Features

Published on December 21st, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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South Carolina Department of Commerce announces leadership team changes

Pictured Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Commerce today announced several changes in senior leadership positions responsible for South Carolina’s economic development efforts.

Jennifer Noel is being promoted to Deputy Secretary of Commerce, responsible for strategic oversight of Commerce’s various missions, from industrial recruitment to small business support, and the agency’s international offices. She previously served as director of the agency’s Global Business Development division since June 2011. Before coming to Commerce, she was executive vice president of the Upstate SC Alliance. She succeeds Gen. George Patrick, who is leaving state government after serving nearly four years in the role.

W. Ford Graham is being promoted to director of Global Business Development, where he will oversee all project management activity and the recruitment of jobs and capital investment to the state. He previously served as Commerce’s director of international investment as well as the managing director of the state’s office in Europe, based in Munich, Germany. Graham joined Commerce in 2008 after a career in law.

Andre LeBlanc is being promoted to serve as the managing director of the Europe Office, which in 2015 will mark 40 years of advancing foreign direct investment in South Carolina. In his 10 years with the agency, LeBlanc has served as an international trade manager, director of Commerce’s former office in Canada (2007-2009) and most recently, he was a senior project manager in the Global Business Development division.

“These shifts reflect the deep pool of talent we have within the agency, where our staff can step up and take on new responsibilities,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “I couldn’t be happier with our team as we work to continue the momentum built over the past four years in economic development.”

Secretary Hitt is continuing in his role as the agency’s chief, a position he has held since January 12, 2011. Since 2011, Commerce has announced more than 58,000 new jobs and $14.5 billion in capital investment in communities across South Carolina.

About S.C. Department of Commerce

As South Carolina’s leading economic development agency, the Department of Commerce works to recruit new businesses and help existing business grow. Commerce has recruited world-class companies to South Carolina such as Boeing, Bridgeston, Continental, Monster.com, ZF Group, BMW and Google Inc. and also supports small and existing business, rural development initiatives and community development. Commerce partners with the S.C Technical College System via readySC to support workforce training and recruiting, and with the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which provides worker training and employment opportunities within the state. South Carolina ranked first in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment, according to IBM-Plant Locatioin International reports in both 2012 and 2013. The state won the Gold Shovel Award and the Project of Year Award from Area Development magazine in 2012. For more information, visit www.SCcommerce.com.

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