County near on economic development hire

LUMBERTON — If all goes well, Robeson County will have a new director of economic development soon.

Meanwhile, Greg Cummings, who had planned to retire on Dec. 31, continues in the job.

County Manager Ricky Harris acknowledged that he and his committee are tardy, but said the delay is worth. He said the announcement should be made by early March, perhaps this week.

“Getting the right person is worth going through this process,” he said. “We had to re-advertise, but this is a very important position for the county.”

The pay went up with the new round of advertising. The salary range is now $75,000 to $90,000. The interview committee is comprised of Harris, County Attorney Patrick Pait and Kellie Blue and Jason King, assistant county managers.

Last week, Cummings, who has held the job for 22 years, made a presentation to the Robeson County Board of Commissioners about incentives needed to convince Campbell Soup to locate a $25 million expansion and 25 new jobs at its Maxton plant. During that meeting, Cummings was also presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian award, for his work on behalf of the county.

Cummings has agreed to stay on the job until a new economic development director is comfortably settled into place.

“We are very, very busy,” Cummings said. “There are some good things coming for Robeson County.”

Cummings will stay busy until his replacement is named.

“I’ve got five prospects ongoing right now, but it is very competitive with other counties and South Carolina and Georgia,” Cummings said. “We’ll know more in March.”

The new Office of Economic Development director won’t be handed the office reins before he is thoroughly briefed, Cummings said.

“I will probably be here for another month to give the new director information about job sites and key players,” Cummings said.

“I did not have that benefit when I came into this job. I promised myself I would give the next economic developer the help he or she needs to come out of the gates running.”

Cummings, who turns 70 this year, won’t be lacking for projects after leaving his economic development post. He also is the mayor of Pembroke.

The office is located at the Lumberton Regional Airport. It has a staff of Cummings plus two others, an administrative assistant and an existing industry person.

Ricky Harris Harris

By Scott Bigelow

Staff writer

Reach Scott Bigelow at 910-644-4497 or