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Dr. Amod Ogale, director of Clemson University’s Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films, recently received $2 million for collaborative research that aims to lower the cost of carbon fibers. According to a Clemson University news release, Ogale’s latest round of funding comes as part of a collaboration with the Center for Composite Materials at University of Delaware. The center, which is leading the research, has received $14.9 million from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency for the Tailorable Feedstock and Forming Program.

We congratulate Dr. Ogale on his research and collaboration with multiple agencies to seek solutions for the advanced materials sector, which supports the Upstate’s strong automotive and aerospace presences and has grown in its own right in recent years. 

In the Upstate, advanced materials companies employ 38,883, which is 77 percent above the national average and growing, with 1 percent growth from 2014-2015.

We’ve seen tremendous growth in the sector, which includes plastics companies such as Plastic Omnium, Mitsubishi Polyester Film; optics and photonics producers such as AFL Telecommunications and Ceramtec; advanced textiles manufacturers such as BBA Fiberweb and Cytec Carbon Fiber; and metalworking and fabrication such as Fisher Barton and Spartanburg Steel.

As the United States manufacturing sector grows, labor shortage and future demand for high-skilled workers are a critical issue nationwide that is also on the radar for South Carolina business and government leaders. In the Upstate, industries such as Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County are heeding the call to raise awareness for manufacturing careers. 

The rate of retirement for Baby Boomers combined with the current growth in manufacturing contribute to a workforce skills gap – but strategies for spanning the chasm were presented by a human resources panel at the 2016 South Carolina Manufacturing Conference & Expo. 

When Walgreens opened the doors in 2007 to its $180 million Anderson County distribution facility, the pharmacy retailer ushered in a new model for industrial staffing: recruiting workers with disabilities. Randy Lewis, retired senior vice president of Supply Chain & Logistics for Walgreens, spoke about the model's success during a Ten at the Top forum. 

In 2015, more than 280,000 vehicles were exported from its South Carolina plant, over 70% of the plant’s total volume.

As the South Carolina primary elections quickly approach, the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Jaime Harrison, and the chairman of the South Carolina Rep

2015 was another banner year in economic development for the Upstate region of South Carolina. Our 9 member counties gained $1.291 billion in capital investment, announced 76 total projects and created 6,471 new jobs.

2015 Milestones:

  • Each UA member county in the region announced at least one project
  • The highest number of annual jobs created since the UA began tracking in 2007 (6,471)
  • Second highest annual number of announcements since 2007 (76)
  • The highest total number of announcements from international companies since 2007 (30)

Over the last 10 years, the Upstate region has totaled $14.801 billion in new investment and 47,116 new jobs!

We owe this success to the teamwork displayed by our city and county local developers, along with the South Carolina Department of Commerce for supporting our efforts.

The establishment of major OEM operations has had an incredible impact in helping Upstate S.C. become a significant player in the aerospace industry.