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Clean water starts with educating Greenville’s next generation


Clean water starts with educating Greenville’s next generation. Whether it is in the classroom, at an after-school program, or a community event, the Greenville County Soil & Water Conservation District is here to assist with free environmental programming throughout Greenville County.

We are proud to offer:

  • Education Programs: Classroom programs give students exposure to a variety of environmental science, STEM/STEAM, and stormwater-related activities and labs. All programs are aligned to meet South Carolina standards.
  • Conservation Mini-Grants: Five $250 mini-grants are available! These grants are for conservation-related projects or education events and programs. The application deadline is October 11th.
  • K-12 Photography Contest: Open and free to enter for all Greenville County students. $50 prize in each of the following categories: We All Need Trees; We Live on the Land; Focus on Water; and Farming & Agriculture. All submissions are due by November 8th.

We are happy to tailor programs to fit your needs. To learn more about our programs, please visit: http://www.greenvillesoilandwater.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/GCSWCD-2018-19-School-Programs.pdf

Smith Moore Leatherwood to merge with Fox Rothschild in its southeastern expansion


Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP will merge with Fox Rothschild LLP on Nov. 1, adding 130 attorneys to Fox while expanding into the Southeast. Mergers with six offices in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina totaled the combined firm’s locations to 27 nationwide with more than 900 attorneys.

The Smith Moore Leatherwood firm in Greenville will remain open and operate under the Fox Rothschild name after the merger. The firm has served in the Greenville area since 1945, delivering solutions specific to clients’ industry challenges and needs.

Working with Smith Moore Leatherwood since 1990, Frank Williams is the partner in charge of the Greenville firm.

“We’ll have a lot more resources,” Williams said of the merger. “We see this as a great opportunity for us to provide better, more full services to our clients. It provides us with the resources of a nationwide firm.”

Williams said some clients require resources in other parts of the country or additional expertise, and this merger will better meet those clients’ needs. Smith Moore Leatherwood was initially interested in the merger with Fox as a larger firm because of the firms’ similarities in values, Williams said.

As a result of the merger, Smith Moore Leatherwood’s services in litigation, labor and employment, tax, trusts and estates, real estate, corporate law, health law, intellectual property, and others will be strengthened. Practitioners specializing in legal issues of manufacturing, clean energy, transportation, and infrastructure will be another result of the firms’ merger.

“Expanding our footprint in the Southeast through this merger is an important milestone for the firm,” Fox chair Mark L. Silow said in the release. “We have explored opportunities in this region for many years and are delighted to have found in Smith Moore Leatherwood a firm with a superb roster of talented attorneys who share our values, our approach to client service, and our entrepreneurial focus.”

Julie Theall Earp, Smith Moore Leatherwood’s chair of the management committee, said Fox’s dedication to excellence, integrity, and teamwork is attractive to the firm.

“We are thrilled to join Fox Rothschild. For almost 100 years we have been proud to provide our clients with efficient, top level legal services,” Earp said in the release. “Combining resources with Fox allows us to expand our geographic reach and utilize an established nationwide network of resources for our clients.”

Greenville ranks 21 on Verizon’s top 50 small cities for small businesses list

Map provided by Verizon Business.

Greenville, South Carolina, recently ranked 21 in Verizon Business’ first annual “Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business Report.” Being in the top 10 percent in the nation, Greenville was named one of the top small cities for small businesses to grow and thrive.

Those making the list of 50 small cities were chosen by Verizon analysts based on education level of the local workforce, in-city commute times, income per capita, broadband access, availability of SBA loans, and overall tax friendliness. Data was gathered from nearly 300 small cities with populations between 50,000 and 75,000 people, which is how the U.S. census classifies small cities. 

While Verizon is more popularly known as a cellphone service provider, Verizon Business also strives to provide businesses with a variety of tools necessary to operate efficiently.

The complete study can be found here.

Sealevel founder, CEO recognized for manufacturing contributions in SC

Tom O’Hanlan, second from right, holds the award he received during the 2018 South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo. With him are, from left, Sarah Beasley, Ben O’Hanlan, Susan O’Hanlan, and Brandon Maddox.

Sealevel Systems Inc. founder and CEO Tom O’Hanlan recently received the Outstanding Manufacturing Lifetime Service Award at the 2018 South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo. 

The award is given to someone who has contributed significantly to and made a lasting impact on the manufacturing community of South Carolina.

“O’Hanlan has been committed to giving back to the community in many tangible ways; including supporting STEM initiatives and serving in leadership roles in education, health care, manufacturing councils, and other community-focused organizations,” judges for the award said in a news release.

O’Hanlan designed the first RS-422/485 communication adapter for the IBM PC in 1984. Two years later he founded Sealevel, which provides industrial computing solutions and a variety of communications and input-output products including interface cards, Ethernet serial servers, and USB serial adapters.

O’Hanlan, who manufactured each product himself in Sealevel’s early days, holds patents for several of his inventions. The company’s $1.6 million investment in equipment and over $400,000 in facility upfits enable Sealevel to offer quality manufacturing services. More than 60 jobs in Pickens County have been provided by Sealevel.

Also contributing to his community, O’Hanlan has chaired the Baptist Easley Hospital board of directors and has served as an advisory board member for the Pickens County Career Center. He also founded Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County, which unites leaders from the Pickens County School District, Tri-County Technical College, and the manufacturing community. Through MCPC, job skills awareness is provided and area CEOs are involved in Pickens County schools to strengthen the manufacturing community.

“South Carolina is a great place to do business; we’ve enjoyed being here for 37 years,” O’Hanlan said in his acceptance speech. “Without family, friends, customers, suppliers, and a good community of support like this, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Upstate Hospitality Job Fair to be held Sept. 20


More than 30 hospitality businesses seeking employees will participate in the Upstate Hospitality Job Fair on Thursday, Sept. 20, at McAlister Square. The job fair will run from 12-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.

This free hiring event is a collaborative effort of SC Works Upstate, Greenville Technical College, and the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Businesses represented at the job fair include Aloft Greenville Downtown, Café Enterprises (Fatz Café), Hospitality America, Rick Erwin Dining Group, Table 301 Restaurant Group, and many more.

Representatives from these businesses are looking to fill a wide range of positions including:

  • Front desk reception
  • General manager
  • Banquet set-up
  • Housekeeping
  • Food service
  • Building maintenance
  • Server
  • Kitchen staff

Potential compensation for these positions ranges from $65,000 to $110,000 for salaried general managers to $8-15 hourly for dishwashers and valet attendants.

Many businesses will conduct on-site interviews so applicants are encouraged to arrive dressed professionally and to bring a resumé or work history. Applicants should have multiple copies to leave with potential employers.

“The hospitality industry is absolutely booming in the Upstate,” said Douglas OFlaherty, vice president of the SCRLA. “Greenville is slated to add 550 rooms to the county’s inventory in 2018 and another 330 rooms during 2019. With more hotel rooms comes more restaurants and the demand for more workers.”

Green Tech Solution bringing 200 jobs to Cherokee County with new recycling facility

Photo by Will Crooks/Upstate Business Journal

A China-based recycling company is bringing hundreds of jobs to the Upstate.

Green Tech Solution plans to invest $75 million in a new recycling facility at 210 Henson Road in Blacksburg, according to a news release. The 180,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in the second quarter of 2019 and create about 200 new jobs. 

“We could not be more excited to locate our new recycling operations in Cherokee County, a location that has everything we need for our investment to succeed,” Green Tech Solution CEO Richard Young said in a statement. “None of this would be possible without the assistance of the local and state allies that have supported our new endeavor.”

Green Tech Solution is a subsidiary of Tianjin Sheng Xin Non-Financing Guarantee Co., an investment company headquartered in Tianjin, China.

The company’s recycling center in Blacksburg will collect and process a variety of materials, including plastics, scrap metal, and electronics. Hiring should begin in February 2019. 

Cherokee County Council Chairman Tim Spencer said the company’s new facility in Blacksburg will help boost the local economy.

“Cherokee County welcomes Green Tech Solution to our community,” Spencer said in a statement. “Their investment of $75 million and the creation of 200 new jobs will greatly increase the standard of living for many Cherokee County residents. We appreciate Green Tech Solution selecting Cherokee County for the project and bringing new life to one of our available industrial buildings.”

South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said he’s looking forward to “seeing the difference these 200 news jobs will make in the Cherokee County community.”

He also noted, “South Carolina’s recycling industry continues to enjoy tremendous growth, and foreign investment has played a large role in this.”

The recycling industry brings a $13 billion boost to the state’s economy every year, according to a report from the South Carolina Department of Commerce. South Carolina is home to more than 500 recycling companies, including collectors, processors, recycled product manufacturers, and equipment makers.

In the past five years alone, the South Carolina Department of Commerce has helped facilitate the recruitment of 2,477 jobs, $1,129 million in capital investment, and 42 new or existing companies in South Carolina’s recycling industry.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development, which was established by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, has approved job development credits for Green Tech Solution’s new recycling operation, according to the release.

For more information, visit sccommerce.com.

Spartanburg-based Carolina Alliance Bank announces merger with Park National Corp.


Spartanburg-based CAB Financial Corp., the holding company for Carolina Alliance Bank, has signed an agreement to merge with Newark, Ohio-based Park National Corp., the holding company for Park National Bank.

Park National Corp. expects to acquire CAB Financial Corp. for approximately $141.8 million in a stock and cash transaction, including $28.4 million and 1.03 million shares with an implied share price of $19 each, according to a news release.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first half of 2019, according to the release.

Following the completion of the merger, Carolina Alliance Bank will operate as a community bank division of Park National Bank.

Carolina Alliance Bank has $730 million in assets and operates seven branches in the Upstate and western North Carolina, with a loan production office in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The bank’s leadership team, including CEO John Kimberly, and its board of directors will continue to operate under the Carolina Alliance Bank name and retain headquarters in Spartanburg, according to the release.

Among the many benefits of the merger, Carolina Alliance Bank will gain greater lending capacity through its partnership with Park, an increasingly important component of its service to commercial and small-business customers, the release said. 

The bank will also gain the potential to broaden its offerings to include other financial services not currently available to its customers, the release said.

“We chose to partner with Park National Bank because its leadership and service values align very closely with ours,” Kimberly said in a statement. “Our customers can feel confident that this merger only strengthens our ability to grow with them and continue to do business in the way they have come to expect from Carolina Alliance Bank.”

With the addition of Carolina Alliance Bank, the Park National family of community banks consists of 12 banking divisions, each led by local professionals.

The bank most recently acquired Charlotte-based NewDominion Bank. It also opened a lending office in Louisville, Kentucky, earlier this year.

“We believe in community banking excellence, and Carolina Alliance bankers share those principles and practices,” Park National Corp. CEO David L. Trautman said in a statement. “We are committed to helping John Kimberly and his colleagues in Asheville, Greenville, Spartanburg and surrounding areas as they move forward in this next chapter of their bank’s story.”

Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP is serving as financial adviser and Squire Patton Boggs is serving as legal adviser to Park National during the acquisition of CAB, the release said. FIG Partners LLC is serving as financial adviser and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is serving as legal adviser to CAB.

For more information, visit carolinaalliancebank.com or parknationalbank.com.

On the Move: Sept. 14, 2018



Emily Sobeski

Has been promoted to director of marketing and design for The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. In her new role, she will be responsible for implementing marketing and advertising campaigns and managing the TCMU brand across digital and printed platforms.


Jermaine Whirl

Has been selected to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 by Georgia Southern University’s alumni association. Whirl is the vice president for learning and workforce development at Greenville Technical College. The honor recognizes individuals under 40 for displaying leadership, professional expertise, and achievements, and dedication to charitable and community initiatives.


Carolyn Watson

Has joined Synergy Psych as a licensed professional counselor associate. Watson received her master’s in counseling from Huntington University’s Townsend Institute. She has experience in a variety of settings, including private practice, which prepared her to work with concerns such as anxiety, eating disorders, and addiction.


C. Adam Long

Has been promoted to associate vice chancellor for information technology and data services and chief information officer at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Long is responsible for planning, budgeting, and managing all institutional information systems, networks, operations, and data services.


Nicolas Cherry

Has joined Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP as an attorney in the firm’s Greenville office. Cherry focuses his practice on products liability, toxic and mass torts, and personal injury matters. Prior to joining the firm, he served two years as a law clerk for Timothy Cain, a U.S. district court judge in Anderson.


Shanise Greenfield has been hired by Safe Harbor as its first staff attorney. Safe Harbor is a nonprofit that provides safe shelter, counseling, advocacy, and support services for victims of domestic violence and their children. With the launch of Safe Harbor’s legal program, Greenfield will spend much of her time in family court to assist clients in Safe Harbor’s shelter and break their barrier to justice.

“My greatest task when representing victims of domestic violence is being a voice for the voiceless,” Greenfield said. “The newly developed legal program that I am implementing will ensure that victims feel like their voices are being heard, their stories are being told, their legal needs are given individualized attention, and that justice is being served on their behalf. Victims deserve nothing less, and I will do my best to offer a pathway toward justice for each and every one of them.”


BlackStream International Real Estate has opened a new location at 103 N. Main St. in downtown Greenville. The grand opening of the BlackStream | Christie’s International Real Estate and Art Gallery took place last month. BlackStream | Christie’s serves the Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg market with premier brokerage services.

The Ronald McDonald House at 706 Grove Road was recently renovated and reopened to take in more families. Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas strives to keep families with critically ill or injured children close to each other and to the care and resources they need in the community.

My Place Hotels recently opened its first South Carolina location at 11 Ketron Court in Greenville. My Place Hotels aims to be well-suited to both short- and long-term stays, offering modern amenities at an affordable price.

Susan E. Crocker Inc. Human Resources Consulting recently merged with OneDigital Health and Benefits. The new space is located at 129 Woodruff Place Circle in Simpsonville.

Flying Biscuit Cafe to occupy right side of Haley building at 656 S. Main St.

Flying Biscuit Café will occupy the right half of the Haley building. Photo by Will Crooks / Upstate Business Journal.

The long-vacant Haley building at 656 S. Main St. next to the Army & Navy Store has its first restaurant tenant.

The Flying Biscuit Café, based in Atlanta, will occupy 2,876 square feet on the right half of the building. New franchise owner Summer Lee, who lives in Columbia but grew up in Easley, says she hopes to have the restaurant up and running after extensive build-out by early 2019.

Lee says she’s been a faithful Flying Biscuit diner for 20 years, driving two-and-a-half hours to Atlanta or up to two hours to Charlotte to get her fix.

Now, she’s bringing the all-day breakfast and lunch spot much closer to home. She and her son, Cortland Whitaker, will operate the Greenville location, while she also works to open locations in Charleston.

A center wall will be built, dividing the one large ground-level space into two. Photo by Will Crooks / Upstate Business Journal

The café is much more than biscuits – the menu includes salads and sandwiches, breakfast bowls, oatmeal pancakes and more.

“I’ve eaten at every competitor, and I still think Flying Biscuit is hands-down in a league of its own,” Lee says.

The building’s exterior renovation has been in the works since 2016, with its going through various iterations before the City of Greenville Design Review Board. The final version, which will divide the storefront into two spaces and remove the glass brick windows on the upper stories, was approved at the June public hearing.

rendering by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture

In 2016, Upstate Business Journal reported that the building’s owners Peggy Thomas and her son Ruark had entered into a 99-year lease with a national investor who planned to turn the building into restaurant/retail on the ground floor and office space and/or residential on the second and third floors.

Leadership Greenville has transformed leaders, city for 45 years


Forty-five years of Leadership Greenville has generated scores of leaders — political, social, civic, and business.

It helped train Nancy Whitworth, Greenville’s economic development director and interim city manager; Phyllis Henderson, a former chairwoman of the Greenville County Council and a state representative; and Derek Lewis, a member of the Greenville County Schools Board of Trustees and the executive director of Greenville County First Steps, an organization that promotes school readiness. It helped train Merl Code, an attorney and municipal judge; Don Koontz, a textile historian; and David Lominack, South Carolina market president at TD Bank.

More than 2,000 Greenvillians — people who either live or work in Greenville County — have completed the intensive leadership-training program sponsored by the Greenville Chamber. Considered one of the most successful leadership development programs in the nation, Leadership Greenville has also transformed the community.

“Leadership Greenville provides an exposure to Greenville that would be difficult to experience on your own,” said Whitworth, who was a member of Class 18.

The program is not Leadership 101, said Tami Miller, the chamber’s leadership development director. All have demonstrated their leadership abilities already.

“We’re about empowering and enlightening people. We’ve got to fuel leaders who are not content to sit on the sideline,” said Miller, who earlier this year won The Preceptor Award, a national award from the Association of Leadership Programs for her work in building leaders in the Upstate. The award was in recognition of Miller’s ability to build meaningful relationships with all stakeholders of the chamber’s leadership-development programs in a manner that builds cohesiveness between program members and community leaders.

Developing new leaders is important because leadership has gone through a transformational change over the past 30 years, said Toby Stansell, managing director for Cherry Bekaert’s Technology Solutions Group.

In the past, every city in the South had four or five very visible leaders who governed the pace and direction of a city, he said. In Greenville, those leaders included Tommy Wyche, Buck Mickel, Charlie Daniel, and Max Heller, Stansell said.

Today, leadership is migrating to a distributive model that takes advantage of the skillset of many, all of whom have a willingness to invest and involve themselves in the community to materially change it, Stansell said.

“More than ever, position, pedigree, and privilege mean less and less,” he said.

The 10-month Leadership Greenville program explores issues that affect Greenville. Days are spent studying quality of life, the economy, local and state government, human services, education, and justice. The group begins with a two-day retreat that includes a simulated society and ends with an overnight retreat and graduation ceremonies.

“You can’t create change or make an impact if you don’t know what the needs are,” Miller said. “It’s not Leadership Greenville’s job to tell you what to think. We give you the info and you decide where to land. It’s my job to make it to where you can’t unsee or unhear things.”

Each class has several projects, enabling members to put what they learn to work to change the community in some way. For the Leadership Greenville Class 45, which began its program in August, that meant a recent session on defining what leadership is.

“Leadership is an activity as opposed to a position,” Miller told them. “This is not a spectator sport.”

Cherington Love Shucker, executive director of the Greenville Center for Creative Arts, said both her parents had gone through Leadership Greenville and she knew they had transformational experiences. She wanted the same.

She said after Class 45’s opening retreat, a trust has built up between class members, enabling them to talk about the issues and their perspectives.

“Trust is the first step to solving a problem,” she said.

Angela Perez-Litwin, a social entrepreneur and a clinical psychologist in private practice, moved to Greenville from New York City a year ago.

“I was in awe of the vision our past leaders had for Greenville and I wanted to be part of the next vision,” she said. “I want to make Greenville better than what it is. I want a deep understanding of what Greenville has been, what it is, and where it wants to go.”

Adam Witter, a member of 2017’s Leadership Greenville class, said the program doesn’t end after graduation. Witter, who is participating in the program’s curriculum this year, said some of his class members formed a Transportation Task Force and continue to meet monthly.

“I thought the program was to network and get to know people. It turned into collectively trying to really make a difference in our community because Greenville has a lot to celebrate. We all live on Main Street and celebrate the great things there, but there are a lot of needs off Main Street,” he said.

Debbie Wallace, the president and chief operating officer for Verdae, grew up in Greenville. She said being a part of Class 40 added tools to her professional toolbox and expanded her personal network, but more importantly, it broadened her sense of responsibility to support Greenville through a number of highly effective nonprofits.

Whitworth said Leadership Greenville caused her to step out of her comfort zone.

“Throughout the years, the current challenges and issues may change, but the principles of thoughtful engagement, respect for different points of view, and focus on finding common ground remain timeless,” she said. “The Leadership Greenville experience reinforces that philosophy.”

Lynn Harton, United Community Banks’ new CEO, looks beyond the numbers

Lynn Harton leads a video conferencing call in the renovated UCB building at 125 E. Broad St. Photo by Will Crooks / Upstate Business Journal

Lynn Harton, the new chief executive officer at United Community Banks Inc., has always been a rolling stone — until UCB.

In his first 25 years in business, he moved 10 times, energized by meeting other community leaders and getting things done.

In 2007, Harton came to Greenville as storm clouds formed around the banking industry. As CEO of The South Financial Group, he served as change agent to help the organization survive the recession, ultimately negotiating the sale of the company to TD Bank.

After integrating TSFG into TD, Harton felt restless “and actually was getting close to a job in another state,” he recalled during a conversation at UCB’s offices in the One Building.

One evening, after Harton and his wife Flavia mingled with friends at the Peace Center, he returned to his seat and became reflective.

“Why do I have to move?” he recalled asking himself. “Am I not at the point in my career where I can choose where I want to be? And this is where I want to be.”

Soon after, Harton signed on as chief operating officer for Blairsville, Georgia-based United Community Banks Inc. and its banking subsidiary. Based in Greenville and growing UCB’s book of business, he received a series of promotions, and on June 30 assumed the role of CEO at both companies.

Harton now directs the future of a $12.38 billion company with 151 offices across Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee, with many system functions based in Greenville and a commitment to growth.

While Blairsville remains the legal headquarters, Greenville is the nerve center for all key decision-making.

UCB has about 350 employees working out of 90,000 square feet of downtown space, with $17 million invested in premises and equipment across three properties: the One Building at Main and Washington streets; a former Erwin Penland building at 125 E. Broad St.; and the former Palmetto Bank headquarters at East North and Church streets.

“So it’s fair to say this is the executive headquarters, this is the operational hub,” Harton said. “We would expect it to continue to grow.”

According to Harton, the growth that UCB is experiencing mirrors the overall growth of the area economy.

“You’ve got a number of really great developers that understand the business, and we’ve got relationships with a vast majority of them,” he said.

From 2013 through June 2018, UCB has made $1.36 billion in new loans just in the Upstate, according to the company, with capital injected into projects such as Camperdown and the Greenville One Center.

David Glenn, CEO of Centennial American Properties, said he admires the way Harton goes beyond numbers to evaluate deals.

“His due diligence is about a person,” Glenn said. “Who are the people behind this, and what is their track record on getting things done? So he’s not just a project lender, he’s a person lender.”

Harton agreed to finance the first phase of Camperdown at South Main and Broad streets — construction of the new The Greenville News building, razing the old structure, creating underground parking, and some retail, which Glenn said was instrumental in getting the project’s hotel and apartments underway.

UCB has been associated with “lots of our projects,” Glenn added, including millions of square feet for big-box retailers around the country.

Glenn said he appreciates the local decision-making.

“I personally think that’s huge,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s received enough recognition. It doesn’t have to go anywhere other than right here in Greenville; it’s done.”

Greenville’s Phil Hughes agreed.

“I can live with ‘no,’ but an endless ‘maybe’ is about the worst answer you can get,” said Hughes, president of Hughes Investments. “And when you’re so close to the lead management team, your answer is clear early.”

Hughes said he has worked with Harton on projects including Falls Park Plaza and RiversEdge Apartments.

“You come away feeling like he’s got your back, he understands, and it’s very accommodating,” Hughes said.

Steps away from Hughes’ office, Megan Riegel, president and CEO of the Peace Center, had other kind things to say.

“He’s so responsive. He came in and interviewed one of our candidates at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday. Who would do that?” she asked. “This is a man whose ego is in check.”

Harton is serving his second term on the Peace Center’s board and is board chair.

Riegel said she appreciates Harton’s acumen in strategic planning, knowledge of commercial real estate, and his and Flavia’s personal support for the arts. Harton is also immediate past president of the board at the Greenville County Museum Association.

Recently, UCB added a new product offering, not-for-profit tax-exempt financing, which is available across the bank’s four-state footprint.

Harton applauds the level of public-private partnership in Greenville.

“I think that is unusual,” he said.

But he said he believes more must be done in the areas of roads, parking, and affordable housing.

As system CEO, Harton begins from a position of strength. Second-quarter 2018 earnings per share were up 26 percent year-over-year, margins again widened, loan production reached a new record, and the equipment finance company the bank bought is growing well, he said.

Looking ahead, Harton told analysts that the company is interested “in the right opportunities in Florida or Alabama” and wants to grow further in Atlanta.

The bank also earned top ranking from J.D. Power for overall retail customer satisfaction in the Southeast for the fifth consecutive year. That result, Harton said, was aided by the approximately 5,000 customer surveys the bank conducts annually to guide performance, stave off problems, and serve customers even better.

“Our No. 1 value we talk about is trust, and we trust our people and they trust their customers,” Harton said. “Now, I’m not saying we don’t have processes, but we think the way to not have those problems is to hire better people and trust them more. It all starts with great people, and great people want to work with other great people. And so if you can just focus on that, a lot of things work themselves out.”

Peer-to-peer leadership transforms inmates


Self-managed, objectively accountable, peer-based leadership. It seems like an ideal structure — which makes it all the more remarkable that it originated in prison.

“The first time I ever saw this happen,” says Tommy Moore, “I thought corporate America would pay millions of dollars for this.”

Moore is the executive director of JumpStart, a Spartanburg-based ministry dedicated to transforming prisoners’ lives, both inside and out. The centerpiece is a 40-week program geared toward character and faith development, led by inmates for inmates. Upon their release, graduates can then participate in a 12-month follow-up program, which offers low-cost housing in one of 16 transitional homes, as well as access to physical, mental, and dental health care, and even permanent employment.

One of those employers is Chris Phillips, owner of Sun Surveillance in Spartanburg.

“The JumpStart guys are prepared for work, strive to do their best, and are sincerely appreciative of the opportunity,” Phillips says.

He says he felt called by God to hire former prisoners and over the past eight years has reached the point that his entire staff of seven consists of JumpStart graduates or participants.

“I told someone recently I feel they each do the work of two men,” he says. “There is such genuine gratitude.”

JumpStart began in the mid-1990s with four inmates — three of whom had life sentences,” according to Moore.

“They felt burdened because they’d see guys get out and come back, get out and come back,” he says. “And back then South Carolina had one of the highest recidivism rates in the nation.”

Numerous interviews yielded four primary drivers of recidivism among former inmates: inability to find a place to live, inability to find a place to work, community rejection, and lack of knowledge of a different lifestyle.

Inspired by Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life,” the founders developed and copyrighted a manual that leads participants through an intensive program to help address those four problems and, in so doing, transform their lives. The curriculum, led by inmates, centers on core values of accountability, responsibility, and submission to authority.

“At the beginning of the year, we’ll have roughly 1,000 inmates in our program, but there’s a pretty quick attrition rate,” Moore says. “The uninformed belief is, ‘Go to JumpStart, get out of prison, don’t go back.’ But then you start the program and realize, oh, this is for real. I mean, we have a workbook, there’s classes — you have to be intentional to want to work.”

Along with the classes comes a quarterly peer review using a 35-point questionnaire, helping to both cultivate future leaders and objectively rank individuals in categories like character, honesty, health, and preparation for re-entry.

“These guys are seriously holding each other accountable,” Moore says.

The JumpStart program is now offered in 16 of South Carolina’s 23 prisons. Moore says more than 5,000 inmates have graduated the inside program, and of the 2,100 of those who’ve been released from prison, fewer than 70 have gone back.

“So the headline is, our recidivism rate is 4 percent, versus a national average of 70 percent and a state average of about 23 percent,” Moore says. “We’re saving the state of South Carolina $7 million every year. It’s the number of beds not being used by people who normally would have gone back.”

Moore says that 97 percent of all inmates are people who made a bad choice, and in that moment changed the rest of their lives. And when those 97 percent get released, it’s not like the movies.

“There’s no knapsack,” Moore says. “There’s no $25. In the winter, a lot of times there’s no coat. There’s shoes, pants, a belt, shirt, underwear, and a one-way bus ticket. That’s it. Nothing else.”

For graduate Jim Walker, who’s now worked at Sun Surveillance for eight years, the program was a lifesaver.

“I had no family to go home to,” he says. “JumpStart gave me options when I felt my options were very few.”

Walker now serves as a mentor to three recent graduates. And he’s in the process of buying a new home.

“JumpStart has impacted every facet of my life,” he says. “Spiritual, financial, personal. It felt like everyone wanted to help. It gave me direction, accountability, and friendship.”

The program has been so successful that it’s facing an unexpected challenge.

“Now we have more employers than we have people to employ,” Moore says. “For the first several years of this ministry, they could not find jobs for these guys. The tipping point was when business owners like Chris Phillips took a risk with one. And that’s what it felt like, a risk. And then two, and then three. And then it was like, ‘These guys are smart, they’re hard-working, they blow the others out of the water,’ and so over time the word’s gotten out.”

Grandbridge facilitates $32M for Reed Row refinance

Reed Row is a 132-unit multifamily property. Photo provided.

Grandbridge Real Estate Capital has closed a $32 million mortgage loan secured by Reed Row Apartments.

Greenville-based Grandbridge senior vice presidents Phillip Cox and Bill Mattice originated the transaction for the newly developed, 132-unit luxury multifamily property in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

One of Grandbridge’s insurance company correspondents provided funding for the permanent, fixed-rate loan, and the nonrecourse, interest-only financing was structured with a 10-year term.

The 111,200-square-foot midrise property features a carriageway entrance, a private courtyard, an outdoor chess table, a fire pit, a resident lounge, Wi-Fi access, areas for coworking, a 24-hour fitness center, a ride-in bike room, a dog-washing station, and a rooftop terrace with grill stations, dining areas, and lounge areas.

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Grandbridge is a subsidiary of Branch Banking and Trust Co. with a current servicing portfolio of $29 billion. Grandbridge serves as a national full-service provider in commercial and multifamily finance.

South State Bank plans for continued success upon president and CEO’s retirement

South State Bank mergers and acquisitions since 2010. (note: the Bank of America acquisition in 2015 was select BoA branches.) Photo provided by South State Bank.

John Windley, a banking veteran of 43 years, has announced his retirement as president and CEO of South State Bank after serving 12 years in the roles.

Windley joined South State in Greenville 17 years ago as the company began expansion into the Upstate.

John Windley

Windley, who will retain the title of CEO until March 2019, is heavily involved in the company’s operations and will continue to be for another year as he works part time in executive business development. 

“We’ve been very fortunate in building a much larger company over the last 17 years,” Windley said. “The most rewarding thing for me is the growth of the company and quality of the team.”

The Upstate team, with support from the community, was built from the ground up, Windley said.

“Our company has an extremely bright future,” he said of South State.

Mike Coggin

South Carolina Upstate Division President Mike Coggin has managed the Greenville and Spartanburg regions for 12 years. In the role of division president for the past two years, Coggin has seen the growth that has made South State fifth in the Greenville metropolitan statistical area and seventh in Greenville alone, according to a report in June 2017.

The Upstate division has $2.3 billion in loans outstanding and $2.3 billion in deposits, Coggin said. Overall, South State is the largest bank headquartered in South Carolina.

“Our strength and soundness is demonstrated by the fact that we have never had a quarter in which we have lost money since our inception in 1933, and we have paid a dividend each and every quarter since 1976,” Coggin said.

Working with Windley in Greenville since the beginning, Coggin said the company culture has taken on much of Windley’s personal philosophy.

“John’s personality kind of permeates the culture of the company,” he said. “You do what you say you’re going to do, and you do things the right way.” 

Windley has stressed the importance of acting with 100 percent integrity all of the time.

“And that’s how we do it here at South State Bank,” Coggin said.

He said South State Bank will continue to succeed under strong leadership.

“The CEO of South State Corp., Robert Hill, has been in his role since 2005,” Coggin said. “Most companies of our size would have to hire from outside of the company to replace a leader of John’s experience, but we are well-positioned to elevate existing talent within our company to lead us into the future.”

Greg Lapointe

Replacing Windley as South State president is Greg Lapointe, who will relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina. An executive leader at South State for nine years, Lapointe brings more than 30 years of banking experience to the position. He has served in leadership roles at Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and South State throughout the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia.

Senior living program coming to Patrick Square

Drew Miller, Dominion development project manager; Sean Chalmers, Dominion development; Chris Hodge, Town Center manager of Patrick Square; Jason Armstrong, president of Patrick Square, LLC. Photo provided.

Patrick Square, a traditional neighborhood development in Clemson, is collaborating with Dominion Senior Living to offer a unique homeowning experience for senior citizens who want to maintain independence while enjoying a close community.

Bridging the gap of aging care, the new program, Dominion Home Living at Patrick Square, is exclusively available to residents of The Villas at Patrick Square. Villa residents have the option to purchase a variety of DHL services for senior assistance in custom packages or a la carte.

The two companies created the program to respond to the lifestyle choices of the growing 55-plus market. The program is expected to open in the first quarter of 2019. 

Personal services such as gourmet meals, social activities, personal care, health checks, medication setup and reminders, transportation, and pet care will be available at DHL. All services are administered by certified in-home care professionals and experienced Dominion Senior Living staff. 

The Villas will be located directly across the street from the 50,000 square-foot assisted living and memory care community also currently being built at Patrick Square by Dominion Senior Living. With the closeness to the facility, villa residents can also enjoy off-site meals and program activities at the Dominion facility.

Dominion Senior Living aims to help the aging maintain independence while receiving support for daily living.

“We are thrilled to share DHL with our villa residents and to have Dominion Senior Living as part of our Patrick Square family,” said Chris Hodge, Patrick Square Town Center manager. “We can now provide the senior community with an unparalleled quality of life in Patrick Square.”

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