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Fall 2019

Hello, world Women’s Open, other high-profile events provide invaluable global exposure for S.C.

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County Spotlight: Greenville | Trending: Aerospace in S.C. | S.C. Delivers

Table of

CONTENTS FROM THE COVER: AEROSPACE IN S.C. 10 Emerging technologies help manage cost, weight issues in aerospace manufacturing

22 Preparation for aerospace jobs begins early for students in South Carolina

26 F-16 finds new life, new home in Greenville 29 Manufacturing conference coming to Lowcountry Left: Dr. Abdel Bayoumi (center) and students at the McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research at USC check a panel created with the Automated Fiber Placement machine before it is cured in the autoclave. (Photo/McNair Center) Cover photo: Jeongeun Lee6 won the U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston. Organizers said the multiday event brought millions in income and exposure to the Charleston region and South Carolina. (Photo/Kim McManus)





18 THE LONG GAME Women’s Open impact extends beyond weeklong tournament




Marketing Main Street SC cities focus on enhancing, renovating downtown areas



Celebrating excellence in South Carolina business

S.C. cities focus on enhancing, renovating downtown areas

DEPARTMENTS 6 Upfront www.scbizmag.com

10 Research SC


12 County Spotlight: Greenville 42 S.C. Delivers 48 1,000 Words

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION SCBIZ reaches thousands of South Carolina’s top decision-makers. Add your name to the list by ordering a print subscription to SCBIZ. Your subscription also includes SCBIZ Daily. Delivered to your e-mail inbox each weekday morning, SCBIZ Daily is your link to statewide business news. One year for $49.50; two years for $79.50, three years for $115.50.

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South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth

Dear Reader,


South Carolina’s aerospace industry has become vital to our state’s economic health. What is now a $24.8 billion industry spans the Palmetto State from the Piedmont to the Lowcountry. Lockheed Martin is building the Air Force’s next-generation F-16 in Greenville, Boeing is producing 787s from the ground up in North Charleston, and a host of support and third-party companies have established operations in the state connected to those aerospace giants. Inside this issue of SCBIZ, you’ll find an in-depth look at what’s going on within the aerospace industry in our state. Lockheed Martin in Greenville is in the midst of two new, billion-dollar contracts to build “Block 70” F-16s for the nations of Bahrain and Bulgaria. We have an update on those projects and their impact on the Upstate. The University of South Carolina’s McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research is on the forefront of research and development in aerospace technology, and we take a look at what’s going on Steve McDaniel there and in several other programs across the state. Editor, Secondary and post-secondary schools have added curriculum to SCBIZ Magazine train new generations of skilled workers in high demand in aerospace, automotive and other related manufacturing industries. We detail some of the numerous programs that are in place and expanding at schools across the state to meet those needs. Golf continues to be a key piece of our state’s tourism industry. The latest high-profile event, the U.S. Women’s Open, was held earlier this year at the Country Club of Charleston. We have a story on the benefits of worldwide exposure and influx of tourism dollars from that event. Also, the South Carolina Manufacturing Conference is coming to the Lowcountry for the first time in October. We have a preview of what’s planned for the state’s largest gathering of the manufacturing industry this year at the Charleston Area Convention Center. Inside you’ll find the semiannual Cities Mean Business section, published with our partners at the SC Municipal Association. This issue focuses on downtown enhancements to draw residents and visitors into the increasingly livable, walkable and entertaining central business districts. And we also devote a large section of this issue to the annual Best Places to Work, sponsored by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce and SC Biz News. Learn all about the 75 companies across the Palmetto State that were named winners and why their employees love to work there. The fall issue of SCBIZ magazine is packed with a variety of economic news and information. We hope you find much of interest in these pages, and we thank you for being a loyal reader and for your role in making South Carolina a dynamic player in the national and global economy.

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VIEWPOINT Is the rise of technology hastening the fall of polite society?



ere’s something new — I read an interesting article the other day about how food delivery apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub are changing the restaurant industry in some of the major metros. Basically, users can order online through the apps and have a meal delivered to their doors. Delivery isn’t anything new. What’s new is that the proliferation of users of these apps is posing both opportunities and challenges for restaurateurs. There is a growing number of entrepreneurs launching onlineonly restaurants, which don’t need investment in prime bricks-and-mortar locations, decorations and wait staff. Conversely, existing restaurants are under pressure as more of their take-out customers convert to using the convenient food delivery apps,



which charge the restaurant anywhere from 15 to 30 percent per order, eroding a significant portion of an already thin margin. Is this the beginning of the end for restaurants? Here’s something old — manners. And by manners, I mean the Southern type. If you, like me, were raised in the South, you instantly know what I mean, and chances are extremely high your mother comes to mind. I distinctly recall my mother sitting me down and informing me I was now old enough to acquire them. A quick side note — there was a distinction between this new endeavor and the more mundane cracking down on sass. Sass was dealt with swiftly, as it occurred, more akin to the swatting of flies.

No, this was different. It wasn’t a lecture. It was a proposition delivered with both a carrot and a stick. The carrot was intriguing: If I was ever invited to eat dinner with the Queen, I would know which glass to drink from and fork to use, and could, therefore, enjoy my dinner without embarrassment to myself or family. Through my 10-year-old eyes, pending dinner with the Queen seemed entirely plausible. The stick was horrifying: If I didn’t learn manners within an allotted time, I would be sent to Cotillion. I didn’t know what Cotillion was, but the name itself and visions of old ladies in petticoats beating manners into me with folded fans were enough to send shivers down my spine. So learn manners I did. With the passage of time, I’ve come to grips with the realization I will likely never dine with the Queen. Nor have I ever determined which queen’s invitation I’ve been lacking. I do, however, use my Southern manners every day. I display them proudly as if they were a medallion or a sharp new suit. And nowhere more so than eating in restaurants. Which brings me back around to apps. I fervently hope the restaurant business isn’t the next industry to be felled by technology. Without restaurants and the rituals associated with being a guest or a host, placing orders, interacting with wait staff, et cetera, what will be left of polite society? We, aided by apps and online anonymity, have already lost all our manners in the arenas of finding a mate and civil discourse. This isn’t how our mammas raised us. Grady Johnson President and Group Publisher, SC Biz News

UPFRONT regional news | data

Exercise Dragon Lifeline brings military assets to S.C.


ultiple military branches converged on Charleston recently for an annual training exercise meant to test their readiness to work together when called to action. The training, called Exercise Dragon Lifeline, involved the 841st Transportation Battalion from Joint Base Charleston, the 437th Airlift Wing from Joint Base Charleston, Naval Support Activity Charleston from the joint base and the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command is responsible for deploying on short notice to any area of operation or joint area of operation in the world to support XVIII Airborne Corps and Northern Command. The first phase of the exercise involved soldiers conducting rail and port operations at Joint Base Charleston, practicing loading

Joint Base Charleston was part of a recent training exercise to test readiness for rapid delivery of support materiel in military operations around the world. (Photo/ Patrick Hoff)

and unloading vehicles and other cargo from ships and rail transport. The second phase included C-17 Globemaster III airlifts out of Joint Base Charleston to deliver heavy equipment to Fort Bragg and Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

FAST FACTS | Aerospace in S.C. 355

Aerospace companies in South Carolina.


South Carolinians working in the aerospace sector.

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$24.8 billion

Estimated economic impact aerospace had on the state in 2018, up from $19 billion the year prior.


Source: The Economic Impact of Aerospace in South Carolina, 2018 study

Though this type of exercise is annual, Dragon Lifeline involved approximately 500 service members and 200 pieces of equipment, more than double the number of service members and amount of equipment involved last year.

Aerospace wages The sector provides some of the highest-paying jobs across the Southeast.

State Average wages

Virginia $86,111 Tennessee $83,900 South Carolina $82,870 Georgia $82,852

North Carolina $79,712

Florida $76,502 Alabama $74,508 Mississippi $59,857 Source: Aerospace Industries Association


Coastal Crust joins growing Village of West Greenville Coastal Crust’s transition from full-service catering to a full-service restaurant has allowed Coastal Crust Greenville to expand its menu and footprint in the community. (Photo/Teresa Cutlip)

includes pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and dried pastas, the release said. “We chose the Village of West Greenville a few years ago as a perfect location for our business,” Coastal Crust business partner Bryan Lewis said. “We started by purchasing 1180 Pendleton St. to locate our operations for our catering business. After a few years here we knew we wanted to build our first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Greenville in the same neighborhood. We have really enjoyed this community and look forward to growing with the area.” Once a neighborhood in decline, the



oastal Crust Greenville is the latest addition to a growing Village of West Greenville. The Charleston-based pizza catering company has opened a brick-and-mortar location at 1254 Pendleton St. The catering company expanded to Greenville in 2016 with plans to open a restaurant location. The transition from full-service catering to a full-service restaurant has allowed Coastal Crust Greenville to expand its menu and footprint in the community, according to a news release. The company’s Greenville truck is a restored 1955 Chevy outfitted with a wood-fired Mugnaini pizza oven offering an Italian menu on wheels. The truck is available for catering in the greater Greenville area. The menu is inspired by traditional Italian cooking with ingredients being the focus of the dishes. Fresh, locally sourced produce and humanely raised meats are offered daily. Additionally, the restaurant features a small retail section offering a selection of imported Italian pantry staples. The marketplace

Village of West Greenville is developing into much more than the art district label attached to it. In addition to the more than a half dozen art galleries and studios, the area has a variety of shops and restaurants. Poe West is a $9.5 million, 57,000-square-foot, mixed-use property being developed in the village. It will be anchored by the Greenville Technical College Center for Culinary and Hospitality Innovation. Announced tenants at Poe West include Carolina Bauernhaus, LaRue Fine Chocolate and Six & Twenty Distillery. The Furman Co. is developing Poe West.





Variance paves way for new Vista hotel



he Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals has approved a height variance for a proposed 11-story boutique hotel in the Vista. Hotel Anthem, being developed by the Columbia-based Arnold Companies at 800 Gervais St., will be part of Hilton’s Tapestry brand of boutique hotels. The full-service hotel will include 150 high-tech rooms, a rooftop bar and terrace, a lobby-level restaurant and bar and an underground “speakeasy,” the company said in a news release. Information provided to the zoning board shows that the property will consist of three commercial buildings totaling 165,079 square feet on a 379,890-squarefoot lot. The proposed design includes a hotel tower that will be parallel to the Adluh Flour silo. The total height of the hotel is estimated at 133 feet, with a portion encroaching into the 80-foot height buffer area of the mixed-use Innovista urban plan. The zoning board recommended grant-

A rendering of the proposed Hotel Anthem at 800 Gervais St., an 11-story hotel that would be part of the Hilton Tapestry boutique brand. (Rendering/ Provided)

ing the variance, saying that it would not be detrimental to adjacent property or the public good and finding that the requested relief is the “minimum necessary to make use of the property in question.” “I’m excited about bringing this project of this quality and scope to my hometown,” Arnold Companies CEO Ben Arnold said in the release. “Columbia will always be my home, a special place with fond memories of my childhood. The city and its residents

have been very good to me and my family over the years.” The hotel site is near the former location of now-closed Tin Lizzy’s Cantina. The hotel will be built behind a historic one-story railroad depot that will not be developed, according to the application, and will feature pedestrian plazas and walkways. Developers are investing $40 million in the hotel, which is expected to create 125 permanent jobs, according to the release.

City of Columbia names new executive

T Henry Simons has been named Columbia’s assistant city manager for operations. (Photo/Provided)

versity of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Benedict College. “I am very thankful for an opportunity to work for the City of Columbia,” Simons said. “I look forward to working with our city leaders and our community to make a difference in the lives of our citizens.”

he Greenville Revitalization Corp. has received a $7,500 grant from Wells Fargo for the Greenville Textile Heritage Park. The Greenville Revitalization Corp. has finished construction of the parking lot and children’s playground at the park and has begun construction of the Mill Walk. The park will honor Greenville’s textile heritage and remember the life in the old mill villages “while providing much needed recreation space to the community,” according to a news release. “I want to thank Wells Fargo for our first grant dedicated to the construction of the museum and event center,” Amy Coleman, board chairwoman for the Greenville Revitalization Corp., said in the release. “Over the years the bank has been a regular contributor to our efforts to build this park and to improve the lives of the people who live in the textile crescent. Their continued financial support and encouragement has allowed us to steadily increase our efforts to bring economic opportunity back to the textile crescent area. They have been terrific community partners.”



enry Simons, formerly system director of support services for Palmetto Health, has been named Columbia’s assistant city manager for operations. Simons began his new position in mid-August. He will oversee city departments including parks and recreation, fleet services and the Columbia-Richland communications center. “We are excited that Henry Simons has joined our executive management staff, and we look forward to working with him to make the city’s operations team even stronger,” Teresa Wilson, Columbia city manager, said in a news release. “We are always focused on ways to improve efficiency and increase effectiveness, and Henry’s vast experience will certainly move us closer to the level of excellence that we are working to achieve.” In his Palmetto Health role, Simons led six support departments in four hospitals within the former Palmetto Health system, now Prisma Health. He has a master’s degree in health care administration from the Uni-

Wells Fargo gives grant for Textile Heritage Park



Research S.C. 3-D printing, advanced materials front and center By Jim Tatum, Associate Editor




any people like to point out that a smart phone has something like 32,000 times the computing power of the computers used in the Apollo moon landings. This is true – and amazing – but it’s only one bullet point in a much larger, continuing story: how modern technologies are leading the charge into the future. In South Carolina, where aerospace is the second largest industrial sector, some truly incredible things are happening. The idea that if you can dream it, then you can build it, is alive and well in the Palmetto State. One of the most interesting and innovative technology areas is that of additive/ subtractive manufacturing. More people are hearing about 3-D printing, but not as many understand what it is or how it works. 3-D printing, more properly known as additive manufacturing, involves building an object created using Computer Assisted Design (CAD) technology by extruding many layers of raw material such as plastic, metal, carbon fiber and others. The opposite of 3D printing is subtractive manufacturing, which is done on machines run by Computer Numerical Control (CNC). The object to be created is also designed via CAD applications, but instead of building it layer by layer, the object is produced by removing layers from raw material, a process analogous to sculpting in stone. Global aerospace manufacturer Boeing uses additive manufacturing to support its production system. According to company spokespersons, 3-D printing offers reduced cost and weight in the production of lightweight structures, with reduced assembly

Dr. Abdel Bayoumi, director of the McNair Center, stands beside a fully operational Apache helicopter that is used for a variety of research and development functions, including virtual technologies and predictive maintenance activities. Parts can be engineered and manufactured using Computer Aided Design and additive (3-D printing) manufacturing or subtractive manufacturing technologies. (Photo/Jim Tatum)

and faster production. Boeing has installed more than 60,000 3-D printed parts on commercial and defense aircraft. In 2017, Boeing designed and installed the first 3-D printed structural titanium part on a commercial airplane, the 787 Dreamliner, which at the time was partially made in South Carolina. The most recent 787 iteration, the Dash-10, is wholly manufactured at the North Charleston facility. Boeing said 3-D printing enables simplicity in prototyping, low-cost iteration on designs and simple end-use solutions, such as improvements and customizations to hand tools that wouldn’t be possible with traditional fabrication techniques. Boeing also utilizes 3-D printing in its Innovation Cell, a location in its factories that is dedicated to addressing issues that

mechanics come across in production.

Emerging technology training As the research yields more innovation, schools and organizations across the state are finding more ways to bring useful learning experiences to their students. At Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI), students as young as elementary school are offered learning experiences through programs such as day camps. High school students can earn dual credit and work with college and graduate students on real-world projects. At Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Southeastern Institute for Manufacturing Technology (SiMT), students use additive and subtractive technologies to fulfill orders from clients across the country for

Challenges ahead

manufacturing, however, there are still issues to be resolved. Also, he noted that the technology is meant to augment, rather than replace existing technologies. “We have the ability to make all these wonderful, complex things, but there are flaws, such as print flaws, that may be indiscernible,” Bergs said. “Another issue, the biggest issue for thin wall structures, is layerto-layer strength. You can print this beautiful part, but how do you keep it from failing?”


Andrew Fox, SiMT Additive Lab Manager, acknowledged there are still some issues to solve. For one, 3-D scanning technology has not caught up with 3-D printing. Part of the challenge is that there is currently no easy, inexpensive method to transfer detailed information from a 3-D scan to a parametric CAD file, he said. The University of South Carolina’s McNair Aerospace Center started out as a R&D facility specializing in composite technologies. In 2018, the center increased its physical space to house additional aerospace related activities. The expanded research focus now includes a variety of disciplines and industries and in several areas of research and development, including materials, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, predictive maintenance, virtual reality technologies, drone technologies, and additive/subtractive manufacturing, McNair Aerospace Center Director Dr. Abdel Bayoumi said. Indeed, development and refinement of materials is an important area, not only for aeronautics, but across industries and disciplines. Arturs Bergs, an engineer with TIGHitco, a design-build manufacturing firm, has been involved with a R&D project in partnership with the McNair Center working with 3-D printing using some of these materials. Bergs said the technology provides great creative opportunities for

Metal chess pieces manufactured by subtractive manufacturing technology. The pieces were milled in CNC-operated milling machines at Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation. (Photo/Jim Tatum)

Bergs and his team came up with a solution: a robotic arm that works as a 3-D printer. “With the robotic arm extruding materials, we can reinforce and produce parts with significantly increased mechanical properties,” Bergs said. TIGHitco, in partnership with Ingersoll Machine Tools, who built the industrial version of these machines, plans to install the first of these machines in its North Charleston plant, by the end of the third quarter 2019, Bergs said. Ultimately, however, people need to understand that this is an additional technology, not a replacement technology. “There are applications we already do that we don’t need to re-invent,” Bergs noted. “We have the capability to make many things for the aerospace industry — the materials we print are rated for aerospace industry standards. We have the capability to do many things, we have applications which we plan to pursue, but this is where we must determine the best and most logical use of this process and technology.”


lightweight, customized parts using a wide variety of materials, including aerospacerated carbonite materials, polymers and metals, SiMT Associate Vice President Tressa Gardner said. “We’ve done some great projects across many sectors,” Gardner said. “We even did a job producing replicas of fossils for a museum that wanted to keep the originals preserved safely elsewhere. The applications are truly endless.” The aerospace sector, especially, needs custom parts made from strong, lightweight materials, from titanium airframe parts to small, specialty parts, she said. “Even replacing plastic components in an (aircraft) seat with honeycomb infrastructure can save weight while maintaining strength,” Gardner said. “It all adds up.”


county spotlight


Downtown Greenville’s skyline is representative of a vibrant, active blend of past and present, historic and modern, local and international influences and energies.

GREENVILLE COUNTY FLYING HIGH By Jim Tatum, Associate Editor | Photos provided by Greenville Area Development Corporation


nyone passing through the Upstate probably cannot help but be astounded by Greenville County’s dramatic growth. Its downtown skyline continues to add beautiful,


even world-class elements with astonishing frequency. A youthful


population teems throughout the area, bringing a unique blend of

Greenville Cou by the numbersnty



ideas and prosperity. Everywhere one looks, it seems as though new

Per capita income..

construction or more renovation is going on, from old homes and

Median household

buildings in previously up-and-coming areas to massive infrastructure

Median age..............


Source: U.S. Cens

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............... $29,132

income .....$53,73 ................... 38.2

us Bureau




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COUNTY SPOTLIGHT: GREENVILLE Falls Park on the Reedy is a showcase for sustainable urban life and an oasis for downtown Greenville. Located in the historic West End, the park offers a wide variety of activities for public enjoyment and contributes to the area’s high quality of life.


Greenville County is an area on the move. And yet, while it may seem to some like so much has changed overnight, careful planning, long-term vision and tightly focused collaboration are key elements of Greenville County’s flight plan for success. And the name of that plan is economic development. “Unlike many places, Greenville County has a large cross-section of high-end industries,” said Kevin Landmesser of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the official economic development orga-


nization launched by Greenville County Council. “We want more, we aspire to have more, and we are uniquely positioned to do so because of the industries that are already here.” Thanks to that planning, Greenville County is in a strong position to continue these trends, he said. “Strategically, we have a narrower focus of core industries we actively recruit,” Landmesser said. “In fact, one thing that works to Greenville County’s advantage is that we don’t try to be all things to all people. We’re

An aerial shot of the Furman University campus. Furman, located near downtown Greenville, is one of several premier educational institutions in the area.

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happy to work with anyone and we will do what we can, however, there is very sound decision-making that has gone into our target industries.” Greenville and the Upstate would see a fresh infusion of industrial diversity with the arrival of such companies as Michelin, BMW, Lockheed-Martin, Bosch Rexroth, and others. And that infusion of intellectual and monetary capital started something of a domino effect, attracting more of the same. Quality of life amenities, from arts to medical care, increase in opportunities and

An aerial shot of Greenville’s West End, featuring Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive baseball team, a single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

COUNTY SPOTLIGHT: GREENVILLE A large redevelopment project is underway along Greenville’s University Ridge.


Automotive and aersopace are two thriving manufacturing sectors in Greenville County, employing thousands of workers in the Upstate.


The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research provides valuable professional development and education in the automotive industry, thanks to a unique public/private partnership.

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quality. A very reasonable cost of living also plays into the area’s overall attraction. “The quality of life here is high because those who came here with BMW, GE, Michelin, etc. demanded it,” Landmesser said. “We really have it all — outdoor amenities, arts, high-end restaurants and hotels, great neighborhoods and places to live. It’s this unique blending of attributes that make this area so attractive.” Today, Greenville County boasts several thriving core industrial sectors, including automotive, advanced materials, biosciences and aerospace/aviation. Lockheed-Martin, who announced in May that it would build F-16 fighter jets here, is the most recent addition to Greenville County’s aerospace industrial sector, joining such companies as ACL Airshop, Aeronautica LLC, Avenger Aerospace, BMI Corp., GE Aviation, Honeywell, and KTM solutions, to name just a few. Ultimately, the most important element to these successful economic development efforts are people and factors that brought all the elements together, Landmesser said. That takes true across-the-board collaboration, something many talk about, but few actually accomplish. A dramatic example of that can be seen, in real time, in efforts in education and workforce development. “I cannot crow enough about Greenville County schools and education system,” he said. “From the public school system to the colleges, universities and technical schools, they have done some truly great things.” From Clemson and BMW’s automotive research center to so many other efforts, Greenville County is reaping major benefits. One example of that collaborative spirit is the Greenville Technical College Center for Manufacturing Innovation, he said. The need for a trained, work-ready labor force has been the most immediate priority for manufacturers. The CMI was launched just a few years ago to meet that need. It continues to greatly exceed all expectations. CMI, a 100,000 square foot facility, is the result of partnerships between Greenville Technical College, Clemson University, the Greenville County public school districts, and a number of major corporations — BMW, Kuka, Bosch, and Michelin, to name a few — all of whom have significant invest-

COUNTY SPOTLIGHT: GREENVILLE Automotive and health care/biosciences are both important industrial sectors in Greenville County’s business community. Two key members of those sectors and the community are Michelin (above left) and Prisma Health (above right, top and bottom).

ment in Greenville County and the Upstate. “Generally, students who come here are going into our manufacturing engineering program,” Kelvin Byrd, Dean of Greenville Tech’s School of Aviation, Construction and Transportation Technologies and interim director of CMI, said. “From mechatronics and Research and Development to advanced materials technologies, they get the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment — tools they will actually use in the real world — and they work on real-world projects and find solutions to real-world challenges.” The placement rate for new graduates is very high. Students who earn mechatronics certifications, for example, currently have a 98 percent job placement rate after graduation. One exciting new developmen is the recent announcement that Greenville Tech will soon offer a four-year advanced

manufacturing technology degree program at CMI, the first technical college in South Carolina to do so, Dr. Jermaine Whirl, Vice President for Learning and Workforce Development, said. The degree will combine elements of other degree programs, including engineering, manufacturing and management. The program, which came about largely at the request — and lobbying efforts — of prominent manufacturers, including Michelin North America, Bosch Rexroth, GE, JTEKT, Renishaw, Southern Weaving, and FGrame Spray North America, is designed to give general, practical knowledge of several disciplines unique to manufacturing. “The manufacturers basically told us this is the type of education and background needed. This program will not duplicate any other programs offered by a four-year institution and will be very different from

A spec building project underway in Southchase Industrial Park, located in the town of Fountain Inn in Greenville County.

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A spec building project underway near the town of Mauldin in Greenville County.

a traditional bachelor’s degree,” Whirl said. “The degree will be technical in focus with a project-based curriculum. Learning will be active, engaging, and hands-on.” Another important partnership is Greenville Tech’s Aircraft Maintenance Center. As in manufacturing, the aerospace industry is experiencing an acute shortage of aircraft technicians in a variety of roles. In order to help meet that need, Greenville Technical College offers aircraft maintenance programs at its Aircraft Maintenance Center, which, thanks to a partnership with the SC National Guard, relocated in 2018 to a $22 million, 95,000 square foot state-ofthe-art facility on Perimeter Road. “When we moved, we tripled the size of our facility and increased our enrollment capacity,” Center director Carl Washburn said. “We have the space, we have the equipment, all we need now are the students.”


COVER STORY www.scbizmag.com


THE LONG Women’s Open impact extends beyond weeklong tournament


By Patrick Hoff, Staff Writer | Photography by Kim McManus

“I really didn’t expect this kind of weather in May,” two-time Women’s Open champion Inbee Park said during practice rounds. “So, yeah, I think it’s going to be a little bit of a surprise to everyone, but the summer has begun.”

Spectators line the area near the 18th green and on the clubhouse balcony during the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at the Country Club of Charleston.



Record-breaking heat struck Charleston at the end of May, but it didn’t stop 156 golfers and tens of thousands of spectators from converging on the Country Club of Charleston for the 74th U.S. Women’s Open Championship.


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Lexi Thompson tees off during the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open, held May 30-June 2 at the Country Club of Charleston. Thompson ended the tournament tied for second place, winning $412,168. Temperatures during the tournament were above 90 degrees for most of the week.


Matt Sawicki, championship director for the U.S. Golf Association, said the Women’s Open was different from previous sporting events in the Lowcountry because of its proximity to downtown Charleston. “The largest sporting events that have occurred really have occurred ... on Kiawah Island or Daniel Island,” he said. “Being so close to downtown, I’m not sure that the town has hosted a sporting event so close to downtown on a national scale, and ultimately I think that’s a benefit. The areas we promoted is the ability to get from downtown, to leave work early ... and get over here to the golf course.” The tournament was won by Jeongeun Lee6, who walked away with $1 million, the highest amount ever awarded at the Women’s Open. Prior to the tournament, the USGA increased the purse for the Women’s Open by $500,000, for a total of $5.5 million distributed among the professional golfers. Lee6 has a numeral in her name because five other golfers are also named Jeongeun Lee. This was the second USGA event hosted by the Country Club of Charleston; the club also hosted the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in 2013. “For a lot of years, we’ve looked at Country Club of Charleston as a place we’d like to come,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA. “When we had the Women’s Ama-

teur here a couple years ago ... it reinforced that we really wanted to bring this championship to this particular golf course.” Sawicki said that when locating a championship, the organization considers the quality of the golf course, the ability for the community to engage and the infrastructure to support an international sporting event. Charleston met all three requirements, Sawicki said, and had a track record of hosting large-scale events. “Ultimately we determined the golf course was certainly phenomenal and could provide the test (to golfers), a community that was supportive and we were excited to be in such an illustrious city,” he said. “And from a logistical side, it has what we need to be able to conduct this sporting event.” The PGA Tour held one of its four major annual tournaments, the 2012 PGA Championship, on Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course. It was one of the most recent golf championships to be played in the Charleston region and generated approximately $92.2 million in economic impact from nonlocal visitors, including ticketholders, players, caddies, officials and staff, according to the College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis. The USGA predicted that the economic impact of the Women’s Open would be $25 million; Wayne Smith, chair of the CofC hospitality and tourism management department, said the tournament was expected

During their down time, golfers often interacted with fans, posing for photos and signing autographs for spectators at the tournament.

to draw about 100,000 local and out-oftown spectators. No post-tournament attendance figures were released, but USGA officials noted that 48% of attendees traveled from outside the Charleston area. “We’ve got visitors from all over the world, whether they be fans, volunteers or even players,” Sawicki said. “People are coming in, they’re spending their money at hotels, they’re spending money at restaurants.” According to a report from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, 135,000 people attended the annual PGA Tour stop on Hilton Head Island, the RBC Heritage, in 2018, infusing $96 million into the state’s economy. The Heritage is held annually at Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort. The USGA will return to the Lowcountry in 2023 to host its U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at the Kiawah Island Club. Prior to that, the PGA Tour will return to Kiawah’s Ocean Course for the 2021 PGA Championship.

Future impact Daniel Guttentag, director of CofC’s Office of Tourism Analysis, said although the region benefited from the immediate economic impact of visitors spending money in Charleston, the tournament’s impact extends beyond dollars and cents. “The secondary benefit is broader, and

Jeongeun Lee6 (center, in white hat) at the trophy presentation for her victory at the U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston. Lee6, who added the 6 to her name to differentiate from five other golfers of the same name, collected a record $1 million first prize.

come and visit.” Helen Hill, CEO of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said in a statement that she expects the residual impact of the Women’s Open to be felt “for years to come.” “Players and their guests, staff, volunteers and patrons that are here specifically for the championship are exposed to the Lowcountry firsthand,” Hill said. “Experience tells us first-time business and eventspecific visits generate return trips.” Hill also said in February that the Wom-


that just comes from ... it being televised and getting the exposure of constantly showcasing Charleston, basically, to a very specific niche audience,” Guttentag said. “That tends to be an affluent audience.” Fox networks aired more than 20 hours of live, commercial-free coverage of the Women’s Open domestically, with tournament play interspersed with vignettes about businesses and attractions around the Charleston region. The tournament was also broadcast in approximately 120 other countries. That exposure, Guttentag and Sawicki both said, can help shape people’s perception of Charleston and influence them to visit. “The decision-making process for a traveler is idiosyncratic,” Guttentag said. “Everybody’s unique, and you may have that one person who’s seen some of the articles about Charleston as a food destination or they’ve seen some of our top rankings on different lists, but then they see it again for golf and they’re a golf player and that’s really what moves the needle and convinces that individual to come. ... Those things can be cumulative in persuading somebody to

en’s Open is a good chance for businesses to network and the region to potentially attract new companies. For example, Hill said the region was able to land JetBlue at Charleston International Airport because of conversations had at the PGA Championship in 2012. “It gives us one more hook with that great client that we haven’t gotten to say ‘yes’ yet, to come in and ask them to be entertained, to enjoy the hospitality,” she said. “It gives us a reason to spend time with them in a real fun, friendly, casual environment.”





AWAY PREPARATION FOR AVIATION JOBS BEGINS EARLY IN S.C. By Renée Sexton, Staff Writer South Carolina youth considering a career in science and aviation don’t have to wait until college to learn the high-flying details. The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness is working with schools statewide at every level to teach students skills necessary to eventually become part of the workforce in the state’s growing aviation industry. Aerospace employment has grown 13% in South Carolina since 2011, when Boeing www.scbizmag.com

set up shop in North Charleston, and revenue has exceeded 25%, according


to the council. The fast-growing sector is helping to drive the state’s advanced manufacturing production and reputation.

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

A teacher instructs a student at the Challenger Learning Center in Richland County, which was created to teach advanced manufacturing skills to students interested in STEM-related careers. (Photo/Mitch Wyatt for Challenger Learning Center)


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

Students at the Challenger Learning Center in Richland County gain valuable experience and skills in preparation for careers in aerospace and other advanced manufacturing industries. (Photo/Mitch Wyatt for Challenger Learning Center)


Aerospace jobs pay significantly higher than the state average for manufacturing jobs. The average salary for someone working in the aviation industry is $78,000 a year, compared to the overall state average salary of $42,000 annually. For every 10 jobs that are created by the aerospace sector in South Carolina, an additional 17 jobs are created elsewhere in areas such as health care, retail or construction, according to research by Darla Moore School of Business economist Joseph Von Nessen. “That multiplier effect shows you the ways that the aerospace sector is able to scale up employment in South Carolina in a way that’s significantly larger than the average industry . . . so it’s significantly above that state average,” said Von Nessen. “Aerospace draws on and recruits a high-skilled, high-talent base within the state and we can observe that through looking at the average wages. So the annual incomes associated with jobs in the aerospace cluster are about 86% higher than the state average.” The council on competitiveness would like those jobs to be filled by S.C. residents, so it has developed educational outreach

programs starting in elementary school. The council has developed more than 50 aerospace preparedness programs throughout the state, including the Challenger Learning Center in Richland School District One, individualized aviation-accredited programs available at high schools, and partnerships with community colleges and the South Carolina National Guard. The Challenger Learning Center is an aerospace-themed program offering in-school education and summer camps in science, math, engineering and technology. “It’s really about preparing students about knowing what those options are,” said Adrianne Beasley, director of aerospace initiatives for the council. “I think that’s something important on the education pipeline – that we’re not just putting in place programs at a college level or an undergrad level or a technical college level, (but) that we’re really starting kids with an interest in flying and in aerospace at a very young age, And then we’re continuously giving them those options in showing them what that career path looks like throughout their educational experience.” Starting youth on career paths early also

helps fill the skilled jobs left vacant as workers retire. Beasley said the average age of highly skilled maintenance technicians and welders is in the mid-50s. The council has been working to connect students to the more than 400 aerospace companies in South Carolina. Many of them are small to medium-size businesses students might not know about. “That is going to be able to make those connections for students between just the general idea of working in aerospace and actually understanding what jobs are available and what areas are going to be the most marketable skills for them to have — really showing that connection of putting them directly in touch with that company. I think that’s going to make a difference,” Beasley said. To address the growing demand, the University of South Carolina has added an aerospace engineering bachelor’s degree with plans to add a master’s degree and Ph.D. program. This summer, the university is building new aerospace laboratories to enhance the opportunities offered in the research lab at the Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research in Columbia.


The university wants to educate South Carolina’s own aviation workforce. When Boeing first opened its North Charleston manufacturing facility, demand was strong for manufacturing employees. Now the company needs engineers for research on future aircraft programs, said Michael Van Tooren, director of aerospace studies at the University of South Carolina. But Boeing is just one option for aviation graduates. “We have probably a well-established connection to at least 50 companies in the state alone, and since aerospace is a global business, we also work with companies in other states in the U.S. and even outside of the U.S.,” said Van Tooren. “The students of ours, they go everywhere.” Van Tooren said the goal is to have a comprehensive aerospace program with a research focus. The bachelor’s program started two years ago with 50 students. After the first year, the program received 200 applicants, with an additional 90 students this semester. “So far we are outperforming our own expectations,” he said. Students will have access to a moving-

The Center for Predictive Maintenance research team with the full-scale Apache AH-64 in the McNair Aerospace Center. (Photo/McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research)

base flight simulator and full-size, industrial-level equipment. “It’s really important for us to have a direct connection between the aerospace industry and our students,” Van Tooren said. “We have a large participation of our

students in research.” As the growth of the aerospace program at USC indicates, the industry is showing no sign of slowing down. “It’s a very, very healthy industry to be in,” Beasley said.




STAYING IN THE AIR F-16 finds new life, new home on South Carolina’s Upstate By Ross Norton, Editor, GSA Business Report


ockheed Martin officials rode a rollercoaster of Bulgarian politics at the end of July as a $1.26 billion F-16 fighter jet deal hung in the balance through a presidential veto and parliamentary override. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State approved an $8 billion deal with Taiwan that includes 66 F-16s. Although that sale was not final at press time, a State Department official, speaking on background, said the final steps should happen within a few weeks. The deal needs to get through a 30day congressional notification period and completion of a “letter of offer and accep-


Lockheed Martin is building new ‘Block 70’ F-16 fighter jets for the nations of Bahrain and Bulgaria. (Photos/Lockheed Martin)


tance,” he said in an Aug. 21 email. The Bulgaria sale almost didn’t get done. Reuters reported that Bulgaria’s president, Rumen Radev, vetoed a deal to buy eight of the future Greenville-made F-16s, citing a lack of consensus in the Balkan nation. But Lockheed Martin spokesperson Leslie Farmer confirmed July 31 that the Bulgarian Parliament’s override of the veto greenlights the sale and adds eight aircraft to the Lockheed Martin to-do list in Greenville. “We welcome the Bulgarian government’s decision to move forward with Bulgaria’s planned procurement of eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft, the most advanced version

of this benchmark NATO fighter available today,” Farmer said in a news release. “This is another important milestone along the path to procuring the F-16 Block 70, which will be supported by a long-term program of partnership between the U.S., Bulgaria, Lockheed Martin and Bulgarian industry and academia.” The deal with Bulgaria is the second international sale for Lockheed Martin’s Greenville site and the venerable fighter jet. The company is no longer producing F-16s for American military forces. According to Air Force Col. Anthony Walker, the F-16 was thought to be headed


A view of the nose and cockpit of the F-16, also known as the ‘Fighting Falcon.’


into its twilight years before plans emerged to move production to Greenville so the jet can be manufactured for international customers. The first customer is the Bahrain air force, which will receive 16 new F-16s in a $1.2 billion deal. In addition to Taiwan, other countries are in various stages of negotiation to place orders, including Morocco and Slovakia. Farmer said Lockheed Martin remains on track to begin production on its Bahrain order. The Greenville Lockheed Martin facility has been a site for servicing aircraft for 35 years, but after dedicating a new production line in April, the company is ramping up now to become a production site. At the time of the dedication, Lockheed Martin said the company was actively working to sell more of the aircraft. Dignitaries at the ceremony said it is in the best interest of the United States to make sure allies are well armed. Government, military and Lockheed Martin representatives touted the Greenville F-16 workforce as not only another player in the state’s manufacturing scene, but also a key player in world peace. “The one thing I’ve learned about this war that we’re in is I want to keep it over there so it doesn’t come here,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told the audience. “I don’t want to fight it alone. I want to fight it with partners. So, to the workforce here, the jets that you’re building here in Greenville will go in the hands of American allies that will be making America safer. That’s a great way to


TRENDING: AEROSPACE IN S.C. Lockheed Martin’s Greenville facility will manufacture the new ‘Block 70’ generation of the F-16, an Air Force fighter jet in service since the mid-1970s. The two contracts to supply the nations of Bahrain and Bulgaria will add more than 400 new jobs to the plant. (Photo/Lockheed Martin)


make a living.” Subcomponent assembly is scheduled to begin in November and the first aircraft will be loaded into the Greenville production line in December, Farmer said. It will take about


two years to produce the first one, although the pace of production could quicken if Lockheed Martin secures more orders, she said. Walker said 1,950 F-16s are in service to other governments and President Donald

Trump’s White House policies have opened doors to give a second wind to what he called “pound for pound the best fighter around.” Since it was first developed, the F-16 was produced in Fort Worth, Texas. That facility is not closing, however. The F-35 is already manufactured in Fort Worth for the U.S. military, and moving F-16 production to Greenville increases the company’s F-35 capacity, White House economic adviser Peter Navarro said. Since 1975, 4,588 F-16s have been produced and about 3,000 of them are still operational today, Lockheed Martin executive vice president Michelle Evans said. They are spread across 28 countries. Gov. Henry McMaster said the F-16 joins a large aerospace industry in South Carolina. He said there are 400 aerospace companies in the state, employing more than 22,000 people. “Last year we exported approximately $7.9 billion in aircraft, ranking us fifth in the nation in export sales of aircraft, spacecraft and related parts,” he said. More than 400 new jobs will be created to support the F-16 production line in Greenville. However, the facility is not expected to have the same ripple effect for supplier companies that auto manufacturing brought to the state because the F-16 supply chain is already in place.



he fourth annual South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo will be held Oct. 29-30 at the Charleston Area Convention Center. Featuring more than 20 keynote speakers, 17 training courses, some 250 vendors/exhibitors and more, the event is expected to draw more than 3,000 attendees. “We’ve always called it the most significant manufacturing event in South Carolina,” event coordinator Rick Jenkins, publisher of SC Biz News’ GSA Business Report, said. “If you are involved in manufacturing, you don’t want to miss this.” The conference has three primary goals, he said: to showcase manufacturing in South Carolina, not only locally but to the rest of the Southeast; to bring together manufacturers and suppliers to form and build relationships; and to provide valuable informational and educational opportunities. Anchoring the event is the annual Manufacturing Awards Banquet, which SC Biz News established and launched 22 years ago. This year’s banquet keynote speaker will be S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster. In addition to the governor, the lineup of featured speakers includes a diverse crosssection of community leaders and industry experts, including Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, top executives from BMW, Boeing, Bosch, GKN Aerospace and the SC Ports Authority, as well as top economic

development and education leaders. In order to further the goals of the Manufacturing Conference, SC Biz News has partnered with a strong group of sponsors from across the state. This year’s title partners for the Manufacturing Conference are the S.C. Council on Competitiveness and the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, both nonprofit groups that work to help businesses and manufacturers be successful. Chuck Spangler, president of SCMEP, said his organization, which has had a long and fruitful working relationship with SC Biz News, got involved with the Manufacturing Conference two years ago and became a title sponsor for the first time in 2018. “It was one of the best things we have done,” Spangler said. “It built our name, brand and image. SCMEP’s year ended in June 2019 and we were able to work with 549 unique companies — and had 70 unique companies that attended the sessions at the Manufacturing Conference. SCMEP loves partnering with SC Biz News to make the Manufacturing Conference better each year. Anybody who attends the Manufacturing Conference will walk away with knowledge, best practices and tools to improve their manufacturing operation.” For more information about the Manufacturing Conference, contact Rick Jenkins at 864-235-5677, ext. 101, or by email at rjenkins@scbiznews.com.

Go to the conference website, scmanufacturingconference.com, for details and more information.


The South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo is coming to the Charleston Area Convention Center from Oct. 29-30. Companies from across the state will participate in panel discussions, informational sessions, keynote speeches and much more. (Photo/File)

What: The 4th annual SC Manufacturing Conference and Expo When: Oct. 29-30, 2019 Where: Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston, S.C. Who will be there: • 23 featured speakers, including S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster • 17 training classes • 250 suppliers/vendors Key events: • Manufacturing 4.0 Breakfast: 7:30 a.m., Oct. 29: The Rise of Technology. This event kicks off the conference and will include several keynote speakers sharing their vision of the future for the manufacturing industry. • Aero/Auto Symposium and 2020 Industry Forecast: noon, Oct. 29. The event will include the Aerospace Luncheon with two keynote speakers. After the luncheon, economic forecasts for the tire, automobile and aerospace industries by S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt will follow. • Ask The Experts Breakfast: 7:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Will include a keynote address and two panel discussions. The opening keynote will be delivered by Dan Ellzey, executive director of workforce innovation, S.C. Dept. of Employment and Workforce. • Keynote address, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster: noon, Oct. 30. Part of the 22nd annual Salute to Manufacturing Awards Luncheon, the anchor event of the conference.





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 a 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 2019.


Sponsored by





As they state in their nomination form, “We believe happy employees translate into happy clients.” To make sure those happy employees stay that way, Scott and Co. offers flexible work schedules, a shortened summer schedule and an inclusive work environment so that each employee is engaged in the company’s success. The Worthwhile Co., a Greenville-based manufacturing technology company, was named the No. 2 small/medium company on the list. Its leaders have also embraced the idea that a healthy workplace culture is vital to a successful business. Employees have a genuine sense of being an important part of a team, as evidenced by this response on Worthwhile’s Best Places survey to “Why do you work at Worthwhile?”: “The people, the culture, and the people ... and yes, I included the people twice. The people I work with are just awesome — they help out when I need help and I feel listened to if something goes wrong. I am blessed to work here.” Sentar, the No. 2 large company on the list, is a cybersecurity firm based in North Charleston. The workplace culture there is based on an open-door policy that encour-

ages all employees to “reach out to any level of leadership directly, and employees’ suggestions are valued and heard.” Open-door policies are a common theme among the companies named to the Best Places list. It’s no accident that workers who feel valued, supported and included in company decision-making are more content in their jobs than those who feel management ignores or marginalizes their contributions. S.C. Federal Credit Union is among a number of repeat winners on this year’s list. Its employees describe the organization as a community, rather than a company: “Employees are encouraged to bring their passion to work, to have authentic relationships with coworkers, and to view feedback as a gift. They receive superior training and unique opportunities to live their best lives through a comprehensive wellness program.” Find Great People, a recruitment firm in Greenville, echoed those sentiments: “The FGP employees are not just a team; they are a family and have built a culture that is contagious. It takes great people to find great people. FGP puts its employees first. We know that in order for FGP to succeed, our employees have to succeed.”


e should all be so lucky as the employees of the 75 companies named to the annual list of Best Places to Work in South Carolina. They are engaged, fulfilled, supported and genuinely love their jobs. That love translates into positive bottom lines for their companies, a win-win result for everyone. The awards reception, held in August in Columbia, is a fun-filled celebration of companies from construction firms to call centers, health care companies, legal firms and just about any other sector of the economy you can think of. The annual awards are sponsored by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce along with partner SC Biz News. In what has become a yearly ritual, Edward Jones, a national network of community-based financial advisory offices, was named the top large company. Associates operate individual offices, usually near their homes, and are offered generous profit-sharing and other bonuses based on performance. Flexible and family friendly workplaces contribute to the overall employee satisfaction. Associates in good standing with three years of service are offered partnership in the company. Paid leave is available for new parents, and the company encourages its associates to use flexible work hours for work-life balance. Popular incentives include Super Bowl trips and other sports game tickets, and Jeans Days awarded in home offices for special achievements. While Edward Jones’ associates enjoy a happy workplace, they aren’t alone in South Carolina. All the companies that made these lists do so largely because they listen to their employees about what they need, both in their jobs and their home lives. Scott and Co., a Columbia-based accounting firm, was named the top small/ medium employer on the Best Places list.






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

Employees in SC: 684 Industry: Financial www.edwardjones.com Edward Jones is the nation’s largest financial-services firm in terms of financial advisers and branch offices, with 13,500 U.S. locations. Associates enjoy flexible, family-friendly workplaces and gratifying work helping clients in neighborhoods where they live and work. They come to Edward Jones for a career, not a job, and are given a lot of support by their regions and home-office personnel. Every associate has an opportunity to own part of the firm. Any associate in good standing with three years of service can be offered partnership and, consequently, nearly 50% of associates are owners.

2. Sentar

City: North Charleston Employees: 41 Industry: Defense www.sentar.com Sentar is a woman-owned small business providing advanced cybersecurity and information assurance services and related products to customers, primarily within the Department of Defense and Armed Forces. Sentar was recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina the three previous years and was nominated by SPAWAR Atlantic as their sole nominee (out of 512 eligible companies) for the Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year Award for 2016. Last year the company received two different awards recognizing its commitment to supporting employees in the National Guard and Reserves. Staff work hard and play hard, with activities like scavenger hunts, pizza Friday and our monthly all-hands lunch.


3. Brasfield & Gorrie LLC


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 28 Industry: Construction www.brasfieldgorrie.com General contractor Brasfield & Gorrie has a culture that sets it apart, valuing people and stressing solid core values of care and respect. Beginning with Mr. Gorrie in 1964, the culture has consistently focused on building exceptional people, trusting relationships, great projects and strong communities. Employees enjoy several annual company-wide campaigns

including, Safety Week, Women in Construction Week and Diversity and Inclusion Day across the 12 offices. Thanks to this culture, many employees have spent their entire careers with Brasfield & Gorrie. In fact, as of 2018, 219 employees had been with the company for 20 years or more.

4. CarolinaPower

City: Greer Employees in SC: 110 Industry: Construction www.carolinapower.com Headquartered in Upstate South Carolina, CarolinaPower serves industrial, commercial, health care and federal market sectors in South Carolina and North Carolina. An employee-owned company that embraces the principles of Servant Leadership, CarolinaPower’s employees are empowered to grow and are encouraged to continually strive to enhance their careers and personal lives. CarolinaPower offers extensive opportunities for continuing education and professional growth — and staff are privileged to have the chance to work with the latest technology in their day-to-day activities. In addition to many safety awards, the company is the proud recipient of national and regional awards for construction excellence.

5. Hire Dynamics

Employees in SC: 47 Industry: Staffing www.hiredynamics.com Hire Dynamics is an award-winning, industry-leading staffing provider for a variety of industry sectors. An

emphasis on a “What We Do Matters” culture sets the company apart from competitors. Staff are always encouraged to focus on helping others with a servant leadership approach and to stay highly involved with various community and nonprofit organizations. The company is always flexible with PTO and workday scheduling and encourages staff to aim to be the No. 1 staffing firm that you would refer to your friend.

6. South Carolina Federal Credit Union

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 472 Industry: Financial Services www.scfederal.org Employees at SC Federal describe the credit union as a community, not a company. Their focus on providing a remarkable employee experience is the reason behind their employee tenure, almost twice that of others in the financial services industry. This experience includes exceptional benefits, a dynamic culture, an emphasis on diversity, internal promotion, and a dollar-for-dollar 401(k) match up to 10% of income. The organization also employs an innovative performance management model in which managers deliver consistent, timely feedback to employees, and equip them with the tools that are necessary for high levels of productivity to help them grow and advance in their careers.

7. T-Mobile USA

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 1,352 Industry: Telecommunications

8. American Specialty Health

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 16 Industry: Health care www.ashcompanies.com American Specialty Health (ASH) has been an innovator in the health and wellness arena, catapulting the business to the ranks of one of the nation’s largest health services companies. Employees love working at a company dedicated to improving lives, and ASH embodies that by providing members with affordable access to fitness and wellness benefits. ASH is one of the nation’s premier specialty health organizations offering musculoskeletal health networks and programs, fitness center networks and exercise programs, and health management solutions for health plans, employers and others.

offers ample opportunities for promotions and movement within the Allure Medical family. The work/life balance is extraordinary, with unlimited PTO, provided hours are covered and time is approved. Allure encourages learning and growing, providing employees with the option to attend learning conferences of their choice out of state. Allure promotes ownership thinking and believes in teamwork over hierarchy.

11. The Pure Group of Insurance Companies

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 103 Industry: Insurance www.pureinsurance.com PURE is a member-owned property and casualty insurer designed exclusively for financially successful families and driven by a purpose of doing what is right for them. PURE’s employees can successfully find a balance between working hard and truly enjoying the company of their colleagues every day. Pure gives each employee an average of 40-60 hours of training annually, student loan debt relief and access to backup child care and parental transitional coaching, because every parent knows you can’t always rely on your babysitter to be there, and transitioning back to work after a leave can be challenging.

12. The Spinx Co.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 1,254

Industry: Retail www.myspinx.com The Spinx Co. operates 80 convenience retail stores throughout South Carolina, and with more than 1,400 employees, it is the largest privately held retailer headquartered in the state. Spinx is a family-owned and -operated business founded by Stewart Spinks, who had a vision to develop a dynamic and diverse environment where hard-working associates could achieve their potential — and have fun doing it. Spinx works hard to be a good neighbor and to support the communities it serves, donating 10 percent of profits annually to organizations that help its communities and neighbors.

13. Terminix Service Inc.


www.t-mobile.com T-Mobile is the nation’s third-largest wireless provider, serving more than 59 million subscribers. The company’s philosophy is that employees with diverse backgrounds bring innovations that serve customers, communities and teams. T-Mobile’s enterprise-wide multicultural calendar celebrates various cultural holidays and observances. The company is also committed to developing and promoting from within. There are numerous development programs offered to provide readiness for career advancement, including a generous tuition assistance program. T-Mobile also offers a “supersized” employee assistance program, including financial planning, stress management, a smoking cessation program, life coaches and more.

City: Columbia Employees: 747 Industry: Pest Control www.trustterminix.com Locally owned and operated, Terminix Service Inc. provides quality pest control you can trust. Employees appreciate that Terminix is a leader in the industry, and they also appreciate the culture of the company. Terminix rewards hard work: Many of our employees receive an incentive pay plan where the more sales and service performed, the higher pay the employee receives. All six region managers and 56 branch managers were internal promotions, as was much of the corporate staff. Terminix is a familyowned company whose employees are part of the family.

9. Total Quality Logistics

Employees in SC: 142 Industry: Transportation www.tql.com Total Quality Logistics arranges the pickup and delivery for business-to-business freight movements across North America, managing the movement of more than 1.5 million shipments last year. TQL prepares its employees for success with fivemonth training and development programs and an organizational structure designed to be nimble, encourage ideas, foster future leaders and inspire employees to achieve their full potential. Opportunity is fueled by an energetic culture centered around celebrating victories both big and small. One of TQLers’ favorite benefits is the Snooze or Cruise pass, bestowed for individual achievement, that enables employees to either come in one hour late or leave one hour early. City: Everywhere Employees in SC: 49 Industry: Health Care www.alluremedical.com Employees of Allure Medical, the cosmetic surgery company, can work at any one of 24 offices in seven states, including six in South Carolina. This


10. Allure Medical



14. Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 288 Industry: Banking www.palmettocitizens.com Palmetto Citizens is a member-owned financial institution working to be the best place for members, as well as a great place to work. They celebrate staff achievements through daily congratulations messages, an award bestowed to staff members by staff members and the Quality Loop service recognition program. Palmetto Citizens helps each staff member develop through a variety of projects, leadership groups, community efforts and a young professionals program. Palmetto Citizens provides medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance at no cost, and 401(k) up to 9%. Palmetto Citizens supports the communities it serves through efforts with Harvest Hope, Children’s Hospital, community educational workshops and more.

15. Life Cycle Engineering Inc.

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 122 Industry: Consulting www.lce.com For 40 years, Life Cycle Engineering has provided engineering solutions that deliver lasting results for private industry, public entities, government organizations and the military. LCE’s vision is to create a work environment where employees develop personally and professionally, and where employees have fun, develop advocate clients and create profit. A strengths-based organization, LCE is focused on turning individual talents into strengths that support clients’ success. LCE offers flexible work schedules to accommodate life outside of work and a host of team activities. Employee favorites include the Thanksgiving Tailgate and the annual Halloween luncheon complete with a costume contest, parade, and chili cook-off.


16. Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP


City: Columbia Employees in SC: 119 Industry: Legal www.womblebonddickinson.com Womble Bond Dickinson is a full-service law firm with more than 1,000 lawyers in 27 U.S. and U.K. offices, including Charleston, Columbia and Greenville. Employees have opportunities to grow through programs like Getting to Equity, which helps experienced lawyers make the final step to equity status. The firm is an open and inclusive workplace, as exemplified by a scholarship program for diverse law students and its perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (for support of LGBTQ employees). With support from the firm, its attorneys and staff are involved in a wide range of good causes and pro bono efforts in their communities.

17. Ingevity Corp.

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 539 Industry: Manufacturing www.ingevity.com Ingevity provides specialty chemicals, highperformance carbon materials and engineered polymers that purify, protect and enhance the world around us. At the heart of the company is its unique “IngeviWay” culture and group of people: a business with a highly talented, collaborative, committed and creative team that is driven to win. From having an active role in creating the company’s vision, purpose and values, to influencing the creation of its corporate giving program, “IngeviCares,” to sharing the company’s success through incentive and employee stock purchase plan programs, employees’ voices, suggestions and actions are incorporated into every aspect of the business.

18. CPI Security

Employees in SC: 117 Industry: Security www.cpisecurity.com For over 25 years, CPI Security has provided industry-leading alarm response throughout the Southeast via innovative technology and products. CPI sponsors various sports franchises, such as the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets, whose games employees may attend for free. Employee engagement is important to CPI, organizing events throughout the year, including Ice Cream Fridays, team building outings at local venues and Family Fun Day at Carowinds. CPI is passionate about its team and the communities in which they live and serve, truly making it a “Best Place to Work.”

19. Marsh & McLennan Agency - Mid Atlantic

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 86 Industry: Insurance www.marshmma.com Marsh & McLennan Agency serves the risk prevention and insurance needs of midsize companies in the U.S. If you ask what makes this a great place to work, they will resoundingly say that it’s a place where they enjoy going to work. The company strives to create a workplace where integrity, collaboration, passion, innovation and accountability come to life. Colleagueappreciation and engagement is embedded within the culture. The entire staff lives the mission to make a difference in the moments that matter for colleagues, clients and communities.

20. Duck Creek Technologies

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 149 Industry: Technology www.duckcreek.com As the leading software as a service provider to the insurance industry, Duck Creek Technologies helps insurers bring more and better products to market faster and provide the intuitive digital experiences

their customers expect. Duck Creek empowers people to shape the future of insurance by incubating the ideas that will make insurers faster, smarter and stronger. The team is fueled by sharing ideas openly, challenging conventions, trying new things and valuing “Why Not?” over “Why?” The company tells prospective employees, “Come fly with us. We’re forward thinking, collaborative and innovative ducks. Join the flock and be a part of something great.”

21. Cherry Bekaert LLP

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 60 Industry: Accounting www.cbh.com For 70 years, Cherry Bekaert has offered professional opportunities and resources normally associated with national firms in an environment that is supportive, flexible, 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. The firm provides generous PTO, flexible working arrangements, and a casual “Dress for your Day” policy. Each year, during firm-wide volunteer week, local offices choose a cause that matters to them, and associates take time out of their schedules to prepare meals, landscape, collect books and even build Legos with students.

22. BAE Systems Inc.

City: Aiken Employees in SC: 150 Industry: Defense www.baesystems.com BAE Systems is a premier international technology, defense, aerospace and security company committed to working to high ethical, safety and environmental standards, retaining and attracting a diverse and talented workforce and making a positive contribution to the countries and communities in which it operates. BAE offers a healthy balance of work/life while providing professional fulfillment and challenge. It’s not just a place to work; it’s a place to grow a career where employees’ skills and time are valued.

23. SC Ports Authority

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 665 Industry: Transportation www.scspa.com South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. SCPA demonstrates it values employees by providing above-market pay, excellent benefits at low costs and multiple retirement savings options. The SCPA facilitates programs such as walking challenges and group fitness activities, visits from a rolling farmers market, free physicals and flu shots, access to on-site massages, retirement lunch and learns, an annual Waterfront Olympics event, and family nights at the





baseball games. The SCPA Headquarters building includes an on-site cafe serving healthy, low-cost breakfast and lunch; a fitness center; a walking trail; stand-up desks; and an on-site Wellness Center.

24. Select Health of South Carolina

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 586 Industry: Health care www.selecthealthofsc.com First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina is your hometown health plan. A Best Place to Work for 11 consecutive years, Select Health’s special brand of caring begins with a workforce of nearly 600 associates living the mission: To help people get care, stay well and build healthy communities. Employees love the award-winning Wellness program, which offers wide-ranging activities year-round aimed at improving physical, financial and emotional wellbeing, from free massages to coloring and painting sessions to financial planning seminars. With a new focus on supporting employeeled activities, the company has launched fun new activities, like board-game lunches, coloring and painting classes, seasonal scavenger hunts, and random monthly giveaways.

25. ScanSource Inc.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 808 Industry: Distribution www.scansource.com ScanSource Inc. is a leading global provider of

technology products and solutions, focusing on pointof-sale payments and related services. ScanSource is a great place to work because of the family-like company culture. Employees are given the time and opportunity to give back to the communities in which they live and work. ScanSource’s culture is rooted within its core values, such as honesty and integrity, listening to every employee’s opinion, respecting one another, valuing customers and vendors with a commitment to meeting their needs, encouraging innovation and creativity, and helping those less fortunate in their communities by giving time, talents and resources.

26. South State Bank

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 1,866 Industry: Banking www.southstatebank.com South State Bank is a growing financial institution headquartered in South Carolina. It offers a family atmosphere that allows the growth in a professional environment. South State offers a competitive health and financial benefit package to all part-time and full-time employees and knows that team members have a life and family outside work. The bank strives to ensure great facilities and excellent leadership to make day after day on the job enjoyable. From company-sponsored Halloween costume contests, bank-wide March Madness competitions, and a birthday luau for mascot “Stash,” South State Bank is a place to have fun while working hard.

27. RealPage Contact Center – Greenville

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 252 Industry: Contact Center www.realpage.com The RealPage Contact Center is the nation’s largest centralized real estate contact center service provider. Who can say they’ve experienced the circus, Candy Land and Charlie and the Chocolate factory at work! RealPage rewards performance with bonuses, incentive prizes such as I-Pads, TVs and personal time off. It has monthly paid philanthropy events to ensure team members are able to give back to the community. The results show in retention rates, employee engagement results, and positive input from the community and properties the company supports.

28. Lexington Medical Center

City: West Columbia Employees in SC: 5,579 Industry: Health care www.lexmed.com Behind the outstanding services, comprehensive programs and state-of-the-art facilities that comprise the Lexington Medical Center Network of Care is a wealth of incredibly dedicated people who combine exemplary skills and talents to provide high-quality health services for the community. Employee job satisfaction is reflected in high numbers of years of service and extremely low turnover, accompanied by an overarching willingness to excel in patient satisfaction and outcomes, and a full commitment to community service throughout and well beyond its campus. In addition to comprehensive health and wellness benefits, Lexington Med provides employees with free immunizations, annual health screenings and mammograms, an on-site health clinic and much more.


29. Charleston Water System


City: Charleston Employees in SC: 425 Industry: Water and Wastewater Utility www.charlestonwater.org Charleston Water associates love their community and contribute their time and valuable resources to helping where they can. Every year, staff volunteer thousands of man-hours to helping in the community. Staff also go above and beyond in natural disasters to ensure that everyone has access to clean drinking water and wastewater treatment services, and even help other communities across the nation. Associates take extra pride, satisfaction and joy knowing that they are working for their neighbors, ensuring that we all have a thriving, clean and safe place to live and work.



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

1. Scott and Co. LLC

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 18 Industry: Accounting www.scottandco.com Scott and Co. provides extraordinary tax, audit, accounting and consulting services. The company believes its people come first and places no limitations on where they can do their work. The firm promotes a healthy work/life balance, including flexible scheduling around core business hours and half-day Fridays in the summer. There are many bonus opportunities for going above and beyond and for bringing in new clients. Throughout the year, the firm provides meals, snacks, and beverages; cultivates talent; supports professional development; and guides staff through the firm’s mentoring and training programs. Scott and Co. believes happy employees translate to happy clients.

2. The Worthwhile Co.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 19 Industry: Technology www.worthwhile.com The Worthwhile Co. creates software solutions that help you achieve measurable outcomes by unleashing the power of continuous innovation. With a values-centered culture, Worthwhile strives to be a destination for people seeking the most fulfilling work. More than just fun or perks, staff achieve fulfillment from seeing clients significantly rewarded by working with the firm. Because of the strong bond among employees and between staff and clients, Worthwhile enjoys a net promoter score twice the industry average.


3. HudsonMann Inc.


City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 20 Industry: Consulting www.hudsonmann.com For more than 25 years, HudsonMann has partnered with federal contractors and subcontractors to provide reliable affirmative action plans and extensive Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs audit support. Finding talented people that live out company values and vision is what truly makes HudsonMann a best place to work. This is true for both customer and employee-facing programs and benefits. The nature of its work in affirmative action compliance, diversity and equal opportunity creates a strong sense of purpose for the whole team.

4. Parrish & Partners LLC

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 37 Industry: Engineering www.parrishandpartners.com Parrish & Partners is a civil engineering firm providing consulting services on transportation infrastructure projects. The firm provides a professional work environment that has a friendly, family culture. It ensures employees have what they need to do their best work and grow professionally, while recognizing they have families and a life away from work.

5. Mavin Construction

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 32 Industry: Construction www.mavinconstruction.com Mavin Construction is a full-service construction company delivering unparalleled experiences with a relationship-focused orientation, providing clients with all the pre-construction, construction and maintenance services needed. Mavin values its people and strives for continuous improvement in everything they do. The company hosts monthly employee happy hours at venues across the Upstate to promote fellowship and camaraderie.

6. Hudson Automotive Group City: Charleston Employees in SC: 38 Industry: Automotive www.hudsonauto.com

Hudson Automotive Group is a third-generation, family-owned-and-operated business proudly serving customers with all their automotive needs at 17 dealerships, including four in South Carolina. The organization offers unique benefits including fully stocked break rooms, flexible schedules, a beautiful coastal office location and many company-sponsored dinners and activities. Management encourages employee growth and education and provides a plethora of opportunities for advancement while espousing a commitment to Servant Leadership.

7. Hogan Construction Group

City: Easley Employees in SC: 29 Industry: Construction www.hoganconstructiongroup.com Hogan is a construction company that designs and builds relationships before it designs and builds places and buildings. Across the organization, staff understands that each person has a significant role in the company’s overall success. Having a purpose, personal relationships and clear goals has led to virtually zero turnover.

8. LimRic Plumbing Heating & Air

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 62 Industry: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning www.limric.com LimRic takes great pride in cultivating a fun, familyoriented environment where employees love their jobs, and are provided with every opportunity to learn and further their career. They offer an apprenticeship

9. CF Evans Construction

City: Orangeburg Employees in SC: 75 Industry: Construction www.cfevans.com CF Evans is a third-generation, family-owned construction management company that has been recognized as a “Best Place to Work” for 10 years in a row. Their stated purpose is to create communities that their own families would want to live in. Their commitment to core values — Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Dedication, Accountability and Partner Relationships — and the company motto, “We build it like it’s ours!” help explain extremely low turnover as compared to others in the industry.

10. Mount Pleasant Waterworks

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 130 Industry: Water and Wastewater www.mountpleasantwaterworks.com Mount Pleasant Waterworks is a public utility that provides water and wastewater service to the rapidly growing Town of Mount Pleasant. To ensure that customers never lose water or wastewater service, employees work holidays, storms and power outages. MPW has created a strong culture of camaraderie, teamwork and community service, and the average employee tenure is 12 years and turnover is less than 1%.

11. Crawford Strategy

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 32 Industry: Advertising www.crawfordstrategy.com Crawford Strategy is a full-service strategic marketing agency in Greenville. Once the right people are in place, they are fostered as people and professionals. For example, every team member is offered a program by which they are given 40 work hours per year to dedicate to professional development. The camaraderie in the workplace is built on genuine respect for peers, supervisors, clients and visitors.

12. Turner Agency Insurance

13. Koops Inc.

Employees in SC: 32 Industry: Manufacturing www.koops.com Koops works with manufacturers to improve their machine automation and material handling systems and processes. The organization is committed to living the values of its guiding principles, as evidenced by how members, vendors and customers are treated. Koops is committed to individual growth and career opportunities, and to development of people pursuing their strengths. When family needs arise, there is no pressure or question about what the priority is; the team rallies and fills the void.

17. Central Electric Power Cooperative Inc.

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 47 Industry: Electric Cooperative www.cepci.org Central Electric Power Coop 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 in all 46 counties in the state. Central’s employees enjoy flexible work schedules, a bright and open office environment with an in-house gym, an active wellness program, frequent social events and community service projects.

18. Samet Corp.

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 102 Industry: Health care www.equiscript.com Equiscript is a mission-focused company whose employees are dedicated to the cause of improving access to health care. Fun and Wellness committees, coupled with an in-house gym and adjacent park, add to a culture where employees are empowered to have walking meetings, to change scenery when they need new ideas, and to step away from their desks when they need a break.

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 19 Industry: Construction www.sametcorp.com As a premier builder, Samet Corp. provides the experience, resources and structured processes of a large firm combined with the responsiveness, management accessibility and personalized service of a small business. Samet provides continuing education opportunities, a robust health care program and a 401(k), just to name a few benefits. Employee camaraderie extends far beyond the office in the form of community service, outreach events, company outings and holiday parties.

15. Find Great People

19. Swampfox Technologies

14. Equiscript

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 71 Industry: Recruiting www.fgp.com With offices in Greenville, Columbia and Nashville, Find Great People places talent throughout the country. People make Find Great People the “best” place to work. Each person on the team, regardless of title or position, is crucial to fulfilling the brand promise. FGP employees are not just a team, they are a family that has built a culture. It takes great people to find great people. FGP puts its employees first. They know that for FGP to succeed, employees must succeed.

16. Palmetto Technology Group

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 26 Industry: Technology www.goptg.com PTG helps companies of every size in nearly every industry increase security, boost productivity, streamline business processes, and protect against downtime and lost data. Everyone has a voice in “all hands” meetings and the company offers total transparency when it comes to finances and reasons for business decisions. PTG puts clients first, but also believes that work should be fun. One of its core values is, “without people, no profits; without profits, no people.”

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 44 Industry: Technology www.swampfoxinc.com Swampfox Technologies specializes in call center automation, and provides the software automating many of the transactions for the largest cable, energy and heath care companies in the U.S. Swampfox exists to create a great place to work that works great for our customers. The company refurbished a 1900s building downtown as its new headquarters, provides a chef’s range and farm table in its kitchen, buys lunch for staff every Friday and built a rooftop bar for employees to relax at.

20. Advanced Technology International City: Summerville Employees in SC: 204 Industry: Professional www.ati.org ATI is a rapidly growing, employee-friendly nonprofit where purpose-driven work makes a difference in our world. The organization manages the business operations of federally funded R&D programs with a total contract value of more than $16 billion. Named one of South Carolina’s best places to work in 2017 and 2018, ATI offers an exceptional culture of lifelong relationships, and is dedicated to helping every employee achieve their highest potential.


City: Greenville Employees in SC: 25 Industry: Insurance www.turneragencyinc.com The Turner Agency is a locally owned, independent insurance agency that believes in old-fashioned values. Everyone is compensated by a salary and bonus system that is based on team success, maintaining an “all in this together” feeling. Turner knows that success as a company is based on creating a great place to work; investing in

employees, technology and the tools employees need; and serving clients and community in the best way possible.


program for people who want to start their career in plumbing and HVAC and receive top certification but cannot afford the education. A family company that recognizes above-and-beyond dedication, it sent a landscaping crew to transform one employee’s yard after he had spent many extra hours finishing a project.



21. Rhythmlink International LLC

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 49 Industry: Manufacturing www.rhythmlink.com Rhythmlink designs, manufactures and distributes medical devices and provides custom packaging, private labeling, custom products and contract manufacturing. Dedicated employees are driven to improve patient care by connecting patients to machines. This is Rhythmlink’s 8th consecutive win for the Best Places to Work SC, thanks to a culture that makes customers and employees feel valued and heard. Every Wednesday, the company caters lunch for employees, sometimes with a food truck.

22. Trehel Corp.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 62 Industry: Construction www.trehel.com Trehel Corp. has been committed to the design and construction of high-performance buildings that enrich the human experience. Fostering relationships is the guiding force in both business and community endeavors. Over the years, Trehel has continued to develop its culture through employee engagement initiatives, team building exercises, enhancing benefit packages and community outreach. Employees enjoy tickets to sporting and cultural events, Christmas gifts, leadership training opportunities and more.

23. Kopis

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 35 Industry: Technology www.kopisusa.com Kopis is a staff of dedicated experts in Software Development, Business Intelligence, Project Management, Quality Assurance, and many other areas of IT. “We love what we do, and who we get to do it with. And who wouldn’t? We get to work with brilliant peers in a collaborative culture of innovation and evolve ideas from tiny seeds into full-blown solutions that transform organizations,” they say. From their downtown location, employees can jump on the Swamp Rabbit trail for a quick walk after lunch. The company encourages work/life balance in a business-casual, rewarding and family-friendly work environment with excellent pay and benefits.


24. Atlas Technologies Inc.


City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 105 Industry: Technology www.atlas-tech.com Founded in 1997, Atlas Technologies Inc. is an innovative provider of leading-edge information technology solutions to government and industry partners. Atlas has an employee-led charitable committee that identifies opportunities for corporate charitable contributions, and team members are encouraged to get involved to make a positive difference in the community.

25. First Reliance Bank

City: Florence Employees in SC: 156 Industry: Banking www.firstreliance.com First Reliance is a community bank that lives and believes in core values of trustworthiness, customer first, commitment to excellence, continuous improvement, teamwork, positive attitude and results. First Reliance is committed to delivering the highest level of customer service in the financial industry, achieving a Customer Satisfaction Score of 95%.

26. VC3

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 59 Industry: Technology www.vc3.com VC3 provides customer-oriented information technology solutions and services to both commercial and public-sector customers throughout the Southeast. Voted one of the Best Places to Work in S.C. every year since 2009, VC3 values people who are passionate about IT, love to learn and want to have fun. Employees appreciate VC3 as a place to grow professionally while having fun.

27. Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative Inc.

City: Walterboro Employees in SC: 72 Industry: Telecommunications www.prtc.us PRTC is a member-owned cooperative providing a complete telecommunications solution to the homes and businesses of the Lowcountry. At PRTC, success is best measured by the progress of the communities it serves. Employees can say with pride their organization supports many non-profit fundraisers, community festivals and events. With a firm foundation, rooted in family, PRTC provides a work environment that allows employees to have balance between family and work life.

28. TPM Inc.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 67 Industry: Technology www.tpm.com TPM is the Southeast’s local one-stop shop for engineering and design solutions, graphics, and document management. Family-owned and operated, TPM provides a family atmosphere in every office. TPM employees look out for each other as a team, and each member of that team has a purpose. Each member of the team is treated with the same respect. TPM enjoys a low staff turnover rate because it demonstrates a true understanding that families must come first.

29. Fortis Riders

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 33 Industry: Transportation

www.fortisriders.com Fortis Riders is the world’s leading secure ground transportation company offering a full spectrum of services. The company encourages and promotes a respectful, loving, tolerant, growing culture where people are free to be who they are, while also being intentionally led to become the very best version of themselves. Everyone can explore their own unique gifts at Fortis, so that everyone has the right seat on the bus.

30. Bauknight Pietras and Stormer, P.A. City: Columbia Employees in SC: 67 Industry: Accounting www.bpscpas.com Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, PA, is one of the Southeast’s largest and most trusted accounting and consulting firms. BPS is a social and fun-loving firm that strives for excellence in its work and enjoys meeting and exceeding goals. In a field that requires seasonal overtime, it offers unmatched flexibility and support that allows employees to achieve professional and personal balance.

31. Electric Guard Dog LLC

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 70 Industry: Security www.electricguarddog.com Electric Guard Dog is the market leader in electric security fences and perimeter security in the country. The company strives to maintain a culture that values teamwork, customer service, integrity, and individual excellence, and where people can have fun while they reach high levels of performance. The company encourages employee participation in companysponsored events for a bonding experience, such as an annual Christmas party, Halloween dress-up, a company-sponsored kickball team or the various charity events.

32. Recruiting Solutions

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 55 Industry: Staffing www.recruitingsolutionsonline.com Recruiting Solutions is a local, independent, womanowned staffing and recruiting company. Some of the many aspects that make Recruiting Solutions a “best” place to work are its collaborative company culture, unique employee perks, and ample opportunities for professional development and growth. The culture at Recruiting Solutions is highly collaborative with an open-door policy among employees and leadership. Combining work and fun is normal at Recruiting Solutions with regular “Lunch and Learns,” weekly “brain breaks,” “Social Fridays” and more.

33. Travel Nurses of America

Employees in SC: 29 Industry: Medical Staffing www.tnaa.com Travel Nurse Across America was founded in 1999 by

34. Omatic Software

City: North Charleston Employees in SC: 62 Industry: Technology www.omaticsoftware.com 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. Everything they do is towards this goal. Their agile team is empowered to think outside the box, with an entrepreneurial spirit, to ultimately create more impact for organizations served.

35. KeyMark

City: Liberty Employees in SC: 73 Industry: Technology www.keymarkinc.com KeyMark, an intelligent automation company, has a truly unique culture, and it makes each day in the workplace meaningful and fun. Much of this culture is created and driven by CEO Jim Wanner, whose energy, positivity and passion for helping others succeed permeates the entire office. Each person at KeyMark, including Jim, is approachable and willing to help; there is a constant feeling that everyone is on the same team.

36. PhishLabs

City: Charleston Employees in SC: 88 Industry: Cybersecurity www.phishlabs.com PhishLabs is the leading provider of 24/7 managed threat intelligence and mitigation services that protect brands, customers, and enterprises from digital risks. At the headquarters in Charleston, employees enjoy a modern office environment, on-campus restaurants, and plenty of employee engagement / team building activities. Employees can work a flexible schedule with unlimited PTO to help balance their work and life responsibilities.

37. Jear Logistics

38. Softdocs

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 96 Industry: Technology www.softdocs.com Softdocs is the only education-focused provider of enterprise content management, e-forms and workflow solutions. By providing telecommuting options and flexible scheduling, employees can readily find the time necessary to fulfill their commitments and obligations outside the office. Softdocs encourages open doors so that everyone shares a clear vision for the future.

39. New South Construction Supply

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 54 Industry: Distribution www.newsouthsupply.com New South Construction Supplies provides concrete and masonry accessories, rebar, wire mesh, and waterproofing materials in the Carolinas and Georgia. The company offers employee benefits that include an Associate Hardship Plan, working from home, education reimbursement, an annual company kickoff meeting at a resort for all associates and their spouses/partners. a Leadership Summit Trip to a resort and more.

40. Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union

City: Myrtle Beach Employees in SC: 83 Industry: Banking www.carolinatrust.org Carolina Trust began 60 years ago as Myrtle Beach Air Force Credit Union, and many employees have remained since the changeover. Carolina Trust promotes exclusively from within when possible. Employees enjoy the wellness program dubbed Limelife, education reimbursement to purse their higher educational goals, parties and Christmas bonuses, and cell phone reimbursement.

41. Haig Point Club & Community

City: Hilton Head Employees in SC: 143 Industry: Hospitality www.haigpoint.com Haig Point is a charming sea island community just off the coast of South Carolina, between Hilton Head and Savannah. Haig Point prides itself on the amazing team members whose daily goal is to exceed the expectations of members and residents, and ensure they enjoy an incredible experience.

42. Palmetto Electric Cooperative Inc. City: Hardeeville Employees in SC: 143 Industry: Electric Cooperative www.palmetto.coop

Palmetto Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a member-owned electric utility providing service to more than 72,000 members in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties. It offers an exceptional benefits package which includes a defined benefit pension plan, a 401(k) plan, rich medical benefits, short and long-term disability, life insurance and tuition reimbursement.

43. SCRA - SC Research Authority

City: Columbia Employees in SC: 35 Industry: Research www.scra.org A public, nonprofit corporation, SCRA fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry. Named a Best Place to Work by the South Carolina Department of Commerce for eight years in a row, SCRA believes that employee satisfaction leads to client satisfaction — the ultimate driver of long-term success.

44. Rhodes Graduation Services Inc.

City: Summerton Employees in SC: 29 Industry: Graduation Products www.rhodesgraduation.com Rhodes is the largest Jostens representative in the U.S., providing rings and graduation supplies to more than 35,000 students annually. The industry is all about celebration and love, and without those characteristics, the company would not hold its preeminent position in the industry. As a family-owned, customer-centered organization it is focused on developing its people and making sure that they realize their fullest potential.

45. O’Neal Inc.

City: Greenville Employees in SC: 198 Industry: Engineering www.onealinc.com O’Neal is an integrated project delivery company delivering complex capital projects since 1975. As part of an employee-owned company, O’Neal people have a long-term stake in the company’s well-being. Anyone in the organization can and does come to the CEO, CFO or other member of the leadership team with questions.

46. Total Beverage Solution

City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 47 Industry: Wholesale www.totalbeveragesolution.com Total Beverage Solution represents some of the world’s most iconic breweries, wineries and distilleries. Total Beverage Solution’s culture is driven by a commitment to personal and professional growth, doing things the right way and delivering a consistently high standard of performance. The company provides fully paid, company-sponsored cultural immersion trips for all employees to countries such as New Zealand, Germany and Italy.


City: Mount Pleasant Employees in SC: 109 Industry: Transportation www.jearlogistics.com JEAR provides full and less-than truckload services (refrigerated, dry and flatbed) throughout the United States and Canada. The company encourages folks to #findyourimpact in any manner that matters to them. Whether that is impacting their team, their community, directly on the company or simply their own income, future or career, each is encouraged.

JEAR offers competitive compensation packages, rewards high performers and most benefits are company paid.


people who believed they could change the travel nursing industry for the better, and they take pride in how they treat their internal employees and travelers. The company’s benefits, employee perks and flexible work schedules are a testament to why it is a great place to work. TNAA places high value on maintaining a work-life balance that allows for professional and personal growth.



Ports, Logistics & Distribution

A container ship travels under the Ravenel Bridge on its way to the Charleston ports. The S.C. Ports Authority handled a record amount of cargo during fiscal year 2019. (Photo/Kim McManus)


T www.scbizmag.com

he S.C. Ports Authority saw record cargo volumes, rail moves and inland port activity in the 2019 fiscal year, breaking records set last year. The ports authority’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.


TEUs: The port handled nearly 2.4 million TEUs, a common industry measurement representing 20-foot equivalent boxes, in fiscal 2019. That was an 8.8% increase from the 2018 fiscal year. Empty containers: According to statistics provided by the port, 548,844 TEUs that were moved last fiscal year were empty, up 32% from the 2018 fiscal year. Wando and North Charleston terminals: Last month, 200,406 TEUs moved through the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals, a 0.4% decrease over June 2018.


Port votes for $400 million in bonds to fuel growth The S.C. Ports Authority board voted unanimously to approve the issuance of $400 million in revenue bonds to fund growth at the port. The new debt will fund planned capital expenditures for the next four fiscal years, including the construction of the new Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal in North Charleston and its access road and the finalizing of the Wando Welch Terminal refurbishment project. If the port goes through with the bond sales, the total outstanding bond debt will be around $1.35 billion. The board also authorized up to $125 million in bond refunding that would be used to pay off specific 2015 and 2018 maturities. Port CFO Phil Padgett said this would provide savings to the ports authority, similar to refinancing a home at a lower interest rate. The port will decide whether to move forward with the refunding in the next few months. Additionally, the board approved the purchase of 25 new hybrid rubber-tired gantry cranes for the Leatherman terminal. The $44.3 million contract with Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. includes design, fabrication, transportation, erection and final commissioning of the cranes. Total boxes: Measured by the total number of boxes handled, the port moved 112,988 pier containers in June, a 2.3% decrease over June 2018. The port handled a total of 1.36 million pier containers over the course of the fiscal year, up 9.1%.


Vehicles: The port handled 18,307 vehicles at Columbus Street Terminal in June, for a total of 194,771 vehicles over the course of the year. Total break-bulk cargo was 625,323 pier tons for the fiscal year, a 17.8% drop.

Greer: Inland Port Greer reported its busiest fiscal year yet with 143,204 rail moves in the 2019 fiscal year, up nearly 22% from last year. The inland port reported 14,689 rail moves last month. Dillon: Inland Port Dillon, in its first full year of business, handled around 30,000 rail moves in the 2019 fiscal year. RapidRail: The port’s RapidRail program, which provides connection between rail yards and marine terminals, saw more than 330,000 rail moves in the 2019 fiscal year. The port handles 24% of containerized volumes by intermodal container rail. Cruise passengers: Charleston saw 213,081 cruise passengers in the 2019 fiscal year, 7,600 fewer than projected and a 5.5% decrease over last year. “SCPA’s container business had a record-setting fiscal year, and our inland ports in Greer and Dillon continue to see record growth year over year,” ports authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said in a news release. “This accomplishment is the result of the entire South Carolina maritime community’s dedication to providing a great product to our customers.”

By Patrick Hoff, Staff Writer

Aerospace supplier to locate in Charleston


erospace supplier AHG FastenersUSA Inc. plans to locate its U.S. operations in Charleston, the company said recently at the Paris Air Show. Ateliers de la Haute Garonne, known as AHG, is a private family-owned business founded over a century ago near Toulouse, France. The company designs, manufactures and sells fastening systems for the aerospace industry. “The availability of skilled workforce and proximity to Boeing were important factors in our decision to select this strategic location,” said Francoise Montsarrat, AHG executive vice president, in a news release. “Not only is Charleston ideally suited as a distribution hub for both domestic and overseas customers, the business-friendly climate, the support from the regional eco-

“The availability of skilled workforce and proximity to Boeing were important factors in our decision to select this strategic location.” Francoise Montsarrat

executive vice president, AHG

nomic development authorities and other partners have been extremely welcoming.” The company will open its U.S. business operations, led by CEO Bruno Ferrand, at Office Evolution, located at 460 King St. in Charleston. The company will focus on

sales, business development and growth, as well as customer support. AHG has already begun initial hiring for a sales representative, according to the release. AHG is the sixth company to locate in the Lowcountry as part of S.C. Commerce’s and Charleston Regional Development Alliance’s Landing Pad program, which is designed to support global companies as they enter the U.S. market. “We’ve been talking with AHG for some time about the competitive advantages the Charleston region offers,” Charleston Regional Development Alliance board Chairman Robert Pratt said in a statement. “We welcome them to our community and are pleased the region’s available talent and business-friendly climate made all the difference.”

Staff Report



Phase I of Apple Valley Industrial Park near Spartanburg is 100% leased with the recent commitment of an unnamed automotive supplier. (Photo/xxx)


hase I of the Apple Valley Industrial Park in Duncan is now 100% leased, with the recent commitment of more than 75,000 square feet by an automotive supplier. Panattoni Development has broken ground on Phase IV of the industrial park, with construction expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020, according to a news release. Phase IV includes two speculative buildings — approximately 195,000 square feet and 327,670 square feet. The completion of Phase IV will bring the Apple Valley Industrial Park to a total of six buildings with just over 1.4 million square feet, the release said. CBRE’s Marcus Cornelius and Broadstreet Partners’ Ryan Koop represented Panattoni in the lease transaction. “Speculative development demand in and around the Greenville-Spartanburg area remains strong, but the real key to success is location,” Cornelius said in the release. “The proximity to BMW, the inland port, and key infrastructure, along with high-quality building features, make Apple Valley Industrial Park extremely attractive and a proven success for Panattoni and the overall market. We are very proud to say that since construction began on Phase I in fall of 2017, the four completed buildings, totaling 884,000 square feet, are fully leased to a mix of high-quality tenants from different industry sectors.” Panattoni Development purchased 39 acres in Spartanburg County in 2017 with plans to develop a 373,320-square-foot speculative project. The company is investing more than $22 million in the development. Apple Valley Industrial Park represents a mixture of build-to-suit and speculative development. It is located in the Spartanburg West submarket, less than two miles from Interstate 85 and approximately five miles from the inland port, according to the release.


Development continues at Apple Valley Industrial Park






By Andy Owens, Managing Editor, SC Biz News

Kion North America receives largest-ever truck order


ion North America in Summerville has received its largest industrial truck order in the company’s history from a chain of home improvement stores headquartered in Wisconsin. Kion North America will manufacture and supply Menards-branded stores with more than 600 Linde industrial trucks that run on lithium-ion batteries. The company also will supply several FM-X Reach trucks from Still, another Kion brand, that will be automated by Atlanta-based Dematic. Menard Inc. has 325 stores across 14 states in the Midwest, Kion said in a news release. “When it comes to cost reduction in the warehouse environment, our new combination of proven Linde quality, total cost of ownership, lithium-ion batteries and hybrid automation gives Menards a significant competitive edge,” Vincent Halma, president and CEO of Kion North America, said in a statement.

Kion North America, a manufacturer and supplier of materials-handling forklifts and industrial trucks, is headquartered in Summerville. (Photo/Andy Owens)

Halma said the company’s partnership with Dematic, another Kion brand, along with other technologies from other brands

within the group, gives the company a stronger position to supply large retailers with integrated material handling solutions.

Staff Report


ing spaces, according to a news release. The expansion will enable the company to create 25 new jobs. “It is the policy of Kimura Inc. to partner with our customers and team members to provide lean material flow solutions from Piedmont, S.C.,” Yoshihito Matsui, Kimura Inc. president and COO, said in the release. Kimura Inc. provides logistics capabilities for manufacturing customers that

include automotive, pharmaceutical and consumer goods, the release said. “... Opened in 2014, this facility is a showcase for the company’s world-class capabilities in providing cutting-edge logistics, superior customer service and rapid delivery to support manufacturing customers in a variety of industries,” H.G. “Butch” Kirven, Greenville County Council chairman, said in the release.


Kimura expanding Greenville operations

imura Inc., a subsidiary of global logistics company Kimura Unity in Japan, is spending $4 million to expand its existing Greenville County operations, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce. Located at 501 Matrix Parkway in Piedmont, the company plans to increase its operations by an additional 64,000 square feet along with 100 transport vehicle park-



Staff Report

Plutonium removed from Savannah River Site



n accordance with a federal court injunction, at least 1 metric ton of plutonium has been removed from the Savannah River Site, the U.S. Department of Energy said. The state of South Carolina obtained the injunction from U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs, according to a news release from the office of S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson. South Carolina sued the Department of Energy in 2016 when it failed to follow a congressional law that required that the plutonium be removed by Jan. 1, 2016, if the objective for the mixed oxide fuel facility’s production was not met by Jan. 1, 2014. Wilson said the federal court sided with the state and ordered that 1 metric ton of plutonium be removed by Jan. 1, 2020. When the Department of Energy appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the court upheld the district court’s order. “Today’s news that 1 ton of weaponsgrade plutonium has been removed from the state is a victory for South Carolinians and the rule of law,” Wilson said. “The Department of Energy disregarded many of its obligations to the state, and this outcome confirms the state will not sit idly by while the department does so. We will continue to enforce the law and hold the federal government to its commitments to South Carolina and its citizens.”



1,000 WORDS


Morris Island Lighthouse at sunrise, as seen from the east end of Folly Beach. (Photo/Kim McManus)

Profile for SC Biz News

2019 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...

2019 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

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