SCA, Black are staying in Barnwell County

SouthernCarolina Alliance, the regional economic development organization marketing Barnwell County for more than 20 years, has worked in a spirit of cooperation, through the ideals of regionalism, with the leaders of our member counties to bring many successful economic projects to fruition for Barnwell County.

We generally do this quietly and confidentially, as is often required by the prospective companies we recruit, without much fanfare. Our organization works well with our economic development allies at the local, state and federal levels, and our doors are always open to answer questions and provide information.

Rarely does our organization feel the need to respond publicly to unsubstantiated rumors, or, as it has recently come to be known, “fake news.”

However, this is one of those occasions in which I feel that SouthernCarolina Alliance (SCA) needs to address such rumors before such “fake news” is published on social media, the radio, or in print.

Some citizens have expressed concern over rumors that SCA is opening an office in Hampton County. It is true that SCA plans to open a satellite office in Hampton to better serve our other member counties, which include Bamberg, Allendale, Hampton, Jasper and Colleton Counties.

It is also true that SCA will continue to serve Barnwell and other counties through our current Barnwell County location. The Barnwell office is on the northern side of the region, which is a pretty long drive for the SCA staff responsible for the member counties in the southern part of the region. Over the years, we have had several small county offices that did not work efficiently. The addition of the second office in Hampton will allow us to consolidate our regional staff into two locations: the northern location in Barnwell and in the new location in downtown Hampton. As with any growing business, it is important to serve the customer efficiently and in a timely manner, and the addition of a second location allows us to do so.

Another rumor that has recently reached the ears of our organization is one that I am retiring as SouthernCarolina Alliance’s President and CEO. I am disheartened by this rumor because I am still young at heart; in fact, I am younger than President-Elect Donald Trump, so I must call it as he would—“fake news!”

Recently, we celebrated the organization’s 20th anniversary along with the many dedicated county leaders who helped build the Alliance since 1996, and I am committed to continue serving with our leaders to improve the quality of life for our citizens through economic development as SCA’s CEO, at least until SouthernCarolina Alliance’s 25th Anniversary in 2021.

Perhaps some of these rumors have circulated because the voters of Barnwell County passed a countywide 1-cent sales tax in November for several projects, including the purchase of the Southern Carolina Business Center, to house the county administration offices. However, SouthernCarolina Alliance will continue in our current offices in the building as part of the sale of the building to the county. We will continue to provide the excellent services SouthernCarolina Alliance always has to Barnwell County and our other member counties.

As for me, I will continue to offer my services as President and CEO of the organization as long as I am of sound mind and body and can find my way to the office in Barnwell, God willing.

SouthernCarolina Alliance looks forward to continuing our success and growth in the region in 2017. Let’s plan another decade of progress together.