Business In Brief - July 26, 2007

Paul Capital Investments hires Northwestern grad

SAN FRANCISCO -- Paul Capital Investments recently appointed Dan Townsend, formerly of Rock Hill, as a principal of the firm.

Townsend joins as a senior member of the co-investment team led by Dana O'Brien, and will be based in New York. Townsend worked nine years with GE Asset Management, where he was vice president in the International Private Equity Group. He worked four years at GE Trading supporting General Electric's international industrial sales and two years as part of the GE manufacturing leadership program.

A 1987 graduate of Northwestern High School, Townsend has a degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is the son of Jim Townsend and the late Carolyn Townsend.

Paul Capital Investments provides private equity investment products to institutional investors worldwide. The group is based in San Francisco and New York, and oversees $1.2 billion.

Coldwell Banker United welcomes new associates

FORT MILL -- Aaron Gerard and Joseph Stingone have joined the Fort Mill office of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors.

The office is located at 1642 W. 160. The phone number is 548-1204.

Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, Carolinas Region has 17 offices and 624 sales associates in Greater Charlotte area, including Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Lancaster.

CEO named for Spirit Telecom, PalmettoNet

COLUMBIA -- R. Vernon Williams has been named chief executive officer of the Columbia-based Spirit Telecom and PalmettoNet, according to a written statement from the company.

As a 35-year veteran in the telecommunications and IT industry, Williams most recently was general manager with PalmettoNet.

He was employed more than 27 years by GTE and held varying management positions including director of product management, director of market research, director of consumer marketing and general manager of telecommunications and systems.

In 1999, Williams established Williams Management Services to provide consulting services to publicly traded and private firms in the communications and information technology businesses. A native of Rock Hill, Williams has a degree from the University of South Carolina and his EMBA from Duke University.

Spirit and PalmettoNet are owned by the independent telephone companies and cooperatives of South Carolina and provide services in the two Carolinas.

S.C. wages ranked 37th in nation by government

COLUMBIA -- S.C. workers' raises beat inflation last year, but the 0.8 percent increase didn't keep up with employees in other states as average inflation-adjusted pay rose 1.3 percent nationwide, a government report released today shows.

Average pay for all employees -- from plant managers to entry-level clerks -- was $34,273 in South Carolina and $42,521 nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' quarterly survey of employment and wages.

S.C. wages ranked 37th among the states and Washington, D.C. in 2006, down from 36th in 2005. Pay was $37,446 in North Carolina (28th) and $40,371 in Georgia (19th).

Both pay and jobs rose in 17 S.C. counties, including Richland and Lexington. Another nine counties had pay increases, but declines in jobs.

Pay fell in the remaining 20 counties, including Kershaw. Some counties losing both jobs and pay, including Aiken and Chester, suffered major layoffs and plant shutdowns in textiles.

-- The (Columbia) State

Bank of America dividend to increase by 14 percent

CHARLOTTE -- Bank of America Corp. will increase its quarterly dividend to 64 cents a share from 56 cents, a 14 percent increase.

The Charlotte bank said Wednesday that it will pay the dividend Sept. 28 to shareholders as of Sept. 7.

It is the 30th consecutive year Bank of America has increased its quarterly dividend. The company's rapid growth has inflated the size of those increases in recent years. The dividend has doubled since 2003.

-- The Charlotte Observer