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Columbia Business Monthly

State And Community Leaders Graduate From S.C. Economic Development Training Program

Nov 19, 2018 12:58PM ● By Kathleen Maris

 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:

(Click on the hyperlink for a photo of the participant)


·       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 Corder, S.C. Department of Commerce

·       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

·       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


Graduates not pictured are Andrew Merriman of York County and Anita Patel of the S.C. Department of Commerce.


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