Caterpillar’s Brian T. Mezei honored as Sumter County’s Ambassador

March 20, 2013

Caterpillar’s Brian T. Mezei honored as Sumter County’s Ambassador image

COLUMBIA, S.C. – March 20, 2013 – Brian T. Mezei, facility manager for Caterpillar Hydraulics, was honored yesterday as Sumter County’s Ambassador for Economic Development by Gov. Nikki Haley and the Department of Commerce as part of South Carolina’s Industry Appreciation Week. The ceremony took place in Columbia on Tuesday, March 19 on the grounds of the Governor’s mansion and highlighted 47 individuals from 46 counties for their exceptional efforts to bolster community and economic development activities in South Carolina.

“South Carolina is becoming the new ‘it’ state for doing business. And industry and local leaders are helping show the nation and the world the benefits the Palmetto State has to offer companies. Today we celebrate the local leaders who are making a difference and improving the competitiveness of their communities,” Gov. Haley said.

Nominated by Jay Schwedler, president and CEO of Sumter Economic Development, Mezei relocated to Sumter from a Caterpillar plant in Mexico. 

“Brian saw firsthand how business is conducted south of the border, and he knew Sumter’s plant could not only compete, but it could out-produce them,” Schwedler said. “Brian worked tirelessly crafting his plans for an expansion of the Sumter facility, and against the odds he persuaded the company to pursue a $20 million, 80-job expansion. He has drive, vision and confidence in the abilities of our local workforce. We’re glad to have him in Sumter, and proud to nominate him for this honor.”

The Sumter expansion nearly doubled the size of the facility’s workforce, and nearly tripled the size of the facility, from 100,000 square feet to 270,000 square feet. Additionally, the $20 million investment is nearly triple the size of Caterpillar’s original 1998 investment of $7 million. 

“Economic development is a team effort, requiring input from organizations and individuals across the state. South Carolina continues to enjoy economic development successes because of the work of the individuals recognized as Ambassadors for Economic Development. They are a vital part of Team South Carolina,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

Each year the Department of Commerce joins local communities to thank businesses for their vital contributions to South Carolina’s economy.  The Department of Commerce kicks off Industry Appreciation Week each year by recognizing individuals throughout South Carolina as Ambassadors for Economic Development.  These individuals include local leaders from the private sector representing a variety of businesses and economic development organizations committed to securing new jobs and investment in their communities.