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The Beaufort Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and promote Beaufort's knowledge economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming.

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Beaufort Digital Corridor Launches CODEcamp

The Beaufort Digital Corridor is pleased to announce the launch of CODEcamp, a project-based, introductory code education program designed for busy adults of all backgrounds and experience levels in a convenient, affordable after-hours class format.

CODEcamp is being offered as a pilot program in partnership with the University of South Carolina Beaufort with the course taught by Dr. Brian Canada, a professor in Computational Science who regularly teaches USCB's own courses in front-end and back-end web development.

The in-classroom, eight-week "Introduction to Web Development" course will be held on Saturdays from 10:00am-12:30pm at the Beaufort Digital Corridor's BASEcamp business incubator at 500 Carteret Street. The cost of the program is $295.00 with attendance limited to ten seats.

One of the four tenets of the Beaufort Digital Corridor is Talent. "Our goal in launching CODEcamp is to position Beaufort for high-wage tech and knowledge-based companies by improving the technical education skills of our citizens," said Beaufort City Councilman, Stephen Murray.

"We are pleased to extend our CODEcamp program to Beaufort," said Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade. "With over 2,000 attendees to the program in Charleston since launch in 2012, many of our graduates are finding employment in the tech industry while other working professionals are able to extend their knowledge by broadening their technical skillset."

The initial eight-week "Introduction to Web Development" course is scheduled to begin Saturday, February 17, 2018. Registration is NOW OPEN.

Lady’s Island Middle School Robotics

Big things are happening at Lady's Island Middle school, with the help of their robotics team and teacher Mike Rentz. Last season, the robotics team, "The Janitors," were the first robotics team from Beaufort County to compete in the VEX VRC World Robotics Championship. They were one of 160 middle schools from around the world invited to the event.

Engineering and Computer Science teacher, Mike Rentz, heads up the robotics program at Lady's Island Middle. His undergraduate is from the US Naval Academy and his MBA is from Boston University. Rentz is a Master Teacher for the for 'Project Lead the Way,' a national STEM curriculum and has been teaching PLTW's Gateway Program at Lady's Island for 8 years.

When asked what sparked his interest in robotics and starting the team at the Lady's Island Middle School, he replied, "One of the biggest issues our students face, and educators face, is the lack of real world problem solving in regular school curriculum. Our students are taught, in educational silos, the 4 core subjects but very rarely get an opportunity to use those skills in solving real world problems. I see robotics as a way to bring in real world problem solving in a competitive educational environment that is student centered. Since our first VEX competition, I've been hooked. When you attend a VEX tournament, no one ever leaves wondering how we can get fewer students involved."

Currently Rentz coaches three VEX Robotics teams at Lady's Island Middle. Team "Legends" is five eighth graders, James Dennison, Jacob Krebs, Tate Shetzer, Jonah Forrestall and James Stone. Aready winning two Excellence Awards and a Tournament Championship, they have qualified for the US Open and for the Palmetto State Championship.

Team "Metalmorphasis" is five seventh graders. "Metalmorphasis" has won a Robot Skills Challenge Award and an Excellence Award, as well as qualifying for the US Open and for the Palmetto State Championship. They are Michael Dennison, Carson Geier, Tyson Adkins, Blake Burns and Riley Kelly.

And robotics is not just for the boys, "The Mighty Pushers" is Lady's Island Middle Schools all girl team. The three seventh graders competing are Abigail Henry, Lily Ellis and Mackenzie McMahon.

Robotics isn't just about the fun and games. The robotics program helps create young adults who represent themselves well. The students apply the mechanical and computer science problem solving techniques to real world problems.

"I think, in Beaufort, that there is the misconception that we don't create students who can operate in a high tech environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Spending 5 minutes with a robotics team will change that perception" Rentz says.

Building a functioning robot is no easy task. Each robot the teams build has to be able to move, have a lift system, and have the ability to interact with scoring objects. Then every robot has to be programmed to be controlled. The students create their codes from scratch based on what they want the robot to do. The robots have to be able to perform in two part matches, an "autonomous period," and a driver controlled period.

Every robot at Lady Island's Middle School is completely designed and built by the students. Mr. Rentz's role is that of an advisor, there to assist with technicalities, and as a sound board for ideas. The students spend hours researching before ever starting the building process. They are constantly testing and finding solutions, working to improve the robots.

For now, Mr. Rentz volunteers his time spent with the team, which limits the amount of students that can participate. With Beaufort lacking major engineering or tech firms, finding the business partners to team up with and sponsor the team can be tough. They compete from teams that are in places like Charleston, Greenville and Columbia, which are funded at a much higher level than the Lady's Island Middle School team. They haven't let that slow them down yet.

The team will be hosting a large tournament at Lady's Island Middle School in January with close to 50 robotics teams from across the state competing. Between now and then, they will continue to improve their robots, practice, and compete in other robotics events.

Every competition the team faces is an opportunity to improve their robots, and reach the ultimate goal of qualifying for the VEX World Championships that will take place in April. The State Tournament is in March and will give the three teams a chance to qualify for VEX Worlds. The season ends in April with a trip to Iowa for the CREATE US Open VEX Robotics Championship and hopefully a return trip VEX Worlds.

Net Neutrality Repeal Would Hurt Rural South Carolina, FCC's Clyburn Says

South Carolina's longtime representative on the Federal Communications Commission is worried the state could be hard-hit if net neutrality rules are repealed, saying there isn't enough competition in rural areas to protect customers.

Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic appointee, says she fears telecommunications companies will trample consumers if open-Internet regulations are canceled. Those rules would be cut under a plan proposed last week by President Donald Trump's administration. Read more:

InsureSign Makes the Digital Signing Process Even Easier With Faster, Simpler Web-based Version, Enhanced Features

Everybody hates paperwork. And complex software. That's why InsureSign has been growing by leaps and bounds with its super easy-to-use, electronic-signing solution.

Since its inception six years ago, the brand has grown from a family business's proprietary tool to a service with tens of thousands of users through the U.S. and Canada. Today, InsureSign announced a slew of new features and updates to keep its prized status as the easiest-to-use e-signature tool on the market.

The new web-based system allows users to set up and send documents for e-signing faster than ever–-from anywhere in the world, on any computer connected to the internet. This latest version gives users more options for prepping documents for signing; they can now opt to upload documents directly, or they can use the existing Virtual Printer to instantly turn documents into ones that can be e-signed. These product enhancements are additional to the existing features InsureSign's users know and love:

  • Unlimited number of signatures, documents and templates each month.
  • Simple "drag and drop" signature fields for document set-up.
  • Document signing on smartphones, tablets and computers... even via text message.
  • Automatic back-up and storage for easy document retrieval at any time.
  • Dedicated customer assistance via phone during set-up, training and beyond.
  • All documents attach with complete audit trails.

"InsureSign takes a long 'pen and paper' process and turns it into an instantaneous 'mouse or finger' process," said Joe Floyd, founder and CEO of InsureSign. "We wanted to create more options for our users, since they all have different needs and preferences."

Floyd launched InsureSign in 2011 after creating an easy-to-use online-signature tool for his family's insurance and finance company. Floyd saw an underserviced niche in the e-signature market: the insurance industry, which relies heavily on signed agreements to function.

Six years later, Floyd and his small team have grown InsureSign's customer base to thousands of businesses, with tens of thousands of users. In 2016, the brand broke out of its original mold and now has in a broad range of industries, including healthcare, human resources, and finance.

The latest InsureSign version was built by a team of developers in Charleston, S.C. and utilizes a few modern technologies to keep the software sleek and lean. Most of the code runs in a serverless environment for speed and stability; this provides the added benefit of a more secure system since compute resources are only available for the few seconds that each function takes to run. Data is stored remotely, utilizing a no-SQL datastore, and is replicated over multiple cloud server availability zones for reliability.

The new features are now available to new and existing customers. For more information, visit www.insuresign.com.

Beaufort Digital Corridor Launches Two Community Events

The Beaufort Digital Corridor (BDC), a public-private partnership launched in 2016 to nurture Beaufort's knowledge economy, is pleased to announce the start of two community events at BASEcamp:

Both Coworking @ the Corridor and TECHconnect leverage the high-quality professional work space dedicated in January 2017. BASEcamp's design and accompanying 100mb internet connectivity is second to none in Beaufort.

Community, the most important pillar of the BDC, is the relationship between the Beaufort Digital Corridor and the companies. This mutually beneficial relationship and engagement stimulates timely discussions, supports continuous learning, and leads to the development of key initiatives and services. Through this relationship, the BDC will become the relevant, market-driven organization that was envisioned.

"Recognizing that working, knowledge-based professionals in the community are well positioned to offer their guidance and advice regarding improving the business climate in Beaufort, we want to hear from them," said Beaufort Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade.

Louis Hodges, Owner and Co-founder of Greenbug

Greenbug's Hodges: The Greatest Challenge is Also the Greatest Opportunity

Louise Hodges is owner and co-founder of Greenbug, Inc. Founded in 2010 by Louise and her husband, Dan, Greenbug offers pest control solutions using an active ingredient of cedar. Greenbug products are food-grade and do not need a pesticide license to apply. Greenbug also offers the Greenbug System, which delivers the product directly into customers' irrigation lines.

Where did you grow up?

I'm originally from Charlotte, N.C., but grew up in Colorado. I absolutely love both places. They're full of wonderful friends and family.

How did you come to be in Beaufort?

My mom and step-father moved to Fripp Island in the early '80s, and my husband and I got married there in 1985. Whenever we would leave the area, we were sad. When our daughters were getting ready to change schools (one going into middle school and one going into high school), one of them suggested we move to Beaufort. So, our adventure began!

What was your first job, or most memorable early job? What did you learn from it?

I worked at The Limited all through high school, way back when it was still a privately held company. I wanted the job to get a discount on clothes but ended up doing well – I was on the Top 10 Sales List for the whole country and the vice president of the company came to our store to meet me. That was amazing and let me know I could accomplish whatever I wanted to!

Did you have an entrepreneurial drive early on, or did you acquire it through experiences?

Unlike many entrepreneurs, I can work well under others but have felt compelled to go it alone when I see an unmet need. I started a landscape design/build firm in Charlotte, which happily employed my husband and myself (plus dozens of others) before moving to Beaufort. While we had planned on continuing that in Beaufort, the economic nightmare of 2008 squashed that idea and we had to reinvent ourselves. After creating wonderful outdoor spaces for customers in Charlotte, we realized people didn't spend as much time in their yards in Beaufort and the reason was due to bugs. Instead of toxic, synthetic chemicals, we came up with Greenbug using cedar as the active ingredient. It was a no-brainer – effective pest control products that are safe and green.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We offer pest control solutions using alternatives to chemical pesticides.

What lessons have you learned from good bosses? Bad bosses?

I've had them all! Great bosses listen and encourage. Bad bosses cut corners and pass the buck. I have had the pleasure of working for some great people for which I am very grateful!

What's the hardest or most important lesson you've learned in business?

There are no short cuts, no quick fixes, no substitutions for effort.

What's the biggest misconception about being an entrepreneur?

That is an easy question ... that you don't really work. I have always worked so much more, longer hours, nights, weekends, etc. as an entrepreneur. Work doesn't stop because it is after 5 p.m.!

Do you have a morning routine? How do you start and end your day?

There is no such thing as a typical day! I like to exercise and must do it early in the day if it is going to happen. Night time is dinner and hopefully some Netflix or reading before going to bed. Unless there are emails to answer.

What obstacles have you faced building your business? How have you overcome them?

The greatest challenge with Greenbug is also the greatest opportunity. We offer pest control solutions that are natural, safe and effective. But if I had a nickel for every time someone said, "Well, if it is natural, I doubt it works." Wait, what? We are David vs. Goliath with huge chemical companies telling everyone that toxic chemicals are safe and absolutely fine.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Go for it! Live your dream! And don't listen to the naysayers!

What do you see as the future of your company?

I see Greenbug becoming the go-to, standard solution for all bugs, kind of like Kleenex is the go-to for tissues. The Greenbug System is phenomenal for controlling all pests and will become standard for home construction and anywhere people gather.

How do you prevent burnout?

Practicing being grateful. Every order and every Greenbug System is a gift where I am helping others solve pest control without using poisons.

What one person has been the biggest influence on your business life? And why?

My wonderful husband, Dan. We have worked together for many years, which not all couples can do. I brainstorm all sorts of ideas and then he makes them happen, so I say he makes all my dreams come true!

What inspires you?

I am inspired by people who work really hard without any fanfare. If anyone knows me, they know I am a HUGE fan of college football (especially Clemson). Those guys work so hard for months on end just for a chance to play a game they love. They do most of the hard work away from spotlights and adoration to prepare for just a chance to shine.

Are you a Mac or a PC? iPhone or Android?

PC. Definitely Android – had an iPhone for a while and did not like it at all ... much to the chagrin of the rest of my family.

What's a book you always recommend?

"Animal Speak". It explains the wisdom and messages from all sorts of creatures in nature. I personally refer to it several times a week. We are always receiving insight if we are open to it.

What is your usual Starbucks (or other restaurant/pub) order?

Not a coffee drinker but sure love my Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Tea!

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

We have season tickets to Clemson football so that is a lot of our fall fun. Outside of that, I love to prune plants, cook, and go out in the boat.

Game Design Classes Expanding In Beaufort

A Beaufort High school teacher, who teaches game design and animation, will soon share his knowledge for any area students through a new series offered at the Beaufort Digital Corridor.

Seth Konoza, who's taught game design at BHS for five years now, will lead the course on Saturdays from 9am-12pm from October 14th to November 18th. It's available for any students with interest. Information on how to sign up can be found here.

Konoza's Beaufort High students found him to be a teacher who truly speaks their language.

"How many of you have ever played Five Nights at Freddy's?" he asked, followed by a show of hands.

The game-design teacher once walked the same halls as a teen, then came back five years ago, launching the class. He said it combines skills from various subjects. "You need to be good at math, you need to be good at physics, you need to understand how to physically write code and you also need have an imagination," Konoza said.

Konoza teaches one of only two classes like it in the district. He thinks it's crucial the kids get the foundation of the concepts now, to prepare for future opportunities in the field that are only going to grow with time. "Game designers can start pay at $60,000 a year and as they progress they can go into the hundreds," he said.

Upcoming Events

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TECHconnect

TECHconnect is a monthly networking event held at BASEcamp for tech practitioners and tech-progressive persons of interest with a goal to create and advance tech-progressive business potential. This is a limited attendance. Please RSVP to info@beaufortdigital.com

Coworking @ the Corridor

Join the entrepreneurial movement. Want to work alongside like-minded people and check out what's going on at Beaufort Digital Corridor's BASEcamp?

Join us for Coworking @ The Corridor on Friday, December 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Spend the day working out of BASEcamp, Beaufort's premier business incubator and co-working office. Pick a desk, settle in and check out the BDC community.

High-speed Wi-Fi and access to conference space is included.

No RSVP necessary: Walk-ins welcome and bring a friend!

Coworking @ the Corridor

Join the entrepreneurial movement. Want to work alongside like-minded people and check out what's going on at Beaufort Digital Corridor's BASEcamp?

Join us for Coworking @ The Corridor on Friday, December 29 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Spend the day working out of BASEcamp, Beaufort's premier business incubator and co-working office. Pick a desk, settle in and check out the BDC community.

High-speed Wi-Fi and access to conference space is included.

No RSVP necessary: Walk-ins welcome and bring a friend!

Fridays @ the Corridor

Get found, get noticed and get new customers in the door by channeling the power of social media. Learn a few easy tips and tricks to help you take your Google +, Facebook and Instagram skills to the next level.

At the January Fridays @ the Corridor event, Jess O'Brien, Account Director for ClickGiant, will discuss the importance of your social influence on building your business. Learn more and register HERE.

TECHconnect

TECHconnect is a monthly networking event held at BASEcamp for tech practitioners and tech-progressive persons of interest with a goal to create and advance tech-progressive business potential. This is a limited attendance. Please RSVP to info@beaufortdigital.com

Beaufort Game Jam

The Global Game Jam(r) (GGJ) is the world's largest game jam event (game creation) taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today's heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal. Learn more and register HERE.

TECHconnect

TECHconnect is a monthly networking event held at BASEcamp for tech practitioners and tech-progressive persons of interest with a goal to create and advance tech-progressive business potential. This is a limited attendance. Please RSVP to info@beaufortdigital.com

Introduction to Web Development

CODEcamp is an in-classroom continuing tech education program designed for busy adults exploring a potential new career in the software industry or working professionals seeking a career change. Students learn the fundamentals of web development (HTML, CSS & Javascript) in a hands-on classroom environment. This eight-week program will be held at BASEcamp each Saturday for the duration of the course.

**Please Note: This class is BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop).

Learn more and register HERE.