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SC CU among recipients of SC Chamber’s Excellence in Workplace Diversity Awards

Thursday, September 12, 2013  
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Columbia, SC – Sponsored by AT&T, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce held the 9thAnnual Excellence in Workplace Diversity Awards September 10 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Columbia. Winners were recognized for their significant contributions to the advancement of South Carolina through diversity initiatives and inclusion efforts. Criteria considered in selecting the winners included diversity initiatives, effectiveness and applicability/replicability.

Congratulations to the winners:

  • Small Employer, (less than 150 employees) – Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP

Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP has several diversity initiatives in place to play an active role in creating an environment in which all employees are respected, engaged and enabled to achieve their highest potentials. The firm participates annually in the Southeastern Minority Job Fair and has sponsored the Southeastern Region Black Law Students Association conference. Parker Poe’s Life in a Law Firm program gives minority law students the opportunity to learn more about the different paths of a legal career. Over 350 minority law students have participated in the program since its creation in 2007.

  • Medium Employer, (151-700 employees) – South Carolina Federal Credit Union

L-R: SC Fed's Nicole Miller, Talent Acquisition
Team Leader; Crissy Ortiz, Executive Director for 
Optimal Talent Solutions™; and Sharon Ellington,
Talent Acquisition Representative accept the 
award in the medium employer category.
South Carolina Federal Credit Union has integrated diversity into all business practices; both with the customer and within the workplace. South Carolina Federal Credit Union has taken diversity and inclusion a step further with the successful leveraging of the best practices within the credit union industry by creating a new credit union service organization to offer diverse solutions to meet its clients’ needs. In 2013, the credit union was awarded the Laura M. Fleming Award for Diversity in the Workplace, the Best in Charleston Award and the Best Financial Institution Award.


  • Large Employer, (more than 700 employees) – The Boeing Company

Boeing believes that having diverse employees, business partners and community relationships is vital to the success of their business. Diversity initiatives, such as Diversity Councils and Affinity Groups, have resulted in increased levels of employee engagement, greater satisfaction with diversity and inclusion efforts made at work and progress toward affirmative action goals. To gain a better understanding of the opinions of their employees, Boeing conducts an annual employee engagement survey, which includes several diversity-related questions. Year after year, diversity-related questions have received high, positive feedback and continue to improve.

In addition to the small, medium and large employer awards, a new award was introduced this year. The Excellence in Community Diversity Award was established to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to expanding the cause of diversity awareness in South Carolina, past and present. Individuals were judged based on education, military and/or civil service, non-profit service, community outreach and individual volunteers.


  • Excellence in Community Diversity – Les Echols, Community and Minority Enterprise Director, Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce

Les Echols served more than two years as Executive Director of Project H.O.P.E., a grant- funded United Way of Florence County program. In this role, Echols assisted in creating and developing alliances to strengthen workforce initiatives in the region. He worked with employers, community agencies, government entities and others throughout the region to identify and meet the workforce needs of Florence County. Echols was responsible for recruiting, developing and managing 20 diverse volunteers across six non-profit sites in Florence County. In the past year, Echols has volunteered with a number of minority and low-income youth at the Florence Career Center, teaching them professionalism and interview skills.

Congratulations to the Excellence in Workplace Diversity nominees:

Aflac Group Insurance
Midlands Technical College
ArborOne Farm Credit
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC
Bosch Rexroth Corporation
Savannah River Remediation
Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.
SEW-Eurodrive (US Headquarters)
Greenville Chamber of Commerce
Spartanburg Community College
Lockheed Martin
Trident Technical College

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s first state chamber Accredited with Distinction by the U.S. Chamber, is South Carolina’s largest statewide broad-based business and industry trade association representing more than 18,000 businesses and more than one million employees, with 90 percent of membership comprised of small businesses. As the unified voice for business and industry, the Chamber is a catalyst for increasing wealth and enhancing the state’s global competitiveness in order to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians.