Did you know that the Upstate is home to a company with more than 2,000 textile patents? Or that 20,000 Upstate residents work in the plastics industry? How about the fact that our region of the globe has one of the leading centers for advanced materials?
Yes to all? No to all? Maybe some?
One of the goals of the Upstate SC Alliance is telling the good economic stories of our region to the rest of the world. And one of the stories we love telling the most is about advanced materials, which is the future of the manufacturing industry.
Our region is increasingly supplying advanced materials such as plastics, optics, photonics, textiles and metals to the rest of the world. We are becoming a hub for advanced materials for several key reasons.
The first is the people.
The Upstate SC Alliance represents a 10-county region that includes highly trained graduates, world-renowned professors, a developing dynamic workforce, cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities.
The move to a more innovative Upstate is a region wide effort that has its fingers in every pocket of our communities. That company with more than 2,000 patents? It’s Milliken, which is headquartered in Spartanburg. The plastics industry is buzzing with companies such as Greer’s Mitsubishi Polyester Film, which last year launched the first recycled liner film line in the industry.
Companies such as Optek Systems in Greenville, Woven Electronics in Simpsonville and Fibersource in Greenville lead the way in the optics/photonics industry. We can count Fisher Barton in Fountain Inn, Hoke in Spartanburg, and Renfrow Brothers in Spartanburg amongst the leaders in metal working and fabrication.
Advanced Materials is fueling the economy in all corners of the Upstate.
And if there is a hub to this growing sector, than it has to be the Clemson University Advanced Materials Center in Anderson County of Highway 187. It is anchored by a world class research facility that includes a 111,000 square foot LEED Silver Certified building, the nation’s best Electron Microscopy Laboratories, the most advanced official fiber drawing capabilities of any U.S. university, laser and chemical laboratories and Class 100 clean rooms.
The Advanced Materials Center also includes a composites manufacturing center, a laboratory for advanced plastic material and technology and the center of optical material science and engineering technologies.
The success of the businesses in our region along with the Advanced Materials Center is a story that the Upstate SC Alliance is proud to share with people and companies worldwide. We can show that the Upstate has the ability to create, innovate and prosper in this very important business cluster.
A strong Advanced Materials sector means jobs and financial security for the region. It helps keep our economy diverse and prosperous. It allows for growth. We expect to see many of the patents and products coming out of small start-ups to become major innovations. Innovations that will lead to more jobs that can originate and stay here.
And that makes a stronger Upstate for everyone.
Hal Johnson is the president and chief executive officer of the Upstate SC Alliance, a non-profit organization made up of a public and private investors aimed at promoting economic growth. Additional information is available through the Alliance’s web site, www.upstateSCalliance.com.