TATT Chat Recap – Broadband in the Upstate

TATT Chat Recap – Broadband in the Upstate

Guest Speakers, Tom Allen, Director of Safety, Transportation, and Emergency Response, South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, Jim Stritzinger, Founder, President & CEO, Revolution D, Inc., and Shannon Sears, Director of Commercial Operations, West Carolina Tel on Broadband in the Upstate

Please see video recording to view presentations and comments. View presentation here.

Q & A and Links

Q: Who is eligible to apply for the grants?

A: Providers are eligible and entities are encouraged to advocate local providers to apply.

Q: Do you know if USAC is going to expand E-rate to include another category for home?  Can we use the grant to provide for our 20% match?

A: This is the link to the new funding available from ORS and the Department of Commerce -https://ors.sc.gov/broadband/funding/rural-broadband-grant-program

Here is the link to the map.  Please keep in mind that there are errors and we are working with ISPs and vendor to correct –  https://ors.sc.gov/broadband/funding/rural-broadband-grant-program

Thank you to our funding partners:

Current Supporters

3/9/21 UEE Workshop: Conversations to Avoid Intellectual Property Calamities:


3/24/21 at 10:00 am: UPP Workshop: Northside Community Update:


Check out the Upstate Vibe calendar:


Please join us for the next TATT CHAT on March 18 at 3pm: Maintaining Mental Health:


The EJ Small Grants and EJ CPS RFAs are now live. Closing date is May 7, 2021.

Eligible entities include:

  • Non-profits
  • U.S. territories
  • Tribal Governments (both federally recognized and state-recognized)
  • Native American Organizations
  • Small grants are for $50,000 each. Looking to fund approximately 56 nationwide with about 5 per region.

CPS awards are for $160,000 each. Looking to fund 20 nationwide with approximately 2 per region.

Areas of emphasis include projects focusing on:

  • COVID-19 impacts on underserved communities (both)
  • Climate/Disaster Resiliency (both)
  • Ports Initiative projects (small grants)
  • Projects from small non-profits of 10 or fewer employees (small grants)
  • New applicants and grantees (both)

County Updates

Abbeville County – Stephen Taylor, Economic Development Director

  • Our unemployment numbers have improved greatly: 13.9 to 4.8
  • As a rural community we are glad to see infrastructure growth
  • Upper Savannah Virtual Workforce Day was a success (link); WCTEL participated
  • Abbeville is looking closely at public transportation options

Union County  – Taylor Atkinson, Executive Director, Union County Library

  • We have recently hired a full time social worker at the Library (SC Native; has connections and is aware of the local resources) who is doing outreach in our area
  • As a workaround to broadband, the library is an “anchor institution” mandated to have internet access by the FCC. In rural parts of Union County they can provide internet to at little to no cost to the community and are working on expanding several other sites in Union County
  • Open up for limited library browsing hours and pick ups
BBB Warns Tax Season Is Here, But So Are Scammers

BBB Warns Tax Season Is Here, But So Are Scammers

The United States’ tax season is here, and so are the scammers. Con artists use the Social Security numbers of unsuspecting Americans to file phony tax returns and steal refunds. On way to protect this information is to use an Identity Protection PIN issued by the IRS. In fact, a number may have been issues to you last year if you file a return online. Be aware of online identity theft with these tips.

The scam works when online filers that go through the IRS website usually expect a refund. Instead, a written IRS notice arrives in the mail, stating that more than one tax return was filed using their Social Security number.

What happened, Scammers got hold of personal information, typically the account holder’s Social Security, number, address, and birth date.  They filed your return early and received your refund before you even got around to filing.  Tax ID theft is a particularly sneaky con, because victims don’t realize they’ve been targeted until they file their taxes.

Scammers steal tax information in several ways, such as a phishing scam, a corrupt tax preparation service, or the information was exposed in a hack or data breach. Sometimes tax scammers file in the name of a deceased person or steal children’s identities to claim them as dependents.

How to Avoid Tax ID Theft Scams

  • File early. The best way to avoid tax identity is to file your taxes early as possible, before a scammer has the chance to use your information.
  • Watch out for red flags. If a written notice from the IRS arrives in the mail about a duplicate return, respond promptly. Or, is an IRS notice arrives stating you received wages from somewhere you never worked or receive other notices that don’t apply to you, contact the IRS immediately. Another big deal is if you receive a notice that “additional taxes or owed, the refund will be offset or a collection action is being taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return” (IRS). Contact the IRS if you have any suspicions that your identity has been stolen.
  • Protect your Social Security number. Don’t give out your SSN unless there’s a good reason, and you’re sure who you’re giving it to.
  • If you are a victim of ID theft, consider getting an Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN). This is a six-digit number, which, in addition to your Social Security number, confirms your identity. Once you apply, you must provide the IP Pin each year when you file your federal tax returns. Visit IRS.gov for more information.

For More Information

If you are the victim of tax identity in the U.S., contact the IRS at 1-800-908-4490 and consider filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. The FTC also offers a personalized identity theft recovery plan at identitytheft.gov

If you’re targeted by this scam or other scams, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience to BBB.org/ScamTracker.  You can also call BBB of the Upstate office that covers all ten counties in the Upstate at 864.242.5052 or email info@upstatesc.bbb.org to discuss the scam situation and be sure to ask before instead of after becoming a victim.

By International Association of Better Business Bureaus

Submitted to Ten at the Top by Vee Daniel, BBB of the Upstate President/CEO 

TATT Chat Recap – January 21, 2021

TATT Chat Recap – January 21, 2021

Ten at the Top Update, Dean Hybl

Year in Review 2020 released – thank you to our partners for their continued support!

Next week is Sneak Pique, Wednesday, January 27 from 10:00am-11:00am, featuring training and recruitment specialists from Scansource presenting Networking in a Digital Age. Register here.

February 3 from 3:00pm-4:00pm is the Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem Workshop on the Second Draw of PPP with Kunal Parikh, Policy Advisor from Senator Tim Scott’s office, and Earl Gregorich of the Greenville Area Small Business Development Center. Register here.

February 24 from 10:00am-11:00am is the Upstate Professional Planners Group Workshop with the Upstate Mobility Alliance and Greenlink, an interactive model exercise for the Freedom Mobility program. Register here.

Upstate Mobility Alliance, Michael Hildebrand

    • Kicking off quarterly series focused on the connection between transportation and community vibrancy
    • In February 23 meeting with city managers from the Golden Strip, Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn, and county administrator for Laurens County, and how they see communities growing and in the next 20 years and the role transportation plays
    • Next up Jody Bryson with ITIC for podcast series

Spartanburg, Cherokee, Union Counties – readySC, LaTokia Trigg

    • Latokia is the Representative Area Director for the Spartanburg Community College service area
    • readySC is part of the SC Technical College system that assists new and expanding industry with recruitment and training
    • There are currently projects open in Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties
    • All projects have adjusted to COVID-19 including AIRYSS Technologies, one posting available at sctechjobs.com
    • Following CDC guidelines for training, some in-person trainings

Greenwood County – Barbara Ann Heegan, Greenwood Chamber of Commerce

    • Conducting survey and listening tour of members and non-members to gauge how businesses are doing, results next week
    • Economic Development initiative, Greenwood Together, to advance economic and community development that will enhance the quality of life in Greenwood County, partnering with industry recruitment retention efforts of county, Discover Greenwood and the Uptown Development Corporation to market assets across all sectors
    • Public transportation work ongoing with county

View the presentation here.

View a video recap here.

Ten at The Top Announces Winners for their Regional Awards at Celebrating Upstate Unsung Heroes Virtual Event

Ten at The Top Announces Winners for their Regional Awards at Celebrating Upstate Unsung Heroes Virtual Event

On Wednesday, November 18th, Ten at the Top [TATT] hosted the Celebrating Upstate Unsung Heroes Virtual Event in place of their annual Celebrating Successes Luncheon. While this event focused on honoring the many unsung heroes who have gone above and beyond for their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, two of TATT’s traditional awards were also presented, The Burdette Leadership Award and The Welling Award for Regional Collaboration.

This event marked the fifth year that the Burdette Leadership Award has been given in recognition of Carol Burdette, the first female chair of Ten at the Top. The 2020 recipient of this award was Beth Padgett, who recently retired from serving as Executive Director of Compass of Carolina. This award is given to women who have stood out for their leadership and service across the Upstate, and Beth has demonstrated that through her volunteer work and career at Compass of Carolina, along with her current service as the District Governor for Rotary District 7750.

“Though we would have preferred to honor our award winners and Upstate Unsung Heroes during an event where everyone was in-person, it was great to be able to recognize deserving recipients with a virtual audience of 300+ watching,” said Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top.

The Welling Award for Regional Collaboration, named after Ten at the Top’s founding chairman, Irv Welling III, is awarded to individuals or organizations that embody the spirit of thinking and acting regionally. This year’s recipient was Michelin North America, for leading and fostering collaboration around the issue of mobility through their funding of the Upstate Mobility Alliance and support for the movement of people and goods across the Upstate. Mobility is critical to the mission of Michelin NA, which operates several facilities in the Upstate, and they have spent significant time, energy and resources championing this issue across the Upstate, country and globe.


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.

Through the Eyes of An Unsung Hero

Through the Eyes of An Unsung Hero

Marina Lewis, Mauldin High School – Social Worker

Written By: Marina Lewis, Mauldin High School – Social Worker

March 13, 2020.  Seemed like any other Friday, everyone was ready to get out the doors of Mauldin High and start the weekend.  The weekly food pantry backpacks were lined up for students in need to grab on their way out the door. I was busy wrapping up my emails for the week and didn’t get to speak to several of the students.  Little did I know that was the last time I would see them pick up their packs for the school year!

The following Monday we were in a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus, schools were closed and in 72 hours teachers converted their classes to eLearning.  Everyone was so busy making virtual learning available.  All I could think is what in the world could I do? My job as a school social worker is tied to my students being at school!  The Backpack program, all the small groups, OnTrack meetings, Mentor program, Social-Emotional Learning trainings, activities, and events all came to a screeching halt.

Quarantine stopped daily living as we knew it but life continued.  Our students needed the connection to the school that provided them stability in what was often a very chaotic and unstable home life.  That next Friday when our students normally would have picked up their extra food supply for the weekend I knew what I had to do. I needed to bring the food to them.  With an amazing co-worker (Kelly Yanity), we packed up the bags and delivered them to our 20 students in need.

As the weeks stretched on and the state was shut down, with support of our Principal, Michael Peake,  and the blessing of my husband, my three teenagers packed up the pantry and moved it to our garage.  We continued to make weekly supply deliveries to our families in need,  as well as new families that were struggling due to the pandemic. Everyone pitched in to assist making our little Mauldin High food pantry not only survive but thrive.  Brookwood Church continued to collect donations and PTSA donated all the items from the student school store that was going unused and sponsored a sign-up genius to collect needed household and cleaning supplies.  We switched from backpacks to boxes left them at the door to have as little physical contact as possible and followed all COVID protocols.

In the end, it became less about the food being delivered and more about the relationships strengthened and the trust earned.  The food became more of an excuse to check in with our students.  It wasn’t just for them either. It brought peace to myself and my co-workers being able to lay eyes on them knowing they were OK.  It gave me structure and purpose to my quarantine days. Assisting them with all the changes that had been thrown at all of us.  Helping them learn to do this eLearning thing.  Sharing resources and providing hotspots.  They felt heard.  They felt seen.  I felt relieved. These students gave me more than I could give them, reminding me not to take things for granted.  The hugs, the laughs, and the check ins we usually shared throughout the halls and classrooms were missing.  We realized the importance of relationships.

The silver lining of this pandemic is it made us slow down and focus on what is truly essential, connecting with others.  Being there for one another, that’s what will get us through.  My hope is that through all the changes, grief, and chaos 2020 has brought, that it brought us something greater that can live past this pandemic, gratitude. Gratitude for each and every person that impacts our days.  Greenville will get through this stronger by focusing on each other.  I am privileged to have the opportunity to continue to serve our students, teachers, and community and will let that be my lasting memory of this pandemic.

Ten at the Top recently hosted their Celebrating Upstate Unsung Heroes Virtual Event on Wednesday, November 18th.  At this event, they honored 10 county representatives and 130+ additional unsung heroes that have kept the Upstate region alive and well during this pandemic. Click here to view all 132 nominee listings.

The 10 county representatives that were present at the day-of event were:

  1. Abbeville: Ethan Cornick – Dreams with Open Arms, Volunteer
  2. Anderson: David Baker – Anderson County, Emergency Services Director
  3. Cherokee: Carol McFadden – Know(2) Neighborhood Association, Volunteer Director
  4. Greenville: Marina Lewis – Mauldin High School, Social Worker
  5. Greenwood: George McKinney – Greenwood County, Emergency Management Director
  6. Laurens: Joey Avery – Laurens County, Emergency Management Director
  7. Oconee: Vanessa Earle – Prisma Health, Community Health Worker
  8. Pickens: Lesa Howard – 5 Point Church Food Pantry, Director
  9. Spartanburg: Charlene Cheeks – Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Upstate, CEO
  10. Union: Shanna “Nikki” Burgess – SC Works Greater Upstate, Talent Development Specialist Supervisor
Safer Upstate Discovery Committee Releases Recommendations

Safer Upstate Discovery Committee Releases Recommendations

Following a series of four meetings convened through Ten at the Top (TATT), the Creating a Safer Upstate Discovery Committee has announced a series of recommendations designed to promote collaboration among stakeholders in fostering a culture in the Upstate that respects and values the lives of all officers and residents. To view the list of recommendations, click here.

The Discovery Committee was originally convened by Terence Roberts, Chairman of the Ten at the Top Board of Directors and the Mayor of the City of Anderson, following a number of highly publicized instances of police force across the country.

“While our region has been fortunate not to have seen the violence and social unrest that has occurred in other parts of the country, we do recognize that not every Upstate resident feels safe or trusts our law enforcement officers, Roberts said. “We felt with the platform already established by Ten at the Top to be a neutral convener, that we had an opportunity to proactively engage stakeholders across the region around the topic of creating a safer region for all residents.”

The Creating a Safer Upstate Discovery Committee consisted of more than 50 representatives from local governments, law enforcement, community organizations, faith leaders and Upstate businesses. The committee met virtually four times to discuss opportunities for how to create a united Upstate region where all stakeholders work collaboratively to ensure that we foster a culture that respects and values the lives of our law enforcement officers and all residents.

As the primary strategy, the Discover Committee recommends the development of a Safer Upstate Steering Committee to represent, support and communicate local efforts to improve relationships between law enforcement and community residents across the region. The Safer Upstate Steering Committee will focus on the following three goals:

1.  Engage law enforcement officials, community leaders and residents to work together to build healthy working relationships that elevate mutual respect, value cultural differences, and acknowledge the roles and responsibilities that each play in creating safer Upstate Communities.

2.  Provide regular opportunities for law enforcement and community leaders to convene to proactively discuss community issues and emerging law enforcement topics while exploring approaches that can be implemented across the Upstate Region.

3.  Enhance public trust by identifying, sharing and implementing best practice approaches for developing a sustainable, healthy relationship between law enforcement officials and the greater Upstate Community.

The Steering Committee will be under the leadership of co-chairs Sheriff Rick Clark and Stinson Ferguson. Both Upstate natives, Sheriff Clark has been the sheriff of Pickens county since 2013 while Ferguson is Special Counsel for Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. in Greenville.

More information about the Safer Upstate initiative can be found at www.tenatthetop.org. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Safer Upstate Steering Committee is invited to reach out to Justine Allen, TATT Program Manager, at jallen@tenatthetop.org or 864-283-0346.


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.

To view the list of recommendations, click here.

Creating a Safer Upstate Discovery Committee Members

First Name

Last Name






Market Leader, Environmental Planning



Barnet Development Group




Greenwood County




United Way of Anderson County




Oconee County




Safe Harbor

Executive Director



Pickens County




Pickens County




AnMed Health

Vice President for Advancement



City of Greer




SC House




Urban League of the Upstate

Interim CEO



Ripple of One

Executive Director



Colliers International

Market President



Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd

Special Counsel



City of Abbeville




Office of Congressman William Timmons

Outreach Director



Community Works

Chief Operating Officer



Senator Scott Office

Upstate Director



Upstate Warrior Solution

Executive Director



City of Greer

Police Chief



Upstate Mobility Alliance

Director of Inclusion & Diversity



Oconee County

Cultural Diversity Director



Clayton Construction

Vice President



City of Inman

City Administrator


Hoy Hawkins

Community Works




Ten at the Top

Executive Director



Harris Flooring America





Future Product Portfolio Leader



Greenwood County




City of Spartanburg

Assistant City Manager



Greenville County




City of Clinton

Police Chief



Hubbell Incorporated

Director of Inclusion & Diversity



Maddrey & Associates




City of Anderson

City Manager



Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church




Hispanic Alliance

Executive Director




University Center Executive Director



Laurens County Chamber




SC Senate




Greenville Chamber




Lockhart Power

Senior Manager



SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence

General Counsel



City of Anderson




Marsh & McLennan

Vice President




Vice President of Human Resources



United Way of the Piedmont




City of Anderson

Police Chief



City of Union




City of Spartanburg

Police Chief



Upstate Warrior Solution

Deputy Director



Greenville Tech

Associate Vice President



Clemson University

Deputy Campus Police Chief