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Economic Growth Summit to focus on S.C. and N.C. ports

July 28, 2009

John F. Hassell III, interim president and CEO of SC State Ports Authority, and Thomas J. Eagar, CEO of NC State Ports Authority, will be the keynote speakers at the 12th annual Economic Growth Summit on Friday, Aug. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon in Wheelwright Auditorium at Coastal Carolina University. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m.

The annual economic conference, sponsored by the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration at Coastal Carolina University and the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), and supported by The Sun News, is free and open to the public.

"The ImPORTance of the Ports to NC and SC" and "The Significance of I-73 and I-74 to the Success of the Ports" are topics to be discussed at the summit.

Hassell, a native of Charleston, has served for 15 years as president of the Maritime Association of South Carolina, a chamber of commerce for port-related businesses, organizations and agencies. Prior to that, he worked for Santee Cooper, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the SC State Ports Authority. He was founding president of the Charleston Port & Seafarers Society and founding chairman of the S.C. World Trade Center.

Eagar, who was appointed chief executive officer in August 2004 by the NC State Ports Authority Board of Directors, has a 30-year career in maritime transportation including senior management positions with Florida-based Crowley American Transport Inc., Sea-Land Service Inc. and Chiquita Brands North America in Cincinnati, as well as five years of international experience.

Addressing economic outlook issues will be William W. (Woody) Hall and Donald L. Schunk, research economists.

Hall, a senior economist with the Center for Business and Economic Services in the Cameron School of Business at UNCW, will address the regional North Carolina economic forecast.

Donald Schunk, research economist for the BB&T Center for Economics and Community Development in the Wall College of Business at Coastal Carolina University, will address the national outlook and forecast the regional outlook for South Carolina. There will also be a panel to discuss I-73 and I-74 and their significance to the North Carolina and South Carolina ports, as well as the economic future of the region. The panel will consist of Hassell; Eagar; Rep. Alan D. Clemmons, Disctrict 107, S.C. General Assembly; and Rep. Daniel F. McComas, District 19, N.C. General Assembly.

To register, e-mail