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Fall 2015

Gaining altitude Boeing S.C.’s new leader ready to build 787-10, expand workforce diversity

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County Spotlight: Lancaster | Cities Mean Business | College Spotlight | S.C. Delivers

Table of


Advancing sector: Composites companies grow to feed aerospace, automotive pipeline


Universities support aerospace, automotive with research


Drive, diversity and Dreamliners: Boeing S.C. exec found knack for solving problems early


How the deal got done: The twists and turns of steering Volvo toward S.C.

Cover Photo: Beverly Wyse, leader of Boeing South Carolina. (Photo/Kathy Allen) Table of contents: Boeing steps up production. (Photo/Kim McManus)




Employees who work together can play together, too.


Cities attract businesses by listening to what they want.

DEPARTMENTS 6 Bill Settlemyer’s Viewpoint 7 Upfront 10 Business Accelerator

12 Partnership in Education 14 Spotlight: Lancaster County 53 College Spotlight

58 S.C. Delivers 64 1,000 words

SCBiz Editor - Licia Jackson ljackson@scbiznews.com • 803.726.7546

From the

Associate Editor, Special Projects - Jenny Peterson jpeterson@scbiznews.com • 843.849.3145


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Dear Reader,

We won’t see another summer like the one just winding down as I write this. The eyes of the country were on South Carolina as we faced the shock of losing nine precious lives at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, held each other up as we mourned, and then — took the major, deeply meaningful step of removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds in Columbia. My praise goes to Gov. Nikki Haley for leading us through those days. My family, like many of you, listened transfixed as she not only called for the flag’s removal but gave a clear and well-reasoned explanation of why we should do so. I hope we have learned some things from this experience. The first is how very important it is to listen to those who aren’t like us. Haley put it well at a Republican National Committee summer meeting, as reported by CNN. She said it is easy to be divisive in politics but “it’s courageous to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” Licia Jackson “You learn to think like them. You learn what they feel. Politics is Editor, personal,” she said. “But in order for us to get people to understand SCBIZ Magazine where we’re coming from, we have to see where they’re coming from.” The second thing? How much we can accomplish if we simply work together. For a visual on that, please turn to the 1,000 Words photo inside the back cover of this issue. In this case, the picture by photographer Jeff Blake is worth way more than 1,000 words. On to this issue of SCBIZ: We’re bringing you enhancement of the year’s news in the aerospace and automotive industry, which continue to boom in South Carolina. Learn how the state landed Volvo — another good example of what cooperation can do. We introduce you to Beverly Wyse, new leader of Boeing South Carolina. And you’ll learn about the advanced materials the state’s manufacturers are making and molding into planes and vehicles for durability and energy efficiency. This is our annual Best Places to Work in South Carolina issue. We are recognizing 50 companies that provide benefits of all kinds to their employees. This year we’ve focused our article on the ways these companies build camaraderie among their workers. Add to all this a County Spotlight focusing on fast-growing Lancaster County, and the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s Cities Mean Business publication, and you’ll find a lot to read. We hope you enjoy this issue!

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Bill Settlemyer’s

VIEWPOINT Tax Derangement Syndrome



ack in 2003, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer coined the phrase “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” a condition where people on the left were so disturbed by the policies and rhetoric of the Bush administration that they lost the capacity for rational thought. No surprise, of course, that this outbreak was followed by “Obama Derangement Syndrome” on the right. But there’s another, longer term problem that afflicts conservatives: Tax Derangement Syndrome, the inability to raise or even maintain taxes and tax rates even when rational analysis provides no good alternatives. I’ve lived in South Carolina for over 30 years, so it’s no great revelation to me that the political majority here is, and always has been, conservative. Low taxes and small government are part and parcel of the conservative philosophy. But any political ideology, left or right, can become rigid and unrealistic in the face of pressing needs or changing conditions. Such is the case with taxation. Grover Norquist’s famous dictum that his conservative organization’s goal was “to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub” sums it up nicely. But what happens when ideology meets reality? Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback found out the hard way when he embarked on a major tax cutting effort in his state, which


produced large budget deficits, major cuts to essential government services and tepid growth instead of the economic surge predicted to follow the tax cuts. Here in South Carolina, we’re finding out what happens when gas taxes can’t be raised to support the maintenance and upgrading of the state’s roads and bridges. I can ride blindfolded as a passenger in a car driving across the North Carolina border and tell immediately when we’ve crossed into South Carolina. A smooth ride suddenly becomes a rough one. Taking off the blindfold, I see the overgrown, weed-strewn right of way beside the highway, a stark contrast to the beautifully groomed and maintained right of ways on most North Carolina highways. The failure of state government to meet this challenge head on is grounded in the state’s conservative politics, starting with voters who have now been trained, so to speak, to expect regular assurances from their elected representatives that taxes will never be raised. With most districts uncontested between the two parties, the most passionate and conservative voters call the tune when local candidates are chosen to run for state House and Senate seats, and the results are predictable. Of course, there’s one group that isn’t deranged at all – the state’s business community. Chambers of Commerce and the leadership of our trucking, manufacturing

and port industries make no bones about the seriousness of the problem and the need to act. And (news flash) they’re not taking that stance because there’s a sudden outbreak of liberalism among business leaders. It is simply that the competitive demands of their businesses require intelligent and rational decision making, including the actions and policies of state government. Of course, no one wants to pay more in gas taxes or any other tax. Families, businesses and local governments all have budgets and fiscal challenges. But there really is no free lunch, and no magical pot of “government waste” money that can be tapped to cover infrastructure needs approaching a billion dollars a year, as anti-tax groups would have us believe. It’s time for South Carolina’s political leaders, and especially those in the majority party, to tell the truth to their constituents. Gas taxes, which haven’t been raised in decades and have shrunk dramatically in real dollars over the years, must be raised, and it is in the shared interests of the people and businesses of this state to get the job done in the next legislative session.

Bill Settlemyer bsettlemyer@scbiznews.com

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regional news | data

S.C. Business Hall of Fame names 2016 honorees


he South Carolina Business Hall of Fame has selected its three latest honorees, who will be inducted next spring at the 32nd annual event. The Junior Achievement of Central South Carolina and the Hall of Fame’s committee have tapped Robert Chapman III, William Cox and Anita Zucker as its 2016 award-winners. They will be honored March 3 at a dinner at Columbia Marriott. Chapman, a Spartanburg native, is the chairman, CEO and treasurer of textile manufacturer Inman Mills, headquartered in Inman. The company employs more than 700 South Carolinians and has a subsidiary in Macon, Ga. He has served on several boards and has been recognized with many awards. Cox is the founder and former CEO of Orangeburg-based Cox Industries, which was honored in 2013 as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s S.C. Family Business

Rob Chapman

William Cox

of the Year. The company, with annual sales of more than $250 million, has 14 manufacturing facilities and 30 distribution yards employing 450 workers in 22 states. Cox is also a member of the S.C. Housing Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Pile Drivers Association. Zucker is the CEO of The InterTech Group, a global holding company which has investments across industries ranging from aerospace and specialty chemicals to alterna-

Anita Zucker

tive energy and arenas. A University of Florida board of trustees member and Trident Technical College area commissioner, Zucker has seen the company grow significantly since its founding in 1982 through a series of acquisitions, expansions, takeovers and organic growth. Laureates are chosen for their contributions to the state’s business community, leadership and role as a source of inspiration to future leaders.

FAST FACTS | AEROSPACE PRIVATE SECTOR AEROSPACE EMPLOYMENT GROWTH, 2010-12 South Carolina Washington Alabama a plane at Columbia Freight is loaded onto . (Photo/Jeff Blake) Metropolitan Airport


Page 20



10.7% 2.5%


Note: Statistics for private sector including aerospace manufacturing, air transportation and air transportation services. Does not include military aviation. Source: “Aerospace in the Southeast: South Carolina and Competitive Markets,” Joseph Von Nessen


North Carolina

Cover Story


UPFRONT www.scbizmag.com


LifeCycle Innovation Project recruits community partners to turn around a low-achieving school


he “big dream” for Lower Richland High School is about to come true, just as students return for the new school year. Their LifeCycle Innovation Project, a STEM education idea involving food waste, an abandoned greenhouse, solar energy panels and, yes, worms, is expected to be fully operational. But, first, a bit of background. A few years back, Lower Richland, located in Hopkins and part of Columbia-centered Richland 1 school district, was a low-achieving school. In 2011, it qualified for a School Improvement Grant from the U.S. Department of Education and chose the transformation model. In this model, the terms of the grant required replacing the school’s principal and overhauling the curriculum. The curriculum was revamped to focus on STEM and International Baccalaureate and a new principal, Kelvin Wymbs, was hired. Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington, who represents the Lower Richland area, consulted EngenuitySC for help in setting up an industry advisory board. A unique turn came when EngenuitySC, a public-private partnership focused on enhancing regional competitiveness, was hired to manage the project. The project has included discovery days for both students and teachers, teacher immersion programs, parent university sessions, and soft skills and entrepreneurship training. But the biggest undertaking is the LifeCycle Innovation Project. “The principal wanted them to think big,” explained Meghan Hughes Hickman, EngenuitySC’s executive director. The first big idea was to add a solar panel array on campus. The school applied for and received a Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE) grant and Sunstore Solar of Greer was contracted to install 30 275-watt panels. (PaCE partners are SCE&G, Duke Energy Carolina and Duke Energy Progress.) There was an old greenhouse at the school, and the next idea was to restore it, using some of the solar power to operate it. From there developed the concept of recycling the Lower Richland cafeteria’s food

Students tend to worms in Lower Richland High School’s vermiculture room, part of the LifeCycle Innovation Project. (Photo/EngenuitySC)

waste to make compost for a vermiculture system, in which the worms would provide castings to fertilize plants in the greenhouse. So that’s the LifeCycle idea: solar power for a greenhouse to grow vegetables for the cafeteria, whose waste is turned into compost for worms whose castings return to fertilize the greenhouse soil. At every step of the way, students have been involved, said Hughes. They lead the work in operating the DHEC-approved food waste dehydrator, which came from Divergent Energy of Spartanburg. They care for the red worms in the vermiculture pods, located in a room renovated by LLE Construction of Columbia. And this fall the solar-powered greenhouse, restored with the help of The Greenhouse Company of S.C., will be operational, providing a protected place to grow fruits and vegetables. The students are leading the project and guiding each other, Hickman said. “From concept to completion, it took 10 months. That’s the beauty of the partnership. We provided a team to help facilitate. Regional collaboration is what EngenuitySC does best.” The change – the transformation – at Lower Richland High School is real. Over the past three years, expulsions and out-ofschool suspensions are down, and average daily attendance is up. Also up: test scores, from the high school exit exam to SAT and ACT; the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses; the graduation rate and scholarship attainment rates. “They believe Lower Richland is a special place and they can do anything they want,” Hickman said.


A worker sorts peanuts at a McCall Farms processing plant. (Photo/provided)




Honda of South Carolina Manufacturing




ZF Transmissions Gray Court




Impresa Aerospace




Gerber Childrenswear




KING Automation




Moderna Products




Sea Pro Boats




US Building Innovations










Dollar Tree

Cherokee, Spartanburg

McCall Farms








Cott Beverages




Titan Stainless




MPW Industrial Services




GKN Aerospace




Pantex Americas Inc.




Oakwood Products Inc.




Sun Solutions




Bimbo Bakeries USA










Republic National Distributing Co.







Here are announcements made in South Carolina since June 1, 2015, from the S.C. Department of Commerce.





Business Accelerator

Benedict College’s business incubator supports community growth By Licia Jackson, Editor




well-designed network connects Benedict College’s incubator with the community that surrounds it. The small business incubator, housed in Benedict’s Business Development Center, is designed to nurture businesses that will provide jobs for people in the community and internships for the Columbia college’s students. The business owners have access to college classes to help them build skills, a loan program for funding their enterprise and opportunities to do business with the college. The business owners “interact with each other,” says Keia Askins-Wise, program manager for the incubator. “They are able to network amongst themselves and offer their services to one another.” The Business Development Center, started in 2002 on the campus, was the brainchild of Benedict’s president, Dr. David Swinton. Its mission is to help build small and minority businesses, with goals of creating jobs, increasing business development and providing entrepreneurial opportunities for low to moderate income persons. Businesses that are brand new or less than 3 years old can apply to join the incubator, Askins-Wise said. Fourteen tenants operate there now, and the incubator can handle up to 17. The businesses there now include janitorial services, mental health counseling, construction, CPR certification, speech pathology, cable service, disability advocacy and financial services. Tenants pay rent of $225 to $700 monthly, depending on the amount of space and whether the office is furnished. The rent covers everything except phone and Internet service. The incubator offers individual offices and suites to meet the needs of various sizes of businesses. It also has a large meeting room, three conference

Benedict College’s Business Development Center was established in 2002. At right, Keia Askins-Wise is program manager at the center. (Photos/Licia Jackson)

rooms, a mail/fax services center and training classrooms. “We focus on technical assistance through our partners, the SBA, the city of Columbia and SCORE,” Askins-Wise said. Incubator tenants can audit any class offered at Benedict at no cost, and many have taken the chance to learn about marketing or accounting. The Business Development Center faculty and staff help them with developing a business plan, financial planning and computer skills. The incubator program, open to anyone, is a three-year program, with the business owner graduating at that point. There’s the hope that the business owners will move somewhere close by, so that they can continue to provide jobs for residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Benedict. The college also asks that the tenants consider using Benedict students as interns, and on average each business has two student interns from the college. Among the successful graduates from

the program are Imara magazine, owned by Wendy Brawley, and Fish Window Cleaning, started by James McGraw after a job layoff. Both are still in Columbia, and McGraw has opened his own incubator space. Also housed in the Business Development Center is the Benedict-Allen Development Corporation. The corporation, with a major stake in creating job opportunities and commerce in the neighborhood, administers the Benedict Minority Revolving Loan Fund. Incubator tenants and other small businesses in the area can apply for funding, said Larry Salley, executive director of the Development Corporation. Begun in 2008, the loan fund makes loans to area small businesses, Salley said. Some are micro loans, from $1,000 to $10,000; others are small business loans of up to $25,000. Along with lending money for such purposes as equipment and inventory purchases or working capital, the Benedict Minority Revolving Loan Fund helps


One of the incubator’s businesses offers classes in CPR certification. The classroom is set up here.


with technical and management assistance. The Business Development Center’s 25,918 square feet has become a hub for networking and training. A number of professional organizations meet at the center. The Small Business Administration does some training there, and workshops in business management, marketing and accounting are offered. The center also connects businesses with the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Diversity Supplier Council and offers workshops to help them bid on contracts with government and larger corporations. Newly opened in 2012, the Veterans Workforce Development Center holds training in a high tech classroom space within the Business Development Center. “It’s a comprehensive way of doing economic development,” Salley explained.


Square footage of the brick and steel building


Number of office suites


Number of businesses operating in the incubator

Percentage of businesses that are minority owned (93% African American, 7% Hispanic) Source: Benedict College Business Development Center





Partnerships in Education

Cradle to career

Increased student success through communitywide efforts By Jenny Peterson, Associate Editor




ow do you bridge the gap between what employers need and what high schoolers learn? Is it with targeted, specific educational skills? Real-world experience? Workplace exposure? Staff members at the Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative in Charleston are looking to uncover the keys for student success and gainful employment. The organization is a communitywide effort in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties focused on improving the quality of life of their citizens and workforce through education by collectively aligning resources and working toward common goals.  The Cradle to Career community partnership organization, with a motto to “strive together,” brings together leaders, company stakeholders and school principals in the tri-county area to form an open line of communication about what companies need from their local workforce, how students can better prepare for the workplace and continuing education options. The “collective impact” approach brings in local industries as a stakeholder in the process. Goals are to increase kindergarten readiness, early grade reading, middle grade math, high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment and post-secondary degree completion while getting businesses involved. Until now there wasn’t data or measurements to support or give concrete suggestions on how to get these goals accomplished. The 2015 Regional Education Report includes facts and research about students in the area that can help bring changes into schools that can help students succeed. Cradle to Career identifies the students most at-risk for not graduating, taking into

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative staff: John Read, chief executive officer; Sara Perry, communications director; Alexa Stephens, director of data management and analysis. (Photos/Jenny Peterson)

consideration barriers that affect graduation rates, including social and behavioral issues, financial issues and medical issues. All of this comes with an important goal: Make sure every child has the opportunity to succeed. The collaboration is modeled similarly to TransformSC in Columbia, said chief executive officer John Read. “A large portion don’t graduate and carry the seeds for a lack of success,” Read said. In order to increase student success, the organization said larger issues in the community need to be addressed, such as students who come from low-income families or those who don’t have access to health care. Ideas to improve student success can be small changes, such as bringing in more counselors in schools, more school security, accessibility for mentors, consistent learning

opportunities after school and in the summer. “We went to conferences with 500-600 experts. We pulled tougher principals, talked to them about what they’ve seen that’s making a difference,” Read said. “We’re figuring out what they need.” He added, “We hope to implement concrete ideas quickly. We want to see results in two to three years.” “We’re here to find solutions to gaps,” Read said. “We’ve had good progress in partnerships — a group of enlightened business people who appreciate what’s happening here.” The group has identified several ways to explore growth in career academics such as job shadowing. “Gaps are substantial in workforce requirements,” Read said. “We need to

The Vision

A project board at the Cradle to Career office outlines the organization’s mission.

For more information, visit www.tricountycradletocareer.org.

The Story

Our community, working in partnership and guided by data, can, with time and persistence, transform the achievement gap currently affecting ALL children into education and economic opportunity for everyone.

The Challenge

By 2018, about 25,000 new jobs will be created in our region. Skill gaps in high wage and key growth industries are unlikely to be filled by local high schools and institutions of higher education.

Here are estimates of the workforce talent gap:

20% Industrial Production

16% Computer & Software

14% Science & Engineering

13% Sales & Marketing

10% Medical

58% of tri-county residents 25 and over do not hold a postsecondary degree


33% 23%

10% No High School Diploma

9% High School Diploma Only

Some College


Bachelors or Higher


increase the numbers of students getting workforce and soft skills.” The Cradle to Career Collaborative looks beyond schools to determine how to make successful communities. “We bring together the right people to look at early childhood development, kindergarten programs and looking to see how we can address low birth weights,” Read said. The collective partnership benefits everyone involved. “It’s a self-interest for businesses to have a future workforce,” Read said. He said the most important way to keep students engaged with the local workforce is to have the employees and business leaders connect with them, volunteer in the classroom, offer internships and apprenticeships. The research goes beyond students of school age. “We support adult employees in the workforce with access to continuing education,” said Sara Perry, communications director. “Employers have a lot of opportunities to get involved, such as offering tuition reimbursement for employees. There are 100,000 people in the areas with no college degree. To go back and get an education, especially in the technology field, would be huge. It’s a great return on investment.” Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group and chair of Cradle to Career in the tri-county region, said, “In dozens of regions throughout the country, collective impact has led to improved educational outcomes, and it holds great promise in our community where so many are committed to helping every child succeed.”

Every child will be prepared for school. Every child will be supported in and out of school. Every child will succeed academically. Every child will graduate from high school prepared for either further education or employment in the modern workforce. Every student enrolled in postsecondary education will complete successfully and will enter a career.


About Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative


county spotlight


Historic downtown Lancaster is in the midst of a revitalization project.

LANCASTER COUNTY IS ON THE MOVE By Jenny Peterson, Associate Editor


S 14


Cou ituated in the northernmost part of the state, on the border next to by the numbersnty Charlotte, sits Lancaster County. Lancaster is two hours from the 2014 population es Atlantic coast and just three hours away from the Blue Ridge and timate................ 83 ,160 Smoky Mountains National Park. Unspoiled views of the Catawba River, four Median value of owner-occupied housing units........................ golf courses, state parks, historical sites and access to one of the nation’s .................... $142,20 0 fastest growing cities beckon residents and visitors. Per capita income increase since 2008 With a population of just over 83,000 people, Lancaster County is the ................. 43 perce nt fastest-growing county in South Carolina and the 26th fastest growing in the Investment in 2014 by new nation. Asset.com released a report in August that showed that Lancaster and expanding comp anies County ranks No. 1 in South Carolina and 13th in the U.S. for new investment in Lancaster County............. .. $646 million in industrial, office, retail-commercial and housing development. Sources: U.S. Cens us Bure au, Lancaster velopment Corp.

County Economic De

Special Advertising Section


An employee at Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences in Lancaster. (Photo provided)


The former textile capital has seen a revitalization in manufacturing but has also been successful in diversifying its economy. County leaders made a commitment to diversify its business and industrial base after the economic slowdown in 2008 forced many textile mills to close, which led to a peak of 18.6% unemployment in June 2009. Unemployment has since dropped to approximately 7%. “After the textile closures, the leadership of the county decided not be dominated by a single industry,” said Keith Tunnell, president of the Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation. Since 2011, Lancaster County has seen more than $1 billion in new investment in industrial, office and distribution projects countywide with 10,000 jobs in the industrial, office and headquarters sectors since 2010. Three distinct parts of the county host a diversified economic base. “Per capita incomes in the county have risen over 40 percent since 2008. In 2014 alone, the LCEDC announced more than $625 million in new investment and created more than 1,300 new jobs,” Tunnell said. “We’re working hard to find out what people need and how we can serve them,” said Bob Bundy, Lancaster County Council chairman. Special Advertising Section

The L&C Railroad maintains 62 miles of track in Lancaster and Chester counties, a major transportation benefit. (Photo provided)

Largest employers Company....................................... No. of employees 2014 Red Ventures....................................................1,600 Lancaster County School District....................1,569 Lancaster County (government)........................ 837 Cardinal Health..................................................800 Springs Memorial Hospital.................................700 Continental Tire of the Americas LLC................ 430 Procter & Gamble – Duracell............................. 405 URS Nuclear.......................................................400 Source: Lancaster County Economic Development Corp.

Northern Lancaster County – Indian Land: Building on Charlotte Sharing in the success of the Charlotte region, Northern Lancaster County encompasses Indian Land and offers more than 25 new housing developments, is a growing retail-commercial center, and is home to several large Class A mixed-used developments and corporate office parks and properties. Indian Land is a 15-minute drive from downtown Charlotte and less than 20 minutes from the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Tunnell said companies find that Indian Land is conveniently located near all of

Charlotte’s amenities while providing the advantages of a South Carolina location, including attractive state and local incentives, skilled labor and lower utility infrastructure and construction costs. County leaders market Indian Land for headquarters, back office, high tech industrial, retail-commercial and quality residential communities. Red Ventures Internet marketing company has a 400-acre campus in Indian Land and has invested over $100 million and continues to expand. The company recently announced plans to develop another 200 acres with an additional $50 million investment and creation of another 1,000+ jobs. Other businesses with headquarters or back office locations in Indian Land include Continental Tire of the Americas LLC, Sharonview Federal Credit Union, Kennametal Honeywell Scanning and Imaging, Verian Technologies, URS Nuclear, The Inspiration Networks and TriNet. Chinese textile giant Keer opened its first of four textile cotton weaving operations in Indian Land in 2015 and will invest more than $218 million and create over 500 jobs. With residents in the area having median annual income of nearly $80,000, there have been more than 25 housing developments which have invested well

COUNTY SPOTLIGHT: LANCASTER University of South Carolina Lancaster is a two-year college with about 2,000 students in the city of Lancaster.

over $1 billion in new residential development. Lennar Homes, Eastwood Homes and TrueHomes have all invested in high-end residential developments along U.S. 521 in Indian Land. Terrata Homes is developing over 1,500 acres in northern Lancaster County near the community of Van Wyck, offering exclusive large estate lots on the Catawba River with a host of amenities.

Central Lancaster: Unique transportation access About 30 miles south of Indian Land is central Lancaster County, home to the city of Lancaster. This area is located on S.C. 9, which has four-lane access to I-77. The new Lancaster County Air-Rail Business Park has over 100 acres with an additional 500 acres available adjacent to the park. The Air Rail Park is located across S.C. 9 from Lancaster County Airport, with a 6,000-foot runway to accommodate corporate jets. “We see this as our future growth area

for industry,” Bundy said. The first tenant in the Air Rail Park is Fancy Pokket USA, which has opened a 60,000-square-foot gluten-free bakery that will distribute to Canada and the entire U.S. Major employers in central Lancaster include Duracell; Nutramax Laboratories; Valmet boiler systems; Silgan Containers, which manufactures tuna cans for Sunkist and Bumblebee tuna brands; AkzoNobel global paints and coatings chemical company; and Cooley Group. A major transportation benefit in central Lancaster is the L&C Railroad, a division of the Gulf & Ohio Railroad. The L&C maintains 62 miles of track in Lancaster and Chester counties. The rail lines connect to both CSX and Norfolk-Southern main lines. Steve Gedney, senior vice president of the railroad and recent past chairman of the LCEDC Board of Directors, said the railroad serves 30 customers at any given time. There are more than 2,000 acres of available industrial zoned property on the L&C


Heath Springs Business Park in southern Lancaster County has space available for businesses large and small.


Special Advertising Section

Railroad in Lancaster County. “The L&C provides competitive rail rates through the fact that we interchange with both Class 1 railroads. That means when it comes to volume contracts, both railroads are competing for business,” Gedney said. “We can save customers 10-30 percent on rail rates, which can make a big difference to their bottom line.” The major highway trade routes in Lancaster include S.C. 9, which runs west to I-77, and U.S. 521, which connects to Charlotte in the north and to I-20 in Camden to the south.

Southern Lancaster: Rural land, mining for gold The southern end of Lancaster County includes largely rural areas such as Kershaw and Heath Springs, quaint, charming small towns that were once vibrant textile towns. Today, the towns have worked with the county to build new industrial parks and foster new growth. The Kershaw Industrial Park and Heath Springs Business Park are available for companies large and small. Major employers in Southern Lancaster County include Pattison Sign Group, Trinity Meyer Utility Structures and ADM, which processes soybeans in Kershaw. The largest investment announcement in the area came in late 2014 when Canadian company Romarco Minerals took over the Haile Gold Mine in Kershaw and received permits to mine the land for gold. The $600 million investment will create 200-300 construction jobs over the next two years and between 300-400 mining jobs once operational in late 2016. Romarco has iden-


Deer and other wildlife abound on the scenic Catawba River. Lancaster County is home to some of the best preserved areas of the river.

tified over 3 million ounces of gold at the site thus far into exploration.

Qualified workforce With roots steeped in manufacturing and textiles, the pool of available labor is large enough to keep up with these new economic development announcements. “We have a great career center in Lancaster, and the Lancaster County School District works with local industries to start training soft skills and workplace skills to students as early as junior high school,” Tunnell said. With the success of the past 10 years, local students and residents can move directly into good-paying manufacturing jobs. The University of South Carolina Lancaster is a two-year college with approximately 2,000 students enrolled in programs in the city of Lancaster. York Technical College, located in nearby Rock Hill, provides training for new and existing companies and

partners with the state’s readySC program to design customized training programs for new companies locating in Lancaster County at no cost.

Natural beauty and quality of life Bordered on the west by the scenic and historic Catawba River, Lancaster County encompasses sprawling rural lands, parks and natural areas that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and enjoyment of nature. For those looking for small-town settings and farms, southern Lancaster County has lots of acreage and equestrian opportunities. For those who like to be near water, Lancaster includes some of the best preserved areas of the Catawba River. The Catawba River and Fishing Creek Reservoir offer outstanding scenic views and watersports. The new Carolina Thread Trail in Lancaster is part of one of the top trail systems in the United States. Andrew Jackson State Park, just 10 miles

Rocky Shoals spider lilies bloom on the Catawba River, a joy for kayakers.

north of Lancaster, combines living history, art and community activities. The park hosts a birthday celebration each March in honor of the seventh president of the United States and arguably the most famous Lancastrian. Historic downtown Lancaster is in the process of revitalizing its main street and its SeeLancaster department hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year. The USC-Lancaster Performing Arts series brings in several events each year and operates the Native American Studies Center, including a location in downtown Lancaster that showcases Catawba Indian pottery and artifacts. “We are rich in history and the people of Lancaster County are proud of this community,” Tunnell said. “It is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Edgewater Corporate Park in Indian Land.

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Composites companies grow to feed aerospace, automotive pipeline

Composites companies grow to feed aerospace, automotive pipeline By Liz Segrist, Staff Writer Boeing workers in North Charleston (above) and Everett, Wash., build 10 Dreamliners a month. Carbon fiber accounts for about half of the the 787 Dreamliner’s airframe. (Photo/Kim McManus)




nside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s aftbody facility in North Charleston, a large, barrel-shaped structure acts as a template for what will become a Dreamliner fuselage. Long strands of carbon fiber are infused with a glue-like resin. The mandrel spins while several robotic arms apply layer upon layer of composite material to form the fuselage skin. The composite-covered fuselage structure is then placed into a large oven-like structure, called an autoclave, where it is baked for several hours up to 450 degrees. Once it comes out, high-pressure jets cut out space for the plane’s windows and doors. The resulting fuselage is a lightweight, harder-than-aluminum structure. The Dreamliner, which is built in North Charleston and Everett, Wash., is the first commercial jet to have an airframe made largely of carbon composites instead of aluminum parts. Carbon fiber accounts for more than half of the 787 jet, with a composite-made

fuselage and mostly-composite wings. The Dreamliner’s lighter weight means the plane consumes 20% less fuel than other planes of its size on similar routes. That is a game changer for both the airlines — lighter planes use less fuel — and for the company — less corrosion and better fatigue resistance results in a longer airplane life. The use of composites has its perks for passengers too. The properties of composites enable airlines to increase cabin pressure and humidity, which can help prevent jet lag and dehydration while in flight. “Visionaries in the industry see that composites are the major driver to growth for at least the foreseeable future,” said Bill Beard, general manager of GKN Aerospace, a composites manufacturer in Orangeburg. South Carolina’s booming advanced manufacturing sector is attracting more advanced materials and composite suppliers to set up or expand operations in the state. Growth from aerospace and automotive companies in particular has attracted more

composite producers to the Palmetto State. GKN Aerospace, which produces composites for Boeing, Honda Jet and Gulfstream, opened its 22-acre Orangeburg site in 2012. The Boeing Co. selected GKN for final assembly of the Boeing 737 MAX winglet in 2013. Among other work, Boeing picked GKN to assemble 787 Dreamliner floor grids, which involves the plane’s floor structure being built into a grid that then slides into the 787 fuselage. The firm announced plans this summer to expand yet again. The company will invest $20 million in a 126,000-square-foot facility on an adjacent site. The new plant will produce inlet lip skins, pod-like structures that house the aircraft’s engine, for the Boeing 737 MAX and 777X. Equipment installation is underway and work will begin in spring 2016, Beard said. TIGHITCO, an Atlanta-based aerospace subsidiary of Charleston-based The InterTech Group, opened a $30 million, 100,000-square-foot composite manufactur-


ing facility in North Charleston in 2013. Inside, a large autoclave cures and hardens composite materials used in a number of products, including aircraft parts. BMW did not respond to requests for comment and both Daimler and Volvo Cars declined to comment specifically on whether composites will be used at their new South Carolina facilities. But all three automotive companies build cars with composite materials at plants around the world. “We could become a major player in the advanced materials and composites sector as they do directly support automotive and aerospace companies,” said Joey Von Nessen, research economist with the University of South Carolina.

A growing sector



Boeing and BMW continue to expand their operations in North Charleston and Greer, respectively. Mercedes-Benz, a subsidiary of Daimler, plans to build a van plant in North Charleston, and Volvo Cars looks to create an automotive campus in Berkeley County. These recent announcements will significantly grow the Lowcountry’s automotive footprint, bringing in nearly $1 billion in investment and 5,300 jobs over the next 15 years. As these manufacturing giants expand or put down roots, S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said the state works with them to understand what their supply chain looks like and which suppliers they need in-state. More and more, Hitt said he is hearing that Commerce needs to be recruiting composite producers as manufacturers strive for lighter weight, more efficient cars and planes. He points to Toray Industries’ plan to invest $1 billion in a carbon fiber production plant on 400 acres in Spartanburg County. The Tokyo-based composite materials manufacturer will supply composites to the aerospace industry. Toray is one of the world’s largest producers of carbon fiber and one of Boeing’s largest suppliers of composite material for the S.C.-built 787 Dreamliner. “Conversations with Toray had been



COMPOSITE MATERIALS, from page 21 going on for years,” Hitt said, noting that Boeing had to hit certain production rates before it made economic sense for Toray to invest in a South Carolina plant.

Recruitment challenges The autoclave at TIGHITCO’s plant will be used to cure and harden composite materials. (Photo/Andy Owens)

A Growing Sector

Composites and advanced materials From 2006 to 2013, composites and advanced materials companies have announced more than $1.5 billion in capital investment and more than 2,700 jobs in South Carolina. These companies produce advanced materials in the form of plastics, optics, photonics, advanced textiles and composite materials.

Big announcements from 2006 to 2013 Company



Toray................................... 500.................$1.0B GKN Aerospace....................250.............$38.0M TIGHITCO..............................350.............$30.0M Innovative Composites........ 300............... $9.3M Carbures.................................50............... $6.5M LifeStone Materials................ 45............... $5.5M DUER High Performance........ 47................$1.0M Composites Composites Resources...........50............... $3.5M Cargo Composites .................40...............$700K

170 www.scbizmag.com

the number of advanced materials and composites companies in the state



the number of employees working in the advanced materials/composites sector in the state Source: S.C. Commerce Department

South Carolina faces challenges to ensure composite and advanced material manufacturers can successfully grow in the state. These companies have their own supply chains that need to be accessible through quality infrastructure or a nearby operation. Infrastructure can be a big hurdle when composite producers are choosing a site. Companies need adequate utilities— and they want them at competitive rates. Hitt said carbon fiber plants require a high volume of water, power and electricity to support their processes. Carbon fibers are usually combined with other materials to form a composite, which has a very high strength-to-weight ratio. “Some of these materials require special utility support that might be different than a typical manufacturer. ... You need to bring it all together in one place,” Hitt said. “Not every place could have supported a company like Toray.”

Workforce needs The advanced technologies used by aerospace and automotive manufacturers require a more skilled workforce within their facilities and their supply chains, Von Nessen said. Workforce training programs geared at composite and advanced materials are essential if these suppliers are to continue supporting advanced manufacturers in South Carolina, Von Nessen said. Through his experience hiring more

than 100 employees at GKN, Beard said there is a dearth of manufacturing engineers to support composite producers in the state, which forces companies to look elsewhere to find engineers for their open positions. “Unfortunately, with many of our professional-level positions, mainly engineers, we are finding ourselves recruiting out of state,” Beard said. “We would love to be able to hire people that live right here in Orangeburg instead.” The South Carolina Research Authority’s Composite Manufacturing Technology Center and Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Center, both in Anderson, are making strides in researching composites’ applications and training students for the sector. SCRA’s composite center is one of nine Navy Manufacturing Centers of Excellence in the country. It secured a $150 million contract to develop lighter-weight technology for Navy ships, tanks and airplanes. Additionally, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina graduate more than 1,000 engineering students each year, which helps “provide a solid pipeline for composites and advanced materials companies seeking an educated and talented workforce,” according to Commerce. But more is needed in the state to train workers for the field, according to company executives. Von Nessen said adequate workforce training programs will buoy growth at advanced manufacturers and composites producers alike, which will have ripple effects into the surrounding communities. “As these automotive and aerospace clusters continue to grow, you will see these sub-clusters playing a bigger and bigger role in that supply chain,” Von Nessen said. “We have to have that support for the continued growth of automotive and aerospace manufacturers in the state.”

Boeing South Carolina workers fabricate, assemble and install systems for aft fuselage sections of the 787 Dreamliner. Workers then join and integrate midbody fuselage sections before sending the plane to final assembly. (Photo/Kim McManus)

Universities support aerospace, automotive with research


he University of South Carolina has taken a giant step in its plans for a world-class aerospace research program that may one day rival Clemson University’s automotive research for international prestige and recognition. Boeing announced on Aug. 6 that it would partner with the Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research and contribute up to $5 million for advanced carbon fiber materials innovation. The agreement puts USC on a path to recognition in the aerospace world similar to the acclaim Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research enjoys in the automotive sphere after a dozen years and $250 million invested in the Greenville campus. “We have almost 200 aerospace companies in South Carolina already, so we are growing very quickly,” said S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “USC and Clemson University will be important to that growth.” Both USC and Clemson have over the last decade built significant capacity in their respective specialties.

performance; vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity and vehicle-infrastructure integration; and vehicular electronics.


By James T. Hammond, Contributing Writer

Clemson’s advanced materials laboratory Clemson also has a major role to play in the evolution of advanced materials such as carbon fiber. Clemson’s Advanced See RESEARCH, Page 28

USC’s McNair Center has a Lynx automated fiber placement machine. (Photo/James T. Hammond)

CU-ICAR at Clemson University


At Clemson, CU-ICAR started in 2003 with $10 million from German automaker BMW to endow the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center. Today, the BMW Information Technology Innovation Center is one of several industry-funded research centers at CU-ICAR. Some 770 people work at CU-ICAR. The center hosts four endowed chairs in four key research areas: BMW Endowed Chair in Automotive Systems Integration; BMW Endowed Chair in Automotive Manufacturing; Michelin Endowed Chair in Vehicle Electronic Systems Integration; and Timken Endowed Chair in Automotive Design and Development. Seven strategic research areas focus on advanced powertrain systems; automotive systems integration; human factors/HMI; manufacturing and materials; vehicle




DREAMLINERS Boeing S.C. exec found knack for solving problems early By Liz Segrist, Staff Writer


everly Wyse knew how to change electrical outlets and rewire her house from a young age. She remembers learning from her dad — first from watching and then by doing — how to do vari-

ous home projects. “He was really good about ... drawing us into things that most other girls didn’t do,” Wyse said. “So

when he was wiring and doing some work on our house, he showed me how to do it. He would let me

change outlets. Not only even let me but kind of expected me to help.” Sitting in her office that overlooks the 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly plant in North Charleston, the new


head of Boeing South Carolina recalls her childhood upbringing in an agricultural community in the Puget


Sound area outside of Seattle. See WYSE, Page 26


Beverly Wyse, new vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, stands on a balcony above the 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly plant in North Charleston. (Photo/Kathy Allen)







WYSE, from page 24


Her mom worked at a grocery store. Her dad was a carpenter. Both were union members. Neither attended college. The youngest of seven kids, Wyse remembers a tight-knit family where she and her siblings learned how to work hard early on. “Both of my parents had a very strong work ethic. As children, we were pushed hard. We all had summer jobs from the time we were 8 or 10 ... working in the fields,” Wyse said. “My parents were very much of the mindset that you can have anything you want in life as long as you are willing to contribute to pay for it.” Wyse discovered her knack for solving problems and the joy she derived from figuring out how something works when she was a kid. With an aptitude for math and science in high school, she decided to pursue engineering. As one of a handful of women in her engineering program, Wyse graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a mechanical engineering degree and later an MBA. She took a job at Boeing right out of college in 1985. About five years in, she went to work for British Aerospace outside of London with the man who would become her husband. Wyse was one of two female engineers working there at the time. A few years later, she returned to Boeing, where she has remained since. Now she runs Boeing South Carolina’s Dreamliner plant. She took over as vice president and general manager in January after her predecessor, Jack Jones, announced plans to retire this year. Much hinges on the next few years at

“Both of my parents had a very strong work ethic. As children, we were pushed hard. We all had summer jobs from the time we were 8 or 10 ... working in the fields.” Beverly Wyse

vice president and general manager, Boeing South Carolina

the plant in South Carolina, which Boeing took a chance on a few years ago when it expanded Dreamliner production outside of Washington state. The plant hit production snags last year, sending unfinished work to final assembly to be completed — a process known as traveled work — in an effort to remain on schedule. The teams rebounded last summer and made up for lost time, which was confirmed when production workers received a bonus for hitting certain milestones. Now the team is preparing, along with its Puget Sound counterparts, for the next rate increase — from building 10 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners a month to 12. The North Charleston workforce will be responsible for building five Dreamliners a month, up from three, next year. The Boeing South Carolina workforce is also prepping to integrate 787-10 Dreamliner work into its operations in 2017. The newest and biggest Dreamliner will be built exclusively in North Charleston. Wyse plans to use her three-plus years of

experience running the 767 plant in Everett, Wash., and most recently, her five years of experience running the 737 plant in Renton, Wash., to hit production goals and handle rate increases for the 787 program. Under her management, the 737 plant increased rates to a record 42 planes per month. She remembers the day the 737 team hit its first rate break. “It was the first time that I had been in that leadership role making a huge commitment for the company, and with that being our largest program, the fear is: if this doesn’t go well, you’re big, you fall hard. But it went really, really well,” Wyse said, breaking into a smile. “...We’ve set up the 787 program with that lean manufacturing in mind, and in some ways, this factory is more ideally set up than the 737 was.” Wyse also wants to bring her open communication style to her new position. She invited reporters to watch her run a quarterly managers meeting in Renton during which she asked roughly 100 attendees to contribute opinions, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. Wyse said running the 737 plant taught her the value of getting out of her office and talking to mechanics and engineers on the production floor about design issues and how to solve problems during buildout. “I would say before then I tended to focus my interaction on my direct team that was reporting to me … but the communication is just so critical. … It’s amazing how well people respond when they know what the plan is and what you’re thinking,” Wyse said. Part of that desire for open communication See WYSE, Page 28

those things directly that in that time workers relied on unions to do?” Wyse said. While she focuses on ramping up Dreamliner production and introducing the 787-10, Wyse also is pushing for more diversity in the aerospace field. She wants to see more women and people of color becoming engineers and managers. Wyse said Boeing South Carolina does have a more diverse workforce than many Boeing plants because most of its workers are relatively green to building planes, hailing from other manufacturing jobs or from military careers. Some were trained at readySC’s Boeing Training Center at Trident Technical College in North Charleston. In comparison, most Boeing workers in

Puget Sound have decades of experience, and many come from generations of aerospace workers. To help build that S.C. aerospace pipeline, Boeing’s DreamLearners program teaches students about math, science and airplanes. Wyse said that’s a start, but she wants to see more happen to encourage minorities to pursue a career in aerospace. She said schools should be held accountable for admission rates and more successful people in the industry should reach back to connect with students. “We need to continue to work to ensure that the opportunities are available and that we’re not ever letting biases get in our way of promoting people into and through the system,” Wyse said. Wyse said progress has been made regarding diversity since she started her career but more is needed to build better airplanes — a mix of perspectives on the shop floor results in more creative solutions. To really influence the aerospace pipeline, Wyse looks to a simple concept: Find a role model, be a role model. She found one by working alongside her dad as a little girl in Seattle. “Early on, I don’t think we had as clear of a picture of ‘Guys do that and girls do this.’ ... It starts with the way parents talk to their children at home,” Wyse said.

campus, but it has been playing aggressive catch-up. After Boeing built an aircraft assembly plant in North Charleston, three South Carolina visionaries stepped up with gifts totaling $11 million to jump-start an aerospace research center at USC. Darla Moore gave $5 million to create the aerospace research center named after the late astronaut Ronald E. McNair, a Lake City native who died in the Challenger space shuttle accident. Charleston businesswoman Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group, added a gift of $5 million to the center, and television executive and USC alumna Marva Smalls established a $1 million scholarship endowment for minority students from the Pee Dee to study aerospace technology. The McNair Center has evolved rapidly into a one-of-a-kind academic research base for the advancement of manufacturing

technology where carbon fiber materials are replacing metal in aircraft bodies. The McNair Center’s research facility is housed within the Columbia Innovation Center of SCRA, which has made a $3.6 million infrastructure investment in the lab. USC also has a powerful industry partner in IBM, which works closely with Boeing in the defense industry. Last year, USC and IBM unveiled a partnership that will build on research and information technology that has been under development at USC for more than a decade. The university’s College of Engineering and Computing became a partner with IBM to further develop USC’s conditionbased maintenance research and development collaboration with the U.S. Army. Condition-based maintenance uses data collected by sensors on helicopters to detect when a component is nearing failure.


WYSE, from page 26 lends to Wyse not wanting Boeing South Carolina to be unionized. She wants mechanics, engineers and management to be able to openly talk and troubleshoot together. When she was a few months into the job, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers was ramping up for an election in April. Both sides were waging ad campaign wars and tensions were high in the anti-union political environment that often exists in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. The IAM canceled the election a few days before it was supposed to take place, citing an aggressive anti-union environment and a lack of support. The union filed two complaints against Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board, both of which have been dismissed. The IAM has not yet filed for another election this year. Wyse said she understands the potential benefits of a union, which helped her father get the necessary training to find jobs and earn fair wages. But today, she believes those benefits are baked into the fabric of a good company. “I think that helped shape my view because I can stand here today and look and think: Why wouldn’t a company do some of


RESEARCH, from page 23


Materials Research Laboratory houses programs in optoelectronics, chemistry and materials science. It also includes advanced electron microscopy facilities and a staff that works with private industry and academia. The lab is part of Clemson’s Innovation Campus and Technology Park in Anderson. Advanced materials research accounts for almost 30% of the university’s total research funding. The Anderson lab is engaged in basic scientific research that might find application in a variety of fields, especially further along the supply chain in the aerospace and automotive industries.

USC creates aerospace center The University of South Carolina got a later start on its goal to create a major research center at its downtown Columbia

Quick Facts

More than 400

Number of aerospace companies in S.C.

Where are these companies?


Lowcountry Midlands

38.8% 32.8% 28.3%

Source: Joey Von Nessen, research economist with the University of South Carolina


HOW THE DEAL GOT DONE The twists and turns of steering Volvo toward S.C. By Liz Segrist, Staff Writer






he race was on. State Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt received a tip in July 2014 that South Carolina was among a handful of Southeastern states in the running for Volvo’s first North American manufacturing facility. When a phone call a month later confirmed Volvo’s interest in the state, Gov. Nikki Haley had one response.: “Let’s go get it.” Haley sat down several weeks after the deal was announced in May to talk about the hunt for the high-end automotive manufacturer. “It was a roller coaster ride after that,” Haley said of the phone call. Numerous state agencies worked together to make the deal happen. Over the next 10 months, meetings took place in downtown Charleston restaurants, at Volvo’s legal offices in New York City, at the company’s headquarters in Sweden and during site visits all over the state. Volvo officials had a big decision to make: Pick a site that could buoy U.S. sales, generate product excitement and expand its global market share. The site needed to be near major highways, an international airport and a port with a track record of shipping cars. The company wanted to plant roots in a state that promoted business and offered a skilled, trainable workforce. Hitt said his team tried to glean as much information as possible about Volvo’s needs in those initial meetings. Commerce had three sites across the state chosen as options. Hitt declined to mention specific sites but said “they were in three distinct regions of the state.” A lot was at stake for the Sweden-based, Chinese-owned automaker as it made its foray into becoming a “Made in America” manufacturer. Meetings between company and state officials were ongoing throughout the fall and into early this year. Volvo officials wanted to investigate every claim made about successful manufacturing facilities, training programs and logistics operations in the state. They visited readySC’s Boeing training center at Trident Technical College

Gov. Nikki Haley, Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt and state officials celebrated the call from Volvo confirming that the automaker will build its plant in Berkeley County and employ 4,000 workers over the next decade. (Photo/Zach Pippin)

in North Charleston and then saw Boeing employees building planes at the Dreamliner plant. They visited BMW Manufacturing Co. and the S.C. Inland Port in Greer and stopped by the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville. Volvo met three times with the S.C. State Ports Authority to see how the Port of Charleston handles cargo. At the Columbus Street Terminal, Volvo officials watched as port workers drove BMWs off trains and onto containerships. They envisioned the possibility of those being Volvo vehicles one day. Dorchester County offered an attractive site off Interstate 26 for the Volvo plant, but environmental studies revealed the land held too many wetlands. Building there could limit the size of Volvo’s footprint and harm the site’s ecosystems. So six months into negotiations, the state had to present an entirely new site to Volvo. “That was a little bit of a scary time from my side,” Hitt said. “Generally speaking, when you’re several months in, changing sites can be a sign of weakness that we didn’t have it put together just right. We were semistarting over, but we put together a plan.”

Shifting gears Haley said the site switch was nervewracking for everyone involved on both sides of the Atlantic. Commerce officials scrambled to keep the company interested.

Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler received a call on Feb. 5 about Volvo. Peagler remembers saying to Barry Jurs, the county’s economic development director: “Do whatever you have to do to make this happen.” Officials from Berkeley County, Santee Cooper and Commerce met secretly in Columbia. By the end of the meeting, plans were in motion to prep a new site across Interstate 26 in Berkeley County. The 6,800-acre, undeveloped Camp Hall Tract would be the state’s new pitch to Volvo. Santee Cooper had been working with the state on the Dorchester County site, so it was familiar with the project when the deal transitioned across county lines, said Sam Bennett, Santee Cooper’s economic development manager. During one visit to the Lowcountry in February, Volvo officials took helicopter rides from Charleston International Airport to get a bird’s-eye view of the region and survey the new site. “We were trying to build up the same level of trust that Dorchester County had done such a good job of doing,” Bennett said. “It was very tense for us and maybe for them. The sites had just been swapped. ... We did not know how they felt because we don’t speak Swedish, and they had full conversations in front of us.” South Carolina remained in the running, See VOLVO, Page 32


Ridgeville Mayor James Williams already has developers knocking on his door to build commercial spaces. (Photos/Kathy Allen)

Residents talk about the growth that Volvo will likely bring to the area during lunch at Dukes Bar-B-Q, one of the few restaurants in town.

Betty Coburn, a 25-year employee of Vaughan’s general store, hopes the Volvo plant will help Ridgeville residents find work closer to home.

RIDGEVILLE on the edge of change


Ridgeville today.” Mayor James Williams remembers the Ridgeville of his childhood as a small town with two of everything — schools, bathrooms and drinking fountains — one for blacks and one for whites. Decades later, the town has changed but remains small. The U.S. Census Bureau lists its population at 1,600, but Williams said if you subtract inmates at Lieber Correctional Institute, the town has about 700 people. The mayor’s office is in the town’s municipal building, which resembles a school and sits a block away from the only stoplight in town. He is the lone person working there on a Friday. A map of Ridgeville is pinned to a corkboard on the wall. Williams’ desk is covered in stacks of papers. He holds up plans for a new Family Dollar and talks about the changes coming. Developers want to talk about buying 80-acre tracts of land for new neighborhoods. Plans are in the works to

Kathy Allen, Photography build a grocery store-anchored shopping center nearby. Williams said he wants to annex developed properties into the town to provide a much-needed boost to its tax base. More money will allow the town to provide more services, such as water and sewer. He said more people will be able to get jobs near their homes when Volvo opens. “This is a win-win situation for our town. The younger generation coming out of high school, especially those that cannot afford college, can study the right subjects in school and get the training to land them a job at Volvo or at the suppliers that will follow,” Williams said. Betty Coburn, a lifelong resident who has worked at Vaughan’s General Merchandise and Furniture Store for 25 years, hopes the Volvo plant will help people in Ridgeville find jobs closer to home.


he line at Dukes Bar-B-Q in Ridgeville goes nearly out the door at noon on a Friday. Gayle Dunning quickly fills patrons’ plates with heaping portions of barbecue and vegetables in the buffet line. Her husband, Robert, cooks in the back. Friends squeeze into seats at long tables. Everyone seems to know everyone. Dunning opened Dukes 37 years ago. It is one of the few buildings that make up the center of town. A general store, a few restaurants, a gas station and some shops form a semicircle around the rail line. Ridgeville sits about seven miles from the future site of Volvo, which lies on the other side of Interstate 26 off exit 187, just across the Berkeley County line. Dunning said she is excited about the opportunities the new Volvo plant will likely bring to the rural Dorchester County town. “Some people might not like change, but change is coming,” Dunning said. “I don’t think we will know and recognize Ridgeville in the future the way we know

By Liz Segrist, Staff Writer




VOLVO, from page 30


along with the known competitors of Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia. Volvo took interest in the Berkeley County site. South Carolina had its confidence back. Haley thought they were in the homestretch. Then S.C. officials heard that Georgia recruiters were headed to Volvo’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. Hitt asked Haley to join him on a last-minute recruitment trip to Sweden in early March to show that they were serious. At a table in a boardroom, Volvo attorneys sat on one side and S.C. officials sat on the other. Conversations were flowing. Then they hit a wall. Negotiations stalled. Haley said she could feel Volvo’s apprehension about the project details, numerous regulations and environmental concerns. Choosing the wrong site could jeopardize the company’s plans to increase U.S. sales. For South Carolina, half a billion dollars in investment and at least 4,000 jobs were on the line. Haley said she remembers telling company officials the state would deliver for them: “In order for us to do this, we have to trust each other and I’ve got your back. And if you will let us do what we do best, which is build things, we will make sure that Volvo is a showcase item around the country.” After the Sweden trip, plans were taking shape for the new site. Berkeley County filed a permit in mid-April with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, on behalf of the company under the code name “Project Soter.” The Charleston Regional Development Alliance compiled marketing materials to present to Volvo that would differentiate the Lowcountry from other sites, CEO David Ginn said. Officials from Commerce, Santee Cooper and Berkeley County joined Hitt and Haley on a trip to New York City to make a final pitch to the Volvo North America executive and legal team. “This was the one project to date that we truly did not know where we stood,” Haley said. “I mean, there was no gut feeling. No anything. ... They were amazing at keeping their emotions to the chest.” The team left New York unsure of whether they had won the deal for South Carolina.

Volvo plans to produce 100,000 cars a year from its plant in Berkeley County. (Photo/Volvo)

Decision time Volvo had made a decision, and it looked like it was South Carolina. Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, canceled a phone call with Haley on May 8 and said company officials were instead coming to South Carolina in person. Then while Haley was giving the commencement speech at the University of South Carolina, Volvo canceled the trip and rescheduled the call. She worried her state had lost the deal to Georgia. Staff members from the governor’s office and the Commerce Department gathered in the library of the Governor’s Mansion at 6 p.m. that evening for the call. Haley wanted to be in her favorite room in the house. A portrait of Gov. Carroll Campbell, who landed the BMW deal 23 years ago, hangs in the room. Haley put the phone on speakerphone and set it on the table. The group waited impatiently while Kerssemakers talked about the negotiations. “Then he said ‘We want to come to South Carolina,’ and there was just a roar in the room. Everybody was so excited and so happy,” Haley said.

CEO’s perspective The news was not yet public. Two days later, on Mother’s Day, the Santee Cooper board of directors called a special meeting to vote on an agreement that would provide $54 million in incentives to Volvo. The state-owned utility would buy the 6,800-acre Camp Hall Tract and develop it for Volvo and future industry.

That Monday, May 11, the company confirmed its decision in a news release at 6 a.m. Eastern time. By 10:30 a.m., Haley, Hitt and nearly 30 economic developers and business leaders involved in the deal gathered in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia to make the official announcement and to field questions from reporters. “In less than 100 days, we were able to accomplish what normally takes a year or more to accomplish,” Berkeley County’s Peagler said, referring to the last-minute switch to his county’s site. South Carolina is now home to three automobile manufacturers: BMW in Greer, Mercedes-Benz Vans in North Charleston and, soon, Volvo Cars in Berkeley County. South Carolina is one of the only states winning automotive manufacturing plants. Ten new vehicle assembly plants have been announced in North America since 2009; of those, eight have been in Mexico and two have been in the Charleston region, according to the CRDA. “In order to be a successful state, you have to always think about it from the CEO’s perspective,” Haley said. “You have to always look at it and say, ‘What does the business want?’” Haley said it matters how state agencies are run — companies want to move quickly through permitting processes. It also matters whether agencies are willing to collaborate with state and company officials, as well as with one another, in the way environmental groups and economic developers did on the Volvo deal. Manufacturers want large sites to be near infrastructure, she said. They want to know they can find qualified workers, and they want to talk with companies that have set up shop in the state. Officials said the Volvo plant will improve the quality of life for residents and reshape the region by bringing growth and job opportunities, especially for people living in poor or rural counties near the site. Looking forward, Haley said K-12 education and workforce training matter now more than ever. “That’s the big key component for me right now is making sure that South Carolinians get these jobs, because that’s what we worked so hard to do,” she said.

Cities Mean


Finding the right place

Cities help businesses feel at home




You see a police car‌

We see a police officer who works closely with fire departments and EMS, who knows every business owner downtown, who can name every city street and who buys 12 snow cones on Saturdays even though his T-ball team has never won a game. www.CitiesMeanBusiness.org

CONTENTS 6 This is where we need to be

By Reba Hull Campbell

Cover Photo: Downtown Bluffton is a destination for locals, businesses and visitors. Photo/Town of Bluffton

BUSINESS A publication of Municipal Association of South Carolina

8 Apart from the crowd

By Megan Sexton

11 Toolkit helps Upstate cities become more entrepreneur friendly

By Mary Brantner

1411 Gervais St., P.O. Box 12109 Columbia, SC 29211 803.799.9574 mail@masc.sc www.masc.sc Miriam Hair Executive Director, Municipal Association of SC

13 Young professionals are making their mark on city policy

Reba Campbell Deputy Executive Director, Municipal Association of SC Contributing writers Amy Geier Edgar, Mary Brantner, Reba Campbell, Megan Sexton Published by



Cities Mean

By Amy Geier Edgar


Letter from the Editor


85 years of helping cities

By Reba Hull Campbell

By Miriam Hair

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

www.citiesmeanbusiness.org | Cities Mean BUSINESS 3

Letter from the


This issue of Cities Mean Business magazine focuses on what cities of all sizes are doing to attract businesses … particularly to their downtown corridors. We look at several shining examples of how cities are involving young professionals, “home-grown” entrepreneurs and innovative local business owners to leverage their strengths. Entrepreneurs in Hartsville, Bluffton and Travelers Rest discuss what drew them to locate in their particular city. From a kayak manufacturer looking to locate somewhere along the Atlantic seaboard to a high tech entrepreneur looking for a welltrained workforce, these business owners knew what they needed and found the right niche in these cities. Young professionals in Columbia, Greenville and Charleston are getting involved with local policy development and paying particular attention to what this generation of workers wants — especially when it comes to living and working downtown. Finding the right formula to ignite the excitement of local residents and business owners while also attracting visitors to a downtown area requires city leadership to understand its community’s strengths and exploit its niche. Hartsville, Anderson and Lake City have all found ways to meet both of these goals while, at the same time, encourage the growth of existing businesses. The City of Pickens has taken advantage of a pilot program through the Appalachian Council of Governments to develop an “entrepreneur friendly toolkit” ” to give cities a template for making them more entrepreneur friendly. In the year since the city released its business resource guide and held its first resource fair, 18 new businesses have been recruited with six more in the pipeline. Good things are happening in cities of all sizes all over South Carolina!

Reba Hull Campbell rcampbell@masc.sc


4 Cities Mean BUSINESS | www.citiesmeanbusiness.org

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina


The Municipal Association celebrates 85 years of serving cities and towns By Miriam Hair

The Municipal Association of South Carolina is

connections to successful programs and ideas in

celebrating a milestone of 85 years serving the state’s

other cities.

cities and towns. South Carolina’s evolution from a largely rural and agricultural state to one with strong,

alone and closely guard their work from competitors,

vibrant cities and towns goes hand in hand with the

municipal government leaders view collaboration

evolution of the Municipal Association’s work for al-

with colleagues as a gift to help strengthen all cities

most nine decades.

and towns.

From the late 1920s through today, the Association Miriam Hair

Executive Director, Municipal Association of SC

While private sector leaders often may have to go it

For example, this spring, the Association of South

has played a key role to connect local elected leaders

Carolina Mayors, an affiliate organization of the

as they work toward meeting their own cities’ chal-

Municipal Association, hosted a mobile tour of Lake

lenges. Even back in the 1920s, South Carolina mayors

City. In this issue, you can read about some of the in-

were meeting to pool resources, advocate for issues

novative strategies these mayors experienced as they

and share ideas.

learned about the transformation of this rural Pee Dee

Today, local officials remain committed to that same spirit of collaboration. And while many of the

community into an arts center for the region. Also, you can read in this issue about how the Mu-

specific issues and challenges may have changed over

nicipal Association’s Main Street South Carolina pro-

the years, the Municipal Association’s role in sup-

gram is providing the City of Pickens and the City of

porting cities and their elected leaders has remained

Hartsville with resources to revitalize their downtowns.

constant by providing them with knowledge, skills

This program is one of the dozens of training and infor-

and tools they need to effectively govern and build

mation sharing opportunities the Association offers to

strong cities.

elected officials and city staff throughout the year.

The success stories you can read about in this issue

The history of this organization is a history of col-

of Cities Mean Business represent dozens of similar

laboration to help make all cities and towns engines of

successes taking place in our cities and towns every

economic growth that power our state’s economy. The

day. And an important role the Association plays in

articles in this issue of Cities Mean Business magazine

facilitating these successes is helping city leaders make

share that story.

Pickens has spruced up its downtown. (Photo/Pickens Revitalization Association)

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

www.citiesmeanbusiness.org | Cities Mean BUSINESS 5



he reasons entrepreneurs choose to

McCall stresses that in a small town,

locate their businesses in a particular

when there’s any hint of economic develop-

place are as diverse as the busi-

ment, you listen.

nesses themselves. Human capital, access

O’Mara noted that out of all the places

to transportation, quality of life or just the

he had looked to locate his business, no one

human touch from local officials could all be

had made the kind of personal contact he got

determinants on where someone decides to

from the mayor.

locate his business.

“When I got to Travelers Rest, the mayor

To attract these entrepreneurs, local lead-

spent a lot of time just taking me around

ers need to be tuned in to their city’s niche

town. We had the opportunity to get to

and need then to be able to match them to an

know each other,” O’Mara said. “That’s what

entrepreneur’s goal for his company.

grabbed me. The people of the city—busi-

In Travelers Rest, Andy O’Mara is the

nesses, residents and government—gave

owner of Merrimack Canoe Co., which builds custom canoes. He was looking for a place on the East Coast to expand his Tennessee-based business.

me the feeling this is where we need to be. Top-notch canoes made in Travelers Rest by Merrimack Canoe Co. (Photo/Austin Grebenc)

That’s why we located here and why we’ve opened up a pizza place too.” In Bluffton, entrepreneur Jared Jester said

Mayor Wayne McCall recalls hearing

to locate his business. “I heard he had been

it was the town’s pro-business attitude that

about someone who built first-class canoes

through the area and liked it,” McCall said.

made him realize he had found the place to

and was considering Travelers Rest as a place “So I just Googled him and called him.”

Bluffton’s “The Store” offers artsy, fun décor items.

6 Cities Mean BUSINESS | www.citiesmeanbusiness.org

locate his high tech company, Jester

Downtown Bluffton offers a variety of shops and galleries. (Photo/Town of Bluffton) A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

Communications, which builds complex websites. “I was drawn to Bluffton because the town seemed primed to support high tech and growth jobs.” This high-tech focus, coupled with an attractive downtown and coastal location, is what Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka says is the town’s niche. Jester says the biggest challenge for a high tech company like his is finding skilled local workers. He praises the work of Bluffton town officials who introduced him to a variety of educational institutions that could help him identify and vet workers. In turn, Jester was able to coach the institutions on the skill set his company needed. Plus it’s the quality of life in this small coastal community that helps draw the type of workers his company is looking for. “We will be looking to grow to 40 people next year,” Jester said. “Once we bring them to Bluffton, it’s not hard to pull them in to want to live and work here.” Sulka agrees that quality of life is clearly important as the town seeks to build its niche with a fun and walkable downtown. “We put a lot of money into our Old Town master plan before the recession hit,” she says. “Today, the town has witnessed $56 million of private investment from the original $6 million in government investment.”

At home in Travelers Rest, canoe maker Andy O’Mara is now opening a pizza restaurant too. (Photo/Austin Grebenc)

In Hartsville, a local entrepreneur who owns a robotic company saw his hometown’s

tive ordinance to support growth in the

downtown as a good place to build a new busi-

downtown area.

ness. Bob Brown, owner of Integrated Systems

One of the incentives the city offers

Inc., joined with a group of investors who

includes providing some reimbursements

wanted to see a boutique hotel downtown.

of certain fees and taxes for a limited time,

Managing lots of growth over the past

which increase Hartsville’s attractiveness to

four years, the council has been trying to

private developers. The program is available

come up with ways to attract people down-

to developers who want to invest in new

town, noted Natalie Zeigler, Hartsville’s city

commercial construction as well as renovate

manager, who pointed out there are only

existing buildings in Hartsville’s historic

two empty storefronts in the downtown area


that have yet to be revitalized. The dream of the boutique hotel became

“We have really focused on being business friendly in our downtown,” says Zeigler. “A

a reality because the city had passed an incen- boutique hotel fits nicely with our vision.” A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

www.citiesmeanbusiness.org | Cities Mean BUSINESS 7



f-the-way tucked into out-o os an pi d te na do rson has Downtown Ande alcoves.

8 Cities Mean BUSINESS | www.citiesmeanbusiness.org



to draw locals and visitors to their


quote that Beth Batson, Anderson’s market-

local pride, which it has done, and promote

downtown. Looking closely at what

ing and communications manager, likes to

Anderson to visitors and others, which it

makes each city special and listening to what

repeat: “A city’s vibrancy lies in its ability to

also has done.”

unique aspects outsiders notice when they

promote what makes it unique.”

ity leaders are always looking for ways

visit is key, local leaders say.

These projects are strong examples of this

“The goal,” Batson said, “was to instill

Anderson is not alone. Throughout South

“If you think you don’t have anything

That’s what the City of Anderson did.

unique, ask somebody from outside to help

Through support of elected officials and

you talk about it,” Batson said. “We took for

Carolina, towns and cities are focusing on what makes their corner of the state special. In Hartsville, rejoining the Main Street

the city’s arts community, Anderson has

granted how much art we have in down-

South Carolina program resulted in a re-

embraced public art — from 6-foot-long

town. We hosted a woman from Southern

newed focus downtown.

fiberglass fish to donated pianos placed in

Living a few years ago whose jaw dropped

downtown alcoves to a century-old genera-

when she saw how much art we have. That

people and city officials dancing to Taylor

tor on display, a nod to the city’s history as

made us feel good. Listen to what others say

Swift’s “Shake it Off” was a huge hit with

South Carolina’s first electric city.

about you.”

businesses and residents — and has gotten

There are bronze Carolina wrens all over

Batson is also the author of a children’s

A music video of merchants, business

plenty of attention on YouTube and through

downtown and a children’s book explain-

book about the Carolina wren used to pro-

ing how the state bird belongs to Anderson.

mote Anderson around the state and beyond.

There is even a park that pulls it all together.

The city had an art installation of 20 bronze

people in Hartsville got excited about the

wrens around downtown, but local officials

Main Street program and city leaders were

“One of the drivers for us is the fact that

we are not a typical tourist location. We have didn’t feel like it was properly marketed to

other social media outlets, too. City Manager Natalie Zeigler said that

looking for a fun way to get them involved.

to think and do things a little differently to

get the word out. Leaders decided on an

engage residents and make us interesting to

illustrated book telling the story of the state

has,” Zeigler said. “Some of the businesses in

visitors,” said Linda McConnell, Anderson’s

bird visiting parts of the state as it tries to

the video have been around a long time, but

assistant city manager. “This is the fun part

make its way home to Anderson. The book

people maybe had not thought about them.

of the job — figuring out what things would

is available in the Upstate and in locations

They said, ‘I bought shoes there as a kid and

make us attractive to others.”

around South Carolina.

now I want to go down there to take my kids.’”

Jones-Carter Gallery hosts major art exhibits in Lake City.

“It shows the new energy our downtown

A quilt exhibit at Artfields. (Photos/Jones-Carter Gallery)

www.citiesmeanbusiness.org | Cities Mean BUSINESS 9


Moving the farmers market to its primary street has brought new energy to Hartsville. (Photo/City of Hartsville)

Once downtown, visitors will see two

Artfields, an annual 10-day art event, spurred

The gallery is approved by the Smithson-

new hotels under construction — a 90-room

by Lake City native and businesswoman Dar- ian to host high security museum exhibitions

Hampton Inn and Suites and a boutique

la Moore. Over the past two years, $5 million by meeting stringent standards such as high

hotel, the Mantissa Executive Suites and Spa

has circulated in the community, Anderson

security, advanced HVAC and humidity

that will feature 17 rooms and fine dining.

said, with more than 10,000 visitors coming

controls, a backup generator system and fire

During the construction process, the city

into Lake City for the event.

suppression systems.

built a “construction wall” offering the op-

The artwork is displayed in local busi-

“Only a small number of galleries or

portunity for residents to show community

nesses ranging from barber shops to shoe

museums in the state meet these stringent

pride. Coker College students painted the

stores to galleries. “It really is a diverse clien-

Smithsonian requirements for hosting its

wall with a primer, and people from all parts

tele and climate for the art,” Anderson said.

exhibits,” said Hannah Davis, the gallery’s

of the community added comments. “And every time it rained, the wall was

In, addition downtown Lake City boasts the historic Bean Market, a 10,000 square foot

manager. She noted the gallery has developed a

washed clean, and we created new messages,”

warehouse that once was the world’s largest

reputation of bringing museum-quality trav-

Zeigler said.

truck auction facility for green beans. Today

eling art exhibitions from all over the world

it serves as a popular seasonal farmers market

to Lake City.

Hartsville leaders also point to another example of new energy downtown with a

and a meeting space for local and regional arts,

revamped farmers market that opened in the

social and charitable organizations.

spring. This project of Main Street Hartsville

“The Smithsonian really took a chance on the little town of Lake City,” Davis said. “It is

The Bean Market sits next to the Jones-

very unusual to have a space of this type in

moved to a new location on the city’s pri-

Carter Gallery owned and operated by the

a town of 6,500 people, but that’s what Lake

mary downtown street from the side street

Community Museum Society in Lake City.

City does. It surprises people with its

where it had been before.

This facility is in a 1920s-era building, once a

boldness and can-do attitude.”

“This has been a huge hit to bring people

feed and seed store and machine shop.

downtown every second Saturday of the month,” Zeigler said. In Lake City, a chalk board in a visible downtown location gave residents a unique way to communicate with city leaders about how the community could improve. Once the ideas were collected and the opportunities narrowed down, town leaders began work on the possibilities. A five-acre water feature is now under construction, Mayor Lovith Anderson Jr. said. City leaders have also put an emphasis on promoting Lake City as a center for the arts in the Pee Dee. Lake City is home to

The Mantissa is a boutique hotel under construction in Hartsville. (Photo: City of Hartsville)

10 Cities Mean BUSINESS | www.citiesmeanbusiness.org

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

Toolkit helps Upstate cities become more entrepreneur friendly By Mary Brantner


wo Upstate cities have taken advan-

master plan, joining the Main Street South

tage of a pilot project to support their

Carolina program, adding a local economic

efforts in attracting entrepreneurs to

development position to staff, establishing

their area. The Appalachian Council of Gov-

design overlay districts, developing incentive

ernments created the “Entrepreneur Friendly

programs or undertaking a local incubator

Toolkit” to give cities a template for making


them more entrepreneur friendly.

According to Shellhorse, Pickens is a

The toolkit evolved from an idea gener-

model for other communities and has set the

ated by the Ten at the Top task force for

bar very high. “They are doing all the right

economic and entrepreneurial vitality. Ten

things by engaging potential and existing

at the Top fosters a spirit of cooperation

small businesses in every possible way they

and collaboration among public, private and

can and aggressively promoting downtown

nonprofit leaders from across the 10-county

through its Main Street program,” he said.

Upstate region.

The Pickens Revitalization Association,

David Shellhorse, ACOG’s economic de-

funded in part by the City of Pickens and a

velopment services manager and member of

member of the Municipal Association’s Main

the Ten at the Top subcommittee, brought

Street SC program, took the lead on the ini-

the idea of an online toolkit back to the

tiative and created an entrepreneur-friendly

COG. Embracing the idea, ACOG applied and received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to develop the toolkit

task force to work on the project. Pickens has attracted 18 new businesses. (Photo/Pickens Revitalization Association)

“We were thrilled to be a part of this pilot program, as it helped us develop tools and

and make it available to local governments in ACOG’s six-county region. “Entrepreneurship and business develop-

resources for our local businesses to grow time to pull together the required informa-

and thrive here in Pickens,” said Allison

tion. The key is appointing a task force that

Fowler, executive director of the Pickens

ment is a key area of interest for the Regional is ready to work and is committed to making Commission,” explained Shellhorse. The toolkit is similar to the Small Business Administration’s online “Build Your

it work,” Shellhorse said.

Revitalization Association. “By design, the process allowed us to

In addition to the action plans, the toolkit provides guidance on developing a custom,

organize a plan for supporting and attracting local entrepreneurs and small businesses,”

Business Plan” tool. Communities can use the local business assistance guide, a local six-to-

Fowler said. “Since completing the program,

toolkit to develop their own “Entrepreneur

nine month recommended business startup

all of the information we accumulated during

Friendly Action Plan” for becoming more

timeline and a local/regional capital matrix

the process has been organized on the City of

business friendly.

explaining available funding sources. Com-

Pickens’ website for easy access.”

Using a series of questions and required

munities also receive guidance on hosting

Pickens released its small business re-

tasks, the toolkit guides users as they input

an annual small business resource fair and

source guide in May 2014. To date, officials

required information in seven areas, such

creating small business web content.

have used it to recruit 18 new businesses,

as market research and business planning,

“You have all these deliverables, but more

with a half dozen more in the pipeline. The

business capital, regulatory compliance, and

importantly you have a platform to take the

guide is a one-stop-shop for essential busi-

marketing to and promoting entrepreneurs.

community’s economic development effort

ness planning and compliance information,

“While the steps of the online toolkit are easy to understand, it takes hard work and

to the next level,” explained Shellhorse. “That could take the form of creating a downtown

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

See TOOLKIT, Page 14

www.citiesmeanbusiness.org | Cities Mean BUSINESS 11



any young professionals today are

law in that state for a year and a half before

proving that years of experience

moving back to Charleston in 2013.

are not required to be an effective

That background in law, policy and

leader and advocate in shaping the city where

legislation, art, music and business has led

they live and work. In fact, many understand

Smith to another new role — legal counsel

that involvement in their city is more than

and spokesman of the BACE (Business, Art,

just good for business, it’s their responsibility.

Culture, Entertainment) League of Charles-

Elliott Smith is a Charleston attorney

ton Inc.—and a deeper involvement with his

who has been practicing law since 2012. He’s

local government.

also an artist and musician, playing in bands,

Smith’s involvement began after Charles-

solo and in some local Gullah churches

ton city officials first proposed a permanent

since about 2004. With his sister, he runs a

rezoning that would require midnight

nautical artwork and apparel business called

closing times for downtown bars. Smith

FishSmith Co., which provides artwork for

attended a public discussion with about 20

several local businesses.

local artists, musicians, food and beverage

Smith, 33, attended law school in Florida. He worked as legal staff for the Florida Legislature for about a year, then practiced

Elliott Smith, Charleston (Photo/ Ashley Loveless Photography)

employees and managers, and business owners. They all were concerned about how the change would affect Charleston’s nighttime

Planning committee for the 2014 LeadSC Young Professionals Conference (Photo/Penny Delaney Cothran, SC Chamber of Commerce)

12 Cities Mean BUSINESS | www.citiesmeanbusiness.org

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

Above: Late Night Activity Public Listening Session held by the Late Night Activity Review Committee (Photo/Ashley Hefferman, Charleston Regional Business Journal) Right: Elizabeth Nkuo Johnson, Columbia

economy and the culture that attracted the

The issue is important to Smith because

young professional and creative class. Smith

he believes the future of any community lies

offered insight into how they could organize

in the talent of its young creative profession-

and get more involved with local politics,

als. BACE was organized, he said, to promote

and BACE was born.

the idea of keeping and attracting young

Since then, the group has become signifi-

creative professionals and better aligning

cantly involved in local policymaking. After

policy with culture by engaging these young

speaking at a public hearing regarding the

professionals in local politics.

Midnight Zoning Ordinance last summer,

Young professionals have a responsibility

Smith was invited to serve as a member of

to get involved in their local government be-

John Boyanoski is president of Complete

an advisory group to discuss issues concern-

cause politics are corollary to their contribu-

Public Relations in Greenville. After spend-

ing the ordinance. After the group met a few

tions to culture and the economy, Smith said.

ing many years working for newspapers and

“At a basic level, local policy and regula-

a governmental affairs company, Boyanoski

times, the ordinance was withdrawn, and city officials proposed a three-year down-

tion are meant to reflect and support our

decided to start his own company three

town bar moratorium instead.

community’s interests and value judgments.

years ago.

After numerous hearings, city council

Therefore, if young creative profession-

“The reasons were many, but a driving

ultimately passed a one-year moratorium,

als expend energy in creating culture and

factor was being involved in the Greenville

and by the same ordinance, established the

developing ideas but do not get involved in

Chamber of Commerce’s young profession-

Late Night Activity Review Committee.

local politics, then culture and policy can

als group, PULSE. There were a lot of YPs

The committee studied the local nighttime

become misaligned, and frustration sets in,”

doing some amazing things so I got inspired

economy and recently made policy and

he said. “That is when young professionals

to strike out on my own,” he said.

regulatory recommendations to city council.

become unmotivated and either stop creating

Smith serves on that committee.

or move somewhere else.”

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

See YOUNG PROFESSIONALS, Page 14 www.citiesmeanbusiness.org | Cities Mean BUSINESS 13

Indiana, Johnson worked for the Kellogg Co.


in Battle Creek, Mich. She moved to South Boyanoski, 37, is committed to service to

Carolina and worked for DHEC and then the

his community. He was the 2013 chair for

Girl Scouts, while completing her master’s

the Greenville Chamber’s PULSE Advisory

degree in journalism.

Council, which represents more than 1,000

Johnson, too, is committed to community

young professionals in the Upstate. He also

service. She is past president of the Columbia

was named the Chamber’s 2014 Young Pro-

Design League, an affiliate membership

fessional of the Year.

group of the Columbia Museum of Art;

On the state level, he sits on the executive

and secretary on the Palmetto Center for

committee for LeadSC, a year-old program

Women board, a YMCA membership

that is an initiative of the South Carolina


Chamber of Commerce. LeadSC unites

Johnson recently joined the board of

young professionals with top leadership

Healing Icons, a nonprofit organization

throughout South Carolina with the aim of

focused on using art and creative workshops

encouraging personal, professional and community development.

as a source of healing for adult cancer survi-

John Boyanoski, Greenville

vors. She also plans to serve on the LeadSC

“Service to the community makes a com-

committee for this year’s program.

munity better. A community or a city is more we want to lead? Do we simply keep up the

Young professionals have a civic duty to

than just buildings, roads and parks. They

status quo or do we learn from the mistakes

their community and their local government,

are about people. A good community or city

of the past and push new avenues? If young

Johnson said.

has good people helping to make it better,”

professionals aren’t involved, they are going

“We all have a duty to stay informed

he said.

to have a hard time making that choice in the

and engaged. To be good citizens and good


neighbors. To pay attention to local issues

Young professionals have a responsibility to make their voices heard in local government, Boyanoski said. “We are a large part of many growing

Elizabeth Nkuo Johnson is community relations manager for BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. She also is on the state

so we can make informed decisions when it comes to voting,” Johnson said. “That way the elected officials who are

cities. We are the next generation of leaders,”

committee for LeadSC. After completing her

in charge are guided by educated and clear

he said. “The question becomes, how do

undergraduate degree at a small college in

voices,” she said.

TOOLKIT, from page 11

and make connections with other profes-

of existing small business and are preparing

sionals to assist in their

a very dynamic small

such as planning/zoning/signage regulations

ventures. Pickens plans to

business guide,” said

and business license requirements.

make it an annual event.

Shellhorse. The local

As well, the Pickens Re-

chamber is heading up

vitalization Association

the Simpsonville initia-

Pickens’ involvement in the pilot program also included a resource fair. At-

tendees received copies of the guide plus they won a 2015 Main Street


visited area resources such as the Small Busi-

South Carolina Inspira-

ness Development Center, and local bankers,

tion Award for its small

Friendly Toolkit’ will be

insurance agents and lawyers. The resource

business resource guide.

available to local govern-

fair also offered presentations, such as how

The Appalachian

ments within the Appa-

to compete with big box stores, and provided

COG more recently

lachian COG’s territory,”

networking opportunities for the attendees.

began working with

concluded Shellhorse.

Pickens officials felt the event was very

“The ‘Entrepreneur

Simpsonville as the fi-

“We hope at a later date,

successful. It allowed business owners to gain nal pilot for the toolkit. insight from multiple sources at one time

we can offer it to entities

“They are doing a good job with the survey

14 Cities Mean BUSINESS | www.citiesmeanbusiness.org

outside our region.”

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina



Photo/Jeff Blake

nter for the lf into a ce se it ed rm o n is the as transf in this visio ed Lake City h d u cl In gion. ich brings Pee Dee re arts in the rtfields, wh A as n w o a ay event kn dren watch annual 10-d . Here, chil ty ci ll a sm ors to the 10,000 visit s. of Artfield rm as part fo er p ir o ch

You see a street‌

We see a lifeline that is a hometown with planned traffic flow, fire stations, thousands of visitors each year, city parks and community centers for children of all ages. Our streets take us to our jobs, our churches, our fun places and even to grandma’s house. www.CitiesMeanBusiness.org



est Places to Work in South Carolina is a multiyear initiative to encourage the state’s companies to focus, measure and move their workplaces toward excellence in the hope that they will attract and keep talented employees. Recognizing the Best Places to Work in South Carolina is an initiative between SC Biz News – publisher of the Charleston Regional Business Journal, the Columbia Regional Business Report, GSA Business and SCBIZ magazine – and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The companies who choose to participate are surveyed by Best Companies Group, an independent research company. The re-

search is a two-part process. In part one, the employer completes a questionnaire about employee policies and procedures, among other information. In part two, employees answer an employee survey. The collected information from both sets of questions is used to determine the strengths and opportunities of each participating company. The workplaces are then ranked based on this data. All participating companies receive an individual Assessment Findings Report that not only summarizes and sorts employee feedback, but includes South Carolina benchmarking data for comparison. Each participating company pays a fee that covers the cost of research, the survey

and report. The cost an individual company would have to pay if the analysis were done independently would be considerably more. Economies of scale apply when Best Places Group conducts a survey with a large number of companies from the same state. We are convinced that the real value of participating in the program is not whether a company wins an award but in the employee survey feedback it receives. The report will enable a company to develop and implement the strategic steps necessary to create a great workplace and continue to improve the performance of its business. On the following pages, we present the Best Places to Work in South Carolina for 2015.

Sponsored by

Photos from the event Photography by Jeff Blake


Tony Clyburn, emcee.




TOGETHER By Jenny Peterson, Associate Editor




hether a company has hundreds of employees or just a few dozen, bringing people together to connect beyond the workplace can increase morale and improve work culture. It can be a challenge to connect employees on a personal level, especially with large offices or companies where employees work remotely. All of this year’s Best Places to Work in S.C. winners regularly make the effort to connect employees on a personal level, which can result in higher employee retention and a friendlier workplace. This can mean attending sporting events, social outings or happy hours, and it can even result in something more personal. Employees at Energy One America, a spray-foam insulation company in Charleston, came together this year to help renovate a fellow employee’s home. Through workplace conversations, it was learned that an employee needed help renovating a house for his family, explains Reid McCall, marketing director. “Rather than see him lose the house or take on further financial burdens, we all jumped in to help. We put up a flier that said ‘team member assistance needed’ and anyone could sign up for a job.” Employees helped renovate the home, working together on Saturdays for two

VantagePoint Marketing’s annual Halloween costume contest included the Allstate Mayhem guy, the Lucky Charms leprechaun and a Detroit Red Wings hockey player.

months. It provided an experience they won’t forget. “It was phenomenal,” McCall said. “We all came together –employees, family members and friends. We turned something that could have been devastating into a win.”  

A new kind of team building Connecting employees has become a part of the work culture at many companies. “We are constantly implementing new programs to build camaraderie among employees,” writes Eliza Bostian, with SYNNEX, an IT design-to-distribution busi-

ness based in Greenville with more than 1,800 employees. “The success of our organization comes from strong peer-topeer relationships both inside and outside our walls.” At Total Quality Logistics in Daniel Island, team building for new hires starts on their first day. They begin an intensive training program that integrates classroom instruction and hands-on applications to help them succeed. Team building spans departments and seniority. Employees at O’Neal Inc. engineering firm in Greenville participate in


a company-wide Lowcountry boil, where senior management works alongside new hires. “They quickly bond over those things,” said Brian Gallaher, marketing director. Employee chili cook-offs are part of the culture at the Find Great People staffing firm in Greenville and Charleston-based Select Health of South Carolina. At Hire Dynamics staffing firm in Simpsonville, a companywide promotion includes a trip to the Bahamas for the entire office that exceeds gross profit goals. At Edward Jones, a financial services company with 37,880 employees spread across the country, it’s even more of a challenge to bring coworkers together. One unique way the company connects employees is by offering an all-expense paid Superbowl trip for two, but only for associates who are from the home states of the teams playing. It’s a way for employees to discover where others associates are from, and to bond over shared football fandom. “This is one of our most popular annual giveaways,” said Wendell Jones, a financial adviser in the Florence office. “It’s just one of the things we do as a firm that keeps us small, even though we are a big.”  

Stepping away from the office

Top: Quality Business Solutions owners Pam and David Evette took a client rafting and invited along some employees and their families as recognition for exceptional performance. Middle: SYNNEX Greenville executives participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for ALS research. Bottom: The Mariner Group sponsors Happy Hour for employees every Friday, for the last hour of the work day (4-5pm). Happy Hour allows the staff to spend time together out of the office.


Getting employees out of the office to spend time together creates bonding and camaraderie —whether it’s a meal, a game or just sharing a few beers. Among the 50 companies named Best Places to Work, 33 of them offer employees discounted or free tickets to minor league hockey or baseball games. Sporting events can have another benefit: recruiting new employees. McCall at Energy One America said skybox nights at the Charleston Battery Soccer games not only allow employees to get together, but employees are also encouraged to bring potential new hires. “It helps us recruit great talent in Charleston, because they see how much fun we have,” he said.  At O’Neal Inc., 50 employees recently spent a Friday afternoon taking a tour of a local Greenville brewery. “They got to know each other over a sample,” Gallaher said. Other winners of this year’s Best Places to Work that offer regular social happy hours include Columbia-based staffing



Left: The Human Technologies Inc. Spooktacular focuses on the land of “Toy Story.” Top: Total Quality Logistics logistics account executives get in a game of ping-pong.


Bottom: Employees at South Carolina Federal Credit Union kick off a juice cleanse.


firm Recruiting Solutions; The Mariner Group technology firm in Columbia; RhythmLink manufacturing company in Columbia; and Charleston-based Total Quality Logistics. At Human Technologies Inc. staffing firm in Greenville, management specifically encourages groups of coworkers to leave for social time at company expense, said Anna Messick, manager of marketing and public relations. Regular company social outings are also part of the culture at ObHospitalist Group, Palmetto Technologies, Scott and Co. and Cherry Bekaert. At M33 Greenville-based logistics management firm, employees recently challenged one another to go-kart racing after management rented out a facility. “It was very competitive and very fun; one of the races had all the ‘sweet’ people in the office race to see who would come out on top,” said Alicia Klutz, who does marketing for the firm. Spartanburg-based Clayton Construction Co. offers employee paintball and bowling games and an in-house putt-putt course. During the Masters tournament, the Greenville office of legal team Womble Carlyle holds a putt-off contest

for employees. Bowling leagues and tournaments for employees are offered at Turner Agency, an insurance firm in Greenville, and at Columbia technology firm VC3.  Dixon Hughes Goodman accounting firm holds marathons, bocce ball tournaments and bike races. At Quality Business Solutions Inc., a payroll, human resources and benefits organization in Travelers Rest, employees take a break while watching over some notso-typical company “mascots.” Offices were built above thoroughbred horse stables on a farm. Employees de-stress by visiting with the horses or the “very charismatic” donkey who roam the grounds.   

All in the family A big part of getting to know employees on a personal level is to meet and include their families in events. These events are often well-attended and allow employees’ family members to connect with one another. At Edward Jones, annual summer regional meetings are open to families and are planned like a vacation.   “There are business meetings during the day and lots of family events at night,” associate Jones said. “My daughter grew up with

Edward Jones. Since she was two-and-a-half years old, she grew up with these children every summer, like a family network.” Benefitfocus technology company in Charleston hosts “Benefitfocus nights” for families, including baseball and hockey games and on-site attractions like a petting zoo. Human Technologies Inc. in Greenville rents out an entire movie theater and holds a family Christmas movie night with Santa, who brings a gift for each child. For employees with furry families, companies like Benefitfocus have regular “bring your dog to work” days to get those four-legged family members involved. The company reports that over 100 associates brought their furry friends to a recent work event.  

Make it fun Creating a culture of connection doesn’t have to break the bank. Employees can connect with one another over common interests. At Blue Acorn, a technology firm in Charleston, a staff member who is a certified yoga instructor leads sessions for employees twice a week. SCRA employees can enjoy biking, walking trails and lunch-hour yoga classes.

Bottom: Charleston Water System painted the winning mural at the Komen Lowcountry Pink for the Cure Window competition .


Top: ACS Technologies Group All Employee Band plays at the company picnic.


For those who can’t get away from the office physically, many companies have fun ways for employees to connect through social media. Electric Guard Dog security company in Columbia encourages employees to participate on social media with pictures, videos, and contests. This includes posting a childhood picture of a manager on Facebook for a “Throwback Thursday” contest where staff members try to guess who is pictured. Volunteering also helps employees connect. Many companies encourage or sponsor charitable events or let employees take a day off to volunteer. At O’Neal, employees recently got together to help out with a fun “water day” for a local school.   “It’s a good chance to build camaraderie with fellow employees,” Gallaher said. “Especially those who don’t have the opportunity to work together every day.” SCRA offers its associates opportunities and time for volunteer work. “It’s putting a face to a name of an office staff person versus someone who is out all day in the field installing a product,” adds McCall, with Energy One America. “It’s fun and these things build morale through the roof.”




The companies are listed by ranking. Large companies have 250 or more employees; the numbers given below are for their employees in South Carolina.

1. Total Quality Logistics

City: Daniel Island Employees in SC: 59 Services: Transportation, Third-party logistics www.tql.com Total Quality Logistics is a fast-paced, energetic sales organization within the transportation industry. The company arranges truckload delivery and pickup for businessto-business freight movements across North America. TQL staff members are the middle men of the transportation industry — negotiating truckloads, rates and destinations between companies needing products hauled and truck carriers delivering goods. TQL arranged the movement of more than 1 million loads of freight last year. TQL combines a rock-solid work ethic with a raucous company culture to create the high-octane environment that fuels its success. Every chance it gets, in big and small ways, it celebrates the people and the culture created at TQL. It is nearly impossible to find a day at TQL when there isn’t a sales competition, contest, party, or team outing going on somewhere within the company. Founded in 1997, TQL is now one of the largest freight brokerage firms in the nation with 32 offices in 18 states employing more than 3,200 people.


2. Edward Jones


City: Florence Employees in SC: 546 Services: Financial Services www.edwardjones.com Edward Jones is the nation’s largest financial-services firm in terms of branch offices, with nearly 11,500 U.S. locations. Every aspect of its business, from investment types to branch locations, is designed to cater to nearly 7 million clients in communities where they live and work. Financial advisers

work 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 longterm, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment options available today. The typical Edward Jones branch has one financial adviser and one branch office administrator serving clients in neighborhoods where they live and work. Financial advisers are paid to study for licenses, then go on salary plus earn commissions and bonuses, and get subsidized benefits in their early years. They eventually transition to commission earnings supplemented by profitability bonuses and profit sharing, even the possibility of limited partnership. Edward Jones, a partnership owned by more than 20,000 associates, is headquartered in St. Louis and operates in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada.

3. Elliott Davis Decosimo

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 313 Services: Accounting www.elliottdavis.com Elliott Davis Decosimo ranks among the top 50 accounting firms in the U.S. With 17 offices across seven states, the company provides comprehensive assurance, tax and consulting solutions to diverse businesses, organizations and individuals. Elliott Davis Decosimo’s team is forward-thinking and


strategic, providing a 360-degree perspective and looking at the bigger picture, dynamic details, challenges and opportunities to bring clients the best solutions. The team goal is to add value. Company professionals are business-minded and solution-driven to bring industry knowledge and experience to each engagement. Team members deliver fully engaged, high-quality service to help ensure their clients are confident and well-equipped to make key financial decisions.

4. Shealy Electrical Wholesalers Inc.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 196 Services: Distribution www.shealyelectrical.com In 1945, John Shealy founded Shealy Electrical Wholesalers Inc. to provide the best possible service while distributing electrical supplies throughout South Carolina. Over the years since then, the company has developed into finding solutions for its customers in the following markets: construction, industrial, utility, lighting, energy, national accounts, international and more. Today Shealy Electrical Wholesalers has locations in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.


5. Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 196 Services: Accounting www.dhgllp.com DHG ranks as one of the top 20 accounting firms in the nation. Its staff members combine deep industry experience, comprehensive accounting and advisory services and a strong commitment to personal service. DHG draws on immense resources to combine the staples of audit, tax and accounting with innovative consulting and management advisory services. DHG’s real value, however, lies in the ability to offer those resources, customized in a way that works best for its clients.


7. Life Cycle Engineering

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 170 Services: Consulting www.LCE.com Life Cycle Engineering provides consulting, engineering, applied technology and education solutions that deliver lasting results for private industry, the Department of Defense and other government organizations. The quality, expertise and dedication of its employees enable Life Cycle Engineering to serve as a trusted resource that helps people and organizations achieve their full potential. Founded in 1976, LCE is headquartered in Charleston, with offices across North America and experience around the globe.

benefit them as consumers. Palmetto Citizens strives to be more than its members’ primary financial institution, by focusing on the best ways to help them achieve their potential through better financial practices and the wise usage of financial services. As an organization Palmetto Citizens wants to help its staff members grow and develop as they work to aid the members.

ties also offer services such as assisted living, Alzheimer’s/memory support care and skilled nursing care so that residents may remain in the community, close to their spouse, friends and neighbors, even as their care needs change. Vi residents benefit from the nationally recognized training and development programs delivered to Vi employees that result in extraordinary service.

9. TidePointe, a Vi Community

10. South Carolina Federal Credit Union

City: Hilton Head Island Employees in SC: 154 Services: Senior Living www.viliving.com TidePointe, a Vi Community, is a continuing care retirement community in Hilton Head. Blurring the line between resort living and a retirement community, Vi residents live in comfortable, stylish and maintenance free homes, have weekly housekeeping services, and enjoy fine dining prepared by chefs trained by the Culinary Institute of America. Served by Vi’s talented and engaged employees, Vi residents have a wealth of opportunities to stay active and engaged in the community. Vi communi-

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 397 Services: Banking www.scfederal.org South Carolina Federal Credit Union is headquartered in North Charleston. More than 140,000 members own and belong to the not-for-profit financial cooperative, which has over $1.3 billion in assets. South Carolina Federal is a community-chartered credit union. Anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Calhoun, Orangeburg or Georgetown counties, and most of the Columbia area, is eligible to join.


City: Charleston Employees in SC: 249 Services: Technology www.sparcedge.com SPARC offers a broad range of technology services that deliver engaging solutions to its customers, ranging from government contracting organizations to private sector software solution providers. Let SPARC bring your technology idea to market.

8. Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 257 Services: Banking www.palmettocitizensfcu.org Palmetto Citizens’ goal is to be the best place for its member-owners, and a great place to work! Palmetto Citizens provides essential financial products and services to its members — such as checking accounts, mortgage loans, car loans, IRAs, Visa, savings and investment type services. These core products are essential, but the credit union especially works to improve the financial well-being of its members. Palmetto Citizens’ member-owned, not-for profit status as “people-helping-people” gives it the ability to provide valuable products and services that are in the best interest of the members — both saving them money compared to other financial institutions and by offering financial options that are intended to truly



South Carolina Federal has 17 branches, and ATMs throughout Charleston, Columbia and Georgetown. The credit union offers financial services that best fit its members’ needs. These products include, but are not limited to, interest bearing accounts, share draft accounts, share certificates, loan products, credit cards, investment products and counseling and insurance products.

11. ACS Technologies Group Inc.

City: Florence, SC Employees in SC: 305 Services: Technology www.acstechnologies.com ACS Technologies develops technology solutions specifically for faith-based organizations. Each of the company’s products and services is designed to work together to increase client organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness, allowing them to take their ministry to the next level. ACS Technologies’ software enables churches to manage groups, events, finances, donor relationships, volunteers, staff, child care, schedules, mailings, reporting, websites, growth strate-

gies and so much more. Whether online, offline, or wireless, the tools clients need to help connect their community are totally integrated under one roof.

12. Select Health of South Carolina

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 451 Services: Health Care - Insurance/Services www.selecthealthofsc.com Select Health of South Carolina manages the delivery of health care to more than 350,000 members across the state through the First Choice health plan. Members keep their regular Medicaid and receive many expanded benefits and services like health education and nurse support. They also have access to an extensive provider network of physicians, specialists, pharmacies and hospitals. Select Health of South Carolina is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015, which demonstrates its strength, stability and expertise in providing access to high quality health care for South Carolinians. Incorporated in 1995, Select Health was licensed as

a health maintenance organization by the S.C. Department of Insurance in 1996. Later that year, the company contracted with the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services to offer First Choice, which is now the state’s oldest and largest health plan for Healthy Connections, South Carolina’s Medicaid program. Select Health is a wholly owned member of the AmeriHealth Caritas family of companies.

13. Ob Hospitalist Group

City: Mauldin Employees in SC: 180 Services: Health Care – Provider www.obhg.com Ob Hospitalist Group’s mission is to elevate the quality and availability of obstetric care to expectant mothers by providing in-house Board Certified OB/GYN physician support to its hospital partners 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The group’s service-oriented physicians are superbly skilled at providing emergent care in times of crisis or routine care in the absence of a patient’s private physician. OBHG hospitalists welcome the opportunity to treat unassigned and/ or uninsured patients, thereby ensuring all patients are granted the very best medical care regardless of time, location, complication or circumstance. OBHG physicians are leaders in developing the hospital model’s reputation for excellence in providing quality care, reducing risk and increasing physician availability. Their work makes a difference in the lives of patients, their newborns and families. The team has had over 762,000 patient interactions, successfully managed nearly 29,900 high-risk encounters and delivered more than 66,500 babies.


14. Hubbell Lighting Inc.


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 479 Services: Manufacturing www.hubbelllighting.com Hubbell Lighting, headquartered in Greenville, supplies a comprehensive range of indoor and outdoor lighting products to industrial, commercial and institutional applications and is the largest manufacturer of residential lighting fixtures in North America.


15. Cherry Bekaert LLP

City: Greenville and Aiken Employees in SC: 61 Services: Accounting www.cbh.com Cherry Bekaert has designed its practice with one thing in mind: cultivating client growth. The nationally recognized, growthoriented firm has the resources to take its clients’ businesses as far as they want to go.  The firm’s industry specialists already know the marketplace and can help make the most of emerging opportunities while minimizing compliance headaches.  With down-to-earth style and a wealth of practical advice, the firm is an indispensable part of each client’s team.  Ranked among the top 25 accounting firms in the country, Cherry Bekaert specializes in finding solutions that impact its clients’ ability to grow.  For over 65 years, global corporations, publicly traded and private businesses, governmental and nonprofit entities, emerging firms and successful individuals have relied on Cherry Bekaert as their growth partner.

16. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 132 Services: Legal www.wcsr.com Womble Carlyle is a 550-attorney law firm that corporate clients rely on to provide core legal services, such as complex business litigation, mass torts, intellectual property, corporate and securities, finance and real estate. Its focus is the Southeast, MidAtlantic and Silicon Valley markets, and from this footprint, its serves clients in matters across the country and across the world. Clients trust the firm because it understands their businesses, focuses on their successes, demonstrates a commitment to help, and delivers value. Thanks to Womble Carlyle’s partnership with Lex Mundi, the world’s largest association of independent law firms, it can offer clients access to quality-tested local counsel in more than 120 countries. Lex Mundi provides seamless access to local attorneys and market knowledge throughout the globe. Womble Carlyle’s offices are located in Charleston, Columbia and

Greenville; Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park and Winston-Salem, N.C.; Atlanta; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Tysons Corner, Va.; Baltimore; and Wilmington, Del.

17. Terminix Service Inc.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 688 Services: Pest Control www.trustterminix.com For more than six decades, Terminix Service Inc. has been protecting the health, property and environment of the residents of South Carolina, Western North Carolina and the SCRA Georgia. Terminix Service is able to provide quality pest control you can trust. Through professional training, state of the art equipment and the most advanced treating technology, Terminix Service can also provide precision pest control with its residential ProSTAR Pest Control Service. Provided on a quarterly basis, this concentrates on getting control of pests before they enter your home. Whether it’s for your home or business, Terminix Service is dedicated to providing the safest, most convenient protection available. In addition to quality termite and pest control, Terminix specializes in fumigation, repairs, new building pre-treats, fire ant control, mosquito management and crawl space dehumidification and moisture sealing.


18. Blackbaud Inc.


City: Charleston Employees in SC: 1,255 Services: Technology www.blackbaud.com Serving the nonprofit, charitable giving and education communities for more than 30 years, Blackbaud combines technology solutions and expertise to help organizations achieve their missions. Blackbaud works in more than 60 countries to support more than 30,000 customers, including nonprofits, K-12 private and higher education institutions, health care organizations, foundations and other charitable giving entities, and corporations. The company offers a full spectrum of cloud and on-premise solutions, and related services for organizations

19. ScanSource Inc.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 627 Services: Distribution www.scansource.com ScanSource Inc. operates as a wholesale distributor of specialty technology products, providing distribution sales and services to resellers in the specialty technology markets, including automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) and point-of-sale (POS) solutions through its ScanSource POS and Barcoding sales unit; voice, video and converged communications equipment through its ScanSource Catalyst and ScanSource Communications sales units; and physical security solutions through its ScanSource Security sales unit. The company has two geographic distribution segments: one serving North America from the Southaven, Miss., distribution center, and an international segment serving Latin America (including Mexico and Brazil) through its distribution centers located in Miami, Fla.; Mexico City, Mexico; Curitiba, Brazil; Recife, Brazil; and Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Europe from distribution centers located in Liege, Belgium, and Cologne, Germany. ScanSource was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Greenville.

21. Charleston Water System

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 430 Services: Water and Wastewater Utility www.charlestonwater.com Charleston Water System is a public water and wastewater utility providing clean water services to the Greater Charleston Community. The system is an independent utility governed by an elected board of commissioners. Its 430 associates protect public health and the environment by providing high quality, reliable water and sewer ser-

vices. The Hanahan Water Treatment Plant produces high quality drinking water that’s delivered to its customers through 1,800 miles of water mains. The Hanahan Plant meets or exceeds all regulatory requirements and is a member of the Partnership for Safe Water. The Charleston Water System also provides sewer service—not stormwater— through 700 miles of collection mains, 187 pump stations, and eight miles of deep tunnels that carry wastewater to its treatment plant. The Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Plant treats an average of 19 million


of all sizes, including nonprofit fundraising and relationship management, eMarketing, advocacy, accounting, payment and analytics, as well as grant management, corporate social responsibility, education and other solutions. Using Blackbaud technology, these organizations raise, invest, manage and award more than $100 billion each year.

20. IHG


City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 662 Services – Hotel Reservations www.ihg.com IHG’s Contact Center in North Charleston handles all facets of establishing hotel reservations at any of the IHG hotels globally. The center’s staff answer incoming calls and provide information and sell to potential guests and clients wishing to stay or make a booking at any of IHG’s properties.



gallons a day and releases clean water into Charleston Harbor. CWS is committed to preventing pollution and improving the environment. CWS has implemented an environmental management system and is certified under ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management.

22. SYNNEX Corporation

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 642 Services: Distribution www.synnex.com/us.html SYNNEX Corporation is a distributor of IT

products and services, servicing resellers, retailers and original equipment manufacturers, such as HP, Lenovo, Intel, Seagate and Microsoft throughout the world. SYNNEX provides outsourcing services in IT distribution, contract assembly, logistics management and business process outsourcing. Its focused product categories include IT systems, peripherals, system components, software, networking equipment, consumer electronics and complementary products, and SYNNEX also offers data center server and storage solutions.

23. Sage Automotive Interiors Inc. City: Greenville Employees in SC: 886 Services: Manufacturing www.sageautomotiveinteriors.com Sage Automotive Interiors develops and manufactures innovative automotive body cloth and headliners preferred by automotive manufacturers around the world. The company has established a reputation for being on the cutting edge of design and engineering, with technical capabilities supported by world-class manufacturing.

24. Benefitfocus Inc.


City: Charleston Employees in SC: 1,134 Services: Technology www.benefitfocus.com Benefitfocus Inc. is a leading provider of cloud-based benefits software solutions for consumers, employers, insurance carriers and brokers. Benefitfocus has served more than 25 million consumers on its platform that consists of an integrated portfolio of products and services enabling clients to more efficiently shop, enroll, manage and exchange benefits information. With a user-friendly interface and consumer-centric design, the Benefitfocus Platform provides one place for consumers to access all their benefits. Benefitfocus solutions support the administration of all types of benefits including core medical, dental and other voluntary benefits plans as well as wellness programs.


Mark Wright, director of business development for SC Biz News, speaks at the event.

The companies are listed by ranking. Small to medium companies have fewer than 250 employees; the numbers given below are for their employees in South Carolina.

1. Hire Dynamics

City: Simpsonville Employees in SC: 16 Services: Staffing www.hiredynamics.com Hire Dynamics is an industry leading staffing provider for manufacturing facilities, supply chain, e-commerce, logistics, contact/call centers and corporate offices. At Hire Dynamics, the staff members make it a priority to understand clients’ industries, markets and businesses. Finding the right person for each position requires knowledge of the industry, client’s business goals and challenges, and hiring requirements. The company believes that staffing is more than filling a position – it can make a difference for the clients’ business strategies and change the lives of the talent placed. Hire Dynamics operates out of 10 branch offices and 16 on-sites throughout the country that deliver workforce solutions to its clients.



2. Southern Diversified Distributors


City: Charleston Employees in SC: 36 Services: Corporate Support www.sddholdings.com Southern Diversified Distributors is a privately held investment and service company comprised of four subsidiaries: William M. Bird, TranSouth Logistics, Southern Tile Distributors and Schooner Financial Services. On behalf of its subsidiaries, Southern Diversified Distributors supports and advises investment decisions, seeks solutions and provides support including financial



management, human resources and information technology. William M. Bird is a leading floor covering distributor and has been providing customers with outstanding products and services throughout the Southeast for 150 years. TranSouth Logistics specializes in trucking, deliveries and warehousing. Southern Tile Distributors provides customers with outstanding floor covering products and services throughout Virginia and select areas of Maryland and North Carolina. Schooner Financial Services helps businesses succeed by providing financial solutions to fit their capital needs.

3. VantagePoint Marketing

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 21 Services: Advertising/Public Relations/ Marketing www.vantagep.com VantagePoint Marketing is a B2B marketing and advertising agency that specializes in food service marketing, serving a select group of regional, national and global clients. VantagePoint is known for its insights and ideas that bring measurable impact to clients’ businesses. The agency has significant depth of experience in each of the following five disciplines: marketing, advertising, branding, digital and public relations. VantagePoint also has experience in the industries of transportation, packaging, technology, health care, advanced materials and building products.


4. Palmetto Technology Group


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 19 Services: Technology http://www.palmettotg.com/ Palmetto Technology Group is an outsourced IT support organization, providing technology solutions including Office 365,

Dynamics CRM, Private Cloud, and IT Infrastructure to businesses and enterprises. PTG’s team serves as an outsourced IT or supplemental support team for mid-sized businesses throughout the Southeast. PTG is a Microsoft Partner and a member of the Microsoft Cloud Champions Club, an exclusive group of Microsoft Partners committed to helping customers leverage the Microsoft Cloud in their businesses.

5. Scott and Co. LLC

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 22 Services: Accounting www.scottandco.com Founded in 1995, Scott and Co. is a progressive full service certified public accounting firm located in both Columbia and Greenville. The firm has highly experienced and well credentialed professionals who draw upon a range of industry knowledge and accounting, auditing, tax and consulting engagements to provide unparalleled service. Scott and Co. professionals are guided by core values including competence, honesty, and integrity, professionalism, dedication and accountability. Services include assurance and advisory services, corporate advisory services, tax and advisory services, small business services, banking and real estate services, not-for-profit services and services provided through the firm’s alliance with international firm BDO. The firm’s mission is to provide the same level of quality service of a national firm, but at much better value. Its focus is on its clients, its people, service to the community and firm growth. Scott and Co. provides excellent benefits for any CPA firm, large or small, and a lot of them are geared towards work/ life balance.

6. Turner Agency Insurance

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 18 Services: Personal, Business, Life and Health Insurance www.turneragencyinc.com Turner Agency Insurance has been meeting the insurance needs of the Upstate and beyond since 1962. While still locally owned, the services provided have grown tremendously as insurance needs have

become increasingly more complex. Choosing the right insurance agent for business and personal needs can be one of the most important decisions a person can make. As a local independent insurance agent, Turner Agency offers choices from someone you can trust. Since the day it opened, the staff members have been committed to long-term relationships. Its team offers complete insurance coverage for personal lines, business, and life and health insurance needs. Turner Agency’s mission is simple: to protect what matters to its clients. It offers personalized insurance protection from a choice in companies, along with proactive customer service, professional advice and recommendations, annual account reviews, claims counseling, and multi policy discounts and credits.

7. Blue Acorn

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 103 Services: Technology www.blueacorn.com Blue Acorn is a premium eCommerce agency dedicated to helping retailers and brands achieve revenue growth through data-driven design, development and optimization. Founded in 2008, Blue Acorn is a Demandware LINK Solution Partner, a Magento Gold Solution Partner, and maintains certified partnerships with Google Analytics, Monetate and Optimizely. Blue Acorn delivers innovative eCommerce solutions to clients such as Rebecca Minkoff, Everlast, Ticketmaster and VIETRI from its office in Charleston.

8. Kleinschmidt

City: Lexington Employees in SC: 17 Services: Engineering www.Kleinschmidtgroup.com Kleinschmidt is a premier provider of engineering, regulatory and ecological services to the hydroelectric, renewable power and water resource markets in the U.S. and Canada. The firm has a powerful network of geographically and professionally diverse clients and staff across the United States and Canada. Kleinschmidt strives for excellent client relationships and to make clients’ lives and the global environment better. Klein-

9. Clayton Construction Co. Inc.

10. SCRA

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 176 Services: Technology www.scra.org SCRA Divisions: Applied R&D delivers technology-based solutions to complex challenges, primarily for federal agencies and over 200 corporations around the world. SCRA combines expertise in its target markets, a robust network of trusted partners and access to state of the art research laboratories to develop technologies to improve capability and lower costs of client products and processes. Technology Ventures fulfills its knowledge-based economic development mission through SC Launch and other investment programs. SC Launch, the current program under the technology ventures division, supports startup companies and assists in commercializing new and innovative products. This network of emerging companies provides innovations that serve federal and corporate clients, while advancing the local knowledge economy. R&D Facilities and Innovation Centers are state-of-the-art laboratories, scale-up manufacturing facilities and secure rooms where research discoveries are rapidly commercialized. They are specifically designed to enable early-stage companies to progress through market entry and to growth stages. These facilities — designed, built and financed by SCRA — are available to qualified, emerging intellectual property providers, who may also contribute as sub-contractors to SCRA Applied R&D contracts.

Ben Hoover, emcee.

11. The Mariner Group LLC

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 23 Services: Technology www.themarinergroup.net Security challenges are constantly evolving. The range of intentional, accidental and natural threats continues to grow, making the ability to quickly identify and respond to emergent events all the more crucial. The challenge is made more difficult when the most relevant data associated with a


City: Spartanburg Employees in SC: 28 Services: Construction www.claytonconstruction.net Established in 1981, Clayton Construction Co. has worked diligently over the past three decades to establish a solid reputation of excellence in the construction industry. Clayton Construction Co. is a licensed, unlimited general contractor in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida. It has provided services to clients in numerous industries. Whether it’s new construction, renovation, expansion, or design/build, Clayton Construction Co. is dedicated to exceeding client expectations, completing quality projects, and building strong relationships. Its resume is diverse, including retail shops, office buildings, medical facilities, public assembly buildings, banks, churches, schools and industrial facilities. Clayton Construction Co. offers its clients project design, project budgeting, competitive bids, scheduling, value-engineering, design/build contracts, fixed-priced contracts, and, last but not least, a safety-conscious construction site. Teamwork is the guiding philosophy at Clayton Construction Co. Every member of the team, at every level, is devoted to meeting

clients’ needs. At Clayton Construction Co., the team puts years of experience and expertise to work for the clients.


schmidt is also a financially strong and sustainable organization that creates opportunities for personal and professional growth and leadership. R. Stevens Kleinschmidt, Ph.D., hydraulic engineer and former professor at Harvard University, founded Kleinschmidt in Pittsfield, Maine, in 1966. Dr. Kleinschmidt was respected for his knowledge of hydropower engineering and his practical approach to problem solving. In the 1990s, Kleinschmidt recognized the opportunity to expand its client base beyond hydro, and developed an Ecological Services Group to branch out into new areas. This group has become nationally known for ecosystem assessments, individual habitat and river restoration projects, watershed management, water supply reservoir management, dam removal, fish passage and impact studies for wetlands. The firm has offices nationwide and has served clients in 44 of the 50 states and in five Canadian provinces.



situation is buried in a flood of information being presented to the user. Mariner’s CommandBridge situational awareness platform has been addressing these challenges for more than a decade through a context-based approach that provides a tailored solution to unique challenges. Mariner’s awardwinning situational awareness platform is designed to help regional decision makers understand complex environments. To facilitate this understanding, CommandBridge uses advanced software technology to assimilate sensor feeds, cut through securityinformation clutter, and provide relevant and actionable information to stakeholders across the region. Currently, CommandBridge is deployed in some of the nation’s most complex port regions, covering nearly 40 percent of the top 75 ports (as ranked by trade volume by the American Association of Port Authorities). While installing new platforms at an increasing rate within the U.S. and abroad, Mariner continues to advance and enhance its CommandBridge platform with new and emerging technologies to remain at the forefront of the industry.


12. Rhythmlink International LLC


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 32 Services: Manufacturing www.rhythmlink.com Rhythmlink International, LLC designs, manufactures and distributes medical devices and provides custom packaging, private labeling, custom products and contract manufacturing to its customers. Recognized as a leader within its field, Rhythmlink provides the important physical connection between patients and the diagnostic equipment to record or elicit vital physiologic information even in the most critical of care. Originally founded by neurodiagnostic technicians and engineers in 2002, Rhythmlink strives to provide superior products, consistent availability, continuous innovation and the highest level of customer service in their industry.

13. VC3

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 67 Services: Technology

www.vc3.com VC3 has been on the leading edge of information technology since 1994, providing customer-oriented solutions to both commercial and public sector customers. The company implements IT projects and services that can provide above average returns on investment, significantly enhance productivity and lower technology ownership costs. The advent of cloud computing has made VC3’s long term strategic goal of offering customized solutions a reality. VC3 has been delivering cloud computing for approximately six years with the continuous addition of new solutions over that time period. VC3’s customers include small, medium and large organizations throughout the Southeast. Some customers include well-known technology companies in the Fortune 500. A proud member of the CRN Tech Elite 250, which recognizes the most technologically advanced information technology providers in the United States, VC3 has been consistently recognized as a leader in developing Internet-based applications and web technologies, network technology solutions and world-class support services. VC3 remains committed to incorporating the latest industry technological advances into the applications and solutions it provides.

14. Human Technologies Inc. City: Greenville Employees in SC: 122 Services: Staffing, Manufacturing Services www.htijobs.com Human Technologies Inc. began in 1999 as a multifaceted human resource advisory firm. Over the past 16 years, HTI has worked to maintain the personal, relational nature of its business while growing into a $90 million company. HTI is headquartered in Greenville and currently has 12 offices in seven states across the U.S. HTI is known for providing exceptional service in professional recruiting, industrial staffing, human resource consulting, outplacement services and manufacturing solutions. HTI Employment Solutions is one of the Southeast’s most innovative and versatile human resource firms. Leveraging the development and delivery of custom-designed programs built on accountability and quality, HTI’s core competency is the design and admin-

istration of exceptional workforce management services.

15. Recruiting Solutions

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 31 Services: Staffing www.recruitingsolutionsonline.com Recruiting Solutions was established in 1992 as a local, independent, woman-owned business. The key to its success has been building quality, long-term partnerships for both its client companies and field associates. Through Recruiting Solutions’ specialized service lines and subject matter experts, it is able to provide the very best talent. The firm has connections with top companies and talented job seekers in the Upstate, Midlands and PeeDee areas of South Carolina, as well as across the Southeast. In addition to being a full-service recruitment agency, Recruiting Solutions also acts as a resource center for companies. It emphasizes longterm relationships with clients, and offers comprehensive staffing and employment services, including recruitment, retention, training and management services.

16. First Reliance Bank

City: Florence Employees in SC: 123 Services: Banking www.firstreliance.com First Reliance Bank, founded in 1999, has assets of approximately $400 million, and employs over 120 associates. The bank serves the Columbia, Lexington, Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Florence markets in South Carolina. It offers a unique Hometown Heroes package of benefits to serve those who are serving their communities; Check ‘N Save, a community outreach program for the unbanked or under-banked; a Moms First Program; iMatter young adult program and a BetterLife program for its customers. The bank stands behind its service commitment with a Customer Service Guaranty and a Mortgage Service Guaranty. Customers of the bank have access to free coin machines and a worldwide ATM network, and the branches are open on most traditional bank holidays. Its commitment to making customers’ lives better, and the idea that “There’s More to Banking

17. M33 Integrated

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 44 Services: Logistics www.m33integrated.com M33 believes the best way to optimize logistics and drive business growth is through scalable technology tools and supply chain expertise. The company’s commitment is to provide a superior co-management support structure coupled with an adaptive transportation management system to effortlessly respond to evolving market conditions and customer demands. M33 is dedicated to helping organizations reduce costs, improve efficiencies and gain the ultimate competitive advantage by providing services such as industry-leading technology, co-managed logistics, freight settlement, capacity management, international shipping, parcel management, freight brokerage, and supply chain intelligence.

18. Find Great People

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 60 Services: Staffing www.fgp.com Find Great People is one company with many solutions. If a company needs employees on a temporary or temp-to-hire basis, the professional staffing team is here to help. With a focus on office support, HR, legal, marketing and accounting and finance, the staffing team helps companies find the right candidate for their organization. FGP Technology can staff IT departments from the CIO level to deskside support/helpdesk

roles on both a project or permanent basis. For high-level positions, FGP’s executive search consultants bring years of expertise in specialized industries like manufacturing, accounting, health care and nonprofit, to help find the best people. But building a great company doesn’t stop once companies find great team members – they have to develop, retain, and sometimes even transition people. FGP’s HR consulting division provides a wide variety of HR services, including surveys, outplacement and complete outsourced HR services.

vans, flatbeds, step decks, conestoga trailers, less than truckload, container and rail. The company’s customers rely on JEAR to pick up and deliver their products on time, transporting them safely with integrity. JEAR’s carriers depend on the company to offer quality loads in their desired locations at a competitive price. With training and continuous development, JEAR stays abreast of ever-changing truck market trends and serves customers well by investments made in technology.

19. Electric Guard Dog LLC

City: Orangeburg Employees in SC: 56 Services: Construction www.cfevans.com C.F. Evans & Co. Inc. is a general contractor firm specializing in multifamily construction. C.F. Evans provides a full range of services including concept analysis, preconstruction and construction management. With each project, the company exemplifies its core values of respect, dedication, integrity, partner relationships, teamwork and accountability while providing world class customer service.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 36 Services: Security www.electricguarddog.com Electric Guard Dog, the No. 1 Theft Deterrent Service in the U.S., is the market leader in electric security fences and perimeter security in the country. A security partner for 3,000-plus commercial and industrial locations across the U.S., they protect businesses from cargo theft and copper theft and provide a safer work environment for employees, while reducing total security costs.

20. JEAR Logistics LLC

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 43 Services: Transportation www.jearlogistics.com JEAR Logistics is a third-party, non-asset based logistics company. JEAR focuses on providing customers with transportation services throughout the continental United States and Canada and partners with carriers that provide a variety of services moving freight by dry and refrigerated

21. C.F. Evans & Co. Inc.


Than Money” has earned the young bank a customer satisfaction rating of 95% (2013 results from an outside survey firm).

22. Advantage Media Group

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 23 Services: Publishing/printing http://advantagefamily.com/ Advantage Media Group is the Business Growth Publisher. Advantage helps busy professionals create, publish and market a book to grow their business. Advantage has one mission: to help authors share their stories, passion and knowledge to help others learn and grow. A pioneer of author-centric publishing, Advantage provides authors a


Mikee Johnson, S.C. Chamber board chair.



full range of services and expertise including book writing, book publishing, electronic and digital platforms, distribution, marketing, and sales to over 25,000 bookstores and retailers around the globe. Advantage offers a famous Talk Your Book® program that has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs, CEOs and professionals create a book in less than a day. In less than 24 hours of the author’s time (but investing over 250 hours of the company’s time), Advantage creates and publishes a beautiful book that rivals the quality of any book.

23. O’Neal Inc.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 203 Services: Engineering www.onealinc.com O’Neal specializes in complicated projects that have complex processes and intricate design. The company has been successfully delivering capital projects in the automotive, pharmaceutical/biotech, process chemical, manufacturing, energy, and pulp and paper markets worldwide. O’Neal is in the business of project delivery, integrat-

ing overall project planning, design and construction to create cost-effective capital solutions.

24. Rosenfeld Einstein, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company City: Greenville Employees in SC: 56 Services: Insurance (non-health care) www.rosenfeldeinstein.com Rosenfeld Einstein, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, continues to reflect the values William Rosenfeld established in 1933. Integrity continues to permeate the everyday activities of the firm and all its associates. Led by the third generation of Rosenfeld Einstein families and a talented management team, Rosenfeld Einstein focuses on establishing long-term relationships with clients who seek thoughtful advice in employee benefits, flexible spending account administration, property and casualty (personal and business), and workplace wellness consulting. As the company has grown, so have its clients, which range from entrepreneurial local business to large national firms.

25. Quality Business Solutions Inc.

City: Travelers Rest Employees in SC: 20 Services: Payroll/Benefits/HR www.qualitybsolutions.net A woman-owned business, QBS is a cost effective outsource solution for non-core business functions. Its integrated PEO/ASO services include payroll administration, unemployment management, insurance, benefit administration, human resources, workers’ compensation, tax reporting and more. The company currently processes payroll in 48 states. QBS works directly with benefit providers to ensure that additions, changes and terminations to clients’ plans are handled promptly. Its state-of-the-art software allows employees to view their current plan enrollment, dates of coverage, premium amounts, and dependent coverage status. QBS provides clients with employee forms, federal or state requirements, employee handbook templates, and more. QBS offers HR management services for areas and issues including compensation, FMLA, discipline, terminations, benefits, leaves of absence, discrimination, administration, policies and fraud. QBS accurately classifies employees by workers compensation code to load workers compensation costs and provide actual overhead costs per pay period. QBS staff can complete OSHA logs for posting to keep the company compliant.


26. Energy One America


City: Charleston Employees in SC: 60 Services: Construction www.Energyoneamerica.com Energy One America prides itself on being a leader in the spray foam industry as one of the largest spray foam insulation companies in the United States. A locally owned and operated business, EOA is committed to the development and use of products that ensure improved and increased efficiency in heating and cooling, act as a sound barrier, and prevent the growth of mold or the entry of rodents throughout the residential and commercial building industry. Uniquely qualified, EOA offers customers a 25-year fully transferrable warranty on their mold prevention product, spray foam insulation that provides lasting comfort and saves the homeowner money, as well as a host of ancillary services.

COLLEGE SPOTLIGHT Colleges and universities are playing a vital role for economic development in South Carolina. Workforce training is a key part of attracting new industry, and these institutions help by offering courses in specialized skills for quick job placement. Whether it’s offering the opportunity to explore a passion or to jump-start a profession, these colleges not only unlock the future for their students, but serve as vital partners in the communities they serve.

Claflin University................................54

Greenville Technical College..............55

Spartanburg, SC College Town.........56

York Technical College.......................57

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Ports, Logistics & Distribution

Employees work on automatic transmissions at ZF Transmissions’ plant in Laurens County. (Photo/ZF Transmissions)



Z 58

F Transmissions is making a $22.5 million investment in an expansion of its automotive transmission manufacturing operations in Laurens County. The company has purchased a 150,000-square-foot building at Owings Industrial Park for new manufacturing and warehousing. Plans to add 545 jobs over the next five years will boost the company’s workforce in the county to more than 2,000. With an annual capacity of 1.2 million transmissions, ZF Transmissions Gray Court manufactures an 8-speed automatic transmission, as well as the world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission, according to company reports. See ZF TRANSMISSIONS, Page 61



Economic Development


By Bill Poovey, Staff Writer

Dollar Tree could be springboard for Cherokee County


herokee County business recruiters figure they have been competitive as a tweener along Interstate 85, but landing a Dollar Tree distribution center has them enjoying some extra attention. With Spartanburg on one side and Charlotte on the other, they see the retailer’s $104 million distribution center and 400 jobs as a possible game changer. Dollar Tree’s project, announced in May after being initially identified as “Project Evergreen,” has attracted other inquiries, said Jim Cook, the county’s Development Board director. “We have already had a lot of looks,” Cook said. “We are getting a lot of requests.” John Moore, whose family owns Upstate Corporate Park and sold Dollar Tree a 214acre site that is already being graded, said, “We have gotten a ton more attention.” Dollar Tree plans to employ about 400 people over the next five years and the 1.5 million-square-foot project includes space for possible expansion, Moore said. Earthmoving equipment is already leveling the site, which Dollar Tree purchased for $4.28 million. Moore said Dollar Tree “wanted to go fast. They are supposed to have this building up by April.” Construction itself is expected to involve about 250 jobs. Dollar Tree Investor Relations Vice President Randy Guiler declined to comment beyond the Chesapeake, Va., company’s announcement about locating the project in Cherokee County. County Assistant Administrator Holland Belue said the biggest competitive hurdle has always been “everyone wants to be near where everyone else is: Charlotte, Greenville and Spartanburg.” Belue said factors in attracting Dollar Tree were “primarily our location and our availability of land, our county’s willingness to work together and partner with the company” and involvement of numerous county departments and officials. “We learned some things about how we can improve our process to make ourselves

Earth moving started quickly at the site in the Upstate Corporate Park in Cherokee County/Spartanburg County where Dollar Tree will build a distribution center. (Photo/Bill Poovey)

more attractive,” Belue said. “We partnered with Spartanburg County Council. The building splits the county line. Spartanburg County said you take the lead. They have been wonderful. We are able to learn from some of their successes how we can be successful.” He said the Dollar Tree “project has let the economic development community know we want to be a player. We are going after companies. We want to be aggressive.” Cook said success with Dollar Tree hasn’t erased any competitive disadvantages. “I’m not a private developer, but Spartanburg has got two interstates and the inland port,” Cook said in an interview. “I say I am close to the inland port, but Spartanburg is closer. It’s a bigger county. It’s got better infrastructure. We are going to get some, but we are a small rural county trying to compete with two major metropolitan areas to the north and south of us. Cleveland County, Gaston County and Mecklenburg, there are 2 million people in a metropolitan area just to the north of us. Cleveland County is very competitive as far as land and buildings. They have some spec build-

ings. They have some great parks. They are doing a bypass around Shelby right now. Although the North Carolina headlines have been their incentive packages aren’t as good as South Carolina, and we are beating the socks off of them; that may be true, but there is still good product, good infrastructure and good workforce just to the other side of me.” Cook said sites in those neighboring counties are also typically a “little bit higher priced. Why not look out a little ways? That’s where I come in.” Cherokee County has 22 miles of I-85 frontage, much of it undeveloped. A planned third lane on the interstate and interchange upgrades helped attract Dollar Tree and has become a selling point in the recruiting effort, Cook said. The county also offers access to both the S.C. Inland Port at Greer and Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Cook said County Council members have approved their first spec building, See DOLLAR TREE, Page 62


By Matthew Clark, Editor of GSA Business


MW’s plant in the Upstate will keep expanding, BMW Aktiengesellschaft Board of Management Chairman Harald Kruger said in a recent quarterly call with investors. In fact, Kruger told investors the plant “will be the largest plant in our global production network” because BMW is investing $1 billion between 2014 and 2016. “At that point, Spartanburg will be the largest plant in our global production network,” Kruger said. By the end of 2016, the Spartanburg facility will have the capacity to produce more than 450,000 vehicles per year, he said.

“The expansion is also a response to the continuing trend towards SUVs,” Kruger said. “At present, the X lineup accounts for almost one in three BMWs sold. With new models such as the X7, we are going to expand our offering ‘made in Spartanburg.’ ” BMW’s global production network consists of 30 production sites in 14 countries. The company’s production map includes locations in Germany, Great Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, China, India, Spartanburg and a new plant in Brazil. The company is also launching a plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Kruger said BMW is investing $1 billion with the intent of beginning production in 2019.

The expansion is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016. The S.C. Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $1.2 million set-aside grant to Laurens County to assist land acquisition costs. The council has also approved job development credits for the project. ZF Transmissions Gray Court Vice President Thomas Joos said Laurens County and South Carolina “continue to provide a strong home for ZF’s manufacturing of our 8- and 9-speed transmissions.” Laurens County Council Chairman Joe Woods said that the county appreciates the jobs, and Gov. Nikki Haley joined with S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt in congratulating the company. The company, based in Friedrichshafen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, invested $175 million in a 2013 expansion at Gray Court. ZF acquired TRW Automotive in May.


BMW to make Spartanburg plant largest in chain

ZF TRANSMISSIONS, from page 58





By Liz Segrist, Staff Writer

Port of Charleston to add refrigerated cargo capacity


he Port of Charleston is investing to improve its refrigerated cargo capacity after year-over-year growth in the segment at its terminals. Refrigerated cargo volumes are up 35% at the Port of Charleston from calendar years 2011 to 2014, according to spokeswoman Erin Dhand, with about 45,000 containers moving through the port in 2014. S.C. State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said that the terminals need more “reefer racks,” which will provide more space for refrigerated cargo, and more electrical plug-ins, which will keep containers cool. “We need to expand our refrigerated capacity at our terminals,” Newsome said at a recent board meeting. “... We’re running out of plugs now.” Of the $165.6 million the ports authority set aside for capital expenditures in fiscal year 2016, $16.9 million has been allocated for projects that aim to increase the terminals’ capacity to handle more frozen and refrigerated cargo. Of that, $7 million will be spent at Wando Welch Terminal to upgrade the refrigerated cargo service area and plugs, and $3.3


DOLLAR TREE, from page 60


and a $9 million Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies is opening this fall at the Cherokee County campus of Spartanburg Community College. “Other than the spec building, the county doesn’t own any public land for industrial development, nor do they own any industrial buildings,” Cook said. “The spec building is new for us. We are doing it because of the lack of product. We have some older buildings. The older textiles, but we do not have a lot of modern class A industrial buildings that I think we could use.” Garrett Scott, a Colliers International associate, said industrial development is spreading in the Upstate beyond Greenville and Spartanburg, both east and west along I-85 and south along S.C. 290.

million will be spent at North Charleston Terminal for expansion of refrigerated cargo area, including paving associated with the expansion. The North Charleston Terminal currently has 380 plugs. After the expansion, it will have 512 plugs. The Wando Welch Terminal currently has 1,028 plugs. Following work there, the terminal will have 1,124 plugs and four new reefer racks. More plugs are expected the following fiscal year, Dhand said in an email. About $6.6 million will go toward the

offsite completion of the New Orleans Cold Storage expansion project. The ports authority allocated $14 million overall to the project last year. The ports authority owns the land at 1090 Remount Road in North Charleston, and New Orleans Cold Storage leases it from the port. The cold storage facility has operated there for nearly 30 years. Other cold storage facilities announced plans to move to the market last year to help meet the demand, including Lineage Logistics’ 340,000-square-foot cold storage distribution facility in Palmetto Commerce Park in North Charleston and Agro Merchants Group’s 120,000-square-foot cold-storage facility in Berkeley County. Poultry accounted for 32% of the refrigerated or frozen cargo that came through the Port of Charleston in 2014. It was the largest frozen commodity, followed by other meat products, grapefruit and lemons, medications, grocery products, miscellaneous cargo, candy and jam, milk and eggs, vegetables and miscellaneous fruits, according to PIERS, an import and export data service.

“I think Cherokee County is going to be well-positioned to take advantage of economic development in the future,” Scott said. Cook said he is encouraging owners of potential industrial property to go ahead and prepare it for immediate use. “Companies want pad ready sites as opposed to we can knock that dirt down and move the trees and imagine a flat field there with water and sewer to it,” Cook said. That way they can “start coming out of the ground tomorrow. Having product or inventory is vital. If you’ve got something to show, the odds of you landing a project in my opinion are astronomically higher.” Moore said Dollar Tree also has space for a 500,000-square-foot expansion that “they may or may not do initially.” Moore said his family in 1999 purchased the almost 600-acre corporate park

that straddles the border of Cherokee and Spartanburg counties. He said the most recent previous sale of Upstate Corporate Park property to an industry was in 2007 when Bericap purchased about 30 acres. The German-based manufacturer of plastic caps and closures operates a plant near the Dollar Tree site. Cherokee County Council last fall purchased 24 acres at the park for a planned spec building. Moore said the spec building decision by county officials was a “gutsy thing for a county to do. They agreed to run the sewer line to their property and across the road to where Dollar Tree is located, which really allowed Dollar Tree to come here quickly. Without that it would have taken all kinds of red tape to get that done. So we were very fortunate that we were working towards that.”

Ships transport refrigerated cargo in record volumes at the Port of Charleston. (Photo/Kathy Allen)





1,000 WORDS


Surrounded by a diverse assembly of S.C. leaders, Gov. Nikki Haley speaks before signing the bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds. The bill was signed on July 9 and the flag was retired to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in a brief ceremony the next day. (Photo/Jeff Blake)

Profile for SC BIZ News

2015 SCBIZ - Issue 3  

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

2015 SCBIZ - Issue 3  

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

Profile for scbiz