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Bio business continues to move in Upstate, SC. Our region’s leaders work together to connect existing industry and new companies to resources to help grow, and locate in South Carolina. Congratulations are in order for KIYATEC for the recent official SCRA check presentation. KIYATEC COO, David Orr, serves as our UA Bioscience Task Force Chairman. As he and CEO, Matt Gevaert, continually promote the region as a location that is “just right” for innovative companies striving to make a difference in people’s lives.

-Erin Ford, Business Recruitment Officer,


KIYATEC check presentation from SCRA (Photo taken from KIYATEC's Twitter)To help further the business plans of two Upstate companies, the SC Launch program of SCRA Technology Ventures presented checks to CampusConnectr and KIYATEC at Clemson University’s ICAR campus.

Originally announced in November, the ceremony honored the companies and commemorated the investments at a networking event held last week.

The two Upstate businesses are bringing innovative technologies to South Carolina and growing the state’s knowledge economy, said Bill Mahoney, CEO of SCRA.

“We look forward to many future partnerships and successes,” he said.

CampusConnectr addresses student engagement and retention, and was designed “by students for students,” said founder and president John-David McKee. Through two systems, the company allows university students to engage with their institution and with each other. The program provides students with news feeds, campus information and functional apps. Although CampusConnectr is a closed program, it is free to the students and schools they attend.

Read the full article from the Upstate Business Journal.



Posted in: Celebrations, Colleges & Universities, Contributor Spotlight, News you can use, Rankings & Recognitions

Tags: KIYATEC, SCRA, SC Launch, bio, bioscience, south carolina, greenville, Upstate SC, CampusConnectr, CUICAR, Clemson University, ICAR, SCRA Technology Ventures, Bill Mahoney, Erin Ford, Upstate SC Alliance

$10 million investment to create around 20 new jobs 

Mohawk Industries, the world's largest flooring company, is investing $10 million in its Spartanburg County commercial carpeting facility over the next 10 years to substantially upgrade its looms and improve technology to support future business growth. The upgrade is expected to create approximately 20 new jobs at the facility, which currently employs around 160 individuals.

Mohawk Industries, based in Calhoun, Ga., operates two manufacturing facilities in South Carolina, including the Landrum plant in Spartanburg County as well as a facility in Bennettsville in Marlboro County. The 340,000-square-foot Landrum facility produces high-end, woven contract commercial carpeting for both domestic and international customers. Additionally, the plant manufactures aviation carpet for most domestic and some international airlines and airplane manufacturers.

Over the past decade, Mohawk has grown its business profile from an American carpet manufacturer into the world's largest flooring company with operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia and the United States. In the U.S., Mohawk produces carpet, carpet cushion, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate and hard wood flooring and held the largest share of the domestic flooring market in 2013 according to industry reports.

The Landrum facility was built by the Sanford-Bigelow carpet company in 1953. Fieldcrest Cannon acquired Sanford-Bigelow in 1986 and merged the company with its Karastan division. In 1993, Mohawk acquired Karastan-Bigelow from Fieldcrest Cannon. Today, the Landrum team is part of Mohawk's global workforce of more than 31,000, with around 1,150 employees in South Carolina at manufacturing sites in Landrum and Bennettsville as well as a distribution center in Orangeburg.

Mohawk Industries expects to begin hiring for the new positions after the first phase of upgrades is completed and continues to accept applications for other positions at the site. Individuals interested in positions with the company should visit to apply.



"By modernizing the looms at the Landrum facility, we can update the styling of the carpet we produce there and keep the business viable for the men and women at the facility. This is a good investment for Mohawk and will help us remain the industry leader in high-end performance woven carpet.  Mohawk is proud to be one of the few American companies making these types of products." - Miles Wright, vice president of commercial manufacturing for Mohawk Flooring

"For more than 50 years, Mohawk has been an integral part of the Landrum community. As the world's largest flooring company, they could have chosen to go anywhere, but they continue to expand here in South Carolina. We applaud Mohawk's $10 million investment and 20 new jobs in Spartanburg County, which will support their customers around the globe." -Gov. Nikki Haley

"From starting as an American carpet manufacturer to rising as a global leader, Mohawk has continued to grow and develop in South Carolina. As they continue to succeed, we will be right behind them adapting and growing too. I look forward to their continued contribution to our state and the impact they will have on our economic future." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

"The partnership between Mohawk Industries and Spartanburg County spans more than 60 years, and we are pleased they have chosen us from their global manufacturing network to invest in this state of art carpet manufacturing equipment.  Mohawk's loyalty to our community has been rewarded with a skilled and stable workforce with an average tenure of 15 years.  We welcome the opportunities the next 60 years will present for the citizens of Spartanburg County and Mohawk Industries." - David Britt, chairman of the Economic Recruitment Committee of Spartanburg County


  • Mohawk Industries is modernizing its Spartanburg County commercial carpeting facility.
  • $10 million investment to upgrade looms and technology will create around 20 new jobs.
  • Mohawk is the world's largest floorcovering manufacturer with a strong presence in South Carolina.
  • The Landrum facility produces high-end, woven contract commercial carpeting as well as aviation carpet for domestic and international airlines and airplane manufacturers.
  • Mohawk Industries expects to begin hiring for the new positions when the first phase of the upgrade is completed. Visit for hiring information.

About Mohawk Industries

Mohawk Industries is a leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world. Mohawk's vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution processes provide competitive advantages in the production of carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, stone and vinyl flooring. Our industry-leading innovation has yielded products and technologies that differentiate our brands in the marketplace and satisfy all remodeling and new construction requirements. Our brands are among the most recognized in the industry and include American Olean, Bigelow, Daltile, Durkan, Karastan, Lees, Marazzi, Mohawk, Pergo, Unilin and Quick-Step. During the past decade, Mohawk has transformed its business from an American carpet manufacturer into the world's largest flooring company with operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia and the United States.

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina's leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing businesses grow. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as Boeing, Bridgestone, Continental,, ZF Group, BMW and Google Inc. and also supports small and existing business, rural development initiatives and community development. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. South Carolina ranked first in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment, according to IBM-Plant Location International reports in both 2012 and 2013. The state won the Gold Shovel Award and the Project of Year Award from Area Development magazine in both 2014 and 2012. For more information, visit

Posted in: Celebrations

Tags: Mohawk Industries, Landrum, Spartanburg, Spartanburg County, SC, south carolina, manufacturing, flooring

Oconee Economic Alliance

The Oconee Economic Alliance (OEA) is excited to announce the launch of their new website: The new site, created by Redhype, showcases extensive information including the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Standard Data Set for site selectors, available real estate, and up-to-date workforce information for Oconee County, South Carolina.

The new website is designed to better assist site selectors, real estate agents, and corporate decision makers within the economic development realm in choosing Oconee County, South Carolina as their prime location for business. The site also offers quick access to unique facts and figures of the county, and features a blog where the visitor can read the latest economic development news.

Along with this new website, the Oconee Economic Alliance is highlighting the county’s geographical locality as a pro-business location in their new tagline: Geography of Opportunity.

“The new website offers a clean, modern design that is very easy to navigate,” said Richard K. Blackwell, executive director of the Oconee Economic Alliance. “It is the breath of fresh air we needed to start spreading the good news of Oconee County, South Carolina to the world.”

Blackwell continued, “The site also offers a one-stop section exclusively for site selectors that will supply all of the information they are looking for within a few clicks of the mouse, something very essential to have in the competiveness of today’s economic development marketplace.”


About the Oconee Economic Alliance

The Oconee Economic Alliance is a public-private nonprofit effort to accelerate job creation and capital investment, increase per capita income, diversify the local tax base and generate awareness of Oconee County, South Carolina as a business location. To learn more, please visit

Posted in: Celebrations, Contributor Spotlight, News you can use

Tags: Oconee County, Oconee, SC, south carolina, Oconee Economic Alliance, Website, Launch,, OEA, economic development, Upstate SC, Geography of Opportunity

$47 million investment to add 20 new positions

Department store retailer Belk, Inc. is expanding its Union County e-commerce distribution and fulfillment center operations for the second time since establishing there in mid-June 2012. The $47 million investment will expand the facility footprint by 50 percent and add 20 new jobs, which will grow the company's Jonesville presence to 314 employees. 

The expansion, which is expected to be completed in January 2015, will add more than 345,000 square feet of newly constructed space to the 515,000-square-foot building. The Jonesville facility, located at 3805 Furman L. Fendley Highway, was recently acquired by CPA®:18 - Global, a non-traded REIT affiliate of global real estate investment trust W.P. Carey Inc. and is being leased to Belk. Belk and CPA®:18 - Global will invest a collective $47 million, which includes funding for construction and to upfit the facility with equipment such as conveyor systems, racking and automation. 

Belk announced in December its intention to hire an additional 170 personnel by the end of 2015, and this expansion grows those expectations to add another 20 jobs. Those interested in employment opportunities with the company may visit Belk's careers page and search for positions in Jonesville, S.C. 

Founded more than 125 years ago, today Belk is the nation's largest family-owned-and-operated department store company, with 299 stores in 16 states offering Belk's signature "Modern. Southern. Style." The company is based in Charlotte, N.C. For more information, visit 


"Belk's e-commerce business continues to grow, and with it the demand for increased distribution and fulfillment operations. Our Jonesville facility has been a key factor in our growth, and we are pleased to be able to invest additional resources in and to bring additional jobs to Union County." -John R. Belk, president and COO of Belk, Inc.

"It's a great day in South Carolina as we celebrate Belk's decision to expand their Union County facility for the second time since 2012. We applaud them for bringing a combined investment of $47 million and creating 20 new jobs."  -Gov. Nikki Haley 

"Belk first came to South Carolina because it is great location for retailers that need to rapidly get product to markets. This next expansion further proves that South Carolina has the business climate and logistics capabilities companies are looking for." -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt 

"This expansion represents more jobs for our citizens, more tax base for government services and schools, and shows continued confidence in the future Union County.  I commented at Belk's initial opening that it fit like a good pair of shoes.  Now, with a 345,000 square foot addition to the existing building, $47,000,000 in new investment for a total of $93,000,000, it is more like a new suit. On behalf of our community and citizens, thank you Belk!" -Thomas L. Sinclair, Union County supervisor and council chairman 


  • Belk Inc. is expanding its Union County e-commerce distribution and fulfillment center operations for the second time since establishing there in mid-June 2012.
  • $47 million investment will expand the facility footprint by 50 percent and add 20 new jobs.
  • Building construction expected to be completed in January 2015.
  • CPA®:18 - Global acquired the Jonesville facility and is leasing it to Belk.
  • Those interested in employment opportunities with the company may visit Belk's careers page.  

About Belk, Inc. 
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. ( is the nation's largest family owned and operated department store company with 299 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states and a growing digital presence.  Its website offers a wide assortment of national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. In the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, 2014, the company and its associates, customers and vendors donated more than $20.9 million to communities within Belk market areas.

Posted in: Celebrations

Tags: Belk, Upstate SC, Union, Union County, economic development, SC, south carolina, expansion, distribution center, Bobby Hitt, Commerce

On the eve of the World Cup match up between the U.S. and Germany, an interesting question arises. Does the Upstate of South Carolina pull more for Team USA or Team Germany? These thoughts are brought on by a recent blog post from the Brookings Institution entitled World Cup of FDI: Which U.S. Metro Areas May Hold Closet Germany Fans?

According to new data on foreign direct investment (FDI) in U.S. metro areas, 512,000 U.S. workers receive their paycheck from a German company. By sheer numbers alone, the Spartanburg, S.C. metropolitan area comes in 5th with 12,600 workers falling behind the much larger metros of New York, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles. Currently there are more than 105 German-owned companies in the Upstate including BMW, ZF, Bosch and Adidas,  In total it is estimated that 19,480 workers across the Upstate receive their paycheck from a German company.

So who will you be pulling for in the big game? Click here to read the full post.


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

Tags: Brookings Institution, foreign direct investment, FDI, Germany, Spartanburg, upstate, global, Global Cities Initiative, investment, international

2014 has been a strong year for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Upstate of South Carolina, accounting for more than 2,100 announced jobs and $2.2 billion in announced capital investment. In the latest research from the Brookings Institution, we get a look at the concentration of FDI in the Upstate and the impact it has on our economy.

The Upstate SC Alliance continues their focus on strengthening our region’s ties to international markets. In addition to our work with the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, our team will be promoting the Upstate business climate and developing relationships internationally in the United Kingdom, Germany, China and India between now and the end of the year.

Find out more about our work with the Global Cities Initiative. 

Upstate SC Proven a Leader for Foreign Direct Investment
New Global Cities Initiative Research on Foreign Direct Investment


Upstate S.C. —Today, the Brookings Institution released a first-ever metro-level analysis of foreign direct investment’s role in the Upstate’s regional economy as part of its Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. The report analyzes the types of foreign-owned businesses located in the area, outlines the region’s sources of foreign investment and demonstrates the number of jobs supported locally by foreign direct investment (FDI).

The report finds that among the largest 100 metropolitan areas, Greenville ranks 23rd for share of jobs in foreign-owned enterprises (FOEs) at 6.1 percent. The report also finds that among all 366 metropolitan areas:

  • Spartanburg ranks 3rd for share of jobs in FOEs, at 18.0 percent (behind Columbus, IN and Kokomo, IN)
  • Anderson ranks 7th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 13.4 percent
  • Greenville ranks 67th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 6.1 percent

Among the country’s 616 micropolitan areas:

  • Gaffney ranks 11th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 23.6 percent
  • Greenwood ranks 22nd for share of jobs in FOEs, at 14.5 percent
  • Seneca ranks 38th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 11.7 percent
  • Union ranks 90th for share of jobs in FOEs, at 7.5 percent

(Pre-2013 metropolitan/micropolitan delineations)

The Upstate region has a high concentration of jobs supported by FDI: 10.6 percent of the Upstate region’s jobs are in FOEs, which is double the national average. Combined, Anderson, Gaffney, Greenville, Greenwood, Seneca, Spartanburg and Union metro and micro areas housed 50,600 jobs in FOEs in 2011.

“Foreign-owned businesses are an important component of the U.S. economy, supporting millions of jobs across every economic sector throughout the country,” said John Lummus, president/CEO of the Upstate SC Alliance. “This report gives the Upstate region a key resource to demonstrate the impact foreign direct investment has on our regional economy.”

According to the Brookings report, the benefits of FDI extend well beyond the millions of jobs supported. For example, U.S. affiliates of foreign companies pay well above average wages. These companies strengthen U.S. trade, producing more than one-fifth of all U.S. goods exported. Additionally, nineteen percent of all corporate R&D expenditures in the United States come from foreign-owned companies. Finally, 48 percent of total FDI flows in 2012 went to manufacturing industries, shoring up the nation’s eroding production base.

While metro areas have traditionally focused on attracting greenfield investment, this new data shows that most FDI enters regions through mergers and acquisitions. In the average year, mergers and acquisitions account for 87 percent of all FDI inflows into the United States. These investments have significant economic potential—for example, cash infusions can help local businesses expand, and new access to global distribution networks can boost exports.

“This new data allows U.S. metro areas, for the first time, to better grasp FDI sources and trends, and its impact on local economies,” said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment. “As part of the Global Cities Initiative, the Upstate of South Carolina is at the forefront of U.S. metro areas seeking to position themselves as more globally fluent and competitive regions by developing a regional global trade and investment plan.”

Read more at:

Launched in 2012, the Global Cities Initiative is a five-year joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping city and metropolitan leaders become more globally fluent by providing an in-depth and data-driven look at their regional standing on crucial global economic measures, highlighting best policy and practice innovations from around the world, and creating an international network of leaders who ultimately trade and grow together. For more information please visit or

The Upstate SC Alliance is a public/private regional economic development organization designed to market and brand the Upstate of South Carolina. The Upstate represents the commerce-rich northwestern corner of South Carolina, including the I-85 corridor and the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson combined statistical area. Additional information is available through the Alliance’s website,

Posted in: News you can use, Rankings & Recognitions

Tags: international, FDI, Upstate SC, Upstate SC Alliance, brookings, Global Cities Initiative

The Laurens County Development Corporation is seeking a Financial/Business Manager.

Interested candidates should have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in Finance, Accounting, Business Administration or Business Management and a minimum of three years experience in management.

Candidates should have experience in budgeting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial reporting, financial audits, purchasing, and knowledge of Human Resource procedures.

Qualified candidates should be able to work in a team environment, have knowledge of accounting software – preferably Peachtree, good computer skills, good communication skills and be able to interact with board members, investors, industry, and the community.

Qualified candidates may email a cover letter and resume to Marvin Moss at or mail to Marvin Moss, PO Box 427 Laurens, SC 29360. Deadline for applications is Friday July 11 at 5:00 PM. Laurens County Development Corporation is an equal opportunity employer.

Posted in: News you can use, Upstate Thoughts

Tags: Laurens County, Laurens, Laurens County Development Corporation, LCDC, Hiring, jobs, Job, Upstate SC, SC

The repaved 1.04-mile, 300-foot-wide track in Greenville County could easily be a drag strip or raceway, attracting spectators to cheer on cars or motorcycles roaring to a finish line.

Instead, the onetime runway at the S.C. Technology and Aviation Center is quietly gaining a reputation as a regionally unique resource for automotive marketing and research.

Automotive suppliers are among paying users of the track so far, and researchers are using it to develop electric cars batteries that recharge wirelessly and, eventually, while the car is in motion.

The test track at the 2,600-acre, former Donaldson Air Force Base complex is free of ties to any specific companies. It is located 10 minutes from downtown Greenville and 2.5 miles from the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. Track users can transport products, customers or executives using the state’s largest general aviation airport that is also on the center property. A cluster of other buildings within view are available for exhibits, demonstrations or for use as a model for testing vehicles under urban conditions.

That has Jody Bryson, the center’s president and CEO, promoting the track as a revenue generator at the developing business park. Bryson and the center’s board have overseen recruitment of more than 99 companies that are operating on the property jointly purchased by the city and county decades ago.

“We are all about capital investment and job creation as an organization, and we have to have revenues to do that,” Bryson said.

The track repaving was part of a $1.2 million project, he said. A longer, concrete taxiway is situated parallel to the track and both are adjacent to an “urban track landscape” with overhead power lines and buildings of different heights to simulate a couple of city blocks. The area provides a unique environment for the automotive industry to test wireless vehicle technologies, Bryson said.

The track “has the potential to be a real game changer in terms of the automotive industry, in not only South Carolina, but the Southeast,” he said, adding that most test tracks in the country are tied to a particular original equipment manufacturer, but “we are OEM-neutral. And we are so close in proximity to CU-ICAR and to a vibrant downtown area like Greenville.”

The track’s location off Interstate 85 between Atlanta and Charlotte and the area’s weather are also beneficial to the effort, Bryson said.

The aviation center wants to increase and diversify its revenue base, Bryson said, and the new test track is just scratching the surface of its potential.

“We have been managing the airport and have been managing the park for 50 years,” Bryson said. “We are self-sustaining. We are dependent upon revenue, primarily from land sales and lease agreements.”

On the track

Northville, Mich.-based ZF North America, which has a transmissions plant in Gray Court and another plant in Duncan, is among the track’s early users. Spokeswoman Ashley Van Horn said the company used the track for a week last year and has plans to use it again with another media group in November.

“We rent the facility,” Van Horn said. “Last time we paid for the week.”

Van Horn said the July 2013 event coincided with the Gray Court plant opening and allowed “showcasing our technologies” to about 30 media members.

“Some of the journalists and some of our people had never been to Greenville and were just blown away,” Van Horn said.

At the event, 34 people drove Jeep Grand Cherokees, BMWs, Jaguar XJs and Porsches in tests that included electric power steering, shocks, and eight-speed and nine-speed transmissions, which are now built in Gray Court. Some of the vehicles were loaned by automakers, she said.

“On the straightaway you could feel the gearshift for our transmission,” Van Horn said.

ZF first visited the track in February 2013 and discovered “it’s pretty remarkable. SCTAC is just so close to everything,” she said. The facility “was so flexible for our needs. We had everyone stay downtown, and they walked to dinners, and it was perfect.”

ZF considered tracks in New Orleans and Las Vegas, but those were more expensive, she said.

Research and development

In addition to showcasing products, Bryson said the track’s proximity to CU-ICAR provides new research opportunities, with professors being able to offer use of the track to their industry clients.

Every professor at ICAR “has a number of automotive or aerospace clients they work with who could be potential users for this test track,” he said.

Joachim Taiber, an automotive engineering researcher at CU-ICAR who formerly worked in the BMW Information Technology Research Center, is using the track for work on wireless communication in vehicles. With Clemson as a center partner, Taiber’s use of the track, now designated as part of a nonprofit International Transportation Innovation Center, is part of a project to test wireless recharging technology aimed at removing distance limits for electric vehicles. That research is funded with a $12 million U.S. Department of Energy grant.

Taiber said his work is also linked to teams that include Toyota, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Duke Energy and Cisco.

He said a test track is being developed at the University of Michigan and “connected vehicle and automated driving” is also being tested in California and Texas.

“The reason we are working on that, the biggest complaint about electric cars is no range and high cost. So if you can charge the car wirelessly while it is in motion, then you have unlimited range, and we also did some analyzing the cost of the infrastructure. If there are enough cars using the infrastructure then it can actually work out pretty nicely. If you have that charging option you don’t need to oversize the battery which takes cost out of the car.”

Taiber said that while there is “fierce competition” over automotive manufacturing locations, the attitude toward research and development is different.

Taiber said CU-ICAR, unlike auto manufacturers, is independent of brands and works with different companies.

“We plan to do research and nonresearch. For example one of the options we have for this site is also to do drivers’ training. Professional truck drivers, for example, fleet operators,” he said. “They don’t have a site here. We are tapping into a market that doesn’t have a site.”

Car clubs and car dealers are also prospective users of the SCTAC track, he said.

“What we are not planning is a race track,” Taiber said.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

Posted in: News you can use, Upstate Thoughts

Tags: SCTAC, automotive, R&D, RUNWAY, S.C. Technology and Aviation Center, SC Technology and Aviation Center, ZF, ZF NORTH AMERICA, greenville, greenville county, south carolina, SC