Category Archives: Triad Biz

EnvironmentTriad Biz  Triad Business Journal: VF official at UN climate summit: North Carolina is missing out on renewable energy opportunities

 

Business panel discussion at the US Pavilion. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Business panel discussion at the US Pavilion. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Triad Business Journal, where I was executive editor from 1998 to 2011, posted my first story from Paris and COP21. The story is here.

Here’s an excerpt:  The business leaders’ message was consistent and clear: Climate change in the form of drought, more frequent and erratic storms of greater intensity, and rising sea levels, is costing them millions, disrupting their supply chains and damaging their investments. Mostly, though, they each stressed the economic opportunities lost in not transitioning more aggressively to renewable energy sources.

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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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.

Triad Biz  Targacept’s pioneering target proves too elusive

I had the good fortune of covering Targacept, a pioneering drug-discovery company that spun out of R&D at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., since its founding in 2000. Don deBethizy, the first CEO, placed a good bit of trust in me as a journalist with the Business Journal and allowed me extraordinary access to his strategic thinking and his top scientists.

Targacept promised to revolutionize the treatment of mankind’s most vexing neurological disorders by harnessing the most advantageous properties of nicotine. It was an audacious plan that attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in investment of venture capitalists, public markets and individual investors. It was also, after 15 years, more than 20 drug trials and $300 million spent, a complete and utter failure.

My February 2015 column in the Triad Business Journal is an obituary of sorts for the company and the pharmacological concept that eluded it. At this link, you will find a Q&A I conducted with Targacept’s second and final CEO, Stephen Hill. Finally, here is a link to my WFDD radio report on the failure of Targacept.

EnvironmentTriad Biz  Crystal clear intentions for the Yadkin River

TRIAD NEXT: My January 2015 column in the Triad Business Journal is a Q&A with Will Scott, the new Yadkin Riverkeeper. The 7,000-square-mile river basis, which provides drinking water for some 700,000 residents, is in good hands. The story is at this link.

EnvironmentTriad Biz  Can Mayors Lead the Charge Against Global Warming?

TRIAD NEXT: On Saturday, Dec. 6, my first evening in Lima, Peru, for the UN climate summit, I had the good fortune of meeting Riley M. Duren, a chief systems engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. For an hour or so in the lounge of the Lima Westin, after a long day of presentations at the Global Landscape Forum, Riley talked to me about an issue I had never really thought of before: the role of cities and mayors in the climate change equation.

He was so thoughtful and passionate on this topic that I set aside my Bloody Mary, grabbed my notebook and turned a casual conversation into an interview. I knew I had a column to write for the Triad Business Journal when I returned to the states. And within a few minutes, I knew our conversation would form the basis for my column, linked here at Medium.com

Triad Biz  Winston-Salem’s resurgent downtown is no overnight success

winstonsalemskyline

Triad Next, my monthly column in the Triad Business Journal, looks at the revitalization of downtown Winston-Salem, which my radio report was based on. The full story is here on Medium.com.

Excerpt: From Krankies Coffee on the east side to Camino Bakery in the center to Moselles Fresh Southern Bistro in West End, downtown Winston-Salem – which, unlike downtown Greensboro, preserved so much of its original architecture, from storefronts to factories – is alive and buzzing and growing…Yet to truly appreciate all that’s happened and continues to happen – look at the new deluxe apartments in Plant 64, look at Mast General coming to Trade Street – it’s important to remember how desolate and dreary this huge swath of town was just a decade-and-a-half ago.

Triad Biz  Triad Next: Room for Collaboration

What a collaborative workspace looks like.

What a collaborative workspace looks like.

My second column in the Triad Business Journal, published Sept. 26, takes a look at the trend toward collaborative workspaces in the Triad, with a focus on Flywheel, which opened recently in the Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem.  I posted my column here on Medium.com while it’s behind the TBJ paywall for a month.

Excerpt: “According to a recent Gallup survey, about one-third of the U.S. employees operate outside the traditional confines of office towers, cubicles or factories. In other words, one in three American workers don’t have a traditional place to work.”

Triad Biz  Triad Next: Triad builds framework that suits creative class

Joey Adams, 33, a Greensboro software developer, is co-founder of The Forge, a makerspace in downtown Greensboro.

Joey Adams, 33, a Greensboro software developer, is co-founder of The Forge, a makerspace in downtown Greensboro.

When I was executive editor of the Triad Business Journal from 1998 to 2011, I wrote a weekly front-page column titled Triad Talk. After a three-year hiatus, Editor Mark Sutter agreed to my idea to return as a monthly columnist with a new name, Triad Next. The first column on the Triad’s growing support for young, creative professionals ran on Aug. 29, 2014. It’s behind a paywall for 30 days. But you can see it on Medium.com before then.

Excerpt:  Take downtown apartments and ballparks, coffee shops, microbreweries, art hops,food trucks, live theater and bike paths. Add in idea slams, accelerator labs, collaborative office space, entrepreneurial meetups and business incubators. That’s when the perception shifts. That’s when you hear something like this: “I see no reason why I can’t build my company here,” says Chris Padgett, 26, founder of Fusion 3 Design, a 6-month-old 3D-printer manufacturer in east Greensboro. “It’s places like this that make me optimistic.”

Photo by Justin Catanoso