Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Laura McKinney Says Farewell


Dear New Carolina Supporters,

As many of you are already aware, I am stepping down from the position of Executive Director of New Carolina as of July 1, 2014.  My husband Jim, our children and I are returning to our home in Blaine, Washington after an extremely rewarding two years spent back where I began - in South Carolina. It is with great pride and  pleasure that I welcome Ann Marie Stieritz to the leadership role for New Carolina.  I will work with Ann Marie through July and will continue to finish some projects as we make this  transition.

As I depart from my post, the enthusiasm and support for the activities and projects at New Carolina make me most proud.  Over the last 10 months, we have welcomed some dynamic individuals who will continue to take projects to a higher level.  Deborah Cameron, Charlie Farrell and Wayne Fritz are leading the development of the Aerospace cluster with incredible knowledge and experience amassed among the three.  Dr. Peggy Torrey brings an unparalleled set of skills and wisdom to guide the Education and Workforce Development Task Force and to direct the progress of TransformSC.  Ben Green is connecting industry groups across the state to focus on common issues of competitiveness.  And Jackie Breland keeps all on track as New Carolina’s ever vigilant CPA.  None of these activities would be possible without the stellar (and flexible) support of Communications Director Summer Ramsey and Project Coordinator Marie Bauschka.  I thank them all for bringing their best every day.

I must also say thank you to the Executive Committee of New Carolina and to Chairman Ed Sellers.  The opportunity to work with all of you has been an honor.  You have given so much to South Carolina through your professional lives and through the ways that you choose to contribute to your communities.  Leading by example teaches the most, and your examples have set the bar high for those who will follow.

The greater competitiveness for South Carolina brings this group together.  It is a group of individuals who strive for excellence for themselves and for the state. There are so many to name who have opened doors and shared their time.  I thank my husband Jim here specifically for the volunteer time he gave for the betterment of the organization and the focus of mission.  Please know that your contributions have made a difference and will continue to make a difference.  New Carolina thrives through the actions of its volunteers.  

It is with that image of building a better South Carolina that brings me to my close.  This letter would not be complete without a poem that is one of my Dad’s favorites.  Jim Leventis - this is for you:

The Bridge Builder


An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
-Will Allen Dromgoogle


Until we meet again,

Laura



Monday, June 9, 2014

Leadership Insurance Underway

iTslSC, the Insurance, Technology and Services cluster of the Midlands, launched the inaugural Leadership Insurance course on April 15th at BlueCross BlueShield. Leadership Insurance is an 8-part course designed to provide a forum for the rising stars of the local industry to connect, collaborate, learn and grow.  It is the only known program of its kind in the country within the insurance tech industry.
Participants in the program will learn about all aspects of insurance - including ethics, marketing, underwriting, claims, and more - and also gain a deeper understanding of the technology employed by the industry. In addition to networking with other participants and gaining industry knowledge, the participants will be working on a project for the duration of the course.
The first session included a leadership exercise facilitated by Karen Hill. Then Terry Povey from BlueCross BlueShield spoke on “Insurance – The Big Picture,” gave an overview of the Blues system and introduced the group project centered on health and wellness. The participants were split into two groups and have been asked to develop a technical application, tool, program or event centered on health and wellness. 
The inaugural class of Leadership Insurance includes participants from Companion Life, Aetna, PHT Services Ltd., Seibels, and Colonial Life. Their job roles include underwriting, enrollment, analytics, finance, senior management and others. 
The Midlands has a wealth of opportunities within the insurance technology and services industry, with over 100 years of history, innovation and growth in the area. iTslSC seeks to further the industry's opportunities in the Midlands.

The next session is “Sales and Marketing” at Interactive Intelligence on June 18th. For more information on iTs|SC and Leadership Insurance, click here or contact Kristin Hamilton at khamilton@newcarolina.org.

4th Annual TDL Summit the Best Yet

For the fourth consecutive year, the TDL Council brought together South Carolina’s top leaders from the transportation, distribution and logistics industry for the TDL Summit, the annual event that has become synonymous with South Carolina’s TDL industry. In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, the Summit provides a forum for public leaders to provide their perspective, business leaders to share best practices, educational partners to share new projects, and attendees to learn, network and celebrate the industry’s successes.

This year’s event, held April 24 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, drew a record crowd of more than 200 attendees. The day began with remarks by Governor Haley. The Governor said that South Carolina’s infrastructure and regional positioning attracts industry to the state, but acknowledged the need for improvement to infrastructure. Governor Haley addressed questions from the crowd and then passed the microphone to the Secretary of Commerce, Bobby Hitt.

Secretary Hitt said when the Department of Commerce recruits industry to the state, the top three subjects of conversation are: 1) inventory; 2) workforce; and 3) logistics. He also said that economists predict South Carolina’s TDL cluster will grow by 4% in 2014. He expects that infrastructure will continue to be an asset in recruiting companies to South Carolina. The crowd enjoyed a brief break before hearing from Alan Torres, General Manager of Nuclear Construction for SCE&G, on logistical challenges in the construction of the new Jenkinsville nuclear facility. His presentation illustrated how a component weighing 605,000 pounds was shipped from North Korea to the Port of Charleston then hauled by a truck over highways, under power lines and through small towns. South Carolina Ports President & CEO Jim Newsome was next up.

Newsome told the crowd he sees the Ports as businesses with the people of South Carolina as shareholders. The audience was thrilled to learn that the Port of Charleston is now the fastest growing Port in the US. The Charleston Port also gives South Carolina a competitive advantage because it is the only port in the region offering 50’ depth. Newsome also stressed the important of the inland port at Greer, as rail volume has increased by 50% since 2011.

After Mr. Newsome’s presentation, lunch was served and a panel was convened to discuss different perspectives on infrastructure needs. Each of the participants identified the most important infrastructure issue for their industry cluster. Jack Shuler, President of the South Carolina Agribusiness Council, said the priority concern for agribusiness in the state is the condition of roads and bridges in rural South Carolina. Rob Roberson, Logistics Manager for Nucor, said the priority concern for the recycling cluster is the productivity of the trucking industry.


Dr. David Neyens, Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering at Clemson took to the state to discuss scoring the economic development impact of transportation infrastructure projects. He is working very closely with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and handed a survey to the crowd asking them to rank economic development indicators in terms of importance. His team will be making recommendations to the DOT on which indicators to use when prioritizing projects.


Next up was Deputy Secretary for Intermodal & Freight Programs, Doug Frate. He emphasized the importance of events like the TDL Summit and continuing collaboration of state agencies like the Department of Commerce and the DOT with groups like the TDL Council. He announced that the DOT’s 25-year multimodal transportation plan will be ready for publication by this summer. Deputy Secretary Frate also emphasized that South Carolina’s highway system is the 4th largest state-maintained highway system in the nation. He informed the crowd the cost per mile of maintaining the state’s roads - to preserve $20K; to rehabilitate $125K; to reconstruct $200K – and the implications of these costs on prioritizing improvement projects.


The next to last speakers were Alfred Hass, Department Manager of Material and Transportation Control and Delivery Assurance for BMW, and Brian Gwin, Industrial Development Manager for Norfolk Southern. The duo discussed the long-term partnership of their respective companies and the effects BMW’s expansion will have on transportation and logistics. BMW’s South Carolina facility is now the second largest value exporter in the world for the company. Norfolk Southern is now the originator for more finished vehicles than any other rail company in North America.

Last to go was the energetic Lexington County native Lou Kennedy, President & CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation. She spoke about the construction of the new facility in Lexington County and explained how temperature regulation is extremely important for pharmaceuticals. SCANA, located next door to Nephron in the Saxe Gotha Industrial Park, was a key partner in designing and implementing contingency power in case of an outage. She also spoke about Nephron’s partnership with CSX Rail and the construction of a rail spur on-site to bring all resin deliveries directly to Nephron. Kennedy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 4th opening the facility that was finished one year ahead of the expected completion date.

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Carolina Launches Early Childhood Task Force

By: Dave Morley Chair - Early Childhood Task Force

The future success of our economy depends on well-educated and highly resourceful workers capable of learning new skills so that they remain competitive in a continually changing global market. The focus on early childhood is the newest effort of the Education and Workforce Development Task Force. Too often early childhood education is considered a nice “add-on” but its real value is not appreciated. Brain research shows that the foundations built in the first five years of life define the potential for that child later. Additionally, economic research shows that investment in early childhood education has the highest return of all education interventions. Longitudinal studies lasting forty years demonstrate that investments in early childhood education return sixteen to one on every dollar invested and have an eight percent internal rate of return. One example is reading. Education success is built on reading. Our children learn to read through third grade and read to learn the rest of their lives. In fact, third grade reading is one of the most important predictors of high school graduation. In our state, twenty-eight percent of all public school students are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade. Low-income students fair worse with fifty-seven percent reading below the proficient level by the end of third grade. This contributes to twenty-five percent of our kids not graduating from high school. The foundations for reading are set in the first years of life. Cumulative vocabulary is a predictor of third grade reading. At twenty-four months of age, children of lower income have approximately two-thirds the vocabulary of higher income children. By thirty-six months the gap has widened so that poor children have approximately one third the vocabulary of those of higher income. And this is only one measure of early childhood development, among several others, all demonstrating the importance of early experiences to later academic achievement. The good news is we can do something about this. There are well documented, evidenced based programs that can change the educational potential of our youngest citizens. The goal of the Early Education Initiative of the Education and Workforce Development Task Force is to help local decision makers navigate the world of early childhood education. We are developing a roadmap for parents, community leaders and educators to guide decisions regarding early education and care for their communities. We hope to elucidate the various areas they can make a difference in educational outcomes, help them find the appropriate programs to meet their desired goals and understand the financial and implementation issues they will encounter. The returns will be substantial.

Monday, March 3, 2014

TDL Council to Host 4th Annual TDL Summit April 24th

By: Deepal Eliatamby President, Alliance Consulting Engineers Chairman, TDL Council

In 2013, South Carolina’s TDL industry saw several important milestones. The inland port in Greer opened in October, expanding the economic ties between the Upstate and the Lowcountry and increasing the state’s competitiveness as a leader in moving freight. The SC Department of Transportation has continued to make strides in the development of the 25-year multimodal plan that will provide the roadmap for moving freight throughout the state and guide future infrastructure projects. Many TDL-related businesses have announced new business or expansion in the Palmetto State. We’re on the right track.

But what’s on the horizon? The widening of the Panama Canal, expected to be completed in 2015, is putting pressure on East Coast ports - Charleston included - to dredge harbors in order to accommodate post-Panamax ships around the clock. Tourists and residents alike bemoan driving on I-26, I-95, or I-85, especially during peak hours. Logistics analysts are always trying to shave off a few hours of transit time. TDL supports practically our entire economy; naturally, TDL needs constant investment and fine-tuning to maintain vibrancy and have the ability to grow and compete.

The TDL Council is a collaborative effort between public and private sector leaders to boost South Carolina’s economy, create jobs, and attract investment that will position the state as a national and global leader in the TDL industry. One way the Council seeks to bring South Carolina to the forefront of the TDL industry is by hosting the TDL Summit each year. In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, the Summit provides a forum for public leaders to provide their perspective on the industry, private industry leaders to share best practices, educational partners to share new innovations and projects, and attendees to learn, network and celebrate the industry’s successes. The 4th Annual TDL Summit will be held in Columbia on February 12.

The TDL Council has put together an exciting program and speaker line-up for the 2014 TDL Summit, with presentations that touch on all areas of freight transport, logistics, and distribution. The day will be opened by Governor Nikki Haley, and we’ll hear updates from Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, and Ports Authority CEO Jim Newsome later in the day. A panel of South Carolina cluster leaders will offer their perspectives of freight infrastructure needs, and SCE&G will cover the logistics behind construction at V.C. Summer. Nephron’s Lou Kennedy, former Port of New Orleans President & CEO Ron Brinson, Senator Paul Campbell, and Clemson’s Dr. Scott Mason will round out the program, each offering their own unique perspective on a certain aspect of the industry. A networking reception will follow the event.

As we celebrate TDL successes we must also stay focused on working collaboratively to identify solutions that will help us reach our multimodal transportation goals. Decision-makers from the business sector, elected officials, government agencies, higher education partners, community advocates and interested citizens must come together to put the vision of the TDL Council into action.

We look forward to thought-provoking dialogue, knowledge exchange, and insights into revolutionary innovations at the TDL Summit on April 24th. Please join us for this exciting event. For more information, click here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Milken Institute List of Best Performing Cities

Congratulations to Charleston/North Charleston for moving from #19 to #11 on the Milken Institute's list of best performing cities. Greenville Mauldin Easley moved from 136 to 111. Columbia dropped from #65 to #113. Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia dropped from #65 to #114. Myrtle Beach was #128. Atlanta #145. Spartanburg #181,

The rankings are based on such factors as job growth, growth in wages and salaries, and growth in gross domestic product in high tech industries. Arbitrary, but interesting. You can see the complete list of 200 cities at http://bestcities.milkeninstitute.org/bestcities2011.taf?rankyear=2011&type=rank200

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Harvard Business School

The Institute for Competitiveness and Strategy at the Harvard Business School licenses a course called the Microeconomics of Competitiveness. The course has been licensed by 100 universities from around the world, including the Moore School of Business at USC. Ed Sellers and I had the opportunity to present the New Carolina story to the annual meeting of the group at Harvard on December 13.

The two day session ended with a review of Harvard’s US Competitiveness project. This project will be detailed in a series of articles in the March issue of the Harvard Business Review. The project surveyed some 10,000 graduates of the Harvard Business School. There were also 12 faculty members who addressed specific issues. The conclusions of the study were pretty grim.

Since 1980, America has experienced:
• Globalization of competition
• Countries with effective economic strategies
• Shortened time horizons
• Intense pressure on the middle class in terms of job loss and stagnation of wages
• Significant percentage in the upper .5% (5 % in 1977 to 18% in 2006)
• The cost of two wars

As a consequence, there have been unsustainable benefits that were primarily, but not exclusively, directed to the middle class:
o Badly thought out housing policy
o Retirement benefits
o Health care (Medicare and Medicaid)
o Cheap products from China, who is not competing on a level playing field

The problems are the result of choice, but not unstoppable forces. However, the federal government can’t seem to make even no brainer decisions.

Michael Porter said “Just do the math on the budget. We are a few years away from a real catastrophe.”

More on this subject in future blogs.