Partnership names CEO

Jun. 21, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

The Sanford-Lee County Partnership for Prosperity has named Rodger Sauls as the organization’s first Chief Executive Officer. After being in transition for more than 18 months, Lee County’s economic development program now has a new leader.

Rodger Sauls spent 20 years as a business development executive with Progress Energy, and during that time became familiar with Lee County’s economic development program. In the last few years, he has had business development and consultant roles with Yonkers Industries and DavenportLawrence. He will officially begin as CEO on July 7.

“We are pleased that Rodger Sauls will be leading the new Partnership,” said Lee County Economic Development Corporation Chairman Donnie Oldham. “He has the leadership skills we need to stand-up the new organization and accomplish our aggressive program of work. We are looking forward to Rodger becoming a part of our community.”

Chamber Chairman Brad Simpson said, “The hard work of many volunteer leaders is coming to fruition — the Chamber-EDC merger is almost complete; the fundraising campaign is on track; and we now have a solid leader to move us forward.”

The Sanford-Lee County Partnership for Prosperity is the new, public-private economic development organization formed from the merger of the Lee County Economic Development Corporation and the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce with support from Lee County, City of Sanford and the Town of Broadway. The mission of the organization is to enhance the quality of life in Lee County through a comprehensive set of sustainable economic and workforce development strategies that supports existing businesses and encourages new businesses.

The merger of the EDC and Chamber of Commerce developed out of the need to broaden the economic development program of Lee County and to capitalize on the synergies and strengths of each organization. The boards of both organizations saw the need to form a comprehensive approach to economic development to better support long-term, sustainable growth.

A Task Force was established in early 2013 that included representatives from Lee County, Sanford, Broadway, EDC, Chamber and the private sector. The Task Force outlined the concept of the public-private partnership model for the organization. Later, a Steering Committee was formed to guide the development of a program of work, organizational structure and funding model. Convergent Nonprofit Solutions was engaged in October 2013 to conduct a private sector fundraising assessment. Following a positive recommendation from Convergent, a private sector fundraising campaign was approved.