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S.C. Competitiveness Forum Focuses on Collaboration and Manufacturing

November 16, 2004

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – More than 200 South Carolina leaders in business, economic development, non-profits, academia and local and state government gathered today for Duke Power’s South Carolina Competitiveness Forum to discuss how to revitalize manufacturing to drive economic growth.

“South Carolina’s economy is in transition, and the forum provided many of the state’s leading citizens with an opportunity to weigh in on how best to shape the economic future of the region,” said Duke Power President and CEO Ruth G. Shaw. “The manufacturing, educational and transportation capabilities of upstate South Carolina and Piedmont North Carolina are a potent force that can compete with virtually anybody in the world – if we work together.”

Shaw said that leaders in the public and private sectors of the Carolinas have had a renewed focus on manufacturing, regional cooperation and improving our educational systems – and the excellent attendance and discussion at today’s forum is indicative that the status quo is unacceptable.

Improving manufacturing in the Carolinas is the cornerstone of future economic growth in the region. Manufacturing jobs pay much better than other sectors; it has a powerful “clustering effect” that supports two-and-a-half to three jobs in other sectors and it contributes almost two-thirds of private sector research and development funding in the United States.

The forum was provocative, tested deeply held beliefs and generated many new ideas. It featured breakout sessions focusing on:

  • developing and expanding manufacturing clusters, such as BMW’s automotive cluster around Greer, S.C.;
  • ways to leverage the Carolinas’ combined competitive advantages; and
  • an introduction to “AdvanceSC,” an independent organization that Duke Power recently formed to support the state’s economic development, manufacturing, education and public assistance programs.

“Manufacturing is central to the economic health of our region and this forum provided the focus we need to help us get more competitive,” said Bill Barnet, mayor of Spartanburg. “Our city was delighted to host this meeting and we are eager to continue to work with our economic development partners to keep up the momentum we felt today.”

“I was impressed with the collaboration I saw today among South Carolina’s leading manufacturers, educators and the economic development community,” said Tim Dangerfield, chief of staff of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. “We are seeing capital investment and employment pick up in our state, which is great news, but we need to keep up our focus on improving our climate for manufacturing.”

The forum was held at Spartanburg’s Marriott at Renaissance Park. It followed an economic forum sponsored by Duke Power on April 30, 2004, in Charlotte.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity and value-added products and services to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. In 2004, Duke Power celebrates 100 years of service. The company operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: http://www.dukepower.com.

Duke Energy is a diversified energy company with a portfolio of natural gas and electric businesses, both regulated and unregulated, and an affiliated real estate company. Duke Energy supplies, delivers and processes energy for customers in North America and selected international markets. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: http://www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Tom Williams
Phone: (980) 373-4743; cell: (704) 609-7246
24-Hour Phone: (704) 382-8333
e-mail: tcwillia@duke-energy.com