Talking Middle Market with David JonesMarch 5, 2018
As a continuation of our work with the Global Cities Initiative, the Upstate Global Competitiveness Council (GCC) was formed in July 2017 to implement the strategies and tactics named in the Upstate Regional Export and Foreign-Direct Investment Plans. This area of work relies upon collaboration and communication between public and private sector investors and economic development stakeholders, with working groups led by private sector representatives. Through this Q&A series, we can learn more about these leaders and how their day jobs align with the GCC.
Tell us a little about your background: I was born in Greenville, SC, and lived on Earle Street not far from downtown. My Dad and Mom both went to Furman and settled here in the Upstate along with many other members of my Mom’s family. We moved to Huntington, Long Island, New York when I was getting ready to go into first grade because my Dad (who is also an accountant) started a new job there with a friend from school. I lived there through my junior year in high school, then moved to Asheville, again due to a job change.
How long have you been in your current job?: I’ve been with GreerWalker for 15 years.
How does your job relate to the objectives of the Global Competitiveness Council?: My job is to help my clients maximize their profits. My best opportunity to do that is through tax planning; however, helping them be better at exporting or foreign direct investment is also valuable. Separate from my clients, I have a big interest in helping Upstate companies increase their exports or in the Upstate being more hospitable to international companies, because these will lead to more opportunities for me to work with clients who have international tax issues. Tax incentives are also an integral issue for economic development related to foreign direct investment and are available for companies that export. Hopefully, my knowledge of these incentives provides value to the group.
In brief, what are the objectives the Middle Market Outreach group?: The MMO group is working to identify opportunities that middle market companies in the Upstate have and the issues they face. As we identify them, our collaborators will use that information to provide valuable programming to those companies through workshops, written pieces, or connections to resources already available in the community. Middle market companies face challenges such as retaining their workforce, planning for the future, or optimizing their supply chains. Our goal is to identify some companies within our region that are having success with this issue and to bring their ideas to the rest of the Upstate. By helping spread best practices, we intend to help growth of companies already here and help economic developers learn about solutions for those who may be thinking about investing here. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re looking forward to bringing lots of value to our community in the coming years.
Why would you encourage others to become involved?: I really enjoy working with the Upstate SC Alliance staff and believe that other professionals feel similarly. When you volunteer your time, it’s nice to work with an organization that has such a strong staff. The diversity of the committee and board members has led to many learning moments for me and others. It’s very satisfying to work with a broad range of people who are all working hard toward the same goal. The biggest selling point is that this is a great opportunity to be in on the ground floor of something big in the Upstate. The region is already global, and the results of the GCC should lead to further growth from both inbound and outbound international business opportunities in this region. If you have any interest in how the region will grow in the coming years, then this is a way to learn more about it firsthand. I certainly hope many others will join us!