Alpha Mode with Richard Hagins – Episode 5


Upstate Business Journal is pleased to present the fifth installment of Alpha Mode, its new, digital feature that appears each month on, in partnership with QLI International LLC and Alex LaCasse (MTN llc).

“Being a successful entrepreneur is hard; starting and leading a prosperous business is hard; and doing it from a minority position is even harder. It requires capital, passion, and never-ending tenacity,” says Richard Hagins.

This month’s Alpha Mode, “Conversations with Next-Level Leaders,” features Richard Hagins, founder and CEO of the local business services company US&S Inc. He offers insight into the leadership approach of building a respected brand in a B2B environment with US&S. During the interview, Hagins also offered a glimpse into different aspects of his career as a Navy officer, an African-American business leader, and an active contributor to the Upstate community.

Since settling in Greenville in 1996, Hagins has become an integral part of his adopted home through the work of his company and commitment to service. He was previously appointed by the governor as a state Commissioner of Minority Affairs (4th District). In 2007, he was appointed by former Gov. Sanford and confirmed by the Senate to serve on the board of the South Carolina State Port Authorities (SCSPA). Hagins was heavily involved in developing the board’s five-year strategic plan. Subsequently, he was elected treasurer of the SCSPA board and became a member of the executive committee until 2011.

After serving his country for 23 years as a U.S. Naval Officer and retiring in 2000 with the rank of commander, Hagins followed his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for service when founding US&S Inc., previously Universal Supplies & Services Inc., in 2003. US&S is a facility maintenance and support service provider specializing in operations and maintenance, repairs, renovation, janitorial, grounds maintenance, and staff augmentation.

He was named the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) South Carolina District Office’s nominee for 2012 National Minority Small Business Person of the Year. Hagins was selected for this recognition by the SBA based on his firm’s “consistent growth in total sales and number of employees, excellence in government contract performance, response to adversity, and contributions to the community.” Most recently, he was named the S.C. Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year in April 2014 by the SBA. He was recognized in Who’s Who 2015 through the Upstate Business Journal as “The Boss” while being featured in numerous articles attesting to his character, service to the community, and success as a businessman.

Hagins received a B.S. from Savannah State College in electronic engineering technology. He received his M.A. from Webster University in management and recently completed the executive education program at both the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and the University of Washington.

Manfred Gollent is a certified business coach with QLI International LLC. This monthly video feature provides insights into building foundations for successful, sustainable businesses in the Upstate. Alpha Mode episodes feature small-business owners, restaurateurs, retailers, and a diverse group of business executives and professionals.