PGA golfer Jay Haas, his two sons and other investors have purchased the Eagle Zone driving range at 8000 Pelham Road, Greenville, and have plans to turn it into a golf training center unlike most others in the Southeast.
“I think we will be recognized on a national scale at some time in the future,” Haas said.
The investor group includes, among others, Haas’ older son, Jay Jr., who teaches at the Greenville Country Club; his younger son, Bill, who competes on the PGA Tour; and his brother-in-law, Dillard Pruitt, who played on the PGA Tour and is now a PGA Tour rules official. The group also includes John Gerring, who manages Eagle Zone and has more than 50 years’ experience as a head golf professional at a variety of noted country clubs, such as Holly Tree Country Club in Simpsonville, Atlanta Country Club, and Bloomfield Hills Country Club in Michigan.
Haas said plans call for using the group’s connections to bring in some of the country’s most experienced and notable golf coaches to conduct clinics along with himself and his sons. In addition, Jay Jr. will offer one-on-one instruction along with the facility’s six current instructors, including Jamie Michala.
“We want people to be able to come here and learn the game from some of the best teachers,” Haas said. “I foresee bringing in nationally-known instructors to do one- and two-day clinics. I don’t think many places in the area can claim anything like that. That’s something that will separate this facility from many others.”
In addition, plans call a short-game facility, short-game clinics, and instruction that includes electronic devices that can show spin rate, launch angle, club angle, distance, ball speed. He said he, Bill Haas, and Jay Haas Jr. use Trackman devices that register that data but they are specific to one golfer. He’d like to be able to offer that to all golfers who use the facility.
“We have great plans, dreams for what this facility can be going forward and, hopefully, we’ll realize them sooner than later,” Haas said.
Haas said he’s always been intrigued by driving ranges, which are the place most golfers develop their love for the game and first learn how to hit golf balls. Haas said he often took Jay Jr. and Bill to Eagle Zone, known then as Pelham Tees, when they were growing up.
“You can go and grab a bucket of balls and have no consequences at all, just hit, loosen up and try to learn something,” he said.
Haas said the facility would focus on providing proper instruction to junior players so they can develop and to established golfers who want to improve their game.
Haas and the investor group recently closed the sale of the 24-acre facility for an undisclosed sum. They are planning to rebrand the facility with a new name in the coming months.
Immediate plans include new mats, new balls, and enhanced lighting, as well as retaining the instructors, club fitting, club repair, and retail business. Renovations of the building could include displaying a variety of golf memorabilia that he and his sons have collected over the years, including Ryder Cup and President’s Cup gear.
Haas said he knows that TopGolf, which is building a 55,000-square-foot facility near the intersection of Pelham and Garlington Roads, is coming to Greenville, but said he believes comparing the two are “apples and oranges.”
“TopGolf is more on the entertainment side where we have more of the instructor side,” he said. “We’re excited about the opportunity to work with the players who are introduced to golf by TopGolf.”
Haas said Eagle Zone has the bones of a great facility.
BMW Group’s X5 Sports Activity Vehicle is getting a makeover.
The German automaker earlier this month unveiled the fourth generation of the popular crossover, which is one of the four models exclusively produced at its Spartanburg County plant. BMW said the 2019 X5 is expected to hit dealerships in November.
“Our new BMW X5 is the continuation of Plant Spartanburg’s success story,” Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., said in a statement. “With the new X5, our impact in this state and the nation will continue to grow.”
Flor noted that the upcoming launch of the new X5 and first-ever X7 would not only boost production levels at BMW Manufacturing Co., but also lead to increased exports.
“Because of these new models we are adding hundreds of jobs at this plant and at our suppliers, and we will export more cars than ever before in 2019,” he said.
Already BMW Group’s largest plant worldwide in terms of volume, BMW Manufacturing Co. is the birthplace of the company’s X3, X4, X5, and X6 models. The plant, which began operations in 1994, represents a nearly $9 billion investment, produces more than 1,400 vehicles per day, and provides jobs to some 10,000 people. It has been the nation’s largest automotive exporter since 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Despite maintaining top export status and seeing an increase in production totals in 2015 and 2016, BMW experienced a nearly 10 percent decrease in production last year.
A breakdown of the plant’s 2017 production shows its employees assembled 130,582 X3s, 48,463 X4s, 155,324 X5s, and 36,915 units of the X6.
The total U.S. sales of the company’s X models for 2017 were 103,484, a less than 1 percent decrease compared with 103,943 in 2016
Steve Wilson, a spokesman for BMW Manufacturing Co., said the dip in production levels was due to the introduction of the company’s new X3 model in 2017 and renovations that shut down the plant’s X5/X6 assembly hall for a month.
Wilson said preparation for the company’s new X5 and other future models began in 2014 when BMW Group announced a $1 billion investment in the Spartanburg plant.
The three-year expansion project included the construction of a 1.2 million-square-foot body shop, an expansion of the plant’s X5/X6 assembly hall by 200,000 square feet, and a 100,000-square-foot expansion of logistics. The body shop houses about 2,000 robots that will build all of the plant’s X models, including the new X5, Wilson said.
More recently, BMW announced its plans to invest $600 million in the Spartanburg plant and create 1,000 jobs between 2018 and 2021. The investment includes an expansion of the X3/X4 assembly hall to house production of the new X5 beginning in 2019.
“Global demand for the new X5 is forecast to be very strong. … This [expansion] will allow the new X5 to be built in both assembly halls,” Wilson said.
BMW has sold more than 2.2 million X5s since introducing the model in 1999, with about one-third of those deliveries happening in the United States. The company’s Spartanburg plant has produced more than 76,000 X5s in 2018 so far.
Production of the new X5 is expected to begin in August, according to Wilson. Pricing and fuel economy figures will likely be announced closer to the start of sales date in November.
While the company’s new X5 is expected to look similar to the model it replaces, it will be “significantly larger than its predecessor” with extra passenger and cargo room, according to a news release. It will also come standard with subtle design changes, advanced safety systems, off-road comfort controls, and numerous high-tech components.
The vehicle’s dashboard, for instance, will feature a 12.3-inch digital display that runs the latest generation of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system. Users will be able to interact with the screen via a control knob on the center console, through the touch screen, by using a “table-like touch surface,” or by using gestures, similar to the BMW 5 and 7 series sedans.
Standard luxury features in the X5 will include a four-zone climate control system, heated front seats, ambient lighting, and a panoramic glass roof. Optional features include cooled and massaging front seats, remote engine start, and heated and cooled cup holders.
A bundle of digital services including remote services, concierge services, and real-time traffic information will come standard on the new X5 for four years.
The optional off-road package, which is being offered for the first time in a BMW X model, includes underbody protection at the front and rear, a two-axle air-suspension system that self-levels automatically for riding comfort, and an anti-spin rear-wheel differential lock that provides differing grip for the left and right back wheels, the release said.
All the new X5s will include various safety features, including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, front and rear collision warnings, pedestrian monitoring, and city collision mitigation. Optional safety features include traffic jam assist, lane keeping assist, automatic lane changing, and collision evasion aid with steering assist.
The 2019 X5 will initially be available in two variants – xDrive 40i and xDrive 50i.
The X5 xDrive 40i uses a turbocharged 3.0L inline-six engine that can hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds with a top speed as high as 150 mph, according to a new release.
The X5 xDrive 50i uses an updated version of BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 that can hit 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph.
Both engines use BMW’s all-wheel-drive system and eight-speed automatic transmission, which has been updated to improve fuel efficiency.
“The BMW X5 embodies the origins of the BMW X family and, in its fourth generation, sends out its most powerful message yet in terms of presence and modernity,” Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president at BMW Group Design, said in a statement. “It defines a new X design language – robust, clear and precise.”
ECPI University, which has a campus in Greenville, has been awarded the S.C. Cyber Award for Excellence in Academia.
S.C. Cyber is a statewide initiative that aims to “develop talent, techniques, and tools to defend the connected infrastructure within South Carolina and the United States,” according to a news release.
At its annual summit, S.C. Cyber recognizes government, industry, and academic organizations that demonstrate excellence within their sector.
“ECPI University has been a strong leader in providing students with valued educational and experiential learning opportunities,” Tom Scott, executive director of S.C. Cyber, said in the release.
Dr. Keith Morneau, dean of computer science and information science at ECPI, said the university is “honored that S.C. Cyber has recognized us for our efforts to produce highly skilled cybersecurity professionals”
“Through our partnerships with industry and government, it is our mission to empower students with real-world skills and help close the cybersecurity talent gap,” he added.
ECPI, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, was also recently designated a national center of academic excellence in cyber defense education by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
To earn the designation, schools must meet stringent criteria and mapping curricula with requirements focusing on course content and relevance, laboratories, and faculty involvement, according to a news release.
“This recognition is a stamp of excellence for our program and our faculty,” Morneau said in the release.
ECPI’s cyber and network security program’s applications-based curriculum teaches students how to:
administer, manage, and troubleshoot hardware, software, and services
use cybersecurity measures to protect data and manage personnel
A private university founded in 1966, ECPI University has campuses in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, and offers convenient classes during the day, evening, and online; graduate employment services, continuing education, certification classes, and testing are also available.
Spartanburg-based Wofford College has established a new center for students interested in studying national security and foreign policy.
The Hipp Center for National Security and Foreign Policy features student opportunities for internships, as well as a planned exchange program, according to a news release. It also features an on-campus ReadyCam studio, giving the college the ability to connect its experts with broadcast networks around the world.
The center was made possible by a gift from Van. D. Hipp Jr., a 1982 Wofford College graduate and chairman of international defense consulting firm American Defense International, the release said.
“I believe that education is a national security issue,” Hipp said in the release. “It’s important that young people have a sense of history, what it means to be an American, and an understanding of national security and foreign policy.”
Hipp, who was commissioned into the U.S. Army through the ROTC program at Wofford and served on active duty in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Democracy, has been involved in defense and security matters as well as international policy issues throughout his career, the release said.
Hipp was named deputy assistant secretary of the Army in 1990, serving as the Army secretariat’s “point man” for the successful mobilization and demobilization of the Army’s reserve forces for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Hipp said many students have reached out to him over the years, asking for guidance in the national security arena. “I put them in touch with the right people, but I figured if we had a center at the college, we would have the mechanism in place with the right organizations to expose our students to singularly unique experiences.”
Wofford president Nayeff Samhat said the college is grateful for Hipp’s efforts.
“Van Hipp’s amazing and seemingly limitless network of connections offer the college community distinctive learning opportunities,” Samhat said in a statement. “We anticipate many transformational educational and experiential learning opportunities for our students as the Hipp Center continues to develop.”
Pennsylvania-based Crown Holdings Inc., a leading supplier of packaging products, has installed a solar array that will offset one-third of the annual electrical usage at its manufacturing plant in Spartanburg.
The ground-mounted solar project, which is located at 930 Beaumont Ave., is online and has been generating electricity since October 2017, according to a news release. Annual production is anticipated to be approximately 1,310 megawatt hours/year of energy.
Keystone Power Holdings and its affiliate KPH Construction Services worked alongside Georgia-based Hannah Solar to construct the 924.6-kilowatt DC system with 2,680 PV modules, the release said. Crown is using the solar array via an operating lease.
“From start to finish, Keystone Power Holdings has been a great partner in this initiative,” said Bob Harding, manager of Crown’s Spartanburg facility. “We are glad to be reducing our carbon footprint and to be contributing to Crown’s wider sustainability goals, which include further reducing energy consumption. Offsetting one-third of our annual energy usage in our Spartanburg plant is an important achievement.”
Headquartered in Pennsylvania, Keystone Power Holdings develops solar projects nationwide and is one of only a handful of South Carolina-approved solar leasing companies, according to the release.
KPH Construction Services, a division of Keystone Power Holdings, performed construction management and oversight for the project, with Hannah Solar providing electrical and project management services.
As part of the initiative, Keystone Power Holdings applied for and was granted a Duke Energy Solar Rebate, which helped to lower capital costs and make the project viable for Crown and Keystone. The rebate program, which was launched in 2015, offers a rebate of $1 per watt of installed generating capacity direct current.
“Solar energy continues to gain ground as an alternative energy solution at the local level. We’re pleased to be able to partner with businesses like Crown to help make green their energy purchases while delivering significant energy savings,” said William R. DePhillipo, co-founder of Keystone Power Holdings. “It is also significant that we were able to develop the largest leased solar array in the state of South Carolina.”
Has been promoted to chief growth officer of EP+Co. Hoffman previously served as SVP, director of business development. Hoffman has been at EP+Co for 16 years and has in-depth knowledge of the company, its clients, and the industry.
HIRED Kristin Dennis
Has joined FUEL as digital analytics/SEO specialist to its digital marketing team. Dennis is an industry veteran who has served in several key roles at a variety of national accounts, including E*TRADE New York and HBO, New York.
HIRED Will Komar
Has been hired as a summer public relations intern for the Aviation Center (SCTAC). He will assist with internal and external communications and PR assignments for the technology park located in Greenville County. Komar is originally from Columbia and is a rising senior at Clemson University studying management and economics.
PROMOTED Emily Moseley
Has been promoted to manager of public relations at Crawford Strategy. Moseley joined Crawford Strategy in 2014 as a public relations account manager. She has more than 10 years of experience in the field. Moseley is originally from Chicago and attended Wake Forest University.
HIRED Alan Grubbs
Has been hired as community manager at Endeavor. Grubbs will be responsible for day-to-day operations and facilities management, member relations, technology, and event logistics support. He brings years of experience in technical management, creative development, and client relationship management to support the needs of Endeavor’s members.
SYNNEX Corporation was announced No. 169 on the Fortune 500 List of Largest Companies. The Fortune 500 list ranks the largest private and public U.S. companies based on their prior year’s annual revenue. SYNNEX reported $17 billion in revenue for its 2017 fiscal year, a 21 percent year-over-year increase. SYNNEX advanced 29 positions from last year.
GreenWood Inc. was recently presented with the Lighthouse Beam Safety Award by BB&T Insurance. This is the eighth consecutive year the company has been presented this award. The award is presented to companies that achieve excellence in safety performance in their organization.
Two OTO Development employees won top honors for sales and leadership within the Hyatt brand’s select-service portfolio. Daniel Crangle received a Hyatt Leadership Award for Select Service Revenue Management and Osman Keskin won a Hyatt Sales Award. They were selected amongst colleagues from across the Americas. Crangle was named Hyatt Franchise Revenue Manager of the Year, and Keskin was tapped as HY-ACHIEVER during the brand’s Global Sales Summit Awards Dinner in Orlando, Fla. Crangle is regional director of revenue management at OTO Development, a Spartanburg-based Johnson Management company that owns and operates select service hotels in 13 states as well as Washington, D.C. In this role, Crangle supports Hyatt Place Chicago/Downtown –The Loop, the property where Keskin serves as director of sales.
According to the latest report from the Department of Defense, there are more than 50,000 active duty military service men and women here in the state of South Carolina. Of those, 10 percent will leave the military each year. But will they stay in South Carolina? Additionally, 240,000 will separate from the military outside of South Carolina. And we certainly want them to relocate here. So what can employers do to attract veterans, engage with veterans, and retain veterans?
VALUES: Veterans are values-driven. While certain candidates might not even look for how a company displays or demonstrates their business values, a veteran definitely will. To attract veterans, go beyond posting your mission statement and values on the company website. Clearly show how your company is acting consistently with those values and how you interact with the community, support your employees, and operate the business.
VETERAN RESOURCE GROUP: Gather a group of current employees who are veterans and conduct a “stay” interview with them. Ask questions like, “How did you find us?”, “What brought you to our company?”, and “What makes you stay?” Veterans are a tight unit and they will talk to other veterans. Get them talking about how great it is to work for you.
TRAINING: Train your HR team and the hiring managers to understand the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), or jobs of the candidates you seek to attract. Each branch of the military is unique, with different training requirements. However, the end result is the same. All veterans leave the service with the skills and qualities that your company is seeking. Train your staff to understand military occupations and the skills associated with that expertise.
ONBOARDING: Welcome the veteran starting with your new hire packet. Include a letter from the CEO, president, and their new manager welcoming the veteran employee to the company. Provide a list of available resources your company has to support them throughout their career at the company. Assign a mentor (ideally another veteran employee) and introduce them to other veterans on their new team or department who can assist them in getting settled into the job.
GUIDANCE: Veterans are very resourceful. This doesn’t mean they don’t need assistance. Provide the names and phone numbers of people in the company who they can reach out to for guidance. Veterans understand “chain of command,” so clarify what that looks like and who to go to for concerns or assistance.
PURPOSE: This is one of the hardest struggles in a veteran’s transition to civilian life. A company can show a veteran employee purpose in several ways. Place veterans in training or coaching positions. Even if they are new to the company, they will learn quickly and they will lead. Create military relations managers with the sole responsibility to help those transitioning from the military to the company. Provide opportunities for the veterans (and all employees) to do community work. Offer paid volunteer hours, have a Habitat for Humanity build day, or sponsor a local nonprofit, for example.
FAMILY SUPPORT: When someone commits to serve their country, they don’t do it alone. Their spouse, children, and extended family take that journey with them. When they return from active duty — whether they served four or 34 years — the family is still an important part of their career. When they transition to a civilian career, their family is there to help them reintegrate. Companies who invite the family to gatherings, company events, and recognition celebrations show the veteran employee that they recognize how important family is in their successful civilian career.
LEADERSHIP: Leadership is a foundational value and skill developed in the military. At every level of the military, from the moment the uniform goes on, to the day they leave, they are taught how to lead, why leadership matters, and the importance of driving toward a mission and caring for their units. In their civilian careers, veterans often seek to lead or be led in similar ways: ascribing to a high set of values and principles, complete accountability and responsibility for actions, and caring for others. Your veteran employee is a natural problem-solver, trained to overcome obstacles. Encouraging your veteran employee to innovate, brainstorm, and give their opinion shows that you recognize their skills and leadership.
SKILLS ALIGNMENT: When someone joins the military, they are trained on numerous things they will rely on and deploy such as the culture, systems, strategies, and tactics. Their extensive training ensures they can effectively defend and protect as they do their work. Those skills carry forward to a civilian career but are often difficult to define or project. Hiring veterans into any business must include offering tools and training to ensure their skills are aligned with their career choice. The cost of training a workforce that is predisposed to learning new skills and behaviors is definitely worth the investment.
With about a week to go in every election, I start collecting the various pieces of media that get jammed in my mailbox every afternoon.
Not because I read them to learn about candidates. That would be pointless. I enjoy them because I like to study the various designs that the campaigns come up with. Not going to lie. As soon as I see the little white mail van stop on my block, I am like a kid on Christmas morning. What kind of crazy stuff will be coming in the mail today? Ooh, an attack ad. Ooh, that guy made a 12-page newspaper and mailed it! Ooh, my bank statement. Oh, wait, that isn’t that exciting.
Election season to PR hacks like me is what Fashion Week is to designers. We are seeing the best of the best and the worst of the worst all at the same time. We are seeing future trends and colossal failures.
However, as someone who has worked on campaigns in the past (I always say I am going to quit, but I end up doing them) from the public relations side, I am also always a little disheartened by these mailers. There is a ton of effort put into these things. There is a ton of money spent on these things. There is a lot of creative effort that goes for nothing.
And 99 percent of it is forgotten. Never looked at. Never read. Except by people like me who review them for subtle signs of what political PR folks are thinking may be working. So here is what I saw this year that hopefully will guide you when you decide to run for office in the future.
There are no standard sizes. I don’t think I got one piece of mail that measured the same size as another one. It used to be political mail was two sizes: small and oversized. This year, I got pieces that were trifold, 14-by-20, one that resembled a paint brochure, four-page magazines, and the 12-page, full-sized newspaper. Seriously, someone took the time to create a newspaper and mail it out. Conclusion: It’s smart to stand out, but hokey doesn’t work.
Everyone was an outsider. OK, not everyone, but it seems like every candidate’s mailer I got touted their outsider status. So many outsiders. It’s like an S. E. Hinton book. If they are so outside and telling me how bad the inside is, why do you want to be inside? Conclusion: Outsider status doesn’t work when everyone is an outsider. Come up with a new word. Heck, if one person wrote, “not an insider,” that would have been interesting.
Blurry photos. I noticed several attack ads that used blurry and darkened photos of the person they were trying to “ding” with the ad. This was actually a good idea. It shows their opponent as subtly shady. That was smart. Conclusion: 2018 will be the year of the blurry photos. Mark it down.
Wacky websites. This was a first that I noticed. Candidates created websites whose sole purpose is to cut down another opponent. And then they put that information on a mailer. It may have happened before locally, but I noticed it twice this year. To be honest, I then tracked down the website. Conclusion: The gloves are off now. I see everyone doing this in the next election cycle. Heck, we have another few weeks in this cycle. It may be happening now.
Fewer guns. South Carolina seemed to buck a trend of having Republican candidates posing with guns. I say “seems” because there were no guns I saw in the last week of the campaign. Doesn’t mean there weren’t guns showing up before. Conclusion: Not sure. After some recent backlash about guns being used in campaign videos in other states, local campaigns may have shied away. However, there are still a lot of guns being shown in social media ads.
And now I have to wait until Halloween season for the next round of mailers as candidates gear up for November.
John Boyanoski is the president of Complete PR, a full-service public relations firm located in Greenville that handles media relations, crisis communications, governmental affairs, and social media. Learn more at www.completepr.net. And he approved this message.
Sadly, the new world Aladdin sang of is much different than the hiring world we’re experiencing right now. I’ve been in the recruiting and staffing industry for almost six years now. I started at Godshall in 2012 when the economy was still recovering from the recession. Recruiters would make an offer, and candidates would jump at any opportunity they could get. Even a recent HR graduate from Anderson University like myself was ecstatic to be offered a temporary receptionist role! Today, it’s a different story. Recently, we had a candidate who was presented with three job offers and turned down all three. Why? Because it’s a candidate’s market. They are in control. If they want more, they’re fighting for more. They know the ball is in their court.
So what do you do to adapt to this new world? Here are a few tips:
Compensation needs to stay competitive. A cashier associate at a fast food restaurant should not make more than an administrative assistant with a four-year degree. Yet many companies are making offers where that is the case. Sure, the administrative job offers a better long-term career path, but candidates today don’t see it that way. A competitive salary shows you value your employees and what they have to offer.
Don’t drag the interview process out. We live in a fast-paced society. We want and expect things now. The hiring process is no different. Candidates are over having a first interview on a Monday, not hearing from the client until Friday, and setting a second interview for the following Friday. Just typing that last sentence was too drawn out for me! Keep it simple, quick, and efficient. We understand there are some circumstances you can’t control. For example, if you know the hiring manager is going to be out of town, stay engaged with the candidate throughout the process. Let them know they are a top contender and share anything you can offer on why they should wait out for your position.
Stop looking for THE ONE. You’re never going to be able to find the absolute perfect candidate for the role because there isn’t one. Every person is different, so every skillset is different. Just because Sally only has five years of accounts payable experience versus the required seven doesn’t mean you need to immediately write her off. She could bring other valuable skills to the table that the previous employee didn’t have. Instead of seeking 100 percent of the skillset, try to find a more reasonable amount. Figure out the needs of the job versus the wants and focus on those.
Be open to the “job hoppers.” As a millennial, I personally have many friends who would fit in the hopper category. But I know they’re talented, hardworking, and loyal. They just had some extenuating circumstances they couldn’t control: husband was relocated; the company closed; the job didn’t turn out to be what it was presented as; the environment was hostile, etc. So next time you see a resume with four job changes in the past eight years, take the time to ask the reasons for those changes before you dismiss it.
Be flexible. Many candidates searching for a new job are currently employed. That means they only have time to interview during lunch if you’re close or after work. Be mindful of their time if they’re on a lunch break and make sure to offer times outside a normal 8-to-5 schedule. Otherwise, you may be losing valuable talent.
Remember, you’re being interviewed, too. With the options that employees have today, companies need to make sure they are attracting and “wooing” these candidates while screening them at the same time. Share all perks the company offers with the candidate. If I have two job offers from one company offering a competitive compensation package, great benefits, free gym membership, and half days on Fridays, while the other just hands me an offer letter, which do you think I would accept? Sell the candidates on your company.
These may not be all the changes companies need to make, but they will highly improve your chance of recruiting talented candidates. It’s time we embraced this tight candidate’s market and do what needs to be done. Are you ready?
It’s hard to know where to start, hard to know what to say.
Once again, Facebook can’t seem to get out of its own way. Some of its problems both known and new this week are of its own making, and some are just, well, like your mom said, the company you keep.
Let me catch you up on what’s happened in just a few days last week.
June 3: It was just recently on April 10 that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donned an actual suit and testified before the Senate. Zuckerberg’s testimony was more a sin of omission: He insisted that Cambridge Analytica’s access was cut off in 2015 when the company began prohibiting developers from collecting info from the friends of users. But he neglected to clarify that a whole group of device makers — Apple, Android, BlackBerry, Samsung, Microsoft, and more — were exempt from those rules.
So it came as a surprise last week that Facebook’s device partners — about 60 of them — have continued to have access to user data. That spigot was turned off just in March, but it remains unclear whether partners in the U.S. and abroad still have your personal data under their control. They were not supposed to… but we know how that goes (see Cambridge Analytica).
June 6: Under grilling from a committee of Parliament, the former head of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, admitted he lied in previous testimony. Yes, CA did get information about roughly 87 million Facebook users from Global Science Research, a third-party firm that developed the quizzes used to gain access to Facebook users’ personal info and, importantly, the information about all their connections as well. So, the three-minute distraction of determining what ’40s movie star you are most like is the gift that kept giving for you and all the hundreds of your friends.
June 7: In May, Facebook experienced a glitch. Just a little problem, one that turned the default sharing setting of 14 million users to public. In IT development, there is a joke: “It’s not a bug; it’s a feature.” And that’s what Facebook is saying about this incident: that they were testing new features and… oops… a setting got changed. If you were one of the 14 million people affected, you may have received a Facebook notification late last week.
June 7: The Atlantic reported that concerned users are backing off the Facebook experience — and maybe off the entire social media train. The results come from a survey the publication conducted in conjunction with the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Living Online Lab at the University of Michigan. A few key points:
78.8 percent of respondents are very or somewhat concerned about the privacy of their information on social media sites.
Eighty-two percent are self-censoring — stopping themselves from posting something they want to share because of privacy concerns — what they post online.
57.9 percent of respondents who use Facebook “mostly distrust” or have “no trust” in Facebook’s efforts to protect their information.
41.9 percent of Facebook users say the CA news changed their behaviors on Facebook, and 74.4 percent said it affected how they used other social media sites.
Some really bad news for social media: People seem less committed to the importance of social media in their lives. 70.9 percent said losing Twitter would have no effect on them. 59.9 percent had a similar view of Instagram. 81.2 percent felt no real need to have LinkedIn. 53.8 percent could do without Snapchat. 80.9 percent nixed YouTube and, finally, 92.1 Pinterest users would be just fine without it. Facebook definitely had a stronger hold on people’s interests, with a mere 31.4 percent being ho-hum about a world without it.
Some really interesting security reports also came out this week. One reported that one-third of businesses know they will be hacked but would rather pay when it happens than invest in security. Another report found that globally two-thirds of companies are planning to move to the cloud, but as many as 80 percent cite a skills gap and employee “resistance” are holding them back.
What does all this mean? Well, it seems to illustrate a systemic problem that goes beyond social media to our use of technology in every sphere of commerce and communication: We want the tech, but we don’t want to learn how to use it or to be held responsible for our part in protecting our own sensitive data.
We talk about this all the time, you and I. So it’s hard to know what to say. Again. Technology is a tool, not a toy. Treat it with respect, and learn how to use it safely, before you cut your hand off and find that blaming the chainsaw manufacturer for not making the warnings clearer is cold comfort.
When the family-owned Young Office first began offering its commercial office supply services in 1953, the term “creative workplace” hadn’t been coined yet. Now as Young Office celebrates 65 years as a commercial interiors company with showrooms in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Asheville, N.C., it has become a leader in designing progressive and functional worwkspace in the technology-driven 21st century.
The family business
The company has stayed in the family all 65 years — in fact, for four generations now with its current president, Thomas R. Young IV.
Great-grandfather Thomas R. Young Sr. bought the Calhoun Office Supply of Spartanburg in 1953, later changing the name to Young Office Supply. After serving in the Korean War, the next generation, Thomas R. Young Jr., joined Young Office.
The current CEO, Thomas R. Young III, joined the company after graduating from The Citadel in 1974. Thomas R. Young IV also joined Young Office after his Citadel graduation in 2002.
Young Office offered a variety of services to meet the needs of their clients at the time, primarily commercial office supplies. In its early days, Young Office was also a large Frigidaire company that taught people how to use modern technology of the ’50s — electric ice makers and stoves.
The next step
Now, Young Office takes pride in partnering with Steelcase, the largest commercial office furniture manufacturer in the world. Since it became a Steelcase dealer in the early ’70s, Young Office has received the Steelcase Premier Partner award since 2013, which is given to the best-performing dealers.
“It’s a team effort, and it’s a measurement across the company from quality controls, sustainability, community impact, customer experience, financial stability — everything,” Thomas R. Young IV says. “It’s a good way to run your business; it’s not an easy thing to do.”
To take furniture to the next level, Steelcase partnered with Microsoft to co-create places and devices that drive creativity in the workplace. In a real-life office, classroom, or hospital, this means ingraining the technology into the walls and furniture.
Young Office’s new showroom in Greenville, which opened this year, displays the many possibilities for a variety of workspaces.
Young Office’s Greenville showroom. Photos by Will Crooks/Upstate Business Journal
The flexible service
For Young Office, success is measured by happy customers and a wide selection of products for its diverse client base. “Whether it’s a startup company or a Fortune 500 company, a small doctor’s office or health care system, a home office or a university, we really have selections that work in all of those areas,” Young says.
The ability to evolve with current trends in design and technology is a key aspect of what makes Young Office successful. Alita Webster, director of sales, says that Young Office’s services five years ago are totally different from today’s due to ever-changing technology.
“So, we’re seeing products being embedded into furniture because it helps with that collaborative dialogue, and then also it’s got to be flexible because it’s going to be changing,” Webster says. “In two to three years, it’s going to change.”
Although technology drives the workplace, some clients still want analog options for meeting spaces for interacting and exchanging ideas in a more conservative approach. Young Office offers products that meet clients’ specific needs for their personalized workspaces.
“Everybody went to one extreme where they thought that they needed to go to totally open, but all job functions don’t adapt to that,” Webster says of office trends. “So, we’re seeing more of a blend and really talking to our customers about what the expectation is and how they want to use the space.”
An aesthetically pleasing workspace serves a purpose far greater than simply looking nice. It drives creativity, aids productivity, and helps fill jobs. “The more attractive an employer can make their space, the more attractive it is to come to work there, and they’ve got a much better chance at retaining that talent,” Young says.
The constant values
While its mission and vision changes as the company evolves, one thing remains the same — the Young Office core values. “We add value, build relationships, earn loyalty, be responsible, and act with integrity,” Young says. “Those have been the foundation of us for as long as I can remember.”
The team members of Young Office are critical to its success, and they are important for the future success of the company, Young expresses. “Our experience, our team, and the longevity of our team being together, I think, is a big advantage,” he says.
Not making the products itself but representing a lot of other companies, Young Office delivers an experience to its clients. That experience is shaped by each team member.
“It doesn’t end with us once we deliver furniture,” Webster says. “It’s that longstanding relationship after.” Staying on top of the latest and greatest products available, Young Office invests in its teams, processes, and strategies to provide its clients with comfortable, functional, and adaptable work environments.
Local Young Office clients
United Community Bank
“Young Office has been an invaluable local partner for us as we have grown in Greenville. Their team consistently exceeded our expectations as they guided us through each phase of our project, including space planning and design, project management, delivery, and installation. Their dedication to customers makes it easy to see why they are celebrating this milestone today,” says Lynn Harton, CEO of United Community Bank.
Project details: Located on 125 E. Broad St., United Community Bank worked with Young Office to achieve a more contemporary look, including a 30,000 square feet complete upfit with Steelcase furniture. Boundary screens and layered storage were added to a traditional office layout with lighter finishes and clean lines incorporated to achieve a more contemporary aesthetic. Young Office helped with sound masking, office signage, space planning, and design services.
Greenville Federal Credit Union
“We have worked with Young Office since 2007 when we built our new branch on Pelham Road. We have partnered with them ever since as we renovated member support areas as well as the full-scale branch renovations that you see today. We have been very happy with the results,” says Paul Hughes, president of Greenville Federal Credit Union.
Project details: Greenville Federal Credit Union worked with Young Office to create a warm, welcoming, and comfortable branch lobby for its members to experience. In conjunction with Steelcase, Young Office designed office functionality to match the credit union’s new service model. “Their designers and installers did a fantastic job of making our vision a reality,” Hughes says. “We feel we definitely achieved that with Young Office’s help.”
Coldwell Banker Caine
“Coldwell Banker Caine has enjoyed a decades-long relationship with Young Office. As our business has grown and changed, Young Office has been a consistent partner taking us to the next level in our workspaces. Our spaces are a vital element of our culture and value proposition, and it is crucial to have a team in place who shares that vision,” says Stephen Edgerton, president and CEO of Caine Company.
Project details: Young Office helped Coldwell Banker Caine create a more collaborative space that provides versatility and customization in the workspaces it calls home. From an old warehouse building in Spartanburg to the headquarter office in Greenville built on a traditional large office setting, Young Office achieved Coldwell Banker Caine’s vision for bringing the community into the buildings through the renovations and furniture installations. “Young Office brought our vision to life and listened well to the elements that we found most important,” Edgerton says. “There is a trust between us that they will make it happen no matter what it takes.”
Young Office Timeline
1953 – Great-grandfather Thomas R. Young Sr. bought Calhoun Office Supply in Spartanburg and later changed the name to Young Office Supply.
1972 – Young Office became a Steelcase dealer.
1974 – Thomas R. Young III joined Young Office upon graduating from The Citadel.
1989 – The Greenville office was opened.
2002 – Thomas R. Young IV joined Young Office upon graduating from The Citadel.
2006 – Young Office sold the office supply division.
2014 – Young Office assumed Western N.C. market as a Steelcase dealer and opened the Asheville, N.C., office.
2018 – The company kicked off its 65th anniversary and opened a new showroom in Greenville.
About 20 minutes before The Kava Konnection co-owner Gabriel Coggins sat down to talk about winning the 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award presented by CommunityWorks and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, he took a shot to help with a little bit of anxiety he was feeling.
But it wasn’t the typical liquor variety. Rather, he downed 4 oz. of kava, an earthy beverage made from the ground root of the Piper methysticum plant native to the South Pacific known to have a calming, anti-anxiety effect without the sensory-numbing of alcohol.
Coggins, 26, holds the distinction of opening the first and only, for now, kava bar in South Carolina. He says within the first year he was in the black, and over the last three years, he has continued to see sales grow, requiring him to hire four more employees in addition to his mother, Debbie Coggins, who is also his business partner.
Coggins says he is incredibly grateful for receiving the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, which was presented on May 1, after being the 2017 runner-up.
“It helps kinda further solidify the legitimacy of what we’re doing,” Coggins says.
And he wonders how long the tiki-decorated The Kava Konnection, which he opened at 1540 Wade Hampton Blvd. in September 2015, will be the only kava bar in the state.
“Literally the only kava bar in South Carolina still, which is mind-boggling to me, because left and right I’m hearing about it in state after state, every other state. I mean, North Carolina is pushing like 10 now,” he says.
But he hopes maybe the second location will also be his.
“We are the only ones here for now. As we continue to get this baby more and more self-sufficient, which is an ever-growing process, then that’s our plan to shift gears to somewhere else,” Coggins says.
A series of difficult life events led the skateboarding and guitar-playing entrepreneur to this business venture in a way he describes as the biggest, serendipitous blessing.
When Coggins was 15, his father died. The black acoustic guitar Coggins keeps at the bar for impromptu jam sessions was a gift from his father, which is why, even though it’s not a great instrument, he’s held on to it.
Eventually, Coggins began working in a local pizza shop, and the well-publicized demons of the restaurant industry found him.
“I was definitely in an abusive, suppressive mindset of suppressing emotions instead of dealing with them,” he says.
Already dabbling in alcohol use and suffering from sports-related injuries and back pain, Coggins began using drugs to offset the pain and numb his emotions and anxiety.
It worked for a while — from 2009-2011 — until he began experiencing intense digestive issues. When he told his mother, she took him to the hospital, where a urinalysis revealed the substance abuse. He’s maintained his sobriety since that day.
Coggins sought out treatment for his resulting physical ailments at Garner’s Natural Life store, and finding he enjoyed the environment, he eventually became an employee and a manager. There, he also discovered the benefits of kava supplements for his anxiety, and it had such an overwhelmingly positive effect on his life that he began brainstorming with his mother about the potential of starting a business.
Coggins had previously attended Greenville Technical College for one year with the intent of transferring to the University of South Carolina and majoring in international business with a minor in Arabic. Already fluent in Spanish from his Colombian background, picking up Arabic after two semesters at Tech came easily.
But then his personal and health crisis caused him to change course. Business, however, was something he still wanted to pursue, and after discovering the health benefits of kava, and then experiencing the community of drinking kava at an Asheville, N.C., kava bar, he knew he’d found his next venture.
“We saw that there was a social aspect,” he says. “To not feel terrible, not feel impaired. We felt that that idea was a necessity across the board.”
After it became clear he would not be returning to college, Coggins approached his grandmother about using the remainder of his college fund she had set aside to launch his business. She agreed, with one stipulation — that Debbie Coggins be his business partner.
Once that agreement was finalized, the two began selling drinkable kava at farmers markets, outdoor concerts, and other such festivals to introduce the foreign drink to Greenville and to gain a following. They did that for a year and a half before opening the brick-and-mortar location.
“At that point in time, we were so apprehensive,” Coggins says. “We were even dabbling with the idea of maybe doing a primarily mobile business. We really saw, the more research we looked into, we saw that the kava bar environment and even the consumption of kava is conducive to the socialization, and this style of seating where it’s very communal, where we finally kicked the nerves and just made the leap.”
From 2015 to 2017, Coggins says their sales doubled, requiring him to hire four employees to keep up with the demand. That has affected net earnings, but sales are still increasing, with this past March being the most profitable month so far. To accommodate the growing business, the hours of operation will soon be increasing to Tuesday-Saturday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m., as more customers are looking for a midday shot of kava.
Coggins attributes the growth to a few factors. First, he has very little food waste, keeping his costs low. While the ground kava root sourced from the South Pacific isn’t cheap, it can remain in dry storage indefinitely. Once it’s processed with water into the liquid form, it has about a five-day shelf life, but the staff processes only what they know they’ll use for the next couple days. The fruit used in the blended beverages is frozen, eliminating the potential for fresh produce spoilage.
Secondly, he’s honed in on the customer demographic. Whereas Coggins previously thought his target consumers would be the yogis and CrossFitters, it turns out 20-somethings, many of whom are in the service industry, are looking for the socialization of a bar without the alcohol.
And thirdly, working on publicizing their weekly events has been worth the effort of maintaining the large chalkboard event calendar just inside the entrance and training customers to notice it. Biweekly coloring nights that alternate with open-mic poetry night are both a big hit. Poetry night regularly draws 50-plus customers.
Coggins makes his case for those new to kava to give it a shot: “If you’re coming here and you’ve worked a long shift at whatever your job is, whether it’s restaurant or professional or anything in between, and you’re stressed and you would normally go home and have a whiskey or go to a bar and have a whiskey, or have a glass of wine or a couple beers, come here and have a couple kavas, socialize for a couple hours, and keep working if you have to, but then not be inebriated,” he says. “Go home and have an awesome night’s sleep and wake up and feel relaxed and ready to go the next day — no hangover. A lot of it, though, is breaking through that initial barrier.”
Upstate shoppers now have another choice for fresh groceries.
Sprouts Farmers Market has opened its newest store at 2200 Woodruff Road in Simpsonville. The 30,000-square-foot store is the first in South Carolina for the Phoenix-based grocery chain and one of approximately 30 new stores to open nationwide.
The company plans to hire about 150 employees locally, according to a news release.
“Sprouts’ knowledgeable and friendly team members are the hallmark of our stores,” Sprouts chief operations officer Dan Sanders said in a statement. “We’re excited to meet our new neighbors in Simpsonville and introduce them to our fresh, natural, and organic products at value prices across the store.”
Founded in 2002, Sprouts carries healthy, fresh, organic produce, meat and seafood, bulk items, vitamins and supplements, a deli with freshly prepared entrees and sides, dairy, a bakery, natural body care items, and more.
In addition to thousands of natural, organic, and gluten-free groceries, shoppers can find more than 2,300 Sprouts Brand items, which meet strict ingredient standards while delivering exceptional quality at a lower cost, the release said.
Sprouts has also committed to a “zero waste” threshold by 2020, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Sprouts Food Rescue program donates unsold and edible groceries, including fresh produce, from its stores and distribution centers to food banks in all of its markets. Local relief agencies pick up this food, which would otherwise go to waste, and distribute it to families in need.
In 2017, Sprouts donated an estimated 23 million pounds of product, equivalent to 19 million meals. Food that is not fit for human consumption is either composted or sent to cattle ranches through Sprouts’ Food Waste to Farms program.
Sprouts employs more than 27,000 team members and operates nearly 300 stores in 15 states from coast to coast.
The June 7 public hearing of the City of Greenville Design Review Board Urban Panel was lengthy as applicants sought to receive approval before the annual July break.
Five items of new business, two items for advice and comments, and one item for informal review put the meeting at just less than two and a half hours.
The only item garnering almost no discussion and unanimous approval was the application for a certificate of appropriateness for a walk-up Bank of Travelers Rest ATM at 219 E. Washington St. Three-sided signage for the tower on the corner of Academy Street and 201 W. McBee Ave. was also approved as submitted after a brief discussion.
The remaining items were approved with conditions or will receive approval after meeting with planning staff for further adjustments.
St. Francis Signage
The size of the monument signs proposed by St. Francis for its Eastside Campus were taller than the city’s sign ordinance allows, and the DRB Urban Panel upheld the decision by planning staff to not approve them as submitted.
After hearing from St. Francis officials and a Greenville Health System architect, who was opposed to the size of the signs, all of the panelists agreed the signs were well-designed but too tall.
An application for a certificate of appropriateness was approved with the condition that the height be shortened from nearly 18 feet to 14 feet.
656 S. Main St.
Making its second appearance within the year at the DRB, the building next to the Army Navy Store is set to undergo a facelift after receiving approval for a certificate of appropriateness.
According to the plans submitted, the glass block windows will be removed because they are not original to the building and replaced with single hung windows closer to what would have been there originally.
Rob Couch with McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture says the plan originally was to recycle the glass block, but after further research, it was discovered that the blocks were not, in fact, original to the 1919 version of the building. Accordion wall windows will also be installed to activate the streetscape; the façade will be repainted; the rear fire escape will be restored; and the original masonry openings for windows will be reopened on the rear.
Panelist Robert Benedict expressed his concern with the plan to remove the glass block.
“I’m excited that it’s finally being adaptively reused, but I do have a little bit of heartburn over the removal of the character-defining elements,” he said.
Benedict’s was the only dissenting vote of the four panelists present.
320 Falls St.
A lengthy and detailed discussion of the design changes to the Camperdown development’s previously approved multifamily component resulted in several suggestions from the panel. The applicant, John L. Knutsson for Daniel Corp., will need to address the suggested changes and meet with planning staff and two members of the DRB to receive approval.
While the DRB members all agreed that the new layout of the individual units — resulting in an overall footprint change — was much better, they had some concerns that will need to be addressed before receiving final approval.
Items requiring attention include the proportion of the brick colors used to break up the monotony of the long walls, the plain design of the plaza-level retail spaces, and the parapet at the top of the building. Each individual tenant for the retail spaces will be required to submit its unique design for approval.
Advice and Comments
Both projects submitted for advice from the panel prior to being considered for rezoning by the planning commission received positive feedback. They had both been presented informally at the March DRB meeting, and changes were made based on the suggestions given then.
A mixed-use redevelopment of 600 E. Washington St. by the Burgess Company was modified to activate the street, create a walkable environment with a pedestrian-friendly plaza, and save as many of the nearby mature trees as possible.
“Very successful project,” said panelist Mitch Lehde. “For being a modular structure, you’ve got a lot of nice elements.”
A senior living community by Solomon Development Services at Butler Avenue and Buncombe Street was also revised based on previous feedback.
“It’s a vast improvement over what you had before,” said panelist Bogue Wallin.
The main suggestion was to consider using masonry materials to upgrade the overall look.
An informal review of the future J.McLaughlin storefront at 207 N. Main St. will require the applicant to make changes to the proposed canopy since signage is not allowed on canopies on Main Street. At first, panel chairwoman Carmella Cioffi was unsure about the proposed blue color on the aluminum frame surrounding the windows, but after learning the process to change the color wasn’t as labor-intensive and costly as she thought it would be, she was positive about the addition of more color to Main Street.
Jackson Marketing, Motorsports, & Events, South Carolina’s second largest integrated marketing communications and events agency, recently announced that it plans to expand and locate its Greenville office to BridgeWay Station, a new mixed-use development off Interstate 385 in Mauldin.
The move, which is expected to occur before the end of the year, will allow the company to consolidate its Greenville operations and expand its footprint to accommodate growing client programs, according to a news release.
“We have been operating from three separate locations in the Greenville area for the past few years,” said president and CEO Darrell Jackson. “The move will allow us to bring all of our Greenville associates together in a single location and give us the square footage needed to serve increasing client needs now and into the future.”
The company will relocate its Greenville office from its present location on Smith Hines Road to an existing warehouse behind the Samsung Electronics America Office off Holland Road, according to the release.
The warehouse, which was formerly occupied by Coca-Cola Bottling Co., is currently in the midst of a “complete renovation” that will result in new offices, collaboration areas, expanded conference and meeting spaces, kitchen facilities, and a dedicated video studio with editing suites, the company said in the release.
The new Jackson campus will cover 15 acres within the BridgeWay Station development.
An additional warehouse that can accommodate up to six tractor-trailers at once will be built at the site primarily to serve as prep space for the event teams handling experiential events, ride-and-drives, and mobile marketing tours.
Jackson said his company considered several sites before settling on BridgeWay Station.
“Ultimately, the Holland Road location allows us to unify our current operations, gives us ample room for growth, and places us at the center of an exciting mixed-use development with easy access to planned retail, entertainment, and recreation venues.”
Located along Interstate 385 near Mauldin, the new BridgeWay Station development will encompass both sides of Holland Road.
The first phase of the new mixed-use community will feature more than 1 million square feet of retail and restaurants, Class A office space, residential, and hospitality and entertainment venues along a new main street, according to Ryan Peiffer, vice president of Hughes Investments, whose projects include RiverPlace and Falls Park Place.
Plans also call for parks, an outdoor amphitheater, and pedestrian and bicycle paths that connect to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the release said.
“Jackson’s move to BridgeWay Station is a huge first step in our vision for the new development,” Peiffer said. “Jackson’s energy and creativity are right in line with our vision of creating a walkable, vibrant community much like what you see in downtown Greenville.”
The length of BridgeWay Station’s main street will be roughly the same as Greenville’s Main Street from the Hyatt Regency to the Peace Center, according to Peiffer.
“Our goal is to create a new city that incorporates those elements that have made downtown Greenville so successful,” he said.