COLUMBIA, S.C. – April 17, 2012 – Gov. Nikki Haley and the South Carolina Department of Commerce honored selected economic development leaders as South Carolina Ambassadors for Economic Development as part of Industry Appreciation Week. The Tuesday afternoon awards ceremony at the Statehouse recognized 51 individuals from all 46 counties who contributed to economic development in their local communities.
Industry Appreciation Week provides an opportunity to say “thank you” to companies in the state for their many contributions to our communities, as well as a chance to build awareness among the residents of South Carolina that existing business is a fundamental driver of both the local and state economy.
James A. Pfeiffer, President and CEO of Self Regional Healthcare, was honored as an Ambassador for his leadership in the development of a new $25 million Cancer Center that opened in 2011. Under his watch, the hospital has remained the largest employer in its seven-county service area, providing jobs to more than 2,300 people.
Pfeiffer also served as chairman of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance for the past two years and co-chaired the Partnership for Tomorrow Campaign – an effort that committed over $3.7 million for economic development initiatives in Greenwood County.
In presenting the honor, Gov. Nikki Haley expressed optimism about the state’s economic climate.
“We are bringing investments and new jobs every day,” she said. “In South Carolina, we build things. We’re building planes. We’re building automobiles. We’re building tires. We’re bringing in companies we never imagined we’d bring. Recruiting companies is a team effort and our team efforts are only going to continue to get stronger.”
In most communities across the state, small businesses continue to play an important role in job creation. Small businesses employ 750,147 South Carolinians, or about 49 percent of all people employed by private industry in the state. Small businesses also make up a large proportion of the manufacturers in the state. More than 3,200 manufacturers are considered small businesses, which represent more than 88 percent of all manufacturers in the state, and those firms employ 70,000 state residents.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell said in a statement, “Economic Development starts first and foremost on the ground level. Today, we recognized some outstanding Palmetto State business leaders as Ambassadors for Economic Development because of their hard work to advance the unified economic goals we share for South Carolina. The most valuable economic development resource our state has are those businesses that operate and succeed in the private sector every day.”
More than 220,000 South Carolinians are employed in the manufacturing sector, more than 12 percent of the state’s employed workforce. Manufacturing accounts for more than $26 billion in goods and services produced in the Palmetto State, which is 16.4 percent of South Carolina’s gross domestic product.
“Thanks to the hard work of our economic development community, South Carolina enjoyed numerous investments from world-class companies. With help from business and economic development leaders, our economic development team recruited more than $5.12 billion in capital investments and 20,013 jobs to our state last year. It’s the efforts of our business and industry that allow us to do that,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
During the past year, South Carolina also continued to add to its list of marquee companies with expansions and investments from companies such as Bridgestone, Continental Tire, Michelin, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, TD Bank, ZF Group and many more.
The ambassador awards presentation is one of many events that will occur across the state as part of Industry Appreciation Week. Local communities will also host a variety of activities to recognize and thank business and industry leaders.
About S.C. Department of Commerce
As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing businesses grow. Commerce received the Silver Award from Business Facilities magazine, placing second in the 2011 Economic Development Deal of the Year competition. Commerce has been part of recruiting world-class companies to South Carolina such as Boeing, Bridgestone, Continental, Monster.com, Heinz, ZF Group, BMW and Google Inc. Commerce also supports small and existing business, rural development initiatives and offers grants for community development. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.