park project will become in the future,” says Bob Leak, president of Winston-Salem Business, Inc.

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Other developers are buying into the vision, as additional Whitaker Park projects get undeway. Some of the site’s first renderings have recently debuted, showcasing a multi-use project by Champion Holdings and C.A. Harrison Company LLC, which includes loft apartments and a hotel along with retail and office space. Developer and former NFL player Chris Harrison announced the plans in October, demonstrating a continued commitment to the Winston-Salem area following his previous investment at Plant 64 in the Innovation Quarter. In the renderings, a 200,000 squarefoot former manufacturing plant is reimagined as community space with three stories of modern, loft-style apartments that planners hope will appeal to the hundreds of employees that will eventually fill Whitaker Park, as well as Wake Forest University students looking for a short commute. “An area that once saw thousands of jobs on a daily basis will once again become thriving. This is a game changer for the future of Winston-Salem,” says Leak.


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Telissa Fair Ward, in the Enterprise Center’s SharedUse Kitchen

Building Community Through Food

Cooking Up Success THE ENTERPRISE CENTER’S SHARED-USE KITCHEN IS ALREADY HOME TO EIGHT THRIVING BUSINESS VENTURES — AND 20 MORE WAIT FOR THE CHANCE TO GET COOKING. WHEN COMMUNITY LEADERS decided to open a shared kitchen in WinstonSalem to support food industry startups, they had no idea how hungry local entrepreneurs were for the opportunity. “I get calls every other day from businesses interested in using the kitchen. The demand is outrageous,” says Telissa Fair Ward, coordinator of the Enterprise Center Shared-Use Kitchen housed at the S.G. Atkins Community Development Corporation. In fact, the kitchen is already home to eight thriving business ventures and has more than 20 businesses on its waiting list. Prior to the kitchen’s opening, Winston-Salem’s food entrepreneurs faced a circular challenge: They needed a lot of money in order to establish their own large-scale kitchen facilities, but they needed large-scale kitchen facilities in order to do the kind of business necessary to earn that much money. Believing it could help local entrepreneurs break out of this cycle, the S.G. Atkins CDC opened the Shared-Use Kitchen in 2018 with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the City of Winston-Salem. Their goal was simple: Alleviate barriers for food entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their businesses. The program is off to a roaring start. The eight businesses using the kitchen include bakers and caterers, as

well as companies focused on providing products that consumers can buy at the grocery store. The variety of culinary products ranges from Rosey Bloom’s Collard Greens, made using local produce, to Black Truffle Honey, made with North Carolina-grown truffles. These aspiring taste-makers tempt buyers with options both savory and sweet. “But it’s not just the kitchen,” says Shanta Hauser Faison, the entrepreneurial chef behind two businesses that make use of the Shared-Use Kitchen: Rosey Bloom’s Collard Greens and Twin City Catering Company. “It also provides business services and has been a great partner in helping us identify opportunities to grow.” That’s because the Enterprise Center knows that a great-tasting product is no guarantee of food business success. To help entrepreneurs thrive, the Shared- Use Kitchen provides participating businesses with marketing and training in a wide variety of essential skills, such as how to create a business plan, how to get the necessary permits, and how to ensure that you’re complying with government regulations. The kitchen has been open for less than a year, but some businesses are already poised to expand into their own brick-and-mortar facilities, clearing the way for new entrepreneurs to move in. —M.S.

BORN IN EGYPT, Shereen Gomaa immigrated to the United States in 2002. She launched her Delicious by Shereen catering company at home before becoming one of the first companies to secure a spot in the Enterprise Center’s Shared-Use Kitchen. Delicious by Shereen does more than provide tasty meals — the nonprofit focuses on economic development. Specifically, Gomaa works to give refugees the training and resources they need to work using their cooking skills so that they can help their families and contribute to the community. “We want to give people a hand up, not a handout,” Gomaa says. “And we think it is important for people to get together, sit down to share a meal, and get to know one another. We have more in common than we realize!” Gomaa views the Enterprise Center Shared-Use Kitchen as an important factor in her success. “I am grateful that I was one of the first caterers who was able to partner with the Shared-Use Kitchen. They have provided many opportunities for us to grow our business via their network and connections.”

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Pete Fala, co-owner of Stitch Design Shop

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UP &

Running Winston-Salem entrepreneurs find a support network that fosters innovation.

By Laura Lee

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Below: Kelsey Brown and Adrian Smith, founders of Preservation Dyehouse

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AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, build a better network.” These are the words of wisdom coined by author Geri Stengel in a 2019 Forbes article where she writes that support systems are essential for entrepreneurs. Stengel notes four keys to success: training/accelerator programs, networking, peer support, and co-working spaces. With its interconnected systems of support for entrepreneurs and start-ups, Winston-Salem checks every box. Dozens of local organizations are working together to create a thriving Entrepreneurial

ing the city’s growth and development. “People are coming to me with a vision and asking me to visually express it,” she says. “I love being on the cusp of what the city is becoming.”

Ecosystem for a diverse mix of start-up companies. “There’s definitely a buzz around town and a real sense of collaboration,” says Sarah Lupton, founder of Shift Creative Agency. “In bigger cities, people are competitive and not willing to help, but here people are all pulling in the same direction to help others succeed.” Lupton began her filmmaking career in New York City, where she found a real lack of support. After five years, she moved to Winston-Salem to get an MBA at Wake Forest. She soon learned about Winston Starts, a new incubator downtown that provides resources and amenities for some 18 start-ups for up to 42 months of office space — a much longer runway than typical incubators in other cities. After being selected for Winston Starts, her firm tripled its revenue and produced more than 100 videos, many of them promot-

er, we are starting more businesses, faster.” Barnes runs Venture Café, which gathers entrepreneurs every Thursday night for training and networking. In less than three years, she’s hosted more than 120 events with 6,500 unique attendees. Barnes says her program, along with other weekly networking events like Swerve, are gateways into the ecosystem. Entrepreneurs unsure of where to start or where to go next can attend Venture Café to find the right path. “We’ve served many homegrown businesses, as well as had start-ups from Atlanta, Charlotte, Boston, and India who are choosing to come here for a lot of reasons,” says Barnes. “We can get you connected to the person you need. We’re a two-phone-call town to get a cup of coffee.”

City-Wide Collaboration Trailblazer Karen Barnes helped create Winston-Salem’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in 2015, which now includes active participation from some 50 organizations across the Triad. “Instead of competing, we collaborate,” says Barnes. “Program directors meet monthly to share ideas, build our continuum, and amplify each other. Working togeth-

Above: Opening reception for Flywheel’s New Ventures accelerator


— Sarah Lupton, founder of Shift Creative Agency

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I love being on the cusp of what the city is becoming.

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Jenni Earle’s line of bandanas are hand-dyed in Winston-Salem.

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Musician Kevin Clark relocated from Boston to Winston-Salem in 2018 to launch his new start-up, Point Motion, which combines technology with music to help medical providers determine where children fall on the autism spectrum. Attending Venture Café connected him to Wake Forest University, the Center for Creative Economy, and the Winston Starts incubator. Not only was Clark connected to partners and resources much faster than in an oversaturated city like Boston, he’s enjoying a standard of living for onefourth of the price. The Center for Creative Economy focuses on entrepreneurs like Clark who are engaged in creative businesses, including design, music, theater, and other artistic elements. “There is a lack of resources nationwide for creative businesses,” says the center’s director Margaret Collins. “At art school, you aren’t necessarily learning how to prepare financial statements for an investor to understand. We fill in the gaps and give the business training needed to be successful.” Through the Center for Creative Economy, artists not only gain those business skills, they’re also able to connect with investors to find funding. Take Jenni Earle, for example, who was making stunning hand-sewn and hand-dyed bandanas with empowering slogans like “Be Brave” and “Explore More.” Consumers loved her products,

but Earle didn’t have the inventory to keep up with demand. She entered the center’s nine-week Velocity accelerator program and received seed-stage capital. “She tripled in revenue in our accelerator,” says Collins. “She was like a rocket out of a bottle.” Just two months after completing the program, Earle was featured in Garden & Gun’s “Made in the South” awards, followed by Martha Stewart Living and Southern Living. Her bandanas are now sold in 350 stores.

City-Wide Collaboration Architect Pete Fala beliees that getting plugged in to Winston-Salem’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is important for local businesses. He and his partners opened Stitch Design Shop in Winston-Salem because there was much more opportunity for a start-up than in larger markets like Charlotte and Raleigh. “Winston has big-city culture with small-town values,” says Fala. “If you want to volunteer, get involved on a board, or participate in a discussion across the table from the mayor, you can do it. It’s very inclusive and encouraging.” Since opening in 2013, Stitch has designed significant urban projects like ARTivity on the Green, AFAS Center for the Arts, and Bailey South in Innovation Quarter, which opens in June. “In bigger cities, it’s easier to get lost in the sea of what’s going on,” says Fala. “But

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here, we can make a big impact.” One of the cheerleaders for entrepreneurs is Adrian Smith, who’s currently launching his own natural dye company, Preservation Dyehouse, while serving as director of Flywheel New Ventures and MIXXER, a community maker space with a tech lab and wood and metal studio. At New Ventures, he helps select entrepreneurs, oversees their business milestones, and fine-tunes their pitches for investors. Smith is no stranger to this competitive environment. He’s placed in two entrepreneurial competitions, both in graduate school and with Preservation Dyehouse, where he and his fiancé won Creative Business Cup for the U.S. and moved onto the final round in Copenhagen. “I’ve been on both sides of entrepreneurship and can share my experiences with new start-ups,” Smith says. Smith also participates in WinstonSalem’s Ecosystem meetings that bring community partners together to ensure entrepreneurs are getting the support they need. When new people arrive in town with a great idea and a deer-in-theheadlights look, he knows exactly where to send them. “Venture Café in Innovation Quarter is the place to start,” he advises. “Every week, entrepreneurs can eat, drink, learn, and meet key contacts in the community. It’s all about networking and getting connected.”

Cycle of Success

Shayla HerndonEdmunds, from her Oh My Goodness Wellness Bar 34

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Winston-Salem’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem continues to churn out success stories. Jeanna Carr had an idea for a real estate service after experiencing issues with tenants in her own rental property. She attended a Flywheel start-up weekend with her friend Bobbie Shrivastav to develop their idea further. They presented at pitch competitions and were accepted into Flywheel’s New Ventures Accelerator, where they were paired with mentors and investors. Now, they’ve moved on to the next step at Winston Starts. Their company, Rent Assured, supports landlords by reducing the uncertainty and unexpected expenses of renting. Once he completes Flywheel’s New Ventures Accelerator program, Clifton Duhon is also looking forward to moving over to Winston Starts, a step that will significantly increase his chances for success. His sports nutrition platform (Re)FÜL was one of four companies accepted this


Kevin Clark, founder of Point Motion

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Magalie Yacinthe, founder of HUSTLE

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Sara Brennan

encouraging, and the results have been phenomenal.” Besides providing funding, networking, and training, Winston-Salem’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is impacting the people it serves on a much deeper psychological level. “I’ve been an entrepreneur before, and it’s terrifying and thrilling and lonely and exciting, all in a span of 28 minutes,” says Karen Barnes. “Not everyone is cut out for that. At Venture Café, we do more than teach business skills. We talk about self-care, community, and stress management. We’re a shoulder to lean on. We’re helping people unlock their human promise and chase their dreams. We’re creating that fundamental human drive of making meaning.” Here in the City of Arts and Innovation, leaders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem have built a better network — exactly the type Forbes writer Geri Stengel recommended. And now, entrepreneurs have just what they need to succeed.

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We’re helping people unlock their human promise and chase their dreams. We’re creating that fundamental human drive of making meaning. — Karen Barnes

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year. Each start-up completes a 12-week course before presenting their ideas to 50 investors, where they’ll receive an average of $50,000 to launch their company. “We’ve been working with some of the investors who are getting to know our product and helping us refine our techniques,” says Duhon. “We might be paired with someone with a similar background or someone who covers one of our weaknesses. They’re invested in us and want us to do well.” Duhon lived in Texas and Hawaii before moving to Winston-Salem to be closer to his wife’s family. He loves the sense of community. “The community here for entrepreneurs is huge,” says Duhon. “Winston-Salem is like a start-up itself. The city is growing and revitalizing, and there’s a ton of talent coming in. New Ventures is about mentoring and growth, not just about funding. People genuinely want to help you and see you succeed.” Shayla Herndon-Edmunds was creating non-toxic, shea butter products at home for herself and her children, who have eczema and sensitive skin. When her friends and family encouraged her to start her own business, she utilized resources at the Center for Creative Economy, Forsyth Tech Small Business Center, and HUSTLE, to take her idea to scale. She launched her skincare brand, Oh My Goodness Wellness Bar, in 2015, and now has her own storefront. HUSTLE was created by entrepreneurs of color who wanted to bridge marginalized business districts on one side of Highway 52 with the Innovation Quarter. They joined the Ecosystem to be a voice of inclusiveness. “We work with women and minorities, but also those who are disabled, over a certain age, and just anyone that people don’t always associate with being an entrepreneur,” says HUSTLE founder Magalie Yacinthe. Yacinthe is working on her own business start-up, So-In, to convert leftover oil from restaurants into biodiesel for school buses, while ensuring entrepreneurs like herself have equal opportunities for success. She says HUSTLE complements the services of other Ecosystem members, like the ACCESS Center for Equity and Success (read more on page 15) and the Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce, who also represent minorities. “Collectively, we have so much to offer entrepreneurs in our community,” says Yacinthe. “Our ecosystem is very

Karen Barnes, Executive Director, Venture Café

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500 WEST 5TH WHEN WINSTON-SALEM businessman Don Flow was joined by community leaders for the ribbon-cutting at 500 West 5th, their celebration marked the reimagined use of the former GMAC office tower. An icon of the downtown skyline, the building now serves as a hub where start-ups, educational institutions, and corporations share space and ideas to create an innovative atmosphere that encourages business growth. Tenants include: • Winston Starts • Flywheel Coworking • Salem College’s Center for Women in Entrepreneurship and Business • Wake Forest University’s Center for Private Business • UNC School of the Arts’ Kenan Institute • Forsyth Country Day School • Grubb Properties • Teall Capital Partners • Flow Automotive

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STAND AT 5TH AND PATTERSON downtown, and you’ll experience the city’s past, present, and future all at once. Bridging the city’s tobacco past with its innovative future, the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is not only the heart of Winston-Salem but a model for other cities around the world. Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter was designed to transform old R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. buildings into a new, vibrant community of economic growth. Today, it’s one of the country’s fastestgrowing urban centers for innovation. Once a parking lot, Bailey Park — the hub of the Innovation Quarter — is a popular urban oasis for outdoor concerts, food trucks, movies, and yoga on the lawn. Bailey Power Plant, the facility that once powered the area’s tobacco industry, has been repurposed into 33,000 square feet of office space. Medical students, young professionals, and corporate executives congregate in a lively courtyard that was once an old coal pit. Nearby, former tobacco warehouses are converted into sought-after lofts. Thanks to Winston-Salem’s public-private approach to mixed-use development, the city has received international acclaim. When others want to reenergize their economy and attract new talent, they’ll look to Winston-Salem to show them the way.

THE WAKE FOREST INNOVATION QUARTER IS HOME TO:

Photos courtesy of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter

WAKE FOREST INNOVATION QUARTER

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Powering Innovation Through Diversity By Robin Sutton Anders

Photography by Ken Bennett

Making Engineering Accessible When space became available at the university’s downtown location, a new engineering program was a natural fit. “It’s a wonderful example of how creating a new program with a home in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter draws STEM talent to Winston-Salem and supports economic development,” says Cheryl Walker, director of News and Communication at Wake Forest University.

Wake Forest wasn’t interested in a cookie-cutter engineering program. Instead, Pierrakos says, the university wanted its new program to reflect its mission to educate the whole person, bridging arts and humanities with traditional engineering courses. “People are surprised by that connection, but it’s so fundamental to being a good engineer,” Pierrakos says. “When you look at the role engineers play in society, you can’t disconnect the two. Public

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student body. “The Innovation Quarter connects us with the community in a more direct way than if we were on the main campus,” Pierrakos says. “It diversifies the options that exist. We can walk across the street and meet an architect. Or we can connect with a nonprofit. It opens up great opportunities — that physical presence being in the heart of Winston-Salem. It’s a different experience. There’s a curiosity, like what’s in that building? Who’s

I’ve seen it play out in the classroom, in projects, in research, in collaborating. The more diverse, the better. It makes for a better engineer, one who values that innovative solutions come from having a diverse team.

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LGA PIERRAKOS attended Virginia Tech for 11 years — earning an undergrad, masters, and PhD in engineering — and never had a female engineering professor. Two decades later, Pierrakos is now the chair of Wake Forest University’s new undergraduate engineering department, and things are changing. “When you look at our faculty here, six out of 10 are women. Our students will have a totally different experience.” That diversity is reflected in the student body, too. Of the Department of Engineering’s 150 first-, second-, and third-year students, 42 percent are women, and 20 percent are nonCaucasian. Those students represent more than 20 states and 10 countries. A female leader who’s risen through the ranks of a male-dominated profession, Pierrakos understands the importance of a diverse environment — and it’s not just because she fundamentally values inclusivity. Pierrakos knows that a diverse population strengthens the department; it gives graduates a broader perspective; and it enhances their ability to make a lasting impact on their communities.

—Olga Pierrakos, Founding Chair and Professor, Wake Forest University Engineering welfare is at the forefront of our code of ethics. How can you say that’s most important if liberal arts are not included?” Pierrakos looks no further than her neighbors in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter to see the real-world impact. “To be an engineer means you have to interface with the people you serve. Engineers work with marketing, global partners — the composition of teams is changing,” she says. “The siloed approach will not get us where we need to go.” Wake Forest University’s undergraduate engineering school offers abundant opportunities for community connections, both for faculty and the

in there? I know there are some new companies popping up. Who are they?” Adds Walker, “First-year engineering students can take a walk through the Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem and ask questions such as, ‘How do people respond to decibel levels at construction sites?’ Or, ‘How do carbon dioxide levels vary during high- and low-traffic periods downtown?’ Or, ‘Which roofing materials affect the air temperatures around them?’” After its first year, Walker says the engineering department received an invitation to join Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a recogniNEXT |

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Ken Bennett

tion of its entrepreneurial mindset and focus on innovation.

Driving Innovation Ultimately, diversity is innovation, Pierrakos says. “It is thinking about the same problem in 10, 20 different ways. By bringing in people with diverse experiences and backgrounds, you’re looking at a problem from all angles rather than from a single, narrow view.” The outcome is better every time, she adds — “I’ve seen it play out in the classroom, in projects, in research, in collaborating. The more diverse, the better. It makes for a better engineer,

one who values that innovative solutions come from having a diverse team.” Pierrakos has learned that when organizations have the courage to amass a diverse group of people, the challenge can be that those people aren’t always speaking the same language. How do you bridge the gap? “If you are on a team and you don’t understand what someone else has said, you have to not be afraid to say, ‘OK, that did not make sense to me. I don’t know what that means.’” And sometimes, Pierrakos acknowledges, people are hesitant to amass a diverse or unfamiliar group because they may feel threatened by talent that is

Community Minded When Pierrakos and her family moved to Winston-Salem two years ago, she’d often ask the people she met to describe their take on what makes the city unique. “The theme I heard over and over again is that Winston-Salem is a city that always reinvents itself,” she says. Maybe that’s why Pierrakos feels so at home here. “I can personally relate to this characteristic as I myself have continuously evolved and reinvented myself in my personal and professional worlds,” she says. “This reinvention starts with a realization of the current state and a vision of what the future could hold. It is innovation, growth, and community intertwined.” 42

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different from their own. “You take a risk in inviting others who may know more than you,” she says. “You have to not be afraid of that. It means looking around and asking, ‘Who should be sitting here? Who has something different and new to bring to the discussion?’” Once you’ve hired a diverse team, you’re challenged with retaining them, Pierrakos says. “How do I build a team that feels empowered to not hold back on their perspectives and their ideas? And then when we do that successfully, they’ll be able to carry that forward in the classroom with the next generation of engineers. I very much see that as a systematic, connected piece. I support the faculty, the staff to create that. I can’t be in every single classroom, so it’s carrying forward with those values, those beliefs, that messaging, that hopefully is instilled in our students as they go out and go into the workforce.” Diversity is about inclusion and everyone feeling valued — that what they’re offering is appreciated, Pierrakos believes. Mentoring is involved in that. ”Mentoring doesn’t always happen within the classroom or university setting,” she says. “I also encourage members of my team to seek out mentors outside of our university. I’m constantly seeking out people I can learn from. There are a lot of things I don’t know, and I think it’s healthy to get other perspectives. “What I’ve learned over the years is that the same practices that ultimately improve the culture and diversity of a team — or any practices that lead to better distribution across gender or ethnicity — are exactly what we should be doing for everyone. If we do this right, everyone should benefit.”


Toast to Your Future,

Meet in Winston-Salem

Global financial advisor Jay Raffaldini could have launched his passion project, Raffaldini Vineyards, anywhere in the world. But he chose the lush rolling hills just outside his beloved WinstonSalem. It’s easy to see why. With a $2 billion investment in the downtown area and $20 million renovation of the Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem is reinventing what it means to live, work, meet and play.

200 Brookstown Ave., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

t: 336.728.4200 or 866.728.4200


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T THE END OF JULY, Joel Welch, the provost of WinstonSalem’s Forsyth Technical Community College, broke ground for the college’s newest building: the Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab at Smith Reynolds Airport. The highly anticipated facility will house two new aviation programs as soon as 2020. Classes taught within that building will offer students an opportunity to obtain degrees in a field that’s taking off in the region. “There are 3,500 jobs in aviation — just related to our service area — in Forsyth and Stokes counties,”

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says Welch. “Having a college presence there can provide a skilled workforce and support local businesses.” Students can choose between Aviation Systems Technology and Aviation Electronics (Avionics) Technology degree programs. They will learn the specialized skills required to service and repair all components of an aircraft. In the Aviation Systems Technology program of study, students will be able to test for an FAA aircraft mechanic’s certificate. “The bottom line in all of this is that this creates a pipeline for people to get jobs that’ll pay $65,000 to $75,000 a year” as aircraft mechanics and avionics techs, says Rick Reed, president and CEO


of REED International Aerospace Group, LLC, who consulted with Forsyth Tech on which programs to offer. The $16 million facility will fill a gap in the workforce pipeline. As of right now, many students who attend high school in the area have to go elsewhere to pursue an aviation degree. “We don’t have an option for folks who are coming out of the Career Center currently,” says Welch, referring to Career Center High School in Winston-Salem, which has an aviation program. Up to 150 students will be able to attend a year, says Welch. And when the students graduate, the jobs they land will be both interesting and challenging, adds Reed. Graduates could find

work at companies like HondaJet, Hayco Construction, North State Aviation, Piedmont Propulsion Systems, Signature Flight Support, or Collins Aerospace. Eventually, Forsyth Tech hopes to get its future applicants excited about aviation early on through aviation summer camps for middle- and high-schoolers. Similar to summer programs provided now by Forsyth Tech in fields like cyber security, the aviation camps would give young people a taste of the college experience. “We are very excited to see this get started and see the impact it’s going to have on the community,” Welch says.

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Next Up

On the Horizon TWO UPCOMING DEVELOPMENTS PROMISE TO SPUR NEW BUSINESS GROWTH DOWNTOWN AND CREATE SPACES FOR RESIDENTS TO EAT, SHOP, WORK, AND LIVE.

Bailey South

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From its prime location on the south side of Bailey Power Plant, Bailey South is scheduled to open in June 2020. Developer Coleman Team shares more details in "A Driving Force" on page 52. Look for these features:

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Sentinel Commons Development projects that are heavily influenced by a site’s history are fast becoming a defining characteristic of Winston-Salem’s growth. On the corner of North Marshall and 5th Streets, the Sentinel Commons redevelopment project follows that trend. Named for the Sentinel newspaper, which was in circulation for 100 years, Sentinel Commons will reinforce a strong sense of place and community by uniting businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists with recreation and entertainment venues in this mixed-use development. The “Press Works” coworking space is a nod to the building’s publishing past. 48

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Sentinel Commons (cont.) Street-level spaces are convenient for mixed-use retail and restaurant development.

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Tourism Works

for Winston-Salem

With more than $2 billion invested in downtown development projects, including the renovation of the Benton Convention Center and new hotels, Winston-Salem’s growing tourism industry is good business. Tourism is a critical economic driver that attracts more than two million visitors annually, fortifies local businesses, grows our local tax base as well as creates and sustains jobs.

NUMBERS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS Visitors spend more than $950 million annually in Forsyth County Tourism generates more than $73 million in state and local tax revenue each year More than 7,200 Forsyth County residents employed in tourism-related jobs A $20 million renovation of the 105,000-square-foot Benton Convention Center More than 5,000 hotel rooms—including over 1,200 downtown

LE ARN MORE AT VI SI TWI NSTONSALEM .COM


Next Profile Rendering of Bailey South, one of Team’s latest developments

A Driving Force THIS ENTREPRENEUR SHARES WHY COLLABORATION IS KEY IN WINSTON-SALEM’S DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY. WAKE FOREST GRADUATE, commercial real estate entrepreneur, and partner at Front Street Capital, Coleman Team has played an integral role in Winston-Salem’s growth over the years. From new apartments and hotels to major developments in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Team says Winston-Salem is becoming a new generation of itself and an international beacon of innovation not normally found in a city its size. “When you walk around, there’s a real tangible energy — the nightlife, culture, the creative talent, and the engagement — you can feel the arts and innovation,” says Team. “Downtown is setting the standard for the rest of the city, and people are blown away by what we’ve been able to create together.” Team is confident in the future of Winston-Salem. He actively invests in local start-ups, as well as major projects around town. One of his latest developments, Bailey South, will bring even more office space, retail, and restaurants on the south side of the power plant next June. The redevelopment will preserve the plant’s smokestacks, and the abandoned train trestle will be repurposed as a pedes52

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trian bridge into second-floor shops. The back of the building is designed to represent the city’s arts and innovation, including a modern addition with six stories of glass. The influx of businesses, hotels, restaurants, and activities is giving people a reason to come downtown, says Team. “You’ll find everyone from college students, young professionals, and entrepreneurs to local families and tourists. We’ve really seen an uptick in tourism, with people coming outside of work purposes,” says Team. “There’s so much to experience downtown, and after 48 hours, you leave here knowing it’s a gem.” As the city builds momentum, out-of-town companies are taking notice. “A major initiative is to be the best place in the Southeast to grow small to midsize companies,” Team says. “People are already moving here for finance and health care from places like Chicago, Boston, and New York. They love the low cost of living and fantastic quality of life. Now we’re growing other sectors, too.” It’s all part of the city’s strategy to create an atmosphere of collaboration and engagement. “Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a small business, or a large relocation, our obligation as citizens is to make you feel welcome and engaged,” Team says. “Where you could get lost in a city like Atlanta, here you can have a major impact and feel like you’re part of something bigger.” —L.L.


L E T ’ S G E T YO U H O M E .

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Profile for Winston Salem Chamber

NEXT: Industry and Community Insights  

The Chamber's annual publication explores how Collaboration and Innovation are leading to the next big ideas in Winston-Salem.

NEXT: Industry and Community Insights  

The Chamber's annual publication explores how Collaboration and Innovation are leading to the next big ideas in Winston-Salem.