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Omron Automation selected Spartanburg County to establish the company’s first South Carolina automation. 

 

Omron Automation selects Spartanburg County for $9.2 million investment 

Omron Automation, a global leader in industrial automation technology, recently announced it selects Spartanburg County to establish the company's first South Carolina operation. The company's $9.2 million investment will create 162 new jobs in five years.

Omron will lease and build out a 60,000-square-foot production facility located at 311 Genoble Road in Greer to manufacture industrial automation technologies including motion controllers and drives, machine vision, barcode readers, and barcode verification systems. 

With over 90 years of experience, Omron creates, sells and services fully integrated automation solutions that optimize manufacturing and improve safety.

“We are thrilled to establish our new location in Spartanburg County, expanding our market presence in the Southeast. This investment allows us to leverage cutting-edge technologies and generate high-quality manufacturing jobs, contributing to the growth and prosperity of the region,” stated Omron Automation Americas President and CEO Robb Black.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster added, “We are proud to welcome Omron Automat-ion to South Carolina. This announcement is further proof that our state's reputation as an advanced manufacturing powerhouse continues to attract major international companies to establish operations within our borders.”

The company provides manufacturing solutions to customers in over 110 countries and has production facilities in Japan, Brazil, China, the Netherlands and the United States. Operations will be online in April 2024.

Individuals interested in joining the Omron team should visit sctechjobs. com (enter "Omron" as a keyword to narrow search) or the company's careers page.

The Coordinating Coun-cil for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project. The council also awarded a $100,000 Set-Aside grant to Spartanburg County to assist with the costs of building improvements.

“Omron Automation's decision to invest and create 162 jobs in Spartanburg County will have an immense impact on the state of South Carolina. We look forward to a strong partnership with OMRON for many years to come,” stated Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III.

“We are excited to welcome Omron Automation to Spartanburg County and excited to bring another innovative, high-tech project to our community. OMRON is another boost for our manufacturing sector and is a strong first announcement for Spar-tanburg in 2024,”  added Spartanburg County Coun-cil Vice Chairman and Economic Development Committee Chairman David Britt.

 

 

 

 

Council hears updates on downtown transportation plan

Information provided by the City of Spartanburg


At their meeting on Monday, February 12, Spartanburg City Council heard an update on a new transportation plan for Downtown Spartanburg. Currently in development with the assistance of consultants, Toole Design, Spartanburg Area Transportation Study (SPATS) and the South Carolina Department of Transportation have partnered with the City to develop the plan.

The transportation plan seeks to address the overall current and future demands on Downtown Spartanburg’s transportation infrastructure as the area experiences historic growth and redevelopment, focusing not only on vehicular traffic, but pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well. As part of their development of the plan, Toole Design will create a list of potential projects that would improve multimodal mobility, traffic circulation, and safety for all downtown users.

The study area for the transportation plan is bounded by Daniel Morgan Ave. to the north and west, Henry St. to the south, and Pine St. to the east, though some SPATS projects outside the study area will also be part of the effort.

In his presentation to Council, Toole Design’s Ernie Boughman reviewed the groups work so far, which has included stakeholder input sessions with City and OneSpartanburg Inc. staff, along with relevant non-profit organizations and downtown developers. What emerged from those conversations was a need to address safety for pedestrians at street crossings, the volume and speed of commercial trucks on Pine St., traffic during extensive downtown construction expected over the next several years, and the impact of the new Fifth Third Park minor league baseball stadium currently under construction on downtown’s western edge.

In their work so far the team has also established that downtown’s intersections are performing well for motorists, though the pedestrian experience has room for improvement. Congestion is largely isolated to peak commuting times, and the downtown area has room for its incoming growth and abundant opportunities for increasing walkability. 

Boughman said he expects the plan will ultimately include recommendations for accommodating street design, improved wayfinding, and pedestrian and intersection improvements. The full Downtown Transportation Plan is expected to be completed in April. 

 

 

 

 

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Jay Jenkins

 

OneSpartanburg Inc.’s Jay Jenkins joins Diversity Leaders Initiative

Information courtesy of OneSpartanburg, Inc.


Forty leaders from across the Upstate have been selected to participate in the Riley Institute’s intensive 5-month Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) program. For over 20 years, DLI has brought together community stakeholders and equipped them with the skills and perspectives necessary to leverage diversity in their organizations in ways that drive social and economic progress in South Carolina.

Participants are selected following nomination by a DLI graduate and a thorough application and interview process. Each class includes leaders who represent the varied demographics in our state and who seek to institute diverse and inclusive practices within their communities and organizations.

Juan Johnson, the designer and facilitator of the program, has crafted a curriculum that includes interactive case studies, scenario analyses, and experiential learning tools. With five meetings over the course of five months, this program will explore modules related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Among the topics explored in these discussions are the differences between bias and discrimination, the role of context, differences in mental and physical abilities, generational diversity, and diversity frameworks.

Jay Jenkins, Director of Small and Minority Business Development for OneSpartanburg, Inc., is among the participants. 

Other Spartanburg participants include Guy Boyle, CEO of Spartanburg Water; Polly Edwards-Padgett, Senior Director of Strategic Philanthropy of the Spartanburg Regional Foundation; Kathryn Harvey, Founder of Neue South; Fernanda Sieverling, Executive Director of European American Chamber of Commerce Carolinas; and Kaitlin Watts, Director of  Center for Early Childhood Success for Spartanburg Academic Movement. 

 

 

 

 

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Alex Stubb ’93 H’17 seen here at the 2017 commencement ceremony, was elected president of Finland Feb. 11, 2024. Furman University photo

 

Furman alumnus Alex Stubb elected president of Finland

By Clinton Colmenares, Director of News and Media Strategy for Furman University


The people of Finland went to the polls in recent weeks and on Sunday, Feb. 11, a partly sunny day in Helsinki when the temperature reached a balmy 16 degrees Fahrenheit, they elected a Furman Paladin, Alex Stubb ’93 H’17, as their next president.

Stubb, a member of the mainstream center-right National Coalition Party, received 51.6 percent of the votes, outlasting his opponent, Pekka Haavisto, in a runoff. Haavisto, the current foreign minister of Finland and a member of the center-left Green Party, received 48.4 percent.

As president, Stubb’s main duties in his six-year term will be overseeing foreign and security policy, representing the country in NATO and serving as commander in chief of his country’s military. Finland has “a semi-presidential system, a cross between a president with real powers and a party-driven parliament,” said Brent Nelsen, the Jane Fishburne Hipp Professor of Politics and Inter-national Affairs at Furman.

Stubb is the first Furman graduate to serve as a head of state. As commencement speaker in 2017, he explained that he came to Furman because his brother had studied here. At first he wanted to study business, but he quickly became interested in political science.

“Alex Stubb is a remarkable leader,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. “He is an engaging and profoundly curious person with a strong moral compass that always points to doing what’s best for his fellow citizens. I’m tremendously happy for him, and proud of him. He will be an excellent president for his home country of Finland.”

Stubb’s election, Nelsen said, “is amazing! We always knew Alex was going places. I thought when he was prime minister he might have been at the top of his game, and maybe he would be elected a commissioner in the European Union.”

There weren’t significant policy differences between Stubb and Haavisto, Nelsen said. The country recently joined NATO, a move Stubb has long supported and Haavisto, as foreign minister, brokered. They both are staunchly defiant of Russia and its invasion of Ukraine. Finland, a country of just over 5 million people, smaller than Metro Atlanta, shares an 832-plus-mile border with Russia. In recent months Finland has closed the border in an attempt to control a flood of migrants from Russia.

Stubb’s advantage, Nelsen said, was his long experience in Finland’s government. Stubb served as Finland’s prime minister from 2014 to 2015, a role that focuses mainly on domestic policy. Stubb has also served as minister of foreign affairs and minister of finance, among other positions, and he was a member of the European Parliament, among other roles. He was vice president of the European Investment Bank from 2017 to 2020.

He’s also very outgoing and personable. He took to social media quickly and built large followings posting about his participation in triathlons. And, he’s seen as a family man, which appeals to the relatively conservative Finns, Nelsen said.

Stubb has always been supportive of Furman, said Nelsen, who was Stubb’s professor in several classes in the 1990s and co-authored a textbook with him. He covered a lot of ground about his career in a Furman Magazine story. Overseas, Stubb took time to meet with students on several occasions when Nelsen took groups of students to Brussels and Italy. At the 2017 commencement, during which Furman bestowed an honorary Doctor of Philoso-phy degree on Stubb, he thanked professors Bill Lavery, Nelsen, Ty Tessitore, Don Gordon and Jim Guth. “These were the guys who instilled the notion of curiosity, academia, and a love of learning to me,” he said. He called graduating from Furman one of the proudest moments of his life. “I would not stand here (were) it not for Furman and the professors,” he said.

After Furman, Stubb studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and got a master’s degree from the College of Europe in Bruges, where he met his wife Suzanne. He later received a doctorate in international relations from the London School of Economics.

Stubb will be inaugurated as president of Finland on March 1 in Helsinki. 

 

 

 

 

Greenville Drive return core of coaching staff from 2023 championship season

Information provided by the Greenville Drive


Greenville - The Greenville Drive, High-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, announced their 2024 Field Staff on February 1, anchored by a returning core that guided the Drive to the 2023 South Atlantic League Championship. Manager Iggy Suarez and Pitching Coach Bob Kipper return to the Drive for their sixth consecutive season at the helm, while Development Coach Alex Reynolds and Athletic Trainer Charysse Berkow-ski return for a second go-around in Greenville.

“We’re ecstatic to have Iggy and Bob back here in Greenville,” said Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko. “They’ve become familiar faces in our community, and for them to return for their sixth straight season speaks to the trust the Red Sox have in them to continue to guide these young players in the early stages of their careers.”

In addition to the core remaining in Greenville, two new faces to the Red Sox organization will join the Drive in 2024. JP Fasone comes to Green-ville as the team’s Hitting Coach and Tyler Snep arrives as the team’s assistant coach, following the promotion of 2023 hitting coach Chris Hess to the AA Portland Sea Dogs.

Donny Gress, the Drive’s strength and conditioning coach for the past two seasons, also earned a promotion to Portland for the 2024 season. An announcement of Gress’ replacement will come at a later date.

“We’re happy to have Charysee and Alex back as well, and excited to see what JP and Tyler will bring to the team as they chase back-to-back championships,” added Jarinko. “We wish Chris and Donny all the best on their next adventures.”

Suarez, the 42-year old and Queens, NY native, will look to build off the 2023 season and will likely do so with a roster that includes many of the key pieces that delivered a championship to Greenville. Not only did Suarez help guide the Drive to a title, his focus on player development in 2023 helped 18 players from the 2023 roster reach AA Portland before the season’s end.

The 2024 season will mark Greenville-resident Kipper's 11th season as the Drive’s pitching coach. He returned to Greenville in that role in 2018, serving previously in the same role from 2005-2006 as well as 2008-2009. The 59-year-old served as the Red Sox bullpen coach in 2002 and also held stints as the pitching coach in AAA-Pawtucket from 2015-2017, as well as in AA-Portland from 2010-2014.

Reynolds, a Hopkinton, MA native, returns to the Drive’s Development Coach role for his second season. Reynolds previously played at the collegiate level for Babson College in Wellesley, MA. He spent 2022 as a pitching intern with Cressey Sports Performance, working with pitchers from high school to MLB levels.

Berkowski returns to the Drive as head athletic trainer again in 2024. She previously served as assistant athletic trainer for AA-Portland and worked as an athletic training intern with the Chicago Cubs.