Some use the term “unconventional,” others use the phrase “fringe element.” However they phrase it, Flywheel Co-Working clientele frequently describe themselves as working outside normal corporate structures.
Regardless of how they conceive of themselves, Flywheel provides a home for a wide variety of consultants, freelancers, startup companies, entrepreneurs and mobile workers, providing a meaningful place to conduct business within a community of creative, motivated professionals.
The co-working innovation space, located in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, features an open physical layout that promotes the atmosphere of community, creativity and collaboration craved by Winston-Salem’s growing nontraditional workforce.
“Interaction is the DNA of Flywheel,” says Peter Marsh, co-founder of Flywheel. “Like DNA that re-forms itself into many different combinations, interactions between our members create different project-based opportunities.”
A cross-section of Flywheel members illuminates the creative ways that professionals use the co-working space.
Taylor Ansley, Sweb Development
Taylor Ansley is one of the remote workers who utilize Flywheel. Ansley is vice president of product development for Sweb Development, a full-service digital agency located in San Antonio. As Sweb’s only employee in North Carolina, he stays connected with the company in Texas by plugging into the creative community at Flywheel.
Sweb Development specializes in mobile applications, web design, social media and marketing. Ansley heads up projects involving native applications and complicated web systems, while overseeing technical and design teams at Sweb.
Ansley’s projects include creating a website for Qantas Vacations, building online platforms for curriculum for hearing-impaired students and developing a children’s book application for Trinity Press. He is helping develop JobbleJobble, an online research and surveying application designed to capture repeat input from groups of people, an idea he presented at a Flywheel Idea Tap! event.
“I’m like a bridge,” Ansley says, “I bridge the gap between the people who can build something and the people who need something built.” The results are innovative projects that better connect companies with their clients.
Lisa Clark, Coalesse
Lisa Clark uses Flywheel to connect with her team in another way. Clark, who is vice president of customer experience for Coalesse, relocated her concierge team to Flywheel earlier this year.
Coalesse is the premium furnishings brand for Steelcase, Inc., the world’s largest contract furniture company. The Coalesse concierge team is the product-knowledgeable sales resource that assists dealers, designers and clients with the specification process.
When Steelcase announced its move out of its facilities in High Point, North Carolina, Clark was tasked with finding a new working space that would provide the state-of-the-art technology and aesthetics that her team enjoyed in its previous location.
Clark chose Flywheel for its innovative layout. Creativity is essential to Clark’s team, and Flywheel’s physical space fulfills the need for open, collaborative spaces that are conducive to work. The co-working company even features Steelcase products as its furnishings. “It’s like a mini-showroom for us,” Clark says.
With more than 15 members, the concierge team works daily at Flywheel. Flywheel membership allows the whole team to stay connected and engaged, while also providing the flexibility and space needed to meet with other corporate teams, sales representatives and customers.
Margaret Collins, Center for Creative Economy
Margaret Collins also runs her organization out of Flywheel. She is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Creative Economy, a nonprofit organization that encourages and advocates for the creative industries in Winston-Salem and the Triad area.
The Center for Creative Economy offers programs and services that stimulate interaction, networking and professional development in the creative industries. These industries include architecture, advertising, marketing, design and the arts—any occupation that uses creativity at its core.
Programming at the nonprofit stimulates jobs and growth in the creative industries. These programs, which include the Triad Design Leadershop, Swerve, Creative Business Cup and Creatini, bring professionals together from different sectors to spur innovation and collaboration.
“Innovation happens at the fringes of things,” says Collins. “The Center for Creative Economy encourages people from all sectors of the creative industries to interact in order to spark the next innovative idea.”
Being a Flywheel member roots the Center for Creative Economy in the midst of the innovative ecosystem of Winston-Salem. Flywheel’s location places Collins in proximity to the community of industries that the nonprofit supports.
Steve Beck, Alternative Dispute Resolution
Steve Beck’s work at Flywheel brings people together in another sense—he runs an alternative dispute resolution business through the co-working space.
“I work in the space between attorneys and therapists,” Beck says with a smile. His unconventional occupation fits perfectly into the nontraditional framework of Flywheel.
Historically, Beck was the go-to person for advice during conflict, both in his personal life and at work. Four years ago, he decided to turn this personality trait into his own business. Now he helps people work through conflict by serving as a mediator for businesses, nonprofit organizations, leadership teams and families.
Beck’s dispute resolution work covers a wide range of issues beyond mediating conflict. He coaches individuals in interacting with others in a healthy and respectful manner, trains groups in conflict resolution through proactive seminars and workshops, and teaches youth the skills needed to handle conflict.
Beck joined Flywheel to be part of a working community and to grow his dispute resolution business. The resources at the co-working space helped him navigate starting his own business, so that he could help meet the needs of people in conflict. “There’s too much hostility in the world,” he says. “That’s my heartbeat.”
Rob Arnold and Nathan Powell, Threat Sketch
Rob Arnold and Nathan Powell are incubating their new cybersecurity company, Threat Sketch, at Flywheel. In fact, their partnership was born out of the creative community fostered at Flywheel.
When Arnold, founder of Threat Sketch, conceived of the company, he began searching for a place with the necessary resources to grow his fledgling company. Everything led him to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and to Flywheel. Arnold found more than just resources at Flywheel—he also found a partner. Arnold met Powell at a Startup Grind, and the latter joined the company as Threat Sketch’s chief risk officer in early 2015.
Threat Sketch provides small businesses with a proprietary process to help determine cybersecurity priorities. The process helps small businesses evaluate their cybersecurity needs without the IT risk assessment that large companies use.
“IT risk assessment is a large, unwieldy beast,” says Arnold, “and most small businesses cannot replicate the long and expensive process.”
Threat Sketch’s algorithms help small business owners and executives determine the valuable intangibles of their companies and prioritize security needs to protect that value. The two plan to launch Threat Sketch this fall and are looking for local small business partners to beta test the product they developed within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Flywheel.
Each member has unique reasons for choosing Flywheel, and each brings a new perspective on what co-working can be. This creates an innovative, collaborative community where the unconventional can meet, work and grow.
Learn more about Flywheel’s spaces, events and offerings on its website.