South’s Greatest Bosses



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In this issue, we feature five fantastic bosses with enthusiastic "best boss" nominations from their own employees, those fine working folks who make the dreams possible.

Actually, six great bosses, since our top five selections include the dynamic duo in charge of Pioneer Transport along with the owner-operator of Levy Jewelers and three distinguished law enforcement officers. One or two key takeaways seem to hold true for effective leadership in every possible field–like the power of listening. Other insights may surprise you. 

Lowell Kronowitz / Levy Jewelers

What’s one key skill that makes you a great boss that you wish you’d learned or even mastered five years sooner?

An old skill I wish I had mastered 25 years ago (5 years earlier than the 20 years ago I learned it): Don’t shoot the messenger. Be approachable. You want to be approachable from your team and you want to make sure that some quick response doesn’t prohibit people from wanting to approach you, because you can’t hear just the good news. People have to have access to give you the bad news sometimes.

What’s the one soft skill (interpersonal or leadership) in your great boss skill set that yields the most consistent positive results for your whole team?

Being fair and reasonable. Using those two balances in almost everything. Gathering as much information by listening to all sides of a conversation before coming to any conclusions; you know, being “part of the team” is LISTENING. Getting this skill isn’t always synonymous with age, but it does have to do with maturity.

Briefly, how has technology changed the way you do your job —for better and for worse?

It’s allowed my customers and my team to always be able to reach out to me and me to them—and that’s just it: Constant access can be both a blessing and a curse. Technology has shortened the span of information flow, and with that you have to be careful about it overtaking your personal life, but I like to be available to both my customers and my team.

What essentials of leadership in your field never change?

I think listening skills have to be an essential. Someone said to me one time a long time ago, When two people are in a room and one is talking and another is listening, the question is: WHO’S LEARNING? Listening skills are paramount in a leadership role.

HOW TO BE A GREAT BOSS, TIP # 01 - You listen. You know about people’s family lives. You don’t want to be intrusive, but you make sure that things are well of building up trust, because without trust, you can’t expect someone to share with you.

Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie / Effingham County

What’s one key skill that makes you a great boss that you wish you’d learned or even mastered five years sooner?

The one thing that I’ve always tried to do is I feel like you can’t ask somebody to do something that you’re not willing to do…I guess, being a little bit tougher if you will in some situations. But give your employee the benefit of the doubt.

What’s the one soft skill (interpersonal or leadership) in your great boss skill set that yields the most consistent positive results for your whole team?

Going out and helping in the situations. I show up on the scene when they need help in a situation—not to take over, but to help. I view it as a support role.

Briefly, how has technology changed the way you do your job —for better and for worse?

I guess the worst would be the Facebook stuff, probably, has been the hardest thing for us. You know we have situations we go to where criminal activity has taken place—somebody might have been injured or killed—and before we can make contact with the families and the people that need to be notified, it’s already blasted all over Facebook. That hurts us. On the positive side, social media has helped us as well because we can get more information out to the public in a quicker time than we could in the past.

What essentials of leadership in your field never change?

I guess just the biggest thing is just the willingness and the ability to stop and listen. Take a minute to listen to the people and listen to the employees and pay attention to what they’ve got going on. I’ve been told that I like to “lead from the front.” I don’t know if that’s always the case or not... but, well basically if I going to ask somebody to do something, I’m going to be going in with them. I’m not going to be sitting behind a desk somewhere when somebody else is having to do the hard stuff.

How about in relation to body cams and surveillance technology, how has that changed things?

We don’t use body cams, but we do have car cameras and, you know, it’s able to give us a lot of evidence we can take to court. It shows us, of course, if one of the officers is doing something inappropriate…As well, if a false accusation comes in against the officer, we’ve got a camera there to show that it isn’t what we were told it was. So, having a camera on the scene is only a positive in your book? Absolutely. I was one of the first ones here that ever had a recording device in their vehicle. I started out with a cassette recorder—a little old micro cassette recorder on my gun belt. I’ve been a large proponent of those types of technology ever since.

HOW TO BE A GREAT BOSS, TIP # 02 - Listen to what the old guys are telling you. Always be honest. Be willing to do the hard things if you have to.

Melinda Schuman and Robin Ketcham / Pioneer Transport

What’s one key skill that makes you a great boss that you wish you’d learned or even mastered five years sooner?

That’s just it, we don’t act like or think we are your typical “bosses.” We are a team. Yes, we—as owners—have more to gain or lose at the end of the day, but when you treat people like you want to be treated it’s usually a win-win situation.

What’s the one soft skill (interpersonal or leadership) in your great boss skill set that yields the most consistent positive results for your whole team?

Just to listen sometimes more than you talk. You can learn a lot from people if you just listen to them. Everyone has a story, people are more than employees when they come to work with us. If you treat them with respect and gratitude most will return that respect and gratitude to you.

Briefly, how has technology changed the way you do your job —for better and for worse?

In some aspects it’s much better: there are things that are more streamlined and processes that flow more efficiently with technology; but also with technology you lose the personal connection that is often needed to connect with others on a personal level.

What essentials of leadership in your field never change?

Hardwork, dedication, accountability.

What would your employees probably change about you if they could?

Melinda Schuman: I’m not sure the employees would want to change my “never say no” characteristic, but I sure would. I joke and often say I must not have had many friends when I was growing up. I often have a tough time saying “no” to things. I can get overwhelmed very easily by this. I have learned through the years that everyone is not going to agree on everything all the time, that it’s OK to say “no,” but of course in the right way. Robin Ketcham: This has to be the fact that I overthink EVERYTHING, I am always preplanning and even with the best-laid plans situations arise that I have no control over. With all of this overthinking comes a lot of stress and I think my employees like to see me happy, as I like to see them.

HOW TO BE A GREAT BOSS, TIP # 03 - Be humble. Be responsible. Put the hard work in. Be determined.

Sheriff William Freeman / Chatham County

What’s one key skill that makes you a great boss that you wish you’d learned or even mastered five years sooner?

Listening to people’s concerns and handling them and just being responsive. I know sometimes in police work you get so wrapped up in things you don’t really listen to what they’re saying and their problems. And you need to listen more, listen closely.

What’s the one soft skill (interpersonal or leadership) in your great boss skill set that yields the most consistent positive results for your whole team?

You listen to them (officers and public) and you take what they’re saying, and then you don’t let the problem lie there —you handle it. There are all sorts of problems. There may be families involved. You go ahead and try to immediately resolve it for them.

Briefly, how has technology changed the way you do your job —for better and for worse?

Well, I think it’s much better. Particularly when you’ve got computers and you’re working with those sort of things. The technology is great—but I can tell you one thing, too: it isn’t everything.

What essentials of leadership in your field never change?

Understanding people. Be positive. Treat them fairly. I’m one of those managers that you know where you stand with me all the time. I’m very blunt. But they know. And what you see is what you get.

What would your employees probably change about you if they could?

Probably not being so blunt. (*He laughs; staff in background laughs, too.*) I had one of the training directors tell me, “You’re not only blunt, you’re also brutal.” “Brutally honest” I think was his terminology.

HOW TO BE A GREAT BOSS, TIP # 04 - Have integrity, be true unto thyself, and always remember other people’s thoughts and feelings and be open to other people’s suggestions. I used to say: Even the new guy coming in—you can learn something from him that you don’t know. You don’t want to stop learning. And that’s one of the biggest things: Never stop learning.

Chief Paul D. Wynn / Springfield County

What’s one key skill that makes you a great boss that you wish you’d learned or even mastered five years sooner?

You should never stop learning everything that you can —especially about how to see things from another person’s perspective.

What’s the one soft skill (interpersonal or leadership) in your great boss skill set that yields the most consistent positive results for your whole team?

Probably just caring enough about every member of the team to never send them into a bad situation unaware or without strategy and back-up, and my total commitment to support them through anything that could happen.

Briefly, how has technology changed the way you do your job —for better and for worse?

Having body cameras or car cameras – any objective view on a situation—is a definite plus. When the adrenaline is pumping, you’ll get as many different stories as you have witnesses. My officers even have cameras right on their tasers. It’s a double-edged sword, though. If an officer accidentally covers a camera or points it toward the ground at the wrong moment, someone will try to claim that was intentional. But on the whole, the new technology has definitely made things better. It protects both the officers and the citizens from abuse or false accusations.

What essentials of leadership in your field never change?

Listening to people and caring about their problems. Knowing your environment and who the people are in the neighborhoods and how they’re living. We have a lot of elderly residents who don’t necessarily want to go into an assisted-living situation or a nursing home. So our officers know things like what prescription medicines they need in an emergency and where the extra house key is hidden.

What would your employees probably change about you if they could?

I had to ask. Some of my officers think I’m overprotective. Let’s say it’s an informant who’s landed in a bad situation and has flipped and now is helping us out. I don’t want to see that person get smoked. I see anyone who needs protection in a bad situation the way you might see your neighbor’s 5-year-old child wandering down the street alone.

HOW TO BE A GREAT BOSS, TIP # 05 - Be truthful, be humble, and always keep learning. The minute a guy with a badge thinks he’s Superman, he becomes useless.

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Greatest Destinations 2020

Greatest Professional Photographers 2020

Calling South’s Greatest Photographers! Are you a professional photographer with beautiful work? Enter South’s Greatest Photographers 2020!
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Events Calendar

  • Retro Run 5K Race

    Feb 22, 2020
    8:00 AM @ Red Gate Farms

    The Retro Run is Feb 22nd at Red Gate Farms: 8am Kids Mile, 8:30 5k/10k start. Bring out the coolest clothing, hair and bling for this race. Finish...

  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jun 29, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ South end of Forsyth Park

    The Forsyth Farmers’ Market vendors offer a variety of local goods including seasonal produce, eggs, honey, pastured meat, bread, cheese,...

  • Confident Complexion – Love Your Skin at Bluemercury!

    Feb 13, 2020
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

    The beauty of makeup is that you’re in control of when and how you wear it—whether it’s to enhance, conceal or simply not to wear it at all....

  • 17th Annual Savannah International Food & Wine Festival

    Feb 22, 2020
    3:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Hellenic Center

    Come eat and drink for a cause! You are invited to participate in the Savannah International Food & Wine Tasting. The Tasting offers guests...

  • Oglethorpe Mall Carnival

    Feb 20, 2020
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Oglethorpe Mall

    Experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the electrifying midway with rides and games for all ages, favorite fair food and Victoria Circus...

  • "Little Women"

    Feb 20, 2020
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a “Little Women” that draws on both the classic...

  • AURA Fest: Underground Weekend

    Feb 21, 2020
    7:30 PM - 11:45 PM @ The Jinx

    AURA Fest: Underground Weekend at The Jinx February 22, 2020 Torche, Bask, Oakskin, SHEHEHE, Knightsquatch February 21, 2020 Inter Arma, CLOAK,...

  • Savannah Philharmonic Cinephile du joure

    Feb 23, 2020
    5:00 PM - 7:00 PM @ Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension

    The Blue Heron Chamber Ensemble goes to the movies to bring you Chamber works by film composers. Flutist Jeana Melilli, pianist Ben Warsaw and...

  • GratiTuesday Program with Liz Massey

    Feb 25, 2020
    12:00 PM - 1:30 PM @ Savannah Power Yoga

    Gratitude! What is it good for? Our general well-being!   Studies now show that the practice of gratitude actually enhances our immune systems....

  • Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration

    Feb 25, 2020
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ One Hundred Miles (OHM), Savannah Office

    Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration Tuesday, February 25th • 6:00-8:00 pm OHM Savannah Office - 2424 Drayton Street, Savannah,...

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • Second Annual Royal Flush Casino Night

    Feb 27, 2020
    7:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Savannah Station

    Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah will present its Second Annual Royal Flush Casino Night on Thursday, Feb. 27, benefiting the Coastal Empire...

  • Run Free Trail Run

    Feb 29, 2020
    7:30 AM @ Hunting Island State Park

    Join us for our inaugural Run Free Trail Run on February 29, 2020 at Hunting Island State Park. Choose from the 5k, 5 mile, or 10 mile option - or...

  • ESPN Diabetes 5K Race

    Feb 29, 2020
    8:00 AM

    Join us as we help build awareness, education and support for locals fighting Diabetes through this family friendly Run/walk event. A little...

  • Red Cedar 5k Race

    Feb 29, 2020
    9:00 AM @ Red Cedar Elementary

    The 9th Annual Foxes Trot 5K, a family friendly race, will be held on March 9, 2018. This annual event has now become a student project,...

  • 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament for SD Gunner Fund

    Feb 29, 2020
    12:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ 17 South Rod and Gun Club

    The 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament will be held at 17 South Rod and Gun Club to benefit the SD Gunner Fund. There will food...

  • “Does the Earth Really Orbit the Sun? Thinking Scientifically vs. Believing What We See”

    Mar 04, 2020
    7:00 PM - 8:30 PM @ Savannah Country Day School

    Savannah Country Day School's Faculty Explorations lecture series continues with a lecture by Science Department Chair Adam Weber. About this...

  • Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend

    Mar 05, 2020
    6:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Various Locations, Downtown Savannah, Georgia

    The Annual Savannah Antiques and Architecture Weekend is a three-day series of presentations, tours, appraisals, a glittering gala, and a cocktail...

  • First Fridays in Starland

    Jun 07, 2019
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Starland District

    First Fridays in Starland celebrates local business, art, and food in Savannah’s coolest neighborhood! Join us every First Friday of the...


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Scenes of the South

2020 Southern Coast Heart Ball

The American Heart Association held its annual Southern Coast Heart Ball on Saturday, February 8th at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with a silent auction, dinner and program, and dancing to end the evening. All proceeds went to the Open Your Heart campaign.

4th Annual Hearts for Healing Gala

Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center held its Fourth Annual Hearts for Healing Gala on Friday, February 7th at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Guests enjoyed gourmet dining, dancing, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the auction benefitted the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center's program for individuals with disabilities.

IDC Benefits the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire

The LeClerc Family owners of IDC (International Diamond Center) in Savannah 349 Mall Blvd held a benefit to support the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire on Thursday, February 6th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Guests enjoyed light food and drinks, while bidding on several silent auction items, including autographed footballs and helmets donated by Anthony Lanier II.

Royce Learning Center Annual Low Country Boil & Oyster Roast

The Royce Learning Center held their annual low country boil and oyster roast on Saturday, February 1st. Guests enjoyed mingling over the seafood selection. Royce Learning Center meets the needs of children and adults with learning differences and literacy needs through its unique programs.

Dining in the Dark 2020

The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision held its annual Dining in the Dark event on Saturday, January 18th at the Embassy Suites Downtown Savannah. Guests were served a four-course meal in complete darkness by the Savannah Metro's SWAT team. Dining in the Dark serves to raise awareness about vision loss.

January Brews for a Cause

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted their monthly Brews for a Cause on Thursday, January 16th at the Savannah Taphouse in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. The night featured delicious appetizers by Savannah Taphouse and a range of flavored Bud Light Seltzers provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in February!

Ford Plantation's Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for Silk Hope

The Ford Plantation celebrated the completion of its two new Silk Hope model homes on January 10, 2020. The Silk Hope project is limited to 53 homes, on beautiful lots of buyers’ choosing amongst old oaks and a Lowcountry marsh setting. This member-backed project is the first new for sale residential development at The Ford Plantation in more than fifteen years and represents the final phase of home development to be offered. The Silk Hope community is the product of a collaboration of some of the world’s top residential architects and landscape designers and has been modeled to capture tranquil European village and Lowcountry architecture.

Mat Best Signs his New Best-seller at Nine Line

Veteran, entrepreneur and author Mat Best met fans and signed copies of his new book “Thank you for my Service” Thursday Dec. 12 at Nine Line Apparel. Best’s best-selling authorial debut chronicles his service as a U.S. Army Ranger. Best's Black Rifle Coffee co., partnered with Nine Line Apparel, has shops on River st. and off route 95 on Ft. Argyle rd.

Victory Antiques and Engel & Völkers' Holiday Party

Dickey Mopper and his team at Engel and Völkers celebrated the season at their annual holiday party on Wednesday Dec. 11, with a special appearance from the jolly fellow himself, Santa Claus. Mopper and company, celebrating alongside the crew of Victory Antiques, showed off the newest Engel and Völkers office at 1650 East Victory Dr. in Savannah.

Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant's 2nd Anniversary Celebration feat. Lady Leah

Jazz lovers celebrated Good Times Jazz bar's second anniversary on Nov. 8 and 9 featuring jazz vocalist Lady Leah and the culinary stylings of Good Times' chef Joe Randall, the dean of southern cuisine. In 2017 Randall teamed with Danielle and Stephen T. Moore to create one of the city's smoothest spots, a confluence of culture and taste fit for the soul of Savannah.