Our Upstate Vision Forums

    Forums held across the Upstate on issues of regional significance


    April 27th – Building Global Fluency in the Upstate

    Upstate Regional Forum: Building Global Fluency in the Upstate

    Ten at the Top and Upstate International co-hosted Building Global Fluency in the Upstate on April 27, 2017, at BMW Zentrum. The day included two different components – Global Fluency Workshop (limited to 25 participants) and the Upstate Regional Forum (networking reception to follow).

    Global Fluency is the ability to understand and collaborate across the complexities of language and culture. With nearly 600 companies representing 36 countries, the Upstate has long been recognized as a national leader in attracting and retaining international companies. This thriving global market is critical to the economic success and overall quality of life for the Upstate region.

    Global Fluency allows a metropolitan area to maximize the benefits of globalization and minimize the negative consequences. The more global fluent the Upstate is collectively, the smoother the trajectory into the globalized economy to ensure success and sustainability. Maintaining a culture that is supportive of residents from all cultures is essential to the continued success of the Upstate.

    Brad Gosche, Senior Director at the Global Fluency Institute in Columbus, Ohio, led the Workshop, which was a premier training resource for professionals of all trades and backgrounds. Global Fluency Training develops cross-cultural competence and provides tools for effectively and successfully working across cultures.

    This Forum looked at the Global Economy in the Upstate and how the region is developing a culture that embraces Global Fluency. Brad Gosche served as the keynote speaker and joined for a panel discussion by Upstate leaders who are among those building Global Fluency in the region such as Reid Lohr, Senior Managing Director of the EDI Group, and Susan Simmons, Director of Career Management Worldwide for Michelin.

    May 25th – Shaping Our Future

    Upstate Regional Forum: Shaping Our Future

    Download presentations from the May 25, 2017 Forum

    Ten at the Top, Upstate Forever, and The Riley Institute at Furman University reported on the Shaping Our Future Consortium on May 25, 2017, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm (networking reception to follow) at BMW Zentrum.

    Project Background: The 10-county Upstate region is growing. By 2040, our region’s population is projected to reach nearly 1,750,000 – an increase of 64% since 1990. How and where we grow will have real impacts on our quality of life – affecting commute times and transportation choices, air and water quality and our pocket books. The Shaping Our Future Growth Scenarios Analysis is an opportunity to explore and debate alternative regional visions for growth keeping in mind their associated fiscal, environmental and quality of life trade-offs. Scenario planning tools have been used to evaluate the impacts of competing development scenarios including current growth trends. For more information, visit www.ShapingOurFutureUpstateSC.org.

    Shaping Our Future Scenario Analysis: At the Forum, Upstate Forever, Ten at the Top, and The Riley Institute at Furman unveiled the findings of the study which was guided by a steering committee representing the business sector, local governments and utilities, and community organizations; a technical advisory committee; several focus groups; and community feedback. The study’s results provided a valuable resource demonstrating the wide-ranging impacts of varying growth futures and recommendations for how local communities can work to achieve their visions for future growth. Precursors to this study include Upstate Growth Study, Upstate Reality Check, Upstate Shared Growth Vision and the 2015 Shaping Our Future Speaker Series.

    Key Players: The one-year study was conducted by a multi-disciplinary consultant team led by City Explained in conjunction with Stantec and Urban3. This effort was made possible thanks to the generosity of Hollingsworth Funds, Greater Greenville Association of Realtors, Ten at the Top, the Riley Institute at Furman University, Upstate Forever and New Belgium Brewery.

    Joe Minicozzi is the principal of Urban3, a consulting firm created by Asheville real estate developer, Public Interest Projects. Urban3’s work in pioneering geo-spatial representation of economic productivity has prompted a paradigm shift in understanding the economic potency of urbanism and the value of well-designed cities. Their studies for municipalities across the United States and Canada have affected the reevaluation of public policy and a broader understanding of market dynamics created by tax policy. Joe is a sought after lecturer on city planning issues and his work has been featured in numerous journals and at international conferences. He is a founding member of the Western North Carolina-based, non-profit Asheville Design Center. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami and Master of Architecture and Urban Design from Harvard University.

    Matt Noonkester has 20 years of experience managing projects that help local, regional state government officials tackle difficult public policy planning issues. He has extensive experience using geographic information system (GIS) software to measure the built environment and leading community groups through a regional planning process. Mr. Noonkester is a CommunityViz classroom instructor, and routinely speaks at professional conferences, expert panel sessions, and technical user group meetings on the topic of scenario planning. He has also partnered with staff and elected officials throughout the United States to prepare regional growth studies, comprehensive plans, small area plans, corridor studies, capital improvement plans, land development regulations, urban design guidelines, development impact fee ordinances, and other special studies consistent with state law and community context. Before forming City Explained, Inc. in 2015, Mr. Noonkester owned another successful planning firm, led a community planning team at two large planning and engineering firms, and served in the public sector, holding the position of Zoning Compliance Planner for the City of Bloomington, Indiana.


    April 26, 2016 – The Upstate’s Untapped Workforce

    Our Upstate Vision Forum: The Upstate’s Untapped Workforce

    With a growing economy, the Upstate region is now facing the potential reality of not having enough of an available workforce to meet employee needs. This dilemma calls for collaborative efforts to ensure that some of the previously untapped and underutilized groups of potential employees are identified and engaged. These include veterans, individuals with some type of disability, and people with nonviolent criminal backgrounds.

    The Our Upstate Vision Forum on April 26, 2016 looked at how the Upstate can and is working to tap into this important labor pool. The primary focus was on individuals with disabilities. There were also representatives from multiple underutilized workforce groups in attendance and available to provided material on the various workforce opportunities currently available in the Upstate.

    Keynote Speaker, Randy Lewis, former Senior Vice President of Logistics and Supply Chain of Walgreens led this revolutionary model of employment inclusion. Lewis discussed why Walgreens is viewed by many as the global leader in hiring people with disabilities.

    Visit Ten at the Top on YouTube to watch the forum in its entirety.

    November 29, 2016 Celebrating Successes

    Our Upstate Vision Forum: Celebrating Our Successes – Great Things Happening in the Upstate

    While it is critical to look at areas where we must continue to work to make the Upstate an even better place for generations to come, it is also important that we take opportunities to recognize and understand some of the great things from our past and that are happening today in our region.

    Each year, the final Our Upstate Forum provides a chance to celebrate some of the people, organizations and businesses that have been working for generations to make the Upstate a special place. Please click here to view of list of Upstate businesses and organizations celebrating anniversaries.

    During the forum Hughes Investments ELEVATE UPSTATE Community Vibrancy Grant finalists gave presentations and winners were awarded at the end of the forum. To view who won the 2016 ELEVATE UPSTATE grants, please click here.

    During the forum Ten at the Top also recognized the twenty individuals who volunteer their time to chair a task force or committee. These individuals devote their time and expertise to Ten at the Top to further the organization’s mission and ensure the Upstate is a great place to live, learn, do business, and raise a family. Please click here to view a list of currently serving task force and committee chairs.

    To view videos of the entire forum, please visit the Ten at the Top YouTube channel.

    The Welling Award for Regional Collaboration

    The Welling Award is given to recognize individuals, businesses, or organizations whose actions have demonstrated a sustained commitment and effort to developing and fostering regional collaboration(s) that work strategically to make the Upstate one of the best places to live, learn, do business, and raise a family. Previous recipients include: Erwin Maddrey, GSP International Airport, Bobby Hitt, and Phil Hughes.

    The 2016 Welling Award was given to two recipients: Minor Mickel Shaw and Dean Hybl. To learn more about the award and the recipients, click here.

    Burdette Leadership Award

    Given in recognition of Carol Burdette, the first female chairperson of Ten at the Top, the Burdette Leadership Award is given to a woman who serves and leads in the Upstate.
    The inaugural Burdette Leadership Award was given to Minor Mickel Shaw.

    124 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 202
    Greenville, SC 29607
    PHONE: (864) 283-2315 FAX: (864) 283.2310
    EMAIL: info@tenatthetop.org

    124 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 202
    Greenville, SC 29607
    PHONE: (864) 283-2317 FAX: (864) 283.2310
    EMAIL: info@tenatthetop.org


    Check out a comprehensive calendar of events across the Upstate through our partnership with In The Know Upstate: