Burriss Nelson, Charles Dalton recognized by Upstate SC Alliance

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A longtime regional utility leader and Anderson County’s Economic Development leader were honored this week for contributions to the Upstate economy by the Upstate SC Alliance.
Charles Dalton, President and CEO of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, was awarded the prestigious Spirit of the Upstate Award, and Burriss Nelson, Director of Anderson County Economic Development, was recognized as the 2017 Local Economic Developer of the Year during the regional economic development organization’s Mid-Year Meeting on Wednesday.

About the Spirit of the Upstate
“Charles has made invaluable contributions over the last 35 years as a regional and state leader in economic development, and as the leader of a utility company that serves multiple counties, he was an early champion of regional collaboration,” said Upstate SC Alliance Chairman Max Metcalf.
Dalton has served a broad range of community organizations, including the Peace Center, the Red Cross, and as a commissioner for the S.C. Department of Transportation. He is also among the founders of the Upstate SC Alliance and served as its chairman in 2004. Earlier this year, he announced plans to retire in January 2018 from Blue Ridge, which supplies electric service in Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and a small portion of Spartanburg counties.
The award was last presented to Robert “Bobby” M. Hitt III in March 2011, shortly after his appointment to South Carolina Secretary of Commerce. Previous recipients include Chris Przirembel, formerly with Clemson University; Carl Flesher, the first associate of BMW Manufacturing Co.; and Irv Welling, former chairman of Elliott Davis.
The Spirit of the Upstate Award honors individuals who have demonstrated a significant commitment to the economic growth and prosperity of South Carolina’s Upstate region. In addition, the award recognizes qualities in leadership, multicounty collaboration, integrity, dedication, and creativity displayed by local business leaders in pursuit of strengthening the Upstate’s position as a prominent economic development entity in the Southeast.
About the Local Economic Developer of the Year
The Local Economic Developer of the Year Award is bestowed annually by members of the Upstate SC Alliance Local Economic Developers Group to recognize local developers who have made a significant difference within their communities.
Anderson County has seen more than $2.89 billion in capital investment and creation of 4,247 new jobs since 2009. In 2016, Techtronic Industries (TTI) announced continued investment in its Power Equipment Group’s operations in Anderson County, a $75 million investment expected to create 250 new jobs. The community also has made substantial progress toward establishing a new industrial park in Sandy Springs.
Nelson, an Anderson native, has worked in economic development 25 years, representing Anderson and Pickens counties. Other major projects announced during his time in Anderson include First Quality Tissue, which invested more than $1 billion and created 1,000 new jobs since 2010, and continued investment from Electrolux, the county’s largest manufacturer, which has invested a combined $95 million through expansions in 2011 and 2014.
“Burriss is very deserving of this honor not just based on the amazing number of jobs he has helped usher in over the years but more so for how he has poured his soul into making the communities he served stronger,” said Richard Blackwell, Executive Director of the Oconee Economic Alliance, who also serves as Chairman of the Upstate SC Alliance Local Economic Developers Group.
“On behalf of the Upstate SC Alliance Board of Directors, we’re pleased to recognize Mr. Nelson’s accomplishments in Anderson,” Metcalf added. “The work that he and each of the Local Economic Developers do to recruit and foster these companies is integral to our region’s prosperity.”
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About the Upstate SC Alliance: Formed in 2000, the Upstate South Carolina Alliance is a public/private regional economic development organization whose mission is to position the Upstate to excel in the global economy through strategic marketing, collaboration, and thought leadership. See more information at www.upstateSCalliance.com.
5th Annual Homesteading Festival September 9th
The 5th annual Homesteading Festival, in partnership with the Steve White Volkswagen Camp Out and Show, will be held in Mineral Spring Park on September 9th from 8 – 4.  Admission, classes, children’s activities, and entertainment are free at this family-friendly event.  The park will be closed to traffic during the event.
Demonstrations include chair caning, weaving, felting and beading. Adult classes include mushroom growing with Tradd Cotter from Mushroom Mountain; plant walk and identification with Robin McGee from Earthwise Learning Center; How to Grow a Garden in 5-gallon Buckets with Vanessa Grace from Sow True Seed; Crystals for everyday life with Donna Cox of Sage Grinders; and Kudzu, Weed or Wonder with Tillman Stevens of Thunder Grove. The kudzu class will include kudzu tea and kudzu chip tastings. Children’s activities include beading with Farm Girl Trinkets and rock painting, coloring, and games with Williamston Pentecostal Holiness Church.
Bob Buckingham and Jack Ellenburg will lead bluegrass jams in the park.   Attendees of all skill and experience levels are encouraged to bring (non-electric) instruments and join in.
Vendor products include crafts; jewelry; olive oil; honey; dog treats; bird houses; wool yarn; plants and seeds; books; t-shirts; art; ducks, quail, and rabbits; handmade soaps, salves, and personal care products.  Local farmers will be on hand with locally grown, raised, and produced food products.
Friends Farm and Catering and BBQ Pitmasters will offer both breakfast and lunch items.  Also joining the festival will be Coastal Crust Brick Oven Pizza, Grandma’s Ice Cream, Hey Bo/Sassy Sow BBQ, and The Lazy Farmer food truck.   The Lazy Farmer will be cooking pork rinds and funnel cakes, in addition to sandwiches and fries.
The festival is sponsored by Earthskills LLC, Earthwise Learning Center, the Town of Williamston, the SC Organization for Organic Living (SCOOL), and the Palmetto Farmers Market.  The Blood Connection’s mobile unit will be on hand from 10 – 2, taking donations.  For more information, visit www.scorganicliving.com.