Move signals focus on data to drive growth in SC see more
The reliance on pro-active information technology (IT) and data reporting is critically important in today’s global economy. And, S.C. Commerce is committed to embracing progressive approaches to use data to drive new and creative ways to grow the state’s economy.
With that in mind, Commerce is pleased to welcome Rebecca Gunnlaugsson, Ph.D. as the agency’s Chief Information Officer (CIO). In this newly minted role, she will lead the agency’s Office of Information Management and Technology which is responsible for effective data management including support systems, as well as reporting and forecasting analytical information to drive operational decision-making and strategic planning.
With more than 20 years of experience in consulting and advanced research and IT development principles, Gunnlaugsson is an economist specializing in statistical analysis and econometric modeling to develop interactive, visual methods to deliver data-driven insights and recommended policy solutions. And, she previously served at Commerce as the Director of the Division of Research and subsequently the Chief Economist from 2007 to 2011.
“I am thrilled to rejoin the S.C. Commerce family as CIO and look forward to working with our team to advance Commerce’s IT and data management systems,” said Gunnlaugsson. “The more readily accessible data and research are, the more reliable information we can provide to economic development stakeholders and companies we are working to recruit to South Carolina.”
SC Commerce executive to lead Midlands team see more
An economic development professional with more than two decades of experience is the new president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance.
Nelson Lindsay, the S.C. Department of Commerce’s director of global business development since 2015, began his new role this month.
A state-certified economic developer, Lindsay has also served as director of economic development for Richland and Kershaw counties. At the state commerce department, he supervised all project management activity and new industry recruitment.
“Being a native of the central S.C. region and being associated with the CSCA for over twenty years, I am excited to work with our counties and city on the region’s future,” Lindsay said in a news release from Central SC Alliance. “I believe the best is yet to come, and I look forward to being a part of that growth.”
Central SC Alliance Chair Keller Kissam, who led a selection panel in the search for a new CEO, said Lindsay’s vision made him the best candidate for the job.
“It will be exciting to see Mr. Lindsay’s vision for the CSCA put into action, and the impact it will have on helping build upon the legacy of the region and this organization,” Kissam said.
The Central SC Alliance has provided economic development services from research and marketing to business recruitment and development for 27 years to its eight member counties — Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Richland and Orangeburg — as well as the city of Columbia.
Development is the largest agriculture-based Opportunity Zone project in the nation see more
Environmental permitting is underway for the Agriculture-Technology Campus in Hampton County, with a goal of starting operations at the indoor farming supersite by the end of next year.
The $314 million development is being billed as the largest agriculture-based Opportunity Zone project in the nation. Its announcement last September at the Southern Carolina Industrial Campus off Interstate 95 in Early Branch attracted hundreds of boosters, including the nation’s top farm official at the time in Sonny Perdue — the agriculture chief under former President Donald Trump.
Thing have been relatively quiet since then, but plenty of work has been taking place behind the scenes, said Kay Maxwell, marketing manager for the Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance.
She said a group of precision farming specialists from the Netherlands spent months conducting studies at the industrial park to determine how greenhouses there can get the maximum benefit from sunlight, humidity and other weather conditions. The Netherlands is the world’s second-leading agricultural exporter, behind the United States, and has pioneered indoor growing techniques that use little water or soil and no pesticides.
More traditional studies — such as wetlands permitting and geotechnical engineering — are now taking place, Maxwell said. The alliance also is marketing the project to companies interested in either growing crops at the property or using an onsite packaging and distribution center to deliver South Carolina-grown products to store shelves.
“We have talked to companies as far as Europe and Asia, as well as a lot of domestic companies, that are very interested in South Carolina because of this project,” Maxwell said. “There are a lot of different avenues in which other companies can be involved.”
While the Ag-Tech Campus has five years to qualify for state and local tax credits, Maxwell said she expects some operations will begin much sooner.
The project also qualifies for a $7 million rural infrastructure grant from the state that would pass through Hampton County Council, though none of the funds have been released to date, according to the S.C. Commerce Department.
The Ag-Tech Campus is a partnership between Columbia-based finance group GEM Opportunity Fund and a trio of food and packaging firms that will grow produce in environmentally controlled greenhouses at the 1,000-acre site.
Zeb Portanova, chief executive of GEM, said in a March 30 interview with Fundviews Podcast that he had recently submitted a financing package for the project with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The agency is providing grants for Opportunity Zone projects, which are also eligible for federal tax breaks and fall under a program designed to encourage investment in low-income urban and rural communities.
Portanova has said the Ag-Tech Campus will create roughly 1,500 jobs by 2025. Another GEM project — a $30 million hemp growing and processing facility — will be nearby. Maxwell said greenhouses are already being constructed for the latter project, which is expected to create 107 jobs, and start operations by the end of this year.
South Carolina Life Sciences Industry Honors Commerce Secretary Hitt, Abbott's Tom Strange, Nephron Pharmaceuticals for Leadership, Contributions to IndustrySC Commerce's Bobby Hitt, Abbott's Tom Strange, Nephron saluted by SCBIO see more
Nearly 350 industry leaders on hand to salute inaugural honorees for commitment to advancing South Carolina’s booming life sciences industry
NOVEMBER 2, 2018 – To resounding applause from a record gathering from 4 countries, 22 states and virtually every county in South Carolina, life sciences leaders saluted three leaders – two individuals and one organization – for profound positive impact and exceptional contributions to the advancement of South Carolina’s $11.4 billion life sciences industry.
South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Robert M. “Bobby” Hitt III was presented with the inaugural South Carolina Life Sciences Hall of Fame Award for his personal championing of the life sciences industry, which today has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products. SC Commerce is a Founding Partner and strategic supporter of SCBIO, and has been highly instrumental in helping the rapid growth of life sciences in the Palmetto State.
Mr. Hitt has served as South Carolina Secretary of Commerce since January 2011. Promoting a team-first approach to economic development, Hitt has positioned the S.C. Department of Commerce and its many partners and allies for industry recruitment success. Since 2011, Team South Carolina has recruited more than $35 billion in capital investment and approximately 125,000 new jobs to the state. This year alone, multiple world-class companies have made significant investments in South Carolina, including BMW, Samsung and Volvo Cars. Before his time as Secretary of Commerce, Hitt served as manager of Corporate Affairs at the BMW Manufacturing Company in Spartanburg County after 17 years as managing editor of The State and Columbia Record newspapers.
Presented with the inaugural South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Individual Contribution to the industry was Tom Strange, Senior Director of Research & Development for Abbott Labs in Liberty, South Carolina. With an extensive background in materials science, Mr. Strange holds 48 patents and has authored numerous papers covering all aspects of capacitor development. He began his illustrious career with Philips Components in 1979 leading research activity involving development of capacitors that made thoracic implantable cardioverter defibrillators possible. Today, with over 20 years at St Jude Medical/Abbott, his team continues to define state of the art in implantable medical devices for pacing and arrhythmia correction, neuromodulation and battery performance.
Honored for his exceptional industry-related contributions and profound impact on the state, its citizens and the life sciences industry, Mr. Strange led efforts to establish SC Launch!, the public/private initiative with the SC legislature to fund start-up activities in SC under SCRA, and helped to launch SCBIO as an affiliate of the national BIO organization. He holds numerous honors and awards, and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics from the University of South Carolina.
Presented with the inaugural South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution to the industry was Nephron Pharmaceuticals of West Columbia, represented by owners Lou and Bill Kennedy. A Vision Partner of SCBIO, CEO Lou Kennedy joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and was named President/CEO in 2007. She led the creation of a state of the art manufacturing facility in West Columbia in 2014, and oversaw development of a national sales force which helped Nephron grow by 300% and increased shipped product to over one billion doses annually.
Honored for Nephron’s economic, innovation, social and quality of life impact in the state, the Kennedy’s helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy. Ms. Kennedy serves on or chairs numerous boards including those of SCBIO, the SC Chamber of Commerce, the National Bank of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.
The three honorees joined BIO global CEO Jim Greenwood and more than 50 additional national speakers at SCBIO 2018 – the annual conference which brought top leaders and executives from life sciences organizations across the state and nation to Charleston, South Carolina October 23-25.
Included among attendees were scores of top industry chief executives, leaders in government and higher education, biotechnology and pharma executives, clinicians and researchers, and industry supporters from across America including DePuy Synthes Global Orthopedic Leader I.V. Hall, J.P. Morgan Executive Director of Healthcare Investment Banking Bell Zhong, MUSC President David Cole, USC President Harris Pastides, Siemens Healthineers North Americas President Dave Pacitti, and numerous others.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has an $11.4 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.
“The life sciences industry is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and these noted honorees and this conference is testament to the industry’s growing impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and region,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “We’re pleased to honor them for their many contributions, and salute them for the advances they have facilitated for this industry.”
As the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations – SCBIO members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.
For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.
Commerce Office of Innovation introduces Scribble for the innovation community see more
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Commerce's Office of Innovation today announced the launch of Scribble - an online tool for the state's innovation community. Providing individuals and businesses a platform to access resources, this new site is designed to highlight South Carolina's exceptional ingenuity and create a common place for users to access a variety of helpful tools.
"South Carolina's burgeoning innovation sector has come a long way, and this new, state-of-the-art platform will ensure that entrepreneurs have all they need to thrive," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Inspired by our human nature to document or write down that 'ah-ha' moment, we're excited to celebrate our innovators through Scribble."
With access to company video features, podcasts, blogs and events, Scribble allows users to create a profile to save resources and content, further enhancing the innovation community's connectivity. Launched at the 2019 DigSouth Tech Summit in Charleston, S.C., Scribble will help innovators connect with startup programs, venture capital and other resources around the state.
For more information, visit www.scribblesc.com.
Ritedose Corp. has opened a new facility on MTC’s Enterprise Campus in Columbia, SC see more
The Ritedose Corp. has opened a 150,000-square-foot facility on the campus of Midlands Technical College. The facility is the anchor tenant on MTC’s Enterprise Campus, a 130-acre industrial park for and educational partnership with new or existing industries looking for development space and workforce training.
The new operations mark the first expansion for Ritedose, a blow-fill-seal manufacturer headquartered in Columbia.
S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin joined MTC president Ron Rhames and Ritedose president and CEO Jody Chastain at a ribbon cutting and tour on Thursday.
Officials inclluding MTC president Ron Rhames, S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt and Ritedose CEO Jody Chastain cut the ribbon on Ritedose's new facility on MTC's Enterprise Campus on Thursday. (Photo/Provided)
“TRC chose to set up our facility at the MTC Enterprise Campus because it is close geographically and it strengthens our relationship with Midlands Technical College,” Chastain said in a news release. “Having the benefit of a technical college with a willingness to structure curriculum for our industry makes sense. We will be working with MTC in designing courses that will be applied toward training and hiring the skill set that will continue to facilitate TRC’s success.”
TRC specializes in the production of inhalation products, eye drops, eardrops and oral liquids, serving clients from clinical trials to full-scale commercialization.
“We welcome companies like TRC that desire a relationship with an academic institution and that will take full advantage of what this site has to offer,” said Chuck Whipple, MTC Enterprise Campus executive director. “The Ritedose Corporation will be able to recruit MTC students to train and work in one of the most modern manufacturing environments in the state. It’s a win for the students, for the college and for TRC.”
The MTC Enterprise Campus offers office and industrial space ranging from five to 40 acres. Companies will be able to train and hire MTC students who have developed technical skills tailored to their organizations.
“This new facility will provide internship opportunities for many MTC students,” Rhames said. “By bridging the divide between learning and working, the enterprise campus will continue to grow as more companies choose to co-locate adjacent to the college’s northeast campus, where workforce training needs are so close at hand.”
South Carolina life sciences gets another huge boost with BD's $150 million investment in Sumter see more
Medical technology company creating 125 new jobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. - BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, today announced a $150 million investment in its existing Sumter County manufacturing facility. The company is projected to create an additional 125 new jobs over the next several years.
Employing more than 65,000 associates worldwide, BD is one of the world's largest medical technology companies and supports health care providers in more than 190 countries. BD's Sumter County facility has been in operation since 1970, manufacturing blood collection devices that are critical to the health care industry.
Located at 1575 Airport Road in Sumter, S.C., BD's Sumter facility is actively hiring for the new positions, and interested applicants should visit www.bd.com/careers for more information.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project, as well as a $600,000 Set Aside grant to assist with the costs of road work and site preparation.
"For nearly 50 years, BD's Sumter facility has consistently delivered superior quality products, vital for our customers and their patients, through a talented and engaged workforce. We would like to thank TheLINK economic development alliance, Sumter Economic Development, the City of Sumter, Sumter County and the S.C. Department of Commerce for their continued support of BD and our employees as we continue to invest in the facility. We look forward to the ongoing success of our BD Sumter manufacturing team as they continue to advance the world of health." -BD Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Supply Chain Officer Jim Borzi
"After opening in our state more than 40 years ago, we're thrilled that BD continues to grow and succeed here. This announcement once again demonstrates that South Carolina is a place where medical technology companies want to do business, and we welcome this new $150 million investment." -Gov. Henry McMaster
"Not only does our state excel in advanced manufacturing, we're also increasingly a top choice for companies in the life sciences sector. BD has been a strong member of Team South Carolina for decades, and we congratulate them on their ongoing success." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
"BD has been a leading employer in this county since opening its doors in 1970. We are grateful for their continued investment in our community and our people." -Sumter County Council Chairman James McCain
"We have long-enjoyed BD as a key component in the fabric of our industrial portfolio. This investment demonstrates their trust in our leadership, their commitment to the success of their business and their belief in our ability to regenerate the talent needed to produce the quality of goods for which BD is known." -Sumter Economic Development Chairman Greg Thompson
FIVE FAST FACTS
- BD is investing in its existing Sumter County manufacturing facility.
- $150 million investment to create 125 new jobs.
- Employing more than 65,000 associates worldwide, BD is one of the largest medical technology companies in the world and supports health care providers in more than 190 countries.
- Located at 1575 Airport Road in Sumter, S.C., BD's facility manufactures blood collection devices for the health care industry.
BD is actively hiring for the new positions, and interested applicants should visit www.bd.com/careers for more information.
BD is one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world and is advancing the world of health by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the delivery of care. The company supports the heroes on the frontlines of health care by developing innovative technology, services and solutions that help advance both clinical therapy for patients and clinical process for health care providers. BD and its 65,000 employees have a passion and commitment to help improve patient outcomes, improve the safety and efficiency of clinicians' care delivery process, enable laboratory scientists to better diagnose disease and advance researchers' capabilities to develop the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics. BD has a presence in virtually every country and partners with organizations around the world to address some of the most challenging global health issues. By working in close collaboration with customers, BD can help enhance outcomes, lower costs, increase efficiencies, improve safety and expand access to health care. In 2017, BD welcomed C. R. Bard and its products into the BD family. For more information on BD, please visit www.bd.com.
Italian BioAg Firm Valagro launches $14 million production facility in Orangeburg County, SC see more
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Valagro, a producer of biostimulants and fertilizers for the agriculture industry, is launching its new production operations in Orangeburg County. The company’s $14 million investment is projected to create 47 new, high-skilled jobs.
Founded in 1980 and headquartered in the Abruzzo region of Italy, Valagro is a global leader in the world of biostimulants. The company specializes in the production and marketing of specialty nutrients for use in agricultural production and other industrial applications. Valagro operates through its 12 subsidiaries and owns a commercial network covering more than 80 countries worldwide. Providing innovative and effective solutions for plant nutrition and care, the company’s mission is to increase the quantity and quality of plants and harvested crops while enhancing productivity and reducing environmental impact.
Located at 397 Millennium Drive in Orangeburg, S.C., Valagro’s new, 65,000-square-foot Orangeburg County facility is expected to come online in the third quarter of 2019. Construction is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2018.
For more information on Valagro, visit the company’s website at https://www.valagro.com/en.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits, as well as a $100,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Orangeburg County to assist with the costs of building construction.
“The construction of this U.S. production facility greatly supports our ability to better serve some of the most strategically-important markets, such as the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This means fully implementing Valagro’s principle of putting the customer in the center; the new facility will allow us to improve our ability to meet customers’ needs by providing them with a wide range of sustainable and effective nutritional solutions.” –Valagro CEO Giuseppe Natale
“Today, we celebrate yet another international firm choosing to do business in South Carolina, a further testament to our business-friendly climate and well-trained workforce. I congratulate Valagro and Orangeburg County on this terrific new partnership and look forward to watching it thrive for years to come.” –Gov. Henry McMaster
“When a new business comes to South Carolina, it speaks volumes not only about our business climate, but also about our workforce. I am excited to see what the future has in store for Valagro and their new home in Orangeburg County.” –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
“We welcome Valagro to South Carolina and to Orangeburg County. Valagro is joining one of the state’s top industries, and we’re eager to share our agribusiness-friendly climate with this international company as it builds its new U.S. production facility.” –S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers
“South Carolina Ports Authority welcomes Valagro to our state and looks forward to serving its import needs. The Port plays an important role in the international supply chains of manufacturers across our state, and we look forward to supporting their addition to our growing economy.” –S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome
“Orangeburg County welcomes Valagro to our community. We are grateful they have chosen Orangeburg County as your first manufacturing facility in the U.S. It is a testament to our skilled workforce, location and pro-business environment. We thank Valagro for their investment in our county and our citizens.” –Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr.
“I join with the Orangeburg City Council in welcoming Valagro, a leader in the production and marketing of biostimulants and specialty nutrients. Their commitment is a positive reflection of our workforce and will provide quality careers for our citizens. By creating these jobs, 47 families will benefit, and our community will continue to prosper. We look forward to working with the company and celebrating its success.” –Orangeburg Mayor Michael C. Butler
“We’re delighted that Valagro has selected Orangeburg County for its next facility. The company’s expansion into Orangeburg County is a boon for the local economy and workforce and further confirms South Carolina’s position as a strong competitor in attracting international companies looking to grow their business in the U.S.” –Central S.C. Alliance Chairman Mike Brenan