Columbia Regional Business Report - July 2023

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Honoring All Who Served

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Service in the workplace
employers see the bottom-line benefits of putting veterans on the payroll. Page 13

Salute to Our Military

In 1939, the United States Army asked First Citizens Bank to open a branch at one of its bases. Of course we said yes. That made us the first bank in America to establish a facility on a U.S. military post.

Our relationship with the military community has grown stronger ever since. It’s been our privilege to serve the people who defend our country – and to include veterans among our associates. Today, First Citizens offers our military customers strength and stability they can count on, and exclusive products focused on the needs of active-duty military.

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clean energy pivot

Entrepreneurs will share $185,000 in funding for their innovative agribusiness ventures.

gets funding
Agribusiness Innovation
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Don’t panic over SC’s annual shark attack data!

We don’t want to scare off any of our beach-going tourists visiting the Palmetto State this summer, but South Carolina had the fourth-highest number of unprovoked shark attacks in 2022.

Before you call your relatives to change their short-term rental from the beach to the mountains, understand that fourth-highest is still only four unprovoked shark bites and zero fatalities for the year.

South Carolina tied with California, which also had four bites and no fatalities, according to data from the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida. Not coincidentally, Florida had the highest number of run-ins between humans and the toothful fish with 16.

Worldwide, the U.S. had the highest number of shark attacks in 2022 with 41 bites, including one fatality in Hawaii. The next highest incidence of bites was in Australia with nine. Two fatalities were recorded in Egypt and two in South Africa.

Florida, with the nation’s longest shoreline of any state where sharks are typically found (Alaska actually has more shoreline), typically has the highest number of unprovoked bites. People come to Florida for the beaches, and that’s where the sharks live, so it’s more likely to happen in the Sunshine State.

Historically, South Carolina has had 111 confirmed shark attacks since recordkeeping started in 1837. Florida, by comparison, has had 910 confirmed shark bites going back to 1882. You won’t see this data on any tourism posters, but if you needed a reason to pick South Carolina over Florida, then you could do worse than fewer shark bites.

To be fair to humans and sharks, attacks are down worldwide, both fatal and nonfatal, according to the International Shark Attack File. The ISAF said that beach safety, medical resources, and public awareness have causes a reduction in fatalities going back decades.

Data from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism show tourism resulted in a $29 billion economic impact for the Palmetto State. That’s an 11.5% increase from the previous year, and a 20.8% increase from 2019, the year before the global pandemic dented tourism numbers by many billions of dollars, sharks and all. By Andy Owens.

The International Shark Attack File documents encounters between humans and toothful fish. The annual report noted 41 unprovoked attacks in the U.S. for 2022, including four off the coast of South Carolina.

Source: International Shark Attack File, 2022 Shark Attack Report

Shark attacks by SC counties

Shark attacks for 2022 in U.S. waters

111 attacks South Carolina waters experienced 111 unprovoked shark attacks since 1837.

Annual shark attacks by the numbers


Number of shark-human interactions worldwide in 2022.

57 Number of unprovoked bites.


Other encounters, including incidents such as boat bites, scavenging, unconfirmed encounters and even a collision with a shark.


Number of unprovoked bites in the U.S. in 2022, the highest worldwide.


Source: International Shark Attack File

32 Provoked bites.

Fatality in the U.S., compared to five worldwide.

Source: International Shark Attack File, 2022 Shark Attack Report

“What I see with veterans — and I can speak to this because I’m also one of those veterans — is the biggest challenge is finding something that is just as rewarding as military service and gives them both the responsibility they want and the compensation they need,”
— Al Taylor, senior operations coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Veterans A airs.
Florida 16 attacks New York 8 attacks Hawaii 5 attacks California 4 attacks SouthCarolina 4attacks North Carolina 2 attacks Alabama 1 at ta ck Texas 1 attack
Carolina. County Total Charleston 39 Horry 35 Beaufort 27 Georgetown 8 Colleton 2
and the Grand Strand hold the top spots for the most unprovoked shark attacks documented since 1837 in South

SC Biz News Briefs

BMW breaks ground for $700M battery assembly plant in Woodruff

The BMW Group took a crucial step toward building electric vehicles as the company broke ground June 27 for a new high-voltage battery assembly plant in Woodruff — its second plant location in the Upstate.

BMW Plant Woodruff will produce sixth-generation batteries to supply fully electric BMW X Models at Plant Spartanburg.

In October, BMW Group Chairman Oliver Zipse announced a new $1.7 billion investment in its U.S. operations, including $1 billion to prepare Plant Spartanburg to produce fully electric vehicles, and $700 million to build the new Woodruff facility. The more than 1-million-square-foot Plant Woodruff will be located on 315 acres near the city center and will include a technology building and support buildings such as a cafeteria, fire department and energy center.

More than 300 jobs will be created onsite at Plant Woodruff with the opportunity for more growth.

“We are ready for the future,” said Woodruff Mayor Kenneth Gist. “BMW has been a great partner for the entire Upstate for decades. And now, we will be your partner as you carry this dream for this plant into the future.”

The BMW Group’s philosophy of promoting sustainability in all its facilities will also be exemplified at the Woodruff plant. This played a role in the building’s design and use of equipment, according to a news release. Some of the innovations include how the plant will be operated without fossil fuels and will use 100% green electricity. In addition, CO2 emissions per vehicle across the lifecycle will fall by 40% by 2030; smart LED lighting; significant reduction in water consumption at the plant, with the addition of harvesting and utilizing rainwater; and use of highly efficient “smart” motors from Turntide, a BMW iVentures partner, to reduce energy consumption by as much as 40% in HVAC systems.

“We’re making the BMW Group electric,” said Ilka Horstmeier, member of the board of management of BMW AG. “Our new battery assembly plant in Woodruff will soon play an important role in our electric future here in the USA. Through the Woodruff plant, we expand our footprint in the state of South Carolina. At the same time, we are taking our associates with us in this transformation.”

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The more than 1-million-square-foot Plant Woodruff will be located on 315 acres near the city center and will include a technology building and support buildings such as a cafeteria, fire department, and energy center. (Rendering/Provided)

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South Carolina hotel industry saw a good start to 2023

South Carolina’s hospitality industry has had a strong start in 2023 despite a decrease in the number of rooms available statewide, according to a recent report from Colliers South Carolina.

Statistics show that the industry has outperformed year-over-year, with a strong first quarter in 2023.

Investors in the industry as well as property owners have been dealing with a unique market situation as they navigated the current lending environment, according to the report. Buyers have realized the high cost of debt and adjusted underwriting while sellers, which resulted in softer transaction volumes in the first quarter of this year, the report said.

Strong hotel performance is partly the result of a recovery in corporate travel from the need of team building meetings and in-person regrouping, and group travel has increased because of short work weeks nationwide and remote working, analysts said.

state 26 “Carolina Crossroads” project, which has provided the market with an influx of construction workers needing temporary housing.

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Revenue generated per room, or RevPAR, increased statewide, along with the average daily rate per room and occupancy, which indicates a robust environment for the hotel industry. The first quarter of 2023 outperformed both the first and fourth quarters of 2022, including rooms under construction. While the supply of new rooms is small, 652 new rooms should deliver by the end of this year, the report showed.

In the first quarter of 2023, the overall occupancy rate statewide was 66.5%, with 1,700 rooms under construction. Revenue per available room stood at $85.54, and the average daily rate statewide was $128.57.

In the Columbia area, occupancy in the first quarter increased to 70.1%, higher than the occupancy of first quarter 2022 which was 66.1%. RevPAR was $79.54 and the average daily rate was $113.53. According to the report, economy and midscale hotels in Columbia are seeing a positive impact from the recent start of construction on the Inter-

The hospitality industry in Greenville-Spartanburg continues to recover because of an increase in business travel, the report said. Key indicators have remained stable and increased slightly, indicating the Upstate has been less influenced by or depending on business and tourism-related visits compared to other South Carolina markets. Occupancy rates were in line with the first quarter of 2022 at 71.5% while RevPAR and average daily rate were up to $81.83 and $114.53 respectively, compared to $57.21 and $100.12 in the fourth quarter of 2022.

During the first quarter of 2023, Charleston experienced strong growth and outperformed Q1 2022 and Q4 2022 despite the high benchmark. RevPAR, ADR and occupancy all surpassed 2022 year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter with a RevPAR of $139.24, an ADR of $176.50 and an occupancy rate of 78.9%. There are some indicators that the Charleston market will remain strong but may level off during the spring and summer seasons.

Hilton Head and Beaufort had a more sluggish start in the first quar-

ter of 2023 compared to other South Carolina markets. RevPAR, ADR and occupancy were stable year-over-year. Quarter-over-quarter, Hilton Head and Beaufort experienced increases of 114% for RevPAR (currently $124.72), 28% for ADR (currently $198.86) and 67% for occupancy (currently 62.7%). Hilton Head and Beaufort are positioned to experience a robust second quarter due to the cyclical seasonality trends that typically peak in the late spring and summer seasons for this market.

Myrtle Beach is renowned for its expansive hotels that comfortably exceed the national standard room count. The prevalence of larger hotels in Myrtle Beach is a distinguishing feature, catering to the high demand and providing ample accommodation options for the many visitors drawn to the area’s vibrant tourism scene. Hospitality in Myrtle Beach outperformed year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter for RevPAR, ADR and occupancy. For Q1 2023, Myrtle Beach had a RevPAR of $59.78, ADR of $106.75 and occupancy of 56.0%.

Notable recent sales statewide included the 123-room Courtyard Charleston for $8.3 million, a 110-room Hampton by Hilton in Columbia for $7.5 million and a Red Roof Inn in Greenville which sold for $4.1 million.

6 July 2023
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Hotel recovery is partly attributed to the return of business travel, according to Colliers. (Image/Provided) 7 July 2023 23-1921
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Biden joins West Columbia company to celebrate first shipment

AWest Columbia manufacturer celebrated its first shipment of products for a leading solar energy supplier with a visit from President Joe Biden on July 6.

President Biden visited the West Columbia facility of Flex, a global diversified firm that recently announced its first shipments of solar microinverters for California-based

Enphase Energy Inc., a supplier of microinverter-based solar and battery systems.

Microninverters are used to help convert solar energy into electricity that can be used for power for customers. The devices work with solar arrays to convert the direct current solar energy into the alternating current that can be used in homes and businesses.

Enphase had announced back in April that they would begin manufacturing their products here in the U.S. through three

manufacturing partnerships, one of which is with Texas-based Flex at its West Columbia facility. The partnership is expected to create 600 jobs in West Columbia, company officials said.

Biden visited the West Columbia plant as part of his “Investing in America” tour designed to promote his administration’s economic policy, which he has labeled “Bidenomics,” and promoted federal legislation designed to boost infrastructure and clean energy production nationwide.

In a speech, President Biden praised recent efforts across the country to boost U.S. manufacturing and stop jobs from being sent overseas.

“We’re creating jobs here and exporting American products,” Biden said. “That’s the story here in South Carolina. Jobs that used to go to Mexico, India, Romania and China are now coming home to South Carolina.”

The president praised Enphase’s part-

See BIDEN, Page 9

8 July 2023
Enphase Energy Inc. has shipped its first products from the Midlands. (Photo/Provided) President Joe Biden visited Enphase as part of his “Bidenomics” tour to, in part, celebrate stateside manufacturing efforts. The facility will employ 600 workers making products often produced overseas. (Photo/Provided)

nership with Flex and its commitment to making the microinverters in South Carolina and other locations in the U.S. Not only will the partnership help to boost the country’s switch to clean energy, but it will also boost the number of well-paying jobs available to workers without the need for a four-year degree, Biden said. He noted a partnership between Flex and Midlands Technical College to help prepare workers for the type of work needed at its factory.

President Biden also stressed how the country’s push to pivot to clean energy has been good for the economy of states like South Carolina.

“Companies have invested $11 billion so far in manufacturing and clean energy investments just in South Carolina,” he said.

The president was joined by Flex CEO Revathi Advaithi and Enphase Energy president and CEO Badri Kothandaraman, as well as national, state and local government officials.

“We are pleased that President Biden is able to visit our manufacturing operations at Flex’s factory in South Carolina and we appreciate his support of U.S. companies investing in domestic manufacturing,” s Kothandaraman said. “Enphase is proud to be a leader in expanding the domestic manufacturing of clean energy products while bringing high technology jobs and further economic development to the United States. We thank Flex for its commitment as a valuable partner globally

over the past 15 years and we are pleased to expand our partnership in the United States to better service our customers with local manufacturing.”

California-based Enphase Energy is a leading supplier of microinverter-based solar and battery systems that enable customers to make, use, save and sell their own power and control it through a smart mobile app. The company builds all-in-one

solar, battery and software solutions. About 63 million microinverters made by Enphase have been shipped worldwide and 3.3 million Enphase-based systems have been deployed in more than 145 countries, according to information from the company. 9 July 2023
The president said the nation’s efforts to produce cleaner energy has been good for states such as South Carolina, leading to new jobs in solar and wind energy production. (Photo/Provided) Enphase Energy is a supplier of microinverter-based solar and battery systems that enable customers to make and use their own power.
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South Carolina farms get funding for agribusiness innovation

Agoat dairy, an artisanal jam company, a produce-and-flower farm, and an organic vegetable grower are among the South Carolina businesses awarded new funding through the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship, also known as ACRE.

Twelve entrepreneurs will share $185,000 in funding for their innovative agribusiness ventures. The finalists pitched to a panel of judges earlier in June and were scored based on their business plans, a five-minute video presentation and their demonstrated history of business success, according to a news release.

The diverse group of awardees encompass animal agriculture, specialty food producers, produce farms, and new and established farmers:

The honorees are:

Split Creek Farm, a goat farm and cheesemaker in Anderson which is modernizing its milk bottling to better meet customer demand.

Sakhar Jams, a Columbia company that makes artisanal jams using certified South Carolina fruit and Indian flavors and will leverage the grant for warehouse and kitchen space.

Paxville-based Grateville Acres in Clarendon County, a diversified farm supply-

ing produce and flowers in a food desert which plans to add a multi-use wash/pack building.

Bio Way Farm in Ware Shoals, which has been growing organic produce since 2004 and plans to build a new packing shed and commercial kitchen to reduce produce waste and support its continued expansion.

Gullah Man Oyster Co. on St. Helena Island in Beaufort County, which is working to transition from wild harvest to farmed oysters.

Old Tyme Bean Co. in Calhoun County, planning to expand its shelling capaci-

ty to process more butterbeans, field peas and other local legumes.

Purebred Compost, located in the Aiken County town of Warrenville, which creates compost for area farms using waste from horse farms and green debris from landscapers. They aim to buy a compost mixer and bag filler to scale up operations.

Momma B’s Farm, a regenerative farm on 20 acres in Edgefield County, will market its teas and produce boxes and branch out into honey production.

Joyful Souls Heirloom Nursery, a seedling farm based in Columbia, aims to expand its garden education mission

through new teaching tools.

Altman Farm and Mill, based in Florence, plans to adopt more efficient packaging and scale up production with new equipment.

Fifth generation farmer Marvin Ross and his brother Jada Ross raise heritage pigs using woodlot practices at Peculiar Pig Farm in Dorchester. They plan to open a butcher shop with freezer storage to achieve more meat processing efficiency.

Set in Stone Sustainability Farm of Jenkinsville in Fairfield County will build new facilities to develop its agricultural education mission.

“These finalists were selected from a larger pool of applicants, and it wasn’t an easy choice – we had an outstanding bunch of entrepreneurs,” said ACRE Executive Director Kyle Player. “ACRE continues to attract and nurture some of our state’s top talent in agribusiness.”

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture founded ACRE in 2018 to help identify and nurture new ideas and businesses in the state’s agribusiness sector, according to the release.

ACRE also partners with Clemson Extension to offer a curriculum program each fall to train and mentor beginning agricultural entrepreneurs and prepare them to seek advanced award funding. More information about the program can be found online.

10 July 2023
Entrepreneurs will share $185,000 for innovations in South Carolina agribusiness. (Photo/Provided)

Eagle Aviation in Columbia has

a new owner

Columbia-based Eagle Aviation is now under new ownership.

The aviation company was recently acquired by Lee Thomas, a longtime employee and a veteran of the aviation industry, according to a news release. Thomas is only the second owner of the company since 1967.

Thomas brings with him more than 35 years of experience in the aviation industry. He started his career in Valdosta, Ga., as a line service technician, then moved to Auburn University in Alabama where he became assistant chief flight instructor. He joined Eagle Aviation in 1995 as an aircraft sales researcher and eventually became president of the company, a position he will maintain, according to the release. and then finally at Eagle Aviation in 1995 where he started as an aircraft sales researcher and eventually became president, a position he will maintain. The current management team will also remain in place.

“I am thrilled to be the new owner of Eagle Aviation,” Thomas said in the release. “I started at Eagle straight out of Auburn. This is a fantastic company with wonderful employees and a great reputation in the aviation industry. My goal is to build on the company’s success and take it to new heights. We have an amazing team of professionals at Eagle, and I am confident we will achieve our objectives.”

Thomas said he plans to create an experience that will expand the business and keep existing customers coming back. Noteworthy renovations are already underway, including a newly paved tarmac. Eagle has also recently been authorized as a maintenance service center for the Cirrus Vision Jet line. The company continues to build on its Cirrus and Cessna service centers as well as on its formal relationships with Garmin, Avidyne, AirText, Raisbeck, Blackhawk, Standard Aero, Prizm Lighting, Whelen Lighting and Berringer Brakes.

Eagle Aviation is a premier Titan Aviation Fuels branded full-service fixed base operation, originally founded in 1967 and has more than 100 employees. The company’s headquarters is located at Columbia Metropolitan Airport with a satellite operation at Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport. The company specializes in aircraft sales, line service, aircraft charter, maintenance, paint and interior, parts support and flight training.

South Carolina State Fair accepting applications for competitive exhibits

Staff reports

The South Carolina State Fair is now accepting entries for its annual competitive exhibits to be on display Oct. 11-22, 2023.

Exhibitors from across South Carolina are invited to submit their entries now through Sept. 1 in a variety of categories for a chance to compete at the state’s largest event, according to a news release. This year, more than $300,000 in premiums will be offered for award-winning exhibits in agriculture, art, home and crafts, flowers, livestock and more.

“This is a remarkable opportunity

for individuals to have their talents and creations showcased at one of the most highly anticipated events of the year,” said Nancy Smith, general manager for the State Fair. “The South Carolina State Fair has always been a hub for creativity and community, and we look forward to seeing the outstanding works of our state’s talented exhibitors. These exhibits are an important part of our fair and one of our most beloved traditions.”

Artisans, crafters, bakers, gardeners and enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to participate in the competition. Whether it’s a stunning painting, a meticulously craft-

ed woodwork piece, a prize-winning pumpkin, or a mouth-watering pie, the South Carolina State Fair offers an opportunity for everyone to showcase their passion and be recognized for their individual talents.

By participating in the State Fair’s competitive exhibits, entrants not only have a chance to win prestigious awards but also gain exposure to a large and diverse audience. The South Carolina State Fair attracts about 450,000 visitors each year.

Participants can learn more about the guidelines and rules and learn how to enter the competitions online. The deadline is Friday, Sept. 1.


WITH 11 July 2023

Largest construction project in USC’s history moves forward

Work continues on a massive new student housing project at the University of South Carolina as well as other projects.

The University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees advanced several of the projects and initiatives during its meeting on June 9.

The board gave final approval of continuing renovations to the Science and Technology building at the corner of Main and Devine streets. The building features state-of-the-art classroom and lab space. The renovations will upfit 50,000 square feet on the building’s east side for use as classroom space, new laboratories and office and workspaces.

The board also reviewed ongoing updates on construction of the Campus Village residential housing development. Located on the south side of the Columbia campus near the Athletics village, Campus Village will house 1,800 students in four new buildings this fall. The $240 million project is the largest construction project in the university’s history. Work currently underway includes landscaping and additional finishing to the buildings’ exteriors and interiors. A grand opening event is planned for mid-August.

Charleston-based Greystar is the developer for the Campus Village site.

The board also approved four new certificate undergraduate programs for the USC


This annual event recognizes forty Upstate professionals under the age of 40 who are making their mark with professional and community involvement.

June 29

July 26

Aiken campus, including cloud computing and security, cybersecurity and network security and IT for fall 2023, and cybersecurity for fall 2024. The interdisciplinary certificate programs will help supplement students’ degree programs, giving them the opportunity to gain in-demand digital skills, according to university officials.

“By continuing to offer innovative curricula and expand modern living and learning spaces, the University of South Carolina is focused on meeting the needs of current students while planning for the future,” said board chairman Thad Westbrook.




Executives from more than 100 companies will gather to celebrate being named one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina, and no event this year will provide better networking opportunities!

August 10

Executives from more than 100 companies will gather to celebrate being named one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina, and no event this year will provide better networking opportunities!

October 12


The SC Manufacturing Conference & Expo will be held in Greenville. This multi-day event includes the Salute to Manufacturing Awards Luncheon, a manufacturing expo, panel discussions, and several interactive, practical workshops.

November 9 - 10

The Columbia Women of Influence Awards celebrates the exceptional achievements of women in the midlands. We are excited to honor the trailblazers, visionaries, and leaders who are making a difference in our region’s business landscape.

September 14


This annual event recognizes forty Lowcountry professionals under the age of 40 who are making their mark with professional and community involvement.

October 25

The Charleston Women of Influence Awards celebrates the exceptional achievements of womeni n the Lowcountry. We are excited to honor the trailblazers, visionaries, and leaders who are making a difference in our region’s business landscape.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Ryan Downing at or 864-867-1928

12 July 2023
The $240 million Campus Village Project is the largest construction project in the history of the University of South Carolina. (Rendering/Provided) Located on the south side of the Columbia campus near the Athletics village, Campus Village will house 1,800 students in four new buildings. (Rendering/Provided)

Agencies work to match veterans to civilian jobs

The military has a huge presence in South Carolina, which is home to eight different military installations. Consequently, the state also is home to a large number of veterans — more than 397,649 across 46 counties, according to 2022 estimates from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The largest population of veterans is in Richland County, with 36,792 veterans in residence. Charleston County has the second highest population at 35,141, while Greenville County is third with 30,014.

One of the biggest challenges for those who work with veteran populations in the state is helping those men and women find employment after they either retire from the military or transition out of service after their enlistments are complete.

Officials from both the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs and the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce have a number of programs in place to help those who have served their country to find success in the workforce — and hopefully do so while remaining in the state.

One of the biggest goals — and challenges — is helping veterans find work that will bring them the same type of satisfaction they experienced while in the military.

“What I see with veterans — and I can speak to this because I’m also one of those veterans — is the biggest challenge is finding something that is just as rewarding as military service and gives them both the responsibility they want and the compensation they need,” said Al Taylor, senior operations coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs. “Our goal is to help them find what we call both suitable and sustainable employment.”

Taylor, who retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service, works on a daily basis to form a network of employers across the state who are looking to hire veterans. He talks with employers about the benefits of hiring veterans and also communicates regularly with veterans to find out what kind of employment needs they have — “whether they are looking for just a job or seeking employment and a career to sustain yourself and your family,” he said.

Taylor hosts monthly employment and workforce development meetings with members from the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce and the South Carolina Department of Labor to discuss workforce development for veterans. Each week, he also posts what he calls the “Elite Eight” on the SCDVA’s website, highlighting two companies from each region in the state who are actively seeking to hire veterans.

He said DVA also runs Transition Centers around the state that offer assistance to service members and their families as they transition out of military service into civilian life.

Employers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, South Carolina Beer Wholesalers, BMW, Goodwill Industries, and Palmetto Armory are among those that have been most responsive in hiring veterans, Taylor said.

A number of industries lend themselves to the skills veterans bring to the workforce from military service. Taylor said manufacturing, mechanics, aerospace, distribution and logistics and information technology jobs all lend themselves to what the veteran jobseeker has to offer. Many property management companies also actively seek out veterans, he said.

“A lot of our employers are already vet-

eran friendly, and we want to try to make them even more so,” Taylor said.

A big part of veteran workforce development is letting prospective employers know the benefits of hiring veterans.

“Hiring veterans can be a great asset for any business,” said Marlin Bodison, veteran services director for the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. “Not only do veterans bring a wealth of skills and experience to the table, but they also bring a strong work ethic, discipline and leadership abilities.”

Many veterans also have experience in multiple fields, not just what they specialized in while in service. During a stint in the military, many service members work across several sectors and pick up skills along the way.

He offers his own experience in the military as an example.

“During my time in the military I was an armor officer, and I also did battalion maintenance, operations, ship loading and railroad loading,” Bodison said. “Many veterans possess multiple skills and the good thing about them is they are also quick learners.”

The Department of Employment and Workforce has a number of programs available to help veterans transition into the workforce system, he said. 13 July 2023
A service member speaks to a prospective employer during a workforce event organized by the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs. (Photo/Provided) Veterans attend statewide events organized by the South Department of Veterans Affairs to connect with prospective employers who can help them find work after retirement or transitioning out of the military.

Staff members from DEW participate in transition assistance briefings at each of the state’s military installations monthly. Through DEW’s SC Works system, veterans can get assistance with resume writing, career planning, job development and, if eligible, classroom or on the job training. Many of the SC Works programs for veterans are available both on-site and in hybrid formats so people from across the state can access programs without having to travel long distances.

“If I’m a veteran in Myrtle Beach, I can access a statewide resume workshop through an online platform,” he said.

The department also partners with federal and state entities such as the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Veterans Administration Health Care System and the Veterans Administration Vocational Readiness and Employment program. He said DEW also partners with a number of community based organizations around the state to help address other needs for veterans unrelated to employment.

Bodison said one of the biggest challeng-

es for veterans is helping veterans translate their military skills to what he calls “civilian language.” That means helping veterans figure out what fields their military occupational skill, or MOS, has best prepared them for.

Through DEW’s SC Works Online Services program, veterans can access a special portal that allows them to enter their branch of service, rank and their MOS.

“Once they enter that information, the system then searches for a job opening that fits with the skill they performed in the military,” Bodison said. That inter-

change between military and civilian jobs is referred to in the department as a “military occupational crosswalk.”

Bodison noted that hiring veterans brings additional benefits to businesses along with those strong employee character traits. Business owners that hire certain groups, including veterans, can be eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

Through all of their programs, both the Department of Veterans Affairs and DEW have a core mission —getting as many veterans as possible to stay in South Carolina for work after service.

14 July 2023
VETERANS WORKS, from Page 13 Veterans receive insight and assistance with various businesses in the community (Photos/Provided)




LIFE AND BREATH: Chapin-based startup offers remote monitoring for lung disease patients

Amanda Clark became a respiratory therapist after being impacted from personal loss due to chronic lung diseases including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, also known as COPD.

Years of work in the field gave Clark perspective on the needs of both patients and their health care providers, so she decided to start a business tailored to fulfilling those needs. The Chapin-based therapist turned entrepreneur has started three companies in recent years dedicated to helping people with chronic lung disease.

Her most recent startup PulManage, is a technology company that offers remote monitoring for patients with chronic lung disease, with a particular focus on COPD.

Clark told SC Biz News the idea for PulManage developed over her 20 years as a respiratory therapist, working with populations from pediatrics to adults.

“In asthma clinic, we would have some patients who produced normal test results but would blow through an entire albuterol inhaler (a common rescue medication used for asthma flares) in less than a month, and I remember trying to understand what was happening,” Clark said. “The need to monitor respiratory patients outside the office came out of frustrations and unknowns in my own practice.”

PulManage offers a mobile app that enables patients to monitor their symptoms and lung function measured through a Bluetooth spirometry device and transmits their real-time data to the medical team through a secure web-based portal to monitor their condition remotely.

The PulManage platform allows patients to report three types of information to their doctors from home. First, it keeps track of spirometry data. Basically, spirometry is a pulmonary function test that measures lung function and breathing patterns. In a session, patients also report vital signs including their temperature and respiratory rate in conjunction with symptoms they experience such as cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Remote monitoring is something that’s been available for years for some heart patients and those with other conditions like diabetes but is a new concept for those that suffer from COPD and other chronic lung diseases, Clark said.

Providing quick access to a patient’s respiratory symptom information serves a number of purposes: it not only gives

a health care provider real-time perspective on how the patient is progressing, but also could offer new perspectives on medication effectiveness and provide opportunity for timely intervention.

“We’re pretty niche,” Clark said. “Respiratory care is different than any other specialty because diagnostic testing and medication delivery are dependent on patient effort. Medication is only going to deposit as deep in the lungs as a patient inhale with proper technique. Patients with more advanced lung disease require use of daily controller inhalers. However, many of them lack the inspiratory capacity to have the medication properly deposited in the airway. Likewise, diagnostic testing requires proper technique and coaching to generate accurate results. PulManage helps patients master this technique for effective remote surveillance which can be informative to the medical team making medication delivery selections.”

Patients being onboarded to the platform have the option to be seen at their doctor’s office or via a virtual meeting with a respiratory therapist.

In 2017, prior to dreaming up the idea for PulManage, Clark joined the University of South Carolina’s Technology Incubator in Columbia in 2017. This local resource provided a means for her to collaborate with talent that ultimately led to the development of the PulManage concept.

Since then, the company has become a supported member of SC Launch Inc., the investment vehicle of South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA). They have received several nondilutive grants including a $50,000 acceleration grant in 2021 and the company was named one of its Success Stories in 2022. Clark was featured as one of the keynote speakers at the Authority’s annual statewide summit in Columbia in April 2023.

PulManage’s technology is ever advancing, Clark said.

“Right now, we’re onboarding patients in South Carolina and Florida,” she said. “We are also in the throes of fundraising and plan to close this round soon. Funds raised from the round will be used to expand the platform and bring additional value to the medical community. Our impressive team has more than 60 years combined in pulmonary medicine, more than 50 years in tech development and more than 30 years in business development. Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, so our work is evolving.”

Clark expects research and fine-tuning on the platform to go on for several more years, and looks forward to the day that her company moves the needle regarding the diagnosis and management of chronic lung diseases. Sadly, for many effected patients, diagnosis often comes after disease has advanced and the social stigmas are undeniable, Clark said. Surprisingly, COPD disproportion-

ately affects women and roughly 25% of COPD patients have never been smokers. Additionally, 15% of people with the disease have a genetic component that makes them more susceptible.

The goal for PulManage, she said, is to help people with the disease manage their symptoms in a way that allows them to lead better, longer and fuller lives.

At-home monitoring, for instance, might help health care providers identify patterns that cause a worsening of symptoms, such as exposure to certain allergens, environmental toxins or even changes in temperature that can sometimes impact lung function.

“Currently, only 30% of COPD cases in the country have been confirmed with spirometry – the gold standard,” Clark said. “So, my team and I are interested in removing barriers for patients to receive appropriate care. Spirometry is often perceived as complicated, and it is not something every medical provider offers often due to lack of understanding or resources such as equipment or staffing. Utilizing technology like PulManage creates the potential to look at numbers and symptoms to determine if someone has a chronic lung disease much earlier. By understanding changes in symptoms, hopefully we can teach patients to recognize patterns early on and take a proactive approach to avoid exacerbations, ultimately preserving lung function.”

Patients being treated for the chronic lung disease COPD could benefit from remote monitoring like that offered by Columbia startup PulManage.

New Asian restaurant coming to Cayce

Anew open concept Asian restaurant featuring a popular Vietnamese style of sandwich plus other cuisine has opened in Cayce.

Little Bee Bun Mee Co. officially opened at 11 a.m. July 11 at 904 Knox Abbot Drive.

This is the latest venture for Chris Souvanna and Noi Souvanna, who currently own the popular Duke’s Pad Thai at the same address. The new eatery will feature an open dining concept between the two restaurants, allowing diners to choose from either cuisine in one building.

Duke’s Pad Thai specializes in Asian street food and noodle dishes. Little Bee Bun Mee will feature a variety of traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, tacos, salads, sushi, poke bowls and grab and go options, as well as a large selection of beverages including beer, wine and tea fusions. Like Duke’s, Little Bee Bun Mee will be fast-casual and offer to-go ordering online.

The Souvannas have been passionate about food for a long time. The couple’s desire to share family recipes and teach their two sons about running a business led them to open Duke’s in 2017. Chris Souvanna handled the creative dishes and Noi Souvanna handled management, and Duke’s quickly gained a wide customer base. The couple want this lat-

est eatery to continue their track record of high quality fast casual cuisine.

“We wanted to continue to add more cultural dining to Cayce through one of our favorite dishes, banh mi sandwiches,”

Noi Souvanna said. “The last few years have been a whirlwind, surviving a pandemic, raising two boys and running a successful business. We all just felt like busy bees which led us to naming the

new restaurant Little Bee.  Our passion for fast-casual food fuels the other busy bees out there to have a family-made meal and get on their way to their busy lives.”

SCRA announces new members, grant recipients

Three companies were recently accepted as members of the South Carolina Research Authority and two companies received new grant funding.

All SCRA member companies receive coaching, access to experts in SCRA’s Resource Partner Network, eligibility to apply for grant funding and the potential to be considered for investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate SC Launch Inc., according to a news release.

New members are Artemis Structural Intelligence, Drobot and

Artemis Structural Intelligence Corporation is a Greenville-based technology company that provides advances structural health monitoring technologies for critical infrastructure including mines, tunnels, buildings, roads, bridges, industrial machinery, public transport and aeronautics and space.

Also based in Greenville, Drobot is a technology company with a patent-pending approach designed to make autonomous mobile robots more capable, affordable and scalable by helping them navigate

large and dynamic real-world environments. Drobot also received a $25,000 demonstration grant.

Tree3ai. LLC is an information technology company based in Columbia. It generates a comprehensive, accurate and unified source of structured property data

that improves speed, security and transparency within the real estate ecosystem.

NeuroHope Therapeutics Inc. received a $25,000 academic startup grant. The Greenville-based life science company has developed an innovation that includes nanotechnology for combi-

national drug and gene delivery. The initial use is for the regeneration and repair of the central nervous system.

Grant funding is made possible in part by Industry Partnership Fund contributions. Contributors to the IPF receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit.

Little Bee Bun Mee Co. in Cayce will feature an open dining concept and a popular Vietnamese-style sandwich. (Photo/Provided) New SCRA member Artemis Structural Intelligence offers monitoring technology for infrastructure such as roads and bridges. (Photo/Stock)

Sandwich restaurant with Upstate roots opens new location in Columbia

Sully’s Steamers, a Greenville-based restaurant known for steamed sandwiches, has come to Columbia.

Michael Stuckey and Brittany Stuckey of Southern Way Catering have opened a franchise of the restaurant at 2835 Devine St. The eatery held its grand opening June 26.

The hours have expanded to include dinner and Sully’s will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Michael Stuckey said in the fall they plan to add late night hours until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The restaurant was originally founded by Robert “Sully” Sullivan in Greenville in 2013 and has grown to include nine locations across North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, according to a news release.

Sully’s Steamers features steamed bagel sandwiches, with a menu that offers everything from traditional offering like Phillies, Reubens and Italian style to egg and cheese, vegan hummus and veggie sandwiches. There also are gluten free options and Sully’s will also offer catering.

Michael Stuckey said he and his wife fell in love with Sully’s offerings after visiting the original Greenville location.

“The first sandwich was delicious,” Stuckey said. “It is one of the most unique sandwiches I’ve ever had and that’s what really attracted me to it. There nothing else on the market even close to this.”

Michael Stuckey was also intrigued by the attitude of the employees at the Greenville location and told SC Biz News that was one of the deciding factors in deciding to expand the sandwich eatery to Columbia. He grew up in a neighborhood right near

the Devine Street location and said he has wanted to open a restaurant to serve the neighborhood for a long time.

“In Greenville I saw for myself that Sully’s employees were some of the happiest employees I’ve ever seen in food service,” he said.

“Everyone had a smile and seemed to enjoy what they were doing and genuinely having a good time at work. I reached out to Sully (the founder) and he said that was part of a culture he’s tried to build at the restaurant. The idea is if you take care of the employees, they will take care of the customers.”

Estates & Companies worked with the Stuckeys on the design of the new building in the Devine District, which features a large dog-friendly outdoor patio with seating for 46, umbrellas, and outdoor games such giant Jenga and Connect Four. TVs will be installed in time for college football in the fall. The restaurant will offer alcoholic beverages in addition to traditional drink options.

The outdoor patio is a type of gathering space that currently isn’t common in the Devine Street neighborhood and the Stuckeys hope it will lend itself to making Sully’s a place where people not only go for good food, but to meet up with friends.

“We’d like this to become a community hangout,” Michael Stuckey said.

The Devine Street location is just the first expansion of Sully’s that the Stuckeys have planned. As an area developer for the chain, Michael Stuckey said five more locations are planned for the Midlands, including a Lexington location that will open in the fall and other sites planned for Forest Acres, West Columbia and Irmo. He hopes to take Sully’s to Camden and Elgin in Kershaw County as well as possible future locations to the coast.

Our Giving magazine is a special opportunity to support philanthropy in the Midlands. The articles tell the heartwarming story of the community’s generosity. The winners of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Midlands Chapter Philanthropy Awards are also featured, with bonus distribution at their National Philanthropy Day luncheon.

Your advertising dollars enable the Business Report to donate advertising space to Midlands charitable organizations in a section called “Nonprofit Spotlights.” Show your support of your favorite nonprofit in Giving, the magazine of philanthropy!

contact Ryan Downing 17 July 2023 IN FOCUS: STARTUPS
Sully’s Steamers, sandwiches on bagels and then steamed, was founded in Greenville. (Photo/Provided)
the gift of awareness.
Stuckey said the positive attitude of existing employees attracted him to the company.(Photo/Sully’s Steamers)
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Nephron Nitrile in West Columbia names new CEO

Nephron Nitrile in West Columbia has named William “Billy” Emerson Harris as its new CEO.

In this position, Harris will use his 30 years of experience to bolster the recent onshore manufacturing and distribution investment Nephron Nitrile is making in West Columbia. The facility is estimated to produce nearly 3 billion nitrile gloves per year.

“Having Billy join our team is a winwin for Nephron Nitrile and South Carolina manufacturing,” said Nephron Nitrile owner Lou Kennedy. “Throughout his career, Billy has successfully navigated the challenges of a growing and changing industry. His experience and goal-driven approach to business and leadership will ensure our talented team continues to

achieve the ambitious objectives we set at the beginning of this journey: to offer customers the next level in made in America glove manufacturing and distribution right here in our state, strengthening the domes-

tic supply chain and creating new jobs.”

Prior to joining the Nephron Nitrile team, Harris served as chief commerce officer of SHOWA Group, a fully integrated manufacturer of both medical and

industrial PPE hand protection, according to a news release. He has more than three decades of manufacturing industry experience, including serving as director of international sales at Birtcher Medical Systems, vice president of sales at Adams Scientific, CEO of Sempermed USA and CEO of Sri Trang USA Inc.

“It is all about having U.S.-produced exam and general-purpose disposable nitrile gloves,” Harris said. “I could not turn down the opportunity to join an organization with such a strong commitment to best-in-class automated manufacturing and quality that exceeds industry standards.”

Nephron Nitrile is a manufacturer of durable, high-quality nitrile gloves. Located in West Columbia, the company produces food service, industrial and medical exam-grade gloves at its 400,000-squarefoot facility.

ENTREPRENEUR’S JOURNEY: CoffeeCandy hits Greenville store shelves

Don Li’s eyes widen and dance when he talks about most of the possibilities.

Those possibilities include getting his invention into the next convenience store — or better, convenience store chain. His are the eyes of someone who dares to dream. And the eagerness shows when he brings the conversation back around to his ultimate goal for CoffeeCandy: to get his Greenville-made product on Starbucks shelves around the world.

The possibility of failure has no such effect on his countenance.

The eyes of the first-time entrepreneur show no concern whatsoever when Li is asked if he was nervous about leaving behind a solid career in software engineering for the uncertainty of creating a startup from a new product.

Li shrugs his shoulders to emphasize that he’s not worried and says, “I trust that people will enjoy the product.”

Li, who reminds us that Starbucks was once a startup, too, believes the path there is simple: create awareness, let people taste it, make them customers.

When SC Biz News first checked in on Li’s entrepreneurial journey, he had a product, a package and a website, www. eatcoffeenet. He was selling product directly to a few customers in person and online, but he awaited South Carolina Agriculture Department approval to make wholesale sales that would put CoffeeCandy on store shelves.

Agriculture Department approval now in hand, Li’s salesman shoes have been as busy as his dancing eyes.

CoffeeCandy is available now in seven retail locations in the Greenville area —

six convenience stores and a supermarket.

At the Asia Pacific Super Market, they made a small sign to let shoppers know the product is locally made. A pouch of CoffeeCandy includes three pieces, which is equal in caffeine to one cup of coffee, and retails at Asia Pacific Super Market for $2.88 and for the same or similar price at the other retailers.

“It’s a start,” Li said, still with his dreaming eyes on the decision makers at Starbucks and ready for the challenges success may bring.

“When they’re ready to roll out CoffeeCandy, we will need to automate,” he says simply, inviting the challenge.

Billy Harris will oversee Nephron Nitrile, which is producing 3 billion nitrile gloves per year. (Photo/Provided) Asia Pacific Super Market attempts to give CoffeeCandy a boost with extra signage that tells shoppers that it’s a locally manufactured product. (Photo/Ross Norton) Some of the retailers place CoffeeCandy with other candy products while others put the product near the coffee machines. (Photo/Ross Norton)

SBA Loans

Ranked by SBA-a pproved loan amounts

Loans from the the SBA FY 2023 (from Oct. 1, 2022) are considered for this list. Because of space constraints, only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. Information for the list was obtained from the U.S. Small Business Administration, individual borrowers and lenders, and other Business Journal research. Email additions, corrections or requests to be approved for future lists to 19 July 2023 IN FOCUS: STARTUPS
Company name Location SBA-approved loan amounts # SBA loans SBA loan type SBA participating lender Ser vices provided Age of business, SBA Sri Dev Columbia Inc. 650 Cherokee Lane West Columbia, S.C. 29169 $3,230,000 1 7A GBank Hotels and motels, excluding casino hotels New Business or 2 years or less ABC Adventures LLC 934 North Lake Dr Lexington, S.C. 29071 $2,380,000 1 7A Bank of Oak Ridge Amusement and recreation industries Startup, Loan Funds will Open Business Dynamic Marine And Motorsports 5028 Sunset Blvd. Lexington, S.C. 29072 $1,833,000 2 7A Pinnacle Bank Boat dealers New Business or 2 years or less Flaming Grill Supreme Buffet 115 Afton Ct. Columbia, S.C. 29212 $1,632,000 1 7A Celtic Bank Corp. Restaurants New Business or 2 years or less Sims Holdco LLC 1840 Two Notch Road Lexington, S.C. 29073 $1,247,000 2 7A First Chatham Bank Plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors Change of Ownership Par vati Hospitality LLC 350 Columbiana Drive Columbia, S.C. 29212 $890,000 1 7A First Chatham Bank Hotels and motels, excluding casino hotels Existing or more than 2 years old SMB Enterprises Hhi LLC 72 Arrow Road Hilton Head Island, S.C. 29928 $856,800 1 7A Wells Fargo Bank, NA New Business or 2 years or less Palmetto Specialty Transfer LLC 1680 Lake Murray Blvd. Columbia, S.C. 29212 $594,000 1 7A First National Bank of Pennsylvania Transportation equipment and supplies merchant, excluding motor vehicle Change of Ownership West 2 East LLC 149 Lighthouse Road, Suite J Hilton Head Island, S.C. 29928 $590,000 1 7A Synovus Bank Startup, Loan Funds will Open Business Plato's Closet 1150 Bower Pkwy., Suite F-1 Columbia, S.C. 29212 $500,000 1 7A SouthState Bank, NA Used clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories retailer New Business or 2 years or less Stubborn Daisy Inc. 148 Lakeside Road Chapin, S.C. 29036 $450,000 1 7A Live Oak Banking Co. Toy, hobby goods and supplies merchant wholesalers Change of Ownership T & T Timber LLC 127 Trell Lane Orangeburg, S.C. 29118 $350,000 1 7A SouthState Bank, NA Logging Existing or more than 2 years old Goss Pizza LLC 405 College Ave. Clemson, S.C. 29631 $345,000 1 7A Bank of Oak Ridge Limited-ser vice restaurants New Business or 2 years or less CNG DBL LLC 103 West Main St. Lexington, S.C. 29072 $297,000 1 7A Security Federal Bank Restaurants Startup, Loan Funds will Open Business SC Lowcounty Chiropractic LLC 1112 Calhoun St. Newberr y, S.C. 29108 $265,000 1 7A United Midwest Savings Bank, NA Offices of chiropractors Change of Ownership Brussell's Gymnastics Of Columbia 1674 and 1674B Lake Murray Columbia, S.C. 29212 $150,000 1 7A Business Development Corp. of South Carolina Fitness and recreational sports centers Change of Ownership Windowova LLC 304 Montrose Dr Lexington, S.C. 29072 $150,000 1 7A United Midwest Savings Bank, NA Other ser vices to buildings and dwellings Startup, Loan Funds will Open Business Fathom Enterprise LLC 5300 Sunset Blvd Lexington, S.C. 29072 $125,000 1 7A BayFirst National Bank Supermarkets and grocer y stores excluding convenience stores Existing or more than 2 years old Praxis AI LLC 226 Kings Way Clemson, S.C. 29631 $110,000 1 7A SouthState Bank, NA Computer related ser vices Existing or more than 2 years old 2B10M Corp LLC 29 S Main St. Sumter, S.C. 29150 $60,000 1 7A TD Bank, NA New Business or 2 years or less John Thomas Enterprise Inc. 5230 Sunset Blvd. Lexington, S.C. 29072 $50,000 1 7A Newtek Small Business Finance, Inc. Restaurants Existing or more than 2 years old Sinclair CPA PA 1600 Augusta Road West Columbia, S.C.
$30,000 1 7A Wells Fargo Bank, NA Offices of certified public accountants New Business or 2 years or less Execute Elegance LLC 4635 Highway 15 N Sumter, S.C. 29153 $10,000 1 7A Wells Fargo Bank, NA New Business or 2 years or less

Iron Hill Brewery opens its doors in Columbia’s BullStreet District

Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant officially opened its doors to the public in Columbia at 11 a.m. on June 22, receiving an enthusiastic response as the newest tenant of Columbia’s growing BullStreet District. The 7,500-square-foot location features the company’s brewing facility, a bar and cocktail area, dining room and dog-friendly outdoor patio.

The new Iron Hill is located at 945 Sabal St. and will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. In addition to dine-in service, online ordering, take out, delivery and beer to go will also be available.

This is the Delaware-based company’s 21st location and joins additional southern Iron Hill locations, including Greenville, which opened in 2018.

“We are thrilled to open our newest location in the heart of downtown Columbia and become an integral part of the area,” said Iron Hill CEO Chris Westcott. “We chose the Midlands as our second South Carolina location for many reasons. Once we saw the development plans for the BullStreet District, we knew this was

the right spot to open our newest Iron Hill location.”

Officials from Iron Hill partnered with Bray Architecture to design the new brewery and restaurant.

Iron Hill features award-winning beers brewed on site. Selections will include signature beers as well as seasonal offerings. Iron Hill honors each of its locations with its Hometown Tap program, and in Columbia will brew and regularly offer Soda City Pils, a pil-

sner exclusive to the Columbia market.

The menu features appetizers and soups, burgers and sandwiches, hearth-baked pizzas, salads, other entrees and items inspired by Iron Hill’s beers, including the Grilled Brewben Sandwich with Vienna Red Lager bacon sauerkraut and the VooDoo Chicken Pizza with Vienna Red Lager barbecue sauce. In addition to the core menu, Iron Hill Columbia’s head chef will craft a rotating selection

of fresh “Chef’s Table Features to offer even more variety and selection.

Iron Hill is the second restaurant in the BullStreet District, joining Publico at BullStreet. Other tenants in the developing 181-acre District include REI Co-Op, Starbucks, Capgemini, Founders Federal Credit Union, Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte LLC, Elliott Davis and Segra Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies.

“We are thrilled to welcome Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant to the BullStreet District,” said Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corp., master developers of the BullStreet District. “ Iron Hill’s commitment to quality food, creative brewing, and being a great meeting spot aligns perfectly with our vision for BullStreet as a dynamic destination for residents and visitors alike.”

Iron Hill partnered with Bray Architecture to design the new brewery and restaurant to reflect the modern color palette and welcoming floor plan of their newest location. Iron Hill is situated at a main entrance of the BullStreet District, is located one mile from the University of South Carolina campus and the S.C. State House and is within walking distance of multiple historic neighborhoods and large employers.

20 July 2023
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Iron Hill Brewery recently opened its 21st location in Columbia’s BullStreet District. (Photo/Provided)

At Work

People in the News


Four clients of the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers were recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration-South Carolina District Office for outstanding achievement in special categories significant to the small business community. Tremaine Moore, of Naturally Geechee, was named the 2023 South Carolina Female Small Business Person of the Year; Marvin Ross, of Peculiar Pig Farm, was named the South Carolina Minority Small Business Person of the Year; and Michael O’Shaughnessy Williams, of Calavera Tool Works, was named South Carolina Rural Small Business Owner of the Year. Joseph Wilson Jr., of Toll Solutions, was named the National Exporter of the Year. The Greenville area center, led by area manager and business consultant Earl Gregorich, was honored as the state’s Center of Excellence and Innovation.


Brent Amyette has joined McCrory Construction as business development manager. His focus is the continued expansion of the company’s industrial/manufacturing, commercial, retail and designbuild projects in the Upstate. Amyette comes to McCrory with nearly 30 years of business development and marketing experience. A graduate of Clemson University, Amyette has a bachelor’s in marketing and an MBA. He is involved in several economic development organizations, including the South Carolina Economic Developers Association and Urban Land Institute. Amyette also supports the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and sits on the board for the Upstate chapter of the International Facilities Managers Association.

Pyramid Contracting’s new vice president and director of preconstruction is William Atkins. Atkins has more than 25 years of experience in preconstruction and construction, focusing on preconstruction services in such markets as K-12, religious, healthcare, higher education, commercial, public, federal, nonprofit, office, hospitality, retail, industrial and automotive. Atkins earned an associate of science in civil engineering technology from Springfield Technical Community College and a Bachelor of Science in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology.



Karen Quinn won the Preservation Leadership Award from Historic Columbia Foundation in recognition of her exceptional commitment to preserving and revitalizing historic buildings in the Midlands. An architect and project manager with Boudreaux for more than 15 years, she has become the firm leader in historic preservation. Currently, Quinn is project manager of The Venues at Arsenal Hill rehabilitation efforts.


Leandra Hayes-Burgess , Benedict College’s vice president for institutional advancement, was selected as one of the top 50 senior-level leaders in America to attend the Americas Competitiveness Exchange program in Seattle in May.


Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union has made three appointments within its financial division: Michael Beam as chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Maggie Prohs as vice president of operations, and Elizabeth Bunn as chief investment officer. Beam has served as the CFO of Palmetto Citizens since 1986. During his nearly 37 years with the credit union, in addition to his traditional CFO responsibilities, Beam has also overseen a wide variety of crucial areas within the credit union. Prohs served in several capacities over her 20 years with Palmetto Citizens. In 2015, she took over the role of operations manager. In her new role, Prohs oversees such areas as fraud, card services, account compliance, remote deposits, and ATM operations. Bunn joins Palmetto Citizens with more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. She most recently served as treasurer at a South Carolina community bank and was former treasurer at a large national bank. At Palmetto Citizens, Bunn manages the investment portfolio of the credit union and oversee their asset liability management.


Midlands Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery’s Ruschell Gladden is recipient of the 2023 Practice

Professional of the Year Award from the American Alliance of Orthopedic Executives. Gladden has spent the last 19 years of her career navigating the customer service and patient relations aspects of the healthcare industry. Currently she serves as the practice’s front office manager.


Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd’s Bob Knowlton was recently recognized by Best Lawyers as the 2023 Lawyer of the Year for Litigation – Intellectual Property in Columbia. In addition, he was listed in the 2023 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the following practice areas: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Litigation – Securities. Knowlton, a certified mediator, leads the commercial litigation practice group. He represents businesses and individuals with matters involving claims under the securities laws, shareholder disputes, corporate governance matters, intellectual property, investigations and claims by governmental entities, and internal corporate investigations.

Becky Laffitte, a member of Robinson Gray law firm, received the Platinum Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina School of Law Alumni Council. Platinum awards also went to Ronald Charles Scott, Class of 1976, and William K. Witherspoon, Class of 1991. Laffitte, Class of 1983, graduated from Columbia College and earned a Master of Arts in teaching from USC. Her litigation practice focuses on disputes involving alternative dispute resolution, construction, dram shops, healthcare, insurance coverage, premises liability, product liability, and commercial transportation and trucking. She is a fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Litigation Counsel of America. She is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Laffitte is also a member of the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court and

the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, among other professional associations.

Scott & Corley partner Ronald Charles Scott was one of three attorneys to receive a 2023 Compleat Lawyer Platinum Medallion, the highest alumni honor bestowed by the University of South Carolina School of Law. Scott, Class of 1976, was one of three attorneys to receive the 2023 Platinum Award, along with Rebecca Laffitte and William Witherspoon. Scott graduated with academic honors from The Citadel, where he received the Distinguished Military Student leadership award as well as a President’s Special Recognition Award. He has an MBA and a master’s in accounting from USC’s Darla Moore School of Business. Before law school, Scott served as an assistant clerk and research fellow of the South Carolina Senate and graduated from the United States Army Adjutant General’s School as a First Lieutenant.He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto and was selected for the 2018 inaugural class of the South Carolina Lawyers Hall of Fame, was a member of the Columbia Regional Business Report’s inaugural class of Icons and Phenoms. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers, been selected as a Go To Lawyer in Business by SC Lawyers Weekly, and received the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Award from SC/ NC Lawyer Weekly publications.


Cyberwoven’s new business development manager is Sam Hodges. He previously served as the chief of staff for Avid Pursuit. Hodges has a Bachelor of Arts in advertising from the University of South Carolina, a business cognate from USC’s Darla Moore School of Business, and an economic development certificate from Georgia Institute of Technology. Cyberwoven’s first marketing director is Shayla Merritt, who joins the company from SSOE Group (formerly Stevens & Wilkinson). She brings more than 15 years of creative marketing and communications experience. Merritt earned her bachelor of science in public affairs from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs and her bachelor’s in mathematics and education from the College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse University. She earned her master’s in integrated mass com-

Amyette Quinn Hayes-Bugess Gladden Laffitte
PEOPLE, Page 22

People in the News

PEOPLE, from Page 21

munication with a focus on public relations, visual communications, and marketing at the University of South Carolina.


April Allen , director of government relations for Continental, was named the 2023 South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Woman of the Year at the

annual Palmetto Women’s Manufacturing Forum hosted at the Milliken & Co. headquarters. Allen, a graduate of Columbia College, has more than 20 years of experience in government relations, construction, economic development, and manufacturing. Previously, she chaired the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, South Carolina Economic Developers Association, and SC Tire Council. She is current chair of the South Carolina Education Over-

sight Committee, a member of the SC Business Council, and the government relations committees for both the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association and the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association.


John Coleman has joined Trinity Partners Columbia as a brokerage associate. Previously, he worked in commer-

cial real estate for a regional industrial development group. Coleman graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s in public policy studies and a master’s in political science. He then received his international MBA from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, where he also received certificates in data analytics and global strategy. In addition, he completed internships with Baker & Baker and Cason Development Group.

Marshall selected to chair SC Launch Inc.

Staff Report

Andrea H. Marshall has been elected chairperson of SC Launch Inc., the investment affiliate of the South Carolina Research Authority and she will also serve on the board of trustees of the South Carolina Research Authority. She replaces long-time SC Launch Inc. chairperson Peter Dunphy. Marshall previously served as the Launch board’s vice-chair, and under Dunphy and Marshall’s shared leadership, the board of directors reached several successful milestones. SC Launch Inc. invests in eligible SCRA Member and SC Launch Inc. Portfolio companies that accelerate innovation and create

higher-paying jobs in the state.

She joined the board of directors in 2008 as an appointee of the MUSC Foundation for Research Development and served until 2016. She re-joined the board as an at-large appointee in 2017 and was elected board vice-chair in 2019.

“I am very pleased and excited to continue this work under Andrea Marshall’s leadership,” said Matt Bell, executive director of SC Launch Inc. “She has significant experience with the SC Launch

program and the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. I believe she will have a tremendous impact in both areas through this position.”

Marshall is the vice president, general counsel, and administrative officer for MedTrust Holdings Inc. This fast-growing company offers non-emergency medical transportation for healthcare providers in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Before moving to South Carolina in 2004, she practiced law in New York City with Holland & Knight LLP, one of the nation’s largest firms. Since arriving in South Carolina, she has served as leader of an angel investment fund and worked in senior executive roles for companies developing

emerging technologies. Marshall also served as the founding innovation director of the Roper St. Francis Research and Innovation Center in Charleston.

She holds a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University.

Established in 2006, SC Launch Inc. is the investment affiliate of the South Carolina Research Authority. The independent, nonprofit corporation provides convertible loans and investment funding to qualifying SCRA Member Companies. The returns on this funding provide additional coaching and grants to next-generation technology startups.

22 July 2023
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A recession is inevitable – but when?

With every passing month the Conference Board’s index of leading indicators continues to decline and economists become even more convinced that a recession is on the immediate horizon. The problem is that the economy is not cooperating. Businesses are still eagerly hiring workers. Hourly wages are rising. As a result, consumer income is climbing, which provides the fuel for further spending in the months ahead.

While spending remains solid for now it will eventually decline. For an early hint of when consumer angst has risen to point that a recession is imminent we focus on the two biggest ticket items in a consumer’s budget — housing and autos. The housing market is hanging in there. Existing home sales are struggling because there is little available supply so potential home buyers have switched to new homes which are more readily available. Car and truck sales have risen in recent months as supply constraints have abated.

If the economy were truly on the cusp of a recession, we would expect consumers to curtail spending on these two big ticket items but they have not done so. Why? Because interest rates are not high enough to cause employers to lay off workers. Once that happens, consumers worry about whether they will have a job

six months from now and will want to save some money. The resulting cutback in spending will begin with the two big ticket items and spread from there. But we are not at that point. Rates need to keep climbing.

The index of leading indicators declined again in May. It has fallen for 15 consecutive months and has been signaling recession for a year. This index has never fallen so far for so long without the economy slipping into a recession. Having said that, the long-anticipated recession is far overdue. While many economists are forecasting a recession in the second half of this year, we are not amongst them. For the expected recession to become reality we think the Fed needs to push rates higher than it or anybody else envisions at the moment.

When the economy is about to slide into recession we will initially see home sales and car sales begin to decline because these are the two biggest ticket items in any consumer’s budget. We can save more money by postponing the purchase of a new home and/or extending the life of the current car for another year or two. For now these two harbingers of troubled times ahead are not flashing warning signs.

Existing home sales hit bottom in January but the subsequent rebound has been anemic. But the lack of vibrancy has not been caused by a shortfall in demand. In fact, properties remained on the market for just 18 days in May which is one of the shortest lengths of time between listing and sale ever. Seventy-four percent of the homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month.

The anemic rebound in sales was caused by an acute shortage of homes available for sale. In May there was a three-month supply of homes on the market, which is roughly one-half of the six-month supply that is required to balance supply and demand. The realtor simply has few homes available to show prospective buyers, some of which will not be the proper size, not close enough to a school, too expensive, or in need of repair. So, what do they do? They check out a new home. At 683,000 new home sales are roughly in line with where they were prior to the recession because there is a more substantial 7.6 month supply on the market.

The other big ticket item, car sales, has risen in recent months as supply constraints that existed a year or so ago have disappeared. While somewhat lumpy from month to month, at 15 million units car sales are almost 20% higher than they were a year ago and seem to be climbing. The consumer is showing no reluctance to purchase a new vehicle.

We suggest that the economy is unlikely to fall into recession until such time as consumers begin to worry about their jobs. Currently the economy is cranking out 283,000 jobs per month. Meanwhile, job openings at 10.1 million have slipped from their peak but are far higher than the 7 million pace that existed prior to the recession. The demand for labor continues to far outstrip supply.

If firms continue to hire and hourly wages continue to climb, income will grow. After a long period of decline, real disposable income has risen 3.4% in the past year. Income growth will provide

fuel for the consumer to keep spending.

While the economy is continuing to expand and is frustrating the naysayers, it is not bulletproof. The day of reckoning will come when interest rates have climbed to a level that business leaders decide that they need to reduce headcount, and when consumers wonder if they will have a job six months hence. At that point they will begin to curtail spending — with houses and cars leading the way.

We are guessing that the peak in the funds rate will be around the 6.0% mark by late fall which will boost the real funds rate to +1.4%. Currently with the funds rate at 5.25% and the core CPI at 5.3%, the real funds rate is 0% which is not high enough to induce fear in anyone. The Fed needs to keep going.

From 1980 until 2003, when he retired, Stephen Slifer served as chief U.S. economist for Lehman Brothers in New York City, directing the rm’s U.S. economics group along with being responsible for forecasts and analysis of the U.S. economy. He has written two books on using economic indicators to forecast nancial moves and previously served as a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. Slifer can be reached at

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