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Greenville Business Magazine

2017 Workforce Development Salute Honors Major Supporters

Oct 11, 2017 03:25PM ● By Emily Stevenson

Jim Benson

The Greenville Tech Foundation hosted the 2017 Workforce Development Salute and honored local leaders for their significant support of Greenville Technical College. The 2017 honorees were local business leaders Jim Benson, Stewart Spinks and Melvin Younts. Together, these honorees have funded programs that benefit more than 3,000 students annually and contributed more than $4 million to the Greenville Tech Foundation

“Without donors who are committed to the success of the college and our students, we wouldn’t be able to deliver the highly trained employees that allow companies to locate in the Upstate and to prosper,” said Dr. Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College. “We are grateful for partners who ensure we can transform students’ lives and help our community thrive through world-class, affordable education.”

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to honor three individuals who have made the important decision to support the workforce development efforts at Greenville Technical College,” said Ann Wright, vice president for advancement at the Greenville Tech Foundation. “Each of these men has worked incredibly hard for his success, and we are fortunate they have chosen to invest with us to support our students, our equipment needs, and our facilities.”

A lifelong lover of cars, Jim Benson is owner of Benson Automotive Group, a company that sells and services Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Nissan, Ford, Kia, Fiat, Hyundai and Alfa-Romeo. Throughout his life, Benson has been involved in the Upstate community and with various philanthropic efforts, including time served as president of the Greer Chamber of Commerce and dedicated support for Greer Community Ministries. Benson has been recognized by the City of Greer for his dedication to community service and was awarded Outstanding Philanthropist in 2009 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has given more than $3 million to equip and expand the Greenville Tech Benson Campus in Greer, which serves more than 2,500 students each year. Benson was inducted into the Entrepreneurs’ Forum in 2010 and is an Emeritus Member of the Greenville Tech Foundation Board.

Stewart Spinks is currently chairman of the board and founder of SPINX Company. A native of South Carolina, Spinks served in the US Army Reserve from 1968 to1974 after he graduated from the University of Tennessee. He started SPINX Company in 1972 with home heating oil delivery and one gas station in Greenville, SC. Spinks currently serves on the board of the Furman Foundation and is a former board member of the National Association of Convenience Stores, Coca-Cola Leadership Council and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers Association. He is a past chairman of the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce and was inducted into the Convenience Store Hall of Fame in 2011. He is a former board member of the Greenville Tech Foundation and was inducted into the Greenville Tech Foundation Entrepreneurs’ Forum in 2001. He created two endowed scholarship funds in 2010 and recently gave a Falcon 10 Jet airplane to the Greenville Tech Aviation Maintenance Technology program, providing opportunities for hands-on education.

Upon graduating from Furman University and the University of South Carolina School of Law, Melvin Younts returned to Fountain Inn to set up a law practice that would grow and be successful for the next 60 years. Younts has been very involved in the Golden Strip community, including time spent as president of the Fountain Inn Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Dollie have given generously with a focus on higher education. They have supported capital projects at Furman University, Clemson University, North Greenville University, the Younts Performing Arts Center in Fountain Inn, and the Kerry Ann Younts Culp Fountain Inn Library, which was named in honor of their daughter. In recent years, Younts has also made gifts of his time and funds to the Greenville Tech Foundation as a member of the Empowering Tomorrow Campaign Committee. He and Dollie have donated more than $1 million to Greenville Tech to benefit the new Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) campus. CMI serves about 200 students in credit-bearing programs each semester along with additional students pursuing continuing education opportunities and is expected to grow substantially. 

The Greenville Tech Foundation supports the efforts of Greenville Technical College to transform students’ lives and help the community thrive by providing a world-class affordable education to students and building an educated, engaged workforce. The Foundation hosts this event annually to celebrate the successes of students, the efforts of the college, and the contributions of the businesses and community members in building the local workforce.

The Workforce Development Salute was held on October 10, 2017 at the TD Convention Center.  For more information, visit