BEST ADVICE Rob Temple, CEO, FishBait Solutions LLC
PAGE 4 VOLUME 27 NUMBER 4 ■ CHARLESTONBUSINESS.COM
Part of the
FEBRUARY 22 - MARCH 7, 2021 ■ $2.25
Lowcountry Local First opens expanded Local Works By Andy Owens
State of the region
Mayors from Charleston, North Charleston and Mount Pleasant talk about future and 2020. Pages 5-7
owcountry Local First opened a new HQ, including more than 5,000 square feet of coworking space on Summerville Avenue in Charleston recently. The location in the Lumberyard commercial development expands and modernizes the nonprofit, small business advocacy group’s
ability to help support individual entrepreneurs and early stage startups with more offices, more services and with less flooding. The organization’s previous location on upper Meeting Street was prone to flooding and the space was limited. A ribbon cutting streamed online last Friday signaled the opening of a larger, elevated space in addition to expanded, dedicated parking. The idea behind Local Works is unchanged,
organizers said. It will continue offering a low-cost option for local businesses that need commercial space. The added benefit is similar to other coworking locations across the region, which is a creative environment where entrepreneurs can talk and share ideas and discover commonalities that could lead to new business. See LOCAL, Page 16
Santee Cooper invests in apprenticeships to help boost pipeline of skilled workers. Page 12
Michelin North America is working with the International African American Museum. Page 3
S.C.’s energy use
Oil and electricity are the two largest end-use power consumption categories in the Palmetto State. Page 2
Grants help stabilize firms across S.C.
SAVING MIDDLE KING
By Melinda Waldrop, Molly Hulsey and Alexandria Ng
Sense of community, common goals create synergy among middle King Street businesses leveraging digital to weather the pandemic storm.
he COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare obstacles small businesses face that go beyond financial. As small businesses across the country struggle to keep the lights on after a spring shutdown and varying degrees of reopening in the nine months since, federal Paycheck Protection Program loans and state grants have provided much-needed help. But the $525 billion distributed nationally in the first round of PPP, along with $40 million in SC CARES grants to small- and minority-owned businesses in South Carolina, are stopgap solutions for many. “There’s obviously a number of problems that have been exposed,” said Frank Knapp, president and CEO of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “There’s been exposed the problem of entrepreneurs and
Upfront................................. 2 SC Biz News Briefs................. 3 Best Advice........................... 4 In Focus: Trends in Energy................. 13 List: Recycling Companies.. 18 Bonus List: Solar Companies................. 19 At Work............................... 21 Viewpoint............................23
SC Biz News
Solar power represents one of the largest business units for Dominion Energy S.C. with more under construction. Page 13
See SC CARES, Page 10
BRIEFS | FACTS | STATEWIDE NEWS | BEST ADVICE
S.C.’s consumption junction
outh Carolina isn’t the largest energy using state in the country, but we do our share of consuming different sources of power to run our businesses, governments, schools and other things that fuel our daily lives. The U.S. Energy Information Administration in Washington, D.C., poured through the data for 2019, the latest information available, and came up with some conclusions about what powers South Carolina. Don’t forget this is pre-pandemic consumption, so the numbers likely will change year-over-year.
South Carolina’s sources of power
Powering Southern states
Total consumption measurements in British thermal units, also called Btu, for selected states for 2019. State
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
“2020 saw unprecedented activity on Kiawah Island and we see this interest continuing in 2021. As resale inventory on the Island continues to decline, I think the big winner will be new construction homes for sale, speculative homes.” — Dan Whalen, president, Kiawah Island Real Estate
February 22 - March 7, 2021
SC Biz News Briefs
Michelin’s gift is the company’s second to the museum. (Rendering/Provided)
GSA Business Report
Michelin North America partners with International African American Museum The International African American Museum and Michelin North America Inc. have announced a partnership focused on freedom in the age of mobility. The museum’s mission is to honor untold stories of the African American journey through educational exhibits, according to a news release. “This partnership supports Michelin’s efforts to recognize the legacy of those whose movements have not been always free and to teach the value of being ‘free to move’ in all spheres of life,” William McMillian, executive sponsor of the African American Network for Michelin North America, said in the news release. “We hope the exhibit will start conversations around a central question — If you are not free to move, are you fully free? — that builds bridges in our communities.” The effort is being supported by a gift from Michelin, the company’s second contribution to the museum. It will fund the inaugural traveling exhibition and programming, complete with curriculum designed for K-12 students, according to the release. A group of Michelin employees will also have an opportunity to explore their genealogy through the museum’s Center for Family History, the release said.
Columbia Regional Business Report
3D Systems in York County expands additive manufacturing operations Global additive manufacturing solutions company 3D Systems is investing $13 million in a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its York County operations. The expansion, to be completed in early 2022, is slated to create 50 jobs at plant. “We’re excited to expand 3D Systems’ presence here at our headquarters in York County,” Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO of 3D Systems, said in a news release. “We look forward to enhancing our facilities and growing our workforce to not only accelerate our innovation but to contribute to the economic development of Rock Hill and South Carolina.” The company, founded in 1986, helped bring three-dimensional printing to the manufacturing industry. The company serves the health care, aerospace, defense, automotive and durable good markets with additive manufacturing solutions including 3D printing, software and business services. Its advanced materials have applications including use in medical implants, space exploration and NASCAR. VOLUME 24 NUMBER 3 ■ GSABUSINESS.COM Part of the
Small S.C. businesses navigate changes wrought by COVID-19 with the help of state and federal funds while trying to chart a post-pandemic future
Third Cottontown Art Crawl set for March 15. Page 2
S.C. lands $4 billion in capital investment in 2020. Page 4
Greenwood Genetic Center secures grant to help meet rising expectations. Page 6
Upfront ................................ 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 3 In Focus: Banking and Finance ...................... 13 List: Banks ......................... 16 At Work .............................. 21 Viewpoint ...........................23
Margaret Nevill, owner of Columbia fired arts studio Mad Platter, prioritized payroll with the PPP loan her small business received. She was committed to making sure none of her nine staff members at the Millwood Avenue studio were let go, a goal she achieved. The Mad Platter has been in business for 23 years. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)
By Melinda Waldrop, Molly Hulsey and Alexandria Ng
SC Biz News
he COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare obstacles small businesses face that go beyond financial. As small businesses across the country struggle to keep the lights on after a spring shutdown and varying degrees of reopening in the nine months since, federal Paycheck Protection Program loans and state grants
have provided much-needed help. But the $525 billion distributed nationally in the first round of PPP, along with $40 million in SC CARES grants to small- and minority-owned businesses in South Carolina, are stopgap solutions for many. “There’s obviously a number of problems that have been exposed,” said Frank Knapp, president and CEO of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “There’s been exposed the problem of entrepreneurs and very small businesses not having good access to the financial institutions or keeping proper
records and getting the proper training.” While those issues may have prevented some from receiving a cut of the first round of PPP loans, another factor makes it hard for many small businesses in the state to thrive even in good times, Knapp said. “There’s obviously a problem with broadband,” Knapp said, exposed most visibly in education and health care, but also an economic development issue. “From our perspective, we recognize education’s important. See BUSINESSES, Page 18
A complicated question Home office tax deductions must meet a set of qualifications. Page 8
FEBRUARY 8 - FEBRUARY 21, 2021 ■ $2.25
TOWERING STRENGTH Growth, costs bode well for the 2020s. See page 8.
Team designs bridges, light poles from turbine blades
Additional federal benefits begin reaching Palmetto State in January. Page 11
Leading Off .......................... 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 3 C-Suite ................................ 4 In Focus: Banking and Finance ............................. 17 LIST: Banks ........................ 18 At Work ..............................22 Viewpoint ...........................23
Get in touch
Report: Greenville to be decade’s most resilient county
Clemson engineers encourage STEM for minority students. Page 12
By Molly Hulsey
ind farmers face a colossal quandary that is only growing with the size of turbine blades, some that are now almost the length of a football field. Turbine blades have a maximum life span of 25 years, according to Russell Gentry, director of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Master of Science program in architecture and principal investigator of Project Re-Wind, an American-Irish-Northern Irish partnership seeking to bring new life to retired blades. Today, thousands of blades are being decommissioned after an eight or 15-year career as engineers are discovering that longer blades boost airflow and air resistance. The fiber-reinforced polymer used in the
massive blades — many reaching almost 165 feet long — is expensive, nonbiodegradable and, so far, not recyclable. “Unfortunately, they’re leaving a lot of wind blade turbines out there with no additional use,” said Vikash Patel, one of the founders of Greenville-based supply chain management firm, Logisticus Group. Often, it costs wind farmers $300 to $500 a ton just to dispose of the blades in a landfill even at their present size, Gentry said. “The upkeep and maintenance of wind energy assets is a huge issue because these turbines go into service for 25-plus years and no big machine runs forever,” he said. And that doesn’t even include the expenses incurred from transporting and grinding up the decommissioned blades — which is where Logisticus steps in to serve wind farms across
the country. The company has been searching for a way to make this process more cost-effective and sustainable for clients. “Already, we’ve seen a certain percentage of them shift from a landfill to renewable sources, and right now the major solution that’s kind of on the docket is using them in cement, so there’s a large portion of the blades that are now moving down that path,” Patel told GSA Business Report. He estimated that in 2020, 90% of all blades were trucked to the landfill. The new year has brought that percentage down to 25%. Most of these solutions are what industry professionals call “down grading.” The blades might be ground up or melted down to be used as filler in a concrete countertop or as
843 725 7200
Home grown Consumer demand for local food surges as pandemic alters eating habits
See TURBINES, Page 14
Leading the charge
One analyst tells why he thinks Spartanburg is poised for roaring back. Page 17
County Spotlight: Horry | Trending: Agriculture in S.C. | S.C. Delivers
A global commercial real estate partner, powered by people, that puts you first.
Greenville baseball team operators supplement lost season with events. Page 13
Genetic services in demand
Changes at the top Chernoff Newman restructures leadership. Page 6
Driving into a new season
Irmo biotechonology company receives grant. Page 7
Part of the
FEBRUARY 15-28, 2021 ■ $2.25
A SHIFTING LANDSCAPE
SC Biz News 1802 Dayton Street Suite 101 North Charleston, SC 29405
VOLUME 14 NUMBER 3 ■ COLUMBIABUSINESSREPORT.COM
ELECTRONIC SERVICE REQUESTED
With publications in Charleston, Columbia and the Upstate, as well as a statewide magazine, SC Biz News covers the pulse of business across South Carolina. Above are excerpts from our other publications.
Avison Young - South Carolina, Inc.
LOWCOUNTRY NEWSROOM Executive Editor - Andy Owens firstname.lastname@example.org • 843.849.3142
February 22 - March 7, 2021
CEO AND EQUITY PARTNER, FISHBAIT SOLUTIONS LLC
Editor, Custom Publishing Division Steve McDaniel email@example.com • 843.849.3123
Rob Temple has a large collection of all-access passes. After growing up in Atlanta, he attended
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college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then returned to Atlanta to join a marketing
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consulting agency working for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Committee, the Southeastern Conference
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and many blue-chip corporate clients. Four years later, the agency asked him to open an office in
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Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia.
That’s where Temple met Lori, his wife, and where
Editor - Melinda Waldrop firstname.lastname@example.org • 803.726.7542
Network in Australia recruited him to lead their
his oldest daughter Sophie was born. The Seven sports and Olympics sales and marketing team. He
was then recruited to join Host Communications in
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New York City to design the media and marketing rights architecture for March Madness and the NCAA
Associate Editor, Custom Publishing Division Jim Tatum firstname.lastname@example.org • 864.720.2269 Staff Writer - Molly Hulsey email@example.com • 864.720.1223 LOWCOUNTRY ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Senior Account Executive - Robert Reilly firstname.lastname@example.org • 843.849.3107 Account Executive - Sara Cox email@example.com • 843.849.3109 Account Executive Thomas J. Giovanniello, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org • 843.849.3104
Final Four. From there, I was recruited to lead ESPN’s efforts to redesign their college football commercial media and marketing rights. In 2006, Temple lost Lori
“THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED
In the early 1990s, I was told by my boss at the time — the brilliant managing partner of our agency, Tim Smith — that “the definition of a good deal is when everybody wins.” It has served me well over my career and is exemplified by the work I did in 2003 to reimagine ESPN’s Emmy Award winning College Gameday Show to become Built by The Home Depot. That work is now the envy of the industry, and through a 20-year partnership it has delivered extraordinary value for ESPN, for The Home Depot, for fans of college football and for so many more. Clearly in that deal — everybody wins!”
South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth
President and Group Publisher Grady Johnson email@example.com • 843.849.3103 Creative Director - Ryan Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org • 843.849.3117
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current wife, Betty Temple, chairwoman and CEO of the law firm Womble Bond Dickinson. The couple had two more children, Sarah Beth and Hudson. Temple ultimately rose to senior vice president of the group he built, ESPN Sports Marketing, which oversaw 40 sports for ESPN. In 2018, after a Disney-wide restructure, he joined the ESPN Programming and Acquisitions team to manage a portfolio including Major League Baseball, the Little League World Series, the X Games, poker and also negotiated one of the first live sports league to return to air on ESPN
When Rob Temple worked for The Seven Network in Sydney on the 2000 Olympic Games, he was offered the chance to run with the Olympic Torch three times. But he turned it down twice so others could run with it. Finally, he accepted the offer from Seven’s chairman as a way of thanking Tempe for impacting their success with the Olympic Games. He ran in Penrith, just west of Sydney, and into the arms of his wife and 10-month old daughter. He said it was “a truly unforgettable experience on so many levels…and one that I almost turned down!”
Events Account Executive - Melissa Tomberg email@example.com • 864.720.1220
to cancer and subsequently reconnected with his
with the Korean Baseball Organization airing opening day games with ESPN in 2020. He said after working far and wide for so long, he was delighted to come home again and join my new partners, Rick and Ron, in leading FishBait Solutions LLC as their new CEO.
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February 22 - March 7, 2021
Tecklenburg discusses supporting small businesses, housing crisis By Teri Errico Griffis
he past 12 months have not been easy for the city of Charleston, but in his annual State of the City address, Mayor John Tecklenburg praised residents for not growing weary. “Hearts harden in hard times, that’s just the way of the world,” he said. “But that’s not the way of Charleston.” He praised the perseverance of the people, saying their character is measured in the compassion of medical workers, Tecklenburg in the sacrifices of first responders and the perseverance of business leaders and workers, teachers and parents. “It is by that measure, the measure of our people, that I can report to you tonight that the state of our city is strong, he said. “Charleston strong.” Throughout his speech, the mayor touched on four key topics that he said were critical to shaping not only the year ahead but the future of the city. In them, he addressed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, injustice in the city, climate change and affordable housing. Looking ahead, the city staff is working to establish and fund initiatives that could solve Charleston’s affordable housing crisis — something that’s happening throughout America, Tecklenburg said. In coordination with local partners, the mayor hopes to create a countywide housing plan and a regional housing trust. “Without decisive action, Charleston could one day become less a city and more a fleeing pleasure for well-to-do visitors, out-of-state students and part-time second homeowners,” To guard against this, Charleston is directly investing $50 million in affordable housing across the city and leveraging even more to produce 1,000 new housing units. Tecklenburg said. “We’re requiring all large-scale, mixeduse developments to make 20% of the units affordable or pay an equivalent fee in lieu into our housing funds,” he said. “Finally, we’re cutting bureaucratic red tape and working to enable the kind of in-fill development which increases the overall supply of housing, which help hold costs down.” In his address, the mayor additionally encouraged the support of small businesses, with innovative initiatives such as the new Central Business District Improvement Commission and the Charleston Loan Development Corp. Revolving Loan Fund. He added that in the coming year there’ll be enhancements for parking and zoning issues, as well as plans for
major drainage projects in West Ashley, Johns Island, James Island and the Peninsula. “If we do these things, we can save lives and help our business community now and look forward to the simple pleasures of hugging a friend, visiting an older relative or enjoying a show well before the end of this year,” Tecklenburg said. One upcoming decision in particular for the city was whether or not to move forward with the Army Corps of Engi-
neers’ plan to build a seawall around Charleston. The project would set the city up for a potential $1 billion in federal flooding assistance. A climate action plan is also in the works to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. Tecklenburg said the plan is to bring it to council this year. “We know that without bold action, the future can only be one of surrender and retreat,” he said. Tecklenburg admitted in spite of all the plans and good intentions, the coro-
navirus has reminded us all that we have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but he believes the city will rise to meet the adversity head on. “We cannot say for certain what new challenges 2020 will bring, but because we know ourselves and our city, whatever the challenge, whatever the test, we will not hide, we will not fail. And even more, we will not grow weary from doing good,” he said. CRBJ
Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.
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February 22 - March 7, 2021
Summey shares message of hope, strength in 2021 State of City By Teri Errico Griffis
he North Charleston State of the City this year shared messages of optimism and resilience. The region will rebound, Mayor Keith Summey said, and he believes it’s because of the city’s tenacity and human spirit. “During my time in public service, every year has had its challenge. But I can say with absolute certainty that 2020 has been our most difficult,” Summey said. “Covid changed everything.” But the city came together. Its soul and character lies in its people and small businesses, Summey said, and he’s confident the city will return stronger than ever in time. Throughout a 23-minute video, Summey paid homage to the events and people that impacted the city over the year. He recognized in particular the small businesses that remained resilient through the pandemic. “No other segment of our community has faced such difficult times: a mandated shutdown, limited operations, while trying to make payroll to keep their staff employed,” he said. “We know you are the lifeblood of our community creating important jobs and creating capital
investments which further enhances our quality of life.” The shadow first loomed in March when North Charleston first called off the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in precaution for the safety of citizens. The schools were next. Parents working for the city of North Charleston suddenly had to work from Summey home to be with their children and with an abrupt depletion of staff, North Charleston’s City Hall had to pare down its services. Still, the city’s essential services trucked forward, Summey said. “Regardless of the nearly $18 million financial shortfall to the city’s budget, staff has found innovative ways to ensure essential city services remain on track,” he said. Long-anticipated projects were completed, like the North Charleston Aquatic Center, which Summey called a “dream come true.” The North Charleston Fire Department answered 21,000 calls, the Sanitation Division of Public Works collected 29,000 tons of garbage waste, and the
Police Department removed 646 illegal guns from streets. These organizations, Summey said, are essential to the city’s quality of life. “We’re out there every day, 24 hours a day,” North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess said. “We swore an oath to serve and protect the people and at no time will we ever get away from doing that.” Throughout the pandemic, police officers took the initiative to visit all assisted living facilities in North Charleston to disseminate information, attended social justice protests and handed out free masks in neighborhoods in need. Nobody stepped up to the plate for North Charleston more than the medical providers, according to Summey. “But despite the challenges, the city must go on,” he said. The bounce back began on May 7, when the North Charleston Farmers Market re-opened. Outdoor dining followed, along with Riverfront City Park and Town Hall. The city was once again open for business with precautions required by the new normal. Venture X opened its Park Circle co-working space. The Cooper River School of Advanced Studies welcomed high school students for the first time,
preparing them for trade jobs in the area. The Charleston County Social Services Hub also broke ground across from the old Navy hospital. Even the arts started coming back to life with the August opening of The Park Circle Gallery. There’s no doubt the city is changing, Summey said, both as a result of the pandemic and its continued growth. Moving into 2021, he understands the importance of finding solutions in affordable housing and improving the public school system. Infrastructure has to keep up, he said, noting projects by The Lowcountry Rapid Transit that will address mass transit and traffic issues. Those include the Palmetto Commerce Parkway Phase III, Palmetto Commerce Interchange, the Airport Connector Road and Interstate 526 project. The mayor also looks to revitalize Reynolds Avenue and the surrounding area despite budgetary constraints. “We have all endured much over the last year as we’ve withstood isolation and at times watching our loved ones fall ill from afar,” Summey said. He signed off, encouraging residents to “keep your community in mind and your spirits high.” CRBJ
Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.
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February 22 - March 7, 2021
Mount Pleasant saw business development gains amid 2020 struggles By Andy Owens
ike all municipalities across the state and region, Mount Pleasant adjusted in 2020 to figure out how to cope with an fluid financial and social situation presented by the pandemic. During the State of the Town report delivered virtually this month, Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie and town council members provided a glimpse into what the town went through as the global health care crisis quickly became an economic and social crisis. Haynie Haynie said 2020 redefined the way communities, businesses and public servants interacted. The town had to deal with challenges proposed by a quickly changing financial situation, supporting front-line responders, along with planning, transportation and public service. “The pandemic loomed large over our budget. We were impacted, however, through sound fiscal management and conservative stewardship of our financial resources,” Haynie said. “We prioritized critical public services and projects without compromising our financial status.” Haynie said Mount Pleasant’s business community felt a significant economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, and the town found ways to help navigate the crisis. “We supported our business community and implemented initiatives to protect local businesses,” Haynie said. Those initiatives included deferring business license fees for companies that were struggling and launching an online portal for regular coronavirus alerts and other information for businesses. “We also did COVID-safe ribbon cuttings to promote new businesses that came to town so that people could still see that we were thriving,” Councilmember Kathy Landing said. She said Mount Pleasant actually saw more economic activity with new businesses opening than those that had to close their doors permanently. “In 2020, we actually had quite a few more businesses start and come to Mount Pleasant than those that we unfortunately lost,” Landing said. “We’re very, very sorry for those that had to close. It was an incredibly difficult year for so many.” From a government standpoint, Mount Pleasant also worked around providing public services and reminded residents and businesses to say safe and follow COVID-19 guidelines in leading by example. “COVID-19 changed the way we provided services but did not alter the quality of the services we provided,” Haynie
said. “We took the unprecedented step to close Town Hall on March 17 and work remotely to the extent possible. We protected our staff so they could protect our residents and businesses.” In addition to switching to virtual Town Council meetings, committee and other public meetings, Mount Pleasant also implemented a protocol for public comment to occur so the town could hear from citizens. The Town Council approved a 10-year comprehensive plan, passed a short-term rental ordinance and permitted an afford-
able town home community called Gregorie Ferry Towns to focus on workforce housing for police officers, firefighters and teachers. Mount Pleasant has always been a municipality with a strong public events calendar. To help maintain a semblance of that, the town organized events with protocols and social distancing guidelines in place to try to safely preserve a sense of community. Police officers also held drive-through birthday greetings for children, conducted virtual “reading patrols” and did
CHS - ADMAG - CRBJ - Steinberg Law Firm_20190926.indd 2
checkups on elderly residents. The farmer’s market also opened with pandemic protocols in place. “The severe impact of COVID-19 in our municipality have prompted us to adjust, adapt and change to meet the needs of the era,” Haynie said, adding, “We will continue to fight the pandemic, and we will succeed. Our future is hopeful and the State of the Town of Mount Pleasant is strong.” Then donning a mask on camera, the mayor urged everyone, for the foreseeable future, to wear masks. CRBJ
9/26/19 12:09 PM
February 22 - March 7, 2021
Middle King businesses use digital to stay brick-and-mortar relevant By Teri Errico Griffis
ing Street has had its challenges during the pandemic, but companies shouldn’t have to compete against one another to survive, according to Rhett Outten, owner of Croghan’s Jewel Box. To get through the downturn, Outten banded together a group of neighboring, small Middle King Street businesses and reinvented how they marketed and who they marketed to. “We had to do something. Nobody was coming to save us,” Outten said. Last February, Croghan’s had its biggest Valentine’s Day in history. The Food & Wine Festival and Southeastern Wildlife Exposition had just happened, and record crowds and occupancy created a boom for Charleston and the retail scene on King Street. Then the pandemic shut down business in the middle of March and many remained closed until the last week in May. Outten returned to a ghost town she described as “eerie, scary and horrific.” Within a month, national retailers like Talbots, Lucky, Gap and Banana Republic shuttered in the same block. Without in-person patronization, mom and pop shops that had been oper-
ating around if for decades now had to turn to virtual engagement. The Croghan’s team spent the last few years expanding digital resources — updating the company’s website, creating email campaigns, investing in digital ads and building a social media presence. “We realized 10 years ago if our ads weren’t showing up on the phone for this generation, we were going to miss that segment of the community,” she said. She first asked herself what she could do to deliver a similar, if not better, level of customer service to people shuttered in their homes and ordering on Amazon for next day delivery. Many weren’t even willing to travel a block from their home last spring. She knew she had to be vivacious in her marketing and give people a reason to come shop — and stay. While Outten and her team put in all this energy into the world of digital marketing, she knew many of the older local stores surrounding Croghan’s had not. And it was going to take more than just her Instagram page to bring shoppers back to middle King Street. So she reached out to neighboring shops and came up with the idea of collaborating on social media as one group, creating a niche destination on middle King Street. They group was dubbed “MiKi” and encompasses M. Dumas &
A FAILING SEWER OR DRAIN PIPE AT YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS DOES NOT MEAN EXPENSIVE REPAIRS AND DAMAGES !
Businesses joined to create an identifiable middle King Street district. (Photo/Margaret Sullivan)
Sons, Hampden, Grady Ervin & Co., M. P. Demetre Jewelers, Shoes on King, Jordan Lash Charleston, Jackson Davenport, Palm Avenue and Finicky Filly. “Some of us have tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram, and I knew that if we could all get together and link up with the rest of the local merchants on our street and all share the community, we could give people the experience beyond anything they’ve had here before,” she said. However with mom and pop shops, the smaller staff is often too busy for daily social media. Their hands are typically tied with answering phones, restocking and making local deliveries. One almost needs the same amount of aggressiveness to maintain Instagram as it does a brick and mortar, Outten said. So she brought in former Charleston
Magazine style editor, Quinn Sherman to manage MiKi. Sherman had been working with Croghan’s previously and enthusiastically jumped on board, creating a logo and branding, mapping out campaigns to include all businesses equally and setting up photo shoots. While business owners were supportive, loving her ideas and the partnership MiKi brought them, Sherman said she initially struggled trying to find the common ground for six different companies. “Everybody’s business models are different and things work differently for everyone,” she said. “It’s been a goal of mine to streamline things, see what works for everyone as a whole. I think the only way to be successful is that everyone’s on the same page.” Some of MiKi’s content comes directly from the stores, others from a look book Sherman helped create. Each week, she pushes out images from the stores, whether it’s a single piece of merchandise from one vendor or a collection from several — such as a gallery of men’s shirts you can find at each of the various clothing stores. Finding the target audience is one of the most important steps in strategic marketing, according to StoryBrand certified guide Holly Fisher, owner of Fisher Creative in Mount Pleasant. Most think to target a specific age
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group or gender, but Fisher suggests taking it further and instead looking into what problem a business can solve. “In this case, they all need to buy something,” Fisher said. “If they’re potential customers they are looking for something special and for a great shopping experience, and that’s something all of the businesses have in common to talk about.” Problem solving is a key marketing strategy, especially because it prevents a business from being too “salesy,” Fisher said. How are you helping them? What kind of value can you give people?” “Not all social media posts should be buy this, buy this, buy this,” she said. “You also want to give people some value. Some really great content, to nurture and build that relationship with your potential clients.” For a jewelry company, that could include how to clean jewelry, what’s in style for the season or even simple striking images like a grouping of bright green emeralds for St. Patrick’s Day. Overall, Sherman said the foundational support has to come from the stores wanting to see their neighbors succeed. People need to participating equally, liking and sharing posts even if they aren’t necessarily about their business. It wasn’t too bold a request, since the stores had been doing that by word of mouth for years. If Dumas doesn’t have a certain shirt, staff knew Grady Ervin & Co. might. If a Croghan’s shopper want-
ed the perfect watch, they were pointed toward M. P. Demetre, which has an extensive collection. “It’s a sense of community that drives loyalty and long-time customers,” Sherman said. “They’ve created a community that props one another up and points to other local businesses.” Since Sherman launched MiKi’s Instagram account Oct. 15, it’s gained 1,184 followers. She hopes more will come as the pandemic restrictions ease up and she’s able to create actual outdoor events and special shopping nights. Sherman sees a lot of potential down the line and said there are a number of businesses who have reached out asking to get involved. “It’s the same idea that you see when you look at Mount Pleasant’s Town Centre and how they share the marketing effort,” Sherman said. “King Street didn’t have that, but that’s what we’re hoping to get started.” For now, she wants to ensure she can manage the current content and fine tune the business model before expanding. “Everyone has been exuberant about it,” Outten said. “Social media is huge and if you aren’t able to write a post every day or don’t really understand the power of it or you aren’t able to answer those messages, there’s something powerful to know someone is doing that on your behalf and keeping those customers engaged.” CRBJ
Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.
M. Dumas & Sons is one of the legacy companies on King Street. (Photo/Margaret Sullivan)
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SC CARES, from Page 1
very small businesses not having good access to the financial institutions or keeping proper records and getting the proper training.” While those issues may have prevented some from receiving a cut of the first round of PPP loans, another factor makes it hard for many small businesses in the state to thrive even in good times, Knapp said. “There’s obviously a problem with broadband,” Knapp said, exposed most visibly in education and health care, but also an economic development issue. “From our perspective, we recognize education’s important. Health care’s important. But there’s also the economic part of that. How can we expect these rural communities to actually develop good, successful business communities if there’s no broadband there? This is as much an economic development issue, statewide broadband, as it is a health care issue, as it is an education issue.” The second round of PPP loans were initially targeted to address those that might have fallen through the cracks in 2020. When the program re-opened in January, only Community Financial Development Institutions, which serve underrepresented communities, could apply for loans in its first week, and the U.S. Small Business Administration said it was prioritizing small businesses in the $284 billion allocated for job retention, property damage costs, operations expenditures, supplier costs and worker protection through March 31. “Many of the businesses that we have been able to serve through the PPP program have been those who are also the most vulnerable — black- and women-owned small businesses that also have employees who are most likely to be on the front lines during the pandemic, businesses such as food service, restaurants, service-oriented companies,” said Dominik Mjartan, president and CEO of Columbia-headquartered Optus Bank. “Part of our mission as a bank has been to make sure we have a thriving, vibrant economy across all communities, and it happened that this pandemic has really highlighted the disparities between different communities when it comes to business success.” In the first round of PPP, Knapp said only 16% of S.C. small businesses received loans. The S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce released a report last September analyzing available business closure data in three areas through the first week of September. The report found that 580 businesses in Horry County, Rock Hill and Hilton Head had closed, with 30.5% of closures in the personal services sector, 29.7% among contractors and 20.5% in the retail industry. Chamber research also found that statewide, new business license applica-
Charleston luxury car and limo service Marquee Limo Co. has struggled during the pandemic and is currently losing around $20,000 a month, owner Kenneth Hutchinson said. The service used $34,000 in PPP loans to catch up on interest-only payments, owner’s salary and utilities. (Photo/Provided)
S.C. CARES relief grant programs Nearly 3,000 small, minority owned businesses and nonprofit organizations in South Carolina received $65 million in relief aid to mitigate the impact of falling business and reduced donations.
Minority and Small Businesses
Number of minority and small businesses receiving grants under the S.C. Cares program
The exact amount awarded to thousands of small and minority businesses.
874 businesses received the largest amount, which was $25,000.
12 businesses received the lowest awarded grants of $2,500.
The average award was more than $17,500 under the minority and small business award program.
tions dropped by 946, a decline of 31.2%, from April through July 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. Four of the nine S.C. counties that require business licenses, along with 13 municipalities, provided information for the business license analysis.
Number of nonprofit organizations receiving grants under the S.C. Cares program
The exact amount awarded to nonprofit organizations in South Carolina.
203 nonprofits received the highest awarded grants of $50,000.
Seven nonprofits received the lowest awarded grants of $2,500.
The average award was more than $36,000 under the nonprofit award program. Source: S.C. Department of Administration, S.C. Biz News “Obviously, we lost a lot of small businesses,” Knapp said. “A lot of the small businesses, especially in the minority community, and very small businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, have gone away. How many totally? We’ll have to wait until somebody does some census work.”
While Knapp said “the only way things will get back to some semblance of normal” will be when the spread of the virus is controlled by vaccines, he said there are concrete steps the state can take going forward. Public-private partnerships which help incentivize statewide broadband access must be pursued, and training and access to capitalization for small businesses increased. To help small, minority-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations, the General Assembly passed the SC CARES Act, which was signed by Gov. Henry McMaster in September. The act made $65 million available to small businesses and nonprofits to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Grant applications flooded the S.C. Department of Administration, quickly exhausting the funds. “It’s almost like no-brainers,” Knapp said. “When there’s no crisis, (it’s) ‘We’re doing fine, we’re doing OK.’ Now we have a crisis, and we see, ‘Oh, we should’ve taken care of it.’ Hopefully, we will.”
Charleston limo company tries to keep the wheels rolling
Keeping a luxury car and limo service business afloat when Charleston tourism has taken a hit due to the pandemic, said Kenneth Hutchinson, owner of Marquee Limo Co. It has been just as hard finding the financial aid required to sustain the business, he said. “We’ve gone in debt by about $230,000,” Hutchinson said. “We’ve seen a tiny upswing, so it’s looking a little bit better than it did last year, but not a whole lot more. Currently, we’re still losing about $20,000 a month.” As a company that offers transportation services for airports, weddings, group gatherings and special events, Mar-
February 22 - March 7, 2021
quee Limo’s target market significantly dwindled as resorts and venues canceled events to limit the spread of COVID-19. Whereas the company might have fulfilled a little more than one million transportation requests on a normal year, it only had about 300,000 in 2020. After 60 days of being completely shut down last year and reducing its staff to three drivers from the original 18, Marquee Limo Co. reports being down 70% as compared to previous years. Hutchinson has looked to both local and national resources for help. Upon applying for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Hutchinson was told that the company qualified for about half a million dollars. But they got caught in the waiting line, Hutchinson said. By the time it was their turn to receive the funds, they could only get $149,000 due to a cut-off amount. “We applied at the exact same time, with exact same numbers as some other guys that actually got the $500,000, but we just got caught,” Hutchinson said. “It kind of gives an unfair advantage if you’re giving half a million to one company and $150,000 to another in the same market, but you just have to get lucky in the right rotation.” Hutchinson had more success with the Paycheck Protection Program, having received $34,000 in loans on the first round. Those funds went toward catching
up on interest-only payments, owner’s salary and utilities. Now, the company has applied for the second round of payroll protection. It generally takes around 60 days to get a response, if he even gets a definitive answer, Hutchinson said. “When you’re trying to get government subsidies loans, such as EIDL or payroll protection, you’re basically kind of standing in line and hoping that they get back to you, hoping that they send you an email,” Hutchinson said. “There’s no one that you can plead your case to that could make a decision. You just sort of put your applications in and hope for the best.” As Hutchinson prepares for a waiting game preceding the second round of PPP, he plans to keep his business running using the Charleston LDC’s revolving loan fund, from which he received a total of $73,000. The fund comes from an $850,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, authorized by the federal CARES Act. A total of $317,000 has been distributed so far to five Charleston-area businesses, with a 4% interest rate. Hutchinson said the loan will hold the business over for another six months. At that time, unless business picks up or the company secures additional capital, more tough decisions could have to be made, he said The LDC funds will go toward keeping drivers employed and trained as well
as keeping up with the current inventory of cars and the accompanying insurance costs. The funds will help the company stay open during a time when it is having trouble finding loans elsewhere, Hutchinson said. “When we first got hit, our creditors and loan companies, and even our insurance companies, were willing to work with us,” Hutchinson said. “They did that for about six months, but now they’re not willing to work with us. If we don’t make payments, they’ll come repossess our vehicles.” Hutchinson said he expects recovery to happen by spring 2022 — a process that will happen with baby steps as the company is back open and making smaller drives while awaiting resumption of the large group events that bring in a majority of the profit. Until then and until the second round of PPP comes in, Hutchinson said he plans to look into available grants. “Taking out loans is like putting a Band-Aid on the losses, because eventually, you have to do enough business to pay the loan back,” Hutchinson said. “We took down these loans because our backs were up against the wall, but we still have expenses sitting there that we can no longer defer anymore. You just have to keep reapplying.” See SC CARES, Page 12
Online database of SC CARES grants Small, minority businesses and nonprofit organizations received $65 million through a relief program passed by the S.C. General Assembly last year. Use the QR code or the web addresses below for a searchable, sortable database from SC Biz News. Minority and small businesses Scan QR code or go to bit.ly/sc-msb
Nonprofit organizations Scan QR code or go to bit.ly/sc-np
SC CARES, from Page 11
Columbia arts studio adapting daily to a changing normal
Margaret Nevill’s first priority was paying her staff. Nevill, owner of Columbia fined arts studio The Mad Platter, was determined to keep all nine of her employees on staff as the COVID-19 pandemic forced changes to her business model at her 23-year-old store on Millwood Avenue. She used PPP loans to help meet that goal. “When you’ve lost more than 60% of your business for the year, you’re struggling to reach every month’s bills, every month’s payroll, and no, I did not let people go,” said Nevill, who also received $17,680 from the SC CARES Act. “I was making sure my staff was paid. … Payroll was my priority. After payroll, it was rent and utilities.” The Mad Platter was one of 2,284 S.C. minority and small business which received $40 million in SC CARES grants, according to data from the S.C. Department of Administration. Six hundred and eight-six nonprofits received $25 million. Nationally, the U.S. Small Business Administration coordinated the distribution of 5.2 million PPP loans worth $525 billion. Nevill said the process of obtaining the federal loan was “absolutely seamless,” once she found the right person to talk to. “I banked with a larger, big bank, someone that’s across many states. When PPP came out, they did not offer any assistance to me,” she said. “I got no notice. It was really hard. I have a personal banker who my husband and I have used for our home and for my husband’s businesses. He reached out to us immediately and said how can I help you? His bank, Security Federal, it’s a local bank, and they made it seamless for us.” Nevill was quick to share that bit of wisdom with colleagues in a national pottery association she belongs to, and when the big bank she had used for decades finally reached out to her as the second round of PPP funding geared up at the start of 2021, she was no longer a customer. “I talk about being a small local business and supporting small local business, and here I was banking with a national bank who offers no local business service to people, a bank that I’ve been with for 23 years,” she said. “No one at the branch that I banked with thought about reaching to the smaller, local people.” Knapp said that experience is not unusual in the anecdotes he’s heard from small business owners. “We’ve heard a lot about how the major national banks weren’t as friendly to the real small businesses as local community banks,” Knapp said. “The reason for that is these financial institutions are profit-based institutions, and when given the opportunity to either do something
February 22 - March 7, 2021
Minority and small businesses: Lowcountry counties Charleston County Number of businesses: 330 Total amount of money: $6,437,662.65 Average award: $19,508.07 Berkeley County Number of businesses: 70 Total amount of money: $1,074,492.52 Average award: $15,349.89 Dorchester County Number of businesses: 64 Total amount of money: $1,216,985.30 Average award: $19,015.40
for their major, well-established clients that are going to ask for a million dollars or, hey, I got Joe Blow over here and he’ll probably only want $10,000 or $15,000 — they’re not going to be my priority of attention. “The law was written, literally, in the regulation, that it was first come, first served. That absolutely did not happen.” Knapp said the problem of larger loans being processed first seems to have been corrected in the second round of PPP loans. Nevill has already applied for a second round of loans as she keeps tabs on changing business regulations and community response. The Mad Platter, after a spring and early summer of to-go pottery sales only, began taking table reservations for indoor and outdoor seating for pottery creation and painting last fall. “For years, we were just an open studio. You walked in, we had a table for you, things were great,” Nevill said. “We had to pivot again and decide how to do more like a restaurant would do so that we could clean tables, clean chairs, clean paint containers, things like that. “There’s a whole other step to doing business now. … We’re an art studio, so we have to think outside of the box, traditionally. That’s what we’re doing. We’re just, each day, trying to figure out what might be better for us next week or a month down the road.” While the SC CARES grant and the PPP loan helped, Nevill said those things are not a long-term solution for struggling small business owners. “As a small business, you say, OK, I’ve got three to four months of backup that I can use for rent, I can use for payroll, I can use for X,Y,Z,’ and then all of a sudden, your three to four months is gone,” she said. “Those things did help, but I think people that don’t own businesses don’t understand that they decide the size of the loan they’re giving you. ... I think people think, ‘Oh, you got the money, you’re
Nonprofit organizations: Lowcountry counties Charleston County Number of businesses: 114 Total amount of money: $4,518,042.36 Average award: $39,631.95 Berkeley County Number of businesses: 13 Total amount of money: $378,722.47 Average award: $29,132.50 Dorchester County Number of businesses: 15 Total amount of money: $558,889.32 Average award: $37,259.29 Source: S.C. Department of Administration, analysis by SC Biz News OK. You’re forgiven.’ If you don’t own a business, you don’t understand. It is an ongoing process. … These loans have been great, but it’s not the answer.”
Limestone College’s mission: Keep serving all its students
Cherokee County’s Limestone University is no stranger to virtual learning. “We have one of the largest online enrollments in South Carolina,” President Darrell Franklin Parker told GSA Business Report. “But our online enrollment is overwhelmingly made up of the students who were online before the pandemic.” So, as universities and school systems across the country witnessed an unprecedented uptick in online enrollment numbers over the past year — sometimes mandated, sometimes not — the Gaffney college was an anomaly. In the fall semester, about 60 formerly brick-and-mortar undergraduates moved online due to concerns about the pandemic or, for international students, because of an inability to get back in the country. During this semester, residential enrollment grew by 79 students yearover-year, while Limestone’s online student community dipped. This was no reason to celebrate, Parker said. Many of Limestone’s online students are adults, working to make ends meet while cramming for exams. They were more likely to be “economically vulnerable” during the shutdown last spring, or less likely to be able to keep up their courses when the pocketbook gets thin. “It’s easier if you’re taking term-toterm online to take a term off, to cut back from two courses to one course. There’s a lot of flexibility in the schedule, so those students have been impacted,” Parker said. “Most people think it’s only the faceto-face students that have been impacted, but because of the impact in the workplace and the impact across the state, our
online students, who were mostly adults, have come under pressure from the pandemic. And I don’t think as many people appreciate the challenges those students have faced.” So when Limestone College took out a Paycheck Protection Program loan between $2 and $5 million through the First National Bank of Pennsylvania, it helped the school save up for services that help sustain its usual programming and keep these vulnerable students in the loop. “We would certainly have had to decide where to cut” without the loan, said Parker, who declined to say what programs may have been dropped. “There definitely would have had to have been some tough choices, and [with] the type of support we’ve gotten so far, we have spent every penny and then some on COVID-related and student support.” The loan has been a blessing but not a windfall, he said. The school could still use additional funds to cover pandemic-related expenses. “I don’t have a dollar figure, but I know the extra expense we have picked up has not all been covered,” he said. Half of the first-round PPP funding went directly to students, and much of the remainder helped the school refund money to students who had moved out of the dorms early or dropped the school’s meal plan, Parker said. Later, federal CARES Act funding enabled Limestone to launch COVID-19 testing and provide a space and meal service to quarantined students. The school received $2.7 million in federal emergency educational funding appropriated in December. The school’s new amphitheater for outdoor classes and events was a costly-to-maintain investment, not to mention the gallons of disinfectant and cleaning solution the school procured for in-person classes when even household disinfectants were hard to come by, Parker said. Today, the fall-spring retention rate is more than 90% despite the pandemic, he said. “I think there is a recognition that if we had not invested in higher education and made sure that that would continue to fulfill its mission during the pandemic, we could lose a generation,” Parker said. “I feel troubled for the lost season of tourism and the lost season in sports, but if you lose a year of students being educated and graduating and entering the workforce, it’s hard to recover from that.” CRBJ
Reach Columbia Regional Business Report editor Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542. Reach GSA Business Report staff writer Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter. Reach Charleston Regional Business Journal digital editor Alexandria Ng at 843-849-3124.
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Solar provides nearly 1,000 megawatts for Dominion in S.C. Santee Cooper
onstruction continues on four, large-scale solar projects in South Carolina, including a 6-megawatt solar facility in Bamberg County that was part of Dominion Energy’s purchase from Charleston-based Southern Current. In addition to the Denmark facility, three other solar arrays purchased from Southern Current includes locations in Blackville Solar in Barnwell County, Yemassee Solar in Hampton County and Trask East Solar in Beaufort. The four solar projects underway will have the ability to generate 35.2 megawatts of power in South Carolina, adding to Dominion Energy’s renewable generating capacity, the company said. Just in Beaufort and Jasper counties, the company has enough solar assets to produce more than 150 megawatts to customers in South Carolina.
The company said solar is the largest single producing unit of electricity in the company holdings with a capacity of about 1,000 megawatts produced from the sun. Dominion’s solar portfolio in South Carolina includes utility-scale solar along with 106 megawatts from customer-sited solar and 16 megawatts of community solar projects. The Bamberg County project is expected to create enough solar power to support 1,000 homes in the state. “We have fully embraced adding solar generation on our system and making it accessible for all customers as we work to help build a clean, sustainable energy future of South Carolina,” Danny Kassis, vice president of customer relations and renewables for Dominion Energy South Carolina, said in a statement. “Dominion Energy South Carolina has worked very hard at integrating these new assets
and the existing 971 megawatts of solar into our system. We look forward to continuing our work to collaboratively and cost-effectively create a lower-carbon future for our customers and our state.” Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that renewable energy accounted for about 9.3% of consumption in South Carolina in 2019. However, nuclear power, at 56.2%, provides more than half of the electricity used in South Carolina. After nuclear, coal and natural gas are distant electricity producers, at 20.4% and 18.2%, repetitively. Most of those power users are industrial and residential users, the EIA reported. In the Southeast, Dominion Energy South Carolina ranks second regionally for solar power with 807 solar watts per customer. The company said that was 2.5 times the average for the Southeast. CRBJ
invests in future job skills, workers By Teri Errico Griffis
ike so many other companies that hire skilled labor, Santee Cooper is facing employment shortages as veterans retire out and there aren’t enough interested workers coming into the sector. To help fill its line technician roles, the state-owned electric and water utility partnered with Apprentice Carolina to establish regular apprenticeship programs that will provide paid, on-the-job training. There are already 13 apprentices enrolled. By partnering with Apprenticeship Carolina, Santee Cooper’s three apprenticeship programs are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor and provide nationally recognized training standards The program lasts five years because of the education required in the high-tech and high-risk roles, and hiring happens each year, the company’s Press Relations Specialist, Tracy Vreeland, said. “It’s import that we have that workforce to keep that power on, to help us innovate and change as power supplies change and technology changes,” Vreeland said. “We need experts in all of those areas, especially our line techs. We need them to understand the technology and how things are changing so we can be flexible in the way that we produce and distribute power.” Currently, Santee Cooper employs just under 1,700 people and supplies power for the entire state — though its direct serve customers are in Berkeley and Georgetown counties. Apprenticeships are the perfect entry into a Santee Cooper career as enrollees receive controlled hands-on training and classroom instruction by company experts, some of whom have been with Santee Cooper more than 30 years, Vreeland said. The holistic learning experience leads to productive employees and less turnover, something which Amy Firestone, See SANTEE, Page 14
The 6-megawatt facility in Bamberg County will generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 1,000 homes and is one of four arrays Dominion has acquired from Southern Current. (Photo/Provided)
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vice president of Apprenticeship Carolina, said happens often in the industry. The company makes a five-year commitment with each new group of hires, but Firestone said it’s an investment in local talent and a surefire way to grow promising and dedicated talent. “Yes, it’s time that the company spends training, but that long-term return is significant,” Firestone said. On average, employees who have completed a registered apprenticeship remain at a job 3.2 years longer than those who did not, according to an Apprenticeship Carolina Return on Investment study by the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. Additionally, for every $1 invested in apprenticeship training, South Carolina employers who were surveyed earned a $.41 return on investment. The study surveyed 250 companies and discovered that from the time the apprentice is hired, it takes only five years for employers to realize a net positive return on investment. “By the end of the program, they know their parts of the job, they know the company and they know the company is invested in them,” Firestone said. “That’s really what registered apprenticeship is about.” Established in 2007, Apprenticeship
Carolina is a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, which provides training opportunities for companies. Its role is to be the intermediary between the U.S. Department of Labor, the 16 technical colleges and all companies in the state. Apprenticeship Carolina’s team of consultants work with companies to develop programs from start to finish and ensure that they’re registered with the USDOL. Program specialists can then either help the companies implement their programs or serve as a resource for companies like Santee Cooper that may have had programs in the past, but need assistance maximizing and revitalizing them. Back in 2015, Santee Cooper started its first apprenticeship program for IT roles, but there weren’t many people enrolled, Firestone said. With Apprenticeship Carolina, the company created two more apprenticeships for line technicians and it’s since taken off with another four signees in early February. In addition to the security of a job they are equipped for, apprentices of Santee Cooper’s registered program receive incremental wage increases as their skills and competencies grow throughout the training period. They also receive a U.S. national credential from the USDOL stating they are proficient in this occupation. “They’re out there learning the skills
Santee Cooper partnered with Apprenticeship Carolina to recruit workers for high-demand skilled labor jobs. (Photo/Santee Cooper)
without hot wires, practicing before they go out there,” Vreeland said. “And then once they get those skills under their belt, they are able to go out with a mentor… As they gain those skills they move up in rank and are able to do more things. But that’s why it takes more time.” The rewards for the company are just as significant, Firestone said. Apprenticeship Carolina’s program creates a pipeline of skilled workers and talent that’s loyal to the company.
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Since 2007, participating organizations have grown from 90 to 1,107. In turn, individual participation has increased from 777 apprentices to more than 34,500. And there’s no sign of slowing down. Apprenticeship programs have proven to be so effective in the state, that as of February 10, there were 1,135 total programs across all industries — with onethird in healthcare, one-third in manufacturing and the last third scattered throughout energy, tourism, hospitality, automotive and more. Firestone receives requests daily from companies who want to start an apprenticeship program or individuals who want to enter an apprenticeship. And that’s everywhere in the state, be it Kingstree or the Midlands, where she said there are 50 companies waiting in the wings to build a program. In July 2020, Apprenticeship Carolina received nearly $11.5m millionin funding from USDOL to support program expansion, both for youth and adult. “We’re excited to work with companies around the state to help bring more opportunities through our grants. We’re able to offer tuition support and support of services, and all the staffing to help get the company set up and their programs implemented,” Firestone said. CRBJ
Reach Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.
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LOCAL, from Page 1
Former Executive Director Jamee Haley, who announced she was stepping down last fall, continues to serve in a consulting capacity with the organization and was a large part of the new Local Works project. She said the new facility expands on the mission that started with the first Local Works location in 2014. “This is a really fun project to get to work on in an otherwise really crazy year, to be able to do something creative and exciting and to be able to lead the great team of Lowcountry Local First with a beautiful space to come back to work in,” Haley said. Local Works has nine private offices, 26 full-time seats, five semi-private pods, three phone booths, which also double as lactation facilities for moms, a kitchen and espresso bar. The facility also has other meeting spaces for small and larger collaboration, including two conference rooms with AV technology. The space, which is open 24/7, said Jordan Amaker, director of marketing and communications for Lowcountry Local First, is in the Lumberyard operated by RCB Development. Amaker pointed out that the facility build out, including construction and the art on the walls, is all local. Lowcountry
Former Executive Director Jamee Haley, board members, developers, architects and staff members cut the ribbon on the new Local Works facility in the Lumberyard on Summerville Avenue in Charleston. (Photo/ Andy Owens)
Local First used local service providers, contractors, architects, craftspeople, artists, landscape artists and others to build Local Works. “This new space has once again been intentionally crafted to be a microcosmic view of the broader network of local businesses that Lowcountry Local First has cultivated over the last 14 years,” Amaker said. Local Works is open, but following guidelines from the Centers for Dis-
ease Control and Prevention to limit occupancy during the coronavirus pandemic. Amaker said this limited capacity allows Local Works to operate with social distancing guidelines in place. Masks along with other safety protocols also are required for guests to enter the facility. “When the CDC deems it safe to do so, Lowcountry Local First looks forward to once again using Local Works as a community hub to provide in-person engage-
February 22 - March 7, 2021
ment through member-hosted events, workshops, art receptions, and other networking and business-development opportunities,” Amaker said. She said the location took that into consideration when Lowcountry Local First was looking for a new place. The Lumber Yard development is on the north end of the Lowline, which is a planned park system and green space. It’s also in the nearby brewery district. Haley said the development of the new Local Works understood the current remote working situation for many businesses. “One of the things that we really wanted to do in creating this space was make it a place where people were excited to come back into the workplace again,” Haley said. “We know a lot of people are feeling isolated and we really wanted it to feel like sort of their home away from home for so many people who are tired of working from home.” David Thompson, principal of David Thompson Architects, worked on both versions of Local Works. “To do something meaningful and something that matters and that is going to last longer than 2020 was really exciting for us,” Thompson said. “So we look at this as just a great start to a new year and an catalyst to ongoing change.” CRBJ
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February 22 - March 7, 2021
IN FOCUS: TRENDS IN ENERGY
New $85 million solar project coming to Orangeburg County
rewer Renewables is investing $85 million in a new photovoltaic project in Orangeburg County. The project, to be located in a combination of cultivated farmland and managed timberland, will include a 100-megawatt solar facility with the option for additional energy storage of up to 100 megawatts and 400 megawatt-hours. That’s enough
energy to power roughly 20,000 homes, according to a news release. “We appreciate the help and support of the Orangeburg County Council, county administration and the Orangeburg County Development Commission to make this 100-megawatt solar energy project a reality, and are excited to contribute to making Orangeburg County the solar capital of South Carolina,” Kevin Casey, Brewer Renewables president
and CEO, said in the release. “We look forward to continuing to work with and support the county and the Development Commission to promote additional economic development in the area and to being a long-term member of the community.” Founded in 2019, Brewer Renewables is a subsidiary of Seahorse Capital which develops renewable energy projects in the Southeastern U.S.
The Orangeburg project is expected to be operational in 2023. “As Orangeburg County continues to be a leader in renewable energy, we are pleased to see the addition of this project that not only provides the benefit of clean energy for our residents and businesses but also provides economic opportunities for our communities,” said Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright. CRBJ
Duke Energy invests in minority business through Columbia bank
uke Energy deposited $5 million into Black-owned Optus Bank to amplify the company’s support for minority-owned businesses and low-income communities at the end of 2020. One of 20 Black-owned banks in the country, Columbia-based Optus Bank will use the funding to provide equal access to capital loans and financial services for minority-owned businesses, according to Thursday’s announcement. “This is so much more than a deposit
in a bank,” Mike Callahan, president of Duke Energy South Carolina, said in the news release. “It’s an investment in people and communities that continue to face barriers to mainstream funding and support.” Kadenia Javis, an accountant with Javis Tax Service, is one professional who helped use Optus Bank’s services to access capital and keep her company afloat during the pandemic. “Optus Bank has been there for me in both good and difficult times, helping us grow our business and support us during the pandemic,” Javis said in the release. “Optus Bank also allowed us the oppor
Optus Bank is one of 20 Black-owned banks in the country. (Photo/Provided)
tunity to purchase our first commercial building with a drive-thru window. This assisted the accounting firm to offer contactless support to taxpayers.”
The deposit is the largest made with a Black-owned bank by Duke Energy. Optus Bank’s Chairman Paul Mitchell added that “Duke Energy’s deposit will significantly fuel our ability to help all people build wealth and improve their lives, regardless of their background or situation,” Paul Mitchell, chairman of Optus Bank, said in the release. “We are thankful that the South Carolina Minority Business Development Agency brought us together, and hope that other utilities follow Duke Energy’s leadership in delivering on their commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.” CRBJ
POWER TO GROW
With resources like low-cost and reliable power, creative incentive packages and a wide-ranging property portfolio, Santee Cooper helps South Carolina shatter the standard for business growth. In fact, since 1988, Santee Cooper has worked with other economic development entities to generate more than $15.3 billion in investment and helped bring more than 83,000 new jobs to our state. It’s how we’re driving Brighter Tomorrows, Today.
IN FOCUS: TRENDS IN ENERGY
February 22 - March 7, 2021
Ranked by No. of Employees in the Charleston Area Company
Phone / Website / Email
Top Official(s) / Year Founded
Santee Cooper 1 Riverwood Drive Moncks Corner, SC 29461
843-761-8000 www.santeecooper.com email@example.com
Mark Bonsall, Charlie Duckworth, Pamela Williams 1934
Nucor Steel Berkeley 1455 Hagan Ave. Huger, SC 29450
Mike Lee 1996
JW Aluminum 435 Old Mt. Holly Road Goose Creek, SC 29445
843-572-1100 www.jwaluminum.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Stan Brant, Philip Cavatoni, Ryan Roush 1979
Charleston Steel & Metal Co. 2700 Spruill Ave. North Charleston, SC 29405
843-722-7278 www.charlestonsteelandmetal.com email@example.com
Carver Maritime 1400 Pierside St. North Charleston, SC 29405
Materials Accepted / Recycled
Specialization / Products Manufactured
State-owned electric and water utility
Sheet and beam steel from recycled scrap metal
Construction demo., metals, miscellaneous
Flat-rolled aluminum products
Jonathan Steinberg, Barry Wolff, Bernard Steinberg 1893
Processed scrap steel and metals
Jerry Ward, Dave Wood, Nick Martin 2016
Equipment hauling, cement pneumatic delivery, overweight, oversize
Goodsell Transport LLC 511 Old Mt. Holly Road Goose Creek, SC 29445
Paul Goodsell 2005
Pre-treatment facility for the disposal of non-hazardous wastewater and oil recycling
Meridian Metals Management LLC 2631 Industrial Ave. North Charleston, SC 29405
843-856-1045 www.meridianmetalsmgt.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter H. Lorris 2012
Geocycle 2425 U.S. Highway 78 Dorchester, SC 29437
Archie Goodman 2003
Miscellaneous, organics, paper/cardboard, petroleum, plastics, rubber, textiles
Recycles fuels for cement manufacturing
Sonoco Recycling 2025 Tellico Road North Charleston, SC 29405
John Oliver, Tim Nesbitt 1899
Paper, cardboard, plastics
Sea Island Habitat for Humanity ReStore 3304 Maybank Highway Johns Island, SC 29455
843-559-4009 www.seaislandhabitat.org email@example.com
John Rhoden, Matt Justice 1978
Construction demo., metals, textiles, wood
Gently used items accepted for resale
Southeastern Plastics Recovery Inc. 4230 Scott St. North Charleston, SC 29405
843-849-1034 www.seplasticsrecovery.com firstname.lastname@example.org
John T. Votaw 1993
Recovery, landfill diversion, post-consumer residential carpeting and carpet padding; pickup and drop-off service
Custom Equipment Co. Inc. 2700 S.C. Highway 41 Charleston, SC 29492
800-922-6120 www.cecmhs.com email@example.com
Robbie Lewis, Bobby Riggs 1978
Storage, i.e., racks, cabinets, lockers, shelving; logistics, i.e., carts, conveyors, tuggers, dollies; facilities, i.e., modular offices, mezzanines, wire partitions and physical barriers; packaging
Global Recovery LLC 139 Pioneer Gym Road Harleyville, SC 29448
843-782-4910 www.globalrecoveryllc.com firstname.lastname@example.org
John E. Beach 1996
Electronics, metals, miscellaneous, organics, paper/cardboard, petroleum, plastics, rubber, textiles
Plastic recycling of all types, hazardous waste management, out-ofdate or excess chemical purchases; zero land-fill options, waste to energy and more
Blackrock Plastics LLC 215 E. Bay St. Charleston, SC 29401
843-410-0326 www.blackrockplastics.com email@example.com
Jim Kevany 2006
Plastic recycler; post industrial plastics
Fisher Recycling LLC 2750 N. Avenue B North Charleston, SC 29405
843-554-6099 www.fisherrecycling.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Fisher 1992
Recycling of glass, plastic, aluminum, tin, office paper, cardboard, electronics
Target Materials LLC 8101 Palmetto Commerce Parkway Ladson, SC 29456
843-388-3905 www.targetcontractorsllc.com email@example.com
Austin Hays, David Evans 2008
American Metals 4301 Meeting Street Road North Charleston, SC 29405
Jonathan Steinberg 1893
Closed for remodeling
Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researched by Business Journal staff
IN FOCUS: TRENDS IN ENERGY
February 22 - March 7, 2021
Ranked by No. of Kilowatts Installed in 2019 in the Charleston Area, then Listed Alphabetically Alder Energy Systems
495 Jessen Lane Charleston, SC 29492 843-388-5493 www.alder-energy.com email@example.com KW Installed 2019: 4,575 Installations 2019: 45 Services offered: Solar design and installation services for commercial and industrial customers as well as community solar farm development RayWell Solar
460 King St., Suite 200 Charleston, SC 29403 843-203-0320 www.raywellsolar.com firstname.lastname@example.org KW Installed 2019: 600 Installations 2019: 60 Services offered: Solar consultations for business or residence; service SC, NC and GA
Blue Raven Solar
Palmetto Clean Technologies
South Carolina Solar
3251 Landmark Drive, Suite 242 North Charleston, SC 29418 800-377-4480 www.blueravensolar.com 4365 Dorchester Road, Suite 204 Charleston, SC 29405 843-864-7503 www.bossenergysc.com Edgewater Energy Systems
7361 Industry Drive North Charleston, SC 29418 843-937-9999 www.edgewaterenergysc.com Hannah Solar Government Services
217 Cember Way, Suite C Summerville, SC 29483 843-718-1866 www.hsgs.solar
1505 King St. Extension, Suite 114 North Charleston, SC 29405 855-339-1831 www.palmetto.com
130 Gardeners Circle, PMB 529 Johns Island, SC 29455 843-768-9363 www.solarisinc.com
1 Riverwood Drive Moncks Corner, SC 29461 843-761-8000 www.santeecooper.com email@example.com Services offered: Landfill gas, solar, wind, hydro, woody biomass Solar Reflection of Charleston
1164 Northbridge Blvd., Suite B Charleston, SC 29407 843-769-6087 www.solarreflection.com
2398 Clements Ferry Road, Suite D Charleston, SC 29492 843-510-7500 www.sc.solar Southern Current
1519 King St. Charleston, SC 29405 843-277-2090 www.southerncurrentllc.com VerdeSol
1657 Ware Bottom Ln Mount Pleasant, SC 29464 843-810-0731 www.verdesolglobal.com
Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org. Researched by Business Journal staff.
1 2 8 Y E A RS STR ON G
South Carolina’s leader in Metal Recycling Container & Onsite Service
Commercial Solar Solutions for a Cooler Environment Industrial | Commercial Educational | Agricultural US and Caribbean verdesolglobal.com 912.596.1780
Usable Steel Sales
Dismantling & Removal
843-722-7278 | charlestonsteelandmetal.com | 843-722-1340
February 22 - March 7, 2021
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BUSINESS DIGEST | PEOPLE IN THE NEWS | HOT PROPERTIES | PEER TO PEER
People in the News
Boeing award recognizes Vantage Point Foundation Vantage Point Foundation has been awarded the 2020 Boeing Veterans Leadership Award by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. The award is presented to an organization that exemplifies exceptional commitment to local South Carolina veterans and their families. Through Vantage Point Foundation’s services and programming, veterans are provided with training and support vital for them to become successful and productive in their transition from service members to civilians.
Seabrook Island recognized for environmental excellence
The Seabrook Island Property Owners Association has retained its designation as a Certified Audubon Sustainable Community through the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program. Heather Paton, executive director, led the effort to maintain certification status for this association and is being recognized for Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International. The Seabrook Island Property Owners Association was designated as an Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community in 2017 and is one of 10 communities in the world to receive the honor.
Jarrard, Nowell & Russell relocates 3 offices to new space
second consecutive year as a top online bachelor’s program in the state. CSU also ranks 13th in the nation for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. CSU was also listed as 88th in the top 100 Best Online Master’s in Business Programs, as well as Best Online MBA Degree Programs lists.
ClaimLogiq awarded Microsoft partner status
ClaimLogiq has achieved Certified Microsoft Gold Partner status and Data Platform Competency. This adds to the company’s growing suite of certifications, including HITRUST CSF and Great Place to Work.
Berkeley County mobile library receives bookmobile grant
The Mobile Library received a $1,500 Lois Lenski Covey Foundation 2020 Bookmobile Grant to fund the purchase of children’s fiction and nonfiction books for preschool to eighth grade. The purpose of the grant is to provide young people books for personal use and school assignments.
Free COVID-19 testing coming to CARTA hubs
Jarrard, Nowell & Russell LLC has relocated three of its Lowcountry offices to larger quarters at 9403 U.S. Highway 78 on Ingleside Boulevard, Suite 201, in Ladson. The firm has now consolidated three of its four offices to combine operations into a larger 3,850-square-foot office space, located on the second floor of Bank of South Carolina’s latest location. While the Moncks Corner, Summerville and North Charleston offices are closing, the original office building located at 975 Morrison Drive will remain open.
The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is partnering to offer COVID-19 testing at two of the transit system’s key hubs. Mobile testing kiosks will operate at the CARTA Mary Street stop and the CARTA SuperStop in North Charleston. Walk-up testing is available from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
U.S. News & World Report recognizes Charleston Southern University
The North Charleston office of Hana Engineers and Consultants LLC has received the Supporting Small Business Firm of the Year Award from the Charleston Post of the Society of American Military Engineers. The Charleston-level award qualifies Hana for the
U.S. News & World Report has once again listed Charleston Southern University in its top 25 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Ranked in 21st place, Charleston Southern has been recognized for its
national Robert B. Flowers Small Business Award, given by the national SAME organization.
Hana Engineers wins trade association honors
Rev Federal Credit Union opens WestEdge location
Rev has opened its newest branch at 22 WestEdge. This new microbranch emphasizes the credit union’s digital-first strategy by incorporating the latest in banking technology.
Industry veterans launch retail commercial real estate firm
John Orr, Elyse Welch and Lindsey Halter have launched Carolina Retail Experts. This commercial real estate firm will have a focus on retail.
NONPROFIT Karan Sorensen has been elected chair of the board of directors for the Better Business Bureau Serving Central S.C. and Charleston. Matthew Thompson, senior partner with Splash Omnimedia, was appointed as the newest director. Sorensen has served on the board since 2016, including time as vice chair. Sorensen is the owner of Sorensen Strategies in Charleston. The S.C. Land Trust Network board of directors has hired Jennifer Howard as the organization’s first executive director. Howard has more than 20 years Howard of forest industry, conservation and public relations experience. Through her business, Steward Terra Communications, she provides strategic communications counsel and implementation to land trusts, conservation organizations, forestry entities and sustainably-focused businesses. The Lowcountry Food Bank has named Nick Osborne as its new president and CEO. Osborne has more than 30 years of professional experience Osborne as a leader in international development and humanitarian operations within the nonprofit sector. His experience includes work in more than 40 developing and high-risk countries with international organizations. He is experienced in strategic planning, leading change, innovation, program management and communication. Most recently, he served as vice president of international programs and operations at CARE USA, where he served in different executive leadership roles for 25 years. Osborne holds a Master of Science degree in agricultural development with distinction from the University of London. He has a bachelor’s in civil engineering with honors and a higher national diploma, both from Kingston University in London. Ronald McDonald House Charities Charleston has appointed Aaron Siegel, Christina Moore and Allie Darby to the See PEOPLE, Page 22
February 22 - March 7, 2021
People in the News board of directors. Siegel is the owner of Home Team BBQ, Moore is the CFO at Sea Fox Boat Co. and Darby is a counselor.
served as an event planner at the Charlotte Country Club, as well as a communications and event manager at First Tee. She also previously worked as a summer intern for the N.C. Association of Realtors.
M. B. Kahn Construction Co. Inc. has promoted Rick Alexander to executive vice president. Alexander will direct sales, marketing, preconstruction and construction operations for the firm’s specialty construction division. A graduate of Auburn University with a degree in building construction and Western Governors University with an MBA, Alexander has spent his 30 years in construction as a project manager. He has delivered new construction projects and tenant upfits of speculative space and renovations. His projects include hotels, restaurants, courthouses, hospice facilities, apartment buildings, schools, industrial facilities, public service facilities, office spaces, sports facilities and performing arts venues.
Hall Booth Smith, P.C., has named Elizabeth Morrison a partner in the firm’s Charleston office. Morrison focuses her practice on transportation and Morrison trucking, professional negligence, premises liability, residential and commercial landlord-tenant issues, insurance coverage and medical malpractice. Previously, Morrison practiced as a civil litigator with a focus on transportation and general liability matters. In 2015, she was selected as one of 13 inaugural ambassadors to the S.C. Bar Foundation and joined the board in 2019. She has served on the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection since 2016 and has represented the Ninth Judicial Circuit in the S.C. House of Delegates since 2018. She was was recently recognized as One to Watch in 2021 by Best Lawyers. Morrison holds a law degree, cum laude, from the Charleston School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from East Carolina University.
PEOPLE, from Page 21
Target your market in an upcoming issue of the Charleston Regional Business Journal
REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION List: Heating and Air Contractors Special Section: Growth Report: Berkeley County
Advertising Deadline: February 23 MARCH 22
List: Law Firms Bonus List: Companies Headquartered in Charleston Region
Advertising Deadline: March 8
BUSINESS SERVICES Digital Imaging Copiers has hired Jerry Eastburn as account executive. He has 10 years of industry experience.
EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT List: Colleges and Universities
Advertising Deadline: March 22 APRIL 19
ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION (AEC) List: Landscape Architecture Firms Special Section: The Leatherman Terminal
Advertising Deadline: April 5
TranSystems has promoted John Bergman to vice president. Since joining the company in 2018, Bergman has led the Charleston office operations and Bergman helped build relationships with the S.C. Department of Transportation. Bergman holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Rutgers University.
RESIDENTIAL SERVICES Terminix Service Inc. has recognized Mark Smith with the 2020 Service Leader of the Year Award and Renee Tucker with the 2020 Customer Care Specialist of the Year Award.
For advertising information, call Grady Johnson at (843) 849-3103
The Beach Co. has hired Taylor Morgan as an experience manager at The Jasper. Morgan will organize concierge services, plan resident events and wellness activities, and assist with The Jasper’s private event space. Morgan graduated from East Carolina University with a major in hospitality management and a minor in business. Morgan previously
GOVERNMENT Susan Lovelace has been selected as the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium executive director. Previously she was the consortium’s assistant director for development Lovelace and extension for more than six years. Prior to this, she was manager of the Human Dimensions Research Program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hollings Marine Laboratory. Lovelace holds a doctorate in coastal resource management and a Bachelor of Science degree in science education from East Carolina University, and a Bachelor of Science in zoology from N.C. State University. Lovelace will manage the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, including development and implementation of sea grant and extramural proposals, oversight of proposal solicitation and review processes, communication with the National Sea Grant College Program office, management and oversight of all consortium projects, and programs and management of fiscal resources.
VIEWS, PERSPECTIVES AND READERS’ LETTERS
5 facts you need to know about solar in S.C. Fact1: Solar Choice has to treat all Dominion Energy South Carolina customers fairly. That means the 99% who do not choose solar and the 1% who do.
The proposed Solar Choice Metering Tariff builds on Act 62, a state law that empowers electric customers to make their own decisions about the installation of solar panels on their homes or businesses. The law was very intentional in its efforts to KELLER make sure customKISSAM ers do not suffer from subsidization when solar is added to the system — basically that one group of customers doesn’t unfairly pay higher prices to benefit another group of customers. If the good Lord could provide all our system needs through solar and other renewables, I’d take it and retire all coal. But solar has its limitations. You can think of it this way: Would you buy a car that runs only 25% of the time? That’s exactly what’s happening with the intermittent generation of solar on the grid. We can’t generate solar power on all those cold, dreary days like we had in February, but all of our customers — those with solar and those without — count on us to provide uninterrupted service, even when the sun isn’t shining. The reality is that solar customers on our system still rely on non-solar generating sources 75% of the time, and it’s only fair that they share the costs.
Fact 2: The intent of South Carolina solar legislation was to establish rules that fairly allocate costs and benefits among all customers to eliminate any cost shift or subsidization.
Net metering is a special metering and billing agreement between a utility and customers that allows credit to customers for excess electricity they generate with renewable energy connected to the utility’s grid. The approximately 11,000 Dominion Energy customers in South Carolina who use solar on their property also export a lot of it back to the grid. This means about 740,000 non-solar customers have to pay for maintaining power lines, generation stations and all other associated costs — while also paying for the more cost-efficient energy their utility is producing.
The Seabrook Solar Farm in Beaufort is a 72-megawatt solar production facility owned by Dominion Energy. (Photo/Provided)
Solar Choice Tariff The S.C. Public Service Commission is holding a hearing on a proposed Solar Choice Tariff at 10 a.m., Feb. 23. The PSC hearing is to determine the costs and benefits of the current net energy metering program and to establish a methodology for calculating the value of the energy produced by customergenerators. Dominion Energy and others are scheduled to present their case to the commission. The Charleston Business Journal invited Keller Kissam, president of electric operations for Dominion Energy South Carolina, to provide more information about the utility company’s approach to solar before the PSC hearing. The public hearing will be livestreamed through SCETV. Click for a schedule or more information about watching this hearing at https://bit.ly/SCETVlive. This is generally subsidization. We agree with solar developers on the importance of solar growth in South Carolina, but we can’t forget about so many who are struggling financially. We heard them during our recent regulatory rate review,
and we paused that process. These are the same people we’re trying to protect from being forced to foot the bill through unfair subsidization. We recognize that certain intervenors would prefer that solar subsidies continue in full, but the law does not allow for that.
Fact 3: The proposed Solar Choice tariff will not discourage South Carolinians from choosing solar.
The benefits are clear for customers who have the means to choose solar. With the proposed tariff, solar customers can take advantage of a special time-ofuse rate plan, which encourages them to conserve energy. It will also align with how the grid really operates. Customers would get a lower rate during off-peak time, which is actually most of the time. These customers would get rates below $0.07 per kWh. This is a big win for customers who want more freedom and control over their bill.
Fact 4: Solar Choice encourages solar development in South Carolina.
We have over 1,000 megawatts of solar on our electric generation system. That means solar produces more than any single generation unit we have. We have been recognized by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy SACE as a top-performing
utility for installed solar for the past three years. Solar is part of our clean energy future, but we can’t snap our fingers and get there overnight. As technology continues to improve and solar costs continue to come down, solar will be more accessible to more people. We’re leaders in a clean energy future for South Carolina, and solar is a big part of it.
FACT 5: Dominion Energy is working hard to achieve net zero carbon and methane emissions across our footprint by 2050, and solar energy plays a big part in our plan.
Renewable energy, particularly solar, is playing a key role as we evolve to a more modern, resilient and clean energy grid. With solar generation accessible to the industry on a large scale, as well as to the consumer on their rooftops, we’re off to a great start. Dominion Energy is ranked second in the region for solar generation on our system in South Carolina. But, we must strike a balance between customers who choose solar, and those who don’t. We need to ensure that no one group is forced to unfairly subsidize the cost of choices made by another segment of our customer base. CRBJ
Keller Kissam is president of electric operations for Dominion Energy South Carolina.
February 22 - March 7, 2021
We’re working hard for you, South Carolina Focusing on safety as our top priority Delivering historic results in service reliability Making it easier for customers to do business with us Improving the quality of life in the communities we serve Providing a clean and sustainable energy future Valuing diversity and inclusion Investing in new technology and innovation