The PIQUE Brings Upstate Young Professionals Together

    The PIQUE Brings Upstate Young Professionals Together

    PIQUE: (verb) to stimulate (interest or curiosity)

    As the millennial generation replaces the boomer generation in the workforce, it is important to give those young professionals their own millennial-style networking groups—and Ten at the Top has created the PIQUE, an annual event for personal and professional development opportunities.

    In the spirit of collaboration, the PIQUE brings together existing young professional organizations in the Upstate. Organizations promote the event to members and in return $5 of each ticket sold to a partner organization is given back to help fund their programming and events. 2018 partner young professional organizations include: AFL Young Professionals, Clemson Young Professionals,Connect Young Professionals (Greenwood), PULSE (Greenville), Spartanburg Young Professionals, Young Professionals of Anderson County, and United Way of the Piedmont Young Leaders.

    The annual event focuses on the collaboration and connection of young professionals (ages 21-40) in the ten county Upstate. The 2019 event, to be held in the spring at the Greenville One Center in Greenville, will feature four workshops, an opportunity to network with Upstate business and community leaders, a wrap-up panel hosted by the Upstate SC Alliance, and a networking reception.

    The 2019 PIQUE planning committee has been hard at work planning the event for our Upstate young professionals. The committee is made up of young leaders from across the Upstate region. This year’s committee members include:

    • Rebecca Albert, Anderson University
    • Christina Auckland, Denny’s
    • Rachel Baker, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
    • Evan Carr, EC Media
    • Virginia Cebe, Scansource
    • Laura Cox, Anderson County Economic Development
    • Michael McCarthy, Greenwood County Indicators Project
    • Elizabeth Miller, SYNNEX Corp.
    • Christopher Nicholas, Ethan Rivers, LLC
    • Leigh Ann Puryear, Duke Energy
    • Britton Rodgers, Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce
    • Sam Sloan, USC Upstate
    • Mary Pat Smith, Anderson United Way
    • Tiffany Tate, Upstate SC Alliance

    If you represent a young professional organization and would like to become a partner, please contact Adelyn Nottingham ( or 864-283-2313). The event is being held from 1:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 25th at the Greenville One Center (1 N Main St, Greenville, SC 29301). Registration opens in early 2019, so mark your calendars now! Click here for more information.

    Celebrating Successes, Elevate Upstate Grants, and Milestones

    Celebrating Successes, Elevate Upstate Grants, and Milestones

    by Sharon Purvis

    This week, Ten at the Top hosted its annual Celebrating Successes event, in which companies and organizations celebrating milestone anniversaries are recognized, service awards are presented, and Elevate Upstate grant finalists make their presentation and winners are announced.

    More than 200 people gathered at the Greenville Marriott for the event; attendees included representatives from the milestone organizations and Elevate Upstate finalists, along with Ten at the Top funding partners and other supporters.

    More than 100 milestone entities were recognized, including Oconee and Pickens Counties and Park Seed Company celebrating 150 years in the Upstate. Next year’s celebration will include Ten at the Top’s 10th anniversary, and executive director Dean Hybl promises an extra special celebration. (If you know of a landmark anniversary that should be included next year, please email it to

    Mary Ann Goodman of the 
    Ninety Six Mill Village Neighborhood Association gives her Elevate Upstate grant presentation 
    (photo credit: Chris Kelly/KB Photography)

    The Burdette Leadership Award, named for Ten at the Top founding board member Carol Burdette, recognizes a woman in leadership who has made a significant contribution to our region, went to South Carolina state legislator Chandra Dillard, who had previously served for several years on the Greenville City Council.

    Irv Welling gives the Welling Award for Regional Collaboration to Terence Roberts and Rick Danner (photo credit: Chris Kelly/KB Photography)

    The Welling Award for Regional Collaboration, named for founding board member Irv Welling, went to two other founding board members, Terence Roberts and Rick Danner, mayors of Anderson and Greer, respectively. The two men have supported the collaborative efforts of Ten at the Top since its inception and continue to look outward from their towns to embrace a more regional outlook.

    Last year was the fifth year in Phil Hughes’ 5-year commitment to fund the Hughes Investment Elevate Upstate Grants, and after last year’s grants were awarded, he committed to another five years. In those five years, 21 grants were awarded for a total of $67,000—exceeding Hughes’ original commitment of $10,000 per year.

    As in past years, the five Elevate Upstate grant finalists each gave a four-minute presentation about their proposed community vibrancy projects. Out of 26 applications, the grant committee selected the following five finalists:

    • Centuries of Gaffney: A Walking Tour (City of Gaffney)—signage to indicate historically significant sites from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries in Gaffney
    • 1st Annual Charles Townes Art & Technology Experiment (Jeff Sumerel of Spontaneous Productions, in partnership with the Town of Travelers Rest)—laser-based light and audio installations celebrating Charles Townes, Greenville native, Furman University graduate, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics
    • IDEAS Festival: Increase Dialog about Engagement in Arts and Social justice initiatives (The Arts Center of Clemson/City of Clemson Arts& Culture Commission)—an interactive, community-based arts festival that increases engagement with the arts and social justice
    • Ninety Six Movie Night at the Park (Ninety Six Mill Village Neighborhood Association)—in a town with no movie theater, a community initiative that brings residents together to increase use of Ninety Six Mill Park
    • Environmental Art Festival (Piedmont Physic Garden, in partnership with Union County Arts Council, USC-Union, and Union County Tourism Commission)—an arts festival with the theme of “Imagine a Sustainable World,”highlighting the rich natural resources in Union County
    The Elevate Upstate Grant committee deliberates 
    (photo credit: Chris Kelly/KB Photography)

    The two grant winners were Jeff Sumerel (who gave his presentation with the aid of a ventriloquist puppet) and the Charles Townes Art and Technology Experiment, and the Ninety Six Mill Village Neighborhood Association’s Movie Night at the Park—after project coordinator Mary Ann Goodman charmed the audience with her comedic timing in her presentation. The Union Physic Garden was runner up, receiving a $3,000 matching grant.

    Left to right: Coie Switzer (Piedmont Physic Garden), Phil Hughes, Mary Ann Goodman (
    Ninety Six Mill Village Neighborhood Association), Jeff Sumerel (Spontaneous Productions)
    (photo credit: Chris Kelly/KB Photography)

    As always, Ten at the Top thanks Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments, the grant finalists, and all of the other applicants for their contributions to community vibrancy all over the Upstate.

    Ten at the Top Receives SCAPA Outstanding Planning Advocate Award

    Ten at the Top Receives SCAPA Outstanding Planning Advocate Award

    GREENVILLE, S.C.— Ten at the Top was selected as the 2018 Outstanding Planning Advocate by the South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (SCAPA), for having improved quality of life within the state. The award was presented at SCAPA’s Fall Conference held in Greenville, S.C. on November 2.

    Pictured left to right:  Barry Nocks, TATT Founding Board Member; Dean Hybl, TATT Executive Director; Andrea Pietras, SCAPA President; Stephanie Monroe Tillerson, Former Upstate Professional Planners Co-Chair; Michael Forman, Upstate Professional Planners Co-Chair; Phil Lindler, Upstate Professional Planners Co-Chair.

    The SCAPA Planning Awards recognize those who, through their exceptional efforts, have contributed to the advancement of the art and science of planning in South Carolina. Each of these plans, projects, organizations and individuals acknowledged have furthered the quality of life for the people of South Carolina. The awards offer one of the few opportunities that South Carolina planners and communities have to highlight the virtues of planning and recognize those who contribute to the profession.

    Since 2012, Ten at the Top has convened the Upstate Professional Planners Group that includes local government as well as private planners from across the region. The group has worked collaboratively on a number of projects, including developing an Upstate Planners Tool Kit, conducting a review of all the county Comprehensive Plans in the region and serving as the technical committee for the Shaping Our Future and Connecting Our Future regional initiatives.

    Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top, stated that he is “honored even to be considered for such an award. Planning professionals play a vital role in shaping our communities and Ten at the Top is pleased to be able to provide opportunities for discussion and collaboration around issues that are impacting how we are growing as a region.”

    About Ten at the Top

    Comprised of public, private and civic leaders from across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top was created to connect and encourage regional collaboration 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 foster collaboration and strategic planning to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for Upstate residents both today and as the region continues to grow.