Sumter, South Carolina | American Spirit. Global Edge. | 800.888.7926

Our Team

Jay Schwedler
President & CEO

A South Carolina Certified Economic Developer, Jay is a Clemson University graduate with dual degrees in Economics and Agriculture. Since 2006, he has been the leader of Sumter Economic Development and has facilitated the creation of more than 3000 jobs resulting in a decrease in unemployment and an increase in the per capita income by 44%.  A distinguished economic developer, Jay has been recognized as the South Carolina Economic Developer of the Year and recognized as one of the “40 under 40” Economic Development professionals by the International Economic Development Council. In addition, he is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina, a Tuomey Fellow and serves on multiple state, regional, and community level boards and organizations. In his free time, Jay enjoys the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.

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Eliza Buxton
Manager, Operations

Eliza joined the Sumter Development Board in 2011.  Prior to her arrival in Sumter, she gained significant experience in non-profit management as the former Director of Finance for the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC and the Director of Operations for a non-profit consulting firm.

With a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a Masters in International Business from the University of South Carolina, she brings a vast educational background and a diverse work experience to the job. She has studied in London, and worked in San Francisco and Paris.

As the Manager of Operations, Eliza acts as the chief support personnel to the Board of Directors and the President/CEO with a primary focus on managing day to day office and organizational operations of Sumter Economic Development and the Sumter Smarter Growth Initiative (SSGI). Her interests include antiquing, traveling and spending time with her husband and boy/girl twins.

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Erika Williams
Manager, Communications and Strategic Initiatives

Hailing from Denmark, SC, Erika has more than 15 years of diverse experience in marketing and integrated communications. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications and Theatre from Lander University and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina.  As the Communications and Strategic Initiatives Manager, Erika is responsible for external and internal marketing and global branding. She is the lead liaison for community outreach, media relations, and special projects. She is an AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor and is involved in a number of community councils and advisory boards.

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Brian Rauschenbach
Economic Development Project Manager

Brian Rauschenbach, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, is the economic development project manager.  Prior to this role, Brian served as the youth apprenticeship consultant for Apprenticeship Carolina and was instrumental in the development of youth apprenticeship programs across the state.

Brian has a B.A. in Business Administration specializing in technology management from Saint Leo University.  He has associate’s degrees in applied sciences from the Community College of the Air Force  specializing in aviation maintenance technology and technology and military sciences.  As Economic Development Project Manager, Brian is responsible for existing industry retention and expansion as well as new business development. He is married to Kimberly Rauschenbach, and they have two children Calla and Brooks.

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Yanet Alvarez
Research and Marketing Associate

Yanet Alvarez serves as Research and Marketing Associate for Sumter Economic Development and TheLINK Economic Development Alliance between Sumter and Lee Counties. A Cuban native, Yanet came to South Carolina in 2014 to attend the University of South Carolina and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in December of 2017.

In her final months of college, Yanet interned with the organization for a year and was hired-full time following her graduation. Yanet provides organizational support while developing and maintaining network and social media platforms. A certified business analyst and licensed SC Realtor, she conducts economic research on sites and building certification, provides marketing support and manages electronic communications and graphic design.

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"When you invest in yourself, people will invest in you."
Gene Baten
Sumter County Council