GSA Business Report - July 2023

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Honoring All Who Served Sponsored By ON TIME... OR... ON US! Honor in the workplace More employers see the bottom-line benefits of putting veterans on the payroll. Page 35 VOLUME 26 NUMBER 7 ■ GSABUSINESS.COM JULY 2023 ■ $2.25 Part of the network

Salute to Our Military

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

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

We look forward to continuing our service to all who serve, helping them look after their finances and their futures.

Learn more at First Citizens Bank. Forever First.

Member FDIC.

Salute to Our Military

Truliant Federal Credit Union thanks United States Armed Forces members for protecting our freedom and independence at home and abroad. We honor their sacrifice by providing programs recognizing their important contribution.

As an employer, Truliant provides military-focused business resource groups to give service members a voice and a way to connect in the workplace. In our communities, we give back through sponsorships to veterans’ organizations and through Veterans Administration home loan programs. We raise awareness among our employees by providing special events for service members, and by recognizing their fallen peers who are no longer with us.

Truliant is proud to show our support for the military. We thank all active and former personnel. We would not be the organization we are today without the unique skills our military employees bring. They further our mission to improve lives every day.

NCUA insured. Member FDIC.

Anchoring the Square

A homegrown company takes a look around the country and decides the best place to be is in the new County Square development in Greenville. Page 8

The new $65 million county office complex — once housed in an outdated mall building — opened to its public this month on a piece of land officials say will have a billion-dollar impact. Page 9

Woodruff’s Turn

BMW breaks ground on a $700 million factory in a part of Spartanburg County missed out on much of the automotive industry boom over the decade. Page 10

VOLUME 26 NUMBER 7 ■ GSABUSINESS.COM JUNE 2023 ■ $2.25 Part of the network

Next-stage growth for SC businesses

Startups are the lifeblood of a thriving economy. Early stage companies demonstrate a commitment to innovation and shows the health of existing business and industry. Startups can be large LLCs or one person making stuff in a garage apartment and selling online.

The U.S. Census Bureau tracks the layers of business startup data by focusing primarily on tax filings across the country. Data can be found through companies filing for Federal Employer Identification Numbers, but there’s a subset of the EIN that indicates the next stage of growth for any company: Payroll.

This specific kind of filing happens when a company plans to start paying employees who aren’t the founders of a company. That equates to job growth and a significant stage for any company.

By looking at Census data for South Carolina, we tracked this next level of startups in the Palmetto State over five years. More than 360,000 companies filed for federal ID numbers between 2018 and 2022 in South Carolina, but during that time 41,036 businesses also filed with the IRS to start initial payments for wages.

We don’t know how many of those companies stayed in business or how many added a significant number of workers, but we do know that comparing 2018 to 2022, South Carolina had a 32% increase in the number of initial payroll filers. The first five months of 2023 also shows an 8.6% year-over-year increase for companies planning to hire workers.

When a business starts adding workers, it indicates an optimism and expectation of more business. Adding to the payroll also sparks many avenues for other businesses to serve those startups, including accounting, legal, human resources, and occasionally commercial office space. By Andy Owens.

5 years of next-stage startups in SC

SC companies planning for initial payroll

The following table show 12 months of seasonally adjusted and year-over year data for companies in South Carolina that filed documents indicating their intention to start paying wages to workers.

U.S. Census Bureau data showing five years of filings for businesses in South Carolina, including all filings for new tax identification numbers (red) and those filing with the IRS for businesses planning to start paying wages (blue).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Business Formation Statistics by State

“Some do things because that’s how the industry says it should be done, but oftentimes assumptions are wrong, and things can be done a lot better than what you’re used to doing.”
— John Warren, CEO and founder of GEM Mining
Month Filings Year over year change June 704 -20.2% July 758 -13.6% August 754 -6.7% September 844 +5.8% October 815 +1.4% November 779 +1.0% December 734 -6.6% January 793 -3.4% February 808 +11.9% March 824 +0.5% April 796 +0.1% May 769 -0.5
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Business Applications; Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 9,315 10,266 7,688 6,718 7,049 91,078 96,708 71,746 51,937 49,349 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 0 100,000

SC Biz News Briefs

4,400-acre historic riverfront estate in Lowcountry hits market at $39.5M

A4,400-acre estate along the Tulifiny River in Yemassee, with a circa 1930 home and a pedigree going back to the 18th century, is for sale for nearly $40 million. For the last 30 years, Gregorie Neck in Yemassee has been a private recreational retreat under the stewardship of philanthropists Bob and Alyce Jepson of Savannah, according to a news release from Charles G. Lane, broker-in-charge of Charleston-based Holcombe, Fair & Lane.

“The owners see this as a good time in life to offer the property up for sale,” Lane said in the news release. “They are offering it with furniture, décor, equipment, livestock, etc. — basically everything besides personal items and family heirlooms. It has been well-managed and is truly a once-in-a-lifetime offering.”

With eight miles of waterfront and marsh front, extensive old growth forest, fishing ponds and impoundments, a deepwater dock on the Tulifiny, “impeccable gardens and grounds, and a circa 1930 stately brick mansion with sweeping river vistas,” Gregorie Neck is essentially a turnkey offering, Lane said.

The release said the peninsula of Gregorie Neck has long been a valuable and strategic landmark with deepwater access at the confluence of the Coosawhatchie and Tulifiny rivers that provided early settlers with unparalleled ease of navigation. Situated some 20 miles inland of the Atlantic, Gregorie Neck also afforded protection from pirates and storms.

Gregorie Neck got its name from Alexander Gregorie who purchased the plantation from a Mrs. DeVeaux in 1798, the release said. The houses built under Gregorie’s ownership were all burned — part of the campaign by General W.T. Sherman during the Civil War. During that time, Gregorie Neck gained new strategic importance due to its proximity to the Charleston-Savannah Railroad. Disrupting this vital Confederate supply line was the Union objective that launched the Battle of Tulifiny, the release stated.

In 1927, New York financier Bayard Dominick bought Gregorie Neck from the Garbades, a local Jasper County family. Dominick subsequently hired Henry Garbade to supervise the plantation and architect Willis Irvin to design the house, constantly improving the property and adding to its acreage.

The renovated six-bedroom main house stands on a high bluff of old growth live oaks. It boasts a grand entrance portico on the landward side and a spacious sunroom spanning the river side.

Gregorie Neck lies among the wild waterways of two nationally recognized conservation jewels: the ACE (Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto) Basin, and SOLO (Southern Lowcountry) Basin, comprising some 500,000 acres of preserved lands. 5 July 2023 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. including Circa 1886, pictured Circa 1886). Page DownWine Time gets funding clean energy pivot
Yemassee Charleston Regional Business Journal
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The circa 1930 main house at Gregorie Neck replaced a home burned during the Civil War. (Photo/Provided)

A View From The C-Suite

Christi Powell, Women Confidence Builders | President


Know who you are, know your mission, vision, and aspirations in your life, and you will lead a more satisfying life.


If you have a vision, try it, do it, and make an impact, you’ll never be sorry even if you fail the first time. Community, Connections, & Commitment is the key to success.



Inclusion in the workplace!



Started a non-profit in 2022 and we’ve made a big impact for women in our community. Also started a podcast in March of 2022 with Angela Gardner of Hill Electric. We are in 47 countries and have over 10,000 downloads. Making an impact and connections for women in our breaking barriers forum community.


I am a true leader in the construction industry. Now, as an advocate

for women and minorities, I am dedicating my career to promoting the construction industry by welcoming inclusion in the field. I am a strong supporter of women at all levels of the industry and I have worked tirelessly to open up opportunities and create a more level playing field. I humbly can say that I have won multiple awards for my work in construction, business and the community. Despite my achievements, I remain humble and driven. It’s never going to be enough so I’m always looking for ways to make a positive impact on the world around me. I want to be an inspiration to all those who know me, and I hope my contributions to the construction industry and our community will be felt for years to come.


Gymnastics Instructor, Age 13

6 July 2023 South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth The entire contents of this newspaper are copyright by BridgeTower Media with all rights reserved. Any reproduction or use of the content within this publication without permission is prohibited. SCBIZ and South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. ©2023 BridgeTower Media BridgeTower Media GSA Business Report (USPS 8640) is published once a month except April, June, July, September, and October which all include an additional annual issue, 17 issues per year by SC Biz News, 35B Cessna Court Greenville, SC 29607-2700 Periodicals Postage paid at Greenville, SC and additional mailing of ces. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: Subscription Services PO Box 1051 Williamsport, PA 17703-9940 SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION Annual subscribers receive GSA Business Report, including the Book of Lists, Market Facts and the Book of Experts. One year for $67.00 Two years for $97.00 Subscribe, renew or change your address online at or call 877-615-9536.
(Photo/Provided) 7 July 2023

Here’s the $51M HQ that will anchor Greenville’s County Square

Acapital lending firm made a longterm commitment to Greenville when it announced plans to expand its U.S. headquarters to the County Square project.

Lima One Capital’s $51.4 million investment will create approximately 300 new jobs in the Greenville market, according to a news release. The expansion is expected to be complete by 2025.

Founded by U.S. Marines in 2010, Lima One Capital has funded more than $7 billion in loans for real estate investors across the nation. The company’s core products include bridge loans, rental property and portfolio loans, new construction loans and multifamily bridge lending.

“Lima One Capital is thrilled to be an anchor tenant within the state-of-the-art County Square development in downtown Greenville,” said Lima One Capital President and CEO Jeff Tennyson. “This significant milestone highlights our continued commitment to the growth and prosperity of Greenville. This beautiful office space will provide our team with an amazing work environment that

aligns with our award-winning culture and will serve as a catalyst to our continued national expansion and success.”

Lima One said it has seen how, by actively participating in downtown Greenville’s growing landscape, it can further solidify its position as a national industry leader and create “lasting value for its clients, associates and community.” As a national mortgage lender, the company explored several other markets before committing to keep their headquarters in Greenville, the release said. Lima One said that Greenville’s access to skilled employees and the quality of life it provides are “compelling traits” that support its growth and company culture.

“Greenville has been an extraordinary corporate headquarters city for Lima One since our inception, and we are excited to deepen our commitment here,” said Tennyson. “The continued support we’ve received from the city, Greenville County and state reaffirm our resolve to create opportunities for local talent and meaningfully contribute to the economic growth of the region.”

The company’s current operations are located in Suite 300 at 201 E. McBee Ave. in Greenville. As part of the expansion,

Lima One Capital will lease approximately 65,000 square feet in a newly constructed building in the $1 billion Greenville County Square project being developed by RocaPoint Partners. The new facility will more than double Lima One Capital’s office space, allowing the company to continue its rapid growth, the release said. The company also has an operations center in Irvine, Calif.

“This news comes on the heels of other exciting milestones for County Square, including the announcement of Whole Foods as our first retail tenant and the completion of the Foster + Partners-designed County Administration building,” said Phil Mays, principal of RocaPoint Partners. “The momentum continues to build downtown, and Lima One will be a great addition.”

Chicago-based The Perch Kitchen & Tap announced earlier this week it will open a location in Greenville County Square, partnering with Charleston-based Palmetto Brewing Co. for the brewery portion of the restaurant. The Perch Kitchen & Tap will also be a part of the project’s first phase along with Whole Foods Market as another anchor tenant, which was announced in March.

“Lima One Capital has been an excel-

lent, long-term contributor to Greenville County since its founding over 10 years ago,” Greenville County Council Chair and Greenville Area Development Corp. board member Dan Tripp said in the release. “Lima One Capital’s expanded commitment to Greenville and this prominent location for its headquarters in our new County Square development further affirms the work we’ve done to create proper soil conditions for businesses to succeed and thrive here.”

The Commerce Department’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to the project, the release said. The council also awarded a $500,000 Set-Aside grant to Greenville County to assist with the costs of site preparation and building construction.

“Greenville County has proven to be the right location for Lima One Capital to grow its headquarters operations,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said in the release. “This investment is a win for the state, and we are always pleased for existing industry to grow within South Carolina.”

Editor’s note: To find out what the founders of Lima One are up to now, see Page 32.

8 July 2023
Lima One Capital President and CEO Jeff Tennyson said the company explored other cities for their new headquarters before sticking with Greenville. (Photo/Provided)

Greenville County readies $65M project for public opening

More than two years after groundbreaking, Greenville County were set to open the doors to a new $65 million county administration and government affairs buildings at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, July 17.

Adjacent to the new County Square site, located at 301 University Ridge in Greenville, the 250,000-square-foot project features two five-story North and South Towers interconnected by a common terrace level, landscaped courtyard, bridge and fiberglass exterior structural canopy.

An eight-level parking garage boasts more than 1,000 parking spots and also features electric vehicle charging stations. Multiple self-serve kiosks will greet the public in the lobby, allowing for more efficient tax payments, county officials say. At the terrace level, visitors will find the probate and magistrate courts. Tax, real property services, County Council chamber and retail space will be at the lobby level. County offices will be located at all levels.

The building connects to the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail and downtown Greenville’s sidewalk system.

Bob Mihalic, Greenville County governmental affairs coordinator, said those visiting the new building should use the Greenville County parking garage that is adjacent

to the building. There are entrances off Church Street and the “traditional” County Square entrance off University Ridge. There will be no access to parking in the former lots.

“This is a highly anticipated day,” said Mihalic. “Staff is genuinely excited because everything is an upgrade that will make serving the public easier. The new building’s layout makes workflow between departments go smoother. For staff, there is better lighting, better air quality, and more conve-

nient interaction with citizens and staff.”

The new Greenville County administration building is the cornerstone of the University Ridge County Square public/private redevelopment project.

Related article: Here’s the $51M HQ that will anchor Greenville County Square

Related article: First restaurant tenant signs on to $1B downtown Greenville project

Related article: National grocery chain to anchor $1B downtown Green-


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• Advanced Manufacturing One-Day Training Series

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ville development

Developer RocaPoint Partners has already secured major new onsite tenants. Lima One Capital announced plans to expand its U.S. headquarters and become the anchor tenant of the development, while Whole Foods Market will be the retail anchor tenant.

Over the next eight years, additional investment on the properties will lead to $1 billion of economic impact in Greenville County, according to county officials. 9 July 2023
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The former complex of county offices has been replaced with a complex that puts some of the property in private hands and back onto the tax rolls. (Photo/Provided)

BMW breaks ground on $700M Woodruff plant

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

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

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

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

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

The BMW Group’s philosophy of promoting sustainability in all its facilities will also be exemplified at the Woodruff plant. This played a role in the building’s design

and use of equipment, according to a news release. Some of the innovations include how the plant will be operated without fossil fuels and will use 100% green electricity. In addition, CO2 emissions per vehicle across the lifecycle will fall by 40% by 2030; smart LED lighting; significant reduction in water consumption at the plant, with the addition of harvesting and utilizing rainwater; and use of highly efficient “smart” motors from Turntide, a BMW iVentures partner, to reduce energy consumption by as much as 40% in HVAC systems.

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

Preparing future employees

The new technical training center at the Spartanburg plant will play a critical role for electric vehicle training, and the Woodruff facility will have several sustainability innovations, by preparing its 11,000 employees for BMW’s future, said Horstmeier.

“In this way, we are taking responsibility as a reliable employer and offer futureproof jobs at the same time,” Horstmeier said.

The new BMW Technical Training

Center, which opened in October, will prepare employees to build the fully electric vehicles. Plant Spartanburg currently produces three plug-in hybrids — the BMW X3 xDrive30e, BMW X5 xDrive50e, and the BMW XM, which led to several hundred employees already trained in the manufacturing of these electric vehicles. The technical training center will be at the core of all electric vehicle training for North and South America.

“Our job is to put together a toolbox for our associates that will be the foundation for a full and satisfying career at BMW,” said Sherry McCraw, VP of human resources. “We must capitalize on our team’s existing skill sets, support them with the appropriate training, and ensure they are well-equipped for the EV journey ahead.”

Building a legacy

This groundbreaking is the start of a new era for Plant Spartanburg as the group prepares to produce fully electric BMW X Models for the world, said Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing.

“The road to the future begins here in Woodruff as we build on our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles right here in the U.S.,” said Engelhorn. “Plant Woodruff will be state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability, flexibility, and digitalization.”

As part of the BMW Group’s “local for local” approach, the company will purchase battery cells for its electric vehicles from partner AESC, which is building a new 30

GWh battery cell factory in Florence, with BMW as its first customer, according to the release.

AESC broke ground for its new $800 million plant on June 7, and it will produce newly developed round lithium-ion battery cells, specifically designed for the sixth generation of BMW eDrive technology. The new battery format will increase energy density by more than 20% and improve charging speed and range by up to 30%, the release said. At the same time, CO2 emissions from cell production will be reduced by up to 60% through the partial use of secondary lithium, cobalt, and nickel material, as well as renewable energy for production.

Battery cells produced at the Florence AESC facility will be shipped to Plant Woodruff. By 2030, Plant Spartanburg will build at least six fully electric BMWs, the release said.

Plant Woodruff showcases that South Carolina is a leader in the EV industry, said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and furthers the state’s reputation as an “automotive powerhouse.”

“We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with BMW as they continue to help move South Carolina forward,” he added.

Since 1992, the BMW Group has invested nearly $12.4 billion in its South Carolina operations. BMW Manufacturing is the largest BMW Group plant in the world, producing more than 1,500 vehicles per day. Plant Spartanburg has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles.

10 July 2023
The automaker that brought so much change to the Upstate and led a manufacturing revolution statewide has broken ground on a high-voltage battery assembly plant in Woodruff. (Image/Provided)

Greer Golf to undergo extensive renovations

An Upstate golf course is about to get a new look.

The city of Greer is poised to continue renovations of Greer Golf, investing more than $2 million into the facility, according to a news release from the city.

Construction will begin July 24 to convert the pool area into an outdoor event space, the first phase of a $2.4 million dollar renovation, the release stated. The outdoor event space will be available to rent for private gatherings including parties, receptions, and tournament scoring. The area will feature an outdoor bar with lounge furniture, food preparation space, and restrooms. These renovations are expected to take two months to complete.

Work will then move to the clubhouse, where planned renovations over a four-month span include a redesigned pro shop, additional seating in the dining room, a full-size bar in the dining room, and cosmetic upgrades throughout to include flooring, paint and fixtures, the release stated.

Golf cart storage will be relocated to the basement of the pro shop, and additional ADA parking and building entrance enhancements completed, according to

the release.

“It’s been exciting to watch the progress at Greer Golf and to see the vision we had when the city purchased the facility in 2020 coming to reality,” said Mayor Rick Danner in the release. “This is one more sign that the city of Greer is committed to providing first-rate parks and recreation offerings for our community.”

Golf operations will not be interrupted during construction, the release stated. The pro shop will remain open during the first phase of work and will be temporarily relocated to the event space once clubhouse work begins.

“The feedback we received after completing extensive work on the tees, fairways and greens was overwhelmingly

positive,” said Ann Cunningham, director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “This next phase will take Greer Golf to the next level as the premier public golf facility in the state.”

The design was prepared by the SGA/ Narmour Wright architecture firm and will be completed by general contractor P+F Construction. 11 July 2023
Upgrades at Greer Golf include an outdoor bar with lounge furniture, food preparation space and restrooms. (Photo/city of Greer)
EMPLOYEE WELLNESS EMPLOYEE WELLNESS INDUSTRY RECOGNITION INDUSTRY RECOGNITION NETWORKING & CELEBRATION NETWORKING & CELEBRATION Join the American Heart Association for the Join the American Heart Association for the third annual Hard Hats with Heart third annual Hard Hats with Heart celebration. Network with other firms, local celebration. Network with other firms, local industry leaders, and the healthcare industry leaders, and the healthcare community as we recognize local industry community as we recognize local industry achievements and celebrate building a achievements and celebrate building a healthy Upstate for all. healthy Upstate for all.
Top Golf Greenville Thursday, October 26, 2023 Contact Kinsey Besser at for information on attending.
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Greenville Airport District master plan in the works. Here’s what’s next

The planning eye of Greenville is turning its sights on the area around the Downtown Greenville Airport and Greenville Convention Center and sees a district ripe for the kind of growth and development that attracts more than conventioneers and airplanes.

With additions that include pedestrianand traffic-friendly enhancements, a vision is emerging for a district that has its own identity and its own promise.

The city of Greenville Airport District planning study presentation was released in June as a way of explaining the city’s master plan for the Greenville Downtown Airport, Greenville Convention Center and surrounding properties.

The airport district plan is part of the GVL 2040 Comprehensive Plan, keeping in mind the overarching goals of affordable housing opportunities, open space and the environment, and transportation and mobility.

Greenville Assistant City Manager and Planning Director Shannon Lavrin said the primary focus of the master plan thus far has been to assess the area’s existing conditions and work with the community to develop a vision for the future of the city’s development.

Feedback received by the city from a public presentation will help solidify the vision and guide the policy formulation phase of the plan, she said. The final master plan documents are expected to be complete in late summer or early fall. Subsequently, the plan will be reviewed by the planning commission, which will make a recommendation to the City Council for adoption, she added. The Greenville City Council is ultimately responsible for adopting the plan.

The plan will establish goals and objectives to provide a framework for implementation. That means identifying action steps, generating strategies to achieve those goals, and identifying capital improvement projects, programs, public-private partnerships, and other strategies and public investment opportunities to implement the plan, Lavrin said.

Objectives are to:

• Combine the economic development and land use vision of Greenville with the logistical requirements of the Greenville Airport Commission

• Support the Greenville Convention Center as a district hub and share airport development innovation, trends, and best practices

• Support transportation and public infrastructure improvements (including the Swamp Rabbit Trail) to encourage private investment

Feedback from the 60 participants in the public presentation included a need for more affordable grocery stores and housing, safe sidewalks and better walkability, restaurants and hotels, hangars, airside development including more restaurants, bike paths

and lanes, open air venues and green space, and the fewer vacant buildings and lots in the Airport District.

Out of 366 participants from an online survey, 40% said the study area does not have its own identity or gateway feature, while more than 70% said the Greenville Convention Center and the Greenville Downtown Airport are community assets. Most of the participants said restaurants, recreation and entertainment are all key elements missing in the area.

Gauging the project’s economic impact

“This area of the city has significant development potential,” Lavrin said.

New development and redevelopments

would generate additional activity at the convention center, she said. In addition, a planned runway expansion at the airport will likely result in additional economic impact.

“The city believes the survey results align with established principles and best practices in urban planning, affirming their relevance to people’s sense of what constitutes a healthy, vibrant, human-centered environment,” she added.

The city issued a request for proposals last summer to select a qualified consultant for this project, said Lavrin. The consultant team led by CallisonRTKL— now Arcadis — was selected based on their experience working on similar projects and familiar-

ity with Greenville from their work on the Swamp Rabbit Trail Extension Master Plan, which was completed in 2021, she said.

Arcadis conducted the project study and assessed the needs of the Airport District and surrounding areas, focusing on improvements of the quality of life for residents.

The corridors of the study area are Pleasantburg, Laurens and Haywood roads. The goals for those roads are to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety and mobility; provide built-in traffic calming to reduce vehicular speeds and reduce crashes; create gateway and treatments to set the tone for aesthetics and reinvestment; and craft a sense of arrival and place along the corridors.

Design considerations of the study areas include proposing new posted speeds, widening side paths, lighting and pedestrian/vehicular crossing improvements, high-quality intersections and pedestrian crossings, signal timing improvements, and the addition of street trees and pocket medians.

Preliminary recommendations for the Greenville Convention Center master plan include creating a shared parking deck and capitalizing on hotel partnerships, according to the planning study.

Although the project does not include cost estimates, specific infrastructure components may be incorporated into the city’s capital improvement plan and annual budget process, said Lavrin. Other elements rely on private sector investment and working with the city’s planning staff and city officials to advance plan priorities as private property is redeveloped.

“Our goal is to build momentum and support for the plan through this process, which will lay the foundation for future partnerships on transformational projects within the Airport District,” Lavrin said.

12 July 2023
Conceptual idea drawing of what the entry point of the Greenville Convention Center could look like. Provided by Arcadis city of Greenville Airport District plan. Study area map provided by Arcadis of the city of Greenville’s plan to marry the economic development and land use vision with the logistical requirements of the Greenville Airport Commission.

From artists to founders, the Upstate is full of talented young professionals making a mark in their chosen industry and in their communities.

You can meet dozens of these shining stars on the following pages in this Forty Under 40 special section.

What is particularly noteworthy, aside from our honorees’ professional achievements, is their desire to make the Upstate a better place through volunteerism.

Meals on Wheels. The Humane Society. Mentorship. Working with kids to break the cycle of poverty and failure. Ronald McDonald Foundation. Relay for Life. Giving back is in these people’s DNA — and the Upstate is better off because of it.

We celebrated their accomplishments at a recent awards luncheon at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville.

We’re humbled to do the same on these pages of GSA Business Report. Congratulations to all honorees.

Her company’s 2022 Recruiter of the Year, and a member of the team of the year across the Northwestern Mutual system, Claire Bray is the kind of strong, smart, loyal employee any business would love to have. An active member of United Way’s Young Leaders Society, this Furman University grad reaches back to help today’s students at her alma mater with mentoring and business connections. An active and supportive mom of two young girls, she also runs the company’s college internship program, rated among Vault’s top 100 for 27 consecutive years. 13 July 2023
Claire Bray!
©️2023 Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM) (life and disability Insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries, in Milwaukee, WI. Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA and SIPC.
“I am proud to work with Claire. Her ability to cultivate relationships with our leadership team, candidates looking to get into a financial services career, and influential community members contributes directly to the growth of our firm.”
- John Tripoli, Managing Director, Greenville/Spartanburg


John Collier founded Proactive MD because he believes there is a better way to deliver health care, particularly to those most in need. Backed by MBA and MHA degrees and years on the business side of health care, John brings his expertise to 70 health centers serving more than 130,000 patients nationwide. He is deeply invested in making health care accessible to underserved communities and ensuring individuals from low-income backgrounds have a pathway into the medical field. His fire was lit as a young man, when his father’s cancer exposed the perverse and unrelenting dysfunction of the health care industry, that he is now working to change.

Courtney Cox

A former Miss Greenville Teen USA and Miss South Carolina Teen International, Courtney Cox has made beautiful philanthropy a staple of her life. After rescuing her pit bull, Ralph Lauren, she aims to open a rescue center and provide therapy there for individuals with special needs. That connects to her work with the Special Olympics. Cox is also using her professional position to mentor young women in the tech world.

Crickman chief financial officer Mattress By Appointment

Leslie Crickman is the CFO of a Top 15 mattress company – with more than 500 retail locations nationwide. She is responsible for all the myriad financial elements of the company, including payroll and taxes for hundreds of active dealers. Crickman’s commitment to four-legged beings is also extraordinary, as an active supporter of the Humane Society and Greenville Animal Society.

Rosey Davis development specialist Rebuild Upstate

For Rosey Davis, a safe and affordable home is the key to success. Collectively, she has worked for seven years, and raised more than $800,000, for organizations that provide real solutions to the affordable housing crisis. At Rebuild Upstate, her efforts boosted fundraising by 30% in one year. Her side hustle is a family affair with her siblings — The Venue at Davis Pond Family farms, an event space at a 55-acre fishing pond in Batesburg. It’s part of her grand plan to build an agritourism empire while she continues offering a rosy future to others in need.

14 July 2023
John Leslie

We would like to recognize our very own Katie Klaiber for her professionalism and community involvement in the Upstate.

We are fortunate to have a Forty under 40 honoree on our team. 15 July 2023 Headquartered in Upstate SC, AFL manufactures cutting-edge telecommunications that connects people and improves quality of life while having a minimum impact on our environment. Our success over the past 35+ years is due to the commitment of our greatest asset — our associates. Visit to explore our current career opportunities.

Imagine taking wood refuse from an area at high risk of catastrophic wildfires and turning it into low-carbon fuel. Drew Carter was instrumental in making that happen as chief engineer on a project in Oregon. That’s one of the many ways this licensed mechanical engineer is using his skills to improve life around him. A problem-solver who is never too busy to help others achieve their goals, Carter has chaired a work effort for Meals on Wheels and served as a volunteer firefighter with the Long Creek Fire District. He says serving sets an example of leadership to his two young boys.

Once Daniel Deery joined Isomer as a partner, the engineering firm really took off, growing from 5 to 25 professionals in just two years. He runs the civil and structural engineering functions by promoting teamwork, collaboration and technology. The home crew has grown as well, as he and wife Laura have welcomed three biological children and a host of foster children into their loving home. Deery volunteers as a soccer coach at the local Y and serves as a kids’ ministry leader at his church, making him a leading mentor and positive influence in the lives of children in the Upstate.

A member of this University of South Carolina Law School honor society, Konstantine Diamaduros has also been named among the area’s Legal Elite and its Top Lawyers, handling white collar criminal defense and other matters. A former college baseball player and part-time farmer who volunteers for Ducks Unlimited and Meals on Wheels, Diamaduros recently added a new title to his portfolio: proud father.

16 July 2023
Daniel Deery partner Isomer Project Group Konstantine Diamaduros member Nexsen Pruet Drew Carter staff engineer Isomer Project Group DANIEL DEERY Partner
CARTER Staff Engineer
Success is best when it’s shared.

Jack Foster CEO Floatair

Floatair, deemed an essential business during COVID-19, designed a special response boat for fire department rescues, earned the distinction of Best Lift in the Industry and won a Defense Department award for employing Guardsmen and Reservists. They also donated a heavy-duty boat lift to a non-profit that supports disabled veterans and they sponsor local high school fishing teams. The son of the founder, Jack Foster started at the bottom, learned every aspect of the business, and now gives a lift to the community as a valued employer.

Kendall Givens-Little director of strategic communications University of South Carolina School of Medicine

One of 186 children raised by a foster mother, Kendall Givens-Little beat formidable odds to earn a graduate degree and a critical position at USC School of Medicine. He is leading the first-ever marketing initiative to bring awareness to the school as it addresses the shortage of physicians in the state. Givens-Little is lending a hand to those behind him as chair of the board at AMIkids Wings, a juvenile detention center for girls working to break the cycle of poverty and failure, and on the Board for Kingdom Learning School of Excellence.

Joanna Gossett founded and runs a real estate investment and property management firm; founded and leads a real estate consulting firm; and owns Integrity Stores, an AT&T partner. And it’s true that she started all her entrepreneurial endeavors after she had babies. Gossett has placed over 100 mid-, senior- and executive-level professionals within the real estate industry. She and her husband are active real estate investors managing their own assets, franchisees with Romeo’s Pizza, and own/operate Anytime Fitness Clubs in the Upstate. 17 July 2023
Boatlifts Joanna Gossett president, JG Consulting, Gossett Homes, Goss Fitness and Goss Pizza

Rachael Greathouse director of avenue Avenue Greenville

You might live on an avenue, but Rachael Greathouse is the director of Avenue. That’s the Greenville event space that hosts 200 events annually, including the Michelin Star Chef dinner series. Greathouse has provided the leadership needed for Avenue to grow and thrive as one of Greenville’s most cherished event spaces. Greathouse says her husband and daughter make her world go round, but her positive influence extends beyond her family. She supports an assortment of charities including Ronald McDonald Foundation, Relay for Life and Clemson Men of Color.

This Greenville-based self-taught artist, traveling muralist and entrepreneur with tens of thousands of social media followers is blowing up all over the world. Lacey Hennessey’s commissions come from around the country and the globe. Starting with five murals her first year, she has been hired to paint 150 massive creations in the past three years. Hennessey’s art inspires more than eyeballs: she donates her art to 10 events annually among her numerous charitable endeavors. Now she’s in demand as an art coach and school instructor.

Hughes Agency is proud to recognize this year’s Forty under 40 honorees, including our very own Rachael Greathouse.

Congratulations on this well-deserved achievement!


Herlong chief strategy officer

Joan Herlong & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty

Jackson Herlong’s titles have included top producer, managing broker, broker-in-charge and chief strategy officer. A third-generation real estate professional, this law school graduate is valuable to the profession as well, serving on the grievance committee for the South Carolina Realtors Association. While Herlong is reaching his goals in business, he’s scoring goals on the pitch. The team he captains, Augusta Road Arsenal, has won multiple titles in the Greenville adult soccer league’s pro division.

18 July 2023

Ryan Holder professional engineer Hodges, Harbin, Newberry & Tribble

Once upon a time, Ryan Holder left Hodges, Harbin, Newberry & Tribble to return home to Greenville. The Macon, Georgia-based engineering firm spent the next four years wooing him back. They finally succeeded, placing him in charge of their Greenville office and subsequently offering him an opportunity to become a stockholder in the company. Described by colleagues as a pleasure to work with, Holder is known for his integrity and attention to detail. A father of three small children, he spends his spare time serving his church and the Society of Civil Engineers.

Whether companies need rapid-response emergency services, a fast refurbishment for aging sound equipment, or reliable preventative maintenance, the Instel team of electrical experts is ready to help. William Jackson and his brother Matt run this half-century-old family-owned company of loyal employees. William guides his team along these tenets — work hard, enjoy what you’re doing, and maintain integrity in every way you serve your customers. Jackson serves his community through a number of charities including the American Heart Association and Meals on Wheels. 19 July 2023
CONGRATULATIONSWILLIAM,40UNDER40HONOREE! Local business news updates... as they happen! For advertising information, contact Ryan Downing at Follow @GSABusiness on twitter to get breaking news and information on businesses in the Upstate. @GSABUSINESS Follow us on Twitter for the inside scoop on local business news.

When colleagues talk about Katie Klaiber, they hardly mention her work as a graphic designer for the power company AFL, other than to say that she is exceptional and creative. They focus instead on how nice she is and her commitment to community service. Klaiber helped lead the employee fundraising campaign that netted over $600,000. A member and former chair of United Way’s Young Leaders, she was recognized as the top young volunteer in 2021. Today, Klaiber is in a fight for her life. But even then, while receiving treatment for brain cancer, she returned to AFL to kick off their 2023 community fundraising campaign. Says one co-worker, “I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of this award.”

Lambright director of finance and administration Bon Secours Wellness Arena

Adam Lambright is responsible for entertaining 600,000 people and creating $60 million of impact on the Greenville area annually through his work at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Lambright led the finance team to the highest gross and net revenue in arena history. As a member of the leadership team, Lambright helped secure the return of the NCAA Tournament to Greenville and inked a three-year deal with the SEC to host their Women’s Basketball Tournament. Working since age 13 in his dad’s tire shop, he learned about billing, inventory and so on, which set the foundation for a successful career.


What is better than 100% customer delight? Nothing. Which is why Analeisa Latham is described as “nothing short of amazing.” After leading a top Upstate real estate team, she decided to lead area leaders, and made the bold move to join Bold Move, a leadership coaching agency. In her spare time, Latham shares her coaching pro bono with other women, fellow church members and college students, helping them set and achieve their goals. A mother of two, she still sells houses, which means one way or another she is helping people achieve their dreams.

Lewis first vice president CBRE

Campbell Lewis says integrity, persistence and a strong work ethic are the backbone of his professional life, handling the life cycle of industrial real estate. A college baseball player, he has hit a home run at CBRE, rising through the ranks to VP, one of only four industrial specialists to earn that designation in South Carolina. A Greenville Chamber Young Professional and a former United Way loaned executive, Lewis has another big new title: chapter president of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.

20 July 2023
Adam Campbell Katie Klaiber graphic design specialist AFL Analeisa Latham leadership coach Bold

Taylor Lyles CEO and executive vice president Home Builders Association of Greenville

An avid cyclist, Taylor Lyles enjoys climbing to the peak of Paris Mountain on his bike and enjoying the view. He’s helping home builders in the area reach their peak, providing resources and advocating for them, and for the housing infrastructure necessary as the area grows. A trained landscape architect, Lyles and his wife Lindsey serve as foster parents to children in need.

Maloley founder and CEO

Vivacity Tech, PBC

Eli Maloley is the founder of the only public benefit corporation to provide tech hardware to schools. He has grown the company from four to 100 full-time employees in just four years, and earned a slew of awards along the way. Balancing profitability with social good, the company has donated more than $100,000 in equipment to schools and students, and more than 3,500 volunteer hours to the community. Not surprisingly, Maloley is an active contributor of his time and talent, supporting entrepreneurs and school children. He is also dedicated to growing his company in an inclusive way.

Lauren McElveen regional treasury solutions officer United Community Bank

Lauren McElveen’s rise from teller to management at the bank in just five years reeks of high performance. She has been honored twice by United Community Bank, once as its outstanding teammate and once for modeling company values. McElveen is a passionate advocate for uniting the financial and social good. A March of Dimes fundraising co-captain, a Cancer Society fundraising committee member, a financial literacy coach, and a fundraising champion for United Way, she is the kind of person dedicated in every way to making the world a better place for everyone.

Velma McIlwain compliance and process improvement manager Job Impulse

From assisting companies in relocations to South Carolina to being an agent of change in the staffing world, Velma McIlwain has had an exceptional impact on everything she touches. That includes her own office, which has doubled in size over the past five years and placed 1,250 associates into new companies here. A staunch advocate of contributing to her community, McIlwain created a program that allows branch offices to volunteer three weeks of their time for charity activities. Says one colleague, “anyone who is blessed to share time with her will truly understand the impacts she has had near and far.” 21 July 2023

Being a Forty Under 40 is pretty exciting, but Laura Beth Medley was already an 80 for 80. She led her company’s employee initiative to complete 80 acts of community service in honor of Canal’s 80th anniversary. A third-generation HR professional, she is the catalyst for community service inside the company and an active community contributor outside it, including a significant donor to United Way. Medley takes care of Canal employees too, spearheading an employee wellness program that included nutrition counseling and a mobile mammography unit.

Seeing how Kyle Mills was recognized with ScanSource’s Future Leader award last year, and that this year is now the future, we can, today, call Mills a leader. While developing marketing campaigns for the point-of-sale payment company, he educates staff and customers on how to make money and overcome challenges in the modern workforce. Mills is also helping children with cancer overcome their life-threatening challenges as volunteer creative director for the NoahStrong Foundation. His efforts there are building awareness and raising funds to support kids and their families as they navigate tough times.

One of Talk Greenville’s Most Beautiful Women in 2022, Kimberly Mogan is empowering middle- and high-school girls with experiences that replace obstacles with opportunities. That’s what she means when she says, Girl Up, Greenville! Founded in 2019, it’s Mogan’s personal passion to provide a safe and loving environment for girls to flourish and realize how valuable and special they are. “It was such a turning point in my life,” Mogan said. “I wish I had had more leadership and guidance during those years. I think that’s why I have such a heart for this work.”

Financial planner Bryan Newton is a self-described golf nerd, a member of the team at Lander University, where he scored the best birdie of his life — his wife Rachel. Now he has a two-child handicap, but it keeps him grounded while he helps clients build wealth. Being a father comes with some big perks for this YMCA swim coach.

22 July 2023
Kyle Mills director of channel marketing ScanSource Bryan Newton private wealth advisory associate Muncaster Financial Group Laura Beth Medley vice president chief human resources and corporate communications officer Canal Insurance Co. Kimberly Mogan founder and executive director Girl Up GVL

Taylor Owens chief marketing officer Lima One Capital

Taylor Owens crafts stories, creates brands, and develops go-to-market strategies for the nation’s leading fix-and-flip mortgage lender. In his first full year on the team, he helped the company achieve record-breaking sales growth. A University of Washington Huskie, Owens previously helped launch products for Mitsubishi, Amazon, Acura and others. Active in the Greenville Chamber’s Accelerate program, he is working to launch economic development that benefits everyone in the Upstate.

Tareka Pearson education and development specialist ScanSource

When Tareka Pearson joins an effort, she jumps in with both feet. Her job at ScanSource is to train the financial services team, but she’s also serving on the company’s diversity and inclusion council and chairing a committee for its women’s employee resource group. It’s the same for Pearson’s community efforts. A supporter and educator for a teen outreach organization, she served on the board for four years. She also helped found and contributes to a charity serving women in need, raises funds for the Lupus Foundation, offers health and wellness webinars in the Black community.

Kory Radford director of client success Engenius

The consummate relationship builder, Kory Radford has been promoted twice at Engenius and is credited with contributing to several agency awards and dramatic growth in sales and revenue. Combining business knowledge, digital marketing savvy and soft skills, he has helped the firm’ achieve a 98% client retention rate. Radford connects the agency to non-profits to provide pro bono digital marketing needs. This has helped organizations like Euphoria, Artisphere, Greer Relief, and Warehouse Theatre increase their online presence. The father of two boys coaches sports, mentors school children, repairs homes for low-income neighbors and helps feed and train unemployed individuals.

Josh Riley chief operating officer Sully’s Steamers Franchisers

Josh Riley may not be a hot mess, but the bagel sandwiches his restaurant produces are. Since joining Sully’s Steamers in 2016, he’s helped develop a growth strategy that has the company poised to double the store count to 12 this year. Like the mouthwatering concoctions produced by Sully’s, Riley is never toasted, even when he’s solving a Rubik’s cube in under a minute or running a marathon in under three hours. That’s qualified him for the grandaddy — the Boston Marathon, where he’ll probably leave the stroller and the two kids behind. 23 July 2023

Anna Spangler graphics director

Complete PR

You may not know Anna Spangler, but you’ve probably seen her work. She has painted two murals for Gather GVL and two more for local gyms — The Junkyard and The Booty Shop. 2021’s Young Professional of the Year is a master graphic designer helps clients rebrand or contributing her talents to her community. She serves on the board of Rebuild Upstate, which returns dignity, safety, and stability to individuals in need in the community through home preservation.

Taryn Scher the sparkle boss


The PR tornado that is Taryn Scher has put Greenville on the map as the driving force behind VisitGreenvilleSC for the past 13 years. In the process, she has won a plethora of recognition that includes three “Best Pitch of the Year” awards. Scher is also a whirling dervish of service to the adopted community she loves. She’s the former chair of Euphoria and the Clemson Small Business Development Center, sits on the Board of Feed & Seed and the Greenville Zoo foundation, and much more. She’s helping the area live up to the news releases she writes.

Sloan director of accounts CampFire LLC

Who wouldn’t love a Campfire Cocktail?

Conor Sloan invented these small business gatherings where someone presents a story of business success or failure for the group’s edification. The series has been so successful it even attracted the mayor. Sloan took the same approach to his love of the beautiful game and for serving his community. Through soccer, he established a relationship with Cultivate Sports, a non-profit sports ministry for underserved youth, and partnered with them to raise money for their work. That kind of connection-building is part of what makes Connor a successful marketing agency executive at CampFire.

24 July 2023

Jonathan Smith

real estate associate broker/ auctioneer, Joy Real Estate; Municipal Court judge town of Simpsonville

Jonathan Smith brings Joy to people’s lives through his novel approach to real estate and his Renaissance Man approach to life. Selling homes through the auction process affords his clients the highest price because of increased competition. In addition, the commission is paid by the buyer, not the seller. Smith is a man of multiple talents, serving as a whitewater rafting guide and a municipal court judge in Simpsonville. On top of that, he volunteered as a firefighter for five years.

Jenna Spencer founder and visionary AssistPro

A desire for a better work-life balance with three small children led Jenna Spencer to leave her corporate job and found AssistPro, the executive assistant matching company helping business leaders learn new ways to delegate so they can focus on their areas of expertise. AssistPro has grown 50% annually and made the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies. Now with better work-life balance, Spencer has time to volunteer in the Anderson community, helping people in need and business organizations that can use her, well, assistance. Ladies and gentlemen, Jenna Spencer.

Kea Wade corporate and community engagement manager

Make-A-Wish South Carolina

If you could make a wish for your non-profit, it might be to get Kea Wade. This charity fundraising guru has offered her talents to some of the most venerable national organizations — Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and now Make-a-Wish. Wade fulfills children’s wishes too, as a volunteer wish granter. Evidently that’s a thing! She helps wish families navigate each phase of the wish journey. With a charity heart like that, you can bet Wade is a passionate community volunteer and non-profit sector leader. And her boss says he consistently receives high praise for her ability to make everyone feel valued. 25 July 2023
FIND THE MISSING PIECES WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE Get all the pieces when you subscribe! You deserve the full story - in the easy to read digital or print editions - plus all the perks of being a subscriber INSIDE Upfront Briefs Hospitals Work Viewpoint Arming the Army An arms makes military weapons will Page 21 Taste of Europe Gastro pub Greenville inspired by couple’s adventures Page Icons honored GSA Business Report celebrates business community. Page 14 Tourism impact million visitors in on the Greenville 2022 spent surprising amount IN FOCUS: A better way to deliver meds Greenville-headquartered company ready to change the game. Page NUMBER GSABUSINESS.COM $2.25 the new Reedy River Wetlands Preserve at Unity Park offers glimpse of the forgotten history the Reedy River while showcasing habitat restoration an urban setting. Page 6 Restoring the Reedy

You might say that Shane Williams has returned to his roots — in the landscaping business. After receiving his horticulture degree and working for a landscaping company, he joined the state highway patrol, where he worked for 10 years. During that time, he fertilized his own landscaping company until it grew from an acorn to a mighty oak. Armed with the 2021 Southern Home and Garden MVP Award, Williams pruned his law enforcement responsibilities and became a fulltime landscape company CEO. He is a big supporter of the underprivileged, from Hope Academy, a school for children with disabilities, to the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Mary Allison Zimmermann

Realtor associate

Wilson Associates

You would be hard-pressed to find a more determined, or more positive person than Mary Allison Zimmermann, says a co-worker. She expanded her book of business by nearly 35% last year while helping to lead many professional and charitable organizations, despite a cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, and multiple surgeries. Her clients never knew she was ill. Zimmermann has a charitable book of business too large to mention, turning her own grief after the suicides of two family members into action. Since 2011 she has served on the board of Gateway, a non-profit that serves adults with mental illness.

Celebrating the Palmetto State’s Products

26 July 2023
• Upfront • SC Delivers - Port Impact • The South Carolina You Don’t Know • County Spotlight: Anderson • Power List: Manufacturing • Best Places to Work in SC Feature DEPARTMENTS SPECIAL SECTIONS For more information, contact Ryan Downing at COMING INAUGUST!
With a combined economic impact of over $250 billion annually, two of South Carolina’s biggest industries are the focus of the September/ October issue of SCBIZ Magazine: agribusiness and manufacturing. We explore how The Palmetto State is championing diversity within the agriculture sector and how South Carolina is the emergent leader in preparing the country’s future advance manufacturing workforce.

In Focus

LISTS: Startups, Page 32


How this Upstate nonprofit created an entrepreneur, startup hub

“Ibelieve that entrepreneurs are going to change the world.”

This is why NEXT Upstate Executive Director Eric Weissmann is passionate about the nonprofit organization that provides entrepreneurial support to startups.

Headquartered in Greenville, NEXT Upstate is a partner of the economic development strategy of the city of Greenville, Greenville County, and Greenville Chamber.

The genesis of NEXT stemmed from a Greenville Chamber program, said Weissmann, and it started more than a decade ago and is still a part of the Chamber’s Foundation.

“In short, we help startups and focus on high-growth entrepreneurs as a part of the economic development ecosystem,” said Weissmann.

NEXT started as a means to address needs and provide resources to smaller entrepreneurs that were leading, scaling and growing companies that banded together, wanting to learn from one another.

“We want them to find the infrastructure here, to be able to grow and flourish their businesses, to find talent, customers, and capital to grow their business in a place they also love to live in,” he added.

“The annual growth here is dramatic. To be in the place drawing people in has made the Upstate region an entrepreneur and startup hub. At the end of the day, we want to have a vibrant, growing, and robust economy and have the startups be a part of that.”

What does being a startup mean?

The top industry verticals in 2021 in the region were information technology and services, business services, advanced manufacturing, life sciences and consumer packaged goods, according to the NEXT 2021 impact report.

When we talk about startups, does that mean they are just starting up, that they have an investor? What does the term mean?

Weissmann said there is no single answer, but NEXT’s definition of a startup is a nontraditional business model that wants to scale rapidly.

“In the Silicon Valley world, if your company has venture capital, you’re a startup but it doesn’t mean you’re just starting up,” he said. “But it’s the energy of the word that gives it meaning. It’s an attitude, a way of doing things differently, wanting to make an impact.”

When NEXT looks at the companies they serve, said Weissmann, at the center of the

bullseye are the questions: Does this startup scale? Do they have the ambition to scale it and how do they want to scale it? Does it create wealth, not just for an owner but for an investor? What is the founder’s ambition? What’s the regional impact? Does it create knowledge-based jobs?

These are the questions that stakeholders want entrepreneurial candidates to answer, Weissmann said.

“Yes, we need to be founder-focused, but there are so many other parts to the locomotive,” he said. “That next founder is working for a current founder and exposing them to this ecosystem is how we keep the train going.”

For a lot of these startups, it hasn’t been obvious what help looks like and how to get it, said Weissmann. It’s also not obvious what “no” looks like, he added.

For example, if an investor tells a startup “no” after they’ve pitched their business plan, there’s not much more that organization can do for you.

So then the next question for them is “who can help me with my marketing plan?” said Weissmann.

“That’s where NEXT comes in,” he said. “We want to be what ‘no’ looks like when someone tells these companies they aren’t the right fit.”

The application process to use NEXT as a resource is simple, Weissmann said.

“Just get involved, just show up at events,” he said. “That’s the best way to get started. Entrepreneurship is an active

sport but can be very lonely, too, because you’re not going to have all the answers. And we can help you.”

It’s important to not expect an investor to invest in your idea the first time, said Weissmann. They would like to see your track record as much as you would.

“We all have to embrace failure,” he said.

What’s NEXT? — the economic impact

With approximately 6,000 people in NEXT’S master database, 330 have been identified as entrepreneurs in the region.

NEXT supported 165 companies in 2021, 26% of which were female and/or minority-led, according to the 2021 impact report. In 2022, it grew to support 330 entrepreneurs, with 20% of those being female and/ or minority-led — a 6% decrease from the previous year.

“We aren’t uncommon when it comes to the demographic breakdown of entrepreneurs in this region,” said Weissmann. “With that, it is a very male-dominated sector. That cycle is hard to break.”

However, he said, things are changing.

“We’re actually seeing more engagement from our female-led teams than at any time before the pandemic,” Weissmann said.

NEXT’s Women in Innovation Panel this past spring, facilitated by Tina Swolinski and featuring Nathalie Boudain who leads Michelin’s innovation team, was one of the highest attended Founders Forums to date, he added. And, the organization has three female entrepreneurs on its board of direc-

tors: Paige McPheely, Shontavia Johnson and Nicole Johnson.

“In growing and evolving ecosystems, we have the opportunity to spotlight and do something about it,” he added. “Spreading awareness is critical, which is why we hold all the events we do. We are doing it, but it will take some time to see a shift demographically.”

Weissmann said there is a push for more female entrepreneurs, because with that comes more diversity — diversity of thought, attitude.

“While fewer females get invested in, more females that get investments are successful,” he added. “I’m excited about making a change here.”

In 2021, NEXT-supported companies were responsible for creating 349 new jobs, 2,017 total full-time employees, with an additional 149 interns employed, leading to an annual payroll amount of $195,303,938. In 2022, the organization chose to focus its metrics approach on what stage of growth the companies under its wingspan were in, so this is the most recent data available.

As for significant 2022 accomplishments, the NEXT Founders Fund was created, a $6 million early stage fund developed by local entrepreneurs. NEXT LaunchPad awarded eight entrepreneurs with $125,000 in prizes. And the NEXT Venture Summit exposed firms to more than 20 top investors representing more than $18 million in capital.

“Entrepreneurs are the future,” Weissmann said.

The NEXT Accelerator showcase is one of the organization’s events that brings together the Upstate’s entrepreneurs. (Photo/NEXT) Weissmann

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

condition remotely.

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

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

Providing quick access to a patient’s respiratory symptom information serves a number of purposes: it not only gives a health care provider real-time perspective on how the patient is progressing, but also could offer new perspectives on medication effectiveness and provide opportunity for timely intervention.

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

surveillance which can be informative to the medical team making medication delivery selections.”

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

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

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

PulManage’s technology is ever advancing, Clark said.

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

Clark expects research and fine-tuning

on the platform to go on for several more years, and looks forward to the day that her company moves the needle regarding the diagnosis and management of chronic lung diseases. Sadly, for many effected patients, diagnosis often comes after disease has advanced and the social stigmas are undeniable, Clark said. Surprisingly, COPD disproportionately affects women and roughly 25% of COPD patients have never been smokers. Additionally, 15% of people with the disease have a genetic component that makes them more susceptible.

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

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

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

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

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Startups in life sciences get perks, discounts from industry association

The life sciences industry is growing in South Carolina and excitement is brewing over how the next new idea or cutting-edge research could impact millions of people’s health and turn a major profit.

South Carolina is increasing its number of life sciences businesses two times faster than other Southern states, including Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, according to James Chappell, CEO of SCbio, a non-profit industry association that promotes the life science industry in the state.

“We’re growing 1.8 times faster than North Carolina — a state which everybody looks at as a kind of hub for life sciences,” Chappell said.

Under Chappell’s leadership, this year SCbio began offering life science startups perks that support the industry and help entrepreneurs with cost savings.

SCbio’s membership program, SCbio Edge, partners with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina to give life science startups the option to hop onto a large health association health insurance plan, even if the company has only one or two


“On average, it’s about almost a 20% discount and it also gives them access to better plans,” said Chappell. “That’s huge for our companies. And now they can put that capital toward hiring more employees, research and development and everything else.”

Another perk for South Carolina life science startups is a purchasing discount from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., a major supplier of lab materials and scientific supplies, powders, reagents and more.

Chappell said SCbio partners with MassBio, a similar industry association that supports the life science industry in Massachusetts, to offer SC companies the same Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. discount.

“It’s significant because we’re leveraging the buying power of that Massachusetts market. MassBio is one of Thermo Fisher’s largest customers in the world. Now South Carolina companies who sign up with us are getting that same buying power,” Chappell said. “It’s the most beneficial to an early-stage company who has no leverage and no buying power because they’re small.”

On average, companies get a discount around 40% lower than making the purchase on their own, Chappell said.

The close working relationship between MassBio and SCbio also means a larger networking pool; Chappell said two life sciences companies that started following research at the Medical University of South Carolina were able to present their work at a recent MassBio conference which had a lot of investors in attendance.

“To get the research and development and headquarters here, the easiest way and the best way to do that is to grow these companies that have started in South Carolina. The Medical University is doing great research. We need to figure out how to help get that two-tothree- person team into that next big life science company that is publicly traded or acquired and grow to hundreds of employees,” said Chappell. “Part of our job is to make sure that the three-person company out of MUSC becomes the next 200-person, 500-person company. These programs we are offering is about us asking, ‘how do we add more value to our companies?’”

Chappell points to Charleston-based Vikor Scientific as a successful home-

grown life science company. The molecular diagnostics company has grown significantly, now taking over two floors after beginning from one humble office.

“They’re invested in Charleston and their leadership team is in Charleston. We need more of that. That’s how we’ll get the decision makers and the research in South Carolina — growing our homegrown companies,” Chappell said. “If you look at Austin (Texas), Dell computer started there and kickstarted a lot of their software revolution. And Vertex pharmaceuticals in Cambridge … Cambridge now has 18 of the biggest pharmaceutical companies.”

Chappell said the Medical University of South Carolina and Clemson University are both major assets in the state and offer endless potential in life sciences. The association is constantly looking at how to better support the industry and even looking at offering a business accelerator for early-stage life science companies.

“I think we’re just at the beginning,” Chappell said. “My vision is when people are talking about where life science hubs are, where real research is happening, South Carolina can be in that conversation.”

South Carolina is increasing its number of life sciences businesses two times faster than other Southern states, including Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, according to SCbio. (Photo/Stock)

ENTREPRENEUR’S JOURNEY: CoffeeCandy hits Greenville store shelves

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

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

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

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

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

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

When SC Biz News first checked in on Li’s entrepreneurial journey, he had a product, a package and a website, www.eatcoffeenet. He was selling product directly to a few customers in person and online, but he

awaited South Carolina Agriculture Department approval to make wholesale sales that would put CoffeeCandy on store shelves.

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

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

convenience stores and a supermarket.

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


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

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

Greenville coffee brand expands store, relocates roasting operations to Travelers Rest

AGreenville-based national coffee roaster expanded one of its locations and relocated all of its coffee roasting operations and shipping to Travelers Rest.

Methodical Coffee originally roasted its coffee at The Commons at Unity Park, one of three coffee shop locations in Greenville. The owners decided to move these operations by purchasing a 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Travelers Rest at 999 Geer Highway. This warehouse became Methodical’s new production facility and consolidates their roasting, packaging and shipping operations in one place.

Their e-commerce business boomed through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted the need for more space, said Marco Suarez, co-owner, CEO and chief experience officer of Methodical Coffee.

The move also enabled the company to add more private seating at The Commons. The new facility will not house another retail coffee shop but will feature a range of other businesses.

“The vision for the new location was conceived to not only benefit Methodical but almost 14,000 square feet will be leased to

other life-minded businesses to create a collaborative environment and will be referred to as the Methodical Manufactory,” said Suarez.

The Travelers Rest space has an industrial look with metal rafters, brick walls and a concrete floor, and houses a production facility, which will allow for increased production and distribution of their coffees, teas, and ready-to-drink beverages. It also has space for a training lab, a dedicated space used to educate and train barista employees and wholesale accounts in addition to offering coffee and tea classes and hosting public events; offices for running internal operations as well as their e-commerce and wholesale business; and a food coworking DHEC-approved kitchen, which is more than 3,800 square feet of dedicated kitchen and storage spaces for food producers who

lack their own brick-and-mortar locations.

Methodical also has an additional 5,314 square feet of space available for another tenant.

Methodical wholesales roasted coffee to more than 100 accounts across the country. Suarez said the wholesale side has been a marketing and business strategy for them.

“By having our bags in other coffee shops, in offices across the country, we are introducing people to our brand,” he said. “It’s also a part of their business strategy by building up a client base you can lean on for recurring revenue.”

Currently, half of Methodical’s business comes from wholesale orders, primarily in the Southeast but also in the West and New England, while the other half is from their retail locations and e-commerce. Method-

ical Coffee beans at larger local grocery chains such as The Fresh Market and Whole Foods.

“A lot of our growth has been due to wholesale,” said Suarez.

Most of their beans are sourced from Colombia and Ethiopia, he said.

“This process of sourcing beans is very collaborative,” he said. “We look to build relationships we can source from year after year versus bouncing around from farm to farm. Once you have a harvest you have to sell it and move it, so we want to be able to have that relationship with producers where we can depend on them, and they can depend on us and create a stronger supply chain that way.”

What makes Methodical’s Coffee unique? It’s the way the beans are roasted and where they originate, Suarez said.

“We want people to enjoy the life that bean lived and not put too much of our own preference on how it tastes through the roasting process,” he said. “It’s not just about what’s in the bag, but where you got it from.”

So, what’s next for this local coffee brand?

Suarez said the owners are in discussion about expanding more coffee shops outside of Greenville into other areas of the Upstate.

For more information visit www. 31 July 2023 IN FOCUS: STARTUPS
Asia Pacific Super Market attempts to give CoffeeCandy a boost with extra signage that tells shoppers that it’s a locally manufactured product. (Photo/Ross Norton) The founders of Methodical Coffee have moved part of their operations to Travelers Rest and are pondering the company’s growth plans. (Photo/Provided)

SBA Loans

Ranked by SBA-a pproved loan amounts

Company name Location SBA-approved loan amounts # SBA loans SBA loan type SBA participating lender Ser vices provided Age of business, SBA One Call LLC 336 Exchange St. Spartanburg, S.C. 29306 $4,175,000 1 7A Live Oak Banking Co. Plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors Change of Ownership Xpress Mart Wells LLC 1698 Wells Highway Seneca, S.C. 29678 $2,600,200 1 7A CapStar Bank Existing or more than 2 years old Global Aerospace Computer Ser vices 620 N Main St. Greenville, S.C. 29601 $2,115,200 1 7A CapStar Bank Computer systems design ser vices Existing or more than 2 years old Project Integration Inc. 116 Hidden Hill Road Spartanburg, S.C. 29301 $1,886,000 1 7A The Fidelity Bank Professional, scientific, and technical ser vices Existing or more than 2 years old Sonlight Scoops Anderson LLC 3201 Martin Luther King Jr Anderson, S.C. 29625 $1,756,000 2 7A United Community Bank Snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars Existing or more than 2 years old GSPC LLC 410 W. Blackstock Road Spartanburg, S.C. 29301 $1,675,000 1 7A HomeTrust Bank Tax preparation ser vices Change of Ownership Global Executive Group LLC 100 Milestone Way, Suite 19 Greenville, S.C. 29615 $1,639,000 1 7A Craft Bank Diagnostic imaging centers Existing or more than 2 years old 290 Roasters LLC 1554 East Main St. Highway 29 Duncan, S.C. 29334 $1,580,000 1 7A TD Bank, NA Limited-ser vice restaurants New Business or 2 years or less Tanner Solutions 3608 Pelham Road, Suite C Greenville, S.C. 29615 $1,526,000 1 7A Pinnacle Bank Limited-ser vice restaurants Change of Ownership Blue Eyes Brewer y LLC 610 Bridgeway Blvd. Simpsonville, S.C. 29607 $1,395,300 1 7A Dogwood StateBank Breweries Startup, Loan Funds will Open Business Sun And Soil LLC 403 Augusta St. Greenville, S.C. 29601 $1,375,000 1 7A Countybank New Business or 2 years or less Wyoming Machine LLC 850 Rogers Bridge Road Duncan, S.C. 29334 $1,240,000 2 7A First Bank Rolling mill and other metalworking machiner y manufacturing New Business or 2 years or less Kanga LLC 1200 Woodruff Road Greenville, S.C. 29607 $1,233,800 1 7A SouthStateBank, NA Miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers Existing or more than 2 years old Carolina Spine And Pain Center 115 Brushy Creek Road Easley, S.C. 29642 $1,196,000 1 7A Har vest Small Business Finance, LLC Lessors of non-residential buildings New Business or 2 years or less Hilight Tactical LLC 290 Stable Gate Drive Campobello, S.C. 29322 $1,000,000 1 7A TD Bank, NA New Business or 2 years or less Shiva Lodging LLC 1007 George Smith Mill Road Anderson, S.C. 29625 $1,000,000 1 7A Millennial Bank Hotels and Motels Existing or more than 2 years old Chief's Fitness LLC 1045 Fernwood Glendale Road Spartanburg, S.C. 29307 $867,000 1 7A TD Bank, NA Fitness and recreational sports centers New Business or 2 years or less Beautiful Brides LLC 101C West Court St. Greenville, S.C. 29601 $853,000 1 7A Pinnacle Bank New Business or 2 years or less Pronk LLC 212 Pelham Davis Circle Greenville, S.C. 29615 $780,000 1 7A United Community Bank Motion picture and video production Existing or more than 2 years old QM Holding Exchange LLC 501 N. Howard Avenue Simmons Landrum, S.C. 29356 $768,000 1 504 Southern First Bank Restaurants Startup, Loan Funds will Open Business MlN United LLC 121 Interstate Blvd., Suite 1 Greenville, S.C. 29615 $738,000 2 7A Live Oak Banking Co. Painting and wall covering contractors Change of Ownership Magnetic South Brewer y 701 Easley Bridge Road Greenville, S.C. 29611 $717,000 1 7A First Bank Breweries New Business or 2 years or less Org Partners LLC 1271 Asheville Highway Spartanburg, S.C. 29303 $627,000 1 7A First National Bank of Pennsylvania General automotive repair Change of Ownership Advantage Transmission LLC 225 Alice St. Spartanburg, S.C. 29303 $584,000 1 7A The Fidelity Bank Auto repair Startup, Loan Funds will Open Business Goodwin Group Holdings LLC 529 Hampton Ave. Pickens, S.C. 29671 $510,000 1 7A Countybank Supermarkets and grocer y stores Existing or more than 2 years old Edgewood Baking Holdings LLC 117 E. Blackstock Road Spartanburg, S.C. 29301 $500,000 2 7A Bank of Travelers Rest Retail bakeries Existing or more than 2 years old Br yant Capital, LLC 0 Tract 1 American Way Anderson, S.C. 29621 $364,000 1 504 The Peoples Bank Local messengers and local deliver y Existing or more than 2 years old Legacy Gutter 110 River Forest Lane Greenville, S.C. 29615 $347,000 1 7A Bank of Oak Ridge Specialty trade contractors New Business or 2 years or less Goss Pizza LLC 405 College Ave. Clemson, S.C. 29631 $345,000 1 7A Bank of Oak Ridge Limited-ser vice restaurants New Business or 2 years or less Carolina Ballroom Co. Inc. 134 Halton Road Greenville, S.C. 29607 $314,100 1 7A Regions Bank Dance company Existing or more than 2 years old Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. For a full list of participating organizations, visit Email additions or corrections to Loans from the the SBA FY 2023 (from Oct. 1, 2022) are considered for this list. Because of space constraints, only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. Information for the list was obtained from the U.S. Small Business Administration, individual borrowers and lenders, and other Business Journal research. Email additions, corrections or requests to be approved for future lists to 33 July 2023 For advertising information, contact Ryan Downing at The story of the Upstate business market continues to be a story best told in numbers. Market Facts provides the context for the data and statistics critical to commerce in our region. Advertise in Market Facts and promote your company as an essential resource. PUBLICATION DATE: September 25, 2023 | ADVERTISING DEADLINE: August 28, 2023 MARKETFACTS Make data-driven decisions. MARKETFACTS Volume 25, No. 15 SPONSORED BY

Motivation driving passion: how 2 military veterans built a nine-figure company

With an honorable discharge separating their past from their future, John Warren and John Thompson thought they were ready to take on the business world. They had already proved their worth in combat so the challenges of an office environment did not seem daunting.

But the business world was not ready for them. As they pursued different paths, the veterans were finding it difficult to land a job.

So the Marines found a different way. They became entrepreneurs, launching, growing and then selling their first enterprise. Now they’re on to the next.

Warren, a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry captain, was the cofounder and former CEO of Lima One Capital and currently the CEO and founder of GEM Mining, both Greenville-based companies.

Thompson, a former U.S. Marine Corps master sergeant, was the cofounder and former chief operating officer of Lima One Capital and currently the COO of GEM Mining.

They are both Iraq combat veterans who were decorated for valor.

Warren said no one wanted to hire him in 2008 in the business world as a political science undergraduate and former infantry officer.

“I started Lima out of necessity for a job,” he said. “I felt like these corporations didn’t appreciate the business skills I had acquired in combat, but we feel that’s what made us so successful.”

As for Thompson, he said their stories are a little different.

Thompson spent 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and met Warren prior to their deployment to Iraq.

“We became close friends, and when he decided to start Lima, he asked me if I would be willing to join,” said Thompson. “I thought it was a great opportunity, and I had just retired from the military. So it was a good time in my life to shift from military government contracting into the finance sector.”

Warren said after running for governor in 2019, he sold the business for nine figures and he and Thompson have enjoyed watching where the new owners are taking the business, including their recent announcement to establish headquarters at the new County Square complex in Greenville.

“We felt like we were really successful and built a large company, and we were looking to move on to other things and be successful in other arenas,” Thompson said. “The timing felt right, and we had reached our goals there and wanted to do other things. So, it was hard to pass up on (selling the company).”

Headquartered in Greenville, GEM

Mining is a privately held, institutional-grade Bitcoin mining company that owns 32,000 miners and is 97% carbon neutral. GEM was founded by five partners, and collectively, have managed more than $3 billion in investments and have executed multiple profitable exits, he said.

From combat vets, to business owners, to authors

Warren and Thompson have recently co-authored a book published by Harper Collins called Lead Like a Marine. It was released on July 11.

In 2006, Warren and Thompson led Marines into combat in what many considered the world’s most dangerous city: Ramadi, Iraq. When the two decorated veterans applied the values and training of the U.S. Marine Corps to build a business, they defied expectations. That’s because they realized that, far from producing

mindless drones, the Corps trains its warriors in adaptability, initiative and courage — ideal traits for anyone in leadership.

In Lead Like a Marine, Warren and Thompson lay out the simple, universal rules that helped them succeed, from valuing grit and potential over pedigree, to condensing large groups into resilient “fireteams,” to cross-training team members so that anyone can step up to the plate in a crisis.

“Both of our wives encouraged us to write down our stories for our kids after selling Lima,” Warren said. “We thought we had a unique story of two infantry guys who formed an amazing relationship in combat and started a company together to grow it.”

Once they reached their pinnacle and sold the company, said Thompson, they took a step back and asked themselves: How did we get here? What did we use

from the Marines, etc.?

“The book is not just for entrepreneurs,” he said. “We think our nine key strategies of leadership are able to be implemented across the board no matter what you do to include your own family life.”

When you’re building a team, said Warren, you’re looking for individuals who share your core values versus just experience, so you can train them for experience but not for values.

“We learned the mindset of doing everything for a reason,” he said. “Some do things because that’s how the industry says it should be done, but oftentimes assumptions are wrong, and things can be done a lot better than what you’re used to doing.”

One of the most important things they continue to do as leaders is to be “upfront and blunt” with people and not hold things back, said Thompson. That mentality goes for current employees, fellow executives, vendors — never delay any bad news when something happens, but instead, confront it with honesty and that leads to a good company culture, he added.

“A lot of our early-on employees at Lima were former military, because they share the same core values that we have and have the intangibles that we think is necessary to build a great company,” Thompson said. “It’s the simple things like motivation, the discipline that they have, wanting to be a part of the team and growing something great. At Lima, I could teach anyone to process a loan but can’t teach them to show up on time, to be motivated. The stuff you can’t buy off the shelf.”

When you look at the traits in a successful individual, said Warren, such as integrity, honesty, team player, hardworking, a chip on their shoulder with something to prove, you see the values found in a lot of veterans — the same values that make a good team member. “That’s why we look for these things when hiring,” he added.

“PTSD always comes up with veterans, but the vast majority do not suffer from it as most haven’t seen combat,” said Warren. “And the ones who have excel because of it, not despite it. It’s called traumatic growth. Veterans are not victims. We don’t hire out of pity. We hire them because they will help our profitability and company culture.”

Thompson said it’s important to take the intangibles they have learned in the military and apply them to all aspects of life.

“We think that’s the right way to go,” he said. “We never look at a veteran as a victim, but someone who holds intangibles that can help grow a company, and we think others in the business world should look at it that way was a well.”

34 July 2023
John Warren, founder and former CEO of Lima One, now serves as CEO of GEM Mining. (Photo/Provided) John Thompson, a founder of Lima One, is chief operating officer of GEM Mining. (Photo/Provided)

Agencies work to match veterans to civilian jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

region in the state who are actively seeking to hire veterans.

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

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

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

companies also actively seek out veterans, he said.

“A lot of our employers are already veteran friendly, and we want to try to make them even more so,” Taylor said.

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

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

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

along the way.

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

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

The Department of Employment and Workforce has a number of programs available to help veterans transition into the workforce system, he said.

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

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

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

Bodison said one of the biggest challenges for veterans is helping veterans translate their military skills to what he calls “civilian language.” That means helping veterans figure out what fields their military occupational skill, or MOS, has best prepared them for.

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

“Once they enter that information, the system then searches for a job opening that fits with the skill they performed in the military,” Bodison said. That interchange between military and civilian jobs is referred to in the department as a “military occupational crosswalk.”

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

Through all of their programs, both the Department of Veterans Affairs and DEW have a core mission —getting as many veterans as possible to stay in South Carolina for work after service. 35 July 2023
A service member speaks to a prospective employer during a workforce event organized by the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs. (Photo/Provided) Veterans attend statewide events organized by the South Department of Veterans Affairs to connect with prospective employers who can help them find work after retirement or transitioning out of the military. (Photo/Provided)

Business Digest At Work

Marshall selected to chair SC Launch Inc.

Staff Report

Andrea H. Marshall has been elected chairperson of SC Launch Inc., the investment affiliate of the South Carolina Research Authority and she will also serve on the board of trustees of the South Carolina Research Authority. She replaces longtime SC Launch Inc. chairperson Peter Dunphy.

Marshall previously served as the Launch board’s vicechair, and under Dunphy and Marshall’s shared leadership, the board of directors reached several successful milestones. SC Launch Inc. invests in eligible SCRA Member and SC Launch Inc. Portfolio companies that accelerate innovation

and create higher-paying jobs in the state.

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

“I am very pleased and excited to continue this work under Andrea Marshall’s leadership,” said Matt Bell, executive director of SC Launch Inc. “She has significant experience with the SC Launch program and the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. I believe she will have a tremendous impact in both areas through this position.”

Marshall is the vice president, general counsel, and administrative officer for MedTrust Holdings Inc. This fast-growing company offers non-emergency medical transportation for healthcare providers in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Before moving to South Carolina in 2004,

speaking and consulting services with the goal of uplifting women in business.

she practiced law in New York City with Holland & Knight LLP, one of the nation’s largest firms. Since arriving in South Carolina, she has served as leader of an angel investment fund and worked in senior executive roles for companies developing emerging technologies. Marshall also served as the founding innovation director of the Roper St. Francis Research and Innovation Center in Charleston.

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

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

environment often defined by people generations older than them. The report was created after thousands of interviews with young professionals in more than 65 white-collar and blue-collar industries. The study identified five key factors in retaining young employees: communications and expectations; meaningful work; culture; professional development; and education and training. For more information, visit

Countybank donates to Hospice and Palliative Care

Countybank and Greenwood Capital recently presented $25,000 to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Piedmont. This donation will support the organization’s Project Hope program, which provides grief support for children ages 6 to 15 through individual counseling, school programs, a grief library and a summer grief camp.

Women’s Executive Luncheon set

Women Confidence Builders announced the S.C. Women’s Executive Luncheon will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Greenville Convention Center. The event features S.C. Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette and authors Bertina Ceccarelli and Susanne Tedrick. Tickets cost $65, or $75 after Aug. 1. Visit for information. Women Confidence Builders is a non-profit organization that offers events, mentoring,

Private equity firm announces home developments

Greenville-based private equity firm Broadstreet Inc. said it is preparing land for more than 2,000 residential lots across four developments in the Upstate. The four real estate land infrastructure projects are Chestnut Ridge in Greenville, Wexford Park in Fountain Inn, Brookside Farms in Greer and Lakestone in Woodruff. These developments will offer townhomes and single-family homes, the company said.

Fidelity Bank constructing branch

Fidelity Bank said it is building a branch at 305 N. Church St. in Spartanburg. Fidelity said it plans to demolish the former structure and build a two-story, full-service regional office. The new location will feature multiple offices, a conference room, drive-through lanes, an ATM and a night drop. Fidelity Bank is currently operating in Spartanburg from a temporary location at 101 Lafayette St.

SLG adds shipping supplies

ed boxes and supplies. Now through its new distribution operation, the company offers envelopes, mailers, poly and retail bags, labels, tags, tape and more.

YoPro releases study on workers

The YoPro Know released The State of Young Professionals Today, a study on how employees under age 39 perceive, internalize, share and relate in a work

SLG Package Concepts LLC said it expanded its packaging and shipping supplies through a new distribution operation. Since 1989, Package Concepts has manufactured and distributed corrugat-

Community Initiatives receives funds Countybank and Greenwood Capital presented $7,500 to Community Initiatives Inc. to support the development of a new Toddler Learning Center. The center is designed to prepare children ages 2 to 4 for early success in school, address key developmental milestones, and be a feeder program for Greenwood School District 50’s 4K program.

Fine Arts Center honored

The Fine Arts Center was named an Exemplary School by the Arts Schools Network (ASN) Board of Directors. The achievement is a five-year designation awarded 2023-2028. ASN, a professional membership organization of specialized arts schools, awards Exemplary School designations to members that follow a specific guide to evaluate the school’s achievements.

Bank distributes food to charities

First Community Bank said more than 4,000 non-perishable food items were collected and donated to local organizations through its “Tackling Hunger” campaign. Food items were donated to

Marshall Pictured left to right: John Wiseman, director of fixed income for Greenwood Capital; Dayle Mumford, professional and executive banking for Countybank; Charlene Kish, CEO of Hospice and Palliative Care of the Piedmont; Walter Todd, president and CIO for Greenwood Capital; and David Tompkins, Greenwood market executive for Countybank. Aerial view of Lakestone in Woodruff
Pictured from left to right: David Tompkins, Greenwood market executive for Countybank; John Wiseman, director of fixed income for Greenwood Capital; Dayle Mumford, professional and executive banking for Countybank; Teresa Goodman, executive director for Community Initiatives Inc.; Teri Rodriguez, clinic manager for Community Initiatives Inc.; Wells Dunlap, senior operations officer for Countybank; and Walter Todd, president and CIO for Greenwood Capital.


United Christian Ministries of Greenville, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving individuals and families facing food insecurity.

Greer logistics firm sold MainOcean, a logistics and warehouse company, said it has acquired GT Logistics, a 3PL provider in Greer. The acquisition supports MainOcean’s strategic plan to be near the Inland Port Greer and expand warehouse and logistics capabilities in South Carolina and the Southeast. Under the new ownership, 90% of employees will remain in their current positions, the company said.

People in the News


Pacolet Milliken gives to school

Greenville-based investment company Pacolet Milliken said it donated $10,000 in support of the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Visual Arts Department. The donation funded a student art exhibition and awarded six scholarships to visual arts seniors.

Mobile Meals receives donation

Mobile Meals of Spartanburg said it received $16,930 from Subaru of America Inc. and Vic Bailey Subaru. The donation came from

the 2022-2023 Subaru Share the Love Event. Mobile Meals of Spartanburg provides meals, services and fellowship to the frail and homebound citizens in Spartanburg County. As part of the event, Subaru of America Inc. donated $250 and Vic Bailey Subaru donated $50 for every new vehicle purchased or leased from Nov. 17 to Jan. 3.

City Coffee. Located at 200 W. Washington St., the café is part of the church’s campus expansion recently completed this spring. The Intersection Café is open to the public 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

SCC nominated for Emmy

Infinity Marketing promoted Joshua Tankersley to content manager and Sara Tompkins to art manager. Tankersley joined Infinity in 2017 as a copy assistant. Tompkins began her career at Infinity as an intern for the design and web teams in 2015.


Greenwood Capital hired Mark K. Pyles as director of multi-asset strategies. He previously joined Greenwood Capital as an external consultant and member of the investment committee in 2022.

Tax Credit Marketplace LLC hired Ryan Swinson as director of marketing and communications. Swinson has more than 19 years of experience, most recently managing marketing programs for vendor manufacturers in the technology space.

Elliott & Painter Certified Public Accountants announced that Denise Smith, CPA, and Tammy Grice, CPA, have been named partners. Smith has more than 43 years of accounting, auditing, assurance, consulting, compliance and taxation experience. Grice has

worked in public accounting for nearly 30 years and has held the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation since 2000.

The Southern Bank named Frank Townsend III chief lending officer. Townsend has more than 35 years of banking experience and most recently worked as city executive for South State Bank in Aiken.


Coffeeshop opens at church

First Presbyterian Church of Greenville announced the opening of The Intersection Café, a partnership with local business Bridge

Spartanburg Community College’s commercial campaign was nominated for an Emmy award in the Branded Content Campaign category. See it at com/@SCC-TV.


McCrory Construction hired Andrew Gable as senior project manager in its Upstate office. Gable has more than a decade of project management experience in commercial construction.

The S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Foundation named Amanda Herlihy executive director. She served as the Foundation’s interim executive director since January and

previously served as the director of development since 2018.

North Greenville University named Jared Thomas vice president for campus ministries and student engagement. A 2009 NGU graduate, Thomas currently serves as assistant vice president for campus ministries and student engagement.

The S.C. Senate voted unanimously to confirm North Greenville University President Gene C. Fant Jr. on the S.C. Higher Education Commission. Fant was nominated by Gov. Henry McMaster.


Terracon announced that Melvin C. Williams received the American Council of Engineering Companies of South Carolina 2023 Engineer of the Year Award for outstanding service to the engineering industry.

Weston & Sampson hired Jennifer Barrington as a senior project manager at its Greenville office. Barrington brings more than 25 years of experience to the firm as a civil engineer working on a wide variety of water and wastewater projects.

MRB Group hired Julianne Oehlbeck as chief legal officer and general counsel. She formerly worked as vice president of legal and associate general counsel for Chobani LLC.


Prisma Health announced the election of S. Richard Hagins and Dr. Clay Lowder to its corporate board of directors. Hagins served as a naval officer for 23 years and founded US&S Inc. in 2003. Lowder, a family medicine physician, has been practicing for 27 years and is based in Sumter.


Spencer Fane LLP added Austin Ciuffo as an associate with its intellectual property practice. His private practice focuses on collaborative client service for inventors, entrepreneurs and businesses in patent litigation throughout the United States.

Moseley Marcinak Law Group LLP announced the addition of John Dempsey and Robert Lesley “Robb” Brown as partners. Dempsey has more than three decades of legal experience, recently in private practice in New Jersey. Brown represents insurance companies and their insureds in personal injury, property damage and commercial cover-

See PEOPLE, Page 38 37 July 2023
Tankersley Thompkins Pyles Swinson Smith Grice Townsend Gable Herlihy Thomas Williams Oehlbeck Hagins Ciuffo Dempsey Brown

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age cases.

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA announced that Carson S. Phillips joined the firm’s Greenville office as a litigation associate. His practice focuses on toxic tort litigation.


Jasmine Road named Kim Fabian interim CEO. Fabian previously served as executive director of the Greenville Center for Creative Arts and senior vice president for Junior Achievement of Central Maryland.


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner, Realtors announced that Lisa Robinson joined the company’s Woodruff at Five Forks office as a sales associate. Robinson has experience in the banking industry.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Jake Dickens joined the company’s Midtown office as a sales associate.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Dawn Campbell joined the company’s Woodruff at Five Forks office as a sales associate.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Janine Morris joined the company’s Midtown office as a sales associate. She has prior real estate experience in Florida.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Edward Foldes joined the company’s Anderson office as a sales associate. He is a former Navy senior chief.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Gina Fox joined the company’s Augusta Road office as a sales associate. She has worked in real estate for five years.

Clay Driggers joined Arizona-based Land Advisors Organization to open a new office in Greenville. Driggers has expertise in land brokerage, development, land management and investment sales.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Barbara Hancock joined the company’s Anderson office as a sales associate. She is a licensed real agent in South Carolina and Georgia.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Maria Areiza joined the company’s Midtown office as a sales associate. Areiza has experience working with muti-national clients.

April Stewart has been promoted to director of agent sales and agent development for Coldwell Banker Caine’s Greenville office. She most recently served as agent development manager for Coldwell Banker Caine.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

C. Dan Joyner Realtors announced that Jennifer Hardin joined the company’s Simpsonville office as a sales associate.

For advertising information, contact Ryan Downing at

David Vandeputte, a real estate professional with Joan Herlong & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty, graduated from the Golf Certified Real Estate Agents program led by Golf Life Navigators.

Global Location Strategies hired Lori Melançon as vice president of marketing. For the past six years, Melançon served as the vice president of marketing and communica-

tions at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

38 July 2023
PEOPLE, from Page 37 Fabian Morris Foldes Fox Driggers Hancock Areiza Stetwart Hardin Melacon

Follow the money — the supply remains ample

We believe that the primary cause of the run-up in inflation in 2020 and 2021 was excessive growth in the money supply. The Fed initially believed that the inflation surge was caused by temporary factors such as the dramatic increase in energy prices and supply shortages that materialized following the surprisingly robust, extremely rapid, economic rebound that occurred once the recession ended.

Given that it believed that the run-up in inflation was temporary, the Fed did not tighten until two years after the inflation rate had begun to climb. But then the money supply began to decline in April 2022 and has fallen every single month since then. Now many economists are suggesting that the recent contraction in the money supply means that the Fed is not providing enough liquidity to allow the economy to keep growing and, as a result, a deep recession is in store at some point down the road.

We do not buy it. We suggest that the recent declines in the money supply are simply eliminating some of the excess liquidity created by its initial surge in growth in 2020 and 2021. Indeed, there is still some surplus liquidity in the economy which will provide continuing support for consumer and business spending in the months ahead and prevent the

core inflation rate from declining rapidly.

In our view, the proper policy prescription is to allow the money supply to continue shrinking through the end of this year.

The money supply is nothing more than a measure of liquidity in the U.S. economy. Add up the cash that all of us have in our wallets, the amount in our checking accounts, savings accounts and money market funds, and we end up with the M-2 measure of the money supply. It typically grows roughly in line with nominal GDP. In the past 20 years it has grown on average about 6.0% per year — until 2020.

When the economy shut down in March and April 2020 the Fed quickly bought $2.5 trillion of U.S. Treasury securities to prevent the economy from entering an even deeper recession. As a result, M-2 in March, April and May 2020 grew at annualized rates of 41%, 76% and 60%, respectively.

The level of the money supply soared far beyond its historic 6.0% path. The economy was awash in surplus liquidity. But the problem got worse. Following the three-month surge in growth, M-2 kept climbing at a double-digit pace for another 11 months, eclipsing its historic 6.0% growth path.

By December 2021 the economy had a staggering $4.0 trillion of surplus liquidity. Money supply growth flattened out for several months and then began to decline every month from August 2022 through April of this year.

Given that M-2 should have been

growing at about a 6.0% pace, the protracted period of steady declines has caused many economists to conclude that the Fed is starving the economy by not providing it with sufficient liquidity. As a result, they fear that the economy is going to fall into a deep recession, most likely in 2024. We do not buy into that scenario.

In our view, it is the level of the money supply that is important. Suppose your liquid assets, your own personal money supply, was $100 in February 2020 — just prior to the recession. If it grew at the same rate as the aggregated M-2 measure of money, it would have reached a peak of $140 in March 2022 before shrinking to its current level of $134. If, alternatively, it had grown at its historic rate of 6.0% throughout that entire time period your personal money supply today would be $121. Do you feel like you do not have enough cash in the bank and money in your savings accounts and money funds to keep spending at a moderate pace? No! In fact, you still have about 10% more liquidity than you need, which will allow you to spend at a moderate rate from now through the end of the year.

Rather than look at the money supply on an individual basis we turn to the M-2 measure of money which is a measure of liquidity for the economy as a whole. The picture looks identical. Money growth surged, continued to grow rapidly, and then began to decline. It is currently $1.7 trillion in excess of where it would be had it grown at its historical rate of 6.0% for the past three years.

The economy is not being starved

of money. Rather, surplus liquidity remains, which will allow consumers and businesses to keep spending at a moderate rate for some time to come. How long that time might be depends upon what the Fed allows the money supply to do in the months ahead. If money continues to decline, that surplus liquidity will be eliminated by the end of this year. Once that happens spending should slow and the core inflation rate might begin a more rapid descent.

In remarks made this past week, Fed Chair Powell indicated that he did not expect the core inflation rate to return to its 2.0% target until 2025. It certainly does not sound like he believes the economy is being starved of liquidity.

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

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40 July 2023