In the know about an aviation leader

PHOTOS: Boeing: Education, veterans, readiness to learn and conservation are paramount, Chamber’s In the Know Breakfast


It’s not Boeing, North Charleston. 

It is Boeing, South Carolina. And there’s a reason.

“Our state works as a team,” said Tommy Preston Jr., Director of National Strategy & Engagement, The Boeing Company, during Thursday’s In the Know breakfast. In using South Carolina, the state’s 10-year-old Boeing plant defies the normal identification method for Boeing plants throughout the world. It’s different - and not just in name only.

It jumped into the on-going debate about “education reform” in South Carolina. It needs more SC students to come out of high school already proficient in math, and knows a way to get that is for the state to cultivate good, home-grown teachers.

“Teachers need to be paid more, that’s for sure,” Preston said.

In South Carolina, the giant corporation found these criteria met for success:

--Capable, available and motivation workforce;

--Syngery with existing Aftbody and Midbdy Operations;

--Favorable business environment;

--Site and community that can absorb growth;

--Supports geographic diversification;

--Supportive state and local governments, elected officials, business leaders, community and education/training institutions.

For South Carolina, it is a massive “get” - $56.7 billion, 2017 revenues, Commercial Airplanes; $21.1 billion, Defense, Space & Security; and $14.6 billion, Global Services, a branch founded in 2012.

Boeing in North Charleston has 884 acres and using half of it. It has 7,000 employees. It has installed $2 billion in infrastructure. Preston said it’s a company that looks at next week - and 50 years from now.

Boeing South Carolina does business with CCL Label and Eastern Crane in Laurens County, among its 294 SC suppliers, and produces a $700,000 annual investment in Laurens County working with suppliers. No Laurens County people are employed at and commute to the North Charleston plant, but there is a group that carpools daily to and from Greenville. 

Boeing makes the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina. It has a 7-year backlog on orders for the $250 million - $300 million apiece aircraft. Preston said, “We do more than build airplanes. We have 800-900 IT (information technology) employees (at the North Charleston plant). We have people in research and development, looking at the future of aeronautics.” A South Carolina employee designed a futuristic eckto-skeleton shown in a Boeing corporate video. 

In its community involvement, Boeing focuses on education (workforce development), veterans (connected to defense), and readiness to learn and conservation. Its DreamLearners program, so far, has touched the lives of more than 500,000 students. It has made an investment of more than $48 million in the South Carolina community.

Preston and his crew from Boeing started Thursday at the CAM (Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Piedmont Tech, Laurens), in a breakfast sponsored by the Laurens County Development Corporation and the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, and quickly branched out into Clinton High School and Sanders Middle School. It’s the company’s Upper Savannah Region Boeing Days. 

The local breakfast was sponsored by CNNGA, City of Laurens, City of Clinton. Laurens Commission of Pubic Works, Laurens County, LCWSC, Laurens Electric, Prisma Health, PRTC and Self Regional Healthcare.

The Boeing representatives were accompanied by Matt Wiggins, Upper Savannah Regional Workforce Advisor, SC Department of Commerce.


More about Aeronautics and Boeing: and

Workforce development in Laurens County:


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