June 17, 2020, Source: crda.org

CHARLESTON | SC | USA – Charleston has topped the lists of global, luxury travel magazines as the Best U.S. City for the past 10 years. This discerning visitor demand makes this community attractive as a business location as well. The region’s fast-growing automotive manufacturing sector has added a new key player, Arkonik Ltd. This world leader in creating custom Land Rover Defenders for the most exacting American and Canadian clients has selected Charleston for its first U.S. location and North American headquarters.

Established in 2006 and headquartered in the United Kingdom, Arkonik Ltd., specializes in the restoration and customization of Land Rover Defenders for customers all over the world. With a workforce of more than 70 at its Bath, England headquarters facility, Arkonik anticipates steady growth potential for its new Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) location in the City of Charleston in Berkeley County, South Carolina.

Arkonik SVO will serve as the company’s flagship operation for engine and transmission upgrades. Arkonik SVO has been developed for two reasons: to offer clients an array of upgrades appropriate for today’s Defender driver and to provide a physical presence in North America where clients can test drive the vehicles, meet the team, and discuss their custom options face to face. An electric vehicle platform is planned for 2021.

“Less than a year ago, within the foundry of Arkonik’s ambitions, a brand-new objective was cast: locate and develop a U.S. business hub from which to better serve our North American clients. Multiple prospective locations in various states were considered, visited, and then reviewed. In the final analysis, no other setting came close to offering the unique home we felt Charleston could provide. Arkonik is thrilled to call Charleston home.”  – Arkonik Ltd. CEO Andy Hayes

In January 2020, Arkonik secured a lease on a facility located at 2300 Clements Ferry Road in Berkeley County. The company suspended operations shortly thereafter due to COVID travel restrictions. With social distancing and safety protocols in place, renovations will begin immediately to accommodate a fully operational shop, and a customer design and delivery center. Arkonik SVO expects to hire 5 to 10 employees within the next five years, including mechanical and electrical technicians, and administrative support.

“In helping Arkonik become established on U.S. soil, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and Rebecca Ford have consistently provided expert guidance and balanced advice. They have made it fun and they have made it easy. That Rebecca would choose to join Arkonik as our Managing Director is a tremendous and fortunate turn of events.” – Arkonik Ltd. CEO Andy Hayes

Rebecca “Becky” Ford has been hired to run the SVO unit in North America. Currently a Director of Global Business Development for the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Becky will assume her leadership role as Arkonik SVO Managing Director effective July 1, 2020.

“I am honored to represent Arkonik Ltd. in the North American market. I look forward to putting the team together and supporting our global customers.” – Incoming Arkonik SVO Managing Director Rebecca Ford

Arkonik is the eighth company to locate here as part of South Carolina Department of Commerce’s and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance’s Landing Pad program, which is designed to support global companies as they enter the U.S. market, often simplifying what could be an overwhelming experience and minimizing risks through the process.

“South Carolina’s undeniable prowess in the manufacturing industry continues to help attract companies from around the world. We’re proud that Arkonik Ltd. selected Berkeley County to base its first North American operations. We welcome Arkonik SVO to South Carolina and look forward to watching them succeed in our state.” – SC Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“Bringing new jobs and opportunities to Berkeley County, with limited impact on the County’s resources and infrastructure is an incredible win for the County and the region. Berkeley County welcomes Arkonik into the Country and especially our community. We look forward to working with this company for a successful future.” – Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb

“I am pleased to welcome Arkonik to Charleston and am honored they chose our city to house their North American headquarters. I wish them great success and look forward to seeing their future growth and development.” – Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg

“Charleston’s highly-skilled workforce, business-friendly climate, and globally-connected infrastructure like the Port of Charleston, influenced the company’s decision to locate here to better serve its customers. Arkonik SVO will be a tremendous asset to our growing automotive cluster.” – Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chairman John Hagerty 

About Arkonik

With over 250 builds to their name, Arkonik is the world leader in creating custom Land Rover Defenders for the most exacting American and Canadian clients. Working with D90 and D110 models, each vehicle that receives the Arkonik treatment will be of a 15-25 year old vintage, depending on its destination. Arkonik performs a full restoration whilst retaining as much of the original vehicles as possible, to render a ‘better than new’ vehicle tailored to clients’ specifications. Their mission has evolved over the last 14 years, but the founding principle has remained constant; to create the most authentic, restored Land Rover Defenders in the world. Defenders that are as influential and inspirational as their clients. Arkonik’s adventurous and intrepid founder Andy Hayes has instilled the mantra ‘we are excellence’ into every employee since the company’s humble beginnings.

About Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA)

Charleston Regional Development Alliance is a professional economic development organization representing Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties in South Carolina. With a large and growing network of business, academic and governmental partners, CRDA directly assists companies with competitive location or expansion projects by connecting them with the right people, the appropriate resources and the most meaningful and relevant information. CRDA promotes the Charleston region’s business, academic, and lifestyle strengths worldwide to attract the world’s best companies, entrepreneurs and professional talent. Ultimately, the goal is to strengthen regional employment, build our base of high-value industries, and significantly improve the economic future for all who live and work in the greater Charleston area.

Media Contacts:

Claire Gibbons, CRDA Director, Global Marketing & Communications
+1 843.760.3351 | cgibbons@crda.org

Andy Stacey, Arkonik Creative Brand Manager
+44 (0)1373 476100 | andy.stacey@arkonik.com

[June 15, 2020] [source: Post and Courier]

A Goose Creek manufacturer of high-voltage cables for the energy industry has signed a contract to design, manufacture and install cables for the first phase of the large wind power farm that will rise from the sea off of Scotland.

French-owned Nexans inked the deal for the Seagreen 1 project with SSE Renewables.

Construction of the 1,075-megawatt project, roughly 17 miles off the coast of Angus, will start next year.

The Nexans plant at Charleston International Manufacturing Center will build three 40-mile-long underwater cables that will transport electricity generated by Seagreen’s turbines to land. A second Nexans plant in Belgium will build land cables connecting to a new substation, where Seagreen power will feed into the United Kingdom’s national electricity transmission system.

The wind farm will be Scotland’s largest source of renewable energy, able to power 1 million homes.

Nexans, based in Calais, France, is also building a cable-laying vessel called Aurora to transfer underwater cables from its Berkeley County site along the Cooper River. That vessel is expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

Production of the underwater cables involves lowering a copper conductor into a 426-foot-tall tower, where it is encased in melted plastic and then cured and cooled with nitrogen. The landmark structure at the Goose Creek site is among the tallest in South Carolina.

Nexans, which opened the 350,000-square-foot plant in 2014, underwent an $80 million expansion in 2018 to convert from above-ground to underwater cable production. It’s the only Nexans site in North America that makes those cables.

The expansion also includes a shipping terminal where the company’s cable-laying vessels can load up before heading to offshore projects.

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_

Available Careers at Nexans’ Berkeley Location

Kontane Logistics Expansion will create 30 new jobs

[May 26, 2020] COLUMBIA, S.C. – Kontane Logistics, Inc., a third-party warehousing and industrial packaging solutions company, today announced plans to expand operations in Berkeley County. The company’s expansion will create 30 new jobs.

Founded in 1975, Kontane Logistics, Inc. offers a variety services, including warehousing, packaging and distribution. Additionally, Kontane Logistics, Inc. specializes in providing just in time (JIT) solutions to the truck and automotive manufacturing industry.

Located at 830 Drop Off Drive in Summerville, Kontane Logistics, Inc.’s new facility will be used for light tire and wheel assembly for Volvo Cars. It will also provide for the expanded support of line sequencing and other value-added services offered to Volvo Cars’ supply network.

The facility is expected to be online by the fourth quarter of 2020. Individuals interested in joining the Kontane Logistics, Inc. team should visit http://www.kontanelogistics.com/contact/.  


“We are excited to partner with Volvo on such a critical component of their manufacturing process. The growth of the automotive industry in the South Carolina Lowcountry has been tremendous over the past five years. Kontane Logistics, Inc.’s proximity to these automotive plants, along with our extensive experience in the industry, have allowed us to provide a vital and timely service.” -Kontane Logistics, Inc. COO Rusty Byrd

“Kontane Logistics, Inc.’s decision to expand in Berkeley County is another great example of how South Carolinians continue to benefit from the growing automotive industry in our state. We congratulate them on their success, and we look forward to watching them continue to grow for many years to come.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“It is always great to see a company like Kontane Logistics, Inc. build on its success in the Palmetto State. Announcements like this showcase the diversity of South Carolina’s business climate, and we couldn’t be happier for this company and their growth.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“During this unique time in our nation’s history, creating job opportunities is vital. We commend the investment made by Kontane Logistics, Inc. in Berkeley County, and we value our strong working relationship. Berkeley County celebrates this expansion announcement and looks forward to the support it will provide for surrounding industries.” -Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb


  • Kontane Logistics, Inc. is expanding operations in Berkeley County.
  • The company’s expansion is projected to create 30 new jobs.
  • Kontane Logistics, Inc. is a third-party warehousing and industrial packaging solution company.
  • Operations are located at 830 Drop Off Drive in Summerville, S.C.

Individuals interested in joining the Kontane Logistics, Inc. team should visit http://www.kontanelogistics.com/contact/

[Monday, May 11, 2020] Today, the One Region initiative released the re|IGNITE plan to guide a safe return to business in our community. Included with the plan are industry-specific guidelines for Food and Beverage and Small Business organizations to safely reopen to employees, customers, vendors and others.  More industry-specific guidelines will release in the coming weeks.

The plan and guidelines leverage expertise from business, healthcare, nonprofit and government sectors to create a coordinated, science-based plan to restore Charleston’s regional economy. 

You can download the phase one plan and guidelines at OneRegionREIGNITE.org. The website also contains information about the One Region stakeholders, the re|IGNITE strategy and stakeholders, and will be updated with content throughout the duration of the pandemic.



re|IGNITE Plans and Guidelines

COVID-19 information from the CDC:

The latest employer guidance from the CDC includes:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Establish policies that increases the physical distance between employees such as flexible worksites and work hours
  • Cross-train employees on essential functions in case of employee absences
  • Assess your essential functions and reliance on others – be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations

Encourage your employees to implement best health practices, including:

  • Good handwashing (soap and water for at least 20 seconds)
  • Covering your cough and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Regular use of tissues and hand sanitizer
  • Stay home if you or a family member is sick
  • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects regularly


Berkeley County Economic Development (BCED) is actively engaged in supporting the Berkeley County Industry Community for impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

BCED, in coordination with SC Department of Commerce, Berkeley County Government, and other local and state agencies, is committed to closely monitoring developments and is available via email at  webecd@berkeleycountysc.gov to answer non-medical questions related to business and industry support.

Berkeley County Economic Development offices might be physically closed, but we are still doing business and ready to serve you. Please feel free to reach out to a staff member directly, via phone or email. We are here to help and support our Berkeley County Industry Family.

Get Connected with Other Berkeley County Industries

Information you can trust is essential during an emergency, natural disaster, or public health crisis. Berkeley County Economic Development would like to ensure our industries are getting the most accurate information. To do this we have put together a new program (Berkeley Industry Interconnect or BI2) that will allow all of our companies and our supportive government offices to communicate directly on a real time, digital platform. This is similar to a “blog page” allowing for our industries to ask questions and converse at large with the whole group or allow for direct messaging between members. This private platform is by invitation only and is limited to the number of representatives per industry. Please contact kristen.lanier@berkeleycountysc.gov to see if your organization qualifies to participate in BI2.

COVID-19 Updates from Berkeley County Government

All Berkeley County updates will be posted on the Berkeley County website under Coronavirus COVID-19 latest. Related updates are also available on the County’s Facebook and Twitter. Berkeley County Government has also launched a new email service for users to subscribe to automated email updates. Visit https://berkeleycountysc.gov/ to sign up via the pop-up notice.

COVID-19 Business Resource Center from S.C. Commerce

While the full impact of COVID-19 is still unknown, S.C. Commerce wants to assure the business community that Team South Carolina is here to assist throughout this unprecedented event. In an effort to provide guidance and much-needed tools for our industry, S.C. Commerce has launched the online COVID-19 Business Resource Center

SC Commerce, through Emergency Support Function (ESF) 24, is closely monitoring developments and is available via email at ESF24@emd.sc.gov to answer non-medical questions related to business and industry support. 

Charleston Metro Chamber Resource Guide

Our friends at the Charleston Metro Chamber have composed a Business Resource Guide with updates and best practices shared by their member companies, a series of webinars, and tips for your business to prepare for short term and long term recovery.

SCMEP Resource Center

The team at SCMEP and the MEP National Network have compiled a list of valuable resources in helping your company navigate these challenging times. As they receive new information, they will update this resource page. SCMEP is committed to doing whatever it takes to help the manufacturing community stay strong.

Financial Resources

BCDCOG Revolving Loan Fund (RFL)

The primary purpose of the RLF is to aid in the creation and retention of jobs in the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester region. Read more the program and email BCDCOG Finance Manager Katie Paschall before submitting an application.

Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved Governor Henry McMaster’s request for the agency to offer South Carolina’s small businesses with disaster assistance. The disaster declaration means that small businesses in South Carolina that have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 virus may qualify for low-interest federal disaster loans. Apply online. 

Additional Resources

The Post & Courier COVID-19 Coverage

FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control 

Restore Your Economy

The following are credible sources to stay up to date on COVID-19:

Tri-County STEMersion Connects Industry to Educators

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – (Tuesday, January 28, 2020) Berkeley County Economic Development, along with partners at Charleston County and Dorchester County Economic Development and South Carolina Department of Commerce announce 3rd annual Tri-County STEMersion program to connect educators with industries throughout the region.  

            What: Tri-County STEMersion 2020

When: Deadline for educators to register is Feb. 29, 2020. Program will run June 8 – 11 & 15-18, 2020

Tri-County STEMersion 2020 is a two-week, unique hands-on institute for up to 40 middle and high school instructors in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties in South Carolina. STEMersion ties the world of work to classroom lessons through the inclusion of competencies of local industries, increased knowledge of careers as well as an emphasis on the skill needs of industry.

During the institute, educators visit one or two sites per day and will be introduced to local companies’ work environments including the practical use of formulas, theories and/or concepts necessary for a successful work process. Educators will also participate in real-world workplace (hands-on) learning opportunities and lesson writing activities that reinforce why math, science and soft skills are so critical to the Tri-County region’s workforce and economic growth.

Local educators will receive information to share with fellow educators and parents. In addition, educators will participate in activities and conversations that facilitate the development of a pipeline of future employees to meet industry needs. The institute in not about finding a job but stirring the expertise of classroom educators such that sparks are created and students identify and prepare for their next careers.

Finally, the institute creates a path for a regional grassroots career awareness campaign in which local industries are introduced to additional educators, parents, and students after STEMersion concludes.

Educators wishing to apply:  STEMersion provides up to a $1000 stipend (based on completed assignments and budget allocations) for local educators who complete the work-based learning experiences at local industry sites, create lesson plans based on the experiences and agree to integrate the new knowledge into classroom lessons and presentations. Follow-up sessions with local industry leaders will also be facilitated through the institute. The follow-up sessions will include posts on tricountystemersion.com, STEMersion breakfast, virtual and face-to-face networking sessions, classroom visits and the annual STEMersion celebration. Seats are limited, registration for educators to apply will close February 29, 2020. An acceptance letter for applications will be sent no later than May 1, 2020. Click here for registration form.

Industries or employers wishing to invest or host educators: Industry visits include hands-on projects, explanation of skill needs at each step of the work process and/or a descriptive review of the work process to help educators identify topics in their subject area that connect to the work of local industries. Educators will also outline lesson plans based on the industry experience while on-site with the assistance of the industry professionals.

Hosting industries will Accommodate educators on-site for a half or full day session with space to use to create lesson outlines based on the visit and assistance provided by industry professionals to help educators align the world of work experience to the classroom.

• Include a 30/45-minute tour or detailed discussion of work flow process.

• Provide employee presentations and hands-on experiences.

• Offer lunch with candid workforce/talent development conversations.

• Reinforce the skills needed for the industries’ workplace.

• Participate in STEMersion follow-up sessions with educators and STEMersion planning team.

For more information about investing or hosting educators, contact Kristen Lanier, Workforce Development Manager, at kristen.lanier@berkeleycountysc.gov or 843-719-4301.

HIRING? Let us help!
Two Events – Two Audiences – One Fantastic Opportunity to Recruit

Berkeley County Economic Development, Berkeley County School District, Service Member & Family Care (SMFC) and SC Works Trident would like to invite you to participate in a Berkeley County Career & Resource Fair.

WHEN:Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

WHERE: Moncks Corner National Guard Armory
320 Airport Drive, Moncks Corner.

WHAT: We will have two sessions:
Session I: 10 am till 12 pm for high school seniors (soon to be graduates)

12 pm till 1 pm – lunch for vendors

Session II: – 1 pm till 3 pm for the general public
If interested, please complete and email to Stanley Cox at StanleyCoxOPE@gmail.com as soon as possible.

For employers to attend the event, you “MUST” be hiring. Part of the process for this event is that all employers must be registered in our state database. There is no fee to register and the positions you are hoping to fill will be posted on their website. If not registered, please email SC Works at scworkstrident@dew.sc.gov.

There is no cost to reserve a table for this event. Lunch will be provided between the sessions.

We only have room for 40 vendors so get your registration form in as soon as possible!!

Registration forms must be received by close of business; Friday, March 20, 2020 to participate.
PART 1: Graduating High School Seniors
Selected High School Students will be bused in from Berkeley County High Schools to attend this special job fair from 10 am to 12 pm. These students, mostly graduating seniors, have shown an interest in entering the workforce after graduation and are looking to connect with local employers for full time employment opportunities.
Part 2: Open to the Public
Please stay for part 2 of the job fair as we open the doors to the public from 1 pm to 3 pm.
Presented in Partnership by:

(Thursday, January 16, 2020) Berkeley County will host an information meeting to provide training for manufacturing positions on Thursday, January 30, 2020. The meeting will be held at Cainhoy Elementary School. It is open to Berkeley County residents looking for manufacturing jobs.

            When: Thursday, January 30, 6 p.m.

            Where: Cainhoy Elementary School, 2434 Cainhoy Rd. Huger, SC 29450

            Why: Help connect Berkeley County residents with the necessary training for manufacturing positions

Attendees will have the opportunity to sign-up for the upcoming ManuFirstSCTM, formerly known as Lean Manufacturing, course that will begin on Saturday, March 14, on the Cainhoy Elementary School Campus. This 3-week course, concluding on April 2, will provide the necessary training to qualify candidates for positions at industries around Berkeley County and throughout the state of South Carolina. Graduates of the program will have an opportunity to connect with local employers and community partners.

The course is free for candidates who are Berkeley County residents who meet the following requirements:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be able to legally work in the United States
  • provide documentation of Berkeley County residency
  • have a high school diploma or GED
  • provide proof of a Bronze WIN/WorkKeys score
  • pass a SC SLED background check (paid for by the scholarship)
  • pass a basic panel drug screen (paid for by the scholarship)

All applications must be submitted to Berkeley County Economic Development, via email to kristen.lanier@berkeleycountysc.gov or turned into the Supervisor’s office at 1003 Highway 52, Moncks Corner, on or before 5 pm on Feb. 21, 2020.

About ManuFirstSCTM – Berkeley County worked in partnership with Trident Technical College, South Carolina Department of Commerce, Volvo Cars, and Ready SC to pilot the program in June of 2017. More than 150 people graduated from the Lean Manufacturing course, which put them on the path to employment opportunities at Volvo Cars in Ridgeville. Since then, neighboring counties have emulated the training program to provide opportunities for residents around the state with more than 900 graduates in the Tri-County area, including 350 Berkeley County residents. SC Department of Commerce has re-branded the program to ManuFirstSCTM and has begun to roll it out across the state’s technical college system by industry demand.

In the News! Check out a recent article in the Post and Courier about ManuFirst:

SC manufacturers’ training program has participants changing careers and lives

Winnie Harley, a process technician at Volvo Cars, times the manufacturing process to look for improvements at the automaker’s manufacturing plant near Ridgeville. Harley has held numerous jobs over the years but said she’s found a home at Volvo. Gavin McIntyre/Staff
[Nov 15, 2019] Berkeley County was honored to celebrate the 21 graduates from the ManuFirst program in Cross yesterday evening.

The County worked with Berkeley County School DistrictTrident Technical College, and others to celebrate these individuals’ success in the program. The 21 County residents received certificates for completing the three-week, entry-level manufacturing training course. The course consists of 62 hours of general manufacturing skills and safety training for manufacturing positions. Additionally, an OSHA certificate was provided through the program.

Following the ceremony, there was an employer meet-and-greet, arranged by S.C. Works. Several businesses and agencies participated, including Grand Forest, ReadySC, Sanders Brothers, and Thorne Research.

The ManuFirst course provides the necessary training to qualify candidates for positions at industries around Berkeley County and throughout the state of South Carolina. It is free for candidates who are Berkeley County residents.

Additionally, the course is a collaborative effort among Trident Technical College, Berkeley County Economic Development, Adult Education with Berkeley County School District, and the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

This is only the second time the Berkeley County ManuFirst S.C. program has been offered outside of the Trident Technical Campus. Berkeley County Economic Development worked hand-in-hand with the Berkeley County School District to bring the program into the community.

#OneBerkeley #BerkeleyCounty