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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Critical Mission

Oct 28, 2022 01:08PM ● By David Dykes

Aecon-Wachs Awarded $100 Million in Contracts at Savannah River Site

Aecon-Wachs, a Jackson, S.C.-based corporation providing single-source solutions for virtually every aspect of nuclear industry construction, refurbishment, maintenance, and decommissioning, has entered into two contracts with Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, valued at $100 million, to complete decommissioning-related work at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.

Aecon-Wachs will support the transition of the Building 226-F Facility to the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility (SRPPF) by demolition and removal (D&R) of all components including equipment and bulk commodities while protecting the existing structure.

In coordination with the D&R scope, Aecon-Wachs will design, install and maintain temporary HVAC to facilitate proper climate controls in the facility during construction.

Projects kicked off in October 2022 and will continue through October 2024 with a multi-year optional maintenance program to follow.

Aecon-Wachs and its preferred subcontractors and small business partners will provide management positions to support approximately 42 non-manual roles at peak schedule.

Company officials said 135 new skilled jobs are expected to enter the area as work ramps up.

Keith Willingham, vice president and general manager at Aecon-Wachs, began his career at Savannah River Site 35 years ago.

City of Mauldin Appoints New City Administrator, Seth Duncan

Mauldin City Council appointed Seth Duncan to serve as the city administrator. 

Duncan will take over the responsibilities from Rebecca Vance, who has been serving as interim city administrator. 

Duncan has experience with several other towns throughout the state and will be responsible for performing high-level administrative work under the direction of the City Council and supervising municipal employees.

He will begin with the city on Nov. 28, 2022.

Duncan comes to the city with over a decade of experience as a public manager across the state. In his most recent role, he served as city manager for the City of York (S.C.) where he led the city’s day-to-day management that included eight departments, more than 100 full-time employees and a budget of more than $15 million.

Additionally, he has worked for the Town of Batesburg-Leesville (S.C.) as the assistant town manager where he worked alongside local businesses and residents to promote economic development, address aging infrastructure and build a strong community.

Duncan earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University of South Carolina and his bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University.

He is a member of the International City/County Managers Association, American Planning Association, South Carolina City County Managers Association and the SC Municipal Human Resources Association.

Mauldin is the 20th largest city in South Carolina out of 270 municipalities and one of the fastest -growing cities in the state. Mauldin was first chartered in 1890 and has grown to a population of more than 25,000. 

Root Cause Awarded $247,029 Healthy Greenville Grant

Root Cause, a health and public services initiative led by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Prisma Health-Upstate, and more than 50 community partners, is the recipient of a three-year grant by Healthy Greenville. 

Officials said the $247,029 grant will help Root Cause continue its mission of serving residents in the community of Dunean who might otherwise have limited access to health care and expand to two nearby communities in Greenville County.

It will also allow the medical-student-run community health fair to extend its outreach efforts as it bridges important health care and wellness resources to residents. 

The grant was awarded as part of the 2022 grant cycle for “Healthy Greenville: A Bold Health Initiative for Greenville County,” the Greenville Health Authority’s annual grant program.

This year, “Healthy Greenville” awarded a total of $5.8 million in grants to 11 nonprofit organizations that impact health-related care, health research, and health education projects and programs to improve the health of Greenville County residents.

Since 2019, Root Cause has been engaging and helping residents stay healthy, by promoting healthy lifestyles and working to reduce health disparities across Greenville County.

USC School of Medicine Greenville established the community health fair in the community of Dunean, where a significant portion of residents report low access to health care.

A 2018 multidisciplinary task force found that the community — adjacent to the UofSC School of Medicine Greenville and Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital — was an at-risk community with a high rate of poverty, diabetes, obesity and low rates of access to health care. 

Thanks to the three-year Healthy Greenville grant, Root Cause will be able to expand its reach and positive impact beyond the Dunean community, officials said.

Plans call for an expansion to the nearby communities of Nicholtown and Berea. 

Every month, Root Cause holds a health fair in Dunean. At the monthly health fair, a free meal is provided while various partners and healthcare experts provide resources and/or teach on relevant public health topics.

School of Medicine Greenville (SOMG) medical students and health-care practitioners teach healthier habits through wellness workshops, cooking demonstrations, blood pressure screenings, and more. 

Root Cause is entirely run and organized by SOMG faculty, medical student volunteers and community-partner volunteers.

Gopher Tortoises Still Protected in South Carolina

South Carolina’s chief reptile and amphibian biologist says that gopher tortoises are still protected in the Palmetto State despite a recent federal decision that said additional protections are not warranted in four Southeastern states, including South Carolina.

“There was some confusion, as some people believed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision meant that gopher tortoises are no longer protected,” said Andrew Grosse, state herpetologist for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

“However, one of the reasons for that decision is that all the states in the eastern portion of the gopher tortoise’s range have state protections in place that will not change with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision. In South Carolina, gopher tortoises are listed as state endangered.”

Being listed as state endangered means it is illegal to “take” any gopher tortoise in South Carolina. “Take,” according to state law, is defined as to “harass, hunt, capture, or kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill wildlife.”

In other words, sufficient protections are in place to protect gopher tortoises in South Carolina, according to Grosse.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a 113-page decision Oct. 12 that said gopher tortoises would continue to be considered a threatened species in parts of southwest Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana under the Endangered Species Act.

But it said increased federal protections are not warranted for gopher tortoises in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and other parts of Alabama, despite issues such as development moving into the animals’ habitats.

“Although the threats to the species of habitat loss and fragmentation due to urbanization, climate change, sea level rise, and habitat management are expected to persist in the foreseeable future and the effects of these threats on this long-lived species will continue at some level, some threats have been reduced and will continue to be reduced through implemented and ongoing conservation actions and regulatory mechanisms,” the agency’s decision said.

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