Dorchester County Develops First Strategic Plan for Economic Development

Summerville, South Carolina

April 6, 2012 – On
April 5, 2012, Dorchester County Economic Development held a public event to
outline key recommendations from its recently developed Strategic Plan. Members of Dorchester County Council along
with other elected officials and various community leaders came together on
Thursday evening to weigh the findings uncovered during this comprehensive,
six-month study.

Sanford
Holshouser Consulting, the leading economic development consulting firm in the
Southeast, was selected to develop Dorchester County’s first Strategic Plan to help
guide the County’s Economic Development efforts over the next five years. On behalf of Sanford Holshouser, Managing
Partners Crystal Morphis and Rocky Lane gave a brief presentation of this
intensive analysis that included a review of product development, economic and
demographic trends, as well as a target industry update that was developed in
conjunction with Applied Marketing.

"During
this planning process, we were pleased to see the outpour of interest and
involvement from leaders throughout the community that included representatives
ranging from industry to education," said Dorchester County Economic
Development Board Chairman George Tupper. "Their input was an invaluable contribution in helping to produce this
plan that will serve as the County’s blueprint for economic success, and for
that we are very grateful."   

Chairman
Larry Hargett of Dorchester County Council added, "As Dorchester County
continues to grow, it is equally important to identify both the County’s
strengths and challenges in order to plan ahead for the future. The County is excited to begin first steps to
put this plan into motion. It is our
goal to continue to work closely with the community to form new initiatives
that will jumpstart the economy."

The Strategic Plan also
identified the County’s key strengths and weaknesses, coupled with prime opportunities
and potential threats. Most exciting
during the presentation was the announcement of the County’s key target markets
identified for future economic and workforce development initiatives. The firm revealed Automotive, BioScience, and
Aviation and Aerospace as primary targets, with the Marine and Distribution
sectors as secondary targets.

"The Strategic Plan
focuses on the two most important strategies for Dorchester County’s economic
development program: infrastructure and
workforce development," said Crystal Morphis, a Managing Partner for Sanford
Holshouser Economic Development Consulting. "Today, companies are looking for shovel-ready
sites and a skilled workforce. By
focusing on these foundational building blocks, Dorchester County can improve
its competitive position and attract good paying jobs and diversify the
economy."

The
steering committee responsible for guiding this endeavor consisted of a
seven-member board from both the public and private sector. The team worked closely with Sanford
Holshouser to gather input from County Council members, mayors, chamber of
commerce representatives, school districts, and Economic Development staff
members through multiple input sessions and a variety of online surveys. 

"This
plan brought to light many things that Dorchester County is already doing
right, as well as things that need improvement," said Dorchester County
Economic Development Director Jon Baggett. "The development of this Strategic Plan is a positive step forward for
Economic Development that will accelerate job creation and boost retention
efforts. All-in-all, this was a well-guided
process under expert direction by Sanford Holshouser. I would also like to thank the South Carolina
Power Team for helping to make this a reality."

A copy of the executive summary of the Strategic Plan was distributed during
Thursday’s presentation. The full report is available on the Dorchester County
Economic Development website at www.dorchesterforbusiness.com. The Strategic Plan was funded equally by both Dorchester County and the South
Carolina Power Team. 

About Dorchester County Economic Development

Dorchester County Economic Development is the
organization responsible for growing and retaining business in the County. Its mission is to work to create and support
an environment that welcomes business, and helps companies to grow and succeed
over the long-term. This ultimately will
increase the standard of living for all of Dorchester County’s citizens by
providing more job opportunities with higher skills and better wages.

 

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