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In honor of National Manufacturing Day, we would like to thank the 1,400-plus manufacturers that call Upstate South Carolina home. Supported by these companies, the Upstate is consistently ranked as one of the top states for doing business in the United States and the region’s leadership role in the manufacturing renaissance has played a part in that success. Consider the following facts about manufacturing in Upstate South Carolina:


  • Manufacturing accounts for over 96,000 jobs in the Upstate, representing over 17% of the region’s labor force.
  • Two of the top five employers in the Upstate, Michelin and BMW, are automotive manufacturers that together produce more than 16,000 jobs.
  • More than 150 automotive-related companies, including BMW, Michelin, ZF Group, Proterra, BorgWarner and more, have chosen to do business in the Upstate.
  • The Upstate is home to more than 50 aviation and aerospace-related companies, including GE Aviation, Parker Hannifin TechSeal Division, Lockheed Martin and Champion Aerospace.
  • From 2007-2010, companies in medical devices and equipment added 15% more jobs and 13% more companies in South Carolina.
  • Manufacturing accounted for 17.3 percent of the state GDP in South Carolina in 2013 according to figures published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and 24/7 Wall St.


It’s clear that Upstate South Carolina has grown to become a global center for manufacturing success and we look forward to continue to celebrate the many accomplishments of this region and its partners.


For more information on how businesses can take utilize the many advantages of the Upstate, visit

Posted in: Celebrations, Rankings & Recognitions

Tags: manufacturing, Manufacturing Renaissance, national manufacturing day

We would like to congratulate Upstate-based T&S Brass and Bronze Works, Inc., a leading manufacturer of faucets, fittings and specialty products for the foodservice, industrial, commercial plumbing and laboratory markets, on being named a finalist in IndustryWeek’s 2014 Best Plants competition. Presented annually, IW’s Best Plants Competition recognizes manufacturers that excel in select performance metrics, their commitment to improve and an engaged workforce.


T&S and its team of 200-plus employees manufacture products known for their durability from the company’s headquarters in Greenville County. T&S’ South Carolina manufacturing facility helps to support distribution facilities in California and China and has led to significant growth in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Canada, Japan, Southeast Asia and South America.


Founded in 1947, T&S was founded by Long Island-based plumbers George Theisen and Carl Spatt. By the 1970s, T&S grew from a pair of plumbers making products in their garage to a serious manufacturer serving the commercial restaurant business that outgrew its facilities in New York. After an extensive search for a location, T&S found a new home in Travelers Rest, S.C. where it has been headquartered since 1978.


The winners of this year’s IndustryWeek Best Plants Competition will be profiled in the January 2015 issue of IndustryWeek and honored at the IndustryWeek Best Plants conference, held May 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.

Posted in: Celebrations, Rankings & Recognitions

Tags: IndustryWeek, T&S, Travelers Rest, greenville county, best plants, awards

Upstate SC Alliance President and CEO John Lummus recently highlighted the importance of the Export-Import Bank and shares his thoughts on why it’s critical to reauthorize this highly effective business resource in this piece at

“The Upstate’s economy is closely connected to the global economy. This is a real strength for our region and gives us more resilience in weathering economic slowdowns in the U.S. economy. We have companies with operations here from all over the world. Our Upstate counties include 372 international companies representing 31 countries including Germany, Japan, China, Italy, Korea and France, which means we are successfully competing globally from the Upstate.

We need every available tool that we can find to keep us competitive in the world market that includes emerging economies in China, India, Brazil and other places that are eager to welcome new businesses and the jobs that go with them. One of the tools available to Upstate companies is the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank)… Read More at


Posted in: News you can use

Tags: Export-Import Bank, John Lummus

In Area Development’s recent survey on the Top States for Doing Business, South Carolina was recognized among the best with a No. 3 ranking. Judged by a survey of site consultants, the rankings are based on the number of mentions by the consultants in three overall categories—business environment, labor climate and infrastructure and global access—as well as in 18 subcategories.


Within the subcategories of the report, South Carolina was specifically noted for being the No. 1 in its low overall cost of doing business and No. 2 in its highly regarded incentive programs, cooperative state government and certified sites with shovel-readiness. Also noted was South Carolina’s consistent, high quality workforce, which is strengthened through state workforce -training systems like readySCTM, continued developments in STEM-based and university-research driven education programs and creative incubation hubs. 


Bill Luttrell, Senior Locations Strategist at Werner Global Logistics provided commentary on the recent report; specifically on the Southern States domination of the list (8 out of the 10 top states are located in the South). When commenting on the future of business in the region, Luttrell highlights the South’s strong performance and continued competitive edge:


“This is all good news for the investor. From their perspective, the region offers a location where it can set up easily, source locally or import using local world-class ports, make a product at a reasonable price with reasonable regulations, and sell a product directly into the heart of the largest consumer base in the world — with the biggest expansion of this base being their own region. 


To the South, this means jobs. To continue this success, the region must provide skilled workers, and the workforce development agencies of these states are among the best. The reason the South dominates the survey — they work together to welcome and nourish the investor. Expect the Southern States to be here on the list next year as well. “


In order to prove to interested companies that the South indeed is one of the best places to do business, it’s crucial that states offer support and services to “welcome and nourish the investor,” – a mission Upstate Alliance is dedicated to fulfilling.


“Our team offers a litany of services that can help any company looking to move to the Upstate,” said Jennifer Miller, Vice President and COO of Upstate Alliance. “From finding the perfect location, to gathering critical market intelligence and establishing business connections, we educate them on the area and its offerings, connect them to the resources and information they need and support them in their entire decision making process.”


For more information about Upstate South Carolina and its favorable business climate please visit

Posted in: Rankings & Recognitions

Tags: site selection, area development, economic development, Rankings, south carolina, skilled workforce

Like Upstate South Carolina, the northwest region of the United Kingdom has evolved from a predominately textile-based industry to an area considered a leader in advanced manufacturing with a concentration in the materials, automotive and aerospace industries. The similarities between the Upstate and the United Kingdom have made it possible for the two regions to offer each other ample business, trade and investment relationships.

Upstate Alliance’s own CEO, John Lummus and Business Recruitment Officer, Jacob Hickman recently returned from a trip to the northwest region of the United Kingdom where the two met with companies from a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace and advanced materials to expand the Upstate’s relationship network in the UK. Lummus and Hickman also met with the UK Trade & Investment Group (UKTI), a government department that provides expert trade advice and practical support to UK-based companies looking to grow their business overseas.

(Upstate Alliance CEO John Lummus [right] toured a number of facilities on a recent trip to the UK, including those at Alstom)

“The Upstate houses over 30 UK companies and we’ve been working diligently the past few years to open even more doors with UKTI and the Manchester and Liverpool Chambers of Commerce,” said Lummus.  “During this trip we established a great working relationship with UKTI and were able to share the litany of services Upstate Alliance offers, such as gathering critical market insight, finding the perfect real estate location, establishing business connections and offering support to make the move as easy as possible.”

“Upstate Alliance’s growing relationship with UKTI will be a valuable resource in expanding its network in the UK, enabling the Upstate to reach broader business audiences and enhanced recruiting efforts,” added Hickman. “There are a lot of great synergies and opportunities for future partnerships between the Upstate and this region in terms of trade and investment. We will continue to nurture these relationships and are already planning to host a delegation during the first part of 2015.”

(The Port of Liverpool was one of the stops on Upstate Alliance's recent trip to the UK)

For more information about the Upstate’s global business climate and current international initiatives please visit

(Upstate Alliance Business Recruitment Officer Jacob Hickman tours the Port of Liverpool)

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Tags: UK, Mission Trips, international, global, Europe, John Lummus, Jacob Hickman, UKTI

Congratulations to the KIYATEC team! Greenville based KIYATEC got a nearly $2M boost from the National Cancer Institute to advance predictive cancer diagnostics. The award will allow the company to expand its 3D technology in treating breast cancer and a type of brain cancer. The funded contract has the potential to radically change the future of cancer patient care. KIYATEC’s COO, David Orr, chairs the Upstate SC Alliance bio task force. Congratulations to the entire KIYATEC team! Bio business moves in Upstate South Carolina!

KIYATEC wins $2M cancer research contract | Upstate Business Journal

Official Press Release:

KIYATEC announced today that it has been awarded a $1.975 million, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Contract from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the 27 institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Over the course of the two year award, KIYATEC will expand its 3D breast cancer model to address two issues at the forefront of cancer therapy strategies: 1) cancer’s interaction with the patient’s immune system (immuno-oncology) and 2) cancer’s interaction with the patient’s blood supply (angiogenesis).  The award will also allow KIYATEC to broaden its technology platform beyond its current use in primary ovarian cancer and breast cancer testing and into glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of brain cancer with a five year survival rate that is less than 10 percent.  The funded contract has the potential to radically change the future of cancer patient care.

The NCI contract will further KIYATEC’s mission to arm doctors with drug response profiling (DRP) information that indicates how a patient will actually respond to cancer drugs by growing and treating their live cancer cells in a laboratory.  This will allow the doctor to choose the best drug for that particular patient based on prediction of their response, before the patient starts therapy.  KIYATEC applies a unique approach by using 3D cell culture techniques designed to maximize the accuracy of that prediction, thus also maximizing the patient’s treatment outcome and benefit. The approach also translates to late stage “pre-clinical” drug screening, wherein pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are deciding which drug among a short list of final candidates to advance into a clinical trial for use with patients.

"This contract is exciting because it recognizes the great potential of our technology, team and strategy to have significant impact on drug development and clinical care." said Matt Gevaert, Ph.D., KIYATEC’s CEO. "The immediate impact will be to use our 3D breast and GBM models to identify the most active therapies prior to being tested in patients, but our ultimate goal is to use our 3D micro-tumors as a diagnostic in a clinical trial setting or for real-time clinical decision-making by oncologists.” The KIYATEC team on the contract is led by Hal Crosswell, MD, KIYATEC’s chief medical officer and contract principal investigator, and Tessa DesRochers, Ph.D., a principal scientist at KIYATEC and the contract’s co-principal investigator.

KIYATEC’s success in this project would expand the number of options oncologists have to more effectively fight cancer alongside their patients.  For example, the growing field of immuno-oncology seeks to reduce cancer associated inflammation or harness the body’s innate ability to generate an effective immune response against tumor cells. Recreating these delicate relationships is complicated and involves creating living, interacting versions of both the patient’s tumor and their immune system, which is difficult to do in conventional 2D and mouse models and is a goal of KIYATEC’s award.  “Clever incorporation of this kind of complex biology, for example inflammation and the immune system, into our collective tool belt has the potential to completely transform how we treat cancer,” said Larry Gluck, MD, medical director of Greenville Health System’s Cancer Institute. “Working in conjunction with the GHS Institute for Translational Oncology Research, KIYATEC is well positioned to help individualize therapy and markedly increase the effectiveness of the therapies we administer.”

The SBIR program provides federal funding to small Research/R&D businesses that have a potential for commercialization.  In September 2013, KIYATEC was awarded an approximately $295,000 Phase I NCI SBIR contract upon which this larger Phase II contract builds.  The Phase II contract is being funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services under Contract No. HHSN261201400019C.

For more information on KIYATEC visit


KIYATEC prioritizes accurate ex vivo prediction of patients’ response to drug treatment, with a focus on data correlation to human clinical outcomes. The company creates and utilizes live phenotypic 3D cell-based models for drug response profiling.  These models are applied in order to generate information relevant to preclinical testing, clinical trials and clinical diagnostics applications. By accurately predicting patient drug response without ever exposing actual patients to drugs, KIYATEC will create informed drug selection that minimizes clinical trials’ failures and maximizes patient outcomes in the clinic. For more information, please visit or follow KIYATEC on Twitter (@KIYATEC).

Posted in: Celebrations

Tags: KIYATEC, south carolina, SC, Greenville Health System, breast cancer, Institute for Translational Oncology Research, National Cancer Institute, 3D

Clemson University automotive engineering graduate student and champion of STEM education named university’s first Bosch Fellow Monday

As employers worldwide are coping with significant talent shortages, German engineering company Bosch is combating the manufacturing industry’s shortage of a skilled workforce with an eye toward the future, inspiring the next generation workforce with the Bosch Community Fund (BCF) and fellowship program.

South Carolina –based Clemson University is realizing the impact of the program after Mike Mansuetti, President of Robert Bosch, LLC , pledged $500,000 for Clemson’s automotive-engineering fellowships and named automotive engineering graduate student Vismita Sonagra as Clemson’s first Bosch fellow on Monday.  

As part of this fellowship, Sonagra received $20,000 to support her work at local elementary and middle schools, where she participates in activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Mansuetti is confident in the positive impact of STEM education on tomorrow’s workforce, as quoted in Clemson University’s news release:

“Vismita and her classmates represent the workforce of the future. She is well on her way, and we are excited by the potential of those who will follow in her footsteps in the future. Together, Bosch and Clemson will help move students into STEM-related careers and help individuals reach their full potential. We see tremendous opportunities now and in the future for students with a strong STEM background.”

Recruiting and keeping students in the STEM fields is a national problem raising concerns that a significant portion of the population could be neglecting some of the country’s fastest-growing and highest-paying job opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16% of high school students are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Bosch funding will help develop and inform students about the opportunities available in STEM fields.

Other STEM initiatives are beginning to gain footing in the Upstate, including A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering, South Carolina’s first engineering and technology elementary which opened in 2009.  The school focuses on developing critical thinking and communication skills and fostering creativity through engineering, team work and technology. Industry partners include Fluor, GE Energy, Hubbell Lighting and Michelin who provide a variety of support, including hands-on learning opportunities.

Middle and high schools in the Upstate have also implemented new curriculum with a focus on project-based learning programs that will prepare students for the subject matter and soft-skills they’ll need in college and their careers. Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School opened in August on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) Millennium campus, offering opportunities for CU-ICAR students to visit the school and collaborate with young students —one of the core reasons the Bosch Fellowship was designed.

Imtiaz Haque, founding chair of the Clemson University automotive engineering department and executive director of the Carroll A. Campbell Graduate Engineering Center at CU-ICAR commented:

“She [Sonagra] is the first of what will be many fellows who will help keep America competitive in the 21st century. The Bosch endowment helps us attain two major goals, namely bringing exceptional talent to the automotive engineering program and creating an exceptional talent pool for the STEM fields that are so critical to our future success as a nation.”

Bosch operates in nearly 50 countries, with more than 30 locations in the U.S., including three in the Upstate of South Carolina. In addition to the Bosch endowment, the company has partnered with Clemson University for a cooperative education program since 2000.

Posted in: Colleges & Universities, News you can use, Upstate Thoughts

Tags: STEM, education, next generation workforce, Clemson University, Bosch

The power of innovation is an ongoing discussion throughout the manufacturing industry – what’s not to be overlooked is the power that a strong advanced manufacturing society can have on driving innovation. Developing an innovation “eco-system” is one of the key priorities for the Upstate in its mission to expand the value chain of its existing advanced manufacturing economy.

In a recent article on America’s manufacturing future, Jefferey L. Chidester, Director of Policy Programs at the University of Virginia's Miller Center,  discussed America’s ability to win in the future in manufacturing with big trends and small firms: “The future of American manufacturing will be won by innovative small and medium-sized companies out to change the world – but only if they have the tools they need to compete.”

While many areas throughout the country have innovative companies, not everyone has a tool box that includes state and private funding, university-research driven education, creative incubation hubs and most importantly, stories of success.

For the State of South Carolina, the Upstate is leading the innovation game. In total, the Upstate accounted for more than 60% of the patents from the state’s top metro areas over the past decade. In the Upstate patents originate from both large multi-national organizations such as GE Power & Water, Electrolux, Michelin, and Milliken in addition to applied research at Clemson University, which has resulted in several successful spin-off companies like Poly-Med, Kiyatec, and Advanced Photonic Crystals. 

Earlier this year, GE Power & Water announced plans to invest more than $400 million over the next ten years in Greenville, S.C., the Upstate’s biggest city, to “drive development of best-in-class technology,” with the expansion of the company’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, including the construction of a state-of-the-art Power & Water advanced manufacturing facility. Check out this video for GE’s take on a new era of manufacturing and how innovation is impacting the industry today:

As the Upstate’s manufacturing strength grows, the state of South Carolina has demonstrated its commitment to leading innovation with the Department of Commerce’s new  Office of Innovation. This office is focused on strengthening the innovation and technology-based job creation power in South Carolina. One example of these efforts is the South Carolina Innovation Challenge, providing up to $2.5 million in competitive funding for projects that focus on fostering technology-based economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation through university collaboration, local government participation or public-private partnerships. Projects at 14 organizations throughout the state have already received funding, including four projects in the Upstate: the NEXT Ecosystem Expansion, Innovate Electric City, STEMLinx: South Carolina’s One Stop Discovery Site for STEM Resources and Spartanburg Entrepreneurial Resource Network.

The Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN), a group of accredited investors who invest in and support start-up companies and early-stage high growth businesses, has also been instrumental in supporting projects in the Upstate. UCAN was recently ranked No. 8 out of 370 angel investor groups by CB Insights, a New York City firm that tracks investments in private companies. The funding that UCAN provides helps keep entrepreneurs in the Upstate for development—a crucial element in sustaining the Upstate’s innovation eco-system. Further, angel investment groups like UCAN have helped nurture the success of small to midsize start-ups in South Carolina such as Selah Genomics, which  was acquired by EKF Diagnostics, a UK-based point-of-care diagnostics firm in April 2014 in a deal valued at over $70 million—more than 10 times UCAN’s investment.

Industry and education collaboration is another important way that the Upstate is sustaining innovation in manufacturing. As many companies in the U.S. are facing a manufacturing talent shortage, the Upstate is building the pipeline for industry-ready educational development.

Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research provides a great example on the graduate level, but the Upstate is also exploring ways to implement innovation and creative inquiry based curriculum much earlier in the educational experience beginning with the opening of A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering in 2009, the first engineering and technology based elementary school in South Carolina. The start of the 2014 school year has also brought new developments in a STEM-based education program at three Upstate middle schools and two high schools, where classrooms are starting to look more like a technical work place than a classroom, with the goal of preparing students for the jobs of the future.

While it’s clear that the Upstate holds a wide breadth of industry expertise today, it is forward-thinking moves like South Carolina’s creation of the Office of Innovation and the integration of STEM based curriculum and creative inquiry at all stages of the education system that have the power to sustain an ecosystem of innovation in the long term. The nexus between education, industry and government in the Upstate is the catalyst for its future success.

For more information on how the Upstate has become a center for innovation, please visit:


Posted in: News you can use, Rankings & Recognitions, Upstate Thoughts

Tags: innovation, manufacturing, technology, STEM, GE, patent