The 2016 South Carolina Rural Summit took place Feb. 29-March 1, giving leaders from throughout the Palmetto State the opportunity to participate in leadership development exercises and network with other officials and share ideas for economic development.
The event was held at Clemson University and was capped by an awards ceremony featuring keynote speaker Sandra Pinckney, a television journalist.
“All communities throughout our state possess a unique charm and remarkable appeal, making each and every one of them ideal locations to live, work and play,” South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said. “Through collaboration with local leadership and a true team-first approach, we can help advance all of our communities, ensuring prosperity for South Carolinians in every corner of the state.”
The 2016 Rural Progress in Motion Award went to the City of Hartsville for its downtown revitalization initiatives. The award was accepted by the city’s administrator, Natalie Zeigler, and Bob Brown, one of the city’s business leaders.
Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing Co. took the Rural Manufacturer Award. The company was launched in New York in 1907 and moved to Bamberg County, South Carolina in 1966. Company President Robert Hurst was on hand to accept the award.
The 2016 Problem Solver Award went to the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP), a non-profit organization that supports South Carolina businesses with strategies and solutions. The award was accepted by SCMEP Regional Vice President Andy Carr.
Abbeville County resident Haleigh Phillips was the winner of the 2016 Rural Summit Outstanding Student Award. Phillips is a senior at Dixie High School, where she is also the student body president and belongs to a number of clubs, organizations and sports teams.
The winner of this year’s Rural Development Project Leader Award, which is given annually to a project manager at the Department of Commerce, was Ted Campbell, a senior project manager whose work led to 500 new jobs and capital investment of $312 million in South Carolina’s rural communities last year..
“It’s important to recognize the tremendous members of Team South Carolina,” Hitt said. “In economic development, we all play a role, and the individuals and organizations we honored today are vital to the advancement of both their respective communities and our state as a whole.”