Despite challenges brought on by COVID-19, the state of South Carolina’s manufacturing economy remains strong. That was the overriding message from the first-ever virtual annual conference of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance held on August 27, 2020.
“This has been an unprecedented year for all of us – for businesses, schools, families – for all South Carolinians,” said April Allen, SCMA Chair. “But the thing about 2020 that has stood out the most, has been the unprecedented ways SCMA and our manufacturing community have banded together during a time of widespread crisis, neighbor helping neighbor, to develop new worker safety products and protocols, transform entire production lines to manufacture and distribute vitally-needed PPE, and go to extraordinary lengths to aid employees and communities in desperate need. I’ve never been prouder to be a part of our state’s manufacturing community.”
Dr. Joey Von Nessen, a research economist with the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business, discussed the state of South Carolina’s manufacturing economy, highlighting trends and pointing out that the manufacturing industry will be a key component for the economic recovery within South Carolina.
South Carolina companies have responded to the COVID-19 crisis by manufacturing personal protective equipment, participating in medical research and providing community support. John Carrington shared that ZVerse, a digital manufacturing company he founded in Columbia in 2013, has now manufactured more than 4 million plastic face shields for schools, businesses, and healthcare providers in the United States.
S.C. Governor Henry McMaster and S.C. Speaker of the House Jay Lucas also addressed the conference, briefing members on the upcoming legislative session.
“This virtual conference is an example of how, while COVID-19 has forced us to rethink the way we do things, it has not changed the fact that South Carolina’s manufacturers are our state’s great innovators and the economic engine that drives us,” said Sara Hazzard, President and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.
SCMA also elected the following officers and board members at the annual meeting:
Chairman – April Allen, Continental
Immediate Past Chairman – Max Metcalf, BMW Manufacturing Co.
First Vice Chairman – Todd Croker, FujiFilm Manufacturing USA, Inc.
Second Vice Chairman – Chuck Hall, Barnet
Treasurer – Curtis Hutto, Thompson Construction Group, Inc.
Automotive Council Chairman – Paige Reed, Sage Automotive Interiors
Chemistry Council Chairman – David Beaty, Elkem Silicones
Lowcountry Manufacturers Council Chairman – Ken Skiles, Lincoln Electric
Textile Council Chairman – Charles Hamrick, Hamrick Mills
Terms Expiring 2021
Kristen Blanchard, Nutramax Laboratories
Bill Bowen, Inman Mills
Derick Close, Springs Creative
Hope Lanier Freeman, BP Americas
Chris Heard, Sage Automotive Interiors
Jann Moore, Caterpillar, Inc.
Tommy Preston, The Boeing Company
Terms Expiring 2022
Rodney Blevins, Dominion Energy
Kevin Brown, Milliken & Co.
Mike Fox, Lockheed Martin
Kevin McAtamney, Volvo Car USA
Arnhelm Mittelbach, Mercedes-Benz Vans
Rodger Riddle, VTL
Will Whitley, Michelin
Terms Expiring 2023
Randy Blackston, Glen Raven, Inc.
Grant Burns, AFL
Scot Fischer, FN Manufacturing
Chris Gullott, Bridgestone
Dan Royston, A.O. Smith Water Products
Steve Slesinski, Nucor Steel Berkeley
Jonathan Waller, The Timken Company
ABOUT THE SCMA – The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is the only statewide organization dedicated exclusively to the interests of manufacturers. Its mission is to elevate the quality of life for all South Carolinians by advancing the state’s manufacturing industry. The SCMA membership is comprised of more than 200 manufacturing companies that represent more than 80,000 associates in South Carolina. For additional information about the SCMA, please visit www.myscma.com.