Autopilot is interviewed on TripreneurTV October 17, 2012

Charlotte, NC - Ben Lee, CEO & Co Founder of Autopilot was interviewed by Anthony Pompliano of TripreneurTV today.

Job Alert! Autopilot is hiring and looking for 100 new drivers October 4, 2012

Charlotte, NC Banks may be letting go of 1000's of workers in the city, but Autopilot is continuing to expand. In fact, the innovative Charlotte-based company is looking to employ over one hundred new drivers in the Queen City! The company is looking for fun, talented, and responsible people, with a personal commitment to service, to fill these openings as soon as possible. The new positions will meet the rapidly growing demand for quality personal drivers at Autopilot to ensure only the best people drive their customers.
"Jobs are clearly rare in this economic climate, so we are thrilled to be able to play our part in rebuilding the economy," says Ben Lee, co-founder of Autopilot. "This opportunity is a great way for people to make a difference and earn income at the same time. It's a bit like volunteering, just with pay."

Want to join the team of community drivers? Autopilot has designed a simple and interactive driver application process on their website at There's even a video interview section to give folks the best possible shot at the job. Say goodbye to long and tedious applications.Autopilot, fast becoming one of North Carolina's most successful start-up tech companies, has already attracted national interest and angel investors. Their innovative iPhone app lets you book a driver for your car with the push of a button. It's easy, transparent, affordable, and on demand. You choose where you want to go, get a quote, watch your driver come to you on a map, and pay for the ride with your credit card on file. Whether you need a ride to or from a concert, help getting back from the dentist or doctor, or even if you've been at a party and simply don't want to risk a DUI, Autopilot can ensure you arrive at your destination safely with no fuss, all in the comfort of your own car.

Pictures available upon request.

Charlotte’s brand new tech incubator RevTech to showcase first Class of 2012 October 2, 2012

Charlotte, NC recently hit the national headlines by hosting the Democratic National Convention, but this southern town known mostly for its banks and suits, has a hip new force of local tech entrepreneurs that have burst onto the scene. Housed at RevTech Labs, this is the first program in Charlotte geared toward developing early stage tech companies. These new start-ups will be featured at a Demo Day to showcase its first class of companies on Wednesday October 3rd from 2-5pm.  Five promising new companies will have a chance to demonstrate the progress they've made in the last three months.

Investors will have an opportunity to learn about each innovative startup, make
some early introductions, and to connect with the tech community in the city. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will be in attendance with other leading city bigwigs and investors and hopefully they will take notice.

Charlotte is not traditionally a place where tech startups are common, but with the founding of RevTech Labs in the heart of the Queen City, by partners Hackers and Founders, Skookum Digital Works and Packard Place, things are moving in the right direction.

Take a look at the first class of 2012:


The Autopilot iPhone app lets you book a driver for your car with the push of a button. You choose where you want to go, get a quote, watch your driver come to you in real-time on a map, and pay for everything with your credit card on file. It's safe, easy, transparent, affordable, and on demand.


Dataset/IO provides beautiful, simple and powerful data solutions for the Capital Markets. Our solutions offer the ability to manage enterprise data quickly and easily scaling on demand while placing the control firmly back in the hands of our data team.


iMedicare is the first mobile Medicare Part D Plan Finder. We save pharmacists and healthcare consultants 20+ minutes per patient consultation as well as help them acquire new Medicare customers.

The Torch

Equip your family for the "what if's" of life. The Torch is an online and mobile application that helps you bring to light information about your health, household, and passing so your loved ones can manage your life for you if you can't. We make it fast, safe and easy to share because planning ahead is an act of love.


Welcome to the local community marketplace for scrumptious food. Our viddles (food) are prepared and grown by your neighbors, the bakers, farmers and artisans living virtually next door. Charlotte is the first stop and the Viddlrs (local bakers) provide homemade, beautiful baked goods. Viddlz makes it simple and economical for quality food providers to start or grow a great food business.

American Eastern completes a new store for Pizza Fusion in Charlotte, NC September 25, 2012

Charlotte, NC - American Eastern has just completed a new store for Pizza Fusion in Charlotte, NC in the Metropolitan shopping center, close to Uptown Charlotte. Says Martha Rea Calkins, President of American Eastern, of the new project, "Our client at Pizza Fusion is thrilled with the outcome and the Franchisor even commented to us that the quality of this store was the best he has seen."

Pizza Fusion is not your typical restaurant or business. Michael Gordon and Vaughan Lazar, co-founders of Pizza Fusion, stepped outside the boundaries of the traditional business model to create an organization built around integrity.

Pizza Fusion operates on the belief that social-responsibility is just as important as profitability. Where some businesses cut corners for their own benefit, Pizza Fusion goes the extra mile to do the best thing for everyone the customer, the environment, the employee and the business owner.

For instance, instead of using conventional ingredients that are cheaper to purchase and unhealthy for the customer, they pay a little more to use quality organic ingredients that are both healthier and tastier. Another example is their gluten-free offerings, including pizza, brownies and beer, that enable their friends with celiac disease to indulge at Pizza Fusion. Visit them. You wont be disappointed.


BSA Nominates Autopilot for an NCTA 21 Award August 31, 2012

Charlotte, NC - BSA has nominated one of its clients, Autopilot for a North Carolina Technology Association 21 Award (NCTA 21). Finalists will be notified in early October, and winners will be announced live at the NCTA 21 Awards Gala on November 8 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, where more than 800 leaders from across the state gather to celebrate the tech sector and honor the finalists and winners in each category.

Autopilot is one of seven companies selected for the RevTech Labs incubator at Packard Place in Charlotte, NC, that has developed two iPhone apps, one for drivers and one for consumers that facilitate reservations, tracking, and payment in real time with the push of a button when you can't, shouldn't, or simply don't want to drive your own vehicle.
They have a great product and an even better management. The team at Autopilot personifies the 'new economy' you hear people talking about.  They identified a problem / need in their community and found a high tech solution that's easy and cost effective to use; A practical solution for a human need using a common mobile device, that most people have. Simply put, they eliminate friction and make people happy. Think back on your traditional car service experience (yes, this can apply outside nightlife; remember that unexpected outpatient medical appointment?)

Autopilot apps make it easy to connect those who need or desire a pickup in their own vehicle, with those who are willing and able to drive. They utilize complex mathematical equations to ensure the right number of drivers are available at the right times, automatically predicting demand, estimating ETAs, and handling supply chain management and positioning. By connecting operators to the closest fares, the system maximizes revenues while promoting safety and quality control through driver and customer ratings. By creating transparency and delivering real time communication (customers can watch their driver arrive in real time on their phone), Autopilot makes lives safer, more convenient, more productive, and more fun in a lot of ways.

The Autopilot team is made up of talented, and passionate professionals. Prior to Autopilot, Ben Lee (co-founder and CEO) owned, operated, and successfully exited one of the largest and fastest growing marine rental companies in the US.

Their developers and engineers have a deep understanding of customers and business objectives and showcase that through great design. They also have an amazing group of advisor's and investors.

The way in which this company has gone about developing a brand & product that addresses a real need, exemplifies what the NC Technology Awards is all about!

pH Plus Vending, LLC has launched two high Alkaline Water Vending Machines that are NAMA certified and American made August 8, 2012

"Where can I get and taste Alkaline Ionized water and does it really help my body?,"  is a question that SapHa Water hears all the time. In response to that, pH Plus Vending, LLC, the management company of the SapHa Water brand, has announced that its all-new M-1000 and X-5000 alkaline ionized water vending machines have earned the National Automatic Merchandising Association's (NAMA) certification.

Charlotte, NC July 31, 2012 pH Plus Vending, LLC, the management company of the SapHa Water brand, today announced that its all-new M-1000 and X-5000 alkaline ionized water vending machines have earned the National Automatic Merchandising Association's (NAMA) certification. This certification is recognized by states as proof that a vending machine meets the health, safety and product quality standards used in the food and beverage services industry.

These two new models of vending machines, the M-1000 and a smaller model, the X-5000, are both alkaline ionized water vending machines that allow businesses the opportunity to dispense SapHaWater to their customers from their premises.

Says Nuris Skala, President of SapHa Water, "Businesses can dispense our alkaline iodized water, while enjoying the profits from the rapidly expanding market for healthier water. We believe our SapHa Water to be among the cleanest, most trusted source of alkaline ionized water on the market today.  Health conscious consumers are clamoring for alkaline ionized water, and they are willing to pay for it.  Business owners can now vend a fresh gallon of antioxidant-filled, alkaline ionized water to their client base, at a low cost with only a small amount of retail space required with no inventory, while having a positive effect on the environment."

SapHa Water, produced by the M-1000 and the smaller X-5000 machines, has a consistent pH of 9.5 and a strong Oxygen Reduction Potential, making it a powerful antioxidant. The pH Plus ionization process breaks down the water molecules into smaller H2O clusters (micro-clustering), making water easier for the body to absorb. Says Ms Skala, "SapHaWater produced by pH Plus has a slightly sweet, smooth taste that customers love!"

Water dispensed by the pH Plus machines is first purified by a reverse osmosis (R.O.) filtration system. Minerals removed by the R.O. treatment are replenished by a built-in NSF- approved trace mineral system.This system only adds beneficial antioxidant minerals to the water. The water is then put through the pH Plus-designed ionization technology and served to the customer.  Every step of the process has been designed with the consumer in mind, and to provide the absolute best source of Alkaline Ionized Water.  SapHa water has the unique ability to remain consistent in taste and quality, no matter where it is produced, because of technology and specially designed process.   

The M-1000 Vending Machine, with an internal 95 gallon storage tank and 1000 gallon per day membrane can dispense over 600 gallons per day for high traffic locations. The smaller X-5000 has a 45 gallon storage tank and a 200 gallon per day membrane that can dispense up to 200 gallons per day.

Installing and maintaining the M-1000 and X-5000 is easy.  Color coded waterlines and easy- to- clean surfaces offer painless upkeep.While the X-5000 is designed to be placed indoors only, the M-1000 can be placed either in or outside for 24-7 vending and a hands-off approach. This allows the location owner an opportunity to earn an income even after store opening hours.

An additional option for the machines includes a cashless credit card platform-vending system, which allows the location owner to monitor all sales online from a remote location. Both the M-1000 and X-5000 vending machines are the latest designs in vending technology, providing business owners a new profit center while supplying quality products to customers at a very reasonable price.

About pH Plus Vending, LLC branding:

pH Plus Vending, LLC, was founded by Chris and Nuris Skala in 2008, who along with their technicians and advisors have over 20 years of water treatment experience. The team has developed a full line of commercial alkaline ionized water products and has worked extensively developing, testing and refining the alkaline vending system. SapHa Water is the brand name for the pH Plus alkaline ionized water.

For more information on the M-1000 and X-5000, visit or call (888) 364-4333

SapHa Water is also offering retailers the opportunity of presenting special promotions and tastings in store, to introduce the water to their customers. For more information regarding these promotions or to arrange one at your business, call our toll free number at (888) 364-4333 or contact us at our website at

SapHa WaterBox Dual Vendor

SapHa WaterBox

Attorney at FrickTrent, PLLC passes away in the Turks & Caicos Islands July 26, 2012

Statement from Ms. Tracy Frick, Partner at FrickTrent, PLLC:

Charlotte, NC, Thursday July 26, 2012 -  It is with the deepest regret and great sadness that we mourn the untimely passing of our dear friend, partner and boss, Jeffrey Trent. Jeff was doing what he loved most - vacationing and experiencing new places and cultures around the world. He passed away in the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean on or about Monday July 23, 2012.

We are still unclear of the exact details of this occurrence and are actively working with the State Department in the regard, which is our only recourse in this situation. We have been unable to obtain any details from the local authorities in the Turks & Caicos, but we are hoping that the State Department will intervene and come to our assistance to answer the critical questions of the circumstances surrounding this tragic event, for ourselves and his family.

He was dearly loved by his immediate family, his many friends, clients and his FrickTrent, PLLC family, and will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privileged of knowing and working with him.

Jeffrey Paul Trent, was born and raised in the Commonwealth of Virginia and received his undergraduate degree from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA and his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, NC.  Prior to opening FrickTrent, PLLC, Jeff was the senior attorney in the North Carolina office of Trey Inman & Associates, P.C. where he concentrated his  practice on residential and commercial real estate transactions.  Jeff was previously employed by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. as an Commercial Account Manger as well as an officer of MountainWest Financial Bank located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He was instrumental in the successful establishment of our firm FrickTrent, PLLC, and his legacy and contribution to the firm, will be felt for many years to come. Even though we at FrickTrent, PLLC are all devastated by his passing, we know that Jeff would have definitely wanted us to continue doing what we do best for our clients. So to honor him in this way, we will continue to serve all our clients needs, even though our hearts are breaking.

Thank you for respecting our grief at this time and please direct all media queries to our PR & Media Representative, Dianne Stewart at BSA PR

TechCrunch comes to town and Autopilot's new App is a hit July 16, 2012

Charlotte, NC -  TechCrunch, a leading technology online media that profiles breaking tech news, startups, reviews and new internet products, rolled into Charlotte on Thursday (July 12) last week as part of their Southeast Mini Meetup Series, to check out what's going on in the Queen City.

Local transportation company DADD (Dial a Designated Driver) who started their "we drive you and your car home when you can't" operation a few years ago in Charlotte, seized the opportunity to expose their new baby 'Autopilot,' currently in its beta phase of implementation.

Autopilot is an App for your iPhone that puts you in control of your own safety allowing you to book a driver on demand when you can't, shouldn't, or simply don't want to drive your own car.  The new Autopilot App allows you to book, track, and pay for your ride with the push of a button, all from your mobile device.

Says Autopilot's Ben Lee, "This is a game changer for the way Charlottean's make reservations for transportation and with the DNC coming to town soon, demand for our service is sure to increase. The introduction of this new technology is a natural progression for our company. Autopilot has already received national interest and we hope it will go towards putting Charlotte on the map as a hot place for exciting tech startup's and high-tech innovation."

250+ guests packed into Packard Place's Church Street location which also happens to be the home of RevTech Labs, Charlotte's first Tech Incubator in Uptown Charlotte, to see and hear what's new in the tech startup scene in the city. Autopilot demonstrated their new Application and people loved it, including both angel investors and VCs in attendance. Autopilot "stewardesses" stole the show in their retro blue outfits while they took interested parties through their paces on the new technology.

Autopilot signed up over 50 new beta users to test drive the App to help them with feedback before it is launched on the Apple Store in the next few weeks.

If you are interested in joining this limited group to test drive the new Autopilot app, visit their website to sign up.

Caption pic #1: Ben Lee of Autopilot with the TechCrunch team (from left) Jordan Crook, Ben Lee, John Biggs and Josh Zelman.  Photograph by: Bryan Bazemore Photography

Caption Pic # 2:  The Autopilot "Stewardesses" with Sharon Lee of Autopilot (from left) Desiree Ayers, Sharon Lee, Jennifer Kluttz and Katherine Newman. Photograph by: Bryan Bazemore Photography

Caption Pic # 3: Carey Head (left) from StokFel, a Charlotte based social savings and lending circles startup and James Stewart, Jr (right) a Charlotte blogger. Photograph by: Bryan Bazemore Photography

Caption Pic #4: "...a perfect idea for eye care patients who can't drive after a procedure" according to doctors Amir and Ali Khoshnevis of Carolina Family Eye Care and the founders of Here is Ben Lee of Autopilot with Dr Amir Khoshnevis. Photograph by: Bryan Bazemore Photography



Hanoi, Vietnam - Speed Reading International, presenters of the ExecuRead program worldwide, has announced it has launched an operation in Hanoi, Vietnam. At an event at the Fortuna Hotel in Hanoi today, Dr Bruce Stewart, President of Speed Reading International, officially opened the new company in Vietnam. All the training programs will be available in Vietnamese and have all been translated from the original programmes available around the world. Dr Stewart has trained 15 Certified Instructors who will at once begin teaching the programs to educational institutions, government agencies and businesses in Vietnam. Guests were entertained with traditional Vietnamese dancers and the media were in attendance to record the event. We wish the new members of the Speed Reading International Family the best with much success in the future.



LIFESPAN has announced it will host a Philanthropy fundraising benefit Dinner in April 2012 to raise funds for its programs that transform the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

February 20, 2012, Charlotte, NC The Board of Directors and event Host Committee of LIFESPAN have announced that they will host a Philanthropy dinner on Thursday April 19, 2012 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. 

Entitled "A Bridge to the Future" this event will benefit the extraordinary work done by LIFESPAN in transforming the lives and care of children and adults with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.

Founded in 1973 by President and CEO, Leigh Derby, LIFESPAN has successfully been changing the lives of individuals largely hidden from those of us, who don't have personal experiences with family or friends who have physical and /or developmental disabilities. For 38 years, LIFESPAN has provided successful services and programs ranging from finding permanent employment opportunities, daily care, to creative art programs enabling talented artists to produce and sell their art. Today over 1,200 individuals are supported, encouraged and guided by LIFESPAN programs in Charlotte and across North Carolina.

Says Leigh Derby, CEO and President, "We are extremely proud of what we have managed to successfully provide for those who are mostly unable to provide for themselves. A society is often measured by how it takes care of its most vulnerable and we at LIFESPAN have heeded that call for almost 40 years."

The Philanthropy Dinner is pleased to announce Host Committee members : Martha Rea Calkins, Catherine & Wilton Connor, Becky & Woody Efird, Tracy & Bryam Frick, Laura & Jeff Hay and Michael & Sally Teden. The event at the Westin Hotel in April will gather supporters to raise money to directly support the mission and activities of the LIFESPAN family.  Business leaders will share their stories of how LIFESPAN'S employment programs have benefited their organizations and how lives have been changed in this regard.

The Dinner will include a live auction of art from LIFESPAN Arts based in Charlotte's trendy NoDa district. Guests will be able to bid on magnificent artworks auctioned by Auctioneer extraordinaire, Ernest Perry of Perry's Fine, Antique and Estate Jewelry during the evening.

LIFESPAN is extremely grateful to the presenting sponsors of this event - Wells Fargo and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC and supporting sponsors : Ballantyne Insurance; Benefit Solutions; Community Eye Care; Fifth Third Bank; First Citizens Bank; First Trust Bank; Jennie Derby & Associates; Larson Allen;
Perry's Fine, Antique and Estate Jewelry and Pionear.

Should you need more information on the "A Bridge to the Future" Philanthropy Dinner or wish to sponsor this event, please contact event organizers Lori Avery or Dianne Stewart.

Symphony Guild of Charlotte Presents January 18, 2012

Charlotte, NC - The Symphony Guild of Charlotte presents 'Classical Idol' to benefit the Charlotte Symphony Orchestras. Classical Idol, sponsored by Time Warner Cable, is a professional variety show.  It will be performed Saturday March 24, 2012 in the Knight Theater.  The pre-curtain party starts at 6:30.  The show starts at 7:30 followed by a post party in the lobby,