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Ward Named Economic Development Director

Local resident Mark Ward has been appointed Director of the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation. Ward presently serves as Vice President of First Bank’s Laurinburg Branch. He’s an area native and UNC graduate.

With a strong background in Finance and depth of local experience, Ward can be expected to demonstrate results that have eluded others.

Turning our severely depressed economy around isn’t going to be fast or easy, nor will it be like the old days, which as difficult as they were,  pretty much involved attracting new business and industry using taxpayer funds to essentially ‘buy’ jobs. The time has come to actually ‘create’ jobs.

Employers and jobs haven’t just fled Scotland County, they’ve fled America and today we’re competing on a global scale. Given Scotland County’s extremely negative education, health and job skill  demographics, it’s going to be an uphill battle every step of the way. Our high and growing crime rate and burdensome level of taxation won’t make the job any easier.

Every city, county, state and nation is trying to attract business, industry and jobs too. The competition is fierce, and to make matters worse, the global economy is struggling, the pie is shrinking at the very time there are a growing number of mouths to feed.

Add to this already formidable challenge the fact that today’s economy is a fast moving, ever changing target. Technology is advancing at the speed of light, sweeping existing paradigms into the ditch. This trend will only continue to escalate. It’s no time to be standing around with hands in your pockets. It’s eat or be eaten.

We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us if we’re to even have a shot at becoming players in tomorrow’s world. It’s a deep hole we’ve dug here in Scotland County and it’s going to take some real shoveling to fill it in, lay a foundation and build upon it.

We wish Mark Ward the very best and offer our genuine spirit of cooperation and support. In exchange, we expect to see not only a real effort, but real results.

It doesn’t take any special skill or talent to ‘buy’ jobs using taxpayer money, just ask Charlotte-Mecklenburg. They’ve learned the hard way that, given the right incentives, you can get them to come, you just can’t make them stay, no matter what the ‘contract’ says. When corporations are done feeding at one taxpayer trough, they quickly move on to the next. Economic development entities that play this game are engaged in a race to the bottom and nothing more. Past Scotland County ED directors have tried this and failed.

We expect the jobs, when they come, to be real jobs, not taxpayer money changing hands from one pocket to the other. We’ve got enough shell games going already. We also expect an open, transparent directorship. Scotland County doesn’t need any more highly paid parasites working behind closed doors, hiding from those who pay the bills.

It’s time to get moving!

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