After a 39-year career, and 27 years positioning Spartanburg County as a statewide economic development leader, Spartanburg Economic Futures Group Executive Vice President Carter Smith was honored with the Order of the Palmetto.
Carter, who announced his retirement earlier this year effective June 30, was surprised with the highest civilian award in South Carolina during the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Centennial Celebration Tuesday night.
“As an outstanding leader in the area of economic development, you have demonstrated an uncommon commitment to the highest standards in all you do. Your extraordinary efforts – and success – in recruiting billions of dollars in global business investment to the state has resulted in the creation of countless jobs, brighter futures and promising opportunities for individuals and families throughout our state,” said S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster. “You have made a positive impact, and one that will last for generations to come.”
Carter was a key figure in many of the public-private partnerships that led to significant economic development in Spartanburg County. He played an integral role in attracting major firms, including BMW, Toray, Amazon, Adidas, Michelin, Keurig Dr. Pepper and many more. During his tenure in Spartanburg, Carter recruited $16 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs.
In the last five years, nearly a quarter of the state’s overall investment has come from announcements in Spartanburg County.
“Carter’s record of success is unparalleled. Carter is of the utmost integrity, and his positive spirit is contagious. His record of success is remarkable and the Order of the Palmetto serves as a capstone to commemorate the impact Carter has had on Spartanburg County’s economy and the lives of those who live and work here,” said Spartanburg County Councilman and longtime colleague David Britt. “It was an honor to see Carter, a man who so often focuses the spotlight and praise on others, be recognized for the years and years of hard work he has taken on here in Spartanburg.”
Carter will remain in Spartanburg and will work on a part-time basis with the EFG as Director of Special Projects effective July 1.
"Carter's professional accolades are widely known, but after working with him, I am more impressed with not what he has done, but how he has done it. He is one of those rare people who has the priorities of life in order,” said Spartanburg Chamber/Economic Futures Group President and CEO Allen Smith. “I know I speak on behalf of our team when I say he is a professional and personal role model. We are delighted that he will remain on in a part-time capacity."