2014: A Year of Development
It is hard to believe that in a few short hours we will be counting down to welcome a new year. What better way to begin 2015 than to conclude 2014 on a positive note. This has been a year of development as we have seen tremendous progress in Oconee County through economic development recruitment, marketing efforts, and existing industry services.
I encourage each of you to read through the list below and celebrate with us the many successes that made 2014 a year of development in Oconee County.
- The Oconee County Economic Development Commission, Oconee County Industrial Group, Oconee Alliance, and the Tri-County Entrepreneurial Corporation (TCEDC) officially merged under one umbrella organization called the Oconee Economic Alliance (OEA).
- Moved to a new office on the 123 Bypass in Seneca, South Carolina.
- Branded the Oconee Economic Alliance by creating a new logo, marketing collateral and website to effectively showcase Oconee County to the world.
- Received an Award of Excellence for new website at the 2014 Southern Economic Development Council Annual Conference.
- Showcased OEA advertisements in nine economic development magazines highlighting Oconee County’s economic development potential to site consultants nationwide.
- Distributed a direct mail piece with Trade and Industry Development Magazine to over 25,000 economic development centers of influence.
- Introduced the “Invest Oconee” marketing piece.
- Created an internship program that exposes college students to multiple components of economic development strategies, programs, and marketing efforts.
- For 2014, Oconee had six official economic development related announcements (US Engine Valve, Greenfield Industries/GreenTech Recycling/TDC Cutting Tools Headquarters, BorgWarner, Plastic Products Company, ACI Plastics and Heli-basket) representing $45 million in capital investment and 309 new jobs.
- Through our economic development successes, a total of 143,400 sf industrial real estate space was absorbed.
- Oconee County’s per capita income has increased over $2,000 in the last two years.
- Completed the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Standard Data Set that contains over 1,200 data elements about Oconee County organized into 25 spreadsheets viewed by site location professionals. This data set can be found at InvestOconeeSC.com
- Through the efforts of the OEA, the County earned the designation as an “Entrepreneur Friendly Community” through the Appalachian Council of Governments.
- Orchestrated the first ‘Small Business Resource Fair’ for prospective and existing small businesses in Oconee County.
- Introduced a “Business Start-Up Guide” that serves as a tool for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses who wish to take advantage of area resources.
- The TCEDC welcomed four new businesses to the Oconee Business Center (Incubator) in Walhalla.
- Conducted quarterly meetings with the Oconee County Industrial Group (OCIG).
- The local unemployment rate dropped 1.2% in twelve months.
- Installed information signage at two county owned industrial properties, including a 19 foot monument sign at the Oconee Industry & Technology Park.
- Conducted a rail study to identify potential rail served industrial sites in Oconee County.
- Met with over 50 industrial leaders in the community through retention visits.
- Began construction/installation of the 13½ mile sewer line to serve the Golden Corner Commerce Park. This project, also known as “Sewer South”, is scheduled for completion early Q1 2015.
- Completed site certification on three county owned industrial properties. This program was managed by South Carolina Department of Commerce and McCallum Sweeney Consulting.
- Welcomed 40 new investors to the Oconee Economic Alliance and exceeded fundraising goals by 200%.
- Hosted the first Industry Appreciation “Birdies and BBQ Golf Tournament”.
- Participated in the planning and execution of the Anderson-Oconee-Pickens (AOP) Business and Industry Showcase. It was held successfully again with over 50 exhibitors participating and over 5,000 students taking part.
- Hosted the “Workforce Opportunity Summit” for industry and education leaders to discuss the future of Oconee County’s workforce.
- Conducted eleven Oconee Business Forums with an average attendance of 55 people.
Speakers include: Friends of Lake Keowee Society (FOLKS), Southern Wesleyan University, Rutland Institute at Clemson University, Hamilton Career Center, Tri-County Technical College, South Carolina Ports Authority, Senator Lindsey Graham, Greenville Health System, Congressman Jeff Duncan, Anderson University, and Dr. Bruce Yandle.
Looking back at 2014, I hope you will agree that progress has been made, but there is more to be done. We will not rest on past achievements, but continue to strive towards greater economic prosperity for Oconee County in 2015. I would like to thank each of you for your continued support and confidence in this organization over the past year. I look forward to sharing continued successes with you in the near future. The best is yet to come!