Spartanburg, S.C. - Four exceptional Upstate companies were named 2018 Economic Visionaries by Spartanburg Community College at the annual Economic Visionaries event held at the Spartanburg Marriott on Thursday evening, March 22. Businesses honored for transforming the Upstate economy were Crow & Bulman Engineering, Johnson Development Associates, Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District and AFL. The guest speaker for the evening was Lynn Good, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Duke Energy, one of America's largest electric power companies. Amy Wood, anchor News Channel 7/WSPA TV, was the event emcee.
"New companies are making South Carolina home. Others are increasing their workforce; some are expanding their operations, but all companies, no matter the size, are committed to building the Upstate into a vibrant, economic force. Leaders of these driven companies are giving our area an opportunity to shine by investing in our communities. An Economic Visionary embraces the future with imagination, wisdom and energy that makes an enterprising impact on community resources. We are delighted to name AFL, Crow & Bulman Engineering, Greenville Spartanburg Airport District and Johnson Development Associates as the 2018 Economic Visionaries," said Henry C. Giles, Jr., SCC president. "Economic Visionaries was created to honor the work of businesses and industries and the significant impact they make in our communities. Just look at Upstate South Carolina and the number of businesses that have expanded or located to the area in the past five years... the numbers are astonishing. From the number of guests and sponsors supporting this celebration, it is clear our community is energized and focused on growth, development and has a strong commitment to making our area thrive.
"But, this is really nothing new for our community. Spartanburg Community College will celebrate its 55th year in the fall, and throughout those 55 years we have worked closely with businesses and industries to educate and train not only their employees, and but the citizens of our community as well. Thanks to these invaluable partnerships, we have continued to meet our mission of being a catalyst in changing lives, building the future of our students and citizens, and developing the economy of the Upstate."
Hosted by the SCC Foundation, "the Economic Visionaries event brings many components to the spotlight- four companies selected from a large number of nominations, a highly visible keynote speaker, over 50 supportive sponsors- all to celebrate the positive impact Spartanburg Community College provides across the three county service area and the significant impact economic development is bringing to South Carolina," explains Bea Walters Smith, executive director of SCC Advancement and Foundation. "SCC is proud to serve Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties, and is pleased to host this premier event."
Bill Barnet, chairman of Spartanburg Northside Development Group, CEO of Barnet Development Corporation, and former mayor of Spartanburg, introduced Ms. Good and shared accolades for SCC. "On behalf of our community, I'd like to thank everyone associated with Spartanburg Community College for what they have offered us this evening and also for the great work they have done to make this community great. Without SCC, I don't think many of the great success we've had, including BMW coming here, would have ever happened," said Barnet. "I also don't think our community would be where it is today without Duke Energy. We have in Spartanburg and in the Upstate, safe, reliable and inexpensive energy because of great people who came before us. Many of us sometimes forget the importance of investment in energy over the long-term to be sure our children and their children have the same benefits and opportunities that we take for granted. And that takes leadership; it takes someone like Lynn Good. One of the great honors of my life has been when I was asked to serve on the board of Duke Energy; I was there when Lynn Good joined the team, and I was there when she was selected as the CEO of that organization. An accountant by trade, Lynn Good is a delightful, intelligent, charging woman who understands complexity of the decisions and options that are available to all of us today from solar, to hydro, nuclear and even to coal. She is a remarkably talented woman who cares deeply about the Carolinas, and about our community, and who has a great ability to sift through complex equations and come up good, solid long-term answers. We are all blessed to have Lynn Good running energy."
Guest speaker, Ms. Good, shared insights on how Duke Energy supports economic development in Upstate SC, as well as work in foundational giving, volunteerism and education. "I also want to add my thanks to President Giles for the work you do in this community. I understand the impact of education and community colleges, the importance of workforce development. It is those types of programs that not only create opportunities today, but lay the foundation for generations. We have extraordinary team of people here in the upstate that care deeply about the success of this community. Even though we have grown over the years to be a large corporate entity, we understand the importance of the local business. We have to be deeply rooted in our communities and the success of Duke Energy cannot be separated from the successes of the communities we have the honor to serve," explained Good. "Economic development is on all of your minds, you've been extraordinarily successful. At Duke Energy, we wake up every day with a team of professionals focused on making this region as good as it can be to attract jobs to this region. It starts with having good inventory, where places are that we can cite more manufacturing or investment. But, it doesn't stop there. It's also about recruitment and that's where we can work together-Duke Energy leaders working with state leaders and local community leaders so we can put the best package on the table to attract the businesses to this region. It's a long-term commitment."
Good went on to share that the company's commitment goes beyond economic development, that volunteerism and the commitment of their foundation in the community are important. "In 2017 we granted $4.5 million to causes important to this community, really intended to build on future generations, whether it's economic development or education. And, we coupled that with 25,000 hours of volunteer work where we encourage our employees to be deeply rooted in the community, to find projects they can work on to deliver success not only for their own livelihood but also for the partners that are so important to us. Over the last five years we have partnered with Spartanburg Community College and donated over $200,000 around workforce development efforts. We look at all of these investments as support to our community. We look forward to ways we can we can continue to partner to for the future growth of this region."
Under Good's leadership, Duke Energy has intensified its focus on serving its customers and communities while leading the way to a cleaner, smarter energy future. To do this, Duke Energy is investing billions to transform the customer experience, modernize the energy grid, expand natural gas infrastructure and generate cleaner energy. These investments embrace new technologies and forward-thinking strategies that continue to strengthen the company's environmental stewardship. Since 2005, the company has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 31 percent. The company has also been named to the Forbes list of "America's Best Employers," and recognized by Fortune as one of the "World's Most Admired Companies" in the electric and gas utilities industry. Last year, Duke Energy's economic development team helped attract $5.9 billion in capital investment, creating over 12,000 jobs in the seven states it serves. For the 13th consecutive year, Duke Energy was named to Site Selection magazine's annual list of Top 10 Utilities in Economic Development. Learn more about the impact Duke Energy is making across its region at www.duke-energy.com.
Pres. Giles presented Ms. Good with an Economic Visionaries award and announced that an SCC scholarship has been created in her honor and will be presented to deserving student attending SCC this fall.
Following Good's remarks, Pres. Giles and Amy Wood presented awards to the four 2018 Economic Visionaries. Crow & Bulman Engineering company was recognized as an Economic Visionary because of innovative work in the engineering profession throughout Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties. A mechanical engineering company with six employees, including three registered mechanical engineers, the company has provided H-VAC engineering design for the Spartanburg County Library, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, the Evans Academic Building at the SCC Downtown Campus, and dozens of other schools, churches, offices and medical clinics in the Upstate. From the beginning, Crow & Bulman has used the latest energy-saving features in their H-VAC systems and they also engineered the first Platinum rated "LEED" building in the state of South Carolina, and subsequently designed twelve certified "LEED" buildings in Greenville and Spartanburg, including the SCC Downtown Campus. As a standard practice, the company donates four percent of their net earnings to local charitable and conservation organizations. The United Way, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Spartanburg Soup Kitchen, Mobile Meals, Habitat for Humanity, and many others have benefited from their generosity. The company worked with Duke Energy to design Spartanburg County Public Library, implementing the first large scale ice storage cooling system, leading to a 26 percent reduction in electric utility costs. It also designed and implemented Geothermal HVAC concepts. Wade Crow, senior engineer and president of the company, accepted the award. "The Spartanburg community has a solid foundation for growing a family, or a business. Spartanburg Community College has had a substantial position in building that foundation. The Economic Visionaries event is a perfect example of the College's commitment to the upstate, providing the opportunity to recognize local businesses that contribute to the economy. Crow and Bulman Engineering is honored to accept this award," said Crow. A video about Crow & Bulman Engineering shown at the event can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/Cs3wFSxh2HU
Johnson Development Associates, Inc. was named an Economic Visionaries because of their work in Upstate commercial development, education and Spartanburg's downtown revitalization efforts. Employing 100+ team members, Johnson Development aims to cultivate a talent pipeline to their hiring department through the local colleges and universities. The company's passion for education led to the creating of the Meeting Street Academy in the Spartanburg Community, providing a strong, positive educational environment to under-served neighborhoods, teaching for children 3 years old and up. They also invest heavily in developing office buildings for the City of Spartanburg, thus encouraging the growth of professional jobs downtown. The company has focused on building the downtown area as part of their efforts to enhance our community. They support many non-profit local organizations, such as the United Way of the Piedmont, Spartanburg Young Professionals, Spartanburg Area Conservancy, and the Chapman Cultural Center, among many others. JDA employees regularly volunteer and support charitable causes. In their 2018 United Way Employee Giving Campaign, 100 percent of employees contributed, for a total of $90,000, and provided over 200 boxed meals for members of the Spartanburg community who would not have otherwise enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal. Rain, president of the JDA Industrial Division, accepted the award on behalf of the company. "Johnson Development is honored to be recognized as an Economic Visionary by SCC. We've been proud to call Spartanburg home for over 30 years, and we believe it is our responsibility to contribute to making Spartanburg a dynamic place for team members in our company and other citizens to thrive, explained Geordy Johnson, chief executive officer, Johnson Development Associates, Inc. "We are excited about the positive momentum happening in our community and appreciate SCC taking the initiative to recognize the many organizations who are making our county's growth possible." A video about Johnson Development Associates shown at the event can be viewed at the following link:
The Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District was named an Economic Visionary thanks to providing service and innovative leadership to the community for over 55 years. Since opening in 1962, GSP has invested in capital improvements resulting in increased capacity, improved safety processes and efficiencies. They have a tremendous impact on the local economy, with 186 employees and $261 million dollars in assets. To support the environment, the company improved energy efficiency through several key initiatives, including solar heated water, more natural lighting, and automated lighting controls to reduce energy usage. GSP also supports their employees in their educational goals with a tuition reimbursement program that covers tuition, books and fees. They also support K-12 career days, job shadowing programs, and offer college scholarships for both high school seniors and college students. GSP has encouraged continued employee development through a partnership with "Edge4Vets" to prepare and connect our nation's veterans with jobs in aviation. They also host "Town Hall" style employee meetings to provide employees with the opportunity to make their voices heard. In addition, GSP provides support to many local non-profits and organizations, including the Salvation Army where they fulfilled the Christmas wish lists of 550 underprivileged children by contributing $110,000 for Christmas giving. They also sponsor many non-profit local events such as Upstate Chamber Coalition Day and the Spartanburg Night at Greenville Drive, among others. David N. Edwards, Jr., AAE, president and chief executive officer accepted the award. "Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District is a significant contributor to the economic development of the Upstate. Every day we generate local employment and help facilitate the efficient movement of people and materials around the nation and the world," Edwards explained. "Part of our mission is to advance the economic prosperity of the region, and we are beyond honored that our efforts and our work has been recognized by Spartanburg Community College and the Economic Visionaries selection committee." A video about the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District shown at the event can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/ks1RhAopuGc
AFL was named an Economic Visionary award recipient for optical fiber innovation since first serving Spartanburg in 1986 with one product to growing to an international manufacturer of thousands of products to date. Education is extremely important to this company. Employees are encouraged to be members of professional organizations, and are encouraged to make suggestions to improve processes, reduce costs, and increase productivity. A newly launched Operation Workforce Program assists high school students in earning manufacturing certificates with a goal to join the company after graduation. To support the local community, the company grants eight percent of its revenue to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and non-profit organizations. This includes over $100,000 to organizations including the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg, Middle Tyger Community Center, Hope Center for Children and many others. Company employees have planted 20,000 trees in communities where they operate, and employees give time and money to many local groups by serving on boards and participating in local projects. AFL continuously strives to maintain the broadest portfolio of optical fiber cables for indoor, outdoor and harsh environment use, with state of the art production methods. Kurt Dallas, executive vice president cable & connectivity, accepted the award. "Being an Economic Visionary reinforces our vision to positively impact communities by delivering superior solutions. We strive to provide the unique, innovative solutions for our customers, connecting them to the latest technology so that they, in turn, provide superior products and services to their customers. We are upholding our commitment to our associates and our community to provide room for growth and success," said Dallas. "Being an Economic Visionary means that we are working together towards a common goal-a brighter future for the Upstate." A video about AFL shown at the event can be viewed at the following link: https://youtu.be/PJ1HU7qOpog
In closing, Pres. Giles announced that a second, new scholarship has been established in honor of Amy Wood, her dedication to education and our community. The scholarship will be awarded to a deserving student attending SCC fall 2018.
Premier event sponsors included News Channel 7/WSPA TV as the media sponsor as well as Duke Energy, Wells Fargo and AFL. Many other local organizations graciously sponsored the second annual event. For a complete listing of all 2018 Economic Visionaries event sponsors, please visit: www.sccsc.edu/ev18-sponsors/
To download photos from the 2018 Economic Visionaries event, please visit: www.flickr.com/photos/sccsc/albums/72157694771788365