2009-01-02 / Front Page

Riding through the recession is a joint venture

The Columbia Star selects metropolitan economic and commerce visionaries
By John Temple Ligon Temple@TheColumbiaStar.com

The metropolitan economic and commerce visionaries are 1. Dr. Harris Pastides, president, University of South Carolina; 2. Don Tomlin, CEO, Tomlin & Company; 3. John Holder, CEO, Holder Properties; 4. Cheryl Holland, certified financial planner, CEO, Abacus; 5. Jeremy Wilson, CEO, Grubb & Ellis/Wilson Kibler; 6. Richard Eckstrom, South Carolina Comptroller General; 7. Dr. Sonny White, president, Midlands Techical College; 8. Steve Benjamin, attorney and residential real estate developer; 9. Dr. Doug Woodward, economist and USC professor; 10. Hanna Horne, director of business development, South Carolina Film Commission; 11. Jeff Monks, South Carolina Film Commissioner and 12. Bill Kirkland, CEO, Collexis.
For the coming year the recession is expected to worsen, and unemployment in S.C. could predictably hit 14 percent. The 12 economic and commerce visionaries cited by the staff of

The Columbia Star have proven to be successful and have ideas that could likely change the negative forecasts of our economy. Each of the dozen is at the top of his or her game.

A game with new rules, residential real estate development for low- income occupants, is dealing with people one step above the homeless. The real market and the growing market is in housing the crowd with a tight income stream, the people proud enough to have a place of their own. The huge demand is there, and the federal tax advantages can help meet the demand.

With clients at the other end of the economic spectrum, wealth management is a growing field. The boomers are about to retire, and preservation of capital is paramount.

Necessary for the business of making movies are state subsidies and location quality. What Louisiana has been able to do with state subsidies is almost amazing. New Orleans is America's #3 movie making capital, behind New York and Los Angeles. Just up the ante a notch, Governor Sanford, and watch "Made in South Carolina" dominate the credits.

One category conspicuously underrepresented in Columbia is manufacturing. South Carolina is strong in manufacturing, but the Midlands is not, and that needs to change. In newspaper advertising sales, real estate deals, government affairs, and education circles, it's mostly a zero- sum game of redistributing wealth among the same players, keeping the money in town but not importing any new money.

Manufacturing sells products worldwide, and that money comes home from all over to carry the manufacturers' overhead and to enrich the manufacturers and their investors. It's new money, fresh money, and wealth is created.

The future of the Midlands might hold new manufacturing facilities, maybe even automobile plants. BMW is in Greer, and their parts suppliers are scattered all over the state. The parts suppliers also serve Detroit besides the South, meaning another automobile manufacturer in South Carolina has to be in the cards. Fine, how about here in the Midlands?

By far the world's largest automobile market with its $14 trillion economy, twice #2 (Japan), the United States will be forever hungry for new cars.

Software can be categorized as manufacturing and can be considered part of the same economics cited by world trade advocates such as USC's Dr. Doug Woodward. Collexis, headquartered in Columbia — with major operations in Cincinatti (Ohio), Getdermatsen (the Netherlands), and Cologne (Germany) — is going great guns.

Among the dozen, many can be recognized as past profiles in The Columbia Star's business section, which can be pulled up from our archives. www.thecolumbiastar.com

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