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Empowering businesses, individuals & families by providing best-in-class services & solutions.

“In the modern, networked and symbiotic world we live in, people management is less about squeezing performance from the organized few, and more about curating contribution from the limitless many.” ~ GYAN NAGPAL

Lichen is the perfect example of a symbiotic relationship: it can not exist without algae or fungus. On their own, algae produce oxygen and absorb carbon monoxide, while fungus usually play an important role in decomposition. Working together as lichen, the algae provide photosynthetic energy, and the fungus provides protection for the algae.

When you see lichen growing, it is a sign of a healthy environment. Lichens provide shelter, material for nests, medicine for humans, and when lichens grow on rocks, the chemicals they release break down the rock and contribute to creating soil.

Usnea is a lichen found here in our mountains and has many benefits to humans, including support for our lungs during this cold and flu season. Gaia Herbs makes a great tincture. If you are interested in harvesting your own, Mountain Xpress has a great article that explains how to do this sustainably.


We have started a weekly webinar series to offer as much support as we can. View the recording of our latest one here:

COVID-19: H.R.6201-Families First COVID-19 Response Act/NC UI/FLSA

And, here is a resource page with frequent updates:



We all have the same things on our minds: how can we be resilient together through this storm?

To help answer questions that will most certainly arise in the employee management arena, we have set up a resource page to address FLSA, and unemployment questions and accounting questions. You may visit that link here.

We have also set up a weekly webinar series to answer questions and address the latest changes in unemployment aid and laws. You will receive an invitation for this once it is available. A recording of our latest session is available on our website here. This is free and open to all that find this helpful.

During this time of event cancellations and isolation in our homes, we can give imperative cash flow to fuel our local businesses in their time of need with our power to purchase online. #Asheville Strong. is a movement to buy local gift cards now in Asheville and WNC.

If we come together, stay informed, take every action we can think of that can possibly help, I know we will weather this storm together, in the best way we can. Know our hearts are with you and your families at this time.

Warm regards,


We are still committed to lifting our clients and community up during this time, so have included a Client and Community Spotlight below. Take a moment to be inspired by the great ways people are doing business in Asheville. It is a way we can stay connected and inspired.


When it comes to actualizing top physical potential, Hugh Hines has figured out the perfect formula: highly intentional workouts, in a short amount of time [under 20 minutes], and the best part — you don’t even have to change out of your work clothes [no sweat!]. He’s teaching others, whose lives have largely become sedentary, to do the same. Through his work at MEDStrength, he reveals how decline later in life is not only preventable, but reversible — if you start with building strength — the essence of vitality.

When we sit down to talk, I have so many questions as to how a workout at MEDStrength, can achieve so much in so little time. He explains it this way:


Physical activity is any movement produced by contraction of skeletal muscle that results in energy expenditure. Walking, gardening, Pilates, yoga, dance, jogging, mountain biking, etc. are physical activities. Physical activity is feelings-based. You do what you enjoy.

Exercise is activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and has a final or immediate objective to improve or maintain physical fitness. Exercise is intellectually based, and data driven. You do what is required.

MEDStrength, is exercise. It’s a place where science and simplicity meet. Our purpose is to apply the Minimum Effective Dose (MED), or the least amount of controlled stress to your body to elicit a response that holistically improves it.


These few seconds of controlled stress stimulates physical, hormonal and mental responses:

  • Your physical responses will be increased muscle mass, increased strength, increased bone density, increased joint stability, reduced blood pressure, increased metabolism and increased endurance. (Winett, Carpinelli, 2001)
  • Your hormonal responses will lead to improved blood sugar management, improved weight management, improved cholesterol ratios, and improved functioning of all the systems of your body. (Winett, Carpinelli, 2001)
  • Your mental responses will be relief of stress, clearer thinking, improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety and the confidence that only strength can give you. (Gordon, McDowell, Lyons, Herring, 2017)

The overall effect is reversing the physical decline that makes everything in life harder as you age. You can gain control of your aging process and all it takes is a few minutes of effort.


When you arrive at the studio, everything will be ready for you. You’ll:

  • Perform only essential exercises that work your whole body.
  • Perform each exercise briefly. Seconds of maximal effort produces the same result obtained with hours of traditional exercise.
  • Perform exercises safely. Our Modern Isometric Exercise ensures that your maximum effort will be safely executed, and you’ll get all you can from that effort.
  • Perform your exercise privately. There is no audience to inhibit or distract you.
  • Be coached every session. Our experienced instructors will have the equipment already set for you when you come in and help you through the process.
  • Have your program managed properly. Our unique system allows us to accurately measure and record your performance to ensure safe progression. You’ll receive progress reports showing you how you are improving.
  • Not sweat. You can do your session in the same clothes you go to work or spend the day in. No need to change, shower, re-apply makeup or any of the other hassles of traditional exercise.

MEDStrength, has been designed to take what has been learned from science and apply it as safely as possible so that anyone, regardless of their age, size, shape or athletic ability can receive in minutes, all the health and quality of life improvements that traditional exercise required hours to obtain.

‘Science has shown, it only takes a few seconds of effort to create the stimulus to which the body will respond in a positive way,’ 


PP:  What is a great success story you have witnessed from people coming here?

H:  “The immediate one that comes to mind is a man who claimed to be the most sedentary man I’ve ever met. At first, we started with a twice a week schedule to build some momentum, and then I thought we would cut back to once a week. Surprisingly, he has not cut back, but has continued twice a week, and he’s getting stronger, and stronger. You can see a difference in someone when they’re confidence has returned.

I also have a client who is a retired concert pianist. She was concerned about her balance (and, unless you have some sort of inner-ear problem — balance is always about strength). When she first started here, she could leg press 70 pounds, and now she can do 130, and her balance concerns have disappeared.”

PP:  Who is your primary client?

H:  “Mainly, they are people who have gotten off the couch and said, ‘I need to do something,’ or their doctor tells them the same. Once they start working here they are surprised at what this turns into, because it’s a constant increasing of capabilities over time, that begins to manifest in little things: like being able to walk up steps without effort. One lady whose office was down a flight of stairs, said she would have to take a break up the steps halfway. She’s 71, and now she realizes she’s going up and down these steps without even thinking about it.”

PP:  So it sounds like this gives people freedom.

H:  “Right. And they can remain independent.” 

PP:  What would your definition of optimal health be?

H:  “Disease-free, pain-free, medication-free, and able to physically do whatever you want.”

PP:  What is your favorite part of your job?

H:  “My favorite part is teaching. I educate people on how the muscles and systems of our body work. Because when you understand how things work, then you can pull the levers of change at will.”


PP:  What do you enjoy doing outside of this work?05-Hugh.smiling.300px

H:  “I mountain bike a lot. There’s nowhere I can’t ride. 

‘I love it when I get up to these high climbs and there’s nothing but guys half my age up there. I’m able to because I am strong.’

I didn’t start out doing it that way. I had to gain strength so I would have the ability to power myself up there. It wasn’t about aerobic capacity, I was just strong enough to do it.” 

PP:  When I first started mountain biking, I noticed the fight between mental doubt and physical capabilities. Once you are strong, is the fight between the two still there?

H:  “It disappears completely. And, if it gets too tough, you can just get off your bike and walk. There’s no shame in that.” 


PP:  Who are your heroes? Who inspires you?

H:  “The people that come here. It is inspiring in this business to see someone live better because you’ve helped them. To have someone tell you that they feel better, and their back doesn’t hurt anymore, or they can get up the stairs — things that they could not do before. Sometimes when people first come here, they are so debilitated that even the most minor of things that you or I take for granted, like bringing the groceries in, they can’t do. So, it’s great to see how far people can come, and it makes all the parts of running a business that I don’t like to do, like how Platinum helps me (accounting, taxes, etc.) worthwhile.”


PP:  How long have you been working with Platinum Group?

H:  “Since 2013 when I started this business here.”  

PP:  And, how has Platinum helped you to Do What You Love?

H:  “I don’t think about my taxes. I just fill out the organizer that you give me and I don’t have to give it much thought after that. It gives me space to tend to the other aspects of my business. You make my life a little easier, like I try to do for the folks that come in here.”

Platinum Group is an HCM Payroll & Accounting firm in Asheville that celebrates our wonderful clients, keeping business local, and elevating our community by volunteer outreach. To see how we can support your business, visit us at: 

{Would you like to participate in a Client Spotlight? Sign up here.}





TRANSLATING LICHEN INTO ABSTRACT ART  For Deanna Chilian, inspiration for her work spans the gamut: from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, anything by David Bowie, to: lichen. A local painter in the Foundation Building, as well as display space in Sky + Ground Gallery — both in Asheville’s River Arst District, when she dives into a series, she does not hold back. The size of her lichen paintings have been as miniature as 6 inches sqaure, to expansive canvases stretching 4 feet. Visit her website here.


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