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UEN's 58th Annual Meeting

  • University of South Carolina Upstate University Way Spartanburg, SC, 29303 United States (map)
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Guest Speaker


UEN is pleased to host former Wofford College head football coach Mike Ayers as guest speaker.

Mike lead the Terriers for 30 years, and retired last December. 

The story of Ayers as head coach at Wofford began in 1988. At the time a program that had a proud history, with bowl game appearances and wins over Southeastern Conference teams on its resume, had fallen on hard times.
Enter Mike Ayers, the young and energetic coach who had built East Tennessee State into a Southern Conference contender. Over milkshakes at the Biltmore Dairy Bar in Asheville, N.C., Wofford athletics director Danny Morrison and President Joe Lesesne discussed the opportunity with Ayers.

On December 22, 1987, he was introduced as head coach. Ayers’ impact on the Terriers was immediate. He transformed that 1-10 Wofford team into a .500 squad in 1988 and then led the Terriers to an NCAA Division II playoff berth in 1990.
Ayers has been the head coach of a Terrier team that, over the past two decades, has been the epitome of success within the Southern Conference. Since the start of the 2003 season, Wofford has posted a 69-37 mark in league play, a winning percentage of .650 to lead the conference.

He has instilled his own intensity, character and pride into his teams. In the past 11 seasons, the team has reached the FCS Playoffs seven times. Wofford players have been named as SoCon Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year and have taken the Jacobs Blocking Trophy home twice as well.

While he has led the program to victories on the field, Ayers also has been a driving force behind wins in the classroom. Since the inception of the Southern Conference’s All-Academic team in 2003, Wofford has led the way in the number of student-athletes selected with, at least six players selected every year. In six of the past nine seasons, a Wofford football player has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts honor society. 

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Ayers played high school football at Glen Este High School. He earned a football scholarship to Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, where he was a three-time All-District 24 selection at linebacker while also starting at offensive tackle. He earned all-district honors as a catcher on the baseball team in addition to competing in gymnastics and wrestling.

UEN's 58th Annual Meeting

You are cordially invited to attend the Upstate Employers Network Annual Meeting breakfast on Friday, May 11, in the ballroom of the Olin B. Sansbury Campus Life Center at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

The meeting will begin promptly at 7:29 a.m., and will adjourn by 9 a.m. (Breakfast buffet will be available at 7 a.m.)

Advance paid reservations are required. Cost is $35 per person.

To make a reservation, call the Employers Network (585-1007), or click here for a reservation form.

2018 Willis Award

A highlight of the meeting will be the presentation of the 2018 Alan R. Willis Society of Service Award.

David Griffin, Industrial Support and Performance Manager for Michelin Americas Truck Tire, has been named recipient of the 2018 award.

David is a 1981 West Point graduate, and served on active duty in the U.S. Army through 1986.

He then joined Michelin, and has held various managerial positions in Europe, Canada, and the United States. For approximately six years (2012-2018), David was Site Director at Michelin’s Spartanburg truck tire manufacturing facility.

David has always made community service a priority. He is a past member and chair, of UEN’s board, past member of the board of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and board member for the United Way of Greenville. He has worked on several education initiatives, including the Spartanburg Academic Movement and programs at Fairforest Elementary School.

David and his wife, Kathleen, have 5 children.

Purpose of the Alan R. Willis Society of Service Award is to pay tribute to those whose actions help us understand the meaning of “service above self.” The award was first presented at the 1995 Annual Meeting.

The award honors Al Willis, who served for nearly 25 years as executive director of our employers association.

Annual Meeting Sponsors

Please join this list of outstanding organizations that are event sponsors:


Michelin North America - Spartanburg
Nestle Prepared Foods Company
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Swaim Brown, PA
Williams Mullen


Contec, Inc.
FordHarrison LLP
Inman Mills
McAbee, Schwartz, Halliday & Co.
Synthomer USA, LLC
William Barnet & Son, LLC


Auriga Polymers Inc.
Bommer Industries, Inc.
Carolina Alliance Bank
Duke Energy SC
Leigh Fibers, Inc.
Mary Black Health System
Milliken & Company
Solvay USA Inc.
Spartanburg Water
The Timken Company
Tietex International, Ltd.
Tindall Corporation
Toray Composite Materials America, Inc.
Wabtec Passenger Transit
Walker Higgins and Associates, LLC
Young Office



Earlier Event: May 9
Buddy to Leader