Wofford College class on ethics, business honors alumni's company
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Wofford College Ethics and Business Class on Wednesday (May 7, 2008) recognized Longleaf Holdings USA, LLC with the “Spartanburg Best Business Award.”
The class, taught by associate professor of finance Dr. Philip Swicegood and assistant professor of philosophy Dr. Nancy Williams, developed the Best Business Award to recognize local companies “who are doing well and doing good.”
“Most business ethics classes focus on what not to do, but we wanted to turn this class into a win-win, focusing on what can be done by focusing on doing right and doing the right thing,” Swicegood said.
Student Blake Clyborne noted that during the interview portion of the selection process, the word “integrity” came up over and over regarding Longleaf and its owners, Wofford alumni Nick Wildrick and John Bauknight. “That speaks so highly of the company and its values.”
The selection process involved creating a survey/nomination form to gather input on the quality and character of local businesses. The survey was published in the local media and distributed through the Rotary Club of Spartanburg. After compiling the results of the survey, the students rated the companies nominated and narrowed that to four finalists – Longleaf, JM Smith Corp., Wade’s Restaurant and Alliance Bank. Then, face-to-face interviews were done with employees of each company, and after presentations by their classmates, the class voted.
Bauknight and Wildrick are partners in Longleaf, a holding company that is the nucleus for their interests in several companies they have founded.
Among those companies, some of which were founded with other partners, are Total Records and Information Management, LLC (2003), which serves the records and information management industry; Total Training Services (2006), serving middle market companies for sales training and general business consulting; Total Storage Services (1997), which services the trailer storage needs of many industries; and Longleaf Development (2006), which focuses on real estate investment. Longleaf Holdings, formerly Brown & Bauknight, LLC, is their real estate investment/private equity firm.
In August 2006, Bauknight and Wildrick sold another venture they founded, Shred First, a secure document destruction company based in Spartanburg. Six years after opening its doors, Shred First was named to Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States; the company’s 1,551 percent growth in its first five full years ranked it 92nd on the list. Now, the firm has satellite offices in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Alabama, in addition to other South Carolina locations. Shred First sold its paper-shredding division in 2006; the remaining business line was renamed Total Product Destruction and serves any non-paper destruction need nationwide.
After graduating from Wofford in 1990, Wildrick spent seven years in food service sales before partnering with Bauknight to start Shred First. Since the company sold, Wildrick has focused his time on fine-tuning the finances of the Longleaf family of companies and acquisitions. He also spends time with Total Training Service, helping clients budget and expand their business. He is a member of First Presbyterian Church and is active in the Spartanburg community as a Sunday school teacher, deacon, member of Leadership South Carolina Class of 2005, member of the board of Spartanburg Regional Foundation, and is active in the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
Since his graduation from Wofford in 1989, Bauknight has been active in the start up of several entrepreneurial ventures. His first start up began in 1990 in the employee benefits industry; he was a founding partner of a third-party administrative firm. In 1994, he left the employee benefits field for the real estate and investment arena before starting Shred First in 1997.
Since the sale of Shred First, Bauknight has been focused on business development for Total Records and Longleaf Holdings.
He is a member of The Episcopal Church of the Advent and is active in the community as a member of the Young President Organization, the Charles Lea Center Foundation Board (2003-present, chair-elect), BB&T Local Advisory Board (2005-present), Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2002-04 and 2006-present), Wofford Terrier Club Board of Directors (2001-03 and 2005-present; co-chair-elect), NAID Board (National Association of Information Destruction) (2002-05; president, 2005); and Upstate Better Business Bureau Board (2001-04).
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