The judges’ panel was able to choose only a handful of winners from the more than 130 nominees. Here are a dozen more who have made considerable contributions to the Upstate – and whose work in the future will be well worth keeping an eye on.
President and owner, Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing
Brown’s specialties include direct hire recruiting and contract staffing in several markets. “It’s a 45-year-old business. I want it to be here for another 45 years or longer,” she says. Brown has worked with the Greenville Chamber and other community groups on causes such as economic empowerment, education, health, science and technology. Brown is now serving as chairwoman of the board of directors for the Chamber, helping to launch the Accelerate!2.0 program.
Partner, Nelson Mullins
As the only former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission attorney practicing law in South Carolina, Johnson offers a singular brand of legal counsel for any state business. He represents businesses on any corporate finance issue for those seeking to raise capital, comply with sensitive and complex federal and state securities issues or any of the array of issues facing companies that are listed on the National Securities Exchange. “I love what I do for a living, which I think gives me an edge,” he says.
Planning manager, City of Greenville
Kerski has been working with various neighborhoods, developers and designers – “we are all trying to make Greenville the best place in the United States,” he says. His planning staff processed a record number of applications last year, while also developing new guidelines for commercial, multifamily, convenience stores and cottage subdivisions. His team also worked on several major developments, and worked to pass the city’s first Residential Infill Ordinance.
Director of Family Bridges Program, Pendleton Place
Smith made the move in January from program manager and bilingual victim advocate at the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network (a program of SCVAN) to Pendleton Place. Smith says this move allows her to continue work she is passionate about: working with victims of crimes such as human trafficking, civil rights violations, domestic violence and child abuse, focusing on trying to repair families. “I found real purpose in this work,” she says. “Now I can’t imagine going elsewhere.”
President and COO, Acumen IT
Stansell continues to serve in an executive management role for high-impact, fast-growth companies, primarily in the arenas of supply chain planning and execution, information technology and enterprise software. During his three-year tenure, Acumen has experienced top-line revenue growth of 35 percent and achieved a new level of profitability. “My legacy of leadership is not about what I do, it’s about what others do as a result of my relationship with them,” he says. “Am I making people’s lives better?”
Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, ScanSource
Thompson always finds time to help out at GHS Children’s Hospital despite a high-profile job at a large company, using her experience as parent of a patient at Children’s Hospital to speak with pediatric residents about the parents’ perspective. In addition to her work goals leading global branding initiatives and marketing strategies, she is committed to establishing programs that support the health of the community, especially youth.
Founder and CEO, InnoVenture
Described as the “senior statesman” of the entrepreneurial community that has developed in Greenville over the last 25 years, Warner’s fingerprints are on many of the institutions that exist in Greenville today, and he is still seeing things grow out of relationships he has fostered and conversations he has created. “A lot of people come here and think [this thriving ecosystem] has always been here,” Warner says. “It was really not that long ago that none of it was here.”
13th Circuit Court Solicitor, Greenville County
Wilkins believes his role as Solicitor is to instill in both individuals and business leaders a sense of confidence in Greenville County’s criminal justice system. “In our community, we’ve got to have security and safety for businesses to function and for kids to go to school and people to go to work,” he says. “We also need the perception that justice and fairness are being doled out equally – that victims have access to retribution and defendants are being treated fairly.”
The Wild Cards
This year, UBJ invited the Upstate community to directly select a Who’s Who winner through social media. Although Nika White (see page 20) was the final winner, the other four nominees made a strong showing.
Director of Entrepreneurship, Wofford College
Boeh has faced down numerous obstacles, turning his experience as an Iraq War veteran and post-traumatic stress disorder survivor into a story of success he uses to inspire young entrepreneurs. He co-created and runs the entrepreneurship program at Wofford College, which has grown from three participating businesses to 29 this year. He takes students from ideas to execution with the goal of bringing and keeping young entrepreneurs in the Upstate.
CEO, NAI Earle Furman
Good was named president of NAI Earle Furman at age 36. At that time, real estate was struggling under the recession and the older partners saw Good’s generation as the key to keeping Earle Furman on the cutting edge of the industry. He became broker-in-charge in February 2014. He also led the relocation of the Anderson office and doubled the size of its staff. In 2012, Jon led the merger of NAI Earle Furman and Orion Properties, forming the firm’s first official Spartanburg location.
Executive Director, iMAGINE Upstate
An expert in workforce development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Heafy began pursuing several entrepreneurial ventures including iMAGINE Upstate, launching his own manufacturing consulting company, and acting as a channel partner for STEMPremier.com in 2014. Heafy is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greenville Class 40, United Way YP20’s, several Advisory Boards and the Upstate SC STEM Collaborative.
Owner, Graphic Cow
After taking a leap of faith leaving Rockwell Automation in hopes of being a successful business owner, Hendrix immediately took Graphic Cow to the next level — in one year, the Chamber of Commerce recognized this achievement by honoring the company as the 2009 Small Business of the Year. Throughout this process, Hendrix stayed active in the community, serving on Clemson’s Board of Visitors, the Upstate Carolina Angel Network, and as chairman of the board of the Ronald McDonald House.