The Greenville, SC Chamber's Blog

Welcome to the Greenville Chamber's blog. Here you will be able to find Chamber news and happenings as it happens. Comments and responses to our postings are encouraged. Please, get connected with us, so that we can get connected with you (other social media links can be found below to the right). For more information on the Chamber, please visit us at or give us a call at 864-242-1050.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Talent Attraction Drives Discussion at Chamber Meeting


The Greenville Chamber’s Board of Governors meeting on February 24th featured an interesting twist. Those members present, some 35 in all, were engaged in a discussion around attracting talent to the community.

Ralph Hejlik, CEO of NationJob, one of the country’s top internet job boards and partner with the Chamber, presented recent trends in attracting talent. Hejlik said it is very apparent that people are picking where they want to live before they decide on an actual position. Livability and quality of life are factors at the top of the list he said. Trailing spouses is another important issue.

Chamber Chairman Tim Justice said the Chamber has convened a task force to develop a well-rounded talent recruitment program. “We have helped larger companies in the past, but we want a program that can be equally as helpful to entrepreneurs,” Justice said.

Several executives in the meeting highlighted the importance of good education in the community as an attractor in recruiting. From a distance, education in the south or South Carolina may be perceived as a negative. Greenville and the Upstate have great resources and we have to overcome that bias.

A survey of those present revealed that 84% of those companies or organizations represented see 2009-10 as flat or with some growth. Many companies will hire new employees this year and in 2010, about 220 positions in all.

We would like to open the door through this blog to hear reactions to the meeting (good and bad), as well as give everyone that was present an opportunity to say something they may have thought about after the fact, plus give an opportunity for those that were not there to get in on the conversation. Please, share your throughts with us, we are listening...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kudos to our Chief - TIM JUSTICE!

Greenville Chamber Chair Tim Justice was recently recognized by US Senator of South Carolina Jim DeMint, referring to him as "Chief Justice."

To view the article, click HERE.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Congratulations to the Feb2009 Small Business of the Month -- RECRUITING SOLUTIONS

During the Greenville Chamber's Board of Director's meeting (today, 2/19, at 8:00 a.m.) Recruiting Solutions was recognized as the February 2009 Small Business of the Month (SBOM), sponsored by the The Worthwhile Company.

Chair of the Chamber's SBOM Awards Committee Debbie Nelson of DNA Creative Communications and Dan Rundle of The Worthwhile Company, the February 2009 SBOM sponsor, presented the award to Debbie Varner of Recruiting Solutions.

For more information on Recruiting Solutions and the Chamber's Small Business of the Month program, CLICK HERE.

To nominate a business for the Small Business of the Month award, send us an EMAIL (CLICK HERE) with the company's name, and any additional information you'd like to send. For more information, contact Ginger McKenzie at 864-239-3708.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MAXIMIZE YOUR MEMBERSHIP -- Community Events Calendar


An advantage of being a Greenville Chamber member is the ability to upload an unlimited number of community events to the Chamber's community events calendar.

To upload an event, login to the Chamber's members only section (click HERE). Once logged in, select "SUBMIT AN EVENT" in the left hand column. Complete the information, and hit the "SUBMIT EVENT" button at the bottom of the screen. Once the event has been approved by Chamber staff, your event will be listed on the community events calendar until the event has expired.

Not only is the calendar listed on the Chamber's web site, but also in its weekly eNewsletter IN TOUCH for double exposure.

Upload your event(s) today! Not sure what your login information is? Email us by clicking HERE.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Connect with the Chamber!

The Greenville Chamber is utilizing several social media tools to help get its members connected! Are you connected?

Join the Chamber on TWITTER, FACEBOOK & LINKED IN (click on the names to connect).

Please post comments on how you think the Chamber should utilize these resources -- we are up for any suggestions!

Friday, February 13, 2009

This Week's Legislative Update

While the Legislature is in session, the Greenville Chamber sends out a Legislative Update each week to those members interested. Not receiving the updates, but interested? Contact Sunnie Harmon or John DeWorken at 864-242-1050 or by e-mail ( or

Below is this week's update from Columbia:

Senate Debates SC State Ports Advisory Board
The Senate spent most of its time on the floor this week debating Senate Bill 351, which creates an 11-person advisory board to make recommendations to the SC State Ports Authority Board of Directors. The advisory board would be comprised of individuals who are knowledgeable in one or more of the following areas: maritime shipping, organized labor related to organized shipping, overland shipping by truck or rail, international commerce, finance, accounting, engineering. The Governor would appoint members to the board based on recommendations from the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Trucking Association, Manufacturers’ Alliance, Maritime Association, Stevedores Association, Harbor Pilots Association, and the Propeller Club. The board would be Charleston heavy even though over 60 percent of the ports’ business is generated from the ten-county Upstate region. Senator Ralph Anderson (D-Greenville) should be commended for his arguments on the Senate floor for more guaranteed Upstate representation on the advisory board. The Chamber is fighting for more statewide representation, as well as less union representation on this advisory board.

TRAC Bill Stalled
Senate Bill S. 12 was placed on the Senate’s contested calendar this week. The Tax Realignment Commission bill passed the Full Senate Finance Committee last week with a favorable report and is awaiting second reading on the Senate floor. It is expected to be on the floor for debate next week.

Upstate Chamber Lobbyist Testifies in House Judiciary Subcommittee
Representative Eric Bedingfield (R-Greenville) is leading the fight on the House side to help strengthen South Carolina’s Right-to-Work status. His bill amends the state constitution to provide that the workers are guaranteed the right to vote by secret ballot in union votes. The Upstate Chambers Coalition Chief Lobbyist John DeWorken testified Thursday morning in a Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee in favor of the constitutional amendment. DeWorken said, “It is important to protect the rights of the workers, as well as the employer.” The bill passed the subcommittee with a favorable report and will move to the Full House Judiciary Committee for further discussion. Currently, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is moving through US House of Representatives and its passage would make it much easier for unions to unionize large and small businesses. This bill removes the workers’ right to a secret ballot vote on whether or not they want to be unionized. All unions would need to do is to get 50 percent-plus one of the business’ workforce to unionize. Under current law, a union must get 30 percent or more of the employees to check “this card,” to request a union election. Then the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is called to referee the election to make sure the union representatives, as well as the employer are abiding by the law. After the NLRB arrives, a secret ballot election is held to decide whether the business will be unionized or not. The most interesting part about the Federal EFCA bill is that it removes the right to a secret ballot when voting to unionize, but if the employees decide they do not want to be a part of the union anymore, the secret ballot is still in tact.

Speaker of the House Introduces Tort Reform Bill
Tuesday, Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) introduced the South Carolina Fairness in Civil Justice Act of 2009. This bill builds on tort reform legislation passed in recent years. The Speaker stated, “Our state’s future hinges on the strength of our economy and its ability to grow. This bill helps strengthen our economic climate by significantly adding to the comprehensive tort reform legislation we passed a few years ago. During these difficult times, the General Assembly needs to focus on ways we can better secure our economic future. This lawsuit abuse reform bill takes further steps in improving our business climate and making our state more competitive. Eliminating bureaucratic red tape, putting a lid on frivolous lawsuits and enacting pro-business job enabling reforms are steps we need to take in order to make South Carolina a great place for businesses to grow and expand.” House Bill 3489 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Concurrent Resolution Passes House to Help Combat EFCAThe House passed a concurrent resolution to ask “the South Carolina Congressional Delegation to oppose legislation that disenfranchises SC workers by removing their right to a private ballot union election.” The resolution was referred to the Senate’s Labor Commerce and Industry Committee chaired by Senator Greg Ryberg (R-Aiken).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


On February 10, the Greenville Chamber released the following statement...

The Greenville Chamber today announced a plan to progressively create revenue for the Chamber in the tight economy while focusing on its core services to its membership and the broader community.

“The Chamber announced changes to its organization in an effort to be proactive and economically responsible in light of the current recession,” said Chamber President and CEO Ben Haskew. “This is a model used successfully by other chambers nationally in developing support in tight economic times. We know that our members have had to think differently and tighten their belts to successfully venture through this difficult time, so, too, must the Chamber.”

The Chamber’s changes, which will significantly reduce expenses, are as follows:

· Three staff positions lost through attrition in 2008 will not be filled in 2009.
· The membership department will continue to utilize two professional account managers and other membership services staff. Marketing/sales consultants will also be used to build and retain memberships.
· The remaining staff will take a one-week furlough.
· The Chamber’s contributions to the employee 401K Plan will be frozen for the balance of 2009.

The Chamber has put emphasis on its strategic lines of business over the past year that provides leadership through collaboration, builds community prosperity, enhances quality of life and serves as the voice of business. “We will continue to provide the highest program value to our membership and expect these changes will get us through 2009 and to a more prosperous 2010,” said Haskew.

The Greenville Chamber is the largest business organization in the Upstate, serving more than 2,200 members. The Chamber's mission is to build one of the premier business communities in the world by: Leading through collaboration, building community prosperity, being the voice of business and enhancing quality of life. For more information on the Greenville Chamber, call 864-242-1050, or visit

Monday, February 9, 2009

Greenville Chamber Recipients Receive Thumbs Up!

The Greenville News gave the Greenville Chamber annual award winners a thumbs up! Click here to read more.

Greenville Chamber Announces its 2009 Award Winners

The Greenville Chamber held its 120th Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 29 at the Carolina First Center, presented by Carolina First. The event featured keynote speaker Betsy Fischer, executive producer of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Also addressing attendees were 2008 Greenville Chamber Board Chair Jane Sosebee, 2009 Board Chair Tim Justice and Chamber President Ben Haskew.

The evening also featured the presentation of the Chamber’s 2008 annual awards:

The 2008 Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Dixon Hughes, PLLC, was presented to SynTerra. This is the 32nd year in which the Chamber has recognized the spirit of entrepreneurship by presenting the Small Business of the Year Award. (The Small Business of the Year is chosen from the 12 organization, which receive the Small Business of the Month award. Click here to view a complete list of all 2008 Small Business of the Month recipients. To nominate an organization for the Greenville Chamber's Small Business of the Month Award for 2009, click here.)

The Minority Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Bank of America, is presented to a local independently- and minority-owned company that has been in business for a minimum of three years. The 2008 award was presented to Talent Management Solutions, LLC.

The Young Professional of the Year Award, sponsored by BB&T, is designed to recognize an individual between the ages of 22 and 39 for his or her involvement in the community. The 2008 award was presented to Cindy Benjamin with Neal Prince + Partners Architects, Inc.

The ATHENA Award honors individuals who assist women in reaching their full leadership potential; demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; and, provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community. The 2008 ATHENA Award, sponsored by Independence National Bank, was presented to Judy Prince of USC Upstate.

The Max Heller Neighborhood Improvement Award is given annually to an organization that has shown exemplary efforts toward neighborhood improvement and empowerment. The award is named in honor of former mayor Max Heller, who spearheaded numerous efforts over the years to improve the quality of life for all citizens of Greenville County. The 2008 award, sponsored by Wachovia, was presented to Jerry Blassingame with Soteria Community Development Corporation.

The Chairman’s Award, sponsored by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., recognizes one outstanding individual for his or her leadership and dedication to the Greenville Chamber. The 2008 Chairman’s Award was presented to Sam Konduros of SK Strategies, LLC. Konduros will serve on the Chamber’s 2009 Board of Directors as Vice-Chair of Organization Excellence.

The Buck Mickel Award Leadership Award, sponsored by AT&T, is given to an individual who has personally or under the auspices of a business had a dramatic impact on the community by playing a leadership role in solving critical community issues, strengthening the community or providing visionary leadership to a major community development project. The 2008 Buck Mickel Leadership Award was presented to Knox White, Mayor of the City of Greenville.

The Ambassador of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the Chamber’s retention efforts by conducting personal visits with members to discuss their business needs and participation in Chamber activities. This 2008 recipient was presented to David Chamberlain of Integrity Business Solutions.

The Greenville Chamber is a voluntary, non-profit organization of businesses and professionals in Greenville County and the surrounding Upstate dedicated to promoting a preeminent business community: supporting innovation, collaboration and success by all businesses, small to large; providing vision, leadership and programs necessary for a progressive and diverse economy and quality of life. For more information on the Greenville Chamber, call 864-242-1050, or visit