Richard K. Blackwell, SCCED
Executive Director


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Richard K. Blackwell was selected to lead the economic development efforts for Oconee County in April 2012. As the Executive Director of the Oconee Economic Alliance and Economic Development Director of Oconee County, he is driven to strengthen Oconee’s economy and enhance its global competitiveness by promoting economic growth through business retention and expansion, focus on new business recruitment, developing industrial real estate product, marketing and implementing supporting workforce development efforts.

Before coming to Oconee, he worked on regional economic development efforts with the Upstate SC Alliance, where he began in 2007 and most recently served as their Vice President. Blackwell has worked in various capacities within politics, government relations and local economic development since 1998.

Blackwell is a two-time graduate of The University of South Carolina with a Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma (OU EDI), he has completed the ‘Basic Economic Development Course’ through Georgia Tech, earned a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and earned a Certificate in Leadership from Clemson University. Blackwell has earned the “South Carolina Certified Economic Developer” (SCCED) certification through the South Carolina Economic Developers Association and the South Carolina Department of Commerce. In 2008, he was selected as one of the “Best & Brightest” in Greenville, South Carolina by Greenville Business Magazine. In 2015, Blackwell was named the “local/regional economic development director of the year” by the Upstate SC Alliance. He currently serves as secretary of the board for the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association.

Richard and his wife, Allison, live in Seneca, South Carolina with their seven year old daughter. When not working, you can find Richard continuing his eternal but futile quest to break 80 on the local golf courses.

Janet Hartman
Destination Oconee Manager


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Janet Hartman serves as the manager of Destination Oconee: Realizing the Future of Oconee County. She is responsible for the implementation of Oconee County’s tourism based, economic development strategy as well as assisting with the continued revitalization of the downtown districts within the community.

Hartman has an Associate’s Degree in Accounting. She has twenty years of banking experience and most recently served as the Downtown Development Manager in Blairsville, Georgia. Hartman completed the Georgia Main Street/Better Hometown Training and is a graduate of The Georgia Academy for Economic Leadership Training.

Emily Hodge
Economic Development Specialist


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Emily Hodge serves as the Economic Development Specialist for the Oconee Economic Alliance. She is responsible for database management, investor relations, and executing various research endeavors associated with economic development.

Hodge has her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Sweet Briar College. She went on to briefly work in the banking industry in her hometown of Asheboro, North Carolina before moving to Oconee County with her husband in 2013. Most recently, she has worked with the School District of Oconee County as the bookkeeper and data clerk for Oconee Academy.


Daja Dial
Marketing and Communications 


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Daja Dial serves as the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Oconee Economic Alliance. She is responsible for managing the OEA’s overall marketing and communication strategy, as well as, provides oversight of the new digital ambassador program and various social media platforms.

Dial studied Women’s Leadership and Spanish at Clemson University and adds a fresh outlook to aid in the innovation of new ways to produce and deliver the message, mission, and goals of Oconee’s economic development approach.