SAGE’s Pieper, Gov. McMaster announced

SCMA names recipients of Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award

Updated January 5, 2022


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) announced the 2022 winners of the Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award – SAGE Automotive President & CEO Dirk Pieper and S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster.


The SCMA will present the honors during the Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 31, 2022 at The Poinsett Club in Greenville, S.C. (The event was moved from January 13 out of an abundance of caution due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.)


The Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award is the most prestigious annual honor presented by the SCMA to individuals who have worked to advance the manufacturing industry in South Carolina.


Dirk Pieper


Pieper was named president and CEO at SAGE Automotive Interior at its inception in 2009. He joined Milliken & Company in 1979 after graduating from Washington and Lee University with a B.S. degree in Chemistry. He spent 15 years of his career in manufacturing, concluding as director of Manufacturing.


The next 15 years were spent primarily in a general management role involving marketing, development and sales as the business manager of the Ford Business, managing director of Milliken's European operations and global business manager. He received his Master’s of Business Administration from Clemson University in 1990.


Pieper is incredibly engaged in business and community organizations in the Upstate and statewide. He is chairman of the Palmetto Business Forum and serves on the Board of Directors for UNIFRAX Corporation and IXS Corporation. He is a former chairman of the SCMA and the Upstate Heart Association.


He is a member of the Peace Center Executive Committee and Board, the Academic Advisory Panel for Greenville Medical School, the National Council Textile Organization Board (Executive Committee), the Clemson University Business School Board, the UNC Kenan Flagler Business School Advisory Panel, the Upstate Alliance Foreign Direct Investment team, the CU-ICAR Visionary Steering Committee, the CEO Council – Original Equipment Supplier Association.


He is chairman of the Upstate Alliance Automotive Task Force and a member of the Executive Council of the American Heart Association (Upstate, S.C.).


Pieper has been a tireless advocate for the manufacturing community, particularly the automotive and textile sectors in the state. He resides in Greenville with his wife and four children.


Gov. Henry McMaster


Gov. McMaster has been an incredible supporter of manufacturing. Since becoming governor in 2017, South Carolina has seen more than $10 billion in economic investments in the state and more than 30,000 new manufacturing jobs announced. McMaster understands the impact, importance and benefit manufacturing contributes to South Carolina’s prosperity.


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, McMaster has supported the industry at every turn. From the beginning, in March of 2020, he ensured that manufacturing was a critical business that remained open and was never subject to government closure. Per the request of several SCMA members, McMaster issued an Executive Order (EO 2020-22) in early April 2020 that allowed employers to make voluntary "COVID-19 Support Payments" to furloughed employees that would not count as "wages" and allow these individuals to still be eligible for state and federal unemployment benefits.


This order was not mandatory in any way, but did make this option possible for those that wished to pursue it. McMaster also actively supported and signed into law S.147, the South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act.


In addition, Gov. McMaster has supported and continues to support allocations of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER), and American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding to strategic uses that are greatly beneficial to manufacturers including workforce development training, unemployment insurance trust fund, infrastructure, and broadband funding.


McMaster also regularly supports manufacturing and SCMA through the celebration of South Carolina Manufacturing Month by issuing a statewide proclamation and participating in a series of plant tours and media briefings celebrating the industry.


Gov. McMaster is a great friend to SCMA, a strong leader for the state’s manufacturing community, and he is committed to making sure the industry remains strong for many years to come.


Please click here to register for the event.


Source: SCMA

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Dirk Pieper


Gov. Henry McMaster

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