We’re going to let the data do the driving in 2020. You can call that our New Year’s resolution but it’s really the new strategic focus the South Carolina I-77 Alliance is adopting to identify and market to prospective new industries that could benefit from the advantages our five-county corridor offers.
While still relying on past activity and gut instinct — refined by our collective experience as industrial recruiters — we’re going to rely more heavily on analyzing the wealth of data out there to better identify promising geographical areas that hold clusters of players in our targeted industry verticals.
There are four of those: advanced materials, automotive, aerospace, and corporate operations and finance. The first of those is the largest vertical in the corridor, a legacy of our history as a textile region that has seen producers of new products bring their innovation and investments here, to their benefit and ours.
Aerospace and automotive both are growing industries in the corridor, fueled by suppliers to BMW in the Upstate and Boeing in the Lowcountry, and by aftermarket leaders like Giti Tire, now in full production within our region in Chester County.
Meanwhile, there are a number of finance-related operations landing within the Charlotte suburbs of South Carolina and a burgeoning cluster in Columbia, SC, providing thousands of good paying jobs in York, Lancaster, and Richland counties.
More examples from all four of those industrial clusters can be given in each of our five counties, from Columbia to Charlotte, and anyone interested can keep up with the latest announcements and dive deep into the economic data always available and updated on our website.
That’s a powerful store of information – a source of detailed local data in unprecedented breadth and width available to anyone who wants to learn more about the lay of the land economically in Richland, Fairfield, Chester, Lancaster and York counties.
We’ll continue to refine the presentation, too, using GIS and other visualizations to empower our counties with tools that make our county partners the best possible stewards they can be of local data to help them tell the story of their locations in their own words.
This holistic approach we’re taking as the new decade dawns is how the Alliance is positioning itself for our most powerful recruiting efforts yet, by combining the best practices available in targeted marketing combined with personal outreach, and, of course, a great location to sell.
That data also provides the backdrop for the message we’ll be bringing to markets that we identify as ripe to hear it and that we stack up well against. We’ll make that determination by comparing ourselves to select regions using variables like wages, cost of living, workforce training and availability, and so forth.