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Phil Edwards honored as Sumter County Ambassador for Economic Development

January 27, 2010

Phillip Edwards was honored as the Sumter County Ambassador for Economic Development by the S.C. Department of Commerce and legislative leaders as part of South Carolina’s 19th Annual Industry Appreciation Week.  The ceremony took place in Columbia on Jan. 26 at the Statehouse, and highlighted 48 individuals from 46 counties for their exceptional efforts to bolster community and economic development activities in South Carolina. Gov. Mark Sanford hosted the event.

“While improving South Carolina’s business climate and developing a skilled workforce have been priorities for our administration, these efforts alone are not enough,” Gov. Sanford said. “The help and efforts of community and business leaders in every corner of the state are critically important and today we say ‘thank you’ to these ambassadors for economic development for their efforts to create jobs and economic opportunity in South Carolina.” 

Phillip Edwards is the former president of Williams Furniture Company. Mr. Edwards has been a long-term asset to Sumter County, both professionally and personally. Throughout his 83 years, he has created thousands of jobs, invested millions of dollars into the local economy and been an ardent supporter of Sumter’s health, culture and community.

Mr. Edwards has been active in both his professional life and since his retirement. He has supported the growth of institutions including the Sumter County Museum, the YMCA, the Sumter Gallery of Art, Tuomey Regional Medical Center and the Trinity United Methodist Church Youth Center. Mr. Edwards has also endowed the University Of South Carolina Williams-Brice College Of Nursing along with numerous other programs. 

For his lifetime of selfless servitude, Mr. Edwards was honored by the governor with the Order of the Palmetto in 2006. Mr. Edwards is a graduate of Davidson College. 

“Our state’s existing businesses are one of our most valuable economic development tools,” House Speaker Bobby Harrell said. “Job creation and industry promotion begins on the ground level and is handled mostly in the private sector by these business leaders. I’d like to thank all our Ambassadors for Economic Development for their effective leadership and for proving that our best resources lie not in the hands of government but reside in the private sector.” 

“Businesses small and large have contributed greatly to South Carolina’s economy with investments, job creation and community involvement,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce.  “This is a week to recognize the contributions of businesses and community leaders for their continued commitment to growing economic opportunity in South Carolina. These ambassadors have dedicated their energy and gone the extra mile to enhance our communities and make South Carolina a better place to live and work. We congratulate each ambassador and thank them for their efforts.”

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“I’ve spent enough time in Sumter now to know that this is a strong community with great people, and dedicated leaders looking toward the future. Continental Tire is proud to continue to be a part of Sumter’s success story.”
Craig Baartman
Manager, Continental Tires The Americas, Sumter