Western SC new name for Economic Development Partnership | Local News

NORTH AUGUSTA — Since August, the Partnership for Economic Development has been known as Western SC.

President and CEO Will Williams spoke about the change at Western SC’s annual meeting Thursday at the North Augusta Municipal Building.

The old name “didn’t really identify us geographically,” especially to site consultants who were unaware of the locations of Aiken, Edgefield, McCormick, and Saluda counties.

These consultants help businesses select locations that meet their needs.

“The site consultants were thrilled to see it, and a lot of our other external constituents we work with were very, very happy to see it,” Williams said of the decision to have the Economic Development Partnership will be known in the future as Western SC. .

Williams also discussed highlights from Western SC’s 2021-22 fiscal year.

Shaw Industries Group has announced plans for a major expansion near Aiken, and another company, Accudraft Finishing Systems, has established a new production facility near Aiken.

Additionally, Palmetto Gourmet Foods has expanded its operations into Saluda County.

For these projects combined, the investment amount totaled $416.3 million.

They should create 415 new jobs.

Shaw Industries is “probably doubling its footprint,” Williams said. “This is their largest capital investment ever in a facility, and we are very pleased they chose Aiken County and this area to make it.”

Overall, “I would say we had a good year,” Williams continued. “And we did it at a time when labor was not as plentiful as it once was.”

Williams also mentioned deal flow, which is the rate at which business proposals are received.

For Western SC, deal flow in fiscal year 2021-22 involved 30 projects.

“Obviously they didn’t all materialize, but it was an above average year for us,” Williams said. “We now have a very strong pipeline of nearly $2 billion. ($1.8 billion) in potential new investments and 3,000 potential new jobs.

Another speaker at Western SC’s annual meeting was Ford Graham, senior vice president of the national infrastructure and economic development team at McGuireWoods Consulting.

He is also a partner at McGuireWoods, which is an international law firm.

Graham’s comments indicated that changing the name of the Economic Development Partnership to Western SC was a good idea.

Graham said that when marketing an area as a potential business location to international companies based outside of the United States, communities should “build regional alliances” and promote themselves in a way that makes it easier to understand their location.

“International businesses understand Chicago,” he said. “They understand Miami. They include Dallas. They include Los Angeles. And they understand New York perfectly.

“That’s what they usually think of when they think of the United States,” Graham added. “They usually don’t know where Camden, SC is, or where Saluda County is. So if you can work together in a regional group, you’ll have a better opportunity to get some of these businesses.

Topics also discussed by Graham included global competition, international investment and the rise in the number of megaprojects, which are large-scale, complex undertakings that typically cost $1 billion or more.