Innovators of Charlotte

27 Jan 2020
By EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

27 Jan 2020
Related topics EY wavespace™ Innovation

The Innovators of Charlotte video series highlights local, diverse innovators, some of whom have laid the foundation for the Charlotte of today and others who are driving the next wave of innovation to build the Charlotte of tomorrow.

  • Building a Bank and a City: Hugh McColl and Andrea Smith of Bank of America

    Staring out at the city of Charlotte from the window of the 60th floor of the Bank of America building, Hugh McColl calls it like he sees it. “The bank made all this happen.” The former Chairman and CEO of Bank of America is proud of his legacy — both in building the city and the bank — but the 84-year-old is also working toward the future. He’s teaming up with Andrea Smith, Bank of America's Chief Administrative Officer, to make sure the innovation culture he created not only survives — it thrives.

  • Giving Artists (and Buildings) New Life: Amy Bagwell and Amy Herman Co-Founders of Goodyear Arts

    Most people would see an old, abandoned building as an eyesore. Amy Bagwell and Amy Herman saw it as an opportunity. In the months before the building was torn down, the two found dozens of artists to display their work, helping launch what is now Goodyear Arts, a nonprofit that gives artists a space to work by taking over underused buildings and breathing new life into them.

  • Game-Changer On and Off the Court: Charlotte Hornets President Fred Whitfield

    He’s been a player, a coach, an agent and now runs an NBA team alongside basketball legend Michael Jordan, but that doesn’t keep Charlotte Hornets President Fred Whitfield from getting back on the court himself every summer and coaching kids from the community at his annual basketball camp. He says giving back to the community is a big part of the Hornets brand — a brand he has led the way in reviving.

  • Making AI Accessible: Brittany Box of Tresata

    How can the power of data shape the world? Brittany Box, Head of Sales and Marketing for Tresata, talks about the Charlotte-based $1b dollar company and how innovation plays an integral role in their local initiatives such as HackathonCLT and building AI and machine learning software that solves complex business challenges. 

  • A Powerful Merger: Angelic Gibson of AvidXchange and Tariq Bokhari of Carolina Fintech Hub

    As a banking town, Charlotte is the perfect breeding ground for the next great tech community and an obvious place to foster powerful partnerships between those in the tech community and those in the finance world. Incredibly, competing companies are working together to make that happen. Two leaders in the Fintech world – Angelic Gibson of AvidXchange and Tariq Bokhari, the founder of Carolina Fintech Hub - both believe Charlotte is poised to make its mark in the fast-growing fintech world.

  • The ABC’s of Innovation: Anand Talwar and Emily Shallal of Ally

    They may be an online bank, but when it comes to figuring out the right way to help their customers, the innovation team at Ally decided to go back to the basics by building an innovation lab intentionally modeled after an elementary school classroom and designed to foster creativity among workers — all with the hope of maximizing the customer experience.

  • Breaking Down Barriers to Build Up a Community: Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown of Novant Health

    Though decades have passed, Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown has never forgotten the look on some patients’ faces when she came in the room to treat them. For years, Garmon-Brown was the only black woman at her practice. Her experience in family medicine drove her to build Charlotte’s first free clinic — a clinic she still helps with today. But that was just part of her incredible journey, because the doctor has now become the patient.

  • Building a Culture and a Company: Derek Wang of Stratifyd

    Derek Wang had never even heard of Charlotte – the Beijing native had to Wikipedia it – when he turned down offers from other major cities around the world and decided to come study at UNC Charlotte. While serving as a professor there he co-founded Stratifyd, now one of the fastest growing tech companies in Charlotte. Wang says his company focuses on diversity and giving back and is convinced that’s what has set them up for success.  

  • Re-imagining Building a Talent Pipeline: Betsy Hauser of Tech Talent South and Jeff Damian of Lowe’s Home Improvement

    Some say Charlotte is the next Silicon Valley — but the one thing slowing the process is qualified tech talent. Betsy Hauser and Tech Talent South (TTS) are changing that by creating a new pipeline to help build the workforce. TTS does that by taking people in nontraditional roles and giving them the technology skills they need to fill specific roles. Most recently TTS has teamed up with Lowe’s Home Improvement as the retail company works to grow their technology workforce. Jeff Damian, Vice President of Product and Technology for Lowe’s, says this kind of collaboration and this kind of modernized workflow for building the workforce is a game changer.

  • Trailblazers in the Mayor’s Office: Harvey Gantt and Vi Lyles

    Harvey Gantt was Charlotte’s first black mayor in the 80’s. Now 30 years later, his longtime friend, Vi Lyles, is the city’s first black female mayor. An architect by trade, Gantt helped build Charlotte into the cosmopolitan city it’s become. Lyles says her focus is maintaining the city’s diversity and making sure all feel welcome in the Queen City.

  • The Power to Connect: Bob Irvin of the Joules Accelerator & Ryan Kennedy of Atom Power

    Thomas Edison was the last guy to do it – now a Charlotte based company has invented the first new circuit breaker in 140 years. But getting funding in the energy space can be tricky. That’s where the Joules Accelerator comes in – pairing investors with companies that are ready to go to market.

  • Powering Innovation: Brian Savoy of Duke Energy

    How does energy fuel innovation? Duke Energy’s Chief Transformation Officer, Brian Savoy, talks industry disruption, how Charlotte has become an East Coast tech hub and the importance of building out cross-functional teams and a new innovation center to transform their business.

  • Innovating to Empower Kids: Molly Shaw and Federico Rios of Communities In Schools

    “My dream for our children is that every single one of our kids understands they have potential,” says Molly Shaw, the Executive Director of Charlotte’s Communities In Schools, an organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life. Shaw works with Federico Rios, a leader in diversity and inclusion, to come up with innovative ways to empower students facing poverty and injustice.

  • Bringing Creatives Together: Tim Miner and Matt Olin Co-Founders of Charlotte Is Creative

    Tim Miner and Matt Olin met in high school and have been making each other laugh ever since. Now (mostly) grown-up the two Charlotte natives are doing their best to make sure Charlotte is Creative. The duo started Charlotte is Creative, a non-profit designed to create local initiatives that bring creatives from all parts of the community together.


Stay tuned as we continue to release videos featuring innovators in Charlotte. The Innovators of Charlotte video series highlights local, diverse innovators, some of whom have laid the foundation for the Charlotte of today and others who are driving the next wave of innovation to build the Charlotte of tomorrow.

About this article

By EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

Related topics EY wavespace™ Innovation