Selecting Who’s Who


When UBJ launched Who’s Who last year, the goal was to recognize people who made an economic impact on the Upstate and went above and beyond their professional roles. The first class of winners fulfilled that goal and set a high standard for the years to follow.

Finding this year’s class demanded a thorough selection process, involving nominations from the public, exhaustive work from researchers, the wisdom and expertise of a panel of judges – and, for the first time, direct engagement through social media.


Selecting the panel

An independent panel of five community leaders was chosen to review nominations, with the help of a group of researchers, and select the 2015 Who’s Who class. Meet this year’s panel.


Number2Defining the categories

In order to ensure a diverse range of professional backgrounds and ages, we created six defined categories this year: the Legend, the Boss, the Closer, the Entrepreneur, the Innovator and the Young Gun. A seventh category, the Wild Card, would be a way for the public to engage directly with the process.


Number3Gathering the nominations

Nominations were open to the public from Dec. 12, 2014, to Jan. 30, 2015, through downloadable forms and online submissions to the UBJ website. In total, 147 names were nominated.


Number4Making the selection

Researchers vetted up to 11 names per category and submitted them to the panel for their deliberation. Extensive research and interviews were conducted on each candidate in order to provide the panel with plenty of information to evaluate.

The panel scored each nominee 1-5 in these areas:

  • 2014 accomplishments
  • Overall resume
  • Above and beyond

The panel then held a deliberation meeting, in which they discussed the top three scorers from each category and made their selections for the Who’s Who honors in the first six categories.


Number5Dealing the Wild Cards

At the deliberation meeting, the panel also selected five names from the pool of vetted nominees to populate a new category: the Wild Card. Candidates were:

  • Jeremy Boeh, director of entrepreneurship, Wofford College
  • Jon Good, CEO, NAI Earle Furman
  • Ryan Heafy, executive director, iMAGINE Upstate
  • Jim Hendrix, owner, The Graphic Cow
  • Nika White, vice president of diversity and inclusion, Greenville Chamber

After UBJ posted these names online, 17,642 people engaged in the Facebook Wild Card campaign and digital voting site, and with 1,644 likes, comments and shares and 2,987 website votes, the Wild Card was selected. The Who’s Who class of 2015 was now complete.


Number6Celebrating the winners

On Thursday, March 26, winners were acknowledged at a private event in front of a Who’s Who audience of the Upstate’s business leaders. The special edition of UBJ you’re reading now was also created to call attention to the activities and accomplishments of this year’s Who’s Who honorees.





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