Archive for June, 2008

SW+A participates in WISE program

Anne Stjern
Marketing Coordinator

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce is a vital link in the chain of local businesses working together to improve, enhance, and connect the Greater Charleston Area. SeamonWhiteside + Associates has been involved with a number of Chamber activities and initiatives over the years including the Developers Council, Leadership Charleston, and the Total Resource Campaign membership drive. Stuart Whiteside, Vice President of SW+A is an active member of the Executive Committee and holds the position of Public Policy Vice Chairman.

During the week of June 13-16, SeamonWhiteside + Associates’ Mount Pleasant headquarters participated with The Education Foundation, an initiative of the Chamber of Commerce, by hosting a practicum site for the Workplace InStitute for Educators (WISE). The goal of WISE educators is to gather ‘real world’ information about a variety of business types and then bring that information back to the classroom to educate students as to what they can expect when they enter the workforce and what they need to do to get ready.

SW+A staff from Engineering, Land Planning, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, IT, Due Diligence, Permit Coordination, Administration, and the Marketing department met with educator Michelle Schanon-Dovey to discuss the particulars of each specialty and how it relates to and supports the company as a whole. As with most educational activities, the experience was a collaborative effort, which grew with each interview. The principle of “Teach to Learn” was certainly in play throughout the week as Michelle’s questions encouraged an in-depth look at not just how we do our jobs, but why and with which skills.

SW+A would like to thank the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce for the opportunity to join in helping prepare the next generation of professionals and for its commitment to education.


“Good to Great” & The Birds of Prey Center

Steve Blackwell, RLS,
Director of Engineering

Of late, I have been considering the leadership attributes noted by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t.In it, Mr. Collins documents a consistent pattern that was noted in organizations that have made the transition from merely good to great.

In short, he noted that the great ones have embraced the “Hedgehog Concept”.At the risk of oversimplifying, this means the ability to focus on one core ability with absolute clarity.In the case of the small European mammal, this is the ability to roll into a tight ball with spines out.This simple action, which he executes at will to absolute perfection, provides him the ability to forage at his leisure:it is the essential act of being a hedgehog.

For organizations seeking to find their “hedgehog” focus, Collins goes on to define a methodology based on three circles of interest:1) “What are you passionate about?”;2) “What can you be the best in the world at?”;and 3) “What drives your economic engine?”.Answer those three questions, and position your organization in the intersection created by overlapping the circles, and you will be well on your way to creating a great organization.

With the recent public opening of the International Center for Birds of Prey, it is my sincere hope and belief that Jim Elliott has taken a huge step toward completing the third circle—of the first two there can be no doubt—and that the Birds of Prey Center will happily reside in the intersection of the three for years to come.

Having met Jim in 2003 and established a friendship with him through the many difficulties of bringing the Center to its current position, I can simply say that it couldn’t happen to a nicer, more humble, or more deserving guy or for a better cause, saving these magnificent birds.

All the best to Jim and the Center, and sincere wishes for continued growth and success.


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