Department of Commerce honors 2016 Ambassadors for Economic Development

May 2, 2016

State celebrates 25th Annual Industry Appreciation Week

COLUMBIA, S.C. – As part of the 25th Annual Industry Appreciation Week, the South Carolina Department of Commerce last week announced the 2016 Ambassadors for Economic Development. Recognized for their exceptional efforts to bolster community and economic development activities in South Carolina, the ambassadors were honored in a ceremony held on Thursday, April 28 at the Governor’s Mansion Complex. This year, 46 individuals – one from each county – were selected.

“In South Carolina, growing our state’s economy and creating jobs truly is a team effort, and the individuals recognized as ambassadors at last week’s ceremony are proof of that. These local business leaders from all corners of our state are what really make South Carolina such a special place to live, work and play,” said. Gov. Nikki Haley.

Each year the Department of Commerce joins local communities to thank businesses for their vital contributions to South Carolina’s economy during the state’s Industry Appreciation Week.  As part of the celebration, the state recognizes individuals throughout South Carolina as Ambassadors for Economic Development. These individuals include local leaders from the private sector, representing a variety of businesses committed to advancing their communities.

“Businesses don’t locate to a state or a region. They locate to a community. So, it’s important to recognize the local leaders in communities all across this state that help move South Carolina and its communities forward,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

In addition to honoring the 2016 Ambassadors for Economic Development at last week’s ceremony, the state also presented three businesses with the South Carolina Export Achievement Award and recognized five students as Young Entrepreneurs of the Year.

For photos of all ambassadors and young entrepreneurs, as well as the businesses that were recognized with export achievement awards, please visit the S.C. Department of Commerce’s flickr page.


2016 Ambassadors for Economic Development:

County Name Organization or Status
Abbeville Lee Logan Freshwater Community Coast Foundation
Aiken Fran Jones Bridgestone Americas
Allendale Anne Rice Former business owner and educator; development advocate
Anderson Doug Newton Techtronic Industries Power Equipment
Bamberg Greg Pierce Blackwater Barrels
Barnwell Alan King Precision Metal Fabricators
Beaufort Cliff Mrkvicka Lockheed Martin
Berkeley Kenneth Seeger WestRock
Calhoun Ritchie McQueeney Thermo King
Charleston Jamee Haley Lowcountry Local First
Cherokee Stephen White Dollar Tree, Inc.
Chester Jim Bennett Spratt Savings & Loan
Chesterfield Lance Tully Nestle Waters North America
Clarendon August Cutter First Palmetto Bank
Colleton Vittorio Musso Meter Bearings
Darlington Roger Schrum Sonoco Products Company
Dillon Teddy Williams Expert Machine and Fabrication Company
Dorchester James Bozard, Jr. Coastal Corrugated, Inc.
Edgefield Richard Pendarvis Pendarvis Chevrolet
Fairfield Sean O’Connor Breakthru Beverage South Carolina
Florence Frank Brand Stifel
Georgetown Jeannine Siembida International Paper
Greenville Mike McCormick Bosch Rexroth
Greenwood Dave Berry SPF North America
Hampton Marco Genoni Nupi Americas Inc.
Horry Jim Apple Burroughs & Chapin Company Inc.
Jasper Lee Edwards The Greenery, Inc.
Kershaw Darryl Fournier Suominen Corporation
Lancaster Mark Brodsky Red Ventures
Laurens Brent Pahach CeramTec North America
Lee Don Brown Carolina Piping and Rigging
Lexington Jim Reynolds Total Comfort Solutions
Marion Michael Blue Door of Hope Christian Church
Marlboro Bobby Brock Marlboro Water Company
McCormick Hervey Walker, Jr. Walker’s Funeral Home LLC
Newberry Jimmy Hancock Sea Pro Boats LLC
Oconee Jeff Chee Greenfield Industries
Orangeburg Gordon Powell Bimbo Bakeries – USA
Pickens Mike Kreps Wilbert Plastics
Richland James Braun Avantech
Saluda Darron Wilson Work Ready Communities
Spartanburg Yasuo Ueda Toray Industries, Inc.
Sumter John Brabham, Jr. Berkshire Hathaway Properties – John M. Brabham Real Estate
Union Robert Hart Timken Tyger River
Williamsburg Bobby Meltzer The Peddinghaus Corporation
York Manning Kimmel Our Three Sons Broadcasting


Export Achievement Award Recipients:

Company Representatives County
Boyd Cycling Boyd Johnson and Nicole Johnson Greenville
Bridge to Life Aaron Gilchrist and Toni Lee Richland
Scout Boats Steve Potts and Alan Lang Dorchester


Young Entrepreneurs of the Year:

School District Name, Grade School Business Venture
Charleston County School District Kate McCabe, 3rd Grade Ashley River Creative Arts Academy Kate’s Candles
Charleston County School District Caleb Milligan, 11th Grade West Ashley High School Caleb Alexander| The Next Generation of Magic
Florence Public School District One Thomasena Thomas, 11th Grade South Florence High School FairyCakessc
Greenwood School District 50 Kirby Elizabeth Self, 11th Grade* Emerald High School Brella Bella
Lexington-Richland School District Five Hunter Bristow, 11th Grade Spring Hill High School Fast and Quiet


Available Sites & Buildings

If you’re thinking about bringing your business to South Carolina’s Aiken, Edgefield, and Saluda region, we’re ready to accommodate you with a broad variety of existing facilities and ready-to-build sites.


When you’re competing in the global marketplace, connectivity and fast access are critical. The Aiken, Edgefield, McCormick, and Saluda region’s location in western South Carolina will put your business at the heart of a very fluid transportation grid, no matter which modes are important for you.