E-Commerce Report
Sponsored by:
November 18, 2021
Best of the best!
The Aiken Chamber of Commerce remains among the elite when it received U.S. Chamber of Commerce accreditation at the highest level, 5-Star, on Nov. 4. Only 133 of the nation’s approximately 7,000 chambers nationwide currently hold this distinction. The 5-Star rating maintains the Aiken Chamber’s standing in the top one percent of chambers in the U.S. for the past 15 years.

The Aiken Chamber was originally accredited by the U.S. Chamber in 1995 and has maintained its accreditation status since that time. The organization was accredited again in 2000, and in 2006 received its first 4-star accreditation, followed by 5-star designations in 2011, 2016, and 2021. Accreditation recognizes chambers whose operating procedures and commitment to community stand out from the crowd.

By earning Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Aiken Chamber shows its dedication to:
• Reviewing, improving, and promoting strong business practices
• Recognizing leadership and outstanding contributions to the community
• Supporting the principles of free enterprise and promoting pro-growth policies at federal, state, and local levels
• Establishing best practices and staying in-step with industry changes

The U.S. Chamber’s accreditation is a six-month process of extensive self-review involved a thorough introspective look at what the Chamber is doing well. The professional staff reviewed all processes and procedures, and supporting documentation had to be provided for nine sections that covered everything from governance and governmental affairs to program development and benchmarking. The process provided an opportunity to review accomplishments and also the opportunity to chart a path forward.

Accreditation is the culmination of the work of many volunteers, staff and contributions of many board members and five board chairs – Charlie Hartz, Josh Stewart, Pastor Paul Bush, Julie Whitesell, Ryan Reynolds – and of Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson.
The Aiken Chamber received special recognition from the
U.S. Chamber in the following areas:

  • The Aiken Chamber has established itself as an effective advocate for the region’s business community. It has developed an excellent working relationship with elected officials and is recognized for its partnership with the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization as well as its leadership role on the Aiken Municipal Development Commission. The Aiken Chamber is recognized for its efforts to support the SC Chamber’s initiative to usher the passage of a hate crimes bill in South Carolina. It is also acknowledged for its support of the SC National Guard DreamPort and Readiness Center, as well as the funding and development of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative.

  • The Aiken Chamber is commended for its leadership of the region’s business community as it navigated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic including its utilization of a portion of the Chamber’s reserve funds to secure a Revolving Loan Fund for local small businesses, its “Ask the Expert” series, its Good News campaign, and the ongoing development of its Buy Aiken - Red Ticket program. The Chamber’s continued workforce development efforts and its partnership with the City of Aiken to create a comprehensive Economic Development Action Plan are noted as well.

  • The Aiken Chamber's board is recognized for its support of the Aiken Mosaic program and for the completion of its Centennial Project.

  • The Aiken Chamber has created an excellent Guide to Government publication and Welcome Aiken Community Guide and Business Directory. The Chamber is recognized for its comprehensive Communications and Marketing Plan and for its monthly Commerce Report. It is acknowledged for the development of a Welcome Neighbor targeted marketing campaign utilizing “application-to person” messaging, and for the success of its recent geofenced social media and Google AdWords campaign.
Six elected to Chamber board
The board of directors of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce recently elected its 2024 class. They will begin their three-year terms in January 2022.

Norman Dunagan, Dumpster Depot, nominating committee chair and incoming board chair, said, “These board members represent a cross section of our business community. They are experienced leaders and reflect a true commitment to the chamber’s goals.”
Joe Lewis
Returning to the board is Joe Lewis, Security Federal Bank. Lewis is a former Aiken Chamber board member and served as chair of the Chamber in 2009.

Lewis is the vice president and financial services officer for Security Federal Bank. Lewis is responsible for the oversight of financial and credit services for new and existing community banking clients, and analysis, coordination and completion of commercial lending activities.

Lewis has more than 34 years of commercial and community banking in the Aiken market, including serving as market president for First Community Bank. He earned a bachelor’s degree in administrative management from Clemson University and is a graduate of the South Carolina Bankers School.

Lewis is the vice chair of the Aiken County Commission for Technical and Comprehensive Education, the governing board of Aiken Technical College. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Aiken, a board member of the Aiken Corporation, and on the endowment committee of St. John’s United Methodist Church.
Dennis Carr
Returning for a second consecutive term is Dennis Carr, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions. Carr is responsible for the safe execution of all management and operating functions at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS), including Savannah River National Laboratory and the Site’s nuclear material operations, tritium operations and waste management. He also leads SRNS integrated safety management, providing oversight, operational and safety leadership.

A vice president with Fluor Corporation, Carr has 37 years of experience in the execution of government projects in D&D, waste management, environmental restoration, maintenance services and nuclear operations. He has served in a variety of senior management capacities with Fluor supporting DOE facilities for more than 20 years.
He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Business Administration from Xavier University.
Charlie Hartz
Charlie Hartz is the franchise owner of the three Dunkin’ Donuts located in Aiken County. His newest adventure is the Village Café at Woodside which opened January 2018.

Hartz has over 30 years of country club/resort management experience. He has worked for ClubCorp Golf Management, located in Aiken and Debary, Florida; Arnold Palmer Golf Management with locations in Bangkok, Thailand, Los Angeles, California, and Orlando, Florida, and Bennigan’s Restaurant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Hartz served as the Chair of the Aiken Chamber Board of Directors in 2016 and 2017. He is a board member of the Sertoma Club, the Aiken Technical College Foundation, United Way Aiken County, and The Family Y – Aiken Branch, where he serves as the current board chair. In addition, he is a member of the Club Managers Association of America and the United States Parachute Association.
Hartz has a B.S. in marketing and management from Alfred University, Alfred, New York.
Larry Ling
Lawrence “Larry” Ling is the chief of staff for Savannah River Remediation (SRR). He is responsible for providing strategic high-level support to the SRR office of the president. He advances and aligns the organizations top priorities and oversees and coordinates government affairs. He works with SRR policies, requirements, strategies, and actions that support meeting Department of Energy (DOE) requirements and contract commitments.

Ling also serves as SRR’s senior technical adviser and provides leadership, oversight, and technical guidance to resolve complex technical, organizational, and strategic issues that have extensive site-wide implications.

For more than 30 years, Ling has led and managed major projects and programs with specific expertise in nuclear power, radioactive waste disposal, and environmental management for the Department of Navy and DOE.

Ling was awarded the U.S. vice president’s Hammer Award for leading the closure of the first high-level radioactive liquid waste tanks in history. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and is a Senior Fellow in the Council for Excellence in Government.
Rhonda Overbey
Rhonda Overbey, a 30-year veteran of the newspaper industry, is the publisher of the Evening Post Industries’ Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. She will be serving her second consecutive term on the Chamber’s board of directors.
Overbey’s skill sets include sales, team building, niche publications, journalism, and digital media marketing. She has a unique passion and understanding of community newspapers and a firm belief that knowledge is power.

She moved to Aiken from Sedalia, Missouri, where she was the publisher of the Sedalia Democrat. Before becoming a publisher, Overbey spent a decade in advertising sales and management in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Overbey is a strong media and communications professional with a master’s degree in administrative leadership from University of Oklahoma and a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from University of Arkansas.

Overbey began her career in the newsroom of the Log Cabin Democrat while in college at the University of Arkansas. She is a native of Conway, Arkansas, and has lived in Aiken since October 2017.
Mike Thomas
Mike Thomas is the CEO of Alison South Marketing Group. Thomas co-founded South Company in 2010 and has led the company, now Alison South Marketing Group, to become one of the largest advertising agencies in the CSRA with offices in Aiken, Augusta and Columbia. Clients range from local businesses to national organizations, and the agency’s work has won international, statewide, and regional awards, including Gold and Silver Addys for print and television ads, and the SC International Association of Business Communicators’ Advertising Campaign Excellence Award.
Prior to establishing Alison South Marketing Group, Thomas was a marketing specialist at the USCA Convocation Center. While earning his degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina, Thomas was recognized nationally for his marketing concepts and planning by winning the National Direct Marketing Education Foundation Championship and a Gold Addy from the Columbia Ad Club. He established himself as an entrepreneur by creating a multimedia talk show, Teen Forum.
Thomas believes in giving back to the community and has done so through volunteer leadership on the Aiken YMCA board, as president of Aiken Sertoma, and by participating in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year fundraiser. His company also gives back through its annual Fit for School event, providing health screenings and school supplies to more than 2,000 children each year, and Creative Dash, providing a branding package to a non-profit organization. Alison South also contributes scholarships to Aiken Technical College and USCA.

This is Thomas’ second consecutive term on the Chamber’s board of directors.
We need to talk -
having difficult conversations at work
Most people do their best to avoid conflict. Even when a situation is uncomfortable, it may seem like the path of least resistance is to wait out the discomfort. However, avoiding difficult conversations doesn’t make them go away, and having them can substantially improve our work and home lives.

Learn how you can successfully have difficult conversations at work at the Aiken Chamber’s upcoming Women in Business Luncheon where Jim O’Loughlin, CEO of Aiken Regional Medical Centers, will be the keynote speaker.

“Contrary to popular belief, conflict isn’t inherently bad,” said Jim O’Loughlin, CEO. “Difficult conversations are a necessary part of working well with others. Many people don’t engage with difficult conversations because they don't know how to have them. Many of us fear that having difficult conversations will damage our relationships or negatively impact our work environment. In reality, avoiding these conversations can lead to resentment and create even bigger rifts between people.”

The luncheon will be held Wednesday, Dec. 15, at Newberry Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees will enjoy a delicious meal, networking and O’Loughlin’s interactive presentation.
Please visit the calendar of events at www.aikenchamber.net or call Mandy Collins at (803) 645-0049 to make the required reservation. Seats are $35 per person.

The Women in Business program is sponsored by Aiken Regional Medical Centers and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC.
Jim O’Loughlin has served as CEO of Aiken Regional Medical Centers since February 2019. He has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare field and has served as president and CEO of 6 different hospitals throughout his career. O’Loughlin’s background has been focused on service and operational excellence. He is skilled in developing leadership competencies, physician engagement, strategic planning and creating a culture of sustained excellence.
O’Loughlin earned his Doctor of Philosophy from Florida State University, Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University, Master of Science from the University of South Carolina and Bachelor of Science from Springfield College.

Sponsored by:
Let’s all spread some holiday cheer to our Aiken businesses. Business owners would love to see your smiling face (and the serious ones of Mr. Jackson, Hamilton, and Washington too).

Ribbon Cuttings
Traditions Health - Home Health & Hospice Care held a ribbon cutting ceremony November 16 at its new office located at 946 Millbrook Avenue. Cutting the ribbon with Aiken Chamber president/CEO J. David Jameson is Traditions Health Aiken administrator Stacy Lehmann. They are joined by the caring staff and members of the Aiken Chamber ambassador team. Learn more about Traditions Health at www.traditionshealth.com
Aiken Steeplechase Association held a ribbon cutting ceremony November 15 to celebrate the opening of its new 140 acre facility at 2020 Richland Ave. E. The new facility will host the 54th running of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase on March 26, 2022. Pictured celebrating the opening are the Aiken Steeplechase Association board members, elected officials, business leaders and members of the Aiken Chamber ambassador team. Visit www.aikensteeplechase.com to learn more.
Central States Manufacturing, Inc.  held a ribbon cutting October 26 to celebrate the grand opening of its 105,000 square foot building in the Sage Mill Industrial Park. Pictured cutting the ribbon are Rick Neely, general manager of operations and Luis Ortiz, human resource business partner. They are joined by the Central States Manufacturing, Inc team. Central States makes metal building components such as roofing and siding. To find out more about the company, or to inquire about job opportunities, visit www.centralstatesmfg.com
Floyd & Green Fine Jewelers held a ribbon cutting ceremony November 10 to showcase its recent storefront makeover. Visit 515 Silver Bluff Rd. to check out the beautiful renovations and sparkling jewelry. Open Mon. – Fri. from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Sat. from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Cutting the ribbon are Aiken Chamber of Commerce president/CEO J. David Jameson, Floyd & Green owner Tom Williams, his wife Cristi Williams, the friendly Floyd & Green staff, and members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador team. Visit www.floydandgreen.com to learn more. 
Welcome New Members
Aiken Embroidery & Design Embroidery
Serving the Aiken community for over 25 years. Jodi Powell continues the standard of personalized service, exquisite embroidery, and a design team that can help you bring your ideas to life using a multitude of decorating techniques.
117 Laurens Street, NW
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Jodi Powell
Phone: (803) 845-0230

Association Management Partners Homeowner Association Management
HOA Management, Community Association Management, Association Management, Homeowners Associations
119 David Road
Martinez, GA 30907
Contact: Cathleen Silver
Phone: (706) 250-0477

Happy Prompts Monthly Subscription Box Wellness
Subscribers receive 7-10 fun and functional goodies for home, body, and spirit including boutique brand items, cute whimsical pieces, and yummy treats – each chosen to prompt you to celebrate “National Day of” holidays throughout the month.
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Karen Poteat
Phone: (803) 215-6767

Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial - Financial Advisor/Investments/Planning
Member owned fraternal financial services organization. Since 1883, Modern Woodmen has brought people together, supported families and strengthened communities nationwide.
PO Box 176
Graniteville, SC 29829
Contact: Robert Mosher
Phone: (803) 226-7457

North WindEnvironmental Consulting Engineering
Nationwide leader in construction, environmental remediation, facility operations, and professional services.
237 Park Avenue, SE Suite 225
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Allison Walker
Phone: (864) 561-7156

Pepper Hill Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare Health Care
Pepper Hill is a 125 bed, skilled nursing and rehab center, providing a high level of medical care along with OT, PT, and ST services, for individuals with both short and long care needs.
3525 Augusts Road
Aiken, SC 29801
Contact: Nancy Porter
Phone: (803) 642-8376

Roc & Design, LLC Truck Accessories
After working in the industry for years, the team at Roc made their dream a reality in 2018 and has since taken the 4x4 world by storm. Through hard work and love of country music, they have since grown their client base from hometown customers to a great following of Nashville artists making Roc a national brand. ROC & Design is your ultimate southeast vehicle accessory center.
924 East Pine Log Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Lee Fulmer
Phone: (803) 226-0761

Scott Saul State Farm Insurance and Investments
For all of your auto, home, renters, life and health insurance needs. Where everyone gets great rates and excellent service.
556 Silver Bluff Road
Aiken, SC 29803
Contact: Scott Saul
Phone: (803) 335-2445
Always Learning with SCORE
SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964. The officers of the award-winning SCORE Greater Aiken chapter are chair John Gregg, vice-chair Joe Knick, secretary Michael Doane. Not pictured is Steve Amatangelo, treasurer. Learn more about SCORE Greater Aiken at www.greateraiken.score.org.