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Greg Middleton, co-owner of Peak Drift Brewing Co., talks about the North Main entertainment venue during a news conference. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)

Going green again St. Pat’s festival returning to Five Points in 2022. Page 2

Penny resolution

Settlement reached in longrunning Penny Tax dispute. Page 4

Opportunity awaits

New Standard

New student housing tower coming to downtown Page 5

North Main venue to bring entertainment, development to underserved community

A different look

Companies team up on Main Street renonvation. Page 8

By Melinda Waldrop


Upfront................................. 2 SC Biz News Briefs................. 3 In Focus: Financial Services ..........................................23 List: Accounting Firms........24 Bonus list: Credit Unions.....26 At Work...............................29 Viewpoint............................ 31


he 64,000-square-foot, $34 million entertainment venue and brewing production facility set to open on North Main Street next year is about more than beer. It’s about opportunity. Peak Drift Brewing Co., the latest Middleton family project, is located in an Opportunity Zone, one of nearly 9,000 areas throughout the country designated for incentivized economic development through 2017 federal legislation sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott. Investors

receive tax benefits to invest in low-income communities certified as Opportunity Zones by the U.S. Treasury Department. “People say why not Charleston? Why not Charlotte? Why not Greenville? Why not Miami?” Greg Middelton, who will own Peak Drift along with sister Sara Middleton, said during July 13’s official announcement of the brewery’s name and head brewmaster. “ ‘You can take the money and the capital you’re doing here and go anywhere.’ I’m not from Miami, and neither is Sara. I’m from Columbia, I’m from South Carolina, and I want this to be something that Columbia can truly be

Icons & Phenoms

The Columbia Regional Business Report honors leaders across the Midlands. Page 12-21

proud of.” In March 2018, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster nominated 135 areas in the state as Opportunity Zones, with 128 eventually certified as low-income community tracts and seven as contiguous to such tracts. So far, the 8,764 certified zones in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have attracted $75 billion in private investment, said Alyssa Richardson, Scott’s deputy chief of staff. “Generally, when you’re talking about a place for investment or opportunity, you want See VENUE, Page 7





he global pandemic interrupted more than your ability to go see a movie or buy a steak dinner on demand. Several areas of the state’s economy were impacted by supply chain and manufacturing disruptions that will likely be felt for years to come. Since BMW established operations in South Carolina, ushering in an advanced manufacturing sector that continues to be a vital part of the economy, economic developers and manufacturing leaders statewide have kept a keen eye on imports and exports as an economic indicator. Though Greenville, Columbia and Charleston account for the most exports in the state, data from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative show how exports aren’t just a major market sector for South Carolina. As the pandemic turns, look for these numbers from before 2020 to realign as more goods are produced here and exported to other markets across the globe.

By the numbers

Top 5 export segments


South Carolina exported nearly $35 billion of goods made in the Palmetto State in 2018 with manufacturing driving the majority of those exports.


Those manufactured products provided tens of thousands of jobs across the state in 2016.


Value of exports to S.C. metros

Unsurprisingly, transportation equipment was the top export manufacturing segment in 2018.

Export value


$12.9 billion

St. Pat’s in Five Points will return for its 40th anniversary on March 19, 2022. The annual festival in the downtown Columbia merchant village did not take place in 2020 and will not be held in 2021 because of COVID-19 precautions. The event, which includes a parade, races, artisan craft and food vendors, and live music draws an average of


Export value


$18.8 billion


$2.9 billion


$8.8 billion

and restaurants.

Plastics, rubber

$2.4 billion


$2.1 billion

to announce it will host St. Pat’s in


$2.1 billion Spartanburg

$2 billion

Top 5 export markets for S.C.


$970.1 million

China leads as South Carolina’s biggest export market, accounting for 16% of total goods exported in 2018.


$653.9 million

Myrtle Beach

$319 million


$132.4 million


$1.4 billion

In a span of 10 years, from 2008 to 2018, exports of goods from South Carolina to global trading partners increased 74%.


Export value


$5.6 billion



$4 billion


$3.8 billion


$2.8 billion


$2.4 billion

South Carolina was the 14th-largest exporters of goods compared to other states in 2018.

Metro area


South Carolina’s export economy

45,000 people to the enclave of shops “The Five Points Association is proud Five Points in 2022 after canceling the event the last two years,” Steve Cook, Five Points Assocation president, said in a news release. “It is exciting and serendipitous that the return of St Pat’s falls on the 40th Anniversary of the first festival and serves as a great reminder of the event’s unprecedented longevity and rich history of supporting local

Hilton Head

$45.3 million

charities.” The festival has an estimated $6 mil-

Source: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, 2017

lion economic impact on the city of Columbia and Richland County, according



“It’s going to be a really good balance of really good traditional stuff and keeping an eye on what’s fun and cool.” — Ashley Kinart-Short, head brewer, Peak Drift Brewing Co.


to the association. Net proceeds benefit Five Points beautification projects as well as promotional campaigns, with the Five Points Association donating an annual average of $40,000 to Midlands charities.



August 16 - September 12, 2021 3

SC Biz News Briefs

Extraordinary times. Vital Partnerships.

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The Anderson County high-tech indoor farm will look similar to this Shenandoah property, one of several across the country. The project is expected to create 50 jobs. (Photo/Provided)


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henandoah Growers Inc., a company specializing in commercially advanced indoor agriculture, broke ground Aug. 3 on its next indoor Biofarm in Anderson County. The project will create 50 jobs that pay well, the company said in a news release. Shenandoah Growers says it is poised to to deliver 100% USDA certified organic produce that is both affordable and widely accessible. The company has long-term strategic partnerships with the nation’s largest food retailers, including relationships of more than 20 years, and products available in approximately 20,000 stores, according to the news release. “Our newest Biofarm will further enable Shenandoah Growers to deliver what consumers in South Carolina and across the Southeast want: delicious organic produce, grown nearby in an environmentally responsible way, without the usual premium price,” Shenandoah Growers CEO Matt Ryan said in the release. “This farm is part of our broader vision for a transparent, diverse and responsive food system more resilient against climate change and supply chain disruptions. Looking ahead, there is tremendous opportunity to apply innovation to develop produce aligned with emerging consumer trends, from better flavor and texture to enhanced nutrient content, responsive to the burgeoning ‘food as health’ concept. We thank the state of South Carolina and Anderson County for their partnership and look forward to joining this thriving community.” Located at 2665 Highway 29 South in Anderson, the 100,000-square-foot Biofarm will grow USDA certified organic herbs and leafy greens, the release said. Based in Rockingham, Va., the company’s products include the That’s Tasty brand. “I’m pleased to welcome Shenandoah Growers Inc. to the Upstate, where they’ll deploy innovative indoor farming techniques to meet consumer demand for fresh locally grown food,” S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said in the release. “South Carolina’s strong agricultural tradition and support for agribusiness make this a great place for Shenandoah Growers Inc. to expand to.” The company says the new facility will be operational by the second quarter of 2022. “I am especially excited about this announcement because Shenandoah’s operations fit perfectly with the long and storied tradition of agriculture in southern Anderson County,” Anderson County Councilman Ray Graham said.

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Renovating a cultural legacy along U.S. Highway 17 By Teri Errico Griffis

Building balance

Lowcountry women are working to bridge the gender gap in construction. Page 10

Learning some manners

A Clemson researcher says teaching robots to be ‘polite’ can help eliminate errors. Page 13

Montgomery Building spurs on Spartanburg revitalization The Montgomery Building in disrepair had become a barrier from one part of downtown Spartanburg to another. Now it’s a sign of how the Hub City’s central business district is recovering from a pandemic economy. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)

By Molly Hulsey

OSHA standards adjusted

Infectious conditions take place atop priority list. Page 8

Man in green

TD Bank names region president for Mid-South. Page 9


Leading Off .......................... 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 3 C-Suite ................................ 4 In Focus: Banking and Finance ............................. 15 LIST: Accounting Firms....... 16 At Work ............................. 20 Viewpoint ...........................23


ome remembered Elvis playing on its stage. Others had parking tokens, light fixtures and elevator signs from its heyday. Some stopped on site to swap stories about an uncle who was a janitor, usher or patron. One woman brought bonds issued to construct the building during the 1920s.

Everywhere Tom Finnegan and his development team turned, Spartanburg residents came out of the woodwork to share how the city’s once-highest skyscraper had shaped their childhoods, their family’s livelihood. But if the building inspired the art deco imaginations of long-time Spartanburg residents, it was also an albatross that drummed up liability and development nightmares for city leaders. And in many ways, the building served as a barometer of Hub City’s revival

from the time most of its seven railway lines came to a halt. “It was such a blight on the city and really a barrier from downtown proper, out Church Street toward Wofford,” K.J. Jacobs, principal of McMillan Pazdan Smith, told GSA Business Report. “It really was a kind of psychological barrier for folks coming out of the Northside and Wofford into downtown and vice versa.” Pedestrians would have to evade falling See BUILDING, Page 7

High-tech farm touts paradigm shift for organics By Ross Norton


henandoah Growers Inc., a company specializing in commercially advanced indoor agriculture, broke ground Aug. 3 on its next indoor biofarm — this one in Anderson County.

The company, based in Rockingham County, Va., says it is the only large-scale USDA certified organic soil-based indoor growing system. Shenandoah Growers says it wants to change the reputation of organic food from something expensive to something affordable by making affordability a reality.

By establishing the company’s 13th “biofarm” in Anderson County, on U.S. Highway 29 about halfway between Anderson and Williamston, the company takes another step in a second objective to make organic produce widely available. Shenandoah Growers’ other 12 growing sites range See ORGANICS, Page 11

In Focus Foreclosure Cliff?

Banks and other lenders face tough decisions as federal moratorium comes to an end. Page 15

Rising to the top

Dee Norton welcomes executive director, who started with organization 30 years ago. Page 5

Owner anxieties

Business leaders weigh in on their biggest worries, and No. 1 might surprise you. Page 2


ount Pleasant native Corey Alston didn’t grow up a generational basket weaver. His high school girlfriend introduced him to the art as a teenager. Twenty years later the couple is happily married, and the owner of Corey Alston

Gullah Sweetgrass Baskets has since risen to become leader of the sweetgrass craft community. He takes his role, and preservation of the art, very seriously, and in July he began helming revitalization efforts of the rundown basket stands, which he said sit at the “epicenter of the sweetgrass basket industry” along U.S. Highway 17 North in Mount Pleasant. The project is part of Alston’s role as a


World’s first indoor saltwater farm combats rising sea levels through thriving sustainable agriculture business. Now they’re ready to grow. Page 8

Industrial space

Commercial distribution and warehouse space growing across South Carolina. Page 3


Upfront ................................ 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 3 Best Advice .......................... 4 In Focus: Architecture, Engineering and Construction ................11 List: Architecture Firms ......23 Bonus List: Hotels ..............26 At Work ..............................29 Viewpoint ........................... 31 Sea beans grow inside an indoor saltwater farm in Charleston. (Photo/Alexandria Ng)

member of the Culture, Arts and Pride Commission of Mount Pleasant. The group is responsible for beautifying the town. Recognizable projects include the wraps around traffic boxes, murals around town and oyster paintings. Alston chose to spruce up the dilapidating stands that have stood since the since the See SWEETGRASS, Page 6

Tennis deal changes name of tournament

New frontiers

Summer 2021

S.C.’s life sciences sector poised for growth, success

By Alexandria Ng


redit One Bank has committed to a multi-year title sponsorship with Charleston Tennis LLC. The financial services company based in Las Vegas will serve as the new title sponsor of the Women’s Tennis Association 500 tennis tournament hosted in Charleston, as well as the stadium located at the LTP Daniel Island tennis center. “We’ve got millions of fans of us and card members here in this region, so being a part of this region was really critical to us as an organization,” said John Coombe, senior vice president of marketing at Credit One. “We’re thrilled that the conversations kept going forward, and we had the opportunity to have the naming rights for the stadium.” Formerly known as the Volvo Car Open, the WTA 500 event serves as the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America. On a yearly basis, this tournament brings in about 90,000 spectators and generates about $30 million for the Charleston region. See TENNIS, Page 10

CHARLESTON UNDER CONSTRUCTION Who is building what in the Charleston area? Projects, companies, prices, projected timelines, photos and stories. Page 11

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With publications in the Upstate, Columbia and Charleston, as well as a statewide magazine, SC Biz News covers the pulse of business across South Carolina. Above are excerpts from our other publications.

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August 16 - September 12, 2021

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Richland County’s Penny Tax program funded work on the Greene Street Innovista project, among other Midlands initiatives. (Photo/File)

Richland County Council approves Penny Tax settlement By Melinda Waldrop • 843.849.3125 Staff Writer - Teri Errico Griffis • 843.849.3144 Web Editor - Rob Lyle • 843.849.3119 UPSTATE NEWSROOM Editor - Ross Norton • 864.720.1222 Associate Editor, Custom Publishing Division Jim Tatum • 864.720.2269 Staff Writer - Molly Hulsey • 864.720.1223

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ichland County Council has approved a settlement agreement with the S.C. Department of Revenue in a long-running dispute involving the county’s Transportation Penny Tax program. The settlement requires no payment by the county to the revenue department, but the county will invest an additional $15.5 million into Penny Tax program projects, according to a news release from the county. The agreement also stipulates that a 2017 audit of the Penny Tax program, which questioned some project spending, did not find any fraud on Richland County’s behalf. The county froze Penny Tax spending in March 2018 on projects involving the Small Local Business Enterprise program as well as spending on two public relations firms and a mentor program after the S.C. Supreme Court agreed with the Department of Revenue that a portion of program money was spent on projects not related to transportation.

Richland County residents approved a 2012 referendum establishing the Penny Tax, designed to collect more than $1 billion from a 1% sales tax for various transportation-related projects. The county took over management of the Transportation Penny Tax program from an independent development team in November 2019. “For the citizens, our employees and this council, it was time to put this dispute behind us and focus on delivering the penny tax projects approved by our citizens,” Richland County Council Chair Paul Livingston said in the release. “We have brought this program in-house, and our employees are doing an excellent job of managing the program in accordance with Department of Revenue guidelines, a fact that is acknowledged in the settlement agreement.” The settlement, involving the county, the revenue department and the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, states that the county took “significant steps to ensure that its constituents have confidence” in the penny tax program, including reimbursing the Penny Tax Fund for certain expenditures after the

2018 high court decision. The settlement also said that county “has demonstrated a continuing commitment to fostering and maintaining and open government and being transparent to taxpayers.” More than 250 projects have been completed since the Penny Tax Program’s inception, according to the county. The program, which began collecting sales tax in May 2013, is set to collect $1.037 billion, which will be utilized for 22 years or until the budget has been depleted, to develop and maintain roads, bikeways and greenways and to fund pedestrian safety improvements. The program has had an at-times contentious history with the state revenue department, which first alleged mismanagement of funds and illegal activity in 2015.  “After years of litigation, it is exciting to have a final resolution and be able to focus squarely on doing the work the program is charged with doing: addressing the infrastructure needs in our community,” Richland County Administrator Leonardo Brown said. Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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August 16 - September 12, 2021 5

Construction begins on 17-story student housing tower By Melinda Waldrop


onstruction on a 17-story student housing tower at the corner of Assembly and Washington streets in downtown Columbia is now underway. CRG, the real estate development and investment arm of Chicago-based Clayco, and student housing private developer and operator Landmark Properties broke ground on The Standard at Columbia on Tuesday. The 678-bed tower will include 247 fully furnished units, a rooftop pool, a fitness and wellness center and other amenities when completed in fall 2023. “After many years of competing with Landmark for the best sites in the best university towns, it was fun to be able to put together a synergistic partnership that brings our two teams together to create a signature property for the students in Columbia,” J.J. Smith, CRG managing partner, said in a news release. “The Standard will create an unmatched experience for students in downtown Columbia.” Apartments will range from studio to five-bedroom units in the 443,000-squarefoot building. Preleasing will begin this fall, according to the release. “We’re excited to partner with CRG to


bring this premier student living experience to residents of Columbia,” Wes Rogers, Landmark Properties president and CEO, said. “There is strong demand for quality living options in the downtown submarket, and this project will deliver unsurpassed amenities to serve students at the University of South Carolina.” Citizens Bank provided construction

funding, while CRG’s integrated partner Lamar Johnson Collaborative designed the project. Parent company Clayco will serve as the general contractor. “This project highlights the strength of our vertically integrated platform,” said Bethany Crispin, senior vice president and leader for Clayco’s  residential business unit. “With J.J.’s team and our partners at

LJC, we are able react quickly to develop, design and build premier multifamily and student housing projects across the country. We’re excited to deliver this building for the Columbia community, and we will continue to identify additional opportunities here.” CRG’s residential group has projects across 40 states and seven countries, sourcing and developing more than $6 billion in residential communities and 40,000 units in the multifamily, co-living, senior and student housing markets. Landmark Properties is also developing two other student housing properties in conjunction with the Columbia project. The Standard at Philadelphia, adjacent to the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, and the Standard at Bloomington, near Indiana University, will combine with The Standard at Columbia to add 2,544 new beds to Landmark’s portfolio, according to a news release from the company. The Philadelphia project will feature a 280-unit, 802-bed property with floor plans ranging from studios to six-bedroom apartments, while the Indiana property will have 1,064 beds in 439 units. Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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August 16 - September 12, 2021

Preconstruction lease demonstrates strong demand for industrial space By Melinda Waldrop

“The right product, coupled with proactive economic development agencies, helps ensure we will deliver investments and jobs for the region.”


agnus Development has leased 68,040 square feet of preconstruction space on its newest industrial development, 181,440-squarefoot 321 Logistics in the Lexington County Industrial Park. Solar distributor CED Greentech, which has a West Columbia location, is the first tenant in the Class A building located along U.S. Highway 321, less than a mile from the intersection of interstates 77 and 26. Colliers’ Chuck Salley, Dave Mathews, Thomas Beard and John Peebles represented Columbia-based Magnus Development in the transaction and will handle leasing and marketing for the property’s remaining space. “CED Greentech brings the newest tilt-wall, Class A building in the Columbia industrial market to approximately 38% pre-leased, demonstrating the need for additional availability in this product class,” Salley, Colliers vice president and director of Colliers’ industrial brokerage team, said in a news release. “The delivery of 321 Logistics is expected to be received well by the market due to high demand and limited supply, and the speculative

Kevin Werner Partner, Magnus Development 321 Logistics, expected to be ready for occupancy at the end of 2021, is Magnus Development’s latest industrial development in the Lexington County Industrial Park. The preconstruction lease of 68,040 square feet by CED Greentech demonstrates the continuing demand for industrail space. (Rendering/Provided)

buildings that Magnus has developed do not stay available for long.” 321 Logistics will feature a 30-foot minimum clear height, expandable dock doors and ample trailer drops, along with an ESRF fire suppression system and motion sensor LED light fixtures. Magnus anticipates the building being available for occupancy by the end of the year, according to the release. “Today’s industrial vacancy rate in central South Carolina is nearing historic lows, and it is becoming more difficult to find well-located, flexible industrial

buildings such as the 321 Logistics building,” said Kevin Werner, partner with Magnus Development. “The Lexington County Industrial Park has proven to be a location that continues to meet this demand with quality industrial buildings. The right product, coupled with proactive economic development agencies, helps ensure we will deliver investments and jobs for the region.” A recent report from Colliers found Columbia’s overall industrial vacancy to be at an all-time low of 3.97% in the second quarter of 2021.

In the second quarter of 2018, the market’s vacancy rate stood at 9.22%, according to the report.

Lexington office building sells for $1.3 million

A fully leased, multi-tenant office building at 4574 Sunset Boulevard in Lexington has sold for $1.3 million. ROI Commercial LLC principal and broker Sherri C. Burriss represented the seller, Ligon Inc., in the transaction. The building was purchased by Sungold Co. LLC, represented by Philip Vann of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.



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August 16 - September 12, 2021 7

VENUE, from Page 1

a place where this is a pretty high median income,” Richardson said during remarks at last month’s announcement, also attended by Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette. “You want a place where you can invite clients to come and have a customer base. Here’s the thing about Opportunity Zones: These zones were selected because of the high poverty rates. The average poverty rate in an Opportunity Zone is about double the national poverty rate. That means that places like this brewery are coming into places that can really, really use that development and can really use that growth.” The space at 3452 N. Main St., site of the former Stone Manufacturing Co., will also include a gymnasium, a basketball and volleyball court, and green space. Sara Middleton said the facility, which will also feature locally sourced food, dovetails with her family’s health care businesses because it will encourage healthy, outdoor activity. “We’re going to have so many different activities — a huge lawn area with games,” she said. “We’re just really excited and looking forward to not just seeing people sit around and drink beer but really enjoy themselves in an active way.” Constructed in 1946-47, the building was acquired in 1948 by Greenville-based Stone Manufacturing, which became a global apparel company. The Columbia facility, made of concrete block and washed brick veneer with a barrel roof, was enlarged three times between 1948 and 1980 and is one of the few examples of a sizeable industrial property in the North Columbia neighborhood of Eau Claire. “I know right now, it still looks like a warehouse,” Sara Middleton said. “It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point. I look around like, wow. From what I saw five years ago, this is a big step.” The project, announced in 2020, will use federal and state tax credits for adaptive reuse and historic preservation. “When you’re dealing with an old building, you don’t know what you’re going to run into,” said Brian Johnston,

A rendering of Peak Drift Brewing Co. sits in the shadows of the warehouse under development on North Main Street. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)

vice president of operations for project contractor Mashburn Construction. “And then being able to transform that from something that may be falling apart or something that may have other issues into a new use that’s going to bring a lot of people in that will be able to appreciate it — it’s probably a little bit more rewarding than just an average ground-up building.” The Middleton family, including Greg and Sara’s father Scott, is behind several high-profile renovations in Columbia, including Smoked Restaurant and the Main Course in the 1600 block of Main Street. Smoked, a smoked meat and oyster bar set to open later this year in the downtown superblock, will feature a microbrewery that will serve as a liquid test kitchen for larger-scale production at Peak Drift. About 15,000 square feet of the North Main building will be devoted to beer production, Johnston said. The priority is to get the production facility up and running, he said. That permitting process is currently underway, as is the design and preconstruction process for the remaining space. “I kind of equate it a very upscale Dave and Buster’s, is the easy way to put it, but with a huge production brewery,” he said. The July event also introduced Ashley Kinart-Short as Peak Drift’s head brewmaster. Kinart-Short is the former brewmaster at Capital City Brewery in Madison, Wis., where she grew up loving beer, along with cheese, sausage and other local

Ashley Kinart-Short, brewmaster at Peak Drift, is one of two female head brewers in South Carolina. She is the former brewmaster at Capital City Brewery in Madison, Wis., and has a degree in biology to go with brewing certificates. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)

Greg Middleton (from left), Alyssa Richardson, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, Sara Middelton, Ashley Kinart-Short and Brian Johnston toast the official announcement of Peak Drift Brewing Co.’s name. The venue at 3452 N. Main St. is located in an Opportunity Zone. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)

staples. “I’m very excited to bring that enthusiasm to Columbia and super-excited to be part of this community,” she said. Kinart-Short will join Amelia Keefe from River Dog Brewing Co. in Ridgeland as the only two female head brewers in South Carolina. With a degree has a degree in biology to go with her studies in brewing techniques and brewery maintenance, KinartShort said the beer she’ll make at Peak

Good tastes come from the Heart of SC. Food and beverage companies have discovered the recipe for opportunity in the Central SC Region. Our workers and business-friendly ecosystem are helping fill their plates with the resources they need to be successful. Whether it’s pizza, pasta, bacon, bread, soda or coffee, some of the worlds most recognizable brands are delivering the products our taste buds love from facilities around the Region.

Drift will combine tried-and-true taste with cutting-edge science. “It’s going to be a really good balance of really good traditional stuff and keeping an eye on what’s fun and cool,” she said. “I also just love the creativity and the science behind craft brewing. It’s always growing and changing, always something cool to look into and new science to learn.” Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.


August 16 - September 12, 2021

Cason Development Group and Cohn Corp. bringing apartments to Main Street By Ross Norton


ason Development Group and Cohn Corp. are expected to start work in August on restoring and renovating 1813 Main St. for 28 to 30 market-rate apartments. The project is the first of several Columbia historic renovation projects the two firms plan to partner on, according to a news release. “We are very excited about the opportunity to get involved in another historic renovation project in Columbia,” Frank Cason, president of Cason Development Group, said in the news release. “The building sat vacant for more than five years and most people did not realize there was a historic, mid-century modern facade hidden behind all of that stucco. It will be fun to bring this old office building back to life and convert it to apartments.” The project repurposes the historic Klondike Building next to Jefferson Square and across the street from Main Street United Methodist Church. Cason and Cohn are partners in the project. Davis Architecture is the architect. “As a building and business owner in the Main Street District, we are excited to partner in this revitalization project and the continued growth of the Main Street District,” Harris Cohn, CEO of Cohn Corp., said in the release. Cason and Cohn purchased the building in 2019 and expect the project to be completed in the spring. The one- and two-bedroom high-end apartments will be marketed toward young professionals and empty nesters who want to live in an urban environment. “Student housing has its place, but these units are designed for postgraduates,” Cason said in the release. The renovated building will also have a

Cason Development Group and Cohn Corp. are partnering to restore the historic Klondike Building at 1813 Main St. in downtown Columbia into 28 to 30 market-rate apartments. The project, which will create the first apartments on the 1800 block of Main Street, is the first of several historic renovation projects the two Columbia firms say they plan to parnter on. The Klondike Buliding was constructred in 1961. (Rendering/Provided)

retail space of about 1,000 square feet that Cason thinks would be appropriate for a small upscale bar, wine shop or boutique. The renovation will create the first apartments on the 1800 block of Main Street, the release said. “We are so pleased that Cason Development Group and Cohn Corp. are redeveloping this fine building into market-rate apartments,” Matt Kennell, president and CEO of City Center Partnership, said in the release. City Center Partnership is a downtown public space management, economic development and marketing organization. “This is a major step toward the full

redevelopment of the northern portion of Main Street and ties in well with the success of other Cason developments north of Elmwood.” Built in 1961 by the Klondike Corp., the building was initially used for federal government offices and renovated in 1983 for office condominiums. The team intends to restore the structure to its original mid-century modern appearance, including its entrance off Main Street. The building will also have adjacent surface parking and the residents’ entrance will be off the parking lot. The building was designed by the Columbia architectural firm of Lafaye, Fair and Lafaye, which also did Main

Street’s Tapp’s Department Store, and was built by the Congaree Construction Co., the release said. Cason and Cohn have obtained the original floor plan from the Caroliniana Library at USC to use as a resource. They have applied to have the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the building has been granted city landmark status by the Columba City Council. The developers have also applied and have been granted preliminary approvals for federal and state Historic Tax Credits, the State Abandoned Building Tax Credit and the Bailey Bill, according to the release.

Cason Development Group purchases Five Points property By Melinda Waldrop


ason Development Group has acquired a marquee corner at Harden and Devine streets in Five Points for future redevelopment. The Columbia-based company is evaluating long-term plans for the 5,200-square-foot property that currently houses Men’s Warehouse at 701 Harden St., Carolina Barber Shop at 2021 Devine St. and Sushi Yoshi at 2019 Devine St. The property is across the street from the former Yesterday’s Restaurant & Tavern,

a longtime Five Points landmark that closed last spring. “We have a long-term outlook on Five Points,” Taylor Wolfe, a developer with Cason Development Group, said in a news release. “Investing in Five Points is something we want to continue to do, and with the city’s focus and tax credits that are available, we believe we have the tools necessary to be a part of that positive shift.” NAI Columbia broker Alex Johnson represented Cason Development Group in the property purchase. “We are very excited about the oppor-

tunity to transform this iconic corner of Five Points and set a new long-term trajectory for this asset and the rest of Five Points,” Frank Cason, president of Cason Development Group, said. “Five Points appears to be at a critical inflection point, and we want to be a part of the solution to create a sustainable urban district for the next fifty 50 years.” The property is the second Five Points acquisition for Cason Development Group, which purchased 732 Saluda Ave., former home of Pecknel Music Co., in 2019 for redevelopment. Harden and Devine streets intersect

with Saluda and Santee avenues at angles to create one of two star-shaped intersections that give Five Points its name. “The fact that it is one of the actual Five Points spurred our interest in the property,” Wolfe said. Cason said he has fond memories of visiting Sharpe’s Formal Wear, now Men’s Wearhouse, growing up, and of going to Carolina Barber Shop with his grandfather. “This is an important corner to us and to Columbia,” Cason said. Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

August 16 - September 12, 2021 9

S.C. Chamber of Commerce adds 3 leadership positions By Melinda Waldrop


he S.C. Chamber of Commerce added three new leadership positions, including its first-ever chief diversity officer and chief revenue officer. Cynthia Bennett, a 22-year veteran of the chamber, has been named the organization’s chief diversity officer, while Kelly Wolf, formerly of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, is it chief revenue officer. Financial professional Mike Manning will become the chamber’s new CFO after 28 years of experience in similar positions, including 18 with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Bennett most recently served as the chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development, overseeing HBCU STEM and small business programs for the organization. She is also the staff liaison for the chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and is part of its advocacy team. “Diversity and Inclusion are important values to the business community for many reasons, but ultimately, they are good for business and the right thing to do,” Bob Morgan, S.C. Chamber president and CEO, said in a news release.


“People bring different experience, ideas, and backgrounds into the workplace and those things challenge businesses to think in ways they haven’t before. That is good for growth, productivity and the

bottom line.   “In creating the position of Chief Diversity Officer, we are making the statement that we will continue to be intentional about making D&I a priority and being a resource for our members in this area. Cynthia’s extensive experience with the SC Chamber, public service, and dedication to South Carolina made the choice to promote her into this new position a no-brainer.”  Wolf, who joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in 2004, was responsible for increasing that organization’s revenue and creating and implementing its membership messaging strategy in her role as senior vice president of membership and development. “During her 17 years with the Kentucky Chamber, Kelly oversaw a period of immense growth, both in terms of revenue and impact,” Morgan said. “She

brings vast institutional knowledge to this new position, and we are very lucky to have her join the team.” Morgan, named S.C. Chamber CEO in April, worked with Manning at the Charlotte Chamber, where Morgan served as CEO from 2005 to 2018. “Mike and I worked together at the Charlotte Chamber where he implemented the Chamber’s revenue campaign which raised over $60 million, averaging about $5 million a year,” Morgan said. “I’m thrilled to be able to work with him again and know he will take us in the right direction.  All three are now active in their new positions. The chamber also announced its annual awards, honoring a congressman, an executive and a brigadier general. Rep. James Clyburn has been named the public servant of the year, while Sonoco president and CEO Howard Coker is the business leader of the year and Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. the recipient of the Sgt. William Jasper Freedom Award. “Our list of 2021 award winners exemplify the diverse, exceptionally strong group of leaders we have here in South Carolina,” Morgan.

The 2021 award winners will be honored at the 42nd South Carolina Chamber of Commerce summit, to be held Nov. 1-3 at The Sanctuary at Kiawah. The public servant award recognizes a state government official who has contributed to the overall well-being of South Carolina. Clyburn has represented South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District since 1993 and has been the House majority whip since 2019. The business leader of the year is chosen based on criteria including ethical conduct and corporate responsibility, public service, and a commitment to creating a positive business climate. Coker became CEO of Sonoco, S.C.’s largest company in terms of sales, in 2020 and led the company through an expansion of its Hartsville facility. The freedom award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the freedom of the state and the nation. Beagle, an S.C. native and graduate of S.C. State University, served as commanding general at Fort Jackson from 2018 until leaving that post to become commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division (Light) at Fort Drum in New York last month. Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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August 16 - September 12, 2021

CAE midyear passenger numbers higher than projected By Ross Norton


he Columbia Metropolitan Airport is reporting higher-than-projected numbers at the midway point in the year. “The rate at which passengers have returned to air travel this year has been more than we initially projected in late 2020,” CAE Executive Director Mike Gula said in a news release. “We’re pleased to see the consistent increase in passenger traffic

through the airport and thank the community for their continued support in utilizing CAE.” So far this year, CAE has seen more passengers each month than the previous month. The 37,007 passengers in January had grown to 83,289 by the close of June, the news release said. The total passenger traffic count through June was 347,157. That places CAE 12.13% above where it was this time last year, the release said.

In April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement declaring that fully vaccinated Americans could travel within the United State without testing. Since this announcement, CAE has seen a significant spike in individuals opting to fly to their desired destinations, the release said. With the surge in passenger traffic, most of the CAE paused routes returned to their regular schedules and frequencies. “With the exception of our nonstop service to LGA on both Delta Air Lines and

American Airlines, all of our routes have resumed,” Kim Jamieson, director of marketing and air service development, said in the release. “In December of 2020 we successfully added our newest low-cost carrier, Silver Airways, that currently has service to Tampa and Orlando, Fla., with service to Fort Lauderdale returning in late August.” Masks are still required in the airport for travelers and for anyone dropping off or picking up passengers. This federal mandate is in place until Sept. 13 or until further notice.

Epoch Properties to build Lightwood Industrial Park on 100 acres By Ross Norton


poch Properties, along with NAI Columbia, announced plans for Lightwood Industrial Park, about 100 acres of industrial, manufacturing, warehouse and distribution space close to downtown Columbia. The venture features a Class A industrial park, which will be located in Richland County between Interstate 20 and Farrow Road, according to a news release Light-

wood Industrial Park has direct access from Interstate 20 and is near Carolina Research Park and Blue Cross Blue Shield. “We are excited about working with businesses as they consider investing in the development of a Class A industrial park in Richland County,” Jeff Ruble, Richland County economic development director, said in the news release. “The park will play a key role in creating new jobs and experiences for our citizens in Richland County and further strengthen establishments that have already made that commitment such

as, Mark Anthony Brewing, China Jushi USA and Charter NEX Films.” Epoch Properties was attracted to the park’s location, principal Rich McKenrick said in the release. “When we first looked at the site, we immediately saw the potential that the park could provide to the community here in the Midlands,” he said. “One can understand the enthusiasm we felt for the potential of such a centrally located park.” Lightwood Industrial Park is 113.10 acres accommodating about 650,000 square

feet of industrial development, not including a 10-acre site for sale within the park. Epoch Properties is the exclusive developer for build-to-suit, land sales and spec buildings. The building sizes range from about 48,000 to 260,000 square feet. “Given how strong the demand is in the Columbia industrial market for spaces less than 100,000 square feet, we are providing unique square footage solutions for companies who desire the ergonomics and appeal of new tilt-up or pre-cast construction,” NAI’s John Gregory said.

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Raising Cane’s founder and CEO Todd Graves, named one of Glassdoor’s top CEOs, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and star of the new Discovery series Restaurant Recovery



The Columbia Regional Business Report is pleased to present an influential group of area businesspeople: the 2021 Icons & Phenoms class. This wide-ranging group of professionals is creating change and making the Midlands a better place to live, whether they’ve have been movers and shakers on the scene for decades or are just beginning to make their presence and potential felt. The 24 honorees, nominated by our readers and selected by a panel of judges, represent the best of business practices, boundless creativity, and a commitment to service. They include established CEOs and well-known leaders and up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are already having a measurable impact. What all the honorees share is a wealth of talent and ambition and a readily evident passion for improving the communities they call home.

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TOD AUGSBURGER City of birth:  Rural Indiana Education: B.A., Business Administration-Finance, Michigan State University; Masters of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan My job: President and CEO, Lexington Medical Center My career: Named president and CEO of Lexington Medical Center in 2015. Accountable for the success of the Health Services District in partnership with a 21-member board of directors and a staff of 593 physicians. Community involvement: Active member of the American Hospital Association’s Southeastern Regional Policy boards, the Central Carolina Community Foundation board and the United Way of the Midlands board. Former chairman of the South Carolina Hospital Association board from 2019 to 2020. Former chairman of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce board from 2016 to 2017. Central Carolina Economic Development Alliance, 2020-present; former Columbia Museum of Art board member. What has meant the most to me in my career: The opportunity to work with health care heroes who are called to serve and have sacrificed so much, physically and emotionally, to care for and treat patients with COVID-19 during this pandemic. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Choose positions based upon the opportunity to learn and the exposure to strong leaders, not upon money. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I love to cook homemade pizza and dream of opening my own restaurant. A book or podcast I recommend: Podcast: Bourbon in The Back Room by Vincent Sheheen and Joel Lourie; book: I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller by Terry Hayes Favorite quote: “Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if you look at it right.” — Robert Hunter

August 16 - September 12, 2021

LINDA J. BELL, M.D. City of birth: El Paso, Texas Education: B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin; M.D. from U.T. Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. My job: Director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, and South Carolina State Epidemiologist My career: My 29-year career in public health began as an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I joined DHEC in 1994 as a medical epidemiologist. As current director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, I have oversight for the DHEC programs for general communicable diseases, tuberculosis control, immunizations, and STD/HIV. As state epidemiologist I serve as the lead DHEC epidemiologist and the state’s liaison to the CDC. Community involvement: I have served of the boards of trustees for EdVenture Children’s Museum; Healthy Learners; Heathwood Hall Episcopal School; and Francis Burns United Methodist Church. I am also a member of the Columbia Chapter of the Links Inc., a national service organization of African American women. What has meant the most to me in my career: The greatest reward of my career is that public health practice has allowed me use science-based, epidemiologic principles to implement interventions to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases, and to assist in the development of public policies designed to improve the health of populations. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Attempt to take advantage of as many experiences as possible early on to broaden your exposure to unexpected possibilities. A book or podcast I recommend: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.

August 16 - September 12, 2021


City of birth: Washington, N.C. Education: B.A., Public Policy Analysis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; CFP Certificate Program, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina My job: I am co-founder and CEO of Pendleton Street Business Advisors in Columbia. We help business owners who are facing make-or-break financial decisions in their businesses. My career: I began my career after college with Wachovia Bank in their management training program. I remained at the bank until 2007 when I took on a role at WHM Capital Advisors; by 2012 I was the firm’s COO. In 2013, my business partner Matt Morley and I bought the assets of WHM after the founder was tragically killed in an accident. That led to the formation of Pendleton Street Business Advisors in 2013. Community involvement: Past chair, Midlands Education and Business Allianc; past chair and board member, Midlands Middle College (charter school); past chair and member of Columbia Young Life local committee; elected to Forest Acres City Council, 2019-present; deacon and Finance Committee member, Shandon Baptist Church; member of GrowCo,; host of Footnotes, an interview show/podcast sponsored by my firm. What has meant the most to me in my career: Building teams, watching others succeed and grow personally and professionally. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Be someone who makes things better by being involved and engaged in a tangible way. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I am an introvert who has adapted to make it seem I’m not that way! Favorite quote: “The man at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” — Vince Lombardi 13

Congratulations to our CEO and Co-Founder

John H. Barnes, CFP on being an Icon in the 2021 class of Icons & Phenoms.

SARA FAWCETT City of birth: Naperville, Ill. Education: B.A., Economics, College of William and Mary My job: President and CEO, United Way of the Midlands My career: I spent 14 years with Wachovia Bank in roles including corporate banker, management recruiter and human resources manager. I spent 13 years at EDENS as human resources executive. I joined United Way of the Midlands as CEO four years ago. Community involvement: I serve on the board of directors for the Midlands Housing Alliance (Transitions), the Central Carolina Community Foundation and the United Way Association of South Carolina, as well as the steering committee of TransformSC. I represent United Way on the Midlands Business Leadership Group, where I have co-chaired Bridging Columbia, an initiative to recruit, train and place young people of color on nonprofit boards. What has meant the most to me in my career: I am grateful for every professional experience I’ve had, because even though I didn’t see it at the time, each experience has in some way prepared me for the next — even if it didn’t make logical sense. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Be open to every opportunity that presents itself. That doesn’t mean you should take every opportunity that comes along, or that every opportunity will be right for you. But don’t say no out of hand. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I am getting ready to make my third trip to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing. A book or podcast I recommend: A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne; Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell Favorite quote: “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Sara Fawcett CEO, United Way of the Midlands

Sara is a mission-driven strategist with a proven track record of making lasting change in our community. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sara for many years and I’m excited to see her contributions recognized with the 2021 Icons & Phenoms Award. Tim Arnold President, Colonial Life and EVP, Voluntary Benefits ©2021 Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. All rights reserved. Colonial Life is a registered trademark and marketing brand of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. 8-21


August 16 - September 12, 2021



Cheryl Holland! 2021 ICON

City of birth: La Jolla, Calif. Education: Irmo High School; B.A., Economics, Bryn Mawr College; Certified Financial Planner; Certified Family Business Advisor My job: President of Abacus Planning Group, a financial advisory firm serving 240 clients with $1.7 billion of assets to achieve their personal and financial goals. Community involvement: Bryn Mawr College Board of Trustees, past chair of the Investment Committee; American Bible Society Board of Trustees, past chair of the Investment Committee; Clemson University Foundation Board Member, chair of the Investment Committee; South Carolina Special Olympics Board; Children’s Trust of South Carolina Board; United Way of the Midlands Board; Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, Chairman’s Council; American Heart Association Go Red for Women Executive Leadership Circle; American Red Cross Tiffany Circle. What has meant the most to me in my career: I have tremendous passion for providing unbiased, personalized financial advice to individuals. Finding a profession that allows me to use my left brain for analytic work and my right brain for listening is a dream job. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Please take the risk, give yourself at least three years, never stop evolving. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I designed, sewed, and embroidered my wedding dress A recent book or podcast I recommend: Podcasts: Splendid Table and Revisionist History. Books: The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family’s Quest to Bring Him Home by Sally Mott Freeman. Favorite quote: ”And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” — Micah 6: 8

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August 16 - September 12, 2021

ERIN FORD City of birth: Harrisburg, Pa. Education: B.A., Communications, La Salle University, Philadelphia My job: Interim CEO, SCBIO My career: Current Interim CEO of SCBIO, recently transitioning from executive vice president and COO. I work on corporate strategies emanating from the organization’s three statewide offices, its board, and hundreds of supporting members and investors. My responsibilities include serving as primary lead for SCBIO’s business operations and finances, championing investor relations and existing industry strategies, and spearheading integrated marketing initiatives. I previously served as sales and marketing executive at Poly-Med. Community involvement: I volunteer at Mauldin United Methodist Church. What has meant the most to me in my career: Building and growing an organization and industry with incredibly talented people on the SCBIO team, board of directors, and life science leaders in South Carolina. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Learn to appreciate your talents and have confidence in who you are. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I enjoy painting to relax. (Often paint-by-numbers) A recent book or podcast I recommend: Podcast: Dr. Death. Book: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Favorite quote: “Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way, in a nice little box with a yellow bow on top: ‘Here, open it, it’s perfect. You’ll love it.’ Opportunities — the good ones — are messy, confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.” — Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube 15


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City of birth: Bratislava (formerly Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia) Education: MBA at the University of Ulster in United Kingdom, graduating with distinction. Graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in management from University of Arkansas Little Rock. My job: President and CEO of Optus Bank My career: President and CEO of Optus Bank, a U.S. Treasury certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) and an MDI (FDIC-designated Optus Bank’s origins date back to 1921 when a group of visionary and Minority Depository Institution). I spent more than courageous African American leaders founded a bank on the principle that all people should have access to the American Dream, regardless of a decade as a senior executive officer at Southern their inherited circumstances. Optus Bank isOptus a federally designated Bank’s origins date back to Bancorp, most recently as the executive vice president Minority Depository Institution, a U.S. Treasury Certified Community courageous African American lea Development Financial Institution and an FDIC insured depository. If you of Southern Bancorp Inc. thattoallwealth peoplebuilding should have acces believe that all people should have access TRANSFORMING OPPORTUNITIES INTO WEALTH Community involvement: I recently served as chair of the CDFI Coalition and currently opportunities, visit us at their inherited circumstances. O Minority Depository Institution, serve as a director of the Community Development Bankers Association and the National Development Financial Institution Bankers Association. I serve on the board of directors of the S.C. Association for Community believe that all people shoul TRANSFORMING OPPORTUNITIES INTO WEALTH Economic Development, the Economic Opportunity Center and the S.C. Bankers Association opportunities, visit us at www.opt and as finance chair of Midlands Arts Conservatory. What has meant the most to me in my career: The unwavering support I’ve received from my wife, Georgia, in pursuing my dreams. Optus Bank’s origins date back to 1921 when a group of visionary and Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Seek out courageous African American leaders founded a bank on the principle opportunities that align with your interests and skills. Work hard to perfect your knowledge that all people should have access to the American Dream, regardless of and experience in your industry and field and become an expert of your craft. their inherited circumstances. Optus Bank is a federally designated Minority Depository Institution, a U.S. Treasury Certified Community Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I was born in the former Development Financial Institution and an FDIC insured depository. If you Czechoslovakia and came to America at the age of 16 to pursue the American Dream. believe that all people should have access to wealth building TRANSFORMING OPPORTUNITIES INTO WEALTH A book or podcast I recommend: The Color of Money by Mehrsa Baradaran opportunities, visit us at Favorite quote: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” — Thomas Jefferson


PAT G. SMITH City of birth: Cairo, Ga. Education: Master of Public Administration with Honors, University of South Carolina My job: Agency Director, Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School My career: At Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, since 1975, have served in varying capacities. In 1997, appointed by the board of trustees as director. Community involvement: Mayor, Town of Springdale, 29 years; gubernatorial appointee, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce; member, Central Midlands Regional Council of Governments; president, S.C. Association of Regional Councils; Board of Directors, Municipal Association of S.C.; president, Lexington County Municipal Association of S.C.; legislative appointee, Columbia Metropolitan Airport Commission; member, Airport High School Improvement Council; member, Cayce West Columbia Chamber of Commerce; recipient, Richard M. Kuffel Award for Excellence in Education; recipient, Order of the Palmetto. What has meant the most to me in my career: The satisfaction of seeing the Wil Lou Gray students overcome personal and family obstacles to obtain an education and become successful, productive citizens. There’s nothing like the smiles on the faces of those students. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Simply, don’t be afraid of hard work. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I am an avid outdoorsman and, as a young boy, once played in a piano recital. A book or podcast I recommend: The Last Lion by William Manchester Favorite quote: “Don’t get caught watching the grass grow!”­— Coach Dale, from the TV movie The Hoosiers

JOE E. TAYLOR JR. City of birth: Columbia, S.C. Education: Wofford College My job: Investing in transformative real estate projects that have positive impacts as well as with small business owners who want to grow their company or entrepreneurs starting new businesses. My career: The day after graduating college I joined my father at Southland Log Homes. Became president and CEO at age 23. Built the company into the largest producer of precut log buildings in the USA. Sold the company in 2005. Appointed by Mark Sanford to be the first full-time Secretary of Commerce for South Carolina, 2006 to 2011. Recruited the national deal of the year in 2009, The Boeing Co., and in 2010, First Quality Tissue Co. Awarded the Order of the Palmetto in 2010. Since 2011, involved as a private investor in companies including real estate, banking, advertising, and construction. Community involvement: Have served on many community boards including Hammond School and Wofford College (honorary doctorate in 2019). Previously served on Columbia Museum of Art, S.C. National Guard Foundation and Central Carolina Community Foundation. Appointed by as chairman of the S.C. Jobs and Economic Development Authority, 2003-2006. Appointed to serve on the State Infrastructure Bank. What has meant the most to me in my career: Having the opportunity to build a company from a start-up into the largest of its kind in the world, Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: If you work an average day, you should expect average pay. A book or podcast I recommend: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his need to cast blame on others.” — 46-year-old’s Discovery, Forbes Magazine

August 16 - September 12, 2021


City of birth: Lillington, N.C. Education: Some college My job: Director of Public Safety for the City of Cayce (Chief of Police and Chief of Fire) My career: 38 years of service to the community in both the fire service and law enforcement. Community involvement: Teaching gang and drug indicators to parents and teachers around the state to help them recognize early warnings signs in youth. Implementing a Community Outreach Program to truly become a part of the community and know the community well enough to recognize it needs. Hire and train compassionate officers/firefighters who are dedicated to serving the community with integrity and compassion while improving its quality of life. Supported my officers during the search for missing child Faye Swetlik, who was found murdered in 2020. What has meant the most to me in my career: The dedicated people that I work with. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Do the right things for the right reasons. Do not compromise yourself or your beliefs. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I am adopted and only recently found my birth family by using DNA and genealogy sites. A book or podcast I recommend: The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James D. Hornfischer Favorite quote: “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send and who will go for us? And I replied, Here am I, send me!” — Isaiah 6:8

RAM’ON O. WIDEMAN City of birth: Greenwood, S.C. Education: B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina; M.A. in Business with concentration in Management from Webster University; MBA with concentration in Accounting and Finance from Webster University; MHA with concentration in Healthcare Finance from Webster University. My job: Owner/President and CEO of Anointed Business Solutions LLC My career: More than 20 years of experience in managing the business affairs of nonprofit, religious and educational institutions as well as small businesses, including Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, the S.C. Association of Nonprofit Organizations (now Together SC), the S.C. Education Association, Benedict College, Ridgewood Missionary Baptist Church, MorningStar Fellowship Church, Community Initiatives Inc., Denmark Technical College and Transitions Homeless Center. More than 12 years of experience in ministry and religious leadership. Community involvement: Anointed Life in Christ Ministries Inc. executive board, Rotary International. member of North Columbia Business Association and the Resilient Midlands Prevention Coalition Task Force. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Work hard, and continuously provide and produce quality services and products. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: I hold two honorary doctorate degrees (one in Business Administration and one in Ministry). A book or podcast I recommend: Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work by David Isay Favorite quote: “A man who fails to continuously seek growth and change is a man who fails to meaningfully exist.” — Willie James Wideman Sr., my dad

August 16 - September 12, 2021

MARY LOUISE RESCH City of birth: David City, Neb. Education: B.S., Psychology, Excelsior University, New York; M.S. Ed. in Community/Agency Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Platteville My job: Director of Philanthropy, Central SC Habitat for Humanity My career: Joining the military at age 18, I spent nine years on active duty with the United States Army in a variety of positions and locations. Since then, I have more than 35 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector both here in South Carolina and in other parts of the country. I’ve worked with diverse populations from incarcerated youth to the food insecure, providing both resources and a voice for the underserved in our community. Community involvement: I have served on a number of boards. I am a recipient of the 2017-18 Midlands Jefferson Award for my work in hunger prevention, and I am a National Point of Light. What has meant the most to me in my career: It’s when someone you don’t know comes up to you because you are wearing a logoed shirt and thanks you because your organization made a difference in their lives. Here’s some advice I’d give to people just starting out in business: Find a mentor, or better yet, multiple mentors who are doing the job that you aspire to in the future. Mentors can provide (free) guidance and help you avoid mistakes that they may have encountered. Here’s something most people don’t know about me: During my time in the military, I spent five years as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician and instructor and was the first female enlisted EOD instructor at the Joint Services EOD School. A book or podcast I recommend: The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. Favorite quote: “If you give someone a fish, they will eat for a day. If you teach a person to fish, they can eat for a lifetime.” — Anonymous

LYNDEY BRYANT City of birth: Myrtle Beach, S.C. Education: Myrtle Beach High School; Furman University; University of South Carolina School of Law. My job: Business litigation attorney at Adams and Reese LLP The best thing about my job: Learning about my clients’ businesses, finding creative solutions to complex problems, and advocating for others. Community involvement: United Way of the Midlands: Young Leaders Society executive committee. South Carolina Bar: Community Law Week chair, Bar Convention Committee, Fifth Circuit representative, Professional Development chair and now Pro Bono Committee chair. I have also served on the Bar’s Diversity Committee and as an executive council member for the Trial and Appellate Advocacy Section. I volunteer as a judge for mock trial competitions. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: David Miller with the Bellamy Law Firm in Myrtle Beach taught me the importance of work ethic, diligence, and attention to detail. Kirby Shealy with Adams and Reese instilled in me the importance of integrity and doing the right thing, especially when the right thing is not always the easiest. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Listening is a crucial skill that I am constantly trying to improve. Most of the time, I find that my clients get immediate relief just from talking to me about their problems. Something others may not know about me: I love board games, trivia, and almost any kind of competition. A book or podcast I recommend: Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Favorite quote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain 17

The Board, Staff, Volunteers & Homeowners of the Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity would like to Congratulate Mary Louise Resch, MSEd, SCGS Director of Philanthropy, on being chosen as one of the 2021 Phenoms and Icons Honorees!!!

©2020 Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity Tax Exempt 501(c)3 Tax ID #57-0785521


Member FDIC

Iconic. Phenomenal. Congratulations. SALUTING THE 2021 CLASS OF ICONS & PHENOMS

What makes Columbia such an important destination for business? The people who call it home. That’s why we salute this year’s class of Icons & Phenoms, whose success and community spirit make Columbia a better place for everyone.


RYAN COLEMAN City of birth: Saluda, S.C. Education: B.A. in Economics, University of South Carolina; graduated SC Economic Developers School in 2007.. My job: Director of Economic Development for the city of Columbia. Recruit new businesses, retain and grow existing businesses, support startups and entrepreneurs, and market the city. The best thing about my job: Getting to meet new people and learn about what they do and how they do it. There are so many fascinating things that our local businesses work on that people aren’t aware of. Community involvement: We’ve been working a lot more over the past year to support our local business districts (Devine Street, Five Points, Main Street, North Columbia, Rosewood, and the Vista) and want to continue to expand and enhance our support for those areas. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: I have grown a ton the past two years just from the experience of helping raise my two girls, especially in the areas of patience, stopping and listening, allocating time and creating better work/ life balance. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Be sure you dedicate time and energy for the really important things in life such as friends, family, spending time with your kids, helping in your community, traveling, entertainment, and enjoying yourself. Time is finite. Something others may not know about me: I started taking karate recently with my 4-year-old. It gives us an activity we can participate in together. A book or podcast I recommend: Leadership Strategy and Tactics by Jocko Willink. Favorite quote: “All progress takes place outside of the comfort zone.” — Michael John Bobak

August 16 - September 12, 2021

PHILL BLAIR City of birth: West Columbia, S.C. Education: Brookland Cayce High Class of 1999. College did not agree with me. My job: Owner of The Whig & WECO Bottle & Biergarten The best thing about my job: Besides the usual benefits of making my own schedule and not having a boss, I get to work with a broad range of subjects that I have a genuine interest in such as marketing, event planning, beer and wine, and music. It also offers the flexibility to allow me to serve on the board of directors for a few nonprofits and help organize community events outside of businesses. Community involvement: Currently serving as board president of First Thursdays on Main and sit on the boards of The River District in West Columbia and The Jam Room Music Festival. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: I’ve definitely always learned from previous management/business owners I’ve worked for all the way back to my first job at age 15. Seeing how they work with people, organize, and keep things running was always fascinating to me. Even if they were bad, there’s even more to learn from that. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Know how to say no. It’s one of the hardest but most vital skills to learn quickly. Also, ask nothing of someone you can’t or won’t do yourself. Something others may not know about me: I love fishing, sci-fi, cooking. There is a nonbusiness side. A book or podcast I recommend: Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World. Favorite quote: “Live to win” — Lemmy Kilmister


SUPPORT YOU! Thank you to all the members of our business community for being a part of the City of Columbia. You are bedrock of our community, and we appreciate the opportunity to serve each and every one of you. Sincerely, CED Staff Ph: 803-734-2700 | Email: 1201 Main St., Suite 250, Columbia, SC 29201

August 16 - September 12, 2021

JOSEPH D. DICKEY JR. City of birth: Greenville, S.C., raised in Wellford, S.C. Education: J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law; B.S. in Management, International Management Concentration, Clemson University; B.A. in Japanese and International Trade, Clemson University My job: Attorney at Dickey Law Group LLC The best thing about my job: The best thing about my job is having the flexibility to assist a diverse client base in many areas of the law. Community involvement: City of West Columbia City Council, District 4, elected November 2019; Japan America Association of South Carolina (JAASC)- Board Member; River District of West Columbia, Board Member; S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Board Member; South Carolina Bar; Lexington County Bar; American Bar Association A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: There are many individuals outside of my parents that I have had a major influence on my life. One in particular is my late Japanese professor, Leslie Williams. Williams-Sensei was my first Japanese professor at Clemson University and was the first person to tell me that I could make a career using the Japanese language. Williams-Sensei believed in me and made sure he gave me the tools to succeed in my chosen career. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Making time to network and to build relationships early in your career is invaluable. It is never too early to start. Some of my most impactful business relationships began well before I became an attorney. Something others may not know about me: I can play the piano and I played the saxophone in middle school. A recent book or podcast I recommend: Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt Favorite quote: “Always keep your head about you even while everyone around you is losing theirs.” — Joseph D. Dickey Sr., my dad 19

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TRACY HEGLER City of birth: Groton, Conn. Education: Bachelor of Arts, Sociology major, University of South Carolina; Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University My job: City Manager, city of Cayce The best thing about my job: Being able to work with so many awesome people – both the people I get to work with and the people of Cayce I get to serve. Community involvement: I volunteer with my two teenage sons’ school and sports activities and support city of Cayce functions. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: I’ve been fortunate enough to have several mentors. Some were bosses, some were academic mentors, but they all saw something in me that I didn’t even know was there. They suggested situations (and placed me in them) that were outside of my comfort zone and they sat back to let me either succeed or fail. One put me in charge of major projects in the space industry when I was mostly viewed by others as a young, new graduate. Another showed me, through his professional trust in me and support of me as a new mother, how to gracefully balance those two things. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Listen to others and show them they have value. Not in the sense that the “customer is always right,” but more to help you learn, create, explore, assess and maybe even adapt or alter your product or approach to something. Something others may not know about me: I can remember the words to a song after hearing it once, but I can’t remember a single joke. A book or podcast I recommend: Atomic Habits by James Clear Favorite quote: “There’s several ways to respond. Always choose the one that represents the high road.” — Rick Hall, mentor

Byron Snellgrove

Tracy Hegler, AICP

2021 SC Icon

2021 SC Phenom

Dept. of Public Safety Director

City of Cayce City Manager


August 16 - September 12, 2021


City of birth: Greenville, S.C. Education: B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina My job: CEO, MPA Strategies; Owner, State & Frink The best thing about my job: I love a challenge and I am challenged by something new each day! I am incredibly passionate about the clients I work for and the issues we work to advance. Community involvement: Guardian Ad Litem since 2005; board member, Cayce Public Safety Foundation; former chair, Healing Families Foundation; chair, State & Frink Foundation; marketing committee chair, Greater Cayce West Columbia Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Program Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: You won’t win over every potential client, and you won’t advance every issue you work on. What matters is the impact you leave and the dedication you show each day. This will leave a lasting impact on those you work with and can turn into future opportunities. Something others may not know about me: When I was little, I wanted to be a tight rope walker in the circus. Little did I know that when it came to the crisis communications side of my job, I would be walking many tight ropes! A recent book or podcast I recommend: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert Favorite quote: “Be fearless. Don’t deny your fire, just be who you are and burn.” — Mark Anthony


Congratulations to

Amanda Loveday COO, NP Strategy

for being named a 2021 Phenom Award Winner We’re proud of you!

City of birth: Miami, Fla. Education: B.A., Broadcast Journalism, University of South Carolina My job: COO at NP Strategy The best thing about my job: During the last five and a half years, we’ve seen exponential growth across South and North Carolina. It’s been an amazing professional experience to watch and take part in that growth. In turn, our team members are the best. Being able to learn from some of the smartest and most creative people has been incredibly fulfilling. Community involvement: I serve as a leader within Junior League Columbia and have served on numerous boards including Appleseed Legal Justice, Trinity Learning Center and the South Carolina Election Commission. I also volunteer on numerous political campaigns. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: The mentors that I have been able to learn from have been invaluable. My advice for anyone is to surround yourself with individuals who question and push you to be the best version of yourself. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Build lasting relationships and always do what you promise. There is no better skill in business than just getting it done. Something others may not know about me: I lived in New York in 2006 and worked for Dateline NBC. I was an assistant producer on programs including To Catch a Predator. A recent book or podcast I recommend: I have been listening to the SmartLess podcast recently. It’s an incredibly funny podcast with celebrity guests. Favorite quote: “Failure at some point in your life is inevitable but giving up is unforgivable.” — Joe Biden

August 16 - September 12, 2021 21

TRAVIS W. MCNEAL City of birth: Augusta, Ga. Education: B.M., Augusta College, Augusta, Georgia; M.C.M., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky My job: Executive director, Oliver Gospel Mission The best thing about my job: Witnessing and being a part of life change and true impact in the lives of those who have experienced complete loss or are in need of support, love and guidance from a place of desperation to transformation. Community involvement: I’ve only been in Columbia one and a half years, but my community collaborations include: Richland County Council; Sheriff Leon Lott; Chief of Police Skip Holbrook; Ray Tanner, University of South Carolina athletics director; Jim Hudson and Hudson Automotive; member of Rotary; Leadership Columbia, 2021-2022; opened nonprofit Roastery and Coffee Shop and was awarded the Golden Nail Award by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Collaborate with the United Way; Transitions; The Columbia Museum of Art; Richland County Library; Mayor Stephen Benjamin. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: Mike Firmin, founder and former executive director of Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Remain steady, consistent, work hard, don’t get discouraged. Be patient, prioritize people, seek excellence, lead in a way that encourages. Something others may not know about me: I sang professionally and conducted 100-member choirs and orchestras. A book or podcast I recommend: The Changemaker by Deke Copenhaver. Favorite quote: “Be a plus not a minus. Everyone loves seeing a fountain, but no one wants to see a drain.” — John Maxwell

SHAYLA MERRITT City of birth: Buffalo, N.Y. Education: B.S. in Public Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University; B.A., Mathematics and Educational Studies, Syracuse University; Master of Mass Communications, University of South Carolina My job: Senior marketing coordinator at SSOE | Stevens & Wilkinson. The best thing about my job: Between all the deadlines, meetings, onsite shoots, industry research, and interaction with clients and external vendors, there is never a dull moment. Community involvement: Talented Tenth SC, board of directors; Mental Illness Recovery Center board of trustees; MIRCI Marketing Committee chair; Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Leadership Columbia advisory board chair; MyCarolina Alumni Association (USC), Black Alumni Council (incoming board chair); Columbia Museum of Art Contemporaries board and Marketing Committee chair; Midlands Business Leadership Group board Diversity Task Force (Bridging Columbia). A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: My uncle, Leo Waudell Frazier. He is one of the few people who I am able to speak to about everything: family, friends, career. He pushes me to be better. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Honing my listening skills has in turn made me a better communicator (which in turn has made me a better leader). Something others may not know about me: I draw and paint really well. A recent book or podcast I recommend: Books: Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. Podcast: Work in Progress with Sophia Bush. Favorite quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.” — Maya Angelou



2021 Icons & Phenoms Shayla Merritt


August 16 - September 12, 2021

Building Community.

Building Community. Congratulations to Rabon, PE

2021 Class of Icons and Phenoms 


City of birth: Warner Robins, Ga. Education: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, University of South Carolina; Master of Business Administration, Southern Wesleyan University My job: Managing Partner at Civil Engineering of Columbia The best thing about my job: Every day brings new challenges, but solving problems and helping to grow the business is both fun and rewarding. Community involvement: Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina Land Development Council, Glenforest School Board, and Central SC Alliance Committee of 100 Board. Member of the South Carolina Economic Developers Association, Central SC Alliance Committee of 100, Water Environment Association of South Carolina, and BIA of Central South Carolina. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: My wife, Lacey, has pushed and challenged me to overcome lifelong fears and insecurities. My oldest son, Cooper, changed how I view a lot of life. Cooper is on the autism spectrum, and having him has taught me grace, patience, and how to look past the what and see the who. My youngest son, Lincoln, is a spitfire who keeps me on my toes. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: The cliche is “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This is true, but it’s more about building trust and not just trying to build relationships for what you can get out of them. Something others may not know about me: I can play 3 instruments (trumpet, bass guitar, and drums) A recent book or podcast I recommend: Anything by Thomas Sowell or Tony Evans. Favorite quote: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” — various, including my grandfather services

                        Civil Engineering of Columbia has provided high-quality engineering since 1974. Our clients stay with us because they know they won’t find the level of quality customer service that we provide anywhere else.

A History of Excellence

A History of Excellence

vil Engineering of Columbia has provided high-quality engineering services KATIE OLIVER ince 1974. Our clients stay with us because they know they won’t find the level of quality customer service that we provide anywhere else.

mily tial

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City of birth: Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Education: Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Villanova University Multi-Family Commercial/ Water/ My job: Chief Financial Officer at DartPoints LLC Planning The best thing about my job: I work for a company Wastewater Residential Industrial that provides access to life-changing technology, which is a huge motivator. And I get to have daily interactions with all DartPoints employees across the Multi-Family Commercial/ Water/ multiple states in which we operate. Planning Community involvement: I have been involved with Wastewater Residential Industrial the Pawmetto Lifeline Foster Program since 2015 when Columbia was hit with devastating flooding and the animal shelters were overcrowded with homeless pets. My family has fostered more than 50 animals over the past six years. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: Mentors Frank Mobley and Joe Boyle. Both of them taught me that above all else integrity was the greatest quality a person could possess. These men have led by example by making everyday decisions that affect employees, customers, and vendors in an honest and truthful way. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: I have learned the importance of cultivating relationships at all levels of an organization. By being involved with employees throughout the company, I am better able to understand and help shape the culture. Something others may not know about me: My family has two dogs, three cats, a horse and nine chickens, and we often find ourselves rehabilitating wildlife including raccoons, opossums, rabbits and squirrels. My home is referred to as the Oliver Zoo! A book or podcast I recommend: Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez Favorite quote: “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” — John F. Kennedy


City of birth: Plano, Texas Education: B.A., Presbyterian College; graduate of South Carolina Bankers School MySurveying job: I am the Eastern U.S. Sponsorship Marketing Manager charged with overseeing all areas of sponsorship management and marketing integration for Wells Fargo’s sponsorship activity in the eastern half of the U.S. The best thing about my job: I love interacting with Surveying and learning from different people across the country who bring unique perspectives to our work. Community involvement: Board member, The First Tee of Columbia. Marketing Committee member, South Carolina Bankers Association. Past board chairman, Muscular Dystrophy Association of South Carolina. Co-founded the S.C. MDA Board in 2011. A person other than a parent who has had a major influence on my life: Kathy Heffley, retired region president, Wells Fargo. As my former direct manager, Kathy helped me understand that great leaders develop a servant leadership style centered on their unique strengths, personality and values. Something I’ve learned that could help others in business: Take time to get to know your prospective customer’s perceived and unperceived needs before pitching a product or service. Something others may not know about me: My wife Amanda and I love to karaoke rap and hip hop classics. A recent book or podcast I recommend: SC Biz News’ 21st Century Business Forum, which features monthly one-on-one interviews with some of the nation’s most prominent business minds and thought leaders. Favorite quote: “In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.” — Lewis Carroll

In Focus

FINANCIAL SERVICES LISTS: Accounting Firms, Page 24 | Credit Unions, Page 26

NEXT ISSUE’S FOCUS: Human Resources


Social media spurring young investor trend By Christina Lee Knauss


Contributing writer

t’s not often that a financial advisor looks across a desk to see a teenager asking for investment advice. That’s exactly what happened back in May, however, to Angie Thames, a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors in Columbia. A man and his teenage grandson showed up at her office asking for advice about how the teenager could best invest some money his grandfather had gifted to him. “It was a real, in-person professional meeting with both of them in suits and ties,” Thames said. “The grandson had a list of stocks he was interested in and some research questions about them and investing in general.”

Where did the teenager get his sudden interest in joining the adult bastion of stock investing? Social media. In financial history, 2021 will be looked back on as the year that social media became more than a place to update friends about vacations, argue about politics and exchange memes. It also became the fuel for one of the biggest revolutions in the way average people think about and interact with the stock market. Think back to January, when many people nationwide suddenly became acutely aware of Gamestop, a video game resale company that was dying financially until an internet army of rogue investors suddenly bought up shares of the company and drove its stock price into the stratosphere. These newly minted traders, mainly millennials and members of Gener-

ation Z, got their call to arms from WallStreetBets, a subforum based on the Reddit social platform. These social media stock warriors bought up the stocks of Gamestop and other struggling companies such as AMC as a reaction against what they saw as the greed of major Wall Street hedge funds who had been short selling Gamestop and other struggling companies’ stocks. The amateur traders inspired by WallStreetBets held on to their stock of Gamestop and other companies, which increased the price, and as a result several of the hedge funds lost money. This is known as a “short squeeze” and became one of the biggest financial stories of the year. Since then, Gamestop’s stock price has come back down to Earth, but the event’s social media origins caused many young people to sudden-

ly become aware of the possibilities present in the stock market. It also prompted more teens to turn to social media instead of just relying on mom and dad for financial advice. Wells Fargo & Co. recently surveyed 318 teens between the ages of 13 and 17 and 304 parents of teens of the same age. Among the survey’s findings: Almost half, or 45%, of teens said they became more interested in investing this year because of the Gamestop social media situation. A result that might dismay some parents of daughters showed that more boys than girls showed increased interest in investing because of Gamestop – 53% of boys as opposed to 40% of girls. All the more reason, experts say, to make sure that teen girls hear as much about See INVESTOR, Page 27



August 16 - September 12, 2021

Accounting Firms

Ranked by No. of CPAs in the Columbia Area Total CPAs / Accountants / Employees


Phone / Website / Email

Managing Partner(s) / Year Founded

Bauknight Pietras & Stormer P.A. 1501 Main St., Suite 600 Columbia, SC 29201


Russell L. Bauknight 1991

51 77 80

Serves insurance, construction and real estate, medical and professional, manufacturing and distribution, telecommunications and technology clients, their executives and wealthy individuals

Elliott Davis LLC 1901 Main St., Suite 900 Columbia, SC 29201


Tim Grow 1920

31 42 55

Assurance, advisory; tax planning, compliance; accounting, financial reporting; strategic planning, business valuation, risk and cybersecurity advisory; business, management consulting

Burkett Burkett & Burkett Certified Public Accountants P.A. 3101 Sunset Blvd. West Columbia, SC 29169

803-794-3712 -

Ronny H. Burkett 1976

26 34 52

Litigation support, accounting, tax, advisory, audit and review services, estate and trust services, business valuation, fraud examination and risk management

McGregor & Co. LLP 3830 Forest Drive Columbia, SC 29204


Steven S. Luoma, Elizabeth C. Inabinet, H. Del Brown 1930

23 27 44

Accounting and audit services, tax planning, preparation for individuals and businesses; bookkeeping and payroll services; business and personal financial planning; business valuation services

The Hobbs Group P.A. 1704 Laurel St. Columbia, SC 29201


Mark T. Hobbs 1986

13 28 41

Audits, attestation, small business services, taxes, litigation, consulting, business succession planning and business valuation

Schmoyer & Co. LLC 1330 Lady St., Suite 507 Columbia, SC 29201


Terry K. Schmoyer 1995

10 17 20

Accounting, auditing, corporate and individual tax preparation and planning, 401(k) audits, HUD, tax credits, small business services and health care accounting for nursing homes and assisted living

Scott & Co. LLC 1441 Main St., Suite 800 Columbia, SC 29201


Donald J. Mobley 1995

9 18 21

Assurance; tax; advisory; audit, review; compilation; small business services; for individuals, businesses, local and state governments, nonprofits

Barb & Co. P.A. 1611 Devonshire Drive, Suite 100 Columbia, SC 29204


Paul B. Robins 1998

6 11 20

Tax services, bookkeeping, consulting services, auditing services

J.W. Hunt & Co. LLP 1607 St. Julian Place Columbia, SC 29204


William T. Pouncey 1934

5 8 10

Audit, review, compilation, agreed-upon procedures, bookkeeping and income tax preparation services

Moore Beauston & Woodham LLP 150 N. Ninth St. West Columbia, SC 29169


John B. Beauston, Ken L. Newhouse 1992

5 12 14

Business sales and acquisition consultation, business evaluations, tax planning and preparations, litigation support, attestation and bankruptcy services

WebsterRogers LLP 1320 Main St., Suite 300 Columbia, SC 29201


Amy F. Urquhart, Anthony C. Wrobel 1984

4 6 7

Tax preparation and planning; assurance and accounting; business advisory services; payroll, employee benefit plan administration; estates and trusts; forensic and litigation support; health care

Abernethy & Co. P.C. 3200 Devine St. Columbia, SC 29205


William E. Abernethy, H. Benjamin Williams 1978

3 6 7

Financial reporting, income tax planning, compliance needs, business valuations and asset capitalization studies for businesses; income, estate and gift tax planning for individuals

Clark Eustace Wagner P.A. 3790 Fernandina Road, Suite 303 Columbia, SC 29210


Barbara Wagner, Lois Eustace 1994

3 10 17

Compilations and reviews, audits, tax preparation and planning, governmental audits, Quickbooks consulting, small business services

Dooley & Co. LLC 468 Old Cherokee Road Lexington, SC 29072


Rod Dooley, Amy Ely 1983

3 5 10

Income tax compliance for businesses, individuals, trusts, estates; audits, reviews, compilation services; internal control studies; financial planning for individuals, businesses; bookkeeping services, business and estate planning,litigation support

A. Dowl Knight & Co. PC 9357 Two Notch Road, Suite 101 Columbia, SC 29223


Dowl Knight 1990

2 4 5

Business advisory services, audit, business-individual income tax preparation and planning

Roger W. Harrelson CPA LLC 190 Knox Abbott Drive, Suite 2-B Cayce, SC 29033


Roger W. Harrelson 1997

2 4 4

Business and individual tax preparation and planning; full service including financial statement analysis, compiled financial statements and bookkeeping; business start up and entity selection

Rogers Laban P.A. 1919 Bull St. Columbia, SC 29201


Barry S. Laban 1970

2 5 6

Income tax planning and representation, payroll, bookkeeping, all types of financial services including investments and insurance

Sellars & Cole LLC 602 Meeting St., Suite B West Columbia, SC 29169

803-765-0083 -

Mary Jo Cole, Willam E. Sellars 1985

2 2 6

Tax accounting and bookkeeping

RBH Business Solutions LLC 10171 Two Notch Road, Suite B Columbia, SC 29229


Elliot D. Hayes 2002

1 2 5

Taxes, bookkeeping, full-service payroll, audit representation, tax compliance, accounting

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

Accounting Services

Researched by Paige Wills


August 16 - September 12, 2021 25

Business COVID-19 Relief Applicable to the Delta Variant Surge ERC for another six months to December 31, 2021 under the same terms as provided in the CAA.

BROADENED ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS Employers who suffered a 20% decline in 2021 quarterly gross receipts compared to the same calendar quarter in 2019 are now eligible. A safe harbor is provided allowing employers to use prior quarter gross receipts compared to the same quarter in 2019 to determine eligibility. Employers not in existence in 2019 may compare 2021 quarterly gross receipts to 2020 quarters to determine eligibility. On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed PL 117-2 otherwise known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP bill). President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package aimed at stabilizing the economy, providing needed relief to individuals and small businesses, and improving and accelerating the administration of coronavirus vaccines and testing. The relief package, which was Biden’s first major legislative initiative, is one of the largest in U.S. history and follows on the heels of the Trump Administration’s $900 billion COVID relief package enacted in December 2020 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA)).

MEASURES AFFECTING BUSINESSES The ARP bill contained provisions designed to assist small businesses, in particular.

SMALL BUSINESSES AND PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) The program ended on March 31, 2021 (the application period under the PPP was not extended under the ARP bill).

EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT (ERC) As the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus increases its penetration into our partially vaccinated society, the likelihood of a partial economic slowdown

increases. At least in South Carolina, the likelihood of a government mandated business shutdown is probably off the table, but many non-essential businesses could see a substantial curtailment in economic activity as fear and caution return in at least a portion of our population. Businesses should monitor their level of gross receipts in accordance with the thresholds below to see if they qualify for relief. The ERC, originally introduced under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and enhanced under the CAA, aims to encourage employers (including tax-exempt entities) to keep employees on their payroll and continue providing health benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ERC is a refundable payroll tax credit for wages paid and health coverage provided by an employer whose operations were either fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related governmental order or that experienced a significant reduction in gross receipts. The CAA extended the eligibility period of the ERC to June 30, 2021, increased the ERC rate from 50% to 70% of qualified wages, and increased the limit on per-employee wages from $10,000 for the year to $10,000 per quarter ($50,000 per quarter for start-up businesses). The new bill extends the


The credit is available to some government instrumentalities, including colleges, universities, organizations providing medical or hospital care, and certain organizations chartered by Congress.

DETERMINATION OF QUALIFIED WAGES Employers with 500 or fewer full-time employees in 2019 may include all wages and health plan expenses as “qualified wages.” The Relief Act strikes the limitation that qualified wages paid or incurred by an eligible employer with respect to an employee may not exceed the amount that employee would have been paid for working during the 30 days immediately preceding that period (which, for example, allows employers to take the ERC for bonuses paid to essential workers).

For more information about the tax relief discussed in this article, please contact Bill West, CPA at Scott and Company, 803-256-6021 or

1441 Main Street, Suite 800 Columbia, SC 29201 803-256-6021



August 16 - September 12, 2021

Credit Unions Ranked by No. of Members Company

Phone/ Website / Email

Top Local Official(s) / Year Chartered

Navy Federal Credit Union 5424 Forest Drive, Suite 100 Columbia, SC 29206


Mary McDuffie 1947

Founders Federal Credit Union 2166 Boyce St. Columbia, SC 29207


Grow Financial Federal Credit Union 163-1 Forum Drive Columbia, SC 29229

Total Members

Total Assets

Total Loans




Bruce A. Brumfield 1983





Thomas Feindt 1955




South Carolina Federal Credit Union 2350 LeGrand Road Columbia, SC 29223


R. Scott Woods 1936




Safe Federal Credit Union 160 W. Wesmark Blvd. Sumter, SC 29150


Michael Baker 1955




AllSouth Federal Credit Union 730 Elmwood Ave. Columbia, SC 29201


William A. Koehler 1960




Self-Help Credit Union 1835 Assembly St., Suite 870 Columbia, SC 29201


Martin D. Eakes 2008




S.C. State Credit Union 800 Huger St. Columbia, SC 29201


James Kinard 1952




Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union 1320 Washington St. Columbia, SC 29201


Nicholas Wodogaza 1936




CPM Federal Credit Union 1174 Boulevard St. Orangeburg, SC 29405


James Gergen 1975




Spero Financial 1025 Pulaski St. Columbia, SC 29201


Brian McKay 1935




Carolinas Telco Federal Credit Union 110 Outlet Pointe Blvd. Columbia, SC 29210


Chris Dickman 1979




MTC Federal Credit Union 2420 Two Notch Road Lexington, SC 29072


William H. Love 1976




Mid Carolina Credit Union 841 U.S. Highway 1 S. Lugoff, SC 29078


William S. Conley 1961




Palmetto Health Credit Union 1205 Colonial Life Blvd., Suite W Columbia, SC 29210


Hansel B. Hart 1964




Nucor Employee's Credit Union 200 Whetstone Road Swansea, SC 29160


Paul D. Chappell 1962




Caro Federal Credit Union 4480 Rosewood Drive Columbia, SC 29209


Anne Shivers 1990




S.C. National Guard Federal Credit Union 1225 Bluff Road Columbia, SC 29201


Travis Hall 1966




Edisto Federal Credit Union 1880 Russell St. Orangeburg, SC 29115


Leofice J. Williams 1936




1st Cooperative Federal Credit Union 808 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC 29033


Ashley Y. Beach Reid 1970




Columbia Post Office Federal Credit Union 1601 Assembly St. Columbia, SC 29201


James C. Lattimore 1927




Brookland Federal Credit Union 1058 Sunset Blvd. West Columbia, SC 29169


Ronald A. Cooley 1999




S.C. Methodist Conference Credit Union 4901 Colonial Drive Columbia, SC 29203


Talmadge A. Cox 1955




Sumter City Credit Union 12 W. Liberty St. Sumter, SC 29150


Morgan Mociun 1964




S. C. H. D. District No. 7 Federal Credit Union 239 Broughton St. Orangeburg, SC 29115


Jacqueline S. Gulley 1967




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

Source: National Credit Union Administration, June 2021 call report. Researched by Paige Wills

August 16 - September 12, 2021


Financial advisors say pandemic forced more planning decisions By Teri Errico Griffis


rior to the pandemic, the last thing Spencer Schulz and his wife chatted about over pizza and wine on Friday nights was an unforeseen passing. But now it’s a common conversation for his family, and his clients at Northwestern Mutual, the financial advisor said. Life insurance sales are the highest they’ve ever been at the company. Not only has the pandemic forced the nation to take a long hard look at their rainy day savings — the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reports banks grew by a record $2 trillion in cash deposits during 2020 — but people have been forced to discuss how death could be just around the corner. With COVID-19, a trip to the grocery store, a hug could result in contracting a potentially fatal disease. “The pandemic made it okay for people to talk about finances in their house and to plan for something happening — not in a pessimistic way, but rather, I want to get life insurance before I contract COVID and become uninsurable, or God forbid I get it and do pass,” Schulz said. “We definitely saw an uptick.”

Last year was Schulz’ best year as a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual, which has offices in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg and Asheville, N.C. Additionally, the company brought on more clients than it had ever seen, reaching $31 billion in revenue and surpassing $300 billion in total assets for the first time, the company said. Client investment assets also hit a record high of $195 billion. With a year that saw a global pandemic and a controversial election, Schulz said the positives that came out of 2020 was the realization for the importance of planning. “We truly think about the folks that were waiting for a $600 or $1,200 stimulus checks,” he said. “If we’re really banking on that, we’ve got a bigger problem, right? We realize the need for a proper emergency fund.” Rainy day funds should total three to six months of expenses, Schulz suggested. Additional savings can be divvied into short-term, mid-term and long-term investments, which can include life insurance. There are two types of life insurance:

term and whole or permanent. Term lasts for a specific period of time, generally five years, 10 or 30. People often buy term insurance because they can get a large death benefit amount for a relatively inexpensive premium, said Evan Hammond, financial advisor and field director at Northwestern Mutual. “The reason someone would buy term insurance is because they have a need, they have children or some debt that, God forbid they pass way, they want their family or beneficiary to have tax-free money,” he said. “It’s a really easy way to cover yourself for the specific term.” The downside of term insurance is the potential to outlive the term, they said. The insurance then expires and renewing can be harder as the individual ages or incurs health issues. Permanent life insurance can last for a person’s entire life as long as they pay the premiums. Some use it as a financial strategy, Hammond said. “The unique thing about permanent life insurance is it’s not correlated to the cash market, so you don’t have the ebbs and flows like a year ago when we saw that huge dip in the market,” he said. “Nobody’s cash value took a hit because

INVESTOR, from Page 23

the importance of financial knowledge and investing as boys do. Developing financial knowledge early is one of the best things a teenager can do, Thames said, because it can help them get a jumpstart on their future. “Learning about investing and starting to invest early is only going to increase your likelihood of financial success down the road,” Thames said. “The earlier you start, the more interest you compound over time. Investing early can help young people understand how the market works. If you learn what retirement plans are and then go to work for a company that offers a 401K, you’re already ahead of the game because you know how they work and how important it is to contribute. It all lays the ground work for a secure financial future.” The Wells Fargo survey showed that while young people are increasingly turning to social media and the internet for financial information, parents are still the main source of information, with 57% of teens saying they get their main money knowledge from mom and dad. Parents, however, might not think they’re ready to give advice to their kids. The survey showed that nearly one in three parents – 32% – give themselves a near-failing or failing grade in knowledge about investments. So where to

“Learning about investing and starting to invest early is only going to increase your likelihood of financial success down the road.” Angie Thames Financial advisor, Wells Fargo

start? Thames suggests two books that are actually written for younger kids but offer a good foundation on how money works to people of all ages: The Young Investor by Katherine R. Bateman (Chicago Review Press, 144 pages) and How To Turn $100 into $1,000,000 by James McKenna and Jeannine Glista (Workman Publishing, 144 pages). She also encourages parents and youth to check out online investing classes and virtual stock market simulators, many of which are free. Through the simulators, teens can build a portfolio of stocks they are interested in and see how they fare day-to-day, which provides a way to see how stocks perform without actually having any real money in the game. Thames said that an online simulator she used in high school and college is what got her interested in investing in the first place. Social media trends such as Gamestop

might be what initially interests a teen in the stock market, but the key is for them to learn about how the market itself works and the wide variety of investment opportunities available. Thames said she would ask teen investors to consider what hobbies and interests they have, and then seek out companies related to them as investment possibilities. Young investors could also be encouraged to look into stocks related to stores where they shop regularly or even the companies that provide internet streaming services they use at home. “It can help to tie investing into realworld experiences and real-world products that you use every day,” Thames said. “The investor learns in real time how ownership of a company that is publicly traded benefits both the shareholder and the company.” Thames said teen investors should consider the same questions adults need to when deciding how much to put into

it’s not associated to the stock market.” The insured can also pull out money in a tax-favored fashion, meaning what you put in can be taken out tax-free. Hammond recommends a mix of both when making a financial plan. There are always going to be downturns in the market and having an alternative vehicle to pull money from is extremely strategic. For those looking for a financial advisor, Schulz stressed the importance of exploring options, just as you would a personal trainer. There are talented people whether you choose Wells Fargo, Charles Schwabb Corp. or Northwestern. And there’s zero risk in having a conversation, he said. “What’s important is to work with someone who has a financial plan and is working with your best interest,” Schulz said. “That understands the household dynamic, the goals of sending kids to school, understands the goal of paying off the boat. It’s important to work with someone who works with you to get there.” Reach staff writer Teri Errico Griffis at 843-8493144.

the market: How much money do you have available and what are you willing to risk? “A teen should ask themselves ‘OK, I have this money that I have been gifted or that I mowed grass for or worked really hard for in another way, and how much of it am I actually willing to lose?’ ” Thames said. “You have to ask yourself if I lost $100 and never saw it again, would I be okay with that? That amount of money would be the amount to take a gamble with and invest in companies that maybe are doing well because of social media, the ones that are more risky and exciting to watch.” It’s important that teens, like any other investor, not put all of their investment eggs in one basket. Thames encourages parents to work with their kids on placing some of their available investment money into more traditional companies as a long-term investment. Finally, it’s important for teens entering the investment game to remember that the stock market isn’t just for the wealthy. The Gamestop phenomenon offered prime evidence of that. “A teen might think ‘I don’t have much money so I can’t really afford to start investing,’ but it’s important to realize that you can start with really any dollar amount,” Thames said. “Any amount you have can get you started.”



August 16 - September 12, 2021

Money supply indicates inflation just getting started for nation’s economy


he Fed believes that the recent acceleration in inflation reflects temporary factors such as hiring bonuses, disruptions in the supply chain, and a rebound from prices that were depressed during the recession. That story is beginning to wear thin. Its forecasts of inflation have conSTEPHEN D. sistently underSLIFER shot reality for the past year and they are not getting any better. It currently anticipates that its targeted inflation measure, the core personal consumption expenditures deflator, will rise 3% this year. Good luck with that! Inflation in the first five months of this year has been steadily accelerating and is showing no sign of slowing down. We expect the core PCE to rise 4.2% this year. The driver of this unanticipated pickup in inflation is money supply growth. Its growth rate has soared since the recession began in March of last year and, as Milton Friedman taught us back in the 1970’s, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” When countries rapidly expand growth in their money supply, they experience high inflation for a sustained period of time. But yet our Fed chairman dismisses that notion and tells us that we need to “unlearn” that relationship. We do not buy it. The Fed’s inflation forecasts have

been way off the mark since the recession started in March last year. In June of last year it expected the core PCE deflator to rise 1.5% in 2021. They have raised it every quarter since. In September it became 1.7%. In December it was 1.8%. By March it climbed to 2.2%, and in June to 3%. But even 3% is still too low. We know what happened to this inflation measure every month through May. The only way its 3% forecast for the year can be correct is if the core PCE rises 0.15% per month for the final seven months of the year. But in the first five months of the year the monthly increases averaged 0.43% or three times as fast as the Fed envisions for later this year. The price component of the monthly purchasing managers’ report has climbed to 92.1. An index of 50.0 indicates prices were unchanged in that month. It has risen steadily since April of last year to its current level of 92.1, which is its highest level since 1979. There are no signs of any softening of prices for manufacturers through the middle of 2021. Ditto for service sector firms. We can see this in virtually all commodity prices. Crude prices have climbed to $75 per barrel. Gas prices have risen to $3.12 per gallon. Non-energy prices have continued to surge and are at their highest level in a decade. At the same time the extreme labor shortage is forcing firms of all types — but particularly those firms in low-paying industries such as leisure/hospitality and retail to offer one-time sign-on

In the past year, firms such as Target, Starbucks, Costco, Walmart and McDonald’s have all boosted wages. Their CEOs see the handwriting on the wall. Stephen D. Slifer Economist

bonuses and, in many cases, boost the hourly wage to or above $15 per hour. In the past year, firms such as Target, Starbucks, Wayfair, Costco, Walmart and McDonald’s have all boosted wages. Their CEOs see the handwriting on the wall. Prior wage rates were too low. As these large firms raise their wages, smaller ones will follow. This is not a one-off event that will run its course in a matter of months. At a time when qualified, willing workers are hard to come by, workers are exercising their newfound power and demanding both higher wages and improved working conditions. The pandemic and recession are triggering profound changes in the labor market, which are still in their infancy. Those firms who do raise wages

say they are able to find the workers they need to keep pace with surging demand. With corporate earnings and stock prices at record high levels, firms generally are well-positioned to withstand higher wages. All of this suggests that the inflation increases we are seeing are not going to be temporary. Yes, shortages of materials are contributing to the current runup. Yes, a catch-up from prices that were depressed during the recession like airfares and hotel room rates also is a factor. But we are convinced that a major cause of higher inflation is rapid growth in the money supply. After a surge in money growth in March, April and May of last year, the Fed’s monthly purchases of U.S. Treasury securities are causing money growth to climb steadily at a 15% pace. Faster money growth is going to result in faster inflation for some time to come. We believe that inflation will track much faster than the Fed would like at least through the end of this year. We anticipate a 4.2% increase in the core PCE deflator this year and a 5% gain is not out of the question. After missing its inflation forecast for a year and one-half, when will the Fed give up on its belief that the jump is temporary? The higher it climbs, the greater the pressure on the Fed to cut its purchases of Treasury securities, raise reserve requirements or, ultimately, raise the funds rate. Reach Daniel Island economist Stephen Slifer at

S.C. Treasurer’s Office returns $35.3 million in unclaimed property By Melinda Waldrop


he S.C. State Treasurer’s Office has returned $35.3 million in unclaimed property to state residents in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Each year, companies transfer millions of dollars to the state’s unclaimed property program when they are unable to locate the rightful owners. The treasurer’s office acts as custodian of the funds until the owners can be located. The office currently has more than $700 million in unclaimed property for S.C. individuals, businesses and organizations, according to a news release fom the treasurer’s office. “I always encourage people to search their names at least twice a year, as we’re always receiving new


properties,” said S.C. State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, who has returned more than $260 million in unclaimed funds

since taking office in 2011. To check for any unclaimed property, visit

Those who have received returned funds are asked to complete a brief survey sharing feedback about their customer service experience and how the funds have helped them. A recipient from Anderson said she was able to purchase new tires for her car, while an Aiken woman helped cover funeral expenses for her brother, according to the treasurer’s office. A Green Pond resident applied more than $1,000 in returned funds to help his small business weather the COVID-19 pandemic. “Getting these funds back to the rightful owners has been a priority of mine since 2011, and I continue to be humbled by the people who share their stories about how these funds have changed their lives for the better,” Loftis said. Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

At Work



The Columbia Museum of Art has promoted Kristina D. Palmer to chief development officer from senior development officer. In her new position, Palmer oversees the development department and manages all fundraising efforts. Palmer Her areas of expertise include major gifts, annual giving campaigns, special events, corporate and foundation relations, and board development. Palmer has more than 20 years of progressive nonprofit leadership experience.

BANKING First Carolina Bank has appointed Will Holmes as the market executive for the Midlands. Holmes, a graduate of Presbyterian College who received Holmes his MBA from the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business will lead the bank’s market entry into the Midlands region.

BUSINESS SERVICES John Black, a community manager with the Community Association Management Services, has been elected president of the Columbia Council of NeighBlack borhoods. Black, a community manager at Lake Carolina, has been active with the council since 2017 and became president-elect in 2019; his term as president runs through June 30, 2023. The University of South Carolina region of the South Carolina Small Business Development Center network has hired John Gethers as a business con-


sultant to work with existing business owners in the Columbia area. Gethers specializes in helping business owners navigate the Small Business Administration’s Covid-19 relief funding processes and other pandemic-related challenges, including economic injury disaster loans, paycheck-protection-program forgiveness, and shuttered-venues-operators grants. The International Business Brokers Association gave David Yezbak a Platinum Chairman’s Circle Award for outstanding performance in 2020. The award, which is part of the association’s Member Excellence Awards Program, went to 15 IBBA members worldwide. Yezbak received the Chairman’s Circle Award in 2019. He has been a business broker for more than 22 years.

CONSTRUCTION There are two new faces at Thomas & Hutton. Alexa Schiazza joined the company’s water resources department as a designer. She received her bachelor of science in biosystems engineering with an ecological emphasis at Clemson UniCallan versity. Brent Callan has become a field representative for the company’s Columbia civil department. He recently worked as a quality engineer during the construction of nuclear containment vessels. Callan holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration management from University of South Carolina, Aiken, and an associate’s degree in applied science from Aiken Technical College

DESIGN Studio 2LR’s Taylor Beaudrot, AIA, NCIDQ, has passed the six-part architect registration examination and earned her architecture license. A graduate of Clemson University, the Beaudrot new registered architect recently worked on a historic renovation project for Savage Craft Ale Works brewery, in West Columbia.

EDUCATION Midlands Technical College professor Eric Goff has earned the 2021 Association of Community College Trustees Southern Region Faculty Award. Each year, Goff the ACCT recognizes community college leaders who make a positive impact in higher education and communities. Goff is a biology instructor and the assistant director for MTC’s latest Quality Enhancement Plan titled M.O.R.E.: Maximizing Online Readiness and Excellence.

more than 40 years of experience representing product manufacturers and business clients in product liability litigation, mass torts, environmental litigation, and various types of commercial litigation. He has tried more than 40 jury trials to verdict in eleven states and has argued appeals in the 3rd, 4th, and 11th Circuits and before the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.


LAW At Burr & Forman, Michael Burchstead has joined the commercial litigation practice group. As former general counsel for the South Carolina State Ethics Commission, Burchstead prosecuted enforcement matters alleging violations of the South Carolina Ethics Act, provided advisory opinions to individuals and entities subject to the Ethics Act, and served as legal counsel to the commission. He also served as an assistant attorney general for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, where he prosecuted health-care fraud. Derek Tarver has joined the Columbia office of law firm of Williams Mullen. Tarver focuses on product liability litigation, particularly among clients in the Tarver automotive and consumer product industries. He earned his juris doctor magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law and his bachelor of arts from the University of South Carolina, Beaufort. The new partner at Williams Mullen is Richard H. “Dick” Willis. Based in the law firm’s Columbia office, he focuses on product liability litigation. Willis has


Mark and Leigh Ann Craddock

New leaders of The Salvation Army of the Midlands are Mark and Leigh Ann Craddock. The Craddocks, who come to the Midlands from Wilmington, NC, have been Salvation Army officers for 29 years.

REAL ESTATE Paige Jernigan has joined Colliers | South Carolina as accounting and finance coordinator in the Columbia office. She is responsible for tenant and corporate billing and processing of payments, filing business license taxes and performing credit checks for tenants. In addition, Jernigan compiles and distributes monthly property management narratives to clients and provides administrative support to the accounting department. She received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) Global has elected David Lockwood, CRE CCIM SIOR, as its vice president. Lockwood, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Colliers | South Carolina, will be installed in October. On the national level, Lockwood served two terms on the board of directors and chairing numerous committees related to governance, education and membership. He attained his SIOR designation in 1990 and served as past president of the Carolinas SIOR Chapter.

Submit items using our online submission portal: Publication is subject to editorial discretion.



August 16 - September 12, 2021

Target your market in an upcoming issue of the Columbia Regional Business Report Photo/File


List: Executive Recruiters Bonus List: Industrial Staffing

New loan forgiveness portal aims to streamline process

Advertising Deadline: August 30 SEPTEMBER 27 COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE List: Commercial Real Estate Companies

Advertising Deadline: September 13 OCTOBER 11 ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION (AEC) List: Landscape Architecture Firms

Advertising Deadline: September 27 OCTOBER 25 THE INSURANCE CLUSTER

List: Employee Benefits Brokers

Advertising Deadline: October 12

For advertising information, call Lucia Smith at (803) 726-7547

By Melinda Waldrop


new portal designed to speed relief to small businesses with $150,000 or less in Paycheck Protection Program loans opened Aug. 4. The streamlined application portal will allow borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less from participating lenders to apply for loan forgiveness directly through the SBA. Borrowers who need assistance can call 877-552-2692 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. The SBA said the portal will help speed relief to more than 6.5 million of the nation’s smallest businesses. “The SBA’s new streamlined application portal will simplify forgiveness for millions of our smallest  businesses, including many sole proprietors, who used funds from our Paycheck Protection Program loans to survive the pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a news release. “The vast majority of  businesses waiting for forgiveness have loans under $150,000. These entrepreneurs are busy running their  businesses and are challenged by an overly complicated forgiveness process. We need to deliver forgiveness more efficiently so they can get back to enlivening our Main Streets, sustaining our neighborhoods and fueling our nation’s economy.” The SBA and lenders have originated more than 11.7 million PPP loans to more than 8.5 million small businesses totaling nearly $800 billion. More than 600 banks have opted into the direct forgiveness program, enabling more than 2.2 million borrowers to apply, according to the SBA. “This initiative will allow PPP borrowers to put their concerns of achieving full forgiveness behind them and focus on operating and growing their  businesses again,” Patrick Kelley, associate adminis-

trator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access, said. “We are pleased to be able to assist financial institutions across the U.S. in processing forgiveness applications for small business owners.” In 2021, the SBA approved more than 6.5 million in loans totaling more than $275 billion, with an average loan size of less than $42,000, according to the organization. In 2020, the average loan size was $101,000. Also in 2021, 96% of PPP loans went to businesses with fewer than 20 employees, compared to 87% in 2020, the SBA said. The resilience of the nation’s small business owners will be celebrated during the 2021 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit, to take place Sept. 13-15. The summit will include education panels, information on support services and representatives from Fortune 500 companies who will share keys to their success as well as entrepreneurial resources. Business owners will be able to use virtual booths to develop connections with public and private sector partners, learn about new business strategies, meet other entrepreneurs and talk with industry experts. Summit speakers will be announced at a later date. “As the voice for America’s 30 million small businesses and innovative startups, it’s my pleasure to announce the SBA’s annual National Small Business Week Summit,” Guzman said in a video message. “Over the last 16 months, we have seen the incredible determination and ingenuity of small businesses across the nation. During NSBW, we will honor and celebrate their impact on our economy and strengthening of communities as we look towards recovery.” Registration is available online at Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.



Infrastructure reform gives small businesses opportunity to level playing field


mall businesses are the power behind our communities. South Carolina alone has 430,000 small businesses that employ more than 800,000 people. Millions more small businesses employ millions more people across the country. However, during the pandemic, small businesses faced unique economic challenges to keep their XIOMARA doors open. The PEÑA pandemic made it apparent that small businesses need robust infrastructure support in order to grow and thrive. The bipartisan infrastructure plan in Congress will fund muchneed investments in physical and JACQUIE broadband infraBERGER structure that will revitalize the local and national economy and position small businesses to withstand the next financial crisis. Small businesses are glad to see our elected officials come together in efforts to pass legislation that will create jobs, improve wages, and support entrepreneurship and innovation. The fact is that small businesses rely on physical infrastructure more than large businesses because they don’t have the resources to adapt to challenges and setbacks posed by faulty roads, bridges and broadband. Small business owners can’t just move their business location if the road to get there is filled with potholes. Instead, they have to hope that the roads are manageable enough for customers to navigate. But each day that the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations stalled, hope would wane for small businesses as they waited for critical investments that could support our economic recovery. In South Carolina, there are 745 bridges and over 3,780 miles of highway in poor condition. It’s no longer easy for potential customers to drive down Spruill Avenue for their favorite meal with owners that have contributed to the fabric of the community. Those customers are now faced with a longer and bumpier commute and have very few alternatives, such as bike lanes and walking paths. At the same time, South Carolina is very familiar with the impacts of disin-


vestment in broadband infrastructure on our small businesses in rural and low-income areas. There are tremendous gaps in reliable broadband access in rural pockets of South Carolina. Twelve percent of South Carolinians live in areas where no broadband infrastructure provides minimally acceptable speeds. And more than half of South Carolinians live in areas where there is only one provider. During the pandemic and through Lowcountry Local First’s Good Enterprises program, we’ve heard firsthand about the challenges small business owners of color and in rural communities faced when trying to pivot their business model to adopt online platforms with little or no high-speed Internet access. As an organization, we also had difficulty relaying quality education and assistance to these communities who couldn’t easily access the resources and programs we provided online. The pandemic created an online customer base that many small business owners did not expect, and many were unprepared. However, to sustain this base, create a level playing field for small businesses across the country, and build a long-term small business ecosystem, we must invest in enhanced and expanded broadband that will allow owners to access customers and suppliers and create demand for the goods and services they have to sell. It’s also important to note that while the bipartisan infrastructure plan includes critical investments that will help small businesses on their road to recovery after the pandemic, more is needed to help them overcome the eco-

nomic obstacles that they are currently facing. Many small businesses are starting from zero. They need infrastructure reform to include provisions outlined in the White House’s American Jobs Plan to get them to a level of substantial recovery. This must include funding for community-based incubators and innovation hubs, workforce development, and increased small business contracting for businesses in rural and under-resourced areas. We also need a plan that invests in clean energy policies to tackle the effects of climate change that are increasingly harming small businesses here in the Lowcountry and across the U.S. Over the past decade, we’ve suffered from 37 extreme weather events that cost the state $20 billion. The White House’s proposal to invest $50 billion to improve our resiliency and help recover from these extreme weather events is a good first step to supporting our local businesses. Charleston small business owner Michael Shemtov supports these investments and has said, “We are already seeing the effects of climate change both locally and globally. We cannot afford inaction or we will risk losing much of what we love about our hometown. The small business community urges Congress to act to save not just our livelihoods, but possibly our children’s lives as well.” Additionally, we hope that any final infrastructure package will include more unrestricted grant and loan programs for small businesses. The ongoing need for hard-hit entrepreneurs who are desperate for relief will require a long-term, substantial commitment that extends

beyond small-dollar grants and loans. While federal relief programs provide a crucial lifeline for many businesses, small businesses need unrestricted funding because only they can determine how to utilize funding best to keep their businesses open. While the plan is finally moving forward after weeks of delays, small businesses can’t afford to wait any longer for legislation that will help support entrepreneurship and innovation. We can’t stop now, not when there are opportunities on the table to make real and significant changes to how we can genuinely help our small businesses thrive and grow. Policymakers must support the movement on this bill and not get distracted by any political theater. Small, local businesses in South Carolina and around the country need action now. Xiomara Peña is vice president for engagement for the Small Business Majority, a national organization created to empower entreprepenurship in diverse communities across the U.S. Contacter her at Jacquie Berger is executive director of Lowcountry Local First, a small business advocacy organization in Charleston. Contact her at

We want to hear from you Write: Melinda Waldrop, Editor Columbia Regional Business Report, 1612 Marion St., Suite 301 Columbia, SC 29201 Email:



August 16 - September 12, 2021

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