Guests of the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon learned about the modern innovation and advancements of Volvo Car U.S. Operations on July 18.

The MPCC guest speaker for July was Stephanie Mangini, Corporate Communications Manager (S.C.) of Volvo Car U.S. Operations.

Mangini started her presentation with an exciting video showing all of the latest models and automotive updates within the company.

The Volvo Car U.S. Operations manufacturing plant in Ridgeville, Berkeley County broke ground in September 2015. The 1,600 acre campus is 30% developed, has 2.3 million square feet of manufacturing space and nearly 1,400 team members. The campus produced its first car in 2018 and now they export cars to nearly 70 countries, according to Mangini. Fifty percent of the cars they build are for global markets. Currently, the campus is producing the S60 Sedan and in 2022 they'll produce the next generation XC90 SUV.

The campus has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles annually and the facility has a total investment of $1.1 billion.

Mangini joined Volvo in August 2016 and is responsible for building strong relationships between Volvo and its neighbors, managing internal communications and local media relations. Her career in communications spans over 25 years in public and private sectors.

She explained to the chamber how important workforce pipeline development in the state is to Volvo.

Volvo hires new employees that have completed ManuFirst SC, an expedited, 62-hour manufacturing certification. ManuFirst SC was developed for South Carolina residents to have a more accelerated and streamlined path available to fulfill their career goals and to attract a qualified talent pool to the state's manufacturing industry. Now, it is offered at technical colleges throughout the state and was offered at five Berkeley County High Schools this past school year as a pilot program. Initial efforts for the ManuFirst SC and Volvo partnership were spearheaded by Trident Technical College.

"We're keeping the workforce here and we're training them here," Mangini said. "I'm working very hard to expand this program out to other high schools in the area. It has been a tremendous program."

The Ridgeville, SC Volvo Car U.S. campus makes 24 cars per hour, for 8-10 hours each day. Volvo's Ridgeville campus is hopeful to have public tours available in 2020, according to Mangini.

First Responder Recognition

Captain Matt Tidwell with Mount Pleasant Fire Department (MPFD) was presented the July First Responder Recognition at the luncheon. Tidwell is a Captain at MPFD Station 5 in Dunes West. He is also paramedic, assists in the purchase of MPFD's personal protective equipment and frequently helps with training initiatives.

MPFD Chief Mike Mixon explained that they traditionally recognize responders for heroic or out of the ordinary actions while on duty. Mixon explained he picked Captain Tidwell for something a little different, his attitude.

MPCC Vice President Eddie Phipps, MPFD Chief Mixon,MPFD Captain Matt Tidwell and MPCC President Shane Griffin..jpg

Pictured during the First Responder Recognition at the July Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce luncheon (from left) are MPCC Vice President Eddie Phipps, MPFD Chief Mixon, MPFD Captain Matt Tidwell (recipient) and MPCC President Shane Griffin.

"I really believe that you can judge a person's success and their future success by their attitude. Consistently day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out Captain Tidwell has an attitude that's infectious," Mixon said.  "He brings that positive attitude not only to his crew and the (fire) department, but to the citizens of Mount Pleasant which we serve."

Mixon said that no matter what assignment they give Tidwell, which station they put him at, which shift they put him on or what calls he goes on, his positive attitude shines through. He said it's imperative to have someone like Tidwell who can work with all the changes and duties of the fire department.

"His can-do spirit is infectious and makes our organization better each day," Mixon said.

Life Resources- .jpg

Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit of the Month was Life Resources. Pictured (from left) are Barbara S. Boatwright, Life Resources' Founder and Director, Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Delores Hollen, Licensed Professional Counselor; Jacquie  Atkins, Executive Director of Operations, Licensed Professional Counselor - Associate; Audrey Godfrey, Licensed Professional Counselor - Associate and Leslie Bessellieu, Licensed Clinical Psychologist.

Other news

Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit of the Month was Life Resources. The nonprofit's mission is to provide life transforming resources that foster emotional, spiritual and relational wellness for people in the Lowcountry. For more information about this nonprofit, visit myliferesources.org.

The Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce grew by 10 members this month and 22 members renewed their memberships.

The guest speaker for the Aug. 15 MPCC meeting is Ben Navarro, Founder and CEO of Sherman Financial Group. The MPCC holds their monthly luncheon the third Thursday of the month from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Omar Shrine in Mount Pleasant. RSVP is required and business owners are invited to attend meetings as a guest to determine if they want to join the chamber. For more information visit mountpleasantchamber.org.