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Spartanburg County Economic Development Leader Carter Smith to Retire

Carter Smith retiring from the Economic Futures Group after 27 years but will remain with the organization in a part-time role

Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019 3:00 pm

Carter Smith has been instrumental in shaping Spartanburg County’s last two-plus decades of economic development.

Carter was instrumental in recruiting BMW Manufacturing Co. to Spartanburg, and was a key figure in bringing the likes of Amazon, Adidas, Toray and Michelin to Spartanburg County. He, along with many economic development allies, has established Spartanburg as an internationally recognized advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics destination.

Now, after a 39-year career, 27 of them spent in Spartanburg, Carter Smith, Executive Vice President of the Spartanburg Economic Futures Group, will retire effective June 30, 2019.

Carter will remain with EFG as a part-time Director of Special Projects effective July 1, 2019.

“Thousands upon thousands of Spartanburg and Upstate families have benefited from the jobs that Carter has helped to create. His record of economic development is remarkable yet I admire him most for his integrity, humility and commitment to family,” said Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce/Economic Futures Group President and CEO Allen Smith. “We are delighted that he will continue to provide his wisdom and knowledge in a part-time capacity.”

Carter has recruited more than $16 billion in new investment and over 50,000 new jobs making him one of the most successful economic developers in South Carolina history. 

“More than a colleague, Carter has been a close friend for nearly 25 years. He was instrumental as we ramped up production at BMW, and that facility’s success in our state can in large part be attributed to Carter’s vision and leadership and the pro-business environment he helped to cultivate in Spartanburg County,” said State Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “I wish he and Angie all the best in his retirement and thank him for the thousands of lives he impacted during his time as a public servant.”

Over the past five years, under Carter’s leadership, Spartanburg County has dominated the Upstate in economic development and has successfully recruited nearly a quarter of the state’s total investment. 

David Britt, Spartanburg County Councilman and Chair of the Economic Development Committee, said many states, and some countries, would love to have the economic accomplishments Spartanburg County has seen during Carter’s time.

“Carter Smith and I have worked closely together for nearly 30 years and have become the ‘Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid’ of economic development in South Carolina, if not the United States. As Will Rogers said, ‘it is not bragging if it is true,’ and with nearly $16 billion invested and more than 50,000 new jobs created in Spartanburg County, the proof is in the pudding,” Britt said. “Carter’s professionalism and integrity has proven to be our key to success along with his desire to make Spartanburg County the best place all these companies could possibly locate and achieve their goals. It is bittersweet to have Carter retiring, but I am happy for him and glad he will remain with the Economic Futures Group part-time, as I know he is only a phone call away when I need his advice or help.”

A nationwide search will be organized to find Carter’s replacement.

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