Jon Baggett, 36, is the Director of Dorchester County Economic Development in Summerville, South Carolina. We are pleased to honor him as a 40 Under 40 awards winner, the first-ever competition to identify the economic development profession’s rising stars.
In this role, he has facilitated capital investment totaling more than $500 million and 1,100 jobs in Dorchester County. He has a true passion for economic development, shown in his dedication to improve his community and its future.
One of the key projects Jon was responsible for was the development of two new industrial parks within the county. The parks serve companies in the high-tech, manufacturing and distribution industries. Jon’s aggressive plan to seek funding for the sites resulted in $3.5 million in grants. Jon also implemented a new business retention and expansion program, leading to the creation of the Dorchester County Industrial Council, which serves as a support organization for industry leaders and management teams of Dorchester County industries.
Jon’s economic development experience includes time working at the state, regional and local levels. Before assuming his current role, Jon was a community development manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. In that position, he worked with 12 counties on various projects, including strategic planning, downtown revitalization, workforce development and industrial product development.
What have you learned so far in your career? I have learned that economic development is more than a career, it is a calling. Every day brings a new challenge and new learning opportunity.
What’s the most overlooked issue facing economic development? The education of our future generation of manufacturing employees.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Somewhere still in the world of economic development, looking for that next challenge or next project to chase!
Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina. He is a graduate of the Basic Economic Development Course at Texas A&M, the South Carolina Economic Development School, and the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.
Jon is recognized as a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council, as well as a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer by the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association (SCEDA). He is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the Southern Economic Development Council, and he currently serves on the Trident Workforce Investment Board’s Board of Directors.
Jon and his wife, Ann, reside in Summerville, where she is a teacher at Summerville High School.
Dorchester County Economic Development is responsible for growing and retaining businesses in Dorchester County, South Carolina (Population: 100,000-199,999). Its mission is to create and support an environment that welcomes business, and helps companies to grow and succeed over the long-term. DCED works to ultimately increase the standard of living for all of Dorchester County’s citizens by providing more job opportunities with higher skills and better wages.
Click here to learn about the other 39 winners of the 40 Under 40 awards competition.
Hear from Jon:
Click here to hear directly from Jon on what’s happening in Dorchester County and his thoughts on the future for economic development.