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Robin Carter of Spartanburg has been named the 2018 SC Whitmore School Teacher of the Year.


Spartanburg resident Robin Carter named Whitmore School Teacher of the Year

 Columbia – SC Whitmore School has named Robin Carter of Spartanburg the 2018 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Carter, a science teacher at SCWS, has spent more than fifteen years as a teacher in nearly every type of instructional setting. She has worked at SCWS full-time since December of 2016.

 Carter is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and received her undergraduate degree from Troy University and her master’s degree in Biology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The daughter of a lifelong teacher, Carter taught for three years in Georgia before moving to South Carolina to work at Clear Spring Girls’ Home, a residential treatment facility for at risk teenaged girls. She has since taught at J.L. Mann High School in Greenville as well as Greenville Technical College and Spartanburg Methodist College. Carter taught at the virtual school Palmetto State E-cademy for three years prior to beginning her tenure at SCWS in 2016.

 Robin and her husband Brannon also run a small letter-press stationery company in Spartanburg called R&B Printery. They donate 10% of all annual profits to local literacy programs. Last year’s recipient was English Crossing, a faith-based non-profit that works to improve the reading, writing and speaking skills for those individuals in which English is not their first language. Past recipients have also included Pine Street Elementary School and Greenville/Spartanburg public libraries.

 SCWS Principal John Loveday recommended Carter for the award and also recommended her for the South Carolina Public Charter School District’s Teacher of the Year Award.

 “Since 2016 SC Whitmore School science teacher, Robin Carter, has made an incredible impact on our student body and overall school environment,” said Principal Loveday. “On a daily basis Robin brings her creativity and applies it to the consistent development of our school. This is done in various ways, including numerous vital improvements in our ACT Prep and Biology courses. From 2016 to 2017, SCWS witnessed a 176% increase in students completing and taking the Biology EOC – from 21 to 57 students. As further evidence of her effectiveness, Robin Carter’s Biology students are doing exceptionally well mastering the course content and the EOC exam. Robin Carter embodies everything that defines an effective teacher: compassion, empathy, intelligence, hard work and dedication.”

 Robin Carter said she was grateful to SCWS for the honor.

 “I am incredibly humbled to receive the Teacher of the Year Award from SCWS,” Carter said. “SCWS is an amazing school and I am surrounded by staff, administrators and students who make me enjoy the profession of teaching more and more every day. Education is an ever-evolving medium and the flexibility SCWS offers provides an experience that is freeing for the students and quite freeing for me as well. My teaching career has taken me to almost every type of school and instructional setting and SCWS is by far my favorite. I will use this honor as motivation to continue serving our great students to the best of my ability.”

 Founded in 2011, SCWS is a tuition-free virtual public charter school offering a personalized mastery-based academic environment to students who don’t fit the traditional brick and mortar environment. 





BMW Manufacturing continues as largest U.S. automotive exporter during 2017 

 BMW Manufacturing announced on February 13th that it exported 272,346 BMW X models from the Spartanburg plant during 2017. Nearly 87 percent of these Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes were exported through the Port of Charleston with an export value of approximately $8.76 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. This confirms that the South Carolina factory is the leading U.S. automotive exporter by value.

 The remaining 13 percent of BMW X models were exported through five other southeastern ports: Savannah, GA; Brunswick, GA; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; and Everglades, FL. All totaled, the Spartanburg plant exported more than 70 percent of its total production volume of 371,284 units.

 “BMW X models manufactured in South Carolina continue to be a major contributor to the BMW Group’s success,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “Plant Spartanburg’s achievement as the country’s leading automotive exporter demonstrates BMW’s trusted partnership with this state, its contribution to the U.S. balance of trade, and its commitment to the United States.”

 BMW announced in June that it will invest an additional $600 million in the Spartanburg plant from 2018 through 2021 to support manufacturing infrastructure for future generations of X models. An additional 1,000 jobs will also be added through 2021.

 “As the nation’s leader in the export sales of completed passenger vehicles, South Carolina accounts for more than 16 percent of the total U.S. market share,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “This figure perfectly depicts the state’s unmatched global connectivity and status as a major player in the global automotive industry.”

 “BMW is a leader in automotive manufacturing and driver of both import and export volume growth of the Port,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority. “As customers of both Inland Port Greer and the Port of Charleston, BMW’s multiple expansions have been exciting opportunities for the Port, and we value our role in its international supply chain.”

 BMW Plant Spartanburg produces 1,400 vehicles each day, with a model portfolio that includes the BMW X3, X4, X5 and X6 Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes (and their variants). The all-new BMW X7 will debut in late 2018. In 2017, the Spartanburg plant produced 371,284 vehicles. The factory has a production capacity of 450,000 vehicles and employs 10,000 people. 






Clemson President James P. Clements claps as a vehicle body moves along the prototype assembly line.

Image Credit: Clemson University Relations 


Clemson launches advanced manufacturing research and workforce development hub in Greenville 

Greenville - Automotive researchers, students and manufacturers will work side by side developing and learning advanced manufacturing techniques at the new Clemson Vehicle Assembly Center that was unveiled Thursday, February 15th  in Greenville.

Part of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and located in the Greenville Technical College Center for Manufacturing Innovation, the real-world research space will provide innovative manufacturing solutions and highly trained engineers and technicians for industry.

The Vehicle Assembly Center is a collaboration of CU-ICAR, Greenville Technical College, BMW Manufacturing and Siemens. The 4,000-square-foot center will have a full vehicle assembly line, joining lab, sub-assembly lab, embedded devices lab, collaborative robotics center and autonomous factory vehicles.

A large portion of the research will be done by faculty and students in Clemson’s College of Engineering Computing and Applied Sciences. Greenville Technical College students will be enrolled in manufacturing training programs.

“We are embarking on a new model where academia and industry can drive compelling research while simultaneously defining a new education paradigm as students at the graduate, undergraduate and technical college levels collaborate on full-scale manufacturing projects and fortify each others’ learning,” said Laine Mears, Vehicle Assembly Center director and BMW SmartState Chair in Automotive Manufacturing at Clemson University.

One of the difficulties with manufacturing research is that researchers often need to shut down assembly lines or wait for a pause in work, Mears said. The Vehicle Assembly Center eliminates the problem by giving them their own three-station assembly line to experiment without the pressure of being on a factory floor.

“This new model is a way to address those pressures while creating unique learning experiences,” he said.

Part of Clemson’s recently announced Center for Advanced Manufacturing, the Vehicle Assembly Center is part of the Clemson’s continued commitment to support and improve advanced manufacturing in South Carolina through interdisciplinary education, research, innovation and engagement. Similar centers focusing on advanced robotics and composites research are under development in the same space, growing this comprehensive capability for the future.

James P. Clements, president of Clemson University, said the Vehicle Assembly Center will provide a boost to a crucial part of the economy.

“Today we cut the ribbon not just on a new center, but on a new era of innovation and education,” he said. “Technicians, technical leaders and engineers all come together in advanced manufacturing facilities. The world-class Vehicle Assembly Center will bring manufacturing research and education to the forefront, creating a new model for the nation to follow.”

Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, was among the dignitaries at Thursday’s event.

“BMW Plant Spartanburg continues to grow. A highly-skilled, well-educated workforce is essential to meet the challenges of the next generation of vehicles,” Flor said. “The Vehicle Assembly Center and its project-based learning approach promise to prepare a workforce with the skills needed to be successful in the premium automotive industry.”

“To stay competitive, the BMW Group must be involved with technological developments in all regions of the world and quickly adopt innovative solutions,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, senior vice president for Technical Planning at the BMW Group. “The speed of adoption is critically important. The Assembly Center will allow for quicker evaluation and development of new technologies to provide solutions to our global BMW production network. The students trained in the Vehicle Assembly Center will be key enablers to implement the results effectively in real-world production.”

Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College, said, “As our advanced manufacturing students work with Clemson’s engineering students on real-world projects, the teams share ideas and collaborate as they will in the workplace. This experience better prepares them for their careers.”

The Vehicle Assembly Center will tackle some of the industry’s most compelling challenges, such as the manufacturing skills gap and effective integration of automation with humans.

“Efforts toward process automation are driving demand for new skills. The industry is looking for a workforce with information and systems integration experience,” Mears said. “The human element in manufacturing is not going away: It is getting smarter, more agile and increasingly plugged in to this evolving Internet-of-Things.”

David Clayton, executive director at the Center for Manufacturing Innovation, noted that education for manufacturing is found at many colleges, but “bringing a technical college, a research university and industry together to solve problems is unique to CMI and gives the Upstate and South Carolina an edge in attracting employers. We look forward to seeing Greenville Tech and Clemson students collaborate with industry on many projects to come.