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Rez Rev Co-founders, Brittany Betit & Jackie Kohlepp
FEATURED NEWS

CDC Launches Diversity Initiative and Awards First Recipient

The Charleston Digital Corridor (CDC) is pleased to announce the launch of the CDC Diversity Initiative with a simple goal – to broaden the inclusion within Charleston's tech community of under-represented entrepreneurs and business professionals. The Diversity Initiative aims to achieve this by offering no-cost usage and workspace at the Charleston Tech Center and through subsidizing an array of curated business resources, mentoring and educational tools as applicable.

The first recipients of support from the CDC Diversity Initiative are Jackie Kohlhepp and Brittany Betit of The Rez Rev, LLC, a woman-owned and military spouse-owned Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that seeks to connect job seekers and talent seekers/employers. This is accomplished by allowing users to create and submit video resumes (REZs) and video job requisitions (REQs), designed to personalizing the job search process to saving users time, money, and frustration.

"We are incredibly honored to be the first recipient of the CDC's Diversity Initiative! As non-technical female tech company founders, we're especially grateful for the opportunity to grow and develop our company with support from the CDC, experiencing firsthand their expert mentorship, top-notch resources, and motivating entrepreneurial spirit. It's our mission as an organization to rehumanize the hiring process by revolutionizing the resume, and thanks to the generosity of the CDC, Comcast, Google and others, we're that much closer to achieving our goal," said Jackie Kohlhepp & Brittany Betit, The Rez Rev, LLC.

"We are proud to partner with the Charleston Digital Corridor on this very important diversity initiative," said Jason Gumbs, Comcast Regional SVP. "This effort aligns perfectly with Comcast's commitment to diversity, inclusion and bridging the digital divide in Charleston and across the nation. We are thrilled to make a monetary grant to the CDC that will support their efforts in this critical space."

The rollout of the CDC Diversity Initiative is no coincidence. It comes on the heels of the opening of the landmark Flagship at the Charleston Tech Center in April and the recent launch of the CDCu education initiative, both prerequisites for the success of the diversity initiative.

"I am pleased to have Comcast, Google and many other local businesses and individuals wholeheartedly support this initiative, both financially and in-kind, demonstrating our shared goal to ensure Charleston's tech and tech-related businesses truly reflect the diverse demographic of the Charleston community," said Charleston Digital Corridor Director," said Ernest Andrade.

Learn more about the CDC Diversity Initiative here.

RezRev Co-founder, Jackie Kohlhepp
LEADERSHIP PROFILE

RezRev’s Seeks to Streamline and Humanize Talent Acquisition

Jackie Kohlhepp is one half of the two-woman team who founded the REZREV, LLC, a Software as a Service (SaaS) interface that serves to streamline standard talent acquisition, while humanizing both candidates and employers in the process. Kohlhepp and her co-founder, Brittany Betit, are the first recipients of support provided by Charleston Digital Corridor's recently launched Diversity Initiative, aimed at cultivating a more inclusive tech community in Charleston. Amid a global pandemic that has forced most hiring processes to be conducted entirely virtually, Kohlhepp provides a valuable perspective about keeping hiring humane through an exponentially growing inter-connective technical infrastructure.

This series is brought to you by Charleston County Economic Development.

Where did you grow up?

Mint Hill, NC (suburb of Charlotte)

Where did you attend college and what did you study?

UNC-Chapel for Undergrad. Studied Psychology. UNC-Charlotte for grad school. Studied Social Work.

What did you find most valuable about studying Psychology as an Undergraduate
Student?

Just having a greater understanding of what motivates people and understanding how to recognize people's needs and address them. I think that's been valuable throughout my career, and as we develop our software, thinking about motivations and needs of users when they're using our app.

For example: one thing that we've found is that video can be intimidating for people. So, we think about how we can design our app so that people can feel confident throughout the process and when they submit that video, they feel that they've sent in the best version of themselves.

What drew you to your current business, or inspired you to start it?

Coming from a background in nonprofit leadership and talent acquisition, I started my own company, JTK Consulting, LLC, in February 2020 to help organizations, particularly nonprofits, build sustainable talent solutions to find and keep great people to carry out their mission. My current business partner at REZREV, Brittany, founded her own company the same month, Cornerstone Career Solutions, with the intention of offering career services to help job seekers find great work. We decided to peer mentor each other as Woman-owned and Military Spouse-Owned small businesses. Through this peer mentorship, we frequently discussed the deficiencies in hiring and job search on both sides of the process.

One of the biggest deficiencies being a reliance on the traditional resume. Through our work with clients and our own research, we started building our software. Our goal is to save everyone time, money, and frustration by helping qualified candidates hone and showcase their value proposition to get hired and help talent seekers connect with qualified candidates faster. We officially founded our company in December 2020. We believe REZREV is a tool that will enable so many people to get hired and to hire better.

How do you feel that your background in Psychology has helped you with REZREV?

It's helped us tap into understanding the needs of our users: what are the things they're going to be concerned about? What are their fears? What are their hopes? Strengths? And how do we support those? Especially the strengths: how are we bringing that to life using our app?

I know that can be sort of broad; the way we define that is someone who doesn't necessarily fit the mold: they might have gaps in employment, they might be someone who's a transitioning service member, maybe it's a stay-at-home mother who's returning to the workforce. And how do we help them showcase all the amazing skills they've gained throughout their experience and help them to put their best foot forward to get a job? This is especially important when considering how we support our target customers, non-traditional candidates.

Have you had any personal experiences that urged you to fix the canonical hiring process?

Brittany and I both got tired of seeing clients, colleagues, friends - even we at one point - spend hours writing resumes, tailoring resumes, submitting job applications, and then sometimes not even hearing back about the status of a candidacy. It felt like this code that people were trying to crack; so, we started out by helping job seekers write traditional resumes. That experience helped us to understand what that code is that you must crack. We kind of hacked around that system to get people's resumes through the applicant tracking system, where we found ourselves asking: "Well, what are the most important components of a resume?" What do employers really need to see, and why? And how can we pull that out a little quicker so that job seekers aren't having to spend all these hours rewriting and talent seekers aren't having to spend hours and hours looking at resumes?

That was my main experience doing talent acquisition. I looked at so many resumes and it was interesting because I knew to be careful not to make snap judgements about a person's resume; I tried hard to focus on that. But some recruiters, if they can't quickly find what they think they need to see on a resume, will keep it moving. Or it won't make it through an applicant tracking system if people have those automated readers, or the keywords aren't there. It makes sense because they're trying to find someone with a specific skill set, or specific experiences, but there are still flaws there. That's why people will still pay us to write their resumes, so it will make it through the system. Even if you have an actual live person looking at your resumes, the system is still flawed. It's not that the recruiter is 'bad' or they're trying to do it; but if they don't see those keywords, it can be a challenge. So, how do you help people on both sides to get what they need faster?

Do you feel that people should be able to be more vulnerable in their applications than what is the standard right now?

I think the trend is moving more in that direction and was sort of catalyzed by the pandemic. I think people, especially employers, are realizing that people do have lives. There were a lot of work-from-home struggles. Employers are learning to be more empathetic and flexible because we want to make sure we're there for our employees: making sure they have what they need to do their jobs, while keeping the ship afloat. But people do have to watch kids, or they have health concerns to be worried about, so there is this shift to be more human in the workplace. I was actually interviewed for another article this year about having more awareness of mental health in the workplace, providing more social and emotional support to your employees, how important that is and how it's only going to continue to matter with everything that's been going on.

I like that you view mistakes as an opportunity for growth, how helpful has this been for you, as you build your company?

We have learned a lot along the way and made a lot of mistakes and will continue to do so. If  Brittany or I called the other out for that, we wouldn't be able to continue. You've got to give each other grace, especially when you're doing something new - I mean this app doesn't exist. So, there isn't really a roadmap for it; there are best practices for being a start-up founder - in particular, a tech start-up founder - and we can follow those, but not a roadmap to build this new app. We're going to make mistakes and that's okay.

What has it been like building your team in Charleston?

We have enjoyed building our team and many team members are here in the Lowcountry. One strength that Brittany and I have is that because we don't come from a technical background, many of our contacts come from other fields, necessary to helping us build our business. For example, members of our Advisory Board have legal, financial, and business backgrounds (just to name a few). It's been great to leverage our network here in Charleston to help us ensure that our business will be successful.

Interestingly, while our company is based out of Charleston and I currently live and work here, Brittany lives in Columbus, OH. Her husband is in the Airforce, active duty, and duty took them to Ohio. We work virtually together every day and have found an effective routine. In fact, many of our meetings with team members, investors, Advisory Board members, etc., typically take place virtually. We consider this flexibility in our approach to work to be something we plan to continue as we grow.

What are your thoughts on how Charleston's technical landscape has grown?

I've noticed that the tech landscape in Charleston has become more inviting. There's an interesting emphasis now on skills and knowledge sharing with individuals throughout our community that's encouraging. It opens doors, inviting anyone interested in any aspect of the tech industry to become involved and gain the experience and growth they need to participate in and contribute to this industry.

What do you see as some of the challenges recruiting talent to Charleston?

Available skilled tech workforce; while our community has made strides when it comes to opening doors for more individuals to learn technical skills, there is still a skills gap to be filled. I would also add a lack of awareness of what opportunities are available. I think we could provide more education around informing individuals about the opportunities in tech, including business and operations positions, to encourage emerging workforce and career transition-ers to consider working in the industry.

How do you feel about the business resources and support available to you?

One of the best things I did when I first started my entrepreneurial journey was to sign up for a SCORE mentor. Having a SCORE mentor helped me create a roadmap to understand the potential pitfalls and learn about best practices in starting and running a business. I am a Volunteer Community Organizer at 1 Million Cups, as well. Being part of this community has been a truly incredible resource for me as an entrepreneur because it gives me the opportunity to build relationships with other entrepreneurs at various stages in their business journeys.

Now that REZREV is based out of the Tech Center, we have access to so many incredible resources. I recently attended a course about social media basics offered by CDCu at  the Tech Center . I'm woefully behind the times when it comes to social media and it was great to have a class I could go to, taught by an expert in the field, to learn and ask questions (some questions I had been afraid to ask before), and push myself in this way. There is a lot of talent at the Charleston Tech Center and it's great to know that if you have a question about some aspect of tech or your business, there is probably someone down the hall who has some insights to share.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

I look for diversity of thought and skill. When making hiring decisions, especially when you are building a new team, it is important not to replicate skills or to hire only people who share the same approach to solving problems as you do.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs or new graduates seeking to work in the tech industry?

Begin having exploratory conversations. There is so much power in claiming out loud what it is you're interested in doing and how you want to help the world with your talents. Having conversations with people in the tech industry, who hold the same role you are interested in, can help you unlock answers to a lot of your questions

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

I love being outdoors. My husband and I enjoy riding our bikes, going on long walks, or just having a couple beers on the back porch.

What is one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?

I'm pretty risk averse. Even though I am very adventurous, I'm cautious when it comes to the way I make business decisions.

Rapid Fire

  • Mac or PC  -  PC
  • Favorite Coffee Shop  - Muddy Waters
  • Favorite Charleston Beach - Folly Beach
  • Favorite App - Duo Lingo
  • Favorite podcast - How I Built This
  • Favorite Restaurant - Fat Hen
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Blackbaud Spotlight

We are pleased to spotlight Blackbaud, whose main goal is driving impact for social good organizations.

  • Company Founded - 1981
  • Chief Executive - Mike Gianoni
  • Total number of employees - 3400+
  • Fun fact - 89% of Blackbaud employees either volunteered or served on a nonprofit board over the past year
  • Blackbaud Career Opportunities

VIDEO: Lessons From The Frontlines Of South Carolina

This morning, the American Idea Foundation, a non-profit organization headed by former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, released a video entitled: Lessons from the Frontlines of South Carolina. The video highlights the transformative work being done by a Nurse-Family Partnership in Manning, South Carolina and by job-creators and community leaders in an Opportunity Zone in Charleston, South Carolina.

As the video shows and as Speaker Ryan heard firsthand, the Nurse-Family Partnership is an evidence-based program that is transforming lives and improving outcomes. It is making a difference, helping mothers, their children, and entire communities.

Later that day, Ryan was joined by Senator Tim Scott and Representatives Ralph Norman and Joe Wilson for a roundtable discussion with community leaders in an Opportunity Zone in Charleston, South Carolina to learn about efforts to expand economic opportunities. A summary of the site visits is accessible here.

Founded by Ryan in 2019, the American Idea Foundation works at the intersection of grassroots, community-driven efforts to reduce poverty and national policymakers who can implement change. The Foundation takes a non-partisan, evidence-based approach to identifying real-world initiatives that are achieving results, arming policymakers with the information they need to improve the efforts of the federal government, and linking practitioners with elected officials to replicate those success stories in other communities in need.

For more information please visit: https://americanideafoundation.com/.

Interloop co-founder, Jordan Berry

Interloop Poised For Growth As Pandemic Accelerates Firms’ Digital Shift

Jordan Berry is co-founder and chief technology officer of Interloop, a Charleston-based startup that helps midsize companies utilize their data for decision making. Berry founded Interloop with his father, Tony Berry, in 2016. The company is located in theFlagship @ the Charleston Tech Center.

This series is brought to you by Charleston County Economic Development.

It's a classic tale of a startup pivot.

Artificial intelligence captured the interest of Jordan Berry and his father, Tony Berry. Both were business consultants, and on the side, they envisioned a way to help businesses improve their sales processes using predictive models.

The father-son duo built a prototype that paired AI with customer relationship management software. That was the start of their company, Interloop.

"The idea resonated with people, and we actually sold it to a customer," said Jordan Berry. "But as soon as we got it to the customer, they were like, 'This is great. Can you set it up?' We were like, 'Absolutely. The only thing we need is your data.' And they said, 'Whoa. OK, we don't know where our data is. It's disorganized.'

"We kept trying to sell this, and we heard that pain over and over again: 'I want the AI, I want the predictive models, but my data is a mess. Can you just help me with that first?"

They listened, and they pivoted.

"We said, 'Hey, while this shiny new ball of AI and machine learning is cool, the real pain is just, 'How do we get access to our data?' So almost three years ago, we shifted the company toward that," Berry said. "We've seen much better traction in that world than we have in the AI predictive-modeling world."

Interloop combines a data platform and consulting services to help midsize companies become data driven.

"In today's world, if you're not using data to make decisions, you're really behind the curve," Berry said. "But it's hard, candidly, to get that data. So we like to call ourselves data plumbers. We come in and we essentially do all the hard, messy work to make sure you can get access to your data and use it for reporting and decision making."

What does it look like when a company cannot access its data?

A lot of times, we'll come into a company and they'll just have monster spreadsheets, where it's 50 tabs and they're blowing out Excel. It's literally crashing on them because that's the only way they know how to analyze their data. If you're doing that, you're probably not doing it correctly.

We find that a lot of companies, especially post-Covid, bought all these systems. They have a system for marketing, a system for accounting, a system for sales, but none of the systems talk to each other. They can't get that holistic view of their customer.

They get to this point where they've got good operational analytics, but if I am an executive or on the board and I want to know what are our key accounts or who are my best customers, it's really hard to answer those questions. So that's where Interloop comes in. We can help them plug the pipes together so they can get access to the whole picture.

You are from Fort Mill, S.C. Why did you locate Interloop in Charleston?

I was in Chicago when we started. My father was living in Fort Mill at the time, traveling to New York, where he was working. We just started doing pros/cons lists. We said, "Do we go to New York? We could, but it's a little too maybe unwieldy. Chicago is great, but we don't have a ton of roots there." We checked out Nashville, Tenn.

We actually came down to the DigSouth Conference in Charleston, kind of on a whim. It really opened our eyes. I say this kind of jokingly, but I was walking down the street in Charleston and I saw people with tattoos, cool architecture,  a cool place with energy and culture, and I was like, "We need to start a company here. We need to embrace everything Charleston is about. Something that's just a little bit different." We'd both been in the straightlaced consulting world for so long.

We wanted to find a place that's both super livability and where we could build the company. We were seeing the rise of the tech scene here with the Charleston Digital Corridor and the Harbor Entrepreneur Center and some of the other support systems. So we felt like, hey, this is the place.

We did go through the Harbor Accelerator early on. I was still commuting from Chicago for that. At the end of that, it was an easy decision. Charleston just had the best of both – the lifestyle and the ability to build a big company.

What do you see as the future of your company?

What's nice is we're getting to a point of repeatability. We're seeing the same patterns of different customers and different industries.

There was this big push where technology should be SaaS – software only, subscription licenses, let people download it on their own. And I think, after the pandemic, the market is realizing that it's OK to be a tech-enabled service. So we're really a tech- enabled consulting company.

The vision for me is growing to 50 employees and servicing customers across the country. Hopefully, at that point, we have enough recurring revenue with the software that we maybe go raise a round or do something of that nature.

How many employees do you have now?

We survived during the pandemic, and then out of that we were able to start thriving. So we are at seven full-time employees, and we have several contractors we work with, too. But after being two and a half people for almost five years, it's nice to finally grow and get some energy around us, some new ideas.

**What was the pandemic like for your company? **

We had an office on King Street. During the pandemic, we decided to go virtual. So we were working from our kitchen counters, like everybody else. We had to adapt to that. A lot more Zoom meetings, a lot more calls. A lot of check-ins, making sure everyone is moving things forward. What was nice is we had been sort of hybrid before that, so it wasn't a huge shift in the day to day. It was more just what's ahead, how do we prepare for the unknown?

March to late spring was definitely a nerve-wracking time. People pulled back. Budgets were frozen. A lot of customers just weren't making moves. Thankfully, we were profitable and had some cash in the bank to get us through. Honestly, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was definitely was a big help.

It was a scary time for a lot of people, and it was one of those situations where, depending on the industry you were in, you either did well or poorly, due to issues beyond your control. That's a hard thing to swallow. But I think we got lucky in that a lot of people went digital, invested in systems, and needed help. So, in some ways, the pandemic was a positive thing for us.

What do you look for in someone you hire?

One thing I've been asking a lot is, "How do you learn? What's the last thing you learned? What are you reading about now? What are you curious about?" The No. 1 skill is can you learn, can you adapt, can you think critically? The technical skills can come. That, to me, is not the issue. It's that core desire to get outside your comfort zone and try new things.

Outside of work, what keeps you busy?

Recently, I've been swimming a bit more. I swam in college. I kind of hung it up for six or seven years. During the pandemic, I said, "I need to get back in the pool." So I go swim most mornings. It's just a nice, calming, sort of zen experience.

Also, going out with friends, just enjoying the city. Charleston is super fun. I love trying new restaurants and that sort of thing.

How do you find fulfilment in both work and life?

I like technology in general, so I think that helps in that mental world of work fulfillment. I would probably be doing something similar, regardless.

On the other side, with personal fulfillment, I'm very much about human connectedness and getting to know people. I really thrive at networking events and meeting people. So I just always try to carve out time to go meet with people, explore, see what's out there.

I try not to jump too far ahead, either, but enjoy right where I am and what's happening. A lot of times, especially in startups, [you think], "When we get to here, we'll be so much better." Or, "When we get to here, my life will be this." I think you cut yourself short when you're jumping like that. It's OK to have a crazy work life, but also important to grab some time for yourself because building a successful company like Interloop is a marathon and not a sprint.

A Powerful Partnership Yields Drug Cost-Savings Tool

Three years ago, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) trimmed several million dollars from a multimillion-dollar drug budget by using a pharmacy-designed algorithm that searched the complex drug pricing universe to bring the best values to the surface.

The software engine that drove those savings has since been spun off by MUSC into a separate enterprise called QuicksortRx, and its pharmacy spending benefit has been expanded to other health systems and hospitals nationwide.

Now, QuicksortRx aims to extend its reach. The Charleston, S.C.–based pharmacy technology company recently formed a partnership with ASHP that will offer "next-generation pharmaceutical software and analysis" to additional health systems struggling to cope with the lack of drug pricing transparency.

"One of the things that was really challenging to us was knowing when a price changed. That has never been very transparent," said Paul Bush, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, ASHP's vice president of Global Resource Development and Consulting, who was the chief pharmacy officer at Duke University Health System for a decade before joining the association.

Dr. Bush said although the price changes "would be recorded on the specifc line item, the individual responsible for drug procurement in the pharmacy department could not easily see them. Days could go by when we'd be paying a higher price."

That lag time is the target of QuicksortRx's supply chain purchasing tool. "We find all of those places were switching products would save money," said Matt Hebbard, PharmD, QuicksortRx's vice president of sales and accounts. "And we use historical purchase data and current pricing as well to project the impact of switching. We take the largest of those opportunities and we surface them to a dashboard, where they can be seen as an alert: 'Here is something you can act on today to save your hospital signicant costs.'"

At AdventHealth, Richard Montgomery, BSPharm, MBA, the contracts and operations manager, told Pharmacy Technology Report that being able to monitor fluctuating drug prices in close to real time–-especially in the 340B space where there is lots of movement–-"is really important. There are a lot of dollars left on the table when you don't have access to that."

At the time of the interview, AdventHealth was close to signing on with QuicksortRx. "We have services and such that do contract utilization," Mr. Montgomery said, "but there is such a lag time. With Quicksort, you're in the moment and you can act on it and see results within the next day or two."

As one of the country's largest health systems, with dozens of hospitals across nine states, AdventHealth has an annual drug spend that Mr. Montgomery said was "north of $500 million. We are planning to start with a few select hospitals with a spend of around $60 million. If we can get 1% or 2% off of that, it would be nice win. More than that would be great. You know, under- promise and over-deliver."

The idea for QuicksortRx began in a chance encounter that Dr. Hebbard had when he was working as an informatics pharmacist at MUSC. "My wife works at MUSC as well," he told Pharmacy Technology Report. "One of her technicians was telling me about some purchase decisions he had made on oral dosage forms that was pretty low delta in price."

Dr. Hebbard looked into it and it struck him, he said, that "there was a lot of value to be gained by reviewing the products we purchased more frequently." But it was a dicult process. Over time, however, through a collaborative effort involving "the pharmacy department and purchasing folks, we began do this work with greater efficiency."

Dr. Hebbard said he ran into Jonathan Yantis, now QuicksortRx's CEO but then a network engineer at MUSC, who was looking for an innovative project to develop. The price search work being done in the pharmacy department seemed to fit the bill. Together, Dr. Hebbard and Mr. Yantis approached MUSC's chief innovation officer seeking support for their project.

They brought "proof-of-concept" numbers showing some "significant savings–-a couple of hundred thousand dollars with a couple of days work in spreadsheets," Dr. Hebbard said. They received the resources to push the concept forward. "And then as this progressed from spreadsheets to automation," he added, "we realized that these opportunities arrive much more frequently than we thought. We ended up saving MUSC several millions the first year."

It also occurred to them that a technological tool that produced such results for MUSC had tremendous value as an intellectual property that could form the basis for a MUSC spin-off.

In a follow-up phone call, "We talked about how we could work together," Dr. Bush said. "One of the things we do at ASHP Consulting Services is work with knowledgeable consultants that help health systems improve their processes. We were so impressed with Quicksort's tool in terms of optimizing the drug spend by buying the right drugs at the right time that we knew this was a natural relationship that we should try to structure. So, we did."

Digital-First Uncommon Giving Corporation Grows Workplace Platform, Names Earl Bridges President and COO

Uncommon Giving Corporation today announced the promotion of Earl Bridges to President and Chief Operating Officer, highlighting the significance of the company's Workplace Generosity line of business, which Bridges has led since October 2020. Under his direction, sales of the newly launched workplace component of Uncommon Giving's SaaS platform are steadily rising with targeted companies, underscoring the company's potential for targeted growth. Read more:

Senator Tim Scott, Speaker Paul Ryan & US Representatives Joe Wilson and Ralph Norman

Sen. Scott Meets With Small Businesses At Charleston Tech Center

Lawmakers met with small businesses on Friday in downtown Charleston to tour the newly opened Charleston Tech Center and discuss the economic impact of opportunity zones.

United States Senator Tim Scott and former House Speaker Paul Ryan along with US Representatives Joe Wilson and Ralph Norman met with representatives from some of the companies that call the Charleston Tech Center home.

Ernest Andrade, Executive Director of Charleston Digital Corridor, says the $54 million building on Morrison Drive and the companies housed inside help attract and keep recent college graduates in the city.

"As a state, we were producing them [college graduates], but basically we were a net exporter of talent to the rest of the country and we had to reverse that," Andrade said. "We had to basically avoid that brain drain and create opportunities."

The opportunity zone legislation written by Sen. Scott allows governors to designate economically-distressed communities for federal tax incentives to entice private investments into the area. There are currently more than 8,700 areas designated as opportunity zones in the United States with 135 of those zones in South Carolina.

Scott says when it comes to opportunity zones he wanted the focus to be on the communities and that gentrification has remained low in those areas. Ryan echoed that point saying it was about revitalization and not gentrification.

"One of the things that we always thought about when this happened was we didn't want this to be a regentrification machine," Ryan said. "We want it to be about revitalization about bringing capital into these communities to revitalize those communities meaning to revitalize the people in those communities."

Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he had worked on similar programs in the past and felt that private investment into communities was one of the best ways to fight poverty.

"This is a vision we've always had about one of the best ways at fighting poverty by getting private capital, private entrepreneurs into the space to make a big difference," Ryan said.

Scott says meetings like the one on Friday help when planning for future legislation to maximize the potential of opportunity zones.

"We as a country need to lean into funding infrastructure in such a way that it includes high speed broadband and connection issues need to go away for all of America, rural Americans, inner city Americans to have access to this next gig economy that's not coming, it's here," Scott said.

The Charleston Tech Center currently includes the 92,000 square-foot building and an 816 space parking garage. They say they have the land to build a similarly sized building next to the current one which could potentially allow up to 900 tech jobs in the space.

LYRASIS Announces Acquisition of BiblioLabs; Combination Supports Mission of Library-Driven Content and Expands Community Engagement

LYRASIS, a global nonprofit serving libraries, archives, museums and research communities, announces the acquisition of BiblioLabs, LLC., a Charleston, SC-based library technology firm. The acquisition unites two organizations on the leading edge of library software and support services and transitions BiblioLabs from a mission-aligned for-profit firm into the mission-driven non-profit model of LYRASIS. The acquisition is complete effective June 15, 2021 and was funded through cash purchase and charitable contribution by the owners of BiblioLabs.

BiblioLabs will continue to operate with the same staff, programs and name as a division of the LYRASIS organization. There will be no interruption of service for BiblioLabs or LYRASIS, and no action needs to be taken by current clients, subscribers, members or partners. All services will continue as-is and all client contracts will be honored in full. Please visit our FAQs for more information.

The organizations share a mission to take library eBooks into the next era and have pursued parallel paths around library eBook technology and distribution models over the past few years. BiblioLabs launched their BiblioBoard platform to the library market in 2011, providing community engagement services and content distribution used by public, academic and K-12 libraries. LYRASIS has been a leader in library software and technologies for more than a decade, and for the last three years has worked to support the development and adoption of SimplyE/Library Simplified.

"With BiblioLabs, we saw an opportunity to strengthen our existing eBook services and offer more value to our members and other public, academic and K-12 libraries. By adding community engagement and local content creation tools, on top of the library-focused technology provided by our SimplyE/Library Simplified offerings, we can give users a seamless eBook management experience. Furthermore, this highlights the personalized, local nature of library communities while harnessing the safety and benefits of large-scale, community-driven technologies. Bibliolabs is a fantastic addition to the LYRASIS portfolio of programs and services. It gives all of the members and users the best available experience of library-focused technologies. As a non-profit, we are able to focus on the community benefit in a unique way, and we are excited to bring BiblioLabs into our mission-driven organization," says Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS. "In addition, I would like to thank all the partners of BiblioLabs (three of whom are joining the LYRASIS team), for their generous donation to LYRASIS, which was key in this merger being possible," said Miller.

"As many of our library partners will attest, we have been a mission-based organization from the start," said BiblioLabs founder and CEO Mitchell Davis. "To continue our work as a nonprofit is the perfect way to ensure the library community reaps the benefits of the work we have done over the past decade and that we will continue to do into the future. Libraries are in the midst of a transformation. Our priority is helping libraries compete for digital attention and building cooperative business models that provide sustainable impact for the work bringing about this transformation. The intersection of mission between ourselves and LYRASIS in these areas is undeniable."

BiblioLabs has used its BiblioBoard discovery platform, initiatives like the Indie Author Project and their community publishing tool, Creator, to create local digital content workflows for all types of cultural institutions and the communities they serve. "We help libraries and museums excel at local content with software and program support that creates strong local value and effectively engages writers, artists, musicians, researchers, museums, cultural organizations, and every other member of the community they serve," Davis continued. "We have made a lot of progress over the past ten years but feel like we are just getting started. We look forward to seeing these programs grow as part of the LYRASIS community."

Upcoming Classes & Events

EVENT
October 7, 2021, 8:30AM

Leading SAFe

CDC member Tom Hashem, President of Seek Quality, will be teaching a Leading SAFe class. Participants will learn to develop a Lean-Agile mindset and apply the principles and practices of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to support Agile Teams, programs and Program Portfolio Management in order to best coordinate and lead a Lean-Agile Transformation at enterprise scale. Learn more and register HERE.

CDCu
November 10, 2021, 9AM - 12PM

An Introduction to GraphQL APIs

Presented by Tyler Hall

Learn the basics of consuming and building GraphQL. GraphQL is a query language for building APIs and a runtime for fulfilling those queries. Originally created at Facebook, GraphQL was the internal data-fetching API that powered hundreds of billions of Facebook API calls a day.

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