Year in Review: The top 5 milestone stories of 2018

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    Will Crooks/Upstate Business Journal

    VentureSouth marks 10th anniversary of funding the Upstate

    Managing directors Charlie Banks, Matt Dunbar, and Paul Clark of VentureSouth. Will Crooks/Upstate Business Journal

    The Upstate Carolina Angel Network — now known as VentureSouth — launched in 2008, making 2018 its 10th anniversary. Seeing a funding gap for early-stage companies, Greenville businessmen J.B. Holeman and Tim Reed started the private-equity network. 

    As of 2018, the network was working with 270 participants. More than $28 million had been invested in 61 young companies with about 60 percent of dollars deployed in South Carolina. VentureSouth had 12 affiliates across the Carolinas.

    Greenville Federal Credit Union celebrates golden anniversary by giving back

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    Over the past 50 years, Greenville Federal Credit Union has remained committed to providing low fees and quality service to its members. With 2018 being its golden anniversary, the local credit union celebrated the year with special events, including the establishment of Thanks and Giving Grants, which provide funding for local community programs. T&GG awarded five recipients with $10,000 each.

    Kentwool celebrates 175 years in textile industry

    Will Crooks/Upstate Business Journal

    Upstate-based textile manufacturer Kentwool reached a major milestone in 2018 — 175 years. Founded in 1843 by English businessman Thomas Kent, Kentwool made Union Army uniforms during the Civil War and supplied the U.S. Armed Forces during both world wars. 

    Now, Kentwool has a line of performance wool golf socks, various socks for the whole family, and men’s boxer shorts and loungewear. Its 135,000-square-foot yarn production plant in Pickens employed 65 in 2018, and 2 million pounds of wool was produced in 2017.

    McMillan Pazdan Smith celebrates 25 years of corporate, community growth

    Will Crooks/Upstate Business Journal

    The Greenville architecture firm McMillan Pazdan Smith shared a 25-year journey of growth and success with the city’s downtown in 2018. College friends and business partners Joe Pazdan and Brad Smith formed Pazdan-Smith Group of Greenville in 1993. The group joined forces with friendly competitor McMillan Smith & Partners of Spartanburg in 2009. 

    As of 2018, the firm had worked on more than 100 downtown projects. Focusing on community-based projects, McMillan Pazdan Smith’s growth and the development of downtown went hand-in-hand over the past 25 years.

    Leadership Greenville has transformed leaders, city for 45 years

    Tami Miller, the chamber’s leadership development director. Will Crooks/Upstate Business Journal

    Generating scores of leaders — from political and social to civic and business — Leadership Greenville celebrated 45 years of influencing the future in 2018. Leadership Greenville helped train state Rep. Phyllis Henderson, municipal judge Merl Code, and TD Bank S.C. market President David Lominack. 

    As of 2018, more than 2,000 Greenvillians had completed the intensive leadership-training program sponsored by the Greenville Chamber. The leadership program is considered one of the most successful in the nation.

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