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Charleston Business

The Business Narrative: Moving Forward

Dec 06, 2023 02:13PM ● By Donna Walker

TMC Transportation Grows Southeast Presence With Richland County Expansion

TMC Transportation, one of the trucking industry’s premier flatbed carriers, said it is growing its Southeast presence with the expansion of its regional headquarters in Richland County.


The $38 million investment will create 185 new jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.


Employee-owned TMC Transportation has more than 50 years of experience in the trucking industry and a 25-year history in South Carolina.


The company is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and has a network of terminals and service centers throughout the U.S.


Commerce officials said TMC Transportation will consolidate the three facilities it is leasing in central South Carolina into a single 44-acre campus located at 2716 Shop Road in Columbia.


The company will build a 36,000-square-foot operations and logistics office, and a 66,000-square-foot maintenance facility next to its existing driver training center, the officials said. 


“Since 1998, TMC Transportation has had a presence in the Columbia area, and we are looking forward to consolidating all of our employees and operations processes into one state-of-the-art location,” said TMC Transportation Executive Vice President of Asset Management Jason Webb.  


Webb added, “We are proud to partner with the State of South Carolina and Richland County to grow our business, strengthen the local economy and supply chain, and solidify our presence in the Columbia market for years to come.”


“With two-thirds of the U.S. population within a two-day drive of South Carolina, this is the ideal place for trucking companies to thrive,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We look forward to seeing TMC Transportation continue to develop and build on its rich history in South Carolina.”


Operations will be online at the new campus in May 2025. Those interested in joining TMC Transportation should go to the company’s careers page.

Duke Energy Proposes Energy Efficiency Enhancements, Innovative Pilot Programs for SC Customers

Duke Energy's utilities in South Carolina are proposing new energy efficiency programs that officials say will help customers save energy and money and expand the companies' success in implementing programs that to date have saved more than 3.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity and $6.5 billion for customers in the Carolinas.


Officials say the proposals from Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) and Duke Energy Progress (DEP) – if approved by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) – will continue to shrink the challenge of serving the region's fast-growing electricity needs by delivering cost-effective energy savings.


"Our customers have been clear in telling us they want options that give them more control over their energy usage and provide help for those who might struggle to make their homes more efficient," said Mike Callahan, Duke Energy's South Carolina state president.


Callahan added, "We believe these programs can make a big difference to the quality of life of many customers across the state."


Two new pilot programs focus on innovative ways to address the needs of the most vulnerable customers by making their homes safer and more energy efficient. They include:


High-Energy Use Pilot (DEP) – Through this program, the company will partner with nonprofit agencies to supply energy improvements and home repairs where needed, targeting low-income homes that have much higher-than-average electricity use.


The program will launch initially working alongside the city of Sumter and Sumter County through Sumter United Ministries, a community organization with a long history of working to improve the housing stock of its vulnerable citizens in the county.


Company officials say the initiative will allow customers in Sumter to get a complete home overhaul, leaving them with more efficient, safer homes and lower electric bills. 


Tariffed On-Bill Pilot (DEP) – This program will enable customers to make investments in energy efficiency upgrades that will be repaid as part of the monthly electric bill associated with the premises through a monthly charge.


Proposals before the PSCSC would also modify two existing programs that officials say have been helping customers save energy and money for years. They are:


Weatherization Program Modifications (DEC) – An income-qualified program that operates in partnership with community action agencies, the proposed modifications would expand the class of eligible customers and align the program across both utilities by adjusting incentives and reflecting current federal standards.


Home Energy House Call Program Enhancements (DEC and DEP) – This program provides in-home energy audits to single family homeowners. The enhancement will allow renters, multifamily residents and residents of manufactured homes to participate with a virtual option.


Duke Energy serves about 830,000 households and businesses in South Carolina through two utilities, Duke Energy Carolinas – serving primarily the Upstate including Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson counties – and Duke Energy Progress, with customers in the northeastern part of the state including Florence, Darlington and Sumter counties.

SCRA Announces New Member Companies, Grant Funding

Construx, Dealerverse, Lumiq, Notey, and Zitles, were accepted as South Carolina Research Authority Member Companies.


BagValet, ElectroWire, Rapid Title, and Skilldora, received new grant funding.


All SCRA Member Companies receive coaching, access to experts in SCRA’s Resource Partner Network, eligibility to apply for grant funding, and the potential to be considered for investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc.


BagValet LLC received a $25,000 Project Development Fund Grant. The Charleston-based mobile luggage storage solution provider assists travelers in bridging the gap between lodging accommodations and flight times by providing daily luggage storage with the convenience of door-to-door service.


Construx Inc. has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Mount Pleasant-based advanced manufacturing and materials startup uses automated machinery to precision cut low-cost plywood components in a controlled factory environment, delivering predictable, consistent, and repeatable results with accuracy and quality that outperform traditional construction processes.


Dealerverse Inc. has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Greenville-based information technology startup has designed an AI-powered tech stack that combines creative content, technology, and results into one AI-driven, decision-making tool. Their goal is to be their customers’ complete, full service for marketing campaigns, in one comprehensive place.


ElectroWire Corporation received a $25,000 Project Development Fund Grant. The Lexington-based medical device company is seeking to simplify access to the left atrium of the human heart with its ElectroWire transseptal system.


Lumiq Inc. has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Charleston-based information technology startup’s product, Lightmap, displays and uses colored lights to project real-time information about the world around you within beautifully printed artwork, including airport weather, city traffic, boating conditions, and more.


Notey Inc. has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Cayce-based information technology startup has built the first-ever AI-enabled, fully gamified music lesson app for younger users. Notey partners with music teachers and students to add excitement to practice sessions and can work with music teachers and schools to integrate existing curricula into the game.


Rapid Title Corporation received a $25,000 Project Development Fund Grant. The Goose Creek-based information technology company leverages an intelligent API platform that interfaces with consumers, dealers, and banks to rapidly complete motor vehicle title transfers.


Skilldora Inc. received a $25,000 Project Development Fund Grant. The Fort Mill-based information technology company uses a unique method of interconnected AI generative applications, tools, and software combined with their designated accreditation status to produce professional online learning certification programs.


Zitles LLC has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Mount Pleasant-based information technology startup’s platform serves as a mechanism for cohesive communication between professionals and organizations searching for and reviewing titles. They eliminate inefficient processes and redundancies that plague the industry and enable users to better use data.


Grant funding is made possible, in part, by the Industry Partnership Fund contributions that officials say fuel the state’s innovation economy.


Contributors to the IPF receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, which officials say makes it an easy and effective way to help one of the fastest-growing segments of the South Carolina economy.

Kognitos Opens East Coast Hub in Charleston, SC

The Charleston Digital Corridor said Kognitos, a San Jose, CA-headquartered company, has selected Charleston, S.C., for its East Coast hub.


The company will begin operations at the Charleston Tech Center. 


Kognitos is a leader in natural language process automation. Founded in 2020, the company aims to build a future where all business applications will be written in English; where machines understand human language natively; where interacting with a computer is as easy as communicating with a human. 


The company recently announced the completion of a $20 million Series A round led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from existing investors Clear Ventures, Engineering Capital, and Wipro Ventures. 


“Kognitos is thrilled to open our operations here and be an active partner of the Charleston tech community. With several native South Carolinians and Clemson grads on our team, it’s a pleasure to help build this industry in our home state,” said Drayton Wade, head of Strategy and Operations.


Wade added, “The Charleston Digital Corridor and Charleston Tech Center provides us with just the environment we need to recruit and bring talent to Charleston and the flexibility to scale as we grow rapidly.”


“We are honored that innovative Artificial Intelligence startup, Kognitos, has selected Charleston for their East Coast hub. I am confident that we have the talent pool, business infrastructure, and livability to support Kognitos and similar companies entering this disruptive technology space,” said Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade. 

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