To new heights: Shaw Air Force Base grows 24% in 10 years

To new heights: Shaw Air Force Base grows 24% in 10 years

BY SHELBIE GOULDING
shelbie@theitem.com

Shaw Air Force Base proved itself to be a staple to the military world and Sumter community as it continues to prosper in personnel growth and base operations.
In a span of 10 years, Shaw Air Force Base grew more than 24% in personnel, which came from military and local leaders working together to bring a quality of life to airmen and a handful of squadron units.

According to Air Force Magazine, Shaw had a total of 5,912 active-duty members under its wing in 2011. By 2020, that total grew to 7,376 active-duty personnel, noting that is one of the largest increases among U.S. Air Force bases in the world. That does not even count today’s total.

“During this timeframe, Third Army/U.S. Army Central relocated to Shaw, and the 25th Attack Group activated,” said Capt. Amanda Herman, 20th Fighter Wing chief of public affairs. “Additionally, units that had been here prior to 2011 saw growth.”

The 15th Air Force became the operational headquarters of six additional wings and three direct reporting units, Herman said.

The 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) grew after its headquarters returned to Shaw from its previous position in the Middle East, according to Herman. The 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron — otherwise known as Kingpin — relocated from Al Dhafra Air Base, which is also in the Middle East.

To date, Shaw still holds the same official total as 2020, but some soldiers and airmen are currently deployed or geographically separated under Shaw’s command, according to Public Affairs.
According to Herman, Army and Air Force personnel duty physically stationed at Shaw today totals about 5,800.

“Shaw Air Force Base is a hub of strategic power. Home to two U.S. Central Command components, U.S. Army Central and 9th Air Force, as well as our (20th Fighter) Wing and parent Numbered Air Force, 15th Air Force, we are one of the most important operational bases in the United States,” said Col. Kevin Hicok, 20th Fighter Wing vice commander. “As we have seen over the last decade, Sumter, known for its ‘Uncommon Patriotism,’ provides us unwavering support to our airmen, soldiers and families to help us remain mission-ready to meet national defense requirements.”

“Tasked to provide air superiority and combat-ready Weasels of every specialty across the globe, the 20th Fighter Wing is also responsible for providing base operating support to units administratively assigned to us, whether located here or geographically separated,” said Col. Lawrence Sullivan, commander of the 20th Fighter Wing. “Whether here or abroad, I am incredibly proud of our airmen who continue to collaborate and integrate across the joint spectrum to deliver warfighting capability.”

Behind the scenes of Shaw Air Force Base’s growth

In 2005, Sumter was threatened when the military went through a Base Realignment and Closure process, with Shaw being one of its marks.
Knowing a closure of the base would destroy Sumter’s economy, its leaders collaborated with their military neighbors to bring several squadron units and operation expansions next door, promising a quality of living in return.

“When I left the mayor’s office in 2000, Joe McElveen, the new mayor, asked me if I could continue doing military affairs because we had been through base closure rounds,” said Steve Creech, who served as mayor for 12 years before McElveen. McElveen retired in 2020.

Creech got to work and contacted former 9th Air Force Commander Mike Moseley, who was at the time vice chief of the Air Force, knowing he saw potential in Shaw just like the community saw potential in Sumter.

“I can say I was maybe a little helpful,” Moseley joked about the base’s growth. “I think Mayor Creech and community base affairs guys were very, very credible and very helpful in explaining opportunities for growth and opportunities for community support of that growth.”

According to James Ellis, deputy chief of HQ ACC Basing, Force Structure & Total Force Division, the Air Force has a strategic basing process that determines a location for a mission set based on thorough analysis of each location, looking at the capacity, mission synergies, cost and environmental impacts.

He said the results of the analysis determine the best location for the mission, and Moseley knew Shaw was a perfect location.

Moseley soon implemented more mission operations under Shaw command, such as additional squadron units under AFCENT and building a home base for ARCENT in 2011, as the two historically have worked side by side, according to Moseley.

With those additions came room for growth and opportunity for the military as Shaw played a vital role in war missions for years and continues to do so.

“Each of those chapters was a different set of challenges and opportunities for Shaw Air Force Base and the community,” Moseley said. “Each of those represented a reset almost.”
Along with Moseley’s work, the county’s leadership secured a military base protection field that gave Shaw even more room for growth without the threat of other development encroaching on the base.

“And an opportunity for growth as long as the community was ahead of that with inspired leadership and vision about how to protect the base and how to provide opportunities for growth. I would say it’s an ongoing partnership,” he said.

Moseley fell for Sumter’s opportunity and “uncommon patriotism” so much that he retired to Sumter’s Historic District after his military career ended in 2008.

“The partnership between the base and the county and city leadership is critical for this,” Moseley said about both the military base and Sumter. “If you do that along the way, then you’re ideally set with things happening, and opportunities present themselves.”

Sumter Mayor David Merchant said both the city and county will continue to protect the land around the base and keep Shaw operating for the sake of the community and for the sake of its military friends and neighbors.

“The city works daily with Shaw to help maintain Shaw’s presence in the state and world,” Merchant said. “With over $1.5 billion per year in economic impact on the Sumter community, this places them in high priority for current and future development plans.”

CREDIT: The Sumter Item

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will kick off National Small Business Week (NSBW) next week. For more than 50 years, the weeklong event has recognized the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners to the local and national economies. And, this year is unlike any other – as America’s small businesses continue to face unique challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Here in South Carolina, small businesses (defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees) are a critical component of the economy, accounting for more than 99% of all private employers in South Carolina. Additionally, more than 43% of all South Carolina employees work for small-sized firms.

Small businesses have taken a hit over the last 18 months. And now, more than ever, it’s imperative to support the local shops and companies that make up the backbone of the state’s economy.

South Carolina’s small business community also consists of some of the state’s most innovative, forward-thinking companies – organizations working on emerging technologies that create disruptive change.

Earlier today, S.C. Commerce, in partnership with the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA) and 3Phase, announced the launch of the state’s first match funding program for Phase II of SBA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. SBIR and STTR grants are a common first funding source for startups and small businesses to commercialize new, innovative products and services.

Small business is big business in South Carolina. These companies boost prosperity and the overall well-being of South Carolinians. So, during National Small Business Week – and the weeks beyond – support the entrepreneurs and smaller organizations that promote a more vibrant, prosperous community for all.

TheLINK Economic Development Alliance Wins Major Communication Award at the 2021 SEDC Annual Conference

TheLINK Economic Development Alliance Wins Major Communication Award at the 2021 SEDC Annual Conference

For Immediate Release
Contact: Erika D. Williams
803-418-0709
EkWilliams@sumtersc.gov

TheLINK Economic Development Alliance received one of the top honors for a communications piece at the SEDC Communication Awards Ceremony. The awards ceremony was held during the 2021 Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) Annual Conference, August 16-17, 2021, in Tampa, Florida.

“These annual Communication Awards recognize and showcase the leading communication and marketing work done by economic development professionals throughout the south. TheLINK Economic Development Alliance hit the mark this year with this communication piece showing not only creativity, but also solid messaging and effectiveness at reaching their target audience” commented Gene Stinson, SEDC President.

The “Industrial Parks Portfolio”, won the Special Judges Award for Innovation Concept in Site Promotion. “The purpose of creating a pocket size industrial portfolio is to create a convenient method to display the sites and buildings that are available to prospective businesses and consultants, said Jay Schwedler, President of TheLINK. “Each site and building occupied equates to new jobs, investment and thus an increase in our tax base.”

 The Communication Awards are given each year by SEDC at its annual conference. Over twenty categories of communications and marketing work submitted by SEDC members are evaluated within four divisions. Judging criteria for General Entry Awards include Graphic Appeal, Clarity of Message, Quality of Information, Positioning / Differentiation and Format.

“Our goal, as the project tagline indicates, is to Connect you to Endless Opportunities. One way of doing this is by creating innovative marketing concepts to draw attention to the countless assets that we have in this region. Winning the special judges award brings attention to our region and attention to the talent that is developed here,” stated Yanet Lopez, Multimedia Manager.

About SEDC

SEDC is the oldest and largest regional economic development association in North America, with more than 860 members representing a variety of backgrounds. From local, regional, and state economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, business and industry, utilities, transportation, finance and education, members share a common interest: the promotion and enhancement of the economic development profession. To find out more about SEDC, please visit www.sedc.org.

 

 

BD has been recognized for having one of the 100 best internship programs

BD has been recognized for having one of the 100 best internship programs

Let’s congratulate BD on their ongoing success! We’re thrilled to have them as one of our leading manufacturing industries in Sumter County, SC operating since 1970.

Every year, WayUp—the leading platform for employers to recruit diverse, qualified talent—publishes a Top 100 Internship Programs List to celebrate the companies giving students an exceptional experience. ​

For more information about the recognition, please visit: https://www.forbes.com/sites/benjaminlaker/2021/08/18/heres-the-top-100-internship-programs-for-2021/?sh=6e3c99373f7d

 

Nova Molecular to Break Ground on New Facility in Sumter, SC

Nova Molecular to Break Ground on New Facility in Sumter, SC

Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. (Nova), a manufacturing company and lead producer of high-purity solvents will break ground on a new facility in the Pocotaligo East Industrial Site located off of US 521 in Sumter on Thursday, August 12th at 3:00 pm. The new facility is a part of Nova’s operation expansion that will bring $14.9 Million in investment and 25 new jobs as announced in the fall last year.

Founded in 1991, Nova’s high-value solvent Recovery and Return program helps companies reduce costs, increase supply certainty and improve sustainability initiatives. The expansion is expected to be completed by 2024.

Individuals interested in joining the Nova team should visit novamolecular.com for more information.

Company and local officials commented on Nova’s expansion in Sumter in the original announcement:

“Nova began considering options in four states including South Carolina. All sites were located within Opportunity Zones which will provide significant tax benefits which will be reinvested back into the business. The Sumter, S.C. site was selected due to the proximity of the existing production facility to utilize and expand the outstanding Sumter community workforce we currently enjoy. The proximity also allows for better collaboration between sites. The financial incentives offered by the local and state governments were very competitive as well as the favorable corporate tax structure.” -Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. Chairman of the Board Jon Michael Clumpner

“It is always exciting to publicize and acknowledge the growth of a company in our county that has been an exceptional leader and partner in not only their line of business, but also in community cooperation and support. Increasingly, in the company’s time in Sumter, they have proven their desire to provide excellence in service to corporate customers and support to the well-being of our region.” -Sumter County Council Chair Jim McCain

“For more than a decade, Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. has provided superior service to Fortune 500 companies from around the globe from their Sumter operations facility. That, coupled with their announcement of an expansion, speaks volumes about the quality of work and workers that transpire in this region. We have long pursued and will continue to seek solutions to match world-class employers with exceptional employees that meet and exceed their expectations in order to respond to business needs. We are thrilled that Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. is growing and also for our community which will benefit greatly from this investment and job creation.” -Sumter Economic Development Board Chair Greg A. Thompson.

Five Fast Facts

● Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. is breaking ground on a new facility in Sumter.

● The ceremony will be held Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 3:00 pm in the Pocataligo East Industrial Site in Sumter.

● The operations expansion is expected to be completed by 2024.

● The expansion is bringing more than $14.9 Million and creating 25 new jobs.

● Nova Molecular Technologies is a manufacturing company and lead producer of high-purity solvents.

### The mission of the Sumter Economic Development is to be the galvanizing force of Sumter County’s economic development effort by creating wealth for all citizens of Sumter County by increasing per capita income and supporting the creation of well-paying jobs.

Southern Current expanding operations in Lee County

Southern Current expanding operations in Lee County

Company investing $38.8 million into expansion

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Southern Current, a leading developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale solar markets, today announced plans to expand operations in Lee County. The company is investing $38.8 million into the expansion.

Located throughout the Southeast, Southern Current is an owner and developer of utility-scale solar energy facilities with an in-house team of development professionals. The company manages projects from site selection and origination through construction and operation.

For more information on Southern Current, visit the company’s website.

QUOTES

“Southern Current is excited to expand its operations in Lee County. The economic development team and county administration have been strong supporters of the growth of clean energy. A strong partnership with the county has made these additional investments possible, and we are proud to be part of the community.” -Southern Current Chief Development Officer Paul Fleury

“With this announcement by Southern Current, we are once again proving that South Carolina is a place where businesses of all kinds can grow and succeed. This $38.8 million investment is a big win for Lee County and the state as a whole.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“The future of solar energy in South Carolina continues to be a bright spot. We congratulate Southern Current on investing in our state and adding to our growing portfolio of renewable energy resources.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“Our goal is to provide the ideal environment and labor for industry and community development. Southern Current’s confidence in our ability to provide these elements is evident in their decision to continue their business operations in Lee County.” -Lee County Council Chairman Travis Windham

“We are excited about Southern Current’s expansion. Companies that invest in our region have our commitment for excellence of service, leadership and talent development.” -TheLINK Economic Development Alliance Chairman Gordon Eckley

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • Southern Current is expanding operations in Lee County.
  • The company will invest $38.8 million into the expansion.
  • Southern Current is a leading developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale solar markets.
  • The company manages projects from site selection and origination through construction and operation.
  • For more information on Southern Current, visit the company’s website.
Sumter Today: King Machine rules in the tire mold market through its partnership with Continental

Sumter Today: King Machine rules in the tire mold market through its partnership with Continental

As with any partnership, the product is only as good as its weakest link, and that remains true at King Machine.
The company manufacturers tire molds and is the only mold provider to Continental Tire’s Sumter plant.
Both companies have expanded, and King Machine is currently in the middle of another 30-job expansion.
We stopped by the plant this week to speak with their CEO about their business mindset and their relationship with Continental, which is Sumter County’s largest employer.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=4402616179789468

Credit: The Sumter Item

4th Manufacturers and Technology Expo Held for Students in Sumter And Lee Counties

4th Manufacturers and Technology Expo Held for Students in Sumter And Lee Counties

(Sumter, SC)—TheLINK Economic Development Alliance and the South Carolina Department of Commerce hosted the 4th Manufacturers and Technology Expo for 8th-grade students in Sumter and Lee Counties, Wednesday, March 31st. The Expo, which has become an annual event allows students to be EXPO‘SED’ to the advanced technology used in today’s manufacturing. And although this years’ event was virtual due to the COVID Pandemic, it was well attended by 8th graders who are intrigued by modern manufacturing and the opportunities that are in this region. “I took away a new understanding of stem careers and the people behind the jobs” Commented one 8th grade attendee from Alice Drive Middle School, “The Manufacturing Expo was really fun for me and I enjoyed the interactive activities.”

In an effort to deepen the impact for a virtual event, students were provided kits by industry participants to follow along with simulated operations. Expo attendees learned pipe building, product development, and global logistics during the two-hour event.  “The importance of introducing students early and often to the advanced technology used in today’s manufacturing is critical to the success of our region”, commented Jay Schwedler, CEO of Sumter Economic Development and TheLINK Alliance, “We are positioning ourselves to respond to the demands of employers with our talent standing at-the-ready. Manufacturing offers good jobs, with good pay– we are dedicated to changing the mindset of not only the traditional manufacturing environment but also the thought of what is considered the pathway to success.”

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From SKF Sumter to Mars: Bearings produced at local plant used in Perseverance rover

From SKF Sumter to Mars: Bearings produced at local plant used in Perseverance rover

Sumter’s manufacturing base has always been known for making products used across the globe, but now it can add “other planets” to that portfolio with SKF bearings on NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover.

SKF, with two production sites in Live Oak Industrial Park, has five thin-section bearings in five locations on the Mars rover, and Senior Vice President John Bloomer was in town Tuesday to discuss the company’s Kaydon bearing product line and the specialized units on Perseverance.

SKF manufactures bearings for various industries, including semiconductors, medical device equipment, security equipment and military/defense equipment, and that body of work has allowed it to participate in space mission programs with NASA for decades now, Bloomer said.

Perseverance is a surface exploration device – about the size of an SUV – that is collecting and handling rock and other material samples on Mars’ surface that will eventually return to Earth for analysis to help further missions.

The five Kaydon thin-section ball bearings on Perseverance are in the rover’s main robotic arm, a tool bit carousel that deploys tools to drill in material, a sample collecting “hand” and a sample storage assembly.

SKF Sumter also supplied specialized bearings for the mission’s launch vehicle, which carried the rover in a six-month journey in space on the way to Mars, Bloomer said.

Serving as a supplier in NASA’s space mission programs requires products made with incredible precision and customization, he added.

The stainless steel thin-section bearings had to be durable with maximum functionality, yet also extremely lightweight, to meet requirements, Bloomer said. Repair and replacement is not an option on a space mission.

SKF Sumter’s specialized heat treatment, grinding, cutting and honing on its manufacturing channel line are unique in the bearings industry and qualified it for NASA’s strict standards, according to Bloomer.

“Our biggest investment was in time and in muscle and engineering knowledge and working through the process with NASA,” he said. “We had the equipment and the capability to do it. We didn’t really have to tool up for this. It was just taking a normal type of catalog bearing, but make it very, very special for NASA.”

Bloomer said the Kaydon bearings on the space mission took about three months to produce internally to meet NASA specifications.

Hundreds of manufacturers supplied components and parts to the project, and NASA does its own assembly.

SKF is in an expansion process with its Sumter facilities, and Bloomer credits the local expansion to its talented workforce here and partnerships with schools, including Central Carolina Technical College.

Technology upgrades in the form of capital investments come along with expansions in today’s manufacturing world, and the Sumter sites have shown demonstrated capabilities with its workforce.

Bloomer added he hopes SKF can continue to satisfy its workforce pipeline through Central Carolina.

Based in the Philadelphia area, Bloomer said SKF Sumter is a “great team” and SKF is a “great company to work for.”

“Where else could you ever go and say, ‘I made something, I touched something, that wound up on another planet.’ I think that might be one of the coolest career satisfaction sentences that I have ever heard.”

 

Credit: The Sumter Item

We got it MADE – Right HERE

We got it MADE – Right HERE

For the past year, all of us have had to adjust our lives to deal with the global pandemic.  The same holds true for our local industries.  Not only did Sumter’s industries determine solutions to continue to produce high quality goods, but in some instances, pivoted their operations to manufacture essential supplies related to the battle against Covid 19.

The economic uncertainty that accompanied the pandemic caused some of our local industries to briefly slow production.  Despite the economic hesitation, three of our local industrial leaders – SKF, Santa Cruz Nutritionals and Nova Molecular Technologies all announced operation expansions creating just shy of 200 new jobs and more than $113 million in new investment right HERE in Sumter.  These expansions speak volumes about the success they’ve had – right HERE.

Manufacturing careers make up 17% of all the jobs in Sumter.  Our industries have taken extraordinary steps to ensure that their employees are safe on the job and that their workplaces minimize the risk of Covid exposure. These additional measures come as no surprise and reflect the value that our industries place on their employees.

More than 70 industrial giants make up our manufacturing landscape and ensure that high quality products made in Sumter are delivered all around the world.  Careers in manufacturing pay well and require a variety of skill sets for which training opportunities are available locally.  Our local industries offer diverse employment opportunities with robust benefits and growth potential. From Human resources and information technology to engineering and operations, all departments played a vital role in the pandemic response just as they do daily.

Being nimble and responsive are dynamic features that help to make Sumter stand out when competing for operational expansion and new industry.  Our quality of life, as showcased in the acronym HERE, focuses on not only our Employment offerings, but also our Healthcare, Education and Recreation that are unique to the region. It all combines to make Sumter a dynamic place to call home.

As 2021 gets underway, we look toward what’s next for our country and our community. The compassion and perseverance demonstrated by our industries during the pandemic clearly shows not only concern for the bottom line, but also consideration for the health and well-being of employees. Yes, we’re not only making it right HERE – We’ve got it MADE – HERE!

3rd Anniversary at the Economic Development Headquarters

3rd Anniversary at the Economic Development Headquarters

The introduction of the Regional Economic Development Headquarters was the dawning of a new era for development in Sumter. Not does it symbolize progress but it is also a reminder of the trajectory of our community-building efforts as partners, allies, and business prospects darken its doors.

The building through its layout and functionality has allowed Development Board to enhance its engagement in economic development activities. Our ability to host strategic investment partners and discuss opportunities for community and regional investment and reinvestment has been the centerpiece of the buildings’ design. It truly is a showcase asset that enlightens those who have entered and lends its view of downtown’s resurgence, and the area’s growth. It will play a central role in the Sumter region’s improved prosperity for decades to come.

Opportunities take flight: Crestwood High School begins Sumter School District’s first drone certification program

Opportunities take flight: Crestwood High School begins Sumter School District’s first drone certification program

Given the digital age we live in, you may see drones regularly flying around Sumter in three to four years, and the licensed pilot of that drone could be a current ninth-grader at Crestwood High School.

That is the premise of a new curriculum – Drone Innovation Technologies – that started last month for high school freshmen at Crestwood and also describes what was on display Wednesday outside at the Oswego Road school.

To boost its STEM curriculum, Crestwood implemented a four-course drone certification program this semester, and 19 ninth-graders are taking part in the first class, or cohort, and leading the way on the new journey. STEM is an educational curriculum focused on the integration of science, technology, engineering and math.

The certified drone program is the first in Sumter School District and could expand in classes and also to other high schools in the future, according to school instructional staff.

The program falls under a multi-year federal grant program called GEAR UP that the local district qualifies for, and a Columbia-based drone training and services firm, AI Nautics, organizes and administers the curriculum.

The initial 16-week course, Introduction to Drones, meets for a one-hour class each week at the school. Wednesday was the students’ first day outside to practice flying the drones.

According to company co-founder Chris Williams, AI Nautics started drone programs in South Carolina schools in 2018 and to date has worked in 10 school districts and also at some colleges, including Sumter-based Morris College.

Sheila South is a new GEAR UP program college support specialist at Crestwood and previously worked as Morris’ director of career services and was there when AI Nautics administered a summer program on the campus, she said.

When she arrived at Crestwood, South began brainstorming new STEM opportunities for the high schoolers and remembered AI Nautics’ drone training program.

She connected fellow Crestwood GEAR UP program specialist Essie Sellers with Williams and the firm, “and the rest is history,” she said.

If teenage students stick with the program, by the end of 10th grade – at the age of 16 – they can take an exam to become a Federal Aviation Administration-certified drone pilot, according to AI Nautics and South.

The summer following their junior year, students can qualify for a paid internship with the firm and start getting experience and flying time with drones. As a senior, students would continue to get flying time experience in the program, South said.

After graduation, students could be considered highly qualified and certified pilots with a world of opportunities available to them.

Core drone skills in taking photographs and video are currently used in numerous business sectors to include public safety with search and rescue, business warehouse inventory control, cinematography, agriculture, real estate and insurance, among others, Williams said. And drones are expected to continue to grow in use in many ways, given artificial intelligence and data proliferation in today’s world.

Sumter School District Superintendent Penelope Martin-Knox agreed the program is good preparation for college, a career or a role in the military, noting the U.S. Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper enterprise that has a home at Shaw Air Force Base.

As drone use expands, there is obviously the need for more qualified and licensed pilots, Williams said, as well as programmers, maintenance and support, technical writers and other positions.

With about 14 years of experience in K-12 education, South said Crestwood’s drone certification program is all about career awareness for the modern-day and future workforce, which will have global opportunities.

“Our industry and this world is going toward STEM,” she said. “So, we have to prepare our students for the change that society is going toward. It’s our job to prepare our students for the future, and what better ways than through our STEM programs?”

South added that drones are a relatively new concept and tool, and students buy into new trends.

Crestwood freshman Khalil Moody is a student in the new drone certification program and said he enrolled in the course to expand his future opportunities. He said he has always been into electronics and gadgets and did get a toy drone for his birthday when he turned 10.

Moody said he got excited when he learned he could become a licensed pilot at 16 and added that he enjoyed Wednesday’s flying time.

“It’s nice to be so young,” he said, “and have so many opportunities.”

Credit: The Sumter Item

BD Breaks Ground for Phase 2 of Expansion Project

BD Breaks Ground for Phase 2 of Expansion Project

SUMTER, S.C., March 5, 2021 — After extended negotiations starting in 2016, The Sumter Economic Development team announced BD’s major expansion project July 6, 2018. Through this expansion, BD committed to investing $150 million and creating 125 new jobs.
BD has been busy since, even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first phase of the project is nearing completion, which entails a new visitor’s entrance, new employee and truck parking lots, millions of dollars’ worth of new state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, and upgrades to the existing facility. Phase two is now beginning, which will add production and warehousing space and more high-tech manufacturing equipment enabling continued growth to meet the demands of the medical devices needed throughout the world. This continued growth is expected to surpass the announced capital investment and job creation.
Launching operations in Sumter County in 1970, BD has been in Sumter for 51 years. With production facilities in over 25 countries across the globe and employing more than 75,000 associates world-wide, the BD Sumter site is one of the company’s largest facilities in their network.
The Sumter community is grateful for BD’s confidence in our leadership, talent, infrastructure, and pro-business environment. We celebrate BD’s successes and look forward to continuing our solid partnership for years to come.
BD is actively hiring for more than 100 new positions, which all offer excellent pay and benefits. Interested applicants can apply by visiting www.BD.com/Careers.
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King Machine Selects Sumter County for Expansion Project

King Machine Selects Sumter County for Expansion Project

SUMTER, S.C., March 1, 2021 — Through the combined efforts of TheLINK Economic Development Alliance, Sumter Economic Development, The City of Sumter, Sumter County, Continental Tire, Thompson Turner Construction, and the South Carolina Department of Commerce, King Machine plans to invest $2.6 million and create 30 new jobs over the next several years.  King Machine will occupy the newly constructed Sumter speculative building.

Founded in 1951, King Machine is a leading provider and manufacturer of new tire molds and tire components for the original equipment and replacement markets.  The company also provides mold services, warehousing, repair, and refurbishment as well as consultative technical services to support tire operations.  Launching operations in Sumter, SC in February 2014, focused on providing support for Continental Tire, King Machine has been growing their business model and successes since.

Located at 1160 North Wise Drive Sumter, SC in the Black River Industrial Park, the custom finished 50,000 Sq. Ft. Sumter’s speculative building will provide King Machine the needed space to expand their service capabilities.

The expansion is expected to be completed by 2024. Individuals interested in joining the King Machine team should visit the company’s careers webpage.

Quotes

“King Machine is excited to continue growing in Sumter, SC.  The support received from the Sumter community and Continental Tire, along with the support and expertise provided by Thompson Turner Construction has solidified our decision to continue investing and creating jobs in Sumter, SC”. – King Machine CEO Mike Wells

“South Carolina is a global leader in the tire industry, and it’s great to see that trend continue with this expansion by King Machine. These new jobs will make a positive impact within the Sumter community, and we look forward to seeing them grow and succeed in our state.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“We’re always excited to see an existing company grow its presence in our state. Congratulations to King Machine on this latest expansion and the creation of 30 new jobs in Sumter County.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“The expansion of King Machine in Sumter County speaks volumes not only about the growth trajectory of the company, but also the support and leadership that we have here.  Our goal is to surround businesses with valued stakeholders and a qualified workforce as a foundation for operational excellence. “-Chairman, Sumter County Council James T. McCain Jr.

“We are quite pleased to learn of the growth and expansion of King Machine in Sumter and look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship. The jobs and investment that accompany this expansion further cements Sumter as a great place to live, work and do business.” –Sumter Mayor David Merchant

“Indeed, we are delighted that King Machine chose us for their expansion. Choosing Sumter guarantees a dedicated team of enthusiasts that consistently assess and explore new ways of unearthing the very best talent and leading-edge methods to keep businesses out front and our community growing.” –Chairman, Sumter Development Board Greg A. Thompson

“This region is positioned for greatness as evidenced by the recent announcement of the expansion of King Machine in Sumter. We work diligently to provide industries the necessary backing to realize our fullest potential and their ultimate success.” – Chairman, TheLINK Economic Development Alliance Gordon Eckley

5 Fast Facts about King Machine:

  • King Machine is expanding operations in Sumter County.
  • The more than $2.6 million investment will create 30 new jobs.
  • King Machine is a tire mold manufacturer.
  • Located in the Black River Industrial Park in Sumter, S.C.
  • Individuals interested in joining the King Machine team should visit the company’s careers webpage.

 

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Shaw AFB invites local manufacturing companies for a base tour and a F-16 demonstration

Shaw AFB invites local manufacturing companies for a base tour and a F-16 demonstration

We are grateful for the strong relationship that exists between Shaw AFB and Sumter area manufacturers.  After leaders from Shaw AFB toured local manufacturing companies such as Continental Tire, BD, and Pilgrim’s, Shaw AFB extended the invite to our manufacturing leaders for a base-wide familiarization tour and F-16 demonstration from the Viper Demo Team. As we work to highlight and connect the careers available both in the military and in manufacturing, we are creating better alignment for military spouses, veterans, and transitioning service members as they seek employment. Our local manufacturers offer excellent opportunities, and our military spouses, veterans, and transitioning service members possess the skills needed to fill these jobs. Everything you need is HERE!

Virtual Career Fair for Shaw Air Force Base and the SC Military Community

Virtual Career Fair for Shaw Air Force Base and the SC Military Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2021
Contact: James Richter
Phone: 803.528.1288
Email: james@myscma.com

(Columbia, SC) – Today, SC Future Makers, a workforce initiative of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA), announced that it will host a virtual career fair with Shaw Air Force Base and the South Carolina military community on Friday, February 5, 2021.

In partnership with the Sumter Economic Development Board, the SC Department of Veterans Affairs, The Boeing Company, and Hiring Our Heroes, this virtual career fair is for South Carolina employers who are looking to hire veterans, transitioning military personnel, and military spouses. The virtual career fair will utilize a mobile platform called Ping by Tallo, a matchmaking system for job seekers and employers. Ping by Tallo uses a customized algorithm to not only match but also prioritize applicants based on the needs of the company. Companies can review matches, view resumes, and contact job seekers both during and after the February 5th event.

Individuals who are a part of the South Carolina military community can learn what to expect using Ping, see a running list of participating employers, and register at www.scfuturemakers.com/shaw.

“Workforce development is key to the future of the South Carolina manufacturing and the business community,” said John Wall, General Counsel and Vice President of Government Relations for the SCMA. “As a veteran, I know firsthand how important it is for transitioning service members to learn about the wonderful career opportunities that exist when leaving the military. This collaborative effort with our partners will allow service members, veterans, and military spouses to connect with the countless employments opportunities that exist in South Carolina and will establish a framework to be emulated at other military bases around our great state.”

Through funding from SC Future Makers and a generous donation from The Boeing Company, this event is free to employers and members of the South Carolina military community. Since 2009, The Boeing Company has invested over $4 million in support of veterans programs throughout South Carolina.

“Boeing has a long history of supporting veterans during and after their time of service,” said Lane Ballard, Boeing South Carolina Site leader. “Through this partnership with the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and SC Future Makers, we are honored to help veterans and military spouses transition into successful civilian careers, which in turn creates lasting opportunities for them and their families and strengthens our overall community.”

South Carolina Secretary of Veterans Affairs, William F. Grimsley, praised the mission of the event.

“South Carolina has a rich history of being a military-friendly state, and there are tremendous career opportunities throughout our state for individuals who are veterans or are a part of the military community. Our Veteran, military member and family population provide a ready resource of highly trained, skilled, educated, motivated and dedicated people to stay in South Carolina as valued and contributing employees. This event and many more like them in the coming months are a wonderful chance to show off our State, its people, and our strong business community.”

Sumter area leaders also echoed the importance of engaging transitioning military personnel, veterans, and military spouses.

“As a Sumter native I am proud this Virtual Career Fair will be held in conjunction with Shaw Air Force Base,” said South Carolina Representative Murrell Smith. “There are so many talented Airmen and ARCENT Soldiers transitioning from the military at Shaw – both the military members themselves and their spouses. It is more important now than ever that we tap into this talent to meet South Carolina’s employers’ needs. If we can attract the talent we have in our men and women in uniform and their families to work for our South Carolina companies, I am even more hopeful for the future of our economy and our state.”

“We have such an abundance of talent at Shaw Air Force Base, but it can sometimes be challenging for military spouses and service members who are transitioning into the workforce to match up with the right employment opportunity for them, “said South Carolina Senator Thomas McElveen. “It is important to continue seeking and finding avenues to connect these veterans and military families with the great job openings in the Sumter area and across our State. I thank and commend the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, the Sumter Economic Development Board, and SC Future Makers for their proactive, innovative, and collaborative approach to connecting the local community, Shaw Air Force Base, and the business community by hosting what will be a very productive event in Sumter.”

“The Sumter Development Board is the region’s galvanizing force to recruit new companies while helping our existing businesses thrive,” said Greg Thompson, Sumter Development Board Chairman. “A key component for company success is the ability to find, hire and retain highly-skilled employees. Together with our allies, we are thrilled to launch this replicable and reoccurring event designed to help Shaw AFB’s highly-skilled transitioning military members, veterans, and their families find great career opportunities while assisting our region’s and state’s world-class companies find the talent they need to remain competitive and successful now and in the future.”

“The City of Sumter is grateful for Shaw AFB’s many positive impacts on the Sumter community, and we are especially thankful for the great people that serve our nation right here in Sumter, SC,” said David Merchant, Mayor of Sumter. “Any opportunity to support our nation’s servicemembers and families is indeed a win-win for Sumter and the state of SC.”

“Sumter County is very proud of our longstanding relationship with Shaw AFB,” said James T. McCain Jr. Sumter County Council Chairman. “As we continue to find new ways to strengthen partnerships with our military and business community, programs like this are truly game-changers in helping our companies and military community establish connections for excellent career opportunities.”

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About SC Future Makers
SC Future Makers is an initiative of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance that connects emerging talent with opportunities in advanced manufacturing and other industries throughout South Carolina. Since its debut in 2016, SC Future Makers has worked with more than 100,000 students and more than 200 South Carolina high schools. Given this success with the education community, SC Future Makers saw an additional opportunity to build connections with the large talent pool of veterans and the military community across South Carolina.

Shaw AFB Wing Commander and Command Chief at Pilgrim’s, Continental & BD

Shaw AFB Wing Commander and Command Chief at Pilgrim’s, Continental & BD

Sumter Economic Development and TheLINK Alliance facilitated a series of Sumter based manufacturing familiarization tours with the leadership from Shaw Air Force Base.  Thanks to Pilgrim’s, BD, and Continental Tire for showcasing what you do.  The Airmen and Soldiers at Shaw Air Force Base possess the skills needed in today’s workplace.  These partnerships are instrumental in highlighting the great career opportunities available in our region for transitioning military members.  HERE, our labor force is strong and prepared.

Company’s $84 million investment will create 164 new jobs

Company’s $84 million investment will create 164 new jobs

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Santa Cruz Nutritionals (SCN), a subsidiary of Santa Cruz Healthcare, today announced plans to expand operations in Sumter County. The $84 million investment will create 164 new jobs.

Established in 1968, SCN is a leading manufacturer of enhanced confectionery delivery systems. The company uses research and science to develop gummy vitamins such as calcium, fiber and other supplements for the functional food and nutraceutical markets. Additionally, the company produces a wide range of products for a number of branded industrial and retail partners.

Located at 2720 Southgate Drive in Sumter, SCN’s expansion includes a 24,000-square-foot packaging and employee facility as well as a 120,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center.

The expansion is expected to be completed by December 2024. Individuals interested in joining the SCN team should click here.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to the project.

QUOTES

“We are excited to partner with the state of South Carolina, Sumter County and Sumter Economic Development in building and creating the world-class standard for Vitamin, Mineral, Supplement (VMS) gummy manufacturing facilities. This investment serves to grow our capacity to deliver enjoyable health and wellness nutritional supplements. More importantly, it serves our broader mission to holistically improve lives through the innovative products we produce and the growth opportunities they present both for our partners and local community.” -Santa Cruz Healthcare CEO Carlyn Solomon

“Congratulations to SCN for making the commitment to better serve its customers by expanding its operations in Sumter County and creating 164 new jobs for South Carolinians. I look forward to watching this company continue to flourish for many years to come.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“When a business decides to expand in South Carolina, it speaks volumes not only about our business climate, but also about our workforce. SCN’s decision to invest $84 million and create 164 new jobs is a huge win for Sumter County, and I am excited to see what the future has in store for this great company.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“Indeed, this is an exciting opportunity for Sumter County and demonstrates our ability to attract and grow national and international businesses in our area. We are committed to the continued support of Santa Cruz as they strengthen our economy and our industrial landscape.” -Sumter County Council Chairman James McCain

“It is so good to see the increased growth in manufacturing in Sumter. It’s always great when our businesses and our people thrive. Santa Cruz’s expansion will bring new jobs, fortify our job outlook and further solidify Sumter as a great place to do business.” -Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen

“A strong industrial sector speaks to the strength of your community and economy. We are overjoyed that Santa Cruz Nutritionals recognizes our capability to provide the workforce and support needed to bolster a company of its magnitude and look forward to their continued growth and community engagement.” -Sumter Economic Development Chairman Greg A. Thompson

“This region continues to develop strong national and international ties by showcasing its ability to host and provide companies with the essential ingredients for its success. That, coupled with a durable workforce and dedicated leadership, catapults TheLINK region as we recruit and expand industries. We are delighted by Santa Cruz Nutritionals’ expansion announcement.” -TheLINK Economic Development Alliance Chairman Gordon Eckley

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • Santa Cruz Nutritionals (SCN) is expanding operations in Sumter County.
  • The $84 million investment will create 164 new jobs.
  • SCN is a manufacturer of enhanced confectionery delivery systems.
  • Located at 2720 Southgate Drive in Sumter, S.C.
  • Individuals interested in joining the SCN team should click here.

NOVA MOLECULAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC. EXPANDING OPERATIONS IN SUMTER COUNTY

NOVA MOLECULAR TECHNOLOGIES, INC. EXPANDING OPERATIONS IN SUMTER COUNTY

More than $14.9 million investment will create 25 new jobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. (Nova), a chemical manufacturing company, today announced plans to expand operations in Sumter County. The more than $14.9 million investment will create 25 new jobs.

Founded in 1991, Nova is a leading producer of high-purity solvents. The company’s high-value solvent Recovery and Return program helps companies reduce costs, increase supply certainty and improve sustainability initiatives. Additionally, through its Recovery and Return program, chemicals are recovered that would traditionally be sent to waste disposal, reducing environmental impact and allowing better risk mitigation of raw material supply.

Expanding to the Pocotaligo East Industrial Site in Sumter, located within an Opportunity Zone, Nova’s expansion will increase the company’s manufacturing operations.

The expansion is expected to be completed by 2024. Individuals interested in joining the Nova team should visit https://novamolecular.com/ for more information.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. A $300,000 Set-Aside grant was also awarded to Sumter County to assist with the costs of site preparation and infrastructure improvements.

QUOTES

“Nova began considering options in four states including South Carolina. All sites were located within Opportunity Zones which will provide significant tax benefits which will be reinvested back into the business. The Sumter, S.C. site was selected due to the proximity of the existing production facility to utilize and expand the outstanding Sumter community workforce we currently enjoy. The proximity also allows for better collaboration between sites. The financial incentives offered by the local and state governments were very competitive as well as the favorable corporate tax structure.” -Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. Chairman of the Board Jon Michael Clumpner

“While we work every day to bring new companies to South Carolina, it is always exciting to see one of our existing businesses expand. We celebrate Nova’s $14.9 million investment in Sumter and the 25 new jobs the company will create.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“South Carolina has a history in chemical production, and today’s announcement shows that this sector continues to thrive in our state. Nova’s decision to expand in Sumter County is another indication our business-friendly climate is helping companies grow.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“It is always exciting to publicize and acknowledge the growth of a company in our county that has been an exceptional leader and partner in not only their line of business, but also in community cooperation and support. Increasingly, in the company’s time in Sumter, they have proven their desire to provide excellence in service to corporate customers and support to the well-being of our region.” -Sumter County Council Chair Jim McCain

“During my time as mayor, one of our top priorities has been to continually strengthen our existing industrial and technology sector and build upon our business partnerships. This expansion provides further evidence that our efforts have not been futile but rather fruitful. We are elated that Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. will be growing their operations and providing new high-tech jobs for our citizens.” -Sumter Mayor Joseph McElveen

“As we continue the work to strengthen our region with a robust lineup of industries, we are more than pleased to know that Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. recognizes those efforts and has decided to expand their current operations to meet the business demands of their existing and potential customers right here. We are committed to helping secure their current and future business success.” -TheLINK Economic Development Alliance Chair Gordon Eckley

“For more than a decade, Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. has provided superior service to Fortune 500 companies from around the globe from their Sumter operations facility. That, coupled with their announcement of an expansion, speaks volumes about the quality of work and workers that transpire in this region. We have long pursued and will continue to seek solutions to match world-class employers with exceptional employees that meet and exceed their expectations in order to respond to business needs. We are thrilled that Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. is growing and also for our community which will benefit greatly from this investment and job creation.” -Sumter Economic Development Board Chair Greg A. Thompson

FIVE FAST FACTS

• Nova Molecular Technologies, Inc. (Nova) is expanding operations in Sumter County.
• The more than $14.9 million investment will create 25 new jobs.
• Nova is a chemical manufacturing company.
• Expanding to the Pocotaligo East Industrial Site in Sumter, S.C.
• Individuals interested in joining the Nova team should visit https://novamolecular.com/ for more information.

eSTEAM Road Show

eSTEAM Road Show

Due to the current health concerns related to Covid-19, as an alternative to what would have been the 3rd year of the eSTEAM Sumter Festival, TheLINK Economic Development Alliance hosted the eSTEAM Road Show. While the eSTEAM Sumter Festival focuses on advancements in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), many people are not aware that it was also created to celebrate National Manufacturing Day, which is always the first Friday of October. National Manufacturing Day celebrates and acknowledges manufacturing along with advancements in the industrial sector. Manufacturing continues to be one of the leading sectors of the economy in the Sumter region, South Carolina and nationally where the average wage for a manufacturing job is $54,000.

In an effort to build awareness of the significance of modern manufacturing, and with the eSTEAM Sumter Festival having been cancelled, TheLINK Economic Development Alliance seized on an innovative way to interact directly with those members of our community who make modern manufacturing happen on a daily basis. During the week of September 28th-October 2nd, TheLINK Crew and STEAMER, the festival mascot, hit the road in a florescent yellow convertible to meet and greet manufacturers in Sumter and Lee Counties for the eSTEAM Road Show. Along for the ride, the team brought games related to both STEAM and community awareness trivia and offered similar contests through a variety of social media platforms. The eSTEAM Road Show visited several businesses in both Lee and Sumter counties along with the Pee Dee Math, Science, and Technology Academy in Bishopville where they met with parents, kids and community members ready to spin the wheel for an opportunity to win prizes or complete physical challenges with Steamer. As a unique way of saying “Thanks for Making Us Cool” the eSTEAM Road Show provided ice cream treats to employees of some of the local manufacturers. “Providing our manufacturers with ice cream is a very small token of our appreciation for the big job they do for our community”, commented Brian Rauschenbach, Project and Existing Industry Manager for TheLINK Economic Development Alliance, “Although the connection isn’t always made, industrial development ultimately leads to commercial development. Retail and restaurants follow a strong industrial portfolio.”

As TheLINK looks to host the eSTEAM Sumter Festival again next year, the hope is that this year’s eSTEAM Road Show has continued to foster a greater understanding that Boosting Your eSTEAM shows not only the significance of Manufacturing but also how STEAM curriculum continues to support and to enable our manufacturers successful right HERE.

BD Sumter hosted US Senator Lindsey Graham.

BD Sumter hosted US Senator Lindsey Graham.

August 26, 2020 – BD Sumter hosted US Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham praised BD for their active involvement in manufacturing medical devices made in the USA. Additionally Senator Graham recognized the efforts of the City of Sumter, Sumter County, Central Carolina Technical College, and the Sumter Economic Development team for creating a world class environment for manufactures to locate and thrive for the long term, as well as praising the solid and educated workforce to keep Sumter’s manufacturers running with excellence.

2020 eSTEAM Sumter Festival Cancelled

2020 eSTEAM Sumter Festival Cancelled

For Immediate Release Contact: Erika D. Williams 803-464-8880 EkWilliams@sumtersc.gov
2020 eSTEAM Sumter Festival Cancelled
Out of an abundance of caution for the public safety of our children, community and businesses, the eSTEAM Sumter Festival originally slated for October 3, 2020 has been cancelled due to the COVID 19 world-wide pandemic. In what would have been the festival’s 3rd year, eSTEAM Sumter is designed to highlight the many advances and opportunities that exist in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Organizers were looking to draw a crowd of more than 7,500 students, parents and organizations. The festival is held in celebration of National Manufacturing Day which is the first Friday in October annually. Since its inception in 2018, the event has drawn thousands of attendees from Sumter and surrounding counties. Although a full festival is not scheduled, TheLINK Alliance and eSTEAM Sumter will continue to support STEAM initiatives and promote contests through its social media platforms.

Further event details are located at eSTEAMsumter.com or facebook/eSTEAMsumter.

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Sumter’s eSTEAM Festival wins Excellence on Main Street Award

Sumter’s eSTEAM Festival wins Excellence on Main Street Award

Main Street South Carolina recognized Sumter’s eSTEAM Festival with the Excellence on Main Street Award. This award recognizes the top project from among the winners in the five categories of the annual Main Street Inspiration Awards.

The eSTEAM Sumter Festival in downtown Sumter celebrated a program that brought together pre-K and K-12 schools as well as universities and tech schools to promote STEAM, also known as science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

The eSTEAM program began when efforts to stage job fairs and manufacturing expos showed to the city that many students and parents did not grasp the range of available career opportunities in Sumter. As a result, city staff sought out businesses and organizations to plan the eSTEAM Sumter umbrella program.

The program highlighted career paths and aimed to increase the talent pipeline. In doing so, it sought to dispute the idea that success requires at least a four-year degree. By creating more buy-in from a wider range of audiences in the community, eSTEAM sought to contribute to Sumter’s broader economic development efforts, from expanding workforce development through the local technical college to infrastructure investments undertaken to attract and retain employers.

Funding came from workforce development organizations like the Regional Economic Development Alliance, Sumter Chamber of Commerce, the SC Department of Commerce Workforce Division and the city. The city and the Downtown Sumter program were also involved in every step of the process from planning to logistical support during the festival.

The initial 2018 eSTEAM Sumter event brought together more than 3,000 participants, 16 partnering organizations and 63 exhibitors for special activities encompassing an entire city block. The 2019 event grew to more than 6,000 participants, 17 organizations and 68 exhibitors, taking up two blocks.

“The City of Sumter and Downtown Sumter have done it again. They have used public-private partnerships to bring even more educational opportunities to kids in their city,” said Jenny Boulware, Main Street SC manager.

Main Street SC is a program of the Municipal Association of South Carolina. It empowers residents, business owners and local officials with the knowledge, skills, tools and organizational structure necessary to revitalize their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts into vibrant centers of commerce and community.

Main Street SC follows the National Main Street’s Four Point Approach — economic vitality, design, promotion and organization. Each year, Main Street South Carolina recognizes members’ achievements and successes in downtown revitalization. For more information, visit the Municipal Association’s website at www.masc.sc.

‘Giving back’ to Sumter in the pandemic: Paint company Sumter Coatings produces hand sanitizer for community, customers

‘Giving back’ to Sumter in the pandemic: Paint company Sumter Coatings produces hand sanitizer for community, customers

BY BRUCE MILLS bruce@theitem.com

All our coronavirus coverage is free to the public. It’s the right thing to do as a public service to our community. If you find this article helpful or informative and want to support our continued coverage, please subscribe or support us with a tax-deductible donation.

To find all our coronavirus coverage, including helpful local resources and website links, click here.

Around Sumter Coatings manufacturing plant, there is a slogan: “Anybody can sell paint. We sell quality and service.” Amid the pandemic, the company on U.S. 15 South stepped in to meet a need in the community.

Sumter Coatings President and CEO Barry Reynolds and two members of his management team sat down Friday to discuss how the midsized chemical paint manufacturer started producing hand sanitizer in the spring when there was a product shortage at the onset of the coronavirus in the U.S.

Reynolds described thinking late one night in March about the shortage of hand sanitizer in the country with the start of the virus’ spread and the fact that his operation is a chemical manufacturer. The question became: “How can we get into manufacturing hand sanitizer, not on a major scale, but at least enough to support our community?”

After a few phone calls and discussion with legal counsel for the American Coatings Association, Reynolds was able to get a relatively simple FDA-approved formula. The next step for Sumter Coatings was getting a temporary exemption from the FDA to produce the hand sanitizer as long as the company produced it to the agency’s exact specifications, according to Reynolds and company Vice President Randy White.

With many of the raw materials for the finished goods already on hand including plastic gallon containers, shipping cartons and in-house label printing capabilities, the company’s purchasing department bought the necessary ingredients, and manufacturing began.

“It wasn’t a difficult startup to get into making hand sanitizer because we had all the raw materials,” Reynolds said. “Just getting the approval of the formula was the big thing.”

The FDA-approved formula is about 80% denatured alcohol, or ethanol, distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerol.

Sumter Coatings produced the hand sanitizer in 238-gallon containers, or totes, used regularly in its production cycles. During about eight weeks in April and May, the company produced a little more than 2,000 gallons of the sanitizer, Reynolds said, in addition to its regular coatings business.

Given the simple formula, Sumter Coatings could produce a 238-gallon batch size in one to 1.5 days, he added. The batch translated to 238 plastic 1-gallon jugs for packaging, sale and distribution.

After putting the product on the company’s Facebook page, community members became interested because of hand sanitizer’s short supply at the time. Shaw Air Force Base purchased the largest volume – 200 gallons. Local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and several churches also ordered jugs.

Reynolds structured it so that charitable organizations, such as the local United Way, received the sanitizer for free. Nonprofit groups basically got it at cost, and for-profit outfits were charged a reasonable price, he said.

Sumter Coatings also provided it to many of its customers across the country, especially in New York and New Jersey, where there was a big need. Each company employee also got a free gallon jug, White said.

Some people even walked in off the street to get gallon containers.

Since then, regular hand sanitizer makers have ramped up their production, and there is plenty in the U.S. supply chain. Therefore, Sumter Coatings has stopped production.

The company still has one full 238-gallon tote container of it on the production floor that could be distributed right way if demand picks back up, plant manager Kevin Sweeney said. Reynolds added his company could also start producing it again if there is a need.

“I am from Sumter, and we have a lot of ties to the Sumter community as a company,” he said. “We’re in the nature of giving back to the community. That’s why we went down this road with the hand sanitizer. We stepped in to meet a need and provide a service for our community.”

Credit: The Sumter Item

Sumter County companies weathering COVID-19 with help from Small Business Association, County Economic Development Team

Sumter County companies weathering COVID-19 with help from Small Business Association, County Economic Development Team

Written by Brantley Strickland, SCCED

As the economic ramifications of a worldwide health crisis loomed, economic development officials throughout the state were preparing to protect their most precious commodity: existing industries.

And things are no different in Sumter County, where local manufacturers have managed to navigate COVID-19 with a little help from their friends near and far.

“We’ve tried to help in any way we can, and we know better than anyone that companies are getting flooded with information about COVID-19,” said Brian Rauschenbach, SCCED, Project Manager for Sumter Economic Development. “Some of the things we’ve been trying to do throughout this pandemic is to protect our companies by relaying the most relevant information possible, while being a connector and problem solver.”

Some of the most pertinent information companies have found use for include news on the federal government’s recently-launched the Paycheck Protection Program.

Administered through the Small Business Administration, PPP loans were designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The loans, which carry a 1 percent interest rate, are forgivable if the applicants meet certain benchmarks. Among the criteria, all employees must be kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
As an indirect result, economic developers like Rauschenbach have been thrust into the position of information conduit for companies looking to utilize the funding to help weather the economic ramifications of COVID-19. The SBA estimates 61 percent of all small business (500 employees or smaller) have applied for PPP funding.

“We are hearing a good success rate for approval, depending on the financial institution they choose to use,” Rauschenbach said. “You have to remember the program was rolled out very quickly which caused some delays. Companies have applied with financial institutions both locally and nationally, including QuickBooks. We have several that have applied and been approved that have already received funding.”

Rauschenbach also mentioned the Department of Commerce’s COVID-19 response microsite as a critical resource for Sumter County companies.

“I think Commerce has done a great job with their webpage,” he said. “It’s been a great central hub for information that we can direct companies to.”

Although some companies have reported furloughs and reductions in orders because of the recent economic climate, the long-term outlook continues to trend upward.

“As difficult as this has been for our companies, both large and small, they have done very well during this trying time,” Rauschenbach said. “We’re very fortunate to have a solid manufacturing base, and we’re ready to move forward. Times like these show the importance of a having great relationships with employers and having a strong business retention and expansion program in place. Once a company locates to our region, they are part of our family and we want them to thrive, no matter the situation.”

For more information on Sumter Economic Development, visit sumteredge.com. Rauschenbach is also on Linkedin at: linkedin.com/in/brian-rauschenbach-306734104.

COVID-19 Community Outreach

COVID-19 Community Outreach

The safety, health and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance during this especially challenging time. We all play an important role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and hopefully limiting the impact on local and regional business functions.

In response to the COVID-19, we have compiled a list of resources for our local businesses and their employees. Please check the following pages for resources:

SC Department of Commerce, through their COVID-19 Business Resource Center, has compiled helpful resources regarding business and health updates. Be sure to use this information and check back often for the most current updates: https://www.sccommerce.com/doing-business-here/join-community/emergency-preparedness

SC Emergency Management Division information for companies: The Emergency Management Division (EMD), has helpful measures that companies may want to consider and be proactive with should the state go on lockdown. View these two links https://scemd.org/stay-informed/business-operations/ and https://applications.sc.gov/BusinessReentry/?returnUrl=%2FBusinessReentry%2FAdmin%2FAdmin%2FBusinessSearch.

We’ll continue to provide information and updates as it becomes available.

Sumter Original Brewery Establishing Operations In Sumter County

Sumter Original Brewery Establishing Operations In Sumter County

$6.5 million investment will create 20 new jobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sumter Original Brewery, a local craft brewery, today announced plans to establish operations in Sumter County. The company’s $6.5 million investment will create 20 new jobs.

The first-of-its-kind in the county, Sumter Original Brewery will brew beers using the centuries-old Germanic tradition of step mashing – coaxing out subtle nuances by enzymatic activity.

Located at 2 South Main Street in Sumter, Sumter Original Brewery’s 30,000-square-foot facility will have a 15-barrel brewing system that will brew a diverse selection on craft beers including an IPA, stout, sour, pale ale, light beer and more.

Operations are expected to be online by mid-March. Individuals interested in joining the Sumter Original Brewery team should visit https://sumteroriginalbrewery.com/jobs/.

QUOTES

“We are excited to bring Sumter’s first brewery to downtown Sumter and continue the revitalization efforts of this historic area. We want to create a convergence of world-class beer, along with the great food and atmosphere of downtown for the people of Sumter and surrounding areas. Thank you to everyone that has supported and contributed to this project over the past twelve years.” –Sumter Original Brewery Owner and Operator Gray Shuler

“All around South Carolina, businesses of all types are thriving, and today’s announcement by Sumter Original Brewery is a testament to that. We congratulate this company and look forward to watching them impact the community for years to come.” –Gov. Henry McMaster

“South Carolina’s craft brewing industry continues to grow, making a name for itself locally, regionally and nationally. We welcome Sumter Original Brewery to Sumter County and are excited about the impact these 20 new jobs will make in the community.” –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“The opening of Sumter Original Brewery will take Sumter’s revitalization to the next level, as a vibrant downtown benefits everyone. It will complement everything that has been done and encourage even more investment. I believe our downtown success instills pride in all our citizens.” –City of Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen

“Sumter Original Brewery will be an economic anchor as we highly anticipate an uptick in young adults eating and exploring downtown as a result.” –Sumter County Council Chair James McCain

“It is really exciting to witness the great response by the community to Sumter Original Brewery. We believe this investment will have a longstanding impact on our local economy and helps to cement downtown Sumter as a dynamic place to do business.” –Sumter Economic Development Chair Greg A. Thompson

FIVE FAST FACTS

• Sumter Original Brewery is establishing operations in Sumter County.
• $6.5 million investment will create 20 new jobs.
• Sumter Original Brewery is a local, craft brewery.
• Located at 2 South Main Street in Sumter, S.C.
• Individuals interested in joining the Sumter Original Brewery team should visit https://sumteroriginalbrewery.com/jobs/.

JEMISON METALS EXPANDING SUMTER COUNTY OPERATIONS

JEMISON METALS EXPANDING SUMTER COUNTY OPERATIONS

Thursday, December 19, 2019
More than $14 million investment to create 57 new jobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Jemison Metals, a leading supplier of carbon flat-rolled products, today announced plans to expand operations in Sumter County. The more than $14 million investment is expected to create 57 new jobs.

Since establishing operations in Sumter, S.C. in February 2001, Jemison Metals has focused on vertical integration to allow for more control over its supply chain. This expansion will include a new product line that will increase service capabilities to provide additional downstream manufacturing and fabrication for the company’s customers and end users.

Jemison Metals’ existing operations are located at 1255 Northgate Drive in the Live Oak Industrial Park in Sumter, S.C., and the new product line will occupy 70,000 square feet of a building located at 2630 Highway 15 South, in the same industrial park.

The expansion is expected to be complete in 2023. Individuals interested in joining the Jemison Metals team can apply directly at 1255 Northgate Drive in Sumter, S.C.

QUOTES

“Jemison Metals is thrilled about our opportunity for business growth, further investment and creation of new jobs in Sumter, S.C. The hard work, dedication and support by Team Sumter during this process was a key factor in our decision to grow our operation in the community.” –Jemison Metals President and COO Craig Mathiason

“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the growth of Jemison Metals in Sumter County. The company’s decision to continue investing in South Carolina is a huge win for the local community and our state’s manufacturing industry.” –Gov. Henry McMaster

“South Carolina businesses continue to excel, thanks to the dedication displayed by our world-class workforce. Jemison Metals’ additional investment in Sumter County is a testament to the reputation the community has built, and I look forward to seeing all this company will achieve in the years to come.” –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“We are always elated when companies in Sumter County grow and expand. It demonstrates that we have all the necessary components for businesses to not only locate here, but also to thrive.” –Sumter County Council Chair James McCain

“It is indeed exciting to know that Jemison Metals will be expanding its Sumter operations. It is always our goal to create a climate that stimulates growth, development and progress for our businesses and our citizens.” -Mayor of Sumter Joseph McElveen

“Jemison Metals’ Sumter County expansion is yet another illustration of how committed we are to developing successful businesses and growing our economy. There’s something uniquely special about this community and it’s always great when our industries recognize this distinction as well.” –Sumter Economic Development Chair Greg Thompson

FIVE FAST FACTS

• Jemison Metals is expanding operations in Sumter County.
• The more than $14 million investment is creating 57 new jobs.
• The company is a leading supplier of carbon flat-rolled products.
• The expansion includes a new product line that will be located at 2630 Highway 15 South in Sumter, S.C.
• Individuals interested in joining the Jemison Metals team can apply directly at 1255 Northgate Drive in Sumter, S.C.