Robert L. McCorkle III
Age as of Jan. 1: 38
Company: McCorkle & Johnson LLP
Savannah neighborhood: Dutch Island
Q: What are your top three business growth accomplishments?
A: Building a fully sustainable law practice after moving back to Savannah in 2005 and maintaining continuous growth throughout the “Great Recession” in spite of my commercial real estate practice area.
A: Working with my partner Mat McCoy to build a neighborhood and condominium association practice from the ground up. We saw a need in the community, educated ourselves and went to work. We have been successful and work continuously to grow the practice area and our expertise in it.
A: Finding quality outlets for service in the Savannah community. My grandfather and father instilled in me that it is your duty to serve in the community in which you live. It is not all about networking. It is about putting “service above self” and giving of your time and money. If you do that, the business development will come.
Q: What are your top three business awards/accolades?
A: Top 40 Under 40 attorney in Georgia, The Daily Report (2014)
A: Georgia Rising Star Super Lawyer, Atlanta Magazine (2009-2011, 2014, 2015)
A: Being selected as the president of my Rotary Club. I cannot say enough about how honored I was to lead that group of young, dynamic professionals.
Q: What are your top philanthropic leadership roles?
A: Board member and immediate past president, Metropolitan Savannah Rotary Club
A: Board member, Savannah Downtown Business Association
A: Lay Leaders Committee, Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church
Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?
A: I need to be a better mentor and boss. I am pretty good at counseling my clients and managing a growing law practice. I am pretty bad at counseling my associates and managing a growing staff.
Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?
A: Personally, I would love to see a “talk to type” software that works well so I can quit pecking around this keyboard. For Savannah, we desperately need to install fiber and provide free Wi-Fi downtown. I fail to understand how this is not a priority for City Council.
It is not that complicated or expensive and will enhance the lives of residents, be a wonderful service for tourists and provide the network necessary to fight crime with cameras on every major street corner and in every square.
Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?
A: Our two biggest assets are the port and being a tourist attraction. Those assets have driven the economy for years and will continue to do so into the future. Whether we properly leverage those assets will be determined by our commitment to permitting the infrastructure and development necessary to foster growth.
Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?
A: For the coming year, I think it will continue to be industrial development, trucking and warehousing. The M&A market has been incredibly bullish in the trucking and logistics sector, and we have been involved in several asset and stock buyouts over the past year. I think this trend will continue through 2016.
Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?
A: Logistics and tech. Because of the port and the number of bright, innovative minds our local colleges are producing every year, Savannah is uniquely positioned to be an industry leader in these fields. That is, if we can keep the talent here.
My friend Ruel Joyner would tell you that we could be the Silicon Valley of the East Coast. Or maybe we should just call it the “Creative Coast” as that organization has the right idea. The question is whether our community leaders are committed to make that happen. Wi-Fi would be a good place to start.
Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?
A: Learn how to say “No.” As a business leader you are going to be asked to join a lot of committees and be on a lot of boards. The trick is to pick two or three that you are passionate about and dedicate the time and energy to them that they deserve.
Your other time is better spent with your family, not going through the motions in meetings five nights a week.
Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?
A: I am proud of being a charter member and president of the Metropolitan Savannah Rotary Club. We were the second Rotary Club in the country to have membership based on age and not geography.
It was a radical idea in the Rotary world. There was no guide book, just a group of dynamic professionals trying to figure out how they could best use their talents to serve their community.
I am hopeful that as our club ages, we will sponsor a new club of younger professionals and give them the opportunity to serve others in the way that they see fit. And have fun doing it.