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South Carolina: An In-Depth Look at the Southern States

The Southern states are thriving, thanks to entrepreneurs with innovative high-tech ideas, strong public and private investment, and enthusiastic support from state and local governments.

Southern Tech Sites 2007
South Carolina
This year's technology news in South Carolina is mainly focused on aerospace and knowledge-based industry. South Carolina is home to 40 aviation companies with almost 11,000 employees. Besides aircraft assembly and technical and engineering positions, industry suppliers include plastics and composite materials manufacturers and processors, metalworking companies, and chemical manufacturers. Aerospace leaders include Lockheed, Champion Aerospace, and Honeywell. Last year, Vought Aircraft industries opened a facility in North Charleston.

Research on materials used for aerospace applications is fostered by Clemson University, at the Navy's Composites Manufacturing Technology Center, which applies technologies to defense vehicles on land, sea, and air. The university also supports polymer research at the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films. At the University of South Carolina, a partnership with Brigham Young University, the University of Missouri-Rolla, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has resulted in the National Science Foundation-sponsored Center for Friction Stir Processing, whose information is used in full-scale production of ferry boats and space launch components.

"I can't emphasize enough how critical South Carolina's commitment to a high-quality utility supply was to our decision [to locate our carbon fibers facility in Greenville] because carbon fiber production is dependent on strong electric, gas, water, and sewage support."

Steven C. Speak, President,
Cytec Engineered Materials
Greenville, South Carolina
Several companies in South Carolina have an emphasis on carbon fiber technology, believed to be a boon to the future of the aerospace industry. Earlier this year, Cytec Industries, which already operates carbon fiber plants in Greenville and Rock Hill, named Greenville as the location of the company's $150 million expansion. When the facility goes online in 2010, it will create approximately 225 new jobs and manufacture high volumes of Cytec carbon fibers, used by a variety of commercial aerospace and military customers.

Innovista, at the University of South Carolina, is part of the state's vision of a new economy built on a foundation of technology and knowledge-based jobs that promise to raise the state's per-capita income. Integrating 8 million square feet of urban research, residential, retail, and recreational space stretching from the university's main campus to the Congaree River, the project will house the Arnold School of Public Health, opened in fall 2006, as well as four additional buildings, some of which are still under construction and slated for completion in 2008, targeted to university and private-sector research tenants. Already, Duck Creek Technologies, a software technology firm, has committed as Innovista's first private tenant, bringing 200 new jobs at an average salary of $85,000 in 2008.

In other technology news, Google has announced plans to build a $600 million data center in Mt. Holly that is expected to generate 200 new jobs at an average salary of $48,000 per year. The company is also reported to be considering a second site in Columbia.

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