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CDC Tech Life Podcast Episode 33 Features Zach McNamara - Founder and CEO - Portside Technology

Episode 33 of the CDC Tech Life Podcast features Zach McNamara; founder and CEO of Charleston SC-based technology company Portside Technology and CEO of Isofy. Zach chronicles his diverse career in technology and shares his thoughts on the Charleston Digital Corridor and how Portside is adapting to the Charleston Tech Center.

This episode is brought to you by Vistio. Vistio's unique approach to optimizing contact centers uses proprietary technology and AI to enhance the abilities of each agent instead of replacing them, quickly turning new hires into agents and agents into subject matter experts.



Charleston Tech Startup That Tracks Drug Prices To Upsize Its HQ And Add Jobs

A supply-chain software startup spun out of the Medical University of South Carolina is investing $220,000 to relocate its headquarters to Charleston's Historic District and expand its payroll. QuicksortRx Inc. said it plans to add 41 jobs over the next three years.

The health-care technology firm will be moving to downtown's French Quarter. It will swap out its existing space in the Charleston Tech Center on Morrison Drive to a larger 4,000-square-foot office at 2 Cumberland St., a block south of Market Street, to accommodate new hires and hold on-site conferences for customers. Read more:

Charleston’s Tech Economy Strong In 2023

In its Annual Wage & Job Growth Survey, the Charleston Digital Corridor is pleased to announce that the average per-capita wage at companies participating in the 2023 survey is $123,079 – the highest average wage since the CDC began surveying its members in 2003. This number once again represents more than twice the State of South Carolina's average wage of $50,650 and Charleston Region average wage of $54,790 according to the latest (May 2022) data available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Key workforce and workspace insights from the 2023 survey:

  • 63% of companies responding reported adding jobs in 2023
  • 88% expect to continue hiring in 2024
  • 53% expect their workforce blend (remote vs. in-office) to remain the same in 2024
  • 41% expect increasing remote employment in 2024

"For an organization that has 'Raising per-capita wages' as one of its three primary objectives, the steadily growing average wage we are seeing Year-over-year is extremely gratifying and validating," said Charleston Digital Corridor Executive Director, Ernest Andrade.

Portside Technology and sister company isofy, launched in 2020, is just one example of an early-stage company who has performed extremely well in 2023. The IT services company which supports businesses nationally, has experienced 4x Year-over-year revenue growth, has more than doubled their staff and expects to see robust growth in 2024.

"As the workplace evolves to multiple locations and multiple tenants, our network solutions help unify and simplify the IT needs of our clients," said Portside Technology Founder and CEO, Zach McNamara. "It has been a remarkable growth year for us", he added.

QuicksortRx Founders, Matt Hebbard and Jonathan Yantis

QuicksortRx Grows Corporate Headquarters With Expansion In Charleston County

QuicksortRx, a software-enabled service company that provides pharmacy supply chain management solutions for health systems, today announced it will grow its corporate headquarters with an expansion in Charleston County. The $220,000 investment will create 41 new jobs over the next three years.

Originally created at the Medical University of South Carolina, QuicksortRx helps health systems streamline pharmaceutical market analysis to reduce the cost of quality healthcare. The platform unifies purchase, cost, and compliance information to simplify supply chain management and ensure hospitals secure medications at the best price.

"Charleston is an amazing city to live and work in. I'm lucky to call this my hometown, and we couldn't ask for a better place to grow a company. It also helps that talented people want to move here," said QuicksortRx Co-Founder and CEO Jonathan Yantis.

The company is moving from its current location at the Charleston Tech Center to a larger, 4,000-square-foot facility at 2 Cumberland St. in Charleston. The new facility will accommodate employee growth and allow QuicksortRx to host on-site conferences for customers.

"Congratulations to QuicksortRx on their remarkable journey of growth and success. This expansion is a testament to their dedication, innovation, and unwavering commitment to improving healthcare through technology. QuicksortRx, born from the Medical University of South Carolina and nurtured within the Charleston Digital Corridor, has not only expanded its physical space but also the boundaries of what's possible in healthcare," said Charleston County Council Chairman Herbert  Sass III.

Operations are expected to be online in December 2023. Individuals interested in joining the QuicksortRx team should visit the company's careers page.

SC Nexus Receives Federal Designation As a Regional Technology And Innovation Hub For Advanced Energy

The Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy (SC Nexus) received the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration's (EDA) designation as one of 31 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs). The South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) submitted the application for designation on behalf of SC Nexus, a broad consortium of higher education institutions, technical colleges, numerous state agencies, the Savannah River National Laboratory, economic development alliances, community organizations, non-profits and private companies, including electric utilities.

The EDA received nearly 400 Tech Hub applications, and of the 31 designations located across 32 states and Puerto Rico, three of the Tech Hubs, including SC Nexus, are in the Atlanta Region. As an officially designated Tech Hub, SC Nexus will expand concerted efforts focusing on Advanced Energy Resiliency, the consortium's selected technology focus. Additionally, as a designated Tech Hub, SC Nexus will be eligible to apply for EDA's Phase 2 funding – to leverage and accelerate existing efforts – available through the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which authorized $10 billion over five years for the Tech Hubs effort. Phase 2 will award implementation grants between $40-$70 million each, to at least five designated Tech Hubs, totaling approximately $500 million.

"Receiving the federal Tech Hubs designation signals to the world that South Carolina has the necessary assets and infrastructure to create a real impact in the advanced energy resiliency sector," said Governor Henry McMaster. "Collaboration has long been a key component to our success, and we're confident SC Nexus' concerted efforts will align our state as a leader in advanced energy technology development, contributing to our national security by bolstering energy independence."

Collectively, SC Nexus' efforts will focus the consortium's Advanced Resilient Energy technological advancement efforts across a defined geography consisting of the Midlands and Upstate regions, encompassing the Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Greenville-Anderson, Spartanburg and Columbia, as well as surrounding counties such as Aiken and Orangeburg.

Notably, this area covers more than 60% of the state's distressed counties. Of the long-term jobs created by SC Nexus' efforts, the consortium has the target for more than 40% of those jobs to be sourced from underserved and rural communities. While initial activity will be concentrated within SC Nexus' defined geography, the long-term impacts will cascade across the region, state and the Southeastern U.S., benefiting rural and underserved communities.

SC Nexus' work will target innovation and efforts geared toward enhancing energy generation, distribution and storage, which will result in the:

  • Development of deployable and exportable electricity technologies that accelerate manufacturing of energy components and materials, innovate new battery technologies and efficiently integrate advanced electricity sources into the grid.
  • Acceleration of high-quality job growth for a diverse workforce, with multiple education and training pathways through South Carolina's broad education ecosystem.
  • Closure of infrastructure gaps in rural and distressed communities.
  • Enhancement of South Carolina's ability to play a key role advancing the country's competitiveness in the development and integration of globally leading electric-power technologies.

Achieving a Tech Hub designation further aligns SC Nexus with the state's ongoing focus on energy resiliency and the development of advanced energy technology, underscored by Governor Henry McMaster's Executive Order 2023-18, designed to secure South Carolina's energy future. Related efforts will complement and reinforce the work of powerSC, which the executive order established. SC Nexus has garnered support from South Carolina's entire federal legislative delegation, as well as key leaders from the South Carolina House and Senate.

A public and private consortium, led by S.C. Commerce, SC Nexus consists of more than 35 members including seven core members. In addition to S.C. Commerce, the initial core members are:

  • Clemson University
  • Savannah River National Laboratory
  • South Carolina Council on Competitiveness
  • South Carolina State University
  • SC Technical College System
  • University of South Carolina

The Phase 2 funding application window closes Feb. 29, 2024. SC Nexus will continue to conduct consortium meetings to pursue available funding and to fulfill the designation and beyond.

Episode 31 Features Tom Wilson, Head of Instruction - CDC Learning Center

Episode 31 of the CDC Tech Life Podcast features Tom Wilson, Founder and CEO of Hyper IO and now also the Head of Instruction for the new Charleston Digital Corridor Learning Center. Tom shares the vision for the CDC Learning Center, what participants can expect and details of an upcoming class on ChatGPT on October 19th, 2023.

This is episode is brought to you by Google. Google provided $250,000 for the CDC Learning Center, as its mission aligns with Google's work to help upskill the regional workforce and remove barriers to entry in the tech industry. Google has a data center in Berkeley County and has awarded more than $6 million since 2006 to local schools and nonprofits in South Carolina to advance this vision.


inCitu is Launching a City-wide Augmented Reality (AR) Layer of the Future of Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC will be the site of a new tech pilot project to bring the future of the city to life with augmented reality (AR) via inCitu, a startup that democratizes urban planning by turning city planning data into accessible, smartphone-based AR experiences.

CHARLESTON, S.C. and NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ – Charleston, SC will be the site of a new tech pilot project to bring the future of the city to life with augmented reality (AR) via inCitu, a startup that democratizes urban planning by turning city planning data into accessible, smartphone-based AR experiences. Although urban development information is publicly available, too often the open data is inaccessible or indecipherable to the average person. By putting the future of the city in the palm of residents' hands on the street, Charleston is becoming actively transparent, boosting the accessibility and inclusivity of open data to improve local conversations around urban change.

In beautiful, historic Charleston, there's a major initiative under way to protect the city from flooding. Proposed development of the perimeter protection barrier has been met with lively debate from citizens who care passionately about how it will appear. Using InCitu's AR tool, residents would be able to scan a QR code on-site and see the proposed designs in real-scale, as if it is built.

"People assume the worst until they have an opportunity to view new buildings or large-scale infrastructure projects with their own eyes. The community can use their phones and see proposed building designs for themselves" said Paul Turner, CEO of Virtual America, a local Charleston-based start-up technology company specializing in virtual and augmented reality for applications showcasing art, architecture and history. "This is an easy-to-use low friction way to allow local advocacy groups and individual citizens to see and provide direct and immediate feedback to architects or commercial developers on their plans for new building and infrastructure projects throughout the City of Charleston. Also to allow City leaders and associated oversight organizations to quickly gather citizen comments beyond the traditional town hall or oversight board meeting format.

Ben Davis, CEO of MOODOG, an established local animation and interactive experience studio with content produced for Peacock, Kennedy Space Center, SC Aquarium, Patriots Point, and many more, states that "Bringing data to life for the community in this way allows everyone to be part of the story - which is our mission! From here, we can imagine a multitude of both serious and fun interactions that will accelerate understanding and communication."

As cities create digital replicas of their urban centers, adapting technology into the existing city planning processes to handle real time 3D data will be a commonplace challenge. Although urban development information is publicly available, too often the open data is inaccessible or indecipherable to the average person. Cities like Charleston are leading the way for smart, democratic cities that streamline the time and costs it takes to plan and build for a sustainable, safe, and equitable future for all. For more info on these projects follow @incitu_ar on instagram

About inCitu:

inCitu is a New York-based technology company delivering on a mission to bring future cities to life via augmented reality (AR). It empowers residents, industry professionals, and decision makers to collaborate on the process of urban change. inCitu turns proposed and upcoming development information from private and public resources into a real-scale AR experience, available to anyone with a smartphone. To date it has worked on more than 4,000 construction sites in New York, California and beyond.

Moondog Animation Studio is an entertainment studio located in Charleston that has a track record of producing exceptional story-driven experiences. They utilize cutting-edge technology in the fields of animation and interactive experiences, ranging from screens to large-scale location-based entertainment venues. They incorporate technologies such as AR, VR, AI, projection mapping, human input interaction, blockchain, and more.

Virtual America is a Charleston-based technology company focused on researching and developing virtual and augmented reality applications showcasing the creative work of artists, historic preservationists, architects, museum curators and local/regional tour guides and storytellers.

Upcoming Classes & Events

Dec 6, 9AM - 10:30AM

ChatGPT for Coders

ChatGPT won't be replacing any software developers any time soon. It's not always correct, and it doesn't do a great job at understanding larger codebases. So should you be using it to help you write code? Absolutely! With the right guidance from a developer, ChatGPT can eliminate large amounts of time in creating boilerplate code, refactoring, adding new functionality and working across different languages. Know how to write some code in Java but not Python? Want to quickly add a unit test to some new functionality? Want to spin up a new API in Go but don't know where to start? All of these are great use cases, and if you can learn to use GPT effectively in your coding process you can move much faster and solve larger and more complex problems every day. Whether you are a seasoned coder or just starting out, this class should leave you with new tricks and faster process to build the things you're excited to build.

Dec 12, 7:30AM - 9AM

2024 Economic Outlook Conference

In times of uncertainty whether you are running a business or planning your investments, knowledge can be your most valuable asset. Stephen Slifer, Owner and Chief Economist at NumberNomics will provide insight regarding what to expect in 2024 and 2025. Topics include -

  • The economy has changed dramatically.
  • Consumers are scared, but they keep spending. But for how long?
  • Businesses fear a recession is coming but won't lay off people. For how long?
  • Homeowners won't put their house on the market. When will that change?
  • Will inflation continue to slow? How quickly?
  • Are interest rates close to their peak? When will they fall? How fast?
  • Can the Fed pull off a soft landing? Or is a recession inevitable?
  • War in the Middle East further confuses the issue.

Event includes breakfast. Learn more and Register to attend HERE.

Dec 28, 9AM - 11AM

ChatGPT for Students

The ChatGPT for Students, aimed at middle and high school students, provides practical guidance and examples (along with a few cautions) on becoming proficient with conversational AI tools such as ChatGPT for academic enhancement and personal growth.

Jan 17, 9AM - 11AM

Introduction to ChatGPT

The "Introduction to ChatGPT" class offers an insightful journey into the capabilities, applications, and underlying principles of ChatGPT, a cutting-edge large language model (LLM) developed by OpenAI. This course provides participants with a foundational understanding of how ChatGPT works and equips them with practical knowledge to interact effectively with the model.

Feb 14, 9AM - 11AM

Next Level ChatGPT

So, you've been using ChatGPT and want to go further? This class is designed to level up your beginner skills and understand how to get the most out of this new technology.