Patrick Bryant is kinetic. Even when still, he emanates energy coiled and ready to spring into action. It’s appropriate anima for a creative entrepreneur who has started numerous successful businesses. He has no interest in working for The Man.
“I no longer have a resume,” he declares with a grin. But drive he has in spades.
A Columbia, S.C. native, he grew up vacationing and playing in Charleston as a child, finally moving in 1997 to start the video services business Go To Team (now the largest staff video crew provider in the U.S. with 11 offices and counting.) He’s also a partner in Cigar Row. If you purchase a cigar from the Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, MGM Grand, Bi-Lo, Piggly Wiggly, Bottles or other major retailers throughout the U.S., Charleston’s Cigar Row imported it. His third current enterprise, SouthEaston Systems, provides home technology installation to high-end custom homebuilders along the Southeast coast.
To Patrick, being a leader is all about “building things and sustainable businesses in the community that will make a lasting difference. My big agenda is to make Charleston a better place to grow business. I want everything for the community, and I also want to win in the process.
He is looking for ways to help early stage businesses (3-10 employees) find the resources they need to grow and scale to hundreds of employees and millions in revenue. Hence, the creation of the non-profit Harbor Entrepreneur Center and its Accelerator program. Says Patrick, “the entire community has a responsibility to support entrepreneurship and help build a supportive ecosystem.”
His vision for Charleston: “I hope we can grow in a way that maintains the flavor, but I am ok with it becoming a big city. I hope the community continues to invest in transportation infrastructure and build it in a way that continues to make it easier to get around. There are plenty of larger cities that are doing it well and have solutions that we can apply.”
Ask what he loves about Charleston and you get a little bit more than the usual beaches, food, lifestyle attributes:
“At this point, it’s the people, the growth and innovation that has completely changed in the past 10 years.”
But then it’s back to food – Coda del Pesce, Old Village Post House and Sesame are particular faves – “I freakin’ love the food in Charleston!”
And it’s a good thing, what with all that energy spent creating and innovating…gotta refuel somewhere!
Words by: Claire Gibbons
Photography by: Mark Stetler