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Economic leaders must ‘present the whole picture’ of York County, speakers say


Economic development and political leaders in York County should work together to understand what the community needs, according to two speakers at last week’s York County Economic Development Summit at the Baxter Hood Center in Rock Hill.

The consultants offered advice for business leaders, economic development heads and politicians who attended. Ted Abernathy, a North Carolina-based consultant, said York County has a “great opportunity” as a part of the Charlotte metro area. He called the area one of the most dynamic metropolitan areas in the country.

Abernathy, a managing partner of Economic Leadership, LLC, said York County has the potential to be a popular landing spot for businesses and tourists, but must effectively communicate what makes the area distinct from other nearby counties.

“The question is what kind of place do you want to be,” he said. “Companies have to be intentional on where they go.”

Abernathy said prospective newcomers to a community often decide to come because of the lifestyle it offers. He said it was important for York County decisionmakers to focus on making the community better, rather than bigger.

Jeannette Goldsmith, president of Goldsmith Strategy of Greenville, S.C., said communities succeed when they provide a workable talent pipeline from schools to the workplace. Delivering a targeted vision of York County to prospective new companies, she said, would provide a refined, easy-to-understand plan for the future.

“You have to present the whole picture,” she said.

David Swenson, York County’s economic development director, said the summit helps set the tone for deeper relationships with economic leaders across the county. He said it was crucial for public investment to provide the infrastructure that private investment can use to create jobs.

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York County has a great opportunity.

Ted Abernathy Managing Partner, Economic Leadership LLC.