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November 2015

Chapter Spotlight: South Carolina

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Rita Anderson, Program Manager, University of South Carolina, and Janet Claggett, IT Director, Richland County 

Interviewed by Eugene Rudy, GEM content contributor

Our GMIS Chapter Spotlight tour takes us to the Palmetto State, and Columbia, South Carolina. If anyone is wondering, "What is a Palmetto?" it is a palm family of plants with flat leaves. Wikipedia has more information, but more importantly, these Palmetto trees were used as ramparts during the Revolutionary War. British navy artillery shells would hit these "Palmetto Ramparts" and bounce off.  Like those 18th century colonial fortifications, you can understand why South Carolinians are tough and hardy during the worst of times, and they keep their spirits even when things may not look good. 

In October, the residents of South Carolina experienced some of the worst flooding in that state ever. From the midland to the coast, communities in the Palmetto State were underwater and without utilities. With the help of great organizations such as the American Red Cross, United Way, and the student body of the University of South Carolina, the resilient people of South Carolina will recover and be stronger than ever. In the spirit of togetherness, they have endured the struggles and are recovering from the waters to a brighter and more successful future, through creative use of technology.  

Where do you see your state chapter next year in terms of growth, challenges, etc.? 

The South Carolina Chapter has enjoyed strong participation in our three annual workshops and our annual conference in recent years. In fact, the attendance at each has grown each year and is usually sold out for all four events. The big challenge is to get more people involved at the organizational level to participate on the board and on various committees. The same people and same member agencies tend to do all of the planning and preparing and we need to find a way to encourage others to step up.

What is one word to describe your state chapter members?

Innovative. We’ve been very fortunate in tapping our various knowledgeable members for presentations at our workshops. As a result, we’ve enjoyed a wide diversity of topics to explore. At our October N&T Workshop, we learned about Richland County’s UAS project (unmanned aerial system – drone) and how remote sensing was used to monitor the various neighborhood dams during the recent South Carolina floods. Other recent topics were PCI compliance, total threat protection, how to create responsive design applications, how to improve our facilitation skills, and how to motivate project team members.  

We all have conferences, so what’s the big topic for your next conference?

Our annual SC.GMIS Leadership Summit kicks off on March 28, 2016 in the beautiful historic city of Charleston. We are still in the early planning stages for speakers and topics.  

Tell our readers one thing about what your state chapter is doing.

For many years, we have reaped the benefits of a successful partnership with two South Carolina chapters of the Project Management Institute. Our two partners are the Charleston PMI and Midlands PMI chapters. In fact, the Charleston chapter co-sponsors our annual Leadership Summit with us. The advantage of the partnership is that we can afford more intriguing speakers and extend our reach to the chapter audiences.
The Data Dive project will be in full swing shortly and will give our members an opportunity to share a lot of information about ourselves. What is one piece of information you would like to see?
IT spending per capita, ratio of IT staff to organizational staff, etc. Percent of staff dedicated to the various IT functions: data center operations, security, and application development, etc.

Next month, we head north to North Carolina, home to NCLGISA, and see what’s happening there. We will also ask the question, "What is a 'Tar Heel'?"

**Anyone looking to help people and families still affected by the flooding in South Carolina may do so via the links from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s webpage: Thank You!**

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