One of the most dynamic programs in SC is the Liberty Fellows. Founded by Hayne Hipp, the Liberty Fellows take 20 to 25 of the best and brightest young South Carolinians (ages 30 to 45) each year, and put them through an intensive two year leadership program. Partners include the Aspen Institute and Wofford College. I am happy to say that Amy Love was selected for the Class of 2012, the 7th class of Fellows.
On November 30, the Liberty Fellows held their first summit. It was in Columbia and 750 people attended. The keynote speaker was Dan Heath, co-author of the book "Switch." The book provides a method of implementing change. After his lecture, each table of 10 was asked to apply the methodology to specific problems in one of four areas: Economic Development, Health and Environment, Public Policy and Education.
My table discussed Economic Development, and specific the structure for Economic Development in the State. The major conclusion was that we need a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy in SC. Governor Haley talked about a 10 year plan during her campaign. Milliken CEO Joe Salley (also a Liberty Fellow) has called for a comprehensive strategy.
The Monitor Group in 2005 produced a document called "A Strategic Plan for South Carolina." It was built around clusters and task forces. The problem with the plan was that it did not recognize the major economic development effort in the state which has been and is recruiting new industry. SC has been very good at this for a long time. It also did not recognize the role of the other partners such as Regional Alliances, the Power Team, SCRA, technical colleges, public utilities, local economic developers and others. It did, however, recognize that Education and Workforce, Research, Distressed Areas and Entrepreneurhsip should be included in such a plan.
I hope the Liberty Fellows and the new Governor will take the opportunity to organize a way to produce one overall long term comprehensive economic development strategy for the State.