For decades, William W. Humphreys used knowledge, honesty and the strength of his character to do what now takes tax incentives, political maneuvering and gamesmanship — attract major industry to the area.
And when he saw that industry would be more inclined to move here if the state had a technical education system, he helped make that happen, too.
Mr. Humphreys’ contributions to the Lowcountry were summed up nicely in 1982 by J. Mac Halladay, then executive vice president of the Charleston Trident Chamber of Commerce: “In his quiet, professional way, no man has had more to do with our economic prosperity than William Humphreys.”
After graduating from the College of Charleston and Harvard Business School and after serving in the Coast Guard during World War II, Mr. Humphreys went to work for the new Charleston Development Board as assistant director and later, director.
Under his watch, Bushy Park was designed and developed as a place to attract major industries adjacent the Cooper River in Berkeley County.
Name a major industry in the Lowcountry, and he likely helped bring it here: Cummins, Bosch, Alumax (now Alcoa), Amoco Chemicals (now BP-Amoco) and DuPont, among others.
If the timing were different, he would have had his hand in attracting Boeing to North Charleston, too. Certainly the state technical education system he envisioned and helped start contributed to Boeing’s growing presence here.
William Humphreys died last week at the age of 98, a fine man who worked tirelessly for the Lowcountry and left it a much healthier, more economically sound place.