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Four companies who have significantly contributed to transforming the Upstate business community were recognized Thursday night by Spartanburg Community College.
Twenty-eight companies were nominated for the Economic Visionary awards. The winners were announced at a ceremony at the Spartanburg Marriott.
Gaffney-based Broad River Electric Cooperative received the award for companies with 50 employees or less. The company serves 20,000 business and residential members, and has 2,348 miles of power lines. Its customers include residents in Cleveland, Polk and Rutherford counties in North Carolina.
The award for companies with 51 to 100 employees went to Spartanburg-based Atchison Transportation Services Inc. The company began in 1949 with one taxicab. It continues to be a family owned business operating throughout the Carolinas.
Timken Co. Tyger River Plant in Union received the award for companies with 101 to 300 employees.
BMW Group Spartanburg Plant received the award for companies with 300 or more employees. BMW spokesman Max Metcalf accepted the award on behalf of the company.
"To be part of that list of all the companies that were nominated for this award is tremendous for us to be even a part of," Metcalf said.
Spartanburg Community College President Henry Giles congratulated the winners.
"SCC's inaugural Economic Visionaries is a wonderful opportunity for the college to recognize and thank innovative companies for the work they do, their partnership with SCC, and their investment in our Upstate economy," Giles said.
The event's keynote speaker was South Carolina Ports Authority President and CEO James Newsome. He said the state's public port system continues to be a strategic asset. It generates 187,200 jobs throughout the state and has a $53 billion annual impact on the state's economy, Newsome said.
Newsome said infrastructure upgrades continue at the Charleston terminal with the addition of 150-foot-tall cranes. The state plans to invest $2 billion in the port over the next five years, he said. The harbor also will dredged this fall from 45 feet to 52 feet.
The state's manufacturing industry will continue to boost business for the port system, with a new inland port set to open in Dillon in 2018, according to Newsome.
"Volume is going to continue to grow," he said.