April 24, 2012
Eckford honored for service to industry growth
Eckford honored for
service to industry growth
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
and the S.C. Department of Commerce recently recognized Karen Eckford, vice
president and city executive for NBSC in Camden, as an ambassador for economic development
from Kershaw County.
Eckford was named an economic
development ambassador during an awards ceremony Tuesday at the S.C. State
House as part of Industry Appreciation Week. The ceremony recognized Eckford
and 50 other individuals from all 46 counties for contributing 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” and build awareness that existing business
fundamentally drives both the state and local economies, according to
Department of Commerce officials.
Eckford plays a vital role in
Kershaw County’s economic development, Commerce official said, through her
service as chair of the Economic Development Committee of 100 and by sitting on
the Economic Development Advisory Board. She has also served as chair of the
United Way of Kershaw County campaign, chair of the United Way Board, member of
the KershawHealth Foundation Board, former president of the Kershaw County
Chamber of Commerce, president of the Camden Rotary Club, executive director of
the Kershaw County Disabilities Foundation, member of the Kershaw County Board
of Disabilities and Special Needs, president of the board of the Fine Arts Center
of Kershaw County and board member of Food for the Soul.
Eckford is also a member of the
Kershaw County Planning and Zoning Commission.
This year, Industry Appreciation
Week noted the role of small businesses and manufacturers in South Carolina.
Commerce officials said that 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, they said, 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, Commerce officials said.
“Economic Development starts first
and foremost on the ground level,” S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell said.
“Today, we recognized some outstanding Palmetto State business leaders as
ambassadors of 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.”
At the event, Haley focused on the
“We are bringing investments and
new jobs every day,” Haley 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 get stronger.
Commerce officials said that more
than 220,000 South Carolinians are employed in the manufacturing sector -- more
than 12 percent of the state’s employed workforce. They said manufacturing
accounts for more than $26 billion in goods and services produced in the 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,” Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said. “With help
from business and economic development leaders, our economic development team
has 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.”
Commerce officials noted that
during the past year, South Carolina continued to add to its list of “marquee
companies” such as Bridgestone, Continental Tire, Michelin, Nephron
Pharmaceuticals, TD Bank, ZF Group and more.
Tuesday’s ambassador awards
presentation was one of many events occurring as part of Industry Appreciation
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