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Greenville Business Magazine

#YeahTHATAgenda: Feds Give GVL $$ for Laurens Rd Rail, SCGOP May Cancel Primary, What Your Neighbor Thinks About the Economy

Dec 20, 2018 08:11AM ● By Chris Haire
Is Mass Transit Coming to Greenville? The Federal Transit Administration has awarded Greenville County $355,000 to launch a "plan for [transit-oriented development] along a high capacity transit project being planned for the Laurens Road corridor between downtown Greenville and Mauldin."

According to the FTA, "the funds are made available through FTA’s Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning, which assists communities that are developing new or expanded mass transit systems."

Greenville County isn't the only Palmetto State entity receiving FTA mass transit money. The FTA notes, "Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments in South Carolina will receive $880,000 to develop a TOD plan for 18 station areas along a proposed 23-mile bus rapid transit line from Summerville to Charleston."

The Greenville News' Eric Connor reports that the county is considering a rail line between downtown Greenville and Mauldin.

The S.C. Republican Party may cancel the 2020 Republican Presidential Primary in the Palmetto State, a move that would happen even if President Donald J. Trump faced a primary challenger -- hint, hint, John Kasich.  

The 2012 SCGOP Presidential Primary had a $50 million economic impact on the Palmetto State -- a huge chunk of it TV advertising, the S.C. Republican Party reports. In the process, the primary generated the equivalent of nearly 290 jobs.

The Latest Winthrop Poll is out, and 57 percent of the Southerners polled said the economy was doing "fairly good," while 20 percent said "very good," 15 percent said "fairly bad," and 5 percent said "very bad."

Holiday Returns Already Are Flooding Parcel Networks (WSJ)

SCANA to offload historic Charleston office, Cayce land to pay for customer refunds (The State)

Bernie Sanders accuses Boeing of harassing, firing North Charleston workers (P&C)

China made an artificial star that's 6 times as hot as the sun, and it could be the future of energy (Business Insider)

Altria Takes 35% Stake in E-Cigarette Maker Juul (WSJ)

The Wire
Rapid Fired Pizza Spartanburg Announces Honor Foundation Partnership

USC Upstate To Expand Biomedical Research Program With Membership In SC INBRE

Gov. Henry McMaster Appoints Upstate Businessman Charles Dalton To The S.C. Commission On Higher Education

Clemson Explores New Opportunities For Engineering Students To Study Abroad

EOC Naturals Locating New Operations In Allendale County

25 Fastest Growing Companies
No. 13: Harper General Contractors
Year Founded: 1950
Founders: John Harper and John Harper, Jr.
Headquarters location: Greenville
Number of other locations: 5
Number of employees (start of 2018): 204 
Number of employees (present): 241 

Harper General Contractors is a nearly 70-year-old full-service general contracting firm based in Greenville, with offices located in Spartanburg, Asheville, Charlotte, and the South Carolina coast. With project capabilities up to $100 million, Harper serves clients across multiple project types that include industrial, office, education, environmental systems, municipal, retail, and healthcare markets throughout the Southeast.

What are the keys to your company’s rapid growth?
David Wise (President): We enjoy the blessing of an incredibly strong foundation built over the past 68 years. We can now engage and empower a strong team of professionals to build up our clients, our communities, and each other to advance our team into the future. People make the difference, and we have people who possess a strong character and competency in performing their responsibilities.
What are your firm’s biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them? 
Firstly, maintaining our culture and the overall health of our organization as we grow in number and geographically. We believe that it is having the right people and our culture that drives our success. We will be vigilant in communicating our mission and our guiding principles, and we are working to improve the on-boarding process for new teammates. 

Secondly, managing risk as we grow by promoting adherence to proven processes and systems enabling for positive control in running the business. Thirdly, the reduction in skilled tradespeople creating a significant strain in this robust market.
What trends and innovations do you see down the line for your industry? 
We continue to see building information modeling growing in the design and construction industry. BIM modeling is beginning to create an environment where prefabrication of materials and systems can be performed in a shop rather than on site. We see this trend continuing, and it can provide some relief to the issues of declining tradespeople.
What word of advice, if any, has shaped your career and who gave it or where did you read it?
I have gravitated to a quote from Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, who said, “It is not about getting bigger. It is about getting better. If we get better, then our customers will demand that we get bigger.”
What are you doing to make sure your company sticks around for the long haul? 
As the leader of Harper, my primary responsibility is to promote the overall wellbeing of our team and to create an environment where the right people are in the right place doing the right things. My teammates and I must continue to recognize that our people are our most valuable resource, empowering them to be both satisfied and successful with Harper.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your professional career?
To really listen more and have a more open mind.