This year’s Generation NEXT conversation began with a nod to community and ingenuity, harnessing the group of 20’s collective minds for a deeper discussion facing Savannah’s business community. Get to know our winners, also featured in our January/February 2017 New Frontiers issue, here.
WHITNEY SHEPHARD, 40
Principal Engineer and Planner, Transport Studio; Co-Owner, Green Truck Pub
Best piece of business advice: If you don’t measure it, it’s not worth doing. Or, when in doubt, use a matrix. When my college professor, now my partner at Transport Studio, gave that advice, he meant: Keep an open mind about possible solutions; be fair and objective; put all options on the table as an alternative. Then, work with your team to identify criteria for rating each alternative.
How I find strength during adversity: I was born and raised a few hours south of Savannah, so, I get soul-stirred and reconnected to my roots by walking on the beach, smelling the salt and staring at marshes.
How I find inspiration: On Saturdays, we head straight to the Forsyth Farmers’ Market to catch up with farmers and friends. It is fellowship hour for us. We get caught up on the season, when pecans will be ready for pie, if hot peppers are going to run out and who has loads of collards to sell. We buy for both Green Truck and the house on Saturdays. Then, we head into the kitchen. Cooking with Josh and our friends is the best therapy I can get. Making darn good food is inspiring.
How Savannah can become the best version of itself: Modernize our zoning codes to promote small business, thriving neighborhoods with mixed use and diverse housing types, and a transportation system that is safe and comfortable for people on foot, on bike and in cars and trucks. We need neighborhoods designed for retail, greenspace and walking to school. In the coming years, people will choose where to live and bring their job with them. Mid-sized cities like Savannah are poised to grow their workforce, diversify the economy and bring true talent to stay. What don’t we need more of? Parking and hotel rooms.