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State and Community Leaders Graduate from South Carolina Economic Development Training Program

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For Immediate Release

November 16, 2018

State and community leaders graduate from South Carolina economic development training program

More than 45 graduate from S.C. Economic Development Institute


COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) and S.C. Economic Developers’ Association (SCEDA) today announced that 49 state and community leaders have graduated from a statewide economic development training program, the S.C. Economic Development Institute (Institute).

“The Institute has long been a powerful tool in South Carolina’s economic development arsenal,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “The success South Carolina has enjoyed in recent years can, in large part, be attributed to the remarkable amount of collaboration and teamwork that has taken place across this state. Programs like the Institute help us ensure that our team is knowledgeable, innovative and unified.”

A collaborative effort between S.C. Commerce and SCEDA, the program is designed to arm participants with innovative development approaches for implementation in local communities. The program features a highly-interactive curriculum, allowing participants to obtain greater hands-on economic development learning experience.

Now in its 28th year, the Institute consists of quarterly, two-day sessions for which participants travel to various locations throughout the state. In addition to the final session, which took place in Sumter, sessions were also held in Newberry, Lake City and Seneca. During the sessions, attendees gained insight into issues relating to: leadership and communication skills; community development; business and industrial development; and product development. On November 9, as the final session concluded in Sumter, 49 local leaders received certificates of completion.

Institute is open to individuals from a wide variety of organizations and entities, including city, town and county councils; local economic development practitioners; county economic development boards; county school boards; regional economic development boards; utility companies; and local and state government employees. Next year’s program includes sessions in Bluffton, Clinton, North Augusta and Spartanburg.


More information on this training program can be obtained by visiting or contacting SCEDA at (803) 929-0305.

2018 South Carolina Economic Development Institute graduates, listed alphabetically by last name:

Gregory Alexander, Greater Lake City Community Development Office

Yanet Alvarez, Sumter Economic Development / TheLINK

Kelci Avery, S.C. Department of Commerce

Janet Bedenbaugh, S.C. Technical College System

Rita Berry, Greater Summerville / Dorchester County Chamber

Lewis Brown, Darlington County Economic Development Partnership

Murray Coleman, United Way of the Midlands

Laura Cox, Anderson County Economic Development

Sonja Craig, City of Union

Paul Cuenin, Greenwood Partnership Alliance

Ray Davidson, S.C. Department of Commerce

Daja Dial, Oconee Economic Alliance

Charlie Eadie, Claris Construction Company

Hope Lanier Freeman, BP America

David Garner, Abbeville County

Lee Given, Orangeburg County Development Commission

Sharon Hammond, Bamberg County

Elyssa Haven, City of Newberry

Emily Hodge, Oconee Economic Alliance

Kevin Howard, City of Greenville

Lara Hudson, Uptown Greenwood Development Commission

Ashley Jaillette, S.C. Association of Technical College Commissioners

Matt Kneece, S.C. Department of Commerce

Perry MacLennan, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd P.A.

Kim Mann, Richland County Economic Development

Andrew Merriman, York County

Rachelle Moody, City of Cayce

Vicki Morgan, City of Union

Jaime Wells Nash, Roebuck Buildings Co. Inc.

Anita Patel, S.C. Department of Commerce

Douglas Polen, Town of Moncks Corner

Kirsten Pratt, S.C. Technical College System

Josh Rabon, CEC

Susan Ramey, City of Westminster

William Roach, Jr., Union County Development Board

Whitney Robertson, Laurens County Development Corporation

Michael Sell, City of Greer

David Sides, Lynches River Electric Cooperative

Demetrius Smith, Apprenticeship Carolina

Kimberly Spears, City of Anderson

Ray Switzer, Union County Development Board

Bryan Thomas, W.K. Dickson & Co., Inc.

William J. Unthank, City of West Columbia

Holly West, Colite Technologies

Matt Wiggins, S.C. Department of Commerce

Brandon Wilkerson, S.C. Department of Commerce

Dolton Williams, Union County Development Board

Carroll Williamson, City of Cayce


About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. S.C. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as BMW, Boeing, Continental, Giti Tire, LPL Financial Holdings, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Samsung, Toray and Volvo Cars and also supports startups, small and existing business, innovation and rural development initiatives. S.C. Commerce partners with the S.C. Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. With a strong international footprint, the Palmetto State ranked No. 1 in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment on a per capita basis in 2018 — extending its streak of top three finishes since 2011. Additionally, in five of seven years, the state has won the Gold Shovel Award from Area Development magazine; and, in 2017, the state was recognized as Business Facilities’ State of the Year. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Alex Clark

Deputy Director of Marketing & Communications

South Carolina Department of Commerce

(803) 737-0685




S.C. Department of Commerce

(803) 737-0400

1201 Main Street, Suite 1600

Columbia SC 29201

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