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Fall 2018

A new spin on research

McNAIR Center expands reach in aerospace

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County Spotlight: Aiken | Best Places to Work | S.C. Delivers

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From the

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Dear Reader,

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At last year’s S.C. Aerospace Conference, I got my chance to fly Lockheed Martin’s T50A trainer jet. Of course, it wasn’t an actual jet, but a highly realistic simulator. And it was a lot of fun. I expect because I was obviously not an engineer or a graduate student, I was chosen from the line to take a turn at the controls. The helpful guide explained how to use the joystick to fly the jet. I had an instrument panel in front of me and also a video that showed the landscape. I took off fairly easily, but when it came time to land, I could tell the others watching were sure I was going to crash. The assistant was not going to let that happen, and at the last minute I pulled the nose up and landed safely on the runway. And if you don’t believe me, I have a souvenir T50A medal to prove it. It has the project slogan, “Train the way you fight.” Lockheed Licia Jackson Martin hopes to build the trainer for the U.S. Air Force, and you can Editor, read more about that inside this aerospace issue of SCBIZ. SCBIZ Magazine South Carolina’s aerospace industry is booming, with planes from jumbo size (Boeing’s 787) to quite small (Lowcountry Aviation’s Sky Arrow) being built here. In this issue you can also read about the research going on at University of South Carolina’s McNAIR Center and about the effect of new tariffs on aerospace and other manufacturing in our state. This is also the time of year when we celebrate the Best Places to Work in South Carolina. These businesses — 75 of them — are dealing with a generational shift in the workforce as baby boomers retire. We take a look at how they’re facing this challenge while keeping their employees happy. In these pages you can also read about the latest regional innovations in Cities Mean Business and a research project that makes a home or manufacturing plant “smart.” Speaking of baby boomers retiring, I will also be joining those ranks shortly. This is my last issue of SCBIZ, and I must say that serving as its editor has been among the highlights of my journalism career. I’m leaving the magazine in the capable hands of Steve McDaniel, who will be the new editor. You’ll still see my byline from time to time. Wishing you all the best,

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Table of




Left: Undergraduate research engineer Evan Barnett operates a flight simulation in the cockpit of the Apache helicopter at the University of South Carolina’s McNAIR Center.


Cover photo: Apache helicopter inside the McNAIR Center. (Photos/Jeff Blake)








Celebrating excellence in South Carolina business

Leveraging water features for economic development


10 Research SC

42 S.C. Delivers

7 Upfront

12 County Spotlight: Aiken

48 1,000 Words

VIEWPOINT Economic supply chains fuel S.C.’s future


n the occasions I drive past the airport in Charleston, it is still remarkable to see the Boeing plant with its flight line of completed 787s. Their tails colorfully painted in blues, reds, yellows and greens. The exotic livery of airlines from around the world is a visible reminder of a global supply chain that stretches from component to customer. And at the same time, it induces a sense of longing and adventure for places far away I may never see, and some so alluring I am dreaming up plans to go. Yes, it’s a business. And yes, people have been doing it for more than a century. But flight — the shape of the machines and the act itself — still has the power to paint even old codgers like me with a coat of childlike wonder. And who can resist looking up when a fighter jet passes over? Now Lockheed Martin Corp. is building F-16s in Greenville. If you’ve ever been close to one of these aweinspiring machines, it can take your breath away. What an opportunity to stoke the imaginations of our state’s students. I know that if anyone had said to me in high school, “Go stand over there if you

want to build an airliner or a fighter jet when you get out of school,” I’d have been in that line. The other day we had one of those fun discussions that spontaneously springs up in the newsroom. Liz Hodges, who does economic development research for us, brought in an armful of peaches from her home county of Edgefield claiming Edgefield County peaches taste the best, which, of course, spawned a raging peach debate. Soon, however, the topic switched to why Georgia got to call itself the Peach State when we, here in South Carolina, grow more and better peaches. Farm to table is a supply chain we should be passionate about localizing. It’s a healthy debate with healthy outcomes. What’s not so healthy for our economy is overly focusing on “Made in America” when it comes to aerospace and manufacturing. Sure, we build 787s and F-16s here, but the supply chain for the components that go into these planes intersects with our economy on a global scale. The customers do too. Instead of nitpicking about where on

this little planet a piece of an aircraft or an automobile gets made, let’s focus on the opportunities we create within our state and around the world when we do business. A case in point was the visit NASA decided to make to the Charleston area in August to meet with businesses who want to get involved with the agency and to hold a STEM career fair. NASA is hoping to engage with students and get them interested in science, technology, engineering and math careers by getting them excited about a possible mission to Mars. Getting young minds to think big isn’t a new idea. It’s worked for generations. I’m already daydreaming about future them versus us supply-chain arguments when the supply chain extends beyond the orbit of Earth. How dare those Venusians claim to be the best planet for building planetary buggies. Everybody knows we build the best buggies right here on Mars! Grady Johnson President and Group Publisher, SC Biz News

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regional news | data

Furman finds cutting-edge solution for problem grass


hen you have grass growing in a problem area, sometimes it’s not a new high-tech contraption that’s needed to cut it. It may be that the need can be met with one of the lowest-tech solutions around — in this case, sheep. Furman University found it hard to cut the grass growing under its $1.7 million solar array along Poinsett Highway in Greenville. A riding mower would damage the panels. A push mower and weed trimmer? Too labor-intensive. A dozen hungry St. Croix sheep? Perfect! The sheep are grazing on the property as part of an experiment to further reduce costs for Furman. They can easily get under the solar panels without causing damage. “Sheep are God’s lawn mowers,” said Greenville County farmer Steve Wood, owner of the sheep. “Horses and cows are too big, and goats will climb and damage the panels.” The St. Croix sheep grow thick

St. Croix sheep are helping keep the grass cut under the solar panels at Furman University’s array on Poinsett Highway in Greenville. The university is experimenting to see how many sheep are needed for the project. (Photo/ Teresa Cutlip)

hair during the winter and don’t require shearing because they rub the long hair off when the weather gets warm. And South Carolina’s hot and humid summers? They don’t complain at all, and they also do well in cold and snow. The human mowing contractor had been charging $1,250 a visit for a total of $7,500 over the summer to mow under the panels, said Jeff Redderson, associate vice

president of facility and campus services at Furman. The university hopes letting the sheep do the job will save much of that money. The solar array has 2,994 solar panels across six acres. “The sheep are a sustainable solution,” Redderson said. “We just need to fine tune it.” – Teresa Cutlip, Staff Writer

FAST FACTS | Aerospace in S.C.

Section begins on

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For every 10 aerospace private sector jobs created

13 additional jobs are created in S.C.’s economy

$19 billion Total economic impact of S.C. aerospace industry


Annual employment growth in the S.C. aerospace cluster since 2010.



Average total compensation for S.C. aerospace employess

Source: SC Aerospace. A new economic impact study will be released at the SC Aerospace Conference and Expo in October.




SC Aerospace Conference turns 5


Now in its fifth year, the SC Aerospace Conference and Expo will open Oct. 9 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, continuing through Oct. 10. Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, will give the keynote address. A Columbia native, Bolden served as the 12th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The conference organized by SC Aerospace is a joint effort with the S.C. Department of Commerce, University of South Carolina, the S.C. Aeronautics Commission and the S.C. Aviation Association. Two days of workshops, presentations and panel discussions will include Darren Hulst, managing director of market analysis and sales support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Peter Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. For more information, visit southcarolinaaerospaceconference.com.

Here are the latest economic development announcements from the Department of Commerce since June 7, 2018: Company Coronal Energy Synergy Steel Midway Green Solar (Pacolet Milliken Enterprises) Ridgeland Pellet Ingevity Corp. Sharonview Federal Credit Union Schuff Steel Co. Dynamic Brands Southern Current Southern Current Samsung Electronics America Fujifilm Manufacturing USA Synthomer Container Maintenance Corp. Merchant Iron Works BLG Logistics Southern Current Monti Inc. ACL Airshop Carolina Metal Finishing Becton, Dickinson & Co. JW Aluminum ICL

County Investment Jobs Florence $15M N/A Lancaster $2.8M 139 Union $12M N/A Jasper $8.1M 27 Charleston $5M 100 Lancaster $42M 115 York $9M 180 Chesterfield $3.8M 12 Chesterfield $100M N/A Darlington $340M N/A Greenville N/A 400 Greenwood $3.9M 67 Spartanburg $16M 10 Dillon $11.5M 54 Sumter $2.5M 27 Charleston N/A 28 Anderson $30M N/A Greenwood $2.7M 19 Greenville $7.2M 32 Lee $1M 20 Sumter $150M 125 Berkeley $255M 50 Dorchester N/A 25

Source: S.C. Department of Commerce

Read me a story — but don’t take too long UPFRONT

By Travis Boland, Staff Writer


ost people still like stories — but many don’t like reading anything that’s long. The people who came up with the Short Story Dispenser initiative have a perfect answer: stories that can be read in one to five minutes. The Richland Library in Columbia is one of four sites in the U.S. to receive the first set of dispensers through a grant from the Knight Foundation in partnership with the Public Library Association’s Fostering Creative Community Connections project. Others are Akron-Summit County (Ohio) Public Library, Free Library of Philadelphia and Wichita (Kansas) Public Library. The three dispensers installed at Richland Library Main in downtown Columbia are about 64 inches tall and weigh about 66 pounds, making them easy to move to new locations. Buttons on the top give the reader a choice of a one-, three-, or five-minute story from the dispenser’s database. The story is printed on sustainable paper like a receipt.

Tony Tallent of Richland Library shows a printout from one of the library’s three new short story dispensers, which were installed in July. (Photo/Travis Boland)

“The idea is to have these in the community places and events,” said Tony Tallent, chief program director and innovation officer at Richland Library. The dispensers will be moved periodically to other locations in the area. In addition to encouraging reading, Tallent hopes the dispensers will highlight local and regional writers. The library plans to hold a short story contest in September, with winning stories added to the database. The dispensers are part of a worldwide movement called Short Edition, which

began in France. Short Edition is a community publisher that focuses on anything that can be read in 20 minutes or less. The original French website, with a platform through which anyone can submit writing, has gathered 200,000 readers, 8,000 authors and 80,000 short stories. The idea is to put the dispensers where people gather or wait: shopping malls, train stations, hospital waiting rooms. And, according to the Public Library Association website, the dispensers can be customized to fit any need, such as bedtime stories for hotels.



Research SC Smart floor sensors detect human falls, footsteps By Licia Jackson, Editor


magine being able to know instantly if your elderly father takes a fall inside your house, no matter where you are. You could be at work, at a ballgame or out shopping and a message would be sent to your cell phone if there’s a fall. The researchers of ASSET (Advanced Smart Systems and Evaluation Technologies LLC) have developed just such a system and have found several other applications for the technology, says Benjamin Davis, an engineer and researcher at the University of South Carolina. Now they are working to commercialize it. Davis began the project as an undergrad-

uate in civil engineering at USC, working with professor Juan Caicedo and Victor Hirth, a medical doctor. After earning a master’s at University of California-Berkeley, Davis returned to USC to work on a doctorate and picked up the research. Hirth is a geriatric medical doctor with Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group Senior Primary Care. “There are potential applications from health care to manufacturing,” Hirth said. “The research originated in health care, detecting human falls, but then it expanded to footstep detection, to know where someone is walking.” The project originated with a grant from

the Alzheimer’s Association to develop a smart home that would be able to detect a person falling. Other organizations involved were the National Science Foundation, University of South Carolina and the Veterans Administration Hospital System. Davis, Hirth and their team used wireless sensors developed by Intel. The sensors were placed on the floor to detect the vibrations made by different types of falls. The person in the home does not have to wear any kind of device; the signal is picked up by the floor system and transmitted to the receiving system. “The heart of the system is a set of algo-

DETECTING VIBRATIONS These graphs show the measured vibration in several different actions, all captured on a concrete floor. University of South Carolina engineer Benjamin Davis and his research team have developed a sensor array that can detect and differentiate vibrations caused by a person falling, footsteps and other sources. (Data/Benjamin T. Davis)

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“This has a natural privacy-respecting aspect, as the system does not take images or other visual data. People often do not pay attention to or think about building vibrations. It removes the eyesores of cameras.” Benjamin Davis

engineer and researcher, University of South Carolina

“This has a natural privacy-respecting aspect, as the system does not take images or other visual data,” Davis said. “People often do not pay attention to or think about building vibrations. It removes the eyesores of cameras.” The monitoring system could also be

used to detect the normal routines and rhythms of a household. It could give an early warning of problems by noting an unexplained change in activity, perhaps in an older person living alone. Such changes could be the first symptom of a debilitating condition, Hirth said. The system can track the location of a footfall within two feet of where the person steps, with 95.2% accuracy, Davis said. The sensors in the floor are not visible, and if they were installed at construction, could be poured into the floor. Noise of machinery in a manufacturing plant can be filtered so that footsteps are readily detected. Davis said the researchers are working on how to handle the footfalls of a large group of people. In addition to those already mentioned, ASSET has received support from the USC Incubator, SCRA, Palmetto Health and mentor Don Tomlin. The project took second place in 2015 at USC Proving Ground, a test to see whether commercial development would be attractive. ASSET became part of SC Launch in 2016.


rithms Davis developed,” Hirth explained. It can take the signal and break it into components, so that it has the potential to tell if a fall happened or an object dropped onto the floor. The monitoring report goes to whoever needs to know, Davis said. It can be sent to a cell phone or to a computer. Because the sensors can track what is going on throughout a building, the system can also be used for security. For example, in a large warehouse with many shelves, security cameras would be impractical but the ASSET system can detect motion and pinpoint where it’s coming from regardless of visual obstructions. Just as a pebble falling into water creates waves, footsteps also create waves that interact with each other. “In a fall, you are looking at a single event, but footsteps repeating signals get tricky,” Hirth said. The system can also detect a problem on the manufacturing floor at a plant. If an accident occurs, a large number of people would be going to one site, which could be measured and transmitted by the floor sensors.



county spotlight


South Boundary is a beautiful, tree-lined lane in downtown Aiken. (All photos/ Economic Development Partnership).



horoughbreds and atomic energy are rarely associated with each other. In the case of Aiken County, however, those disparate entities are significant aspects of its character.


A mix of suburban cities and small, rural towns dot the sandy, gen-


tly rolling terrain of the county on the southern edge of South Carolina’s Midlands region. Its border along the Savannah River forms part of the state line with Georgia. The county is part of the Augusta, Ga., metro region, known locally as the Central Savannah River Area, and its population of 170,200 ranks it 11th out of 46 counties in the state. Special Advertising Section

Aiken County le ading local employers

US Department of Energy, Savannah River Si te................ 11,200 Bridgestone PSR pla nt...............1,486 Kimberly Clark...... ..................... 1,103 AGY.......................... .................... 716 Shaw Industries...... .......................611 UPS Custom Broker age...............597 Source: Economic Deve

lopment Partnership


The county’s largest employer is the Savannah River Site, a 310-square-mile federal reservation straddling portions of Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties. It has been the site of various projects for military and governmental production, storage and disposal of nuclear material since the 1950s, and is run by the U.S. Department of Energy with a current workforce of more than 11,000 employees from across the region. The county seat of Aiken is a popular retiree destination, a trend the goes back to the 19th century when wealthy coastal South Carolina landowners looked to escape the brutal summer mosquitoes and humidity, along with many well-to-do Northerners seeking milder winters after the Civil War. Many of those who came brought with them an interest in equestrian sports and established training stables in the area. That tradition still lives, as several thoroughbred horse stables operate in the county and can boast entries into the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, Breeder’s Cup and other high-profile races. Mild winters also helped in the decision to relocate MTU America, a division of

Above, MTU America produces diesel engines and component parts for use in a wide variety of applications from its facility in the Sage Mill Industrial Park in Graniteville. At right, research is a key industry in Aiken County.

Rolls Royce that makes diesel engines and parts, said Joerg Klisch, vice president and manager of the plant at the Sage Mill Industrial Park off Interstate 20 in the western part of the county. Of course, incentives such as tax breaks

and infrastructure improvements were the main factors in the company’s decision, which came in the middle of the Great Recession in 2009.

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Aiken Technical College (above) offers two-year associate degrees and certifications and training for local industries. USC-Aiken (left) offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of curriculums and is regularly named among the Best Colleges in the South by US News and World Report.

“We made the decision to go against the prevailing strategy most companies adopted then,” Klisch said. “While most everyone else was staying put in a volatile economy, we decided to take advantage of some very good incentives offered by Aiken County. We were one of the few willing to do that at that time, and it has proven to be a very good decision for us.” Klisch added, “Leaving the Detroit area also helped us from a productivity standpoint. The harsh winters kept employees home many days there; here that has not been a problem.” While SRS is the biggest part of the economy, Aiken County has strived to diversify its economic base in recent years, said Gary Bunker, chairman of the Aiken County Council.

“We have several different layers to our economy,” he said. “We have a significant agricultural sector, a large and growing sector of retirees, the horse community. Alongside all of that, we have the industrial base with major companies like Bridgestone, MTU and Kimberly-Clark.” State Sen. Tom Young, the chairman of the Aiken County Legislative Delegation, echoed Bunker’s sentiment. “Our delegation is always talking to economic officials to keep Aiken County on the radar for new economic investments not directly related to SRS,” he said. “SRS and SRNL (Savannah River National Laboratory) are vital to our economy, but federal budgets are out of our control and can directly impact those operations. We continue to strive for more economic diversity and


Sage Mill Industrial Park in Graniteville is home to several large companies. The park encompasses 2,400 acres and sits along Interstate 20 with easy access to Atlanta and the ports of Savannah and Charleston.


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overall health for our industrial base.” Besides Bridgestone, a tire manufacturer for passenger cars and light trucks, and Kimberly-Clark, a manufacturer of consumer paper products, other large employers in the county include AGY, a glass fiber yarns manufacturer for aerospace, automotive, defense and other industries; Shaw Industries, a global maker of carpet and other flooring materials; and global logistics service UPS. The Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative is being developed on the campus of USC-Aiken for the Savannah River National Laboratory, a part of the SRS operation. The lab is partnering with USC-Aiken, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina to conduct research and development projects. County officials also anticipate Department


Equestrian sports have a long history in Aiken County. Several stables in the area train and develop thoroughbred race horses that have run in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and other high-profile races.

of Defense contractors to have interest in the area to support work for the U.S. Army Cyber Command, which was recently reorganized and is relocating its headquarters to Fort Gordon, just south of Augusta. “Some of our county officials have visited Fort Meade (Maryland, where Cyber Command is currently headquartered) to let people know about Aiken County,” said county administrator Clay Killian. “This

will be a great opportunity for the entire region with many skilled, high-paying jobs. I saw recently that 40% of the Army’s entire construction budget is tied for Fort Gordon, and that can only be positive for everyone in the region.” USC-Aiken is frequently listed No. 1 by US News and World Report in its annual Best Colleges in the South rankings. The school offers four-year bachelor’s degrees

and several master’s programs among its curriculum. Aiken Technical College offers two-year associate’s degrees as well as training and certification programs for specific industries. The Aiken County School District serves about 24,000 students in seven high schools, 10 middle schools, 20 elementary schools, three charters and a career and technology center. The district is actively involved with

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A vine-covered trellis covers part of Newberry Street in downtown Aiken, an area that draws people to its many shops, restaurants and nightlife options.


area business leaders in developing and implementing programs to train the next generation of the region’s workforce. “We have put in place a program called Aiken Works,” said school district superintendent Dr. Sean Alford. “Industry and business leaders in the county are working closely with school administrators in letting us know their needs and requirements for job training.” The Aiken Trials, which celebrate the city’s rich equestrian history, are held each spring, and the Masters tournament, regarded worldwide as one of golf’s most prestigious events, is played in nearby Augusta every April. A new ballpark complex was recently completed along the Savannah River in North Augusta and is home to the Augusta Greenjackets, a Class-A minorleague baseball team affiliated with the San Francisco Giants. The county offers plentiful outdoor activities. The Savannah and Edisto rivers give residents and visitors access to boating, fishing, kayaking and other water sports. Lake Murray and Lake Thurmond are within an hour’s drive of Aiken. Both large, manmade bodies have numerous camping, boating and fishing areas.


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Lockheed Martin’s F-16 has been updated with advanced avionics, radar and weapons and an automatic ground collision avoidance system. (Photo/Lockheed Martin)




FLIGHT By Ross Norton, Editor, GSA Business Report

he aerospace industry is flexing a little muscle in automobile country as Lockheed Martin gets ready to build one military aircraft in the Upstate and holds its

breath for a chance to build another. Lockheed Martin announced in June that it will build the latest version of the Fighting Falcon in Greenville after receiving new F-16 Block 70 aircraft for the Royal Bahraini Air Force.


a $1.2 billion contract from the U.S. government to produce 16


TRENDING: AEROSPACE IN S.C. This version of the F-16 Block 70 will be built in Greenville for the Royal Bahraini Air Force. In June, Lockheed Martin announced the $1.2 billion contract with the U.S. government to produce 16 of the planes. (Photo/Lockheed Martin)

The contract award represents the first F-16 Block 70 sale and the first F-16 production program to be performed in Greenville, according to a news release from Lockheed Martin. The F-16 has been updated many times since it debuted in the late 1970s. The kingdom of Bahrain is the first customer to procure the newest and most advanced configuration of the F-16, Lockheed Martin spokesperson Leslie Farmer confirmed. The project will create 150-200 new jobs in Greenville. Farmer said Lockheed Martin is already refurbishing an existing hangar so that

production can begin in the fall of 2019. Unlike the auto industry, which has brought hundreds of other employers into the state to set up shop, production will not create a new web of local suppliers, at least not immediately, because the supplier base used to support F-16 production in Fort Worth, Texas, also will supply Greenville production. “However, additional supplier opportunities will continually be evaluated as needed for subsequent production contracts,” Farmer said. It is expected to take more than a year to build the first one. Site Director Don Erick-

son said the first Block 70 is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2021, and then another will be completed each month for the 15 months that follow. The company has operated a 16-hangar facility at the S.C. Technology and Aviation Center in Greenville County, where it has provided maintenance and modification services for more than 30 years. Fulfilling the order for Bahrain, a Persian Gulf island nation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, means building the latest version of what Lockheed Martin calls the “world’s most successful, combat-proven multi-role fighter” aircraft. The U.S. Department of


Air cargo adds link in supply chain


One area where ground and air are coming together in the Upstate is with a rise in air cargo. Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport recently secured $11 million in grants to start a $30 million upgrade to triple the amount of apron space for 747s to park while cargo is unloaded. The project also includes more warehouse space for cargo. The growth in cargo business at GSP goes back to a supply chain challenge for BMW Manufacturing. The automaker, needing to move in transmissions quickly, turned

to GSP. When other industries saw it working, they started using air cargo more, too, according to GSP President and CEO David Edwards. Cargo business at the airport grew 26.3% from May 2017 to May 2018, when 9.7 million pounds of cargo passed through, according to information from GSP. The service has grown from between two and six 747 flights weekly at the end of 2016 to eight to 10 now. In addition, the airport sees about 1,000 flights a year from “hotshots” — small planes bringing last-minute

cargo to fulfill more urgent, just-in-time needs for area manufacturers. A 2012 study, when GSP was seeing two jumbo cargo flights a week, determined those two flights had a $40 million impact on the economy, Edwards said. Senator International, a German-based freight shipping and logistics company, recently added weekly cargo flights from GSP to Querétaro Intercontinental Airport in Mexico. Senator started moving cargo between the Upstate and Munich twice a week in 2016.

TRENDING: AEROSPACE IN S.C. www.scbizmag.com

State in September 2017 approved the sale of the war planes to Bahrain. “We value our long-standing relationship with the kingdom of Bahrain and look forward to beginning production activities on their first Block 70 aircraft at our facility in Greenville,” said Susan Ouzts, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Program. “This sale highlights the significant, growing demand we see for new production F-16s around the globe.” The F-16 Block 70 features advanced avionics, Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, a modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks, an automatic ground collision avoidance system, an advanced engine and a structural service life of 12,000 hours, a Lockheed Martin news release said. The company calls the aircraft “the most technologically advanced fourthgeneration fighter in the world.” Lockheed Martin did not speculate on whether production of the F-16 in Greenville could be extended beyond the Bahrain contract. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin awaits word from the U.S. Air Force on who will build the next advanced pilot training aircraft and ground-based system. If Lockheed Martin wins the contract, it will build the T-50A to replace the T-38, a two-seat supersonic plane that became operational in 1961. That fleet is scheduled to age out by 2030, according to Erickson. The company was hoping for a decision last year but the anticipated time for an announcement keeps moving. Lockheed Martin spokesman Rob Fuller thinks the decision could come anytime. The latest word was “maybe September,” he said. Lockheed Martin turned over the required flight data on the T-50A — a joint venture with Korea Aerospace Industries — at the end of June 2017. The project is competing with three other companies who have designed their own alternative aircraft for the multibillion-dollar contract to replace the T-38 fleet. The program contract that would deliver 350 aircraft to the Air Force is estimated to be worth $9 billion to $10 billion through 2021 and could add another 250 jobs to Greenville Operations, Erickson said in 2017.




Boeing began building commercial jets in the Lowcountry in 2011 in a landmark decision to expand 787 Dreamliner production beyond Washington state to South Carolina. The new 787-10 is produced completely at Boeing S.C.

Singapore Airlines was the launch customer for the first 787-10 Dreamliner. The airline took delivery of the jet in March in North Charleston, becoming the first airline to operate all three Dreamliner derivatives.

Dreamliner windows are larger than those on traditional commercial airplanes. Passengers can dim the windows during their flight, based on preferences.


The 787-10 is the newest and biggest Dreamliner. The 224-foot airplane is an 18-foot stretch of the 787-9 and 38 feet longer than the 787-8. It is capable of carrying 330 passengers for 6,430 nautical miles.

The 787-10 Dreamliner has a wingspan of 197 feet, the same as the 787-8 and the 787-9.

Boeing officials said the 787-10 had to be built completely in North Charleston because its midbody is too long to fit on the Dreamlifter, a modified 747 jumbo jet that ferries Dreamliner parts between North Charleston and Everett, Wash., assembly sites.

The Sky Arrow LSA, a 100% composite plane, will be built in Walterboro by Lowcountry Aviation Co., founded by former Boeing S.C. vice president Marco Cavazzoni.

The plane can seat two people, one in front of the other, and can be flown from either seat. People with disabilities are also able to fly the plane using modified controls from Able Flight, a nonprofit in North Carolina.

The Sky Arrow can hold up to 250 pounds of sensors behind its seats with a single pilot. Cavazzoni said a farmer mapping his fields could map 8,000 acres per hour, as opposed to 220 acres per hour with a drone. The clear dome also allows the pilot to have a full 180-degree view of the world below him.


The Sky Arrow LSA has a wingspan of 31.5 feet and a body length of 24.9 feet. Its cruising speed is 124 mph, and it consumes 4.9 gallons per hour.

The latest iteration of the ‘Fighting Falcon’ will be built at Lockheed-Martin’s Greenville facility. This new version, called Block 70, is described as the ‘most technologically advanced fourth-generation fighter in the world.’


Wingspan: 32 feet, 8 inches Length: 49 feet, 5 inches Height: 16 feet Maximum takeoff weight: 37,500 pounds


The top speed of the F-16 is 1,500 mph (Mach 2 at altitude), and has a thrust of 27,000 pounds.

Sources: Boeing Co., Lowcountry Aviation Co. and Lockheed Martin

Armament: one M-61A1 20mm multibarrel cannon with 500 rounds; external stations can carry up to six air-toair missiles, conventional air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions and electronic countermeasure pods.




TRENDING: AEROSPACE IN S.C. Research engineer Barry Lewis stands behind a part of the exposed drivetrain of The McNAIR Center’s automated fiber placement machine is used to build an Apache helicopter at the McNAIR Center. (Photo/Jeff Blake) parts such as a fuselage for planes. (Photo/University of South Carolina)

‘A MACHINE IS A MACHINE’ Predictive maintenance stops problems before they happen




By Melinda Waldrop, Editor, Columbia Regional Business Report

he latest additions to the University of South Carolina’s Ronald E. McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research still have that new car smell. In the Center for Predictive Maintenance, an Apache helicopter shares a room with washing machines, while a small doll is hooked up to wires inside an incubator in another space where a Shop-Vac reclines against the wall. In an adjoining room, feather-light, 3D-printed air conditioning ducts from an airplane fuselage sit on the corner of a table. Through a window, a corner suite of IBM technology is helping perfect Harley-Davidson components. “You would be surprised how much is actually done under this roof,” said center director Abdel-Moez Bayoumi. No kidding. The unassuming center on Catawba Street in Columbia, a right turn across the railroad tracks from thoroughfare Assembly Street, recently doubled its size, expanding from 15,000 square feet to 30,000 and relocating its Center for Predictive Maintenance. That facility tests components from helicopter gearboxes to washing machine motors, compiling reams of information to assess the health of the parts and predict how they will function. “Parts of our body get ill or unhealthy,”

Bayoumi said. “Then you go to the doctor’s office and they examine you. They can diagnose specific parts. “A diagnosis model (can) predict what really could be happening. Then that prediction will help that doctor say, ‘I want to give you this drug to take for this headache based on this diagnosis.’ And the dose, the prescription is based on prediction.”

affords a view of a gigantic, multimilliondollar automated fiber placement machine. Research conducted here utilizes innovative 3D metal printing to replace carbon fiber composite materials, used to make things such as fuselages for Boeing’s new Dreamliner 787. Boeing pledged up to $5 million in entering a research partnership with McNAIR in August 2015.

Saving money for the Army

Taking things apart

Bayoumi, who came to USC in 1998 and was instrumental in creating the university’s biomedical engineering and nuclear engineering programs, has been overseeing such research for years. Working with the S.C. Army National Guard, he and his team have developed money-saving techniques. Sensors installed in the AH-64 Apache helicopter frame detected structural problems that have saved the Army about $53 million a year, Bayoumi said. Inside the vast room where a similar helicopter is housed at the McNAIR Center, the massive machine is sometimes fired up for testing, setting its propellers spinning full-speed. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Bayoumi, who was named director of the center three months ago, a month after its expansion. The fun extends across the hall to another eye-popping scene. A quick trip upstairs

The center doesn’t just make things, however. Part of the research involves taking things apart, Bayoumi explained with a certain glee. “We break parts,” he said. “If you are able to characterize how the part is broken, then you are preventing an accident in the air.” The center has developed a 35-question study it uses to gauge aircraft safety, asking around 200 companies before-andafter questions every six months. USC’s Darla Moore School of Business then helps extrapolate that data to see if safety is improving. Big data analytics plays a large role in many aspects of predictive maintenance. Bayoumi likens the research to experimenting with a cake recipe. “You can change your variables and See McNAIR, Page 25

Cities Mean





Just Add Water Water can be a boon to economic development


5 A natural fit: Cities and waterbodies

By Megan Sexton

Cover Photo: The City of Conway’s three-phased riverwalk project Photo: City of Conway.

BUSINESS A publication of Municipal Association of South Carolina 1411 Gervais St., P.O. Box 12109 Columbia, SC 29211 803.799.9574 mail@masc.sc www.masc.sc @muniassnsc

8 Cities warm up to solar

10 Cities take the pulse

By Megan Sexton

By Sarita Chourey

Wayne George Executive Director, Municipal Association of SC

12 Tourists seek niches

Reba Campbell Deputy Executive Director, Municipal Association of SC Contributing writers Sarita Chourey Megan Sexton

Published by


Cities Mean

By Sarita Chourey


Letter from the Editor

15 Hometown Snapshot

By Reba Hull Campbell

www.scbiznews.com A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

#StrongSCcities | Cities Mean BUSINESS 3

Letter from the


Summertime in South Carolina. For many of us, that means water, sun, travel, and getting out and about. This issue of Cities Mean Business takes a look at how several cities are making the most of our state’s natural resources, tourists and connections to our communities. The sun is doing more than keeping us warm outside on hot summer days. Find out what city leaders in Saluda, Hampton and Laurens are doing to invest in solar energy. All three cities are tapping a variety of solar options from installing panels Reba Hull Campbell

Editor and Deputy Executive Director, Municipal Association of SC

on city hall to measuring solar energy usage on individual homes. Our state is known for its diversity of tourism draws such as beaches, lakes, historic landmarks and trails. But Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach approached the construction of new handicapped-accessible parks with lots of community input that’s now translating into new visitors. At the same time, Gaffney is tapping into a little known historic asset to draw new visitors. Water of any kind is a natural draw for tourists and visitors alike. Find out how Conway and Beaufort are fully leveraging the value of their waterfronts and read about how Pacolet is focusing on the Pacolet River as a community gathering spot. City leaders around the state are seeking out new and creative gathering spots to solicit feedback from residents. Using social media and technology combined with creative face-to-face opportunities to meet with residents, Mount Pleasant, James Island, Moncks Corner and Bluffton have found new ways to engage the people who live in and visit their cities and towns.

Reba Hull Campbell rcampbell@masc.sc


4 Cities Mean BUSINESS | #StrongSCcities

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

The public enjoys the promenade at Waterfront Park in the City of Beaufort, which is undertaking underwater infrastructure repairs and constructing a new day dock. Photo: City of Beaufort.

A natural fit:



isitors to the City of Conway some-

One restaurant, located in a historic

times stand just a block from the

building, is attached to the Conway River-

Waccamaw River, not knowing how

walk, while a second building was recently

close they are. But that is going to change. City officials

including downtown workers who use it to grab some lunchtime exercise. “The riverwalk is the physical tool that al-

sold and is expected to include a restaurant.

lows the river to be the experience,” said Em-

Four new building sites near the riverwalk

rick. “When the riverwalk was constructed,

are working through the permitting process

will include a hotel and other businesses, said

the river, again, became part of who we were

with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to

Conway City Administrator Adam Emrick.

as a city and as a community. A renewed

City officials used hospitality taxes to

interest in the river as an amenity was im-

build a new 400-foot boardwalk section that will connect its river boardwalk to downtown. This is part of Conway’s master plan to

build the walkway and the park. The city has a full-time grounds depart-

mediate.” Conway illustrates just one way South

bring cohesiveness and public access to both

ment that maintains the riverwalk and the

Carolina cities are leveraging their natural


surrounding landscaping. The city also

water resources to enhance the quality of

Economic development plans, meanwhile,

installed wireless security cameras and has

life, improve recreational offerings, and drive

continue on a parallel track. Discussions in

added a 100-foot transient boat dock on the

economic development and tourism. From

2016 with the Burroughs Company, which

riverwalk, the third dock on the promenade,

the Conway Riverwalk to the new Pacolet

owns land near the river, led to a public-

Emrick said.

River Passage Gateway Project to the Atlan-

private partnership with the city. The com-

The latest developments cap decades of

pany agreed to donate real estate to the city.

efforts by city officials to maximize the river’s

economic and quality-of-life benefits of their

In exchange, the city will make infrastructure

benefits for residents, visitors and businesses.


upgrades, including parking facilities, land-

Three phases of construction from 1993

scaping and utilities, to the benefit of the

through 2009 brought about the Conway

tic coast, municipal officials recognize the

The City of Beaufort’s Waterfront Park is undergoing some improvements to enhance

public and the company’s remaining property Riverwalk, a source of pride for residents,

the seaside experience of residents and

and future development.


many of whom walk along it every day,

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

#StrongSCcities | Cities Mean BUSINESS 5


6 Cities Mean BUSINESS | #StrongSCcities

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

FEATURE STORY The City of Conway’s three-phased riverwalk project began in the 1990s and now includes a riverfront park, arboretum and boat ramp. Photo: City of Conway.


Chambers pushed his vision for a waterfront

overlooks, swings and benches. The project

wants to be

showplace everyone could enjoy. The city

also includes construction of a roundabout to

by the water,”

worked diligently to secure state and federal

replace the intersection near the new park.

said Linda

grant funding to acquire property, work with

Roper, Beau-

local businesses and build the park.

fort’s director of downtown operations and community services. “All of our residents and tourists come down (to Beaufort’s Waterfront Park) regu-

“Right now, it’s a place with some grass and parking lots. It’s not a place to hang out

“It made Beaufort thrive. It took some years,

or sit around and enjoy,” Meissner said. “But

but the economic impact was huge,” Roper said.

when we bring in this greenspace and fix the

“It started shifting into seeing different types of

road, we’re going to make this a destination.”

businesses along the water. And today we have

The town is in the process of putting the

restaurants with dining on Waterfront Park.

project out for bids, with the work expected

larly just to spend time on the water and feel

They have taken advantage of being on water-

to take six to nine months to complete once

the sea breeze, to sit on a swing and enjoy the

front property that’s absolutely gorgeous.”

construction begins.

salt air. Even in the summer, when you’re on the water, it feels cooler.”

Upkeep and repair While it’s been an obvious success with

Beaufort spends about $300,000 each year

“We’re going to have a waterfront park

for daily maintenance of the park, while the

right there for the whole community. In the

waterfront park went through a multimil-

long term, we want to add some trails. The

lion-dollar restoration and partial redesign in

idea is that it’s not only an asset to commu-

2006. Now, the city is repairing and replacing

nity members, but it’s also an asset to bring

locals and visitors, the Conway Riverwalk

pilings under the promenade, which has been in tourists,” Meissner said. “It’s going to be

has seen its share of havoc wreaked by

at the water’s edge since the 1970s. The proj-

another asset we’ll have for our community

Mother Nature. In three of the last five years,

ect includes a new day dock attached to the

and the surrounding communities.”

the riverwalk was under water for at least

park to allow boaters to arrive by water, tie

a month as the flood of 2013, Hurricane

up their boats and enjoy downtown Beaufort.

Joaquin in 2015 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 swamped Conway. This year, as the city

The area’s connection with the river goes back centuries. Long before textile mills set up on the river, it was home to one of the

Destination ahead

largest Native American soapstone quarries

begins a board replacement program of the

In the Town of Pacolet, the Pacolet River

riverwalk’s decking, city officials are consid-

is already a valuable asset to the community

ering using rot-resistant composite board.

but will soon become more of a gathering

urban areas, so if you live in the City of Spar-

spot, according to Mayor Mike Meissner. The

tanburg, you don’t have to drive all the way

waterfront revitalization, as it started lever-

$1.47 million gateway project will feature a

to Asheville or Columbia to do stuff along

aging its location on the Beaufort River in

park and recreation area along the south side

the river,” Meissner said. “It’s just 10 minutes

the late 1970s, when former Mayor Henry

of the river, featuring trails, walkways, river

down the road.”

The City of Beaufort got an early start on

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

in the country. “The Pacolet River is not too far from

#StrongSCcities | Cities Mean BUSINESS 7



UP TO SOLAR By Megan Sexton


aluda Town Administrator Tom

some great programs, and SCE&G had some

to SCE&G. The project is expected to pay for

Brooks says he has just one regret

good programs for government agencies. The

itself after 3½ years, so the town will be mak-

about the decision to install solar

timing was right. And when we looked at the

ing money for 6½ years.

panels to power town hall — he didn’t go far enough. “We stuck our toe in the water to see how

numbers, it was a no-brainer.”

“We were pleasantly surprised. We were

Through the Energy Office, the town received a ConserFund loan, allowing Saluda

hoping it would be a quick payback, and in a year it has proven itself,” said Brooks.

it feels. We should have signed up all our

to borrow money at a low interest rate to put

buildings at the time,” Brooks says. “It’s ex-

in solar panels and retrofit Town Hall with

days, you are not making as much money,”

pensive, but the payback is there.”

energy-efficient light bulbs. The town also

he added. “You have months that are good

worked closely with SCE&G and the com-

and months that are not so good. But

pany’s renewable energy team.

looking at the charts, the only month that

Saluda was one of the state’s first cities to install solar panels, tapping into the buzz around solar energy and its potential savings.

Saluda now receives a credit on each

“It’s weather dependent, so on cloudy

we were down in generation from expect-

“We realized power bills were always go-

electric bill for the energy it puts back on the

ed was December. Every other month we

ing to go up,” said Brooks. “We started talk-

power grid. The town has a 10-year contract

met or exceeded the (power) generation,”

ing to the (state) Energy Office. They had

to sell power generated at Saluda Town Hall

he said.

8 Cities Mean BUSINESS | #StrongSCcities

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

Low-interest loans

The Town of Saluda received a ConserFund loan to assist with installing solar panels, making it one of the first cities in the state to use solar energy. Photo:Town of Saluda.

While local governments can’t take advantage of tax credits often available for solar projects in residential and commercial buildings, some utilities have special incentives for certain public sector customers. The S.C. Energy Office has a low-interest loan program (currently 1.5 percent interest rates) that can be used for solar projects by local governments and nonprofits, if the projected savings are high enough, according to Trish Jerman, manager of energy programs for the office. Additionally, grants and loans to help pay for solar installations may be available for local governments in rural areas as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program. The Town of Hampton has also taken a step toward solar. Robert Poston, Hampton’s director of building and zoning, says the town took over a dilapidated mobile home

Hampton’s solar project won a 2017 Municipal Association Achievement Award.

park at the same time the local regional water system was looking into solar power. “The mobile home park was inside the

last thing you want is to invest $60,000 or $70,000 on solar, and then the company goes out of business.”

‘Do your homework’ Brooks of Saluda said towns looking to

Be skeptical Keith Wood, the operations director for the

town limits and was a nuisance to us,” Poston

tap into solar energy should get in touch

says. “It’s contiguous to the wastewater treat-

with the state’s Energy Office to see if it’s the

Laurens Commission of Public Works, said

ment plant. When this option came up, we

right move and look into power usage and

customers should be skeptical about some solar

put our heads together. We all came together

how long it takes to pay back the investment.

company claims that power bills will drop im-

and worked it out.”

“Make sure the program fits for you. You

mediately after solar panels are installed.

don’t want to invest in something that’s going

Laurens CPW puts in two meters in

the town, the solar farm is expected to pro-

to take too long to pay back,” he says. “We’ve

homes that convert to solar. One of the me-

duce about 2,106 megawatt hours of electric-

seen a lot of big solar farms around Saluda.

ters measures the energy the home is pulling

ity a year, the equivalent of what it takes to

We didn’t influence those, but there are a

in from the town and the excess energy the

power 147 homes. Solar energy will now pro-

lot of small businesses and agriculture busi-

home is pushing back out. The second meter

vide all power to the wastewater treatment

nesses interested in solar. We thought, ‘Let us

runs from the panels to the load center or

plant, a savings of about $25,000 a year in

try at Town Hall and see how it works before

breaker panel in the house, measuring when

operating costs, Poston said. The town, Low-

a business jumps into the game.’ Hopefully

the solar panel produces energy.

country Regional Water System and SCE&G

we can be a model.”

Located on about seven acres owned by

all worked together on the project, with the

Before venturing into solar energy, munic-

“I want to be able to read both meters. Then we can say, ‘Here’s the power you use,

solar farm participating in SCE&G’s Solar

ipalities and energy industry leaders point out

and here’s the power your solar panel pro-

Energy Non-Residential Bill Credit Program.

the importance of dealing with a reputable so-

duces,’” Wood said. “We do it on peak and

“It’s got our folks in town interested in

lar contractor with a proven work history. The

off peak times. This way they can know what

solar,” Poston said. “We want to start looking

cheapest option may not always be the best.

they’re consuming in their house and can

at powering other facilities as well — maybe

“Do your homework and make sure

apply the retail rate to that, so they can see

Town Hall and the fire department.”

they have a track record,” Brooks said. “The

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

what they are avoiding.”

#StrongSCcities | Cities Mean BUSINESS 9



PULSE By Sarita Chourey


hen Jeffrey Lord looked across the room full of residents in

“A lot of questions were like, ‘How long

“dotmocracy,” a concept the town learned

do you think it should take for an ambulance

about from the Town of Mount Pleasant.

front of him, most of them were to get to you?’ That led into the conversations

It worked like this: Town officials gathered

staring down at their phones, texting dur-

about response times. It was kind of a way to

residents in a room, wrote down everyone’s

ing his presentation. But he didn’t mind. In

check people‘s expectations to standards.”

suggestions and handed each resident some

fact, it was just as he’d hoped. Lord, the town administrator of

It’s still true that the squeaky wheel gets

color-coded dots. The dots had points as-

the grease. But Moncks Corner and other

signed to them, allowing residents to give an

Moncks Corner, was using a web-based

cities have found ways to make sure that all

idea the appropriate dot to correlate to how

audience response system to gather in-

parts of the vehicle — not just the wheels —

strongly they felt about a given suggestion.

stant opinions during a meeting about

are also heard.

whether the town should start offering

The dotmocracy event allowed residents

“A lot of times you only get the most

to rank future park amenities and attributes,

emergency medical services. As residents

diehard on one side of the issue,” Lord said.

such as whether the park should have rest-

texted their answers, a bar graph on a

“When in fact, a large part of the constitu-

rooms, alcohol allowed, a historical interpre-

screen at the front of the room shifted in

ency is concerned but would rather not stand

tive center, disk golf and other features.

real time to reflect their views.

up to speak.”

“A lot technical things go into the de-

A list of about 50 suggestions in order

While cellphones are handy, colored dots

of dot-based rank — a special events stage,

cision of EMS, so this was a way to keep

can work, too. In the Town of James Island,

a canoe and kayak launch, and “marsh left

them engaged,” said Lord of the Poll Every-

residents got to weigh in on the town’s Pinck-

alone” ranked the highest — is posted on the

where program.

ney Park design and amenities as part of its

James Island website.

10 Cities Mean BUSINESS | #StrongSCcities

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

Most recently, James Island used the dotmocracy method to find out what residents wanted in a new town hall. “The architects posted a great deal of inspiration images on the walls, and residents

‘Crystalizing public opinion’ Polling the public first often leads to better decisions and also better-received decisions. In one year — from 2016 to 2017 — the

Chambers of Commerce of the meeting and survey. While only a handful of business owners showed up to the public meeting, representatives of a real estate agent association and

placed dots on the images that appealed to

number of business license applications that

the Chamber of Commerce attended and

them the most,” said James Island Town Ad-

poured into the Town of Bluffton increased

spread the information to hundreds of their

ministrator Ashley Kellahan.

by nearly 11 percent, from 2,809 to 3,104

members. Several ideas took shape, includ-


ing special incentives for in-town businesses,

Reaching beyond council chambers When Jake Broom started in his position

Even before that, however, Bluffton officials were trying to figure out how to make

discounts for startups during their first few years and changes to the license renewal date.

as administrator for the City of Goose Creek

the business licensing process both more user

in 2016, he introduced himself through the

friendly and more business friendly. In April,

ing or streamlining an existing ordinance,

city’s Facebook account.

the town hosted a public meeting to discuss

such as the business license law, it is the

various ideas. But that’s not all they did.

town’s duty to ask what works best with its

Soon afterward, “Ask the Administrator” was born, a chance for residents to get real-

They put a business owner survey on

time answers from Broom by posting ques-

Facebook and the town’s website, distributed

tions to the city’s Facebook page and receiving

a press release to local media and residents’

responses. Residents wanted to know about

distribution lists, and also informed the local

the city’s finances, the status of the fire depart-

“When Town Council embarks on updat-

business owners,” said Debbie Szpanka, public information officer. “Crystalizing public opinion is a part of the process.”

ment’s radio system, dead tree removal, speeding concerns in a particular neighborhood and whether a dog park would be opening. “Ask the Administrator” also helped combat rumors that spread across Facebook pages that weren’t affiliated with the city. The most common rumor was that the city was picking and choosing which businesses could come into the city. Broom’s “Ask the Administrator” sessions, which were then shared on the noncity pages where some rumors had flourished, helped put those rumors to rest. “The belief existed that certain businesses are not here because we don’t want them here,” Broom said. “But that’s not true. So we let them know what’s going on and how we’re working to recruit these businesses. … We’re doing all we can to recruit the types of businesses they want to see, but that’s something they’re not necessarily aware of unless we tell them.” The way Broom sees it, of the tens of thousands of city residents, only 30 may show up to a City Council meeting. “But about two or three thousand will see my Facebook posts,” he said. “The reach is exponential.”

The City of Goose Creek’s Facebook page features a photo of Administrator Jake Broom’s office door to signal residents it’s time for anyone with questions to post them for the “Ask the Administrator” chat.

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

#StrongSCcities | Cities Mean BUSINESS 11


12 Cities Mean BUSINESS | #StrongSCcities

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina



NICHES By Sarita Chourey


heme parks, stadiums and perform-

who has autism. CAN provides training on

a particular hotel suite and has a good ex-

ing arts venues make great tourist

autism-friendly operations to employees of

perience, Large said, they are very likely to

attractions, but they’re not the only

participating organizations and businesses.

return to that exact same hotel suite the fol-

sites that draw visitors and send ripple effects to local businesses. An eye for what’s possible and a strategic

“The CAN card was a really easy way for our families to identify themselves in a graceful way without a big scarlet letter A,

approach can help make the most of a city or

like ‘here we come with autism,’” said Becky

town’s unique assets — from natural features

Large, executive director of CAN.

to historical sites to amenities-based appeal to medical, sports-related or culinary tourism.

Inclusivity draws families Families with children on the autism spectrum have particularly good reasons to

Establishments that recognize the card

lowing year. “And they’re going to go home and tell their friends,” she said. CAN has 350 local families in its database and nearly 450 tourism families who travel to Surfside Beach.

sometimes offer a discount or special care,

“The town is really supportive. We’re

such as allowing a family with a child who

training their lifeguards and the police, and

has autism to move to the front of the line if

we already trained some police and fire de-

there is a significant wait.

partment last year,” Large said, adding that it

The organization also trains churches and

is especially important to work with public

vacation in the Town of Surfside Beach —

businesses on operational considerations, puts

safety officials due to the possibility a child

and to return year after year.

out public service announcements and holds

with autism could run away.

The Town of Surfside Beach is an autismfriendly tourism destination, thanks to one

sensory-friendly events, such as movies. “Having a niche tourism initiative is great

“Our police here in Surfside Beach need to know how to approach them,” Large said.

resident’s initiative, the Champion Autism

for any community,” said Large. Families with

The City of Myrtle Beach, meanwhile,

Network. Families can produce the CAN card,

children who have autism are especially loyal

won a Municipal Association Achievement

which participating businesses and other es-

to a place, she added.

Award this year for Savannah’s Playground

tablishments will recognize, alerting employees to the presence of a family with a member

Because those on the spectrum crave familiar surroundings, if a family visits

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina

Enabling Park, which offers a variety of equipment that complies with the Americans #StrongSCcities | Cities Mean BUSINESS 13

FEATURE STORY director of the city’s marketing and tourism

“We are celebrating our main street downtown as the Revolutionary War Trail

department. “We spent those first few years asking,

from 1780. We have 18th, 19th and 20th

‘How did you hear about us?’” she said. “And

centuries to celebrate, so we are putting

now we specifically target them.” Their efforts up information about the street names paid off. Three years later, the city welcomed

and why the streets were named what they

10,000 tourists.


While the Gaffney peach water tower

towns has caught the attention of the state’s

fans, Snuggs said the Peachoid is not as cen-

top tourism official. Cities in South Carolina

tral to the city’s tourism as the national parks

are a key reason why tourism is a $21.2 bil-

and the historic gems of downtown Gaffney.

lion industry, said Duane Parrish, director of

“We love the peach, but it really isn’t our When the 2011 federal government shut-

credible job identifying authentic attractions

Gaffney hosted a celebration of the Battle of

they can offer to visitors,” he said. “They

Kings Mountain in historic Capri Theatre in

work well with regional and state marketing

the city’s downtown.

organizations to promote their best attributes

Although the parks soon reopened, a

line, specially designed swings, rubber sur-

partnership between the National Park Ser-

faces to soften falls, an extended wheelchair

vice and city officials established Gaffney as a

ramp that stops at stations, a cooling mist

historic tourism destination drawing curious

feature during the summer and a mile-long

visitors researching their genealogy.

Online reviews of the playground from

NPS before that time,” said Snuggs. “We promoted that we had national parks, but

came specifically to visit the playground. In

there was in no way the relationships that

doing so, those families have also patronized

we have had since.”

tivities nearby.

to the nation and the world.”

“There was no partnership with the

as far away as Canada indicate that visitors

restaurants, shops and other recreational ac-

“Our city destinations have done an in-

down caused the parks to close, the City of

with Disabilities Act. The park features a zip

wheelchair path that goes around the lake.

the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

No. 1,” she said. Families may produce the Champion Autism Network’s CAN Cards at restaurants and other establishments in the Town of Surfside Beach to be recognized for special care. Photo: Becky Large, CAN executive director.

The efforts of South Carolina’s cities and

became a favorite among “House of Cards”

The city also leveraged the scenic beauty of its surroundings. It used accommodations tax

Savannah’s Playground in Myrtle Beach draws families and children of all abilities to enjoy the unique amenities.

revenue to produce an advertising-free pam-

Surrounded by history In the City of Gaffney, officials knew they

phlet with information about S.C. Highway 11, called the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic

had a unique tourism opportunity. Visi-

Highway Travel Guide. The project won a state

tors would journey to the area to research

tourism award and has been the second-most

their ancestors who fought in the American

popular item in welcome centers, said Snuggs.

Revolution. After all, the city is nestled

“The No. 1 draw for tourists is not going

among national treasures that include three

to be ‘What everyone else is doing?’” said

national parks about the Revolutionary War

Snuggs. “It’s ‘what‘s unique to you? What can

— Kings Mountain National Military Park,

you do that others can’t do?’”

Cowpens National Battlefield and the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. But the city was attracting only about 500 tourists annually. So, city employees decided

There’s more ahead. “We’re working on a project now, called “Centuries of History, a Walking Tour,”

to study visitor habits, said LeighAnn Snuggs, said Snuggs. 14 Cities Mean BUSINESS | #StrongSCcities

The Cowpens National Battlefield attracts history buffs, visitors researching their ancestors and Revolutionary War re-enactors, such as these women in period attire.

A publication for the Municipal Association of South Carolina



Photo/Andrew Sprague

ately ng approxim lo a d te ca is lo front Park k 1990, Water in on. The par ed at re C in Charlest er iv R er p o o Society ile of the C American e th one-half m m o fr ard dmark Aw Historic e 2007 Lan received th al Trust for n io at N e and th e Architects of Landscap .

n Preservatio

McNAIR, from page 24


examine different scenarios,” he said. “You can examine every possible combination of work before you actually are in the field.” The McNAIR Center, which is also putting the finishing touches on a drone lab, has come a long way from its beginnings as an ambitious idea on a piece of paper. Sparked by a $5 million donation from South Carolina alumna and benefactor Darla Moore and spurred by a recent $628 million technology grant from Siemens that funded the expansion, the center has taken flight since its 2011 opening. Bayoumi talks excitedly of various programs in the works, including a partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard station in Charleston to make ship engines smarter. The center is also working with Samsung’s Newberry home appliance manufacturing center (which explains the washing machines) to produce more efficient technology and with the USC School of Nursing (hence the incubators) to help monitor the body temperature of premature infants.

Work that’s fun, fulfilling’


Predictive maintenance technology also has implications in general machinery, petroleum, petrochemical and water resources industries. Research can help replace machinery in a more cost-effective manner and help valves and pumps perform more efficiently. “A machine is a machine, if it’s an aircraft or a part,” Bayoumi said. “Now we are applying the same technology in solving other problems.” It’s fun work that is also fulfilling. “You feel satisfied,” Bayoumi said. “You are changing habits. Instead of accepting the status quo, you can really make some positive changes.” The center will celebrate its expansion with a Sept. 27 grand opening. Bayoumi’s grandson, in town for a recent visit from the state of Washington, won’t be in attendance, but the child quickly grasped the gist of his grandfather’s job during a visit to the center. “He said, ‘Grandpa, you have all the big boy toys,’ ” Bayoumi chuckled. “This is what we are.”






he Trump administration’s tariffs on imported products have claimed a victim in South Carolina, as Element Electronics announced it will shut down its Winnsboro plant in October. The move was attributed to the tariffs on parts Element imports from China for use in assembling televisions. The company is appealing the decision to include its parts on the tariff list, said Carl Kennedy, vice president of human resources. He said the Fairfield County plant’s 134 permanent employees were given a 60-day notice on Aug. 6, with layoffs to begin Oct. 5. Other S.C. manufacturers will soon feel the force of a global trade war. A round of tariffs enacted in July placed a 25% tax on imported steel and aluminum, making those products more expensive to bring into the country. On Jan. 22, tariffs were imposed on solar panels and washing machines. The Trump administration has said it wants the tariffs — which tax billions of dollars’ worth of goods — to pressure foreign companies to change trade policies and prevent theft of U.S. intellectual property. President Donald Trump has also pushed for increased manufacturing in the United States. “Our goal as a nation must be to rely less


Workers at Element Electronics’ television assembly plant in Winnsboro, here and in photo below, received word Aug. 6 that the plant will close in a move attributed to new tariffs on parts imported from China. (Photos/Chuck Crumbo)

on imports and more on products made here in the USA,” Trump said during a visit to Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston last year for the unveiling of the new 787-10 Dreamliner. China retaliated to U.S. tariffs by imposing taxes on $34 billion worth of American goods, including cars and soybeans. The United States has since said it plans to roll out more tariffs, and countries around the world are preparing to respond. The president has indicated willingness to back off

some of the intended tariffs for Europe for non-automotive products. The tariffs had impact in the Midlands early in the year. Ten days after Samsung celebrated the opening of its first U.S. home appliance manufacturing facility in Newberry County on Jan. 12, Trump imposed tariffs on imported solar panels along with Samsung and LG washing machines. Samsung called the tariff announcement “a great loss for American consumers and workers,” adding in a statement: “This tariff

Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson has said long-term tariffs could jeopardize jobs at the Sweden-based, Chinese-owned automaker’s new plant near Ridgeville. The company invested $500 million to build its first U.S. production site in South Carolina. Volvo initially will employ 2,000 people to build the new S60 sedan this year in Berkeley County. By 2021, the company plans to double its investment to $1 billion and its workforce to 4,000 people when it begins building the XC90. Half of the cars produced in South Carolina will be for North American markets; the other half will be built for export to European and Asian customers. Volvo also will import vehicles to the U.S. from its plants in Europe and China. “That is a good example of how trade with cars should work in an open and free economy,” Samuelsson said on a recent visit to the S.C. plant for the S60’s unveiling.

Global ramifications Volvo executives and politicians who attended the S60 presentation did not shy away from discussing the tariffs.

Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter said companies in the U.S. and throughout Europe need to export and import supplies and finished products to facilities and customers worldwide, which in turn creates jobs and enables a global supply chain. She said tariffs make European companies hesitant about investing in the U.S. Executives and business groups have said tariffs hurt companies that rely on complex global supply chains and an international customer base, often raising prices for consumers and businesses. “It’s clear that the aerospace marketplace thrives on free and open trade around the world,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told CNBC during the recent Farnborough International Airshow in England. S.C. Chamber of Commerce President Ted Pitts wrote a letter to members of the S.C. congressional delegation urging its members to talk with the Trump administration about reducing tariffs. He said that the state understands the need to scrutinize international trade agreements and trade practices, but he cautioned that large-scale tariffs would hurt S.C. companies.


is a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine. Everyone will pay more, with fewer choices.” In March, the Newberry facility launched its second production line and is now producing both front- and top-load washers. Samsung has said it plans to produce 1 million washing machines at the plant this year. Attempts to reach a Samsung spokesperson produced another company statement in July. “Since the tariff was implemented, U.S. consumers have paid more for their washing machines across all brands,” the statement said. “ … Our commitment to U.S. consumers and our factory in South Carolina has remained unchanged, and we are continuing to supply the strong demand for our premium washing machines.” The company has hired more than 650 workers – 90% from Newberry County and surrounding areas – and has said it intends to hire 954 people by 2020. Samsung, Boeing, Sonoco, Daimler, BMW and Volvo Cars are among the many global companies with S.C. plants that rely on importing supplies and exporting finished goods to customers around the world.



FEATURE STORY www.scbizmag.com


“The administration’s approach to tariffs and trade needs to be broader in thought and more targeted in its application,” Pitts wrote. “Otherwise, it will cost South Carolina jobs as manufacturers do what any business would do: shift production to other facilities around the world where it costs less to do business.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the tariffs threaten 579,000 jobs in South Carolina and more than $3 billion in state exports. Mercedes-Benz Vans, about a 20-minute drive from the Volvo site, is in the process of investing $500 million to expand its Lowcountry automotive campus so that it can build vans from start to finish in the U.S. Since 2006, Mercedes-Benz Vans has been importing disassembled vans from Europe and reassembling them in Ladson for the North American market. The company has said it plans to hire 1,300 people to run the new body shop, paint shop and expanded final assembly plant, all of which are set to open before the end of the year. Germany-based Daimler Group, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz Vans, declined to discuss whether the tariffs could affect hiring in the Lowcountry. The Daimler Group employs around 24,000 people in the U.S., constituting 8% of its global workforce. Some companies will likely pass tariffinduced cost increases to their customers, according to company executives and chambers of commerce. BMW has said it is determining a potential price increase for SUVs sold in China in response to the Chinese tariffs on American-made cars. The X3, X4, X5 and X6 are all made at BMW’s plant in Greer. The company exported 70% of the vehicles made there last year. BMW Manufacturing denied reports that it will move some of its manufacturing out of the U.S. to China in response to rising costs brought on by the tariffs. BMW recently updated its plan related to building a facility in China to assemble the new BMW iX3 model. BMW Group spokesman Kenn Sparks said the automaker first announced those plans three years ago. GSA Business Report editor Ross Norton and Columbia Regional Business Report staff writer Travis Boland contributed to this story.

BEST PLACES TO WORK: LARGE COMPANIES Event photography by Jeff Blake


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 Report 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 research 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 2018.

Sponsored by




TO CHANGE THE FACE OF U.S. WORKFORCE By Steve McDaniel, Associate Editor


T 30

he American workforce is headed for a tipping point very soon. It will change in some very fundamental ways how companies do business, cultivate and retain talent, and plan for the future. Baby boomers, the largest generational workforce in the history of the U.S. economy, are turning 65 at the rate of about 10,000 per day. The counter-culture generation, the one that coined the phrase “Never trust anyone over 30,” the one that staged protests, sit-ins and love-ins in the 1960s and ‘70s, is getting ready to hand over the keys to the economy. Companies in South Carolina, including those on the list of Best Places to Work in 2018, are finding ways to mitigate and plan for the oncoming wave. A recently released U.S. Census report reveals that by 2020, the millennial

generation, those born from 1981 to 1996, will make up the majority of U.S. workers. These younger employees will supplant baby boomers, the 76 million Americans born from the end of World War II through 1964. This so-called Silver Tsunami will continue until at least 2030, when the last of the boomers will reach traditional retirement age. Dale Thrush, executive director of human resources for No. 1 small-medium Best Place to Work, Advoco, said his company is fortunate to be on the younger side of the workforce bell curve. Advoco is a software services firm in Greenville that helps companies improve their efficiency. “Luckily, we’re a younger company,” Thrush said. “We’ve been in business about 15 years and our average employee age is around 35. We generally try to keep a hiring ratio of three younger, inexperienced work-

ers for every experienced one we hire.” Thrush said his company actively seeks ways to transfer the institutional knowledge of older workers to the younger ones. He said a recent surge in hiring has made the benefit of that even more apparent. “We’re currently at 66 employees in Greenville, and 35 of those have joined us in the past year and a half,” he said. “Many of those newer hires are just starting in the workforce, so there are many skills they need to acquire, especially in the face-toface aspects of dealing with clients.” Of course, being older has its advantages. A lifetime of working means a lifetime of learning the ins and outs of a job, information that can’t be measured on spreadsheets or testing metrics. Sharing this not only helps young employees gain valuable insight about their jobs, but also gives more experienced employees a lasting connection


within the company that can continue into retirement. Bill West is a firm member with Columbia accountants Scott and Co., a seven-time Best Places to Work winner. He said younger workers with his company are routinely mentored by older, more experienced staffers, ensuring continuity within the firm and in serving clients. “Every nonmember professional is assigned a member mentor to help guide them through their careers at our firm from the time that they become employed until they become members or leave the firm,” West said. “We also have at least two or three professionals that work on most every one of our clients. By the time a member retires, a younger professional already knows our clients because they have been serving them for years.” West said his company works hard to make sure every employee’s experience is as positive as possible. “We try to create the best work environment that we possibly can for all our employees, from the time they are employed until they leave the firm or retire,” he said. “We continuously improve our work environment to retain our people as long as we possibly can.” Advoco is also among those companies that understand the value of institutional knowledge and of passing it on. “We don’t have a formal mentorship program in place, but we always pair older and younger workers together,” Thrush said. “And that has worked well in terms of teaching some of the younger workers the ropes, so to speak.” Leslie Norris is senior vice president of human resources for Charleston-based S.C Federal Credit Union, also named to the Best Places to Work list. She said her com-

Mentoring is an effective way for companies to ensure that the knowledge and experience of older workers is passed along to younger employees and isn’t lost upon retirement. (Photo/File)

pany strives to help employees balance work and life effectively. To that end, they offer multiple policies and work guidelines, such as part-time or peak-time employment. The company’s benefits package has expanded to include estate planning and retirement benefits to assist with the transition to postwork life. S.C. Federal also focuses on building what it calls bench strength, Norris said. That means providing education and development opportunities at all levels of the operation to help employees reach personal and professional goals. “The Career Coaching and Mentoring Program in the company develops leadership attributes through collaborations such

as mentorships, leadership book clubs, public speaking and business communications courses, group projects and Credit Union League conferences,” Norris said. The importance of recognition on lists such as Best Places to Work is not lost on those responsible for recruiting the new workers who will take the places of those leaving. “The world of recruiting is shifting from traditional recruiting to what is known as ‘network recruiting,’” Norris said. The recruiting team markets S.C. Federal as a Best Place to Work at local college job fairs, career service events, financial literacy seminars, promotion of its unpaid intern program, and through social media campaigns.

In the wake of the Silver Tsunami Here are some policies and benefits companies are implementing as they plan for a major demographic shift in the workforce:

• •

Mentorship programs that pair older employees with younger ones Hiring ratios that maintain a balance of age groups within the company Flex-time and part-time employment options for older workers

• •

Enhanced retirement and other benefits such as estate planning Transition plans to fill key leadership roles, including shadowing, mentoring and consulting options

Marketing strategies to attract new workers that promote work-life balance, growth potential and inclusion on lists such as Best Places to Work





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

1. Edward Jones

City: Florence Employees in SC: 628 Industry: Financial Services – Other


Edward Jones is the nation’s largest financial-services firm in terms of financial advisors and branch offices, with almost 13,000 U.S. locations. Every aspect of the business, from investment types to branch locations, is designed to cater to more than 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 buyand-hold strategy. Edward Jones associates embrace the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment options available today. Each Edward Jones neighborhood branch has a financial adviser and a branch office administrator serving clients where they live and work. These firm associates come to Edward Jones for a career, not a job. They find flexible, family-friendly workplaces near their own homes, satisfying work helping clients achieve their goals, and lots of support by their regions and home-office personnel. Community involvement is encouraged.

diverse group of bright, energetic, passionate employees to serve the membership and to carry out core values daily.

4. T-Mobile USA

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 1,217 Industry: Telecommunications

2. Hire Dynamics

3. South Carolina Federal Credit Union

www.hiredynamics.com Hire Dynamics is an award-winning, industry leading staffing provider for manufacturing, supply chain, e-commerce, logistics, contact/call center and corporate office facilities. The company’s high emphasis on a “What We Do Matters” culture sets it apart from competitors. Employees are always encouraged to focus on helping others with a servant leadership approach. They stay highly involved with various community and nonprofit organizations, and are always trying to make sure to leave a positive impression with anyone who comes into contact with Hire Dynamics. The corporate senior team always backs employees up on any “give-back” project , no matter how big or small.

www.scfederal.org At South Carolina Federal, the employees’ best interest is always at the pulse of strategic decisions. For years, businesses have talked about the importance of employee engagement, but that engagement is a direct reflection of the experience that organizations provide for their people. South Carolina Federal believes it delivers a remarkable employee experience for team members. From the exceptional benefits to the generous paid time off, and from the positive environment to the emphasis on internal promotion and development, the credit union is thrilled to employ a dynamic group of individuals whose tenure almost doubles that of other organizations in the financial services industry. The Talent Acquisition team selects a


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 37 Industry: Staffing


City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 447 Industry: Financial Services – Other

www.t-mobile.com T-Mobile USA sees a clear connection between its success and its ability to respect and value diversity within the organization. The company’s philosophy is that employees with diverse ideas and backgrounds bring innovations that serve customers, communities and teams. T-Mobile offers employees many resources to help promote an inclusive environment including an enterprisewide multicultural calendar that highlights and celebrates various cultural holidays and observances. The employees work in a culture that celebrates the differences that each individual brings to the team, and encourages opportunities to collaborate for the company’s collective success.

5. Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union

www.palmettocitizens.org Palmetto Citizens tries to be the best financial institution for its membership. The staff strives to be a friendly service organization that provides real value to members. The employees feel through Palmetto Citizens they can experience both personal and professional growth and be a success through assisting others. Staff appreciate the focus on educating Palmetto Citizens’ membership and community on basic financial practices and feel with this knowledge they can make a difference in members’ lives. Staff feel they are recognized for their good works within the credit union and the community.


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 277 Industry: Banking

6. Cherry Bekaert LLP City: Greenville Employees in SC: 57 Industry: Accounting

www.cbh.com Cherry Bekaert LLP, located in some of the most desirable locations in the Southeast, is the nation’s 25th largest public accounting firm. For 70 years, the firm has offered professional opportunities and resources normally associated with national firms in an environment that is supportive, flexible, and entrepreneurial, and offers personal growth. The firm selects honest professionals with a passion for excellence, treats them with respect, provides them with training and development opportunities, and then gives them the resources necessary to excel.

7. Terminix Service Inc. City: Columbia Employees in SC: 760 Industry: Pest Control


www.trustterminix.com Founded in 1947, Terminix Service Inc. is a locally owned and operated franchise of Terminix International. In fact, Terminix Service is the largest franchise and is continually recognized among the top 10 pest control companies in the country. But don’t let size overwhelm you. The franchise’s senior leadership is third and fourth generation and its employees are like family. With headquarters are in Columbia, Terminix Service provides exceptional service through 54 branches in western North Carolina, South Carolina and in CSRA Georgia. The company invests in the people and communities where its employees live and work.



8. CPI Security

9. Elliott Davis LLC

10: Life Cycle Engineering

www.cpisecurity.com CPI’s safe and professional work environment nurtures employee growth and development by supporting an atmosphere of learning, teamwork and goal success. Achievements are recognized and rewarded in tangible ways that involve employees. An annual highlight, the President’s Leadership Club trip, rewards top-performing employees for their consistent leadership and engagement. CPI sponsors events that allow employees/families to spend time away from the business setting such as Family Fun Day at Carowinds, Panthers Caravan and local baseball games, races and festivals.

www.elliottdavis.com Elliott Davis is a team of nearly 800 trusted advisers based in thriving Greenville, with nine offices throughout the Southeast. The firm uses its diverse experience to solve rapidly evolving and complex business issues. The firm works to make a positive impact on clients, people and communities, creating forward-thinking solutions along the way. Staff professionals enjoy unlimited Time Away, flexible work options, 12 weeks paid maternity leave, multiple health care options, many company sponsored events and a wellness nurse. In addition, the offices enhance collaboration with open comfortable work stations, large training areas and break rooms.

www.lce.com For 40 years, LCE has provided engineering solutions that deliver lasting results for private industry, public entities, government organizations and the military. The firm’s mission is to enable people and organizations to achieve their full potential. Its vision is to create a work environment where employees develop personally and professionally, and where employees have fun, develop advocate clients by providing valuable services, and create profit for the company. LCE is a strengths-based organization focused on turning individual talents into strengths and then turning those strengths into organizational performance that supports clients’ success.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 118 Industry: Security and Automation Services

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 325 Industry: Accounting

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 117 Industry: Consulting

11. Total Quality Logistics City: Daniel Island Employees in SC: 126 Industry: Transportation

www.tql.com Total Quality Logistics is a fast-paced, energetic sales organization within the transportation industry. TQL arranges the delivery and pickup for business-to-business freight movements across North America. Using its industry expertise along with proprietary technology, TQL specializes in truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal shipping, arranging the movement of more than 1.5 million shipments last year. Founded in 1997, TQL has grown to become the second largest freight brokerage firm in the nation. TQL’s success is rooted in its commitment to dependable service and honest, straightforward customers and carriers.

12. Thomas & Hutton


City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 136 Industry: Engineering


www.thomasandhutton.com At Thomas & Hutton, the firm’s first priority is its people. Powered by passion, the staff are driven for solutions. Through the firm’s craft and ingenuity, its engineers, surveyors, landscape architects, and analysts collaborate with clients to design communities and places. The employees get the best of both worlds — the benefits of working at a large firm on a diverse group of interesting and innovative projects, along with the flexibility of a small firm and the support to pursue new projects and ideas.

13. Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

www.womblebonddickinson.com Womble Bond Dickinson is a transatlantic law firm with more than 1,000 lawyers based in 27 UK and U.S. office locations, including South Carolina. The firm provides core legal services including: commercial, corporate, employment, pensions, dispute resolution, litigation, finance, banking, restructuring, insolvency, IP, technology and data, private wealth, projects, construction and infrastructure, real estate and regulatory law. Team members have opportunities to grow. For example, the Getting to Equity program helps experienced lawyers make the final step to equity status. Firm committees include lawyers from a wide range of experience levels.

14. Mount Valley Foundation Services City: Columbia Employees in SC: 42 Industry: Construction

www.fixmyfoundation.com Mount Valley Foundation Services offers many opportunities to grow personally and professionally. They provide benefits such as 401k match, competitive health care and life insurance. The company operates as a “meritocracy,” where achievement is encouraged and awarded through generous bonuses. To help employees to achieve, Mount Valley Foundation Services provides the proper tools — training, equipment, mentoring, and a platform that rewards quality as well. Team collaboration is encouraged and driven by the theme “Win Together.”

15: TidePointe, a Vi Community City: Hilton Head Employees in SC: 147 Industry: Healthcare – Provider

www.pureinsurance.com PURE’s principles are the foundation of every action and model created at PURE. They are to practice membercentricity by taking any opportunity to create an exceptional member experience and reinforce an alignment of interests with the membership; to use empathy, creativity and urgency to be exceptional; to always do the right thing and be a team player when there is a need; to be obsessed with getting better; and to above all, have fun. From the initial hiring process, PURE seeks these core principles out in each applicant. Emotional intelligence interviews are included as part of the hiring process to assess culture fit and compatibility as well as continued training on emotional intelligence for the organization.

17. SYNNEX Corp.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 759 Industry: Technology

www.synnexcorp.com SYNNEX Corp., a business process services company, provides business-to-business services that help customers and business partners grow and enhance their customer-engagement strategies. With operations in 26 countries, SYNNEX is an industry leader in IT distribution and customer care outsourced services, operating in two business segments: technology solutions and concentrix. SYNNEX is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: SNX) and was ranked 198 on the 2017 Fortune 500 list. SYNNEX puts a huge emphasis on the betterment of its employees as well as giving back to the community, which is the foundation for making it a great place to work.

18. ScanSource Inc. City: Greenville Employees in SC: 723 Industry: Distribution

www.scansource.com ScanSource Inc. is a leading global provider of technology products and solutions, focusing on point-of-sale, payments, barcode, physical security, unified communications and collaboration, cloud and telecom services. ScanSource’s teams provide value-added solutions and operate from two segments, worldwide barcode, networking and security and worldwide communications and services. ScanSource is

19. CarolinaPower

City: Greer Employees in SC: 90 Industry: Construction

www.carolinapower.com Headquartered in Upstate South Carolina, CarolinaPower serves industrial, commercial, health care and federal market sectors in the Carolinas. CarolinaPower is an employee-owned company that embraces the principles of servant leadership. Its people are empowered to grow and are encouraged to continually strive to enhance their careers and personal lives. Established nearly 20 years ago, CarolinaPower now has four offices in South Carolina. Employees are quick to praise the company culture and the genuine respect for people that transcends all levels of the organization.

20. McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture City: Greenville Employees in SC: 211 Industry: Architecture

www.mcmillanpazdansmith.com Today is a great time to be a part of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture. The firm is on the rise, growing its depth of professional services and design impact on regional communities, industry and campuses across the Southeast. The firm is committed to fulfilling a successful and enduring future built on its people – people who love their work and add unique perspective to a larger vision.

21. RealPage Contact Center - Greenville City: Greenville Employees in SC: 225 Industry: Technology

www.realpage.com The RealPage Contact Center is the largest centralized real estate contact center service provider with 15 years of proven expertise in multifamily, senior, single family, vacation, student and military housing. The staff delivers 24/7 value added contact center and technology solutions for thousands of properties optimizing their marketing spend, occupancy, retention and bottom line. We have amazing team members, a strong reference base and a strategic approach to account management.


www.viliving.com Blending a five-star resort and senior living, Vi (formerly Classic Residence by Hyatt) develops, owns and operates luxury continuing care retirement communities across the United States. Vi is dedicated to providing quality environments, services and programs to enrich the lives of older adults. Each of Vi’s communities provides independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care to Vi’s over 5,000 residents. Vi residents are served by the company’s welltrained, tenured and engaged employees.

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 87 Industry: Insurance (non-healthcare)

committed to helping its customers choose, configure and deliver the industry’s best solutions across almost every vertical market in North America, Latin America and Europe. Founded in 1992, the company is headquartered in Greenville, and ranks No. 647 on the Fortune 1000.


City: Columbia, Charleston, Greenville Employees in SC: 118 Industry: Legal

16: The PURE Group of Insurance Companies



22. Select Health of South Carolina City: Charleston Employees in SC: 609 Industry: Healthcare – Insurance/Services

www.selecthealthofsc.com/index.aspx A comprehensive wellness program, robust benefits and a mission-driven culture help make SHSC an employer of choice and best place to work. Select Health’s people are its most valuable resource, with more than 600 associates who daily live the mission to help S.C. members get care, stay well and build healthy communities. In 2017, SHSC focused on improving associate engagement in four key areas: associate well-being, leadership effectiveness, challenging the traditional way of doing things and non-monetary recognition.

23. BAE Systems Inc. City: Aiken Employees in SC: 112 Industry: Defense


www.baesystems.com BAE Systems Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, an international defense, aerospace and security company that delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer


support services. BAE Systems Aiken hosts a workforce with a tenure of over 20 years and less than 1% voluntary turnover. Our employees view each other as family.

24. Ingevity Corp.

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 503 Industry: Manufacturing

www.ingevity.com Ingevity provides specialty chemicals and highperformance carbon materials and technologies that purify, protect and enhance the world around us. Through a team of talented and experienced people, Ingevity develops, manufactures and brings to market products and processes that help customers solve complex problems. Headquartered in North Charleston, Ingevity operates from 25 locations around the world and employs approximately 1,500 people.

25. Charleston Water System

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 421 Industry: Water and Wastewater Utility

www.charlestonwater.com At Charleston Water System the mission is to protect public health and the environment by

providing clean water services. This is a mission that every associate is proud and honored to be a part of. The associates love the community and using their time and valuable resources to helping out where they can. Charleston Water employees go above and beyond in natural disasters, such as hurricanes, snowstorms, flooding and other events to ensure that everyone has access to clean drinking water and sanitation services.

26. South State Bank City: Columbia Employees in SC: 1903 Industry: Banking

www.southstatebank.com South State Bank is a great place to work because it is dedicated to employees’ growth and development. The bank’s employees are the foundation of South State Bank’s success and help service its customers and communities. The employees are not just managing people’s money, they are fueling their dreams and guiding their way. From buying their first house, preparing for new family members, sending children to college, and preparing for retirement, South State’s customers rely on dedicated employees.

The companies are listed by ranking. Small to medium companies have fewer than 250 U.S. employees. The numbers given here are for their employees in South Carolina.

1. Advoco Inc.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 38 Industry: Professional Services www.advocoinc.com It all started with a dream over a decade ago. Since inception in 2002, Advoco’s group of individuals, who each possess contagious enthusiasm, make up a team that strives daily to do something awesome. As the old adage goes, “work hard, play hard,” and Advoco has taken this message to heart. A company of extremely dedicated individuals who together form a vibrant and colorful team, “Advoco-ites” are leaders in the EAM field, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. From weekly wii-bowling tournaments, season tickets to the Greenville Drive, to the annual trip to California to make the Advoco wine, the team knows how to have a good time. Other examples of what sets its culture apart: Fridays are “Frozen Drink Friday” to prepare for the companywide, rewards trip to the tropics. The partners set a revenue goal and the employees either all go on the trip if they hit the goal, or no one goes. In 2016 they went to the Dominican Republic, in 2017 it was the Bahamas, and who knows where 2018 will take them. But for Advoco, culture doesn’t just mean doing fun things together. Professional growth is engrained in their culture as well. In business or technical tracks, they learn from a dynamic workplace with mentorship from a strong leadership team and knowledgeable colleagues. Advoco hosts monthly “lunch and learns” where a different team member each month is responsible for making a presentation to the whole staff.

2. Scott and Co. LLC

3. The Worthwhile Co. Inc. City: Greenville Employees in SC: 19 Industry: Technology www.worthwhile.com

Worthwhile has been improving the Carolinas’ manufacturing and heavy industries with advanced technologies for more than 20 years. From innovation partnerships with corporations like BMW and Michelin to its work at singlelocation manufacturers, their hallmark is helping business leaders obtain clarity on how to leverage digital technologies to achieve their corporate strategy. Worthwhile was the 2015 Greenville Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year and is proud to be part of its thriving downtown and blossoming high-tech community.

4. Spry Methods

City: North Charleston Number of Employees in SC: 21 Industry: Consulting www.sprymethods.com Spry is a certified small business providing enterprise, C4IT, management, and cyber solutions to the federal government and commercial entities. Founded in 2001, Spry is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, and has an office in Charleston. Spry Methods was built on the foundation of combining industry knowledge with unmatched responsiveness to produce results for its customers.


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 23 Industry: Accounting www.scottandco.com Scott and Co. has been recognized as a premier accounting, tax and consulting firm for over 20 years. The firm was founded in 1995 by N. Randolph Scott, CPA, whose vision was to establish a CPA firm whose name would become synonymous with high-quality services. With the help of his partners, Scott built one of the premier accounting firms in South Carolina. Scott and Co. has the expertise needed to perform services for not only small- to medium-sized businesses, but very large companies and organizations as well. Scott and Co.’s team of professionals gets to know clients on a personal level, allowing them to deliver extraordinary service. The accounting

firm prides itself on taking care of what makes their business successful—their employees. The firm promotes a healthy work/life balance for its employees, including flexible scheduling around core business hours and half day Fridays in the summer. During tax season, the firm provides meals, snacks, beverages and chair massages to help alleviate the stress of long hours necessary. Above all, the members at Scott and Co. treat their employees fairly, nurturing individual talents, supporting professional growth, recognizing the importance of a personal life and promoting community involvement.





5. Sentar

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 42 Industry: Defense www.sentar.com Sentar is a small, woman-owned business providing advanced cyber security and information assurance services and related products to customers, primarily within the DOD and Armed Forces. The company’s passion is protecting the nation’s security and way of life, by innovating, building and securing mission critical assets. While Sentar considers itself cyber security specialists, its 28 years of government experience has afforded it the opportunity to build past performance in a wide variety of areas including cyber security, information technology, intelligence, systems engineering/ architecture, and systems test and evaluation.

6. Meeting Street Academy

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 47 Industry: Education www.meetingstreetacademy.org Meeting Street Academy is a groundbreaking initiative dedicated to the creation of a new mandate for education in South Carolina and beyond. MSA was founded upon the belief that all children deserve an excellent education regardless of their geographic or socioeconomic circumstances, and all children can excel in the classroom. Drawing upon the best practices from innovative schools across the country, MSA’s leaders developed this school as a prototype for educational change.

7. HudsonMann

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 16 Industry: Consulting www.hudsonmann.com With over 25 years in business, HudsonMann supports over 450 organizations nationwide at more than 3,000 client sites. With focus on Affirmative Action Plan Compliance and Diversity Metrics, its mission is to increase profitability and decrease liability for its clients through consulting, training and outsourcing. HudsonMann supports federal contractors and subcontractors of all sizes in all industries.


8. Parrish and Partners LLC


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 40 Industry: Engineering www.parrishandpartners.com Parrish & Partners is a civil engineering firm providing consulting services on transportation infrastructure projects. Clients include various airports, municipalities, counties, and state departments of

transportation. The company employs engineers, CADD designers, construction inspectors, and administrative support staff. The organization strives to provide a professional work environment that has a friendly, family feel.

9. Rhythmlink International LLC

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 45 Industry: Manufacturing www.rhythmlink.com Rhythmlink International is a small, privately owned company, one that has been a leader in the medical device field. Rhythmlink designs, manufactures and distributes medical devices and provides custom packaging, private labeling, custom products and contract manufacturing to its customers. The company mission is to enhance patient care worldwide by transforming medical device technology that links patients to equipment.

10. Palmetto Technology Group

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 27 Industry: Technology www.goptg.com Palmetto Technology Group has core values, the things that make the company what it is. They define how the company’s team interacts with customers and how the company interacts and treats employees. The core values include delivering phenomenal experiences; playing to win; without people no profits, without profits no people; and constant learning about its trade, customers and employees themselves. PTG gives team members guidelines on how to execute their work, but believes people work best when given their autonomy.

11. Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island

City: Hilton Head Employees in SC: 141 Industry: Hospitality/Travel/Tourism www.sonesta.com/hiltonheadisland Enjoy the charm and warmth of one of the finest hotels in Hilton Head. Nestled along the coast with stunning 360-degree views and lush landscapes as far as the eye can see, the award-winning Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is a premier destination for getaways, gatherings or business. At Sonesta, team members are valued as individuals who enhance guests’ experiences with their unique skills and contributions.

12. Atlas Technologies Inc. City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 93 Industry: Technology www.atlas-tech.com

Atlas Technologies, Inc. is an innovative provider of leading edge Information Technology solutions to government and industry partners. Its primary focus and experience covers network integration, cybersecurity, software development, engineering and management. Atlas is committed to its customers, partners, employees and community. It has a well-rounded company culture that fosters its workforce to be creative, hardworking and above all, ethical.

13. Mavin Construction

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 33 Industry: Construction www.mavinconstruction.com Mavin Construction is a full-service construction company in Greenville. Its employees deliver unparalleled experience and a relationshipfocused orientation, providing clients with all of the pre-construction, construction and maintenance services needed. At the heart of Mavin is a distinct culture built on personal character and construction expertise.

14. First Reliance Bank

City: Florence Employees in SC: 165 Industry: Banking www.firstreliance.com Founded in 1999, First Reliance Bank already ranks in the top 20 banks in South Carolina with assets of $513 million and approximately 170 employees. The bank’s strong growth rate is attributable to its strategy to deliver exceptional service and innovative programs delivered by highly engaged associates. First Reliance is committed to delivering the highest level of customer service in the financial industry, while recruiting and developing talented people aligned with the company’s vision, purpose, and values.

15. Trehel Corp.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 60 Industry: Construction www.trehel.com The reason Trehel should be considered a best place to work simply begins with its culture. When Neal Workman founded Trehel more than 35 years ago, he created the new company based on the philosophy of caring for both employees and clients. Fostering relationships became its motto and the guiding force in business endeavors. Over the years, Trehel has continued to develop this culture through employee engagement initiatives, team building, enhancing benefit packages and community outreach.

16. SCRA - South Carolina Research Authority

17. Crawford Strategy

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 27 Industry: Advertising/PR/Marketing www.crawfordstrategy.com Crawford Strategy is a full-service marketing and branding agency located in beautiful Greenville. With over 25 employees and valuable industry partners, the agency is known for providing hightouch service and significant results for clients. Crawford Strategy has developed a particular depth of expertise in health care, finance, education and destination marketing. It is an agency of spirited thinkers and doers with an insatiable desire to help rising star brands become unforgettable. Founded only eight years ago with three employees, Crawford has seen quick growth and continuing success.

18. Recruiting Solutions

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 52 Industry: Staffing www.recruitingsolutionsonline.com Recruiting Solutions was established in 1992 as a local, independent, woman-owned staffing and recruiting company. The key to its success has been building quality, long-term partnerships for both client companies and field associates. Through its specialized divisions and dedicated staffing professionals, the company is able to connect client companies with the very best talent.

19. Immedion

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 27 Industry: Manufacturing www.koops.com Koops makes donations of time and money to local school groups (robotics teams etc.) and community organizations. When recruiting, Koops looks for this volunteer attribute in potential candidates. Because Koops is an ESOP company, officials look for ownership mentality when hiring. On a monthly basis, the leadership team reviews strategic plan goals. On an annual basis wage and benefit information and the results of these goals are reviewed. Based on the results, the leadership team and key decision makers review and set annual wage benefits that are competitive.

21. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 77 Industry: Insurance (non-healthcare) www.mma-midatlantic.com Marsh & McLennan Agency is highly efficient in servicing its clients, creating an environment that is united and collaborative. This contributes greatly to its success as an organization that makes employees proud of where they work and what they do. The company offers its associates great benefits, including annual bonuses and better pay than most companies in the industry. Marsh & McLennan is well known for being flexible and encouraging work/life balance.

22. Find Great People

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 64 Industry: Staffing www.fgp.com Since 2003, Find Great People (FGP) has been a nationally recognized talent organization with a platform consisting of direct hire search, temporary talent, human resources consulting, and outplacement services. FGP works with clients ranging from public companies to high growth, entrepreneurial organizations in 44 states and 14 countries from multiple locations across the Southeast.

City: York Employees in SC: 103 Industry: Electric Utility www.yorkelectric.net York Electric Cooperative Inc. (YEC) is an electric utility providing service to more than 57,000 members in four counties in South Carolina. As an electric cooperative, YEC exists for its members. Working for the members is the number one reason why YEC is the best place to work. Employees consider serving others an honor.

24. Central Electric Power Cooperative Inc.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 48 Industry: Electric Cooperative www.cepci.org Central Electric Power Cooperative Inc. is a generation and transmission electric cooperative owned by South Carolina’s 20 distribution electric cooperatives. Central and its members are committed to providing affordable and reliable electricity to over 1.5 million consumer members located in all 46 counties in the state. The cooperative promotes continuous learning and encourages employees to increase not just their professional skills but also to develop personally.

25. Mount Pleasant Waterworks

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 127 Industry: Water and Wastewater Utility www.mountpleasantwaterworks.com Mount Pleasant Waterworks is a public utility that provides water and wastewater service to the Town of Mount Pleasant. Originally founded in 1935, MPW serves approximately 38,000 customers with an average daily usage of 8 million gallons of water per day and 8 million gallons of treated wastewater per day. Its dedicated employees work 24 hours a day 365 days a year to protect public health and the environment.

26. Travel Nurse Across America

City: Florence Number of Employees in SC: 50 Industry: Insurance (non-healthcare) www.nurse.tv Travel Nurse Across America is a staffing agency that places travel nurses on assignments nationwide. It strives to be a “best” place to work, but this accomplishment can only be achieved because of the dedicated employees. Every year at an event called Rally Days, all employees, from across the nation, visit Arkansas for a week of fellowship with coworkers and goal setting. It is a chance for


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 52 Industry: Technology www.immedion.com Immedion’s objective is to keep customer business-critical data and applications available 100% of the time 24x7x365. They accomplish this by coupling world-class data center facilities and a strategic array of managed services developed to deliver the highest degree of reliability at a

20. Koops Inc.

23. York Electric Cooperative Inc.


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 32 Industry: Nonprofit – Other www.scra.org Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, SCRA fosters South Carolina’s Innovation Economy by supporting entrepreneurs, enabling academic research and its commercialization, and connecting industry to innovators. Each of SCRA’s employees is impacting the state of South Carolina.

very competitive price. Since 2007, Immedion has provided its customers with fully redundant power, Internet bandwidth, cooling and humidity control to secure their IT infrastructure. Customers leverage Immedion’s enterprise-class data centers and cloud services to minimize critical computer system downtime.



many remote employees to connect with those they may only see via video chat many months out of the year.

lessly protects close to 4,000 commercial and industrial locations across the U.S., providing a safer work environment while reducing total security costs.

27. Advanced Technology International

31. VC3

City: Summerville Employees in SC: 170 Industry: Professional and Business Services www.ati.org ATI offers an exceptional culture of lifelong relationships, where purpose-driven work makes a difference in the world. ATI is dedicated to helping every employee achieve their highest potential. The balance between approachable and hardworking, know-how and fun; these attributes are reflected in each and every person representing ATI. ATI promotes work-life balance with flexible schedule options and flexible work locations.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 29 Industry: Financial Services – Other www.abacusplanninggroup.com What sets Abacus apart from the crowd is its cultural norms. They believe in committing to radical responsibility by making clear agreements with clients and peers and binding themselves to honor those agreements. Abacus strives to think through the lens of the clients and their goals and worldview rather than their own needs, perspectives or worries.

36. Omatic Software

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 77 Industry: Healthcare – Insurance/Services www.equiscript.com Equiscript is a mission-focused company whose employees are dedicated to the cause of improving access to health care in the communities served. The company’s employees are its greatest strength. Equiscript is a great place to work because of its culture of people who work hard, expect a lot from each other, and deliver beyond expectations.

City: Hanahan Employees in SC: 59 Industry: Engineering www.adcengineering.com ADC prides itself on offering exceptional service not only to its clients, but to its employees as well. Even as it has grown to over 60 employees, the company takes the time to get to know its employees and hear their wants, needs and plans. ADC strives to always provide the best benefits and find ways to make their lives easier both at work and in their personal life.

29. Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, P.A.

33. Quality Business Solutions Inc.

37. CF Evans Construction

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 62 Industry: Accounting www.bpscpas.com Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, PA, is one of the Southeast’s largest and most trusted accounting and consulting firms, using its extensive experience in public accounting and with the IRS to serve a wide range of corporations, privately held companies, health care providers, emerging or start-up firms, nonprofits, and successful individuals. The firm is honored to play such a critical role in the businesses and lives of its clients and also pleased to offer an environment in which its people can grow and flourish professionally and personally.

30. Electric Guard Dog LLC www.scbizmag.com

35. Abacus Planning Group Inc.

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 59 Industry: Technology www.omaticsoftware.com Omatic Software is home to 60 professionals whose passion for nonprofits and technology is at the core of the work they do every day. Since its launching in 2005, over 3,000 nonprofit organizations have worked with Omatic to improve their data collection, hygiene and analysis to move their mission forward. The Omatic team has one goal: unleashing the power of data to show a complete view of donors, enabling data-driven decision making and opportunity creation for today’s nonprofits.

28. Equiscript LLC


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 61 Industry: Technology www.vc3.com VC3 is a dynamic, growing company with more than 20 years of experience providing a full range of customer-oriented information technology solutions and services to both commercial and public-sector customers throughout the Southeast. With headquarters in South Carolina, VC3 has been voted one of the Best Places to Work in SC for every year since 2009.

are: knowledgeable, trustworthy and responsive.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 78 Industry: Services – Other www.electricguarddog.com Headquartered in Columbia, 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. Electric Guard Dog relent-

32. ADC Engineering

City: Travelers Rest Employees in SC: 34 Industry: Payroll, HR and Benefits www.qualitybsolutions.net Founded in 2000, Quality Business Solutions Inc. (QBS) is a 100 percent woman-owned business offering a wide and comprehensive range of integrated, fully-customizable PEO/ASO services, including payroll administration, unemployment management, insurance, benefit administration, human resources, workers’ compensation, tax reporting and more. QBS is located on a 200-acre horse farm in Travelers Rest.

34. KeyMark Inc.

City: Liberty Employees in SC: 77 Industry: Technology www.keymarkinc.com Coming into KeyMark every day presents an opportunity to collaborate with both customers and co-workers. Everything begins with the CEO, Jim Wanner, who is a very positive, happy personality. KeyMark has created guiding principles over the years, but the three that best summarize its charge

City: Orangeburg Employees in SC: 65 Industry: Construction www.cfevans.com CF Evans Construction is a third-generation family owned construction management firm. Focusing exclusively on multifamily construction, the company builds market rate apartments, student housing, senior living communities and affordable housing. CF Evans believes that employees and companies are more successful if they have a reason for coming to work beyond a paycheck.

38. Softdocs

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 76 Industry: Technology www.softdocs.com Founded in 1998 in Columbia, Softdocs is a leading provider of education-focused enterprise content management software including document management, electronic forms and workflow solutions. Its solutions strive to eliminate manual, paper-based processes and increase efficiencies, enterprise-wide.

39. JEAR Logistics LLC

40. PhishLabs

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 97 Industry: Cybersecurity www.phishlabs.com PhishLabs provides 24/7 services that help organizations protect against the cyberattacks targeting their employees and their customers. Top organizations worldwide, including four of the five largest U.S. financial institutions, trust PhishLabs to fight back against cyberattacks targeting their employees and their customers.

41. J. Davis Construction Inc.

City: Westminster Employees in SC: 69 Industry: Construction www.jdavisinc.com J. Davis Construction Inc is a full service commercial and industrial contractor serving the Carolinas and Georgia. The company primarily operates in two divisions. The industrial division assists clients with projects from time and material maintenance support to constructing turn key construction service on additions or new plants. The general contracting division supports clients in K-12, colleges and retail.

42. VantagePoint Marketing

City: Greenville Number of Employees in SC: 182 Industry: Integrated Engineering and Construction www.onealinc.com O’Neal is an employee-owned, nationwide provider of design, construction and facility services for a variety of clients in industrial, manufacturing and process chemical activities. As an employeeowned company, each employee-owner has a vested stake in the business and culture. In addition, O’Neal’s employee-owners are motivated to exceed client expectations and grow the business.

44. Lee Distributors

City: Summerville Employees in SC: 155 Industry: Distribution www.jobs.reyesbeveragegroup.com Lee Distributors sells and distributes nearly 5 million cases of some of the world’s best-known and loved brews along with a number of great craft beers to nearly 2,000 accounts along the Southeast coast of South Carolina and the seven surrounding counties. The company operates from two facilities, one in Summerville and a branch facility in Ridgeland. The company’s No. 1 asset is its people. The company takes pride in the environment provided for employees, so they in turn, will take pride in their work at Lee Distributors.

45. Total Beverage Solution

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 55 Industry: Wholesale www.totalbeveragesolution.com At its core, Total Beverage Solution is dedicated to the growth and full achievement of the potential of its brands, its suppliers and its people. The employees are proud of the high standard expected of themselves and strive to consistently do things the right way. The company’s aim is to be the most effective, trusted, and committed midsized importer and supplier of beer, wine, cider, and spirits in the United States.

46. Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union

City: Myrtle Beach Employees in SC: 82 Industry: Financial Services – Other www.carolinatrust.org Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. The company’s wonderful employee culture goes without saying. Some companies say they promote from within or they have a great culture but Carolina Trust doesn’t need to say it because they do it. The credit union promoted 75% of its company last year in

some form or fashion. External positions are rarely posted because the company is always promoting internally and also hires from the local university, Coastal Carolina University, whenever possible..

47. Hawkes Learning

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 88 Industry: Educational Technology www.hawkeslearning.com Hawkes Learning provides students the opportunity to learn through its college level software and textbooks. Hawkes employees provide support for customers in all areas including training customers on-location, managing student phone calls and chats, and meeting with focus groups to better develop products. Employees gain the same level of exceptional support and care while working at Hawkes. Many professional development opportunities, on-site fitness classes, companywide events such as board game lunches, food trucks and contests remind employees that Hawkes enjoys investing in everyone’s happiness.

48. Young Office

City: Spartanburg Employees in SC: 64 Industry: Services – Other www.youngoffice.com Love how you work. It’s the cornerstone of everything at Young Office, a family owned commercial interiors company founded in 1953. The unique part of the business is getting to live other organizations’ work. The best part of working with outstanding organizations is that Young Office leads, learns and embodies cutting edge design. The company’s culture shines through as companies look to Young Office for inspiration and ultimately showcase their office vision. Employees are empowered to share their ideas and be the change they want to see.

49. A3 Communications

City: Irmo Employees in SC: 90 Industry: Technology www.a3communications.com With offices across the Southeast, A3 Communications is one of America’s fastest growing systems integrators. Founded in 1990, A3 provides a broad range of IT and security solutions for the public and private sectors, including: IP video surveillance; access control; enterprise wireless networking; structured cabling; electrical services; unified communications; network security; managed IT services; virtualization and storage and audio/visual solutions. Their highly certified and experienced staff offers comprehensive support and maintenance available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 27 Industry: Advertising/PR/Marketing www.vantagep.com VantagePoint Marketing is a 25-year-old mid-size B2B marketing and advertising agency that serves companies across the country. In order to make it possible to provide clients with the insight and ideas they value, Vantage Point places a very high priority on professional development, flexible work schedules, in-office perks, and a full suite of benefits, including profit sharing and fully covered health insurance.

43. O’Neal Inc.


City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 89 Industry: Transportation www.jearlogistics.com JEAR provides full and less-than truckload services (refrigerated, dry and flatbed) throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2017, the company celebrated its 10-year anniversary and has been very fortunate to be recognized for its growth along with providing a great work environment.



Ports, Logistics & Distribution

Volvo officials said they hope the S.C.-made vehicle and a presence in the U.S. will continue to boost domestic sales. (Photo/Kim McManus)





olvo Cars has unveiled its new S60 sedan at its automotive campus in Berkeley County, expanding the automaker’s global reach to include vehicle manufacturing in the United States. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who was governor when the state landed the Volvo deal in 2015, attended the June ceremony, along with Gov. Henry McMaster and other elected leaders and economic development officials. Volvo Cars President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson called the S60 unveiling “a historic milestone for our company.” Volvo officials have said the decision to manufacture in the United States was, in part, an effort to boost previously lagging domestic sales. See VOLVO, Page 44

S.C. DELIVERS Volvo employees celebrated the S.C.-made S60 sedan, produced in the new body, paint and final assembly facilities at the Berkeley County site. (Photos/Kim McManus)

VOLVO, from page 42


The Volvo site was built on about 1,600 acres of the Camp Hall tract, near rural Ridgeville off Interstate 26 at exit 187. By 2021, the Lowcountry campus is expected to employ at least 4,000 people and produce


two vehicles — the S60 sedan by the end of the year, and the XC90 in 2021. South Carolina beat out other states for the massive economic development deal in a competitive race for the investment, jobs and suppliers that typically follow the establishment of a new automotive or aerospace

production site. This is the first car production site in the Lowcountry to manufacture a car from start to finish. Mercedes-Benz Vans will follow suit by the end of the decade when it changes its van production process from import and reassembly to full production. BMW


Volvo vehicles are transported between buildings via overhead tunnels and ramps during the production process.


Manufacturing Co. has produced BMWs in the Upstate for more than two decades. The Volvo Car Charleston Plant is about 40 miles from the Columbus Street Terminal in downtown Charleston, where S.C.made vehicles headed for global markets will be loaded onto cargo ships. Vehicles intended for North American customers will be loaded onto trains headed inland. The site is now ahead of its hiring schedule and in the pre-production phase for the S60, said Katarina Fjording, Volvo’s vice president of manufacturing and logistics for the Americas. The company plans to employ 2,000 people and head into full production of the S60 sedan by the end of the year. Fjording managed the launch of the site, overseeing facility construction, supplier recruitment and hiring. She will transition into a new role, and Jeff Moore will run the site going forward. Officials representing the company and the Swedish government have said the Trump administration’s new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum could hurt their global supply chain and production facilities. Volvo, a Chinese-owned, Sweden-based company, operates plants in Europe, China and now the U.S. Sweden Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter said at the unveiling that the S.C. plant signifies the strong relationship between the United States and Sweden, noting that Sweden is the 15th-largest investor in the United States. Olofsdotter said the steel and aluminum tariffs worried her. She said trade regulations should strengthen the bonds between the U.S. and Europe, not weaken them.

Machinery, tooling and robots are in place ahead of full production that was scheduled to begin in August. Robots and workers operate in tandem.




By Liz Segrist, Staff Writer

Port of Charleston handles record cargo in fiscal 2018


he Port of Charleston saw its busiest cargo volumes in its history during fiscal 2018, which ended June 30, S.C. Ports Authority CEO Jim Newsome reported. Newsome said the end of the year marked the port’s highest cargo volumes to-date, with a record number of boxes coming through in the past three out of four months. The port moved 115,696 pier containers in June, up 11.2% from the same period last year.

From July 2017 through June, the port terminals handled 2.20 million TEUs, a common industry measurement representing 20-foot equivalent boxes. This is up 2.9% from fiscal 2017. The port handled 1.25 million pier containers, or boxes of any size, during fiscal 2018, up 3.6% from the year prior. Breakbulk cargo is down year-over-year. Newsome said the decrease is mostly from BMW shipping fewer vehicles as it prepares to build a new car model at its plant in Greer.

This decline also impacted volumes at the Inland Port in Greer, which moves cars via train from the Upstate car plant to Columbus Street Terminal on East Bay Street in Charleston. The Port of Charleston is ranked No. 9 among the top 10 U.S. container ports when measuring TEU volumes, according to the American Association of Port Authorities. Charleston grew 8% from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2017. The Port of Savannah, ranked No. 4, grew 7% during that period.

Historical pier container volumes 1,400


Pier Containers (in thousands)












957 973 782








200 11%
























0 FY2002 FY2003 FY2004 FY2005 FY2006 FY2007 FY2008 FY2009 FY2010

Source: S.C. Ports Authority


Staff Report


Synergy Steel plans manufacturing operation in Lancaster



ynergy Steel is investing $2.8 million toward a new operation in Lancaster County in a move projected to create 139 new jobs. The light gauge steel manufacturing company uses 3D modeling software to construct products to help rising construction costs and skilled labor shortage. “We are very pleased the company has selected Lancaster County as their home,” Jamie Gilbert, executive director of the

Lancaster County Department of Economic Development, said in a news release. “Metal fabrication is one of our strengths, so Synergy Steel should do very well here.” The new 32,000-square-foot facility will be located at 1312 Camp Creek Road in Lancaster. It will manufacture steel studs, engineered floor and roof trusses and wall panels for the construction industry. “Combining light gauge steel manufacturing with the newest framing and

panelization techniques provides our clients competitive advantages,” Al Iagnemma, chief operating officer of Synergy Steel, said. “We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the growing success of Lancaster County and look forward to being part of and giving back to the community.” Hiring for new positions is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2018. Interested applicants can visit the company’s website, www.synergysteelstructures.com.

Staff Reports




“He has the experience to accelerate what is working very well today at Milliken.” Cook has held leadership roles at United Technologies and Legrand North America. He has a degree in economics and English from the University of the South and an MBA from University of Virginia.


ujifilm Manufacturing USA Inc., one of the manufacturing locations for Tokyo-based Fujifilm Corp., will expand its existing operations in Greenwood County. The company’s $3.9 million investment is projected to create 67 new jobs, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Commerce. Fujifilm is a manufacturer of industrial and commercial imaging products. The company operates five manufacturing facilities on its 500-acre campus at 211 Puckett Ferry Road near Lake Greenwood. This expansion to Fujifilm’s 2.5-millionsquare-foot plant will allow for the assembly of electrical parts for inkjet printer heads for a sister company, Fujifilm Dimatix. Hiring for the new positions was expected to begin by the end of August. “Fujifilm Manufacturing is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Greenwood this year, and I cannot think of anything better for our associates, the community and the company than to announce this expansion, which demonstrates Fujifilm’s continued commitment to Greenwood County,” Fujifilm Manufacturing USA President Todd Croker said in a statement. “We appreciate the support from the state and local governments, as well as the Greenwood Partnership Alliance for facilitating investments in existing industries.” The Fujifilm announcement is the second recently from a Japanese company investing in Greenwood County. Teijin Holdings USA broke ground June 1 on a $600 million carbon fiber plant. Officials at that ceremony said Teijin’s decision to build in Greenwood County came with an endorsement from Fujifilm, which is located across the road.

J. Harold Chandler, who returns to his role as chairman of the board of directors. Cook comes to Spartanburg-based Milliken from Sonepar USA, a family-owned global distributor of electrical products and related parts in Pennsylvania, where he served as president and CEO.


Fujifilm expanding Milliken & Co. names new president “The board of directors is confident alsey M. Cook has been named Greenwood County that Halsey is the right leader for Milliken’s president and CEO of Milliken & next era,” Chandler said in a news release. Co., effective Sept. 1. He will replace operations


1,000 WORDS


Do you need to put life in perspective? Take a look at the Milky Way, visible in S.C. from March to October, as seen from Folly Beach. Our galaxy is about 100,000 light years across with a massive black hole at its center. Earth orbits just one of its 200 billion stars. (Photo/Kim McManus)


Profile for SC BIZ News

2018 SCBIZ Fall  

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

2018 SCBIZ Fall  

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