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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Educational Expansion

Apr 16, 2024 10:01AM ● By Donna Walker

College of Charleston Announces Two New Academic Schools

The College of Charleston Board of Trustees has approved the creation of two new academic schools: the School of Engineering, Computing, and Mathematics; and the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. The formation of these two schools, approved unanimously on April 12, 2024, is a significant step forward in ensuring the long-term viability of the College of Charleston’s brand of education.


The School of Engineering, Computing, and Mathematics will be composed of the Departments of Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics, while the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences will be composed of the Departments of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Physics and Astronomy.  


“We are excited to organize our current STEM-related departments into these two new schools, which will enhance the student experience and create more opportunities for strategic partnerships,” says College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu.


“Our 10-year strategic plan challenges our university to be more innovative, and this new organizational structure will help us achieve that kind of innovation.”  


The creation of these new schools will enable the college to better address the needs of the greater Charleston community and support the region’s growing high-tech, manufacturing and engineering industries.  


“The School of Engineering, Computing, and Mathematics is a strategic investment by the university into select discipline-related programs that will attract new cohorts of students, bolstering enrollments in our traditional liberal arts foundation,” says Suzanne Austin, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. 


“The School of Natural and Environmental Sciences will provide students with a rigorous scientific education and prepare them to tackle complex environmental challenges facing our world today.” 


Austin announced that the College will conduct a national search for the new dean of the School of Engineering, Computing, and Mathematics.  


Seth Pritchard will serve as interim dean of the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences as well as the School of Engineering, Computing, and Mathematics until a national search for the SOECM dean is completed.

ND3 Receives $34 Million Contract for Army Reserve 81st Readiness Divisions

ND3, a Columbia-based business that provides support services for the U.S. military, has been awarded a $34.4 million non-personal services contract for the U.S. Army Reserve Command's (USARC) 81st Readiness Divisions (RDs).


Awarded on February 28, 2024, with a one-year base period and four one-year option periods, the contract tasks ND3 with providing a comprehensive range of maintenance and repair support services within the Continental United States to ensure the 81st MRSC's equipment and facilities are operational and mission-ready.


This project encompasses not only equipment maintenance and repair but also administrative, logistical, and training support through the Logistic Sustainment Training Program at various US Army Reserve locations, including Equipment Concentration Sites and HQ 81st Fort Jackson.


“We are honored to receive this important contract and support the critical mission of the 81st MRSC,” said Nathaniel Durant, CEO of ND3 Inc.


“ND3's commitment to excellence and our dedication to serving those who serve our country perfectly align with the values of the U.S. Army Reserve. We look forward to building a strong partnership with the 81st MRSC and contributing to their success.”

MEB Management and Weller Management Merge to Form Bryten Real Estate Partners

After a year of internal planning, reorganizing and integrating, MEB Management Services, a Phoenix-based multifamily management company servicing the Southwest, and Weller Management, a third-party property management and consulting company based in St. Petersburg, Florida, serving the Southeast, officially merged to become Bryten Real Estate Partners creating a nationally recognized management company.


Prior to the merger, MEB Management Services employed 700 staff members and managed over 27,000 units throughout Southwest. Of that total, more than 4,200 units are new developments that will open by mid-2024. There are an additional 5,000 plus new development units under contract for mid-2024 and into 2025. Weller employed 450 staff members and managed close to 20,000 units.


Together, Bryten now employs 1,150 individuals and manages nearly 47,000 units across the U.S. including four properties in South Carolina. Bryten also has a presence in Arizona, New Mexico, Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, and Texas.


The leaders of Bryten spent over a year working on combining the best practices of each company to enrich the lives of its residents, clients, and employees.


Bryten headquarters are located in Phoenix, with additional offices in Tucson, Denver, and St. Petersburg. The Bryten leadership is comprised of founding members Scott Cook, Libby Ekre, Joe Emerson, and the president of operations, John Vranich.

Department of Natural Resources Reminds Residents to Be Aware of Black Bears

With spring and warmer weather arriving, black bears are becoming more active, and during this time, bears are looking for easy food. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) reminds South Carolinians to take down their bird feeders and secure their trash if black bears are in the area. The most common human-bear conflicts involve unsecured food.


“The mere presence of a black bear does not necessarily represent a problem,” said Tammy Waldrop, an SCDNR black bear biologist stationed in Clemson.


“Most bears are just passing through, but if there is an easy meal available, they will take advantage of it. The key to dealing with wandering bears is not giving them a reason to hang around. Removing any food source that would attract bears will significantly reduce any bear issues in residential areas.”


To help South Carolina residents better coexist with bears, Waldrop and the BearWise program offer these “Six At-Home BearWise Basics.”


  • Remove bird feeders when bears are active. Birdseed and grains have lots of calories, so they are attractive to bears. Removing feeders is the best way to avoid creating conflicts with bears.
  • Secure food, garbage, and recycling. Food and food odors attract bears, so do not reward them with easily available food, liquids, or garbage.
  • Never feed or approach bears. Intentionally feeding bears or allowing them to find anything that smells or tastes like food teaches bears to approach homes and people looking for more.
  • Never leave pet food outdoors. Feed pets indoors when possible. If you must feed pets outside, feed in single portions and remove bowls afterwards. Store pet food where bears cannot see or smell it.
  • Clean and store grills, smokers. Clean grills after each use and make sure that all grease, fat and food particles are removed. Store clean grills and smokers in a secure area that keeps bears out.
  • Alert neighbors to bear activity. See bears in the area or evidence of bear activity? Tell your neighbors and share info on how to avoid bear conflicts.

While people may be excited about seeing a bear, SCDNR wants them to remember that bears are wild animals and should be respected. Black bears are usually shy, evasive and non-aggressive toward people.


People and black bears can live in the same area with little conflict by following some basic rules. For more information on living responsibly with black bears, visit  https://bearwise.orgIf you see a black bear, you can report it at:

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