New Development Pros Take Over in Brunswick, Scotland Counties

The Southeast Partnership welcomes several new members to the region’s team of local economic development professionals.

In March, Mike Hargett began leading the newly-combined economic development and planning department in Brunswick County, succeeding Michael DiTullo. Hargett had served as the county’s planning director since November 2013. His unique background includes work as town administrator for Carolina Shores and a range of planning, budgeting and management positions at the City of Wilmington. Hargett also owned his own consulting firm, Management & Planning Services, LLC, which provided planning and development services and expertise to municipal and county governments.

Supporting Hargett in Brunswick County are John Allen and Kim Gamlin. Allen, who began serving as economic development manager in June, is a 30-veteran of North Carolina economic development circles. His experience includes positions in Mecklenburg County and the City of Winston-Salem. Gamlin was hired in March as the department’s marketing specialist. Her extensive background with the North Carolina Community College System most recently included service as director of the Small Business Center at Brunswick Community College.

Mike Ward assumed duties as director of the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation in early May. The Scotland County native was previously vice president of First Bank in Laurinburg.

“In banking, I sold money,” Ward says. “Here, my job is to sell the county. To me, it’s not much different.” He looks forward to promoting Scotland County’s many attributes, including abundant land and modern infrastructure, and working to build understanding of the importance of economic development across the county.

A graduate of UNC-Pembroke, Ward and his wife Susan live in Laurinburg with their two young children. He succeeds Greg Icard, who left in late 2014 to accept a private-sector position in Georgia.