CONVERGE 2022 Lowcountry Economic Development Summit

Thanks to everyone who attended, as well as our generous sponsors, for making CONVERGE 2022 such a success!

The inaugural CONVERGE Lowcountry Economic Development Summit in January 2020 brought together over 400 business and government leaders and community members committed to making the Lowcountry the best place in the country to live and do business. Now, after nearly two years of unprecedented challenges, we are excited to report that Beaufort County is Stronger Than Ever.

On Thursday, January 27th 2022, leaders from around the region gathered at Sun City’s Pinckney Hall for CONVERGE 2022 in order to:

  • Network with the region’s change agents and deal makers.
  • Hear about the latest successes throughout the region.
  • Learn what’s on the economic development horizon.
  • Hear first hand from Knudt Flor, former President & CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., and Suzanne Dickerson, Director of SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance at the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, on the path from education to South Carolina’s bright, innovative and cutting edge future in manufacturing and technology.
  • Learn how the SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance is turning research into products at the pace of business.
  • Learn more about the exceptional expertise and matching funding available for SC companies from the SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance.
CONVERGE 2022 Lowcountry Economic Development Summit


Thursday, January 27, 2022
8:00 – 11:30 a.m.


Pinckney Hall
114 Sun City Lane
Bluffton, SC, 29909

Keynote Speakers

Knudt Flor, retired President & CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., and Suzanne Dickerson, Director of SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance at the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness

Converge 2022 Keynote Speakers

Knudt Flor

Knudt Flor

Retired President and CEO, BMW Manufacturing Co.

Knudt Flor retired in September 2021 from the position of President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co. in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He has over 33 years of leadership and executive experience within the BMW Group Global Production Network and has held several Plant Director, COO and CEO Positions.

Flor began his career with BMW in 1988 at the Engine Plant in Munich, Germany as Production Engineer, following his academic degree in Mechanical Engineering. He then served in several roles in Quality Assurance and Quality Management at the BMW Munich plant, while in parallel obtaining qualifications as Quality Engineer and Auditor.

From 1996-2000, he worked at the US BMW Spartanburg plant as Manager for Quality Assurance of Vehicle Assembly and Purchased Parts. He has been Director of International Logistics for the BMW Group, Director of the BMW Engine Plant in Munich, Director of BMW Vehicle Plant Rosslyn in South Africa, and Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Technology at BMW Brilliance Automotive Joint Venture in Shenyang, China. He served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Quality for the BMW Group in the Headquarters with direct report to the Chairman of the Board.

Flor is active in the community at a local and national level. He is a Founding Director of South Carolina Fraunhofer USA Alliance. He serves as chairman of the board of directors for Autos Drive America and is a board member for the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States. In September 2021, he was awarded by the Governor of South Carolina with the “Order of the Palmetto”, the highest civilian honor, for improving competitiveness of industry operations in the state of South Carolina.

Suzanne Dickerson

Suzanne Dickerson

Director of SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance, South Carolina Council on Competitiveness

Suzanne joined the SC Council on Competitiveness in 2016 after serving for 8 years as the Director for International Business Development at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). Suzanne’s experience includes 20 years in the automotive industry: 12 years within BMW working in the fields of corporate sustainability, innovation management and long-term strategic and structural planning.

She began her career with BMW in Munich, Germany at corporate headquarters upon completion of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program. Suzanne speaks fluent German and is also a Fellow of the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Forum. Suzanne is a Board Member of the South Carolina Automotive Council a graduate of the Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Program. She serves on the Board of the South Carolina International Trade Conference and the South Carolina Aquarium Board.

Suzanne received the Knowledge Economist Award from the South Carolina Research Authority and in 2015, Suzanne was the recipient of the Clemson Women in Leadership Award. In 2020, Suzanne was awarded the Charleston Woman of the Year Award from the Charleston Women in Trade organization and was sworn in as the Honorary Consul to the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2021, she was recognized as SC Biz GSA Magazine’s Woman of Influence.