Following a deliberate and thoughtful search process, the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce (SC Chamber) announced the selection of Bob Morgan as Chief Executive Officer. Morgan assumed his new role on April 1. GroundBreak Carolinas had the opportunity to chat with Morgan last week. A recap of this conversation appears below.
GroundBreak: What are your top 2-3 priorities in your new role at the South Carolina Chamber?
To make the South Carolina Chamber the leading voice for business across the state by:
- Promoting free enterprise
- Defining and advocating for the business agenda
- Convening and connecting businesses
- Partnering with key allies
GroundBreak: South Carolina has a reputation as a pro-business state. What type of policy issues will the Chamber advocate for to ensure we have a good environment for businesses and improve our competitiveness?
- Pro-business tax policy
- Tort reform
- Right to work laws
- Pro-business regulatory environment
GroundBreak: Workforce is a significant issue facing all South Carolina industries, especially construction. What is the Chamber doing to address workforce challenges?
The workforce shortage issue is a complex problem that proceeds the pandemic. There is no silver bullet. The SC Chamber recently conducted a survey of our members that showed that a lack of soft skills and a lack of technical skills among applicants are two of the biggest concerns facing employers.
Addressing the Soft Skills Gap
The SC Chamber is proud to host several programs which help bridge the soft skills gap. These include:
- Business Week: High school students spend a week during the summer learning from prominent business leaders.
- HBCU STEM Program: HBCU college students come together to learn soft skills from SC Chamber staff and hear from experts on how to dress for success, interview, and be a reliable employee. Additionally, the program allows these students to meet with some of the top business leaders in the state.
- Opportunity Internships: A program founded by Senator Tim Scott, the SC Chamber has provided soft skill training to high school students in the Charleston area.
Addressing the Technical Skills Gap
- Be Pro Be Proud: The South Carolina Chamber was integral in bringing this program to South Carolina. The Be Pro Be Proud Truck is an 18-wheeler classroom on wheels that travels across the state to middle and high schools. Students have the chance to walk through the truck where they are exposed to 12 modules. Each module talks about a specific skilled labor job and tells students how they can receive the skills necessary to hold one of these jobs. Interested students can sign up to learn more.
- Partnership with Technical College System and Four-Year Universities: The SC Chamber is proud to partner with the Tech Colleges and our Universities to make learning the necessary skills to fill high demand jobs possible. We do this through legislation, programs, and events.
GroundBreak: Tell us how the Chamber is protecting free enterprise?
- Legislative: Every year anti-free enterprise bills are introduced at the State House. The South Carolina Chamber works diligently to stop those bills.
- Community Organizing: When labor unions come to South Carolina the SC Chamber works with the local community to educate members of the community on the realities of labor unions.
GroundBreak: You have extensive experience and a long history in the Carolinas, what makes South Carolina so competitive when it comes to economic development and business recruitment (and retention)?
Governor Henry McMaster always says that South Carolina is a handshake state. That is true. The people of South Carolina are the largest competitive advantage that South Carolina has. In addition to the people, South Carolina is fortunate to have a large amount of natural resources, the lowest rate of unionization in the country, a relative low cost of living, the deepest Port on the East Coast, and a variety of tax incentives that make locating here and staying here attractive.
GroundBreak: Your background is different from your predecessor, how will your experience benefit Chamber members?
Through and through I am a “Chamber guy.” I have spent almost my entire career working to promote the work of Chambers. I know the difference one job can make to a family and I’ve seen the difference thousands of jobs makes to a community. I am excited to bring my years of experience in economic development, fundraising, and chamber growth to the SC Chamber.
GroundBreak: What are you most excited about in your new role?
The sky is the limit at the South Carolina Chamber. Everywhere I go across the state I’ve had people tell me that they want to see a strong state Chamber of Commerce. The South Carolina Chamber has been recognized before as being a strong voice for business and I look forward to continuing that legacy and building it even stronger.
GroundBreak: What appealed to you about speaking at the ABCC Annual Convention in Myrtle Beach this summer and how did that come about?
Part of the way we will make the SC Chamber the leading voice for business is by partnering with key allies. South Carolina is growing rapidly, and builders are in high demand. I look forward to continuing our partnership as we make South Carolina the best place to live, work, and do business.
GroundBreak: What would you like our readers to know about the Chamber?
I would like the readers to know that that the South Carolina Chamber is the leading voice for business, and your advocate on all business-related issues. We work every day to represent the entire business community. I hope you will consider becoming a part of our important work by joining as a member.
ATTEND ABCC SUMMER CONFERENCE | Program includes Bob Morgan, Keynote
The ABC Carolinas (ABCC) Annual Construction Conference will take place at the Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC, Aug. 18-20, 2021. The three-day, Jimmy Buffet-themed event will deliver a mixture of engaging speakers, compelling content, fun socials and industry networking.
Read GroundBreak’s article of April 9, 2021: “ABC Carolinas Construction Conference in Myrtle Beach; Features New SC Chamber CEO, Bob Morgan as Keynote.”
HOW TO REGISTER: See full program and register here.