Article reprinted in courtesy of South Carolina State Department of Commerce
Columbia, SC: January 26, 2011 – Joe Black was honored yesterday as an Ambassador for Economic Development by the Department of Commerce and legislative leaders as part of South Carolina’s 20th Annual Industry Appreciation Week. The ceremony took place in Columbia on Tuesday, January 25 at the Statehouse and highlighted 47 individuals from 46 counties for their exceptional efforts to bolster community and economic development activities in South Carolina.
“Secretary Hitt and I have one very clear focus – to make our state the best and most competitive in the country for business development. ‘Can’t’ isn’t an option for us. But we can't do it alone. We need partners across South Carolina to grow the businesses we have, recruit new ones and help put our people back to work, and that's what today is all about,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.
Mr. Black has long been a significant asset to the Pickens County economic development effort. Mr. Black retired as controller after a 28-year career at Saco Lowell, a manufacturer of textile machinery, which, at its high point employed 1,600 people in Easley. Following his retirement, he co-founded Computer Software Innovations Inc. (CSI) in 1990. Based in Easley, CSI today employs 220 people. CSI has grown to become a major software provider in the southeast education market.
“Serving as examples of economic success, our state’s existing businesses are one of our most valuable economic development tools,” state House Speaker Bobby Harrell said. “These private sector leaders are at the frontlines of job creation and industry promotion for South Carolina and they do more for our economy than government can ever contribute. Our Ambassadors for Economic Development serve as a true asset to our state and deserve real credit for their leadership.”
“The health of our state’s economy hinges on the important contributions made by business leaders and entrepreneurs throughout South Carolina. Whether it is bringing more capital investment and jobs to our state or supporting initiatives that bolster economic activities in communities, these ambassadors are committed to improving economic opportunities for all South Carolinians. We congratulate each Ambassador for Economic Development and thank them for their efforts,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce.
Each year the Department of Commerce joins local communities to thank businesses for their vital contributions to South Carolina’s economy. The Department of Commerce kicks off Industry Appreciation Week each year by recognizing individuals throughout South Carolina as Ambassadors for Economic Development. These individuals include local leaders from the private sector representing a variety of businesses and economic development organizations committed to securing new jobs and investment in their communities.