Greenville Business Magazine April 2010 : Page 23

creating H istorically, South Carolina has had success in recruit- ing manufacturing with low labor costs, cheap land and tax incentives. Land availability and tax incentives remain important, but the need for cheap, unskilled labor is rapidly diminishing. Tomorrow’s economy requires developing a pool of highly skilled and productive workers, deploy- ing technology and innovation, and encouraging tomorrow’s industries to exploit intellectual capital to advantage. In short,we need to focus on building and attracting tomorrow’s knowledge-based industries and people, and investing in the organizations that get our message to businesses consider- ing relocation and expansion. “Since our founding, Greenville Area Development Corporation’s (GADC) recruiting and retention efforts have resulted in the creation of nearly 10,000 new jobs and over $2 billion in capital investment in Green- ville County – proof that economic development efforts are paying off,” notes Mike Buiter, chairman of the GADC. “The wise decisions and investment made by County Council and business leaders has made all the difference. And effective collaboration among allies – from cities and munici- palities to chambers of commerce and the Upstate Alliance – make Greenville County’s outlook bright.” As vice chair and head of the GADC Investor Relations Committee, Jo Hackl sees collaboration as natural for Green- ville County. “Greenville has long been a commu- nity powered by business, with nearly every aspect that makes it so special – from our beautiful downtown to the vibrant cultural community – the result of business supporting projects that We’re all about good jobs BY JERRY HOWARD PHOTOGRAPH BY COMMERCIAL IMAGING strengthen the community,” Hackl states. “Our ‘can-do spirit’ attracts business and entrepreneurs, and collaboration provides the support to move projects from dream to reality.” Throughout 2009 and into 2010, Greenville has continued to attract both business expansions and new businesses eager to benefit from the county’s qual- ity of life and positive business climate, adds Bob Howard, chair of the GADC’s Public Relations committee. “At the end of the day,the GADC is about creating jobs and helping companies here prosper,” says Howard. “We ensure that efforts to bring jobs are strategic and focused. We examine clusters of industry that make the most sense for Greenville County and work hard to communicate our story. We align with partners in economic development for efficiency, making sure every dollar is well-spent. That’s why it was particu- larly gratifying to hear the chairman of Proterra, for example, cite our commu- nity collaboration as truly unusual and key to their selecting Greenville.” Howard was alluding to the recent announcement by Colorado-based Proterra to locate its hybrid and electric bus facility here, creating at least 1,300 jobs. Proterra’s use of technology and commitment to innovation make it “precisely the kind of organization we want here,” he added. The Proterra announcement was followed by other good news, noted Buiter. “In first quarter alone, Greenville County saw expansions by automotive supplier Bosch Rexroth and specialty textile manufacturer American Truetzschler, plus the addition of Sage Automotive’s international headquarters. We’re adding jobs, investment and intellectual capital, and momentum is building.” With nearly 65 percent of Green- ville’s growth coming from existing companies, supporting existing busi- nesses is high on the GADC priority list, adds Hackl. “We want all commu- nity businesses to be successful, so we emphasize support to existing industry. That’s why our networking opportunities and the community of investors in GADC have flourished. People want to come together and connect with other leaders of vision. Doing so pays off in growth and success, and the cycle continues.” Despite the rocky national econ- omy, Howard encourages the commu- nity to keep a positive outlook. “It’s easy to overindulge in bad news, but we need to realize that we live in a great country, state and county, and there’s no place personally that I’d rather be,” says Howard. “We need to focus on our business and invest in our community, and trust it will pay off as it always has since 1776.” “Greenville County economic development is producing good results. It’s a tribute to the strong GADC staff that our Board can focus on strategy and funding, not internal operational challenges that some organizations experience. Our sole focus is on find- ing ways to bring more and better jobs to Greenville County.” ■ Mike Buiter is retired Vice President - Finance of Dr. Pepper Company and teaches at Bob Jones University. Jo Hackl is an attorney with the Wyche Law Firm. Bob Howard is President of the Greenville Tech Foundation. Jerry Howard is president/CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corporation. Reach him via e-mail at jhoward@greenvillecounty.org or call (864) 235-2008. APRIL 2010 | GREENVILLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE 23

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