There's always someone who looks for the cloud to cover the silver lining of any event. Over the past several years, we have witnessed Alliance Pickens, the economic development group that works with state and local government officials and area businessmen, bring hundreds of jobs to Pickens County in the form of new industry.
A trip through the Pickens County Commerce Park shows evidence that Alliance Pickens has been a runaway success. Still, each time the group announces another industry is moving into the county, we hear the same criticism: "Sure, they do things to help new industries, but what about the folks who are already here, and have been paying Pickens County taxes for years. What are they doing to keep those industries in Pickens County?"
The answer to that question is "A lot," as evidenced by the announcement Tuesday morning that Fluid Routing Solutions Inc. officials have reconsidered closing their Easley plant - which would have meant a loss of 450 jobs for the county - and will instead move the operations of a second plant to the Easley facility, adding 115 jobs for the local workforce.
Alliance Pickens Executive Director Ray Farley, who has been the center of so many economic success stories for the county in the past few years, was - as usual - modest about his role in keeping the jobs here. Farley knows that no matter how hard he strives, he still must have cooperation from officials on many levels to be successful at his job.
The state Department of Commerce has been more than cooperative in Alliance Pickens' efforts to attract jobs to the county. Under the leadership of Gov. Mark Sanford, the department has made a tremendous effort to paint South Carolina as a "pro-business" state. The efforts show in the number of companies who are choosing to locate in the Palmetto State.
Pickens County Council has also been supportive in economic development efforts. While the council membership has changed during these past few years, the focus on providing jobs within the county has not.
Farley deserves applause for his leadership of Alliance Pickens. The organization has been supportive of existing Pickens County industry, although often that support does not receive press coverage. Farley knows that if industry leaders already in the county are happy, they become the top sales people to help bring more industry here. We thank those involved with Alliance Pickens for their continuing efforts expand our county's economic horizon.