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Aiken area business leader among North America's Top 50 Economic Developers for 2021

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An Aiken area business leader is on the 2021 list of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers compiled by Consultant Connect.

“I am very honored and humbled to be included in this group of my peers from across North America,” said Will Williams, who is the president and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of Aiken, Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda counties.

Consultant Connect is a national consulting firm based in Michigan that works with economic developers and site selection consultants.

Nominations by members of those two groups provided the candidates for the Top 50 list.

Williams has been with the Economic Development Partnership since May 2010, when he became the associate director.

During his tenure, Bridgestone Americas has constructed an off-road radial tire plant in Aiken County. That along with expansions of Bridgestone Americas’ passenger/light truck tire plant resulted in an investment of $1.2 billion.

When plans for the projects and their cost were announced in 2011, Nikki Haley was South Carolina’s governor, and she said the amount was the largest initial capital investment by a company in the Palmetto State’s history.

There also have been expansions by AGY, AmbioPharm, Autoneum, BAE Systems, Kimberly-Clark, Owens Corning, Pactiv and others while Williams has worked for the Economic Development Partnership.

On Wednesday, Generac Power Systems, which makes backup power generation products, announced that it was planning to open a manufacturing, assembly and distribution center in Trenton in Edgefield County.

That facility is expected to create approximately 450 new jobs.

“All of them have given me a sense of pride because they have made more jobs available for people,” Williams said. “A job is the greatest change agent in the world.”

Williams also is a past president of the Rotary Club of Aiken.

“I think it’s a wonderful honor for him and well deserved,” said Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian of Williams’ Top 50 recognition. “I have worked with him since he’s been here, and he’s brought in a lot of good investment.”

Said Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker: “On behalf of Aiken County Council, I congratulate Will Williams for his recognition from his peers. We appreciate his efforts recruiting manufacturing and industrial enterprises to our community.”


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