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Four exceptional Upstate companies were named 2019 Economic Visionaries by Spartanburg Community College at the annual Economic Visionaries event held at the Spartanburg Marriott on Thursday evening, March 21. Businesses honored for transforming the Upstate economy were AWL Automation LLC, Lockhart Power Company, Polydeck Screening Corporation and Duke Energy. The keynote speaker for the evening was Mark Bellissimo, managing partner, Tryon Equestrian Partners. Amy Wood, anchor News Channel 7/WSPA TV, was the event emcee.
"Tonight we honor four Economic Visionaries - companies and leaders who embraces the future with imagination, wisdom and energy to make an enterprising and lasting impact on our community resources. Just look anywhere in the Upstate and you will see phenomenal and unprecedented growth," said Henry C. Giles, Jr. "Thanks to new companies moving to the area, companies increasing their workforce and companies expanding operations, our communities and our economy are thriving and poised for a strong and prosperous future. On behalf of the administration, faculty, staff, students and graduates of Spartanburg Community College, I congratulate our winners and thank them for a job well done."
Hosted by the SCC Foundation, Economic Visionaries brings many components to the spotlight- four companies selected from a large number of nominations, a visible keynote speaker, 66 supportive sponsors- all to celebrate the positive impact Spartanburg Community College provides across the three county service area and the significant impact economic development brings to South Carolina.
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John Montgomery, vice president of Colliers International introduced Mr. Bellissimo and shared accolades for SCC. "On behalf of our community, I'd like to thank everyone associated with Spartanburg Community College for what they have offered us this evening and also for the outstanding work they have done to make this community strong. Without SCC, I don't think many of the amazing success we have enjoyed, including BMW coming here, would have ever happened," said Montgomery.
In remarks to event attendees, Bellissimo shared, "Visions are a dime a dozen and they don't come with majority support. The true challenge is actually turning vision into reality. I am guided by five principles:
1- dream big, but define victory;
2- maintain balance and perspective;
3- lift up the people around you;
4- be resilient, agile and patient; and
5- manage the critics as change is difficult for many."
Following Bellissimo's remarks, Pres. Giles and Amy Wood presented awards to the four 2019 Economic Visionaries.
AWL Automation LLC
"With the successful launch of our newest location, AWL Automation LLC demonstrates the realization of our reach as a truly global company. Spartanburg's continual development as a center of economic growth and stability provides a unique opportunity to showcase our decades of industry experience in a way that benefits everyone around us," states Per Blohm, AWL managing director. "We are excited- as an organization and as a family- to share our vision of employee development, sustainability, innovation, and economic involvement with our new community. With tonight's recognition, we will strive to exemplify how our mission of ensuring global productivity begins and ends locally."
"I am humbled and honored that we have been named a 2019 Economic Visionary," said Bryan Stone, president of Lockhart Power. For us, our purpose of serving the public goes beyond donating and investing tens of millions of dollars in renewable energy and infrastructure. We invest our time, expertise and money in dozens of community and educational initiatives as well as charitable endeavors which strengthen and sustain our communities. All of our employees are part of these efforts in various ways, and this recognition is greatly appreciated by all of us at Lockhart Power!"
Polydeck Screening Corporation
"Being selected as an Economic Visionary is a great honor, not just for our leadership, but for the entire Polydeck family who works day in and day out to creatively, sustainably and effectively achieve our goals," said Peter Freissle, president and CEO, Polydeck Screening Corporation. "Thank you to the Spartanburg Community College Foundation for your efforts to highlight the importance of collaboration, excellence and innovation in business; providing companies the opportunity to use their success and resources to support our community. We are truly thankful."
Duke Energy in South Carolina
"It's a great honor indeed to be recognized as an Economic Visionary," said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, state president for Duke Energy in South Carolina. "Duke Energy - from its start here in South Carolina in 1904 - is at its core an economic development company. For more than a century, we have worked in partnership with state and local authorities to attract business investment and jobs to this state, and those efforts successfully continue today."
During the event, Spartanburg Community College Foundation announced an anonymous donation of $100,000 over five years to establish the "Dr. Pamela Hagan Professional Development fund for SCC Faculty." The purpose of this fund is to provide resources to cover travel and conference expenses focused on professional development. The success of this event generates funds for SCC scholarships, faculty development, book funds and emergency requests through the SCC Foundation.
SCC and the SCC Foundation are proud to partner with a local non-profit, Our Carolina Foothills, to bring the equestrian theme to the Marriott in honor of the Economic Visionaries event's keynote speaker, Mark Bellissimo and the Tryon International Equestrian Center. The large colorful horses displayed at the event - Four Seasons in the Foothills, Dreamer and Princess Royale - are three from a series of 32 locally-painted fiberglass horses designed to honor the 2018 World Equestrian Games through the ART OF THE HORSE project. The project highlights the foothills equestrian and arts heritage and promotes community unity. At the upcoming Tyron Horse Heritage Week, which is April 13-21, 15 of the horses will be auctioned at the Live Auction Gala at Caitlyn Farms, with proceeds benefitting Our Carolina Foothill's mission "to advance the quality of life for residents and enhance the visitor experience through marketing campaigns and events that highlight our Carolina Foothills uniqueness." For more information, visit the organization's website www.ourcarolinafoothills.com/art-of-the-horse.
Premier Economic Visionaries event sponsors included News Channel 7/WSPA TV and Wells Fargo, and many other local organizations who have graciously sponsored the event. For a complete listing of all 2019 Economic Visionaries event sponsors, please visit: www.sccsc.edu/ev19-sponsors
To download photos from the 2019 Economic Visionaries event, please visit:
View feature in Spartanburg Herald-Journal about feature speaker, Mark Bellissimo