An annual luncheon among the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, or CRDA, was also a meeting of the minds, bringing together many of the area’s top industry leaders to improve the Tri-County economy. The meeting, held on the Trident Technical College campus, featured General Managers from Volvo and Boeing, along with CRDA Chair Anita Zucker, also CEO of North-Charleston based company, The InterTech Group.
“We’re already amazing, but we have a long way to go to become the greatest on Earth,” she said.
Zucker named Tri-County infrastructure as an area of immediate concern, and called on local legislators to pass the bills needed to improve road quality, and finish I-526.
“When you look at our state, we’ve got the SC Trucker’s Association, that are supporting an increased gas tax,” she said. “That’s one way to start.
“Volvo Car Americas Vice President Katarina Fjording emphasized a need for education at all levels, including those focusing on trade skills.
“We need to show the young ones it’s really cool to have technique,” she said. “We need more technical skills.”
In the last five years, Boeing South Carolina Vice President and GM Beverly Wyse, said the manufacturer provided $12.5 million in education grants, aimed at enhancing student development in STEM fields, those in science, technology, engineering and math. Leaders in education, along with city and county governments were also in attendance Thursday. College of Charleston president Glenn McConnell said the meeting left him “energized.”
“The big message to all of us in education was collaborate, do not compete,” McConnell said. “They really closed the loop on economic development, from infrastructure to education.”
Zucker said the CRDA is working to organize a series of focus groups and community town halls throughout the Tri-County area. They hope to formulate action plans coming out of Thursday’s meeting.