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. 

    TATT Announces Recipients for The 2021 Elevate Upstate Grants at their Annual Celebrating Successes Event

    TATT Announces Recipients for The 2021 Elevate Upstate Grants at their Annual Celebrating Successes Event

    Greenville, SC [November 19, 2021] – Ten at the Top (TATT) hosted their 11th Annual Celebrating Successes event, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, yesterday November 17th at Greenville Convention Center. At this event, five finalists for the 2021 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants presented their projects on enhancing community vibrancy across the Upstate.

    Hughes Investments contributes at least $10,000 per year to this program, with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate. The program began in 2013 in conjunction with a series of Community Vibrancy Workshops hosted by Ten at the Top. Since the inception of the grants program, Hughes Investments has contributed nearly $100,000 to community vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate.

    There was a total of five finalists selected to present amongst the 19 applications that were submitted for the two grants available this year. At the event, each of the finalists presented a brief overview of their initiative before the 2021 recipients were selected by the committee and announced.

    The two recipients of the 2021 Elevate Upstate Grants were the City of Belton and the Italian American Club of Greater Greenville.

    The City of Belton was selected for their Belton’s Downtown Sounds Project, which will bring music and food to the Downtown Belton four times during the summer of 2022. Each of the four events will include local bands and food trucks.

    The Italian American Club will be hosting their first-ever Italian-American Festival on Main Street in Fountain Inn. The one-day festival will include food & drink vendors, craft vendors, live music, dancing, and carnival rides. The area will be decorated with appropriate Italian décor to set the tone and atmosphere.

    In addition to providing the two $5,000 grants, Hughes pledged to contribute $1,000 to each of the other three finalists if they move forward with their project. The other finalists were the United Way of Anderson, Conestee Nature Preserve and the Honea Path Planning Committee.

    “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 five finalists presented exciting projects and it was a tough choice for the selection committee. I am excited for the projects to be implemented in 2022.”

    Representative Rita Allison, the recipient of the Burdette Leadership Award, along with Neal Workman and Clemson University, recipients of the Welling Award for Regional Collaboration, were also recognized as a part of this event.

    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.

     

    TATT Honors Three Upstate Award Winners at their Annual Event

    TATT Honors Three Upstate Award Winners at their Annual Event

    Greenville, SC [November 18, 2021] – Ten at the Top (TATT) hosted their 11th Annual Celebrating Successes event yesterday, November 17th, at the Greenville Convention Center. During this event, Representative Rita Allison, Neal Workman, and Clemson University were honored for their contributions to enhancing the Upstate region. Allison received the Burdette Leadership Award while both Clemson University and Workman were recognized with the Welling Award for Regional Collaboration. 

    Celebrating Successes is an annual event presented by BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina. Ten at the Top annually hosts public forums, workshops, and other 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. 

    This marks the sixth 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, and SC Representative Chandra Dillard. Allison is currently in her second stint as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives having originally served as the representative for House District 36 from 1993 to 2002. She was reelected to the seat in 2008 and is currently the chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee. 

    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, and Bobby Hitt. 

    Workman, the founder of Trehel Corporation, was recognized for his decades long service to collaborative organizations across the Upstate. He has been a member and officer for multiple Chambers of Commerce in the region and was involved in starting the Oconee Economic Alliance. Workman is also a founding board member of Ten at the Top and served as the second chairman of the organization in 2012-2013. 

    Founded in 1889 as a public land-grant university in South Carolina, Clemson University has long been a catalyst for collaborative partnerships that enhance economic vitality and quality of life across the Upstate region and state of South Carolina. In recent years, efforts including the creation of CU-ICAR and partnerships with the Greenwood Genetics Center have increased the role of Clemson as a leader around key Upstate issues. In addition, the graduate program for City & Regional Program was instrumental in providing Ten at the Top with data and guidance when developing the Our Upstate Vision created during the first two years of the organization and still used today as part of TATT’s strategic plan. 

    “Last year’s event was virtual, with a different spin on it as we honored unsung heroes, so we are incredibly grateful to honor these deserving award recipients in-person. These leaders are very important to our Upstate community, and it is a privilege to recognize their hard-work, leadership, and commitment to our region at our annual event,” said Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top. 

    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. 

    Ten at the Top to Host Elevate Upstate Grant Workshop on July 14th

    Ten at the Top to Host Elevate Upstate Grant Workshop on July 14th

    Greenville, SC l July 6, 2021 — After taking off a year due to the Global Pandemic, the 2021 grant period for the Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Grants is currently open. On July 14th, Ten at the Top will host a workshop to guide applicants through the process and parameters of the grants. The workshop is from 1:30-3:00 p.m. at their event space at Park 37, 250 Executive Center Drive in Greenville.

    Since 2013, Hughes Investments has provided nearly $100,000 in funds to 30 local communities as part of the Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grant program. The purpose of the Elevate Upstate Grants is to identify and provide initial funding support for community-based programs that promote community and economic vibrancy in local areas across the Upstate.

    “The Elevate Upstate Grants are for those wishing to bring new life to their communities—a spark, a fresh idea, a new tradition—something that will excite the public and bring people together from all walks of life in a new way,” said Phil Hughes, President of Hughes Investments, Inc.

    The workshop will include an overview of the program by Dean Hybl, Phil Hughes and three-time Elevate Upstate grant recipient Jonathan Irick from the City of Laurens Main Street Program.

    “The last year has definitely been different and especially challenging for creating community vibrancy,” said Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top. “Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments has long been a local champion around encouraging community vibrancy and we are pleased that the Elevate Upstate Grants will again be available for communities and organizations in 2021.”

    The grant period opened June 1st with an initial interest form due by August 13th and the completed applications due by September 17th. Two grants of $5,000 each will be awarded at Ten at the Top’s Annual Celebrating Successes event on November 17th, where finalists will have the opportunity to present their proposed project before a final judgment is made.

    The Elevate Upstate Grant Workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. You can learn more about the workshop and register through this link.