What We Do

The Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and promote Charleston's tech economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming.

Talent

Opportunities Abound
"Attending courses at CODEcamp allowed me to hone my web development skills while giving me the opportunity to interact with professionals that are driving Charleston technology community."
  • Ryan Barrineau
  • Developer
  • Blue Acorn

Spaces

Get Working
"As an early stage software company, it was not only important to have a location to grow in but also the means to mature as an organization. The Flagships afforded this flexibility and infrastructure."
  • Earl Bridges
  • Co-founder
  • Good Done Great

Community

Peer Networking
"The Charleston Digital Corridor serves as the central hub for technology companies in the area and what that has done is create a sense of community around the companies that are a part of it."
  • Grier Allen
  • Founder & CEO
  • Boomtown

Capital

Accelerating Growth
"While there are many opportunities for investment, our fund is happy to make growth capital available for Charleston’s tech companies. Michael Knox, Managing Partner, Silicon Harbor Ventures."
  • Michael Knox
  • Managing Partner
  • Silicon Harbor Ventures
STATS

Latest News

View all
Bobby Schuchert, Director of Mobile and Emerging Technology at AutoNation

AutoNation’s Schuchert Looking to Modernize Dealership Experience

The Charleston Digital Corridor's Leadership Profile Series is focused on the individuals who are driving the Charleston tech scene forward. This series is brought to you with support from Charleston Southern University.

Bobby Schuchert is director of mobile and emerging technology at AutoNation, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based owner of more than 300 car dealerships nationwide. Schuchert, based in Charleston, joined AutoNation about a year ago and is building the company's mobile team here.

Where did you grow up? What was life like?

I was born and raised in Charleston. I was fortunate enough that my dad was in tech. He was in radio communications, not computers. I pretty much grew up with a soldering iron in my hand and doing a lot of tech and being on a computer all the time. I kind of just stuck with it.

Did you leave and come back to Charleston?

I've always been here. For my last job (with Starwood Hotels and Resorts), I was here, but our office was in New York, so I would bounce up there a lot. But I've always lived in Charleston.

Did you go to college here, too?

I went for a while to Trident Tech and then quit, and I've always worked. When I was in high school, I started doing web development and was doing that while in college, and then just stuck with it and stayed in IT. Self-taught.

What was your first job, or most memorable early job? What did you learn from it?

When I was 13, the mom of a friend of mine knew somebody who had a shaved ice stand. They asked me to run it for a day. I was in front of the Custom House, working this shaved ice stand, and the police came and shut it down because they didn't have a permit. So that's a memorable one.

But my first real job was freelance web development. I was doing that and turned that into a small company and did that for a number of years. I learned that technology is easy and people can be difficult. When you have one boss, you kind of know their boundaries and how to approach things for them or the company. But when you have multiple clients, there are a lot of personalities to deal with. That was not what I was expecting, originally.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We're a big dealership group. We have over 300 stores. We sell cars and service cars. It's a bunch of dealerships, different brands. We have a few that are considered AutoNation stores, kind of like CarMax has their store. But we primarily just own a bunch of stores that may not even have the AutoNation name in the name.

What drew you to your current business?

My last job was with Starwood Hotels. I led the mobile engineering at that company. One thing I loved about hospitality was how much emphasis we put on guest experience. We were really good at what we did. When Marriott bought us, some of the leadership went to AutoNation and asked me would I want to do that and bring that emphasis. This is an industry that's kind of behind. I saw it as a unique challenge to try to improve the guest experience when you're buying or servicing a vehicle.

AutoNation is based in Florida. Do you have a team here?

I have three developers here. I'm in the process of hiring more. The big picture would be to continue growing my team here. I haven't seen a lot of mobile work in our area. Mobile is kind of my passion. When they gave me the opportunity to come to AutoNation, I said I didn't want to move. So they said, "OK, you can build a team in Charleston."

What's the hardest or most important lesson you've learned in business?

I touched on it earlier: Tech is easy, people are hard.

Have you learned any tricks for managing that?

Give people the benefit of the doubt. The way that they word things may be not how you would word them when they're coming to you over the phone or especially via email, when it's in text. Typically, people have good intentions, so you have to approach things that way. It's easy to misunderstand and then get defensive about something. But everybody kind of has the same goal. They just maybe have a different driver for what their position is.

What lessons have you learned from good bosses? Bad bosses?

From bad bosses, don't get emotional. Stay levelheaded. Whatever is on fire, just work through the issue.

From good bosses, set clear direction. That's not to say you don't ever change your mind, but let everybody understand what it is you're going over the hill for, what you're aiming at. It lets people understand what the goal is. Because when it's a grey area, people are all over the place and don't really work together. They have a different understanding of what the goal is.

Do you have a morning routine or ritual? Or an evening one?

I wish I could say I was up every day at 4 and was running 10 miles. The thing that I have to have every morning is a cup of black coffee and a shower. No matter if I'm on vacation or whatever, I've got to be up and doing that. That's my only real routine.

At the end of the day, I say, "Hey Siri, good night," and everything turns off. That turns off all the lights, turns down the temperature, shuts the garage doors if they're open, locks the doors.

What obstacles have you faced building your business? How have you overcome them?

I guess the biggest obstacles were finding something I wanted to do in our area. There was primarily a lot of government contracting here, which I did for a while. To me, it wasn't quite creative enough. Trying to find something where you could blend technology and user experience. There might have been those in the area, I just was not aware of them. Finding the one that felt like a good fit for me was the trickiest part. Which isn't really building a business, but trying to figure out my place in tech in Charleston.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Expect more hours than you were originally expecting. Expect to be a little bit uncomfortable. Be creative with your thing, whatever you're passionate about, and definitely drive to that, but be comfortable asking for assistance. You can tend to try to wear too many hats, and that can overwhelm you, and you kind of lose what you're passionate about. But depending on the stage of your business, you may have to wear a bunch of hats.

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

Definitely stay curious. Keep learning. Don't just learn one facet of tech or one language. Tech tends to move faster and faster every year, and there are a lot of fads. To continue being valuable, continue learning and being curious about new things.

What do you see as the future of your company?

For the team here in Charleston, I'd like to continue growing and working on the innovation projects we've set out to build. The future for our company/industry would be less old school and more with the guest experience in mind. We are trying to modernize the industry. We're a big company, so it's not easy to just turn on a dime, but I would like to see my team help continue driving that shift in the industry.

What does a modern guest experience look like in the auto dealership industry?

Less coming in and sitting for four hours during a transaction or making an appointment and showing up and you have to repeat everything you said on the phone. There's so much friction. If you've ever taken your car in for service, there's just a lot of friction. Whatever we can do to remove most of that friction and make it more of an express kind of experience.

At Starwood, I led the digital key project. So you wouldn't even go to the front desk at a hotel. You would just go straight to your room and unlock your door with your phone and then your watch. That was kind of my baby there, and I would like to see the same kind of approach to our industry, buying or servicing a vehicle. Especially servicing. The bar is kind of low there, so everything that we're doing, we look like wizards, but we're just doing what we're used to doing.

Are you a Mac or a PC? iPhone or Android?

Definitely Mac. iPhone.

What's a book that you always recommend?

I've pretty consistently over the years recommended "The Total Money Makeover" from Dave Ramsey. One of the fun books I like to recommend that's fiction is "The Martian."

What is your usual Starbucks order?

Probably 50-50 either black coffee or a tall hot caramel macchiato.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

My girls and my wife. I have two daughters, and as they are in clubs and orgs and playing instruments and all that, that usually keeps us pretty busy. Beyond that, if I ever get down time, I still enjoy video games, but I don't get to play those nearly as much as I used to. And movies. We do a lot of movies as a family.

What has it been like building your technical team in Charleston?

I was hoping to see us expand a little faster than we did this year, but it's been good. We are probably going to expand pretty rapidly this year. Thus far, we had to build a foundation for what we were doing and kind of lost sight of continually recruiting and hiring. We had to deliver some stuff rapidly.

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

One of the biggest challenges with tech in Charleston is typically the pay is not anywhere near the rest of the country. I mean, New York and California, you kind of expect. I think we have a very good beginner and mid-level set of engineers here, and then, when they're senior, they typically spill out somewhere else. Trying to retain them and be able to pay them enough has been a challenge for Charleston.

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

I'm glad to see, at least from way back when, there's more than just government contracting here. There were other opportunities then, but it was either going to be web development or something to do with security or government contracting, and I'm glad to see that there are more creative things here since then. It's just a little more diverse.

Workiva Named One of the 2019 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For

Workiva (NYSE:WK), the leading cloud provider of connected data, reporting and compliance solutions, today announced it has been named one of the 2019 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For(r)by global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work and FORTUNE magazine.

Workiva ranked 80th on the 100 Best list, which is based on survey responses from more than 4.3 million employees who rated their workplace on many factors, including trust in their managers, compensation, fairness, camaraderie and workplace traits linked to innovation. The survey captured workplace experiences for all employees including women, people of color, LGBT individuals, older team members and disabled employees.

"Workiva is proud to be joining many of our customers in this prestigious group, which includes some of the most successful companies in the world," said Marty Vanderploeg, CEO of Workiva. "Our company is based on core principles of respect, fairness and compassion, and we value all backgrounds, beliefs and interests."

"We are successful because we put our employees first, listen to their voices and respond to their needs. This extra level of care gets passed on to our customers every day, which leads to our 95 percent customer satisfaction score," added Vanderploeg.

A strong commitment to employee engagement – through one-on-one meetings, video conferences and digital chat rooms – keeps Workiva teams constantly connected and focused on achieving business goals and objectives.

"We're building software solutions that have never existed before," said Vanderploeg. "We give our employees the freedom and resources they need – backed by our culture of collaboration and diverse thought – to keep breaking new ground."

Employees also have adaptable work hours. "Sometimes, real life happens between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., so our employees have the flexibility to attend their child's afternoon school play, care for an ailing parent, plant trees in local parks or collect food for shelters," said Vanderploeg.

"The 2019 100 Best are the leaders in creating the most innovative workplaces built on trust," said Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. "Employees at these organizations feel valued, respected and heard, and are inspired to be their best selves because of the commitment these winning companies have made to creating a great workplace for all employees, no matter who they are or what they do for the company."

The 100 Best Companies is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE based on employee feedback from Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations. This is the eighth time Workiva has won an award from Great Place to Work and FORTUNE, including a 2019 Best Workplace in Technology award announced in January.

To see the full list of the 2019 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For, click here.

On your mark...

Charleston Digital Corridor Announces 2019 iFiveK Race

The Charleston Digital Corridor, along with title sponsor Charleston County Economic Development, is pleased to announce that registration for the 2019 Innovators' 5k (iFiveK) is officially open. The race will be held at Riverfront Park on April 4th, 2019 at 6:30pm. Proceeds from this annual race support execution of the Digital Corridor's talent strategy.

Additional sponsors of the annual iFiveK feature prominent companies associated with the development of Charleston's tech economy including BoomTown, Blackbaud, Benefitfocus, AVOXI, Google, Tabula Rasa Healthcare, Comcast Business, Atlatl Software, Ceterus, Carepoint, MAU Workforce Solutions, eGroup, Immedion, and Bibliolabs.

"Charleston County Economic Development is excited to be the title sponsor of the iFiveK race for the third year in a row," said Charleston County Economic Development Executive Director Steve Dykes. "We are passionate about supporting the tech community and this event provides an amazing atmosphere to network and showcase our community's top talent."

"Blackbaud is proud to support the Charleston Digital Corridor in bringing together Charleston's tech community for the 2019 iFiveK," said Peggy Anderson, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Blackbaud. "We look forward to another fun event filled with friendly competition and networking with some of Charleston's best and brightest tech talent."

The iFiveK has become a favorite athletic and networking event for Charleston's tech community. As one of only a handful of evening, weekday races in the region, the iFiveK historically sells out ahead of the event each year. The SPIRIT Award will be presented to the team with the, well......most spirit. This includes, costumes, training video, social media participation, and fastest runner. Does your team have what it takes?

"When you look around the country, not many cities host events for a targeted business community- Charleston does! The Charleston Digital Corridor is honored to host our vibrant tech community for yet another fun evening of competition and networking," said Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade. 

Upcoming Events

View all

Hackathon 2019

The Charleston Digital Hub is excited to be hosting a public hackathon on Saturday, February 23rd! Doors will open for check-in starting at 8:00am with the event officially kicking off at 9:00am, and ending at 9:00pm. Learn more and register HERE.

CofC Strategic Investment Symposium

This Symposium is the Program's preeminent annual event. Each year, the Program hosts top speakers and industry professionals for a one-day event on strategic investment management. The Symposium is designed to allow for a dynamic exchange of ideas related to a wide range of investment management strategies and concepts. It is meant to serve as a unique opportunity for the rapidly growing financial community in Charleston to network and interact with other professionals, as well as the students and faculty/staff of the School of Business. Learn more and register here.

Charleston Women in Industry Day

For the first time on March 8, 2019, the Lowcountry Section of the Society of Women Engineers will host Women in Industry Day, a day-long conference designed to connect the area's women professionals from the many industries in the Charleston area (including manufacturing, infrastructure, software, medical, and facilities fields) to Aspire, Advance and Achieve.

Charleston Women in Industry Day is an annual event focused on providing top-notch professional development opportunities through networking and education. The 2019 conference will see engineers, project managers, and leaders in the engineering field gather at the Citadel, an institution known for excellence in engineering education.

Keynote speakers and women professionals will attend from Fortune 500 companies including Boeing, Bosch, Cummins, Mercedes Benz, Michelin, Volvo, and more!
Workshop and speaker topics include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Negotiation
  • Networking
  • Personal Branding
  • Project Management
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Developing Your Elevator Speech
  • Finding Your Voice
  • Industry Skills
  • Skills for Young Professionals

NOTE: Food will be provided at the event. If you have any dietary restrictions, please email Info@swelowcountry.org

Learn more and register HERE.

One Place Conference

Every year Benefitfocus convenes leading HR, Benefits and Insurance executives in Charleston for One Place. Focused on the trends shaping employer sponsored health care, and the technology shaping how employers of all sizes engage their employees, the conference provides the perfect forum to generate conversations and build pipeline. Learn more and register HERE.

iFiveK

The iFiveK race is a favorite run and networking event for Charleston's tech professionals. Since its 2007 debut with 250 participants, the iFiveK grew to 1,047 registrants in 2018. Proceeds from the iFiveK support the Charleston Digital Corridor's talent strategy. Learn more and register HERE.

DIG SOUTH

DIG SOUTH connects leading global brands like Oracle, IBM and Salesforce to the top tech leaders and entrepreneurs in the South. We gather in gorgeous Charleston to make deals, share the latest digital trends and build relationships. Curated tracks include technology, marketing and business. Learn more HERE.