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Charleston Business

The Business Narrative: Reaching for the Stars

May 02, 2024 08:33AM ● By Donna Walker

Clemson, NASA Sign Agreement to Advance Research, Education

(Photo: Clemson alumna and Johnson Space Center director Vanessa Wyche visited Clemson’s campus Monday to sign an agreement between the University and NASA.)


Clemson University and NASA’s Johnson Space Center have signed a Space Act Agreement that opens the door to unique research and education opportunities aimed at advancing space exploration.


Johnson Space Center in Texas is home to America’s astronaut corps, NASA’s Mission Control Center, International Space Station operations, and a team of scientists and engineers working on advances in science, technology, engineering, and medicine.


The agreement paves the way for Clemson faculty and NASA to identify and pursue mutual research that fosters innovation in aerospace engineering, space and Earth science, advanced materials, computer and data science, advanced manufacturing, human health in space, and numerous other fields.


Additionally, Clemson students will have an opportunity to engage with NASA’s leading experts, participate in educational outreach activities, and benefit from mentorship and internship programs related to human spaceflight.


“Through the Space Act Agreement, Clemson University and NASA will continue to elevate our partnership to new heights,” said Jim Clements, Clemson University president. “We both share a deep commitment to research, innovation, collaboration and positively impacting the lives of others. And together, we will continue discovering new and exciting ways to create an even brighter future for everyone.”


Clemson alumna and Johnson Space Center director Vanessa Wyche visited Clemson’s campus April 29, 2024, to sign the agreement.


“NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s history of working with colleges and universities dates back to the early days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs where students, faculty, and staff helped us achieve our human spaceflight missions,” Wyche said.


Wyche added, “The partnership with Clemson University to collaborate in research and technology development initiatives will assist NASA in meeting our nation’s exploration goals and advance human spaceflight as we continue missions on the International Space station, return to the Moon under Artemis, and prepare for future human missions to Mars.”


Officials said NASA’s research interests align well with Clemson’s strengths in energy, advanced materials, health, robotics, mobility and autonomous systems, among others, and NASA has been an important sponsor of Clemson research. 


Clemson has faculty members working on advanced materials that can withstand the extreme temperatures of space, AI-enabled drones for mapping and modeling, novel materials for spacecraft windows, and microbial fuel cells for space life-support systems, among other projects.

First National Realty Partners Purchases South Carolina Retail Center

First National Realty Partners (FNRP), a leading national private equity firm specializing in commercial real estate, closed on the acquisition of Sumter Square, a 66,765-square-foot shopping center in Sumter, South Carolina.


The acquisition marks FNRP's expansion into South Carolina and brings its operating footprint to 25 states.


"We are proud to add Sumter Square to our Sun Belt portfolio," said Matt Annibale, vice president of acquisitions. "Sumter Square is a market-dominant asset with a seasoned existing tenancy, plus the opportunity to add value through additional leasing."


Sumter Square is anchored by a 39,365-square-foot Piggly Wiggly, an operator at the center since 1992.


According to RetailStat, the Sumter Square location is one of the chain's top-performing stores in South Carolina based on customer foot traffic.


The center is located in a regional retail trade area 40 miles outside Columbia, South Carolina. It benefits from its close proximity to Shaw Air Force Base, the largest employer in Sumter.


Within a five-mile radius, the population exceeds 60,000 people with average household incomes of $80,000.

GovCIO Opens New Office Near Joint Base Charleston

Fairfax, Virginia-based GovCIO, a provider of advanced technology solutions and digital services for the federal government, announced the opening of its new Charleston, South Carolina office, which officials said marked a milestone in the company's history.


The new facility is near Joint Base Charleston.


Company officials said the new office space increases the GovCIO footprint and supports the company's growth strategy.


This past year, the company has grown to over 3,000 employees globally. GovCIO has been one of the fastest growing government contractors with annual revenue increasing by 17 percent.


"Given our portfolio's consistent double-digit growth since 2019, our team recognized the opportunity to establish a physical presence in the Charleston region as part of our strategic vision," said John Anderson, GovCIO sector president, National Security Services.


Anderson added, "This move signals our enduring commitment to our partners, including the U.S. Naval Information Warfare Center, and we are excited about this next chapter and the expanded opportunities this new office brings."


For several years, GovCIO has maintained a long-standing military partnership in the Charleston region working on various programs.


The programs include working with Joint Base Charleston on the U.S. Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic for the Fixed Submarine Broadcast System Fixed Very Low Frequency / Low Frequency (FVLF/LF) Engineering Services.


GovCIO support includes engineering, technical, and sustainment Life Cycle Management (LCM) support services as part of the Shore Submarine Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) Integrated Program Team (IPT) Program Office for NIWC Atlantic.

James F. Wood Named President of Summit Consulting LLC, a member of Great American Insurance Group

Great American Insurance Group announced the promotion of James F. Wood as president of its Florida-based workers’ compensation member, Summit Consulting LLC, effective June 1, 2024.


Wood will succeed Carol Sipe, who will retire in September after more than 35 years of service.


Summit provides its comprehensive workers’ compensation insurance services to businesses in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.


Summit has offices in Lakeland, Florida, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Gainesville, Georgia. 


Wood has spent his entire career with Summit, beginning in the Management Training program in 1997.


Since that time, he has held leadership roles throughout many areas of the organization, including sales and marketing, underwriting and claims.


Currently, is senior vice president of the Southeast Region and Claims and Medical Management.


Wood earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Science from the University of South Florida and an MBA from Saint Leo College.


He also holds a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.

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