Friday, November 13, 2009

Tryon Palace - Biggest Win Yet!

The Harris Partners is pleased to announce that Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC has selected us for their major rebranding effort, including the launch of the new NC History Center, scheduled for August 2010.

This is just the kind of project we like - getting in on the ground floor and starting to rebuild. This project will include three phases. The first will be a strategic analysis of the attraction, its target audience, and competition. The second will focus on the new strategic positioning for Tryon Palace, and the third will be the creative execution of that positioning. We can hardly wait to get started!

The competition for this assignment was fierce. There were six companies in the running, with three finalists selected. And we got the great news today that we won! Smart thinking won out over bricks and mortar!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Breaking Ground on a New Cancer Center at Duke

I've just returned from the groundbreaking for the new $700 million Cancer Center building at Duke. What a wonderful celebration! And what a building! This will make such a difference in the lives of our patients and families. The building should be completed in 2011.

We combined the meetings of both of the Cancer Center boards to help celebrate the groundbreaking. I so enjoy these meetings, as well as seeing wonderful friends.

You may remember my posting in July about my friend, Dr. Neil Spector, regarding his heart transplant. I saw Neil for the first time since his surgery at this meeting, and he really looks wonderful. Everyone was trilled to see him, and I think that was the best medicine he could have. He's back at work now, and trying to get back into his old routine slowly but surely. What a miracle!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Night!

Last night was election night here, and I was the campaign manager for my long-time friend Robbie Perkins. He was running for re-election to the Greensboro City Council at large.

Needless to say, he won! I'll take some of the credit, but Robbie is really just what this community needs in terms of leadership. This will mark his 15th year serving on Council, and his accomplishments are well-known and recognized. I'm very proud of him!

We both really enjoy campaigning, so it's been an especially fun three months for us. We'll have to see what 2011 brings!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A New Client!

I'm very proud to announce that Hanes Lineberry Funeral Home is joining the roster of fine clients with whom The Harris Partners is privileged to work. I have known the Lineberry family all of my life, so it's especially an honor to have your friends want to do business with you.

I'm going to keep the details of the assignment secret for now until we go public! So stay tuned!

We're really looking forward to this partnership!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Successful Market

I've just returned from Chicago where the Casual Furnishings industry hosted its annual market at the Merchandise Mart. The market was viewed as a great success! Especially great news, in light of the economy!

Our wonderful client, the International Casual Furnishings Association, hosted its annual Apollo Awards dinner on the night before the market closed, and it was held in the refurbished Union Station. I hadn't been in that building since I lived in Chicago, and the renovation was breathtaking. The dinner was a great success, and the two videos we produced for the Lifetime Achievement Award winners were very favourably received. I love this project and will be looking forward to 2010!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rankin King Farm Opens

Beacon Management's newest project opened today! Rankin King Farm was dedicated at a wonderful reception this afternoon.

I am very proud of my client and friend, George Carr, CEO of Beacon Management. George has a 30+ year career in real estate with particular emphasis in the areas of managing, developing and financing low and moderate income apartment communities. Utilizing a wide range of financing techniques, he has developed over $125 million of affordable rental housing.
These communities include conventional housing, mixed income and tax credit properties, substantially rehabilitated historic and non-historic properties and other affordable housing communities developed and assisted under a variety of city, state, and federal programs.

George has developed several properties with significant historical roots in the communities in which they are located. Rankin King Farm is one of them. He preserved the original house on the property and turned it into a community center for the residents. It's just beautiful and so exciting to see the new residents' pride in where they live.

The Harris Partners helped position this new property and sourced items that were given to residents and guests at the opening. For a rendering of this new property, see our News and Events Image Gallery.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Neil's Healing Heart

Those of you who know me or visit my website know about my support for the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. In fact, it is my passion.

Over the years, I have gotten to know, and have become very close to so many wonderful people there - patients, nurses, volunteers, physicians - to say they are a remarkable lot would be an understatement.

One physician I am so very proud to call my dear friend is Dr. Neil Spector. Neil and I are the same age, and we graduated from college the same year - he from UNC and me from Duke. So I always like to tease him about that. He's good at giving it back to me as well!

We have known for some time that Neil's heart has been weak as a result of an illness many years ago. His condition has been especially weakening for the past several months. Well, I got a phone call from a mutual friend on Monday afternoon, telling me that Neil had just completed heart transplant surgery! I had no idea he was in such dire circumstances, and to be honest, was kind of glad I wasn't privy to the events of last weekend leading up to this decision!

The great news is that Neil is doing wonderfully well! He was out of Intensive Care within 48 hours, and is walking about 2 miles each day around the halls! A true miracle! I have a feeling that he will be impossible to reign in once he's out of the hospital and back at work!

We are all so grateful for his return to good health and are thinking so much about the selfless decision his donor's family made that has allowed us to have Neil healthy again. God bless them.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Chicago in July!

We just got back from three wonderful days in Chicago, where we filmed the interviews for the ICFA's Lifetime Achievement Awards.

As I mentioned in previous post, this has become a project that we all look forward to every year. We have met so many amazing people, and this year was no exception. We reviewed the footage last week and editing all of these great interviews down to two 5-minute tribute videos is going to be challenge! There is so much to work with!

Thees videos will be shown in Chicago on September 23 at Union Station as a part of the ICFA's 50th Annual Apollo Awards. Last year (2008) was the first year we had produced these videos, and the morning after the presentation, a reporter came up to me and asked if my company had produced the videos shown the previous evening. When I replied that, yes, we had, he said "On a scale of one to ten, last year's (2007) videos were a 4. This year, they were a 12!" We obviously were so proud and felt just great!

We're looking forward to participating again this year!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lifetime Achievement Awards for ICFA

We've been working with the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) for a little over a year now. They are wonderful clients and have so many interesting projects.

ICFA is a trade association that represents manufacturers and retailer of outdoor furniture. What a great industry! And with more people staying home and traveling less, we find that they are investing more in their homes and furnishings.

Last year, we produced and filmed two videos that honored the Lifetime Achievement Award recipients at the Casual Industry's annual dinner in September in Chicago. We were so pleased with the results and were excited to be asked to produce and film the videos for this year's recipients. We traveled to Hickory and High Point earlier this week to begin filming, and we'll finish up in Chicago next month.

We have met such wonderful people through this organization and are looking to this year's awards!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Concrete Express

I was approached in December by a long-time friend who was starting a business and asked for my help. His concept is new to this market and very interesting.

The company is named Concrete Express, and specializes in delivering small loads of concrete to sites that larger trucks would not be able to access. The mixer is small, and the truck is very maneuverable.

We created their corporate identity (see Image Gallery: News and Events gallery on our website) and developed a launch plan for them. They are experiencing great success already! Read more about them at

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A New Real Estate Broker

Today, I sat for my NC Real Estate exam and passed!

As I've said before, I'm glad I did this, and am also glad to be finished!

This will allow me to not only market my NAIPT clients' business more effectively, but will also allow me to be involved with some interesting projects with which I would not have been able to be involved had I not gotten my licence. That's exciting!

Friday, March 27, 2009

An Incredible Day

This has truly been one of the most incredible days of my life.

Today was my last meeting as Chair of the Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC) at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. I've been chair for 4 years, as was my dad in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

This group is the oldest volunteer board at the Cancer enter. We're the grassroots arm of the Cancer Center, and our mission is to be ambassadors for Duke and raise awareness of the wonderful things happening at Duke in the fight against cancer.

I was honored by the things that were said about me and my contributions to Duke at this meeting. It truly has been my honor and privilege to have been associated with this incredible group of people. And I will continue to stay on as a member of the CAC in the years to come!

They gave me a beautiful Duke Medicine chair with an engraved plaque on the back that I have in my study. It will be one of my treasures.

We've made such great progress in our quest to find effective therapies that will make the fear of a cancer diagnosis a thing of the past. It's awe-inspiring to hear of the research being done and care being given by these physicians at Duke. Read more at

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness

I think March is my favorite month of the year. As a Duke basketball fanatic, March is right in the thick of things as far as basketball around here goes.

I've been involved with the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament here for 10 years, and it's one of my favorite events. The women can really play!

It's been a great opportunity to be involved with the marketing of this tournament. When we first started 10 years ago, we had to convince folks that this would actually be an exciting sports event worth watching. Now, we have sell-out crowds in the Greensboro Coliseum! Mission accomplished!

One of the reasons for our success is a partnership we began 10 years ago with Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test, a local grassroots organization that raises awareness and money to support research aimed at discovering a test that will detect breast cancer early. This organization is fabulous and has been wonderfully successful with their efforts. It's an honor to have been associated with them. You can read more about them at

The NCAA Men's Regional Tournament began here today, and I had breakfast with my dear friend Bob Harris (no relation!), who is the voice of the Duke Blue Devils. I've known Bob for more years than either of us cares to count, and he is truly a legend not only at Duke but within the ACC and national sporting world. He told me this morning that he's writing a book that is due to be published in the fall of 2009. It will have an audio CD as part of the book, with some of his most famous conversations over the years. Watch for more on this at

And today is my birthday! What a wonderful way to celebrate than to be with dear friends and watching Duke basketball!

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Passed!

Well, I got my real estate exam results back today, and I passed the course! Whew! I did not want to have to take that class again, which is what I would have had to do if I hadn't passed the first time.

My NAIPT clients are thrilled with the news!

So now it's on to the NC State exam. I think I'll take a few weeks off before I tackle that one, so I've scheduled it for April 8.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Exam Time

I told you I'd keep you up to date on my progress in real estate school.

Getting back in the habit of studying has been the most interesting part. Boy, am I out of practice! I find myself studying every night and every weekend.

But I am learning a lot and have lots of new ideas to share with my NAIPT client as a result of the course. So it's been well worth it.

Final exam is February 25th. I have to pass this class exam in order to sit for the NC State exam. I figure I've gone this far, so I might as well get my broker's license!

Back to the books....

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Big Birthday

One of the things I've read recently in the trade press is, despite the downturn in the economy, people will still spend money on their pets. It seems to be a recession-proof category! It is estimated that US pet owners spent approximately $36 billion on their pets last year, quite an increase from 1994 when annual pet expenditures in the US were $17 billion.

And I'm certainly doing my part to contribute to that figure!

My miniature chocolate brown poodle, McKenzie turned 10 years old yesterday. He is the love of my life, to put it mildly. And we are so lucky that he's in perfect health. So, I thought a celebration was in order for him. And everyone needs an excuse to party in the middle of winter, right?

Invitations were mailed, and 50 of McKenzie's closest friends (two-legged variety) arrived last night to celebrate him at a buffet dinner at our home - catered, of course. No detail was overlooked, and the event concluded with everyone receiving a party favor to take home - individually bagged M&M's (tied with a red ribbon), personalized with McKenzie's picture on every one.

I wasn't kidding when I said I'm contributing to that $36 billion annual expenditure!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Real Estate School

I've always been known for learning my clients' businesses as well as they do - or at least trying to!

Well, the folks at NAI Piedmont Triad came to me last fall with an idea. They thought it would be a good idea for me to enroll in Real Estate school so that I could better understand their business. That's something that I must admit I'd never thought of before! But it makes sense!

So I enrolled in the Dan Mohr Real Estate School last week. It's a six-week intensive course - 12 hours each week. So far so good! The coursework is interesting and will require some studying to stay current. It's been a long time since I've had to study, not to mention run a business at the same time. But I do think it will help me be a better partner to my NAIPT clients, and that's the objective!

I'll keep you posted as to my progress!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year

Happy New Year!

After 2008, we need one, don't we?

I always look forward to a new year and am optimistic about its possibilities. Why not! What do we have to lose from having a positive attitude?

I'm encouraging my clients to adopt the same attitude. I believe that it makes others want to be around you and want to do businbess with you. And it certainly makes you feel better!

So here's to 2009! May it bring all the good things you wish for!