A look at Lofton's legacy, as MBREDC looks for new leader

The search is on for a new CEO to lead the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

Brad Lofton resigned from the position last month.

In his three-and-a-half years as CEO, Lofton's record includes a few misses.

The "Project Blue" call center deal didn't develop. Neither did the Ithaca Gun Company.

But the corporation's board members say Lofton had some big hits, too, including the StarTek call center, PTR Industries and BauschLinnemann Inc.

"(Lofton) really put us on the map. In economic development, we have more than 1,300 jobs announced during the time that he was here," said MBREDC board chairman Fred Richardson.

Richardson says all the jobs the EDC has attracted over the past three years offer wages that are above average for Horry County.

The latest count from the MBREDC shows the 1,385 announcements during Lofton's tenure have turned into 572 actual jobs, or 41 percent of the total.

County leaders point out that, as with StarTek's construction of a new building for more than 600 workers, it takes time for job announcements to translate into W2 forms.

"A lot of them had a two-year buildup period in order to fill all of those jobs. A lot of them are only into 6 months, so we're not even close yet," said Horry County council chairman Mark Lazarus.

To replace Lofton, Lazarus says the EDC will look for someone with economic development experience and a proven track record.

"We're certainly not in the training business. We're looking for someone who can take us forward," Lazarus said.

Richardson says a search committee will choose 3 to 5 finalists to interview for the top job. He says the search will remain open through September 12.