LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Economic Development Corporation announced this week that the 18-month vacancy in its director’s position will come to an end next month.
Mark Ward, a member of Scotland High School’s class of 1989, will start work on May 2. He is currently employed as vice president of Laurinburg’s First Bank branch.
Ward was one of six applicants in the corporation’s fourth round of interviews, according to County Manager Kevin Patterson. As economic developer, Ward will work under Patterson, who feels that with this hire the EDC has finally found its man. Greg Icard, the county’s first EDC director, resigned in 2014.
“We’ve had several people that we’ve discussed that we thought could easily do the job but we’ve had several situations where it wasn’t the right fit for the community,” said Patterson. “It was a conscious effort to make sure we found the best long-term decision for the community before we moved ahead.”
Ward is a graduate of UNC-Pembroke, and has worked in finance for 20 years with First Bank and in Wells Fargo’s retail division.
“His background in finance is a strength in business and recruitment, understanding that aspect of business, and also his dedication to the community as a whole,” Patterson said. “He’s expressed his dedication to learning the role as economic developer, and his primary goal really does seem to be to find a way to improve the community.”
Ward lives in Laurinburg with his wife Susan, 15-year-old daughter Sarah and 11-year-old son Ethan. He serves as treasurer of the Laurinburg Optimist Club and a member of Stewartsville Baptist Church.
He is looking forward to the opportunity to expand his ties within the region to serve Scotland County as a whole.
“With First Bank I’m able to provide for a significant number of customers in the county but the EDC position allows me to serve the entire county,” he said. “I think it’s every citizen’s duty to do as much as they can for everyone else.”
Ward said that his current skills marketing First Bank to new clients will translate well when presenting Scotland County as a location for business and industry.
“I think it’s an exciting thing and there’s a lot of potential there for it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to meeting all the business owners and industry leaders and seeing what I can help to offer.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.