GSA Business Report - September 21, 2020

Page 1


New tech in the neighborhood

CU-ICAR ready to start next section of campus. Page 20

Part of the


The McClaren pays tribute to doctor who founded Black clinic By Ross Norton


Data center chooses Greenville DC Blox announces plans for Tier III storage center with safety redundancies. Page 12

Unpaid taxes

When tourists don’t tour, impact felt statewide in lighter coffers. Page 9

Chamber vision

Hoping for a better 2021, Chamber CEO says business should lead in social challenges. Page 6

Plans for The McClaren demonstrate the momentum of revitalization west of Greenville’s West End. As proposed, the project would provide more affordable living space than the footprint currently provides. (Rendering/Provided)

Leading Off .......................... 2 SC Biz News Briefs ................ 3 C-Suite ................................ 4 In Focus: Manufacturing Conference ........................ 17 LIST: Manufacturers ........... 18 At Work ..............................22 Viewpoint ...........................23

evelopers of a site next to an old medical clinic built to serve Greenville Blacks during the Jim Crow years will name a new mixed-use project in honor of the McClaren Medical Shelter and the doctor who opened it. Plans call for The McClaren to be a nine-story complex with 244 apartments, 20% of which will be dedicated to workforce and affordable housing, according to a news release from SeamonWhiteside, a design firm involved in the project. Located at the corner of Rhett and Wardlaw streets, The McClaren is in a part of the western end of downtown where community leaders have voiced concerns about the impact of gentrification. SeamonWhiteside says the developer — Lighthouse Living LLC of Westchester, N.Y. — plans to not only reserve some of the units for affordable housing, but also honor the memory See McCLAREN, Page 8

Women’s Business Center hopes to link entrepreneurial community By Molly Hulsey


SEPTEMBER 21 - OCTOBER 4, 2020 ■ $2.25


taying in business as a corporate logo seamstress when even the largest corporations shutter means being able to re-invent yourself. And then re-invent yourself again. Before the pandemic, Dionne Sandiford, founder and principal of Corporate Stich, embroidered everything from golf towels to

sports bags to uniforms for BMW suppliers, Michelin and a slew of other companies in the Upstate. “Once the pandemic hit, everything shut off,” Sandiford said. “I told someone it was like you’re running water and then someone just comes and shuts off the faucet and the phones stopped ringing. The orders stopped coming. And even two companies that I have a good See CENTER, Page 8

In Focus

Manufacturing Gone Virtual

Virtual meetings have become normal, but the S.C. Manufacturing Conference is taking it up a notch. Page 17

When orders for embroidered uniforms folded this spring, Corporate Stich’s Dionne Sandiford launched a new product line. (Photo/Molly Hulsey)

Leading Off



Your pandemic ride awaits


othing characterizes Americans’ economic well-being and sense of purpose like the cars and trucks we drive. The open road represents that sense of movement and freedom and Americanism that helps define the expanse of country that takes up a good part of the North American continent. However, what happens when that mobility comes to a standstill in the middle of a pandemic? What do we do now? Do we even buy cars that we can’t really drive anywhere?

The online platform iSeeCars, which helps connect buyers and sellers across the U.S., took a look not at what people were saying about their buying habits, but actually about what they were buying. Things did slow down. From March to June, the number of days it took to sell a new car increased by 67.3%. Used cars weren’t much better, where it took 37.5% longer to sell compared with pre-pandemic levels. Analyzing data from across the United States, the company discovered what Americans are buying and driving, if only to buy toilet paper down the street, during the mess that characterizes 2020.

Dr. Matthew Wilson, a Furman University Tesla Model 3

Fastest-Selling New Cars in U.S.

Fastest-Selling Used Cars in U.S.

graduate gifted $4 million to the university’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health to fund an endow-


Days to sell


Days to Sell

Average Price

Chevy Trailblazer


Tesla Model 3



Kia Telluride





Kia Seltos


Subaru BRZ



Honda CRV Hybrid


Toyota Yaris



Hyundai Palisade


Honda Civic



Mercedes-Benz GLB


Tesla Model X



Chevrolet Bolt EV


Infiniti Q60



Infinity Marketing, a Greenville-based

Honda Accord



marketing agency, recently promoted

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid


Subaru Crosstrek


Toyota Corolla Hatchback



Lexus GX 460


Tesla Model S



ment and scholarships. Wilson hopes to address public health disparities with the fund.

Chevy Trailblazer

four members of its business services department: Elaine Hartigan, billing services supervisor; Andrea Hardyman, BMW X6

Fastest-Selling New and Used Vehicles in the Upstate New Cars Vehicle

Days on Market (Avg.)


Days on Market (Avg.)


Land Rover Range Rover Velar


Mercedes-Benz GLC



Subaru Crosstrek


Mercedes-Benz GLE



Mercedes-Benz GLE


Hyundai Santa Fe



Kia Seltos





Subaru Forester


Nissan Armada



United Way of the Piedmont held its

“I told someone it was like you’re running water and then someone just comes and shuts off the faucet and the phones stopped ringing. The orders stopped coming. ”

annual Corporate & Community Leaders event virtually on Sept. 2. Over 100 leaders across Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties tuned in to keynotes on

— Dionne Sandiford, founder and principal of Corporate Stich




accounting coordinator and Anna Traver, HR Coordinator.

Used Cars



media billing lead; Charmaine Fuller,

“Leadership During Times of Change.”


September 21 - October 4, 2020 3

SC Biz News Briefs The alpaca herd at Carolina Pride Pastures in Newberry, a past participant in the ACRE program. (Photo/ Carolina Pride Pastures)


Staff Report, Columbia Regional Business Report

Agribusiness program looking for the next group of ag entrepreneurs The Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship is accepting applications for its annual business consulting program and a chance for agribusiness innovators to win a share of $25,000. The six-session ACRE program, in partnership with Clemson Cooperative Extension, offers an overview of business management including pre-planning, marketing, pricing, production, profitability and financial statements. Participants will also have a chance to pitch their business plans to a panel of judges, who will award up to $5,000 per plan. Program applications, due Sept. 28, are available online at Applicants must be S.C. residents with an agribusiness idea or prototype. Individuals selected for the curriculum program must attend virtual class sessions on Oct. 6, Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10. The virtual pitch day is Dec. 8. All classes will be taught by Clemson’s agribusiness team.



Teri Errico Griffis, Charleston Regional Business Journal

Trump continues moratorium on offshore drilling in S.C. until 2032

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Sept. 8 to extend the moratorium on offshore drilling activity on Florida’s Gulf Coast to include its Atlantic Coast and the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. Trump’s new order will begin July 1, 2022, and will extend for 10 years. “With fracking, the shale revolution, and the tremendous surge in American energy production, we’re showing that we can create jobs, safeguard the environment and keep energy prices low for America and low for our citizens,” Trump said. Gov. Henry McMaster applauded the move, a reversal from a year ago when Trump attempted to reverse former President Barack Obama’s bans on offshore drilling in parts of the Atlantic Ocean. “Today’s announcement is good news, but we must remain vigilant in the conservation and preservation of our coastline,” McMaster said. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Sept. 8 to extend the moratorium on offshore drilling activity on Florida’s Gulf Coast to include its Atlantic Coast and the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. BEST ADVICE

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By Teri Errico Griffis


Nuclear settlement

Suit settlement

Santee Cooper and Westinghouse reach agreement over equipment at failed plant. Page 13

Santee Cooper reaches deal over V.C. Summer equipment with Westinghouse. Page 4 SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza speaks at a Sept. 2 ceremony celebrating the launch of a Women’s Business Center at Benedict College. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)

Rising rates?

Dominion Energy requests 7.75% rate increase from Public Service Commission. Page 7

Lucrative land

SBA administrator

pledges more help Businesses finding ways on the way for S.C. to survive during pandemic By Melinda Waldrop

Photo/Melinda Waldrop

New agribusiness center to bring 1,547 jobs, $550M annual economic impact. Page 8

First step

PayPal deposits $50M with Optus Bank as part of social justice commitment. Page 10


Upfront................................ 2 SC Biz News Briefs................ 3 In Focus: Human Resources .......................................... 13 List: Executive Recruiters ... 14 Bonus List: Industrial Staffing Agencies ........................... 16 At Work .............................. 21 Viewpoint ...........................23

By Melinda Waldrop


had Elsey has been through a gamut of emotions during seven months unlike any he’s ever seen in his restaurant career. “It probably comes in waves,” said Elsey, part of the ownership group behind South Carolina’s five Cantina 76 locations. “At first, it’s probably a little bit of fear and shock, and then you get a little used to it and it becomes just kind of a challenge, and then probably it becomes frustrating, and I think now it’s starting to become a way of life, unfortunately. But overall, I think everyone’s moving forward with a positive attitude.” Elsey and other business owners up and down Columbia’s Main Street, as well as surrounding districts, have balanced their bottom lines with concern for the health of employees and customers as the COVID-

19 pandemic has affected every aspect of daily retail life. After a statewide shutdown in March limited most restaurants to to-go only services, a gradual reopening that began late this spring has infused many establishments with some life and revenue, but things are far from back to normal. “These are trying times, but people are — we’re getting through it,” Matt Kennell, CEO of downtown development organization City Center Partnership, said. “People are resilient. … People are going forward. People are not just burying their head in the — I wouldn’t say the sand, but the sidewalk, I guess. And they’re being creative.” For many restaurants, that resiliency has included an emphasis on to-go offerings and outdoor dining as inside seating remains limited to 50% occupancy. “We’re doing much more business than just traditional dine-in,” Eddie Wales, owner See BUSINESSES, Page 16

Part of the


s she helped celebrate the potential of a newly opened women’s business center at Benedict College, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza made a prediction to S.C. proprietors, including the minority small businesses owners disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: Help is on the way. Carranza said congressional negotiations over a second round of emergency coronavirus relief funding are focused on continuing to help small businesses — 5.2 million of which have already received more than $500 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans. “We still have $130 billion remaining, and Congress is trying to negotiate how we will make the remainder of those funds available,” Carranza told the Columbia Regional Business Report. “I’ve seen the language. It’s very promising for small businesses.” Carranza said she assures the small business owners she talks to in her nationwide See SBA, Page 19

No place to park

Rangers are turning visitors away as state parks see busiest month on record. Page 6

Energy investment Clean energy company scores $29 million round of venture capital funding. Page 20


he verdict on the parking garage is in. A judge has ordered Mount Pleasant to pay more than $2.6 million in damages for breaching its agreement to help pay for the Shem Creek project that became

a lightning rod for the debate over growth in East Cooper. The judge also faulted the town for deliberately taking action to prevent the project’s development. The parking garage and office building overlooking Mount Pleasant’s signature waterfront spot became a dividing line for Mount Pleasant Town Council. Some council

Building an environment Developers of the Charleston Tech Center rising above Morrison Drive plan to give tech companies a place to grow, as talent, diversity become critical components for the sector. Page 17

members championed the project as a natural outgrowth of the town’s comprehensive plan. Others saw it as a fight against out-of-control development. In the end, the town voted to pull public support from the project in 2015 after it had

Fall 2020

See GARAGE, Page 8

SBA chief vows more help for S.C. businesses By Melinda Waldrop


s she helped celebrate the potential of a newly opened women’s business center at Benedict College, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza made a promise to S.C. proprietors, including the minority small-business owners disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: Help is on the way. Carranza said congressional negotiations over a second round of emergency coronavirus relief funding are focused on continuing to help small businesses — 5.2 million of which have already received more than $500 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans. “We still have $130 billion remaining, and Congress is trying to negotiate how we will make the remainder of those funds available,” Carranza said. “I’ve seen the language. It’s very promising for small businesses.” Carranza said she assures the small-business owners she talks to in her nationwide travels that PPP loans will continue to be forgiven. She also said discussions include continuing to allow portions of the loan to be used for employee retention and wages, as well as factoring in operating cost flexibility as the pandemic stretches into its

Growing in tech

North Charleston-based Cantey Consulting expanding operations. Page 20


Upfront................................ 2 SC Biz News Briefs................ 3 Best Advice.......................... 4 In Focus: Information Technology ..... 17 List: IT Services & Networking Companies ......22 At Work ..............................25 People in the News..............25 Business Digest...................25 Hot Properties .....................28 Viewpoint ........................... 31


S.C. aerospace industry meets challenges, embraces new opportunities

See SBA, Page 11

Photo/Andy Owens

Be Pro Be Proud program underway

The workforce development initiative celebrates S.C. launch. Page 18

SEPTEMBER 21 - OCTOBER 4, 2020 ■ $2.25


Mount Pleasant ordered to pay in parking garage dispute

SEPTEMBER 14-27, 2020 ■ $2.25


Directing the PGA

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

New director takes over 2021 PGA Championship on Kiawah Island. Page 11

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


September 21 - October 4, 2020

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WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? A high reporter for the Greenville News where I wrote about the latest at Travelers Rest High School. It must have been a great job because I went on

From a college adviser to a Latino student group I belonged

to study journalism.

to at the University of South Carolina. She was encouraging


me to take a leadership position within the group and told me that each person lives up to the potential you set for


them. She was telling me to never shortchange myself and

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my talents, and to lead by encouraging others to reach their • 864.720.1221 Account Executive - Angie Hammond • 864.720.1974

full potential as well.


entrepreneurs, through advocacy, outreach, networking, coaching and

I manage the Women’s Business Center, a Small Business Administration

brave because kindness sometimes requires being the opinion. Being kind is not always the easy choice but it is the only choice.

center is a part of the CommunityWorks family, and empowers women


lone voice speaking up for others or having the unpopular President and Group Publisher - Grady Johnson

network designed to help women start and grow small businesses. The


What I tell my 5-year-old every day: Be kind but also be

South Carolina’s Media Engine for Economic Growth

The CommunityWorks Women’s Business Center is a part of a national

funded program, and make sure we are providing services and resources to women in 15 Upstate counties that create confidence and expand their capacity as business owners. With the number of women-owned businesses continuing to grow nationwide, and in our state, it is important that we provide the support not often provided to women, especially women of color.

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September 21 - October 4, 2020 5


MANUFACTURING CONFERENCE AND EXPO The Most Significant Manufacturing Event of the Year Presented by:

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE & EXPO October 29th–30th, 2020

Join us virtually for the most significant manufacturing event of the year! The SC Manufacturing Conference and Expo – the state’s most significant manufacturing event of the year -- is going virtual! The two-day conference will stream live on October 29th-30th. Will it be as informative and all-encompassing as the traditional live event? We think absolutely it will! The virtual format will provide the type of convenience needed for nationally-renown speakers to fit us into their busy schedules. We are in the process of scheduling those speakers and formulating the agenda now. More details to come, but this is what you can expect: • Virtual Expo that includes live chat feature, video and link uploads, and more! • 10 Keynote Speakers • Three CEOConversations on Industry 4.0 • Conversations with Facility Managers on Industry 4.0 • Three CEOConversations on Workforce Challenges • Conversations with HR execs on Workforce Challenges

• Economic Outlook Presentations on Aerospace and Auto Industries • Manufacturing Excellence Awards • The Future of Aerospace Event • Building the Workforce of the Future Event • Executive Women in Manufacturing Panel Discussion • 20 Training Classes on a Wide Variety of Topics • And MUCH More!

For more information and the complete Agenda, visit Conference Partners:

Contact Melissa Tomberg at or call 864-720-1220 for sponsorship opportunities or to reserve your virtual booth.


September 21 - October 4, 2020

Carlos Phillips: Chamber to tackle national issues in community By Molly Hulsey


s the Greenville Chamber sets its sights on what they hope will be a less tumultuous 2021, CEO Carlos Phillips has laid plans for the return of a handful of in-person events, albeit with a 50-person limit. Any events over 50 attendees will remain online. “I think our community, the country and quite frankly the world looks a lot different today than they did six months ago,” he said. “Here Phillips in Greenville, we are in the midst of a reopening, and businesses are adjusting to what has become the ‘new normal.’ Our community is adjusting as well. You see a lot more mask wearing these days, a lot more social distancing — which is good. Recent indicators suggest that our new cases of coronavirus are heading in the right direction.” The next six months, however, hold the opportunity to address another issue gripping the nation and Upstate community this year, Phillips said.

The Greenville Chamber has no current plans to unite with Greenville County’s tourism and economic development agencies under one roof as in Spartanburg County. (Photo/Provided)

“Our nation and certainly our community has been startled if not appalled by the recent events that we’ve seen with Breonna Taylor, Armaud Arbery and these events are really representative of similar events that have been happening for centuries in our country,” he said. “But with the George Floyd killing, the chamber, United Way

and Urban League: we first issued a joint statement voicing our concern about these developments, but I also recommended that a community-wide commission be formed to explore race-based disparities in our community, disparities on health, education, income and wealth, criminal justice and our aging population, (to) address

those disparities and work together on solutions that can help make life better for all of our citizens here in Greenville County.” Phillip’s brainchild grew into the Greenville Racial Equity and Economic Mobility Commission, which convened for the first time on Aug. 24 and 25. Thirty community leaders — some who volunteered for the position and others who were nominated — gathered for an overview of the city’s racial history and what Phillips calls an exercise in better understanding racial disparities in the Greenville community. “There’s more talent and there’s certainly more interest than we had available seats on the commission, but we wanted to start smaller and then build from there,” he said. “There will certainly be opportunities for engagement from the broader community as we progress.” Members of the REEM Commission includes Merl F. Code, Ogletree Deakins, REEM Commission co-chairman; David Lominack, TD Bank, co-chairman; Meghan Barp, United Way of Greenville County; Peggy Baxter, community advocate; Karen Baynes-Dunning, community advocate; Kennedy Brown, youth advocate; Matt Caldwell, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System;

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September 21 - October 4, 2020

Elizabeth Davis, Furman University presidenet; Pastor Sean Dogan, Long Branch Baptist Church; Jessica Donan, EY; Joe Erwin, Endeavor; Traci Fant, Freedom Fighter’s Upstate Foundation; the Rev. J.M. Flemming, NAACP; Rich Hagins, US&S; Robert Hughes, Hughes Development; Butch Kirven, Greenville County Council chairman; Sheriff Hobart Lewis, Greenville County Sheriff ’s Department; Stacey Mills, USC Upstate; Bob Morris, Community Foundation of Greenville; S.T. Peden, Minority Economic Development Institute; Phillips, Greenville Chamber of Commerce; Jason Richards, NAI Earle Furman; Burke Royster, Greenville County Schools; Liz Seman, Furman University, Greenville County Council; Minor Shaw, Micco LLC; Katy Smith, 7

Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy; Deputy Chief Howie Thompson, Greenville Police Department; Gage Weekes, Hollingsworth Funds; Greenville Mayor Knox White; Nika White, Nika White Consulting; Will Whitley, Michelin North America; and Baxter Wynn, community advocate. (Editor’s note: See page 23 for a Viewpoints piece by the REEM co-chairs.) While the commission’s task is set to last approximately six months, Phillips is willing to commit to a longer time period if necessary to address racial disparities illuminated by the council. In a larger city, a similar effort stretched over five years, he said, until the issues broached by the council were addressed. He recognizes that the chamber and council can’t solve a national challenge

but emphasized that they were unified by “our recognition that we can do more here in Greenville. We can do better.” So far, he’s encouraged by the work that’s already been accomplished by the chamber and its partners in bolstering both economic development and equity from various corners of the community. “A chamber’s role is to drive economic growth,” Phillips said. “You have to have the right people at the table to drive that economic growth and I think, while I can’t speak for other chambers, I think the Greenville Chamber has really done a great job, and they’ve been doing this a long time before I arrived, of trying to make sure that you have the right people at the table, that our table was diverse and inclusive, and that we were for-

ward-looking and forward-thinking in our approach to strengthening our economy and adding value for the business community.” In light of the recent unification of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, county visitor’s bureau and Spartanburg Economic Futures Group under OneSpartanburg Inc., Phillips said that there are no plans in the works for a similar move in Greenville. At least not yet. “If the community ever felt that a bringing together of those resources was necessary, I’m sure it would be considered, but at the moment, we enjoy working together and we seem to be producing stellar results,” he said. Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.

Organizations support entrepreneurs who provide child care Staff Report


he Greenville Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Greenville First Steps, Palmetto Shared Services, and Kellie Rynn Academy to recruit, train and support entrepreneurs interested in opening an in-home child care business.

One impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is the loss of home-based child care services. According to the Greenville Chamber, about a third of child care businesses have closed because parents could no longer afford them as the economy weakened. According to a survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, 63 percent of childcare providers have less than a month of

reserves. Greenville Chamber President and CEO Carlos Phillips says reliable child care is important not only for the 36,000 Greenville County children under age 6, but also essential for their working parents. “Affordable and high-quality childcare is a critically important economic driver, providing talent and workforce the child care that they need to be able to pursue

their careers,” Phillips said. “This cutting-edge program will not only create new jobs, but will also provide valuable training to the providers who are caring for the talent and workforce of the future. We are grateful to Greenville First Steps, Kellie Rynn Academy and Palmetto Shared Services Alliance for their strategic partnership on this important initiative.”


September 21 - October 4, 2020

CENTER, from Page 1

relationship with just said, ‘Dionne, we don’t need the shirts.” So, in the moment just before textile companies across the country cranked up looms and sewing machines to meet a shortage in personal protective equipment, Sandiford began making masks. And as a one-woman company, she couldn’t keep the business profitable as face coverings flooded the market, plummeting prices. When the pandemic didn’t fade with the arrival of summer, Sandiford made a name for herself as a “boutique mask maker” for businesses seeking to emblazon logos onto the company uniform’s newest edition. All in all, she attributes her agility in 2020 and during challenges in previous McCLAREN, from Page 1

of the McClaren Medical Shelter and its founder, Dr. E.E. McClaren, who build the clinic next to his home in 1949. “Due to the culturally significant nature of this structure and the story of self-sacrifice of Dr. McClaren, the developer decided to save the structure, leasing it to a nonprofit organization,” the news release said. Lillian Brock Flemming, who represents District 2 on the Greenville City Council, said she and members of her

years to her counsel from CommunityWorks. “What I like about CommunityWorks is it’s not so much of a handholding as a guiding,” she said. “ They guide you through whatever maze you’re stuck in: if you have a problem as far as trying to understand your financials, trying to understand your marketing, how to best get your name out there, how to just maneuver all the muck small businesses go through.” As CommunityWorks cut the ribbon on one of seven Small Business Administration-backed women’s business centers across the country on Sept. 3, Sandiford listened in as SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette covered the trials small businesses, especially female-owned enterprises, have tackled

over the past few months. She hopes the center will help women, especially women of color, overcome stigmas related to being taken less seriously as a business owner than their male counterparts. “Women still are fighting that fight,” she said. The center will offer CommunityWorks’ usual suite of business services, including consulting, seminars and networking opportunities and assistance with building capital but with a targeted focus on holistic challenges women entrepreneurs may face in the marketplace. “Women, in particular, already face those challenges in accessing capital,” Ana Parra, director of the center, said. “This, even more so if it was hard for them to connect with the right people. We’re hop-

ing to make those connections happen for women business owners.” One concern only exacerbated by the pandemic was childcare, Parra said. Women executives tend to juggle various responsibilities more often than male business owners. Now that Greenville County students are in class only one day a week, mothers who double as entrepreneurs have even more on their plates. “It’s taxing mental health wise and taxing to find a supportive system,” Parra said. “We just don’t have that in place at the moment. What we hope to provide is a supportive network that is doing things that you may not traditionally think of when it comes to business owners.”

family were patients at the McClaren clinic when she was a child. “The community and I are very excited that the owner of the new apartment complex is going to restore this building for its historical significance to the African American community,” she said. “Right now the movement of the building to the new site is on hold for construction reasons, and hopefully it will move forward soon.” In July 2019, Greenville’s Design Review Board voted to move the building 54 feet off the private property and

onto city land closer to Academy Street. The McClaren plans call for 430 parking spaces, roof terraces and a swimming pool, plus 14,000 square feet of retail space. “The McClaren will transform an underutilized site into a top-notch multi-use development while preserving and highlighting a significant piece of Greenville’s African American history,” Rick Schroder, director of business development in SeamonWhiteside’s Greenville office, said in the news release. “We’re excited and honored to

play a role in this community-shaping project.” SeamonWhiteside is providing landscape architecture, civil engineering, 3D modeling, and permit coordination and also developed plans for the preservation of the medical clinic building. SeamonWhiteside is based in Mount Pleasant with offices in Greenville, Spartanburg, Summerville and Charlotte.

Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222 or @ RossNorton13 on Twitter.

Successful projects don’t just happen. “The projects that bring value to the client and lasting benefit to the community are borne from 40 years spent understanding industry, construction, people and land. It takes a willingness to listen and the ability to visualize where others might not see possibility. That’s why I love our business.”

Randall Bentley, SIOR, CCIM President Lee & Associates Greenville | Spartanburg 864-704-1040

September 21 - October 4, 2020 9

Loss of tourism-related taxes has statewide impact By Teri Errico Griffis


he CEO of one of the largest festivals in the area is saying that the lack of incoming accommodations tax funds is going to severely hinder people from coming to Charleston to spend money. The state is anticipating the loss of millions of dollars in tax revenue as a result of tourism being down in 2020. The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition is one of many events that count on accommodations tax money for their nationwide marketing. SEWE President and CEO Jimmy Huggins said the annual event is still planned for February, and he hopes to find funding to make up for the organization’s $13,700 loss. The state is now anticipating $3.9 million in total revenue, down from its original estimate of $8.4 million, said Matthew Frohlich, deputy CFO for Charleston. An additional $2.5 million in fund balance — reserves the state has been able to add in — brings that total slightly closer to the goal, but it still isn’t enough to offset the projected loss. Each year, municipal and state accommodations taxes are broken up to support various efforts, festivals, organizations

Tourism funding from the state is shorter than anticipated this year, and organizations across the Lowcountry are having to re-evaluate their budgets to try to make up the difference. (Photo/File)

and other tourism-related projects across the state. In Charleston, accommodations taxes help the city’s general fund, capital improvements and the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s budget to promote tourism. If people aren’t staying in hotels, the businesses aren’t paying these taxes, creating a statewide trickle-down effect. SEWE’s Huggins said, “All of this severely effects our ability to market the event and bring people in from out

of town who spend the money here in Charleston. When we are afforded funding from these different entities, we count on it to come in.” Because Mount Pleasant and Charleston impose their own hotel taxes, the hit there comes twice as hard. The lack of revenue also affects recipients of Community Assistance & Accommodations Tax grants, who were set to receive $2.36 million of funding from the city directly — contingent on the money being there, Frohlich said.

“We find ourselves in a situation where we’re having to project the revenue throughout the course of the year and adjust expenditures,” Frohlich said. “We’ll re-evaluate in the third quarter and will take it on a quarter-by-quarter basis.” With a sheer lack of revenue during the pandemic, the state has been able to pay out just $592,000 through the first two quarters. Recipients were notified in writing that future payments are unable to be made without incoming money. “We also advised them, similar to the county, that we don’t see much opportunity in 2021 to re-establish that funding,” Frohlich said. Other projects affected by the Municipal and State Accommodations Tax Fund include the upkeep of the downtown Market Head Hall and the refurbishment of the Low Battery sea wall, both improvements beneficial to the tourism industry, according to Charleston’s 2020 formal budget. The State Accommodations Tax Fund also supports the free downtown area shuttle and publication of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Visitors Guide. Reach staff writer Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

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September 21 - October 4, 2020


Meet the fastest-growing companies in SC! SC Biz News is pleased to present the Roaring Twenties, the competition honoring the fastest-growing companies in South Carolina. Join us on October 15 for a virtual event highlighting each company and featuring the reveal of the 2020 rankings in the small and large business categories. Register online:

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September 21 - October 4, 2020 11

Researchers receive $2.5M grant to study ecosystem health Staff Report


lemson University researcher Barbara Campbell and her collaborators have received a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to identify the functional mechanisms of microbes that relate to the health of ecosystems. The grant was awarded by NSF’s 10 Big Ideas program, which explores interdisciplinary science integral to understanding the rules of life. The award is designed to pave the way for students to be on the leading edge of scientific research that touches every aspect of how humans prepare for the future in a changing world, according to a university news release. In addition to Campbell, who is an associate professor in the College of Science’s department of biological sciences, her collaborators include biological sciences faculty Sharon Bewick and Anna Seekatz; Feng Luo of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Science’s school of computing; and Vidya Suseela of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Science’s department of plant and environmental sciences. Campbell said humans have a knack

Barbara Campbell is an associate professor in the department of biological sciences. (Photo/Clemson University)

for making an impact on ecosystems that can be good or bad. Often, humans simplify ecosystems, such as when an antibiotic reduces the bacterial diversity in a person’s gut microbiome, possibly reducing the redundancy in functions that are critical components of that environment. Loss of functional redundancy is thought to equate to instability or poor ecosystem health, according to the news release. “We are interested in ecosystem health,” Campbell said in the release. “We know that humans are modifying a lot of ecosystems, from your gut microbiome to agricultural soils to estuarine

and coastal environments. We know that the diversity of microbial species in many different ecosystems has decreased due to stressors, such as human impacts or climate change. We are investigating if this decreased diversity results in decreased functional redundancy — that is, the duplicity of function that microbes perform in ecosystems. We think that microbes need redundancy in functions — or ecosystem services — to maintain a healthy ecosystem or to bounce back after a disturbance.” These functions vary from making vitamins or helping digest food in the gut to producing oxygen in the oceans. A full 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe comes from microbes, according to the news release, so the health of ecosystems is directly related to the most basic and critical necessities of life. “We’re looking at the functional redundancy of these microbes in environments with different substrate complexities” Campbell said in the release. “Just like us, the diversity of food that we eat is good for our gut microbiomes. The same is true with different types of complexity in the ocean or in soils. We believe this complexity contributes to functional redundancy.”

Through this long-term study, researchers will compare the substrate complexity to the types of functions microbes do, with a focus on whether functional redundancy — the number of different microbial species that can perform any given function — is related to the variation of substrates in the environment. They will look at estuarine and ocean environments, agricultural soils, and digestive systems, with the goal of answering questions about environmental complexity, such as whether increasing the diversity of cover crops increases the functional redundancy of microbes and increases soil health. Students and postdoctoral scientists will learn and discover as they engage in the interdisciplinary research that is at the core of this work, which will include “sequencing everything” to look not only at the function of what is being expressed but also the functional potential, identifying these rules across a wide variety of ecosystems. “All of it is student-involved research,” Campbell said. “We will all have graduate students and undergraduates doing discovery-based research. We want undergraduates to be learning about wet lab work and be involved in bioinformatics.”

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September 21 - October 4, 2020

Data center expected to draw clients to Greenville area By Molly Hulsey


hen DC Blox CEO Jeff Uphues stopped by an emergent Greenville while visiting a local supplier 16 years ago, he liked what he saw of its “thriving business community.” He also knew that it wouldn’t be his last time in the city on the banks of the Reedy River. So years later when his data center services company needed a fifth location, Greenville rose to the top of the list — after months of consideration and research. “As we studied the markets in which we felt we could be successful and ones where we felt that there was a lack of digital infrastructure in the quality for which we deliver, Greenville became an obvious choice, but we didn’t know whether it would be the choice for what is now our fifth data center until we viewed the data,” Uphues said. DC Blox seeks to fill in gaps in what they call “underserved yet growing markets” across the Southeast, since a number of corporate-use data centers tend to be clustered around the country’s major metropolises like Los Angeles and New York, according to Uphues. During the analysis, Uphues’ team weighed “every business attribute we could from employment data to industry data to GDP data to industry mix to the types of businesses that were migrating down here, the size of businesses.” Fast forward to 2018. Uphues and his team delved deeper by connecting with Mayor Knox White and regional business and economic development groups like the Greenville Chamber and Greenville Area Development Corp. to find the optimum site to fit the criteria needed for a Tier III data center, which maintains the second to highest level of security and power-source reliability defined by the industry’s UpTime Institute. This means elbow room for eight different biometric-vetting access points and the capacity to keep hundreds of servers that never sleep cool. Access to multi-power grids and extensive fiber optic networks are also a must, as are amenable zoning laws and distance from seismic areas or flood plains. “We have a back-up system for every major system that runs our data center. If the power goes out, we have a back-up. If the network connectivity goes out, we have a back-up. If the air conditioning system goes out, we have a back-up,” said Bill Thomason, project management and marketing vice president of DC Blox. The center will not be as gargantuan as, say, Google’s data center in Monck’s Corner, which is one of the largest in the

DC Blox’s six-acre campus will join Immedion, another data center, in Greenville’s Global Trade Center. (Rendering/Provided)

world, but Uphues argued that the same security measures and redundancies, vetted by the search engine, will be integrated into DC Blox’s Greenville campus. Months of scouring the market led the DC Blox team to the six-acre plot at the Global Trade Park, where they

“This will be one of our largest capital investment announcements in several years in Greenville County.” Mark Farris CEO and president, Greenville Area Development Corp.

plan to complete the first phase of the 45,000-square-foot project in the third quarter of 2021. Eventually, the project is expected to bring in more than $200 million in investment to the state and five high-paying jobs, according to the Green-

ville Area Development Corp. “We love the proximity to CU-ICAR,” Uphues said, which recently announced an expansion of the campus with a new technology neighborhood and 40,000-square-foot multi-tenant facility. DC Blox typically provides connectivity, cloud and colocation services — in other words, housing for companies’ servers and computing hardware — for education and research institutions, health care providers, life science companies, banking and finance corporations, government entities, content and cloudbased service providers, among other groups. And at least in DC Blox’s other locations across the Southeast — Atlanta, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala. — the presence of a high capacity data center can also draw companies into an area, especially with unrest in larger urban centers. Uphues cites cases where police and fire departments cut the power off to buildings housing critical digital infrastructure because of riots on streets outside. Cost also comes into play.

“It’s cheaper, the same quality of Atlanta or Charlotte, you have access to it, it lowers your operating costs, it’s convenient: all of those things make it where it’s really important to be here in the market,” he said, adding that he also hopes that with the addition of the Greenville location, Palmetto State companies will be more likely to invest in digital infrastructure. Immedion currently serves as the primary data center provider in the Upstate market with its 20,000-squarefoot Tier IV Spartanburg center and a 25,800-square-foot Greenville location, also in the Global Trade Center. Greenville’s center operates between the third and fourth tier, according to a company representative. “This will be one of our largest capital investment announcements in several years in Greenville County,” Mark Farris, president and CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corp., said during a Sept. 9 virtual unveiling of the project. Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.

September 21 - October 4, 2020 13

Rubber meets the road as Be Pro Be Proud launches in S.C. By Melinda Waldrop


ick Todd waited three years for his vision to become steel-andrubber reality. Todd, president and CEO of the S.C. Trucking Association, was an early champion of the Be Pro Be Proud workforce development program pioneered in Arkansas in 2016, lobbying state legislators and private businesses to support the initiative that introduces middle and high school students to skilled trades such as construction, welding and electrical work. Todd’s efforts, and those of others with a rooting interest in the program, paid off as Be Pro Be Proud launched in the Palmetto State on Sept. 3. State dignitaries gathered in front of a custom-built, 53-foot 18-wheeler outfitted with stateof-the-art gaming simulations of in-demand jobs at the S.C. State Farmers Market to share their hopes about how the program will bolster the state’s workforce pipeline. “It’s an exciting day just to show what the private sector working with the public sector and all the stakeholder agencies can do together,” Todd said after presiding over a ceremony which included S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, S.C. Chamber of Commerce President Ted Pitts and representa-

tives from the state’s home building, forestry and construction industries. “Now we just want to get it out there and see if we can help show some people what kind of future they might have.” S.C. companies are also invested in those futures. More than 82% of S.C. employers in skilled professions report a moderate or serious shortage in workers, according to a fact sheet from, and an estimated 2 million jobs will be left unfilled by 2025 because of an aging workforce with more than 24% of current workers at or near retirement age. Be Pro Be Proud aims to address that workface gap by educating students about what those trades have to offer, including potentially lucrative salaries. According to online job site ZipRecruiter’s analysis of employment listings, construction workers in S.C. earn an average of $32,582 annually but can make up to $60,000. Journeyman electricians average $26 an hour, while truck drivers make an average of $48,324 a year and can earn nearly $70,000. “These are good careers,” Wayne Moore, president of the Home Builders Association of S.C., told the crowd. “This is how you make your living. It’s not just a paycheck.” A walk through the big rig, manu-

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Visitors to a custom-made, 53-foot 18-wheeler that houses the S.C. Be Pro Be Proud workforce development program can play state-of-the-art simulation games featuring skilled trades, including practicing the precision involved in being a forklift driver. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)

factured by N.C.-based specialty vehicle company Spevco, provides a hands-on, full-color glimpse at those careers. Students and other visitors can practice the precision needed to drive a forklift, operate heavy equipment at the Caterpillar simulator, or take a spin in the driver’s seat of an 18-wheeler as screens flash facts about job availability and pay. In April 2017, the original Arkansas truck made an appearance at the S.C. Statehouse as supporters lauded its ben-

efits for South Carolina. But $950,000 earmarked for the program was cut from S.C.’s state budget that year. Last year, the state appropriated about $600,000 to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce to administer the program, and the private sector pledged to raise $2 million. Andrew Parker is the executive director of the Associated Industries of Arkansas Foundation Inc., which runs that state’s Be Pro Be Proud program. He was there for the truck’s 2017 appearance in S.C. and on hand for the unveiling of South Carolina’s version. “The same folks that are here today were there. This has been a long time coming, but it’s exceptional,” Parker said. “We created it thinking it could be a national effort, but you never really know. You don’t know if anybody’s going to bite. South Carolina bit and held on to it.” Parker said that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has credited the program with increasing the state’s high school graduation rate, while technical colleges have seen enrollment climb. Of the 98,000 students who have toured the truck since its launch, Parker said 20,000 have expressed interest in one of the featured careers. At the end of 2019, See PROUD, Page 15


September 21 - October 4, 2020

Tea garden, others rebrand amid social justice conversation By Teri Errico Griffis


he company behind North America’s only tea farm underwent a quiet name change in June, replacing the word “plantation.” It’s now Charleston Tea Garden — a name that partner William Hall said more appropriately represents the Wadmalaw land. There was no public pressure advocating for the update and there was no publicity announcing it, as Hall said he and his partners sought neither praise nor to stir up further conflict regarding the word. “It was simply the right thing to do at the right time,” Hall said. A third-generation tea taster who studied formally in London, Hall came to own the land then known as Charleston Tea Plantation in 1987. Seeking additional financing in 2003, he partnered with his longtime friends at Bigelow Tea — a Connecticut-based, family-owned company with 65 years of experience in the specialty tea business. Seventeen years later, the partners have taken a hard look at the business’s name, like so many others in the South who have built a legacy of tourism on a history that was founded on slavery. “Plantation” was never an ideal representation of the land anyway, Hall said. He started his commercial business in 1987, more than a century after the Civil War ended and enslaved people were freed, changing the labor system upon which plantations were based. The name also confused guests who assumed there’d be a plantation house. While there had never been any major outcries or backlash regarding the garden’s original name, the Bigelows said they have always been sensitive to the fact that the word “plantation” carries significant pain for many in the country and throughout the world. So together with

Charleston Tea Garden (above) and Geechie Boy Mill (left) are among several Lowcountry businesses changing their names as the nation grapples with race relations. (Photos/Teri Errico Griffis)

Hall they changed it. “Today there are so many voices calling for positive action, building the appropriate awareness to drive meaningful change,” the company said in a statement. “Bigelow Tea has worked hard to create an environment of inclusion and

equality but as an organization and as individuals, we know we can always do better.” The change was small at first, starting in 2019 with the Bigelow tea variety Plantation Mint. The name had elicited a number of derogatory statements over

the years, Hall said, and the Bigelows renamed it Perfectly Mint late last year. With calls for social justice growing louder, and then erupting in protests after the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody, and with the conversation particularly targeting national monuments and company names, Hall said the conversation surrounding a rebranding of the tea garden came up again this year. “The Bigelows asked what I would think about changing our name here and I said sure,” Hall said. Updating plantation to the word



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September 21 - October 4, 2020 15

“farm� was a closer description, but Hall worried it wouldn’t be as appealing to tourists. Instead, he and the Bigelows moved forward with pushing the company’s legal business name, Charleston Tea Gardens, to the forefront. Dropping the “s� made for a softer transition. “I can’t say it’s not a big deal because we know how harmful that word can be to certain people. But it was the right time,� Hall said.

release on Aug. 20. But not all companies feel the need to change their name, despite the current conversation. Charleston-based Dixie Vodka considers the South to be a dynamic, ever-evolving place and stood by their name in a June statement. “We’re proud

“It was simply the right thing to do at the right time.�

To rebrand or not to rebrand

Charleston Tea Garden is one of a handful of businesses throughout the area to address its name in response to the national conversation. On July 1, Geechie Boy Mill on Edisto Island announced that it would rebrand, although no official name change has been released yet. “Please understand that this will be a slow process as we have to do the trademarks, packing, etc. Once we know that our new name is a go, we will let you know,� the company said in a news

PROUD, from Page 13

he said the program had 400 pending request for visits. While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of visitors who can walk through the truck at one time and necessitated increased cleaning measures,

be proud of today,� the company said. “Through the Dixie Vodka brand, we aim to positively reflect the South of today, representing the best of the region not just at home, but across the country.� Deciding what names should change and what monuments should be taken

William Hall partner, Charleston Tea Garden, formerly Charleston Tea Plantation

to be called Dixie Vodka,� they said. “As the singular nickname for the region for 200 years, ‘Dixie’ represents the South of the present, at any given point in time. The South has not always represented things we are proud of, but there is plenty to love and learn about from our collective history and much to

down throughout the South requires thoughtful consideration, says Marion Burns, chair and interim executive director of the Penn Center, an African-American cultural and educational center on St. Helena Island. “We can’t do it carte blanche, he said. “History is history, but I think we need to

he said the big rig is still on the road three to four days out of each school week, rolling into venues which have booked a spot. “When the two-year college presidents are saying this is affecting our enrollment numbers, and teachers are saying that kid is not going to drop out because of this experience, and the kid that’s on the other

end of spectrum is saying I now have a way to figure out how to pay for med school ‌ it’s terrific,� he said. The South Carolina truck is already scheduled for 33 appearances for the 202021 school year, according to the website. The truck is projected to engage 50,000 students during


be careful.� Some changes make perfect sense to him, such as taking down the John C. Calhoun statue in Marion Square; for others, he suggested the state create a committee comprising all races who could create informed, thoughtful decisions. Removing the word “plantation,� however, is something he can relate to, having lived in a Beaufort community named Colleton River Plantation for 17 years. He was one of only a handful of Black residents in the community. “When I think of ‘plantation,’ I think of my great-grandparents who were slaves and the negative connotation,� he said. “They were treated awful. I didn’t go through those things, but I’m mindful it happened and don’t need to be reminded every day.� Reach staff writer Teri Errico Griffis at 843-849-3144.

a 48-week tour in its first year, and the program’s goal is to produce 100,000 new skilled workers in five years. “Without this work, without these skills, nothing else in the state will work,� McMaster said. “Everything depends on these skills, this education, this training.�

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September 21 - October 4, 2020

THE NEWEST ADDITION TO THE SC BIZ NEWS FAMILY What’s new on SCBIZtv this week? Check us out on YouTube. With more than 100 archived videos (and counting), you’ll find a wide variety of businessrelated content, including: Virtual awards shows, Power Events, interviews with high-level business executives and several ongoing video series, including Coffee With…, 120 Seconds, Industry Trends and Coping with Covid. Here’s just a taste of what you’ll find on SCBIZtv this week





From Women of Influence in the Upstate to 40 Under Forty in the Low Country to Icons and Phenoms in the Midlands, you’re sure to find executives you know being honored in a variety of ways.

This ongoing video series features business executives sharing insight about their business, the industry in which they work and the community in which they live.

This ongoing series features CEOs answering as many questions as they can in two minutes. You’ll definitely learn something personal about the executive and get a thoughtful answer on a serious topic to boot.

This ongoing series explores the impact the Coronavirus is having on our daily lives, both at home and at the office.

This is just a sampling of what you’ll find on SCBIZtv. Check us out on YouTube to find a complete library of archived videos.

In Focus



Education and Workforce Development

Impact studies revealed at manufacturing conference By Molly Hulsey


t may be only appropriate that a conference spotlighting the newest developments in manufacturing would be held in a virtual expo center lined with 3D booths and animated attendees. Concerns about COVID-19 pushed the fifth S.C. Manufacturing Conference online for the first time, but Rick Jenkins, event coordinator and publisher of GSA Business Report, explained that the virtual format opened up the event to more speakers as well as the opportunity to pilot a virtual layout that Jenkins calls hightech, realistic and “just flat out cool.” Running Oct. 29-30 from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., attendees will be able to access 15 hours of streamed keynotes in an online conference hall, digitally peruse vendor booths and meetand-greet with exhibitors through a chat feature free-of-charge. Exhibitors can also upload pictures, videos and links to PDFs at customizable booths, accessible from a birds-eyeview of the expo hall. And while speeches will be released fresh for the first time throughout the two-day event, exhibitors who met a last-minute acquaintance, forgot a name or want to delve deeper have the chance to keep making connections into November. “The good thing about this for exhibitors is, usually our expo is two days,” Jenkins said. “This virtual expo hall will be up for 30 days, and this will allow visitors, the supply chain folks and any of the companies that are exhibiting to talk to each other, to network and to chat and to share

information for 30 days.” The first day of the conference centers around “smart manufacturing” and cutting-edge or “Indus-

“Industry 4.0 basically stands for the fourth industrial revolution, and the fourth industrial revolution refers to all of the high-tech stuff that

“It’s an exciting time, a thrilling time really, to be in manufacturing right now, and that’s why we’re so excited about the conference.” Chuck Spangler CEO and president, SCMEP

try 4.0” technologies on the factory floor — ranging from robotics to predictive maintenance — and the economic outlook for the Upstate’s staple industries: the automotive and aerospace sectors.

manufacturers use to do business: stuff like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, 3D printing, internet of things, new ways to collect data and analyze data with new software products,” Jenkins said.

Joey Von Nessen, research economist with University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, will also release the state’s most recent aerospace impact study for the first time, followed by S.C. Logistics Director Taylor Jackson’s presentation of an economic impact survey of the Palmetto State’s logistics industry. The second day zooms in on the human resources driving these industries — and the challenges that come with building and honing a workforce, especially in light of technologies discussed the day before. “This ‘ain’t’ your daddy’s manufacturing,” Jenkins said, adding that See CONFERENCE, Page 19

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September 21 - October 4, 2020


Ranked by No. of Employees in the Upstate Company

Phone / Website / Email

Top Local Official(s) / Year Founded

Purchasing Manager

Employees: Upstate / Statewide / Worldwide

BMW Manufacturing Co. 1400 S.C. Highway 101 S. Greer, SC 29651


Knudt Flor 1992

Oliver Haase

11,000 11,000 134,000

BMW X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 and their variants

GE Gas Power 300 Garlington Road Greenville, SC 29615


Richard Simpson, John Intile, Chuck Nugent 1968

Megan Grant

3,650 3,650 280,000

Power generation

ZF North America 2846 N. Old Laurens Road Gray Court, SC 29645




3,100 3,100 148,000

Automotive transmissions

Robert Bosch LLC 4421 S.C. Highway 81 N. Anderson, SC 29621


Mike McCormick, Christian Kolzem 1985

Suzana Cizmic

2,270 4,000 398,000

Global supplier of technology and services

Duke Energy Corp. 40 W. Broad St. Greenville, SC 29601


Mike Callahan 1904


1,979 4,358 30,000

Operates two electric utilities in South Carolina

DAA Draexlmaier Automotive of America LLC 1751 E. Main St. Duncan, SC 29334


Christian Langstein, Kerry Curvey, Max Cichon 1995

Guerkan Uelker

1,215 1,215 75,000

Automotive interior and electrical systems

AFL 170 Ridgeview Center Drive Duncan, SC 29334


Jody Gallagher, Kurt Dallas, Robert Crowder 1984

Carson Cato

1,057 1,057 5,014

Manufacturer of fiber-optic cable and accessories

ABB Motion 6040 Ponders Court Greenville, SC 29615


Joe Maloney 1904

Joe Maloney

710 775 -

Lockheed Martin 244 Terminal Road Greenville, SC 29605


Mike Fox 1984

Jim Marshall

550 750 110,000

Tindall Corp. 3076 N. Blackstock Road Spartanburg, SC 29301


William "Willy" Lowndes, Gregory F. Force 1963

Randy Warren

520 520 1,450

PackIQ LLC 1 American Way Anderson, SC 29621


Mark J. Beck 2000

Mark Beck

225 225 225

Mermet Corp. 5970 N. Main St. Cowpens, SC 29330


Eric Delorme, Chris Duerk, Lisa B. Coxe 1951

Patrick Bettencourt

175 175 23,600

Solar screen fabrics made from coated fiberglass yarn, used primarily for internal and external solar screen shades

Staubli 201 Parkway West Duncan, SC 29334


Roger Varin 1960

Daniel Brilliant

150 200 5,500

Electrical and fluid connectors, robotics and textiles

Southeastern Paperboard Inc. 100 S. Harris Road Piedmont, SC 29673


Peek Owen, Kenneth Jones, Dixon Dabbs 1982

Dan Schriefer

125 125 125

Paperboard packaging for food industry; specialty and functional coatings

ACL Airshop LLC 500 Park Commerce Road Greenville, SC 29611


Jeff Antinoro, Steve Townes, Wes Tucker 1984

Nick Vitielliss

115 115 250

Worldwide provider of unit loading devices, cargo control and air freight products and services for the aviation industry; operates in unit loading device leasing, sales, repair and control, and cargo nets and straps manufacturing

Creform Corp. 1628 Poplar Drive Ext. Greer, SC 29651


Katsusmi Kosaka, Keith Soderlund 1957

Holly Riley

99 99 850

Creform material handling system, tool to support lean manufacturing, C.I., Kaizen and 5-S; pipe and joint systems

Spartanburg Meat Processing Co. Inc. 3003 North Blackstock Road Spartanburg, SC 29301


JoAnne L. LaBounty 1999

Travis Smith, JoAnne LaBounty

99 99 99

Raw and fully cooked pork, beef and chicken

Zima Corp. 101 Zima Park Drive Spartanburg, SC 29301


Kenneth L. Kruse 1994

Brittney Watt

90 90 98

Custom machinery

International Plastics Inc. 185 Commerce Center Greenville, SC 29615


Steve McClure, Mark McClure 1964

Chris Davis

47 47 47

Polyethylene bags and film; poly bags, plastic bags, re-closable ziplock bags, box liners, drum liners, trash can liners, poly tubing and plastic bags

Koops 25 Brookfield Oaks Drive, Suite H Greenville, SC 29607


Jeff VanUffelen 1989


40 40 230

Factory automation systems, designs and builds machines and equipment for manufacturers across industries

Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to

Products Manufactured

Manufactures speed reducers, drives, gears, mounted bearings & mechanical transmission products; electric, electronic & industrial controls, converters, motors & telecommunications equipment

Aircraft production, maintenance, modification, repair and overhaul

Producers of precast concrete products and systems in North America

Steel shipping racks, wood shipping crates, foreign trade zone, packaging management

Researched by Paige Hardy


September 21 - October 4, 2020 19


Ranked by No. of Employees in the Upstate Company

Phone / Website / Email

Top Local Official(s) / Year Founded

Purchasing Manager

Employees: Upstate / Statewide / Worldwide

Roylco 3251 Abbeville Highway Anderson, SC 29624


Carolyn Voisin 1990

Perry Voisin

32 32 65

Die cutting, sound insulation

League Manufacturing 2200 Poinsett Highway Greenville, SC 29609


George F. League, Fraser League 1917

George League

29 29 29

Custom fabricator of CNC machined wood, plywood, plastic, thin-gauge aluminum and composite products for a variety of industries.

Quick-Crate North America 2200 Poinsett Highway Greenville, SC 29609


George F. League, Fraser League, Linda S. League 2002


29 29 29

Custom built collapsible, reusable shipping crates, plywood packaging, custom pallets, standard shipping crates on the shelf for same day shipping

KTM Solutions Inc. 603 High Tech Court Greer, SC 29650


Ginger A. Kumler, Seth Withers 2005

Paul Kumler

21 22 22

Aerospace, structural, design, classical structural analysis, aerospace tooling professionally designed and manufactured (jigs, fixtures and assembly systems)

Dynamic Filtration 606 McGee Road Anderson, SC 29625


Howard M. Steele 1997

Howard Steele

20 20 20

Electrical discharge machining filters for all major electrical discharge machines

TruColor 2107 Laurens Road Greenville, SC 29607


Sallie Truluck Gold 1980

Lance Tasciotti

19 19 19

Commercial printing, offset and digital; signage, rigid and flexible; promotional items, logoed marketing items; apparel, embroidery and screenprinting; brand specific online stores, mailing and fulfillment

Izumi International Inc. 1 Pelham Davis Circle Greenville, SC 29615


Ryutaro Izumi 1977

Maureen Redmond

18 18 25

Equipment for composite and carbon fiber production, 3-dimensional dispensing robot bioengineering and biomedical applications, prototypes and pilot lines, automation, robots and textile production

Separation Dynamics 611 S. Woods Drive Fountain Inn, SC 29644


Mike Presley 1986

Amanda McDowell

16 16 16

Closed-loop water filtration systems to help aerospace manufacturers clean better and manage oily wastewater more efficiently

Sonoco Recycling - Greenville 1240 White Horse Road Greenville, SC 29605


Carol James-Gilchrist, Davis Goodrich 1997

Carol JamesGilchrist

Hoowaki LLC 400 Birnie St., Suite C Greenville, SC 29611


Ralph A. Hulseman 2008


15 350 21,500 7 7 7

Products Manufactured

Recycling of cardboard, newspaper, office paper, paper tubes and most plastics

High grip micro surfaces, primarily created on films, for medical devices, packaging, industrial and consumer goods

Because of space constraints, sometimes only the top-ranked companies are published in the print edition. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, errors sometimes occur. Email additions or corrections to

CONFERENCE, from Page 17

the sector has shifted its focus from the rote job skills of years gone by and is now hurting for employees who can manage the software that automates the process. Chuck Spangler, CEO and president of SCMEP, is looking forward to covering how and when a manufacturer should implement 4.0 technologies, as poor timing or the wrong product can lead to expensive mistakes. “There are a lot of companies in the state that have questions like “How does this pertain to me?” and “What do I need to do?” Spangler said concerning Manufacturing 4.0 tech. He hopes to answer some of these questions during the conference with insight from personal experience, since SCMEP is currently working on 15 projects across the state on artificial intelligence alone. “That’s really the message we want to get across. It’s some awesome technology; you just need to make sure you’re using it at the right place at the right time,” he said. S.C. Manufacturing Awards, including Innovator of the Year and Emerging Manufacturer of the Year, will also be presented at noon on Oct. 30. Some awards will be unique to 2020, especially for manufacturers that piv-

oted to meet pressing needs during the head of the pandemic. Other keynote speakers will include Gov. Henry McMaster; Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt; Susie Shannon, CEO of the S.C. Council on Compet-

“It’s some awesome technology; you just need to make sure you’re using it at the right place at the right time.” Chuck Spangler CEO and president, SCMEP

itiveness; Bob Quinn, CEO of SCRA; Tim Hardee, president of the S.C. Technical College System; Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals; Colin Parris, vice president and CTO of GE Global; Amy Firestone, vice president of Apprenticeship Carolina; Mo Abuali, manager partner of IoTco; and Scott Tobey, CEO of FSI Advanced Research, among others. Speakers from S.C. Aerospace, S.C. Logistics, JTEKT, Clemson University, Arthrex, New Indy, MTU America, Volvo Cars and HR Bridging will also

Researched by Paige Hardy

Partners producing the 2020 S.C. Manufacturing Conference are: • SC Biz News, the buisness news media company that includes GSA Business Report, Charleston Regional Business Report, Columbia Regional Business Report and SCBIZ magazine. • S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nonprofit group under the Commerce Department that helps give state manufacturers a competitive edge through performance reviews, workforce development and training. • S.C. Aerospace, an industry cluster under the S.C. Council of Competitiveness, that works to market and expand the sector through connecting industry leaders, growing the talent pipeline and promoting research and development in the field. • S.C. Research Authority, a public, nonprofit corporation committed to linking and supporting innovators in the life sciences, information technology and advanced manufacturing and materials sectors. • S.C. Technical College System, a network of 16 colleges and two workforce development initiatives, readySC and Apprenticeship Carolina, that provides students with an education that prepares them for high-skilled jobs. have their time on the virtual stage. A live stream of the conference will also be accessible from the publication’s YouTube channel SCBizTv, a platform that is simultaneously launching Industry Trends, a video series covering all things new in the world of industry. “It’s an exciting time, a thrilling time,

really to be in manufacturing right now, and that’s why we’re so excited about the conference … I think it may be even better than our manufacturing conferences in the past to be honest with you,” Spangler said. Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1222 or @mollyhulsey_gsa on Twitter.



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EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT List: Colleges and Universities Bonus List: Technical Colleges and Trade Schools Advertising Deadline: September 21 OCTOBER 19


List: Residential Real Estate Firms Advertising Deadline: October 5



List: Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries Advertising Deadline: October 19


ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION (AEC) List: Heating & AC Firms Advertising Deadline: November 2

For advertising information, call Rick Jenkins at (864) 720-1224

September 21 - October 4, 2020

CU-ICAR to build third technology neighborhood Staff Report


he Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research is expanding its footprint on the 250-acre campus with a new technology neighborhood, Technology Neighborhood III. The first building in the neighborhood will be a multi-tenant 40,000-square-foot high-bay facility supported by $2 million in funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. CU-ICAR is home to 21 businesses doing business globally, according to a news release. “As a contributor to the state’s knowledge economy, world-class facilities like those at CU-ICAR are critical,” Clemson President Jim Clements said in a news release. “TN3 will support our students, researchers and industry partners with an innovative environment in which to prosper. We are so appreciative of the continued support from our partners at the EDA for believing in our vision and providing funding to support these efforts, which will in turn allow us to support South Carolina’s economy.” Dana Gartzke, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, recently toured the CU-ICAR campus and awarded Clemson with the $2 million EDA grant. “Working alongside the city of Greenville, the state of South Carolina and our partners in Washington D.C., makes it possible for Clemson to provide state-ofthe-art facilities that will help our strategic corporate partners grow and flourish,” Angie Leidinger, Clemson vice president for external affairs, said in the release. “CU-ICAR has continued to grow since its inception 15 years ago from an automotive focus to be inclusive of the mobility industry in response to the needs of industry. This expansion is a further testament to our ability to support our partners, our state and our students.” The building is designed to accommodate new and growing companies in the Upstate, the release said. The building

aims to fill a void in the local real estate market for high-quality multi-purpose facilities that can accommodate a range of businesses, from startup companies to established firms in the automotive, transportation, manufacturing and engineering support service industries. Technology Neighborhood III is CU-ICAR’s first new neighborhood in 15 years. First announced in 2003, CU-ICAR was founded to be an advanced-technology neighborhood where academia and industry converge. CU-ICAR announced the opening of its first building in 2007 and finished its sixth building in Technology Neighborhood I in 2016, according to the release. “From OEMs to suppliers in automotive, aerospace and beyond, our global reputation is directly tied to our ability to support Clemson’s partners and advance economic development in South Carolina,” said Jack Ellenberg, associate vice president of corporate partnerships and strategic initiatives, said in the release. “CU-ICAR is a unique research park in that it’s not just a location; it’s a campus with active academic programs where companies can interact with other organizations, outstanding researchers and Clemson students, making it an asset to Greenville, our development allies and the state.” The facility is planned as a multi-tenant high-bay, flexible laboratory and office building shell project intended for business tenants. Anticipated businesses located in the building may have 5,000 to 6,000 square foot high-bay spaces for laboratory, small-scale distribution, engineering/ technical services, etc. with truck access at the rear. It is anticipated that some tenants may desire office spaces located in the front areas of the building, the release said. LICAR LLC, an entity of the Clemson University Land Stewardship Foundation, will be the developer and owner of the facility. CULSF is an independent, non-profit entity that seeks to support Clemson through the development of real property in ways that maximize the educational, research and economic development mission of the university, the release said.

At Work


Business Digest

trial development in Anderson County. Rooker expects to complete construction of Pelzer Point Building One in the third quarter of 2021.The company engaged Colliers International to market and lease the Pelzer Point Commerce Center, 1630 Easley Highway in Pelzer.

QBS adds health insurance option Eddie Terrell, a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual – Greenville, presents a $20,000 grant to Prisma Health Children’s Hospital – Upstate.

Grant to benefit children’s hospital

Each year, Northwestern Mutual recognizes financial advisors who go above and beyond in giving back to local communities through its Community Service Awards program. As part of the award, 16 company financial advisors are each recognized with a grant to benefit a nonprofit he or she is involved with. Eddie Terrell, a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual-Greenville, has been recognized as a 2020 recipient of the award, receiving a $20,000 grant for Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Upstate.

New golf facility opens in Greenville

A new golf course called 3’s Greenville Golf & Grill opened for business in the footprint of the former Crosswinds Par 3 Golf Course, 61 Villa Road, Greenville. The course offers 12 par 3 holes, a 17,000-square-foot 18-hole “Humps n’ Bumps” Himalayas putting course, food and beverage options, a members-only 6.5-acre short game practice facility and golf instruction. The course is open 7 a.m. to midnight daily.

Quality Business Solutions Inc. said it launched Direct Care, which it calls a subscription-based alternative to traditional health care plans designed to increase access to affordable, high-quality health care options for employers and employees. Direct Care is comprised of four solutions: telehealth, telehealth with a dedicated primary care physician, partnerships with regional health care clinics, and a medical cost-sharing program that addresses more acute or advanced needs, including hospitalization, surgery and advanced tests.

Meals on Wheels adds e-card program

Meals on Wheels of Greenville launched an e-card program to help provide nutritious meals to Greenville’s homebound population, a need it says has risen significantly during COVID-19. Specifically, the newly released Grandparents Day E-Card is helping to combat the growing issue of senior isolation in two ways; providing additional personal connections to area seniors in a safe, “contact-free” environment, and raising awareness about the loneliness homebound residents experience daily. Additionally, each purchase of a $5 e-card provides a meal to the homebound.

Industry company to locate in Greer

JIDA Industrial Solutions Inc. and its third-party logistics subsidiary Global Trade Logistics announced plans to establish operations in Greenville County. The more than $4.5 million investment will create 78 new jobs over the next five years. Founded in 2005, JIDA provides material handling with both solid manufacturing and system integration capabilities for the automotive industry. GTL offers third-party logistics solutions for companies, including supply chain distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehousing, truck parking and more. JIDA and GTL will operate out of the same location at 154 Metro Court in Greer.

Spec building under construction

Atlanta-based Rooker broke ground on Pelzer Point Commerce Center, a 212,500-square-foot speculative indus-

Senior housing construction begins

South Carolina-based property management and development firm NHE Inc. started construction of a new affordable housing community for seniors ages 55 and older. The 57-unit Renaissance Place Senior Apartments will be located near Bob Jones University at 1250 N. Pleasantburg Drive and will include one- and two-bedroom apartment homes ranging from 749 square feet to 1,077 square feet. Community amenities include a community room with kitchenette for resident functions, a computer lab, laundry center, fitness center, library, walking

Getman is first recipient of Murdoch endowment Staff Report


achel Getman, the first woman to receive tenure in the Clemson University Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has scored another first for the department. Getman is the first recipient of the Murdoch Family Endowed Professorship in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The honor reflects her national prominence in research, scholarship and teaching, according to a university news release. The professorship comes with funding that Getman said will enable her to hire a graduate student to help further her lab’s research. “Every person that you have doing research is an opportunity to work on and explore another problem,” Getman said in the news release. “It’s very helpful. I thank all those who have mentored and supported me, those who nominated me for the professorship, and the Murdoch family for their support of Clemson University faculty.” Larry Murdoch provided the endowment that made the professorship possible. Murdoch received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Clemson in 1963 before going on to graduate school at Iowa State University and a career, first in chemical plant operations and then the engineering and construction industry. “The quality of an educational institution really boils down to the quality of the faculty, and I know it’s difficult to attract and retain good faculty,” Murdoch said in the release. “There is a lot of competition, and I just want to do a small part to help in that area.” Getman’s research is helping lay the groundwork to create more efficient,

trails and outdoor gazebo.

Grant funds new fire equipment

A $409,000 grant will provide the 85 firefighters of the Parker Sewer and Fire Subdistrict with new self-contained breathing apparatus, subdistrict said. Funds come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program.

more effective and less expensive catalysts, the release said. Catalysts accelerate the rate of chemical reactions and are crucial to mass-producing a vast range of products from gasoline and diesel fuel to fertilizer and plastic. “Everything that you’re touching right now has probably seen a catalyst,” Getman said. Getman’s main contribution has been to develop a multiscale modeling method for Getman quantifying thermodynamics and kinetics of aqueous phase reactions at solid interfaces. “It’s something that isn’t well established in my field but needs to be to understand a large class of catalytic chemistry,” she said in the release. “To perform simulations at the molecular level is pretty challenging. You have to predict ahead of time all of the correct features that you would want to incorporate into your model. Because no one has a microscope that can look at that level and tell you what’s going on, you have to use your own intuition. Usually, you’re learning as you’re going.” Getman’s lab includes two post-doctoral researchers, five Ph.D. scholars, one master’s student and one honors undergraduate. Her lab took in 11 interns over the summer when other research opportunities were cancelled because of COVID-19. Much of her lab’s work involves creating models of chemical reactions on computers and can be done virtually. “We offered a lot of positions to give people experience doing research they wouldn’t have had otherwise because of the pandemic,” Getman said in the release.

A M King earns national recognition Design-build firm A M King earned a national award from the Design-Build Institute of America for its manufacturing and Class A office facility in Laurens County for TrueCore, a manufacturer of insulated metal panels. A M King won National Design-Build awards for the TrueCore project in two categories: industrial/process and small projects.

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September 21 - October 4, 2020

People in the News CONSTRUCTION


Carroll Daniel Construction Co. hired Eldon Gowens to lead its new Greenville office as vice president and division manager. Gowens has more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry.

ENGINEERING Thomas & Hutton announced Leila Miles as its newest licensed professional engineer in South Carolina. Miles joined Thomas & Hutton’s Greenville’s Miles office in June 2015 as a designer in its civil engineering department.

HEALTH CARE Agape Care appointed Dan Beuerlein as chief development officer to lead initiatives for expansion to surrounding states. Prior to joining Agape Care, Beuerlein served as the chief development officer at BlueSprig Pediatrics. The AnMed Health Board of Trustees announced that William Kenley has been selected as the next CEO of AnMed Health. Kenley was most recently an Kenley executive vice president at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn. Kenley will succeed current CEO Bill Manson, who is retiring.


golf professional at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Starke previously served as the executive assistant and member concierge at Champion Hills Club. Hartness hired Jonathan Brashier as general manager of Village Kitchen restaurant and Hotel Hartness. He comes to Hartness from Auro Hotels, where he served as Brashier general manager of the dual branded Marriott hotel and its Oak & Honey restaurant. The AC Hotel Greenville appointed John Deck as general manager and Else Miller as director of sales. Deck most recently served as corporate food and beverage Deck director at Auro Hotels. Miller has led sales at SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency and Hilton hotels.



Growth Factor Group Inc. announced Shuling Guan joined the firm as recruiting associate. Shuling brings recruiting experience previously with ExecuSource in Greenville.

LAW Jennifer E. Johnsen of Gallivan White Boyd has been elected senior director for the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel board of directors. Johnsen focuses her practice on insurance coverage litigation, benefits litigation and business and commercial litigation.




The Cliffs hired Connor Roy as head golf professional at The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards and Gayle Starke as member services director at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. Roy previously served as the first assistant

Reynolds Co. announced the retirement of CEO Lex Reynolds. Neel Reynolds, currently serving as president, will replace him. Lex Reynolds has been Reynolds with the company since its inception in 1978. He began serving as the president and CEO in 1985 and has been the CEO since April 2019.

OneSpartanburg Inc. expands executive board Staff Report


neSpartanburg Inc. announced the appointment of three new executive board members. The expansion intentionally diversifies the leadership body to better reflect the community and the organization’s collective mission of business, economic and tourism development, according to a news release. The new executive board members are: • Pontheolla Abernathy, co-owner of Clevedale Historic Inn & Gardens • Sky Foster, department manager for corporate communications at BMW Manufacturing Co. • Mitch Kennedy, assistant city manager with the city of Spartanburg “This new, incoming class, along with our existing members will make this year’s executive board the most diverse governing body in terms of gender, race and economic sectors represented in the 102-year history of our organization,” said OneSpartanburg Inc. President and CEO Allen Smith said in the news release. “Our executive board is now more representative of Spartanburg’s economic drivers and the diversity of Spartanburg County



itself.” The executive board is composed of 17 business, tourism and economic development leaders from various parts Kennedy of Spartanburg County. The executive board sets the organization’s vision, policies and strategies in support of OneSpartanburg Inc.’s mission to “build a vibrant Spartanburg through business, economic and tourism development.” “This is a step in the right direction as we work to implement the diversity, equity and inclusion plan adopted earlier this year,” Wes Lehrer, who chairs the OneSpartanburg Inc. executive board, said in the release. Abernathy, Foster and Kennedy will all serve as at-large executive board members, beginning immediately.



Mauldin City Council appointed Donald “Bart” Cumalander to serve as the city’s recreation director. Cumalander, who has served as interim recreation Cumalander director since February, replaces former recreation director Joe Lanahan, who resigned from the department earlier this year.

Four new members have joined the Greer Community Ministries board of directors for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Bob Stroud will serve as board chair and will be joined on the executive team by Richard Falconer and Jennifer Almy. Stroud is a consultant with Holder Electric Supply. Falconer is a retired businessman and longtime volunteer at GCM. Almy is the clinical nutrition manager at Pelham Medical Center. Rev. Earl Simmons, senior pastor at Maple Creek Missionary Baptist Church, also joined the board this year.

Mauldin City Council appointed Brian McHone to serve as the city’s fire chief. McHone, who has served as interim fire chief since April, replaces former Fire McHone Chief Bill Stewart, who retired from the fire department after 35 years of service in the fire protection sector.

The Charles Lea Center Foundation hired Marisa Cecil as president. She succeeds former President Cyndi Beacham, who retired. Cecil most recently worked as Cecil the director of development for the Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas.

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Tragedies shed light on need for united community


he tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. When it comes to the work of racial equity, events like these bring racism and inequity to the forefront, spurring us to say, “enough is enough.” As a community, we have an opporMERL tunity to do betCODE ter. Though the disparities that black and brown communities are facing in our country are at a critical point, together we can create positive change. We, along with committed community leaders, formed the Racial Equity and Economic Mobility (REEM) Commission to convene around matters of racial inequities, social justice, and disparities in key areas that are negatively impacting the Black community in Greenville County.

Our goals include: • Gathering ideas to improve equity and economic mobility in our community; • Identifying our top priorities; and • Establishing clear community goals to create necessary change. Data show us alarming disparities that negatively impact our econoDAVID my and workforce, LOMINACK the educational achievement of our children, the health and wellbeing of our neighbors and the overall quality of life in our community. For example, Black household income in Greenville County is 56% of white household income, which is worse than both the state and U.S. averages; the infant mortality rate is twice as high for Black babies compared to white babies; and 54% of white students meet or exceed the 8th

grade math standard, compared to 17% of Black students and 29 percent of Hispanic students. These disparities don’t just impact some of us — they impact all of us. We have the opportunity to lead in ways that our community has never been led before. We have the opportunity to catalyze and revolutionize. We have the opportunity to create change with the Black community, which is long overdue. And perhaps most importantly we have the opportunity to act. This work will not be easy. We must get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Addressing systemic barriers will only come after we have a deep understanding of both the current conditions — the data, Greenville County’s history, the community’s challenges — and the shared aspirations of those most directly experiencing economic and racial inequities. We must move aggressively toward influencing solutions and outlining meaningful measurements of change to ensure that all area residents have unobstructed opportunities for safety, justice and success.

For the next six months, commissioners representing various interests, expertise and industries from throughout the county will engage in the challenging work of studying and reflecting on Greenville County’s racial inequities and the community partnerships needed to create solutions. The recommendations, strategies, and action steps that stem from this work will be presented back to the community in early 2021. By coming together to listen, analyze, understand and learn, we can start to heal and move forward in more equitable ways for everyone in Greenville County. Advancing racial equity is an investment in people and in our shared economic future. We invite you to join us in the essential work of creating a stronger, more just, and more equitable community for all who live here. Merl Code and David Lominack are co-chairmen of the REEM Commission. Code is an attorney with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C Lominack is South Carolina market president for TD Bank.

New accounting system more affordable than you think


eading into Q4 it’s time to start planning for next year, gathering sales forecasts, marketing budgets and calculating overhead costs. But a large part of this process should also be assessing your current operational tool set such as your accounting system. Those of you that need to switch already know it. You feel the growing pains of your current system. You’re at the point you can no longer access accurate informaANDY tion quickly, you’re KURTZ maxed out on user accounts, and you’re taking processes outside your system because it lacks certain functionality. But the cost and time it takes to change accounting systems hasn’t been worth the risk — but that’s only if you are looking at the old way to upgrade your system.

Out with the old

For years the cost of switching accounting systems has been a big burden to many and one of the biggest reasons companies hold off as long as possible before switching. Large up-front costs like licensing, implementation, customization and training require you to spend thousands and wait many months before you can even log in to your new system. Then you need to pay annually for support and extra for upgrades. Most often, these types of systems are on-premise systems, meaning you operate a local version of the software. But all that is changing with cloud-based accounting software.

In with the new

Newer cloud-based accounting systems offer more flexibility, easier integration, better pricing methods and, best of all, they get you up and running in one to three short months (depending on the customization and integrations you need). Many times, cloud-based pricing rolls all your costs together (implementation, licensing, ongoing sup-

port, maintenance, user fees, etc.) and breaks it down into a monthly, subscription-based investment. This allows for some very big advantages. 1. Better flexibility. With a cloudbased system, upgrades and maintenance no longer become large project costs that you need to budget separately for. They become part of reoccurring monthly investment, so you never have to sacrifice functionality or security. 2. Predictability. With your cost being the exact same month over month, budgeting for the year just got easier. You never have to scope out work mid-year and move pieces of your budget around due to an unexpected upgrade. 3. Lower barrier of entry. You don’t have to budget and save a year before making a system change because it won’t cost you five to six figures up front. But perhaps the biggest advantage to a cloud-based monthly model is the ability to be up and running in three months.

Once the foundation for your system is in place, you and your team can start working in it right away. You will start to experience the benefits of the new system immediately, allowing you to move faster, more accurately, and gain back your time. So as you start to plan for next year look to the new. Let go of the misconceptions that a new accounting system will drain your entire yearly budget, start vetting vendors and get ready to ring in the new year with a new accounting system. Andy Kurtz serves as the CEO of Kopis, a Greenville-based technology firm focused on providing high impact software and cloud solutions to businesses and state agencies in the Southeast. With a team of more than 40 employees, Kopis is one of the fastest growing software companies in the state.

We want to hear from you Write: Ross Norton, Editor GSA Business Report, 35 Cessna Court, Suite A Greenville, S.C. 29607


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