Charleston’s Competitiveness on the World Stage


January 24, 2023

By Jillian Bunting, Marketing Communications Manager

“The company would feel welcomed, receive a high spirit of collaboration from the state, region, and counties, be able to utilize the logistics of the port, and live in an attractive place,” said Melanie Moltmann, German Consul General in Atlanta, in her one minute pitch as to why businesses would feel compelled to relocate or establish headquarters in the Charleston metro region.

Last week, Charleston’s professional community had the opportunity to gain insights into the region’s competitiveness from site selectors and experts on international business at the first “Charleston’s Competitiveness on the World Stage” event hosted by Charleston Regional Development Alliance at the Harbour Club at WestEdge.

Opening remarks came from Ashely Teasdel, Deputy Secretary of Commerce at South Carolina Department of Commerce, and, David Stenström, Vice President, Manufacturing, Americas, and Plant Manager at Volvo Car Charleston Plant. Stephanie Yarbrough, Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson moderated an insightful two-panel discussion at the event.  International panelists included Melanie Moltmann, German Consul General in Atlanta, and Motumisi Tawana, PhD, South African Counsel General in New York. Site selector panelists included Susan Arledge, Senior Managing Director at Newmark, Bruno Ferrand, Entrepreneur at Nect2US, Inc., and Tom Stringer, JD, Partner, Site Selection and Incentives Practice Leader at BDO United States.

Panelists provided valuable insights on what is needed to make a region attractive to not only site selectors, but national and international businesses looking to relocate or establish headquarters in the United States. The most common themes that came up throughout the discussion were workforce development, talent and strategic location.

Workforce Development

44 percent of employers are struggling to fill jobs in the United States. Opportunities available through apprenticeship programs, educational institutions, practical training, youth incentives, and more are vital to upscale a region’s workforce to meet the evolving needs of employers. The more collaboration in a community between businesses and educational institutions, the better quality of labor and understanding of skills are needed.

View South Carolina’s workforce training programs here.


“It doesn’t matter how many buildings you build if you don’t have talent,” stated Stringer. While workforce development is important to the success of a community, labor supply and sustainability of that supply are equally important. Businesses looking to relocate will want to be assured that there will be enough qualified people to fulfill jobs in the region. Site selectors may ask, “What universities are in the area and what are they doing to keep the labor in the community? How will the labor continue to grow?”

View talent programs built for career success in Charleston here.

Strategic Location

With the most productive and deepest port on the east coast of the United States at 52 feet, an integrated rail and highway system, and an international airport, Charleston provides seamless connections to the global marketplace. This allows businesses to remain productive and deliver products successfully to their domestic and international customers.

View Charleston’s global access here.

Charleston’s professional community filled the space that afternoon eager to learn from these experts on international business. If you’re interested in learning more about Charleston’s competitiveness, contact Mike Graney, Vice President of Global Business Development, at 843.760.4526 or [email protected].


Contact Us:

Phone: 843.760.4539
Mobile: 843.872.4205
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