HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation has brought over 1,300 jobs to Horry County.
Jim Moore was recently hired as president and has only been in office since January 5. The main goal for the MBREDC is to attract to businesses to the county, but they also have to focus on the businesses already in place.
Moore says supporting their "old business" is crucial in keeping that money and success in Horry County. Last year, two companies planted roots in the area with the MBREDC's help. Laudisi Enterprises manufactures tobacco pipes. They moved to a larger facility in Longs in October and created 48 jobs. Accent Stainless Steel manufactures craft and micro-brewing systems. The Canadian-based company decided to establish their U.S. headquarters here in Horry County. Their investment will create 65 new, high-skilled manufacturing jobs averaging $22 per hour. That's about 65 percent higher than the county's current average wage.
Moore says these new companies continue to seek out a skilled workforce, and that's part of what the MBREDC continues to help them find. "Workforce is a great thing," says Moore. "That is true for every company. Right here at Horry Georgetown Tech and at CCU they have been fantastic about putting training programs in place that will allow the workforce to be trained to meet any company's very specific needs."
Moore says the MBREDC is focusing on attracting two new industries to create Horry County as hub for agri-biz and med-tech. The county already has such a rich history in agricultural business. That counts for food production, crops, timber, and paper-related businesses. The EDC want to capitalize on resources we have, but take it to a new, creative level.
The corporation also wants to help the county break into the medical technology field. This includes standard medical equipment and new nano-technology. It's a field requiring trained workers with backgrounds in science, health, and manufacturing.
Moore says while tourism drives the Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas, the EDC wants to make it so the county doesn't just rely on peak seasons but prospers all year long. And that's why they want to focus on these two areas. "That's really what we're trying to put in place here in the county. Sustainable wages that people can live on personally. But more importantly, or just as importantly, that they can support families that way," says Moore.
Med-tech and agri-biz are fields that rely heavily on technology, research, and innovation – all skills that are highly marketable and sought after in universities. So these industries are expected to attract young adults building their careers and professionals with families climbing the corporate ladder.
Right now, the EDC is working with a number of prospective companies, and the president says a couple of them are imminent. But a challenge to making that a reality is the lack of an interstate system through the county. So, until I-73 is a reality, MBREDC is relying on our current highways to connect businesses to the interstate. Moore also says that a core group of leaders in the county is making great progress to get the county's railroads back up and running. There are a number of companies and industries that rely on rail. And if Horry County had that in place, it could open up more business opportunities to the entire county.