Re Sept. 13 letter by Dick Withington, “Giant call center not best fit for area”
Project Blue is a 1,020 job economic development project that would provide a $75 million annual economic impact to Horry County. Unfortunately, Mr. Withington has not contacted the Economic Development Corp. and has relied on rumor and innuendo to make major assumptions that are not only untrue but damaging to the EDC’s efforts to recruit diversified jobs to the Grand Strand.
Our client, whom Mr. Withington erroneously claims is a “fly by night” company in fact has significant experience operating and establishing successful call centers all over the country. The chairman of the company we are recruiting is the current CEO of one of the largest call center operators in the U.S. today with thousands of active employees under his direction.
Mr. Withington’s additional claims of taxpayer money going to an “ex-con” are also simply not accurate. Both owners of the company we are courting have pristine backgrounds that were validated and investigated thoroughly. A current consultant for the company had a tax issue over a decade ago, but he is not an owner, will not be obligated for the repayment of any tax dollars for lack of performance, and will have no financial role with the company whatsoever. The EDC is continuing investigations related to this issue and will continue until all commitments are in place.
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Mr. Withington’s next claim that these are low paying jobs is once again not accurate. One reason our team has worked so hard to recruit this company is due to the fact that they will be one of the higher paying call centers in the country providing significant benefits and highly competitive wages. This company will be a preferred employer in Horry County.
Lastly, Mr. Withington makes the comment that Carolina Forest can’t support 1,000 new jobs, and we cannot disagree more fervently. Carolina Forest is one of the most vibrant, growing, and dynamic communities in South Carolina with major investments in infrastructure including International Drive, S.C. 31, Carolina Forest Boulevard, River Oaks Drive, and a state of the art telecommunications backbone. The site selected for this project is one of the most accessible locations in our community, and the road network currently in place will allow our company to operate with no congestion problems. With unprecedented growth over the past decade, the people of Carolina Forest deserve these jobs!
Mr. Withington argues for a continued focus on tourism jobs while the EDC believes strongly in a diversified, well balanced economy that not only leads the country in tourism, but also excels in technology, manufacturing, aviation, marine, and other areas. Fresh off of our announcement of BauschLinneman, a corporate headquarters and significant manufacturer we recruited from Greensboro, N.C., our team is beginning to make extraordinary progress with that endeavor, and Project Blue will help tremendously to expedite that goal.
It’s an honor to serve this great community.
The writer is president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp.