Upstate, SC [November 21, 2017] – During Ten at the Top’s Celebrating Successes Brunch presented by Fluor on Thursday, November 16, Dr. Becky Campbell, former Region 1 Health Director at South Carolina DHEC, and Carol Burdette, Chief Executive Officer at the United Way of Anderson County, respectively received the Burdette Leadership Award and the Welling Award for Regional Collaboration.
This marks the second year of the Burdette Leadership Award and is given in recognition of Carol Burdette, the first female chair of Ten at the Top. It honors women who have both served and led across the Upstate. The Welling Award for Regional Collaboration, named after Ten at the Top founding board member Irv Welling, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated longstanding involvement in encouraging collaboration across jurisdictional and stakeholder boundaries. Last year Minor Michel Shaw was the recipient of both awards. Other previous recipients of the Welling Award include Erwin Maddrey, Phil Hughes, GSP International Airport, Dean Hybl, and Bobby Hitt.
In addition, Ten at the Top recognized companies and organizations celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2017 by issuing a celebratory toast sponsored by Blue Ridge Electric Co-op during Thursday’s event. These companies and organizations are an integral part of the Upstate’s rich history and have each played a role in making our regional community a great place to live, learn, do business, and raise a family.
Celebrating Successes is an annual event as part of the Our Upstate Vision Forum Series presented by BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina. Ten at the Top hosts public forums and events across the Upstate on issues of regional significance with the overarching goal of building consensus, encouraging regional thinking, and enabling leaders to set aside parochial priorities in order to address critical challenges and visualize opportunities for the future.
Upstate, SC [November 17, 2017] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to enhance economic vitality and quality of life across the Upstate by fostering collaboration and strategic partnerships, has announced the recipients for the 2017 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants. The two recipients, each receiving $5,000, are Main Street Laurens USA for their Food Truck Plaza project and the Greenwood Arts Center for their Bee smART project.
The grants, which began in 2013, annually provide “seed funds” to support vibrancy initiatives in communities across the Upstate region. There were 22 applications for the 2017 grants and five finalists gave brief presentations before the selections were made during the Celebrating Successes Brunch presented by Fluor on Thursday, November 16, at the Greenville Marriott as part of the Our Upstate Vision Forum Series presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
“The goal of the Elevate Upstate program is to get communities thinking about what types of initiatives or programs might help spark vibrancy within their area and then provide some seed money to get some of them started,” said Hughes Investments President Phil Hughes. “In the five years we have done this program, I have been amazed by the great ideas and passion of communities across the region to grow their vibrancy and sense of place. It was a real challenge to narrow the field to five finalists and to select the recipients.”
In addition to providing $10,000 to the two winners, Hughes also pledged a $2,000 matching grant to each of the three other finalists. If they raise $2,000 towards completing their project, he will provide a matching $2,000 contribution. The other three finalists were the City of Landrum for their Art of the Horse project, the Abbeville County Farmers Market for their Farm to Fork Dinner and the City of Seneca and Blue Ridge Arts Council for their Art Wall at Monarch Park.
In the five years of the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants program, Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments has provided a total of $73,000 to help with 22 different vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate region.
The two $5,000 recipients for 2017 are:
Main Street Laurens USA | Food Truck Plaza– As a part of a larger Downtown Master Plan for the City of Laurens, the Food Truck Plaza will dedicate space within the city where food trucks will be located for residents and visitors to enjoy a variety of dining experiences. The plaza will include colored shade sails, brick pavers and picnic benches as well as power and water for the food trucks.
Greenwood Arts Center | Bee smART – The City of Greenwood received the Bee City USA award in 2016 and will use the Elevate Upstate Grant to develop educational and interactive art programs designed around the Bee City designation.
Upstate, SC [November 6, 2017] – Ten at the Top (TATT) is hosting the Celebrating Successes Brunch presented by Fluor on November 16, 2017, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Greenville Marriott. Registration will open at 11:00 a.m. with networking and coffee. The event is part of TATT’s annual Our Upstate Vision Forum Series presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
During the Celebrating Successes Brunch, attendees will hear from each of the finalists for the Hughes Investments ELEVATE UPSTATE Community Vibrancy Grants. After the presentations the recipients of two grants of $5,000 each will be announced. Additionally, Upstate companies and organizations celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2017 will be recognized in a special fashion and both The Welling Award for Regional Collaboration and The Burdette Leadership Award will be presented.
“The goal of the ELEVATE UPSTATE program is to get communities thinking about what types of initiatives or programs might help spark vibrancy within their area and then provide seed money to get some of them started,” said Hughes Investments President Phil Hughes. “In the four years we have done this program, I have been amazed by the great ideas and passion for communities across the region to grow their vibrancy and sense of place.”
Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased online by visiting www.tenatthetop.org. The Celebrating Successes Brunch is made possible thanks to the generosity of Fluor Corporation, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Greenville Health System, JHM Hotels, Piedmont Natural Gas, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Denny’s, GSP International Airport, Laurens Electric Cooperative, Maddrey & Associates, Spartanburg Water, SynTerra, Upstate Workforce Board, John & Charlotte Verreault, GSA Business Report, and 94.5 The Answer.
About Ten at the Top
Comprised of public, private and civic leaders across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top was created to build regional trust and consensus through data-driven research and regular convening of leaders and citizens to address key issues facing the region. Ten at the Top works with regional partners to encourage quality growth and enhance the economic vitality, natural and cultural resources and quality of life for Upstate residents both today and as the region continues to grow. www.tenatthetop.org.
Whether hosted by Ten at the Top or another Upstate organization, over the last eight years I have participated in many events and meetings to discuss various issues that are impacting current and future growth in our region. Most of the time I leave feeling like it was a good use of my time and quality discussion, but knowing that the primary outcome will be more meetings and more discussions as part of a long process to enact change in the Upstate.
I had a very different feeling throughout the October 18th Connecting Our Future Kickoff event. Instead of being another event where the general mindset is that we have 20-30 years to strategically address our issues, there was a very different tone and sense of urgency cast by speakers and participants.
Whether related to an increase in traffic congestion on many of our roads, growth in previously undeveloped areas, potential disruptive technologies that have the ability to radically change how we think about transportation, that we have jobs going unfilled because we have potential workers who don’t have access to dependable transportation, or perhaps all of the above as well as several other factors, the message throughout the event was very clear, we have to move from discussion to action and do it now.
So, the key question is what do we do and how do we do it?
According to Carla Bailo, who was our keynote speaker and has been active in efforts to advance transportation and mobility in Columbus, Ohio, one key component is to have a business community that is willing to not only talk about how to move forward, but will also invest in making it happen.
Columbus recently received a $40 million Smart Cities grant from USDOT. Through public-private investment they have parlayed that grant into nearly a half a billion dollars in funding and in-kind support that eventually should turn Columbus into a model for using smart technology to move people and goods across a region.
In the Upstate, groups like Ten at the Top, the Upstate SC Alliance, Upstate Forever, the Riley Institute at Furman, the Upstate Chamber Coalition and many others have spent the last decade working to cultivate a spirit of collaboration and regionalism as we look at how to tackle major growth issues.
In addition, our region is fortunate to have Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) actively engaged in understanding and developing the future technologies that will forever change mobility. We also have companies including BMW, Michelin and many others who are major players in shaping the transportation future for our country and world.
With so many positive assets, it is imperative that we leverage them in a way that positions the Upstate for success around mobility and moving people and goods.
For many years, a common mantra in the Upstate has been “we don’t want to be Charlotte and we don’t want to be Atlanta” when talking about sprawling growth, traffic congestion and increased pollution. However, most of our current policies and investments around those issues are actually pushing us in the Charlotte or Atlanta direction instead of towards something else.
If we truly want to be a region where all residents can easily and affordably get from place to place and we do not have the negative impacts of sprawling growth and congestion, then we have to decide collectively what we want and how we are going to work together and invest our resources to create a different future.
We have many of the ingredients needed, but do we have the willingness amongst our residents, elected officials and business leaders to actually start making different choices and investments towards the future of our region?
The Connecting Our Future initiative is designed to help create a vision for what we want as a region and then develop strategies for how to get there.
Not every effort needs to be done collectively, in fact future success will require local initiatives and investments. However, if we are all working from the same playbook and moving towards the same goals, then collective success is surely obtainable.
What will be critical for the outcomes of Connecting Our Future to truly be impactful in changing the trajectory for future growth in the Upstate is that every stakeholder group must be at the table and willing to play a role in making a difference. It is not someone else’s problem or something someone else will fix for us.
The time to impact our collective future is now and it is up to all of us who call the Upstate home to play a role in ensuring that our region is a great place to live, learn, do business and raise a family for generations to come.