MORE INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT
WWW.CHARLESTONCHAMBER.NET OR CALL 843.577.2510
Becoming a world-class metropolitan region.
Letter from Leadership
4500 Leeds Avenue, Suite 100
North Charleston, SC 29405
Dear Accelerate Greater Charleston Partner:
In this third quarter of 2015, multiple projects are rapidly progressing, optimizing our region’s assets
through Accelerate Greater Charleston. Through significant gains in our core areas of Innovation,
Talent and Advocacy, the Charleston region is cementing its position as a dynamic, globally
competitive business community.
International trade, a crucial sector of economic prosperity, is attracting small-to medium-sized
businesses that are eager to increase sales by exporting goods and services to other countries.
Export training provided by the Chamber and World Trade Center Charleston gives businesses the
knowledge and tools they need. Read more about the next Export Training session as well as the
recent International Trade Luncheon, which attracted more than 100 company leaders to hear about
the global business outlook.
Your support of Accelerate Greater Charleston is helping us make major strides in building our
local talent pipeline. With the start of the 2015/2016 school year, thousands of students will
participate in Career Academies which are now operating region-wide in three school districts.
Fifteen scholarship recipients are preparing to begin college thanks to AGC, many of whom will be
the first in their families to extend their education beyond high school. And 46 students will begin
their apprenticeships, working at local companies while also attending school, again, thanks to
Accelerate Greater Charleston.
Legislative progress shows the importance of working closely with our elected leaders to improve the
region’s business environment. The removal of the Confederate Flag from our State House grounds –
a tremendous win for both the region and the state – involved intensive action by the Charleston Metro
Chamber, one of the first business organizations to call for its removal. Read more about this and
other Advocacy activities that are pivotal to our region’s success.
As we continue in this fourth year of the campaign, we are proud of the accomplishments, made
possible by your partnership in this important work for the future of metro Charleston. Accelerate
Greater Charleston is working, thanks to your continued support and investment.
Laura G. Varn
2015 Chair of the Board
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Bryan S. Derreberry
President and CEO
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
INNOVATE TO CATALYZE
DYNAMIC AND FAST-PACED
Building a thriving economy to secure our region
on the global commerce stage is made possible
through Accelerate Greater Charleston.
Increasing Metro Charleston’s Export Capacity
World Trade Center Charleston and the Charleston Metro Chamber will begin the next Export Training
Program on September 2, 2015. Six companies will participate in a four-day intensive training to expand
their sales of products or services to other countries. Upon graduation, each company will have a
customized export plan as well as continued access to coaches and research assistance.
Fourteen local companies have been trained thus far and are reporting success in generating new
sales from international markets. The goal is to increase the region’s export capacity to 20% of our total
regional output by the year 2020.
Zucker Family Inspiration Room
The Catalyst Center’s Inspiration Room was dedicated to the Zucker Family at an event held in May.
The room’s walls are adorned with inspiring statements from the late Jerry Zucker of The InterTech
Group, a company whose international entrepreneurial successes continue to fuel inspiration for all.
International Trade Luncheon
The 2015 International Trade Luncheon was held in July at the Daniel Island Club, attracting more than
100 company leaders. Keynote speaker Eugenio Alemán, Senior Economist for Wells Fargo provided
information on U.S. export and import activity as well as the global business outlook.
Two local companies were honored for their excellence in international trade with Export Achievement
Certificates by the U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of
Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Phil Minard, U.S. Commercial Service and Jim Merrill,
South Carolina House of Representatives awarded The GEL Group and Fog Free Technologies for their
outstanding work. Both companies are graduates of World Trade Center Charleston’s Export Training
Geoff Schuler, Chair of World Trade Center Charleston’s Steering Council provided an overview of the
Metro Charleston Export Plan launched in 2013 and an update on progress, as well as information on
numerous activities supporting international delegations and trade missions.
“HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE HONEST STRUGGLES
AND THE INCOMPARABLE JOYS OF STRIVING FOR SUCCESS FROM
ONE OF CHARLESTON’S SUCCESSFUL LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS WAS
IRREPLACEABLE. MICHAEL’S HONEST INSIGHT, EVALUATION, AND
VALUABLE SUGGESTIONS FOR OUR OWN BUSINESS MODELS WERE
DIRECT, BLUNT AND EXTREMELY WORTHWHILE TO TAKE IN AND DIGEST.
HE ALSO LEFT OPEN THE DOOR FOR FUTURE COMMUNICATION IN A WARM
AUTHENTIC MANNER… THANK YOU FOR INVITING US TO THIS HUGE
BENEFIT OF BEING A METRO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBER. ”
Richard J. White, Cajetan & Joseph
Received from local entrepreneur following a Chamber Inspiration Lunch at Butcher & Bee,
with Michael Shemtov, Restaurateur and owner of Butcher & Bee and Mellow Mushroom.
An Active Catalyst Center
The end of the 2015 2nd quarter marked a busy season for the Catalyst Center with a traffic increase
of 25% since January. Members of the Charleston Metro Chamber and the Chamber’s E-Crowd
(Entrepreneur Crowd) enjoy the programs and events held in the center, as well as the meeting room
space available for private groups. Tracking now shows a total of 1314 users since the Catalyst Center
opened in August, 2014.
TALENT FUELS SPEED TO
Accelerate Greater Charleston works to provide our region’s
employers with a highly skilled, work ready talent pool.
Accelerating Career Education
Metro Charleston is making tremendous gains in developing a robust talent pipeline for a local career-ready
workforce through several programs and initiatives funded through Accelerate Greater Charleston:
Career Academies are now operating in three school districts – Berkeley County, Charleston County
and Dorchester District Two with 59 academies in 22 schools at the start of the 2015/2016 school year.
Businesses committed as Academy Partners are quickly reaching the goal of 200, with 150 partners and
counting in August. Career Academies are attracting students to the following industry clusters:
• Health Professions
• Business and Finance
• Computer Science
• Arts/Humanities • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
With multiple Career Academies across three different school districts, the Charleston
region is leading the nation with the largest, region-wide career academy program.
Youth Apprenticeship Programs
Youth Apprenticeship opportunities have also increased exponentially with 43 local companies
committing to hiring 80 student apprentices – 46 hired thus far – who will begin their programs this fall,
participating in a multi-level “track” toward a future career. In partnership with Trident Technical College
and SC Youth Apprenticeship Program, student apprentices take their regular high school courses and
travel to Trident Technical College two days a week where they are enrolled in dual credit courses. They
also receive on-the-job training for up to two hours per day during the school year and up to 40 hours
a week during summers, from area companies paying $10.00 per hour in addition to the rich learning/
working experience each student receives.
Through your investment dollars to Accelerate Greater Charleston, the cost of tuition and books
is paid for each of the students. Upon graduation, the students will have a high school diploma,
industrial certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, a nearly completed full two-year
associates degree, and likely, a full time job. The apprenticeships are offered in Hospitality,
Information Technology and Manufacturing.
In June, the Charleston Metro Chamber awarded 15 full scholarships (tuition and books) to Career
Academy students to attend Trident Tech to obtain an associates degree in their career field. Many of
the scholarship recipients are the first in their family to attend college and without the AGC Scholarship,
would not have been able to afford to continue their education. Letters received from recipients clearly
communicate the profound difference these scholarships will make in their lives. Read about Lorena
Haro, a graduate of R.B. Stall High School in North Charleston:
Dear Mr. Derreberry,
Thank you so much for the AGC
scholarship. I always wanted to be a nurse
and this will help me achieve my dream.
All my hard work might have been for
nothing because my family can’t afford to
pay for college. Now I can live my dream
to go to college. I will work very hard so
that my family and you would be proud of
me. Thank you for believing in me.
2015 AGC Scholarship Recipient
Career Academy Intranet
With the start of the 2015/2016 school year, Academy Partners (educators and businesses) will
have a dynamic communications platform to share information and collaborate across the region.
The Career Academy Intranet, developed by the Charleston Metro Chamber, allows partners
to learn about activities in other schools, share academy plans, view images and plan events.
The intranet is user-friendly, mobile responsive and designed to increase connectivity and best
practices for the benefit of all Career Academies.
Made possible by your Accelerate Greater Charleston contributions, this is just one of several tools that
aid Career Academy partners in fueling our talent pipeline and maintaining the largest regional career
academy operation in the country.
ADVOCACY IS CENTRAL
TO ADVANCING OUR
Accelerate Greater Charleston’s advocacy efforts are designed
to guarantee our region’s sustainable and prosperous growth.
State Delegation Appreciation
In July, several hundred Chamber members joined elected officials to thank them for their efforts during
the legislative session at the annual State Delegation Appreciation event. Representative Jenny Horne
(R-Summerville) was honored for her courageous words given on the State House floor after hours of
debate on the issue of the Confederate Flag removal.
Senator Paul Campbell was presented with the 2015 Glenn McConnell Elected Leadership Award,
an award established by the Chamber in 2012 and given to a member of the legislative delegation
who exemplifies outstanding leadership and vision while collaborating with colleagues to improve the
state’s business climate. Senator Campbell has been a strong proponent of the Chamber’s legislative
priorities and has been instrumental in finding solutions to infrastructure needs. He had an integral
role in funding for the Aeronautical Enterprise Campus and in extending the one-cent sales tax for
infrastructure in Berkeley County.
Partnership for Responsible Growth
Work is underway to increase visibility and support for the Chamber’s Partnership for Responsible
Growth (PRG), a grassroots coalition formed by 100+ businesses and advocacy partners to develop
innovative solutions to guide growth as a positive contributor to the quality of life in the region. Polling of
citizens in key areas is completed and an action plan for strategic communications is being developed
for implementation in early fall.
The Chamber commissioned a study of the Growth Management Plan recently released by Mount
Pleasant Town Council, conducted by the Urban Land Institute South Carolina (ULI) for an unbiased, fair
and honest assessment. A panel of interdisciplinary experts spent two days studying the plan, touring the
community and conducting numerous interviews and deliberations with stakeholders. An assessment of
the results was released at an open community forum in early August.
Initial conclusions include a strong call for Mount Pleasant’s elected leaders, businesses and general
citizens to come together to jointly craft a shared vision that addresses the town’s next phase of growth
and development. Another recommendation is a needed adjustment to the size of the urban corridor
overlay district to allow for development nodes that have varied density districts. Ultimately, the ULI
panel expressed that the original proposal as presented in the Framework for Growth Management
needed to be amended for greater flexibility and targeted application in the areas ripe for development in
the urban corridor before it is adopted by Mount Pleasant Town Council.
The complete assessment is available on the Charleston Metro Chamber website at
http://www.charlestonchamber.net/uligrowthmgmt. The full report from the Urban Land
Institute will be released in September.
Metro Leadership Visit
The Chamber’s fourth annual Metro Leadership Visit, which took place in May, attracted 38 travelers
to Richmond, Virginia with a brief stop in Washington, D.C. The Chamber is already planning the fifth
trip for 2016, which will take place in June with travelers jetting across the country to visit Seattle,
Washington. Metro Charleston’s growth and industry composition warrant studies of cities with relative
characteristics, making it necessary to visit cities outside the Southeast in order to bring the best
outcomes to recommendations for our region. The destination, coupled with a revised timeframe and
ample lead time in scheduling will allow for an increase in travelers for the 2016 visit.
State Legislative Scorecard Released
The 2015 State Legislative Scorecard reports the successful passage of several items, as well as
unfinished business and pending legislation for the coming year. This year’s legislative session is the
first of a two-part session that will continue in January 2016. Here is a summary of our outcomes in
The Chamber was one of the first organizations in the region announce its stance on the issue: it was
time for removal of the flag from State House grounds entirely. The Senate voted 37-3 and the House
voted 94-20, with 18 of the 19 Charleston region House members and all Charleston region Senators
voting to take it down.
Infrastructure and Transportation
While our number one issue – permanent funding for infrastructure – did not pass this year, the Chamber
will continue to work between July and January to convince legislators to pass the infrastructure bill waiting
on the Senate calendar. The pending legislation calls for the support of a comprehensive infrastructure
funding plan that increases the motor fuel user fee and indexes the fee for inflation.
Legislation was passed supporting transportation network companies, allowing more options for
residents and visitors (Uber Bill). In addition, the General Assembly directed $214 million in surplus
funds to be distributed for maintenance of existing secondary roads.
Economic Development & Talent
Legislation was passed in support of the Aeronautical Enterprise Campus at Trident
Technical College to expand the aerospace industry cluster in South Carolina.
The Chamber is still working to pass legislation to grant the University of Charleston a comprehensive
research university in order to provide advanced degrees. However, the commission of higher education
has granted approval to the University of Charleston to change its mission statement by adding
“Research University” to its charter. Both achievements will generate more career-ready workforce
needed from our local talent pipeline in the industries growing most rapidly.
Military Base Retention and Expansion
As a significant sector of our regional economy, the Chamber works diligently in support of legislation
that strengthens our military bases and services. Several bills were passed this session bringing
increased benefits for our military personnel including legislation that:
nhances the value and mission of the military installations and the
military personnel in the Charleston region and throughout the state
• Simplifies the process of absentee voting for those serving overseas
• Addresses complications regarding custody and visitation for parents serving overseas
xtends reemployment rights of the National Guard for those employed
in SC having membership in another state’s national or state guard
• Establishes a committee to study veterans issues to improve services
View the complete legislative scorecard on the Chamber’s website.
THANK YOU AGC INVESTORS
Cooper River Partners
Adams Outdoor Advertising
ALCOA Mt. Holly
Daimler Vans Manufacturing LLC
Anderson Insurance Associates LLC
Dale Carnegie Training of SC LLC
Daniel Island Company, Inc.
Baker Motor Company
Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Dunhill Staffing Systems
East Cooper Medical Center
Elliott Davis Decosimo LLC
Bently World Packaging
Francis Marion Hotel
Cady Nell West
Go To Team
CB Richard Ellis Carmody
CC&T Real Estate Services
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA
Hendrick Automotive Group of Charleston
Charleston Branch Pilots Association
Charleston Water System
Choate Construction Company
Jules Deas III
City of Charleston
K&L Gates LLP
City of North Charleston
KapStone Charleston Kraft LLC
Clawson and Staubes, LLC
Laura Alberts Tasteful Options
Life Cycle Engineering
Limehouse Produce Co.
Scientific Research Corporation
Lowcountry Residential Builders LLC
LS3P ASSOCIATES LTD
Seamon Whiteside + Associates
Maverick Southern Kitchens
Seidler & Associates LLC
Maybank Properties LLC
Showa Denko Carbon, Inc.
Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP
Medical University of South Carolina
South Carolina Aquarium
Meridian Energy & Environment LLC
South Carolina Federal Credit Union
Moody CPA’s & Advisors LLC
South Carolina Ports Authority
Mount Pleasant Waterworks
South State Bank
SteelFab of South Carolina
Nexsen Pruet LLC
Stubbs-Muldrow-Herin Architects, Inc.
O.L. Thompson Construction Co.
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
The Beach Company
The Boeing Company
Premier Logistics Solutions
The InterTech Group Inc.
The Post and Courier
Town of Mount Pleasant
Residence Inn by Marriott - Charleston Riverview
Trident Technical College
Robert Bosch Corp.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLC
Young Clement Rivers LLP
Thank you for reviewing this Accelerate Greater
Charleston Investor Update and for your ongoing
support of our region’s metro advancement plan.
P.O. Box 975
Charleston, SC 29402-0975