On Thursday, March 30, Spartanburg Community College recognized four outstanding companies who have made significant contributions in transforming the Upstate business community. Economic Visionary awards were presented to Atchison Transportation Services, Broad River Electric Cooperative, Inc., The Timken Company-Tyger River Plant and BMW Manufacturing Company from Spartanburg and Cherokee counties at the College's first annual Economic Visionary event. Held at the Spartanburg Marriott from 5:30-8:00 pm., Mr. James I. Newsome, III, president/CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, was the event guest speaker.
"The Upstate is the engine driving South Carolina's new economy. During the past seven years, companies have invested more than $9 billion in capital in the Upstate, creating nearly 35,000 jobs. And more than 375 companies, representing 32 countries, call this area home, fueling South Carolina's reputation as a global economic leader," explains Henry C. Giles, Jr., SCC president. "SCC's inaugural Economic Visionaries is a wonderful opportunity for College to recognize and thank innovative companies for the work they do, their partnership with SCC, and their investment in our Upstate economy."
Four companies were named SCC 2017 Economic Visionaries based on the number of employees at each organization. "The competition was very keen, and all nominees were excellent," said Giles. "Each business's vision for their organization, their support of education, the environment and the community is impressive, and I am proud of each one of them."
Giles presented the following awards with assistance from SCC's new Executive Director of the College's Foundation, Bea Walters Smith. SCC's 2017 Economic Visionaries include the followin
Category: 1-50 Employees ~ Broad River Electric Cooperative, Inc., Gaffney, SC; accepting the award was Mr. Terry Mallard, president and CEO of the organization
Category 2: 51-100 Employees ~ Atchison Transportation Services, Spartanburg, SC; accepting the award was Mr. Charles Atchison, president of the organization
Category 3: 101-299 Employees ~ The Timken Company, Tyger River Plant, Union, SC; accepting the award was Mr. Bob Hart, plant manager at the Tyger River Plan
Category 4: 300 or More Employees ~ BMW Manufacturing, Inc., Greer, SC; accepting the award was Mr. Max Metcalf, manager of government and community relations for the organization
Giles went on to explain that the College began planning for this event over a year ago in an effort to recognize business and industry that have created opportunities and have made a difference in our communities. "You cannot have a great community if there is not a vision and strong leadership and Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union Counties have both," he added. "Our communities are blessed to have visionaries that display strong leadership. This is especially true for our business and industries - they are the heart of our community: They add wealth to goods and services; they provide jobs for our citizens; they support and encourage good government and quality education; and they are supportive of a healthy/clean environment. In summary, they enable us to live and work in a healthy prosperous community. We are delighted to celebrate the great business and industry we have, both big and small."
Guest speaker, Mr. Newsome, shared insights on the Palmetto State's most significant strategic asset - the Ports Authority - and how its connectivity to the global marketplace influences economic development and job growth, and is one of the most critical economic drivers and key competitive advantages for SC.
"Our port is the best working port in the United States, and the Southeast is the best place to be in the import and export business," said Mr. Newsome. "This is about growth; We are the ninth largest port in the US and the 78th largest port in the world. We have grown 45 percent in the last five years, from 2011-2016, and we have had a $53 billion economic impact to the state of SC.
Newsome went on to share that the port is owned and operated by the state, it's a public entity, and most people don't know that. The state is a very important partner to the port. He explained the "major container port priorities now and through 2020 are cargo base grown, operational efficiency, infrastructure investment (which is the biggest challenge), and intermodal connectivity. This is an exciting time at the port."
President Giles adds, "From the automotive industry to carbon fiber, heavy machinery to distribution, the Upstate manufactures, ships and innovates - and, in the process, changes the world. That level of investment and economic success, however, would not be possible without partnerships - people pulling in the same direction to achieve common goals."
"We are grateful to the organizations that partnered with us as event sponsors. Tonight would not have been possible without their support. Thank you to the following ...," said Giles.
Leigh Fibers Inc.
Bank of America
GSP International Airport
JM Smith Corporation
MAU Workforce Solutions
M. B. Kahn Construction
McMillian Pazdan Smith Architecture
Piedmont Natural Gas
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
The Timken Co.
10 at the Top & Upstate Alliance
Arthur State Bank
Broad River Electric
Crow & Bulman Engineering, Inc.
Johnson, Smith, Hibbard and Wildman Law Firm
Southern Educational Systems
Upstate Workforce Board
Vic Bailey Ford
Photos from the Economic Visionaries Event are available for download at the following link: