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Seeing is Believing: Local Leaders see Greater Gainesville’s Possibilities in Greenville, S.C.’s Prosperity

Seeing is Believing: Local Leaders see Greater Gainesville’s Possibilities in Greenville, S.C.’s Prosperity

IMG_0710Greater Gainesville leaders spent Oct. 21 through 23 in Greenville, S.C.–part of a 10-county region locally referred to as “The Upstate”– talking to and learning from leaders who have been instrumental in transforming the city into a mecca of prosperity, growth and amenities.

“Seeing is believing,” said Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chair John Carlson. “Greenville’s success over the past two to three decades is an inspiring story of public/private collaboration and a region’s unified focus on achieving a common vision.”

For many of the leaders, the trip put a visual on the Chamber’s vision of Greater Gainesville as a global hub of talent, innovation and opportunity. Greenville has a walkable, business- and culture-rich downtown as well as a world-class automotive research center that provides 770 jobs, and supports enterprises such as the BMW Manufacturing Facility, which exports 70 percent of the automobiles it builds.

“I hope this experience will give attendees a real glimpse into the future we envision for our region, and will inspire new ideas for how to achieve it,” Carlson said.

Greenville—which is similar in demographics and assets to the Greater Gainesville region—has received a large amount of recognition in recent years for its ability to foster public-private partnerships to bolster business and innovation, and leverage its quality-of-life amenities to attract talented individuals and entrepreneurs. But amidst the flurry of recognition over the past several years Greenville has remained focused on continuous improvement.

Gainesville Area Chamber President/CEO Susan Davenport believes that constant focus on improving is key to competitiveness.


“As we walked the streets of Downtown Greenville in awe of the strong business presence and beauty, Greenville’s leaders were planning a visit to Austin, TX to identify new ways to raise the bar in their region,” said Davenport. “This visit illustrates the competitiveness of the global market. Greater Gainesville has unparalleled potential, but we have a lot of work to do to open the doors to opportunity.”

The Greater Gainesville delegation visited with Greenville Mayor Knox White; and other leaders representing business, research, education, including Dave Edwards, Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Director; Russell Stall, Executive Director of Greenville Forward; Max Metcalf, Government & Community Relations Manager for Greenville’s BMW Manufacturing Facility; and more.

Davenport added. “This trip is all about learning and getting inspired to elevate the conversation and action around transforming Greater Gainesville for our region’s businesses and citizens.”

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