Member News | May 20-24

Local Road Gets a Makeover Thanks to Columbia Businesses

Donning gloves and orange reflective vests, volunteers from several Lexington County LocalRoadbusinesses braved the Fernandina Road traffic on April 19, 2013. Their mission: clean up the road, which borders the Westpark office park, for Adopt-A-Highway. Their efforts mean that more than 20 bags’ worth of trash is now off the road and in the dump where it belongs.

Representatives from four Westpark businesses lent their time to the project, including employees from GWA, Inc. Electrical Engineers, DuBose Web Group, Carolina Endodontics, and Columbia Conference Center. They spent 15 man-hours on the clean up, which was performed in waves.

The Adopt-A-Highway volunteer opportunity was facilitated by Keep the Midlands Beautiful and SCDOT. Keep the Midlands Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, America’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. Over 225 organizations across South Carolina partner with Adopt-A-Highway to clean up their roadways and improve their local communities.


Colonial Life names Tim Sox Volunteer of the Year
Annual award recognizes employee for significant contributions to community

COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 23, 2013) — Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company has named Tim Sox winner of its Volunteer of the Year award.

The award was presented this month at Colonial Life’s national headquarters in Columbia. It is given annually to a Columbia-based employee of Colonial Life or an affiliate of its parent company, Unum, who exhibits excellence in volunteer activities in the community, has a positive outlook about volunteerism, is an inspiration to his or her co-workers and whose activities have had a definite effect on the quality of life in the community.

“Volunteering is all about action,” said Sox, director of enrollment systems for Colonial Life. “You have to take a step forward. Once you start and you realize the difference small actions can make, it’s easy and it makes a big difference in people’s lives — including your own. Find something you’re interested in and I’ll guarantee you there is a place that could use your energy.”

Sox’s volunteer activities include:

  • Serving as a mentor for troubled youth at the Carolina Boys Home
  • Volunteering 60 hours a month as the Scoutmaster for Troop 340
  • Playing Taps for military funerals as part of Bugles Across America
  • Leading a United Way Day of Action team
  • Serving on the Columbia campus United Way campaign core team
  • Organizing volunteer activities for Aspire alumni
  • Regularly donating blood to the American Red Cross
  • Chairing the technology committee at St. David Lutheran Church

“Community service has always been an important part of our company’s culture,” said Kara Addy, assistant vice president, branding and communications at Colonial Life. “Our civic and charitable efforts are one way we live our mission to create lasting and valuable relationships in the places where we live and work.”

“Our core business is all about helping people, and a strong commitment to social responsibility is one of our core values,” Tim added. “The company’s advocacy of community service makes for a great work-life balance for our employees and motivates people to get involved.”

Colonial Life donated $1,000 in Sox’s honor to his charity of choice, The Nancy K. Perry Shelter, an emergency shelter for children in Lexington.

Colonial Life contributed $715,000 to charitable organizations in 2012, while employees donated nearly 10,500 hours of service to the community.

Other nominees for the 2012 Volunteer of the Year award included Cathy Brooks, compliance contract consultant, law services; Donna Chavis, director, account services; Micca Ervin, business specialist, law services; Jeanna Moffett, manager, corporate communications; and Joe Roof, director, claims.

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, cancer, critical illness and supplemental health insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 79,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million working Americans and their families. For more information visit or connect with the company at, and



a public market celebrating crafters and artisans June 7-8, 2013

Columbia, S.C. – The Columbia Museum of Art announces its second Craft Bar Happy Weekend, a public market on June 7 and June 8 that brings together artists and their handmade goods from across the Southeast. Visitors enjoy crafts, local food, DJs and the opportunity to enjoy crafting camaraderie with local and regional artists. The CMA team offers workshops, demonstrations and activities that adults, and even the littlest crafters, can enjoy.

Friday, June 7  |  6:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Join us for crafting camaraderie, food, fun and live music from Ned and the Dirt and Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul! Plus, beat the crowds with exclusive first access to handmade crafts before Saturday’s open market. In addition, enjoy the opening of the community gallery installation, ONE x 100 featuring submitted works by 100 local artists and the exhibition Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh. $10 / $6 for members / $4 for students / Free for children under 10.

Saturday, June 8  |  10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy the best handmade goods, quality crafts, local food, DJs and the opportunity to make friends and connections with the artists themselves at an all day craft market. The CMA team offers workshops, demonstrations and activities that adults and even the littlest crafters can enjoy. Admission is free and open to the public. Regular Museum admission applies for gallery entrance.

Participating artists include: All Mapped Out, Andrew Coombs Pottery, Ansley Green, Brio Trio, Décoré Costume Jewelry Designs, Devine Ideas, entangled, Floradora, Inc., Handmade Jewelry by Candace Connell Catoe, Kristina Stafford (Maker@Large), MaryAnne Ehasz, M.A.S.W. Designs, Products of 47, Rachel Dortch (Marge&Rudy), Random Catgirl, Serglasio Arts, Sara Cogswell, ShellieArt LLC, spincones, Sup-Dog Ltd. Co., Teri Goddard Handweaving, Three Leaves Pottery and Whispering Willow Soap Company.

For more information, visit

About the CMA 

The Columbia Museum of Art is South Carolina’s premier international art museum and houses a world-class collection of European and American art. Founded in 1950, the Museum opened its new building on Main Street in 1998 with 25 galleries. The collection includes masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, porcelain and works by significant furniture and silver makers, as well as American, Asian, and modern and contemporary art. Of particular interest are Sandro Botticelli’s Nativity, Claude Monet’s The Seine at Giverny, Canaletto’s View of the Molo, a Dale Chihuly chandelier and art glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Museum offers changing exhibitions from renowned museums and educational programs for all ages that include classes, lectures, films and concerts. It is the recipient of a National Art Education Association award for its contributions to arts education and an Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina.



COLUMBIA, SC (MAY 9, 2013)  The Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) office market experienced considerableNAIPR5Lovelace leasing activity during the first quarter of 2013, particularly in the Central Business District (CBD), the result of which will significantly reduce overall and CBD vacancies as those leases commence later this year.

The Columbia office market had negligible negative absorption of 9,899 square feet in the first quarter of 2013. The first quarter end vacancy rate for Class A buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) was 8.6% and the overall market vacancy rate was 15.2% based on the available inventory of multi-tenant buildings with 20,000 rentable square feet (RSF) and above.

While the vacancy rates and absorption figures indicate a stagnant market, the vibrant activity occurring in the Columbia office market and in particular downtown, tells a different story. Several notable lease and purchase transactions closed during the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, with those tenants set to assume occupancy during the second half of 2013. AgFirst will begin occupying Bank of America Plaza in the Fall of 2013, which will result in 100% occupancy of this Class A building, providing a huge boost to the downtown occupancy figures. This particular property had dipped to a 69% occupancy rate in late 2011.

During the first quarter of 2013, three financial institutions announced their relocation plans to downtown office properties.  BB&T announced plans to relocate to 1201 Main Street, occupying approximately 35,000 RSF with the move to be completed in early 2014.  Additionally, Ameris Bank will be moving their CBD corporate office space & branch from 1301 Gervais Street to 1333 Main Street, with plans to occupy a collective 15,500 RSF.  Opening its first office in the Midlands, Certus Bank recently leased the ground floor of 1122 Lady Street which is the former Midlands Region corporate offices and main branch of NBSC.

As a result of the above noted transactions, particularly within the Class A multi-tenant office buildings, many of the heavy concessions offered by landlords to secure new tenants in years past will be reduced, and rental rates will begin to rise as vacancy rates decline. We anticipate historic buildings in the CBD will be re-purposed to meet the strengthening demand of quality office space such as the Agape Senior headquarters relocation underway to several buildings along the 1600 block of Main Street.  The more competitive landscape in the CBD submarket will ultimately benefit the suburban submarkets, particularly the Class A and Class B facilities in St. Andrews and the Northeast. Substantial vacancies remain in these submarkets due, in large part, to former tenants moving into the CBD to take advantage of location and more appealing leasing concessions/rates offered in 2011 and 2012.  The sizable reduction in space leased by the State of South Carolina was, and continues to be, a contributing factor. We expect to see a significant increase in the activity levels for the suburban office markets in 2013 as a result of the reduced supply of quality office space in the CBD.


COLUMBIA, SC (MAY 21, 2013)  Cam Kreps, a member of NAI Avant’s Senior Brokerage Team, finalized the land sale transaction in Lake City, SC. Kreps represented the seller in Southern Asphalt’s purchase of  ±76.13 acres on West Main Street.



COLUMBIA, SC (May 23, 2013) NAI Avant is pleased to announce the promotions of Elizabeth Killen to Director of Marketing & Public Relations and Stacy Pinkney to Property Accountant for the Columbia, SC headquarters.

Ms. Killen previously served as the Marketing Coordinator & Brokerage Assistant for the Columbia office.  In her new roleNAIPR7Killen at NAI Avant, she will be responsible for managing the marketing and public relations plans and communications. She is also responsible for website management, social media, event planning and maintaining brand standards for both the Columbia and Charleston offices.  Ms. Killen has a Bachelors degree in International Business from North Greenville University.  She is a recent graduate of Leadership Lexington County and is the Lake Murray Jaycee’s President.

NAIPR7PinkneyMs. Pinkney previously served as Staff Accountant for NAI Avant.  With her promotion, she will be responsible for the proper accounting of third-party properties and payroll processing.  Ms. Pinkney has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Strayer University and is currently working on her MBA from Webster University.

About NAI Avant

NAI Avant’s commercial real estate business is one of the largest in the Southeast.  With over 65 professionals, the firm provides comprehensive brokerage, leasing, development, property and project management services.  For nearly three consecutive decades, the group has had more of its brokerage professionals recognized as top producers or recipients of the top awards than any other firm in South Carolina. As a member of the NAI Global Network, NAI Avant is affiliated with over 350 offices and 5,000 professionals in 55 countries across the globe. NAI Global is the largest independent commercial real estate service provider worldwide and a wholly owned subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners. NAI Avant’s Property and Project Management Group currently manages a multi-million square foot portfolio of properties across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Through its Avant Healthcare Division, the firm provides comprehensive services to hospitals, clinics, and physician groups. NAI Avant, founded in 1966, is headquartered in Columbia, SC with an office in Charleston, SC. Find out more about NAI Avant and its services at Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NAI Avant and like us on Facebook.


Nickelodeon Theatre Honored with Historic Columbia Award

Nickelodeon 1The Nickelodeon Theater, Columbia’s only non-profit art house film theater, was recently awarded the Historic Preservation award for Preservation/Restoration by the Historic Columbia Foundation.  Michael Baker Jr., Inc., was the architect on the project and Mashburn Construction was the contractor.

“It is an honor to be given this award, and I am extremely proud of what we will accomplish in the future of reviving cinema in the heart of downtown,” says Andy Smith, Executive Director of the theater.

Phase 1 of the renovation provided space for the first of two theatres, which has world class audio/visual capabilities Nickelodeon 2and includes digital and original methods of projection in order to recreate the film experience as originally viewed. The renovated lobby now houses restrooms, concession space, office, and storage space. Adjacent to the lobby is the projection booth and elevator. The façade of the Main Street entrance was refurbished and includes an upgraded curbside ticket booth. Located at the rear of the building off of a pocket park, the Film Society created the Helen Hill Media Education Center in conjunction with the University of South Carolina. This Media Education Center will help young people learn about media and film literacy.

Phase 2 of the program, for which fundraising is currently underway, will include the renovation of the upstairs lobby and balcony into the primary theatre and create offices for staff. This level of the building will house the larger of the theatres and recreate the feel of a grand Art Deco movie house; the lower level theatre being designed more for a more intimate cinematic experience with top-of-the-line projection.

Nickelodeon Theatre South Carolina’s only non-profit, art house theater, is a leading Southeastern arts organization engaging our community by providing thought-provoking film programming, offering media education classes and fostering the creation of new work by providing training and support to media artists. Operating out of a 99 seat theater located on the corner of Main and Taylor Streets, adjacent to the Mast General Store. The Nick is home to three film screenings daily and special series with extra showtimes.


Officials Announce Finalists for Employer Support Awards

From an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve News Release

ARLINGTON, Va., May 21, 2013 – A board of military and civilian leaders has chosen 30 employers of National Guard and Reserve service members as finalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Officials of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department office, announced the selections today.

The Freedom Award is the department’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. The board selected the top 30 employers from a pool of 2,899 nominations submitted earlier this year by National Guard and Reserve service members.

Freedom Award finalists distinguish themselves by implementing formal policies and informal initiatives that go above and beyond in assisting and encouraging National Guard and Reserve service, ESGR officials said. The 2013 finalists offered such support as creating veteran mentoring programs for service members transitioning to civilian life, offering flexible scheduling to allow guardsmen and reservists to attend to military tasks during business hours, and hosting an internal website accessible to deployed employees and their families so they could more easily keep in touch and see messages of support from their co-workers, they added.

“The 2013 Freedom Award finalists demonstrate the type of outstanding support our National Guard and Reserve service members count on when answering the nation’s call to serve,” said ESGR National Chair James G. Rebholz. “These employers recognize the valuable role they play in the lives of our citizen-warriors, and in supporting these men and women, the finalists have made a critical contribution to our national security. On behalf of ESGR and the DOD, I want to thank each of the 2013 finalists for their extraordinary support.”

A national selection board of senior Defense Department officials, business leaders and prior awardees will select 15 Freedom Award recipients, which will be announced early this summer.

The 2013 recipients will be honored at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C., Sept. 26. Past recipients of the Freedom Award have met privately with the president and vice president, the secretary of defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The finalists for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award are:

— Albuquerque Fire Department, Albuquerque, N.M.;

— ASAS/Tysol, Inc., Woodbury, Minn.;

— Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C.;

— C.W. Driver, Pasadena, Calif.;

— Cardinal Health, Dublin, Ohio;

— Centerline Mechanical LLC, Cave Creek, Ariz.;

— Charles Crafts, Attorney At Law, Boise, Idaho;

— City of Columbus, Ohio;

— City of Prescott, Ariz.;

— City of Shawnee, Kan.;

— Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Springs, Colo.;

— Compuware Corp., Detroit;

— Cranston Public Schools, Cranston, R.I.;

— DaVita, Inc., Denver;

— Eastman Chemical, Kingsport, Tenn.;

— Express Scripts, St. Louis;

— Family Allergy & Asthma, Louisville, Ky.;

— Hubcap Express, Fort Wayne, Ind.;

— Humana, Louisville, Ky.;

— JG Management Systems, Inc., Grand Junction, Colo.;

— Los Angeles Fire Department;

— Pape-Dawson Engineers, San Antonio;

— Prairie Grove Consolidated School District 46, Crystal Lake, Ill.;

— Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Columbia, S.C.;

— Safeway, Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.;

— Steel Plate Fabricators, Knoxville, Tenn.;

— U.S. Bank, Minneapolis;

— U.S. Marshals Service, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans;

— Waste Management, Houston; and

— Zions Bank, Salt Lake City.

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 175 employers have received the award.

ESGR develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service, advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between service members and employers.


Portraits of S.C. Business Titans Experience Cinderella Moment One Night Each Year

Columbia, SC- May 22, 2013- For twenty nine years, the annual South Carolina Business Hall of Fame has presented the Portraits2new honorees with a framed sketched portrait of their likeness to commemorate the glamorous black tie event being held Thursday evening, May 23rd at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The same artist, Charles F. Adams, has done all the sketches, now 101 of them. Professor Adams’ day job is being an assistant professor for the University of South Carolina Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

In addition to the framed singular sketches to be presented to the 2013 honorees- Crandall Close Bowles and the late Virgil C. Summers, Jr., each year there is an additional picture framed that includes all of  laureates honored each year.. Actually there are two of those: one goes onto the wall, along with all of the others at the Junior Achievement of Central South Carolina’s unassuming office in the R.L. Bryan Building. The other is placed in a gallery at the Darla Moore School of Business.

Each year in late May, the staff at Junior Achievement carefully removes each framed portrait, bubble wraps and gently packs it into a box to be taken over to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center for their Cinderella evening. There, the portraits are unpacked and hung in a magnificent display that honors South Carolina’s Titan’s of Business-past and present. The next morning, the portraits are packed back up and returned to their JA home where they reside for the other 364 days of the year.

“We are on the verge of needing to be very creative with our wall gallery in the JA office because each year we must find room for one more,” laughs Stephanie Stuckey, president of Junior Achievement of Central South Carolina. But she would not have it any other way. “We are so proud to put on this annual event that honors the South Carolina business men and women who are the role models for tomorrow’s business leaders,” Ms. Stuckey continued, “Our walls look so empty and lonely when the portraits come down, but that means that The South Carolina Business Hall of Fame is about to take place again and that is exciting!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEach year, some of Junior Achievement’s most exceptional students, vetted through a nomination process, are invited to attend the black tie event acting as Student Ambassadors which allows them to share the evening and spotlight with South Carolina’s business legends. Now that is picture perfect!


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