Page 1

Winter 2011

Windfall for trade Trade agreements to boost S.C. exports

Change of command Unemployment department chief sets job-finding strategy

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Dr. William Reha cranks classic rock tunes in his operating room. Maybe it’s the rock and roll energy that drives him. After all, he didn’t stop at an M.D. His MBA from Strayer University gave him the business acumen medical school doesn’t cover, and now he runs his own thriving practice. As an education provider for many of corporate America’s leading companies, Strayer is a magnet for overachievers like Dr. Reha. If you rock like he does, a hard-earned degree could be in your future, too. For more information, visit discover.strayeruniversity.edu or call 1.866.324.5917.


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Contents Vol.5, Issue 4

CEO and Publisher - Grady Johnson gjohnson@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3103 Vice President of Sales - Steve Fields sfields@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3110 Accounting Department - Vickie Deadmon vdeadmon@scbiznews.com • 864.235.5677

Winter 2011

Managing Editor - Andy Owens aowens@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3141 Senior Copy Editor - Beverly Morgan bmorgan@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3115

cover

Special Projects Editor - Licia Jackson ljackson@scbiznews.com • 803.401.1094, ext. 206

Trade aid

Staff Writer - Chuck Crumbo ccrumbo@scbiznews.com • 803.401.1094, ext. 201

New agreements open opportunities for S.C.

Staff Writer - Matt Tomsic mtomsic@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3144 Staff Photographer - Leslie Burden lburden@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3123 Creative Director - Ryan Wilcox production1@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3117

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Senior Graphic Designer - Jane Mattingly production2@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3118 Graphic Designer - Jean Piot production3@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3145

Cover Photo/Leslie Burden

Director of Business Development - Mark Wright mwright@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3143 Account Executive - Bennett Parks bparks@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3126 Circulation and Event Manager - Kathy Allen kallen@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3113 Circulation, Event and Business Coordinator Kim McManus kmcmanus@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3116

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Change of Command

Photo/Jeff Blake

4 | Upfront

SMALL/MEDIUM EMPLOYERS

8 | Spotlight: Sumter County

& DISTRIBU TI

4,

20

11

Mailing address:

ON IN S.C.

Ports CEO: Charlesto n’s port must grow

LARGE EMPLOYERS

the bar for our state’s IN SC) has as its goal raising (250 OR MORE EMPLOYEES workplace that in South Carolina satisfaction in the est Places to Work excellence and employee employers and creating Rank Company come. SC Biz people for years to is an initiative between will attract talented 1............Edward Jones to Work in South Carolina Columbia Regional Recognizing Best Places 2............Elliott Davis Business Journal, the Engineering of the Charleston Regional Companies Group. 3............Life Cycle News — publisher magazine — and Best best employers. Goodman LLP Business and SCBIZ to South Carolina’s 4............Dixon Hughes Business Report, GSA is to find and pay tribute Inc. relations and recruitment, The focus of the program 5............Blackbaud award has on employee workplace positive impact the remarkable impact 6............Palmetto Health In addition to the in the program is the join to Inc. companies 7............Erwin Penland the driving force for line. firm have on their bottom excellence consulting 8............SYNNEX Corp. improvements can assisted by the workplace Water System of participating compaBest Companies Group, 9............Charleston yet thorough, assessment Supply Co. conducts a simple, 10..........Mayer Electric ModernThink LLC, the employprocess. In part one, nies. are involved in a two-part complete a survey. Companies that participate part two, employees of the company set in to produce a detailed er completes a questionnaire; from both assessments is combined IN SC) strengths and opportuniThe collected information (15-249 EMPLOYEES ink to determine the based on this data experts at ModernTh of data enabling the ink ranks the workplaces companies. ModernTh to each participating Rank Company ties of the participating Reports that are returned Findings Assessment 1............SPARC LLC and then creates the whether the program is not 2............SynTerra Corp. company. in participation in cost an individual that the real value e Th Inc. convinced feedback. are We 3............VC3 survey Inc. would be consideraward but in the employee 4............Human Technologies a company wins an were done independently Union survey with a to pay if the analysis Trust Federal Credit Group conducts a 5............Family Places company would have Best can when of scale apply feedback, which ACA And the employee 6............ArborOne, ably more; economies say, priceless. from the same state. Fed. Credit Union company, is, as they 7............Palmetto Citizens large number of participants already successful Bank and streamline an 8............First Reliance be used to improve that meet the 9............SCRA all S.C. organizations in 2006, is open to and Co., Inc. 10..........C.F. Evans The program, launched Companies must: of S.C. 11..........Select Health eligibility requirements. or government entity. Bank not-for-profit business 12..........First Community • Be a for-profit or held business. Einstein privately feld or 13..........Rosen • Be a publicly the state of South Carolina. of South Carolina. 14..........EDENS • Have a facility in the state Express Inc. of 25 employees in 15 .........Environmental • Have a minimum year. a minimum of one 16..........KeenanSuggs • Have been in business Lottery 17..........S.C. Education toworksc.com. visit www.bestplaces For more information,

B

By Matt Tomsic, Staff Writer outh Carolina has to overcome huge challenges to grow its port, the He said the port faces CEO of a multhe S.C. State Ports tiyear effort to recover Authority cargo lost says. from 2005 to 2009, when the port “We have to do fell from No. 4 to it fast,” Jim No. 9 in the Newsome said in a rankings of the nation’s recent State of container the Port address. “And ports. Meanwhile, we have no neighboring time to waste.” Savannah climbed from No. 9 to Newsome said the No. 4. port faces a huge challenge, but Savannah’s growth it is making sprang progress beyond its largely from the state numbers. of Georgia’s During fiscal year commitment to 2011, the attracting ports authority facilitating the construction and handled more of than 800,000 pier distribution centers containers – up near its ma8% compared to fiscal jor port. year 2010 – and 1 million tons Still, the Port of of break-bulk Charleston volume. Pier container remains a key driver volumes The port of the South has catching up to do, rose for the first time Carolina economy, says Jim Newsome, since 2005, S.C. Ports Authority with an overand the authority CEO. all annual economic exceeded its million. impact of planned levels of $45 billion. The port operating reveroll-off cargo and accounts for The port also moved began imple- 280,600 nue and other metrics. into the menting Operating study jobs across the state a computer terminal phase of its harbor in revenues rose 12% optransportation deep- erating system, over last year ening , distribution and called Navis. project, improved to $124.6 million, manufacturing industries. the Cowhile earnings lumbus “Growing our cargo Street Terminal to rose from $8.4 million base is the better only way to The port’s growth to $16.6 handle plan targets grow our port,” Newbreak-bulk and roll-on, some said. See PORT, Page 40

S

Best Places to Work

6 | Trends

S.C. Delivers

PORTS, LOG ISTICS

2011

E

3 | Viewpoint

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Viewpoint

Some light at the end of the tunnel in S.C.

T

hese are troubled times. Europe and our own country are experiencing political and economic turmoil on a scale not seen in many years. A lack of confidence in the future and political paralysis in the face of mounting deficits portend years of subpar growth, here and abroad. Someday, things will get better, but for now the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel still looks like an oncoming train. Here in South Carolina, our economic prospects are inexorably tied to the national and global economies. You might conclude there is little hope for a resumption of healthy economic growth in our state. If so, you would be wrong. Remarkably, new entrepreneurial startups continue to be formed and grow, albeit more slowly than might be the case in better economic times. Likewise, new announcements of larger businesses expanding or establishing new facilities around the state are popping up with surprising frequency. The publisher of this magazine also publishes business newspapers for the state’s three largest metro areas. I have had the privilege of living in one of those, the Charleston area, for 30 years now. Having founded the Charleston Regional Business Journal back in 1995 and selling it to a larger publishing company in 2008, I still eagerly follow the state’s business news through all of the company’s publications, online and in print. I also make it a point to attend the Business Journal’s local events. In early November I made it to the last of this year’s Power Breakfast Series. The session was a panel discussion about “Charleston’s emerging economy.” The featured panelists represented four companies: Benefitfocus, now the largest benefits software company in the U.S.; Levelwing Media, a digi-

tal advertising company that provides datadriven marketing solutions; HurryHurry!, a social, local and mobile advertising platform for small and medium sized businesses; and VaxyGen, a life sciences company headquartered in the SCRA MUSC Innovation Center on the Charleston peninsula. Obviously, all four companies fall in the category of “knowledge economy” businesses. And to be honest, I really felt my age as I tried to wrap my mind around their complex and sophisticated business models. That said, as a former entrepreneur with a passion for business success, I found it very easy to appreciate the good news these panelists shared. About a decade ago, when I was still publisher of the Business Journal, I paid a visit to Benefitfocus co-founder Shawn Jenkins at their new “offices,” a big-box retail space formerly occupied by a Wal-Mart. The space looked like an airplane hangar, but instead of airplanes I found a space filled with unbounded excitement and enthusiasm. Today, the company is headquartered in a classy new office building built to house a growing staff that numbers over 600. The company continues to prosper, doing business in all 50 states and dozens of countries overseas. I wish I had space to share more details about the other three companies on the panel. Instead, let me share some of the good news I heard from the panelists. First, the Charleston area continues to evolve into a place where the “creative class” of knowledge-based workers and entrepreneurs can live and prosper professionally. As Kit Hughes of HurryHurry! said, “Charleston has the earth we can grow out of.” Levelwing’s KB Reidenbach noted that their company could be headquartered anywhere, but they’re “very happy” to be located in Charleston.

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Second, public and private investments in the life sciences are paying off. VaxyGen CEO David Dodd praised the high level of research coming out of MUSC as well as the resources he found at the SCRA Innovation Center. (SCRA is an amazing success story in its own right – a non-profit corporation founded by the Legislature in 1983, it is now self-funded. The company helps fund knowledge economy startups and also markets and delivers applied research and development services that generated over $170 million in revenue in 2010.) Third, Dodd had high praise for the support and encouragement he has received from state and local officials and from others in the state’s private sector who wanted to help ensure his company’s success. This has been one of South Carolina’s strengths for many years. Fourth, the Charleston area continues to attract new businesses thanks to our quality of life. Several panelists said this makes it easier to attract and retain the talent they need to grow their businesses. They also noted how eager clients and prospective customers are to come to Charleston for business meetings. Yes, the economy is still in tough shape, but it was hard for anyone attending the Power Breakfast to leave filled only with gloom and doom. For South Carolina, the good news is that what I heard about the Charleston area is a story being repeated elsewhere around the state. At a time when so many things seem so wrong with our economy and our political system, we’re still doing a lot of things right – right here in South Carolina. SC

BIZ

Bill Settlemyer bsettlemyer@scbiznews.com

Correction A story in the fall issue of SCBIZ incorrectly identified the funding sources for The Heritage golf tournament in 2010. The Heritage golf tournament received funding from three sources: the organization’s savings, the town of Hilton Head, which served as a sponsor, and Beaufort County, which provided a loan. Tournament organizers rejected an early idea of taking a loan from the General Assembly that year. SCBIZ regrets the error. w w w . s c b i z m a g . c o m | W i n t e r 2 011

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Upfront r e g i o n al N e ws | D ata

Upstate

Midlands

Lowcountr y

S.C. economic development announcements keep rolling in

Rendering/Nephron Pharmaceuticals

the plant will turn out billions of doses of medication that sell for as little as 10 cents a dose. It will employ at least 707 workers, with average annual salaries of $70,000. GKN Aerospace announced plans to invest $38 million and create 278 jobs in a new plant near I-26 and U.S. Highway 301 in Orangeburg. The company will move into a spec building constructed by Miller-Valentine, with completion expected in the second half of 2012. The company is expected to begin recruiting staff from the local community in the spring. Initially, the work at the new plant will be assembly operations on a composite fuselage for Honda Aviation’s new HondaJet. GKN is headquartered in Redditch, England. TD Bank will expand its corporate operations in South Carolina, adding more than 200 new positions in Lexington and more than 1,400 new jobs at the bank’s campus on Interstate 85 in Greenville. TD Bank has $3.3 billion in deposits and is No. 5 in market share in South Carolina. In Greenville, the bank will make $17.1 million in renovations of three buildings totaling 300,000 square feet, beginning in early 2012.

Four economic development announcements in late 2011 set the stage for more than 4,200 new jobs to come to the state. Continental Tire expects to begin construction in mid-2012 on a 1 million-squarefoot building on U.S. Highway 521 near Sumter. The company is investing $500 million and will create 1,620 jobs. The plant will produce eight million tires a year by the completion of initial phases, and final hiring should be made by 2020. Continental Tire the Americas, a subsidiary of Continental Corp. based in Ger-

many, also plans to spend $4 million on its headquarters in Fort Mill with 80 more jobs to be filled. Nephron Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug maker based in Orlando, Fla., plans to build a 955,000-square-foot manufacturing complex in the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park in Cayce, near the intersection of interstates 26 and 77. The company owners, University of South Carolina graduates William and Lou Kennedy, plan a $313 million investment in a manufacturing and research campus. When fully operational

$3 billion

Commerce website relaunch targets site selectors, CEOs

The annual economic impact of the insurance industry in S.C. 38,906: The number of jobs provided by the insurance industry in the state in 2008. $125.7 million: Amount of premium taxes paid by insurance companies in 2008. $3 billion: The industry’s contribution to the 2007 gross state product, 2.4% of the total. $3.5 billion: Total claims payments made in South Carolina for property and casualty losses in 2009. $4.4 billion: Total life insurance claims and benefits payments in the state in 2009. Source: South Carolina Insurance News Service, Insurance Information Institute

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SC BiZ | w w w. s c b i z m a g . c o m

The South Carolina Department of Commerce debuted its updated business-friendly website in October. The site at www.sccommerce.com was designed to make it easy for users to find information quickly. Particularly handy are pages with facts and how-to guides for prospective businesses thinking about starting, expanding or relocating their companies in the state. The site offers readily available information for site selection, entrepreneurs, CEOs, small or existing businesses and foreign embassies or businesses. New international pages give details about Commerce’s presence overseas, including the offices in Munich and Shanghai. Three microsites targeting aerospace, automotive and recycling industries supplement

the main website. Here are the addresses for the microsites: www.scaerospace.com www.scautoindustry.com www.recyclinginsc.com Source: S.C. Department of Commerce


South has lowest employer cost for workers Employers’ costs for employee compensation in the private industry are lower in the 17-state South region, which includes South Carolina. Compared with the three other regions of the nation, the South comes in lowest on cost per hour, according to the latest data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor cost in the South represented a 23% cost advantage over the Northeast region; a 17% advantage over the West region; and a 9% advantage over the Midwest region. In the South region, total employee compensation averaged $24.94 per hour, with $7.06 of that amount for benefits and $17.88 for wages and salaries. For comparison, the highest cost was in the Northeast region, at $32.20 per hour, comprising $9.90 for benefits and $22.30 for wages and salaries. The remaining regions were the West with total cost of $30.12 per hour, comprising $8.80 for benefits and $21.32 for wages; and the Midwest at $27.45 per hour, comprising $8.37 for benefits and $19.08 for wages. The United States as a whole averaged $28.13 per hour, comprising $8.32 for benefits and $19.81 for wages.

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Employee compensation per hour in private industry by region, June 2011 – Wages and Salaries

– Benefits

$35

$32.20 $30

$28.13 $9.90

$25

$30.12 $27.45 $24.94

$8.80

$8.32

$8.37 $7.06

$20 $15

$10

$19.81

$22.30

$21.32

$19.08

$17.88

Midwest

South

$5

$0

U.S. Northeast West

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics w w w . s c b i z m a g . c o m | W i n t e r 2 011

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Tr e n d s

Nonfarm Employment by Industry in S.C. Sept. 2011 - Oct. 2011

Oct. 2010 - Oct. 2011

Jobs by Industry

Oct. 2011

Sept. 2011

Oct. 2010

# Change

% Change

# Change

% Change

Total Nonfarm Employment

1,832,500

1,823,100

1,817,500

9,400

0.52%

15,000

0.83%

Natural Resources and Mining

4,000

4,100

4,000

-100

-2.44%

0

0.00%

Construction

76,400

75,700

81,100

700

0.92%

-4,700

-5.80%

Manufacturing

219,300

218,700

208,500

600

0.27%

10,800

5.18%

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

350,600

348,500

346,800

2,100

0.60%

3,800

1.10%

Information

25,400

25,200

25,300

200

0.79%

100

0.40%

Financial Activities

97,700

96,100

96,900

1,600

1.66%

800

0.83%

Professional and Business Services

224,500

223,300

220,600

1,200

0.54%

3,900

1.77%

Education and Health Services

219,300

217,100

215,300

2,200

1.01%

4,000

1.86%

Leisure and Hospitality

211,400

213,600

209,100

-2,200

-1.03%

2,300

1.10%

Government

336,000

332,500

341,100

3,500

1.05%

-5,100

-1.50%

Note: Not Seasonally Adjusted Source: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce

Aiken and Edgefield Counties, South Carolina

Look Closer.

The Aiken and Edgefield County area is a modern community of cutting-edge manufacturing, worldchanging research and development, all the while being a part of the quintessential Southern experience. • A leader in chemicals, plastics, automotive technology and hydrogen technology • A stable, quality workforce with advanced manufacturing skills • Major highways, rail lines, air service and port access • Small-town atmosphere with proximity to big-city amenities

AIKEN AND EDGEFIELD COUNTIES

For a closer look, contact: Will Williams, Director wwilliams@edpsc.org

P.O. Box 1708 | Aiken, SC 29802 | Phone: 803.641.3300 | Fax: 803.641.3369 | www.edpsc.org 6

SC BiZ | w w w. s c b i z m a g . c o m


Tr e n d s

Nonfarm Employment by Area Sept. 2011 - Oct. 2011

Oct. 2010 - Oct. 2011

Industry Title

Oct. 2011

Sept. 2011

Oct. 2010

# Change

% Change

# Change

% Change

Statewide

1,832,500

1,823,100

1,817,500

9,400

0.52%

15,000

0.83%

61,500

60,100

60,100

1,400

2.33%

1,400

2.33%

Anderson MSA Charleston/North Charleston MSA

287,800

286,300

285,100

1,500

0.52%

2,700

0.95%

Columbia MSA

348,500

346,200

343,000

2,300

0.66%

5,500

1.60%

Florence MSA

83,400

82,600

82,400

800

0.97%

1,000

1.21%

Greenville MSA

299,000

300,300

296,500

-1,300

-0.43%

2,500

0.84%

Myrtle Beach/Conway/ N. Myrtle Beach MSA

118,600

119,900

115,700

-1,300

-1.08%

2,900

2.51%

Spartanburg MSA

119,900

117,900

119,100

2,000

1.70%

800

0.67%

37,000

36,700

37,100

300

0.82%

-100

-0.27%

Sumter MSA

Note: Employment estimates have been rounded to the nearest hundred. Sum of detail may not equal totals due to rounding or the exclusion of certain industries from publication. All data are subject to revision Source: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce

Top 10 Economic Development Announcements by Investment, 2011 Rank

Company

1

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations

2

Continental Tire the Americas LLC

3

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp.

4

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations

5

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations

6

Michelin North America Inc.

7

BMW Manufacturing Co.

(tie) 8

Bosch Rexroth Corp.

(tie) 8

ZF Group

10

Michelin North America Inc.

Unemployment by County, Oct. 2011

Investment

Allendale........... 18.9%

Greenwood........ 11.3%

$894.3 million

Marion............... 18.5%

Sumter.............. 10.9%

Sumter

$500 million

Marlboro............ 17.2%

Florence............ 10.4%

Lexington

$313 million

Union................. 16.7%

Horry................. 10.4%

$211.4 million

Barnwell............ 15.7%

Georgetown....... 10.2%

County Aiken

Aiken Aiken

$135 million

Chester.............. 15.3%

Laurens............... 9.9%

Lexington

$130 million

Bamberg............ 15.2%

Spartanburg......... 9.9%

Spartanburg

$100 million

Orangeburg....... 14.9%

Berkeley.............. 9.8%

Greenville

$80 million

Dillon................. 14.6%

Newberry............. 9.7%

Laurens

$80 million

Clarendon.......... 14.5%

Edgefield............. 9.6%

Lexington

$70 million

McCormick........ 14.1%

Saluda................. 9.6%

Hampton............ 14.0%

Oconee................ 9.5%

Top 10 Economic Development Announcements by Number of Jobs, 2011

Lancaster.......... 13.7%

Anderson............. 9.3%

County

Jobs

Williamsburg...... 13.6%

Kershaw.............. 9.1%

Lexington

2,000

Lee.................... 13.3%

Richland.............. 8.8%

Sumter

1,620

Chesterfield....... 12.9%

Pickens................ 8.7%

TD Bank

Greenville

1,400

Cherokee........... 12.8%

Jasper................. 8.6%

4

5-STAR USA Inc.

Marlboro

1,000

Colleton............. 12.6%

Aiken................... 8.5%

5

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Lexington

707

Calhoun............. 12.4%

Dorchester........... 8.5%

6

Amy’s Kitchen

Greenville

700

York................... 12.1%

Beaufort.............. 8.2%

7

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations

Aiken

550

8

Otis Elevator Co.

Florence

360

Darlington.......... 11.6%

Greenville............ 8.0%

(tie) 9

TIGHITCO Inc.

Charleston

350

Fairfield............. 11.4%

Charleston........... 7.9%

(tie) 9

CertusBank, N.A.

Greenville

350

Abbeville............ 11.3%

Lexington............. 7.6%

Rank

Company

1

Amazon.com Inc.

2

Continental Tire the Americas LLC

3

Source: S.C. Department of Commerce

Source: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce w w w . s c b i z m a g . c o m | W i n t e r 2 011

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Sumter County

Special Advertising Section

Fridays at the Plaza, a concert series that draws hundreds, is one of many downtown Sumter events. .

Sumter County

After nearly a decade of hits, the Gamecock County is surging once again

T

he excitement in the historic Sumter Opera House was thick on Oct. 6, 2011. An official with Continental Tire Americas LLC, took to the stage in front of more than 300 curious faces and announced his company would invest more than a half billion dollars and create at least 1,600 jobs in the Gamecock County. It is a massive jobs commitment by the company. Continental will quickly go from a mere concept to become one of the area’s largest employers. The announcement also represents the single largest private investment in the 212-year-old community. But it was far more than just a project win. It was further indication that Sumter is back in the economic development game and more importantly, winning, after nearly a decade of struggles. The Continental announcement isn’t the only recent good news in this community just 8

SC BiZ | w w w. s c b i z m a g . c o m

east of Columbia. In fact, that announcement was just the latest in a string of positive news that includes landing the first North American production operation for Taiwan-based Au’Some Candies, a state-of-the-art confectionary manufacturer, and continued expansions at Sykes Inc., a 950-seat data center located in Sumter Mall. Additionally, the Department of Defense has added more than 1,200 new high-paying jobs at Shaw Air Force Base and more than $300 million in new facility investments. Further, the community is also well into a $75 million investment into area improvements focused on public safety, jobs and quality of life. Toss in a steadily improving housing market, a surging downtown

revitalization effort and increasing per-capita incomes, and you see real evidence that the Sumter community has all the arrows pointed in the right direction. The word on the street, and around the state, is that things are looking up in Sumter County.


Sumter County

Special Advertising Section

A history of growth Throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s, Sumter County stood out among its peers as a community on the move. The City grew farther and farther to the west, eventually annexing Shaw Air Force Base in an attempt to help protect it from closure. And the County kept adding solid manufacturing jobs, year in and year out, well above the state average. As global, national and state economies boomed in the mid-to-late 1990s, Sumter’s manufacturing presence continued to grow, at one stretch averaging more than 650 net new jobs per year, almost two new jobs per day. Even as most communities saw their manufacturing sectors shrinking in a trend that had been more than a decade in the making, Sumter kept growing, seemingly immune to the losses around it: 488 new jobs announced in 1995; 655 jobs in 1997; 739 new jobs in 1999 — with no end in sight. But the end was far closer than anyone knew. From a high point of about 12,000 manufacturing jobs in 1999, the losses began to mount. Sumter County lost 1,203 manufacturing jobs in 2001, 1,016 in 2004, and 1,057 in 2006. By 2010, Sumter County was down

10

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Sumter County is the only community in the world with two separate Caterpillar plants. Caterpillar Precision Pins came to Sumter in 1998, and was followed by Caterpillar Hydraulics a year later.

to about 7,000 manufacturing jobs, 45% lower president and CEO of the Thompson Family of Companies, including Thompson-Turner than 10 years before. Construction and Thompson Industrial Services. Thompson brought a new energy and Turning things around By the mid 2000s, local leaders had had a new optimism to local development efforts, enough. They were tired of losing, and were said Sumter Mayor Joseph McElveen Jr. “Greg actually turned me down the first looking for ways to break the streak. By 2006, the Sumter Development Board had found two times I asked him to accept an appointa new chairman in Greg A. Thompson, the ment from City Council to the Development


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Sumter County

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Board,” McElveen said. “But I can be kind of persistent, and I knew he would re-energize the board no matter what role he ultimately played. I think we really needed someone like Greg.” One of his first duties as chairman was to help find a new top executive to run the Development Board. Thompson was determined the board needed a fresh face. “I said from the start we needed to start being proactive rather than reactive, and aggressive rather than passive,” Thompson said. “The days where we could sit back and wait on projects to come to us were over. We were now playing on a field where only the best were winning. We would have to fight for everything we could get.” So Thompson turned to Jay Schwedler, a South Carolina certified economic developer with a reputation as a hard worker, and -more importantly to Thompson -- an aggressive salesman who sometimes won’t take no for an answer, and who clearly understands the importance of a team approach. Schwedler said Thompson’s infectious enthusiasm and refusal to accept the status quo convinced him Sumter could regain its lost momentum. “It was clear there was an opportunity

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to be successful, but only together could we build the type of program and team we needed to win,” Schwedler said. “I knew that the recent declines in Sumter’s manufacturing base were primarily based on factors outside of its control. I knew it had solid product in property, buildings and workforce that I could sell. And I believed it had the kind of leadership that could truly change the community’s course. I knew Sumter could win again, and with the right support and the right strategies, we could win big.”

Shaw Air Force Base: Big things land here In 2005, Shaw Air Force Base won big, but that sorely needed community win came only after a years-long white-knuckle ride for the people of Sumter as they awaited the results of the Base Realignment and Closure process. At stake was nothing less than the community’s future. A military base with a 60-year history in Sumter, an annual economic impact of about three quarters of a billion dollars, and 6,000 jobs tilted in the balance. Sumter tilted in the balance. But the community had done its homework. Years before Sumter’s various leaders

had come together to form a Base Defense Commission, a group designed specifically to strategize on how to protect the base from closure. The group would examine every linkage between the base and the community and the Department of Defense, and find ways to shore up its defenses. For instance, the community educated itself on the BRAC process, and began intense lobbying efforts, bending the ears of anyone who would listen. Meanwhile, Sumter City Council and Sumter County Council came together to form a “Military Protection District” around the base, outlining uses most compatible for the base’s future, and protecting the base from encroachment. Other steps followed. To the relief of the somewhat weary leadership, Shaw not only escaped closure, but the Department of Defense announced that the base would grow with the inclusion of the United States Army: While Forts Gillem and McPherson would close, the Third Army’s headquarters would relocate to Sumter, bringing 1,200 Army jobs averaging $85,000 per year, an $80 million operating budget, and a $100 million payroll with it. “To say it was a relief, would be the understatement of the decade,” said Mayor


Whether you are welcoming a baby, saving for college, This still image from Sumter Economic Development’s award-winning industrial recruitment video shows an F-16 soaring high above Shaw Air Force Base and Sumter.

McElveen. “But you won’t find us resting on our laurels. We’re already working on protecting Shaw from the next round of closures. The base and our relationship are just too important to leave to chance.” The changes at Shaw would be a long time coming, with a deadline for the move set in 2011. But in the past couple of years there has been a flurry of activity at the base, with the construction of Patton Hall, a $120 million headquarters comprising 321,000 square feet, with 1,600 work stations, 42 conference rooms, and a state-of-the-art command center reminiscent of a NASA flight control operation.

Going big While the Sumter community waited on the coming investments at Shaw, it was looking inward for investments in itself. After a failed 2004 public referendum that would have added an extra penny in sales tax, the community decided to try again, this time with a much larger, bolder plan. The new plan would tack on an extra penny for seven years, and then invest the $75 million it raised in public infrastructure, safety and quality of life improvements. At the time local leaders were drafting the plan, none was aware that America’s economy was already in the worst recession since the Great Depression. As the housing bubble burst, so did the dreams of prosperity of millions. By the time the downward spiral became evident, Sumter County Council had already passed the ordinance that would place a referendum on the 2008 ballot.

Chances seemed dim. Posed before voters was a huge question, unlike any other previously presented in sheer scope alone. And opposition had already coalesced, with bumper stickers urging voters to “say no” to the new tax. “We knew it would be tough, but County Council was cautiously optimistic that our various community leaders could convince the public to make these investments in themselves,” said Gene Baten, chairman of Sumter County Council. “County Council joined forces with our local leaders through the Development Board, the Chamber of Commerce and the city and engaged whoever else was willing to educate the public on the problems we were facing.” The community’s problems stemmed primarily from dwindling revenue from the state and federal governments, combined with aging infrastructure, job losses and restrictions on property tax increases. One of the solutions would be – proponents hoped – the “Penny for Progress.” This proposed local sales tax was pitched as the most efficient and fair means to repair and replace aging sidewalks and fire stations, improve dangerous intersections, rehabilitate community centers, expand water and sewer near industrial parks, and build a sorely needed courthouse to replace the 101-year-old structure on Sumter’s Main Street. In all, 16 project areas were identified, with more than 60 planned improvements. At the ballot box, the measure squeaked by. “We understand that a lot of people didn’t vote for the extra penny,” Baten said. “But we’re going to do this right, and show them

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Sumter County

Special Advertising Section

Sumter’s Swan Lake-Iris Gardens is open year round, featuring 120 acres of floral beauty, wildlife and unique public art. It is home to the world-famous Iris Festival held each spring.

that the projects in this effort are significant and worthy of their investment.” Baten pointed directly to the Continental Tires announcement as evidence that the extra penny has already helped improve the community. He said without the advance funding and planning for new water and sewer near the site on which Continental will build, Sumter never would have been in the

Concertgoers enjoy an evening of outdoor music at Fridays at the Plaza downtown.

hunt. “Timing is critical to projects like this, and we would not have been able to meet the company’s deadlines if it weren’t for the Penny for Progress,” Baten said. “That little penny has already helped us do some very big things.”

cident, nor does it happen overnight, said Thompson, now in his fifth year as chairman of the Sumter Development Board. One of Thompson’s first official acts as the new chairman was to call for a strategic planning retreat that would bring together dozens of community leaders in a session of candid self-examination. It wasn’t the Development Strategically thinking Positive change doesn’t happen by ac- Board’s first strategic plan, but it was coming The Thompson family of companies understands what you need from us: safe work, performance, value, quality and dependability. We have built a solid reputation as a leader in the industrial and commercial construction markets as well as the industrial services markets with more than 25 years of delivering quality services on time with competitive pricing. That's why we say every job matters. We concentrate on the details of the job at hand, while keeping an eye on the big picture and our fit with you in being a contributing part of your business for the long term. Together, we get the job done.

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Special Advertising Section in a new era when the old strategies just didn’t seem to be working. “I think it’s fair to say that we, as a community, had become pretty complacent under the old system where we mostly waited for (the S.C.) Department of Commerce to bring us projects,” Thompson said. “The game had passed us by. It changed, but we hadn’t. We no longer had the tools we needed to succeed at the level we were used to, and bringing the stakeholders together would be a good start at finding the edge we needed to compete.” The lack of a private sector partner was a glaring deficiency, Thompson said. While other similar sized communities had set up private sector organizations to assist in economic development, Sumter had none and relied 100% on public support. By 2005, the numbers had grown worse. People were grumbling. A fledgling privatesector initiative called the Sumter Smarter Growth Initiative had formed, but it had not yet found its real voice. Once Jay Schwedler, the new president and CEO of the Sumter Development Board, arrived in 2006, he knew the influence and resources of the SSGI would be critical to any success. “It’s not just about having more funding, although that’s part of it,” Schwedler said. “It’s about being able to move at the speed of business, to be flexible and resourceful. Not having private-sector buy-in put us at an incredible disadvantage. With the private sector as an ally, we can move faster, reach higher, and win more often. For such a young organization, the SSGI is critical to what we do.” The SSGI, by most any measure, has been a smashing success, Schwedler said. The group set a goal to help create 3,000 jobs in five years; 3,100 were created. It set out to raise $1.25 million, but actually drew commitments of closer to $1.5 million. The SSGI also funded the Development Board’s $200,000 multimedia marketing campaign, “American Spirit, Global Edge,” a marketing effort that garnered seven national and international economic development marketing awards. “We now know how important the SSGI is to the success of our community and we’re a committed part of the team,” said Jay Cox, president of Tuomey Healthcare System and chairman of the SSGI. “And we know the public sector can’t do it alone. And it shouldn’t have to. I truly believe that with all of us working together toward common goals, we can’t lose.”

Sumter County

Sumter County Council Chairman Gene Baten (r) is congratulated by Sumter Economic Development Chairman Greg A. Thompson during October’s Continental Tires announcement.

Thompson, chairman of the Sumter Development Board, said it has been a long time since he’s heard that kind of enthusiasm when it wasn’t coming from himself. “I’m not naïve enough to think that having a positive attitude is enough for success.

You still have to plan, to create meaningful alliances, and to outwork the other guy day in and day out,” Thompson said. “But it helps to stay focused on the prize, and to be positive in every step you take. That’s what we’re doing in Sumter. And it’s working.” SC

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CHANGE OF

command Abraham Turner, a South Carolina native and retired two-star leader, aims to make a dent in the state’s high jobless rate. By Chuck Crumbo, Staff Writer | Photography by Jeff Blake

A

braham Turner no longer wakes up to reveille. Instead, every morning he picks out a shirt, tie and suit.

“But I still spit-shine my shoes,” Turner said with a

hearty laugh. While the uniform might be different, the retired Army major general and former Fort Jackson commander brings the same heel-clicking passion and drive from 35 years of military service to his new job as executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

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“It’s a great place to be,” said the 57-yearold Turner, who took over the agency in Columbia on Sept. 1, succeeding John Finan, who retired. “I think it’s a great time for me and my team to come aboard.” Former Gov. Mark Sanford appointed Finan in April 2010 as part of a major reform that removed the department from control of an independent commission and brought it under the governor’s Cabinet. Sanford pushed for the changes after the agency, then known as the Employment Security Commission, had to borrow $963 million from the federal government to cover unemployment benefit claims filed by thousands of South Carolinians who had lost their jobs during the recession. Through November the state has repaid $184 million and expects to cover the remainder of the loan by 2015. Compared to commands the former infantryman held during his Army career, the 1,100-member “DEW,” as he calls it, has about a third the number of active-duty soldiers he commanded at Fort Jackson. “The 1,100 members of our team here in the DEW impact 239,000 South Carolinians” who are unemployed, said Turner. “While we’re pretty small, we have some really, really big responsibilities.”

A homecoming When Gov. Nikki Haley announced his appointment at a May 5 news conference outside her office, Turner, his 6-foot, 5-inch frame towering over the state’s chief executive, beamed. “You are watching one of South Carolina’s most successful sons come home,” Haley said. Even though the retired two-star leader has deployed to combat zones around the world and served at an assortment of duty stations as a trainer, commander and military science professor, it seems that Turner has always remained close to his home. His roots run deep into the rural Charleston County community of Phillips, along U.S. Highway 41 near Mount Pleasant. A stretch of the road from U.S. Highway 17 to the Charleston-Berkeley county line is named in his honor. Turner is one of 11 children born to the late Rev. Joseph Turner Sr. and Maggie Turn-

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er. Turner’s father was a stevedore and his mother worked in a Charleston cigar factory. When it came time for college, Turner enrolled at S.C. State University in Orangeburg, where he played in the band and joined the Army ROTC program. Turner once said that his interest in a military career developed from friendships he had made with Vietnam War veterans who lived in his hometown. And music, he added, had plenty in common with the Army. “Music is a discipline where you have to apply time and effort,” Turner said in a 2004 interview with The State newspaper. “One does not become a musician when they are born. It takes dedication. It’s the same for a soldier.” A master parachutist, Turner held a number of commands in the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C., and recorded combat deployments to Panama and the Middle East. He was commanding general from 2003 to 2005 at Fort Jackson, S.C., where the Army annually trains about 50,000 soldiers. His last assignment was chief of staff, U.S. Strategic Command, headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. As his retirement date approached, Turner said he knew he wanted to pursue public service work. When the DEW opening came up, he applied. Haley said she liked what she heard when they talked about the job. “He sees exactly what we need to have happen in South Carolina, which is this is not just about unemployment benefits, this is about training people and getting them back to work,” Haley said. “I think he is going to make huge changes for South Carolina in terms of training our workforce so that we can get people back to work, get that unemployment number down even further.” Turner thinks the agency has the tools to reduce the state’s jobless rate, which in October was the fifth highest in the country. Also on Turner’s radar is reducing fraud and waste in the payment of unemployment insurance. “But first I must make sure our organization is being run efficiently,” he said.

Back to work Although he has only been on the job for three months, Turner is getting noticed. “The governor has picked the very best guy for that position,” said John Deworken, a Greenville lobbyist. “I would say his approach is spot on and really a breath of fresh air. We needed someone to come in and connect the dots. Abe Turner is the guy who is going to do that.” Turner , who is married and the father of three adult children, impresses people with his enthusiasm, passion for the job and his leadership style that emphasizes building teams and leading from the front. “He’s a high-energy guy and that’s very good to see,” said John Byrnes, president of the S.C. Staffing Association, which represents 200 personnel agencies. “He’s going to help instill in his department the can-do spirit.” Although Turner is new to state government, he is perceptive and a good problemsolver, said Ike McLeese, president and CEO of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce. “He has a unique amount of experience handling complicated tasks,” McLeese said. “He has the ability to see things and understand the issues and what the challenges are, and he knows how to motivate people to help solve the issues and challenges.” Turner should be able to make good use of his military experience in running the agency, added McLeese, who also serves as the state’s civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army. “I think today’s military prepares people very well to solve problems by relying on leadership to get people to do things instead of ordering them,” McLeese said. While an upswing in the economy would definitely help, Turner believes his agency can be instrumental in bringing the state’s jobless rate even with the national unemployment rate. The October jobless rate in South Carolina, for example, was 10.5%, compared to the national rate of 9%. To lower the state’s jobless rate by 1.5%, the agency would have to find jobs for about 33,000 South Carolinians. Impossible? Not necessarily, when one considers there were 47,500 help wanted ads posted online in October for South Carolina,


an increase of 1,500 from September, according to the workforce department. Jobs go unfilled because many of those who are out of work don’t have the skills and experience needed, or they are unable to move where the openings are. One approach to lowering the jobless rate, Turner said, is for his agency to do a better and quicker job of helping an unemployed worker get the necessary training and education needed for available jobs. To help fix the problem, Turner said the agency is filling some 50 to 60 staff vacancies. People assigned to those jobs will be charged with helping a jobless person move from the unemployment line back to the workforce. Turner also aims to instill a sense of urgency in the agency to get people through the jobless claims process faster, into training and eventually back into the workforce. “We don’t want them to lose time from their entrance into our SCWorks Center to a pool of prospective employees for employers to pick from,” Turner said. “Training is a priority to me. If we don’t get the employee training right away, then we won’t be able to transition a prospective employee from the day he walks into a (SC Works) center to a tech school.” Improving the agency’s operations is a must, said state Rep. Bill Sandifer, chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. Just as important, the agency needs to ensure both the out-of-work employee and the employer are fairly represented. “By that, they have to handle the cases in a timely manner and adjudicate them in such a way that both the claimant and the employer have equal opportunity to have input into the decision-making process,” said Sandifer, ROconee. “You have to have the impartial balance. Some employees feel a sense of entitlement to unemployment insurance when they in fact pay nothing. It’s the employer who pays.”

DEW chief Abraham Turner meets with his staff. He promotes a sense of urgency to get people through the jobless claims process and into training faster.

South Carolina has one of the worst records in the South in handling unemployment insurance, with an improper payment rate of 17.9%. Over the past three years, overpayments of jobless benefits in South Carolina totaled $360.7 million, the Labor Department said. Nationally, the Labor Department estimates that last year about $17 billion in unemployment benefits were swindled one way or another. About 30% of those who were overpaid benefits were people who had landed new jobs but continued to receive unemployment checks, according to national statistics. Another 30% weren’t looking for work, which is required by the rules, and 20% of the payments went to people who claimed benefits even though they had been fired for cause or voluntarily quit their jobs. Intentional fraud was found in only 2.4% of cases, the Labor Department found. Achieving greater efficiency in the S.C. agency’s operations will be essential in curbing the problem, Turner said. “Whenever you have fraud and overpayment of unemployment insurance that equals waste,” Turner said. “Any waste is counter to efTrimming waste, fraud Another challenge facing Turner is reduc- ficiency. We’ve got to address that and we are.” To combat the problem, the agency in Janing fraud and overpayments of unemployuary rolled out a new tracking system aimed ment benefits. According to the U.S. Labor Department, at saving employers’ money and curbing over-

payments. Called Benefit Audit, Reporting and Tracking System, or BARTS, the software helps the agency detect fraudulent and non-fraudulent unemployment insurance payments. The agency has eliminated paper checks for benefits, opting to offer clients either a prepaid debit card or direct deposit of their benefits into a bank account. Also, the agency received a federal grant for a program that will allow “us to readily discover when somebody is cashing a check from an employer and at the same time using the debit card” that’s issued for the unemployment benefits, Turner said. “We want the businesses around the state to know we do not intend to waste their time and effort and the money that they paid for the unemployment insurance,” Turner said. “We owe them a very efficiently run program . . . and we’re going to do it.” Both employees and out-of-work South Carolinians stand to gain if the department succeeds, observers said. “We want to make sure that everybody that deserves unemployment gets it and that there’s enough money in the coffer,” said Byrnes, of the S.C. Staffing Association. Turner is confident that his agency and staff can accomplish their goals. “We have the objectives squarely in sight. Now, we have to build a plan to do it.” SC

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‘A rising tide’ Agricultural, manufacturing opportunities surge with new trade agreements By Matt Tomsic, Staff Writer Photography by Leslie Burden

A

heat press at Vapor Apparel hisses before an employee slides a rack from the press and grabs a shirt, now emblazoned with a new logo. The white T-shirt traveled to North Charleston from Colombia in a journey now 20% less expensive for

Vapor Apparel after Congress passed a free trade agreement with the South American country in October. Lawmakers also added agreements with South Korea and Panama. Chris Bernat, chief revenue officer for Vapor Apparel, said

the Colombia free trade agreement undid Congress’ failure to act in February, when the last agreement lapsed. Before the trade agreem en Apparel co -founders Ja ts were in place, Vapo r ckson Burne Bernat deci tt and Chris ded they w ouldn’t pass costs to thei on increase r customer s.

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hard-won agreements,” said Ron Kirk, the U.S. trade representative. “We know that more exports of made-in-America goods and services flowing to consumers in Korea, Colombia and Panama can support tens of thousands more jobs here at home. Supporting more American jobs with responsible trade policy has always been our goal.”

years, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Tariffs and quotas on agricultural products will also be eliminated. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates the agreement with Korea will increase American exports by roughly $10 billion and will support 70,000 American jobs. More than 80% of U.S. exports to Colombia will become duty-free once the agreement is implemented, according to the U.S. trade representative’s office. The remaining 20% of tariffs will be cut during the next 10 years. Average tariffs with Colombia range from 7% to 14%. The agreement with Colombia will increase U.S. exports by more than $1.1 billion and increase GDP by $2.5 billion, the trade commission estimates. The agreement with Panama will address regulatory barriers for agricultural trade, ranging from products such as meat and poultry to dairy and rice, and will open that country’s $20.6 billion services industries – telecommunications, financial services and energy, among other sectors – to American exporters. The agreement also provides opportunities for infrastructure projects, like the Panama Canal expansion, scheduled to be completed in 2014. The U.S. exported $280 million in construction equipment to Panama in 2010.

Agreements signed

‘A rising tide raises all ships’

President Barack Obama signed the free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama on Oct. 21, a little more than a week after Congress approved the agreements. The agreements haven’t been implemented but will make certain American exports duty-free in the three countries. The U.S.-South Korea agreement will make about 95% of bilateral industrial and consumer trade duty-free within five years after the trade agreement is implemented. The remaining tariffs will be eliminated within 10

The agreements are expected to boost U.S. agriculture by $2.5 billion once they are implemented. South Carolina is expected to receive a boost of $13.8 million a year in increased exports. David Winkles, president of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, said his organization has worked with the state’s congressional delegation for four years on the agreements. “It had been quite some time in passing,” Winkles said, adding Farm Bureau officials

Timothy Fludd, a digital print technician, produces T-shirts for a Vapor Apparel customer in North Charleston.

“It’s hard enough right now in this economy,” Bernat said. “We had to outgrow the problem the government put in front of us.” Others expressed mostly positive reactions to the free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. The agreements are expected to boost U.S. agriculture and manufacturing, but the agreement with South Korea could hurt the textile industry, experts said. Unions and environmental groups also criticized the agreements, arguing they would hurt the environment and send American jobs overseas. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, however, expects the agreements to increase American competitiveness, support American jobs and increase exports. In South Carolina, agricultural exports could see a boost of nearly $14 million. “We’re eager for American businesses and workers to begin reaping the benefits of these

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traveled to Washington to meet with lawmakers and also met with them in South Carolina. “It was high on our list of priorities the last four trips to talk about the free trade agreements and getting them up for a vote.” Winkles said the agreements will boost prices for all of the state’s crops, including traditional exports of wheat, soybeans and cotton. But South Carolina also shipped peaches to Mexico for the first time this year; meanwhile, growing demand for pecans in China has increased prices for South Carolina farmers. The windfall will go mostly to family farms in the state. Nationally, about 97% of farms are family owned, Winkles said, and South Carolina’s numbers roughly match that statistic. “It is, I think, better to look at it from a perspective of a rising tide raises all ships,” Winkles said. “And that $2.5 billion boost overall helps raise the prices that farmers receive here in South Carolina.” The state can capitalize on the agreements by adding more agricultural infrastructure at the port, like a grain elevator, Winkles said. In September, the S.C. State Ports Authority announced a transloading facility that would serve agricultural exports. The Jimco Group of Savannah will run the facility, which will be next to the North Charleston Terminal. The operation will receive bulk agricultural commodities by rail and transfer them to shipping containers. Norfolk Southern and CSX will serve the facility. The Jimco facility and others like it would gain from more open foreign markets. About a third of Charleston’s container exports are agricultural goods, ports authority spokesman Byron Miller said. “We should all support free trade agreements that deliver fairness and accountability,” Miller said. “These kinds of deals are job-creating agreements that level the playing field for U.S. companies and workers. They reduce tariffs on U.S. exports and deliver real

The ebb and flow of exports Top 10 items S.C. exports to each country with new trade agreements Colombia

Panama

South Korea

1. Plastics & Rubber Products 2. Chemicals 3. Paper 4. Electrical Equipment; Appliances & Components 5. Machinery; Except Electrical 6. Primary Metal Manufacturing 7. Transportation Equipment 8. Food Manufacturers 9. Fabricated Metal Products 10. Minerals & Ores

1. Transportation Equipment 2. Machinery; Except Electrical 3. Chemicals 4. Plastics & Rubber Products 5. Paper 6. Electrical Equipment; Appliances & Components 7. Food Manufacturers 8. Computer & Electronic Products 9. Furniture & Fixtures 10. Fabricated Metal Products

1. Transportation Equipment 2. Paper 3. Computer & Electronic Products 4. Chemicals 5. Misc. Manufactured Commodities 6. Machinery; Except Electrical 7. Plastics & Rubber Products 8. Fabricated Metal Products 9. Waste & Scrap 10. Primary Metal Manufacturing

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Exports of all merchandise from S.C.

92

$376,942,0

$275,117,784

$281,519,010

$274,208,855

$284,412,192

– South Korea

$206,114,949

– Colombia – Panama

$145,303,848

$120,024,769

$100,735,107 $98,621,384

$93,020,492

$64,167,366 $49,661,749 $31,962,562

$37,188,298 $21,857,710

$46,170,905 $24,771,955

Source: Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Census Bureau Infographic/Jean Piot

business opportunities for companies large three agreements, supports a “carrot-andand small across many industries.” stick approach” to trade, spokesman Kevin Bishop said. “He supports free trade agreements with Reaction nations who are allies and friends of the UnitReactions from South Carolina’s politicians reflected the concerns of the federal ed States,” Bishop said. “South Korea, Colomlawmakers’ constituencies, though the Pal- bia and Panama are all aligned with American metto State delegation mostly favored the interests. In other cases, like China, we need to use the stick. If they won’t play by the rules, agreements. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who voted for the he believes we must take a tougher line against

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The United Steelworkers Union said the agreements are an attack on American workers. “Historically, these agreements have closed American manufacturing facilities and cost American jobs,” said Leo Gerard, president of USW International. “It is foolish to think that this latest round will do something different.” The Economic Policy Institute and Gerard cited statistics from the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was signed by thenPresident Bill Clinton in 1993, to support their opinions. The institute credits NAFTA with shifting nearly 700,000 jobs away from the U.S. between 1993 and 2002.

‘We got that one done’

About a third Charleston’s container exports are agricultural goods, port officials say.

their actions which cost America jobs.” Many businesses and business organizations also supported the passage of the agreements, including Dow Chemical Co., WalMart, Microsoft, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The businesses and groups said the agreements were a step forward for the U.S. economy and economic growth. “Free trade agreements are absolutely essential to doubling exports and growing our economy,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “Manufacturers have long called for these agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama because they will create jobs and make us more competitive globally.” Despite the positive reaction by some, the textile industry, labor unions and environmental groups criticized the trade agreements. The National Council of Textile Organizations opposed the agreement with South Korea because omitted enforcement measures could allow low-priced Chinese goods to be illegally transshipped through South Korea. The group also criticized the timeline that would be used to phase out tariffs, saying the

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schedule gives South Korean exporters better access to American markets while American exporters have to wait years for equal access to South Korean markets. The National Council of Textile Organizations supported the Colombia free trade agreement, which it said did not have the same errors included in the South Korea agreement. Environmental groups said the agreements don’t consider their impact on the planet. “The pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will empower big multinational corporations and Wall Street investors to pursue quick profits at the expense of environmental protections, human rights and shared economic prosperity,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. Pica criticized a portion of the agreement that allows companies who want to challenge U.S. regulations to bypass American courts and file a lawsuit against the U.S. government in an international tribunal. Labor unions said the agreements would lead to lost jobs and hurt workers’ rights. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka cited an Economic Policy Institute estimate of 214,000 American jobs that will be lost because of the agreements.

Back in South Carolina, the T-shirt trade became more expensive in February, when the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act lapsed. The Colombia free trade agreement retroactively extends that act, which means the government will repay Vapor Apparel for about $500,000 in tariff duties the company has paid since February. Chief revenue officer Bernat said the company couldn’t pass its extra cost to its customers, which include New Balance, Harley Davidson and the Boy Scouts of America. “There’s nothing like watching your government slow down a recovery,” Bernat said. He and his business partner decided they needed to grow their way through the new expense. Bernat and his partner, Jackson Burnett, spent extra hours reassuring customers, explaining the trade situation to them, recruiting new business and lobbying lawmakers. “Basically, it became an exercise in intestinal fortitude,” Bernat said. “We’re thankful. I also think that you create your own luck. We just kind of pushed our way through the sludge.” For Bernat, Winkles and others, the agreements mark the end of their lobbying efforts focused on addressing the country’s trade situation with those three countries. “There are always issues out there,” Winkles said. “And it was one of those that we went: ‘Phew, OK, we got that one done. Now let’s move on to the next issue.’” SC

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BEST PLACES TO WORK

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Welcom 2011

LARGE EMPLOYERS

est Places to Work in South Carolina has as its goal raising the bar for our state’s employers and creating excellence and employee satisfaction in the workplace that (250 OR MORE EMPLOYEES IN SC) will attract talented people for years to come. Recognizing Best Places to WorktoinWork South in Carolina an initiative between SCnew Biz Rank Company Best Places South isCarolina is an exciting Best Companies Group, assisted by ModernThink News — publisher of the Charleston Regional Business Journal, the Columbia Regional 1............Edward Jones workplace excellence consulting firm, conducts a s initiative between Setcom Media Inc., publisher of SCBIZTM Business Report, GSA Business and SCBIZ magazine — and Best Companies Group. 2............Elliott Davis thorough assessment of participating companies. and the Charleston Regional Business Journal, and Best The focus of the program is to find and pay tribute to South Carolina’s best employers. 3............Life Cycle Engineering assessment is a two-part process designed to Companies Group to finding and and recognizing South The In addition to the positive impact the awarddedicated has on employee relations recruitment, 4............Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP detailed data about each participating company. In Carolina’stobest employers. In is addition to the positive effect the driving force for companies join in the program the remarkable impact workplace 5............Blackbaud Inc. the employer completes a questionnaire and in pa theonaward has online. employee relations and recruitment, the improvements can have their bottom 6............Palmetto Health employees of Penland the company complete an employee Best Companies Group, assisted workplace excellence firmis the 7............Erwin Inc. driving forceby forthecompanies to join in consulting the program ModernThink LLC, conducts a simple, yet thorough, assessment of participating compa8............SYNNEX Corp. remarkable impact that workplace improvements can have on The collected information from both assessments nies. 9............Charleston Water System their bottom line. combined to produce a detailed Companies that participate are involved in a two-part process. In part one, the employ10..........Mayer Electric Supply Co. set of data enablin completes a questionnaire; in part two, employees of Group, the company a survey.LLC, a experts at ModernThink to determine the strengt assistedcomplete by ModernThink to Work inerSouth Carolina is an exciting new The program is Best openCompanies to all South Carolina organizations TM The collected information from both assessments is combined to produce a detailed set yet opportunities of the participating companies. Mod workplace excellence consulting firm, conducts a simple tween Setcom Media Inc., publisher of SCBIZ that meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible for thorough assessment of participating companies. of data enabling the experts at ModernThink to determine the strengths and opportuniranks the workplaces based on this data and then arleston Regional Business Journal, and Best consideration, companies must theprocess following criteria: The assessment is the ameet two-part designed gather the Assessment Findings Reports that are returned Group dedicated to fiparticipating nding and recognizing SouthModernThink ties of the companies. ranks workplaces based on thistodata (15-249 EMPLOYEES IN SC) datathat about each participating Inentity part one, • Be aeffect for-profi t,detailed not-for-profi tare business, or best employers. addition to the the Assessment positive and In then creates Findings Reports returned to government eachcompany. participating participating company. the employer completes a questionnaire and in part two, has on employee relations and recruitment, the • Be a publicly or privately held business company. Rank Company employees of the company complete an employee survey. e for companies joinconvinced in the program is the Wetoare that the real value in participation the program is not whether 1............SPARC • Have a facility the state of in South Carolina The goal of theLLC Best Places to Work in South Caro impact that workplace improvements can have on a company wins an award but in the employee survey feedback. The cost an individual 2............SynTerra Corp.the bar for our state’s employ The of collected information from both assessments will be campaign is to raise • Have a minimum 25 employees in the state of South m line. combined to produce a detailedwould set of be data enabling the company would have toCarolina pay if the analysis were done independently consider3............VC3 Inc. create the kind of excellence and employee satisfa experts at ModernThink to determine the strengths ably economies scale apply when Best Places Group conducts a survey with a and 4............Human Technologies Inc. m is open to all more; South Carolina organizations •ofMust be in business a minimum of 1 year workplace that will attract talented people for yea opportunities ofthe the employee participating companies. ModernThink large number of participants from the same state. And feedback, which can 5............Family Trust Federal Credit Union he eligibility requirements. To be eligible for ranks the workplaces based on this data and then creates be used improve and streamline successful company, is, as they say, priceless. 6............ArborOne, ACA on, companies must to meet the following criteria: an already the Assessment Findings Reports that are returned to each 7............Palmetto Citizens Fed. Credit Union rofit, not-for-profit business, or government entity participating company. cly or privately held business The program, launched in 2006, is open to all S.C. organizations that meet the 8............First Reliance Bank cility in the eligibility state of South Carolina requirements. Companies must: 9............SCRA The goal of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina nimum of 25 in theor state of South business campaign is to raise the bar for our state’s employers and 10..........C.F. Evans and Co., Inc. • employees Be a for-profit not-for-profit or government entity. create the kind of excellence and employee satisfaction in the11..........Select Health of S.C. • Be a publicly or privately held business. n business a minimum of 1 year workplace that will attract talented people for years to come. • Have a facility in the state of South Carolina. 12..........First Community Bank • Have a minimum of 25 employees in the state of South Carolina. 13..........Rosenfeld Einstein • Have been in business a minimum of one year. 14..........EDENS 15 .........Environmental Express Inc. For more information, visit www.bestplacestoworksc.com. 16..........KeenanSuggs 17..........S.C. Education Lottery

ST PLACES O WORK

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Visit our website www.bestplacestoworksc.com for more information.


Large employers (250 or more employees )

Best Places to Work

Best Places to Work

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Large employers (250 or more employees )

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Charleston Water System Ask any one of our 430 associates what they like most about being part of our team, and you’ll hear things like, “The people I work with,” “Training and professional development opportunities,” and “Great benefits!” Charleston Water System is a public water and wastewater utility serving the Greater Charleston community. We provide clean, safe, reliable water service to homes, businesses, and municipalities. We also collect and treat wastewater. These services are essential to our community’s health and economy. Our associates are Charleston Water System’s greatest asset. Their knowledge, skill, and dedication help us fulfill our mission of protecting public health and the environment. By supporting and investing in our associates through competitive benefits, wellness programs, training, recognition, and community service opportunities, we are investing in performance excellence.

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103 St. Philip Street Charleston, SC 29403 (843) 727-6800 www.charlestonwater.com

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Our culture of teamwork encourages innovation and engagement…and leads to continual improvement. In addition to being named one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina, Charleston Water System recently received the South Carolina Governor’s Quality Award, achieving our five-year Vision of becoming worthy of this award through teamwork, customer focus, and performance excellence. Congratulations to the Charleston Water System Team!

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Edward Jones works with clients to understand personal goals — from college savings to retirement — and create long-term investment solutions that emphasize a well-balanced portfolio and a buy-and-hold strategy. Edward Jones embraces the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them understand and make sense of the investment options available today.

Headquartered in Greenville, S.C. and founded in 1925, Elliott Davis is one of the largest accounting, tax and consulting services firms in the Southeast and ranks among the top 50 CPA firms in the U.S. With offices in S.C., N.C., Virginia and Georgia, the firm provides clients across a wide range of industries with smart solutions and its people with rewarding opportunities.

Life Cycle Engineering is a strengthsbased organization where employees are given the opportunity to grow personally and professionally each day in a fun, supportive work environment. LCE’s culture promotes a strong balance between workload and family life, and each individual is valued by his colleagues and clients. LCE provides consulting, engineering, applied technology and education solutions to private industry, government and the military.

Top Executive: Wendell Jones, Financial Advisor 602 S. Coit St., Florence, SC 29501 843-661-6441

200 E. Broad St. Greenville, SC 29601 864-242-3370 www.elliottdavis.com

Top Executive: Jim Fei, CEO 4360 Corporate Road, Charleston, SC 29405 843-744-7110 info@LCE.com • www.LCE.com

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2000 Daniel Island Drive Charleston, SC 29492 800-443-9441 solutions@blackbaud.com www.blackbaud.com • Jobs.blackbaud.com

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With more than 1,700 people in 30 offices in 11 states and Washington, D.C., Dixon Hughes Goodman is the largest certified public accounting firm based in the Southern U.S. and the 13th largest in the nation. In addition to comprehensive accounting and advisory services, the firm focuses on eight major industries and serves clients in all 50 states. Visit www.dhgllp.com for more information.

Blackbaud is the leading global provider of software and services designed specifically for nonprofit organizations, offering solutions for fundraising, constituent relationship management, financial management, website management and more A publicly traded company that values innovation, the career and learning opportunities at Blackbaud are endless. Headquartered in Charleston, S.C., Blackbaud also has operations in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

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Palmetto Health is the region’s largest, most comprehensive locally owned nonprofit health care resource, with nearly 9,000 employees, 1,000 physicians and more than 1,000 licensed beds. Palmetto Health is recognized as a best place for patient care, best results and a best place to work. For more information, visit PalmettoHealth.org.

293 Greystone Blvd Columbia, SC 29210 803-296-2273 (CareCall /Call Center)

Congratulations to all of the companies named Best Places to Work in SC 2011

LOCAL JOBS | LOCAL CANDIDATES | LOCAL SERVICE

For more information, call 843.849.3104 or visit our website at www.SCJobMarket.com 28

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Erwin Penland is one of the largest fullservice advertising agencies based in the South, with offices in Greenville, S.C., and New York. The firm creates interactions that inspire action for its clients, including Verizon, Denny’s and BI-LO, thanks to an innovative culture that attracts and retains top talent.

Best Places to Work

125 E. Broad Street Greenville, SC 29601 864-271-0500 www.erwinpenland.com to

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Mayer Electric Supply is a wholesaledistributor of electrical equipment and supplies, lighting, factory automation, tools and communications. Mayer is a family-owned business founded in 1930, serving customers in eight Southeastern states. Mayer has earned numerous best places to work over the past 10 years.

Mayer-Columbia, SC 803-936-1800    931 Meeting St., West Columbia, SC 29169 Mayer-Charleston, SC  843-747-8714  2547 Oscar Johnson Drive, Charleston, SC 29405 www. mayerelectric.com

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HOUSE AD

Best Places to Work in S.C. is an annual initiative between SC Biz News and Best Companies Group. Visit, www.bestplacestoworksc.com for more information about how you can get involved in the awards program. w w w . s c b i z m a g . c o m | W i n t e r 2 011

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Family Trust Federal Credit Union Family Trust Federal Credit Union was created in 1957 in a stockroom of a textile plant in Rock Hill, S.C. It had $13.75 in assets and offered low-interest loans, budgeting advice and incentives to save.

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That philosophy still exists today and the credit union’s 143 employees pride themselves on educating members. And at Family Trust, we return the favor. Career planning and development are routine and employees regularly attend seminars and conferences. Our open management style allows all employees to participate.

Today, Family Trust has over 43,000 members and $270 million in assets. We offer the same products as larger financial institutions as well as the most upto-date electronic banking services, accounts for children and young adults and an investment division. Our community and employees can count on Family Trust to do the right thing. We’re a “relationship you can trust” both in and out of the credit union.

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Operations Center: 1605 Progress Way | Rock Hill, SC 29730 Local: 803-367-4100 | Long Distance: 866-755-3537 www.familytrust.org


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Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union As a not-for-profit institution organized in 1936, Palmetto Citizens is known for offering better loan and savings rates and fewer fees than profitdriven banks. However, the real difference is their staff and the friendly, personalized service they provide.

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Members know they can turn to Palmetto Citizens for financial advice and to find the right products to meet their needs and budgets. Often recognized for their “family atmosphere,” Palmetto Citizens builds a unique trust with members by looking out for their best interests, first and foremost. To ensure they are offering the right solutions to their 51,000 members, Palmetto Citizens places a large focus on financial education, not just for those they serve, but for their staff as well. By equipping staff with the knowledge they need to achieve their own financial goals, they are able to provide better guidance to members.

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12 Midlands Locations & 35 ATMs (803) 732-5000 pcfcu@pcemail.org www.palmettocitizens.org

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Palmetto Citizens applies the philosophy of “people helping people” to members and the community through their commitment to their staff. Development programs to help staff grow within the organization, robust benefit packages with salary incentives and ongoing community involvement all help the staff of this organization truly feel they are given a place to succeed while making a real difference.

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C.F. Evans Construction The mission of C.F. Evans Construction is to provide world-class customer service by building quality relationships, teams, and projects. Founded in 1948, C.F. Evans has built a reputation of excellence while growing in size and scope. C.F. Evans has maintained a vision to be the most sought after contractor by clients, employees, subcontractors, architects and engineers.

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Based in Orangeburg, SC, C.F. Evans specializes in multi-unit residential construction and builds throughout the Southeast. The company has been led by a father—and then a son—who have upheld the values of integrity, craftsmanship and the importance of treating workers like family. At C.F. Evans, we build it like it’s ours, and we always do what’s right. This is our promise to each client – that we bring the same level of attentiveness and precision to your project as if we were building it for ourselves. This approach ensures that every project we undertake will create value for our clients.

We would like to thank our employees, our clients, and all the partners we work with for making C.F. Evans one of The Best Places to Work in South Carolina. We are very fortunate to be able to work with you on a daily basis – thank you!

125 Regional Parkway, Suite 200 Orangeburg, SC 29118 803.536.6443 | Fax: 803.531-4629 www.cfevans.com w w w . s c b i z m a g . c o m | W i n t e r 2 011

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Best Places to Work

Small/Medium Employers (15 - 249 employees)

Select Health of South Carolina

Helping people get care, stay well and build healthy communities Select Health serves more than 220,000 members across South Carolina through its First Choice health plan, the state’s first and largest Medicaid health plan. We’re committed to providing access to high quality healthcare and to improving the health and overall well-being of South Carolina citizens. In 2011, thanks to our dedicated associates and providers, we’ve earned recognition as: A “Best Places to Work in SC” company for the fourth year in a row An “Excellent” health plan through accreditation from the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA)

Best Places to Work

The highest nationally ranked (#46) SC Medicaid health plan according to NCQA’s Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2011-2012* One of the first seven plans in the nation to be awarded NCQA’s Multicultural Healthcare Distinction

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First Community Bank We can’t think of a nicer honor. So we’re particularly pleased to be named a Best Place to Work for the fourth year in a row. It’s not a designation we take lightly. Through three main lines of business — commercial banking, residential mortgage banking and financial planning/investment advisory services — we work with customers to provide advice, service and support in helping them reach their financial goals. We have a passionate focus on the customer experience, rooted in a culture of respect for our customers and each other. If there is a way we can help you, we’d love to have you stop by.

11 banking offices in the Midlands Member FDIC www.firstcommunitysc.com 32

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KeenanSuggs For over 60 years, KeenanSuggs has provided insurance, benefits and HR services to individuals and businesses in S.C. and the Southeast. Headquartered in Columbia with offices in Greenville and Raleigh, KeenanSuggs works with individuals and a variety of business clients to help them be successful. Selected by the N.C. and S.C. Bankers Associations as their insurance partners, recognized as a Best Place to Work in S.C. in 2009 and 2011, and selected as a Global Intersure Partner have all contributed to KeenanSuggs’ success. But such success is an impossible feat without the team at KeenanSuggs comprised of over 75 knowledgeable brokers, account service representatives and support staff.

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To build comradery and support healthy living, KeenanSuggs’ staff and family members are encouraged to participate in the company’s internal wellness program, which includes discounted gym memberships, health screening days, community runs/walks and other multiple health inspired activities and events. The firm also hosts an annual Spring Fling and offers days off to participate in community service. “KeenanSuggs’ culture is built in accordance with our vision – ‘To create the best insurance and risk management firm possible’ and our values – Professionalism, Service Excellence and Relationships. We live it every day for our employees and clients,” says KeenanSuggs’ President & CEO, Tommy Suggs

Best Places to Work

1330 Lady Street | Columbia, SC 29201 803.799.5533 | 803.771.7991 www.keenansuggs.com

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As soon as you step foot into our building, it’s clear that we’re driven by our culture, are guided by our people and pride ourselves in our product. SPARC specializes in enterprise software design and mobile application development for various government and commercial agencies. SPARC aims to deepen the artistic experience in a technical world, structuring us as The Best Place to Work in South Carolina.

SynTerra, a consulting and engineering firm in Greenville, S.C., specializes in the environmental, process, civil and transportation fields. Typical services include: regulatory compliance; remediation; brownfields redevelopment; wetlands; hydrogeology; and civil, roadway, intersection and bridge design. Our clients range from manufacturing, industrial and commercial operations to local, state and federal government agencies.

Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Human Technologies is a multifaceted human resource advisory firm providing professional recruiting, industrial staffing, human resource consulting and outsourced manufacturing services. Founded in 1999, Human Technologies is one of the Southeast’s most innovative and versatile human resource firms, leveraging the development and delivery of custom-designed programs.

2387 Clements Ferry Road Charleston, SC 29412 Phone: 843-471-1231 Fax: 877.793.0193 www.sparcedge.com

148 River Street, Suite 220 Greenville, S.C. 29601 864-527-4644 www.synterracorp.com

105 N Spring St, Suite 200 Greenville, SC 29601 864-467-0330 www.htijobs.com

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First Reliance Bank’s commitment to making its customers’ lives BETTER, has earned the bank a customer satisfaction rating of 99% and being named to South Carolina’s “Best Places To Work” a sixth consecutive year. An important goal of First Reliance Bank is to provide associates with an incredible work experience!

SCRA is an applied research company with over 28 years of experience growing South Carolina’s Knowledge Economy and serving federal and corporate clients. We have made it a priority to offer our employees competitive benefits and an inspiring work environment. Our team atmosphere and outstanding employees create an excellent workplace.

800 Woody Jones Blvd. Florence, SC 29501 1-800-741-7332 www.ArborOne.com

2170 W. Palmetto Street Florence, SC 29501 888-543-5510 www.firstreliance.com

5300 International Blvd. N. Charleston, SC 29418 Phone: 843-697-9226 Fax: 843-207-6029 www.scra.org

Best Places to Work

ArborOne Farm Credit is an agricultural lending cooperative owned by its member-borrowers. It provides loans for farming (land, equipment, livestock and production); recreational property; crop insurance; and rural home mortgages. A part of the national Farm Credit System, ArborOne covers the 12 counties of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.

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Corporate Headquarters: 1221 Main Street, Suite 1000, Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: 803 779-4420 • Fax: 803 765-0684 www.edens.com

Environmental Express is a leading developer, manufacturer and distributor of environmental laboratory equipment and consumables for laboratories worldwide. We pride ourselves on providing innovative products, superior technical support, and knowledgeable customer service.  We have an open culture that encourages interaction and learning.  We hold social events, participate in philanthropies and pay quarterly bonuses.  2345A Charleston Regional Parkway Charleston, SC 29492 800-343-5319 www.envexp.com

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Top Executive: Dan Einstein, principal 870 S. Pleasantburg Drive Greenville, SC 29607 864-271-6336 www.RosenfeldEinstein.com

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EDENS develops, owns and operates community-oriented shopping places in primary markets throughout the East Coast. Our expertise covers a broad range of areas including pioneering concepts, creating the right merchandise mix, delivering seamless construction projects and maintaining ownership and management. For nearly 45 years, we’ve been shaping communities by consistently delivering innovative, high profile projects.

Rosenfeld Einstein is a regional, independent insurance agency/brokerage and consulting firm providing employee benefits, insurance (personal, commercial property and casualty, life and health), workplace safety and wellness services and one of only three South Carolina firms named a 2011 Best Practices Agency by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

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HOUSE AD

Best Places to Work in S.C. is an annual initiative between SC Biz News and Best Companies Group. Visit, www.bestplacestoworksc.com for more information about how you can get involved in the awards program.

The South Carolina Education Lottery’s mission is to enhance education funding in South Carolina through the fun, entertaining and socially acceptable games and products we offer to adults. One of the primary reasons that we are a “best place to work” in South Carolina is because of our mission.  All of our employees are committed and passionate about securing a better tomorrow for South Carolina through improving education at all levels.  Our work is most rewarding. 1333 Main St., Suite 400 Columbia, SC 29201 www.sceducationlottery.com

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As seen in Forbes, October 10, 2011


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S.C. Delivers

Ports, Logistics & Distribution in s.c.

Ports CEO: Charleston’s port must grow By Matt Tomsic, Staff Writer

S

outh Carolina has to overcome huge challenges to grow its port, the CEO of the S.C. State Ports Authority says. “We have to do it fast,” Jim Newsome said in a recent State of the Port address. “And we have no time to waste.” Newsome said the port faces a huge challenge, but it is making progress beyond its numbers. During fiscal year 2011, the ports authority handled more than 800,000 pier containers – up 8% compared to fiscal year 2010 – and 1 million tons of break-bulk volume. Pier container volumes rose for the first time since 2005, and the authority exceeded its planned levels of operating revenue and other metrics. Operating revenues rose 12% over last year to $124.6 million, while earnings rose from $8.4 million to $16.6

He said the port faces a multiyear effort to recover cargo lost from 2005 to 2009, when the port fell from No. 4 to No. 9 in the rankings of the nation’s container ports. Meanwhile, neighboring Savannah climbed from No. 9 to No. 4. Savannah’s growth sprang largely from the state of Georgia’s commitment to attracting and facilitating the construction of distribution centers near its major port. Still, the Port of Charleston remains a key driver of the South Carolina economy, with an overall annual economic impact of The port has catching up to do, says Jim Newsome, S.C. Ports Authority CEO. $45 billion. The port accounts for roll-off cargo and began imple- 280,600 jobs across the state in million. The port also moved into the menting a computer terminal op- transportation, distribution and manufacturing industries. study phase of its harbor deep- erating system, called Navis. The port’s growth plan targets “Growing our cargo base is the ening project, improved the Columbus Street Terminal to better only way to grow our port,” Newhandle break-bulk and roll-on, some said. See PORT, Page 40 ➤

A p u b l i c at i o n o f s c b i z n e w s


Briefs

Lexington, Spartanburg counties deliver Amazon Just in time for the holiday shipping season, Amazon.com’s first fulfillment center in South Carolina was open for business. “There will be products going out of there in time for the holiday,” a company spokesman said. As the distribution facility near Cayce in Lexington County began operations, a second Amazon project was announced for Spartanburg County. Amazon will build a 1 million-square-foot distribution facility on or along a 200-plus acre site near John Dodd Road, investing around $50 million and creating 390 jobs, according to the ordinance setting incentives from Spartanburg County Council. The Lexington County fulfillment center opened in midOctober, an Amazon spokesman said, but there was no formal announcement. The center at the Saxe Gothe Industrial Park near

Photo/Amazon.com

the interchange of Interstate 26 and 77 has about 1,000 employees. Amazon pushed to get the center opened in time for the Christmas shopping season. The facility reportedly is a distribution point in the Southeast for the Kindle Fire tablet, a hand-held device similar to Apple’s iPad. Amazon expects to sell 5 million Kindle Fire units, which went on sale Nov. 14, in the next year, but some analysts said the com-

pany could sell as many as 12 million. The Cayce project, announced in the waning days of former Gov. Mark Sanford’s administration in 2010, promised an initial $90 million investment and 1,250 jobs. But it became embroiled in controversy after Tea Party activists, some local shop owners and competitors like Walmart and Home Depot lobbied against a five-year exemption from collect-

ing sales taxes on products sold to S.C. residents. Sanford’s successor, Gov. Nikki Haley, declined to back the exemption; and in April the state House of Representatives rejected the exemption. Amazon then halted construction and stopped hiring. But a couple of months later the deal was revived after Amazon upped its investment to $125 million and promised to hire 2,000 employees with benefits by the end of 2013. Although Haley still opposed the exemption, she allowed it to become law without her signature after the Legislature approved it. In Spartanburg County, Councilman David Britt said the agreement with Amazon includes economic incentives for infrastructure and hiring and a 6% fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement for 30 years from the county for the company.

S.C. exports to China soar in past decade South Carolina led all Southeastern states in boosting exports to China over the past decade, according to a recent study by the U.S.-China Business Council Inc. Between 2000 and 2010, exports from the Palmetto State shot up to slightly less than $2.2 billion from $127 million, according to statistics compiled by the private, non-profit organization representing 220 U.S. companies doing business with China. Among the state’s top trading partners, China ranked third in 2010 behind Canada, $3.2 billion, and Germany, $2.9 billion, the report said. Overall, South Carolina ranked 14th nationally in the total exports to China and fifth among 13 Southeastern states. South Carolina was among states that benefited from “rapidly

38 | S.C. Delivers

increasing exports to China — including exports of manufactured goods such as electrical equipment, machinery, computers and electronics, transportation equipment and other high-end products,” the report said. The world’s largest country with 1.3 billion people and a rapidly expanding middle class offers a ripe opportunity for businesses seeking to grow their export business, trade experts said. Last year, China bought $92.2 billion worth of goods from the United States. The ideological walls that separated China from the rest of the world have come down over the past three decades thanks to the communist government experimenting with capitalism. “I believe that in South Carolina old and young have realized

that China today is not the China of 30 years ago,” said Xiaobo Hu, a professor at Clemson University and expert in Chinese politics, economy and culture. While most American consumers might think of Chinese capitalism in terms of imported consumer goods like computers and TVs, China has a voracious appetite for anything made in the United States, said Eric Wolff, commercial officer at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Charlotte, N.C. “American-made products have a high-quality image and command a higher price in China,” Wolff said. “People with money buy American.” Hu said South Carolina has done a good job in recent years to make trade with the Chinese more of a two-way street. But the

state still has work to do. “We are lagging behind Georgia and North Carolina in recognizing the importance and potential in the Chinese markets,” Hu said. “We have to really make a continuous, serious investment in learning more about China, establishing long-term, strong ties with our counterparts in China, and promoting collaborations in all areas — business, government as well as educational.” The state Commerce Department said it has been building ties to China, agency spokeswoman Amy Love said. She noted that South Carolina has the only officially registered state office in China. “Export opportunities to China are growing every day,” Love said. “In particular, there are opportunities to export scrap metals and wood products.”


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PORT PORT, From Page 37

a goal of 2 million containers by 2030 in addition to increases in break-bulk cargo. The ports authority plans to invest $1.3 billion during the next 10 years on its facilities. “Growing only with the market is not an option,” Newsome said. Business ebbs and flows, he said, and the ports authority can recover lost business, in part, because Charleston Harbor is the only harbor able to become postPanamax, Newsome said. The Panama Canal’s renovations to accommodate next generation post-Panamax containerships are expected to be completed by 2014, opening the way to increase trade with Asia. The Panama Canal expansion will allow the largest containerships to travel to the East Coast. About 28% of cargo from Asia travels to the East Coast through

“Growing our cargo base is the only way to grow our port.” Jim Newsome

CEO, S.C. State Ports Authority

the Panama Canal, and 70% of America’s population lives east of the Mississippi River. The larger post-Panamax ships are set to be the norm for the future and require a harbor that is 50 feet deep. Charleston has the deepest harbor in the region at 45 feet but can only accommodate the larger ships during high tides. Harbor deepening would allow 24-hour access to the port. The state will match federal funding, but can’t proceed without federal funds. The Port of Charleston received funding for the initial study phase. The deepening project still requires $350 million for the design and construction phases.

“Our harbor is an ocean harbor, as opposed to a river harbor, and we think it has the attributes to do this,” Newsome said. Other South Atlantic ports are also deepening their harbors, but those projects would deepen those harbors only to Charleston’s current depth. Newsome said the importexport mix could also help drive growth at the port. Export ships need to be full when they leave the South Atlantic, and Charleston is the only harbor capable of providing the depth needed for a fully loaded ship. With a growing middle class in emerging economies like China, the United States may begin

exporting more goods, flipping the country’s import-export ratio with Asia of 3 to 1. Too many empty containers leave the Port of Charleston, Newsome said, and transloading facilities like the Wando Transload facility will help fill those empty containers. Newsome also addressed the port’s cruise business, which faces a lawsuit filed by neighborhood, preservation and conservation groups against Carnival Cruise Lines. Newsome characterized the lawsuit as “extremely embarrassing” and “frivolous.” “The cruise business is an important part of our business diversification effort, but it will never be part of our growth story, the reason being that the market in Charleston is simply not that big,” Newsome said. Staff writers Chuck Crumbo and Liz Segrist contributed to this report.

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BMW Manufacturing recognized for effective use of foreign trade zones By Chuck Crumbo, Staff Writer BMW Manufacturing Co., the nation’s No. 1 exporter of automobiles, makes such good use of foreign-trade zones that the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones has recognized the company for its contribution to the U.S. export industry. Over recent years, BMW has steadily increased exports. In 2009, the plant exported $3.1 billion worth of cars and, in 2010, the value of car shipments climbed to $4 billion. BMW’s Spartanburg facility is the largest vehicle exporter from the United States to non-NAFTA countries, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees foreign-trade zones. BMW’s plant in Spartanburg makes about 1,000 vehicles a day,

“BMW vehicles manufactured in South Carolina are a major contributor to the U.S. balance of trade,� said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing Co. “Consistently strong, global demand for the vehicles built at our plant has led to a favorable impact on the U.S. economy.� NAFTZ Board Chairman Lewis Leibowitz cited the role of companies like BMW in the FTZ program. “Through our NAFTZ Export Awards, we note the connection between global competitiveness and sound U.S. manufacturing policy,� Leibowitz said. The X5, a mid-sized SUV, is among the vehicles BMW makes in Spartanburg. Leibowitz said that zoneand is the exclusive exporter of more than 260,000 vehicles and based manufacturing is the best passenger vehicles through the will export approximately 70% of way to promote global competiPort of Charleston. This year, those vehicles to more than 130 the plant is projected to produce markets around the world. See BMW, Page 44 ➤

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TRUCKING

High cost of stolen cargo difficult to track By Chuck Crumbo, Staff Writer

A

lthough cargo theft is a growing problem across the United States, better communication among police, freight carriers and insurance companies would go a long way toward cutting losses. That’s the opinion of Walt Woloszczuk, a supervisory special agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau who is assigned to the Carolinas. The FBI estimates the annual loss in cargo theft in the U.S. falls between $15 billion and $30 billion. It’s difficult to come up with a hard number because some shippers and warehouses are selfinsured and just write off the losses as the cost of doing business, investigators said. Cargo theft is “a significant economic crime problem,” Woloszczuk said. “It hurts everybody.

All goods manufactured domestically and imported are transported by carriers.” Cargo theft is a major focus of the insurance bureau, a not-forprofit organization that exclusively investigates insurance fraud and crime. As part of his job, Woloszczuk, a former police officer from Ohio, meets with carriers and police agencies to make them aware of the growing cargo theft problem and the importance of communicating. The crime bureau is establishing a Mid-Atlantic Cargo Task Force that would include carriers and police agencies in Virginia and the Carolinas. The bureau has about 1,000 members — mostly commercial and personal property-and-casualty insurers, self-insured organizations, rental car companies,

“It (cargo theft) hurts everybody. All goods manufactured domestically and imported are transported by carriers.” Walt Woloszczuk

supervisory special agent, National Insurance Crime Bureau

parking services providers and transportation-related firms. Communication is the key to preventing cargo theft, Woloszczuk said. “Law enforcement, insurance companies and carriers don’t know how to talk to each other,”

he said. To illustrate the value of communication, Woloszczuk offered this account: One morning in June, a South Carolina police officer stopped an 18-wheeler along Interstate 85 near Anderson. The officer arrested the driver after learning he was wanted on warrants and turned the truck over to two co-drivers in the vehicle. The duo rolled on, leaving their companion in police custody. As news of the stop was passed along to authorities, it was learned the truck and its load were stolen. Word quickly was passed along to law enforcement agencies and a few hours later a sheriff ’s deputy in Lexington, N.C., stopped the truck. The goods were recovered and the two men arrested. But that was a success story.

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Briefs Fred Stadtler, a bureau special agent and former police officer in Florida, said odds are that cargo won’t be recovered. “Your chances of getting it back are slim and none, and slim just left,” Stadtler said. California, Texas, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida and Illinois are consistently ranked at the top of the heap when it comes to places where cargo theft is most prevalent. South Carolina has been in and out of the top 10 rankings over the year, according to numbers compiled by the Cargo Theft and Prevention Network, known in the industry as CargoNet. The Palmetto State is a prime candidate because it’s crisscrossed by interstate highways and railroads, and is home to the Port of Charleston, one of the nation’s largest container facilities. Cargo is most susceptible to theft when it isn’t moving. Of some 900 cargo thefts reported in the United States in 2010, about half happened at the carrier facility, parking lot and

truck stop. And a third of thefts happened on the weekend when the cargo is parked. “The willingness of cargo thieves to focus their efforts on carrier facilities (and secured lots) where they are more likely to be confronted with a variety of security measures speaks volumes of their perception of the risk/reward ratio of their crimes,” says Supply Chain Information Sharing and Analysis. Food is the No. 1 cargo of choice for thieves, making up 16.4% of all commodities stolen in 2010, followed by metals (11.45%), health and beauty products (10.35%), and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (9.84%). Clothing and computers were tied at 7.1%. While thieves are after the goods, so to speak, they also focus their efforts on tractors and empty trailers, according to the report. About 150 or 17% of thefts in 2010 involved empty trailers. Investigators figure the thieves were swapping out vehicles to avoid detection.

Cargo is most susceptible to theft when it isn’t on the move, analysts say.

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PORT BMW, From Page 41

➤

tiveness that the U.S. can offer. Created by Congress in 1934, foreign-trade zones have grown in popularity over the past few years as businesses try to make products that are more competitive in domestic and overseas markets. South Carolina has foreigntrade zones across the state, including Dorchester County and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. One encompasses BMW’s operations in the Upstate. A foreign-trade zone is a dutyfree, quota-free, secure area in a customs port of entry, actually considered to be outside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection territory. Taking advantage of the foreign-trade zone law was a key to BMW’s decision in 1992 to open a factory in the Upstate. Foreign and domestic goods can be brought into a zone without

“Consistently strong, global demand for the vehicles built at our plant has led to a favorable impact on the U.S. economy.� Josef Kerscher

president, BMW Manufacturing Co.

formal customs entry for assembly, manufacture, display, storage, destruction or other processing. Duty payments are not required until the merchandise leaves the zone for domestic consumption. If exported, no duty payments are made on the merchandise. Although the government collects less money in tariffs, foreign-trade zones attract companies, which lead to more jobs and other kinds of taxes. A 2008 economic impact study by the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business found that BMW is indi-

rectly responsible for 23,000 jobs in South Carolina. That’s 10 times more than the initial projection of 2,000 jobs BMW made when it announced plans to locate in South Carolina. Also, the study estimated that BMW generates $1.2 billion a year in wages and salaries throughout the state. The port is the automaker’s major link to markets in places like Europe and Asia. “BMW has a great impact here in Charleston supporting hundreds and hundreds of jobs across the waterfront for longshoremen, stevedores, shipping lines, rail

companies, agents, tugs, pilots and others,� said Byron Miller, spokesman for the S.C. State Ports Authority. “And of course we just completed a major $25-million expansion of Columbus Street Terminal to serve BMW’s growing export needs,� he said. BMW is the port’s No. 1 strategic customer in South Carolina, based on the flow of imports to the plant and suppliers, along with finished vehicle exports, Miller said. Officials said 2011 marks the first full year of U.S. production of the BMW X3. Sales for the miniSUV have been strong since its introduction in late 2010. The Spartanburg plant also produces the X5, a mid-sized SUV, and X6, a sports activity coupe. Since the plant began operations in 1994, BMW has produced more than 1.9 million vehicles at Spartanburg.

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Manufacturing

South Carolina already ranks No. 3 in daily tire production, according to the Tire Business newspaper. (Photo/Continental Tire)

S.C. becoming the tire kingdom By Chuck Crumbo, Staff Writer

A

s Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt held court with the press after Continental Tire announced in October plans to invest $500 million, create 1,700 jobs and build a plant in Sumter County, he was asked if South Carolina is the next “Akron of the South.” “I don’t know,” Hitt said, smiling, “but that’s a pretty good question that someone might answer. I’m not a tire expert.” According to Tire Business, a publication of Crain Communications Inc., the Palmetto State is on the verge of claiming the “Rubber Capital of the World,” an unofficial title Akron, Ohio, once held when four major tire manufacturers were headquartered there. South Carolina already ranks No. 3 among the states in daily tire production capacity at 80,000 units, said Bruce Davis, of Tire Business. Oklahoma, home to the

46 | S.C. Delivers

“I think success breeds success. And, I think it’s an indication that we’re really good at making things in South Carolina, and we’re pretty well known around the world.” Bobby Hitt

S.C. Commerce Secretary

world’s largest tire plant, is tops at 99,000 units a day. North Carolina is No. 2. But when Continental’s facility in Sumter is fully operational in 2017, the state should easily latch on to the No. 1 title. Davis estimates daily production capacity will increase 50% to “somewhere north of 120,000” units. Chances of another state emerging as a contender are slight. In recent months, manufacturers have announced the investment of more than $2.6

billion in existing and new tire plants with $2 billion of that sum earmarked for South Carolina. Most investments, especially for the production for smaller and less expensive passenger car tires, are headed to Mexico and elsewhere, Davis said. In South Carolina, Michelin, Bridgestone and Continental will be making high-performance passenger car tires, truck tires, and tires for large, off-the-road vehicles like earth movers, which have much higher profit margins.

“It would really catch me off guard if there was another big one like this,” Davis said of Continental’s announcement. Altogether, tire deals for South Carolina will eventually lead to the creation of 2,800 jobs, most of those coming in the next few years. For example, Continental said it expects final hires for the Sumter facility will be made by 2020. Presently, about 5,000 South Carolinians are employed by tire companies; by the decade’s end the total will nudge 8,000. Logistics was key in Continental’s decision to build in South Carolina, said Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental’s executive board and head of Continental’s global tire business, at a news conference. He added being near customers – both OEMs and retailers – and the Port of Charleston are important to Continental. Most of the raw materials needed


to make tires have to be imported, he said. Exports could be on the horizon, though. While most tires made in South Carolina are for domestic consumption, the state is the national leader in tire exports. According to the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department, South Carolina exported $2 billion in rubber and plastic products in 2010. Continental’s announcement came two weeks after Bridgestone Americas Inc. said it planned to invest $1 billion on two tire manufacturing projects in Aiken County, creating more than 850 jobs by 2020. That’s in addition to a $200 million expansion, announced in July, of Bridgestone’s light truck tire plant. Back in May, Michelin announced plans to spend $200

million and add 270 jobs to its tire plant in Lexington. What draws most manufacturers, including tire companies, to the state is the Port of Charleston, said Jim Morton, a former senior executive with Michelin who worked to recruit automotive manufacturers to the state. “You bring in natural rubber, carbon black, chemicals and then you are going to ship the tires. Access to a port has got to be very high on their list.” Hitt, who has made the recruitment of manufacturing jobs a top priority, said South Carolina’s work force and pro-business climate also played a role in Continental’s decision. “I think success breeds success,” Hitt said. “And, I think it’s an indication that we’re really good at making things in South Carolina, and we’re pretty well In October, S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt welcomed Continental Tire’s known around the world.” announcement of a new plant in Sumter County. (Photo/James T. Hammond)

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SC BiZ | w w w. s c b i z m a g . c o m

Rural roots

Claude Barnetteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s barn sits as a silent testament to the small family farms that once dotted northern Greenville County. Today it is surrounded by subdivisions. (Photo/James T. Hammond)

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2011 SC BIZ 4  

SCBIZ is the quarterly magazine serving senior level decision-makers across the entire state of South Carolina. In addition to the print pub...

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