TATT Announces Twelve New Board Members for the 2024/2025 Term

    TATT Announces Twelve New Board Members for the 2024/2025 Term

    Ten at the Top is pleased to announce the addition of twelve new board members for the 2024-2025 term. The new members participated in the TATT New Board Member orientation session that was held on January 24, with a make-up session held on February 27. These new members join existing members to form the governing board for the 10-county non-profit organization.

     

    New Members to the TATT Board are:

    • Gail Awan, Urban League of the Upstate
    • Noah Beason, Cherokee County Development Board
    • Johnnie-Lynn Crosby, Transfr Inc.
    • Kevin Greene, Trehel Corporation
    • Kelly Gregory, Riley Institute at Furman University
    • Robert Halfacre, Park National Bank & City of Clemson
    • Rivers Hughes, Hughes Investments
    • Ceej Jefferson, Oak & Ave Property Group
    • Grayson Kelly, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative
    • Julia Levi, Carolina Transportation Engineers & Associates
    • Dari McBride, Oconee County Chamber of Commerce
    • Camille Reams, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina

    The TATT Board of Directors is composed of public, private and civic leaders from across the 10-county Upstate region. TATT board members are charged with representing the region and their community in fostering trust and collaboration across the region on issues of regional significance, serving as an advocate for regional thinking within their specific city or county, assisting TATT in engaging elected officials, business and community leaders, and supporting general organizational functions.

    TATT welcomes Anna-Elyse Lewis Abrams as Communications Coordinator

    TATT welcomes Anna-Elyse Lewis Abrams as Communications Coordinator

    Ten at the Top (TATT) is pleased to announce the addition of Anna-Elyse Lewis Abrams to the position of Communications Coordinator.
    Her role centers around TATT’s mission to increase collaborative capacity across the 10 counties
    of the upstate by highlighting the efforts and initiatives of the organization, as well as those of its
    partners and sponsors. Additionally, she will serve as the primary point of contact for media inquiries,
    coordinate outreach efforts, draft in-house publications, and devise strategic marketing campaigns that
    amplify and elevate TATT’s messaging.

    A graduate of USC Upstate, Anna-Elyse brings with her a background of communications and marketing
    in local government and community development, having served as the Communications Specialist for
    the City of Spartanburg. She is a lifelong resident of Spartanburg, and enjoys spending time with her
    family and friends, and performing with local community theatres.

    “We are pleased to have Anna-Elyse join the Ten at the Top team,” said TATT Executive Director Dean
    Hybl. “Her background in communications and familiarity with the region will be very valuable as we
    continue to build connections and the collective capacity of the Upstate.”
    “Ten at the Top is doing such great work to connect and strengthen the Upstate.” said Lewis Abrams, “I
    am so excited to join those efforts, and amplify the message of this organization’s inspiring mission
    alongside an incredible team.”

    Have a question for Anna-Elyse? Email her at aeabrams@tenatthetop.org 

    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 connects and encourages regional collaboration through data-driven research
    and regular gatherings of leaders and residents to address key regional issues. TATT works with local
    partners to foster collaboration and strategic planning that enhances the economic vitality and quality
    of life for Upstate residents today and as the region continues to grow.

    JUSTINE ALLEN PROMOTED TO ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF TEN AT THE TOP

    JUSTINE ALLEN PROMOTED TO ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF TEN AT THE TOP

    Greenville, SC [January 3, 2023] – Ten at the Top (TATT) has announced the promotion of Justine Allen to Assistant Director. Allen has served in the role of Program & Event Manager since joining TATT in March 2020.

    In her expanded role, Allen will continue coordinating the capacity-building efforts of TATT’s current initiative-focused committees and task forces. She will also oversee TATT’s three large annual regional events: Pique Young Professionals Summit, Blues, Brews & BBQ, and Celebrating Successes as well as TATT’s Upstate Regional Summit, which will next be held in September 2024. 

    In addition, during the first half of 2023, Allen and TATT Vice Chair for Initiatives Mark McKinney will meet with TATT partners and regional stakeholders to identify the next big regional-focused capacity-building initiatives that TATT will concentrate on between 2023-2025.

    “Justine joined TATT during the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped,” said TATT Executive Director Dean Hybl. “She has done an outstanding job developing relationships with Upstate stakeholders and service providers over the last two and a half years and is playing a critical role in TATT’s efforts to build the collective capacity of the Upstate.

    “With her additional responsibilities, Justine will continue to help TATT serve as a neutral convenor and place where stakeholders from different areas and sectors can come together to address regional issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life in the region.”

     A graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Justine’s background has been in event planning and management, having originally come to the Upstate to work as an event planner, charity liaison, and volunteer coordinator on the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament. She lives in Greenville with her husband, Steve, and daughter Gabby. 

    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. For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org.

    2022 Celebrating Successes Awardees

    2022 Celebrating Successes Awardees

    Ten at the Top (TATT) hosted their 12th Annual Celebrating Successes event, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, on November 16th at Greenville Convention Center. The event included the selection of the 2022 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate grant recipients as well as the 2022 recipients of two regional leadership awards. 

    Since its inception in 2013, The Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants program has provided funds for more than 30 community vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate. Three recipients were selected from the six finalists and more than a dozen applications to receive grants of $5,000 each for this year: the City of Inman, the Town of Honea Path, and the City of Mauldin.  

    The City of Inman was selected for their “I”Marks the Spot Scavenger Hunt project, which will be an interactive scavenger hunt in which participants will learn about the history of Inman while exploring the community.

    The Town of Honea Path plans to reinstate the successful Honea Path’s Got Talent event that originated in 2012 with programs spanning over several weeks, featuring local talent, and providing an opportunity for gathering and enjoying the local community.

    In addition, Hughes Investments is providing a grant to the City of Mauldin to grow and promote vibrancy efforts in the Bridgeway Station development, which will open in the coming months.

    “Creating vibrancy in Upstate communities is such an important part of making this region a leading place to live and raise a family,” said Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top. “The Elevate Upstate Grants is a great way to grow vibrancy in the region. All six finalists presented exciting projects and it was a tough choice for the selection committee. I am excited for the projects to be implemented in 2023.”

    In addition to the Elevate Upstate Grants selection, the annual event also included the recognition of the recipients of the Burdette Leadership Award and the Welling Award for Regional Collaboration.

    This marks the seventh year of the Burdette Leadership Award, which is given in recognition of Carol Burdette, the first female chair of Ten at the Top. This award honors women who have both served and led across the Upstate. Previous recipients of the Burdette Award are Dr. Fay Sprouse, Beth Padgett, Minor Shaw, Dr. Becky Campbell, SC Representative Chandra Dillard, and outgoing SC Representative Rita Allison. 

    The recipient this year was Dr. Beatrice Thompson, the first female and African American elected to Anderson City Council, a position she has maintained since 1976, and the Executive Director of the Westside Community Center. 

    Born in Townville, South Carolina, Dr. Thompson received her high school diploma from Reed Street School, which was the Anderson County High School for African American children. She went on to earn a B.A. degree from South Carolina State College, two masters’ degrees (from Howard University and Atlanta University) and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Georgia. She was an educator in Anderson School District 5 for 38 years. In 1976 she became the first African-American elected to the Anderson City Council, a seat she still holds. She was the president of the South Carolina Municipal Association from 1988-1990. She helped open the Westside Community Center in 1998 and remains in the role of Executive Director. After the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, Dr. Thompson worked with local law enforcement leaders in Anderson to start a community dialogue that has become known as the “Dream Team”. This group has helped grow relationships between the Anderson Community and local law enforcement.

    The Welling Award for Regional Collaboration, named after Ten at the Top founding chairman Irv Welling, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated longstanding involvement in encouraging collaboration across jurisdictional and stakeholder boundaries. Previous recipients of the Welling Award include Erwin Maddrey, Phil Hughes, GSP International Airport, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Michelin North America, Dean Hybl, Minor Shaw, Carol Burdette, Rick Danner, Terence Roberts, Bobby Hitt, Neal Workman, and Clemson University.

    The two recipients for 2022 are a pair of Spartanburg residents, Todd Horne and Erin Ouzts.

    A native of Greenville, Todd Horne attended USC Upstate and has remained actively involved in the Spartanburg community over the last two decades. In 2020 he was named the President of Clayton Construction Company (CCC) after having served in the role of VP of Business Development since 2008. A member of Spartanburg Chamber’s SYP Young Professional group and was just 32 years old when he became chairman of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce (now known as OneSpartanburg) Board of Directors.

     He helped raise the funds to support the Spartanburg Five-Year Strategic Plan that launched the OneSpartanburg initiative, and recently led fundraising for the second five years. He was also among the group of Spartanburg Leaders who helped support the return of the BMW Pro-Am to Spartanburg in 2022. 

    In addition to his engagement in Spartanburg, Todd has been actively involved at the regional and state level. He joined the TATT Board of Directors in 2014 and spearheaded the creation of TATT’s annual regional Young Professionals event Pique. He is currently serving as TATT’s First Vice President after previously serving as treasurer and is scheduled to be chairman in 2024-2025. He also is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina.

    Building an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship has been a passion for Erin Ouzts for more than 25 years. She has been actively involved in all elements of the process from incubation to financing and now through the Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem supporting and promoting the resource providers who work directly with entrepreneurs. 

    Erin has been involved with TATT’s work promoting Entrepreneurial Vitality since 2012, first as co-chair of the task force and since 2019 as the director of the Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem. Erin has built connections between support providers and entrepreneurs across the entire 10-county region. In 2021, she helped TATT launch the Start-Grow-Upstate Regional Repository for entrepreneur resources.

     In 2022 she helped TATT secure a Relentless Challenge grant from the SC Department of Commerce to start the Start-Grow Upstate Resource Navigator program in counties across the region. The purpose of the program is to connect rural innovators to the innovation ecosystem. The first class of navigators from Greenwood county graduated in August 2022. Additional classes are underway or planned for Pickens, Cherokee and Anderson counties. Erin will be retiring from her work with TATT and the Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem at the end of November.

     

    About Ten at the Top

    Composed 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. For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org

    Craig Scharton Takes Over Role as Ten at the Top’s Entrepreneur Ecosystem Facilitator

    Craig Scharton Takes Over Role as Ten at the Top’s Entrepreneur Ecosystem Facilitator

     

    Ten at the Top is pleased to announce Craig Scharton is taking over responsibility for its entrepreneurship initiatives, commonly referred to as the Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem.  He replaces Erin Ouzts who volunteered for 10 years before officially creating the role in 2019.  Erin is retiring from her work at Ten at the Top to focus on other ecosystem needs and family.

    “Supporting entrepreneurship and specifically the service providers who support entrepreneurship within our region has been a key driver area within Ten at the Top since the beginning of the organization,” said TATT Executive Director Dean Hybl. “Erin Ouzts has done an amazing job cultivating relationships and building awareness of the importance of having a strong entrepreneur ecosystem. I especially want to thank her for all she has done to support entrepreneurship in the Upstate.”

    “Erin will be tough to replace, but we are very fortunate to have Craig Scharton moving into the role of facilitator for the Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem. Craig has great experience working with businesses and entrepreneurs and is the ideal person to continue TATT’s work building the collective capacity of support providers and entrepreneurs in the Upstate.”  

    Scharton, who moved to the Upstate in June 2022, has over 35 years of progressive experience leading diverse teams in non-profit and public service environments to execute meaningful and innovative projects to improve the standard of living in local communities.

    “Craig’s well-rounded experience and welcoming personality make him a great fit for this role.  The Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem will benefit from his knowledge and ability to bring people together around complex topics,” said Erin Ouzts.

    In Fresno City, CA, he built ecosystems of support for entrepreneurs and support providers as Senior Director, Economic Development with One by One Leadership, president of the California Main Street Alliance, as a Fresno City Council member, owner of a restaurant, director of Central Valley Business Incubator for Water and Energy Technology, and multiple positions with the City of Fresno and Downtown Fresno Partnership.

    While working with California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) (similar to SC MEP), he strengthened CMTC’s relationship with 40+ partner organizations to realize an additional $100 million + in additional sales for small and medium-sized manufacturers.

    He taught urban entrepreneurship at Fresno State University as an adjunct professor for 14 years and created the Fresno Downtown Academy which received the International Downtown Association Award in 2016.  Craig has been a featured speaker at multiple events, including the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) National Conference, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the California Workforce Association, and the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies. 

    Scharton has experience on multiple boards, including the Fresno Community Development Financial Institution, Jane Addams Community Development Corporation, and the President of the California Main Street Alliance.

    “Erin Ouzts has built out an incredible framework for entrepreneurs and those who support them. I am honored to be able to build on her work,” said Scharton.  I love building communities to support our independent businesses from home-based cottage businesses to downtown retailers to local manufacturers. Every sector has a role in growing our entrepreneurial ecosystem.” 

    ‘What serendipity to find someone who will seamlessly take over for Erin Ouzts who is such a pro herself at bringing together people and organizations to continue to build a healthy Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem!’  said Justine Allen, Ten at the Top Program Manager.

    Scharton will continue the Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem’s mission to increase the ecosystem’s ability and capacity to help entrepreneurs be more successful faster.  The quarterly Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem, Innovation Leaders Coalition, and Rural Entrepreneurship Leaders Coalition groups will continue to meet.  He will focus on continuing to create awareness of the multiple entrepreneur resources available through the StartGrowUpstate.com resource navigator and connecting disconnected entrepreneurs to the ecosystem.

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    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. For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org. 



    2022 Elevate Upstate Grant Summaries – Finalists

    2022 Elevate Upstate Grant Summaries – Finalists

    “I” Marks the Spot Scavenger Hunt – City of Inman (Inman)

    “I” Marks the Spot will be a scavenger hunt in our downtown/Historic district. Our vision for this project is to develop an interactive scavenger hunt in our downtown. We believe that this will be of value to our community in many ways. The plan is to use a combination of bronze peach place markers and “vanishing” paint to create an interactive scavenger hunt for people to use to explore our downtown and learn about important pieces of our history, along with current places of importance. 

     

    Children’s Art in the Park – The Shaw Center (Clemson)

    Neighborhood children will be invited to participate in painting individual boards to create a fun, diverse, and eclectic picket fence. The fence will serve as a backdrop for the park located in the middle of the neighborhood. They will be provided with a single board (already painted with primer), a variety of paint colors, a protective apron, and brushes and other painting supplies. They will be instructed to paint to represent their family, themselves, their neighborhood, things they love to do, Monarch butterflies – endless possibilities. We will also include educational information for them about Monarch butterflies and the recent recognition of Clemson as a Monarch City, so butterflies will be an option to include in their artwork. To incorporate an educational opportunity in collaboration with the SC Botanical Gardens, we plan to offer a field trip offered through the Littlejohn Community Center and CatBUS. The kids can apply what they learned by illustrating through painting on the fence boards. The Arts Center staff will also provide artists to help the kids brainstorm and sketch ideas before actually painting their boards. 

     

    Honea Path’s Got Talent – Town of Honea Path (Honea Path)

    The Honea Path Planning Committee plans to reinstitute a successful one-time event that happened over 6 years ago: Honea Path’s Got Talent. This one-season event was very popular, but the event organizer only intended to provide the event for one year. The Town of Honea Path is under new leadership for the past 3 years and has placed a high priority on revitalizing the downtown by adding and enhancing events that draw tourists from surrounding areas to Honea Path. Honea Path’s Got Talent will be a reinvented 6-week event allowing people of all ages and backgrounds in Honea Path and the surrounding areas to showcase their talent. 

     

    Open Doors Studio Tours Spartanburg – Artists Collective of Spartanburg (Spartanburg)

    The Open Doors Studio Tour is a chance to showcase the unique talents and diversity of the visual arts community of Spartanburg County. The Artists Collective Spartanburg is working with a committee of arts professionals and organizations from the area to establish the event. None of these organizations are funding Open Doors, and the event could be coordinated by any of these organizations in the future. The Open Doors Studio Tour is a self-guided 2-day event that is free to the public. Participating artists will open their studios to show and sell their work from 10 AM – 5 PM on Saturday, April 22, and from 12 – 5 PM on Sunday, April 23. Visitors will be directed by a map on the Open Doors Website, and a printed map inside the Open Doors catalog. 

     

    Polar Experience – City of Clinton (Clinton)

    With the closest movie theater being over 30-minutes away, many children in Clinton will never get to experience what it is like to see a movie on the big screen. However, by bringing the big screen to the depot, they could finally get to experience something magical.  The Polar Express is all about a magical experience that will be brought to life, not only for the children but also for the adults. With hot cocoa all around and the chairs nicely spaced out with a chill in the air, nothing says winter is here like the Polar Express.