Local business is stop on Wilson bus tour

  • U.S. Congressman Joe Wilson visited Anovotek in Barnwell and presented the Alexander family a certificate following a tour of their facility. Pictured are Anovotek owners (center) Don and Garnett Alexander, their son and partner Daniel Alexander (far right), son Wil Alexander (far left) and Congressman Joe Wilson.

A local business was one of the stops last week in Congressman Joe Wilson’s district bus tour.

Wilson, his wife and staff stopped at Anovotek in Barnwell on Thursday, Aug. 31 to meet with company owner Don Alexander along with his family and staff. Also attending were representatives from the Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce, SouthernCarolina Alliance, Barnwell County Economic Development, City of Barnwell and Barnwell County.

Alexander led a tour of the newly-renovated building on Patterson Street which serves as a research and development facility. “Particularly in rural areas, small companies, technology based, investing in these communities is critical,” said Alexander. “We’ve renovated about 12,000 square feet of space that was unoccupied at the time we purchased it. Now they look nice, we’re bringing in jobs and investment and really working on a better quality of life improvement for the whole area.”

He said they use local contractors and employers to enhance the local economy.

Anovotek specializes in taking ideas and testing them on a small scale to determine their potential of large-scale applications. “Not fundamental R&D (research and development) but applied R&D,” he said.

The building contains a laboratory, a pilot plant, and display area. The pilot plant “gives us a small footprint of full-scale industrial machinery.”

“The name of the game in industry today is innovation and speed to market. You have to be innovative and you have to be fast. Otherwise, someone else will beat you to market,” said Alexander. “We’re perfectly set up to do that here.”

“Our sweet-stop is brining performance-based things to market,” he said, “using fibers, plastics and textiles.” Some of the products developed at Anovotek include insect-repelling clothing, towels that stay fresh for weeks, water repellency, and mosquito netting.

Alexander thanked Wilson for coming to Anovotek. “As you know, Congressman Wilson has been a champion of all of the things we enjoy and makes our life better. He is great to Barnwell County, great to his whole district but particularly great for Barnwell County, for big industry and small industry. We really appreciate him taking the time to be here.”

Wilson said he is “very grateful for the opportunity” to see what is being done at Anovotek. He said the bus tour is a way for him to see what is being doing in small business across the district.

He said it was “rather ironic” that President Trump had recently imposed tax cuts and reforms “to restore Main Street and here we are on Main Street.”

Wilson said it has been “inspiring to me to see the small businesses” such as Anovotek.

Wilson said that upon return to Washington they would be immediately starting to work on tax reform and other measures to help businesses. He said President Trump has indicated that for the country to improve that the gross domestic product rate needs to increase “by 3 percent or more.”