Sentinel Progress

Leaders react to Samsung announcement

NEWBERRY COUNTY — Excited. That is the word to describe how city and county leaders reacted to the news that Samsung will open a manufacturing plant in the City of Newberry.

“Today is really an exciting day, a great opportunity I think for the residents, not only for right now, but for years to come. One thing that is interesting, as I understand, they are going to get going here pretty soon,” Mayor Foster Senn said. “There are young people now in school, middle school or even younger, maybe 10 years down the road as they pursue college or technical school, one of their options for a career will be Samsung.”

Other community leaders echoed Senn’s statement.

Newberry County Councilman Scott Cain said he has been pushing to keep young people in the Newberry community by helping to provide a work environment in which they can thrive.

“Samsung is that workforce. There are other companies too, but having 900 employees means plenty of opportunity for anybody in any field, from mechanical to electrical skills to unskilled workers, there is workforce opportunity,” he said. “For our community, that is monumental.”

County Councilman Kirksey Koon said with the amount of jobs coming in this will affect people all over the county, especially younger people. He said a lot of young people left Newberry for jobs, and hopefully this will help keep some here.

County Councilman Bill Waldrop said this will be great for all residents, but especially young people looking for work.

“If they want a decent job so they stay here in Newberry and they can find a decent job at Samsung. I represent a rural area, a lot of people out here are retired, a lot of farmers, but there are quite a few young people in the community, some finishing school. This is a good opportunity for them to learn the trade and work for Samsung,” he said.

County Councilman Travis Reeder said that this will start growth in Newberry that should have started a long time ago. He said he wants to see his grandchildren and his children have a place to work in Newberry, instead of everyone graduating and leaving.

“I appreciate the fact when they come they are going to bring a high salary, a new trend in Newberry. Hopefully everyone else will catch on to paying higher salary,” Reeder said.

Sen. Ronnie Cromer said Samsung could also mean a population increase for Newberry County.

“Newberry County has about the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the state right now, I think. We may or may not be able to fill those 950 slots strictly inside Newberry County. I am expecting us to have some people move into Newberry County, and stimulate growth here,” he said. “We have only grown five percent over the past 10 years. This will help us grow. I understand there is some interest in housing developments. In turn that will help Newberry County grow by having more residents here.”

Cromer said it is a win for Newberry County.

“This is the largest announcement I think I have seen happen in Newberry County for a long time, if not ever,” he said. “We in South Carolina are always trying to recruit economic development, anytime you can get a brand name company to come into the state of South Carolina, it helps the whole state. In this instance, more specifically our own district here in Newberry County, to have a brand name such as Samsung to locate here is phenomenal.”

Many of the local community leaders were pleased that Samsung chose Newberry, South Carolina.

“Samsung could have located anywhere in the world. The fact they are coming back to the United States is noteworthy. Coming to South Carolina says a lot about who we are, for them to come to Newberry is a compliment to us and our workforce, which brings in all of the folks like in my district and the whole county, and the whole region,” Cain said.

Matt DeWitt, city manager for the City of Newberry, said that they, at the city, could not be happier that Samsung has chosen Newberry as their new home.

“I know how special this community is and it is just nice to have those feelings validated when you are selected by such a large manufacturing leader like Samsung. These decisions are not made lightly and means that Samsung saw the qualities and ideals in our community that made them want to locate here and that is special. The City of Newberry looks to become great community partners with our newest manufacturing venture to locate, Samsung,” he said.

Michelle Long, executive director of the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce, said she is pleased that Samsung has chosen Newberry as the home of their facility, and that this announcement confirms what we already know, that Newberry County is a great place to do business.

“The investment and job opportunities that they will provide to our community will be far-reaching, and we look forward to experiencing this growth with them,” she said.

Lemont Glasgow, councilman with the City of Newberry, said that having Samsung in Newberry is a great opportunity for economic growth, and a great opportunity to see what Newberry has to offer.

“It is also a great opportunity for other industry and other jobs to come in once they see how successful Samsung is going to be. I look forward to doing whatever I can to make sure this venture goes forward and be successful,” he said.

County Administrator Wayne Adams said when it comes to opportunity, Samsung represents a new level of opportunity for Newberry County residents.

“It offers great employment opportunities, as well as significant potential for commercial growth. These benefits will become exponential as the project grows over time. No doubt about it, this is a big project,” he said.

Other local leaders expressed their overall satisfaction with Samsung, and the Newberry County community.

“We are so excited, and not just for my constituents, but for the whole county. Samsung is going to be a really good neighbor for all of us, they are a very community minded company. They will make a difference for all of us, so I’m really excited, ” said Councilwoman Harriett Rucker.

Councilman Steve Stockman, who also serves as the Economic Development Committee chairman, believes this is the single biggest economic development announcement in Newberry County history.

“At this moment I do not believe that we can begin to fathom the true impact this is going to have not only on our County but also the State of South Carolina. I am looking forward to working with Samsung to achieve our goals and a long lasting partnership. Thanks to all who help make this possible. God has blessed Newberry County,” he said.

Koon also said that he believed this was one of the most historic events that Newberry has had. He added that he served as a military police officer in South Korea for 14 months and 11 days and that they are great people, honest, trustworthy and that Newberry is proud to have them here.

“I think it is going to have a tremendous impact on the community and the city as a whole. As a small business owner, this is what we need. All the reasons they gave for locating here I total agree with and I think they will be very happy that they chose this area. I think they will prosper from that, so I think they made an excellent choice,” said David Force, Newberry City Councilman.

Sheriff Lee Foster said that he thinks this is a great thing to happen, and that Samsung is one of the most recognized names in electronics.

“I think that it is a huge boost for the community after losing Caterpillar. Appliances are constantly being made and bought, so I think this is going to be great for the community,” Foster said.

Keith Avery, president and CEO of Newberry Electric Cooperative, said during Wednesday’s press conference that Samsung’s success is Newberry’s success, and that you do not become a customer of NEC, but you become a member of the family.

“A great day, not only for Newberry County, but for the Midlands as a whole. I have 19 other peers in the state of South Carolina with 20 electric cooperatives, we all get along real well, but we are also really competitive,” he said. “Over the last few years those in the upstate, I heard them brag about BMW, those in the Lowcountry all I hear them remind me of Boeing and Volvo. Well after today, they are going to listen to me brag because in Newberry we have Samsung.”

Keith Avery, president and CEO of Newberry Electric Cooperative, expresses his excitement for Samsung coming to Newberry during a press conference on Wednesday.
https://www.sentinelprogress.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/web1_DSC_1023.jpgKeith Avery, president and CEO of Newberry Electric Cooperative, expresses his excitement for Samsung coming to Newberry during a press conference on Wednesday. Andrew Wigger | The Newberry Observer

By Andrew Wigger

awigger@civitasmedia.com

By Kelly Duncan

kduncan@civitasmedia.com

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.