Element celebrates 5th anniversary

The Fairfield Central cheerleaders and band welcome Governor McMaster and Congressman Norman to Element.

Gov. McMaster, Congressman Norman Praise Company’s Success

WINNSBORO – “Last summer we were wondering how we were going to stay open. This year we’re wondering how we’re going to produce all the orders that are coming in like a tsunami,” Michael O’Shaughnessy, CEO and owner of Element, said during a barbecue luncheon at the facility in Winnsboro on Friday.

Gov. Henry McMaster addresses the lunch crowd at Element on Friday. Element owner and CEO Michael O’Shaughnessy and Congressman Ralph Norman, seated, also spoke, honoring Element’s fifth anniversary. | Barbara Ball

The event, which featured Gov. Henry McMaster and U. S. Representative Ralph Norman as speakers, was a triple celebration of the company’s survival of last summer’s tariff crisis, it’s now booming business and the fifth anniversary of the opening of Element.

In referring to what he called the trade war last year that threatened to raise the tariff on televisions assembled by Element, O’Shaughnessy said, “while it [trade war] is a good thing in the long term, Element found itself in a unique situation in which the tariffs could have materially hurt us or put us out of business.

“But we all went to work to solve the crisis,” he said, crediting McMaster, Norman, county and company officials. “We have now solved the tariff issue that has been holding us back,” O’Shaughnessy said.

Introducing McMaster and praising him for his support of the company in its darkest hour, O’Shaughnessy said there is not a better advocate for South Carolina than Gov. McMaster.

“It was because of Gov. Haley that Element came to South Carolina,” O’Shaughnessy said. “But it’s because of Gov. McMaster that we stayed in South Carolina. He went to bat for us and he never stopped.”

The luncheon was also an opportunity for Carl Kennedy, Vice President of Human Resources, to announce that the company has hired 100 new employees since the first of the year. He also acknowledged the 99 employees who have been with the company since it opened.

Those employees were joined by McMaster and Norman as well as county, Town of Winnsboro and school officials under two large white tents in front of the building on Highway 321 Bypass.

Speaking to Element’s success, McMaster said the people, “like the people here,” he said, gesturing to those sitting before him, have contributed to that success.

“You’ve got to have the people, you’ve got to have the businesses and you’ve got to have the education – the three legs of the stool. If you have two of these and not the third, it won’t work,” McMaster said, addressing the state’s success in bringing in new companies.

“New businesses are coming to South Carolina and we’re going straight to the top,” he said. “The best is yet to come.”

Quoting Winston Churchill, Norman said, “’There’ll be a time when doing your best is not good enough, when we must do what’s required,’ You have done what’s required,” Norman said, praising the company, its employees, county and state officials for pulling Element through last summer’s crisis.