The Who’s Who panel


    If it’s true that it takes one to know one, then this diverse group of talented people who take their support of the Upstate far beyond their job descriptions is perfect for identifying others shaping this community’s future.

    Over the past months, the five volunteer members of this year’s Who’s Who panel looked hard for unsung heroes, for solid accomplishments, and for characteristics that hinted that there’s more to come. They reviewed dozens of submissions and, with the help of researchers, had lively discussions about what it takes to move a community forward.

     Matt Dunbar

    Matt Dunbar is managing director of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) and cofounder of the South Carolina Angel Network and Palmetto Angel Fund. UCAN is a Greenville-based group of accredited investors who support high-growth startup ventures in the Southeast with capital and expertise.


    Why did you agree to serve on the Who’s Who panel?

    We’re blessed to live in a wonderful place, but it didn’t become so desirable by accident. Many tremendous leaders and contributors have made the Upstate what it has become, and they should be recognized, celebrated and thanked. It’s an honor to have a chance to help shine a well-deserved spotlight on a few of them.

    How do you know Who’s Who when you see them?

    In my mind, the Who’s Who leverage their talents and influence to create outsized value – economically, socially or culturally. They under-promise and over-deliver, and they do it because they are passionate about making an impact, not for their own recognition.

     Joe Erwin


    Joe Erwin’s expertise is in marketing and advertising. He is the founder and president of Erwin Penland, a national advertising company. Erwin is a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, and cofounded the thought leadership conference Food for Thought in 2008.

    Why did you agree to serve on the Who’s Who panel?

    I think it’s neat. I was also intrigued by the other panel members. These are people that I love to be around and have great respect for. I thought we’d have a good time working together on this.

    As a marketing professional and image-maker, what is Greenville to you?

    It seems to me that Greenville’s image has changed from what people thought of as a laid-back charming Southern city. We’re not that, and I think people get that now. We’re seen more as a supercharged car. It’s a high-energy environment that’s home to a great creative class, and it’s very much seen as an emerging city.

     Jo Hackl


    Jo Hackl is a corporate attorney with law firm Wyche P.A. She has served on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation and the Community Foundation of Greenville, and is co-chair of the Liberty Fellowship Economic Forum. She also has been recognized for her work with philanthropy and nonprofits.

    Why did you agree to serve on the Who’s Who panel?

    The Upstate is a hub for innovative leadership. Who’s Who is a chance to recognize that spirit of ingenuity, and I’m delighted to be a part of that.

    How do you know who’s who when you see them?

    The leaders who never settle, who are always pushing to make the Upstate a better place to live and work, are hard to miss.

    What talents and attitudes push the Upstate forward?

    Creativity, inclusiveness, imagination, generosity and persistence.

     Bob Hughes

    Bob-HughesBob Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corporation, has been active in real estate development for more than 35 years. Notable projects include Poinsett Plaza, RiverPlace, the NEXT Innovation Center and ONE. Hughes was a Who’s Who winner in 2014.

    Why did you agree to serve on the Who’s Who panel?

    The chance to work on a great team, recognize people who contribute and uncover new people.

    What talents and attitudes push the Upstate forward?

    Helpfulness. Willingness to share. The collaborative economy has a whole city where people help others and collaborate to achieve success. An investment in one person or company here receives the input of the whole community.

     Nancy Whitworth

    Nany-WhitworthNancy Whitworth joined the city of Greenville more than 30 years ago and serves as the city’s deputy city manager and director of economic and community development. She has played a key role in the city’s growth story, including work on landmarks downtown, strategic city and neighborhood planning and business recruitment.

    Why did you agree to serve on the Who’s Who panel?

    Because I was asked. I think often what I’m interested in is seeing what some of the not-so-predictable names are.

    What parts of the Upstate should we be looking at to see what’s next?

    The really big thing that we’re going to have to wrestle with is: How do we ensure that our workforce is the very best that it can be and how we can elevate the education system to impact our ability to retain and attract the talent that we need?

    This post is an updated version of one published December 19, 2014.

    Photos by Patrick Cox




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