A new heavy-lift barge crane that's working the local waters also was made locally.

The Ocean Ranger reported for duty this month by unloading a 308-ton generator onto a barge at the State Ports Authority's Columbus Street Terminal.

The job was a relative snap given that the device has a 500- to 740-ton lift capacity.

The crane is owned and operated by Charleston Heavy Lift Inc. The SPA said it invested $2.5 million of its own money into the machinery "to ensure priority access and dedicated service ... for Port of Charleston terminals."

The fully mobile Ocean Ranger is equipped with a 162-foot-long lifting boom and is designed primarily for heavy project cargo movement lifts to and from vessels carrying bulky items that can't fit into containers. The rig can also lift goods on barges, railcars, trucks and container vessels.

"It brings a new capability to meet the needs of our customers who transport their breakbulk and noncontainer project cargo across our docks," SPA chief Jim Newsome said in statement.

The crane and barge were manufactured at Metal Trades' shipyard on Yonge's Island.

Ocean Ranger's home is on the Cooper River, near Veterans Terminal on the old Navy base in North Charleston.

Aussie annex

From Down Under to the Digital Corridor. A technology firm all the way from Australia has announced plans to expand to the city of Charleston's Flagship business incubator near East Bay and Calhoun streets on the peninsula.

Icon Software Solutions provides software products and services to government agencies in the Autralasia region, and it's now looking to get a foothold in the huge U.S. market. It also has offices in its hometown of Gold Coast and in Sydney and Melbourne, says its website.

Flagship also recently landed another business that's looking to expand, though not quite as far from home as Icon. UBL Interactive Inc. hails from Charlotte. It works with businesses seeking to improve their search profiles on smartphones and other mobile devices.

The companies will join other tenants that rent low-cost, temporary office space in the Charleston Digital Corridor's side-by-side Flagship properties.

Doyal Bryant, UBL's chief executive officer, had high praise for the incubator, saying that it provided his company "with everything necessary to launch our business operations with virtually little to no down time."

Talent talk

Given the production issues at Boeing Co.'s 787 campus in North Charleston, it's interesting to note the aerospace giant's top human resources director for commercial airplanes will be speaking at a Columbia conference this month.

Titled "Chief HR Officer as Talent Architect," the personnel symposium is set for March 27-28 at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

The $499 event will feature some top international scholars and executives in the HR field, including Boeing's Alan R. May. He will speak on developing a globally competitive workforce.

Some of the other speakers include:

Randy MacDonald, retired senior vice president of human resources at technology heavyweight IBM, who will discuss "CEO and other C-Suite Succession."

Mirian Graddick-Weir, chief human resource officer at drugmaker Merck, on "Realizing the Growth Potential of Emerging Markets - Building Local Leaders with Global Perspective."

Kevin Cox, chief human resource officer at American Express, on "Disruptive Human Capital Strategy: Does Your Company Need a Pirate Ship?"

Pam Kimmet, chief human resource officer at Coca-Cola Enterprises, on "Gaining Deeper Insights: Getting Smarter About Which Leaders to Bet On."

HR professionals interested in attending can go to moore.sc.edu/chroconference for details.

Code word

A for-profit computer code-writing school from the Upstate is expanding to the coast.

Or more accurately, the creek.

Iron Yard Academy begins a 12-week course March 31 in Mount Pleasant. The classes will be held at 510 Mill St. on Shem Creek.

"We like to call it an immersive course," said chief marketing officer Eric Dodd. "We say if you want to learn Chinese, you move to China. It's the same way with this."

The company, which is backed by venture capital money, was launched in Greenville and has been expanding to other cities, including Atlanta.

The Lowcountry was a natural expansion site, Dodd said.

"The tech economy in Charleston is really robust," he said.

A fall version also will be offered, but the start date hasn't been set.

Tuition isn't cheap. Would-be coders can expect to pay close to $10,000.