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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: SC Driven

Feb 23, 2024 09:24AM ● By Donna Walker

Automotive Industry Drives South Carolina’s Success in Export Sales

South Carolina’s 2023 export sales totaled $37.3 billion, defying the national trend where U.S. exports were down 2.2 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Gov. Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, and South Carolina Ports announced the figures in February.


Since 2013, South Carolina exports have grown at an average rate of 4.4 percent year-to-year. Over the same period, U.S. exports grew at an average rate of 3 percent year-to-year.


The automotive industry led South Carolina’s exported goods, with sales more than double that of the next largest industry type, aircraft and aerospace components. The state remains the nation’s top exporter of tires, and a national leader of completed passenger vehicles.


South Carolina’s top five exported commodities in 2023 were: 

* Completed passenger vehicles 

* Aircraft and parts 

* Machinery and mechanical appliances (turbojets, turbopropellers, gas turbines, ball and roller bearings, appliances for boilers and pumps)

* Plastics

* Rubber (tires).


Notable 2023 trade statistics include:

* 2023 export sales totaled $37.3 billion, defying the national trend of U.S. exports dropping 2.2 percent over the same year. South Carolina’s 2023 total export sales figure is an 18 percent increase over 2022 export sales.

* For the eighth consecutive year, South Carolina is the national leader in the export of tires, with sales reaching $1.8 billion — representing 34.3 percent of the total U.S. market share.

* South Carolina also remains among the top in the nation in the export of completed passenger motor vehicles, with 2023 sales growing to $10.2 billion — accounting for 16 percent of the total U.S. market share.

* South Carolina exports reached 211 countries in 2023.

* Germany was the No. 1 export market for South Carolina-made products and services, accounting for $4.7 billion. 

* Belgium, a primary point of entry into the European Union market, entered South Carolina’s top five global export markets with an increase over 21 percent from 2022.


“Other countries continue to find that South Carolina offers the best products and services available anywhere, which is emphasized by the fact that our state saw an increase in trade despite a national decline in exports,” McMaster said.


He added, “By sending locally made goods throughout the world, we can continue to create more jobs and careers for South Carolinians while helping expand our economy.”


“South Carolina is a global state — we’re proud to be a leading destination and trade partner for companies and countries throughout the world,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III.


He added, “Growing our international trade and exports network makes our economy more resilient, more diverse, and more competitive for long-term economic development success.” 


The Palmetto State boasts the eighth-largest U.S. container port, which means that “SC Ports serves as South Carolina’s gateway to the world,” said SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin.


She added, “We are proud to move cargo for South Carolina companies, ensuring that automakers, advanced manufacturers, farmers and small businesses have direct access to global markets. We consistently invest in port infrastructure and deliver excellent port service to help South Carolina companies thrive.”

Greenville Technical College President Keith Miller Announces Retirement Plans

The Greenville Technical College Area Commission on Feb. 21, 2024, approved President Keith Miller’s plan to retire in July 2025.


Officials said the approval sets into motion a national search process that will culminate with the selection of a successor. 


Miller assumed the leadership of Greenville Technical College (GTC) in July 2008 as  the institution’s second president.


He brought experienced leadership to the position, having spent 12 years as a college president in Illinois, first for Spoon River College and later for Black Hawk  College. 


Miller began his own college education at a community college, earning an associate degree in  technical education – radiologic technology before adding a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and finally, a doctorate degree in adult and continuing education.


Officials said the experience as a two-year college student informed his interest in helping students navigate unfamiliar territory. 


He has ensured that GTC puts students first, with emphasis on not just getting  students enrolled but seeing that they are supported from day one to graduation and that every student has an equal opportunity for success, the officials said.


Innovative efforts include the African American  Male Scholars Initiative, the state’s only Collegiate Recovery Program at the two-year college  level, and a Student Assistance and Resources Center where those facing the obstacles of  hunger and emergency financial barriers can find relief. 


Officials said the result is an inclusive environment where each employee and every student can find a sense of belonging, earning GTC the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award seven times, most recently in 2023. 


As Miller has steered the college toward fulfillment of its mission of transforming lives through education, he has greatly improved efficiency, the officials said. 


While many educational leaders confine themselves to academic processes and traditions, Miller has borrowed best practices from business and industry in order to maximize resources and focus on continuous improvement, the officials said.


The college now uses Franklin Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution to focus the entire employee base on a common goal and recently received the Franklin Covey Greatness Award for exceptional progress with the system. 


A focus on Baldrige quality practices has resulted in GTC being named a South Carolina Governors Quality Award Gold Achiever, the only technical college in the state to ever win at any level.


Much of what Miller has accomplished at the college has been the result of productive  partnerships. 


He has worked closely with employers – both large and small – including BMW,  Michelin, Lockheed Martin, Prisma Health, Bon Secours St. Francis, Bosch Rexroth, and local,  state, national and international organizations with ties to the Upstate and South Carolina. 


“I am grateful to the elected officials, the employers, the educators at all levels, and the college’s faculty and staff who have worked alongside me to move the college and the Upstate  forward,” Miller said.


He added, “My job has taken me across the state and around the country, and I have yet to encounter a better environment anywhere for collaboration that ensures  progress.” 


In an email to school officials and supporters, Miller said, “I have established this timetable because I believe that the college is at a point where it is well positioned for the future. We owe this progress to partners and leaders like you, who continue to assist us in fulfilling our mission of transforming lives through education.” 


He added, “Until the summer of 2025, I will continue to rely on your support as we come together to meet workforce needs in this area. I expect that my role will be especially attractive to job candidates because of the environment of cooperation that a new president will find."


And he continued, "As I meet with other presidents in the state and across the country, I have learned that what we have here is very special, and your role in supporting community college education is one of the reasons for that.”  


“When I do leave this office, I won’t be far away. I plan to remain in Greenville and look forward to seeing Greenville Technical College and this community move forward from the position of strength we occupy now," Miller said. "You have my sincere thanks for everything you have done to help us reach this position, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead." 


As the partners discuss workforce needs, Miller has worked to create innovative solutions.


Examples include the Center for Manufacturing Innovation, which is training and educating  mechatronics technicians, machinists, and electronic technicians for advanced manufacturing. 


When employers in that sector asked for an educational step beyond the associate degree, one  that would create candidates for technical and managerial leadership positions, Miller gained  support from legislators for an applied bachelor’s degree in advanced manufacturing technology at the technical college level. 


GTC is now the only two-year college in the state  pioneering that curriculum.  


When Prisma Health sought a new avenue for creating well-qualified professionals to enter the health care field, Miller worked with the hospital system to bring the Prisma Health Center for Health & Life Sciences to reality. 


Opening fall 2024, the largest building on the college’s Barton Campus will allow students to pursue careers in health care and complete general education requirements.


The facility will impact 90 percent of GTC students and serve all of 500-600  health science graduates that the college contributes to the local workforce each year.  

Similarly, officials said the Truist Culinary and Hospitality Innovation Center is an answer to employer needs. 


Officials said when the hospitality industry needed to expand its pipeline of skilled employees, Miller matched that need with those of an underserved area in West Greenville, creating a change agent that provides a clear path to upward mobility as it increases the number of qualified  hospitality employees.  


The Center for Workforce Development, expected to open in 2026, will solve the welding challenge in workforce development. The General Assembly has appropriated $15 million for this facility, to be located at the college’s Brashier Campus. 


The 44,000-square-foot facility will offer enhanced technology, expanded and inviting teaching and learning spaces, and increased  welding stations.  


Miller serves on the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education Presidents Council and has been a member of the White House/AACC National Apprenticeship Advisory Panel, past board chair for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), board member for the American Council on Education (ACE), and co-chair of the Voluntary Framework for  Accountability. 


Miller is also active in organizations that improve the community. He served as chair of the Greenville Chamber board of directors, chair of the Commerce Club board, and board member  for United Way of Greenville County, Upstate Alliance South Carolina, and the Health Sciences  Center – Prisma Health.


In addition, he was chairman of March for Babies and chairman of the board for the Urban League of the Upstate. 


He has been recognized for his many contributions to the community and the state with the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian honor, and the Education Spirit Award  from the Community Foundation of Greenville.  


“Naturally, it will be difficult to see a leader of Keith Miller’s caliber step back,” said Ray Lattimore, chair of the Greenville Technical College Area Commission. “But as we look with  gratitude at all he has accomplished in his years of leadership, we know that he has done an amazing job of preparing this institution and the students and employers it serves so well to  face the future from a position of incredible strength.”

Five ScanSource, Intelisys Executives Named 2024 CRN Channel Chiefs

ScanSource, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCSC), a Greenville, South Carolina-based hybrid distributor connecting devices to the cloud, announced that CRN, a brand of The Channel Company, has named five ScanSource and Intelisys executives to its list of 2024 Channel Chiefs.


The list recognizes the IT vendor and distribution executives who are driving strategy and setting the channel agenda for their companies.


The ScanSource and Intelisys 2024 Channel Chiefs include:


* Tony Sorrentino, president, ScanSource Specialty

* Bob Farbak, SVP, Sales, Intelisys

* Cody Fritz, Group VP, Networking & Communications, ScanSource Specialty

* Stephanie Mays, VP, Mobility and Barcode Supplier Services, ScanSource Specialty

* Michael Raspanti, Regional VP, Sales, Intelisys.


“It is always an honor for our leaders to be recognized by CRN for the outstanding contributions and impact they make within the channel,” said Mike Baur, ScanSource chairman and CEO.


He added, “Each of these esteemed individuals demonstrates qualities of our ScanSource core values and goes above and beyond to meet the needs of our partners, suppliers, and employees. I’m proud to have such dedicated and remarkable leaders within our organization."


The Channel Chiefs list, released annually by CRN, showcases the top leaders throughout the IT channel ecosystem who work tirelessly to ensure mutual success with their partners and customers.


“These channel evangelists are dedicated to supporting solution providers and achieving growth by implementing robust partner programs and unique business strategies,” said Jennifer Follett, VP, US Content, and executive editor, CRN, at The Channel Company.


Follett added, “Their efforts are instrumental in helping partners bring essential solutions to market. The Channel Company is pleased to acknowledge these prominent channel leaders and looks forward to chronicling their achievements throughout the year.”

63rd Annual Can-Am Days to Welcomes Canadian Visitors March 9-17

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), and the city of Myrtle Beach, are rolling out the red carpet again for Canadian visitors during 63rd Annual Can-Am Days, happening March 9-17, 2024.


“Myrtle Beach has long been a beloved getaway for countless Canadians who seek a warm-weather retreat where they can easily explore our 60-miles of beaches, over 90 golf courses, 2,200-plus restaurants and year-round attractions – all while enjoying special rates. We look forward to carrying on the tradition of Can-Am Days and showering them with our Southern hospitality once again,” said Karen Riordan, MBACC and CVB president and CEO.


Among the special events occurring over Can-Am Days, the chamber and TD Bank will host a Welcome Reception on Monday, March 11, from 1-3 p.m. within the lobby of its visitors center at 1200 N. Oak Street in Myrtle Beach. Refreshments will be served.


On March 12, the chamber and Ripley’s Aquarium will host the Can-Am Plaza Party outside of Ripley’s Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach with music and entertainment for the entire family from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Canadians can request the CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) discount on tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium for a $2 savings.


In addition, various resorts and attractions are offering specials deals and discounts for Canadians. Go to for more details.


Since 1938, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) has stood as the unified voice of the Grand Strand's business community — serving Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Little River, Loris, Atlantic Beach, Carolina Forest, Conway, Aynor, Socastee, Surfside Beach, Garden City Beach, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beach and Pawleys Island.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has awarded MBACC its five-star accreditation — one of only a few chambers in South Carolina to earn this distinction.


The Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and its destination marketing arm Visit Myrtle Beach promote tourism through various partnerships and initiatives to advance the economic success of the Grand Strand.


For more information, go to or

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