United Way YLS- Learning with Leaders Fall Breakfast with Neil McLean

November 13, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – November 7, 2008 -Young leaders in Columbia, South Carolina, know that this community is a great place to live and work, and it is only getting better.   This was the message that was reiterated at the fall professional development, Learning with Leaders, breakfast sponsored by the United Way of the Midlands Young Leaders Society by guest speaker, Neil McLean, founder and managing partner of Sagacious Partners, an economic development consulting firm, and executive director of EngenuitySC.  EngenuitySC is an active public/private partnership comprised of business and industry leaders, along with representatives from local government and academia that strives to create a fertile business climate in Columbia and the Midlands by encouraging entrepreneurship and facilitating the commercialization of ideas and technology.

src=/wp-content/uploads/img/DSC_0004_200.jpgThe breakfast was held at the Inn at USC on Friday, October 31. As YLS members and other young professionals from the Midlands networked and enjoyed breakfast, McLean gave a presentation about the importance of growing a knowledge-based and talent driven economy in Columbia and the Midlands.   Most recently, he and his colleagues at EngenuitySC have been working on projects like the Next Energy Initiative and the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge to support and grow our knowledge economy.

For the past five years, EngenuitySC has collaborated with the University of South Carolina, the City of Columbia and other partners such as the SC Research Authority to promote hydrogen fuel cell research and technology.  As a result, Columbia is now becoming a national leader in this arena. This is evidenced by the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) electing Columbia as the location for its 2009 international convention, which will be the largest convention to ever be held in South Carolina.

McLean also discussed the importance of retaining talented, young professionals in our state and region, in order for our knowledge economy to prosper.  This message resonated with young professionals in the audience. 

src=/wp-content/uploads/img/DSC_0001_200.jpgColumbia is home to four major universities, all of which develop bright students into young professionals, but when these talented folks graduate, a large percentage of them seek employment outside of the state, said McLean. It is important that our students and young people, like yourselves, understand the tremendous opportunities available to them here in Columbia, and we need to focus on retaining this talent and keeping it in South Carolina, McLean continued.

McLean engaged YLS members and answered their questions following his presentation about the future of Columbia’s knowledge economy.

Mr. McLean’s presentation was very interesting and helped me to understand the progress Columbia is making as an emerging leader of hydrogen fuel cell research, said YLS steering committee member and Nelson Mullins attorney Jody Bedenbaugh.

YLS has several Learning with Leaders events planned throughout the year with the goal of bringing young professionals together to learn about important issues impacting the Midlands. 

For more information about this event or other similar YLS events, contact Emily Brady at [email protected] or Kristie Cross at [email protected], Co-Chairs of the Professional Development Committee for the Young Leaders Society.