In this episode of the Business with Purpose podcast, Molly sits down with Eric Henry, president of TS Designs. TS Designs is a small, manual screen printing operation located in North Carolina. We talked about everything from the effect that NAFTA had on American business to his passion for the Carolinas to purchasing with purpose and more. Eric is, no joke… THE MAN! I love this guy and was HONORED to have him on the show. You will absolutely LOVE this episode!
Eric Henry, president of TS Designs, started his business creating screen designs in 1978 while attending North Carolina State University. Two years later he merged his company with Tom Sineath to form TS Designs. Eric has been in the screen printing business for more than 30 years. Eric’s duties at TSD range from sales and R&D to marketing. He is the foremost public face of TSD, attending numerous trade shows, giving speeches to groups and universities and hosting tours of the TSD facility. His boundless enthusiasm and energy have gained him a certain level of notoriety at most of them, even winning him the Sustainability Champion award from Sustainable North Carolina in 2009.
Outside of TS Designs, Eric devotes much of his time to furthering the sustainable agenda in various community organizations. He founded the Burlington Biodiesel Co-op in 2001 and has run his car (which now has more than 300k miles!) on biodiesel (or straight vegetable oil). He, along with Charles Sydnor and Sam Moore, founded Company Shops Market, a co-op grocery in downtown Burlington that reconnects local agriculture to Alamance County. He also serves on theBurlington Downtown Corporation board, which works to create an environment for development that enhances Downtown Burlington as the cultural, historic, social and economic center of the community. He also serves on the board of NC GreenPower, an organization that purchases and resells renewable energy, and Green America. He serves on the board of Balle Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and the Advisory Board at the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business at Elon University.
He has served on the board of Alamance County Chamber of Commerce, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (he was the chairman in 2002), and Elon University Environmental Science and Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. His most recent start-up is theBurlington Beer Works Co-op, which will build on the success of Company Shops Co-op and is planning a 2016 opening.
Eric was born in Radford, VA. When he was three, he moved to Burlington, NC, where he’s lived most of his life. He attended NC State University for two years to study agriculture, and then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study economics. Before the start of his senior year at Chapel Hill, Eric left school to join Tom Sineath as co-owner of TS Designs, Inc.
In 2001, he completed an online permaculture class at NC State University taught by his friend and mentor, Will Hooker, who directed the permaculture program in the NC State University school of agriculture and was known as a leader in NC in that field. Eric and his wife, Lisa, purchased a small farm in southern Alamance County, moving from their home of 26 years in downtown Burlington. Lisa’s goal was to be closer to her horses, and Eric’s was to get closer to the soil.
Their plan is to convert the 20-year-old home on the property to a “net zero” energy home, and in the last few years they have installed a geothermal system, a 4.3lHw solar array, and a wood stove insert. Working with Will Hooker, who helped develop a permaculture plan for the 12 acres, they’ve planted over 200 trees on the property, have expanded the vegetable garden and added chickens.
Connect with Eric and TS Designs online:
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