COLUMBIA — Representatives of the tourism, banking, energy, government and education sectors of Union County were among more than 50 local leaders and development professionals from across the state to complete the 2012 South Carolina Economic Development Institute earlier this month.
The South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association announced that Will Boyles, Emma Garner, Laura Hembree, Steve Lowe and Bryan Stone were among the 55 participants to receive their Certificates of Completion during the final day of the institute at The Phillips Market Center at the S.C. Farmers Market.
Boyles is executive director of the Union County Tourism Commission; Hembree is accounting supervisor for the City of Union; Garner is vice president and center sales manager for Provident Community Bank; Lowe is interim dean of USC Union; and Stone is CEO for Lockhart Power.
In announcing the completion of the institute, the association stated that “participants in the institute traveled to different locations throughout the state that have been successful in community development and attracting and expanding their business and industrial base. Attendees gained insight into issues relating to: water and waste water infrastructure, available industrial or business buildings, and the importance other community development components necessary to attract investment.”
Hembree said Friday that she found the institute to be fascinating and informative, providing her and her fellow participants with the opportunity to gain a different perspective on economic development.
“They brought in different speakers, there were four phases and each phase had different speakers,” Hembree said. “The first phase was about dealing with the media and public speaking. Phases two through four were more geared toward land development, site preparation and how to communicate with businesses and industries that might want to move into the area.
“What I like that they did was that they brought in speakers that were on the business side,” she said. “They gave us an idea of what industries are looking at, what they are looking for from their point of view instead of our point of view.”
Boyles said he also enjoyed the institute, adding that during the graduation ceremony Union County’s development efforts were held up as a model.
“It was four sessions throughout the year, I really enjoyed the program,” Boyles said. “All four sessions touched on different aspects of economic development. For me it was touching on some old ideas from a new perspective as well learning new ideas from professionals from around the state about economic development.
“Union County is lucky to have our development board and (executive director) Andrena Powell-Baker. New members like myself are encouraged to attend the institute. Union County’s model was recognized during the graduation with the South Carolina Department of Commerce applauding the board’s efforts to make sure that all of its members have a sound understanding of current economic development projects.”
The institute is a partnership between the association and S.C. Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association (SCEDA). The program emphasizes essential elements necessary to be competitive in today’s global economy and educates supporters of economic development on emerging trends in community and economic development.
The institute is open to participants from a wide variety of organizations and entities including:
1. City, town and county councils
2. Local economic development practitioners
3. County economic development boards
4. County school boards
5. Regional economic development boards
6. Utility companies
7. Local/state government employees
The association announced that 2013 will mark the 23rd year for the quarterly, two-day session institute. Institute sessions planned for 2013 are as follows:
• Session I — “Leadership & Communication Skills” — Feb. 7 and 8 — Sumter/Central Carolina Technical College Health Sciences Center
• Session II — “Community Development” — May 9 and 10 — City of Aiken Municipal Auditorium
• Session III — “Business & Industrial Development” — Aug. 8 and 9 — Spartanburg/The George/USC Upstate
• Session IV — “Product Development” — Nov. 7 and 8 — Rock Hill Operations Center
For more information on the 2013 Institute, interested attendees should visit the web at www.sceda.org or contact the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association at 803-929-0305.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.