Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Millard Refrigerated Services locating new facility in North Charleston

Millard Refrigerated Services today announced plans to develop and operate a new cold storage distribution facility in North Charleston. The $42 million investment is expected to generate 87 new jobs.

“The team at Millard is excited about the business opportunities with our new operation in Charleston County. The facility will give us access to the world-class port in Charleston and provide an efficient hub for our customers along the East Coast and throughout the Southeast. We look forward to getting our new facility up and running, and appreciate the support we’ve received from state and local officials,” said Lance Larsen, president and CEO of Millard Refrigerated Services.

Millard Refrigerated Services will construct a state-of-the-art cold storage facility in the Palmetto Commerce Park, located at 7748 Palmetto Commerce Parkway, North Charleston. The company will use the facility to freeze and store poultry, pork and beef products that will be exported to foreign markets.

“We celebrate Millard Refrigerated Services decision to put down roots in South Carolina with a $42 million investment that will create 87 new jobs in North Charleston. We are working hard every day to attract investments like this one from companies across the nation and around the globe. We appreciate Millard’s decision to join the Palmetto State’s business community,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.

Millard Refrigerated Services expects to begin work on the building in the spring of 2013, and start operations by 2014.

“Distribution and logistics companies are increasingly coming to understand that South Carolina is just right for their operations. Being centrally located between Miami and New York City, having solid infrastructure and one of the busiest ports on the East Coast makes the Palmetto State ideal for reaching customers and markets,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

“Our heartiest of congratulations go out today to Millard Refrigerated Services,” said Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “Millard fills a void in our region’s intermodal transportation offerings, and their capabilities will help our efforts to recruit many other industry sectors. We believe that our world-class port, excellent workforce, and pro-business environment will ensure that their new venture will be a highly successful and profitable one. We think the future here is very bright for both the company and our citizens.”

“Millard Refrigerated Services is a welcomed addition to the growing list of world-class businesses to locate within the City of North Charleston along Palmetto Commerce Parkway,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summery. “It is our commitment to Millard to remain a business friendly community and a location for all of our businesses to flourish.”

“As one of the nation’s top refrigeration and logistics services providers, Millard will be a tremendous asset to the Charleston region,” said Wayne Hall, Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board chairman. “The Port of Charleston and our business friendly climate are critical factors in Millard’s decision to locate here, and we’re glad they have.”

Last year, South Carolina’s exports jumped more than 21 percent to $24.6 billion in goods sold to 198 countries around the world.

“The port community welcomes Millard to the area, as their presence will mean increased activity through the Port of Charleston’s container facilities,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. “Exports of refrigerated cargo have continued to rise, and these heavy exports must find their way to ports with deep-water capabilities, like Charleston. We congratulate Secretary Hitt and Commerce’s partners for bringing Millard to South Carolina.”

The company will begin hiring for the new positions in mid-2013. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should visit the careers section of Millard website (

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a set aside grant of $3.75 million.

About Millard Refrigerated Services
Millard Refrigerated Services was founded in 1963, in Omaha, NE. The company remains family owned and operated. Millard currently serves all of North America through the operation of 36 regional facilities, and is the second-largest refrigerated warehouse and distribution company in the United States. In addition to cold storage warehousing and transportation, Millard provides clients with a wide variety of other value-added services including High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP), logistics support and import/export assistance. To learn more about Millard’s full line of value added services, please visit or call 402-896-6600.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mayor Summey releases statement on Rep. Scott's selection to US Senate

North Charleston 4th of July Festival - Congressman Tim Scott and Mayor Keith Summey

North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey released the following statement today, December 17, 2012, regarding Representative Tim Scott’s selection to serve South Carolina in the United State Senate.

From Mayor Summey:
“Today is a proud day for the City of North Charleston. On behalf of our City, I offer heartfelt congratulations to Representative Tim Scott as Governor Nikki Haley’s selection to replace Senator Jim DeMint in the United States Senate. 
There are few stories as inspiring as Tim Scott’s. He grew up here in North Charleston in a single-parent household of humble means, but through hard work and determination, he became a successful businessman and is now set to serve as North Charleston’s first United States Senator. 
I have had the pleasure of working with Representative Scott for many, many years, and have learned that at his core, it is the community and his fellow South Carolinians that he works for every day. We can all be assured that North Charleston and our great state will continue to be well represented in Washington.”

North Charleston sets path for revitalization of former Naval Hospital and Shipwatch Square

The City of North Charleston and Chicora Gardens Holding LLC are set to enter into a purchase agreement, which will transfer approximately 40 acres from the City for $9.2 million.  In October of this year, the City of North Charleston was the high bidder in an online auction conducted by the General Services Administration (GSA) for the former Naval Hospital located at 3600 Rivers Avenue.  After negotiations with GSA, the City purchased the 10-story, 368,000 square foot hospital on 23 acres for $2 million.

The developer will begin a due diligence period and will present a master plan for a Planned Development District to the City of North Charleston’s Planning and Zoning Department.

The project is expected to be a collaborative effort along with private businesses to utilize the best talents, innovation, and ideas to create a destination to bring together the community.  The area’s master plan is focused on attracting commerce and residents to the area with a plan for a sustainable interactive environment. 

An initial plan is to develop a mixed use project that will include a grocery store, office building, bank, restaurants, medical and dental services, pharmacy, library, and a continuing care retirement community with senior apartments, assisted living, and hospice services.  The project will also contain extensive public parks and gardens.
Chicora Gardens Holdings LLC has engaged Davis and Floyd for engineering work to include the initial site plan, structural analysis, and for the parks and gardens landscape architecture and design. Chicora Gardens is represented by Rick Brownyard of Mt Pleasant, SC.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Applications Sought for National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition

Spring Azure by Phil Hathcock (2012/13 Best of Show)

Sculpture artists from across the nation are invited to participate in the eighth annual National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Up to 15 sculptures will be juried into the exhibit and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $14,750. The exhibition is presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Festival, to be held May 3-11, 2013. Applications may be downloaded from the Applications page at Deadline for submissions is Friday, March 1, 2013.

Organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, this 11 month exhibition offers established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their thought provoking, extraordinary sculptures throughout the picturesque North Charleston Riverfront Park. Set on the banks of the Cooper River, Riverfront Park features ten acres of walking paths, a boardwalk and fountain, an expansive lawn with performance pavilion, children's play areas, and picnic sites. The historic site is centered in the Noisette District, the largest urban redevelopment project ever undertaken in the United States.

Janet Kagan, a Founding Principal of the Public Art Collaborative, will jury this year’s exhibit. Kagan has more than three decades of experience in strategic planning with established and emergent art programs, and management of projects representing both artists and agencies. She has held positions in city government; local and statewide non-profit organizations; international architectural and interpretive design firms; and on boards and committees of national and regional arts organizations. She leads and directs design teams, and serves as liaison among artists, clients, public agencies, and elected officials. Since 2010, Kagan and her colleagues have also been creating and directing innovative alliances between nationally recognized artists and small manufacturers in rural counties to foster economic revitalization. She is currently Associate Editor of the International Journal of the Arts In Society, participates on artist selection panels and juries, and teaches about public art to artists and communities. She holds an MA in Philosophy of Art and an MBA.

The National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition will be on display May 1, 2013, through March 23, 2014, at North Charleston Riverfront Park, located at 1001 Everglades Avenue in North Charleston. An opening reception and announcement of awards will be held at the Charleston Area Convention Center on Friday, May 3, 2013. For more information about the North Charleston Arts Festival, the National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition, or other exhibition opportunities, contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843) 740-5854, email, or visit

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NCO Financial Systems Inc. expanding operations in North Charleston

Company expects to create 75 new jobs

NCO Financial Systems Inc., a leading global provider of best-in-class business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions, today announced that it will expand its current operations in Charleston County due to new business development. In conjunction with the expansion, the company will be seeking to fill 75 new positions.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to expand our call center facility in Charleston County. South Carolina has provided us with an excellent environment in which to do business, and provided us with exceptional workforce talent. We look forward to growing here, and we appreciate all the support we’ve received from state and local officials,” said Jay King, Co-Head ARM Operations, of NCO Financial Systems.

NCO Financial Systems will expand its call center operation, located at 4275 Bridge View Drive, in North Charleston. The center handles accounts receivable services for utilities and telecom revenue clients and currently employs more than 600 people. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in January 2013. The new positions are primarily for call center representatives.

“When existing businesses in South Carolina choose to expand, it’s a good indication our economic development efforts are on the right track. We celebrate NCO Financial Systems’ decision to grow in North Charleston and create 75 new jobs,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.

NCO operates a global network of more than 100 operations centers running on a centralized data platform with the flexibility to respond to the changing marketplace, and to tailor operations to meet client specifications. NCO’s services include accounts receivable management, revenue cycle management and order-to-cash BPO services. NCO provides services across multiple vertical markets through a combination of voice, chat, email, voice automation, back-office, social media and self-help portals.

“NCO Financial Systems is a world-class company and this expansion in Charleston County is great news. Every one of these jobs will have impact in North Charleston. Announcements like this one show companies continue to see the Palmetto State as the right place to do business,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

“Our congratulations go out to NCO Financial Services on their wonderful expansion,” said Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “NCO Financial Services for many years has provided high-quality customer care employment to our citizens, and many a new career has been launched within their doors. Their standards of excellence and dedication to their employees have become their hallmark over the years, and we at Charleston County are pleased to be their long-term partner in success.”

“We are grateful for NCO Financial Services expanding its employment base, providing additional job opportunities for the citizens of North Charleston and the Greater Charleston Region,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. “We proudly recognize NCO Financial Services as being a key component in North Charleston’s diverse, ever-growing business community.”

The company will begin hiring for the new positions immediately. NCO is an equal opportunity employer. For more information, visit NCO's website,, or contact the center’s recruitment line at 843-529-4701.

About EGS

Expert Global Solutions Inc. (EGS) is the holding company for APAC Customer Services Inc. and NCO Financial Systems Inc. EGS is a fully scaled and global partner serving all aspects of the CRM and ARM customer lifecycle, offering clients the unique complement of scale and a customized service delivery platform. EGS is an equal opportunity employer. For more information, visit EGS’s website:

About NCO
NCO is a leading global provider of business process outsourcing services, including accounts receivable management, revenue cycle management and order to cash BPO services. NCO provides services across multiple vertical markets through a combination of voice, chat, email, voice automation, back-office, social media and self-help portals. NCO provides services through over 120 offices throughout North America, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Australia. NCO is an equal opportunity employer. For more information, visit NCO’s website at

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

North Charleston City Council approves rail settlement with State of South Carolina - an open letter from Mayor Summey

Citizens of North Charleston,

I am pleased to announce a resolution to the rail dispute that has consumed our community for the past several years.  The fight was at times bitter; however, the strong will of this community has led the state to a compromise that will ensure equitable treatment of our citizens.  We could not have reached this point without you.

Grass roots efforts led to thousands of citizens rallying together in town hall meetings, letters written to Columbia demanding a reasonable solution, and an equal amount of phone calls to public officials expressing concerns.  We fought in every forum, from the court of public opinion to courts of law.

We now have a great opportunity to resolve many of the lingering surface transportation issues which have plagued the greater North Charleston region for many, many years.  I can assure you that I have been relentless in achieving the best possible outcome for the community.

As with any settlement, compromises were required from both sides.  In the settlement, South Carolina Public Railways will establish an intermodal facility on a portion of the property the City gave to Clemson University. The facility will service both Class I railroads and will be operated by South Carolina Public Railways.  

We were able to stop approximately half, but not all, of the rail from being placed on land at the former Navy Base.  We did have to yield and allow northern rail access.  Keep in mind that rail off the base is subject to federal jurisdiction and was never something the City could control.  I believe that rail line reduction on the former Navy Base, along with other concessions made by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, will allow for appropriate mitigation for ill effects of increased rail traffic through our community.

First and foremost, a study will be commissioned to find a solution to many of our area’s surface transportation problems and lessen port traffic impacts on our community.  Anyone driving along our major thoroughfares has at some point been stuck in gridlock traffic or stopped by a train, unfortunately far too often.  This fight has been over rail, but I believe that the city has really objected to the human impact of rail more than to rail itself.

I have fought for a compromise designed to lessen the impact of container movement on our daily lives as much as possible.  If containers can exit our community by rail with less impact than exiting by truck, I believe there will be an improvement to our quality of life.  The study will identify mitigation (overpasses, quiet zones, routing, and sound barriers), determine exactly how we can climb out of our transportation debacle, and finally, paint a true picture of “rail done right.”

As additional parts of the mitigation, the community will receive $8 million.  The City will also receive 104 acres on the former Navy Base for restoration, which includes all of the former officer’s housing area adjacent to our park.  Public Railways has also agreed to assume $6.5 million of bonds that were issued for the construction of Riverfront Park.

To avoid future differences of opinion as to whether these promises to the City and its citizens are binding, this settlement will come as a court order, not a Memorandum of Understanding.  With the involvement of Governor Nikki Haley, Senator and Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman of Florence, Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt and others, this community has been given every possible assurance that Columbia will not turn its back on our community.

When contemplating this settlement, I challenge you to consider the opportunity we have to improve our community.  Also consider the consequences the residents of the City would face absent an agreement.  The result would have been disastrous, even if the City won every court battle and stopped the rail yard. 

We were faced with two options for handling containers from the Post-Panamax cargo ships that will service the new port facility.  One option allowed all containers from the new port to travel through our community by truck, one at a time.  I-26 is already failing in terms of its ability to handle current traffic.  Forcing the exponential increase of containers onto local roads by truck would cause North Charleston roadways to resemble a Los Angeles-like parking lot for hours each day.

The other option was to allow the State to move forward with constructing an intermodal facility to carry the containers away from our community on rail, hundreds of containers at a time.  This plan has obvious appeal, provided that rail routes can be developed in a way that would work around the community instead of rolling over it.

The latter option was chosen.  As a result, we are receiving a number of evenhanded concessions for the improvement of our community and we now have a seat at the table to make real, lasting changes to our region’s transportation system.

I hope you, the citizens of North Charleston, can stand with me.  It is unfortunate that we have had to adapt from our original vision for the former Navy Base.  Unfortunately, times have changed, the economy has changed, and ownership of the majority of the Base has changed.  What has not changed is my commitment to North Charleston.

I believe that North Charleston will emerge as a better community, and that all of the citizens of the State of South Carolina will realize that it was this community that made the tough decisions for their economic growth.  North Charleston is and will always be a great place to live, work, and play, no matter the obstacles we face.


R. Keith Summey

1 – Rail Settlement Agreement NOT SIGNED
2 – Rail Settlement - Press Release from the SC Department of Commerce
3 – Rail Settlement - open letter from Mayor Summey
4 – Rail Settlement - Press Briefing
5 – Rail Settlement - map with key

Watch the December 4, 2012 Special City Council Meeting