Justin Smith Assumes New Duties for Columbus

June is typically a time for graduating. And, even though he didn't receive a diploma, June 16th was graduation day for Justin Smith, who left a position at Cumberland County Business Council (CCBC) to become Columbus County's new economic development director.

"The experience in Fayetteville was very important," says Mr. Smith, who served for nearly six months as an economic development assistant there. "I had the opportunity to see where projects come from and how they work."

A native of Whiteville, Mr. Smith worked as a freelance reporter and photographer while attending Whiteville High School. He continued freelancing during his years at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he studied journalism and mass communication. Late last year, Mr. Smith was brought on board by CCBC, which oversees economic development and other business programs. While there, he attended Southeast Commission Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meetings and got to know allies and counterparts in the region. "Now it will be my job to use that experience," Mr. Smith says. Among his priorities will be strategic planning and development of a two-county park in collaboration with Brunswick County.

"Justin is an outstanding young man with great potential," according to Phyllis Owens, executive vice president for economic development at CCBC. "His desire to have a positive impact on his home county is understandable, and given the right tools, I am sure he can be a positive force."