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S.C. Department of Commerce creates Council for Innovation Initiatives

Inaugural meeting to be held this week

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Commerce today announced the creation of the Council for Innovation Initiatives. Tasked with helping the state advance the South Carolina Innovation Plan, which was published in January 2017, the council will meet quarterly with its inaugural meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 29.

Comprised of 14 members, the council will be managed by the state’s Office of Innovation, which was established in 2013. Since that time, the office has successfully empowered 24 entrepreneurship programs and educated more than 6,000 South Carolinians in technology curriculum.

“To build on the success of our Office of Innovation, we conducted an extensive study of South Carolina’s innovation economy and subsequently released the South Carolina Innovation Plan earlier this year,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “This new council will help us execute that plan, advancing our ongoing mission to encourage the continued growth of innovation and tech-related entrepreneurial activity within the state.”

The primary responsibility of the council is to contribute insights that impact strategic decisions, resulting in an accelerated flow of technology and information among people, industries and institutions. Serving as advocates in their unique areas, the 14 council members will be empowered to actively engage audiences throughout the state that affect South Carolina’s technology sector.

“The Council for Innovation Initiatives represents a first in the state to directly mobilize the connection of enterprise, universities, military and entrepreneurial resource stakeholders,” said Hitt. “Through dialogue and collaboration, we’ll be able to make a significant impact on the state’s knowledge economy.”

To access the South Carolina Innovation Plan in its entirety, click here. A full list of the new Council for Innovation Initiatives is below:

  • Lee Bussell, chairman and chief executive officer, Chernoff Newman
  • Russell Cook, managing director, Comporium Ventures
  • Matt Dunbar, founder and managing director, VentureSouth
  • Chip Hood, general counsel, Clemson University
  • Bill Kirkland, executive director, USC Office of Economic Engagement
  • Sam McGuckin, executive vice president, Capgemini
  • John Osborne, director, The Harbor Entrepreneurship Center
  • Brigadier General Brad Owens, director of the Joint Staff, South Carolina Army and Air National Guard
  • Ravi Ravindra, vice president, chief technology officer, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
  • Chuck Redfearn, innovation director, Sonoco Products Company
  • Shawn Regan, chief executive officer, Rhythmlink International
  • Michael Rusnak, executive director, MUSC Foundation for Research Development
  • Shane Swanson, chief compliance officer, Thesys CAT
  • Bennie Vorster, vice president IT and Innovation Research, BMW Manufacturing Co.