Mark Warner is resigning his position as chief executive officer of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance (GPA) to take a business development position with regional engineering form Davis and Floyd.
Warner announced his resignation earlier this week after spending his last four years with the organization at the helm of the economic development firm. Warner joined GPA as the director of workforce and existing industry in 2007 before being promoted to CEO in 2009. Under his direction, Greenwood County has seen $110 million in investment and the creation of more than 800 jobs.
Warner said he had mixed emotions about stepping away from his role with GPA.
“This has been a fun job,” Warner said. “It’s been fun from the economic development side, but it’s also been fun working with the board and a team that is solid.”
Warner’s position will be filled by interim CEO Heather Simmons Jones. Simmons Jones is a past president of the S.C. Economic Developers Association and has assisted GPA on projects in the past. She has also worked on the county level in economic development and is currently the CEO of Opus 3, LLC, an economic development consulting firm.
“(Simmons Jones) brings a lot of years of experience in economic development,” Warner said on the interim CEO. “She knows the players in the state very well and understands the process. She’s familiar with the staff and the county.”
Warner said he will begin his new job in the beginning of September, but will still be available to help with ongoing projects that are still on the table, such as Project Sun and Project Dixie. Warner’s services will be missed, according to GPA board chairman Dan Martins, but Warner has also built an excellent staff with the ability to continue moving forward in his absence.
“Throughout his tenure as CEO, Mark Warner has gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping ensure that positive economic growth – and the good jobs and millions of dollars in economic contribution and taxes that go with them – are situated right here in Greenwood County,” said Martins. “He has done an exceptional job of leading this organization to its current position as one of the most respected economic development organizations in the Southeastern United States. The board is highly confident that our experienced staff, under the interim direction of Heather Simmons Jones, will continue with successful execution of all initiatives and aggressive pursuit of all project leads for Greenwood County. We thank Mark for the important contributions he has made to this organization and the Greenwood community, and wish him well in his new career.”