A Perfect Partnership

The 100+-year legacy of DataMax Corporation and its predecessor company, the Winston-Salem Retail Merchants Association, is steeped in the tradition of supporting the economic well-being and development of the local business community.

When DataMax launched its Foundation in 2007, the board developed a vision for continuing this tradition by focusing philanthropic outreach on economic and workforce development as well as educational initiatives. Forsyth Tech was a natural fit and received one of the first grants the then-newly formed Foundation issued.

“Forsyth Tech is at the center of education and economic development in our community,” says DataMax Foundation President Robert Egleston. “Our community can more effectively recruit new businesses and industry by demonstrating we have and can train an educated workforce. From the Foundation’s inception, a partnership with Forsyth Tech was a given.”

Over the past seven years, DataMax has provided Forsyth Tech with nearly $500,000 in workforce development grants. One-third of this financial support has been used to offer scholarships to students pursuing associate degrees and professional accreditations. Other funds have been used for capital investments in the college’s new location in Innovation Quarter and the purchase of equipment for the Manufacturing and Biotechnology programs.

According to Mr. Egleston, DataMax was the first organization to provide scholarship money for the college’s short-term, non-degree programs.

“At one point, we learned that Forsyth Tech students interested in taking non-degree job-training classes were not eligible for federal scholarships,” he says. “These students were scared to spend $100 or $200 for classes, because they weren’t sure it would pay off.” DataMax decided to remove the fear factor by providing $50,000 in grant money earmarked for vocational training.

Mr. Egleston recognizes the important role that Forsyth Tech plays within the business community. The college, he points out, has built a great reputation for staying ahead of the curve, anticipating what’s needed and adapting to meet the changes that progress demands.

“We love that Forsyth Tech’s Business & Industry Services department is now located at Innovation Quarter,” Mr. Egleston states. “A synergy exists there between economic development, education and recruitment that is vital to our community.

“Everybody knows about Forsyth Tech, but too few people understand how deep and wide the college’s influence is on the local economy. This is just one of the reasons why DataMax believes so strongly in supporting Forsyth Tech’s role in developing our community’s skilled workforce.”