Showcasing Life Science within the UpstateNovember 4, 2019
Life science leaders speak about #TeamUpstate support
South Carolina’s life science environment was in the spotlight last month, thanks to the SCBIO Conference 2019 in Greenville.
The Upstate SC Alliance used the event as an opportunity to welcome nine visitors from across the country. Industry visitors included a developer of vaccines to fight infectious disease, a domestic leader in automation and robot implementation, and United Kingdom-based innovative company in the particle science space.
International delegations included life science focused representatives from the U.K. Embassy in Washington D.C., the Honorary Consul General of Belgium in South Carolina, and the life science focused Trade Attaché for Quebec.
It’s always exciting when events like the SCBIO Annual Conference happen within our region. This year’s event brought 450 attendees from 11 countries, 32 states, and most every county in South Carolina to celebrate the $11.4 billion industry, according to an event release.
In addition, these events they give our team a good reason to invite and host company prospects interested in our life science sector and international delegations that influence company location decisions. Encouraging visitors to “Experience the Upstate” is always a major goal of our team, and four of our guests had never visited the Upstate region in the past.
The Upstate Experience
On day one, we held a welcome meeting for our guests that included a regional overview of the Upstate, an update from SCBIO, and an overview from Heather Jones of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, who discussed unique life science assets in Greenwood, including the world-class genetics research being done at the Greenwood Genetic Center. The day concluded with a walking tour and progressive dinner highlighting the transformation of Greenville’s award-winning downtown area.
The second day was a busy schedule that allowed our guests to hear directly from life science companies engaged in business in the Upstate. We visited one of the country’s largest not-for-profit healthcare systems, Prisma Health, which is headquartered right here in the Upstate.
The immersive day-two experience included:
- a visit to to Abbott Laboratories in Liberty, South Carolina;
- an overview from new Upstate company, Softbox Systems;
- an overview and tour of Prisma Health’s Office of Innovation and the USC School of Medicine Greenville;
- and an overview and tour of AVX Corporation.
Industries Acknowledge “Team Upstate”
It’s always a wonderful thing when visitors hear directly from employers, and it’s a special source of pride when these companies brag about support from our local developers. At Abbott, after a fantastic overview from Bogdan Ille, site director of Abbott, the “godfather” of modern flat capacitors that revolutionized the modern day pacemaker, Tom Strange, spoke glowingly of the partnership that Pickens County have shown to him for over 20 years of being located in the county.
Mr. Strange told the visitors that Ray Farley of Alliance Pickens worked hand-in-hand with him to grow their business together, adding: “Ray and the Pickens team treated his company just as he would a new company locating in the county even though they had been there for many years.”
At Softbox Systems, a U.K.-based life science shipping and packaging company, our visitors heard from Site Leader John Hammes about the fantastic work that Tony Smith and the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) team had performed for them. With just one phone call to Tony regarding an issue that arose just as the company was about to move into their new building, a team arrived at the site to correct the issue, ensuring on-time completion of their project.
At AVX, the company’s site director, VP of Medical and Director of Human Resources each joined our team for an overview of AVX Corporation, located in Greenville County. The established site became the global headquarters for AVX in 2011, and since then it has undergone several major expansions. The AVX team told the visitors that Tavia Gaddy with GADC was a crucial partner in their expansion process, involved all the way down to all local inspectors.
They say that seeing is believing, and we’re inclined to agree.
While our team always talks about the Upstate’s “business-friendly environment,” our visitors and prospects always value hearing directly from industry leaders about their experiences. To see facilities in action, learn about products, and hear how the community helped make it possible is always a priceless experience for our visitors.
We are grateful for the support of our local communities and our existing industries for supporting these efforts, and showcasing how collaboratively the Upstate works to meet industry needs. We look forward to welcoming the next group of interested visitors to our region.