Portal sees surge in traffic see more
In early March, Thornton Kirby, president and CEO of the S.C. Hospital Association, raised an alarm that South Carolina may face a shortage of personal protective equipment.
The message circulated through a number of economic development groups, along with surveys probing retooling capabilities in response to the Trump administration’s invocation of the Defense Production Act.
As manufacturers geared up across the state to meet critical needs, the S.C. Hospital Association, SCBio, the S.C. Department of Commerce and the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership joined forces to connect healthcare providers and other industries with critical needs equipment through the S.C. Emergency Supply Collaborative portal announced April 13.
Kirby said the portal will help streamline the product’s trip from the manufacturer to the hospital. He hopes other sectors, such as auto assembly, construction and education, will be able to make use of the portal to replenish their equipment stores, too.
“There are some who are on a two-, three-, four-day supply but generally, we’re better than we were a couple weeks ago. The problem is that assumes the current number of COVID patients. If you fill up a hospital with 50 or 60 more like they do in New York City, the so-called ‘burn rate’ for every patient goes up a lot,” Kirby said on April 13.
He hopes the mobilization of manufacturers across the state will also contribute to a state stockpile for future emergencies.
“The national stockpile has been largely distributed, at least to the best of my understanding. South Carolina did get our share, that’s 1% based on population, but the volume of personal protective equipment is just so great, it quickly outstripped the national stockpile,” he said.
Chuck Spangler, CEO and president of the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, said he was awake until midnight after the announcement of the portal, responding to S.C. manufacturers who want to sell their critical needs goods through the portal.
“It’s been a thrill to see all of these companies step up, rise to the challenge and meet the critical needs in our state,” Spangler said.
By Tuesday morning, Spangler said about 80 companies had joined the portal to sell critical needs goods after careful vetting from portal organizers to bar price-gougers. Several offered donations.
“Last week, we saw an incredible response,” he said.
About 15 health care providers had already begun scouting out the portal for PPE and other equipment along with several manufacturers.
As many of the state’s manufacturers return to normal operations — Spangler thinks by May 4 — he hopes South Carolina will support each other by buying and selling PPE through the portal and is encouraging manufacturers to consider using other three-layer mask alternatives to preserve the stores of N95 masks for health care workers and food providers.
Courtesy: GSA Business Report
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.
Life sciences among segments leading SC growth see more
When Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey saw his first iPhone, he was seeing one of the first in the world. In 2007, it was one of only two.
At the time, he was the Southeast president of AT&T, in a room among the company’s top leadership.
When all eyes were on the company chairman, he reached into the pocket of his suit.
“He pulled out this object that none of us recognized and said, ‘This is one of two existing iPhones in the world. The other one is held by Stephen Jobs, and I’ve got this one. This device has convinced me that it is going to change the world, but I have no idea how it’s going to change the world, but I’m convinced it’s going to change the world,’” Lightsey recounted at Upstate SC Alliance’s midyear meeting, held at the Crowne Plaza Greenville Wednesday.
How today’s developments will mold the business landscape as we know it is yet to be seen, he said.
No one knows.
But, Lightsey assured the crowd of alliance investors, it’s shifting in the direction of ever-growing mobility, communications and biotech capabilities. And it’s shifting fast.
It’s South Carolina’s job to keep up and stay ahead, he said during one of his first public appearances in the Upstate since he took the secretary’s post.
“I do know this, that we have to be ready for change,” he said. “We have to be ready for the opportunities that the change is going to present to us. We shouldn’t view change as a threat or a concern, but as certainly something we can capitalize on.”
Much of the afternoon meeting focused on economic development victories of the past year within the life sciences, tech or R&D realms: a few vignettes from the 22 companies that moved to or expanded in the 10 counties in 2021 with Upstate SC Alliance’s assistance.
Upstate SC Alliance projects Pozyx, a Belgian information technology firm, and Oshkosh Defense’s manufacturing facility for the next generation mail truck held the spotlight, alongside BMW’s electrification efforts and Upstate biotech companies Zylo Therapeutics, Chartspan and Epica International.
Upstate SC Alliance’s announcements for the year thus far have prompted the creation of an expected 3,963 jobs and $930 million total investment.
“When many areas saw contractions in service, South Carolina’s manufacturing sector actually grew last year,” John Lummus, CEO and president of Upstate SC Alliance, said during the meeting. “And manufacturing and its need for engineering, technology and creative solutions will continue to drive our growth strategy moving forward. That’s why you’re seeing a stronger focus on innovation as a complement to our business recruitment program.”
He added that on the economic development announcement front, so far, 2021 has brought in three times the capital investment and twice the number of created jobs as 2019, especially in sectors bolstering enhanced mobility and health care services.
According to the group’s midyear report, the largest number of projects in the pipeline are in the engineered materials (263), automotive and transport (238), industrial manufacturing (155), life sciences (146) and aerospace and defense (144) fields. The first half of 2021 prompted 23 requests for information on economic development opportunities in the Upstate.
Domestic companies — 414 contacts to be exact — are the most likely, judging by the number of active contacts, to make the move to the Upstate in the months ahead.
International supply chains and travel may have been hampered by COVID-19 restrictions, but it didn’t completely derail progress, especially with the virtual playing field provided by a tectonic shift to Zoom conference rooms and continued in-person visits from leaders like Belgium’s Consul General in Atlanta, Michael Gerebtzoff.
The majority — almost 60% — of the companies that expanded in or moved to the area throughout 2021 were foreign-owned businesses: Deutsche Post DHL’s subsidiary DHL Supply Chain, Sweden’s Frauenthal Gnotec, Ireland’s E+I Engineering USA and China’s Gissing North America, just to name a few.
Looking forward, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Spain, China, France, India, Belgium and Italy respectively are the hottest international sources for Upstate economic development prospects based off the number of active contacts.
“We have a lot of strengths and inherent advantages just because of who we are and where are,” Lightsey said. “But one of our main strengths is that we are a small state and we understand what it means to work together as a team. Commerce is a state agency that has supported the alliances’ growth and maturation of the alliances across the state, and the Upstate Alliance has certainly led the way, is something that’s incredible strength for our state: the ability to be able to work together for both our existing businesses, as well as those businesses that are looking to be partners with our state.”
South Carolina life sciences company adding 148 new jobs to booming industry see more
Vikor Scientific, LLC, a molecular diagnostics company, today announced plans to expand operations in Charleston County. The $1 million investment will create 148 new jobs.
Founded in 2018, Vikor Scientific, LLC specializes in antibiotic stewardship and tangible solutions for the practice of value-based medicine in the treatment of infectious disease. The company provides clinicians with advanced molecular methodology for pathogen detection, quantification and resistance gene identification.
Located at 22 Westedge Street in Charleston, Vikor Scientific, LLC's expansion will increase the company's capacity to assemble and distribute both COVID-19 and full molecular panel testing kits across the country.
The expansion is expected to be completed by January 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Vikor Scientific, LLC team should visit the company's careers webpage.
"The prior backorder of testing supplies was crippling for the U.S. during the beginning of the pandemic, and no one wants to experience that again. This expansion will help us to continue to stay ahead and increase the production of our testing kits for both COVID and our other infectious disease molecular panels by the hundreds of thousands, which is vital as we enter the sick season." -Vikor Scientific Co-Founder Shea Harrelson
"Vikor Scientific, LLC's expansion and the 148 new jobs it will create will have a huge impact in Charleston County and across the state. We couldn't be more excited to continue this partnership and watch them succeed here for years to come." -Gov. Henry McMaster
"Team South Carolina works hard to offer businesses a strong foundation to foster growth and be successful. Vikor Scientific, LLC's decision to expand in Charleston County is an indication that we are doing it right, and we look forward to supporting this great company every step of the way." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
"Charleston County offers an environment supportive of innovation, which is a catalyst for our growth in the life sciences industry. We welcome Vikor Scientific's expansion, as it will have a positive impact on our economy with the creation of 148 new jobs." -Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey
"As we continue to respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the remarkable work of companies like Vikor Scientific has proven critical to keeping our citizens healthy and safe. Not only will this expansion create 148 new jobs in Charleston, but it will increase our ability to provide COVID-19 tests to those who need them throughout the state and across the country. On behalf of the citizens of Charleston, I'd like to thank Vikor Scientific for the lifesaving work they do in our community and wish them Godspeed as they continue to expand operations." -Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg
"Vikor Scientific is a young company making a monumental impact within the life sciences industry, and we are grateful this important work is happening in our backyard. Congratulations to Vikor Scientific on this significant expansion and we look forward to our continued partnership." -Charleston County Economic Development Executive Director Steve Dykes
FIVE FAST FACTS
- Vikor Scientific, LLC is expanding operations in Charleston County.
- The $1 million investment will create 148 new jobs.
- Vikor Scientific, LLC is a molecular diagnostics company.
- Located at 22 Westedge Street in Charleston, S.C.
- Individuals interested in joining the Vikor Scientific, LLC team should visit the company's careers webpage.
PPE available through national exchange see more
The spring 2020 collaboration between SCMEP, the SC Hospital Association, the SC Department of Commerce and SCBIO which launched the online South Carolina Emergency Supply Collaborative portal to provide critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare providers, hospitals and businesses across the Palmetto State has taken a giant leap forward.
The SC Emergency Supply Collaborative has joined forces with the national team at PPE Exchange to provide a dramatically expanded and fully automated resource for accessing PPE and supplies for all South Carolina businesses.
PPE Exchange is an online marketplace of regional and national suppliers of PPE, similar in concept to an Amazon but dedicated to the provision of PPE and essential supplies. Via PPE Exchange, hospitals, health care providers and businesses seeking supplies are virtually connected to a marketplace of already-verified suppliers to securely search for items, schedule orders, compare prices and complete transactions.
Among the enhanced benefits of sourcing supplies via PPE Exchange is its support technology built on blockchain, allowing buyers: to track transactions from order placement to delivery; access to over 200 regional and national suppliers; easy ability to source from SC-based suppliers; price comparison capabilities; ability to order in small volumes; and a “request a quote” feature.
“The demand for PPE continues to be critical to our state and its diverse businesses and healthcare providers,” said Chuck Spangler, President of the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership and a spokesperson for the Emergency Supply Collaborative. “After creating and operating the South Carolina COVID-19 Emergency Supply portal with our partners these past several months, we identified PPE Exchange as an organization with the secure technology platform, expanded mix of vendors and products, and service-driven operations approach to provide the secure digital marketplace that Palmetto State organizations seeking PPE deserve.”
Much as with the prior Collaborative portal, PPE Exchange connects parties in need of essential supplies and equipment with those that can provide it quickly and efficiently. It allows industry providers of critical medical supplies (such as face shields, gowns, ventilators and masks) from South Carolina and across the U.S. to directly connect with the healthcare providers and members of industry in search of essential supplies in one easy step. South Carolina suppliers of goods are clearly marked to ensure that Palmetto State organizations can “Shop SC” as desired.
To begin accessing the marketplace on PPE Exchange, visit https://www.ppe.exchange/ and request access. Upon entering a contact email and basic information, an email will be automatically sent prompting a password reset and allowing login to the PPE Exchange website.
“Whether from a South Carolina or a South Dakota supplier, organizations and individuals can go online 24/7 via PPE Exchange to identify and select the critical need items they need from the expanded menu of providers and offerings,” said Sam Konduros, CEO of SCBIO. “We encourage every member of our state’s industry, if you have a need for PPE products, or want to add your products to the growing registry of vendors, to visit PPE Exchange now.”
Visit PPE Exchange at https://ppe.exchange/.
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation expanding operations again, adding 380 jobs, $215.8 million investment$215.8 million investment will create 380 new jobs in Lexington County, SC see more
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nephron), a global leader in the production of generic respiratory medications and blow-fill-seal contract manufacturing, today announced plans to expand operations in Lexington County. The company's $215.8 million investment will create 380 new jobs.
A West Columbia, S.C.-based company, Nephron develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products, including those used to treat severe respiratory distress symptoms associated with COVID-19.
The company also operates an industry-leading 503B Outsourcing Facility division which produces pre-filled sterile syringes and IV bags for hospitals across America, in an effort to alleviate drug shortage needs. Nephron fills the needs of patients and health care professionals as they arise nationwide, and recently opened a CLIA-certified diagnostics lab.
Headquartered at 4500 12th Street in West Columbia, Nephron’s expansion will add new offices, a new warehouse and production space at its campus in Saxe-Gotha Industrial Park.
The expansion is expected to be completed by Q1 of 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Nephron team should visit https://www.nephronpharm.com/careers.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.
“The Nephron family is extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to grow in South Carolina. Thanks to our partnerships with state and local officials, and the trust they have placed in us, we have been able to provide life-saving medications to patients around the world and establish ourselves as the global leader in what we do. We are proud of these achievements and more, and we know our best days are ahead of us. That is what makes this latest announcement so special.” -Nephron Owner & CEO Lou Kennedy
“We are proud to have Nephron Pharmaceuticals in South Carolina. Since coming here they have become an integral part of the community, and recently have been vital in the fight against COVID-19. This new investment of more than $215 million creating 380 new jobs in Lexington County is a great win for Team South Carolina.” -Gov. Henry McMaster
“Nephron is a longtime steward of South Carolina’s business community, and we congratulate them on their continued growth within our state. Today’s announcement is yet another big win for South Carolina, our people and our burgeoning life sciences sector.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
“We are excited to continue to partner with such an innovative and forward-thinking company like Nephron Pharmaceuticals. We know that Lexington County is a great place to establish and grow a business, and Nephron’s continued success is a testament to good government-business relations.” -Lexington County Council Chairman Scott Whetstone
FIVE FAST FACTS
• Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nephron) is expanding operations in Lexington County.
• The $215.8 million investment is projected to create 380 new jobs.
• Nephron is a global leader in the production of generic respiratory medications and blow-fill-seal contract manufacturing.
• Headquartered at 4500 12th Street in West Columbia, S.C.
• Individuals interested in joining the Nephron team should visit https://www.nephronpharm.com/careers.
Vikor Scientific featured in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville Business magazines see more
A number of South Carolina-based life sciences companies joined the battle against COVID-19 when the pandemic hit in early March. Prominent among this group is Charleston-based Vikor Scientific, a testing laboratory founded just over two years ago by entrepreneurs Shae Harrelson and Scotty Branch.
Vikor developed a COVID-19 test kit that is now widely used by nursing homes and other healthcare facilities across the nation. The test kit also tests for more than 40 other pathogens known to cause respiratory illness. Click to enjoy the entire article...
Effort to focus on life sciences, other knowledge-based industries see more
In preparation for an anticipated economic rebound once the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis subside, the Richland County Economic Development Office (RCEDO) has teamed with a group of regional partners to develop an economic development action plan for promoting the growth of knowledge-based industries within the region.
RCEDO is also collaborating on the plan’s marketing components with those partners, which include Lexington County, the City of Columbia, the University of South Carolina, Midlands Technical College, the S.C. Research Authority (SCRA) and the Central SC Alliance.
The initiative focuses on five knowledge-based industry segments: information technology/data analytics, financial services, aerospace, medical devices and the biosciences. It is designed to build on existing assets in the region and capitalize on the growing base of research, innovation and industry partnerships at the University of South Carolina.
“I am exceptionally proud that the entire economic development community in our region has united to ensure that we can more effectively compete to expand the number of knowledge-based jobs,” said Paul Livingston, chair of Richland County Council. “This initiative will have a substantial economic impact on the whole region.”
The plan also contains a robust marketing component, and RCEDO will collaborate with its regional alliances to implement key strategies. The development office will coordinate with partners to position and promote the Columbia region as a technology and innovation hub.
“South Carolina is among the most successful states in the nation in building its manufacturing base, but the state has not been as successful in generating jobs in knowledge-based industries,” said Garry Powers, who is overseeing the project for the County as a member of the Economic Development staff.
“The Columbia metro area has the highest concentration of software-related employment in the state, and bioscience-related companies are expanding rapidly in the region,” said Jeff Ruble, RCEDO director. “Therefore, once we adapt our economic development and workforce programs so that we have an improved capacity to support companies in these targeted industries, the Midlands region is well positioned to substantially increase employment, both within our existing firms and within the new firms that we will attract to the region.”
As part of this initiative, Deloitte Consulting has analyzed the region’s capacity to grow employment in the targeted industry segments. Using this information, the company developed a detailed action plan that mitigates competitive weaknesses and builds on the region’s strengths.
To assess the Midlands’ competitive position, Deloitte measured the region’s capacity to support industry expansion compared with more than two dozen other metro areas that are hotbeds of knowledge industry growth.
Further, the initiative identifies opportunities to improve the region’s competitive position in a variety of areas, including:
- Enhancing education/training programs based on an analysis of industry needs
- Expanding programs that build the talent pipeline
- Ensuring there is sufficient infrastructure (e.g., wet labs, broadband, real estate) to support the targeted industries
- Restructuring state/local education and training incentives and other state/local incentives to ensure they are competitive nationally
The SCRA is an active partner in the project because of its mandate to promote the growth of the state’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry. Deloitte’s action plan includes provisions for growing existing small firms and attracting new, innovative small firms within the targeted industry segments. The plan will especially focus on firms capable of building university partnerships.
The project is expected to provide substantial economic development benefits statewide, and the region has established strong, project-related working relationships with several entities. These include the S.C. Department of Commerce, the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, the S.C. Council on Competitiveness and SCBIO, a statewide, not-for-profit, public–private economic development organization that actively promotes, builds, supports, expands and convenes the state’s life sciences industry.
$30 million bio-ag investment to create 107 new jobs see more
Yield Scientific, a subsidiary of GEM Opportunity Zone Fund, today announced plans to establish operations in Hampton County. The company’s more than $30 million investment is projected to create 107 new jobs.
Founded in 2017, Yield Scientific is a hemp growing and processing operation that specializes in clinical-grade product development for the health care industry. Through its brand, Victis CBD, the company offers CBD products developed with high quality standards and advanced science.
Located at Southern Carolina Industrial Campus in Early Branch, Yield Scientific’s new facility will enhance the company’s product development and manufacturing capabilities.
The new operations are expected to be online by the first quarter of 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Yield Scientific team should visit https://www.yieldsci.com.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. Hampton County was also awarded a $50,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to assist with costs related to this project.
“We are very pleased to join the Hampton County community of corporate citizens. Through Yield Scientific and the Victis CBD brand, we will invest over $30 million and create 107 jobs in a pharmaceutical-grade growing and processing complex within the Southern Carolina Industrial Campus in Early Branch. Our project would not have happened without the support and work of the SouthernCarolina Alliance team, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture and Hampton County.” -GEM Opportunity Zone Fund CEO Zeb Portanova
“We’re thrilled that Yield Scientific has chosen to invest in South Carolina’s growing hemp industry and her people, creating more than 100 good jobs in one of our state’s rural gems.” –Gov. Henry McMaster
“Our approach to creating a business-friendly environment for all types of companies continues to pay off, and Yield Scientific’s investment in Hampton County is a testament to that. I look forward to watching the company thrive here for many years to come.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
“Yield Scientific is a wonderful addition to South Carolina’s burgeoning hemp industry. Their greenhouse operations and processing capacity will create skilled agriculture jobs – and in an Opportunity Zone, no less.” -Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers
“We are both proud and grateful that this innovative company has chosen Hampton County as the home for their new operation. Each of the 107 jobs they are creating will affect the future of a family in our region, which is why economic development is so important to the quality of life in a community.” -Hampton County Council Chairman Clay Bishop
“Hampton County welcomes Yield Scientific to the Southern Carolina Industrial Campus. We are thrilled to have a state-of-the-art agribusiness producing food and nutrition products in Early Branch.” -Hampton County Economic Development Commission Chairman Bill Hager
“The visionary leadership of Yield Scientific and the GEM Opportunity Zone Fund will bring job opportunities and investment to our region while supplying the global food network with agricultural products grown through advanced scientific protocol. We believe this kind of innovation is more important than ever to our regional and state economies in the coming years.” -SouthernCarolina Alliance Chairman Marty Sauls
Life sciences ecosystem growswith addition of Eclipse Automation in Rock Hill, SC see more
An automated system provider for the life sciences industry, Eclipse Automation, will invest $4.6 million in new operations in York County expected to create 90 jobs during the next five years.
Eclipse Automation, with locations in Canada and the U.S., supplies custom automated manufacturing equipment for the life sciences, energy, transportation, mining and telecommunications industries.
“The Rock Hill facility is the perfect location to support our long-term growth plan and ongoing commitment to our customers,” Eclipse Automation president and CEO Steve Mai said in a news release. “Eclipse is focused on delivering innovative automated solutions worldwide, and we believe that South Carolina has an impressive reputation in quality manufacturing and developing skilled resources. Both will provide a solid foundation for success at our new location.”
The renovated, 57,000-square-foot facility, located at 1510 Cedar Line Drive in Rock Hill, is projected to be operational in March.
For employment information, visit the company’s careers page.
“We are proud to welcome Eclipse Automation as they establish their new operations here in York County,” York County Council chair Michael Johnson said. “It is always exciting when a business of this caliber picks York County to call home.”
SC Life Sciences Hall of Fame honoreeBobby Hitt to continue leading SC Dept. of Commerce see more
Gov. Henry McMaster announced that Robert M. Hitt III will continue serving in his role as Secretary of Commerce at the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Secretary Hitt was appointed to his current position by former Governor Nikki Haley in 2011 and has led the Department of Commerce for nearly 8 years, during which time the state has seen more than $29.5 billion in capital investment and more than 106,000 new jobs announced through job recruiting efforts.
Since Governor McMaster took office in January of 2017, the governor’s office and the department of commerce have jointly announced over $8.1 billion in capital investment and 25,015 new jobs. Those announcements have been highlighted by companies relocating and expanding in every region of the state.
“Secretary Hitt has been a highly effective partner in South Carolina’s economic development efforts for two governors, and I am grateful that he will continue to work with me in building on the successes our state has experienced and take those efforts to even greater heights,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Every job we’re able to announce makes a difference in someone’s life, and that will always motivate Secretary Hitt and I to work every day to bring companies, big and small, to our state and take care of them when they get here so they can thrive and grow here.”
“I am extremely proud of the work that Team South Carolina has done to bring opportunities to every corner of the state,” said Secretary Hitt. “When I accepted this position in 2011, I did so with the belief that every person who wants a job, should have one. And, everyone who wants a better job, should have that opportunity as well. I still believe that today. I am honored that Governor McMaster has asked me to continue serving in the role of Secretary of Commerce, and I look forward to building on the momentum we’ve achieved together over the last few years.