The Latest On What's Happening With The Chamber & Our Members


Category Archives: News

‘Hidden Figures’ Author Margot Shetterly to Speak at WFU

Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” will speak at Wake Forest University on Monday, February 5 at 7 p.m. in Wait Chapel.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Visit shetterly.events.wfu.edu for details.

The film adaptation of Shetterly’s book, “Hidden Figures,” became the number one movie in America in 2016 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Shetterly is also the founder of the Human Computer Project, a digital archive of the stories of NASA’s African-American “Human Computers” whose work tipped the balance in favor of the United States in WWII, the Cold War and the Space Race.

Her father was among the early generation of black NASA engineers and scientists, and she had direct access to NASA executives and the women featured in her book. She grew up around the historically black Hampton University, where some of the women in Hidden Figures studied.

Shetterly graduated from The University of Virginia and is a 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow.

“Hidden Figures” was a selection on Wake Forest’s summer reading list for the Class of 2021 and part of Project Wake: Exploring Differences, Embracing Diversity.

About Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at www.wfu.edu.

Science Prodigy to Speak at Forsyth Tech

Twenty-three-year-old heads venture capital fund to combat aging

Laura Deming, head of The Longevity Fund and Peter Thiel Fellow, will speak to innovators, entrepreneurs, leaders and students on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 1 p.m. in the Dewitt E. Rhoades Conference Center on the main campus of Forsyth Technical Community College. As part of the SciTech Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public. You may register at Event Brite.

A native of New Zealand, Laura became engrossed in the aging process and longevity when she was 8 years old. Ever since, her driving passion has been to slow aging and eliminate age-related disease. At age 12, she started working in a biogerontology lab and enrolled in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when she was 14. At age 17, she was one of the youngest ‘20under20’ fellows awarded $100,000 by Peter Thiel to pursue her venture full time. Laura is currently a full-time partner at The Longevity Fund, an early stage venture capital fund backing companies that target the aging process to treat disease, with investments in gene editing, small molecule therapeutics, and novel methods to treat disease. She recently completed a second round of fundraising that attracted more than $20 million for additional investments.

“I’m very excited to be visiting Forsyth Tech and Winston-Salem, it’s such a young, vibrant tech community,” said Laura Deming.

A coalition of Triad organizations partnered to bring her to the area including the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce, NC Biotechnology Center, Venture Café, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

“We’re delighted to host Laura Deming in the Triad,” said Russ Read, director of the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce. “Ironically, at age 23, she’s a true pioneer in the field of biological interventions in aging through her own work and the investments she’s making through The Longevity Fund.”

While Deming is in the Triad, she’ll be holding private meetings with several life science companies in addition to her public event at Forsyth Technical Community College. “Research advancements related to aging are underway in the Piedmont Triad,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of the NC Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad office. “Partnering to raise visibility of our emerging companies that are developing therapeutics or products ranging from cognition to biomaterials is important to future job creation.”

Venture Café Executive Director Karen Barnes added, “This is another example of how our local innovation ecosystem can work together to create more opportunity and get on the national radar with important potential partners and investors.”

About Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Technical Community College provides students with guided educational pathways into a competitive workforce for the community and global economy. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in more than 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech is the seventh largest community college in North Carolina and serves more than 35,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff.

Allen Tate Realtors Announces New Real Estate Team

Brooke Cashion and Associates Expands Business

Allen Tate Realtors®, the Carolinas’ leading real estate company, announces the expansion of Brooke Cashion and Associates, based in the company’s Winston-Salem Cherry Street office at 147 South Cherry Street, Suite 100.

Brooke Cashion has been a top-producing Realtor for 19 years in the Piedmont Triad region and has worked with Allen Tate since 2009. She consistently ranks among top brokers in both state and national rankings and currently serves as president of the Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors.

Cashion is a member of the board of directors of the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, a high school mentor and an active member of her church. She has previously served two terms on the Kernersville Board of Aldermen.

“We are optimistic about the future growth opportunities and the real estate market in the Piedmont Triad region and we welcomed the opportunity to expand,” said Cashion.

Cashion’s husband, Jake, is team leader, with responsibilities including management, operations, marketing and business development. Prior to real estate, Jake Cashion spent a 10-year career in governmental affairs, working with the North Carolina Chamber in Raleigh and the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

Brooke Cashion and Associates is also excited to welcome Lisa Chrystie as a buyers’ agent. Chrystie has an extensive customer service background and is adept at building effective relationships that every client deserves.

As office manager, Amy Norman handles day-to-day activities and keeps the team running efficiently. She is a native of the Triad and holds a degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

“I am thrilled to announce the expansion of Brooke Cashion and Associates to the
Winston-Salem Cherry Street office. They are true professionals and are commitment to providing the best possible service to buyers and sellers,” said Tony Jarrett, Allen Tate Companies regional vice president.

“At Brooke Cashion and Associates, our mission is to work hard every day to fulfill the goal of real estate ownership for our clients and make their lives better. We strive to deliver the highest levels of professionalism, service, care and attention to each and every client as we continue to grow our team,” said Cashion.

To reach Brook Cashion and Associates, call 336-722-0331 or visit www.BrookeCashion.com

###

Allen Tate Realtors is the Carolinas’ largest real estate company based on closed sales volume, with offices in the Charlotte, Triad, Triangle and Upstate South Carolina regions. Allen Tate offers the advantage of hometown service with international capabilities and the latest in real estate technology and maximum marketing exposure. Visit www.allentate.com for more information.

FSIoffice acquires MyFain.com

FSIoffice is pleased to announce the acquisition of MyFain.com in the Winston-Salem market. FSIoffice is a privately held and Women-Owned Business (MWBE certified) that was established by Jimmy Godwin in 1962. During the past 50 years, FSIoffice has served the Southeast and grown from a mom and pop operation to one of the largest independent office supply dealers in the United States with more than 250 employees. At FSIoffice, we are committed to maintaining the highest degree of integrity, service and technical advancement to meet the ever-changing office supply and office furniture needs of our customers. Our relentless dedication to customer satisfaction has made us the recipient of numerous awards for our quality, service, and overall performance. Focusing on and exceeding the established standards in our industry is paramount to FSI’s continued success.
We feel the synergies of both FSIoffice and MyFain.com’s core values and focus will provide MyFain.com customers the opportunity for expanded service, product offering and technical support. FSIoffice will maintain a sales office in the Winston-Salem market to better serve the MyFain customers and Winston-Salem community. We are excited to welcome MyFain.com customers to the FSIoffice family, and as always “You will appreciate our service”.

For more information visit fsioffice.com.

Staff Announcements for the Winston-Salem Dash 2018 Season

The Winston-Salem Dash have hired new staff and promoted several of their front office team members in preparation for the 2018 home opener on Thursday, April 12.

Blair Hoke has been hired as the Director of Corporate Partnerships and Joe Weil will be the Broadcaster and Media Relations Manager. Ryan Nicholson will be the Creative Services Assistant and Owen Wilson has been hired as Box Office Manager. Russell Parmele has been promoted to the position of Senior Director of Business Operations. Paul Stephens, Brittany Daley, and LaToya Wilson earned promotions within the Dash’s ticket department, while Kenny Lathan, Brittani Stewart, and Ayla Acosta have done the same in the corporate partnerships department. Stephens will transition to Director of Ticket Sales from Ticket Sales Manager. Lathan and Stewart will transition from ticketing roles into Director of Corporate Service and Suite Sales and Community Relations Manager, respectively. Daley will become a Group Sales Representative, with Wilson becoming a Business Development Representative. Acosta is now a Corporate Partnership Representative.

For more on the front office team, read the full press release on the Dash’s website

All of these individuals are working toward making the 2018 season, the ninth in BB&T Ballpark, the best in Dash history. You can be part of the fun by purchasing a full- or partial-season ticket package by calling (336) 714-2287. More information is available on wsdash.com.

Wake and WSSU Host Joint Celebration in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Each year, Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University collaborate to host a major celebration to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The theme of this year’s program, “On Common Ground: Where Do We Go From Here?,” highlights the call for the next generation of leaders to help mend historical divides and end systemic injustice.

On Monday, Jan. 22, Michael Eric Dyson will present the 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day keynote speech at 7 p.m. in Wait Chapel.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Visit wfuic.eventbrite.com to register.

Dyson, an American Book Award recipient and two-time NAACP Image Award winner, is one of the nation’s most influential and renowned public intellectuals. His pioneering scholarship has had a profound effect on American ideas.

His most recent book, “Can You Hear Me Now? The Inspiration, Wisdom, and Insight of Michael Eric Dyson,” offers a sampling of his sharp wit, profound thought, and edifying eloquence on the enduring problems of humanity, from love to justice, and the latest topics of the day, including race and the presidency.

Dyson is University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University – but his influence has carried far beyond the academy into prisons and bookstores, political conventions and union halls, and church sanctuaries and lecture stages across the world.

Other Events

Earlier in the evening, Winston-Salem State University will host an invitation-only banquet where one student and one faculty/staff member from both Winston-Salem State and Wake Forest will receive the “Building the Dream” award in recognition of their efforts toward improving social justice and building community.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, Winston-Salem State University will host the 2018 MLK Day of Service Read-In in the Donald J. Reaves Student Center from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service and promotes King’s legacy of service, literacy and community empowerment to children ages 4-10.

For more information on the joint celebration, contact the Wake Forest Office of Multicultural Affairs at 336-758-5864, or Winston-Salem State University Student Activities and Engagement at 336-750-3351.

Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) Salute to Business Luncheon

The Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) is an integral part of the State of North Carolina, connecting communities of the Piedmont Triad. Created under special legislation in 1997, the PART agency is the only Regional Transportation Authority in North Carolina. Together with a governing board of 23 elected and appointed officials representing the Piedmont Triad from ten (10) member Counties,  the four (4) largest Cities of the Triad, four (4) Metropolitan Planning Organizations, two (2) regional airports and three (3) NCDOT Board of Transportation members, the PART agency goal is Improving Transportation through Regional Cooperation.

The agency addresses mobility through services like PART Express, a regional bus system that serves 15 routes and 27 park & ride lots throughout the region. PART also operates a robust vanpool program which currently has 51 vanpools in operation across the Piedmont Triad. Together, these two regional programs reduce over 22M miles of single occupancy travel each year.

PART manages several region-wide transportation projects such as the Piedmont Transit Resources Call Center which handled over 85,116 transit-related calls this past fiscal year. PART staff is involved in regional transportation projects related to highway, freight and transit planning, congestion management, and impacts of growth and development on our transportation network. PART accomplishes this by fulfilling its mission “To enhance the quality of all forms of transportation for each of our citizens through the efficient use and protection of our natural, economic and human resources.”

To learn more about PART, visit www.PARTnc.org.

First Row from Left to Right

Fleming El-Amin, PART Board of Trustees – Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART)
Scott Rhine, Executive Director – Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART)
Sabrina Glenn, Director of Commuter Resources – Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART)
Richard Brooks, Director of Sales and Marketing – Twin City Quarter
Dan Besse, Chair, PART Board of Trustees – Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART)

Second Row from Left to Right

Terry Barber, Director of Catering and Event Planning – Twin City Quarter
Rodessa Mitchell, Vice President, Education & Workforce Development – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Gayle Anderson, President & CEO – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Dan Joyner, President – Image360 Winston-Salem North

Applications Open for WSPD Citizen’s Police Academy

The Winston-Salem Police Department is accepting applications for the next Citizens’ Police Academy, which will start April 5.

The Citizens’ Police Academy is a 13-week program that meets once a week to better acquaint citizens with the law enforcement profession and the role of the Police Department within the community.

The Citizens’ Police Academy curriculum is similar to training for new police officers, with a mix of classroom and scenario/hands-on training on such topics as department functions, search and seizure laws, use of force, firearms training, crime prevention, domestic violence, criminal investigations, vice/narcotics operations and K-9 and special operations. Participants will have an opportunity to ride with a patrol officer. The classes are taught by officers and civilian employees throughout the department.

The weekly sessions are intended to help create a citizenry that is familiar and comfortable with the Police Department. The classes are not designed to train participants to be police officers.

Classes will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday evenings at the Public Safety Center or the Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety Training and Support Center. Enrollment is open to any citizen 18 years of age or older who resides, works or attends school in Winston-Salem. Anyone interested in attending the Citizens’ Police Academy may call the Winston-Salem Police Department for an application at 336-408-8126, or complete an application online at WSPD.org.

The class is limited to 30 students. Applications must be submitted by March 9.

The Winston-Salem Police Department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.

Can the North Carolina Business Court Hear our Lawsuit About Non-Competes?

At some point, most businesses will find themselves on one side of the following scenario: a company’s key employee who had access to proprietary and confidential information leaves and begins working for a competitor. Businesses try to minimize their risk in these scenarios through non-compete and nondisclosure agreements, and they may decide to bring a lawsuit when they believe a former employee has breached such an agreement.

When a business is deciding whether to bring a lawsuit to enforce a non-compete agreement, or on the defending side of such a lawsuit, one important question is what court will be able to hear the dispute.

The North Carolina Business Court is a popular venue for business litigation in this state for several reasons. All five of the state’s Business Court judges have backgrounds in business law. In the Business Court, each case stays before the same judge over time, which allows the judge to become deeply familiar with the issues in that case. The court is technologically up-to-date, with electronic filing and the ability to hold hearings via videoconference. The Business Court may be especially attractive to companies in the Triad region, since two of the state’s five Business Court judges are located in the area. Judge Michael Robinson has a courtroom in Winston-Salem, and Chief Judge James Gale has a courtroom in Greensboro.

State law dictates what kinds of cases the Business Court can hear. The Business Court is authorized to hear cases dealing with issues of:
• corporate governance
• securities
• antitrust law
• trademark and intellectual property law
• trade secrets
tax law
• contract disputes over $1 million

A lawsuit for breach of a non-compete or nondisclosure agreement will sometimes fall within these categories, but not always. A recent opinion from the Court offers some guidance on when these types of cases can be heard by the Business Court.

“Confidential Information” is Not Enough for NC Business Court

In Stay Alert Safety Services, Inc. v. Pratt, which the Business Court decided last month, the plaintiff company brought a lawsuit against its competitor and a former employee, alleging that the former employee was breaching his non-compete and nondisclosure agreements. The competitor and the former employee asked the Business Court to hear the lawsuit, and they reasoned that this was an appropriate case for the Business Court because it involved questions about the plaintiff’s intellectual property and trade secrets.

The Business Court disagreed, and noted that cases based on “more generalized allegations of the employer’s loss of confidential or proprietary information” typically do not fall within the categories of cases the Business Court is authorized to hear. After reviewing the Complaint, the Court noted that the plaintiff only alleged that the former employee was wrongfully using its “confidential information,” and there were no specific allegations about the plaintiff’s trade secrets or intellectual property. Because “confidential information need not necessarily be a trade secret,” the Court decided that this was not a case that the Business Court could hear.

The Stay Alert opinion suggests that a business will have a difficult time getting a non-compete case into the Business Court if there’s not also a claim for—or at least detailed allegations about—trade secret or intellectual property violations. The competitor and former employee in Stay Alert argued to the Court that their case was similar to an older case, Union Corrugating Co. v. Viechnicki, which was allowed to proceed in the Business Court.

Trade Secrets Claim May Not Be Required for NC Business Court

Like Stay Alert, Union Corrugating, a manufacturer and distributor of metal building materials, involved a company’s lawsuit for breach of non-compete and nondisclosure agreements. Union’s complaint did not bring an actual claim for misappropriation of trade secrets, but it did describe in detail the trade secrets and confidential information that the company had sought to protect through its nondisclosure agreement.

The trade secret information include detailed databases of industry contractors and distributors, as well as proprietary training and installation programs. The complaint also alleged that the employee either had or inevitably would disclose the plaintiff’s trade secrets. Even though the complaint only brought a claim for breach of contract, the court decided that the case would necessarily involve the court’s determination of whether the information described in the complaint was a trade secret protected by the nondisclosure agreement. The case was allowed to proceed in the Business Court.

A Stricter Inquiry for the NC Business Court in Recent Years

Although the Union Corrugating case was allowed to stay in the Business Court, it appears that case was an exception rather than the rule. With several cases, including Stay Alert, the Business Court has rejected attempts to bring cases that appear similar to Union Corrugating.

Cornerstone Health Care, P.A. v. Moore involved two doctors who left Cornerstone—their former practice¬—and began working elsewhere in the area. Cornerstone filed a lawsuit to enforce their non-compete agreements and asked the Business Court to hear the case.

Cornerstone did not bring any claims for trade secret misappropriation, but the complaint described certain “confidential information” that was at issue in the non-compete agreement. However, the confidential information was described in broad language as “current technologies, business practices, and strategies.” The court also noted that the Cornerstone complaint didn’t mention trade secrets once. For these reasons, the court decided this case was not like Union Corrugating and was a “straightforward contract action” that was not appropriate for the Business Court.

The Business Court took a similar position in another case named E.G. Forrest Company v. Porter. The plaintiff in that case was a food service distribution company, which brought a lawsuit against its former employee and competitor for breach of the former employee’s non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreement.

The former employee and the competitor asked the Business Court to hear the lawsuit, and they argued that, like Union Corrugating, the court would have to decide issues of trade secrets in the case. The non-disclosure agreement even defined the company’s “confidential information” by referencing North Carolina’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act. However, after reviewing the complaint, the Court concluded that the complaint did not discuss trade secrets as a meaningful part of the lawsuit. The court decided that this case was similar to Cornerstone Health Care and should not be heard in the Business Court.

Key Takeaways About the NC Business Court and Non-Competes

Straightforward claims for breach of non-compete or nondisclosure agreements are not enough on their own to bring a case to the Business Court. However, these sorts of agreements naturally implicate concerns about a company’s trade secret and confidential information. The Stay Alert case, as well as Cornerstone and E.G. Forrest, show that the Business Court is increasingly skeptical of cases that allege breach of contract without also bringing a claim for trade secret misappropriation. A company seeking to bring one of these cases to the Business Court should make sure that either there is an actual claim under the Trade Secrets Act or the complaint discusses the trade secret implications in great detail.

About the Author – Derek Bast

Derek Bast is an attorney at the law firm of Bell, Davis & Pitt. Bast focuses his practice on civil litigation and construction litigation. Prior to joining Bell, Davis & Pitt earlier this year, Bast served as a law clerk to the Honorable Louis A. Bledsoe, III, Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases, on the North Carolina Business Court. While at Wake Forest University School of Law, Derek also completed an internship with the Honorable James L. Gale, Chief Judge of the Business Court.

Derek Bast
Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A.
dbast@belldavispitt.com
(704) 227-9832

Carolina Thunderbirds Host Charity Sled Hockey Game

The Thunderbirds are proud to announce that on Saturday, January 6th, 2018, the team will play a charity game of sled hockey against an all-star team made up of players from North Carolina, including military veterans. The game will be played at 4:35 pm, with the doors opening at 4:15 pm est. This game is free and open to the public, however, the Thunderbirds are asking for a suggested donation at the door. The money raised will go towards purchasing sled hockey equipment for use right here in the Triad.

Sled hockey was originally invented in the 1960’s by a group of Swedes who wished to play ice hockey despite their physical disabilities. Sled hockey follows most of the typical ice hockey rules with the exception of some of the equipment. Players sit in specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades. There are two sticks for each player instead of one and the sticks have metal pics on the end for players to propel themselves. Goalies wear basically the same equipment but do make modifications to the glove. Metal picks are sewn into the backside to allow the goalie to maneuver.

The Thunderbirds are very excited to host this game, GM and President of the Thunderbirds Scott Brand commented on the event. “We are truly honored to be able to do something to help grow hockey in the Triad, not just for the traditional hockey players, but for those who love the sport as much as we do but have to overcome challenges to play. We feel anyone should have the chance to play our great sport and anything we can do to help that we will.”

For more information, visit the Carolina Thunderbirds website