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Harnett County Launches New Public-Private Partnership for Economic Development

Monday, September 19, 2022

Harnett County announced the launch of the Harnett County Economic Development Partnership, a public-private organization promoting living wage jobs and capital investment within the County and its municipalities.

This collaboration brings together elected officials, business leaders, and educational stakeholders to strengthen talent attraction, workforce development efforts, product development, and other initiatives that will lead to the expansion and attraction of companies.

“We wanted to grow and diversify our local economy, and knew we needed the right organization to move that vision forward,” stated Lewis Weatherspoon, Chairman of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners. “Our Commissioners understand that collaboration and partnerships are essential to strengthening our economic future. We believe we are on the right path to continue moving Harnett County forward.”

The Partnership was identified in a 2021 economic development plan, “Strong Roots, Smart Growth”, authored by consulting firm, Rose and Associates. Recommendations for establishing the new Partnership were constructed in a 2022 report by consultants, Sanford Holshouser titled, “Harnett County Economic Development: A Solid Foundation in the Past – An Extraordinarily Bright Future.”

The new Board of Directors consists of Phyllis Godwin (Godwin Group) as the Chair, Jeff Whittington (First Federal Bank) as Vice-Chair, Jake Mays (Boon Edam) as Treasurer, Scott Nelson (Gould and Goodrich), and Harnett County Commissioners Lewis Weatherspoon and Brooks Matthews.

Additional business leaders will be elected following a capital campaign with Convergent Nonprofit Solutions. In addition, educational leaders from Campbell University, Central Carolina Community College, and Harnett County Schools will join as ex-officio members in the coming months.

Christian Lockamy was hired to be the first President and CEO of the new Partnership. Other staff members include Angie Stewart as Existing Industries Manager, Becky Parker as Office Coordinator, and a new Marketing Manager that will be hired around the end of this year.

Phyllis Godwin stated, “With life-long ties to Harnett County, coupled with my role as a Corporate Vice President for Godwin Group, I am thrilled to serve as the first Chair of the Partnership. We have an outstanding Board of Directors and are excited about the future!”

For more information on the Harnett County Economic Development Partnership, contact Economic Development Staff at 910-893-7524.

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