LUMBERTON — The search is underway for a new county Economic Development director, and there is no timeline for finding one.
“It’s open until it’s filled,” County Manager Ricky Harris said.
The search was prompted by Greg Cummings’ announcement in mid-October that he is retiring at the end of the year. He has held the post of leader of the Robeson County Economic Development Department for for 21.5 years. Before that he worked 21 years for the Lumbee Regional Development Association. That adds up to 42.5 years in public service.
“It’s time,” Cummings said.
The county Board of Commissioners will not be involved in finding Cummings’ replacement, Harris said.
“It’s all on me,” Harris said.
Candidate interviews will be conducted by a panel comprised of Harris, Assistant County Manager Kellie Blue, Assistant County Manager Jason King, and County Attorney Patrick Pait.
The county Human Resources office has advertised the position, which has a salary range of $59,739.70 to $76,168, negotiable based on experience.
According to the advertisement distributed by county Human Resources, qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in business/public administration, economics or related field, and five to seven years of experience in economic development, business management, sales and marketing, community work, grant writing, fundraising, marketing and other related fields.
The advertisement also instructs interested job-seekers to go to https://robesoncountycareers.com to apply. Anyone seeking more information is instructed to call 910-671-3016.
Cummings said he has enjoyed his work at the county Economic Development office, saying it has been a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week job of trying to bring businesses and industries into Robeson County.
“It’s been exciting,” said Cummings, who also is the mayor of Pembroke.
His efforts as Robeson County’s economic development director was praised by Red Springs Mayor John McNeill, who also is a member of the Robeson County Committee of 100, a private group that works to recruit industry. He said Cummings has seen Robeson County through some of the worst economic times, including the decline of tobacco and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is blamed for the loss of as many as 10,000 textile jobs, including the closing of Converse, once the county’s largest private employer. The county in the last two decades has been forced to transition toward more jobs in the tourism industry, which generally do not pay as well as textiles jobs and often do not come with benefits.
“He never hung his head,” McNeill said.
“I really hate to see Greg retire. He really deserves it,” said Steve Yost, president of North Carolina Southeast.
North Carolina Southeast is a nonprofit economic development partnership between 18 county governments and regional businesses and industries.
Yost has known Cummings since 1994, and said they have been working together on economic development projects since the early 2000s. Yost called Cummings a great partner and ally in the economic development realm.
“We’ve worked on many economic development projects over the years,” Yost said.
Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974.