Columbia, South Carolina
March 20, 2013 – Henry "Hank" O. Bennett, Jr., director of TEF Automotive Technology for
Robert Bosch Corporation, was honored yesterday as an Ambassador for Economic
Development by the Department of Commerce as part of South Carolina’s Industry
Appreciation Week. The ceremony took
place in Columbia on Tuesday, March 19th, 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 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," said Gov. Nikki Haley.
Bennett has been employed with the Robert Bosch Corporation for 27
years, working both in the Charleston, S.C. plant and in Bamberg, Germany. Experience from both assignments instilled in
him a commitment to support youth programs developing interest in science,
technology, and math.
Bennett initiated Bosch’s involvement with the SAE program, "A World in
Motion," in local schools in 2006. The AWIM program provides engineering
challenges for grades five through nine in an in-school program led by
volunteers. He increased his involvement
and commitment to the developing workforce of tomorrow in 2009 by taking the
lead for the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)
Robotics program for the Lowcountry. He
has partnered with BAE Systems, SPAWAR, and the Lowcountry Manufacturers
Council to expand from a single team representing 11 different area high
schools to eight local teams in the Tri-County area.
Currently, there are more than 300 students and mentors involved in the
FIRST program. Through FIRST, students
develop technical skills as well as experience-challenging "life lessons,"
including team work, communication, and problem solving.
"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.