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Greenville Business Magazine

#YeahTHATAgenda: Columbia Man Involved in Russian Hack, Airbnb Nets Greenvillians $5.9M, Labor Pool Troubles, New Housing Near Downtown TR, CU VR Offices

Jan 11, 2019 09:18AM ● By Chris Haire
Greenville residents who rented their homes out on Airbnb earned a combined $5.9 million dollars in income in 2018, with 48,000 guests staying in their dwellings, according to the short-term rental company. However, those figures paled in comparison to Charleston, which received 306,000 guests and earned hosts $54.9 million. Richland and Lexington saw a combined $4.1 million, and 37,000 visitors. Spartanburg and Pickens both received 7,700 guests and earned slightly under $1 million.

Unemployment holds steady in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Charleston, but rises in Columbia, according to the Richmond Fed's January report. The rate for November was 3.1 for GVL, 3.2 for SB, 2.8 for CHS, and 3.2 for Cola, up one percentage point from October; the other three remained unchanged. 

While that is a positive signthe labor market remains a growing concern for the Upstate, according to the CBRE's Q4 2018 report for the Greenville-Spartanburg market. CBRE notes, "The economic growth of Greenville-Spartanburg has been robust, but with unemployment well below the national average and the small number of local graduates of higher education, there are limits to the amount of growth that can be sustained without significant in-migration of talent."

However, CBRE remains positive: "Fortunately, the market has a long track record of welcoming new talent. The routine appearances on lists such as US News and World Report’s Best Places to Live in the USA and Southern Living’s South’s Best Cities only help in this regard."

A Few Legal Changes That Businesses Need To Be Aware Of In 2019: What you need to know about federal tax code changes, nonprofit giving, expungement, and land development. (Greenville Business Magazine)

Columbia Man Involved in Major Russian Hack the the U.S. Electrical Grid (WSJ)

Proposed Travelers Rest Mixed-Use Development Could Bring 100 Single-Family Lots, 250 Rental Apartment Units, And 77,000 Square Feet of Office/Retail Space (TR Tribune)

Tired of competing for ‘USC,’ South Carolina pushes a new abbreviation (The State)

SC cities use technology to monitor rental apps (P&C)

Columbia Formally Begins Talks About Vaping Ban, Considers Making Outdoor Dining Smoke-Free (Free Times)

Nevada staunchly opposes S.C. request to intervene in plutonium lawsuit (Aiken Standard)

The Wire
Greenville Tech And Furman Co. To Bring Culinary Training Center To Poe West

BMW Charity Pro-Am Announces 2019 Host Courses, New Format

9Round Marks 10th Anniversary With 202 Grand Openings Worldwide In 2018

Dr. Sally Selden To Serve As The Citadel Provost And Dean Of The College

Ingevity Donates $400,000 For Metanoia’s Early Childhood Education Center At Old Chicora Elementary School

WebsterRogers, LLP Relocates Columbia Office

25 Fast Growing Companies
No. 1: MedTrust Medical Transport LLC
Year Founded: 2012
Founders: Josh Watts and Buddy Koon
Headquarters location: Hanahan
Number of other locations: 7
Number of employees (start): 38
Number of employees (present): 158 

MedTrust Medical Transport is the fastest growing ambulance company in South Carolina serving the Lowcountry and the Grand Strand. Its vision of improving patient outcomes through excellence in mobile health care guides its trained paramedics (more than 40 percent Critical Care credentialed), EMTs, and other professionals working together to transport more than 30,000 patients each year in critical, emergent, and non-emergent situations. More than 25 health care facilities and four hospital systems entrust their patients to MedTrust. 

Headquartered in Hanahan with additional offices and bases in Moncks Corner, Walterboro, Summerville, Georgetown, Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach, MedTrust supports many community organizations and provides onsite and mobile medical support for local professional/college and high school events.

What are the keys to your company’s rapid growth?
Josh Watts (CEO and co-founder): From the onset, we have worked to improve the experience for employees, patients, and facilities served by private ambulance transport. With the heart for our patients at the center of our logo (and everything we do), we have attracted the very best providers. With the right providers, the right equipment, the right training, and the right clients, we have been able to deliver immense value to all stakeholders.

That means we work to have a strong relationship with the facilities we support and and provide our employees with numerous reasons to join and stay with MedTrust. We are hyper-focused on service to hospitals/health systems and their unique and demanding requirements. With more than 80 percent of our 30,000 annual transports coming from a hospital, all facets of our business are built to understand and solve their problems.

That combination of a committed, professional staff and innovative and impactful working relationships with our facility partners has been our formula for success.

What are your firm’s biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?  
We will continue to expand our business operations, both in terms of volume and geographic territory. But we will only do this in such a way that we continue to have strong relationships with our facility partners and a staff of competent, passionate professionals. We have achieved smart but very aggressive growth in the past few years, and that is the requirement for any future growth.  

Challenges are truly around increasing complexity of compliance in a fast-changing regulatory and reimbursement environment. Our other challenges will be around continuing to scale a business in a “brick and mortar” industry geographically in innovative ways. We look forward to the challenge.

Do plan to add any employees in the coming year? If so, how many?
Yes. We expect to add more than 100 members to our team over the next 12 months in South Carolina and beyond.

What trends and innovations do you see down the line for your industry?
We believe we’re not in the ambulance business solely, but in the mobile integrated healthcare sector. There is an ongoing need for enhanced coordination and communication among all partners, so that patients can be moved more efficiently and effectively as part of the overall patient experience. Opportunities to add value outside of transport often present themselves as we continue to learn with and from our clients.

In addition, many of the regions we serve have seen a significant growth in population. That means we need to plan to deal with a higher volume of activity, especially in times of emergency. 

What word of advice, if any, has shaped your career and who gave it or where did you read it?
Have a company worth owning. To do that, your company would have to be one worth working for and worth working with. My father taught me that from his experience owning his own construction company.

Growing fast is one thing, but long-term sustainable success is another. What are you doing to make sure your company sticks around for the long haul?
We work very hard to understand where our industry is going as well as health care as a whole. We adapt our operations and business plan to better serve the industry as it currently exists and will in the future. We also look for ways to bring value in innovative and sometimes unexpected ways.

We also constantly strive to maintain strong relationships with our current facility partners; new customers are obviously important, but we have to make sure our current partners are not only served well, but feel the positives of working with MedTrust as we mature and refine our offerings.

What does being a success mean to you?
From a business perspective, I really believe that being successful is about solving real problems. The more we are able to grow MedTrust, the more lives we can impact. I call it the three-legged stool of our employees, patients, and clients.  

Truthfully, having more than 150 families that depend on our leadership team’s choices and execution is incredibly motivating and gratifying. That responsibility and opportunity is probably my biggest driver.

How important is continued learning to your success and if so, what do you do to ensure that you are always learning about your industry, your company, and yourself?
We interact on a regular basis with our peers across the country and with officials in the government sector, to better understand how they are dealing with the challenges within the industry and to share lessons learned. 

Our recent evacuation exercise, Hurricane Palmetto, gave us a great chance to show how we can lead an evacuation of facilities across a wide region in conjunction with efforts conducted by the public sector. Both sides came away with a better understanding of how to conduct these activities when a real emergency occurs. That knowledge will be beneficial in our day-to-day operations as well.

What is your preferred method of communication — phone call, text message, email — and why?
I love to talk to people but find myself doing a ton of email and text just from a time management perspective. Spending time with people in a collaborative/group setting is probably where I am most comfortable.

Given the ease and ability to be engaged in work 24/7, how do you and how often do you break free from the job?
Over the last two years, things have really started to spread out as our leadership team has grown. I still do a lot when I’m not physically at work, but increasingly on different things. Our team is amazing from top to bottom, and their growth has allowed me less frantic calls at 2 a.m.  

When the rubber meets the road, though, I love jumping in and working alongside our folks. With the Hurricane Florence evacuation/repatriation, we all worked non-stop and without rest for almost two weeks moving more than 2,000 patients. Every time I got tired, I thought of the EMTs, paramedics, dispatchers, and support staff that were stepping up and I was energized.

At the end of the day, MedTrust is in a business that operates 24/7/365 and ramps up when others are running away. We made a choice to do this and to be the very best. This is a company worth owning.