Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Laura McKinney Says Farewell

Dear New Carolina Supporters,

As many of you are already aware, I am stepping down from the position of Executive Director of New Carolina as of July 1, 2014.  My husband Jim, our children and I are returning to our home in Blaine, Washington after an extremely rewarding two years spent back where I began - in South Carolina. It is with great pride and  pleasure that I welcome Ann Marie Stieritz to the leadership role for New Carolina.  I will work with Ann Marie through July and will continue to finish some projects as we make this  transition.

As I depart from my post, the enthusiasm and support for the activities and projects at New Carolina make me most proud.  Over the last 10 months, we have welcomed some dynamic individuals who will continue to take projects to a higher level.  Deborah Cameron, Charlie Farrell and Wayne Fritz are leading the development of the Aerospace cluster with incredible knowledge and experience amassed among the three.  Dr. Peggy Torrey brings an unparalleled set of skills and wisdom to guide the Education and Workforce Development Task Force and to direct the progress of TransformSC.  Ben Green is connecting industry groups across the state to focus on common issues of competitiveness.  And Jackie Breland keeps all on track as New Carolina’s ever vigilant CPA.  None of these activities would be possible without the stellar (and flexible) support of Communications Director Summer Ramsey and Project Coordinator Marie Bauschka.  I thank them all for bringing their best every day.

I must also say thank you to the Executive Committee of New Carolina and to Chairman Ed Sellers.  The opportunity to work with all of you has been an honor.  You have given so much to South Carolina through your professional lives and through the ways that you choose to contribute to your communities.  Leading by example teaches the most, and your examples have set the bar high for those who will follow.

The greater competitiveness for South Carolina brings this group together.  It is a group of individuals who strive for excellence for themselves and for the state. There are so many to name who have opened doors and shared their time.  I thank my husband Jim here specifically for the volunteer time he gave for the betterment of the organization and the focus of mission.  Please know that your contributions have made a difference and will continue to make a difference.  New Carolina thrives through the actions of its volunteers.  

It is with that image of building a better South Carolina that brings me to my close.  This letter would not be complete without a poem that is one of my Dad’s favorites.  Jim Leventis - this is for you:

The Bridge Builder

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
-Will Allen Dromgoogle

Until we meet again,