Those things are among the positives that Alliance Pickens Director Ray Farley said his organization focuses on when trying to woo new industry to the area.
“We take prospective industry and let the locals tell them what it’s like to do business here, how profitability is and how education is,” Farley said when he spoke at a Pickens Rotary Club meeting recently.
“We have a phenomenal quality of life here, and we play it to the hilt,” he said.
Farley said that along with God’s gifts, the workforce here is one of the greatest assets Pickens County has to offer.
“We have a great workforce that creates world-class products, works in a team environment, and is willing to work in shifts,” he said.
With a small staff, Farley said the organization has to be strategic and methodical in targeting potential industries.
“The key target market for us is small, privately held companies that we can affect the mindset of the ownership,” he said.
The county does have its share of pitfalls, however, when it comes to attracting some types of businesses, including limited sewer capacity, lack of interstate, no oceanfront and few existing, ready to go buildings.
Farley said most food and pharmaceutical producers would not be attracted to Pickens County because they need a lot of water to operate, as well as interstate access.
That’s why the organization concentrates on the types of businesses that would be interested in the things we do have to offer.
Farley said that when negotiating with the owners of Tri-Tech USA, the latest company to be coming to the county industrial park, those in charge were “blown away by what the school district had to offer to high school students through its vocational education program.”
In fact, the state welding champion studied at the B.J. Skelton Career Center, and he has already been given a job at Tri-Tech. He is training in Vermont and will help train the new workforce in Liberty once the plant is operational, Farley said.