The Greenwood Partnership Alliance (GPA) has announced that Heather Simmons Jones will assume the reins as Chief Executive Officer of the economic development organization established to promote and enhance the economic growth and development of Greenwood County, South Carolina. She was unanimously selected after an extensive nationwide search in which the Partnership Alliance received dozens of applications and actively considered more than 25 candidates from across the United States.
Ms. Simmons Jones has led the GPA's initiatives while serving as the organization's interim CEO since August 2013, when she was named to succeed Mark Warner, who resigned to join a regional engineering, architectural and environmental firm. She will assume the full time CEO role effective April 15, 2014.
“We are excited to have Heather join the Partnership Alliance team as our new chief executive officer,” said Rudy Powell, Vice Chairman of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance Board of Directors. “She has worked tirelessly in promoting Greenwood County during her time as the interim CEO. She will bring knowledge, energy, and a strong collaborative spirit to our public/private partnership, and her history of getting things done will be a great asset to the Greenwood community.”
The Greenwood Partnership Alliance is a non-profit organization established to promote and enhance the economic growth and development of Greenwood County. Since 1994, GPA efforts have resulted in announcement of more than 3,750 new jobs and more than $1.8 billion in capital investment in the county.
Under Ms. Simmons Jones’ interim leadership, the GPA maintained significant momentum in its economic development initiatives and closed several major announcements, Powell noted, further convincing the Board’s search committee that the best candidate for the position was already situated “right here in Greenwood.”
“On her watch as interim CEO, Greenwood County has seen major announcements from Colgate-Palmolive Company, bringing 300 new jobs and nearly $200 million in investment here, as well as FujiFilm’s $50 million announced capital expansion,” said Powell. “Under Heather’s leadership, we believe that Greenwood County is poised to enjoy a very bright and prosperous future.”
The GPA has also obtained record numbers of private and public sector supporters, counting at least 67 investor organizations whose annual investments go directly to create better jobs and a bright future for the community, noted Powell.
Ms. Simmons Jones’ economic development career includes prior service as Executive Director of the Greater Beaufort-Hilton Head Economic Partnership from 2003-2006 and as Assistant County Administrator-Economic Development for Anderson County from 2006-2009. She serves as CEO of Opus 3, LLC, a Columbia-based economic development consultancy, is a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer, and a graduate of both the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and SC Executive Institute. Ms. Simmons Jones is also a past President of the SC Economic Developers’ Association and currently serves on the Clemson Alumni Association Board of Directors. A South Carolina native, she holds both undergraduate and master’s degrees from Clemson University.
“After spending the past five months working side by side with the Partnership's Board, Investors and staff, I realized that the time was right to commit my abilities and efforts full time to the planned, strategic growth of this community," said Ms. Simmons Jones. "I have been impressed with how well the team collaborates and the importance that they place on high-quality economic development, and look forward to helping continue our momentum in generating positive results for Greenwood County."