Monthly Archives: April 2015

RadioTriad Biz  Creative housing: ThinkHouseU aims to wring innovation out of entrepreneurial roommates

Bryan Toney, left, associate vice chancellor for economic development and corporate engagement at UNCG, and Justin Streuli, director of the N.C. Entrepreneurship Center at UNCG, stand in front of the house on Silver Avenue in Greensboro that will be renovated for ThinkHouseU. Photo for TBJ by Julie Knight

Bryan Toney, left, associate vice chancellor for economic development at UNCG, and Justin Streuli, director of the N.C. Entrepreneurship Center at UNCG, stand in front of the house  that will be renovated for ThinkHouseU. Photo by Julie Knight

Entrepreneurial support is poised to expand once again in Greensboro while taking a step closer to a nationally recognized entrepreneurial haven – the Triangle.

Starting in August 2015, UNC Greensboro will serve as a national pilot for a residential concept called ThinkHouseU. In a renovated house in the Glenwood neighborhood near campus, eight imaginative and determined undergrads with viable visions of new business startups will live together for nine months. They will not only share kitchen space and bathrooms, but swap ideas and encouragement as well.

Chris Gergen,  a leader in the Triangle in entrepreneurial support, is behind the effort in Greensboro.

My monthly Triad Next column is here at Medium.com and describes the program. My radio story with Keri Brown at WFDD is at this link.

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Travel  At the races in Bangkok

The Royal Turf Club in Bangkok

The Royal Turf Club in Bangkok

On a Sunday afternoon, an American traveller discovers a favourite Thai pastime: racing horses at the Royal Turf Club — Four Seasons Magazine.

My wife and I visited our daughter Emilia in Thailand in March 2013 when she was there as an elementary school teacher. During our first weekend there, she and her friend Ian showed us a side of Bangkok beyond Buddhas, tuk-tuks and Khao San Road. They took us to one of the city’s two race tracks. It was an incredible experience, and Four Seasons Magazine bought the story. The story can be read here.

Ian, channeling Bukowski, on the rail studying the odds before the next race.

Ian, channeling Bukowski, on the rail studying the odds before the next race.

Excerpt: Ian goes to the rail to study the horses. He’s channeling Bukowski with a smoke in one hand, a whiskey in the other. I hang behind him, taking in the scene. The lush grass track is bordered by a row of blooming rose bushes. The infield has ponds, palm trees and a par-3 golf course. The jockeys in their colourful silks look young enough to be my daughter’s middle school students. And, as if to emphasize that we’re a long way from Churchill Downs, the peaked rooflines of the lavish Marble Temple shimmer in red just beyond the first turn.

EnvironmentTriad Biz  Perils of plastic: How a remote Caribbean island is marred by discarded water bottles

Wake Forest ecology student learn first hand the perils of plastic on Long Caye. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Wake Forest ecology student learn first hand the perils of plastic on Long Caye. Photo by Justin Catanoso

During the week of March 7, 2015 — Spring Break — my wife and I traveled with a group of Wake Forest University students and faculty in a coral ecology class. Arriving in Belize City late morning, we all boarded a boat called the Great White and piloted 47 miles into the Caribbean to Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a remote and mostly untouched set of six islands on the world’s second-largest coral reef. We set up home for the week on Long Caye (2.5 miles long; 0.9 milewide) and the Itza Lodge, a fabulous, rustic eco-lodge used mostly by university groups and some intrepid tourists.

The beauty of the coral reef on Lighthouse Reef Atoll is unsurpassed.

The beauty of the coral reef on Lighthouse Reef Atoll is unsurpassed. Photo by Justin Catanoso

My goal journalistically was to return with a story tied to the underwater marvels we saw while snorkeling daily in the clear turquoise water in the Atoll — including the famous Great Blue Hole. Instead, I came back with a heartbreaking story about our voluminous, reckless use-and-disposal of all manners of plastics, and how it is marring a place as beautiful, pristine and remote as Long Caye.

Aside from public radio report WFDD, my commentary appeared first in Triad Business Journal and soon after on National Geographic online and BusinessInsider.