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New project to bring $15 million of new capital investment to Upstate

Advanced Ceramic Coatings (ACC), a 50-50 joint venture between GE Aviation and Turbocoating Corporation, will be launching new operations in Spartanburg County. This project represents $15 million in new capital investment and the creation of 50 new jobs.
Formed in 2014 and headquartered in Hickory, N.C., ACC combines Turbocoating's proprietary coatings technologies and industrial processes with GE Aviation's coatings processes developed specifically for ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material. This combination will allow the company to produce advanced coatings for GE's high-temperature CMC components in jet engines.
Located at 1191 Howell Road in Duncan, S.C., the company's new 62,500-square-foot facility is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2017. Hiring for the new positions is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017, and those interested in applying should email the company at
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits, as well as a $250,000 Set Aside grant to Spartanburg County to assist with the costs of real property improvements related to the project.

"Duncan and Spartanburg County offered the right mix of skilled employees and resources to help ACC expand its production capabilities over the next few years. GE and Turbocoating will invest more than $15 million in equipment and the new facility and will employ around 50 people by 2022." -ACC General Manager Scott Hayes
"ACC's decision to build its newest facility in Duncan is a real reason to celebrate, not just for the 50 South Carolinians who will now work there, but for the state as a whole. Each time a company has the ability to expand anywhere in the country and they choose South Carolina, it shows the world that every part of our state is open for business and we are ready to partner with any company looking for a place to call home." -Gov. Nikki Haley
"South Carolina's undeniable prowess in the manufacturing industry continues to help us attract companies from across the country and around the world. We're proud that ACC has chosen Spartanburg County for its new operations, and we look forward to watching them succeed in our state." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
"We are extremely pleased that Advanced Ceramic Coatings is establishing an operation in Spartanburg County. The Economic Futures Group, along with key public/private allies like the S.C. Department of Commerce, Spartanburg County Council and private developers, helped secure this operation, and Spartanburg County Council will benefit from this investment now and in the future." -Chairman of Spartanburg County Council's Economic Development Committee and Board Member of the Economic Futures Group David Britt

  • Advanced Ceramic Coatings (ACC) launching new operations in Spartanburg County.
  • $15 million investment to create 50 jobs.
  • ACC is a joint venture between GE Aviation and Turbocoating Corporation and will be producing advanced coatings for jet engine components. 
  • Located at 1191 Howell Road in Duncan, S.C., the company's new 62,500-square-foot facility is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2017. 
  • Hiring for the new positions is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017, and interested applicants should email the company at  

New distribution and U.S. sales office will be established at NEXT Manufacturing Center

Beringer Aero USA today announced relocating its U.S. operations to the City of Greenville. By locating in the NEXT Manufacturing Center at 400 Bernie Street, it permits the company to relocate existing positions from its Chicago facility and improve the company's business services.
Based in Tallard, France, Beringer Aero produces wheels and braking systems for a wide range of aircraft, from light aircraft up to its now-standard supplemental type certificate (STC) for the Pilatus PC-6, through various STC for general aviation, plus complete kits for many popular aircraft. Many of the company's products are utilized in international air show competitions as the now famous Red Bull Air Races, Reno Air Races or Valdez STOL competition and special projects like the Solar Impulse II that flew around the world with only electric energy.
By relocating its sales and distribution from Chicago, Illinois to Greenville, South Carolina, Beringer Aero anticipates improving customer services within the North American market. To establish its City of Greenville operations, Beringer is leasing light manufacturing and distribution space within the newly established NEXT Manufacturing Center.

"Beringer is excited about the opportunities the Greenville community offers and is grateful of the support from the Greenville Area Development Corporation, NEXT, and the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The Beringer team chose Greenville, South Carolina based upon the growth of its aerospace industry and pro-business environment." - Claire Beringer, Beringer Director Worldwide Marketing 
"NEXT attracts and grows high-impact, knowledge-based companies, and we are grateful to have Beringer Aero USA as part of this innovation ecosystem." - John Moore, President & CEO NEXT
"Beringer Aero USA's decision to locate this operation here is strong affirmation of the talent and professionalism of our educated, high-tech workforce and Greenville's competitiveness.  We are grateful for the company's commitment to our community." - Dr. Bob Taylor, Greenville County Council Chairman

“We believe this agreement signifies the solid mutual trust Toray has been building with Boeing through the stable supply of high quality carbon fiber materials since the 1970s,” said Akihiro Nikkaku, president of Toray Industries, in a statement. “It also reflects Boeing’s recognition of our world-class technology and firm commitments to expanding composites application to aircraft.”

Toray’s plant represents the largest-ever investment made in a new production facility in South Carolina. It will be built on a 400-acre site the company purchased from Spartanburg-based Pacolet Milliken Enterprises near the intersection of highways 290 and 221 in Moore.

The company said the plant will be state-of-the-art and will create at least 500 jobs. Preparation work at the site is underway.

Nash said he expects the company will break ground on the building next year. The plant is anticipated to be up and running by spring 2017.

Read the full article from

$15 million investment expected to create 11 new jobs

Solar Atmospheres, a leading commercial heat treating company, is establishing its first Southeastern operations in Greenville County to better serve customers in the automotive and aerospace-rich region. The company's more than $15 million investment will create 11 new jobs in the area.

Solar Atmospheres is one of the world's largest providers of commercial vacuum heat treating services. The newest division of Solar Atmospheres will be operating out of 54,000 square feet of manufacturing space at 108 Progressive Court. The facility is located on a 14-acre site south of Greenville near the intersection of I-85 and I-185, which is within a one-day trip from most industrial centers in the Southeast.

Vacuum furnaces and support equipment are currently being scheduled for installation and startup. Furnace sizes will range from vacuum furnaces capable of supporting small production lots and development work to a 24-foot car bottom furnace for processing large, heavy loads. Process capabilities will range from standard vacuum heat treating to vacuum carburizing, vacuum annealing, vacuum stress relieving, vacuum brazing, and other specialized vacuum thermal processes as well as research and development activity.

Company representatives expect the Greenville facility to open by the end of the first quarter of 2015. The company operates three existing facilities in the United States: two in Pennsylvania and another in California. Solar Atmospheres today serves more than 18 industries, including aerospace, medical, automotive and power generation.

Hiring will begin in January. Those interested in being a part of the new Solar Atmospheres Greenville team may visit the company's careers page. For more information about Solar Atmospheres, Southeast, please contact Steve Prout at (864) 970-0111 ext. 1401, or


"This is a major expansion for our companies with an investment in excess of $15 million including building, property, new vacuum furnaces, and a facility-wide closed-loop water cooling system to ensure continuous uptime for our customers." -Roger Jones, corporate president of Solar Atmospheres

"Greenville was selected because of its logistical convenience to current and prospective customers and the favorable business climate in South Carolina and especially in the Greenville area." -Steve Prout, president of Solar Atmospheres Southeast

"With this announcement we are once again proving that South Carolina is a place where businesses of all kinds can grow and succeed. We celebrate Solar Atmospheres for choosing Greenville County for their new facility, bringing $15 million in investment and creating 11 new jobs for the area." -Gov. Nikki Haley

"Companies that serve our growing automotive and aerospace sectors are quickly finding a home in South Carolina. What a testament to our business-friendly reputation that Solar Atmospheres will bring their first facility in the Southeastern United States to Greenville." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

"Solar Atmospheres is an outstanding example of a company that is using world-class technology, unmatched technical expertise and performance-based processes to grow and succeed. Theirs is a technology-driven business with an entrepreneurial energy, and will be a great addition to Greenville County." -Richard (Dick) Wilkerson, chairman of the Greenville Area Development Corporation

"The Upstate region is primed to support innovation and growth among cutting-edge partners serving the automotive and aerospace industries. This area is home to a growing array of research-driven, technically advanced organizations whose expertise continues to fuel our regional economy. We welcome Solar Atmospheres to the Upstate." -John Lummus, president and CEO of the Upstate SC Alliance


  • Solar Atmospheres is establishing its first Southeastern operations in Greenville County to better serve automotive and aerospace customers in the region.
  • $15 million investment to create 11 new jobs.
  • Company will be operating out of 54,000 square feet of manufacturing space at 108 Progressive Court.
  • Solar Atmospheres today serves more than 18 industries, including aerospace, medical, automotive and power generation.
  • Those interested in being a part of the new Solar Atmospheres Greenville team may visit the company's career page.

About Solar Atmospheres
Solar Atmospheres is one of the world's largest providers of commercial vacuum heat treating services. Through unmatched technical expertise, equipment, and quality systems, Solar's thermal processing produces bright, scale-free parts with minimal distortion. For clients requiring an "out-of-the ordinary" application, an in-house R&D team of metallurgists and scientists develop innovative, custom process solutions. Serving over 18 markets, Solar's state-of-the art services include vacuum brazing, carburizing, nitriding and advanced processing of raw materials such as Titanium, Tantalum, and nano powders. With over 50 furnaces ranging from lab sized to the world's largest commercial vacuum furnaces, Solar can efficiently handle any size job. Headquartered in Souderton, near Philadelphia, Solar also operates plants in Hermitage, near Pittsburgh, in Fontana, California, near Los Angeles, and most recently in Greenville, South Carolina. Please visit for more information.

Upstate Business Journal
GSA Business

Steve Townes has been called a turnaround specialist, an entrepreneur, a champion, a soldier, a cheerleader and maybe, on occasion, even a stubborn mule. But no one's ever called him a loser.

The president and CEO of Louis Berger Services, Townes has a long string of successful businesses on his resume, companies he's saved from the brink or raised to levels of success unimagined by their founders.

"I think that enterprise building is in my blood," he said.

But the South Carolina aerospace industry leader whose previous mantra was "buy, build, improve, resell" has a new business focus, and this one's about staying put.

Flying on a fluke

Townes, a West Point graduate, joked that he got his first start in airplanes by jumping out of them as an officer with the Army Rangers.

Really, a position with a huge aerospace company in Texas was the best job offer he got after leaving the Army and getting an MBA.

It was there that he learned the ropes, he said. And after several years and a few quick promotions, he got a call from the leaders of Stevens Aviation in Greenville. They were looking for an executive to help turn around the struggling company.

"I had to look, where is Greenville?" Townes said with a laugh.

Over the course of about four years, Stevens tripled its size, restored its profitability and added new lines of business.

"It was very heady times," Townes said.

Then he got another call, this one asking him to come be president and CEO of an aviation services subsidiary of a large parent corporation. That parent was Dial Corp.

The soap maker had at one point in its history been purchased by Greyhound Corp. and was for years known by the name Greyhound Dial.

"They fancied themselves as a transportation services conglomerate, so they bought all kinds of companies, one of which was Aircraft Services International," Townes said.

When Townes was offered the job by Dial head John Teets, he decided to take an audacious tack.

"I very politely said, 'Sir, since I believe I'm being hired to be window dressing so you can improve the company and then sell it since it no longer fits with this consumer products company called Dial, why don't you just sell it to me?"

Townes said he budgeted half his savings and six months to get the deal done. Working from the walk-up attic of an ob/gyn office on Pelham Road, Townes spent 11 months and 110 percent of his savings.

"I was in my wilderness mode, with a lantern searching for capital," he said. "I knew if we could buy that company, we could really do something with it."

And he did. He eventually won out in his bid and went on to build a successful business that a few years later he sold to a larger conglomerate.

"We bought it as a somewhat undermanaged, rather tattered, enterprise. When we sold it, it was rated best in class," he said.

Steve Townes, president and CEO of Louis Berger Services, talks about his forever donation to the school he attended. MYKAL McELDOWNEY/Staff

Ranging on

Townes would go on to repeat the process with several other companies, all of them under the umbrella of his company Ranger Aerospace.

"Buy, build, improve, resell."

"That's what we did. That's what we became very, very good at," he said.

One of the most significant feathers in his cap was a company called Keystone Helicopter.

The 50-year-old, Philadelphia-based, family firm had been stagnant for several years, Townes said. He came in and changed all that, taking the company over four years from $38 million a year to $132 million a year.

He and his investors bought Keystone for $19 million and sold it for more than $90 million.

"I'm not a mathematician, but the finance guys told me it worked out really well for everybody," Townes quipped.

But even that dream story wasn't without its nightmares.

"August 23, 2003, was the day we ran out of cash. It was Thursday at 9 a.m.," he said.

In a monthly meeting of company leaders, the finance officer said under his breath, "Before we start the ops review, I think we're overdrawn at the bank," Townes recalled. Overdrawn to the tune of $1.6 million.

That sinking feeling in your gut? Townes knew it well at that moment.

He rallied investors to raise the funds and had the money back in the bank by noon the following day.

"The business went on to prosper in a really big way. Today that little $38 million company is $700 million and the centerpiece of Sikorsky Helicopter's services sector," Townes said.

Leading aerospace

In late 2008, Townes moved away from his "buy, build, improve, resell" pattern and started a firm called Ranger International Services Group.

The idea was to buy up and improve small aviation services firms to build a larger conglomerate.

"In the worst recession in 50 years, let's buy companies and build a $100 million enterprise. Oh, and let's do it in government services," he said. "It seems a little contrarian."

Seth Alvord, managing partner at private equity firm BalancePoint Capital Partners, worked with Townes to start Ranger International. He said the strength of Townes' personality alone was nearly enough to overcome the odds.

"He'd go through walls to get things done," he said. "He's been forged in steel, and people feel confident getting behind him."

Townes bought a few companies in a row and along the way relocated the headquarters of his company from the Dallas area back to Greenville, which he had left after departing Stevens Aviation but which always held a warm spot in his heart.

Four years after starting Ranger International, the industry was facing massive Department of Defense cuts and the budget sequestration. So Townes, who had always been on the buying end of a deal, put himself on the other side of the bargaining table and sold Ranger International to Berger Group, a $1 billion parent company based in New Jersey.

His company was renamed Louis Berger Services, and all of the operations and maintenance subsidiaries within Berger have been consolidated under Townes and his Greenville-based headquarters.

Now, instead of building a company for a few years and then "putting a ribbon on it" to sell to a bigger firm, the goal is to build his local company to $500 million or more by 2020, he said.

"You need a guy who's not afraid of that many zeroes in a number," said Phil Yanov, producer of Tech After Five and an active member of Greenville's business community.

"I don't know what he builds. I don't care," he said. "Having a mind like that working in our backyard, that's awesome."

John Warner, head of Innoventure, said having a "passionate, tenacious champion" like Townes changes Greenville for the better.

The two were recently meeting with government officials to discuss a new plan for a personal rapid transit system in Greenville.

"Even the more community-oriented projects need people like Steve behind them that bring passion and energy to them because that's how they get done," Warner said. "Anything he's gotten behind and pushed has been successful."

'Pack animals in perpetuity'

Townes' position in aerospace puts him on the leading edge of a boom for the industry in South Carolina. An Avalanche Consulting report from 2013 ranks the state No. 1 for growth in aerospace with a 600 percent increase in jobs over five years.

The industry currently employs 20,000 across more than 200 aerospace or aviation businesses, according to Allison Skipper with the state Department of Commerce.

Some might say Townes' success comes from a recalcitrant streak, a simple refusal to fail. It might be an apt comparison for someone who has spent part of his life and a chunk of his money on the animal whose name has become synonymous with stubbornness.

Two mules are the mascot for the Army as a whole. They're housed at and associated primarily with West Point where a handful of cadets known as mule riders train and care for them on a daily basis, including riding them onto the field during football games.

During his time at West Point, Townes was a mule rider and head Rabble Rouser ("not a cheerleader," he asserted).

About a dozen years ago, leaders at West Point had gotten word that one of their esteemed alums had sold a company for a huge gain and approached him about making a donation to his alma mater in the form of purchasing a mule.

"I did some quick math in my head, and I said, 'I tell you what, general, I'll buy them all,'" he said.

His one condition: that one of the mules always be named Ranger in honor of special operations forces living and dead. The two current mules, which came to the school in 2011, are Stryker and Ranger III.

"Some people give away chairs of economics, and I'm squandering my grandchildren's inheritance on pack animals in perpetuity," Townes said with a laugh.

Seemingly sprier than his 60-plus years — "vitamins and workouts help," he said — Townes said retirement isn't part of his future plans.

"I'd like to be the doddering old drooling fool that comes out at the Christmas party 20 or 30 years from now on my walker to give the short after-dinner speech about how good it was in the good old days," he said.

If things keep following the promising path that Townes has laid, they'll be good old days for sure.

Read the full article from Greenville Online.

The South is home to auto giants Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Nissan Motor Co. It is increasingly attracting some of the biggest names in aviation, including Boeing Co. in South Carolina, Airbus in Alabama, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. in Georgia and GE Aviation in North Carolina.

Aerospace companies are taking a cue from the auto industry and moving their manufacturing operations to Southern states. The region's lower costs, generous state incentive packages and right-to-work laws that make it hard for unions to organize are motivating these companies to choose the South.

Read the full article from USA Today by clicking here.

Among 136 BMW tier-one suppliers at the automaker's 2014 Tier 1 Supplier Diversity Matchmaker Conference targeting businesses owned by minorities and women, the president and CEO of The Daniele Co. stood out in the crowd. Gloria Shealey was the only one wearing a hard hat.

"She was our first African-American woman general contractor to do a job for us in our paint shop," Louise Connell, a BMW procurement buyer who organized the Thursday event, said of Shealey. Connell said the third annual diversity matchmaker provided a day of face-to-face time around dozens of booths at TD Convention Center.

Read the full article online from GSA Business.

Precorp Inc., which designs and manufactures precision tools for the automotive and aerospace industries, is relocating in Greer to a new, larger manufacturing facility and plans to eventually add at least 29 new jobs.

The new building represents a $14.8 million investment.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

Lockheed Martin's Greenville site has added to the Lockheed Martin Aircraft Maintenance Technology Endowed Scholarship Fund with a donation of $30,000.

The fund provides scholarship assistance to students at Greenville Technical College who are pursuing degrees in aircraft maintenance technology. The skills will enable them to repair, modify and maintain aircraft.

"We have had a long partnership with Greenville Tech. The college has provided training of aircraft technicians as well as persons with other in-demand skills. We look forward to building on this partnership," Lockheed Martin Greenville site director Don Erickson said in a news release.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

Carbures LLC plans to hire up to 100 more employees and invest $400 million more in Greenville in the next three years with the opening of its second local facility in as many years.

The Cadiz, Spain-based manufacturer produces carbon and composite structures for the automotive, aerospace and infrastructure markets. Growth has continued as these markets push for more lightweight, durable and sustainable parts.

Carbures entered the U.S. market in 2011 with the establishment of its first U.S. facility and headquarters at the S.C. Technology & Aviation Center in Greenville County.

Carbures has since opened a second facility in Seattle in February, and celebrated Wednesday the opening of its second facility in Greenville in the Beechtree Business Park, down the road from SCTAC. Carbures currently employs 51 people in the U.S.

"The Carbures' U.S. history is fast growing. The next goals of Carbures U.S. are to be a leader and a supplier of composite structures to the Southeast," Carbures U.S. CEO Ivan Contreras said. "We plan to hire 100 workers more and invest $400 million more in the next three years."

Read the full article from GSA Business.