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Author: Damon Cline

Old Buildings, New Blood

Young downtown investors and developers take the driver’s seat.   Strolling down Broad Street, Rafik “Rafy” Bassali could easily be mistaken for a college student on his way to class at the nearby Georgia Cyber Center. With his casual attire and five o’ clock shadow, he easily blends in with the growing crowd of young people who frequent downtown bars, restaurants and boutiques. What separates Bassali from the rest from the millennial milieu is that many of the buildings he enters have his name on the deed. He’s bought so many properties in the central business district during the...

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Slaying It Downtown

Third generation tech firm plants corporate flag in city center   Like most good business leaders, TaxSlayer CEO Brian Rhodes prefers making decisions quickly. “Maybe a little too quickly,” he acknowledges. “I like to meet things head-on and say, ‘Let’s go.’ “ If the 39-year-old is a bit too impulsive, younger brother Scott Rhodes is there to keep him in check.  TaxSlayer’s 35-year-old chief financial officer is the more methodical and analytical type. Keeping the brothers’ yin-and-yang in harmony at the family-owned business is  cousin Ashleigh Wilder. But the 28-year-old’s primary job as TaxSlayer’s head of human resources is...

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R.P.M. “Reaching Potential through Manufacturing”

An innovative school-to-work partnership between Augusta-based Textron Specialized Vehicles and the Richmond County Board of Education is giving some students a second chance at an education. Tyler Gregory can sum up what he used to do at Hephzibah High School in a single word. “Nothing,” the 18-year-old senior said. “I wasn’t doing any work. I wasn’t getting anywhere. I just went to school to get out of the house and hang out with friends.” But that was before Gregory was given a second chance at an education – and a future – through an innovative school-to-work partnership between Richmond...

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State of the Art

Augusta University isn’t trying to be like Georgia’s three other research universities, but it definitely wants to look like them, especially through the eyes of an 18-year-old freshman seeking the quintessential collegiate experience. That’s why Augusta University President Brooks Keel is so intent on getting through a 10-year master plan that aims to transform the downtown Health Sciences Campus—ground zero for all future expansion—from a hodgepodge of buildings in a sea of asphalt to a place where young people might actually want to hang out. “Right now, it looks like a concrete jungle,” Keel says. “Students want pedestrian opportunities...

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On the Frontlines of Cyber War

By the time you finish this sentence, computer hackers from around the globe will have made at least 1,000 attempts to breach the Pentagon’s electronic wall. With sheer persistence, malicious determination and a little luck, some of these virtual intruders may eventually break through—just as they do to corporate-maintained networks in the civilian world with alarming frequency. But in military cyberspace, trespassers don’t go undetected and they don’t get far, thanks to a small but growing group of digital commandos with U.S. Army Cyber Command. A handful of these cyber warriors are housed at Augusta’s Fort Gordon, where high-tech infrastructure already supports the installation’s longtime...

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