2024 Sky High Growth Awards

May 22, 2024

We celebrated the innovation and growth of several businesses at the Sky High Growth Awards at Sierra Nevada Brewing on Wednesday, May 14th. Hosted by Park National Bank, this annual celebration honors the trailblazers of the Asheville/Buncombe area, recognizing their pivotal contributions to job creation, economic expansion, and community engagement.

The Sky High Award highlights businesses committed to both growth and community impact. Read about the remarkable journeys of our 25 award winners, celebrating their resilience, creativity, and dedication to fostering regional growth below.

ActionCOACH Business Growth Partners

ActionCOACH Business Growth Partners has demonstrated significant growth and innovation since its inception in 2006. Under the leadership of owner Bill Gilliland, the company has expanded its team and offerings to include a range of new educational courses and workshops aimed at enhancing business skills, including three 12-week training courses in key areas such as sales and management, a comprehensive two-day business planning workshop, and various networking and development events like the High Growth Company Mastermind and the upcoming Asheville Business Summit. The company’s commitment to community involvement is also notable, with team members actively participating in local chambers, associations, and charitable organizations, contributing to its reputation as a transformative force in Western North Carolina’s business landscape.

Aeroflow Health

Since its founding in 2001, Aeroflow Health has shown notable growth and innovation in healthcare. Under CEO Casey Hite, the company has rapidly expanded its workforce, adding hundreds of new roles that significantly contribute to the regional economy. Aeroflow distinguishes itself through its pioneering digital platform that enhances patient autonomy in selecting healthcare products, coupled with an automated insurance verification system, thereby streamlining the procurement process for medical equipment. The platform’s consumer-centric design improves service delivery and integrates advanced analytics to offer personalized product recommendations. This focus on technological innovation and customer satisfaction has propelled Aeroflow Health into a leadership position in healthcare services.

Applied Solutions Group, Inc.

Applied Solutions Group, Inc. has made significant strides in the Information Technology sector since its founding in 2003. Led by owner Jose Ibarra, the company specializes in providing comprehensive IT and website services to businesses, recently expanding its team with key roles like a Web Developer to enhance service delivery. Innovations such as achieving SOC2 compliance illustrate the company’s commitment to cybersecurity and data protection, crucial in today’s digital age. Additionally, Applied Solutions Group is notable for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, with leadership comprising 50% minority ownership and a significant representation of women in corporate officer roles. This approach not only enriches the company culture but also drives innovation and business growth.

Asheville Arborists

Established in 2010, Asheville Arborists has demonstrated commendable growth and innovation in arboriculture. Under the leadership of Nicholas Maidment, the company has steadily expanded its workforce, including the addition of a full-time sales production manager to enhance operational efficiency. Asheville Arborists is committed to community engagement, notably through significant volunteer contributions to local projects like Beloved Asheville, assisting with tree removal and crane services for building projects for the homeless. The company’s innovative approach also extends to employee incentives, with a profit-sharing program that aligns individual performance with company success, fostering a motivated and dedicated team.

Asheville Art Museum

The Asheville Art Museum, a cornerstone of the Western North Carolina cultural landscape since 1948, has consistently demonstrated growth and innovation in its operations and community engagement. Under the leadership of Executive Director Pamela L. Myers, the museum has expanded its team by adding roles such as a Curatorial Project Manager and a Custodial Manager, reflecting a commitment to enhancing visitor experience and operational efficiency. The museum has adeptly navigated the post-COVID recovery period, continuing to introduce dynamic art exhibitions and educational programs that engage diverse audiences. Additionally, its extensive community involvement, including the facilitation of the National Scholastics Art Awards and offering free educational tours, underscores its pivotal role in enriching the region’s cultural and educational landscape.

Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts

Founded in 2007, Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts has become a leading institution in martial arts and personal development, consistently recognized for its high standards and community engagement. Led by Tony Morris, the school has significantly expanded its staff, adding specialized roles to support its growing range of services, which includes martial arts classes for all ages, an on-site after-school program, and summer camps. The school’s innovative employment strategies, such as tailoring positions to individual circumstances, allow it to attract and retain top talent. Asheville Sun Soo’s deep community involvement is exemplified by its support for over 50 local organizations, contributing to its reputation as a pillar of the Asheville community and making it a strong contender for the Sky High Growth Awards.

Big Frog Custom T-Shirts

Big Frog Custom T-Shirts, founded in 2015, has rapidly established itself as a key player in the local apparel branding sector. Under the leadership of President David Riddell, the company has experienced substantial growth, increasing its staff and enhancing its product offerings through the introduction of advanced printing technologies and design software. Despite economic downturns, Big Frog has successfully expanded its revenue by positioning custom apparel as essential for marketing rather than a discretionary spend. The company’s active involvement in the community, including participation in four chambers and various nonprofit initiatives, underscores its commitment to local engagement and continuous growth, making it a strong candidate for the Sky High Growth Awards.

Carolina Mornings Vacation Rentals

Carolina Mornings Vacation Rentals, founded in 1997, has established itself as a leader in the vacation rental management industry. Under the guidance of CEO Shari Goldstein, the company has navigated the shifting landscapes of the travel and tourism sector, especially during the post-pandemic recovery phase, by maintaining near peak revenue levels while the broader market faced declines. This resilience is attributed to strategic innovations such as the “Successful Launch” program for property owners and a shift towards managing fewer, higher-margin properties. Additionally, the company’s rebranding to “Luxury Vacation Rentals,” along with substantial community engagement and environmental initiatives, showcases its commitment to quality, sustainability, and community involvement, solidifying its status as a forward-thinking leader in the vacation rental space.

College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving of Asheville

College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving of Asheville, founded in 2020 under the leadership of Todd Smith, has rapidly grown into a prominent service provider in the region, despite the challenges of launching during the pandemic. This franchise has notably expanded its workforce, increasing its ‘HUNKS’ to meet rising demand and broadening its operational footprint to include interstate moves and additional community areas like Brevard and Waynesville. The company’s innovative approach, characterized by a unique branding strategy and a commitment to providing stress-free services, has been crucial in building a strong market presence. Additionally, College H.U.N.K.S. is deeply involved in the community, actively supporting charitable initiatives and fostering a fun, values-driven work environment, which has garnered them extensive community and industry recognition.

CooperRiis Inc-Transitional Living Services

Established in 2003, CooperRiis Inc-Transitional Living Services has significantly expanded its mental health service offerings in response to changing community needs. Under the leadership of CEO Eric Levine, the organization recently introduced a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) to complement its residential and transitional services, offering a more accessible outpatient treatment model. This expansion includes the addition of specialized roles to enhance care delivery, reflecting a strategic response to broader shifts in healthcare demands post-pandemic. CooperRiis’s dedication to innovation is further demonstrated by its adaptation of service models to include direct admissions to its transitional living program, facilitating greater integration of clients into the Asheville community, which supports their journey towards recovery and integration.

Dynamite Roasting Co.

Dynamite Roasting Co., based in Swannanoa, NC, has solidified its position as Western North Carolina’s premier coffee roaster since its establishment in 2008. Under the leadership of founder and CEO Andrew Gibbon, the company has experienced consistent growth, as evidenced by strategic staff expansions, including a full-time marketing specialist and an upgraded role from part-time to full-time production assistant to manage increased production demands. Innovations such as the introduction of Dynamite Steeped Packs and new seasonal coffee offerings underscore their commitment to product development and market adaptation. The company’s community involvement, including partnerships with local organizations and fundraising initiatives, along with its dedication to sustainability, exemplifies its integral role in the regional economy and community.


Eaton, a global leader in power management based since 1976, has significantly bolstered its workforce and capabilities to meet emerging demands in the electrical industry. Under Plant Manager Rodney Bruner, Eaton has added substantial numbers of employees in recent years, responding to industry trends such as electrification, grid modernization, and onshoring of manufacturing. The company has shown a commitment to innovation by implementing advanced training methods, including skills-based boot camps and AI-enabled tools, to enhance onboarding and knowledge sharing among staff. Eaton’s active community engagement, including substantial contributions to local nonprofits and support for employee volunteering, exemplifies its role as a vital contributor to the Asheville area’s economic and social fabric.

Harper General Contractors

Harper General Contractors has been a cornerstone of the Southeastern construction industry since 1950. Under the leadership of President David Wise, Harper has consistently expanded its workforce to meet growing demands, adding several strategic positions such as a Director of Virtual Building and Regional Director, reflecting its adaptation to modern construction demands and business growth. The company attributes its substantial revenue growth to its deep-rooted connections within the local communities of North and South Carolina, emphasizing the importance of building lasting relationships and impactful projects. Moreover, Harper’s innovative use of construction technology and its expansion of the HarperXS Division underscore its commitment to efficiency and meeting client needs on diverse projects, from small-scale, urgent builds to large, community-focused constructions.

Hulsey Media, Inc.

Hulsey Media, Inc., established in 2014 and headquartered in Hendersonville, has rapidly grown to become a leading magazine publisher in the Western Carolinas. Under the leadership of President Brett Hulsey, the company has diversified its publication portfolio to include a wide range of targeted, content-rich magazines such as WNC Business, Aging Resources Magazine, and the Asheville Ale Trail, effectively connecting local businesses with key audiences. The firm has seen significant employment growth, adding several strategic roles across operations, editorial, and business development to support this expansion. Innovative initiatives like the creation of new publications and direct mail gift guides for local businesses demonstrate Hulsey Media’s commitment to fostering community connections and supporting local commerce, marking it as a pivotal player in the regional media landscape.

Kudzu Brands

Kudzu Brands has significantly expanded since its founding in 2010, evolving into a full-service marketing agency known for transforming businesses into distinctive and profitable brands. Led by Heather Johnson and Lindsey Bnadad, Kudzu has steadily grown its team, adding key positions such as brand managers and content creators to enhance service delivery and capacity. The agency attributes its impressive revenue growth to a strong community reputation and a proactive approach to client referrals and process improvement. With a commitment to innovation and community involvement, Kudzu Brands not only supports local organizations through board memberships and volunteerism but also continually adapts to industry trends and technologies, ensuring top-tier service and creative solutions for their clients.

Lakeview Putt and Play

Lakeview Putt and Play, situated in Arden, has quickly established itself as a premier family entertainment destination since its inception in 2018. Owned by Leslie Blaylock, the facility uniquely combines an 18-hole mini-golf course on the shores of Lake Julian with innovative attractions like indoor virtual reality gaming and outdoor Gellyball and laser tag. The company has effectively expanded its staff and operations, adding crucial roles such as a full-time manager and camp counselors to enhance guest experiences year-round. Lakeview’s growth is driven by creative marketing, excellent customer service, and community involvement, including significant support for local schools and nonprofits. This blend of recreational diversity and community engagement has made Lakeview a key player in Western North Carolina’s entertainment and recreation industry.


LS3P, an architecture, interiors, and planning firm established in 1963, has demonstrated significant growth and innovation, particularly with its 2022 merger with PFA Architects to enhance service delivery in the Triad and Western NC. The firm, under the leadership of AVL Office Leader Maggie Carnevale, operates with a deep commitment to design excellence that enriches community spaces across the Southeast. LS3P’s Asheville office has not only expanded its staff, including key roles such as Senior Interior Designer and Senior Project Manager, but has also been instrumental in engaging community projects, offering scholarships, and participating in local events. This dedication to community involvement and innovative design, along with maintaining and expanding client relationships, underscores LS3P’s influential role in shaping both the physical and social landscapes of the regions it serves.

LuLu’s Consignment Boutique LLC

LuLu’s Consignment Boutique in Fletcher has made significant strides since its inception in 2006, positioning itself as a key player in the local retail and community support landscape. Under the leadership of President Angie Heidenreich, LuLu’s has expanded its team to enhance service areas, including a dedicated manager for the furniture department and additional retail sales positions, reflecting its steady growth. Despite facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the boutique demonstrated resilience by maintaining operations and employment and innovating its inventory processes. Beyond business operations, LuLu’s deep community involvement includes substantial support for the Council on Aging and Meals on Wheels, alongside collaborations with local schools to provide clothing for students, reinforcing its commitment to community welfare and sustainability.

Mosaix Group

Founded in 2001, Mosaix Group has rapidly evolved into a premier corporate event planning company recognized for its innovative and efficient event solutions. Under the leadership of CEO Melissa Murray, the company has notably expanded its workforce in recent years, adding roles such as meeting managers and a Director of Operations to enhance its operational capabilities. Mosaix Group’s ability to adapt during the pandemic by pivoting to virtual events and other alternative services has led to significant revenue growth and an expansion of its client base. Their commitment to creativity, community engagement, and maintaining strong client relationships even in challenging times underscores their standing as a leader in the professional services sector in Western North Carolina.

Physio Physical Therapy and Wellness

Physio Physical Therapy and Wellness has established itself as a leading health and wellness provider since its inception in 2012. Under the guidance of President and Owner Christopher Taylor, Physio has been consistently recognized as the Best Physical Therapy Clinic in Asheville, growing both its team and client base substantially each year. The clinic specializes in helping clients recover and return to their preferred activities post-injury or surgery, using innovative treatment methods and a dedicated team that focuses on personalized care. This commitment to service and innovation has driven notable growth in revenue and staff, while their active community involvement—such as sponsoring local events—reinforces their local ties and commitment to health and wellness in the Asheville area.


Quility, founded in 2020 and based in Swannanoa, North Carolina, has rapidly emerged as a trailblazer in the insurance sector. Specializing in innovative sales enablement platforms and digital insurance products, Quility has revolutionized the traditional insurance landscape, making it simpler and more efficient for agents and clients alike. Founded by Brandon Ellison, Meredith Ellison, Casey Watkins and Brian Pope, the company has experienced explosive growth, expanding its team significantly to support advancements in technology and service offerings. Quility’s commitment to modernizing insurance through digital transformation, including significant investments in AI and proprietary software, positions it as a leader in reshaping insurance practices.

Sitework Studios, PLLC

Since its founding in 2004, Sitework Studios has cultivated a reputation for innovative design and strong community engagement. The firm, led by partners Steven Lee Johnson and Matthew Sprouse, excels in creating spaces that enhance community life, such as public parks, educational facilities, and urban gardens, with a focus on sustainability and aesthetic value. Sitework Studios is actively involved in various community boards and committees, reflecting its commitment to civic participation and influence in regional planning. The growth of the firm is demonstrated not only through the addition of key personnel in response to increasing project demands but also through its continuous involvement in significant community development projects, which bolster both local culture and environmental stewardship.

UPM Raflatac

UPM Raflatac, established in 1976 and headquartered in Asheville, is a frontrunner in the sustainable labeling industry, providing high-quality label materials that support renewable and eco-friendly practices. Under the leadership of Senior Vice President Tim Kirchen, the company has experienced substantial growth, adding numerous positions across various departments to meet increasing market demands and support its expansion. UPM Raflatac’s commitment to innovation is evident in its development of advanced sustainable products, such as labels made from ocean-bound plastic and renewable wood pulp, aligning with its mission to lead the industry toward a future beyond fossils. Moreover, the company actively engages in community initiatives, supporting local events and environmental causes, further establishing its role as a key player in regional development and sustainability efforts.

Van Marter Law

Van Marter Law, a women-owned boutique law firm founded in 2020 and based in Asheville’s River Arts District, specializes in real property law with a focus on tailored client-led solutions. Under the leadership of Supervising Attorney Katherine Van Marter, the firm has rapidly expanded its team, including the addition of attorneys and paralegals, to enhance its capacity for handling an increasing volume of cases. The firm’s commitment to innovation is evident in its integration of advanced technologies and a strong emphasis on employee welfare, including unlimited PTO and health benefits. This approach not only supports their staff but also boosts their service quality, contributing to their growing recognition and trust within the community. Van Marter Law actively engages with local organizations and offers discounted services to support affordable housing initiatives, reflecting its dedication to social responsibility.

Western Carolina Rescue Ministries

Founded in 1981, Western Carolina Rescue Ministries (WCRM), stands as a beacon of hope in Western North Carolina, offering comprehensive support to the homeless, poor, and addicted populations. Under the leadership of Micheal Woods, WCRM has not only expanded its team to meet increasing service demands but has also enhanced its programmatic offerings significantly. The organization uniquely integrates high-quality care with innovative recovery solutions, such as the implementation of in-house social work services and redesigned therapy spaces, to address the complex needs of its clients. WCRM’s deep community involvement is exemplified by its numerous partnerships with local health and educational institutions to deliver a holistic service model that includes housing assistance, job training, and addiction recovery, embodying a mission of rescue, recovery, and restoration for all community members in need.