Dorchester County

Scout Expansion is a DORCHESTER Success Story in 2005

Scout Boat’s continues to grow. Shown at plant safety meeting at Scout from left to right are Dave Wallace, Vice President; Development volunteer Frank Dreyer; County Council Vice Chairman Larry Hargett; and Steve Potts, Scout Boats’ President.

Scout Boats is adding 50 jobs and investing $5.5 million to expand its manufacturing plant.

Also, Scout said it will use almost half of the new space to build rigid-hull inflatable vessels under a contract with a French company looking to boost its sales.

The 50,000 sq. ft. expansion is expected to be completed in January. Potts said the investment will give the company room it needs to build bigger, more profitable boats, including a 35-foot version of its Abasco line set to debut next year.

Potts estimated that Scout will be capable of turning out 700 more boats per year, a 41% increase, by adding more space and workers to its 138,000 square-foot plant on Highway 78.

“This is another good example of helping on present industry grow and prosper,” said Development Board Chairman George Tupper.

Metalworx Brings 38,000 Sq. Ft. Facility to Summerville.

Eastport Industrial Park, at Summerville’s is set to add another business: Metalworx, Inc. of North Charleston is completing construction of its 38,000 square foot facility at the corner of Hodge Road and Deming Way.

“The company will create 10 to 15 jobs (in early 2006) and invest approximately $2 million in the local economy,” Dorchester County’s Director of Economic Development Jim Friar said.

The facility is located in an industrial site previously dedicated as a speculative building at Eastport in late 2004, Friar noted.

Dorchester County officials assisted the project with ‘fast tracking’ the permit process, assistance during preliminary engineering and providing a tax credit to assist with specialized infrastructure at the facility.

Metalworx, Inc., an industrial machinery and fabrication company, specializes in machinery and tools for various metal processing industries, welding services, and construction metals. The company has facilities in North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant and is excited about its expansion into upper Dorchester County, Sawer said.

“We at Metalworx, Inc. appreciate the help and assistance we have received from Dorchester County in the expansion of our business,” he said.

“The Dorchester County Economic Development Department constructed its first speculative industrial building at Eastport in 1993. Eastport has been a constant ally in our program,” added Board Member Bill Byrd. Economic Development officials noted that the year’s investment tally exceeded $102 million of new and expanded investments.

A total of 265 new jobs were added during the year. “Our accumulated investment tally since 1989- when we began economic development- is now $1.60 Billion Dollars,” added Chairman George Tupper.

Signature grows and adds jobs in St. George

St. George- Fifteen new jobs are coming to Upper Dorchester County, according to Signature Building Systems president Victor DePhillips.

“Thanks to a workforce that was willing to be educated and the support of the region’s political and business leadership, our company is excited to be able to continue to give back to this community,” DePhillips said.

Signature Building Systems, a high tech manufacturer of modular homes, is expanding their existing manufacturing facility in New Century Park in St. George. The company, in addition to bring 15 new jobs, expects to invest approximately $1.5 million.

“Helping our existing businesses grow and expand is County Council’s primary focus in order to provide improved jobs for all of our citizens,” Skip Elliott, Dorchester County Council Chairman and District 7 Councilman said. “This is a wonderful event to have in St. George. We thank Mr. DePhillips and his team for making this choice.”

Board Chairman George Tupper also saluted the Upper Dorchester County Delegation members, “the aid of Sen. Mathews and Rep. Bailey helped us turn the corner and bring closure to this project.” “Adding new jobs in St. George is a key initiative for Council and its Development Board,” added Ken Jenkins, an upper county member of the Economic Development Board

St. George welcomed Signature Business Systems as the firm announced its plans to buy its existing 40,000 sq. ft. building and expand it. Signature’s President Vic DePhillips praised the local ally team from the delegation and Dorchester County that made the transaction possible. “It was obvious to me that they wanted us to grow our business here,” he said.

Dorchester County Has Fastest Growing Town

Recent census data, released in 2005, reveals that Summerville experienced the largest growth over a four-year period in terms of population percentage of any tri-county’s five largest cities and towns at 23.4 %.

“I’m not surprised by the amount of growth; Summerville is a great place to live,” says Dennis Pieper, the town’s administrator. “There’s no doubt that we’ve seen enormous growth, but it’s amazing how the entire region has grown so fast.”

The town is looking at strains on infrastructure to best determine how it can keep abreast of its growth. Plans are already underway to build several new fire stations, and the extension of the Berlin G. Myers Parkway in Summerville is a critical component to handle growth.

“We’ve already gotten significant funding, and the environmental studies have been completed. The next phase will be construction of about a three-mile extension,” he said.

New TV Show Filmed at Dorchester Studio

“Dawson’s Creek”, “90210”, and now, “Palmetto Pointe.”

That’s the name of the new teen drama in which the Charleston area played a starring role. It’ll be the first TV series filmed in the Palmetto State which began production in Dorchester County in 2005.

Originally, “Palmetto Pointe” was to be filmed in North Carolina, but new state incentives helped lure the production to South Carolina.

“Film is another objective of economic development in which we work closely with our studio owner, the Chamber of Commerce (in location decisions), and the SC Film Commission,” noted Bill Hearn of the Economic Development Board. “The new incentives in our state are really driving this effort. Like the Charleston region, Dorchester County is very scenic place and fits many location requirements,” h eddied.

The announcement of the series was made at Summerville-based ITS Studios where some of the scenes will be filmed. The film and recording studio is owned by husband and wife Mindy McEntire and Tim Walsh.

German Manufacturer Expands in Summerville Park

Albert Weber Manufacturing Corporation, a manufacturer of high-end components and systems for automotive industries, will expand its existing facility in the Eastport Park at 231 Deming Way, according to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.

The firm expects to invest $11 million in the expansion and create approximately 25 new jobs during the start-up phase. The company will work with South Carolina’s Center for Accelerated Technology in the recruitment of and education for its technologically skilled workforce.

“Crankshaft production at Albert Weber is highly automated. A highly skilled workforce is necessary to achieve our goals and we feel confident we will find that talent in the Charleston Region,” Daniel Weber, COO of Albert Weber said.

“It’s exciting to see such a dynamic, forward-thinking company choose tin increase their business in our region,” Alliance Chairman Ted Creech observed. “We welcome this expansion and the high quality jobs it will bring to the area.”

Chris Murphy, Dorchester County Council Chairman, also welcomed the announcement. “Companies such as Albert Weber make our region a stand-out on the international stage. We will do everything we can to ensure that they continue to prosper here,” Murphy said.

“Dorchester County Council and our economic development team have worked very hard to make this happen,” said George Tupper, Dorchester County Economic Development Board Chairman.

Council salutes Craig Turner of Knights Companys as a representative of local industry during Industry Appreciation Week. From left to right are Chairman Skip Elliott, Craig Turner, and Vice Chairman Chris Murphy. Turner is also a very active member of the Dorchester County Economic Development Board.

“St. George's Richard Behling is Ambassador."

In September Governor Mark Sanford honored Richard Behling, owner of The Behling Realty in St. George, as a South Carolina Ambassador for Economic Development.

“I’m extremely pleased and proud to receive the Ambassador Award,” Behling said. “I think being an economic ambassador is something everyone should consider.

Behling, also a member of the Dorchester County Planning Commission, is being recognized for his role in economic initiatives. In 1997 he began an initiative that led to the formation of the St. George Industrial Park. The park opened on the first business day of 2001. Since then, two new firms have purchased sites in the park: Dover Hydraulics and Road King Trailers.

“Richard really worked hard to make the St. George New Century Park a reality,” add Howard Muckenfuss of the Development Board.

“Behling’s dedicated vision and work has proven that small communities can be successful in growing an industrial base and adding new jobs,” Economic Development Director Jim Friar said.

Behling works closely with the county’s economic development team, particularly promoting development in the upper part of the county.

“Making South Carolina more competitive is a team effort,” Sanford said. “At the heart of our efforts are folks like Richard Behling in Dorchester County who are working hard to bring new jobs and new capital investment to their corner of our state.”

Seldon Mast, International Manufacturer Grows

Seldon Mast, a Sweden-based manufacturer of sailboat masts, boom, rigging, and other sailing accessories located its first United States operation in Dorchester County in 1998 with 16 employees.

The company announced it would add 10,000 square feet and an unspecified number of employees at its North Charleston facility.

“The Port of Charleston was very important to us at the time in which we expanded to the Charleston area,” commented Tom Sharkey.

“This has also proven to be a good location for us because of the available and trainable labor force that we have found. We also appreciate the most professional assistance that we have received from Dorchester County in making possible the announcement of this expansion.”

“It is always a pleasure to see one of present companies grow and expand,” said County Council Chairman Christopher J. Murphy.

Board Member Ben Cole noted, “This firm came here several years ago thru the Development Alliance several years ago. Its expansion is proof that our area is good location to be successful and grow.”

Incentives help Palmetto State attract new businesses

New incentives have greatly improved the ability of our state and region to compete.

South Carolina has put together an aggressive package of tax credits aimed at luring high-paying jobs to the state, something Gov. Mark Sanford has repeatedly claimed as his administration’s top priority.

The following is a list of some of the many tax credits business incentives available to companies looking to relocate to, or expand existing operations in, South Carolina.

At the urging of the State’s Commerce Department, the Legislature passed a bill last year that provides up to $50 million in bond funding for businesses that invest in a major air cargo facility.

In addition, the Commerce Department shows that South Carolina has the lowest corporate income tax rate in the Southeast at 5% and offers additional tax incentives for job creation and investment to minimize start-up costs.

Craig Turner of the Dorchester County Development Board commented “South Carolina’s business and regulatory climate is designed to encourage business success. It helps us be a niche marketer and this is proving successful at the local level.”

“South Carolina law also allows companies to work with the Revenue Department whereby they can find alternative formulae to calculate its income taxes,” noted Friar.

Job tax credits are a significant part of the state’s allure. The minimum threshold was lowered in the last legislative session with the passage of the Job Creation Act, which reduces the number of jobs a company would need to create to qualify for job creation tax credit and would also provide tax credits to offset the cost of health insurance premiums.

South Carolina law also contains two economic development incentives designed to promote the growth of manufacturing, research and development, technology intensive, service related, and other targeted businesses in South Carolina.

“The state will provide a corporation of credit against income tax for the construction or improvement of water lines, sewer lines, or road projects that are eventually dedicated to public use,” he said.

Dorchester County will be starting a new speculative industrial building soon. Jim Friar, Department Director (left) and George Tupper Development Board Chairman show an illustration of a 26,000 sq. ft. industrial building.

Speculative Buildings Need for Success.

What’s the secret to success in industrial development? The answers will vary from community to community, but most will include prepared industrial parks, available sites/buildings, and speculative industrial buildings.

“Customers for industrial locations are not different than customers for any other product or services,” observes Director Jim Friar.

“When a new prospect arrives in our community, they will judge our ability to do business by our having an available site (40% of our customers) or an existing building (60%0” notes George Tupper, Economic Development Board Chairman.

The combined effort of the Board, Department, County Council, city allies, utility allies, industrial park owners, banks, construction firms, engineering companies and others have been a part of the program since 1992.

“We have had a focus for years of building speculative industrial buildings and it has paid great dividends for us. In Summerville and St. Geroge, we have built a total of 8 buildings and have successfully sold them all. Six were sold prior to dedication and the other two were sold in a year” Friar added.

Strand Tech, an Italian Manufacturer Grow in 2005.

Strand-Tech Martin, a division of Italian company ORI Martin, expanded its $13 million 75,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Eastport Industrial Park.

Infrastructure costs, covered by Strand-Tech Martin’s tax credit, include water and waste water treatment, officials said.

“It is pleasure for Dorchester County to participate in the expansion of another one of our international companies,” Vice Chairman and District 7 Councilman Skip Elliott said.

The company manufactures steel strand for concrete reinforcement. Strand-Tech Martin may eventually invest a total of up to $25 million and employ up to 120 people, according to company officials.

“Two of our strongest suits are the Port of Charleston and the international reputation of the community as a great place to live,” he added.

Friar publishes article on confidentiality

In 2005 Jim Friar, Dorchester County Economic Development Director, published an article, “Maintaining Confidentiality in the Location Process,” in two magazines: “Area Development,” one of the nation’s major professional periodicals; and “Business and Economics Review” at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

The article has also been published on the International Economic Development Council’s website

He listed four important factors concerning the importance of confidentiality in the economic development process.

“Successful businesses have secrets. Growing or expanding businesses have an even greater need to keep information confidential as the expansion is usually related to a business or technology factor which is new or improved,” Friar said.

“The creation of new job carries with it a need to protect sensitive business information.”

Friar said even if business or industry is not expanding, there is an element of confidentiality in the conduct of its day-to-day business. Core technology, formulas, marketing techniques, personnel compensation, technology changes, market shifts, and new products all need to be protected. “The list is endless,” he said.

The new Charleston Wilbert Company located its new facilities at the Eastport Commerce Park at Summerville in 2005. Steve Velker, Vice President, told Development Board members that the new plant “was an ideal location to grow our business in the future to serve this region.”

Summerville welcomes Wilbert Vault Company

Wilbert Vault Company opened the doors to its new facility in Summerville in 2005.

Charleston Wilbert Vault Company is a division of Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. (WFSI) Headquartered in Broadview, ILL.

WFSI was established when Wilbert, Inc. became a holding company in 1997 and a need arose to provide Wilbert’s funeral service division with its own governing board to oversee the company’s growth.

The firm selected Eastport Park as its new project because of the convenient location.

“We are really proud to welcome this firm to Dorchester County. Midsize industries fit our niche,” added Council Chairman Chris Murphy.
Expanding call center brings jobs

International Hotels Group, a British company that owns or manages some 3,500 lodgings worldwide, plans to add about 100 jobs at its Dorchester County call center in North Charleston.

“We’re kind of the best-kept secret in North Charleston,” said Greg St. Clair, center director.

The center currently fields some 9 million calls a year, about 25,000 a day.

St. Clair recently hosted a center tour for the County Development Board. “We appreciate the interest of local officials in helping our center to grow,” he added.

Special Salute

“We are proud to again salute our members of County Council for their continued support of Economic Development. We are well teamed here when we add in our relationship with the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, our park owners, utility allies, and hundreds of other allies that see economic development as a key to the future,” concluded Economic Development Board Chairman Tupper.

The Economic Development Department wishes to thank its media allies for their coverage of events in Dorchester County in 2005 from which much of this story has been compiled.

High Performance Teams
2005 Report
Photos are available on request.

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Dorchester County Economic Development Office
Box 340 --- 402 North Main Street
Summerville, SC 29484 USA