As my regular readers know, every January I go out on a limb and make my 10 predictions for the coming year. But, before I take a crack at 2017, it is only fair to grade how I did with my predictions for 2016.

Socks Appeal: THE UNLIKELY STORY OF HOW A TRANQUIL SEA ISLAND FOSTERED HIGH-OCTANE ACTION SPORTS BRAND FUEL CLOTHING CO.

We’ve all seen the Fuel logo, plastered on bumpers and rear windows of mud-caked trucks and salt-battered Jeeps winding their way around Lowcountry roads from one adventure to the next. We’ve seen Fuel-branded hats, shirts and socks — so many socks — on the heads, backs and feet of the Lowcountry’s many eternally young fun junkies.

As we write this in the final days of 2016, investors are asking themselves how a year that started so grimly ended up … well, not all that badly. The year began with the worst 10 trading days ever to start a year. Even after a month-end rally, the Dow lost 5.5 percent in January 2016, driven by fears of a slowdown in China and plunging oil prices, and the NASDAQ fell nearly 8 percent. Then in June, the experts got the Brexit vote wrong, and markets once again reacted violently; U.S. stocks fell more than 3 percent following the vote, with the Dow losing 610 points — its eight largest point loss ever — erasing the year-to-date gains in an instant. Finally, on the evening of the election, stock market futures crashed more than 750 points before recovering and beginning a powerful “Trump rally” in November and December. Now it’s time to look ahead. Here are a few items of interest to us as we plan for 2017 and beyond.

The 2016 election cycle sent both Democrats and Republicans into disarray. The political landscape in the U.S. has been thrown into a new configuration, and as goes politics, so goes our economy. As I have said before, “Economics may be the dismal science, but it all comes down to the study of human behavior.”    

Many are unaware that today's United Way of the Lowcountry, the nonprofit organization that has been doing significant work on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, as well as the rest of Beaufort and Jasper counties, boasts a heritage that dates to the late 1800s.

Its 130-year legacy includes many years known as Community Chest. Under that name, the organization provided some of the most successful community service initiatives of that era — helping the homeless and feeding food-deprived families during the Great Depression of the late 1920s and ’30s.

ENTREPRENEUR BILL WINANS BUILT HIS EMPIRE ONE OUTRAGEOUS PARTY AT A TIME.

We’ve all been there.

You want to throw an absolutely epic party for a few hundred of your closest friends that will include, but not be limited to: a live pirate ship, a complete sports bar fabricated onsite, go-kart races, Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics and Hollywood-quality set pieces. And possibly a live-action samurai stunt show.

It’s hard to follow a healthy lifestyle during the hectic holiday season. During the “most wonderful time of the year,” we tend to overindulge in libations and leftovers and under-indulge in sleep. “Ho, ho, ho-ing” translates into “ho-ho-hoping” to stay jolly despite common holiday stressors like money and family. And as quick as we can say, “Happy Festivus for the rest of us,” it is January and we are all bloated, exhausted and asking ourselves, “Where did the past few months go?”

There are profound changes underway in our local and national economies that are being driven by both demographics and advancements in technology. Hilton Head Island is merely a microcosm of what is happening globally and in the United States. Developed nations are aging just the same way Hilton Head is aging, and as we age our spending habits and our hierarchy of needs change.

Photo: David Nelems, executive director of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation

Since its launch in May 2012, the Don Ryan Center for Innovation has been a leader in transforming our regional economic development

“Empowering innovators and accelerating innovation is our mission,” says David Nelems, the center’s executive director. “Creating primary jobs and a diverse economy is the true measure of success.” Indeed, every regional plan for the past decade has focused on primary jobs, diversity, knowledge and technology business formation.

Jack Morris (seated), David Leahey (left) and Ben Whiteside — the men behind Morris & Whiteside Auctions.

Men behind Morris & Whiteside Auctions celebrate successful longtime partnership

Morris & Whiteside Auctions’ annual Hilton Head Art Auction was more than a day late, but definitely not a dollar short.

Usually held in October, Hurricane Matthew forced partners Ben Whiteside, Jack Morris and David Leahy to postpone the 16th annual event until Nov. 5, but art collectors showed up as usual to take home some of the finest works from renowned artists from the Lowcountry and beyond.