It's been a while since our great Upstate Reality Check
event last April, but Ten at the Top has had a lot going on and
I'm very excited to have gotten to the point where we can update you with good
tangible progress and plans for our impending Next Steps. So here goes!
First, we have now hired an Executive Director - Dean Hybl!!! Dean (pictured) joined us in
mid January. He comes to us from Orlando where he worked with myregion.org, the regional
organization of Central Florida, over the past five years and served as the
number two person for their regional implementation efforts.
So he has been living for five years what we are now
attempting to do for the Upstate! Dean came to us with high recommendations
from his boss, who Steve Navarro has known and worked with for some time
As a point of interest, Dean was previously involved with college athletics -
as a Sports Information director with Hampden-Sydney College and Rollins
College and as an Assistant athletic director at Rollins. He and his wife and
two young children have now moved to the Upstate and have just closed on a new
home in the Greer area.
In addition to hiring Dean, we have done a number of other
things over the last nine months to ensure that Ten at the Top is
a viable and valuable long-term organization within the Upstate. Here are some
of what we have been doing:
· Incorporation of Ten at the Top
· Development and adoption of organization by-laws and mission statement
· Filing of 501c(3) application for tax-exempt status
· Formation of an Executive Committee structure with representatives from each
of the 10 counties
· Creation of the Ten at the Top web site (www.tenatthetop.org)
· Completion of a video about the Upstate Reality Check event and how we are
moving from Reality Check to Regional Vision
· Developed a solid, ambitious budget for 2010-2012.
· Securing of a $75,000 grant from Advance South Carolina to help us fund our
first year of activities and initiatives. Additionally, we ended up with
approximately $30,000 excess from the Reality Check exercise - as planned and
hoped! - and we're already off to a positive start for TATT fundraising.
But, the biggest thing we have done is to take the valuable
work that was done by the 500 participants during Upstate Reality Check and
outline a strategy for how we can use that information to ensure a positive
future impact on our 10-county region.
We came out of Reality Check with the identification of five clear consensus
areas where we should begin looking at opportunities to think and act as a
region. These are:
- Regional Sustainability
- Vibrant Competitive
Based on this, Reality Check Project Director Jacki Martin and the Executive
Committee forged a draft structure and work plan specifically tied to these
five priorities. The eventual goal is to identify issues and projects within
the five areas where working together regionally can have identifiable impact
on enhancing the competitiveness and quality of life within the Upstate.
As Dean has come on board and had a chance to get acclimated, he has been in
full concurrence with this platform and has felt strongly that our first
emphasis needs to be the development of a Shared Regional Vision for the
Upstate. This then becomes the foundation for all that we do going forward and
provides rationale and momentum for identifying and prioritizing initiatives
During Upstate Reality Check, participants identified four
potential themes for how future growth should be patterned:
Growth (the current trend for sprawling development)
Development (with growth primarily around transportation corridors)
Development (with growth focused around current urban areas)
Village (with growth not only in current urban areas, but also in rural
In developing a Shared Upstate Vision, we will
provide more information about each of these specific growth related themes and
then through a regional survey will ask residents across the region to tell us
which elements of these themes are important to them as we look at future
But our regional survey is not focused only on growth.
Leaders across the Upstate have called for a Shared Upstate Vision that
also encompasses economic vitality, preserving natural and cultural resources,
education and quality of life.
As part of the regional survey we will ask residents "What
Matters Most" to them as we look at each of these areas of interest.
The input received during an intense three-week survey
period (tentatively scheduled for May 10-31) will become the basis for creating the Shared Upstate
To ensure that as many people as possible participate in
this opportunity to "Voice Your Choice", we will be asking businesses,
municipalities and organizations across the region to help us spread the word
about how everyone can help us shape the future of the Upstate.
In coming weeks we will be sending you additional
information about this exciting regional outreach and hope you will participate
in the survey and also help us spread the word across the region.
I am very pleased with the direction in which we are moving
with Ten at the Top and hope you will join me as we continue
moving down this road toward ensuring that the Upstate Region reaches its full
potential and remains a great place to live, learn, work and play.
Chair, Ten at the Top