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Rebranding SC as innovation HQ

Harry Lightsey, secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce in Columbia, S.C.
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Harry Lightsey, secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce in Columbia, S.C.

Our state’s leading economic development agency recently unveiled a new slogan and long-term plan that includes targeting sectors like advanced energy, electric vehicles, and life sciences for further development. Mike Switzer interviews Harry Lightsey, secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce in Columbia, SC.

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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.