News/Blog

As the saying goes, we live in interesting times. While change is a constant, the kind of change certainly is not. The unique mix of rising interest rates and inflation, supply change disruption, and pandemic recovery creates unprecedented challenges for private and public stakeholders alike in the realm of economic recruitment and development.

Yet where lies challenges opportunity emerges, and those who respond quickly with smart strategies will lay the groundwork for long-term success for those companies and communities that are relying on them to create a prosperous future.

Of course, no company or county is an island, and collaboration among private and public players has been and continues to be a critical part of success in this arena. So is data, the kind that helps inform both those communicating the attributes of a community and those who need to understand the potential the community offers their expanding or relocating enterprises.

The South Carolina I-77 Alliance offers the mix of analytics and people needed to help attract capital investment and high-quality manufacturing, distribution, and office jobs to the five-county corridor between Charlotte and Columbia.

A Staff of Two, A Team of Dozens

We’re a staff of two – President/CEO Steven Pearce and Christopher Finn, our Director of Research & Marketing – however, we’re in fact a much larger team, with an impressive board and a growing list of partners contributing their expertise from such roles as energy, manufacturing, and bank executives, attorneys, private and public engineers, landowners and infrastructure providers, and government and education leaders.

Steven Pearce - I77 Alliance
Steven Pearce
Chris Finn - I77 Alliance
Chris Finn

Together, we’re executing a multi-faceted strategy to elevate the corridor’s visibility and reputation as a premier place to do business. This year, that includes growing our Alliance-sourced and external leads by 15% and 10% respectively while simultaneously growing online engagement and interaction by 10%.

Site-selection consultant visits also are a priority, and we keep our Economic Data Center – a dynamic database of key demographic and site availability information – as current as possible. Importantly, too, we’ll continue to build on incorporating the experience and commitment of our region’s business community into the recruitment effort.

A Whole Greater Than Its Parts

I-77 Alliance 11 Hour Drive Time

York, Lancaster, Chester, Fairfield, and Richland counties already are enjoying an impressive run of new projects and expansions by international and domestic firms alike, companies from across the industrial spectrum who recognize the area’s ideal mix of location, logistics, workforce, and living options from urban to suburban to rural.

We encourage you to consider joining the effort. The Alliance offers four levels of direct investor opportunity, with a list of benefits that grows with the financial commitment. Your participation helps ensure that rather than duplicating marketing efforts, we build on a synergy – a whole greater than its parts – that already has produced notable progress and the expectation of much more in the years ahead.

Check out our 2021-2022 annual plan here. Contact us to find out more about investing in the Alliance and the economic future of South Carolina’s I-77 Corridor. Together we can leverage those opportunities as together we invest locally and compete globally.

What a difference a decade can make. When the Great Recession hit, Lancaster County was already reeling from the loss of Springs Industries and its thousands of textile jobs that had sustained generations of local families.

Unemployment skyrocketed and income levels dropped to among the lowest in the state. “We had become a poster child for what can happen to communities overly dependent on one industry or employer,” says county Economic Development Director Jamie Gilbert. “Lancaster County was so distressed that Forbes called us ‘the most vulnerable community in America.’”

A decade later, Lancaster County is enjoying an economic boom that has seen its economy diversify across multiple industries while also becoming one of the premier office markets in the booming Charlotte region.

Movement Mortgage Headquarters in Lancaster

Gilbert says that boom began when county leaders began actively leveraging their ideal location — a mix of rural, small town and suburban — to aggressively recruit corporate offices to the northern end of the county, comprising the Fort Mill and Indian Land communities just south of Charlotte.

Digital marketing leader Red Ventures, Sharonview Federal Credit Union and Continental Tire of the Americas paved the way in 2010, followed soon by other corporate brand names such as CompuCom, Honeywell, Movement Mortgage and ServiceMac.

White- and Blue-Collar Growth

There now are more than 6,400 employees in the professional & business service sectors in Lancaster County, primarily clustered in the county’s northern panhandle, a number expected to grow by 50 percent over the next several years. That white-collar explosion is occurring alongside the renaissance of goods-producing sectors in the county, a cluster of industries that has nearly doubled employment since cratering in 2010, now employing almost 4,700 people in Lancaster County.

“Lancaster County’s heart and soul has always been manufacturing and since 2010 we’ve attracted a number of new firms that have played a major role in reshaping our economy,” Gilbert says. They range from animal health products maker Nutramax Laboratories to Fab Fours, a maker of premium bumpers and truck accessories. Textiles also remain a player, including Keer America, a spinning mill that plays a key role in the cotton yarn supply chain. In the southern end of the county, there’s even a new gold mine, operated by OceanaGold.

The numbers also tell the story. Since 2012, Lancaster County has facilitated 59 new and expanding industrial projects that represent a $1.52 billion investment and nearly 11,200 expected jobs. In the past year alone, the county ranked first in the Palmetto State for new jobs, sixth for announced new investments (excluding solar farms), and second for announced new jobs and investment combined.

“Per capita income is now third-highest in the state and we’ve moved from being a tier four county to tier two. Smart Asset has just ranked us as the third-best county in South Carolina for new investment,” Gilbert says. “To call it remarkable is an understatement.”

More People, Places, Possibilities

Commercial, retail and residential growth has accompanied that manufacturing and office expansion. The county’s population was 76,972 in 2010. It’s expected to surpass 100,000 in 2020. That makes Lancaster County the second-fastest growing county in the state (behind only Horry County/Myrtle Beach on the coast) and the 32nd fastest in the country among counties with populations of more than 10,000.

“Our growth boom has brought new shopping centers, service businesses, restaurants, subdivisions and apartments that support the needs of our residents and businesses. This keeps spending local and generates additional tax revenue for our schools and county services,” Gilbert says.

Red Ventures World Headquarters

The development of new areas and redevelopment of the town of Lancaster aims to attract both knowledge and trade workers, which are so crucial to companies facing a tight labor market and national competition for talented people who have a lot of options.

Along with smoothing the way for multiple infrastructure, industrial/office/commercial and residential lifestyle projects, county leaders are working closely with companies and local institutions of higher learning to close the loop on all that’s needed to ensure Lancaster County remains a compelling choice for those looking to choose a new home for their enterprise of the future.

Challenges yield opportunities. The global economy is certainly facing multiple difficulties right now, and as any successful investor can tell you, that makes this a good time to prepare for the inevitable turnaround.

The South Carolina I-77 Alliance is doing just that. Our job is to collaborate with public and private stakeholders to help recruit new and existing companies to establish or expand operations here in the five counties from Charlotte to Columbia.

We do that by adding value in some very fundamental ways to the recruitment process. That includes sourcing, identifying, and targeting specific companies considering corporate expansion. We also focus on data-driven marketing and branding of our region as an ideal location for economic growth.

Those strategies underpin what we do and they don’t change as we move through economic cycles. The tactics vary depending on conditions – such as pandemic-induced travel shutdowns – yet our approach remains consistent.

We also have specific goals for each of our three primary strategies for the year:

  • A 15% increase in leads sourced by the Alliance.
  • A 10% increase in projects supported by the Alliance.
  • A 10% increase in social media engagement and website traffic.

How will we achieve these? We detail our tactics in the annual plan our board adopted last fall – you can view it here. They include using the best people and the best technology to get the job done. The former includes engagement with both our local private sector ambassador network and with the robust Southeast commercial real estate and site selection network, as well as third-party lead generation experts.

The technology? We use B2B sales intelligence platforms, our own trove of market data, and sophisticated analytics tools to create and target audiences as effectively and efficiently as possible through multiple digital channels.

In addition, we plan to ramp up face-to-face activity through trips and visits this year. We look forward to sharing with you in the months ahead how our holistic approach to lead generation and economic development has helped our five counties – Richland, Fairfield, Chester, Lancaster, and York – add to our region’s impressive list of announcements.

Those announcements are from companies who have taken the long view of their market opportunities and our community’s ability to help deliver on that promise. Invest locally, compete globally. That’s a motto for us, and now is a great time to show why the I-77 corridor is a great place to commit time, money, and people for future growth.

$34.6 million investment will create 63 new jobs

LANCASTER, SC – U.S. Strapping Company, Inc., a division of FROMM Group, today announced plans to expand its operations in Lancaster County. The company’s $34.6 million investment will create 63 new jobs.

Established in 1947 and headquartered in Switzerland, FROMM Group is a market-leading manufacturer with years of experience in the development, sales and service of a wide range of packaging products for securing and protecting transport loads around the world.

Located at 234 Grace Avenue in Lancaster, the newly purchased building will be U.S. Strapping Company, Inc.’s second facility in the county and will allow the company to significantly increase its polyester (PET) strap manufacturing capacity. The state-of-the-art operation will also be a master distribution center for domestic and export sales.

The expansion is expected to be complete by March 2023. Individuals interested in joining the U.S. Strapping Company, Inc. team should email the company.

QUOTES

“Lancaster, S.C. is an ideal location for us to further expand and invest in our operations in the USA. The expansion strategy will help us to meet our increasing customers’ demands now and in the future. We have received exceptional cooperation and support from the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.”

FROMM Group, Switzerland Chief Executive Officer Matthias Schwarzenbach

“Over the past few years Lancaster County has seen rapid economic growth, and today’s announcement by FROMM Group and their U.S. Strapping Company, Inc. division will further that trend. We thank U.S. Strapping Company, Inc. for their commitment to Lancaster and South Carolina.” 

Gov. Henry McMaster

“When an existing company in South Carolina grows, it proves we have the business environment and workforce for companies to find sustained success. Congratulations on today’s expansion announcement by FROMM Group and their U.S. Strapping Company, Inc. division in Lancaster County, and we look forward to working with them for many more years.”

Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“It’s another golden day in Lancaster County with FROMM Group’s expansion of their Lancaster manufacturing operations. We couldn’t be more excited to see this project come to fruition and the business activity it will be bring to a strategically important industrial location. We are very pleased that FROMM Group recognized the outstanding business climate in Lancaster County and look forward to our continued partnership with this outstanding company.”

Lancaster County Department of Economic Development Executive Director James Gilbert

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • U.S. Strapping Company., Inc, a division of FROMM Group, is expanding operations in Lancaster County.
  • $34.6 million investment to create 63 new jobs.
  • U.S. Strapping Company, Inc. manufactures and sells plastic packaging materials.
  • Located at 234 Grace Avenue in Lancaster, S.C.
  • Individuals interested in joining the U.S. Strapping Company, Inc. team should email the company

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Alex Clark, CMP
Director of Marketing & Communications
South Carolina Department of Commerce
(803) 737-1998
aclark@sccommerce.com
www.SCcommerce.com

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Company’s $11.5 million investment to create an estimated 20 new jobs

FORT MILL, SC – Samuel Packaging Systems Group, a division of Samuel, Son & Co. (USA) Inc., today announced plans to expand operations in York County. The company’s $11.5 million investment will create an estimated 20 new jobs. 

Samuel Packaging Systems Group is a complete, single-source supplier for clients’ packaging and unitizing needs. The company specializes in polyester (PET) strapping, a lower cost and more durable alternative to steel strap.

Located at 2000 Boyer Road in Fort Mill, Samuel Packaging Systems Group’s expansion will upgrade existing production lines and will include the purchase of a new PET strand line. The current facility was opened in 1996 and is approximately 203,300 square feet.

The expansion is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2023. Individuals interested in joining the Samuel Packaging Systems Group team should visit the company’s careers page.

QUOTES

“Samuel arrived in York Country in 1996 with two production lines and 25 new jobs. With the support of York County, we have grown to four production lines and over 90 jobs, and additional jobs when the fifth line arrives. Samuel is a global provider of plastic strapping and invests where we have success. The support of York County is a great example of a partnership that creates success.” 

Samuel Packaging Systems Group President Cy Slifka

“When an existing company in South Carolina expands, it further solidifies our state’s reputation of having a superior business climate. Today, we celebrate Samuel Packaging Systems Group’s growth in York County, and we look forward to their success for many years to come.” 

Gov. Henry McMaster

“Congratulations to Samuel Packaging Systems Group on their growth in York County. This $11.5 million investment and estimated 20 additional jobs are an added boost to the area, and we celebrate their success within our borders.”

Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“York County is proud to see Samuel Packaging Systems Group expand as they make this new investment and create additional jobs within our community. It is always good news for our county and our state when one of our existing manufacturers expands. We look forward to watching them continue to grow.”

York County Council Chairwoman Christi Cox

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • Samuel Packaging Systems Group is expanding operations in York County.
  • The company’s $11.5 million investment will create an estimated 20 new jobs. 
  • Samuel Packaging Systems Group is a complete, single-source supplier for clients’ packaging and unitizing needs.
  • Located at 2000 Boyer Road in Fort Mill, S.C., the facility was opened in 1996 and is approximately 203,300 square feet.
  • Individuals interested in joining the Samuel Packaging Systems Group team should visit the company’s careers page

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Alex Clark, CMP
Director of Marketing & Communications
South Carolina Department of Commerce
(803) 737-1998
aclark@sccommerce.com
www.SCcommerce.com

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E. & J. Gallo Winery’s decision to invest $423 million in Chester County for the company’s first production and distribution facility outside its California home base is a major commitment that also signals opportunity for other new and expanding companies in the I-77 Corridor.

The world’s largest winery and spirits company said the new location will help it better serve East Coast markets while taking advantage of proximity to the Port of Charleston for its growing import and export business. The Gallo project also underlines the importance of logistics and location, a reality that has become abundantly clear in the worldwide supply chain disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

E & J Winery Vineyards

Companies large and small are working to respond. One result is the shift for many from a “just in time” philosophy of inventory and production management to a “just in case” posture: keeping critical inventory on hand or nearby instead of relying on timely shipments from distant locations.

E-commerce also has been a huge driver in this change, headlined by Amazon’s expansion of a network of massive distribution centers across the country and the surging demand for smaller, last-mile facilities. Then there’s a growing interest in establishing manufacturing sites with smaller footprints than in the past. A good example of that is a 193,000-square-foot spec building that the British firm Arrival will use to produce electric buses in a Rock Hill industrial park.

All this has resulted in unprecedented demand for warehouse and other industrial space. Record-low vacancies and record-high rental rates create opportunity for developers and owners of such properties, both for their own operations and to serve other companies.

One problem in meeting this demand for diverse industrial space is available land. This is not an issue in the I-77 corridor through Richland, Fairfield, Chester, Lancaster and York counties. Developable sites with the right infrastructure – water, sewer, electricity, and access to highways, rail, air transport and seaports – are readily available here. There also may well be an existing building to meet a company’s needs.

With such infrastructure in place, many operations can be up and running relatively quickly. Gallo, for instance, announced its Chester County plans last June and plans to complete the first phase by this October. That’s from the ground up.

We look forward to working with new and existing partners on leveraging your own opportunities through 2022 and beyond.

The Gallo project selected by two publications for Deal of the Year

[CHESTER COUNTY, S.C., January 13, 2022] – The E. & J. Gallo project in Chester County, which is of regional significance to the entire Catawba region, was recently recognized by two national publications. 

Trade & Industry Development awarded the project a CiCi Award and Business Facilities honored the project with a Deal of the Year award.

The coveted Corporate Investment and Community Impact (CiCi) Awards recognized the E. & J. Gallo Winery project as one of fourteen “Community Impact” CiCi award winners.  Details on all of the 2022 CiCi Awards and Community Impact winners can be found here.

In addition, Business Facilities awarded the E. & J. Gallo Winery project as the 2021 Deal of the Year: Rural winner.  This project was one of twenty-one projects nationally to be honored with this recognition. Details of the Deal of the Year can be found here.

“This is quite an honor, as the E. & J. Gallo project in Chester County went two-for-two,” said Dr. Wylie Frederick, interim supervisor, Chester County. “These awards are recognition and validation for all the hard work that went into this project by the county, Fort Lawn, and the state. This is a project of regional significance, and we are delighted that they selected Chester County.”

E. & J. Gallo Winery announced their intentions in June 2021 to invest $423 million in capital investment and create 496 jobs in Chester County to establish an east coast operation for manufacturing and distribution. This project was one of the largest announcements in the State of South Carolina in 2021. In addition, this announcement was the second largest capital investment project in the state and fourth in terms of job creation.

“I want to thank everyone involved in this project and the community at large. We are extremely proud to receive these awards which recognizes the great collaboration between the state government, Chester County, and the I-77 business alliance that made helped make this facility a reality,” said Rob Donoho, Vice President of Supply Chain, E. & J. Gallo Winery.  “Additionally, by having South Carolina as our eastern home, we can continue to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and improve customer service now and in the future.” 

About Chester County Economic Development

Created by Chester County in 2004, the mission of Chester County Economic Development (CCED) is to create an environment that supports existing industry expansion, encourages new industry investments, fosters entrepreneurialism, and welcomes visitation by others—all of which support the provision of public services and otherwise improves each citizen’s prosperity and overall quality of life. Over the past five years, CCED has been responsible for 19 announcements with $884.4 million in new capital investment and the creation of 1,484 jobs.  For more information, visit https://choosechester.com/.

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$22.1 million investment will create 102 new jobs over the next five years

LANCASTER, S.C. Chief Buildings, a subsidiary of Chief Industries, Inc. and a premier metal building system manufacturer, today announced plans to establish operations in Lancaster County. The company’s $22.1 million investment will create 102 new jobs over the next five years.

Founded in 1966, Chief Buildings is a nationwide leader in low-rise, non-residential metal building systems. The company’s custom-engineered steel solutions optimize and integrate steel framing, roofing and walls.

Located at 992 Quality Drive in Lancaster, Chief Buildings’ new state-of-the-art Lancaster County operations will expand the company’s footprint in the Southeast and increase service to its authorized builder network.

Operations are expected to be online in October 2022. Individuals interested in learning more about Chief Buildings should visit the company’s website.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. The council also awarded a $200,000 Set-Aside grant to Lancaster County to assist with costs of building improvements.

QUOTES

“Lancaster was the ideal location to expand our operations. The expansion is a logical step in our business growth strategy and helps to ensure we meet the needs of our stakeholders. This project in Lancaster would not be possible without the support from the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development and South Carolina Department of Commerce.”

Chief Industries Chairman of the Board, CEO and President DJ Eihusen

“South Carolina’s talented workforce, ideal location and business-friendly environment continue to recruit top companies. We welcome Chief Buildings to Lancaster County and look forward to their success.”

Gov. Henry McMaster

“South Carolina’s manufacturing industry continues to grow at record pace, and we are excited to welcome Chief Buildings to the roster of companies that make premier products within our borders. Chief Buildings’ $22.1 million investment and creation of 102 new jobs in Lancaster County are cause for celebration, and we look forward to what the future has in store for them.”

Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“Chief Buildings will be an exceptional addition to Lancaster County’s manufacturing community. Since our initial meeting with Chief Industries’ CEO DJ Eihusen and his team in September, we realized just how special of a company we were recruiting and committed to securing the project. This third-generation, family-owned business is not only a leader in their industry, but in the communities in which they operate. Lancaster County couldn’t be more appreciative of their decision to bring these outstanding manufacturing jobs here, and we look forward to being a partner with them as they grow their operation here over the coming years.”

Lancaster County Department of Economic Development Executive Director James Gilbert

“We are thrilled that Chief Buildings has selected Lancaster County for their new facility! Chief Buildings’ investment in the I-77 region, after an extensive, multi-state site selection process, sends a clear message that this is an ideal location to do business, especially for small and midsized manufacturers. Welcome to South Carolina!”

-SC I-77 Alliance President and CEO Steven Pearce

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • Chief Buildings is establishing operations in Lancaster County.
  • The company’s $22.1 million investment will create 102 new jobs over the next five years.
  • Chief Buildings is a nationwide leader in low-rise, non-residential metal building systems.
  • Located at 992 Quality Drive in Lancaster, S.C.
  • Individuals interested in learning more about Chief Buildings should visit the company’s website.

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Alex Clark, CMP
Director of Marketing & Communications
South Carolina Department of Commerce
(803) 737-1998
aclark@sccommerce.com
www.SCcommerce.com

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Company committing $131 million over the next five years toward facility development and environmental safety improvements

COLUMBIA, S.C. Westinghouse, a leading global supplier of safe and innovative nuclear technology, today announced plans to support and grow operations in Richland County. The company is investing $131 million into the project.

Operating in South Carolina since 1969, the Westinghouse Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility (CFFF) in Hopkins houses fuel manufacturing, product engineering, testing laboratories and fuel marketing and contract administration. Approximately 10% of U.S. electricity comes from nuclear fuel manufactured at CFFF.

Westinghouse’s commitment includes upgrades to equipment and procedures, increasing the company’s capacity and future growth. It will also enhance the facility’s pollution prevention systems and controls. This investment helps expand automation and digitalization, which will improve inspection capabilities and product quality. The project is expected to be completed by January 2026. Individuals interested in joining the Westinghouse team should visit the company’s careers webpage.

QUOTES

“We believe this investment is a critical element of our long-term growth and risk reduction strategy to better serve and protect our customers, community and employees. We are very grateful for the continued support of Richland County and the state of South Carolina in this effort and throughout our 52-year history in the region.”

Westinghouse VP of Columbia Fuel Operations Michael Annacone

“South Carolina continues to show that we truly are the place to do business, and this $131 million investment is a further testament to that. We’ve worked hard to provide in-state businesses with a highly-trained workforce that meets their demands, and because of that, we are finding success.” 

Gov. Henry McMaster

“Westinghouse has been an integral part of South Carolina’s business community for over 50 years, and we couldn’t be more excited by their continued commitment. This $131 million investment is a big win for Richland County and the entire state.”

Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“With its more than 50 years and 900 employees here, Westinghouse is a long-standing institution in Richland County’s manufacturing landscape. Council is excited to see the company continue its success and growth in our community.”

Richland County Council Chair Paul Livingston

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • Westinghouse is expanding operations in Richland County.
  • The company is investing $131 million into the expansion over the next five years.
  • Westinghouse is a leading global supplier of safe and innovative nuclear technology.
  • Located in Hopkins, S.C.
  • Individuals interested in joining the Westinghouse team should visit the company’s careers webpage.

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Alex Clark, CMP
Director of Marketing & Communications
South Carolina Department of Commerce
(803) 737-1998
aclark@sccommerce.com
www.SCcommerce.com

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$40 million investment will create 100 new jobs

COLUMBIA, S.C. AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company, a subsidiary of AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company, today announced plans to expand operations in Richland County. The $40 million investment will create 100 new jobs.

AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company manufactures steel pipe in diameters up to 144 inches. Spiral-welded steel pipe applications include transmission, distribution and collection lines for water and wastewater; penstocks; water intakes and outfalls; and structural pilings. The company also manufactures ductile iron pipe, valves and hydrants for the waterworks industry and electric-resistance-welded steel pipe for the energy industry. AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company’s diversified product line also includes high performance fire pumps, castings for large machinery and specialty rubber products.

Operating since 1999 at 2061 American Italian Way in Columbia, AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company’s expansion will increase the company’s capacity to support growing demand.

The multi-year expansion, which will be accomplished in phases, is expected to be completed by 2025. Individuals interested in joining the AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company team should visit the company’s careers page. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project. The council also awarded a $200,000 Set-Aside grant to Richland County to assist with costs related to this project.

QUOTES

“We are excited to expand our operations in Columbia and are proud to be a part of this community for more than 20 years.”

AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company Vice President of Operations Patrick Hook

“When companies like AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company find success here and make the decision to invest in our people further, it’s a huge win for our state. We’re proud of the partnership the Midlands has built with AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company and look forward to continuing that relationship for many years to come.”

Gov. Henry McMaster

“It’s exciting to see an existing South Carolina business succeed and build on its presence here. We celebrate AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company’s decision to expand operations in Richland County and create 100 new jobs.”

Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“With more than 20 years in business in Richland County, AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company has been a valuable employer in our community. The council is excited to see this company continue to invest here by creating new jobs.”

Richland County Council Chair Paul Livingston

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company is expanding operations in Richland County.
  • The $40 million investment will create 100 new jobs.
  • AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company manufactures spiral-welded steel pipe in diameters up to 144 inches. 
  • Located at 2061 American Italian Way in Columbia, S.C.

Individuals interested in joining the AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company team should visit the company’s careers page.

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State has consistently been among the top in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign direct investment on a per capita basis – recognized by multiple economic development publications for its pro-business climate. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Alex Clark, CMP
Director of Marketing & Communications
South Carolina Department of Commerce
(803) 737-1998
aclark@sccommerce.com
www.SCcommerce.com

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Steven Pearce is in his first few months as President and CEO of the South Carolina I-77 Alliance yet already has deep experience here and a clear vision for how the Alliance can broaden its ability to encourage new and expanding industry in the dynamic corridor between Charlotte and Columbia.

Pearce joins the Alliance from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, where as Senior Vice President of Business Recruitment he oversaw lead generation, recruitment, business retention, and expansion efforts across a 15-county region that spans the Carolinas.

Below he shares some thoughts about what lies ahead for the SC I-77 Alliance and economic growth in York, Lancaster, Chester, Fairfield, and Richland counties.

Steven Pearce - I77 Alliance

“This is a fantastic place to do business. The people here have long invested in the areas of education, infrastructure, real estate, and many others, to establish the I-77 corridor as a preferred location. Our progress going forward will be built on the shoulders of those who have come before.”

Steven Pearce, President & CEO, S.C. I-77 Alliance

What made taking the helm of the SC I-77 Alliance attractive to you?

Steven Pearce: As an economic developer, the products I sell are the communities that I represent. This state and this region have a fantastic reputation as a great place to do business and I’m thrilled to be a part in helping shape its continued growth.

Additionally, the economic development leaders in each of our five counties are experienced and talented. I was fortunate enough to already have relationships with several of them, but while doing my due diligence also was impressed with the accomplishments and capabilities of those that I did not yet know.

I feel fortunate to get to partner with these professionals and their teams, who clearly understand from experience how to accomplish their goals on the local level while they excel as strong regional partners.

How will your experience at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance benefit industrial recruitment efforts in the SC I-77 Corridor?

SP: I was tasked there with leading a team of talented economic developers to source new opportunities for jobs and investment for our region. I spent six years based in Charlotte and during that time, I really honed my skill set as a lead generator.

Economic development is about relationships and investing your time and energy in the right vectors of opportunity. Many of the relationships I’ve already built with site selection consultants and decision makers will still be valuable for what we do at the I-77 Alliance. I look forward to building on the momentum we built at the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance to have an even greater impact here.

What do you see as the major challenges facing economic developers in the Corridor and how will the Alliance help address them?

SP: Available workforce and buildings. Workforce is consistently ranked as the single top priority for executives deciding on a location. The pandemic has only heightened that challenge across the country. As the organization at the top of the sales funnel, it’s critical that we take what we learn from these executives back to our Alliance stakeholders, to help them focus on the best ways to build the talent pipeline.

Meanwhile, generally we have ample available land but few available buildings in the Corridor. The vast majority of industrial clients are considering options that our region can scarcely supply. At minimum, we need to invest in pad-ready sites, that have as much due diligence completed as possible, so that we mitigate risk for our clients and position ourselves for success.

Workforce Education - York County SC

Please share your vision on opportunities and the path forward for the Alliance and the counties it serves.

SP: We already know we can deliver additional value for all our stakeholders through a data-driven and relationship-focused approach that’s aligned with the assets of our local communities

Over the next five years, my vision for the SC I-77 Alliance is to establish us even more firmly as the go-to source for labor force data, economic indicators, sites, infrastructure, and other vital information about the region and its economy.

Additionally, consistent with our mission, our office will elevate the quality and quantity of the leads we source. We add the most value when we can identify new companies considering a location decision and help them understand the opportunity that the I-77 region offers.

Over the next few years, we also want to augment the financial resources of the organization by bringing new private investors into the fold. Our investor base should be a representation of all services that support new and expanding companies.

These investors are also well suited to help us sell this region as a great place to do business and to serve as subject matter experts, informing clients on all matters related to their specialty. We also will be adding opportunities to engage with us on a regular basis through the Business Recruitment Advisory Council and quarterly investor gatherings.

This is a fantastic place to do business. The people here have long invested in the areas of education, infrastructure, real estate, and many others, to establish the I-77 corridor as a preferred location. Our progress going forward will be built on the shoulders of those who have come before.

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