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Greenville Business Magazine

Looking at South Carolina’s Role In Manufacturing, Honoring Notable USC Alums

Oct 04, 2023 10:19AM ● By David Dykes

Monthly musings...

The top five states in Site Selection Group’s Best States for Manufacturing in 2023 are South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. The list closely resembles the Best States for Manufacturing in 2022.

Their success, the respected location advisory, economic incentives and real estate services firm says, is due in large part to favorable demographics and migration patterns, a strong manufacturing presence, low cost of doing business, access to consumer bases, and/or proximity to major ports.

The firm notes a company’s ability to hire and retain a qualified workforce, as well as its ability to receive and ship goods in a cost-effective and timely manner, are among the most influential factors that drive final site selection decisions. 

However, business environment, regulatory climate, utilities, infrastructure, real estate, and economic incentives also play an important role in the process. Site Selection Group says that while no singular location will score at the top in every category, the optimal location is one with a good balance of these characteristics and no critical deficiencies.

It says a market like Charleston has the advantage of being a major port city, but Greenville-Spartanburg has a more established manufacturing base. 

Meanwhile, Zach Edwards wrote recently for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond that the manufacturing and service sector availability of skills indexes indicated that on balance, it hasn’t gotten harder to hire workers with the right skills — but it is still hasn’t been easy. Edwards wrote that toward the end of 2021, the indexes began increasing for both sectors, but earlier this year, the manufacturing index flattened below zero while the services index continued its upward trajectory. 

This suggested that, while more service-sector firms were having an easier time finding workers with the right skill sets, manufacturing firms were still struggling to find the workers they need.

However, to the extent that difficulty hiring workers has changed since the beginning of 2023, it has become more difficult for both manufacturers and service providers to hire mid- and high-skilled workers. 

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded nearly $14 million to 43 projects through its Investments Supporting Partnerships in Recovery Ecosystems (INSPIRE) initiative, which aims to address Appalachia’s substance use disorder (SUD) crisis with investments in projects that create or expand services in the recovery ecosystem leading to workforce entry and re-entry.  

The South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) in Lexington is receiving an ARC grant of $498,994 to be a connector for rural communities by linking individuals recovering from substance use disorder to job resources and employers; developing a stigma reduction curriculum and implementation guide; and engaging employers to better support SUD recovery in their workplaces. 

SCORH will use existing workforce development infrastructure in the state, including the state-supported local Vocational Rehabilitation in Cherokee County and SC Works centers. SCORH also will partner with Apprenticeship Carolina to link individuals in recovery to registered apprenticeships that provide wages, training/certification, and career pathways for in-demand jobs in manufacturing and other trades. 

With the investment, the project will involve 120 participants, 275 workers/trainees and 72 businesses.

The University of South Carolina Alumni Association announced the recipients of the university’s 2023 Alumni Awards.

David Beasley, ’79, ’83 has been named the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award recipient. The award recognizes an alumnus who has demonstrated noble character, acted as a humble servant, and places service to others before self-interest. A former governor of South Carolina, Beasley most recently served as the executive director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the WFP in 2020.

Jeff Charney, ’81 has been selected as this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. One of the nation’s most heralded chief marketing officers (CMO), Charney and his team developed two of the nation’s top brand icons — “Flo” and “Dr. Rick” with Progressive Insurance. During his time as CMO for Aflac, Charney was in charge of campaigns involving the “Aflac Duck” — currently the nation’s longest-running marketing icon. A two-time CMO of the Year, Charney is the founder and CEO of MKHSTRY, a marketing collective.

Judge J. Michelle Childs, ’91, is the recipient of the Outstanding Black Alumni Award. Childs was appointed by President Biden to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in July 2022. She currently serves as the president of the Federal Judges Association. Childs was the first African American female partner at a major law firm in the state of South Carolina.

Col. (Ret) Keith June, ’86, is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Veteran Alumni Award. June served more than 30 years in the United States Army. A Master-rated parachutist, June was awarded three Bronze Stars and the Humanitarian Service Award for his service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. June is also the recipient of the Legion of Merit and the Defense Superior Service Award.

Rebecca Krynski Cox, ’09, has been selected as this year’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient. Recognized by The New York Times as a “vibrant soprano ... with a secure, appealing sound and eye-opening volume,” Cox’s career as a soprano opera singer has placed her on the stage with some of the largest opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Indianapolis Opera. Frequently returning to campus, Cox will join the USC Symphony Orchestra as the soprano soloist for Brahms’ A German Requiem in spring 2024.

Bobby Donaldson is the recipient of this year’s Honorary Life Member Award. The award recognizes a non-alumnus who has made considerable contributions in support of the university. Donaldson currently serves as the director of the University of South Carolina’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research and as a professor in the history department. Donaldson is a sought-after consultant for museum exhibitions, documentary films and preservation projects.

The University of South Carolina Alumni Association was scheduled to celebrate and recognize all the award recipients during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 13-15.

Karin Freeland is a certified Life Reinvention Coach focused on helping women transform their lives and achieve their dreams by using the lessons she learned in her 15 years in the corporate sector. She also is the award-winning author of “Grab Life by the Dreams” and podcast host of “Rock Your Reinvention.”

Her latest book shares her stories in an effort to encourage women to follow their dreams both professionally and personally.

“Grab Life by the Dreams” pulls from Freeland’s thousands of hours of training and coaching sessions she has led helping professionals make the right choices to find better career fulfillment.

The book explores how women find themselves in mental, physical, and personal ruts in their lives, and gives them the steps they need not just to get “unstuck,” but to build tenable paths forward for success.

A New York native, Freeland packed up her car and drove to Miami to follow her dreams of being an actress and professional dancer just after college. She quickly landed enough roles in movies to pursue acting full-time and live in New York City. However, she pivoted after a few years to a career working in the corporate sector. 

Over the next 15 years, she oversaw the creation and launch of global brands through her roles as chief of staff to the president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, head of Demand Generation & Field Marketing for North America at Centrica Business Solutions, and vice president of Digital GTM and Learning at JS Group. She now runs Karin Freeland Coaching & Consulting LLC in Greenville.

A member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team, Freeland helps high-achieving professionals, executives, and business owners achieve the success they desire without sacrificing time with family and friends, their health, or self-care.