From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Want to see Japan? Get hired at Bridgestone

Getting one of those recently-advertised jobs at Bridgestone could also include a trip to Japan – with the help of South Carolina.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations announced Tuesday that applications for 75 engineering positions are being accepted through ReadySC.
As part of the incentives agreement for the Bridgestone tire manufacturing expansion projects, ReadySC will support 400 hours of on-the-job training in Japan for about 200 trainees.
Bridgestone has to cover the airfare of the employees it wants to train at HQ, but ReadySC is going to provide $225 per day for food and lodging.
ReadySC is part of the the state’s technical college system and is used as the training program for economic development projects like Bridgestone in Graniteville and Boeing in Charleston. Access to ReadySC is free, provided that the company is creating new jobs.
The incentives and service commitments are spelled out in the agreement between the company and the state, which our South Carolina bureau obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The value of the services: $1.3 million in the expansion of the passenger tire manufacturing and $7.2 million for the new off-road tire plant that will be built nearby.
Bridgestone needs to train some of the people in Japan because they only make those humungous tires there, and the new hires need to see the process first-hand.

STATE CHARTER: Security Federal Corp., the Aiken holding company for Security Federal Bank, converted from a federally chartered stock savings bank to a state chartered commercial bank.
Why?
“Our conversion to a state-chartered commercial bank reflects the bank’s operating strategy and increase in the origination of commercial loans,” said J. Chris Verenes, bank chairman and chief executive. “The charter conversion will also result in reduced regulatory fees and reduced South Carolina state income taxes.”
Dec. 28 was the official day of the conversion and it is now being regulated by the state commissioner of banking instead of the the federal office of the comptroller of currency.
Interestingly enough, despite being a state bank now, federal will remain in the bank’s name.

BAKERY BUILDING: Flowers Foods on Dec. 28 bought the bakery building owned by its subsidiary Derst Baking Co., putting it in the name of FDG Flowers Holdings LLC.
The 4-acre site at the corner of Peach Orchard Road and Melrose Drive changed hands at a price of $1.9 million.
Derst Baking, which makes the Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread you see in grocery stores, became a part of Flowers in 2006.

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