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Bill Masters Receives the Order of the Palmetto

Bill Masters Receives the Order of the Palmetto

Bill Masters, the founder and former CEO of Perception Kayaks, and father of 3D printing, received the Order of the Palmetto at The Innovative Spirit Awards, hosted by Clemson University’s Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Masters, an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, advisor and mentor, was honored for his work and service in South Carolina’s business community.

Senator Larry A. Martin (Republican – Pickens) presented the Order of the Palmetto on behalf of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Senator Martin recalled how he watched Masters build his kayak company from scratch. “It was an amazing thing, to see how many lives he touched along the way,” he said.


Bill's made a huge contribution to the economic development of Pickens County and the State of South Carolina, and he continues to contribute.

Masters built Perception Kayaks into the U.S. market leader before selling to Watermark Paddlesports, later acquired by Confluence Holdings. He also filed the first patent on 3D printing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is just one of over 50 patents that he holds.

Today, Masters serves on the boards of various foundations, non-profits and professional organizations, while working to share his experience and insights with young people and a range of commercial ventures. He also speaks to academic, industry and professional groups, with a perspective that combines his humble roots, counter-cultural sensibilities and innovative approach to engineering and manufacturing.