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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Up, Up and Away

Aug 01, 2022 09:11AM ● By David Dykes

Republic Airways Expands LIFT Academy Flight Training Program to South Carolina

LIFT Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI), student prepare an airplane for takeoff at LIFT Academy's hangar in Indianapolis. (Photo: Business Wire)

Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy, a flight school in Indianapolis, Indiana, launched by Republic Airways in 2018, said it will expand its flight training operations to Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the Myrtle Beach International Airport.

“We’ve experienced rapid growth of the LIFT program due to the quantity and quality of students we’ve attracted from all over the country, so we know there is demand to expand our operations outside of the Midwest. South Carolina, and in particular Myrtle Beach, is an ideal location with favorable weather for flying and strong investments being made to its airport infrastructure and surrounding area,” said Ed Bagden, LIFT Director of Operations and Academic Programs.

The Indianapolis program has grown to become one of the largest flight training institutions in the United States over the past four years, training up to 300 students each year.

Students attending LIFT Academy are trained to exceed the stringent commercial pilot certifications outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Uniquely to LIFT, its graduates have a direct pathway to a position as a commercial airline pilot at Republic Airways which includes compensation while building the FAA-required flight hours needed to operate in the commercial airline field.

LIFT said it plans to begin its operations in Myrtle Beach as early as October of this year in a temporary hangar location on Myrtle Beach International Airport property.

LIFT will use the location for its Indianapolis winter operations, and negotiations are underway with the airport, city and state for a suitable long-term facility for its flight training program.

Students operate a lead-free fleet of Diamond DA40-NG single-engine aircraft and Diamond DA42-VI twin-engine aircraft with advanced Garmin G1000 avionics throughout each flight hour of their training curriculum.

LIFT has plans to expand its aircraft fleet to support the additional training location.

The LIFT flight training program takes approximately 12 months from start to finish.

To learn more about LIFT Academy and to apply for the flight training program, go to

Carolinas Survey of Business Activity

Firms in the Carolinas reported continued softening of business activity in July, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The general business conditions index declined from in June. Additionally, firms were pessimistic about future business conditions as the expectations index remained low.

The index measuring expected sales improved slightly but remained negative. While the capital expenditures and equipment and software expenditures indexes increased somewhat from June, the business services expenditures index dipped into negative territory in July.

Richmond Fed officials said survey results suggest that the pace of employment increases edged downward in July, as the employment index fell slightly.

The wages index, on the other hand, rose notably. Most firms also expected wages to continue increasing over the near term.

More firms reported increased difficulty finding skilled labor in July and have grown more pessimistic about finding workers with the necessary skills over the next six months.

The average year-over-year growth in prices paid increased slightly, while growth in prices received decreased somewhat.

Firms expected price growth to moderate somewhat over the next year.

Home Data, Services Platform PunchListUSA Secures $39M Series A Funding

PunchListUSA, the real estate platform digitizing home inspection data for instant estimates and online ordering of home repair services, said it has secured $39 million in investments led by Sweetwater Private Equity and Morpheus Ventures.

Additional investors include Home Depot Ventures, Second Century Ventures, Palm Drive Capital, the Bielsky Family Office, IDEA Fund Partners, Meeting Street Capital, Solo Capital Management, VentureSouth, and a significant real estate operator and investor.

PunchListUSA operates in 14 major U.S. cities, employing nearly 100 full-time employees with plans to expand to over 30 markets through 2023.

The company is headquartered in Charleston, S.C., with new offices opening in Newport Beach, CA and Dallas, TX this year.

Company officials said proceeds from the Series A funding will be deployed to accelerate development of the consumer-facing platform and proprietary data infrastructure along with geographic expansion over the next two years. 

USDA Urges SC Residents to Check Trees for Asian Longhorned Beetle, Not to Move Untreated Firewood

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is declaring August as “Tree Check Month” for the Asian long-horned beetle (ALB).

USDA and its partners are asking residents of South Carolina, particularly Charleston and Dorchester counties, to check their trees for this invasive insect and the damage it causes.

August is a critical time of year to look for the ALB because it’s when people are most likely to see adult beetles, officials said.

ALB was found most recently in South Carolina, when a homeowner reported finding a beetle in their backyard in 2020, leading USDA and Clemson University’s Department of Plant Industry to discover an active infestation.

The ALB is an invasive wood-boring beetle that attacks 12 types of hardwood trees in North America, such as maples, elms, buckeyes, birches, and willows.

Infested trees do not recover and eventually die. Infested trees also become safety hazards since branches can drop and trees can fall over, especially during storms.

In its larval stage, the insect feeds inside tree trunks and branches, creating tunnels as it feeds, then adults chew their way out in the warmer months, leaving about 3/4-inch round exit holes.

The adult beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:

- A shiny black body with white spots that is about 1” to 1 1/2” long.

- Black and white antennae that are longer than the insect’s body.

- Six legs and feet that can appear bluish in color.

Signs that a tree might be infested include:

- Round exit holes in tree trunks and branches about the size of a dime or smaller.

- Egg sites that are shallow, oval or round wounds in the bark where sap might weep.

- Sawdust-like material called frass found on the ground around the tree or on the branches.

- Branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

If you think you found a beetle or tree damage, report it by calling the ALB hotline at 1-866-702-9938 or submitting an online report at

Try to photograph the ALB or tree damage. If you can, capture the beetle in a durable container and freeze it, which helps preserve the insect for identification.

Then report it.

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