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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Economic Development Record

Jan 06, 2023 07:41PM ● By David Dykes

South Carolina Reports $10.27 Billion in Announced 2022 Capital Investment, Most In State History

The South Carolina Department of Commerce released its 2022 industry recruitment results that reflect historic economic activity. 

From January to December 2022, the state announced total capital investment of $10.27 billion, the single largest year in state history. That investment represents 120 projects and the creation of 14,083 new jobs.

“It's no accident or surprise that South Carolina is breaking economic development records,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We have consistently proven that our people are among the most talented and hard-working in the world, that we’re committed to fostering a competitive business-friendly environment, and that there is no better place to live, work, and raise a family.

"These historic achievements are a direct result of the South Carolinians who make our state great and understand the value of hard work.”

Industry recruitment soared in multiple categories in 2022. The record-breaking capital investment of $10.27 billion reflects a 118 percent increase over 2017, and announced investments in rural South Carolina in 2022 increased 30 percent over 2017. 

While domestic-based companies represented the majority of announced investments, overall foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2022 increased 371 percent over 2021.

“South Carolina’s 2022 industry recruitment is not only one for the record books, but it also reinforces that our state is leading this transformational time in business,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III.

“We are cultivating an increasingly diverse, technologically advanced economy that will continue to create opportunities for our citizens for generations to come.” 

To access the complete recruitment report, click here.

Maynard Cooper & Gale, Nexsen Pruet Announce Merger

Alabama-based Maynard Cooper & Gale and Carolinas-based Nexsen Pruet have agreed to merge into one national law firm operating under the name Maynard Nexsen effective April 1, 2023.

As a combined firm, Maynard Nexsen will join together more than 550 lawyers operating out of 23 offices coast to coast in the United States. 

Terms weren't disclosed.

 Officials said the merger combines two client-centered firms that will focus on further expansion in high-growth, high-opportunity markets, bolstered by the increased depth and breadth of client service offerings.

Maynard Nexsen said it will implement a shared leadership team, bringing together decision-makers who have successfully steered both law firms for many years. 

Jeff Grantham, managing shareholder of Maynard Cooper & Gale, will serve as CEO and managing shareholder of the combined firm. 

Leighton Lord, chairman of Nexsen Pruet, will serve as president and chief strategy officer.

Greg Curran, chairman of Maynard, will serve as chairman of the board and head of client relations for the combined law firm.

Lord discusses the new merger in a short video here. 

“Maynard Nexsen is a merger of two thriving firms that share the same culture, vision, and commitment to excellence,” said Grantham. “With deep relationships and decades of experience in our respective markets, the firms fit together in a way that positions Maynard Nexsen for accelerated growth and collective success. 

"Our newly combined firm will build on our common culture of client-centered service, collaborative teamwork, and entrepreneurial spirit. At over 550 attorneys strong, Maynard Nexsen will elevate our service and value proposition for our clients through greater capabilities, expanded geographical reach, and deeper bench strength that will allow us to handle any matter." 

“This is an incredibly exciting new chapter of growth as we come together as one,” said Lord. “Maynard Nexsen is the result of two firms that share a client-centered culture and commitment to continued growth and evolution. Together, we are a powerful national force – broadening our capabilities and services to clients. I am honored to work together with Jeff Grantham and unite our talented teams.”

Maynard Nexsen will have 23 offices in the following markets:

Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery

California: Los Angeles, San Francisco

Florida: Miami, Orlando 

Georgia: Atlanta

Iowa: Des Moines 

New York: New York City 

North Carolina: Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh

South Carolina: Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head/Bluffton, Myrtle Beach

Tennessee: Nashville

Texas: Austin, Dallas

Washington, D.C.

In addition to legal services, Maynard Nexsen will continue to own and operate the wholly-owned subsidiaries of Nexsen Pruet.

NP Strategy is a 30-person strategic communications and public relations firm operating in three states.

Nextra Solutions is an ediscovery and litigation technology support company.

Officials said Mike Short from LawVision consulted on and played an important role in the consolidation.

Maynard Nexsen formed in 2023 when two successful, client-centered firms combined to form a  national team.  

Maynard Nexsen’s list of clients spans a range of industry sectors and includes both public and private companies.

Officials said is under development.

In the meantime, go to the websites of Maynard Cooper & Gale and Nexsen Pruet for more information about the history of the individual firms.

Elisabeth Kovacs Named Executive Director of SC Future Makers

SC Future Makers, a 501c3 nonprofit organization affiliated with the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, said Elisabeth Kovacs will serve as its executive director.

Formed in 2016, SC Future Makers is a workforce initiative whose mission is to connect the next generation in the state of South Carolina to all of the opportunities it has to offer, close the STEM skills gap, and retain talent for future economic development and regional prosperity.

Using the Tallo platform, SC Future Makers empowers students and individuals in South Carolina to create personal digital portfolios and connect with colleges and companies.

Since the debut of SC Future Makers, more than 130,000 South Carolinians have created personal digital portfolios.

Said Sidney Locke, vice president of human resources and communication for Sage Automotive Interiors, Inc., and chair of SC Future Makers: “Having a skilled and qualified workforce is critical to the success of the manufacturing industry, and SC Future Makers is an innovate program that inspires, empowers, and connects the next generation of manufacturers.

"We look forward to Elisabeth’s leadership and work to create a strong pipeline of talent and leaders for South Carolina’s manufacturing community.”  

With an extensive background in advancing South Carolina’s economy and workforce, Kovacs previously served as the manager of Workforce Development for the S.C. Department of Commerce and has been with the agency for more than 18 years.

Prior to Commerce, she spent time at the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and the S.C. Office of the Governor, as well as a two-year stint in the private sector.

Kovacs holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina, is a certified economic development finance professional, a South Carolina certified economic development professional and has completed two years of the nationally accredited Economic Development Institute.

Additionally, she served on the advisory committee on data for evidence building for the U.S. Department of Commerce and on the JEDX advisory committee for the U.S. Chamber Foundation; serves on the board of trustees for the Carolinas AGC Foundation and is the former board chair and current board member of the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands.

U.S. Postal Service Celebrates the School Bus

Whether it inspires excitement, tears, fears or nostalgia, the bright yellow bus that transports millions of students to classrooms across the United States every day is a cherished artifact of a common childhood experience.

With the release of the School Bus additional ounce stamp, the U.S. Postal Service celebrates the iconic yellow school bus and its place in the nation's collective childhood.

Postal Service officials say about 25 million children across the United States ride a yellow bus to school every day.

In addition to providing safe and reliable transportation — almost 70 times safer than being driven to school in a car—the buses also keep millions of cars off the road, saving gasoline and lowering carbon dioxide emissions, the officials say. 

The stamp's background is ecru, while the school, flag, and lettering are tan. The body of the bus is bright yellow, its tire rims are gray, and its tires, door, windows, bumpers, trim, and details are black.

 The bus stands on a thick black line that serves both as a road and a border separating it from the words "ADDITIONAL OUNCE" along the stamp's bottom edge.

 Artist Steve Wolf worked with art director Greg Breeding and designer Mike Ryan to create the stamp.

 School Bus additional ounce stamps are issued in panes of 20 and coils of 100. Additional ounce stamps are used to add postage when needed on heavier mail pieces.

 Customers can purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store at, by calling 844-737-7826, or at Post Office locations nationwide.

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