Upstate Alums Take On The Town
Presented by: USC Upstate
*See pages 16 & 17 in the magazine
Designing a business strategy
Lanie Whitaker, ’14 knows life’s ironies better than most.
The knee injuries that derailed her collegiate basketball career set her on a path to realize her entrepreneurial dream as a the founder, co-owner and lead designer for Arrowhead Design Co., a growing graphic design startup in downtown Spartanburg.
“A lot of people say you can’t do anything with an art degree,” says Whitaker. “I think that just depends.”
A native of Greenville, S.C., Whitaker moved to Spartanburg County, where she attended Boiling Springs High School, became a standout guard for the Lady Bulldogs and was recruited to play for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
In 2010, during her freshman season with the 49ers, Whitaker tore the anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees. She realized her playing days were over, so she decided to open a new chapter and pursue a degree in graphic design.
“I always wanted to get into graphic design, but UNC Charlotte didn’t have it,” says Whitaker. “My mom, Terri Whitaker, who is an advisor for the Mary Black School of Nursing, said, ‘You should check out USC Upstate.’ So I did.”
Whitaker says she took full advantage of opportunities to learn her craft. She served as president of the Club of Art and Design and worked at The Studio, Upstate’s student-run graphic design center.
“I feel like I had a very personalized experience at USC Upstate,” says Whitaker. “I had amazing opportunities to not only hone my design skills, but to learn the business side of it, too. I had a little taste of everything. I was to hit the ground running after I graduated because I already had a great network.”
Her company serves clients across the Spartanburg community, including R.J. Rockers Brewing Co., Spartanburg Science Center, Total Ministries, and Spartan Waste.
“We have a great team and we’re having a lot of fun,” says Whitaker.
“We’ve got some great clients and we want to continue to contribute to Spartanburg’s economic growth.”
— by: Trevor Anderson (UP Magazine)