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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Midlands Recognition

Oct 12, 2022 12:58PM ● By David Dykes

Columbia Chamber Honors Local Leaders At Annual Gala

The Columbia Chamber honored award recipients at the 119th Annual  Gala, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, on Oct. 6, 2022.

Chamber officials held the organization’s award ceremony at Junction 800, in the Vista District.

Previously a seated affair, this year’s  gala came with a new format and featured a fast-paced evening celebrating the successes of the past year,  recognizing the leadership of the board of directors and looking ahead to the coming year.  

“We are excited to showcase and celebrate those that go above and beyond to better our city,” says Carl  Blackstone, Columbia Chamber president and CEO. “This year’s honorees are dedicated members of our  community and are incredible representatives of transformative leadership.” 

2022 Honorees:  

Young Professional of the Year: Lindsey Spires Griffin, Bank of America 

Award sponsored by Truist 

Public Servant of the Year: Chief William “Skip” Holbrook, City of Columbia 

Award sponsored by Elliott Davis, LLC 

Diplomat of the Year: Leanna Lee, Graduate Columbia 

Award sponsored by Willoughby & Hoefer, P.A. 

Military Advocate of the Year: Lamont Christian, Big Red Barn Retreat 

Award sponsored by Dominion Energy 

Ambassador of the Year: David Pankau, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina 

Award sponsored by Colonial Life. 

The Columbia Chamber is a private, non-profit, partner-driven organization comprised of 1,200 business  enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals in Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw,  Lexington, Newberry and Richland counties.

The Chamber serves as the voice of its partners and the  business community at large on matters of economic, educational, social, cultural and political concern, as well  as supports and promotes the success of its partners through networking, professional development, advocacy  and leadership.

The organization has represented the interests of the local business community since 1902. 

"821" Overlay Area Code Assigned to Northern Area of South Carolina

Somos, Inc., a leading registry management and data solutions company, serving in its capacity as the Federal Communications Commission's neutral third-party North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), announced Oct. 10, 2022, that an additional area code, 821, has been assigned to overlay the existing 864 area code that serves the northern area of South Carolina.

This includes the larger cities of Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson and other smaller communities.

The Public Service Commission of South Carolina approved an area code overlay on Sept. 27, 2022, to ensure the availability of telephone numbering resources.

The new 821 area code will cover the same geographic area as the 864 area code.

Somos officials said all existing customers will retain the 864 area code and won’t need to change their telephone numbers. Ten-digit local dialing will be required by all customers within the area covered by the 864 and new 821 area codes.

According to Wikipedia, area code 803 is one of the original 86 area codes assigned in 1947, when it was assigned to serve the entire state. In 1995, the Upstate was split off into a separate numbering plan area with area code 864.

While this was intended as a long-term solution, the rapid growth of telecommunication service in Columbia and the coastal region forced additional mitigation action for 803 within two years.

As a result, in 1998 the coastal region was assigned area code 843.

AGP Group Establishing Operations in Lexington County 

AGP Group, a leading specialty glazing manufacturer, announced plans to establish its innovative AGP eGlass division in Lexington County.

The company’s $3.3 million investment will create 35 jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Headquartered in Belgium and with operations around the world, AGP eGlass is a pioneer in high-tech automotive glazing solutions.

AGP eGlass is working with more than 20 automotive brands worldwide that are shaping the future of sustainable mobility through electric and autonomous driving.

Located at 423 Foster Brothers Drive in West Columbia, AGP eGlass’ Lexington facility will be the company’s newest added value operations (AVO) satellite plant and will feature a highly automated manufacturing model for direct assembly of glass parts, Commerce officials said

Operations are expected to be online in November. Those interested in joining AGP eGlass should go to the company’s careers page.

SCDNR Officials Report Successful Shorebird Nesting Season on Newly Restored Crab Bank

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) biologists are celebrating the close of a successful shorebird and seabird nesting season on the newly restored Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary.

Biologists documented over 500 nests over the season, marking the first time coastal birds nested on the small island in Charleston Harbor since its disappearance to erosion. Watch a short video of 2022 nesting highlights here.

“This year was a unique opportunity to study how birds respond to newly available habitat after a four-year absence. The last year birds attempted nesting on Crab Bank, before it completely eroded, was in 2017,” said SCDNR biologist Janet Thibault.

Shorebirds and seabirds are declining worldwide, and the 2017 loss of the crucial nesting site in Charleston Harbor – one of just a handful in South Carolina – inspired a pioneering solution: In late 2021, the island was rebuilt with material dredged from the deepening of Charleston Harbor through a partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers, a project that garnered widespread support from community members, conservation groups and elected officials.

Hopes were high that South Carolina’s shorebirds and seabirds would quickly find and make use of the new habitat – and the birds did not disappoint. Biologists discovered the first nest of the 2022 season, belonging to a pair of American oystercatchers, on April 1.

Eight pairs of oystercatchers eventually nested on the island over the season, including a four-year-old bird that was originally banded as a chick on Cumberland Island, Georgia.

Least terns, small, State Threatened seabirds, colonized the island in late April. Over 100 pairs nested on the island, and their fledglings gathered along the waterline in late May and June.

In the second week of May, a strong storm put Crab Bank to the test during the heart of nesting season. A two-day storm blew through Charleston with 35-knot winds, driving typically five-foot high tides over seven feet above sea level for several tidal cycles.

The island suffered some escarpment on its southern waterline, but it experienced no seawater inundation.

SCDNR officials said one of the most spectacular sights this nesting season was the return of black skimmers and gull-billed terns to the island. SCDNR biologists counted 237 skimmer nests and 179 gull-billed tern nests in May.

SCDNR Marine Resource Division staff have been monitoring Crab Bank since its completion in November 2021, using drones to collect high-resolution imagery and elevations of the island. The island comprises approximately 35 acres ranging between 5 and 8 feet above the high tide waterline.

A grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation obtained by Audubon South Carolina paid for the mapping work.

Following Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, staff reported that the island received no saltwater inundation and remained, as designed, well above the storm’s tidal level.

SCDNR-owned Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary is closed from March 15 through Oct. 15.

From Oct. 16 through March 14, public access on Crab Bank is allowed only in the intertidal zone (in the 'wet sand' area below the high tide line). Dogs and camping are prohibited year-round.

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