While there will be hacking involved and cash to be made, HACKCharleston isn't for gangs of cyber-thieves.
The event, sponsored by the Citadel Graduate College and the annual Dig South Festival, is a challenge for software developers to code the best smartphone app in 24 hours.
"We create events that celebrate those groups of technology professionals and provide a platform for them to show off their skills and what they're contributing to our economy," said Stanfield Gray of Dig South, a showcase of digital companies April 9-13 in downtown Charleston.
Twenty teams of up to three members can sign up until March 31 to compete in HACKCharleston, which will run April 11-12 at the College of Charleston's TD Arena.
Teams will be challenged to create an app centered on the digital needs of Lowcountry Open Land Trust, a local conservation nonprofit that, among other things, is raising money to preserve the Angel Oak on Johns Island.
The group with the best app will win a $500 grand prize and a $525 all-access badge to next month's Dig South. Anyone interested in participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web of information
Websites are a dime a dozen, but whenever a local entity with powerful influence launches a new one, it's worth noting.
The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce recently unveiled its online presence with some snappy photos and chunks of information.
The first of a revolving series of photos on its website includes a cruise ship steaming through Charleston Harbor, an indication of the group's support for the city's embattled cruise industry. It's under the heading "Advancement."
Other photos include a $100 bill, the Ravenel Bridge and a multiple-choice test being penciled in to represent, respectively, "Advocacy," "Innovation" and "Talent."
There's lots of other information to glean through as well: a member spotlight, chamber events and slew of economic information. Check it out at charlestonchamber.net.
The president of longtime Charleston employer MeadWestvaco Corp. has stepped down after a three-decade-plus run with the company.
Jim Buzzard will remain as an employee of the packaging giant until the end of the month. He gave up the title of president last week, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Buzzard joined what was then known as Westvaco Corp. in 1978 and was promoted to president in 2003. His responsibilities as the No. 2 executive included oversight of the company's locally based chemical business and its recently sold Summerville forestry division He also helped engineer the 2008 sale of its North Charleston paper mill.
CEO John Luke mentioned his upcoming departure in the company's Jan. 29 earnings call with analysts.
"Jim has made an indelible mark on the company and he'll be missed," Luke said.
No successor was named to fill the vacancy. Instead, Richmond, Va.-based MeadWestvaco has promoted two managers to executive vice presidents. One of them has a local connection: Robert K. Beckler ran the North Charleston-based MWV Specialty Chemicals unit from 2007-10. In his new role, Beckler is again responsible for that business and a few others.
He's also been assigned the task of managing a restructuring announced in January that will eliminate 550 jobs at MeadWestvaco's headquarters and its packaging operations. The move is expected to help save $100 million to $125 million by 2016.
Meadwestvaco has 125 facilities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The layoffs are not expected to affect its chemical and real estate development businesses in the Charleston area.
Colleton County again is applying the old "Build it and they will come" maxim from the film "Fields of Dreams" to its economic development.
Officials recently broke ground on a 100,000-square-foot speculative building at Colleton County Commerce Center Park. Completion is set for June. The new structure will be able to be expanded to more than 600,000 square feet on 45 acres if needed. A shovel-ready pad for an added spec building also is part of the project. The county is looking to attract manufacturing or distribution businesses with a need for a large building.
"There is interest and activity from companies desiring to locate in a master-planned park," County Council Chairman Phillip M. Taylor said. It'll be the second spec building Colleton has built in the 260-acre property near I-95. Crescent Dairy & Beverage purchased the first structure for a pasteurization facility.
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