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Shot of Ginn: CRDA CEO talks 'innovation strategy'

Moultrie News 4/19/2024

All eyes were on Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) President & CEO David Ginn, as he detailed the success and challenges of his three-county region at the April 17 Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

The CRDA spokesperson opted to tell stories in lieu of displaying data and slides in light of technical difficulties at the Omar Shrine Palace. In that vein, Ginn spoke of how far the three-county, 27-city region he represents has come since relocating from Savannah, Georgia in 1993.

Three months after his arrival to the Lowcountry, he recalled, about 22,000 people lost their jobs following the announced shutdown of Naval Shipyard Charleston.

Although the situation could have significantly worsened, the unemployment rate never rose much above the six percent, according to Ginn, who maintained an “only-way-is-up” attitude in his early days as a Mount Pleasant resident.

As a Metro Chamber of Commerce employee at the time, the Atlanta native collaborated with top market leaders in forming CRDA “out of fear,” he said, resulting from the base closure.

Since then, the North Charleston-based alliance has emerged as the 71st largest metro area (population-wise) in the country among 380 comparable regions.

“And what I typically wouldn’t make a case for with some slides and data is that we fight well above our weight. We are not a 71st-sized market. We are playing and competing against the top 20 markets,” he explained.

Those top-dog metro areas include: Nashville, Raleigh, Austin, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Jacksonville.

“Those are the markets we benchmark against because that’s who we compete against.”

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