Florence County, South Carolina, provides its residents with unmatched quality of life and a thriving economy. During the tenure of Joe King, Director at the Florence County Economic Development Partnership (FCEDP), the County created a robust economic development framework to reinforce its competitiveness and attractiveness as a place to do business. However, with King’s pending retirement, the FCEDP Board knew they needed a successor to continue his work and move the County even further. In addition, with a recent $22M bond issued by the County, the Board knew the new CEO would have a tremendous opportunity to grow the economic health of Florence.
The FCEDP retained the services of MRB Group, led by the Charleston office and Director of Southeast Operations Heather Simmons Jones. Her human resources and regional economic development background gave Jones a unique insight and specific skill set to lead the search. Administrative Coordinator Katie McFarland supported Heather in the recruitment process. Jones and McFarland met with the search committee to identify and update the job duties, discuss ideal candidate qualities, and establish an aggressive timeline. With a current job description and information about the Florence region, Jones leveraged her network of practitioners and targeted job postings to cast a wide net for potential candidates.
MRB Group evaluated all applicants against an established rubric, narrowing the field. They conducted initial screening calls to ease the time burden on the selection committee. After MRB identified the top candidates, the Committee received resumes and feedback from the initial interviews, participated in second-round discussions, and selected the top finalist to visit Florence for an in-person meeting.
The Committee selected Gregg Robinson, who impressed them from the start. Gregg served as the Executive Director for the Orangeburg County Development Commission for the last 17 years. During his time at OCDC, the average manufacturing wage rose to $19.73 from $10.71, and nearly every business in the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park came under his leadership. In addition, Gregg and former State Senator John Matthews worked on developing infrastructure over the years, laying the groundwork for future economic development.