New economic development director coming to Horry County


Conway, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Regional Development Corporation has hired a new president and chief executive officer. The corporation's executive committee selected Brad Lofton, who is coming from very similar position with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority.

He will be filling the leadership position that has been open since December of 2009, and the board that hired him hopes the corporation can now get to the business of attracting jobs.

"Brad Lofton was head and shoulders over the rest," explained committee chairman Doug Wendel in reference to the other applicants for the job. "We're just excited that we were able to negotiate a contract with him.

Wendel said Lofton has a track record of closing deals to attract businesses and jobs.

"He's just got a tremendous amount of experience and success in identifying, attracting, and bringing jobs to the locations where he worked.

"He's attracted jet manufacturers. He's attracted call centers. He's attracted distribution locations like Home Depot," Wendel said. "It's hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands and thousands of jobs."

Lofton's contract is for $120,000 dollars a year for three years. If he is especially successful in attracting businesses to areas like the Cool Spring business park near Aynor and the aerospace business park in Myrtle Beach he will get bonuses.

"That's very important to county and city council that those performance mandates are understood out of the gate," said committee member and Myrtle Beach Mayor Pro Tem Phil Render.

He added that having the position filled after more than a year is like a fresh start. He also pointed out that the corporation is getting a physical fresh start too in a new office on the Conway campus of Horry Georgetown Technical College.

"It just seems like several things are coming together to put Horry County front and center when it comes to regional economic development," Phil Render.

With Lofton at the head, Wendel and Render said the main goal of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation will be to attract businesses that diversify the economy, so that everything is not so dependent on tourism.

There are already talks with some businesses in the works, said Wendel. He said some of those businesses could bring hundreds of jobs. The committee hopes Lofton will close those deals soon after he begins in mid April.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.