Letter to the Editor: Strong Proven Leadership

Letter by Richard Dillard
Spartanburg Herald Journal Opinion Column

Those who know state Rep. Mike Forrester already grasp that he has the leadership skills necessary to carry out the duties of representing District 34. For those who may have had less involvement with him, allow me to share just a few of the past indicators proving he is the right choice to represent your interests in Columbia.

He retired from Piedmont Natural Gas as vice president of South Carolina operations. Not satisfied to retire to a life of leisure, he took on a second career heading economic development at Spartanburg Community College and serves on the boards of numerous economic development organizations emphasizing job creation.

With an understanding of the critical role that education will play in our future prosperity, he chose to get off the sideline and get involved, serving as chairman of the State Board of Education.

My knowledge of Mike’s leadership ability is not simply anecdotal. It is firsthand. I had the privilege of following Mike as chairman of the board of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. It was then that I learned his leadership style is inclusive, and his mentoring prepared me for the role I would subsequently play.

I was also fortunate to follow him as chairman of the Spartanburg March of Dimes board, giving me a glimpse of his love of children, understanding of philanthropy, and his sincere desire to give back. Mike is a genuine person with a deep desire to make things better.

Mike holds the rank of command sergeant major in the U.S. Army Reserve. He has done his part for his country, just as he will do his part for you in the S.C. House.

Share this!

Forrester Presents Work Ready Certificate

Representative Mike Forrester, a member of the S.C. Workforce Development Board presented Union County Supervisor Frank Hart with that plaque on Monday.

This certificate gives communities the tools to drive economic growth through community-based workforce development.

All counties in South Carolina are now certified work ready.

Share this!

Incubator gets renovation, expansion in Duncan

by Teresa Cutlip

Spartanburg Community College unveiled an expansion and renovation to its Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development, located at the college’s Tyger River campus in Duncan.

The renovation and expansion adds 22,000-square-feet of space and 22 offices in the center. Twenty of those offices are now occupied, according to the college’s director of economic development Mike Forrester. The center now has a total of 363,000-square-feet of office and warehouse space for entrepreneurs and business start-ups.

“About 10 years ago the college purchased this facility with a vision for helping businesses with their start-up operations by providing short-term office, manufacturing and warehouse space,” Forrester said. “Since then it has morphed into a world-class operation offering soft landings, incubation, workforce services and special projects for entrepreneurs, start-ups and existing companies.”

Forrester cited a June 2016 an economic impact study that looked at the center’s impact. He said the report shows that since its inception, the center has helped to generate …

• 19,989 jobs and $1.2 billion in earnings;
• more than $863 million in taxable income;
• almost $19 million in sales tax and
• nearly $49 million in S.C. income tax,
• for a combined tax revenue of almost 69 million dollars, and,
• the Center has provided services to 61 international and domestic companies.

“The Center has proven to be a valuable resource for start-up companies, industry and our community,” Forrester said, who added that “economic development is not a destination, it is a journey. We must not rest on our laurels. We must continue to be innovative in our approach to remain competitive in the region, the state and the world, in order to continue to provide jobs for the citizens of our community.”


Spartanburg Community College President Henry Giles during a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the center’s expansion and renovation that the college had a “vision to have a center for Spartanburg that was not a traditional academic building but was a facility that supports the area’s economic development initiatives through both quality educational programs and a facility that meets the needs of new and expanding industry.”Companies occupying the center include Toray, Agracel, OneGroup, Jeffreys, Project Apollo, Brose, International Mold, Senator and Tokyo Gas. During the ribbon-cutting event, Brose announced its plans to invest $6 million and created 60 jobs when it moves to its new location at 1171 Howell Road in Duncan this fall. Until then the company is operating out of 10 offices at the center.

Previous center clients include Adidas, BMW, DISH, Kobelco, Lear Seating, MAU, Michelin, Rite-Aid, Sitel and Timken, according to Spartanburg community College.

“This is a one-of-a-kind facility that is flexible and adaptable to any company’s needs. Wherever we go to recruit, we always talk about the community college,” said Spartanburg County Council Chairman Jeffrey Horton. “The center provides us with a unique advantage when competing with other communities for foreign direct investments.”

According to the college, the Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development is the fourth largest business incubator in the United States and serves small to large companies through a variety of specialized programs. The center offers start-ups and established companies assistance in four key areas: incubator services, soft landings, workforce employment services and special projects. Participating companies can utilize the center’s services or space for up to a year at no cost, other than utilities, if they agree to establish a permanent location within Spartanburg County. The center also offers companies office and warehouse space, specialized training, technical support, market research, industry expert mentors, and cultural support for international companies.

Share this!

Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development gives Spartanburg County a competitive edge

Upstate Business Journal

By Trevor Anderson

From the outside, Spartanburg Community College’s Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Development looks like another industrial complex along the county’s bustling Highway 290 corridor.

But looks can be deceiving.

Local officials believe the facility is one of the most important tools in the county’s repertoire of economic development assets that has continued to attract new investment and, perhaps most importantly, jobs.

Since its inception in 2006, the center at SCC’s Tyger River Campus has supported the development of more than 15,000 jobs and close to $1 billion in wage earnings in Spartanburg, according to the college.

In total, 61 new and existing enterprises have utilized the 363,000-square-foot center to launch, expand or relocate their manufacturing, distribution and office operations in the county.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a company say ‘this is the reason we chose Spartanburg,’” said state Rep. Mike Forrester, R-Spartanburg, and director of economic development for SCC. “There’s nothing else like this that I know of.”

The center sits on 50 acres of what was once part of the corporate headquarters for One Price Clothing Stores Inc.

It includes several large warehouses and modern office space near the front of the building that features classrooms, computer labs, conference rooms and other workspaces.

SCC recently completed a 22,000-square-foot expansion of the office area aimed at raising the center’s appeal and efficiency.

“Adaptability is what makes this place so special,” Forrester said. “Whatever the company’s needs are, we can make it happen… A lot of work goes into economic development. It doesn’t stop when a company announces that they’re coming.”

A study conducted in 2015 that measured the center’s economic impact found it supported the creation of 2,766 jobs during the year and created a “ripple effect” that supported a total of 4,304 jobs.

Since 2007, the center has generated about $50 million in sales and income tax for the state, according to the study. And numbers for 2016 are still being finalized.

Read More

Share this!

Rep. Forrester on SOTS with ETV

Share this!

Spartanburg Realtors Endorse Mike Forrester

Forrester Realtors

Forrester Realtors

Share this!

NFIB Endorses Representative Mike Forrester in the 34th District House Race

COLUMBIA — The National Federation of Independent Business, South Carolina’s leading small-business association, has endorsed Representative Mike Forrester in the 34th district race.

The endorsement was made by NFIB/South Carolina SAFE (Save America’s Free Enterprise) Trust, which is comprised exclusively of NFIB members.

“Representative Forrester clearly understands the challenges facing South Carolina’s small, family businesses and is the clear choice in this year’s election,” said Ben Homeyer, state director of NFIB/South Carolina.

“Our members believe Representative Forrester will take a fiscally responsible approach to managing state government and support legislation that helps our small businesses grow and create jobs and puts the state back on the pathway to success.”

The NFIB/South Carolina SAFE Trust’s endorsement is critical to the candidate’s campaign. Small-business owners and their employees vote in high numbers and are known for actively recruiting friends, family members and acquaintances to go to the polls. NFIB has pledged it will activate its grassroots network on behalf of the campaign. NFIB’s political support is based on the candidates’ positions and records on small business issues.


NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small- and independent-business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends its views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.


Share this!

Get Out and VOTE Nov. 4

Election day is November 4th and you can vote absentee now! Your support is greatly appreciated and will be crucial in the fight to build off of progress we’ve recently made in ethics reform to make politicians more accountable, and the influx of investments and job creation seen in the state recently.

We must continue to fight for commonsense, conservative values in state government and your vote will make sure that happens. Thank you for all that you do.

1. Find your polling location and view your sample ballot. Click here.

2. How to vote: find what kind of ID you’ll need, where to vote, or any other information you need. Click here.

3. Voting absentee? Request your ballot, find your county election office, and get the details. Click here.

Share this!

BIPEC Endorses Mike Forrester

Dear Representative Forrester:

We are very pleased to announce that the South Carolina Business and Industry Political Education Committee PAC (BIPECPAC) has officially endorsed your candidacy for reelection to South Carolina House District 34.  BIPECPAC regards your continued service as crucial and will result directly in the creation of jobs and a higher standard of living for all South Carolinians.

The business community knows you to be a champion of free enterprise and competition based on the quantitative measure of your most recent BIPEC Legislative Vote Scores.  You have made a commitment to promote business and industry in the Palmetto State and recognize your constituents’ drive and determination to achieve the fundamental goal of providing for their families.  You understand also that, since the birth of this nation, that goal has been achieved by a thriving competitive and free enterprise system.

Read More

Share this!

Success for Spartanburg, Upstate region go hand in hand

Spartanburg Herald-Journal


While there have been some struggles, by most measures the past five years have been prosperous for Spartanburg.

The economic downturn had impacts here, like everywhere, but we have emerged stronger and more focused on growing our economic vibrancy and quality of life.

The re-emergence of our downtown and a record number of economic announcements are testaments that our future is indeed bright and growing here in Spartanburg.

However, while much of what we have accomplished has been the result of foresight, hard work and commitment from members of our local community, our current and future success is also directly related to our place as part of a greater Upstate region.

Our success may be limited if we try to go it alone. But as part of an Upstate region that strives to be universally recognized as a leading place to live, learn, do business and raise a family, there are no limits to our future.

Read More

Share this!