S.C. Manufacturers Alliance Looks to the Future at Annual Meeting

Staff Report

Friday, August 28th, 2020

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:

Executive Committee 
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