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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

$3 million investment by automotive component manufacturer to create 20 new jobs

Emitec, an exhaust technology company and wholly owned subsidiary of Continental, is expanding its Laurens County manufacturing plant to boost capacity and serve new automotive customers. The $3 million investment, which will add new equipment to manufacture catalytic converter substrates, will create 20 new jobs.

Emitec was previously a joint venture of international automotive suppliers Continental and GKN prior to Continental acquiring 100 percent ownership of the company in July 2014. The company operates at 400 South Nelson Drive in Fountain Inn, where it has produced automotive exhaust parts since 1997. The Fountain Inn facility currently employs around 55 personnel.

The company expects to begin hiring for the new jobs in first quarter of 2015. Those interested in the positions - which include both hourly production associates and salaried associates - may apply by submitting resumes to Emitec at 400 South Nelson Drive, Fountain Inn, SC 29644.

Founded in 1986, Emitec employs approximately 900 staff across its locations on three continents. It operates production sites in Germany, France, India and South Carolina. Emitec customers include global car, truck and motorcycle manufacturers, as well as makers of off-road machinery in such sectors and agriculture and construction. 
"Emitec is proud to call South Carolina home and could not be more pleased to be able to announce a further step of growth to our facility here in Fountain Inn. We are hoping to continue our growth into the future together with the fine state of South Carolina and the Upstate." -Juergen Wagner, VP of Operations, Emitec, Inc.

 "For nearly 20 years, Emitec has been a strong member of our state's business community, and we couldn't be more excited that they are expanding and creating 20 more jobs in Fountain Inn. Bringing new companies to South Carolina will always be important, but so is taking care of the ones we already have, and this is a great example of how those efforts are paying off."  -Gov. Nikki Haley
"South Carolina's automotive sector, including tires, employs nearly 60,000 in the state. Expansions like this one are more proof that automotive manufacturing is driving the economy here in the Palmetto State." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

 "We are thrilled that Emitec chose Laurens County for this expansion. We have had a great relationship with Emitec for almost twenty years, and we look forward to many more.  This expansion is just one more example of Laurens County being a great place to do business." -Jim Coleman, Chairman of Laurens County Council

  • Exhaust technology manufacturer Emitec is expanding its Laurens County manufacturing facility.
  • $3 million investment is expected to create 20 new jobs.
  • Emitec is a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental, one of the world's leading automotive suppliers.
  • Positions to be filled include hourly production associates and salaried associates.
  • Interested candidates may apply for the new jobs beginning in the first quarter of 2015.

About Emitec
Emitec now being a wholly owned part of the international automotive supplier Continental AG and part of the business unit "Fuel and Exhaust Management" will add to the comprehensive portfolio of components for exhaust aftertreatment and enable Continental to now offer end-to-end systems.

Posted in: Celebrations

Tags: Emitec, Announcements, Expansions, economic development, Laurens County, south carolina

How can a company attract, develop and sustain a highly-skilled workforce?  That’s the million dollar question.

Not surprisingly, when considering relocation, expansion or site selection for facilities, executives reported that skilled labor is the most important factor, according to Area Development Magazine’s 28th  annual survey of corporate executives released earlier this year. The magazine goes on to suggest that in the coming years, what will be increasingly important for companies of high growth potential looking to attract, develop and sustain this skilled workforce is quality of place.

As the economy improves, skilled workers are becoming more mobile with more opportunities to choose locations with a desirable quality of life to live and work. Companies actively competing to win these skilled workers are giving more consideration to life outside the workplace as means to make the companies themselves more desirable.

A happy life outside the workplace is important to initially attract this workforce of the future, but the payoff continues with returns on productivity and creativity in the workplace. Popular topics of discussion and research among many of today’s leading economists and psychologists are the relationships between happiness, productivity, creativity and success. Tuning into the TED conference’s “Work Smarter” playlist illuminates some of the findings about these relationships with profitable applications for business leaders.

Selecting the right location should not be overlooked as one of many ways to help employees lead satisfying professional and personal lives. There are many organizational  factors that help create conditions for a happy and productive team, such as giving employees enough time off—and encouraging them to take it—or offering a wellness program to encourage exercise. It’s not a far leap to suggest that the right location might make it easier to act on these small but highly effective changes in the workplace.   

For example, taking a vacation is found to be a driver of productivity, so living within a day’s drive to the mountains or beach or having access to a nearby airport or interstate removes any location barrier to enjoying the ever-important vacation, especially for those a budget. Additionally,  research suggests that physical activity and spending time outdoors improves brain health that is vital for memory, concentration and mental sharpness. Engaging in these activities is arguably more convenient in places with a favorable climate and an abundance of recreational opportunities (which are of increasing importance to executives, according the same Area Development survey).

So, with all of this in mind, here are just a few highlights that business leaders should know about quality of life in the Upstate: 

  • Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Upstate residents have convenient access to a myriad of outdoor activities including hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, campgrounds and waterfalls.
  • The Upstate is home to several beautiful lakes, including Lake Jocassee and Jocassee Gorges, recognized as one of the “50 of the World’s Last Great Places” in National Geographic.
  • The Upstate has a pleasant, moderate climate with four distinct seasons.
  • Upstate residents have the Greenville Spartanburg International Airport for domestic and international travel. Fares for Greenville Spartanburg International Airport are lower than the national average and lower than the rates at neighboring Charlotte and Atlanta airports.
  • Upstate residents have easy access to popular cities like Charlotte and Atlanta by way of 1-85.
  • The Upstate is also only a three hour drive from Charleston, S.C., which was ranked the #1 city in the United States in Condé Nast’s Readers' Choice Awards for the third consecutive year.
  • For years South Carolina has registered a lower cost of living compared to the national average by about 10 %. This map by the Tax Foundation and shared in Forbes estimates that $100 buys $110.25 in value of goods in South Carolina.
  • The Upstate’s biggest city, Greenville, S.C., has seen some impressive rankings in recent years, such as:
    • Inclusion in Forbes list of top Ten Transformed Neighborhoods, 2013
    • Named America’s 2nd Best Town Ever-Popular Vote Winner in Outside Magazine, 2013
    • Named “The Next Big Food City of the South?” in Esquire Magazine, 2013
    • Greenville’s Falls Park on the Reedy named 9th Best Park in the US on TripAdvisor, 2013

For more information on quality of life in the Upstate, visit

Posted in: News you can use, Upstate Thoughts

Tags: quality of life, quality of place, cost of living, skilled workforce