The Stories of the Upstate™ #339 - R (Eddie Brown) "I learned to speak Vietnamese."

                                             Eddie Brown with SwaimBrown brings us Story #339 - R


                                                                     To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #319: (Leonard Pitts) "My twin brother and I had a dance group when we were teens."

                                         Gaffney entrepreneur, Leonard Pitts shares our 319th story.


"It all boils down to time management," is how Leonard Pitts describes entrepreneurship and Leonard should know.  Friends call him a serial entrepreneur and owning a real estate investment company, a real estate development company, a credit repair business, a moving company, a paving company, a tree service and a consulting company, as well as being a contractor for HUD definitely fits the title of "serial entrepreneur."  When we asked Leonard what is the key to success for a serial entrepreneur, he said,"Make a plan.  It doesn't have to be an elaborate plan, but it has to be tangible and written down."

                                                                       To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #311: (Taylor Correll-Greer) "Being a part of my high school marching band turned me into a social butterfly."

                     Taylor Correll-Greer, the owner of Events With Taylor brings us our 311th story.


"I carry stress well, " answered Taylor Correll-Greer when we asked him why we should have him plan an event for us.  He wants his clients to leave the organizing and the stress to him and simply show up to their event and enjoy it.  Ten years working in the restaurant industry and a couple years working for a Charleston, SC horse and carriage company helped prepared Taylor to start his own business, Events With Taylor.

                                                                         To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #309: (Andrea Huerta) "Sharing The Andy Griffith Show and root beer popsicles with my grandpa was a big part of my childhood."

                           Business and Babies blogger, Andrea Huerta brings our 309th story.


Andrea Huerta is a blogger, an account planner for a multi-cultural marketing firm, a piano teacher, an author, and the co-lead of the Greenville Blogger Union.  She describes herself as a multi-passionate person.  Combine all of these endeavors with her passions for foster care, underemployment and mental health and her description of herself is definitely apt.  The author of Business and Babies blog told us that the reason she is a multi-passionate person involves a key lesson she learned from her parents: "Make something out of nothing and use your imagination."

                                                                        To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #308: (Eli Harrison) "I started my first company when I was 12, selling duct tape wallets."

                  Story #308 comes from Next High School student and CEO of All Pro, Eli Harrison


The CEO of All Pro Learning is a student.  No, I don't mean a "student of life," or anything like that.  No, Eli Harrison, All Pro Learning is a high school student at Greenville's Next High School.  Next High School encourages entrepreneurial learning and Eli has a passion for improving education, esp. how students learn and teachers teach best.  It was only natural that Eli would start a company dedicated to finding ways to teach a skill AND how to apply it.

                                                                        To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #297: (Will McCameron) "Growing up, I was a wild child playing in the woods."

                       The brewmaster and owner of Brewery 85, Will McCameron shares out 297th story.


 The brewmaster and owner of Greenville's Brewery 85, Will McCameron explains to us the path for a construction worker turned engineer to becoming a brewmaster and open a brewery.  He tells us that his degree from Clemson University while officially entitled Parks and Recreation with a concentration in travel and tourism should really be called  PTM (party through May).  In other words, he did a lot of drinking and partying, perhaps useful experiences for his future career.  While in college, he made his own wine and after college, began playing around with home brewing.  He realized fairly quickly that engineering was not for him and one night, while home brewing with his wife and future business partner,decided to open a brewery.  It was then on to the World Brewing Academy, first at the Seibel Institute in Chicago and then on to Doemens Academy in Munich.   The rest, as they say, is history.

                                                        To learn more about Brewery 85, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #294: (Stephanie Acker) "As a kid, I used to read the encyclopedia during the summer and wrote book reports on them."

             Story #294 comes from the founder of In The Know, Stephanie Acker


Suppose you wanted to find a great Italian restaurant in Anderson and an art gallery in Spartanburg and you wanted to listen to some Blues in Greenville; where would you look?  Stephanie Acker has the answer for you.  In fact, she's the founder of, a site where you can discover what to do, eat and experience all over the Upstate, all in one place.  Stephanie found that the Upstate is rich in things to do, places to eat, events, movements, etc, but that most of us lose out on these great experiences because we don't know where to go to find them and sometimes we aren't even aware that events are happening.  So this closet nerd from childhood, who used to read the encyclopedia just for fun, created a brilliant website to let all of us in on the awesomeness that is Upstate South Carolina.  Stephanie's goal is to give us a tool that lets us live life locally and to connect with our community on our terms. 

                                                                              To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #292: (Will Rutherford) "As a kid, I wanted to be a mad inventor."

           Story #292 come from Will Rutherford, creator and owner of Escape Artist Greenville


First came haunted houses, elaborate, professionally staged haunted houses that took over his whole house.  Then, it was murder mysteries staged for others to solve.  Finally Escape Rooms, places where teams of friends or co-workers search for clues, solve puzzles and more to get out of a room, find a treasure, and the like.  All this, while Will Rutherford worked a full time job, an engineering job with GE.  After a year and a half of staging Escape Rooms as a hobby or side job, Will and his wife made the hobby, the job and opened Escape Artist Greenville and are loving every minute of the new job.  

                                              To learn more about Escape Artist Greenville, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #288: (John DeWorken) "I wanted to be a fireman when I was a kid."

      Our 288th story comes from John DeWorken, owner/partner with The Sunnie & DeWorken Group.


"I wanted to help people," was how John DeWorken described the motivation he had as a kid to be a fireman.  Firefighting didn't become John's career, but helping people remains his motivation.  As one half of The Sunnie & DeWorken Group, John helps small businesses through government relations and advocacy.  He describes what he does as being project managers for his clients focusing on the SC Legislature.  John says their focus is two-fold; helping legislators known when bills they propose would be harmful to small businesses and encouraging legislators to create an environment in SC that is conducive to growing local small businesses.  

                                                   To learn more about John DeWorken, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #286: (Meredith Rigdon) "My older brother kicked out my teeth on Christmas Eve when I was seven."

Story #286 comes from the founder of Narratives Strategic Communications and Women's Advocate for Trek Bicycles, Meredith Rigdon.


How does not getting the job you desperately want and running, swimming and cycling get you prepared to have the career you love?  Meredith Rigdon can tell us.  Armed with a marketing degree from Clemson University, Meredith was eager to be the person behind a brand telling their story, but Michelin wanted her in sales.  In her five years in sales, she learned a vital lesson, network, build your network.  Meredith says that it was the network she had built that eventually landed her the marketing job she desired at Michelin and then at Sealed Air.  Meredith tells us that triathlon's have taught her that things will happen along the way, to make your goal difficult to reach, but if you remember that you are strong, remain calm and persevere, you will succeed.  

                                                To learn more about Meredith Rigdon, click here
                                                              and follow Meredith on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #280: (Brittany Vanover) "I'm a poet, a singer, a songwriter and a goof."

            Story #280 comes from Brittany Vanover, the owner of Spartanburg's Union Street Coffee Bar.


Spartanburg's Union Street Coffee Bar is a front!   It's true according to the owner, Brittany Vanover.  She tells us that the Union Street Coffee Bar is a front for artists.  Brittany says that the Coffee Bar is a place for artists to gather, relax, write, create and share their work with the public while enjoying a great cup of coffee and a homemade pastry.  Brittany tells us that she was just looking for another job, when her brother sent her a photo of the shop and the place looked so much like her living room and felt like the location was just waiting for her that she just said, "I'll take it."

                                                   Follow the Union Street Coffee Bar on Facebook.

The Stories of the Upstate #276: (Ryan Ross) "My childhood was lot of snow and lots of kids playing in the snow."

                           Story #276 comes from the owner of Ross Drone Photography, Ryan Ross.


Lots of folks enjoy photography, but Ryan Ross takes to another level: photography with drones.  Ryan tells us that flying drones is a blast, but it takes a little time to master.  We're used to moving left and right, back and forward, but with a drone, you add up and down.  As the owner of Ross Drone photography, Ryan has to be conscious of where the drone is, what's around it, as well, as snapping a beautiful photo or impressive video. A quick look at the Ross Drone Photography website and we know Ryan Ross is pro with a drone.

                                                        To learn more about Ryan Ross, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #275: (Geoff Wasserman) "I played trombone in my high school jazz band."

          Story #275 comes from the CEO and Chief Brand Officer of The Brand Leader, Geoff Wasserman


Authenticity is vital for Geoff Wasserman, the CEO and Chief Brand Officer for The Brand Leader.  When he described what The Brand Leader does, he said that they champion the authentic voice, the authentic story, the true character of their clients and lead that authentic story through all their clients' initiatives.  Authenticity is not only vital for Geoff at work, but when we asked him about the secret of life, he told us that part of the secret of life is to be the authentic you, the one God wants you to be.

                                                               To learn more, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate #263: (Matthew Rollins) "I was an only child and spent many a day slinging a tennis ball against my grandparent's garage."

Our 263rd story,a GSA Business Report Q&A, comes from President and CEO of Anchor Bat CO,
  Matthew Rollins.


Is there any sweeter sound than the crack of a bat?  It speaks of summer, childhood, fun and perfection?  For a man whose life has been defined by baseball since childhood, Matthew Rollins, President and CEO of Anchor Bat Co, knows and loves that sound and runs a company making sure it's around for a long time.  Anchor Bat Co makes high quality bats, not only for major league teams who can purchase hundreds of bats a season, but also for the high school player who purchases that one special bat.  Matthew tells us that the Anchor Bat Co started from the seed of his father's incredible skill with wood and crafting bats and has grown as they consult experts on all aspects of bats, including working with Clemson University on what goes on with wood and the finish of wood. 

                                                        To learn more about Anchor Bat Co, click here

The Stories of the Upstate™ #258: (Wendy Watkins) "I once bought a bacon costume for Halloween."

                     Our 258th story comes from Wendy Watkins, owner of Upstate Nutrition and Plate 108


Is it possible to have fun doing your job and make a difference in people's lives at the same time?  For Wendy Watkins, the answer is a resounding yes!  Wendy's a registered nutritionist, a person who provides evidence based information regarding nutrition and healthy living. As the owner of Upstate Nutrition, Wendy provides registered dietitians to hospitals, nursing homes, etc, who help individuals from children to geriatrics with healthy living and dietary needs.  The fun kicks in as owner of Greer's Plate 108 where Wendy teaches people how to cook and eat healthy.  She says that eating and cooking are social things, so using cooking classes to help people lead healthy lives is a natural and fun part of her job. 

                                                     To learn more about Upstate Nutrition, click here
                                                            o learn more about Plate 108, click here.

The Stories of the Upstate™ #257: (Ryan Heil) "I was a bit clumsy and goofy as a kid."

                Ryan Heil, former CMO of Zipbuds and Clemson PhD candidate shares our 257th story.


These days, it seems everywhere you look, folks are sporting headsets and ear buds, and many are not happy with their current earbuds.  Ryan Heil knows something about the problems plaguing most ear buds.  As the former CMO of Zipbuds, Ryan said people complained about the sound quality, the fit, the stability, the battery life and Zipbuds was committed to creating a new kind of earbud that addressed all of these issues.  What did the former minor league baseball player and college baseball coach and his colleagues do in their quest for a great new earbud?  They consulted with audiologists, sound engineers and even fashion designers.  They also tapped a non-traditional funding source for Zipbuds, Kickstarter and raised over $280,000.  A welcome side effect of Ryan's work with ZIpbuds, was allowing him to put into practical application what he was learning as a PhD candidate at Clemson University.

                                                       To learn more about Zipbuds, click here
                                                            and follow Ryan Heil on Facebook

The Stories of the Upstate™ #251: (Taryn Scher) "I danced on the field of Pro Player Stadium during the Orange Bowl when I was in college."

   Our 251st story, a GSA Business Report Q&A. comes from the Sparkle Boss (CEO) of TK PR.

Taryn Scher.jpg

"Public relations," a term we've all heard, but probably don't really understand.  Taryn Scher, the CEO of TK PR spells it out for us.  She says public relations is telling the story of a business, often not the obvious story, but the story that gets earned media coverage.  Basically connecting the true story of a business with journalists earnestly seeking true stories.  Need some idea of how TK PR successfully is the bridge between the story and the journalist, check out Euphoria Greenville and VisitGreenvilleSC, you know:  #yeahthatgreenville.

                                                       To learn more about TK PR, click here.