Clover plant wins defense contract

The hands of America's soldiers are in the hands of workers in Clover.

North Safety Equipment won a U.S. Department of Defense contract last week to supply the U.S. Army with 335,000 Butyl gloves -- designed to protect soldiers' hands from dangerous chemicals. North's Clover plant will fill the order over the next year, the company said.

About 40 new jobs will be added at the Clover plant to handle the increased workload.

The company will invest about $1.3 million in new machinery, related to the contract. Town of Clover and York County officials also combined to win a grant to help pay for sewage upgrades at the plant necessary for the new workload.

PMC restructures

While new jobs are opening up in Clover, up to 17 jobs are shipping out from Piedmont Medical Center as the hospital looks to streamline its operations.

Piedmont CEO Charlie Miller last week said the hospital will restructure its billing and admitting departments, and 17 positions likely will be moved to an Atlanta office. Piedmont is moving the two departments under the umbrella of Tenet Patient Financial Services, a subsidiary of Piedmont's parent company, Tenet Healthcare.

Miller said of the 90 workers employed in billing and admitting, 45 will become employees of TPFS but remain employed on-site in Rock Hill. Up to 17 more workers will be asked to relocate to Atlanta. No layoffs are expected, he said, and those not willing to relocate will be given priority for other open positions at the hospital.

"It's really just a shuffle," Miller said, noting the change won't effect the patient experience. "If patients even notice it, I would be very surprised."

'Seabreeze' turns stormy

Negotiations, called Project Seabreeze, to bring a one million-square-foot, retail goods-oriented distribution center and 700 jobs to a Rock Hill business park have cooled. After first reporting the news in a column last month, I learned Friday the rough economic conditions have stalled what had been positive progress.

"The credit crunch has put the screws to them," York County Economic Development Board director Mark Farris said about the prospect. He said the company hasn't soured on the area but might wait until economic conditions improve.

Winthrop honors five

Winthrop University's College of Business Administration will induct five members into its Pinnacle Leadership Society on April 17 for their integrity, inspiration, benevolence and business acumen.

• Frank Barnes Jr., chairman of Comporium Communications, will receive the Tower Award for Lifetime Achievement in Business.

• Clarence Hornsby, retired Bowater executive and community leader, will receive the Summit Award for Lifetime Commitment to Education.

• Bernie Ackerman, a Rock Hill CPA, will receive the Advocate of the College award.

• Cece Sutton, executive vice president and head of retail and small business banking at Wachovia, will be named a Distinguished Alumni from the graduate program.

• Roy Weathers, CPA, chief diversity office and partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, will be named the Distinguished Alumni from the undergraduate program.

Coming and going

The Station Bar and Grill will open a second location off S.C. 160 near the new Tega Cay Wal-Mart on June 1, owner Debbie Coccia said last week.

3D Systems has begun commercial shipments of its new V-Flash desktop modeler to North American customers. Priced at $9,900, this desktop modeler builds three-dimensional plastic models in hours, enabling designers, engineers, hobbyists and students to imagine, design and build their ideas at their desks.

Tip of the cap

• Rock Hill attorney James Hardin III, a specialist in estate planning and probate law, has again been selected by his peers in the Woodward/ White Publication as one of the Best Lawyers in America, where he has been listed continuously for more than 20 years. Hardin has also been selected as a 2008 North Carolina Super Lawyer.

• A. Watts Huckabee, Sr. of Carolinas Insurance & Investment Group has qualified for the prestigious Golden Eagle Award, presented by the Leading Producers Round Table of the National Association of Health Underwriters. The Golden Eagle Award is the highest recognition for excellence in the sale of health and disability income insurance.

• Ben Aplin of Irmo, a 1988 Northwestern High School grad, is the 2008 Statewide Employee of the Year for the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. Aplin, assistant chief legal counsel, is a son of Don and Judy Aplin of Rock Hill.

• The Stephen Cooley Team of Rock Hill has been named the No. 1 real estate team in South Carolina and the No. 6 team for the Southern region, based on sales volume, by Coldwell Banker United.

• Winthrop University will be recognized April 15 at the Green Awards in Charlotte for construction of the Lois Rhame West Health, Physical Education and Wellness Center. With its environmentally conscious features, the West Center, which opened in September, is both the largest and the most energy-efficient building on Winthrop's main campus.

• Fort Mill Hyundai has been named to the Hyundai Board of Excellence, a national network of distinguished dealers, for its sales and customer satisfaction in 2007.