The Laurens County Development Corporation is set to tackle a new strategic plan leaders say is overdue.
Avalanche Consulting, based in Austin, Texas, has been contracted by the LCDC to help develop a new economic development strategy for the county.
“Most organizations do a strategic planning process every 3-5 years, but we haven’t done one in about six years,” said LCDC Executive Director Jonathan Coleman. “So, it’s time for us to go through that process.”
As the first step in that process, the LCDC is seeking input from community residents through an online survey at surveymonkey.com/r/GrowLaurensCounty. The survey is live online now through Friday, Nov. 15.
“We only know what we know, and we can only grow and improve with input from the community,” said LCDC Marketing Director Whitney Robertson.
In addition to the survey, the development strategy is to be aided by several focus groups and a steering committee. The steering committee will consist of 30-40 members, a portion of which will include the LCDC’s 17-member executive board.
“This planning process will take six or seven months,” Coleman said. “But it will provide a roadmap for us for the next four-to-five years.”
Coleman also said that “roadmap” will be adjusted as needed to reflect the economic climate and other changes that might occur in the future.
“We did a strategic plan a little over 10 years ago, and then 2009 (the recession) happened,” he said. “So, we made a lot of changes.”
Robertson said Avalanche has worked with other areas across the country, including in South Carolina, that are similar to Laurens County.
“They’ve worked with very similar-sized counties and economic development groups,” she said. “We want to get an honest assessment from them.”
Coleman said they are hoping data put together by the consulting group will help the LCDC do its job better in the future.
“They’ll be able to develop some performance metrics for us that we really haven’t had in the past,” he said. “Our only real metrics have been more jobs and more investments. This will give us a better idea of what real success looks like and what failure looks like.”
At the crux of the study are the opinions from the community, which can be expressed online.
“We want to have more of a concerted vision for the county rather than having 8,000 different directions,” Coleman said.