CHARLESTON, SC—Womble Bond Dickinson economic development attorney Stephanie Few is the latest guest in the Charleston Regional Development Alliance’s Resources for Resiliency Video Series. In this Q&A interview, Few discussed economic development in South Carolina with Mike Graney, CRDA’s Vice President of Global Business Development, addressing regional economic development deal flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Calling it a roller coaster is a great analogy. Last year for South Carolina and the Southeast in general was really busy…things were going great,” Few said. “This year, January started off with a bang—and then came March.”
Few estimated the impact of COVID-19 meant that 95 percent of economic development deals she was involved with were paused temporarily. But while things haven’t gotten back to normal, she said companies are adapting and moving forward.
“The whole world started working remotely,” she said. “New deals are coming in now and the deals that were on pause in March are now full steam ahead.”
Few said the logistics industry, including shipping and warehousing, is seeing particular growth during the pandemic. On the other hand, the automotive industry—which is a huge economic engine for South Carolina—is moving more slowly, with consumer unemployment still high.
The life sciences sector also is experiencing tremendous growth, as South Carolina companies are responding to this public health crisis. As Vice-Chair of SCBIO, Few is one of the leaders helping promote this industry in South Carolina.
“We all now know how important that segment is to our well-being,” she said. “I think you’re going to see tremendous support at the state level (for life sciences.)”
Click here to watch the CRDA Resources for Resiliency Video with Stephanie Few.
Stephanie Few has played a role in many of South Carolina’s largest economic development deals of the past 20 years. She works closely with companies seeking to expand or relocate operations to the Carolinas and the Southeastern United States. Her efforts on behalf of clients have led to the creation of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in new investments. When the New York Times profiled Charleston’s economic boom in 2017, Few was one of the local leaders the Times turned to for insight.