Sean Sullivan, President, Living Stone Design + Build
Not many of us are lucky enough to love our jobs; Sean Sullivan, President of Living Stone Design+Build, is the exception. Sullivan works closely with his clients and family-based team to build high-performing, award-winning homes: “I love every aspect of what I do, from exercising the creative side of my brain by designing a client’s dream, to challenging the logistical side by executing it with precision.”
“At Living Stone, we focus on raising our clients’ standard of living by educating, and then supplying them, with a healthy habitat,” Sullivan explains. It’s an objective he accomplishes through his homes and through high-profile positions in the industry, including being past President of the NCHBA and current NAHB Design Committee Chairman. Sullivan shares his experience with communities that need it most, serving a monthly rotation of ministries like Bounty & Soul and the WNC Rescue Mission with the Living Stone Team.
Caleb Owolabi, Visionary & Producer
Caleb Owolabi admits that the fashion and film industries are “sexy,” but he points out they’re as tough as any other business for a breakthrough entrepreneur. “It actually takes a lot of calculation as far as timing, understanding budget analysis, and understanding different people,” he argues. “I made something from nothing in these so-called ‘sexy’ industries, not because I had anything, but because I cared.” He cared about the details, the final product, the emotions he evoked, enough to make it.
Now he’s paving the way for the next generation. He’s executive producing a web series for the NC School of Science and Math (his alma mater) as they create a new western campus, he’s on the Board of the YMI, and he collaborates with local, youthful artists: “No matter how busy, I schedule time to work with them, because I care about the quality of visual content in Asheville.”
Kenny Capps, Founder, Throwing Bones for a Cure, Inc.
When Kenny Capps was diagnosed with Myeloma, he didn’t let it slow him down. The local (and we mean local—his ancestors have been in WNC since the late 1700s) founded Throwing Bones for a Cure, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to helping find a cure for cancer. This spring, Capps took off on a 1,175-mile run of the Mountains to Sea Trail in support of Throwing Bones for a Cure, an incredible support crew at his side.
When he’s not running or curing cancer, Capps supports Asheville’s blooming art scene; his wife, Murphy Capps, even founded Asheville’s Front Porch Theater. When asked if he had any advice for local aspirational men, Capps offered an eloquent assertion: “Make decisions that positively impact individuals in our community. Don’t think of it as good karma. It’s a good investment on making sure we have a great world.”
Chad Slagle, Co-Founder RAS – Rapid Whiskey Aging Technology
Chad Slagle is the epitome of an entrepreneur. The co-mastermind behind Climax Wood-Fired Whiskey has never had a boss, instead choosing a path of startups and inventions—like that whiskey. “My business partner [Keith Mort] and myself (we have been best friends since high school) created a technology that ages whiskey, rum, bourbon, etc. in less than a day, compared to the traditional 5-7 years in a barrel. We get a chance to work together, create new technology, and of course drink whiskey—what is there not to like about this?!” he says with a grin.
It’s just the latest in a string of entrepreneurial endeavors for Slagle, who also helped found Hatch AVL, a non-profit foundation for high-growth startups. Even in light of his abounding success in business, his greatest triumph is a personal one: “My biggest accomplishment has definitely been marrying my best friend.”