SCBIZNEWS.COM MAY/JUNE 2022
VOLVO’S ROAD AHEAD What’s next for Ridgeville A supplement to Charleston Regional Business Journal, Columbia Regional Business Report and GSA Business Report
Putting SC’s oyster industry on the map
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CIRCLE OF LIFE
Sustainability is the key to keeping the tire industry rolling in South Carolina. Page 22
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About the Cover: “Moon over the Reedy” is an acrylic painting by Greenville artist Edward Cascone. Read more about his work on p. 21.
COULD USED CAR PRICES CRASH?
After sales soared 42% in two years, experts worry car owners might be underwater. Page 32
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SC NEEDS MORE AUTO TECHNICIANS
Leaders dive in to solving the automotive workforce shortage. Page 32
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RAISING A FLOATING FARM
Trey McMillan owns Lowcountry Oyster Co., S.C.’s first floating oyster farm and part of an $8.7M industry. Page 16
SCBIZ Magazine compiled the top General Contractors from around the state. Page 36
David Stenstrom, Vice President, Manufacturing, Americas, shares what’s next for Volvo’s Ridgeville plant. Page 12
BMW and Inland Port Greer move the supply chain with expansions and investments. Page 52
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Clarendon County offers rich history, accessibility, healthcare and beautiful scenery. Page 46
SC UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Who’s building what in South Carolina? Projects, prices, companies, projected timelines, photos and more. Page 56
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
New hires, promotions, accolades and industry moves from around the state. Page 58
Subscribe or change your address online at www.scbiznews.com or call 877.615.9536.
Assessing single-family property taxes Average property taxes in Southeast $2,500
$2,000 $2,075 $1,925
*Based on an assessed value of $250,000
ven though you likely dislike paying property taxes, South Carolina has some of the lowest rates in the Southeast and in the nation, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data from financial portals SmartAsset and WalletHub. However, like all things real estate, location, location, location matters, and South Carolina’s larger markets show higher taxes for single-family homes. While still lower than most markets, taxes often consider the purchase prices of a home, and with the robust real estate market in the Palmetto State, every penny counts on closing day.
Highest property taxes in South Carolina County
Median home value
Lowest property taxes in South Carolina County
Median home value
*Ranked by median taxes
What about taxes on vehicles? Twenty-four states in the U.S. assess $0 in taxes on vehicles, but South Carolina isn’t one of them. Some states use alternate methods, such as Georgia’s one-time fair-market value fee. The Palmetto State has one of the highest vehicle property tax rates in the nation. The following states assess the highest vehicle property taxes.
**On vehicles worth $25,000 Sources: SmartAsset, WalletHub, Census Bureau 2019
Images via depositphotos.com
FROM THE NEWS DESK OF… Teri Errico Griffis
Associate Editor SCBIZ Magazine Every day, my inbox fills with economic development news. A company relocates headquarters to South Carolina, another expands. An automotive company invests hundreds of millions more into the state, creating even more jobs. A new hotel is built. An airline adds a Charleston connection. Our newspapers overflow with content on economic development in the Charleston, Columbia and Greenville regions, and we want to make sure the news is accessible and inclusive to everyone across the state, no matter your ZIP code. Our news team pays attention to every announcement, so you don’t have to. We have included the most newsworthy items and innovative trends moving across the Palmetto State in this newest iteration of SCBIZ Magazine.
Hemingway Sewing Solutions, a subsidiary of Beverly Knits — one of the largest circular knitters in the country — plans to invest $3.3 million to establish operations in Williamsburg County. The move is expected to create 242 new jobs. Founded in 1980, Beverly Knits designs and develops fabric for a variety of clothing, outdoor products, mattress and bedding, automotive, industrial and medical. The company also produces fire retardant products for apparel, bedding and industrial end-users. Koch & Co. Inc., a door and cabinet manufacturer, is investing $5.1 million to establish operations in Barnwell County and create 101 new jobs.
“Our company is known for its community involvement and hard work to make cabinet products that meet the American standard and pride,” President Jim Koch said in a statement. “We are an employeefriendly company that works to improve the lives within the community, employees and customers by delivering a quality wood product.” ACI Plastics South, a thermoplastics processor and recycler, is moving to Pickens County with a $4 million investment that will create 21 jobs and allow space for growth over the next decade. The company plans to construct a new 138,000-square foot facility on 51 acres that provides access to the Port of Charleston.
l, chemical Carrie Roya er leader at Fib process area , n o gt n Darli Industries in ded the ar has been aw ng Manufacturi Women in e Award by th Step Ahead . ng Institute e demonManufacturi en who hav m o w rs s o n o h d their career The awar leadership in d an ce en ll strated exce e industry. l levels of th al t u omen are o gh u thro ple of how w am ex g in in at she is “Carrie is a sh are proud th e w d an g, n in ufacturi er leadership vital to man ionally for h at n said. ed iz n ve gn Bocko getting reco es CEO Don ri st u d In er ib our plant,” F
First Community Bank, headquartered in Lexington, is expanding with a loan production office in Rock Hill. Catherine Faircloth, a Rock Hill native and veteran banker, will lead the new market as regional market president. Following the opening, First Community plans to open a banking office in the area.
1501 Main Street Suite 730 Columbia, SC 29201 ssoe-sw.com
Fromm Group is expanding its U.S. Strapping Company Inc. division in Lancaster County with a $34.6 million investment and creation of 63 jobs. Headquartered in Switzerland since 1947, the manufacturer works in development, sales and service of packaging products for securing and protecting transport loads around the world. The new facility is expected to be complete by March 2023.
Mount Pleasant author Stacy Willingham’s debut novel A Flicker in the Dark has become a New York Times Bestseller. The book also was picked up for a HBO miniseries by Oscar winner Emma Stone’s production company, Fruit Tree.
Credit One Tennis Stadium on Daniel Island opened in April for the Credit One Charleston Open after a rebranding and renovation project. The tournament welcomed professional female tennis stars, including Belinda Bencic who was crowned champion on April 10.
William Means Real Estate sold an island off Johns Island for $7.5 million. Cassina Group Founder Robertson Allen brokered the deal on behalf of the seller, a private investor who plans to develop 10 deep-water estates on five- to seven-acre lots on the island. Lyles Geer, William Means president and broker-in-charge was the listing agent for the island’s sale.
Through a recent acquisition, Stevens & Wilkinson joined SSOE Group’s national platform expanding its Southeast presence, capabilities, and overall portfolio. SSOE | Stevens & Wilkinson continues to work hard to create unique environments that are thoroughly designed and reflective of the needs of our clients and the community we serve.
People to know in the Palmetto State
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Director of S.C. Department of Commerce’s Existing Industries is a former teacher who’s can be anywhere you NEED to go helping to drive manufacturingWe success By Melinda Waldrop email@example.com
Once you’ve taught middle schoolers, you can do anything. That’s Cynthia Davis’ philosophy, and it’s served her well during her five years as the S.C. Department of Commerce’s business and industry programs manager. “When you’re leading a team of folks, I tell them that my best training to be their leader is when I was an eighth-grade teacher,” Davis said. “I enjoyed my time in education. It helps you a lot, being morphed into the workforce
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development position, because I get it.” We’ve placed our focus on fulfilling needs for industrial and manufacturDavis understands that companies ing staffing. We placemust professional workers in positions ideally suited to plan for the future an emerging workforce theirand experience, skills, and the company’s needs. as well as focus on filling immediate needs. In Skilled Trades her role at the Commerce Department’s ExistWe have staff dedicated to fulfilling employer needs in the skilled trades ing Industry arm, DavisWe supervises a variety of welders, pipefitters, and skilled tradesmen market. also love helping programs, fromfind employee work. training to supply “They are the technical assistance that chain consulting, that aimServices to help companies Managed provide toour companies,” Davis said. maximize theirIfproduction and potential. you are using more temporary we employees, fully integrated “They have you subject-matter that are Among themanaged services existing industries onsite staffing model can service from coastexperts to coast. industrial engineers that will go in and do a can utilize is a free onsite visit and operaHR Consulting and Consulting Services complete assessment of an entire plan, looktional assessment conducted in conjunction We provide experienced HR Consultants to take on the job of with the S.C. Manufacturing managing yourExtension employees’ HR needs, while letting your business focus Partnership. on future success. SEE DAVIS, PAGE 13
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MADE IN SOUTH CAROLINA CHISOLM BOWTIE Company: Brackish Made in: Charleston
othing says Lowcountry like a bowtie. Ten years ago, Brackish began with a single feather bowtie that Benn Ross designed and gifted to his groomsman. The company has since grown into a full line of men’s and women’s accessories, designed and hand-crafted in Charleston, but the bowties (named after South Carolina regions) remain at the heart of the nature-loving company.
WORKSMAN MOVER INDUSTRIAL TRICYCLE M2020-3CB LIGHTNING ELECTRIC
orksman Cycles is the oldest bicycle manufacturer in the United States. For more than 115 years, Worksman’s products were manufactured in New York City, but in 2016, the company relocated its main factory and bicycle production to Conway. The company’s main business is making heavy-duty tricycles that can be used in commercial spaces. Amazon, BMW, Exxon, Ford, Michelin and Santee Cooper, among other companies, use Worksman tricycles to move personnel around their facilities — especially warehouses, distribution centers, campuses
Company: Worksman Cycles Manufactured in: Conway Year established: 1898
and power plants. “They’re a low-cost alternative to golf carts, and far more efficient than walking,” company president Wayne Sosin said. The Lightning Electric tricycle, listed at $2,168, includes 20-inch wheels and a three-speed coaster brake. Users can pedal or power with the 800-watt electric wheel. Battery range lasts 10 to 12 miles with normal pedaling and the top speed reaches 10 mph forward, 3 mph in reverse. The hub weight is 14 pounds.
GIRL SCOUT UNIFORMS Company: Milliken Made in: Spartanburg
t may take a leap of faith to believe the badge-bedecked uniforms worn by the young saleswomen peddling Thin Mints at Home Depot were once water bottles — but it’s true. The Girl Scouts of America now rely on Spartanburgbased Milliken to manufacture their newest line of skirts and vests woven with fiber from landfill-bound plastic bottles. The manufacturer also uses recycled Repreve fabrics for furniture upholstery.
VODKA, GIN AND RUM Company: Striped Pig Distillery Made in: North Charleston
little off the beaten path, the Lowcountry’s first micro-distillery to open post-Prohibition offers hand-crafted spirits made locally and with local ingredients. You can visit the distillery for a tour, history lesson and a tasting of handcrafted rums, moonshine, whiskeys, vodka and gin. www.scbizmag.com
VA N TAG E PO I N T Step behind the garage doors of Regency Collision, an autobody shop in Charleston, to see the daily work that occurs in the collision and glass industry.
Jackie Breckenridge, a collision technician at Regency Collision in Charleston, adjusts a bumper. (Photo/Kim McManus)
BY THE NUMBERS $185.98 billion
Economic impact from the global automotive collision repair market.
Expected rate of industry growth from 2021 to 2028.
Anticipated employment growth for automotive body and glass repairers projected through 2030.
Cars that Regency Collision fixed in 2021.
Time the Regency Collision team clocked out the night before to catch up on work.
Mean annual collision repair technician wage.
Automotive body and related repairers as of 2020.
41 years old
Average age of technicians, up 17% since 1995.
South Carolina House Bill, dubbed the Rural Area Support Act, that is dedicated to consumer choice and safety when it comes to collision repairs. Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regency Collision, S.C. House of Representatives
By David Stenström Vice President, Manufacturing, Americas, and Plant Manager, Volvo Car Charleston Plant
reetings from Volvo Car U.S. Operations in Ridgeville, South Carolina. I am writing to give you a sense of where I see us headed over the next several months, but first I want to say how excited and fortunate I am to live and work in such a wonderful place. The Charleston community welcomed me, my wife and our two boys with open arms. Coming from my previous position in Asia just over one year ago, I admit, was a bit of a culture shock, but as we quickly acclimated, we found the people of the Lowcountry warm, friendly and welcoming. There is just something special about this place — the coast, food, the natural splendor and the history. I am grateful to be in the Palmetto State as Volvo Cars prepares for unprecedented growth and innovation. Our Ridgeville-based operation will soon be a key enabler for Volvo’s strategic global initiatives. Soon we will begin work on our next-generation all-electric Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). It is an ambitious project. This flagship SUV will mark the first new car and first new production platform launched by Volvo Cars outside of Europe. These cars will be proudly made right here in South Carolina with local talent, and of course, a little Scandinavian design. Preparations are already underway. The plant is abuzz with the sounds of cranes, excavators and contractors as we revamp our existing production facility and expand our infrastructure. Among our new initiatives, an onsite Battery Assembly Facility will allow us to continue to be a leader in electrification. Our company’s clear goals: for 50% of our vehicles sold to be fully electric by 2025 and 100% by 2030. Our team is poised to do just that. One of my most ambitious goals is to convert the Ridgeville facility to a carbon-neutral site by 2023 to be in line with the launch of our new electric vehicle. By converting to Biogas, expanding our solar panel farm, and continuing our Zero Landfill policy, we are doing our part to leave our community’s environment just a little bit better than how we found it. Our major focus now is on attracting, recruiting and developing our team as we prepare for the future. Our partnership with ReadySC will continue to feed our employment pipeline as we plan a second shift to keep up with production demands. We are poised to do remarkable things in the next year, and I am confident we will continue to build the safest, most technologically advanced vehicles in today’s market.
There is just something special about this place — the coast, food, the natural splendor and the history. I am grateful to be in Palmetto State as Volvo Cars prepares for unprecedented growth and innovation.
DAVIS, from Page 8 ing at productivity, looking at your time to market, looking at sales, looking at whatever it is that you feel like, as Mr. President or Mr. Plant Manager or Ms. Quality Specialist, whoever you are at the plant that we’re meeting with, are the target areas.” Davis said that people on job typically have a top-three wish list of what they would improve at their plants if given the opportunity. Once those needs are identified by a subject-matter expert, her team works to match-fund a project to help. Around 600 existing companies receive operational assessments annually, Davis said, with about half of those participating in projects. “They definitely see an impact in their measurables, to be able to pinpoint that yes, doing X resulted in Y,” Davis said. Other Existing Industry programs go beyond day-to-day operations to include growth and expansion resources and international business assistance, including export guidance and trade strategy. A detailed breakdown of resources is available online at scbizdev.sccommerce.com “We tried to think of everything,” Davis said. Davis’ own career path began in manufacturing when she worked for Spartanburg-based fabric manufacture Tietex International fresh out of college in the 1990s. At that time, “manufacturing was not the advanced manufacturing that we have today,” said Davis, who decided to pursue a career in education instead. Her work in school administration eventually led her into workforce development with the S.C. Commerce Department, where her current role blends her firsthand education experience with on-the-ground business acumen into a recipe for success. “When I’m talking to companies, I try to help them understand that they need a plan for that emerging workforce – which is hard for companies because they feel like they need that position now. They need people on the floor now,” Davis said. “But they’ve got to invest, and it does take time, to invest in that emerging workforce. It usually pays off, but it is a long-term gain when you’re working with students.”
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Trey McMillan raises oysters on his floating farm in the ACE Basin. (Photo/Kim McManus)
FLOATING FARM Trey McMillan, owner of Lowcountry Oyster Co., swung for the fences when he began South Carolina’s first floating oyster farm. Today he is part of an $8.7 million industry and serves up fresh molluscs to more than 100 local restaurants. By Teri Errico Griffis
Trey McMillan, owner of Lowcountry Oyster Co., sorts through the harvest at his South Carolina farm. (Photos/Kim McManus)
ysters are no longer just for “r” months. Trey McMillan, owner of Lowcountry Oyster Co., has changed the game with the state’s first floating oyster farm that can serve up oysters year-round straight out of the water. The company’s business model is built around three-inch single oysters, and sales and inventory have doubled every year since McMillan started selling in 2018. The company is still on its way to turn a profit, though, as everything McMillan’s earned in the last four years, he’s invested back in the
company. “It takes so much manual labor and labor funding to this that the margins are very small,” McMillan said. “It’s just like any other farming. You can grow what product you want, but if you can’t get it out of the water into the market, what good is it? It takes a lot of manpower, a lot of dedication from many different people to do it.” McMillan, husband to Deja Knight McMillan, founder of Pearl Public Relations, and father to three-month-old Bert, begins his workdays at 5:30 a.m. on mornings he heads to the Green Point farm. Two hours later, his crew arrives to harvest, sort and process oysters for bagging, as well as to call markets.
At the company’s warehouse at 2147 Heriot St. in downtown Charleston, additional crew handle operations, including shipping online sales and distribution to local customers and restaurants. The state’s mariculture industry is still new, only four years in the making, and restaurants drive the demand for locally grown and sustainably produced oysters, McMillan said. His company supplies the coveted 3-inch half-shell product to nearly 100 restaurants in the region. In 2019, the industry’s second year, South Carolina’s off-bottom oyster mariculture industry contributed more than $8.7 million in output to the state’s economy and supported 130 jobs, according to a study by Clemson University, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the S.C. Shellfish Growers Association. Beyond an economic impact, the survey reported that in 2019, the 1,193,892 oysters produced in South Carolina provided an estimated 14,676,753,020 gallons of filtered water for the public’s benefit in the state’s tidal creeks and estuaries. “From our employees to restaurants and then all the restaurants’ employees to the consumers, it’s a pretty large economic impact that we’re having — a lot larger than we thought,” McMillan said. “And that’s not just me, that’s the whole shellfish farming industry.” Growing oysters is an art form McMillan has taken years to hone, particularly given the Lowcountry weather and location. In the summer months, traditionally grown oysters can’t be plucked off the bank to be eaten after baking in the sun. The floating cage process, however, allows oysters to be harvested year-round because they remain underwater until a week before they hit the market. “If they’re underwater, the oyster is constantly feeding, that’s what they do… they’re feeder filters,” McMillan said. “In doing that, they’re cleaning the water and they’re also filtering themselves out, which gets rid of
“People love them. People want them. Let’s give the people what they want.” — Trey McMillan any bacteria.” If an oyster is not properly filtered, such as in hot summer months when the oyster is out of water and closed shut, the vibrio species of bacteria that lives inside can be deadly. The bacteria are responsible for an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the U.S. annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
BANKING ON A PLAN
A Mount Pleasant native, McMillan was the sole investor for Lowcountry Oyster Co. when he ran with the idea in 2017, sleeping in his office and living off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches those first years. “It was major dedication. I’d do it all again, though, you know. I was a part of it. It was an exciting time, like, ‘I could probably go home, but at the same time, I really want to get this stuff done because I want to see what happens,’” McMillan said. Today, the entrepreneur employs 15 people, ships 50-60% of his online sales around the country and runs sold-out tours from his Green Pond operations. A professional fisherman for 15 years out of school, McMillan was introduced to the oyster industry by a past girlfriend. Her father had been a farmer in the Chesapeake area of Maryland and McMillan got his foot in the door, learning the trade from him. The couple went their separate ways, with McMillan heading back to the Lowcountry, but he continued to raise oysters as a side gig. With the amount of work needed to get his operations off the ground, he shot for the moon and filed for permits. His permit request in particular was to be the state’s first floating farm. The original permit had been awarded to another company that was unable to master the process, McMillan said. From there, McMillan leased land on Venice Point in Colleton County and bought out the assets of the former oyster company that went out of business. Ever since, Lowcountry Oyster Co.’s
Lowcountry Oyster Co.’s logo is based on Trey McMillan. (Photo/Kim McManus)
oysters have been raised in a remote part of the ACE Basin, a 10-minute boat ride away from the company’s base on land. McMillan thoughtfully chose the waterway alongside researchers at the Army Corps of Engineers, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Coast Guard. On top of regulations and an ideal farming location, McMillan wanted a space away from people where he would not impede on their enjoyment of the ACE Basin — and also where his gear would be safe from damage. “You have to kind of weigh the balance of like, ‘Okay, yeah, I could maybe get a spot closer to town, but then I’m risking not only all of my millions of dollars in investment, but also maybe potentially risking somebody hurting themselves,’ which nobody wants,” McMillan said.
DELICIOUSNESS IN THE DETAILS
McMillan starts his year-long growing process by raising hatchlings he imports by the millions, primarily from Virginia because that state’s waters are closest to South Carolina’s. Seedlings are roughly the size of a pepper flake and are raised in the company’s on-site
nursery. They grow in large buckets with mesh bottoms, filtered every day with local waters that contain their food. Once they’re the size of a pinky fingernail, oysters are sorted into mesh bags that resemble giant inter-office envelopes. Six mesh bags at a time are placed into cages and set out at sea to grow. Cages are flipped every week for a 24hour period. They are then pulled out of the water every six to eight weeks and sent back to the shop for assessment. The beauty of Lowcountry Oyster’s operations is they have a software system called Smart Oyster that tracks where each cage is, when it was placed in the water, when it needs to be flipped and when it needs to be harvested. Inside the shop, harvested oysters are placed in a machine called a Tumbler — think a giant bingo chip sorter — to sort by size. Smaller oysters fall out along the way and get re-grouped, bagged and tagged by size. Bigger oysters get tossed to the end to be analyzed for market. With McMillan’s strategy to keep like sizes together, oysters have a balanced ratio. “Our target market is the half-shell market, and the main thing being you want
SEE OYSTERS, PAGE 19 www.scbizmag.com
High-end home buyers flock to Palmetto Bluff By Jenny Peterson Palmetto Bluff is only around 35% built out, but buyers are clamoring to settle into the luxury riverfront community and nature conservancy. The site is hidden away on 20,000 acres in Bluffton, about 90 miles south of Charleston between Hilton Head and Savannah. In 2021, Palmetto Bluff saw a record-breaking $391 million in closed sales on 372 properties, with the average single-family home price reaching $2.28 million. That’s a 52% increase in sales volume from 2020 and a bump from the $1.64 million average home price. Homesites start at $400,000 and range in size to up to 10 acres. Development will be spread among three distinct villages with restaurants, retail shops, an equestrian center and a Jack Niklaus Signature Golf Course. There will also be outdoor amenities, green space, recreational offerings and trails on 32 miles of public access to the Cooper, May and New rivers. Wilson Village Houses in Palmetto Bluff. Photo/Palmetto Bluff “We feel like we’re building a destination rather Estate Co. was involved in 77% of closed and pending transactions. than a typical master plan community,” said Bryan “I think people are really attracted to the placemaking aspect beByrne, broker in charge at Palmetto Bluff. cause we’re building a series of these cool village neighborhoods on The Palmetto Bluff community opened in 2004 and will be the water. There are three main villages, two of which have already capped at 3,800 homes along with approximately 200 rooms at the been built, which have enclaves of residential homes and restaurants Montage Palmetto Bluff hotel and resort and two golf courses. and amenities and boutique retail — kind of ‘boutiquey’ versions of In 2021, there were only nine resale homes and seven resale Charleston or Beaufort or Savannah,” Byrne said. homesites on the Palmetto Bluffs market. Palmetto Bluff provides an array of water-based activities includ“Because the place is so new, we don’t get a lot of existing homes ing kayaking and kayak tours, canoeing, paddle boarding, salt and coming up for sale,” Byrne said. “Homes that sell skew higher just fresh-water fishing and boat tours. Biking trails and community because there’s very few of them and because it’s so low-density.” docks are found along freshwater lakes and Cauley’s Creek. The community has seen record-breaking home sale price numAmong the distinctive offerings for residents and visitors is a 60bers. In 2021, compared to 2020, Palmetto Bluff reports: foot restored 1913 motor yacht, available for weekly river cruises, • 117% increase in sales of homes over $2 million wine cruises, a Sunday brunch cruise and private charters. • 625% increase in sales of homes over $3 million The history of the property dates to 1902 when Richard T. Wil• 400% increase in sales of homes over $4 million son Jr., a wealthy New York banker, first purchased the area, which In November, Palmetto Bluff introduced its first developer release by South Street Partners in the newest neighborhood, More- was originally intended to be a hunting estate. Construction began on a grand mansion to host lavish parties, but in 1926, the mansion land Forest. The new inventory of homesites feature expansive lots caught fire, and the property was sold to another private buyer. located along an inland water trail and lagoons. In 1937, Union Bag and Paper Company bought the land for its “An unprecedented 13 homesites in Moreland Forest were sold timber reserves — 20,000 acres of pine and hardwood resources. for $12.8 million on the first day of pre-release sales,” according to Company officials created a conservation-based land use plan which a press release from the real estate company. “An extensive pool of guides current development. The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy was potential buyers waiting in the wings have driven values to new created in 2003 to preserve the natural area. heights in virtually every segment (of the development).” “I think we’ll know where everything’s going to go within the next There are currently 431 homes under construction or in the five years,” Byrne said. “We may not build it all; it won’t be sold out by approval process, representing close to $800 million in residential then, but we’ll definitely know where everything’s going to go.” construction investment, Byrne said. In 2021, Palmetto Bluff Real
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Lowcountry Oyster Co. staff send oysters through the tumbler, which sorts the molluscs by size. (Photo/Kim McManus)
OYSTERS, from Page 17 a good meat-to-shell ratio. Then when the shucker opens the oyster up, it’s not a whole bunch of shell and a little bit of meat,” he said. Oysters could grow bigger, and do in places like Louisiana, but 3 inches is what McMillan found his target chefs want. Pushing any bigger could also be costly for his business. Larger oysters require more space and would tear up the company’s current equipment. They also weigh more, increasing shipping costs. “Another thing you have to take into consideration is the longer they sit out there, something could happen. If rain, a hurricane or something comes through, next thing you know, something you spent a year growing is now gone,” he said. All of these calculations, combined with the Lowcountry waters, are what McMillan said creates such a unique taste and sets his product apart. “You can’t mimic that. It’s just something that happens naturally, and we’re fortunate enough to be able to grow oysters in this environment,” McMillan said. He hopes Lowcountry Oyster Co. will soon become a household name, synonymous with the shellfish. “I want people to see that in the Lowcountry, yes we’re known for shrimp and stuff like that, but we’re also known for oysters,” he said. “People love them. People want them. Let’s give the people what they want.”
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GlassWRX creates advanced materials from recycled glass By Jenny Peterson The future of many new materials — including concretes, road fill and filtration systems — could lie in discarded and recycled glass, thanks to GlassWRX, a large glass recycling facility in Beaufort. The company is transforming post-consumer glass into high-value advanced materials, in what Chris Fisher, founder and CEO, says is the first glass recycling plant of its kind in the country. GlassWRX’s goal isn’t to remake common consumer-facing products, like glass bottles, but brand-new materials that could become an industry disruptor across many specialized sectors, while also saving the environment. GlassWRX employees are using ECM (Engineered Cellular Magmatics) technology, creating advanced sustainable materials for use in the design, build, operation and maintenance of resilient gray (concrete-based) and blue-green (air, water, earth-centered) infrastructure. According to the company website, Silica Dynamics merged with GlassWRX in 2020. While many of the recycled glass inventions are still under wraps, “We have many patents that are right on the fringe of being certified,” Fisher said. “We are making a lot of products that will change building materials.” GlssWRX was established in 2019, propelled by a $15.1 million investment in an 84,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Beaufort by Renewable Energy Alternatives, a Midwest development firm that specializes in renewable energy and advanced recycling technologies. Before operations could begin, the warehouse needed to be outfitted with specialized equipment—including a state-of-the-art kiln to melt the glass—and the company needed to establish steady streams of glass collection to support operations, Fisher said. After three years of personally crossing the state to source recycled glass and develop relationships with
municipalities, the facility began production in June 2021. “I have a million-and-a-half pounds of glass sitting on the ground right now,” Fisher said. “Twentythousand tons a year is what we need to run the plant— that’s two tractor trailers a day.” There are 28 employees at GlassWRX, which include chemists working in labs designing new products, as well as manufacturing employees who fire and grind the glass into high-value materials. The company already has existing clients for its unique products, and Fisher is actively seeking out new markets that can benefit from the recycled advanced materials. Fisher outlines the dual benefit of the GlassWRX operation: creating and inventing new and enterprising materials, while also providing an outlet to reuse all the recycled glass collected in the state. He said discarded glass collected in blue bins regularly gets dumped into a landfill, despite being perfectly good recyclable material. The company has set up eight drop-off locations across the state and contracts with a private company to collect recycling and bring it to the manufactur-
While Fisher works out of Beaufort, his wife Elizabeth runs Fisher Recycling in North Charleston. There, she collects glass to upcycle into surfaces, such as counters, shelves, fireplaces, etc. (Photo/ Provided)
ing facility. GlassWRX can handle pickups statewide and can even arrange curbside glass recycling pickup from bars and restaurants. Fisher said he’s planning on entering discussions with every county in the state and the statewide Department of Health and Environmental Control about setting up larger collection sites. “I have the ability to take every bit of recycled glass in the state,” Fisher said. “I’ve been out on the road setting up with counties and cities statewide that don’t have glass recycling, or who have (glass) in their single screen program to take it out and setting up a collection service just for glass.” Upcycling recycled glass into new materials is a family business; Fisher’s wife, Elizabeth Fisher, owns and operates North-Charleston based Glasseco Surfaces, which manufactures countertops and other hard indoor and outdoor surfaces from recycled glass out of a manufacturing plant on the former Charleston Navy Base. The two founded Fisher Recycling and Glasseco Surfaces, which has operated for 30 years, with both Elizabeth and Chris Fisher handling the operations and collecting glass from Charleston-area restaurants. GlassWRX has the same mission: “We’re taking something that’s been going in the landfill and upcycling it to a higher-value product,” Fisher said. Beaufort was chosen as the location for GlassWRX due to a strong manufacturing labor force and an opportunity zone, which created a deal to purchase the warehouse space. Beaufort has been an excellent glass recycling partner; GlassRX has set up recycling bins and drop sites throughout the county to collect the discarded glass. “I’m out on the street doing education in every neighborhood telling our story and bringing neighborhood associations through the plant for a tour to tell a really positive story about recycling,” Fisher said. Outside the state, Fisher has also set up glass recycling drop-off bins in Georgia locations, such as Savannah and in Brunswick. “(Savannah) has taken glass out of their single stream program and will be a huge supplier for us,” Fisher said. A major benefit with GlassWRX collections is that there’s no need to sort discarded glass products by color. — Chris Fisher, “Other glass manufacturers need to GlassWRX sort and separate by color for their byfounder and CEO products, like green bottles will go back to making green bottles, brown glass will be used to make brown bottles, and only clear glass is used for insulation,” Fisher said. He said announcements from GlassWRX about their enterprising products will be revealed as soon as patents are secured—but he teases that a number of specialized industries will benefit from the technology. “It’s amazing when people see the products and put their hands on it,” Fisher said. “It’s an incredible opportunity and very rewarding all the way around.”
“I have the ability to take every bit of recycled glass in the state.”
About the cover Edward Cascone has been painting since he was 14 years old, encouraged by his teachers to hone his talent. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1949, Cascone received VOLVO’S HOMEGROWN formal art education in the late ROAD AHEAD What’s next 1960s at School of Visual Arts for Ridgeville in New York City, where he studied painting and drawing under the supervision of artist Chuck Close. Following his marriage in 2017, Cascone and his wife moved to Greenville to be closer to family. The artist said he had been drawn to the growing Upstate art community for years. “The art and culture movement was becoming expansive, and I became in- Cascone volved in that and grew to be associated with other artists,” Cascone said. For nearly five years, Cascone has been displaying his work at Open Arts Studios, 14 S. Main St. In May, his work will be showcased at The North Street Gallery, which recently opened at 508 E. North St. in Greenville. Cascone’s cover painting is “Moon over the Reedy,” painted with acrylic—the artist’s preferred medium. “Greenville is very inspirational,” he said. “The streets and everywhere glow at night, particularly after the rain. I became so interested in the effects it had.” Cascone’s subjects span landscapes, portraits, still-life, figure panting and abstract surrealism. He’s currently working on a new series inspired by a South Carolina peach farm in bloom. He also has painted murals on the side of buildings, including a 7-by-11-foot creation at The Greene Apartments at 1108 Main St. in Greenville. Cascone will do large and small commission work. Throughout his career, Cascone has traveled Europe for inspiration and worked as an art conservationist at Julius Lowey/Shar/Sisto in Manhattan, New York. There, he studied how to restore works of art and learned photorestoration. The artist has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, art and English literature from Dowling College. He is also a self-taught musician, playing the flute, tenor and soprano saxophone professionally for 40 years. Interested buyers can contact Cascone at either studio or on his website at edcasconesaxman.com. SCBIZNEWS.COM MAY/JUNE 2022
Putting SC’s oyster industry on the map
A supplement to Charleston Regional Business Journal, Columbia Regional Business Report and GSA Business Report
Sustainability key to keeping tire industry rolling in SC
By Christina Lee Knauss Contributing Writer
outh Carolina’s role in the tire industry is a point of pride for the state, which leads the country in tire production. Every day, 133,000 new tires roll off the lines at a dozen plants run by five major international companies, according to statistics from the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Unfortunately, tires at the other end of their life cycle have also caused headaches for the state in the past decade. In 2011, an illegal dump of used tires in Calhoun County made the news because it was so big it could be spotted from space. It got worse in 2017, when Viva Recycling, a cash-strapped tire recycling facility in Moncks Corner in Berkeley County, closed and left behind a pile of
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Waste tires must be recycled properly or they can pose health and safety risks to residents. (Photo/Patrick O’Brien)
“I’LL ACCEPT TIRES FROM ANYBODY WHO COMES TO THE DOOR, from a large manufacturer to Joe’s Garage.” — Larry Lange, manager at Ridge Recyclers
more than one million scrap tires that had to be cleaned up at state expense. As a result, tire manufacturers based here are working alongside state agencies, legislators, city and county governments and others to make sure headlines like that never happen again. The tire industry worldwide is exploring ways to increase sustainability across the board, from more environmentally friendly factories and sustainable new rubber sources to more effective ways to recycle those endof-life tires, ELTs for short, so they don’t end up in illegal piles. “Global adoption of sustainable practices is the biggest challenge facing our industry today, and recycling end-of-life tires is a major challenge for both the industry and its stakeholders,” said Andy Thompson, director of sustainability policy for Japanbased Bridgestone Tires, which operates two manufacturing plants in Aiken County. Finding new ways to deal with those EFTs is important because piles of scrap tires are more than just eyesores. They collect rainwater and draw disease-carrying mosquitoes, can be a home for rodents and other vermin, and present a significant risk of tire fires. Once alight, these blazes pump out massive dark clouds of noxious fumes, cause oil from burning tires to leach into the ground and water supply, and are notoriously hard to put out. Tire manufacturers’ efforts to come up with new solutions for scrap tires will also be an important help for the state agencies, lawmakers, local governments and businesses dealing with the estimated 14,000 scrap tires generated each day by state residents, according to statistics compiled by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the main agency tasked with the state’s scrap tire management.
There are currently only three approved tire recyclers in all of South Carolina, located in the towns of Harleyville, Jackson and Johnston. “I’ll accept tires from anybody who comes to the door, from a large manufacturer to Joe’s Garage,” said Larry Lange, manager at Ridge Recyclers in Johnston. Machinery then processes the tires into chips which become fuel used in paper mills and other industries, as well as mulch, artificial turf and “crumb rubber,” used in everything from rubberized asphalt to welcome mats. South Carolina’s tire manufacturers are looking to significantly expand on those uses for recycled ELTs. Continental Tire, with a U.S. headquarters in Fort Mill and a 1,400-employee manufacturing facility in Sumter, is taking a two-pronged approach to the problem. Its sustainability efforts focus on the tire process from beginning to end, with research focused both on more sustainable alternatives to natural rubber for new tires and new ways to recycle ELTs, according to Kathryn Blackwell, Continental’s vice president for communications and marketing in North America. In March, Continental announced a development agreement with Pyrum Innovations, a European specialist in ELT recycling utilizing a process called pyrolysis, which breaks tires down through heating in an oxygen-free environment. The recovered materials, including steel, fibers, and a rubber mixture called “carbon black” are then used to make other products. At its Sumter plant, Continental combines this recycled carbon black with a material called buffings, which are shaved off the top surface of tires before they go to recycling and adds them to the mixture for
new tires. Newly manufactured tires that don’t meet the plant’s quality standards are recycled through a local vendor, Blackwell said. Bridgestone is also using recycled carbon black recovered from ELTs in passenger and light truck tires manufactured at its passenger tire plant in Aiken, Thompson said. Tire recycling is also promoted heavily at Bridgestone’s 47 retail stores in South Carolina. “In 2021, in partnership with our contracted tire hauler, we sent 253,996 used tires to beneficial end use in South Carolina alone,” Thompson said. Michelin North America in Greenville is exploring new tire recycling options as
Tires can be recycled at a number of landfills around the state, including the Bees Ferry Landfill in Charleston. (Photo/Patrick O’Brien)
part of a company-wide sustainability effort that aims to have all Michelin tires made with 40% sustainable materials by 2030 and 100% by 2050, according to information released by Michelin’s Office of External Communications. The company also hopes to recycle 100% of the tires it makes by 2048. At Michelin’s Lehigh Technologies site one state away in Tucker, Ga., end-of-life tires are being transformed into highly engineered raw materials called micronized rubber powders that can be used to replace oil- and rubber-based ingredients in many products, including tires and asphalt. Singapore’s Giti Tires, which employs 600 workers at its Richburg plant in Ches-
ter County, is a member of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers’ Association and supports the organization’s goal of funneling all scrap tires into “sustainable end use markets,” said David Shelton, director of industry relations for Giti Tire. He said the company especially supports and promotes the use of ELTs in making rubber modified asphalt, which is used in road-paving projects in several U.S. states. While end-of-life tires are a big focus, tire manufacturers are also working to increase sustainability by exploring alternate materials to use in making new tires. “Our focus at Continental has been to find more sustainable materials to replace natural rubber, which is only grown in envi-
ronmentally sensitive areas,” Blackwell said. Future Continental tires could come from a versatile plant that many people simply consider a weed: the dandelion. Since 2011, Continental has been working with the University of Munster in Germany to develop taraxagum, a substance derived from Russian dandelions, for use in everything from bicycle to car and truck tires. Thompson said Bridgestone is also studying more sustainable sources for raw materials, including natural rubber derived from the guayule shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. He said the company’s goal is to be able to create tires made from 100% renewable materials by the year 2050.
Chris Williams at the tail section of the original Air Force One jet at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. (Photo Courtesy/Chris Williams)
Aiken detailer to be part of team restoring original Air Force One jet By Steve McDaniel firstname.lastname@example.org
A love for aviation and a keen eye for detail led Chris Williams to the tail section of Air Force One. Williams, who runs East Coast Custom Detailing in Aiken, has always been drawn to airplanes of all types. His work in crash and rescue firefighting at Augusta’s Bush Field airport sharpened that interest. When he started his car detailing business in 2019, working on airplanes fell naturally into place. Williams soon was introduced to Renny Doyle, owner of Detailing Success, a detailing business and training center that he founded 23 years ago in Big Bear, Calif. Williams traveled to The Golden State for Doyle’s training courses and learned more about Doyle’s role as the official detailer of the original Air Force One
jet on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Each year, Doyle selects a team of detailers from all over the U.S. for a weeklong project of restoring and maintaining the vintage Boeing 737-153 on display at the museum. Williams was picked to be part of the group of about 20 that traveled to Seattle in July 2021 to take on the task of keeping Air Force One in pristine condition. The work is truly a labor of love. Each team member pays his own way to Seattle and volunteers his time and effort to the restoration project. Williams was more than willing to take part. “I was fortunate enough to be picked for the team that went to Seattle,” Williams said. “Our team was limited to about 20 from the normal 60-plus because of COVID, and the museum had cancelled the restoration project the year before, so we definitely had our work cut out for us.” Unlike automotive detailing, aviation maintenance and repair work must be carefully documented according to Federal Aviation Administration rules. Williams’ work on general aviation equipment like Gulfstream and Beechcraft planes must follow strict guidelines, the same as any repair and maintenance performed on engines, avionics or other crucial systems. “Airplane surfaces are exposed to harsh environments with atmospheric conditions and temperature changes,” Williams said. “Detailing and sealing the surfaces goes into service logs like everything else, so you definitely have to know what you’re doing.” In Seattle, Williams was given the honor of working on the tail section of the Boeing jet that first went into use as Air Force One in 1959 for President Dwight Eisenhower. The aircraft further served in a variety of government and diplomatic roles through the Richard Nixon administration. “The tail section is a special honor,” Williams said. “Once I got up there to start working and took a look at that giant American flag on the tail, I said to myself, ‘I really don’t want to mess this up.’” Williams and his team finished the restoration and maintenance of Air Force One within the one-week window, despite the shorthanded crew. “It was hard work, but really satisfying,” Williams said. “We worked as a team and got the job done. We also did restoration on a vintage B-29 World War II bomber. It was a real thrill to be part of all of that.” At the time of announcing his team in 2021, Doyle said that he was confident in Williams’ skills and dedication to the project. “I have chosen Chris for the 2021 team because of his experience and commitment to the art of detailing,” Doyle said in a statement. “These are priceless vintage aircraft, and there is no room for mistakes. I trust him and his eye for perfection and look forward to having him on the team this year.” At press time, Williams hoped to be chosen as part of the 2022 team that was scheduled to be announced sometime in April. “When I went out to Big Bear, it really opened my eyes to a whole new world in detailing,” Williams said. “I wanted to learn everything I could with Renny and his team; I want to be the best I can be. Going back to Seattle would be incredible.”
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Could used car prices crash? By Teri Errico Griffis email@example.com
Last year, a friend of Gary Silberg’s bought a used minivan, flipped it and made a profit of nearly $5,000. Motivated by the success, the friend then bought eight more. The investment made sense on the surface, as used car sales have soared 42% from December 2019 to October 2021, driven by reduced output by U.S. auto plants. But Silberg, a partner in KPMG’s U.S. global automotive sector, said the scenario had him on pins and needles. KPMG is a global network of firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. “My first inclination was this is going to end badly,” Silberg said. The market reminded him too much of 2008 when the housing market crashed after unprecedented growth in the subprime mortgage market. “The punchline is that, like gravity, this will come back to equilibrium,” Silberg said. “I just don’t know when and how much.” With his interest piqued, Silberg and KPMG embarked on a five-month analysis to understand the economics of the used car market. They looked back at 32 years of data to study the correlation between new and used car sales. There were some dips in the market in the early 1990s, when trade issues with Japan sprang up, and then
again after 9/11 and during the Great Recession. But suddenly in April 2021, used car sales skyrocketed. The unexpected pandemic slowdowns created a supply and demand imbalance — first with a two-week shutdown in April 2020, and then with shipping delays, labor issues, natural disasters and chip shortages. When the shutdown began, automotive manufacturers told suppliers, including those that produced semiconductor chips, to hold tight on production, Silberg said. As the industry then ramped back up in late 2020, the chip shortage hit with fewer produced and more needed for computers, video games and phones as people quarantined. In the third quarter of 2021, new car production fell to a 12-million-unit annual rate, KPMG reported. But demand was still there for vehicles, forcing people to the used car market. In early last year, a new 2021 Ram ProMaster was listed at $39,461, with a used list price of $31,661. By December, the used price had increased to $43,083, with a new car increasing to $52,841. Silberg’s ongoing concern is that as supply comes back, dealers are likely to reintroduce incentives and dealer margins, reversing price increases. This will in turn push used car prices down 20-30% to normal levels, leaving car owners upside down. “Approximately 2 million people a month are buying used cars — way more than people are buying new cars. And at least half of those are being financed, especially given the cost equation,” Silberg said. The outcome could be that people are so underwater they don’t buy a new car for years — or if they do trade in their car, they have very little equity to put toward their next purchase, Silberg said. “The average age of a vehicle used to be between 12 and 13 years. If you can’t afford to get into a new vehicle because you’re so underwater, that puts huge pressure on demand then for new vehicles,” Silberg said. “This is the thing I think the auto industry has to pay attention to.” When the market will level out depends on automotive manufacturing and the new car market’s evolution, Silberg said. As of now, KPMG reports that the new car market needs to build up an estimated 1.5 million units to catch up with current demand. In that time, nearly 40 million cars will have been sold at a 30% increase. KPMG predicts the market could level out this year, but the effects will hit hard across multiple sectors first. Lenders should prepare to see losses when equilibrium returns. In 2021, new car loan originators and total auto debt reached an all-time high, KPMG reported. “By the time the new-car shortage ends, $1 trillion worth of new and used cars could have been financed for far above pre-COVID-19 prices,” KPMG stated in the report. “This implies tens of millions of consumers could be underwater on their loans.” Without a crystal ball, Silberg can’t definitively say how things will shake out, but he has a couple predictions. The first is that rising prices could create a new floor for new and used cars. Inflation could also stunt consumer demand, resulting in falling prices and incentive spending. How quickly the industry can solve supply chain issues and increase production capacity will also play a role in the outcomes. “I don’t think new car prices can keep going up,” he said. “There’s just no way. People can’t afford it. It’s going to drop. It’s just when.”
Companies research long and hard when it comes to how to brand their business with signature colors and an image that’s identifiable and representative of their product. Here’s the history of five automotive logos you may not have heard before.
BMW’s logo colors symbolize Bavaria — the Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavarian Motor Works’ country of origin. The myth is that the four quadrants are propellors, and BMW has let the interpretation stand for nearly 100 years.
Volvo’s logo is derived from the alchemy symbol for iron. The Volvo Iron Mark embodies the strength and quality of Swedish steel.
In 1913, Chevrolet co-founder William C. Durant presented the “Chevy bowtie” on the 1914 Chevrolet H-2 Royal Mail and the H-4 Baby Grand.
Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades constellation, which inspired the car manufacturer’s star-cluster logo.
Rooted in family, MercedesBenz’ threepointed star symbolizes the Daimler engines’ strength and prevalence on land, sea and in the air.
Oshkosh Defense’s newly imagined next-generation delivery vehicle. (Photo/Provided)
You’ve got mail
shkosh Defense isn’t your childhood clothing company. The Wisconsin-based business develops military-grade vehicles and has chosen to invest in South Carolina as the homebase for manufacturing the country’s newest mail truck. The U.S. Postal Service announced in February 2021 that it would invest $155 million to build its newest ride in Spartanburg. Oshkosh Defense, a subsidiary of Oshkosh Corp., was awarded the $482 million
contract in February as part of a multibillion-dollar initiative to replace the Postal Service’s 230,000 vehicle fleet within 10-years. In March, the U.S. Postal Service placed its first order of Next Generation Delivery Vehicles with Oshkosh Defense. The initial $2.98 billion order is for 50,000 automobiles, according to a news release from Oshkosh Corp., which calls the vehicles NGDVs. Unlike the current vehicles, NGDVs will include air conditioning, improved ergonomics and newer and safer technology, such as advanced braking and traction control, 360-degree cameras, air bags and automatic braking. Other products from Oshkosh Defense include light, medium and heavy tactical vehicles, aircraft rescue fire fighting vehicles, MRAP all-terrain vehicles and cold-weather all-terrain vehicles.
Photo via depositphotos.com
Fact or fiction? License to drive
iverbanks Zoo and Garden has released the newest specialty license plate through the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles. The design features three pink flamingoes above the Riverbanks’ logo. A portion of the sales will support the care and conservation of the animals and plants at Riverbanks. The plate is one of 192 specialty license plate that the state offers—yes, you read that right! Other designs include military branches, sports teams, supporting the Morris Island Lighthouse and even square dancing.
ed cars are more expensive to insure because their drivers get in more accidents. Fiction. “When you purchase auto insurance, we don’t ask you what color car you drive,” said Jovi, Coloma a Statefarm Insurance representative in West Ashley. Basic questions when insurance shopping include the vehicle’s year, make and model, as well as the driver’s prior driving and insurance history. Some common causes for the misconception? Red cars stand out and police might more easily spot you breaking the law. Red is also the most expensive paint color to mix, increasing costs of body repairs.
2022 | SOUTH CAROLINA
MANUFACTURING CONFERENCE AND EXPO PRESENTED BY:
SAVE THE DATE: NOV. 3 - NOV. 4 GREENVILLE CONVENTION CENTER | GREENVILLE, SC
To view the agenda and to register, visit www.scmanufacturingconference.com
Join Manufacturing suppliers and innovators across all industry verticals at South Carolina’s most significant manufacturing event of the year. The 2022 conference will include: • An exhibit hall the equivalent of three football fields • Implementing Industry 4.0 Technology • 2023 Economic Outlook: Auto, Aerospace, Biotech • Women in Manufacturing: Leaders and Influencers • SCMEP Manufacturing Excellence Awards • The South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP) will conduct training courses For questions about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Rick Jenkins at (864) 720-1224 or firstname.lastname@example.org Visit scmanufacturingconference.com for the latest updates. www.scbizmag.com
“We are looking at having a contract with students,
ALMOST LIKE A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE.” — Sims Floyd, executive vice president of the S.C. Automobile Dealers Association
SC NEEDS MORE AUTO TECHNICIANS The state is pouring millions into recruiting,training auto workforce By Jenny Peterson
A worker at Oshkosh Defense’s Wisconsin plant builds a tactical vehicle. (Photo/Provided)
Over the next two decades, a significant number of cars on the road will be fully electric or hybrid vehicles, according to industry leaders. As more car manufacturers say goodbye to gas, the industry will be anything but business as usual. It’s crucial that South Carolina recruit and train the next generation in new technology to stay ahead of the curve. Not only will employees be needed to manufacture electric vehicles, but mechanics at car dealerships will need to be certified to work on these significantly more sophisticated vehicles. The state is pouring millions of dollars into education, apprenticeship programs and partnerships with the private sector to prepare the future workforce in the automotive industry, including training students as early as high school freshmen in the specialized technology. The private sector is also separately investing in recruiting and training the future workforce. “The South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association has recommitted at a much higher level than in the past 30 years a multifaceted plan to incentivize these young people to go through this career tract and enter the workforce and be placed in a dealership,” said Sims Floyd, executive vice president of the S.C. Automobile Dealers Association. “We can’t get enough mechanics. We are looking at having a contract with students, almost like a professional athlete. June (2022) is when we will unveil a contract with students to capture their attention and focus with job placement, scholarships and internships to try to woo them to go to franchise car dealerships.” South Carolina currently offers 70 career and technical education programs statewide for students in high school and postsecondary, with more than 5,900 students enrolled specifically in manufacturing programs, according to the S.C. Department of Education. Two-year technical colleges, regulated by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, offer programs for students to become Automotive Service Excellence-certified. To complete a certification, students must learn and display a mastery of automotive repair through a rigorous hands-on training. A separate $20 million statewide Apprenticeship Carolina
BY THE NUMBERS S.C. currently offers 70 career and technical education programs statewide for students in high school and postsecondary, with more than 5,900 students enrolled specifically in manufacturing programs, according to the S.C. Department of Education.
program assists companies across all sectors free of charge in creating and building custom apprenticeship programs on site for workers as young as 16. Apprenticeships can cover tuition costs and support services like child care and transportation for employees learning on the job. “About a third of our apprenticeships are in the manufacturing sector,” said Amy Firestone, vice president of Apprenticeship Carolina. “We have significant funding to make this benefit available. It’s part of the overall incentives when (companies) come here, knowing that they can count on us helping them build a long-term workforce.” Apprenticeship Carolina has a statewide team of apprenticeship consultants who meet with company leaders about the benefits of the apprenticeship program, available tax credits per apprentice and grant opportunities, and to help companies file apprenticeship paperwork with the department of labor. “We have registered program specialists who help companies get connected to organizations that have individuals they can recruit,” Firestone said. She points to Upstate manufacturer Michelin, which has youth apprentices, including high school and college students gaining hands-on experience. Having a close working relationship with the S.C. Department of Education is key to finding students to fill these apprenticeships. Apprenticeship Carolina will soon launch an apprentice job board for companies to post openings, Firestone said. “Technical colleges come in when we need to create a customized curriculum at the college level,” Firestone said. “On a weekly basis, we always have some activity with a company either starting a new apprenticeship in manufacturing or revising their program.” An ongoing challenge is to keep up with constantly changing automotive technology and customized training for an automotive company’s specific needs. The education sector leans on private sector to communicate specific needs to create quality, tailor-made programs. “As they make new vehicles, they introduce new technology, which forces us to cre-
Mark Robaszkiewicz mixes the precise color needed to paint a bumper. (Photos/Kim McManus)
ate new curricula for students and teachers to be trained in new technologies,” said B.T. Martin, who oversees the career cluster that includes the transportation industry with the S.C. Department of Education. “With electric vehicles and hybrids, young people need to have a different set of skills, and we have to tweak our curriculum in coding and artificial intelligence; these cars have so much technology. That’s why partnerships are so important because it gives us an opportunity to hear what our dealers (and manufacturers) are saying their needs are.” Martin said a challenge is keeping students engaged in education to complete certifications rather than taking on manufacturing jobs right out of high school. “We encourage those students to go to a two-year technical college,” Martin said. Higher education offerings in the automotive sector include The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), an advancedtechnology research campus, and industry professionals hint at a possible effort to create a four-year undergraduate automotive
Craig Whited, an autobody technician at Regency Collision in Charleston, works on a four-door car that needed multiple repairs following a collision. (Photo/Kim McManus)
manufacturing program. To keep existing automotive manufacturing programs robust, there’s a push by all stakeholders to get the word out to the future workforce about the benefits of highpaying, sustainable automotive manufacturing careers in the state. “These mechanics are rock stars, and we
need to make sure they feel this way; they should be highly recruited individuals,” Floyd said. “We need to make sure they know the path to the industry and how quickly they can enjoy a high quality of life. In the end, that’s what we are talking about — quality of life for South Carolinians where we will all flourish.”
Under the Microscope: Bio-Science In July, SCBIZ magazine examines the economic impact of the life sciences industries, the businesses that support them, and growth trends for the future in South Carolina.
S.C.’s life scie nce poised for gro s sector wth, succes s
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PRESENTING THE 2022
GENERAL CONTRACTORS POWER LIST
vidence of the work of general contractors is all around us — the homes we live in, the offices and factories we work in, the stores we shop in and much more. Just about every building we occupy involved the expertise and experience of a general contractor. They are the conductor of the orchestra that builds a home, office, warehouse, retail center or store. GCs take on the overall, day-to-day management of a construction project, providing the tools and materials needed. They also hire and oversee any subcontractors for the critical work of the various mechanical and structural systems required to complete that project. General contractors are a busy lot in South Carolina. Most are jug-
gling multiple projects in the booming residential and commercial building sectors while dealing with supply chain delays, labor shortages and sharp material cost increases. They are equal parts leader, manager and communicator that the property owner and developer depend on the get their project done on time and on budget. The SC Biz News team developed this Power List of top general contractors in the state by analyzing industry data and considering the individuals who demonstrated vision and action in serving their profession, as well as the professional excellence that commitment provides to our places of work and life. Please join us in congratulating these individuals in this issue of SCBIZ Magazine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. TONY BERENYI
2. LASENTA LEWIS-ELLIS
3. DJ DOHERTY
4. JOSH VANSCOY
5. PAUL MASHBURN
TONY BERENYI Berenyi Construction Inc.
erenyi, a commissioned officer with the U.S. Army Reserve, earned engineering degrees from The Citadel and MIT, and completed the Army Engineer Officers School. He started his own engineering firm in 1989, but just months after launching Berenyi Inc., he was called to active duty. During Operation Desert Storm, he commanded a 250-man unit, spanning two countries, receiving a Bronze Star Medal. After fulfilling his military commitment, he returned home and continued to build Berenyi
Inc., which today is a leading design-build firm, providing clients with solutions and costefficient services, using a team that operates in design and management of complex industrial and commercial construction projects both nationally and abroad. He was named S.C. Engineer of the Year by the Charleston Contractor’s Association in 1995. In 2001, he helped found Rein & Shine, an equine-oriented facility for military veterans and people with disabilities, and was named to the Boeing Hall of Honor in 2021.
2 3 38
LASENTA LEWIS-ELLIS LLE Construction Group LLC
ewis-Ellis is president and CEO of LLE Construction Group LLC, a woman- and minority-owned general contracting and real estate investment and development firm. LLE specializes in owner representation and consulting services in facility maintenance and sustainability, space planning, renovations and logistics, and program and project management. She has managed multimilliondollar projects over her 27 years in the industry. She holds an associate’s degree in architectural engineering technology from Midlands Technical College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina; and a Master of Arts degree in human resources development from Webster University. She has completed numerous entrepreneurial, business and community-oriented programs and is a licensed general contractor, Realtor and construction manager in South Carolina. In February 2021, she formed Collaborative Partners LLC, a firm focused on affordable housing, commercial real estate and mixed-use development. In August 2019, she was selected as the Richland
County Library Entrepreneur-inResidence, providing one-on-one small business coaching to local business owners through the Google Impact Grant. In addition, she not only coordinated entrepreneurship programming, she also started RCL’s first entrepreneur book group and small business coaching for youth entrepreneurs. A member of several professional and trade organizations, she has received many awards, including the 2019 Milton Kimpson Community Service Award by the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council, 2019 Brookland Baptist Girls Rock hosted by the Brookland Baptist Church Women’s Day Committee, and the 2016 Enterprising Woman of the Year from Enterprising Women magazine.
DJ DOHERTY III Mavin Construction LLC
avin Construction, which Doherty helped launch in 2012, has experienced tremendous growth and success across all industries. Mavin has demonstrated significant advancements in the coordination, communication and high-quality projects they have delivered across the Upstate as the company has grown to 40 employees. Doherty serves as partner within the business and leads the company’s marketing and preconstruction services. In addition to a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, Doherty has OSHA 30 Hour certification, is a certified health care manager, holds a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation with spe-
cial building, design and construction credentials from the U.S. Green Building Council, and has a postgraduate diploma in corporate sustainability from Furman University. A licensed general contractor in multiple states, he serves in a variety of community and professional organizations, including the board of Ten at the Top and Greenville Technical College’s AET CET Advisory Council.
JOSH VANSCOY HITT Contracting
ith more than 30 years construction experience, VanScoy leads HITT Contracting’s Charleston office, specializing in commercial construction projects from corporate office builds and renovations to complex industrial and manufacturing facilities. A graduate of West Virginia University, VanScoy joined HITT in 2002, building an impressive portfolio of work. As vice president, VanScoy provides guidance to his staff of more than 20 team members and manages the day-to-day operations of the office and strategic positioning of HITT’s overall success in Charleston. Most recently in 2021, the firm’s Charleston office under his leadership was recognized by the Charleston Regional Business Journal as the eighth-largest general contractor with
annual revenues of more than $58 million. He is affiliated with the Charleston Defense Contractors Association, Society of Military Engineers, and Associated Builders and Contractors - Carolina Chapter. He has been a board member of the American Heart Association’s Hard Hats for Heart campaign, a member of the Rotary International, and a supporter of the Preservation Society of Charleston.
PAUL MASHBURN Mashburn Construction
graduate of Clemson University, with more than three decades of construction experience, Mashburn became president of Mashburn Construction in 2010 and CEO in 2016. A respected leader, he has served on numerous professional and community organization boards, recently serving as chair for the Industry Liaison Committee of the Building Division Leadership of the Associated General Contractors of America. He is also past chair of the Executive Committee of the Industry Advisory Board for the Nieri Family Department of Construction Science and Management at Clemson University. He was one of the youngest presidents of the Columbia Rotary Club, the largest in the state. Among other numerous leadership roles, Mashburn has also served as president of the Carolinas Associated General Contractors and chairman of the National Kidney Foundation of South Carolina.
2 0 0 1 graduate of Wofford College, Bridgers is president of McCrory Construction, which he joined in 2008. Under his leadership, McCrory has significantly increased its client list, many with ongoing building programs. A graduate of Leadership South Carolina’s Class of 2015, as well as Leadership Columbia’s Class of 2010, Bridgers has served with a variety of professional and community organizations, including the Urban Land Institute, Leadership Columbia Alumni Association, Carolina Children’s Home board of directors and Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
graduate of the S w a n son School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Bean, a professional engineer and licensed general contractor, has 32 years’ professional experience, including 28 years at O’Neal. He began his career as a process engineer working on pulp and paper projects before moving into nonwovens work upon joining O’Neal. He headed O’Neal’s business development group in the early 2000s before being named president and CEO in 2005. Among his accomplishments, he has led the conversion of O’Neal’s ownership to an employee stock ownership plan and assembled a leadership team that has been together for more than 15 years. He transitioned O’Neal into an integrated EPC firm, performing complex capital projects for major
industrial producers throughout the U.S. He also launched two subsidiary companies, Quest Site Solutions, founded in 2018, and INfab, founded in 2020.
ROBERT A. CHISHOLM
M. B. Kahn Construction Co. Inc.
graduate of Bob Jones University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting, Chisholm joined M. B. Kahn Construction in 1994. In 2003, he was named a senior vice president, then becoming executive vice president and CFO in 2014. In 2018, he was promoted to president and COO. As CFO, he was responsible for introducing a new, streamlined computer accounting program that integrates project management, contract information and project accounting into one platform. His successful implementation, training, and
management of this program has provided all personnel with the means to efficiently and effectively manage the full lifecycles of projects. In 2019, he implemented the Safe Service Appreciation and Recognition Award program, an incentive program that encourages individual employees to focus on safety and ensures that all job superintendents are properly educating their teams on the company’s safety protocols and standards.
BRANDON LINDEN Linden Construction
inden has more than two decades of direct, handson experience in every facet of the construction industry. Starting as a field superintendent, he worked as a project manager, project estimator and operations manager before starting Linden Construction in 2009, serving as sole owner and president. The company has been recognized as a fast growing and thriving company and was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately held companies in America in 2019 and 2020. Linden has also received the Carolopolis Award for new construction from the Preservation Society of Charleston. In 2018, he co-founded a development company focusing on opportunistic multifamily and retail. As principal developer, he has not only repositioned assets to increase their value, he has also taken various mismanaged, over-budget developments and made them financially viable.
Chapin Commercial Construction
indler, owner and president of Chapin Commercial Construction, is a licensed general contractor. Entering the commercial construction field upon graduating from Clemson University, he has more than two decades of hands-on commercial construction experience. He has overseen the design and construction of hundreds of thousands of square feet of projects, including retail, restaurants, office buildings, medical and dental facilities, auto dealerships and repair, manufacturing and industrial buildings and religious facilities.
Specializing in design-build, he coordinates and facilitates every phase of the process. His clients include organizations such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Marco’s Pizza, Smashburger, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Jim Hudson Automotive Dealerships, Tractor Supply Co. and many others, including many retail center developers. He was also named a Top Five Restaurant Contractor in Columbia by General Contractors Magazine. Lindler serves the community through numerous charitable organizations and his church.
Harper General Contractors
graduate of Presbyterian College, Wise joined Harper in 1991 and has successfully managed a diverse portfolio of award-
winning projects in seven markets over a 30-year career. Under his leadership, Harper was ranked No. 297 in Engineering News-Record magazine’s Top 400 General Contractor Awards for 2021. In addition, Harper has won the following awards in 2021 alone: The Pinnacle Award for the Walhalla Water Treatment Plant, the Construction Excellence Award for the Watauga County Community Recreation Center, and the DBIA Award for the firm’s Environmental Systems Division. Wise also serves Upstate businesses and communities, serving on the boards of YMCA Spartanburg and HOPE Ministries.
JOHN O. ROSS JR.
Dooley Mack Constructors of SC LLC
oss, a graduate of the University of Georgia, started his career at Dooley Mack Constructors of Georgia Inc. as a project engineer in 2001. After spending 18 months in the field, he became a project manager in 2003. In October 2008, he partnered with the Georgia office to open a new location in Charleston, despite opening during one of the worst economic downturns in history. The very first contract was for $975, and the first full-year revenue was around $900,000. Since then, the office has grown, employing around 30 people and bringing in $44 million of revenue in 2021. He has extensive experience managing a range of construction project types, including projects for Walmart, Ross Dress for Less, Tractor Supply, Frito Lay and many more. He also is a for-
mer council member for the Associated Builders and Contractors – Lowcountry Chapter.
HARRIS COHN Cohn Corp.
2001 graduate of Vanderbilt University, Cohn joined the family company, Cohn Corp., in 2003. He and his team have done a number of high-profile projects, including the expansion of the Church of the Apostles, which overcame a host of challenges to be a major improvement to the corner of one of Columbia’s most highly traveled corridors. In addition, he worked on such projects as the University of South Carolina Indoor Tennis Center, the Generac Manufacturing Plant and the Historic Columbia Hampton Preston Greenhouse. As he notes, “We have the privilege of working on so many special and arguably ‘signature’ projects ... That said, I’m always humbled when our team has the opportunity to serve others, elevate those who we serve, and demonstrate excellence in what we do. Every time we are trusted with this opportunity is an accomplishment worth noting to me.”
DAVID W. SUMMERS JR. CF Evans Construction
Clemson University graduate with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Summers has done an array of projects. He and his team have earned numerous professional recognitions, including the
National Association of Home Builders - SAFE Award and 2019 National Multifamily Builder of the Year, and Best Places to Work 13 years in a row. He is certified as an American Institute of Constructors Associate Constructor, a NAHB Certified Green Professional, and a recipient of the Clemson University 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award.
SANDI BRAZELL Solid Structures
n 2008, Brazell founded Solid Structures, a 100% womanowned general contractor specializing in new construction, renovations and design-build projects. She was able to thrive during this period because she had initiative and took on projects that no one else was willing to take on in an unpredictable market. Solid Structures has gained a solid reputation as a professional and reputable general contractor in the state of South Carolina. Brazell worked for Monteray Construction before starting Solid Structures, where she quickly rose through the ranks to general manager. She has completed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, pre-engineered building systems, project management, employee management, concrete construction and government contracting courses. Brazell has more than 30 years of construction expertise and is capable of organizing and managing projects of all types and sizes at the same time. Her in-depth knowledge, great problem-solving abilities and people skills have helped her achieve success. She’s participated in the Association of Builders and Contractors, as well as the Building Industry Association. She also is on the advisory committee for Midland Technical College Building Construction
Technology program. As a general contractor, Brazell has overseen a range of projects, including government buildings, law enforcement facilities, vehicle dealerships, community centers and commercial complexes. She has managed up to 20 projects worth more than $20 million at a time. Solid Structures is certified by the Governor’s office of the State of South Carolina
Clayton Construction Co. Inc.
orne, a University of South Carolina graduate, became president of Clayton Construction Co., a commercial general contractor specializing in turnkey construction projects, in early 2022. Prior to that, he served as vice president of business development since 2008. Horne has been an integral part of the company’s evolution and growth. Exceeding expectations for more than 40 years, Clayton Construction Co. has been named one of South Carolina’s Best Places to Work. He also is a leader in his community, serving on the boards of One Spartanburg Inc. United Way, Ten at the Top and USC Upstate Foundation Board. He was also named Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year, Leadership Spartanburg Emerging Leader Award, Leadership Spartanburg Alumnus of the Year, Who’s Who of the Upstate and USC Upstate Distinguished Alumni of the Year.
mann, now Executive Vice President of Construction for Landmark Builders of South Carolina LLC, has been in the commercial construction industry for 25 years. He joined Landmark in 2005 as a project manager and has been involved in a wide variety of projects during his tenure there, with a focus on hospitality/resort, health care and industrial projects throughout the Southeast.
ter Construction, building for industrial, medical, retail, restaurant, retail strip centers and other businesses. He is currently working on several expansion projects for several South Carolina boat manufacturers. Fulmer notes that all of his business is either repeat or referral — the firm does not bid for jobs at all. He has also worked extensively in disaster relief efforts across the globe through the S.C. Baptist Convention.
Master Construction Co. Inc. ulmer has more than 40 years in the construction industry, including 30 years as president of Mas-
Brasfield & Gorrie
graduate of Auburn University, Barfield has spent his career — more than 25 years — at
CONGRATULATIONS TODD HORNE 2022 POWER LIST HONOREE On behalf of Clayton Construction Company, Inc., we would like to congratulate President Todd Horne on being named to SC Biz’s General Contractors Power List. Todd has been an integral part of our company’s evolution and growth, and we look forward to our exciting future under his leadership. Way to go, Todd!
Landmark Builders of South Carolina LLC
graduate of Purdue University with a degree in building construction management, Bohl-
121 Venture Blvd., Suite A | Spartanburg, SC 29306 | 864.576.19 www.claytonconstruction.net www.scbizmag.com
Brasfield & Gorrie. He oversees the Greenville office, where he is responsible for securing the division’s work and supporting its project teams from an executive level. He has spearheaded many iconic projects in Greenville, including the ONE building, the Camperdown mixed-use development, Clemson University Center for Nursing, the Riverplace mixeduse development and numerous renovations for Prisma Health. He serves on the Greenville Chamber’s board of advisers and is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Upstate C12 and a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 44. He has also been involved with Associated General Contractors, Associated Builders and Contractors, Boy Scouts of America, American Red Cross and the Peace Center.
Management division for the Associated General Contractors of America’s Construction Safety and Excellence Awards. Choate also received the STEP Diamond Award by the Associated Builders & Contractors of the Carolinas in 2021. He helped launch Building Up, Choate’s philanthropic program, which raised about $1.26 million in 2021. He has been a member of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce board for nearly a decade. He has the LEED AP BD+C credential and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Urban Land Institute. He served on the Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Heart Association’s Executive Leadership Team and is chair for the Lowcountry American Heart Walk for 2022-2023.
eitner has been with his family’s business, Leitner Construction of the Carolinas, since 2004. The firm, founded in 1947, provides construction services in York, Lancaster and Chester counties. In 1974, the company expanded into commercial and light industrial construction and has grown to be an unlimited general contractor serving the Carolinas. At the request of its clients, the Leitner Management Group was formed as an agency construction management division and currently has three offices in the Carolinas. Leitner, who is
Choate Construction Co.
graduate of the College of Charleston, Brewer joined Choate Construction Co. in 2004. Now president and CEO, he started with the company in business development, rising through the ranks to lead Choate’s Charleston office as division manager before becoming president in 2020 and CEO in 2021. Under his tenure, Choate was named the 2022 National Grand Winner and awarded First Place in the Construction
JOHN (JACK) LEITNER Leitner Construction Co. of the Carolinas LLC
president of the company, received the 2020 York County Businessperson of the Year award. In addition to his business achievements, Leitner, a graduate of The Citadel, has served on numerous community organization boards, including the Charlotte Avenue YMCA board and the York County Chamber of Commerce regional board.
Trident Construction LLC
Clemson University alumnus, Kennedy joined Trident Construction in 1987. He has been a part owner of Trident Construction since 1999 and became president in 2019, directing the strategic growth and day-to-day activities of the company. In his 35-year career, he has served as project manager and project executive on more than 1,000 projects, including 22 WestEdge, Roper St. Francis Office Park, MUSC Health East Cooper, The Gadsden, Anson House, The Cape on Kiawah, The Gateway Building Expansion, 100 Calhoun St. and St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church. He serves on the Charleston Chamber Board, Board of Architectural Review of Summerville, American Heart Association Hard Hats with Heart and YMCA Board of Summerville. Previously, he served as president of the Charleston Contractors Association, the Carolinas AGC Board representative for South Carolina, the Board of Goodwill Industries and two terms on the St. Paul’s Anglican Church vestry.
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CLARENDON COUNTY IS ON ITS WAY
The sun rises over Lake Marion. (Photos/Clarendon County)
larendon County sits in what those in the know call the best of all worlds. Situated on the east side of I-95 and bordered by Lake Marion, South Carolina’s largest lake, Clarendon County is conveniently located about an hour away from Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Florence and Columbia, and less than three hours from Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte. The county’s place along the interstate not only provides easy access to South Carolina’s ports, but to nearly 66% of markets across the U.S. Formed in 1785, Clarendon County was named after Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon, one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, and would be the site of a number of conflicts and battles during the Revolutionary War. Throughout its history, the county was home to five South Carolina governors, as well as notable individuals, including civil rights activist Joseph Armstrong DeLaine, Althea Gibson, the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam tennis title, and Peggy Parish, author of the Amelia Bedelia series of children’s books. Being rural and less populated, Clarendon County offers a tranquil, small-town atmosphere. The county has three incorporated towns and one city, Manning. Also the county seat, Manning has a population of just a little fewer than 4,000. The county also offers an inexpensive but strong quality of life with the overall cost of living coming in significantly lower than the rest of the state or the country. With room to stretch and a variety of affordable housing options,
Clarendon is steadily becoming the destination of choice, especially for those seeking to escape the noise, congestion and bustle of larger areas. “We’re starting to see more growth,” Clarendon County Council Chairman Dwight Stewart said. “As other areas get crowded, I think people are starting to seek out a quieter place with a good quality of life. Clarendon County most certainly has that.” The area offers important amenities that oth-
Students in the culinary arts program at Central Carolina Technical College’s F.E. Dubose Campus in Clarendon County.
“As other areas get crowded, I think people are starting to seek out a quieter place with a good quality of life. Clarendon County most certainly has that.” — Dwight Stewart, County Council chairman
A group of students in the CCTC welding program. CCTC’s F.E. Dubose campus offers many educational and career training options for students at all levels.
Clarendon County by the numbers
$52,983 Median household income
er similar-sized rural South Carolina counties might not. Health care, for example, is strong, thanks to a partnership with McLeod Health, which acquired the Clarendon County hospital several years ago. The county also consolidated its emergency medical services and fire services into one department, streamlining services and making them more cost effective. Stewart credits a topnotch county staff for Clarendon County’s ability to maintain a good quality of life for its citizens. “We have an excellent staff,” Stewart said. “They’ve done a great job with keeping us fiscally sound while providing good services.” Clarendon County officials are united in the idea that to maintain a strong quality of life at a reasonable price, the tax base needs to grow and diversify. To that end, the county has worked hard to leverage its business assets: proximity to highways, ports, markets and urban centers; development of industrial parks, sites and buildings; and active recruitment of industries. “We have all been able to communicate and
agree on our direction,” Stewart said. “It may sound simple, but I don’t know that other communities can say the same. It really helps get things accomplished when everyone is on the same page.” Barry Ham, chair of the Clarendon County Development Board, has been involved with economic development for 25 years and said Clarendon County is “firmly committed” to providing opportunity for business and industry growth. “I believe we are on an upward trajectory, and I definitely feel like we fight well above our weight class,” Ham said. For the past five years, Clarendon County has been especially focused on product development, Ham said. Clarendon County, which was recognized as the first certified workready community in South Carolina, is home to a number of industrial buildings spanning between 12,000 and 144,000 square feet, as well as eight industrial sites. Those sites include Clarendon County Industrial Park, ATIP Alcolu
The Clarendon County Courthouse in downtown Manning was built on Jan. 5, 1910.
Clarendon County is a treasure trove of historical sites, such as this Indian mound overlooking Lake Marion.
Technology Industrial Park, I-95 megasite, and Summerton Commerce Village. “I think we’ve been very successful over the long haul by sticking to our mission, which is to promote what we already know: Clarendon County and South Carolina are wonderful places to do business,” Ham said. Top employers in the area currently include McLeod Health Clarendon, Georgia Pacific, county government and the Clarendon County School District. The county, however, is seeking to diversify its tax base by recruiting advanced manufacturing, automotive, fabrication, food and beverage processing, and warehousing, distribution and logistics. “Clarendon County is ready for business,” said George Kosinski, executive director for the Clarendon County Development Board. Most recently, the county partnered with Santee Cooper Electric Cooperative, which supplies power to the area, to build a speculative building within Clarendon County Industrial Park. The building has yet to break ground and has already attracted interest, Ham said. Workforce development is another area the county is focused on. The Career Center at Central Carolina Technical College’s F.E. DuBose campus not only offers high school students a variety of technical education and college preparatory options, but also works with business and industry to develop training programs for county residents who wish to develop skills for existing and incoming employees. The county also boasts a well-regarded K-12 public school system, as well as private school opportunities. “A high school student in Clarendon
The Amelia Bedelia statue. Clarendon County has been home to numerous famous people, including Peggy Parish, author of the Amelia Bedelia children’s books series.
County can take college-level courses through CCTC and walk out of high school with up to 24 college credits,” Stewart said. Clarendon County also offers residents a variety of recreational opportunities, be it historical and cultural resources or events and festivals. Underpinning much of the leisure life in the county is Lake Marion, the largest lake in South Carolina. The body of water encompasses approximately 95 square miles of the 606-square-mile county and is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, attracting boaters, fishing enthusiasts and even major national fishing tournaments. “I would be remiss if I didn’t prominently mention the lake and what it contributes to us,” Ham said. “Not only does it provide great outdoor recreation opportunities, but it offers a wonderful place to live, vacation and retire.”
“I think we’ve been very successful over the long haul by sticking to our mission, which is to promote what we already know: Clarendon County and South Carolina are wonderful places to do business.” — Barry Ham, chair of the Clarendon County Development Board
As Clarendon is a rural county, farming is still an important business sector.
BMW moves a link in the chain to Plant Spartanburg By Ross Norton Compared to almost $12 billion already spent on BMW’s Plant Spartanburg, the company doesn’t consider the next $200 million to be a major investment, but the expansion does represent a significant change of strategy that puts the manufacture of large parts onsite. BMW Manufacturing CEO Robert Engelhorn in March said a new 219,000-square-foot press shop, expected to open in summer 2024, will cut and stamp raw coils of steel into parts such as doors, The press shop’s five stamping stations will cut raw coils of steel into blanks and stamp them into metal parts like fenders, body sides and lift doors and fenders. (Photo/Provided) gates. It means another 200 jobs for the site that already employs 11,000 Engelhorn said. “We are facing challenging times,” he workers. said at the S.C. Automotive Summit in early A BMW spokesman said the press shop March. “The impact of the pandemic and is not only new technology for the plant, supply chain bottlenecks will continue to but also represents the company localizachallenge us. And all of us here today are tion strategy to produce major parts on most likely experiencing a significant transthe site to increase quality, efficiency and formation in how we do business now. We consistency. It also moves one link of an overtaxed sup- at BMW are rethinking our processes and introducing new technologies and relations ply chain closer to the assembly line. to sustain our role as premium manufacturLike many other manufacturers, BMW ers.” made plans for temporary closure in the Engelhorn said other innovations are early days of the pandemic before a vaccine helping, too. Closed-loop production systems was available. The plant scheduled a 16and artificial intelligence are helping the comday shutdown for April 3, 2020, but had to pany streamline its logistics processes. shutter almost a week earlier, not because Currently, it takes about 15,000 sea conof COVID-19 cases among its workforce tainers to supply the 7-million-square-foot but because other shutdowns at other plants disrupted the supply chain bringing parts into plant, according to the company fact sheet. The plant relies on more than 300 U.S. supPlant Spartanburg, the company reported at pliers — 40 of them in South Carolina — to the time. Production resumed on May 4 that — Robert Engelhorn build cars. Plant Spartanburg’s biggest year year. BMW manufacturing ever was 2021, when 433,810 vehicles rolled Those supply chain challenges were CEO off the line. extreme, but they have not gone away,
“WE ARE FACING CHALLENGING TIMES. The impact of the pandemic and supply chain bottlenecks will continue to challenge us.”
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Inland Port rail project on track after brief delay By Molly Hulsey email@example.com
Supply chain disruptions have riddled almost every construction project across the state —Inland Port Greer notwithstanding. Last year, the S.C. Ports Authority hoped to launch its $28 million expansion project at the Inland Port sometime that summer with plans to expand capacity by close to Inland Port Greer runs an overnight express shuttle between the Port of Charleston and Greer six days a week. (Photo/S.C. Ports 700 or 800 more TEUs or Authority) twenty-foot equivalent units. Expansion plans remain the and steel, all those things, there’s a high vari9,700 feet of track to the port since then. The same, but long-lead times and the still-soarability not only in pricing but also availabiladditional track will give the port the ability ing prices of building materials pushed back ity,” Stehmeyer said. ”Some projects come in to deboard containers from three trains at groundbreaking of the first rail expansion and they pretty much have things available to October 2021, said Ed Stehmeyer, general a time, while two storage rails added to the right away and some things they don’t. outside of the existing three will allow the manager of projects and design for SCPA. We’ve also been hearing from some of the port to welcome even larger trains. Maryland-based specialty contractor local contractors in the area that it’s tougher “As I understand, for concrete, asphalt Bullock Construction has added close to
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to schedule concrete when you want it.” For Inland Port Greer, a specialty cast steel piece threw a wrench in the works. Despite being a “Buy America” product – in other words, 100% mined, melted and manufactured in the U.S. – the piece had a five-month lead time. “Everybody is building right now, and things are extremely busy,” Stehmeyer said. Delays come with the territory, as do ever-increasing costs. The price tag for whole project is over the original $28 million. “It’s going up every month unfortunately. Several percentage points every month,” he said. “We’re definitely north of over $30 million in overall construction costs at this point. How much over $30 [million] is a good question. We don’t really know. The market is so dynamic when it comes to building finishes, and also simple things like concrete and asphalt. We’re holding our breath that it gets close to that, but I wouldn’t hold my breath too long expecting it to be around the $28 million amount again.” The rail project is the first of six for the SCPA, including the expansion of the cargo yard into both the east and west, two maintenance buildings and a chassis yard double its current size. The last five projects are in the permitting and design process. Still, Stehmeyer said the Greer Port is on time to meet its 20-year capacity targets. The terminal operations building and the north chassis lot, designed by Greenville’s DP3, as well as the western expansion of the yard, designed by Greer’s Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering is slated for a 2023 completion date. The expanded Greer lot will be one of the first locations to deploy S.C. Ports Authority’s new chassis pool. By 2024, the SCPA expects to finish both the eastern cargo yard expansion and a heavy lift maintenance building that will house a handler used to lift empty containers. Barbara Melvin, COO of the SCPA, said the ports system will advertise for new positions within the next year including operator, maintenance and electrician roles with the introduction of two additional cranes to the site. As of late March, the project had created 58 positions at the port. “If you think about Charleston’s success,
we’re the last major East coast Port that does not have near or on-dock rail, so you’ll see that we are in front of our legislature to build a duel-served inner modal facility for both CSX and Norfolk Southern that will replace the Charleston-side of these intermodal rail operations,” Melvin said. “And that makes up about 25 percent of our total container business, and so having the success and growth capability of our inland ports, plus being able to finish this project, just enhances the connectivity of our marine terminals to the Inland.”
The Greer port brings the system closer to 100 million more consumers within a nights’ drive than the Charleston port alone. “That’s really how a port grows, by getting closer to a great population that you serve,” Melvin said. “This is really integral. The expansion in Greer ties so nicely with all of the Charleston expansions and then this last critical rail project that we have going. I think it just highlights the connectivity of the Upstate and the use of the retail and manufacturing communities to the Charleston Port.”
SOUTH CAROLINA UNDER CONSTRUCTION Construction, engineering and architectural firms are working hard around the state. Below are but a handful of the projects in progress.
125 Pitt Street 125 Pitt St., Mount Pleasant Architect(s): SMHa, Mount Pleasant General contractor: Moffly Construction, Awendaw Engineer(s): DWG Engineering, Mount Pleasant (mechanical, electrical, plumbing); Rickborn & Associates, Mount Pleasant (structural) Estimated completion date: 2023 Project description: This project involves rehabilitation and new construction on a historic commercial building, restoring the existing structure and correcting additions while maintaining the historic fabric and aesthetics of Mount Pleasant’s Old Village. The new use will be a sole proprietor interior design firm.
Engineers(s): Jordan & Skala Engineering, Norcross, Ga. (mechanical, electrical, plumbing); Ellinwood & Machado, Atlanta, Ga. (structural); Sitecast, Mount Pleasant (civil); Remark, Charleston (landscape design); Shah, Savannah (interior design) Estimated completion date: April 2023 Estimated total cost: $81 million Project description: Atlantic on Romney is a 450,000-square-foot, 304unit, nine-story apartment building located on the Upper Peninsula. This concrete structure includes seven levels of apartments, two levels of parking, retail space and leasing offices on the first floor. Amenities include a fitness gym, club room, deck with heated pool and outdoor spaces. It also has rooftop solar panels, electric-vehicle chargers and several other sustainable components that comply with the Charleston Rises certification program.
Anderson University College of Engineering 316 Boulevard, Anderson Developer/owner: Anderson University Architect: Craig Gaulden Davis General contractor: Mavin Construction Estimated completion date: Summer 2023 Project description: The first step to prepare for the College of Engineering project will be renovations to the house located at 1226 Springdale Road. It will be upfit into offices and learning space for the art program. Construction of the new 30,000-square-foot College of Engineering will begin shortly after.
Borden Building Renovation 711 W. Washington St., Greenville Developer/owner: The Furman Co. Architects: McMillan Pazdan Smith General contractor: Mavin Construction, Greenville Estimated completion date: Jan. 31, 2023 Estimated total cost of project: $5,525,000 Project description: Renovation of 40,000 square feet of historic industrial space to a mixed use development with different tenants. Also completed associated sitework.
Atlantic on Romney 550 Romney St., Charleston Developer/owner: Middle Street Partners, Charleston Architect(s): Sottile & Sottile, Savannah; Humphrey & Partners Architects, Maitland, Fla. General contractor: JE Dunn Construction, North Charleston
Brentwood 1500 Brentwood Dr., Columbia Developer/owner: Cason Development Group, Columbia Architects: Garvin Design Group, Columbia General contractor: Boyer Construction, Columbia Engineers: Swygert & Associates, West Columbia (mechanical,
plumbing); Belka Engineering Associates, Cayce (electrical); Mabry Engineering Associates, West Columbia (structural); LandPlan South, Columbia (civil) Estimated completion date: Early to mid-2023 Project description: Positioned along Forest Drive, this new development will be home to 14,720 square feet of commercial space plus 11 townhomes. The commercial space will be broken up into two floors with the first floor having 8,396 square feet of contiguous space and the second having 6,324 square feet plus a 2,022 square foot terrace. The outdoor terrace can be offered as an amenity to a restaurant, wine bar, office tenant, or any other user in the building.
Credit One Stadium Renovation 161 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island Developer/owner: Charleston Tennis, Charleston Architect(s): LS3P, Charleston; Rossetti, Detroit, Mich. General contractor: Choate Construction, Mount Pleasant Engineers(s): DWG, Mount Pleasant (mechanical); Seamon Whiteside, Mount Pleasant (civil); Geiger Engineers, Suffern, NY (structural) Estimated completion date: Spring 2022 Project description: Stadium renovations comprise of a state-ofthe-art stage house, suites, food and beverage concessions, new washrooms and additional vertical circulation. The centerpiece is the stage house, which includes a central commissary kitchen servicing all the suites, clubs and concessions and provides the infrastructure for open and live events. Glen Raven Mills Expansion 4665 Liberty Highway, Anderson Architects: MCA Architecture, Greenville General contractor: M.B. Kahn Construction Co. Inc. Estimated completion date: November
Estimated total cost of project: $35 million Project description: The Glen Raven Mills Custom Fabrics Anderson Facility Expansion is a 240,854-square-foot distribution center/high bay warehouse, a 196,721-square-foot manufacturing space, and 10,478 square feet of ancillary workshops. The facility has a structural steel frame with load-bearing PC concrete exterior walls. The project is being constructed on a 40-acre site adjacent to an existing facility. It also includes an upfit to the facility.
Portside Distribution Center Beside I-26 in the Charleston Distribution Corridor Developer/owner: Randolph Development, Mount Pleasant Architect(s): McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, Charleston General contractor: Frampton Construction, Ladson Engineers(s): WGPM, Charlotte (structural) Estimated completion date: November 2022 Project description: Construction is underway on a flexible, 204,004-square-foot industrial building. This Class-A speculative facility is the second of two heavy industrial buildings at the Portside Distribution Center. It will be suitable for a variety of end-users, including logistics companies, aerospace and automotive suppliers, defense contractors, light manufacturers and last-mile distributors. Shop Grove 105 Sparkman Drive, Columbia Developer/owner: Cason Development Group, Columbia Architects: DIG, Columbia General contractor: Boyer Construction, Columbia Engineers: Land Plan South, Columbia Estimated completion date: Ongoing - 2023-2025 Project description: Cason Development Group has partnered with Columbia commercial real estate broker Ben Brantley to accelerate development of the Shop Grove Commerce Park. The partners believe the 38-acre Shop Grove Commerce Park, ideally located off the Shop Road extension, is well-suited for wholesale, light assembly, warehousing and distribution operations of less than 100,000 square feet. Current tenants in the area include TireHub, South Carolina Air Distributor, FedEx Ground, and Carrier Enterprise. www.scbizmag.com
People in the News Axel Bense has succeeded Arnhelm Mittelbach as CEO and president of Mercedes-Benz’s North Charleston plant. Bense was the former lead of Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Thailand and Mercedes-Benz Russia. He joined the then DaimlerChrysler AG at the Bremen, Germany, plant in 1999 as a graduate process engineer, and in 2001, he was responsible as project manager for the construction and commissioning of a new paint shop at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. After various management positions at the Bremen and Sindelfingen sites in Germany, as well as the Tuscaloosa site, he took over production management at Mercedes-Benz Truck Vostok in Russia at the beginning of 2011. In that function, Bense was responsible for the construction and ramp-up of the new plant in Chelny, Russia. In 2015, he returned to Sindelfingen to lead development of the Chelny plant. In 2017, he took over the management and development of the new production company Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Rus as CEO in Moscow. Later, Bense moved on to Thailand where he took over management at Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Thailand in 2020. Mittelbach, who has served at the helm of South Carolina’s Mercedes-Benz Vans plant since 2019, will take on a new position at Mercedes-Benz Cars at the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Mittelbach began his career in 2002 at the then DaimlerChrysler AG in Bremen, Germany. After various management tasks in the Mercedes-Benz operations, including at the locations in Bremen, Sindelfingen and East London in South Africa, Mittelbach took over management of the Charleston plant in 2019.
Knudt Flor has taken on the role of College of Charleston’s senior vice president for innovation and industry engagement and distinguished professor of practice. He formerly served as the president and CEO and BMW. In this new role, Flor will guide faculty and staff as the college creates innovative curriculum that appeals to both employers and students. He’ll also assist in developing the college’s new engineering program. Flor has 33 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, from which he will use the connections he’s created to recruit businesses around the world to collaborate with the Charleston college. Partnerships could include global internships, curriculum influenced by brand-name CEOs and European universities sharing their techniques. Flor began his role as engineer of production at Engine Plant in Munich in 1988 rising to executive roles in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. For the last five years, he served as president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer. Within his first 10 days on the job at CofC, Flor has already secured buy-in from nearly 15 global manufacturing companies. Flor’s other plans include new professors, closer relationships with businesses and internships where students solve real-time industry problems.
People in the News The S.C. Manufacturers Alliance Executive Committee has recognized Dirk Pieper, president and CEO of Sage Automotive Interiors, and Gov. Henry McMaster for their role in advancing the state’s manufacturing industry. The two industry leaders were honored with the 2022 Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award on March 31 at Greenville’s Poinsett Club. Pieper was named president and CEO of Sage at the auto supplier’s inception in 2009 after Pieper served Mil-
The Lexington County Municipal Association selected James “Skip” Jenkins, Cayce councilman and mayor pro tem, as vice president. Jenkins served Jenkins on the National League of Cities Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee, where he helped develop federal policies around such issues as gun control and municipal fires. On the local level, Jenkins serves on the Cayce Public Safety Foundation and as an advisory board member to the COMET.
T&S Brass and Bronze Works promoted DeAnna Thompson to marketing manager for North and South America and Christine Stillinger to marketing coordinator for Europe, South Africa and the Middle East. Thompson, who has been with T&S for more than 20 years, previously served as communications manager. Stillinger, who joined T&S in 2013, previously served in other marketing and customer service roles.
liken & Co. as director of manufacturing, managing director of European operations and global business manager. He graduated
Avison Young’s Charleston office has promoted Ashley Jackrel to Vice President. Jackrel joined Avison Young in 2020. She currently serves on the Jackrel City of Charleston’s Design Review Board and as an Honorary Commander for Joint Base Charleston, and as the Commercial Representative on the Executive Committee for South Carolina REALTORS®. Patrick Bryant, co-founder of the Harbor Entrepreneur Center and Code/+/ Trust, and Christina Lock, CEO of Catch Talent, were each recognized at Entrepreneurs’ Organization Charleston’s entrepreneurship celebration in front of nearly 100 guests at Hall’s Signature Events. Bryant was presented with EO Charleston’s inaugural Hall of Fame recipient award. He is a founding member of EO Charleston and serves on the board as community outreach chair. Lock was recognized for her business Catch Talent, being the only femaleowned business from the Lowcountry on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list. Congresswoman Nancy Mace presented the award. The South Carolina Women in Higher Education Network named Mary Holloway, PhD, as its 2022 Martha Kime Piper Award recipient. As Midlands Technical
from Washington and Lee University with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and received an MBA from Clemson University in 1990. McMaster became the 117th governor of South Carolina on Jan. 24, 2017, following former Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He was elected to a full term as governor in November 2018. Since he has been in office, the state announced more than 61,000 new jobs and $18 billion in new capital investment in the state.
College vice president, Holloway leads the college’s student development services division. She is first MTC leader to be honored with this recognition. She earned Holloway her doctorate at the University of South Carolina. Megan Kolak, Greenville Triumph’s senior vice president, has been named to the USL W League’s executive committee. Kolak represents the South Atlantic Division on the sevenmember committee.
Laura McKinney is First Community Bank’s inaugural community development officer. McKinney, who brings more than 25 years of public relations, economic McKinney development, and communications experience supporting both the private and public sectors, served as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State.
5 questions with…
Executive Director of the S.C. Automotive Council What was the first car you drove?
It’s actually really funny, but my first car in high school was a 1984 Mercedes turbo diesel that made so much noise. It was like driving a tank. I was just mortified that it was my car.
How did you first get involved in the automotive sector?
When I was in college, I was an intern at S.C. Manufacturers Alliance, so I was familiar with the group. I then spent years in the utility industry, working for a large utility in South Carolina… The opportunity came up to return to SCMA and lead the automotive council almost five years ago, and it has really been so much fun watching how the industry has grown and changed in our state and globally during that time.
What’s your dream car?
Considering my family and I own an old house and do lots of projects and renovations, maybe a Sprinter Van… People do such creative things to them, whether small businesses or how people use them to get out and explore and camp.
How does it feel to know so many women are leading the state’s automotive sector? The SCMA has been around since 1902, and Sara Hazzard (SCMA President) is the first female head in its history.... Then coincidentally during the last few years, April Allen, who is (director of government relations) with Continental Tire has been the first female chair of the SCMA board. So it’s been really cool to have this first-of-its-kind, historic milestone in terms of the leadership.
What do you hope other women think when they see you in action?
I think sometimes women hold back, thinking I’m not ready for this or I’m not qualified for this. Be willing to put yourself out there for new experiences. There is a whole group of women your age, older than you and younger than you that will be there to support you. By Teri Errico Griffis
MAXIMIZE YOUR MARKETING 2022
This event shines the spotlight on both established leaders and the state’s rising stars who make an impact in business while making time to give back to the community.
The North Charleston Business Expo is the Lowcountry’s premier busines event showcasing regional companies. This event offers the business community an opportunity to network with local professionals, engage with exhibitors and discover new resources for business growth.
This annual event recognizes 20 small and 20 large companies in an exciting countdown format that culminates in the crowning of the two best-performing companies in the state.
This annual dinner celebrates Lowcountry health care workers who go above and beyond to keep our citizens, businesses and communities safe and healthy.
The Best Places to Work in South Carolina program ranks companies that meet certain criteria for practices, programs and benefits. Celebrate with a party unlike any other, with a red carpet welcome, surprise speakers, cocktails, dinner and lots of glitz and glam.
This annual event recognizes forty Lowcountry professionals under the age of 40 who are making their mark with professional and community involvement.
The SC Manufacturing Conference and Expo will be held in Greenville. This multi-day event includes the Salute to Manufacturing Awards Luncheon, a manufacturing expo, panel discussions and several interactive, practical workshops.
FORTY 2022 | SOUTH CAROLINA
CONFERENCE AND EXPO
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