Four exceptional Upstate companies were named 2018 Economic Visionaries by Spartanburg Community College at the annual Economic Visionaries event held at the Spartanburg Marriott on Thursday evening, March 23. Businesses honored for transforming the Upstate economy were Crow & Bulman Engineering, Johnson Development Associates, Greenville Spartanburg Airport District and AFL. The guest speaker for the evening was Lynn Good, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Duke Energy, one of America’s largest electric power companies. Amy Wood, anchor News Channel 7/WSPA TV, was the event emcee.
“We are delighted to name AFL, Crow & Bulman Engineering, Greenville Spartanburg Airport District and Johnson Development Associates as the 2018 Economic Visionaries,” said Henry C. Giles, Jr., SCC president. “Economic Visionaries was created to honor the work of businesses and industries and the significant impact they make in our communities. Just look at Upstate South Carolina and the number of businesses that have expanded or located to the area in the past five years… the numbers are astonishing. From the number of guests and sponsors supporting this celebration, it is clear our community is energized and focused on growth, development and has a strong commitment to making our area thrive.
Hosted by the SCC Foundation, “the Economic Visionaries event brings many components to the spotlight- four companies selected from a large number of nominations, a highly visible keynote speaker, over 50 supportive sponsors- all to celebrate the positive impact Spartanburg Community College provides across the three county service area and the significant impact economic development is bringing to South Carolina,” explains Bea Walters Smith, executive director of SCC Advancement and Foundation. “SCC is proud to serve Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties, and is pleased to host this premier event.”
Bill Barnet, chairman of Spartanburg Northside Development Group, CEO of Barnet Development Corporation, and former mayor of Spartanburg, introduced Ms. Good and shared accolades for SCC.
Guest speaker, Ms. Good, shared insights on how Duke Energy supports economic development in Upstate SC, as well as work in foundational giving, volunteerism and education.
“I also want to add my thanks to President Giles for the work you do in this community. I understand the impact of education and community colleges, the importance of workforce development. It is those types of programs that not only create opportunities today, but lay the foundation for generations. We have extraordinary team of people here in the upstate that care deeply about the success of this community. Even though we have grown over the years to be a large corporate entity, we understand the importance of the local business. We have to be deeply rooted in our communities and the success of Duke Energy cannot be separated from the successes of the communities we have the honor to serve,” explained Good. “Economic development is on all of your minds, you’ve been extraordinarily successful. At Duke Energy, we wake up every day with a team of professionals focused on making this region as good as it can be to attract jobs to this region. It starts with having good inventory, where places are that we can cite more manufacturing or investment. But, it doesn’t stop there. It’s also about recruitment and that’s where we can work together- Duke Energy leaders working with state leaders and local community leaders so we can put the best package on the table to attract the businesses to this region. It’s a long-term commitment.”
Good went on to share that the company’s commitment goes beyond economic development, that volunteerism and the commitment of their foundation in the community are important. Last year, Duke Energy’s economic development team helped attract $5.9 billion in capital investment, creating over 12,000 jobs in the seven states it serves. For the 13th consecutive year, Duke Energy was named to Site Selection magazine’s annual list of Top 10 Utilities in Economic Development. Learn more about the impact Duke Energy is making across its region at www.duke-energy.com.
Pres. Giles presented Ms. Good with an Economic Visionaries award and announced that an SCC scholarship has been created in her honor and will be presented to deserving student attending SCC this fall.
Following Good’s remarks, Pres. Giles and Amy Wood presented awards to the four 2018 Economic Visionaries. Crow & Bulman Engineering company was recognized as an Economic Visionary because of innovative work in the engineering profession throughout Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties. A mechanical engineering company with six employees, including three registered mechanical engineers, the company has provided H-VAC engineering design for the Spartanburg County Library, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, the Evans Academic Building at the SCC Downtown Campus, and dozens of other schools, churches, offices and medical clinics in the Upstate. From the beginning, Crow & Bulman has used the latest energy-saving features in their H-VAC systems and they also engineered the first Platinum rated “LEED” building in the state of South Carolina, and subsequently designed twelve certified “LEED” buildings in Greenville and Spartanburg, including the SCC Downtown Campus. As a standard practice, the company donates four percent of their net earnings to local charitable and conservation organizations. The United Way, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, Mobile Meals, Habitat for Humanity, and many others have benefited from their generosity. The company worked with Duke Energy to design Spartanburg County Public Library, implementing the first large scale ice storage cooling system, leading to a 26 percent reduction in electric utility costs. It also designed and implemented Geothermal HVAC concepts. Wade Crow, senior engineer and president of the company, accepted the award. “The Spartanburg community has a solid foundation for growing a family, or a business. Spartanburg Community College has had a substantial position in building that foundation. The Economic Visionaries event is a perfect example of the College’s commitment to the upstate, providing the opportunity to recognize local businesses that contribute to the economy. Crow and Bulman Engineering is honored to accept this award,” said Crow. A video about Crow & Bulman Engineering shown at the event can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/Cs3wFSxh2HU
Johnson Development Associates, Inc. was named an Economic Visionaries because of their work in Upstate commercial development, education and Spartanburg’s downtown revitalization efforts. Employing 100+ team members, Johnson Development aims to cultivate a talent pipeline to their hiring department through the local colleges and universities. A video about Johnson Development Associates shown at the event can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/wXvdWAUMTPw
The Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District was named an Economic Visionary thanks to providing service and innovative leadership to the community for over 55 years. GSP provides support to many local non-profits and organizations, including the Salvation Army where they fulfilled the Christmas wish lists of 550 underprivileged children by contributing $110,000 for Christmas giving. They also sponsor many non-profit local events such as Upstate Chamber Coalition Day and the Spartanburg Night at Greenville Drive, among others. David N. Edwards, Jr., AAE, president and chief executive officer accepted the award. “Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District is a significant contributor to the economic development of the Upstate. Every day we generate local employment and help facilitate the efficient movement of people and materials around the nation and the world,” Edwards explained. “Part of our mission is to advance the economic prosperity of the region, and we are beyond honored that our efforts and our work has been recognized by Spartanburg Community College and the Economic Visionaries selection committee.” A video about the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District shown at the event can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/ks1RhAopuGc
AFL was named an Economic Visionary award recipient for optical fiber innovation since first serving Spartanburg in 1986 with one product to growing to an international manufacturer of thousands of products to date. Education is extremely important to this company. Employees are encouraged to be members of professional organizations, and are encouraged to make suggestions to improve processes, reduce costs, and increase productivity. A newly launched Operation Workforce Program assists high school students in earning manufacturing certificates with a goal to join the company after graduation. A video about AFL shown at the event can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/PJ1HU7qOpog
Premier event sponsors included News Channel 7/WSPA TV as the media sponsor as well as Duke Energy, Wells Fargo and AFL. Many other local organizations graciously sponsored the second annual event. For a complete listing of all 2018 Economic Visionaries event sponsors, please visit:
To download photos from the 2018 Economic Visionaries event, please visit: