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SC endowed chair found environmental nanotech company

South Carolina Business Review
SC Public Radio

If you are a regular listener of our show, you’ve probably heard our many discussions recently about South Carolina’s SmartState program where 51 endowed chairs are tasked with developing centers for economic excellence based on their research efforts. Since 2012, research at our next guest’s center has resulted in six patents and the formation of a startup company that is working on commercial development of nanotechnology for the remediation of oil spills in the environment. Mike Switzer interviews Jamie Lead, founder of GeoMat and the endowed chair and professor at the Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

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After almost 20 years, Mike Switzer retired from Wells Fargo Securities in 2001 as Senior Vice President/Investment Officer and Certified Portfolio Manager. In 1999, he and his wife, Maggie, purchased and operated for eight years the Baskin Robbins ice cream store on Forest Drive in Columbia. They grew the store from a bottom-tier operation in the Baskin Robbins franchise system to one in the top 5% nationwide within three years, tripling sales along the way. While operating the ice cream store, Mike and Maggie received patents for a portable ice cream sink and fold-down sneezeguard they invented and in 2002 started Magnolia Carts, an ice cream cart manufacturing company, which they sold in 2013.