BMW SmartState Chair in Automotive Manufacturing
Clemson University

“From the beginning, SmartState Chairs were encouraged to ‘think big’ by our universities and corporate sponsors. That’s exactly what we’ve done in our research, in our teaching, in diversifying and strengthening South Carolina’s economy. And we’re not through yet!”

Laine Mears, BMW SmartState Endowed Chair in Automotive Manufacturing, Clemson University

Since being named the BMW SmartState Endowed Chair in Automotive Manufacturing in 2016, Laine Mears has operated under the mantra to “think big.” He points to former South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell, BMW and Clemson University whose big idea led to the creation of CU-ICAR, Clemson’s internationally recognized automotive research campus, as his inspiration. “If you’re not thinking big, go back to your office. You can spend as much time on a small project as you can on a big idea that can change the world. And that’s what we’re doing at Clemson and across the SmartState Program, thinking big!” Mears is working with Laura B. Cardinal of SC Innovates to create awareness of SmartState’s more than 50 industry-specific research centers and the nearly 75 Endowed Chairs. “SmartState is an incredible resource for business, students, and workforce development. Laura, myself, and our SmartState colleagues are available to support big thinkers and big ideas.”