03/19/09 — New Duplin County economic development director hired

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New Duplin County economic development director hired

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 19, 2009 1:46 PM

Duplin County has hired a new economic development director, Heather Sauls.

Ms. Sauls currently works as vice president of client development for the Piedmont Triad Partner-ship, which helps with economic development for 12 counties in the Triad area.

Ms. Sauls replaces Woody Brinson, who retired in January 2008. His assistant, Cynthia Potter, has served as interim director.

The competition for the job was tough, County Manager Mike Aldridge said, with 24 people applying for the position. The search committee narrowed down the field and interviewed four applicants before choosing Ms. Sauls.

The new economic development director will start work April 22.

Ms. Sauls has seven years experience in the economic development field and another three in marketing. But she said her passion is economic development work.

"I grew up in economic development as my father was a developer for Progress Energy for 18 years," she said. "I found his job fascinating and always wanted to be apart of it."

When it came time to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she said, she knew that economic development was what she wanted to do.

"I wanted to help communities grow stronger and create jobs for people," she said. "It is an incredibly rewarding experience and has provided me with enjoyable memories to last a lifetime."

She said she is looking forward to coming to Duplin. She believes the county has an exciting future in store.

The county appears to be utilizing a diversified app-roach to economic development, she said. And the county has the leadership and resources for continued success.

"The county is in a great location for growth, and the people are wonderful," she said.

Serving the industries the county already has is a primary goal for Duplin's new public-private partnership, which is still young enough to not even have a name yet. The organization has articles of incorporation and bylaws.