Company: Kaufman-Heinz LLC
Top three accomplishments
• More than $40,000 of sponsorship to Savannah area businesses and their events.
• Steady double-digit sales growth for every year since our business started in 2011.
• More than 150 unique productions in 2014.
• Certificate of Appreciation from the White House Communications Agency
• Board member of the year award for the Savannah Downtown Business Association
• Platinum sponsors for the Savannah Film Festival. I started in 2001 by volunteering for the festival as a student
Current Philanthropic roles
• Platinum sponsors for the Savannah Film Festival
• Vice president of programs for the Savannah Downtown Business Association
• Judge for the FBLA Regional Contest held at Savannah Arts Academy
Questions and answers
Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?
A: I want 2015 to be a year to focus on the personal aspect of business. When running your own company, it is easy to become unbalanced in the relationship between home and office life. I would like to bring back this balance.
Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?
A: We are a city built on rich culture, yet our technological foundation borders on non-existent. The time is here to band together as Savannahians to bring fiber to Savannah. The past that we love to celebrate in Savannah is going to be left, once again, behind if we do not embrace the high-speed revolution that is sweeping through cities across the country.
Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?
A: With the deepening of the Savannah River, Savannah has sent a bold statement to other East Coast port towns that we will not be left behind in the race for major import/export trade relations. As one of the largest employers in the State of Georgia, the Georgia Ports Authority is primed to keep our state working strong into the future, protecting our right to international trade.
Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?
A: Film in Savannah: We have the beauty, we have the expertise, we have the tax incentives. Now we need the individual business and resident commitment to marketing Savannah as film Friendly. We are finally at a place to welcome in these hollywood, big-budget projects. The difference maker is going to be public opinion and how beneficial or detremental our social media and print media can be to this industry.
Importing/exporting through the Georgia Ports Authority Ports in Savannah and Garden City is also a game changer in the upcoming years. This is huge to the United States of America, and even bigger for Savannah.
Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?
A: All. Despite our egos and what we tell ourselves, Savannah is small and really behind the times in every way. So how do we get past this? Make sure we have leaders in all fields here. Medical, technological, arts, administration – They all have a place. I am a huge supporter of getting secondary education, but what Savannah needs are entreprenureal minds, leaders in technology and arts.
Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?
A: Get involved in the programs of our youth. The middle schools, the high schools, start internship programs, mentor young adults, open up the bank of knowledge you have been gathering for your professional life and share it.
I would also stress to other Savannah leaders the importance of environmental protection. Decades late recycle bins and a few squares with live oaks is not being environmentally conscious. It is easy to assume we do our conservationist part because everything to the east is covered by water, but the sad truth is we are decades behind almost every other major city in environmental care.
Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?
A: I do not think it to be an innovation, rather a throw-back to the way business used to be run. Moral decisions, respecting those you work with, quality of product over quantity of jobs. Slow down and focus on the clients you have, the relationships you have.