20 Years of Success

 


Investment in the Southern Carolina Region over the last decade has exceeded over
$1 Billion in capital investment & 4,000 jobs

 

 

SouthernCarolina Alliance Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Business and industry leaders from the six-county region and allies from around the state gathered in The Atrium at the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie in Allendale on May 28 to kick off the celebration of SouthernCarolina Alliance’s 20th Anniversary.

“This year we are celebrating twenty years of partnership and collaboration,” said SCA President and CEO Danny Black, who has been with the organization since its inception in 1996.

According to Black, when the leaders of Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell Counties met in 1995 to organize what was then called, “Tri-County Alliance,” the group was attempting to offset the job losses from downsizing at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, as well as the jobs lost from the offshoring of the textile industry.

“We knew we had to diversify our regional economy, and that we needed to work together,” said Black.  “By 1996, we were in full operation and had landed our first project, Kinsouth, which is still manufacturing in Bamberg County and celebrating their 20th anniversary in September.”

The evening’s lively presentation included a promotional video from the late James Brown, a native of Barnwell County, who supported the alliance’s economic development efforts and had taped a recruitment video featuring his signature dance moves to the song, “I Feel Good,” and ended with Brown’s message, “SouthernCarolina, gotta’ love it!”

Black told the crowd of more than 300, “That’s how the alliance got started, by people who cared about this region enough to sacrifice their time and resources to bring new industry to the region, to work together across county lines, and to create a better future for our people.”

He recognized some of the founding members of the non-profit economic development organization, including the late Calvin Melton, Jasper Varn, Jim Kearse, James Pinkney, Carl Gooding, Johnny Williamson and Billy Johnson. 

Black also recounted how the alliance purchased the 1600-acre S.C. Advanced Technology Park under the leadership of General Jasper Varn, who served as Chairman of the Alliance in 1999, in the historic multi-county revenue sharing agreement which has benefited the region for the last two decades.

Since then, the regional industrial park has brought in more than $621 million dollars in private capital investment and more than 400 jobs, including the recent Swiss Krono expansion announcement.

Shortly after the development of the SCAT Park, the Alliance developed other multi-county parks, Point Salk in Allendale and CrossRhodes in Bamberg. 

In 2008, the counties in the alliance formed a multi-county agreement that allows SCA’s member counties to make any project a multi-county one, providing additional incentives to the companies recruited and shared tax revenue to the counties in the region.

Black also talked about the organization’s growth, with Hampton, Colleton and Jasper Counties now members of the alliance.  The region now includes one-third of the I-95 exits in South Carolina, which opens up the region for greater potential for commercial and industrial development, as well as distribution opportunities.

The highlight of the program was the announcement that SouthernCarolina Alliance has played a role in the announcement of more than 1.4 billion dollars in private capital investment and the creation of 4,270 jobs in the rural region of less than 138,000 people.

The evening’s program included nostalgic presentations from several regional leaders and allies, including SouthernCarolina Alliance Chairman Buddy Phillips, consultant Ed Burgess, U.S. Department of Energy’s Dave Hepner, Bamberg County Councilman and SCA Board Member Isaiah Odom, Barnwell County Councilman Freddie Houston, USC’s Dean Ann Carmichael, Maceo Nance of the SC Department of Commerce, former Barnwell County Councilman Jim Kearse, engineering ally Mickey Parker, Delores DeCosta of U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s office, Allendale County Councilmen James Pinkney and Carl Gooding, and SCA Vice Chairman Bill Workman of Walterboro.

The evening’s event ended with the recognition of retiring Director of Economic Development, Bill Robinson, and the recognition of graduates of the regional leadership program.

Chairman Buddy Phillips announced that SouthernCarolina Alliance would continue the commemoration of the 20th anniversary with marketing events and opportunities throughout the year.

For more information on SouthernCarolina Alliance, visit our website at www.SouthernCarolina.org.  For more photos from the 20th Anniversary Celebration, visit our Facebook page, SouthernCarolina Alliance.

 




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