Trails for Transportation

Trails for Transportation

Hank McCullough colorWe can all agree that accessible trail systems are the rage these days with efforts in Spartanburg, Pickens-Easley, and Greenville gaining wide public support in fostering healthy active lifestyles, connecting communities, and in providing an economic boost to neighborhoods and towns along the way.
These investments in alternative transportation infrastructure provide access to recreation in undeserved areas of the region as well and are truly an asset. Still I wonder whether we are looking at trails in too narrow of a context when I see majority of people driving miles to a trail head to ” hop on” for enjoyment versus hopping on a trail to actually get somewhere like a neighbor’s home, to a school, a shopping district, or place of work?
Do trails actually get us to the places we go every day and do they provide realistic transportation options? Will I ever be able to get safely by foot or two wheels to my office off of Woodruff Road from my home in Taylors in anything other than a car? Should we not consider asking those involved in development and re-development, public and private, to consider trails and connectivity as part of their plan in growing and connecting the trails to other trails and in concert with traditional road infrastructure?
With more open space and land in our rural communities perhaps they are better positioned to build this into their long term community plan. I think we are all making progress, and I certainly applaud those engaged in this long term thinking about our region. For whatever reason keep on hopping!
Sincerely,
Hank McCullough
We All Can!

We All Can!

Dean Small Feathered

by Dean Hybl:

When former Walgreens Senior Vice President Randy Lewis recently spoke at a TATT Regional Forum, he set a vision for how major corporations can create a platform that allows for meaningful employment for historically “untapped” workers while also providing a great benefit for the company.
While Lewis started his journey for creating a workplace opportunity for all as a result of his own family situation and wondering whether there would ever be employment opportunities for his son with Autism, he eventually realized that by creating an environment that utilized the skills of workers with some level of disability he was making his company better.

Better because they were developing an inclusive culture and creating a sense of worth and value for people who may have previously struggled to find employment at a living wage, but also better because in many cases the previously “untapped” employees were high performers who made overall production and company operations better.

With unemployment in the Upstate hovering around 5% and new companies bringing jobs to the region at record rates, finding capable employees for all jobs is critical. Tapping all available employment groups is not only important for our economy, but also will have long-lasting benefits for the entire Upstate.

The Walgreens Distribution Center that Lewis helped bring to Anderson a decade ago is a model for how to create an inclusive work environment. There are other employers in the region who are also tapping into our previously untapped workforce. If your business is in need of suitable employees, I encourage you to look beyond traditional sources and see if there are other options that could connect you with employees who will be dedicated and help make your company better.

Whether someone may have a physical or mental disability, non-violent criminal history or other barrier that may appear to be an impediment to employment, there are organizations in our region working every day to connect people willing and capable of working with available jobs. Greenville CAN (Collaborative Action Network) has developed a list of local resources (click here for the link) that can help employers find capable employees who just need an opportunity to succeed.

The Value of a Regional Food System

The Value of a Regional Food System

Hank McCullough colorWell, warm weather is upon us and you know what that means? Lots of fresh and tasty local products become available in the rural and urban farmers market’s that seem to be popping up all across the Upstate. Not that I will ever stop visiting my local grocery chain, but stocking my pantry with regionally grown fruits, vegetables and proteins makes sense on many levels.
Of all things I find my shopping pace less hurried and enjoyable while browsing through baskets and bins of produce feeling a more intimate connection with food itself in thinking about a fresh and healthy evening menu. Secondly, in a small way I am supporting a regional food system that provides local farmers with collective capacity allowing them to be more competitive with commodity products in serving grocery chains, local restaurants and institutions across the Upstate.
Locally grown food also travels less (lower energy intensity) and typically requires less processing in order to stay fresh, indeed a concern as we have recently heard about recalls of large amounts of frozen produce sourced to a few large national processors.
Finally, supporting a regional food network reconnects us within our communities and is already spurring efforts to make healthy eating more accessible and affordable in areas of our region considered food deserts. I can’t really tell if locally grown food tastes better but having the mental connection with the land and the lives that directly depend on its bounty sure makes it seem more tasty!
Sincerely,
Hank McCullough
Get Involved!

Get Involved!

Ashley Smaller Feathered

 

By: Ashley Downing

The PIQUE on March 7th brought together more than 300 young professionals from across the Upstate region and common theme to the day was GET INVOLVED!

That’s all well and good but… how?

The Upstate is full of opportunities for young professionals to get engaged now to use their talents to make a difference in their community and in our region – we just have to find them. Whether you want to volunteer, enter into local government, focus on economic development, or the arts, the opportunity to make an impact is yours for the taking. Chances are, what you are looking for is already out there, it may just take some homework and a willingness to step out.

Interested in boosting your career? Below are just a few ways to get started…

• Find out if your community already has a young professionals group. It’s an easy way to get plugged in to yps and professional opportunities in your area.
• Get your name out there and attend business networking events, it’s KEY. Make a point to meet the business leaders in your area, they won’t bite! They can also help  mentor, guide, and give recommendations to help you in your career.
• Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the news. Both in your area and surrounding areas. Sign up for newsletters from reputable outlets and actually read them! It’s amazing what you’ll learn.
• Be willing to invest in yourself. Read books and articles, take courses that will provide you more information or qualifications, go to lunch with one of those leaders you connected with and pick their brain.

Want to give back? Some tips to get you thinking…

• Figure out how much time you have to dedicate to getting involved. This will vary and there is no set amount that you should aim for, it’s up to you.
• Find your passion. Sometimes this is easier said than done but think about it; what you are interested in? What did you love to do as a kid/teen/student? Start there, then branch out. If you know your passion, seek out individuals and organizations that support that. Guaranteed, nonprofits will always welcome your interest and readiness to help out.
• Where do you want to give back? In your direct community or maybe a neighboring city?
• How do you want to serve? What about mentoring or working within a group, children or adults, animals, natural resources, etc. – how can your unique set of skills be best used?

The above is by no means a comprehensive list on how to get engaged, just a few things that I’ve picked up along the way. To get your wheels turning. Know that it is possible, people are generally nice and easy to talk to, and you have the wherewithal to do something that matters; for your career and/or your community.

 

Ashley is the Communications Manager for Ten at the Top and an Upstate native.