Charleston, SC –The Charleston Metro Chamber’s Center for Business Research conducted a compensation and benefits survey in spring of 2021, in collaboration with the Berkeley and Greater Summerville / Dorchester Chambers of Commerce. The survey was open to all types of business establishments — all sizes and all business sectors. 

Nearly 100 companies, representing approximately 40,000 employees in the region, participated in the biennial online survey.

Key findings from the study include:Pay increases appear to have returned to 3% to 3.5% for all types of employees within all sectorsAbout 60% of employers reported having a work-from-home/telecommuniting policy in placeLack of or too few applicants is reported as a top concern for both manufacturers (88%) and non-manufacturing (47%) employers”The survey was designed by the Center for Business Research with input from local experts in the human resources field in order to develop the most effective questions to be included in the survey,” said Jacki Renegar, Director of The Center for Business Research. “We hope that the results of this survey will better inform regional organizations’ compensation and benefits practices.”

The 2021 Charleston Metro Area Compensation and Benefits Practices report encompasses the survey results and the benefits and compensation practices among employers in the three-county Charleston Metro Area (Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties).

This study’s objective is to provide information on compensation practices of firms operating in the three-county region to:Help existing firms evaluate their own organization’s compensation practices more effectively, particularly with the pandemic’s effect on work environmentsAssist companies in creating a benchmark analysis to use for strategic planning purposes, andProvide trends and general information on typical local employer practices to prospective companies and site selection consultants looking at the Charleston region as a potential business location.To view the 2021 Compensation and Benefits study, visit

Erin Aylor, SVP of Marketing
About the Center for Business Research

The Center for Business Research, founded in 1990 by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, compiles, analyzes and distributes economic and demographic information on the Charleston region. Conducting both primary and secondary research, the Center is a resource for unbiased business, demographic and economic statistics, and its work has been recognized nationally through numerous awards and presentations. The Center has been conducting wage and benefits related surveys since 1997. Though study participants differ each time the survey is conducted, significant shifts in reported policies and practices over time can be indicative of real-time trends in local employer practices. For more information, contact the Center for Business Research at 843-577-2510, or visit the resource center of the Metro Chamber’s website the Charleston Metro Chamber

With approximately 1,600 member organizations representing 160,000 professionals, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce serves as the collective voice of the business community, and a catalyst for regional economic advancement and member success through Talent, Advocacy, Leadership and Business Development. Visit

Tri-County STEMersion 2021 is happening June 21- 30. This two-week, professional development event is a hands-on institute for middle and high school instructors and school counselors in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties. The institute reinforces the importance of math, science and soft skills for the region’s workforce and economic growth. Educators visit local companies as “Edgineers” where they “study” work processes, participate in hands-on workplace activities and lesson writing forums to create new industry-inspired lessons for use in South Carolina’s K12 system to propel all students to become global learners and thinkers.

The institute also facilitates the development of a pipeline of future qualified employees. Through the provocative and intriguing leadership experience, educators, the main catalysts of student achievement, return to their classrooms to stir the career interests of local students while compelling the students to use creativity, teamwork, persistence, initiative and problem-solving skills to innovate our next world. 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 Tri-County STEMersion concludes.

Tri-County STEMersion goals:

  • Building awareness of in-demand careers, cultures, skill needs and competency requirements of STEM companies
  • Visiting and exploring companies with the use of the Tri-County STEMersion industry guide
  • Fostering the creation of industry-inspired lessons using the Tri-County STEMersion template and rubric
  • Inspiring the creation of problem-solving projects that permit students to “touch” the workplace by engaging students in the execution of competencies and skills required by local industries
  • Providing a virtual platform to upload lessons for use in the South Carolina K12 system
  • Facilitating the creation of artifacts that describe Tri-County STEMersion to stakeholders

The participating Berkeley County industry partners are Santee Cooper, NIWC, Thorne, Google, and Berkeley County School District.

Read more about Tri-County STEMersion at

June 3, 2021 – Berkeley County joined local leaders to break ground on the new Downtown Nexton. The multi-million dollar project is expected to take five to seven years to complete and will cover just under 100 acres. The area, which is currently timberland, will soon have 1,200 multi-family residential units, retail, entertainment, hospitality buildings, restaurants, office space and more.

Post and Courier reports,

A new $300 million-plus, mixed-use development of retail, restaurants, offices, hotels and apartments is now underway in the suburban Charleston area.

New Jersey-based Sharbell Development Corp. recently broke ground on the 99-acre Downtown Nexton project between Sigma Drive and Brighton Park Boulevard in the growing Nexton community in Berkeley County. 

The company bought the parcel in 2019 for $18.5 million, according to Berkeley County land records. It’s west of the retail and restaurant center called Nexton Square.

With construction expected in phases over the next four or five years, the first project will include multifamily units, a mixed-use building with loft apartments over ground-level retail spaces and several outparcel buildings.

Altogether, three apartment parcels will offer a variety of tenant offerings, including a 55-plus, upscale rental community. Some of the mixed-used buildings will include upper-floor lofts with a rooftop lounge and several common-use rooms. Units will range from studio to three bedrooms.

The new construction will offer 110,000 square feet of office space for sale or lease, starting at 9,000 square feet in flexible, two-story buildings on Brighton Park Boulevard. CBRE of Charleston is handling sales and leasing.

Additionally, Downtown Nexton  will include more than 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space interspersed throughout the project and along Sigma Drive.

Outdoor amenities will include walking trails, pocket parks and two manicured ponds on the north and south sides of the project. 

Century Aluminum expanding operations in Berkeley County

More than $60 million investment will create 100 new jobs  

Berkeley County, S.C. – Century Aluminum, one of the nation’s largest primary aluminum producers, today announced plans to expand operations in Berkeley County. The more than $60 million investment will create 100 new jobs.

Founded in 1995, Century Aluminum produces standard-grade, high-purity and value-added primary aluminum products, with operations in the United States and Iceland. With its Mt. Holly operation, located at 3575 U.S. Route 52 in Moncks Corner, Century Aluminum casts molten aluminum into standard-grade ingot, horizontal direct chilled (HDC) ingot, extrusion billet and other primary aluminum products.

The state-of-the-art operation improves efficiency, energy utilization and environmental protection. The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Century Aluminum team should visit the company’s careers webpage.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. 

QUOTES “At the Century Aluminum Mt. Holly smelter, the aluminum we produce every day is a key input for many sectors of the economy, including automotive, electrical, construction and aerospace industries as well as our military. Thanks to the leadership of Governor McMaster, Secretary Hitt and their teams, Century Aluminum is proud to be increasing production capacity at Mt. Holly, alongside a more than $60 million investment and the creation of 100 new good-paying aluminum jobs.” -Century Aluminum Incoming CEO and President Jesse Gary 

“Century Aluminum’s Mt. Holly plant has long served as a unique economic driver for Berkley County and their success is a win for South Carolina. I congratulate Century Aluminum and all who have worked so hard to make this day a reality.” -Gov. Henry McMaster 

“Companies like Century Aluminum continue to help strengthen our state’s manufacturing sector. The company’s decision to expand in South Carolina shows that our state’s advantageous economic environment and talented workforce not only attract business, but also help them grow.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt 

“Berkeley County is proud of Century Aluminum’s long history in the county and the job opportunities it has provided through the years. This expansion will further the industry’s impact on the county with increased investment and more high-paying jobs. We look forward to seeing Century Aluminum’s continued contribution to the county’s economic success.” -Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb 

Century Aluminum is expanding operations in Berkeley County.
The more than $60 million investment will create 100 new jobs.
Century Aluminum is one of the nation’s largest primary aluminum producers.
Located at 3575 U.S. Route 52 in Moncks Corner, S.C.
Individuals interested in joining the Century Aluminum team should visit the company’s careers webpage.

South Carolina to Move to Phase 1b of COVID-19 Vaccination Plan on March 8, 2021
Public Health Officials Unveil Plans for All Vaccination Phases

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today that South Carolina will advance to Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan beginning Monday, March 8.

“Throughout South Carolina’s vaccination efforts, our priority has been – and continues to be – saving lives,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “In the month of February, South Carolina made tremendous progress on expanding access to vaccinations as the supply of vaccine increased. Our hospitals, pharmacies and healthcare providers became more nimble and efficient at getting shots in arms. Because of these successes, we’re now in a position to make the majority of South Carolinians eligible to receive the vaccine.”

“South Carolina remains focused on protecting the lives and health of South Carolinians from COVID-19,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “With the significant increase in vaccine supply and progress in vaccinating people in group 1a, front-line health care workers and those aged 65 and over, we are now ready to move to our next phase. Our state’s vaccine plan prioritizes those with greatest risk, while ensuring equal access to the vaccine for every South Carolinian aged 16 and over.” 

South Carolina’s phased approach to its COVID-19 vaccine rollout recognizes the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 increases with age, and people with certain medical conditions and occupations are at higher risk of exposure to the virus. Because of this, South Carolina will continue to move phase by phase, based on risk level, with the goal of vaccinating every South Carolinian who wants to receive a vaccine by this summer.

Beginning March 8, appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine can be made by people in the following groups:

  • Anyone aged 55 and up
  • People with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
    • People aged 16-64 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions:
      • Cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI >30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.
    • People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely
  • Frontline workers with increased occupational risk
    Frontline workers with increased occupational risk are people who:
    • Must be in-person at their place of work, and
    • Perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 feet) and ongoing (more than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment

Examples of frontline workers include, but are not limited to, school staff and daycare workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, law enforcement officers, etc.

  • Individuals at increased risk in settings where people are living and working in close contact
    • Residents and workers in group home settings for the mentally or physically disabled or those with behavioral or substance abuse conditions
    • Workers and residents in homeless shelters
    • Workers and residents in community training homes
    • State and local correctional facility staff with direct inmate contact
    • Correctional and immigration detention facility inmates
    • Migrant farmworkers living in shared housing or reliant on shared transportation 
  • All workers in healthcare and community health settings who have routine, direct patient contact and were not vaccinated in Phase 1a

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, including the recent approval of the new one-shot Janssen vaccine, has given us renewed hope for a return to normalcy and a light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Simmer said. “At the same time, we know our fight is not yet over. Until enough of us get vaccinated, we must all continue to wear masks, stay six feet away from others, and avoid crowds, even after we have received the vaccine. In addition, being tested can help reduce the spread of the disease and identify the presence of variants as early as possible.”

Public health officials estimate it will take 70 to 80 percent of the population getting vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity and stop COVID-19.

Based on current vaccine supply levels, DHEC anticipates Phase 1c will begin on approximately April 12, 2021. The phase will include:

  • People aged 45 and up 
  • Essential workers 
    • This group includes those who work in essential job categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) who are not included in Phase 1b because they do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment (examples may include construction workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, etc. who do not have frequent, close and ongoing contact with others).

Phase 2 will begin on approximately May 3, 2021, and will include:

  • All South Carolinians aged 16 and up

South Carolinians are urged to get vaccinated according to the state’s plan, and not to jump ahead of others.

“We’re asking South Carolinians to consider others, and the fact that this plan is risk-based to prevent severe illness and death,” Dr. Simmer said. “You’re urged to not jump the line and put your loved ones, friends or neighbors at risk by doing so.”

How to make an appointment?

Online appointments can be made by using // or you can call DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line at 1-866-365-8110 for help.

How will people demonstrate eligibility?

When seeking vaccine services, people included in Phase 1b or 1c may show eligibility by showing an ID that incudes their date of birth, verifying that they meet the criteria for a frontline or essential worker, or by verifying that they have an eligible high-risk medical condition.

For a copy of the plan, click here. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit

The 10-acre biorefinery facility in Charleston International Manufacturing Center will be capable of processing 110,000 tons of crude tall oil from wood pulp used in paper manufacturing.

(January 29, 2021) GOOSE CREEK | SC – This week, Mainstream Pine Products, LLC, announced plans to build an estimated $90 million crude tall oil (CTO) biorefinery at the Charleston International Manufacturing Center (CIMC) located in Berkeley County, South Carolina. The biorefinery will be a highly advanced recycling facility with capacity to process 110,000 tons of CTO for use in a wide range of industrial applications.

This facility will serve as the centerpiece of Mainstream’s strategy to become the highest quality, lowest cost producer of CTO derivatives in North America. The company anticipates breaking ground and starting construction later this year with operations commencing in 2023.

CTO is a renewable, non-food resource and a byproduct of pine trees used in paper manufacturing. It is a vital component of many chemicals including renewable diesel processing products, lubricants, adhesives, inks, paints, coatings, and tire and rubber additives.

“We conducted deep-dive market studies and reviewed pine chemical industry cycles. The increasing demand for renewable, non-food source materials led us to a nationwide search for the best location in which to expand our operations. The Goose Creek site was unsurpassed among many we considered. “It affords us an ideal manufacturing location in an integrated industrial park with reliable infrastructure and intermodal access for efficient delivery of source materials and shipping of refined products.” – Mainstream Pine Products President & CEO Rob Helwick

“Mainstream Pine Products’ announcement builds on South Carolina’s growing reputation in the renewable materials sector. I applaud this innovative company for establishing this new facility in Berkeley County and look forward to watching them thrive for years to come.” – Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“It is important for us to develop our line of renewable products in a plant that meets the most rigorous environmental standards,” explained Helwick. “All things being equal, we believe the general population prefers renewable products, and the biorefinery acknowledges the world’s increasing demand for more sustainable goods.”

“Mainstream Pine Products could not have picked a better location to setup operations. Berkeley County is widely recognized as a prevailing hub for manufacturing in both the region and state; and we are pleased to welcome this industry to Goose Creek to help supply and support our County’s existing industries as well as create more quality jobs and career opportunities for our citizens.” – Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb

Mainstream will be located in the 1,750-acre advanced manufacturing park at Charleston Industrial Manufacturing Center (CIMC) owned and operated by Cooper River Partners (CRP). It offers rail and deep-water access via barge, and CRP provides utility services to tenants, such as steam, compressed air, process water and more.

“We are excited to welcome Mainstream to the growing list of companies that call Charleston International Manufacturing Center home. Through providing reliable and cost-effective industrial services, CRP looks forward to supporting Mainstream’s successful growth.” – Cooper River Partners President Kent Fonvielle

“We are pleased to welcome Mainstream Pine Products to our community and look forward to its continued growth and success. By selecting Charleston Industrial Manufacturing Center as its home, it underscores what a competitive advantage this unique park in Berkeley County offers to businesses around the world.” – Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chairman John Hagerty

With access to interstate highways, deep water shipping and rail facilities, Mainstream’s 10-acre facility will feature industry leading NEXPINUS™ technology provided by Neste Engineering Solutions Oy. The associated project management and engineering will be provided by PegasusTSI, Inc. and supported by Neste Engineering Solutions.

Mainstream has also established a long-term raw material supply chain and has engaged Citigroup Global Markets Inc. to serve as the underwriter for its tax-exempt project financing.

About Mainstream Pine Products

Mainstream Pine Products, LLC, was founded in 2019 by a group of investors dedicated to using specialty chemicals from pine trees in a variety of downstream products for complex industries. Central to the company’s value proposition is the construction and operation of a new crude tall oil biorefinery along coastal South Carolina to open in 2023. Learn more about Mainstream at

(Post and Courier) SUMMERVILLE — A vital part of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution is built here, and Gov. Henry McMaster paid a visit Tuesday to celebrate it. 

Horizon Scientific Inc. has recently gotten more attention after being the only manufacturer in South Carolina selling ultra-low temperature freezers. The equipment has become vital in safely storing the Pfizer vaccine for the coronavirus. 

Horizon President Laura Steiner gave the governor a personal tour of the Summerville facility. McMaster said between 200,000 and 300,000 vaccines are slated to come through the state by the end of the year. 

“We never expected to get the attention of our governor,” Steiner said. “We’re very proud and honored to be a part of this solution.” 

While highlighting each component of the freezers during the tour, she also touched on the growing orders to the company. 

In the past month, the number of orders for freezers from Horizon have been the highest the company has seen in the past two years. Steiner said overtime to meet demand has become necessary. 

Horizon is also currently looking to hire more employees to build the freezers, which it made for vaccine storage even before the pandemic. Steiner said it was mostly selling to the academic community doing research.

The company’s products include a broad range of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-compliant, medical-grade refrigerators and freezers that are also used for medication and patient sample storage.

With South Carolina health care workers starting to get the vaccine this week, the company is expecting more demand as the months go on. 

Following the tour, McMaster held a small press conference to further commend the company for its work. He also reiterated that officials had plans ready for a vaccine rollout months ago. 

Read Full Article.

[Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020] Berkeley County Economic Development announces the addition of Bidd Smith to its team, in the key role of Project Manager. Smith joins this dynamic department as a pivotal proponent and seasoned employee of the County. In his new position, his top duties will include networking with existing industry and overseeing new projects, all while working closely with Economic Development Director Kristen Lanier. Through helping secure lucrative investment deals and ensuring ongoing job creation for the local workforce, Smith will not only contribute to the community’s enhanced quality of life but also the success of Berkeley County’s future.

Smith has a lengthy resume of relationship building and management, including 22 years with Berkeley County alone. His prior County experience includes 17 years with Berkeley County Public Works under the roles of Project Management and Utility Coordination and Vegetation Management/Licensed Applicator. For the last five years, Smith served in the County’s Safety and Risk Management Department—specifically in the area of Workers’ Comp. His vast certifications and titles range from County Infection Control Officer to OSHA 10 & 30 General Industry Certified and CPR/AED Instructor Certified.

“I feel that my years of work experience with Berkeley County Government, coupled with my love for its people, rich history and natural resources, allow a unique insight in helping guide and build its future.”

Bidd Smith, Project Manager, Berkeley County Economic Development

“We are excited to welcome Bidd to the Economic Development Team as Project Manager. Bidd’s passion and knowledge of the County will prove to be a beneficial asset for our team. We look forward to witnessing how his skills will help further the County’s industry success and build upon our key “OneBerkeley” mission. -Kristen Lanier, Director, Berkeley County Economic Development

When not conducting County work, Smith can usually be found exploring his County. His favorite hobbies center on outdoor recreation and waterway relaxation, including hunting, fishing, and boating. Smith is also a PADI Certified Scuba Diver whose deep-water discoveries frequently include fossils and other unique finds.

Smith and his wife Norma call Moncks Corner home. The couple, who’ve been married 22 years, have two children and multiple grandchildren.

[November 10, 2020] A&R Logistics, North America’s leading supply chain services company to the chemical industry, announced today it is fully operational at its brand new export facility located in the West Branch Commerce Park in Moncks Corner, S.C. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on November 10 to mark the opening of the 615,000-square-foot facility where A&R packages, exports and imports plastic resin and other products for some of the world’s largest chemical companies.

“A&R’s new facility provides our customers with unprecedented optionality and the highest level of quality and service,” said Chris Ball, president of A&R Logistics. “With two high-speed packaging lines, sea bulk operations, liquid transload capability, rail service via CSX and proximity to the Port of Charleston, we provide supply chain solutions specifically engineered for the chemical industry. Every step of the build out was done with an eye toward safety, quality, sustainability and innovation, which are of the utmost importance across our entire operation.”

Developed in close cooperation with the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and the state of South Carolina, rail tracks run along the building’s south side to facilitate the offloading of product from railcars, while the north side of the building features 72 dock doors where product is then loaded onto trucks for export. The facility has been designated a CSX Select Site, ensuring efficient and reliable capacity and service. Combined with industry-leading equipment and A&R’s trademark customer service, the new location provides complete packaging and supply chain solutions for global chemical customers.

“SC Ports is thrilled to celebrate the opening of A&R Logistics’ import and export transloading facility in Berkeley County,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “Their sophisticated warehousing and packaging operation will further support growth in the chemical industry. A&R Logistics selected the Port of Charleston as one of their east coast load ports due to SC Ports’ efficient operations, ample capacity and knowledge of the petrochemical industry. We welcome the company to South Carolina and look forward to our continued partnership.”

A&R’s ribbon cutting event marked the official debut of the space. In addition to Newsome, speakers included South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, Senator Larry Grooms, SCPA President and CEO Jim Newsome and Berkeley County Supervisor and Chairman Johnny Cribb.

A&R emphasized during the event its commitment to being a good steward of the local area not only through economic development, job creation and environmental safety but also through community involvement. The company highlighted its partnerships with groups like Keep Berkeley Beautiful and Habitat for Humanity. It also announced a $10 thousand donation to Keep Berkeley Beautiful in addition to sharing that A&R’s Vice President of Operations Brandon Boyd has joined the organization’s board.

To learn more, visit and

MONCKS CORNER, S.C.– (September 30, 2020) —Kristen Lanier has been named the County’s new Economic Development Director.

Lanier, a Berkeley County native, has worked in Berkeley County since 2015. She served as the County’s Workforce Development Director in Economic Development. She then took on the role as Interim Director in April 2020 when former Economic Development Director Barry Jurs retired.

Born and raised in Moncks Corner, Lanier boasts a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing from the College of Charleston. She started with the County in February 2015 as the Marketing

and PR Coordinator for the Berkeley County Library System and joined Economic Development in July 2018. Since then, she has helped greatly expand the ManuFirstSC program, started the welding programs at Cross and Timberland high schools, and increased the participation of local industries with the Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeship Program.

Kristen Lanier has been instrumental for Berkeley County, connecting citizens with job opportunities and industries with the workforce they need. She is a born leader with a proactive drive and passion for Berkeley County. I look forward to seeing her help Berkeley County reach greater heights. -Supervisor Johnny Cribb

I’m incredibly honored to be named to this role. I’m thankful for having worked and gained valuable career experience at Berkeley County. This area has not only been my workplace for the last several years but also my home. I have a special place in my heart for the County, and I will continue to passionately serve her citizens and business community. –Kristen Lanier


– Prepared by the Berkeley County Public Information Office –