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New Regional Export Plan will Increase Global Economic Competitiveness

Greenville, S.C. (March 16, 2015) – At its Annual Meeting on March 11, 2015, the Upstate SC Alliance released a regional export plan outlining specific steps local business, civic and government leaders will take to promote economic development in the 10-county Upstate region. It assessed the Upstate’s current export climate, sets market-based goals for increasing exports and lays out strategies for supporting local businesses in increasing exports.

The plan is the culmination of a year-long process conducted under the region’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative helps business and civic leaders grow their metropolitan economies by strengthening international connections and competitiveness.  GCI activities include producing data and research to guide decisions, fostering practice and policy innovations, and facilitating its Exchange, a peer learning network. As part of the Exchange, the Upstate SC Alliance is developing a regional global trade and investment plan.

“The Upstate has a strong history of leadership in economic development from both the business and civic community,” noted Irv Welling, the region’s champion for the plan. “Over the past several decades, their support for international recruitment has transitioned our region from low wage, low cost manufacturing to a center of high-quality advanced manufacturing with world-class traded clusters. This plan with its focus on increasing exports is a continuation of their work and will help transition the region from a global player to a leader in the world economy.”

“After the Great Recession, smart economic development leaders are reorienting their efforts from a one-dimensional focus on domestic business attraction toward a broader array of strategic growth initiatives that include global opportunities,” said Marek Gootman, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives. “With this export plan, Upstate South Carolina is developing an economic strategy focused on long-term growth and competitiveness for the region and its firms.”

Yet exports are an under-used economic development tool and only five percent of U.S. firms currently export. This export strategy will help businesses across the 10-county region of Upstate South Carolina capitalize on the growing consumer class outside the United States to strengthen the local economy and grow jobs at home.

“As the global economy changes around us, we must explore new strategies to increase the competitiveness of our region. The Global Cities Initiative provides a supportive framework for our public, private and non-profit sectors to collaborate and leverage our combined assets to grow the Upstate region,” stated Upstate SC Alliance president/CEO John Lummus.

“The Regional Export Plan is the right strategy at the right time for ensuring the economic prosperity of the Upstate. As an economic developer, it allows us to grow and strengthen our existing industries by leveraging the assets that we have developed as a region through years of successful international recruitment,” stated Carter Smith, executive vice president of Spartanburg’s Economic Futures Group and co-chair of the Upstate Economic Developers Group.

The local Upstate SC team is continually building its list of companies that export or have the potential to grow their international activity; if your company exports or is interested in exporting, or if you know of another company that is, please contact the Upstate SC Alliance to discuss your current activities.

For more information on the Global Cities Initiative please visit www.brookings.edu/projects/global-cities.aspx or www.jpmorganchase.com/globalcities.

Contact:
Jennifer Miller, jmiller@upstatealliance.com, 864-283-2316
Christine Holevas, christine.holevas@chase.com, 312-732-6206
Grace Palmer, gpalmer@brookings.edu, 401-644-6403

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Rite Aid's first new distribution facility in 15 years set to open in 2016, expected to create nearly 600 new jobs

Rite Aid Corporation announced today plans to build a 900,000-square-foot distribution center in Spartanburg, S.C. The new distribution center is expected to employ nearly 600 people after it becomes fully operational and will support the inventory and fulfillment needs of approximately 1,000 Rite Aid stores in the southeastern United States. The Spartanburg distribution center, a $90 million project, will be Rite Aid’s first new distribution facility in 15 years.

In April 2014, after a comprehensive review of its supply chain and logistics network, Rite Aid announced its plan to consolidate three of its existing distribution centers, located in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Poca, W.Va., into one new facility, as part of its ongoing efforts to improve operating efficiency across the company. The new site’s convenient location along the I-85 corridor offers easy access to markets across the Southeast.

Information on employment opportunities at Rite Aid’s new facility in Spartanburg will be made available in the second half of 2015. Currently, Rite Aid employs nearly 1,400 and operates 95 stores in South Carolina.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to the project. Additionally, the South Carolina Power Team, in conjunction with Broad River Electric Cooperative, committed a $520,000 grant for infrastructure in support of the project.

“Connectivity is important to all facets of business and Rite Aid's decision to locate their distribution center in the Upstate is a testament to our ability to support continued growth in the Southeast. We welcome Rite Aid to the region and congratulate the economic development team in South Carolina on another great win.” 
–Upstate S.C. Alliance President and CEO John Lummus

News Coverage: Spartanburg Herald Journal  |  MarketWatch  |  Upstate Business Journal  | GSA Business  |  FoxCarolina

Construction and transportation machinery manufacturer investing $41 million to create an expected 131 new jobs
  
Kobelco Construction Machinery Co., Ltd., a company that specializes in the manufacture, sale and service of construction and transport machinery, is establishing operations in Spartanburg County. The $41 million investment is expected to generate 131 new jobs in Moore, S.C.
 
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Japan, Kobelco Construction Machinery is one of nine business domains of the Kobe Steel Group. Globally, the group, which was first established in 1905, employs close to 40,000 workers worldwide. Included among the main products and services provided by the Kobelco Construction Machinery are hydraulic excavators, mini excavators, wheel loaders and road construction equipment. 
 
Kobelco's Spartanburg County operations will specialize in the manufacturing of hydraulic excavators. Located off of the Moore-Duncan Highway in Moore, S.C, the approximately 156,000-square-foot production facility and stand-alone office building will be positioned in close proximity to both I-26 and I-85. The facility will allow Kobelco to reduce the production lead time of machineries for its North American customers and improve capability for meeting market needs. The new factory will be incorporated into the company's North American subsidiary, Kobelco Construction Machinery U.S.A. Inc., which is headquartered in Katy, Texas.
 
Kobelco Construction Machinery reentered the U.S. market in 2013. Since that time, the firm has concluded dealer agreements with 62 companies, 52 of which are based in North America. Until now, the entire sales volume has been shipped from the company's Hiroshima Itsukaichi factory in Japan. The establishment of this Spartanburg County facility will reduce operational burden on Hiroshima plant while also allowing for the creation of an optimal group-wide production system.
 
Construction of the facility is expected to be completed in December 2015. Hiring for most of the new positions is anticipated to take place in July 2015. Interested candidates should contact Norma Sanchez, Human Resource Manager of Kobelco Construction Machinery U.S.A., Inc., at SCFactoryEmployment@kobelconet.com. For more information on Kobelco Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. please visit www.kobelco-kenki.co.jp and for Kobelco Construction Machinery U.S.A., Inc. please visit www.kobelco-usa.com.
 
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $750,000 set aside grant to assist with the costs of real property improvements as well as job development credits related to the project.

News Coverage: Equipment World Magazine  |  International Construction  |  ForConstructionPros.com  |  GSA Business  |  Upstate Business Journal

$2 million investment by automotive supplier to bring new jobs

PecTec Corporation, a supplier of top-quality semi-finished and finished metal products for the automotive industry, is establishing its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County. The $2 million investment is expected to create 15 new jobs in Spartanburg, S.C.
 
Founded in the summer of 2014 in Spartanburg, S.C., PecTec Corporation operates under the Braun GmbH umbrella. Braun, a German-based firm, was founded in 1992 to provide customers with a wide range of non-ferrous metals. PecTec is Braun's first international production operation. 
 
Located at 130 Corporate Drive in Spartanburg, PecTec will provide customers with a line-up of non-ferrous metals finished in a variety of different types and designs. Included in the company's offerings are foils, strips and sheets of aluminum, aluminum alloy, copper, copper alloy and stainless steel. Once it's fully operational, the 11,600-square-foot Spartanburg facility is expected to produce more than six million linear meters of product annually.
 
Hiring for the new positions is expected to begin this month. Those interested in applying may contact info@pectec.us. For more information on PecTec Corporation, please visit www.pectec.us

News Coverage:  Area Development  |  Upstate Business Journal  |  GSA Business  |  GoUpstate.com

Suminoe Textile of America Corporation, a supplier of textile products for the North American automotive market, is investing $5 million to expand its needle punch automotive carpet facility in Cherokee County, South Carolina, with plans to create 100 jobs.

Read the full article from Area Development online.

CRR Carbon Resources Recovery SC LLC, which uses recycled tires to manufacture renewable energy products, plans to invest $20 million in a new Anderson County facility that will employ 30 people, the S.C. Department of Commerce announced Friday.

The Commerce Department said CRR would work in a joint venture with an unnamed partner that can design, finance, develop, construct, operate and manage large-scale energy projects. Additional details about the joint venture and CRR were unavailable.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

The Upstate SC Alliance would like to congratulate Greenville Area Development Corporation and the City of Mauldin on the following project: 

Company investing $3.5 million and creating 260 new jobs in City of Mauldin

Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest provider of telecommunications products and services, is expanding its existing operations in Greenville County. To accommodate its continued growth, the company is investing $3.5 million and creating 260 new jobs.

Employing a diverse workforce of more than 160,000 and headquartered in New York, Verizon Wireless and its industry-leading network provide a variety of products and services to consumers and businesses nationwide. In addition to its wireless services, Verizon Wireless offers a premiere, all-fiber network, which helps the company deliver integrated solutions to millions of consumers and businesses around the world.

Located at 700 Brookfield Parkway in Mauldin, S.C., Verizon Wireless plans to consolidate services in its customer service and telesales divisions at its existing Greenville County operations. Hiring for the new positions is projected to begin immediately, and interested applicants should visit the company's careers page online for more information.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.

QUOTES

"With access to an outstanding workforce and an 'open for business' policy by state and local officials, we are truly looking forward to expanding our presence in Greenville. As we work to streamline our national operations and improve the total customer experience, our center in Greenville has a proven track record of providing outstanding results and delivers great service to our customers nationwide." -Verizon Wireless Customer Care Senior Vice President Christine Baron

"Today, we congratulate Verizon Wireless on the announcement of its latest South Carolina expansion. By creating 260 new jobs in Greenville County, Verizon Wireless is making a real commitment to the community and to our state as a whole, and we are excited for the continued success we know this partnership will bring." -Gov. Henry McMaster

"It's wonderful to see such a world-renowned company like Verizon Wireless not just locate in South Carolina, but grow and thrive as well. This expansion announcement is a tremendous win for Greenville County, and it shows the world that South Carolina continues to be 'Just right' for business." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

"The City of Mauldin is always pleased to see the expansion of yet another existing business within our city.  Verizon has been a great business partner in Mauldin for many years and their expansion showcases the strong business opportunities they have created.  Their expansion exhibits another great example of the health of our business community and why it makes sense to set up shop or expand operations in our great City.  Congratulations team Verizon and the City of Mauldin wishes you much continued success." -Dennis Raines, Mayor of City of Mauldin

"Verizon is a world-class leader in wireless technology as well as broadband and fiber. The Mauldin community has called them a good neighbor for over 14 years, and we congratulate their continued growth and appreciate their dedication to our community." -Greenville County Council Chairman H.G. (Butch) Kirven Jr.

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • Verizon Wireless is expanding Greenville County operations.
  • $3.5 million investment to create 260 new jobs.
  • Headquartered in New York, Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the United States.
  • Located at 700 Brookfield Parkway in Mauldin, S.C. the company will be consolidating services in its customer service and telesales divisions. 
  • Hiring for the new positions is expected to begin immediately, and interested applicants should visit the company's careers page online

The Upstate SC Alliance would like to congratulate Greenville Area Development Corporation on the following project: 

Financial services company investing $30 million in new Mauldin facility

BB&T, one of the largest financial services holding companies in the United States, today announced the construction of a new facility in Greenville County. The development represents a capital investment of $30 million.

Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., BB&T operates more than 2,196 financial centers in 15 states and offers a full range of consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage and insurance products and services. A Fortune 500 company, BB&T has been recognized for outstanding client satisfaction by the U.S. Small Business Administration and named one of the world's strongest banks by Bloomberg Markets magazine.

Located at 825 East Butler Road in Mauldin, S.C., BB&T will be constructing a new 140,000-square-foot mortgage servicing center, which will house more than 600 BB&T associates. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the fourth quarter of 2017.

QUOTES

"The construction of this new mortgage servicing center is indicative of BB&T's commitment to South Carolina, Mauldin and the greater Greenville area. With this state-of-the-art facility, we will be better equipped to provide our clients with superior service, as we help them fulfill the dream of homeownership." -BB&T Mortgage Lending President Tol Broome

"BB&T has been a tremendous partner to our state for years, and this new investment in Greenville shows that they remain committed to South Carolina and our people. We are grateful to BB&T for its commitment and congratulate its leadership on the decision to expand here." -Gov. Henry McMaster

"Not only is South Carolina leading the way in advanced manufacturing, our office and shared services industry is also thriving. BB&T's decision to expand its footprint in our state is a testament to the increasingly diverse economy we've cultivated here." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

"County council is very pleased with BB&T's continued commitment to Greenville County and grateful for its new mortgage servicing facility. This affirms what we already know - that Greenville is an ideal place for financial institutions' operations and headquarters, and we greatly appreciate their contributions to our great County." -Greenville County Council Chairman H.G. (Butch) Kirven Jr.

"The City of Mauldin is proud to welcome BB&T's Mortgage Division to our city. The addition of BB&T will positively impact our community and generate more opportunities for the entire Upstate, and we are committed to working with them to make this endeavor a huge success. Mauldin has worked diligently to enhance opportunities for growth and development. Our geographic location, outstanding infrastructure and exceptional quality of life make Mauldin an excellent choice for business. Congratulations BB&T, and welcome to Mauldin." -City of Mauldin Mayor Dennis Raines

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • BB&T is constructing a new mortgage servicing center in Greenville County.
  • $30 million of new capital investment.
  • Headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C., BB&T is one of the largest financial services holdings companies in the United States.
  • The new facility will be located at 825 East Butler Road in Mauldin, S.C.Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Upstate SC Alliance would like to congratulate Greenville Area Development Corporation on the following project: 
 

Technology firm investing $3.5 million in new equipment

Sencorables LLC, a developer of diversified IoT (Internet of Things) products, today announced its plans for an expansion of its Greenville County operations. The company is expected to invest $3.5 million and create 25 jobs over the next three years.
 
Incorporated in 2015, Sencorables' principle objective is to use its patented and fundamentally-unique way of digital sensing to develop, in close cooperation with industry partners, a variety of IoT products. The company's current focus is on its flagship products, Sencorfloors™ and Sencormats™, which detect presence, movement and direction of individual people in real-time.
 
Located at 1040 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Greenville, S.C., Sencorables will add 25 jobs in the IoT development fields over the next three years and invest in new equipment at its Greenville research and development center. Hiring is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2017, and interested applicants should visit the company's website for more information.
 
QUOTES
 
"Our unique way of sensing enables us to use the floor, the most natural and central data source, as a competitive sensor for the first time, at a very attractive cost point. The data generated is more accurate and comprehensive than other sources and can replace many sensors currently in use. The same technology can be embedded and used in a variety of other products, industries and verticals, such as healthcare, bedding or automotive industries. Our vision is to, in close cooperation with specialized industry partners, develop unique products for those that make use of our technology. We found some of our partners right here in Greenville County." -Sencorables CEO Willem Biesheuvel
 
"South Carolina continues to lead the way in innovation, and Sencorables' latest investment in Greenville County is further proof of that. Our state is a place where companies of all kinds can find success, and we're excited to see what the future holds for Sencorables." -Gov. Henry McMaster
 
"The technology sector represents a vital part of South Carolina's economic present and future, and we are excited to see a great company like Sencorables continue its growth. This $3.5 million investment and the 25 new jobs they are creating will make a big difference in Greenville County, and I look forward to watching them succeed for years to come." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
 
"Greenville, South Carolina is a hotbed for innovation with its talented workforce and community resources. We are grateful to have Sencorables expand its operations here, and look forward to the company's future success." -Greenville County Councilman Fred Payne
 
FIVE FAST FACTS

  • Sencorables LLC is expanding its Greenville County operations.
  • $3.5 million investment to create 25 new jobs.
  • Sencorables is a developer of diversified Internet of Things (IoT) products. 
  • The company is located at 1040 Thousand Oaks Boulevard in Greenville, S.C. 
  • Hiring is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2017, and interested applicants should visit the company's website for more information

Chemical manufacturing operation will bring $13 million of new investment

PIDC (Pacific Industrial Development Corporation), a specialty chemicals manufacturer, intends to open a manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County. The development is projected to bring at least $13 million of capital investment and create 53 new jobs over the next five years.
 
With operations in five countries, PIDC is a chemical company focused on innovative research and development of advanced materials, including specialty alumina materials, rare earth powders, aqueous solutions and a variety of proprietary, formulated powders.
 
Located at 5396 N. Blackstock Road in Spartanburg, S.C., the company will be moving into two buildings totaling approximately 110,000 square feet. Hiring for the new positions is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017, and interested applicants should visit the company's careers page online.
 
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.
 
QUOTES

 
"We couldn't be happier that we have decided to expand our company to Spartanburg County in South Carolina. From our first visit there last July, the community has opened their arms to welcome us. We are excited to bring jobs and manufacturing to South Carolina." -PIDC CEO Wei Wu
 
"We're proud to welcome PIDC to the South Carolina business community and look forward to seeing all that we know they will achieve in the Upstate. With a workforce at its disposal that is second to none and one of the most competitive business environments in the world, we know that PIDC will have the tools necessary for success." -Gov. Henry McMaster
 
"Congratulations to PIDC for deciding to launch this new facility in Spartanburg. With today's announcement, PIDC joins an impressive roster of globally-respected manufacturing firms that operate here, advancing South Carolina's pro-business reputation." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
 
"PIDC's announcement represents another indicator that this is an exciting time for industry in Spartanburg County. PIDC's plan to repurpose an existing manufacturing facility and expand the workforce opportunities underscore that Spartanburg is a great place for businesses to build their future." -David Britt, Spartanburg County Economic Development Committee Chairman and Economic Futures Group Board Member

FIVE FAST FACTS

  • PIDC is establishing a new manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County.
  • $13 million investment to create 53 new jobs.
  • PIDC is a specialty chemicals manufacturer with existing operations in five countries.
  • The company's new facility will be located at 5396 N. Blackstock Road in Spartanburg, S.C. 
  • Interested applicants for the new jobs should visit the company's careers page online. 

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