James Bateman has been hired as interim Greenwood County economic development director.

“Greenwood County Council has committed to the citizens of Greenwood County that a first-class Economic Development Office, to address the industrial recruitment and retention needs of our community, would be built,” a press release from Greenwood County said. “It is in this spirit today we announce that James Bateman has been hired as the interim Greenwood County Economic Development Director.”

Bateman said he was excited to be working with Greenwood County.

“It’s going to be a great partnership working with the county,” Bateman said. “It allows me to continue industrial recruitment and retention to grow Greenwood greater.”

Bateman previously served as Greenwood Partnership Alliance’s director of business development for six years. He also spent nearly three years working at the SC Department of Commerce in economic development.

He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Business Administration. He has also graduated from O.U. Economic Development Institute, Basic Economic Development Course through UNC-Chapel Hill, S.C. Economic Development Institute and Leadership Greenwood.

“Greenwood is delighted to be able to bring James in as our interim Director of Economic Development,” the release said. “His wealth of experience not only in economic development, but specifically in economic development within Greenwood County, will serve the citizens of Greenwood well.”

Bateman said he will be working a two-week notice at GPA before joining the county in August. Bateman’s salary will be $90,000 with access to the benefits afforded to full-time employees with the county.

“I believe James, with his solid background in industrial development, is a good addition to the county and will fit in very well,” interim GPA CEO Art Bush said.

Greenwood County Councilman Theo Lane said he was pleased to hear of Bateman’s hiring.

“James is highly regarded both within the state Department of Commerce and the Upstate Alliance which is where the majority of our economic development leads come from,” said Lane, who also represents Duke Energy on the GPA board. “I think that James’ hiring is a both a logical and excellent choice to lead that effort.”

Greenwood County voted 6-1 to remove its membership and investment in GPA at a May council meeting. It also voted to have Greenwood County Council Chairman Steve Brown send a letter to the state Department of Commerce and other economic development entities establishing Greenwood County Manager Toby Chappell as the official contact for economic development in the county.

GPA CEO Heather Simmons Jones resigned in June. Greenwood CPW Commissioner and GPA board member Art Bush was named interim CEO in July.

At its July 22 meeting, Greenwood County Council voted unanimously to authorize Chappell to create an economic development department.

“As we build our economic development program, the hiring of James will serve as a cornerstone of our efforts well into the future,” the release said.

Bateman is the first person hired for the county’s economic development department.

“I look forward to continuing the collaborative spirit that has made Greenwood so successful in economic development over the last several years,” Bateman said.

Attempts to reach GPA board chairman Chip Stockman were unsuccessful.

Contact staff writer James Hicks at jhicks@indexjournal.com or on Twitter @jameshicks3.