About Us

Overview

We are Lee and Sumter County South Carolina. Founded in 2014, TheLINK Economic Development Alliance operates to provide global outreach, business development, and talent recruitment.

TheLINK is a public-private economic development organization charged with facilitating the creation of jobs and the investment of capital in our region. Governed by a board of directors comprised of business leaders and public officials throughout our region, TheLINK is a 501 c3 nonprofit organization recognized by the South Carolina Secretary of State.

goals

  • Raise the per capita income, increase wealth, and enhance the quality of life for all citizens
  • Grow our workforce readiness and training programs
  • Strengthen our relationship with existing industry for ongoing success and future expansion opportunities
  • Increase focus and training in the STEM field both at the K-12 level and secondary education

Accomplishments

  • Best Small Market Aerospace Locations in SC (Southern Business and Development)
  • Best Contractors for Industrial Projects in SC (Southern Business and Development)
  • Best Small Town Manufacturing Workforces in SC (Southern Business and Development)
  • Best Megasites in SC (Southern Business and Development)
  • Best Small Town Industrial Sites in SC (Southern Business and Development)
  • Best Places to Hire Veterans in SC (Southern Business and Development)
  • Star for Growth and Success (SC Governor Nikki Haley)
  • 21st in Top 50 places for an affordable retirement home (US News)
  • One of the Top 4 cities on the Rise in SC (Nerd Wallet)
  • ​Best in the Southern Auto Corridor for Supplier Parts (Southern Business and Development)
  • ​Top 12 SC Counties capturing the most manufacturing projects of 50 jobs between 2010-2016 (Southern Business and Development)

Sumter County Overviews

economic overview

sumter county, sc

 

lee county

Overview

economic overview

lee county, sc

Our Team

Jay Schwedler, SCCED

Jay Schwedler, SCCED

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.

JSchwedler@thelinksc.com

Eliza Buxton, SCCED

Eliza Buxton, SCCED

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.

EBuxton@thelinksc.com

Erika Williams

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.

EkWilliams@thelinksc.com

Brian Rauschenbach, SCCED

Brian Rauschenbach, SCCED

Economic Development Project Manager

Brian Rauschenbach,a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, is the economic development project manager for Sumter Economic Development and TheLINK Alliance.  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 is a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer and has a B.A. in Business Administration from Saint Leo University.  Additionally, Brian has two associates’ degrees in applied sciences from the Community College of the Air Force specializing in aviation maintenance technology and instructor of 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.

BRauschenbach@thelinksc.com

Yanet Alvarez

Yanet Alvarez

Manager, Research and Multimedia

Yanet Alvarez serves as Research and Multimedia Manager 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.

YAlvarez@thelinksc.com

Logistics: Highways

In Lee County

From Sumter County:
20 miles

From Lee County:
32 miles

In Sumter County

From Lee County:
40 miles

From Sumter County:
40 miles 

From Lee County:
50 miles

From Sumter County:
50 miles

From Lee County:
7 miles

In Sumter County

From Lee County:
21 miles

In Sumter County

Logistics: Seaports

Port of Charleston (127 miles)

#8

TOP TEN U.S. SEAPORT DISTRICTS IN DOLLAR VALUE OF GOODS HANDLED

Inland Port Dillon (60 Miles)

INLAND PORT DILLON OPENED IN APRIL OF 2018, GIVING CARGO OWNERS, INCLUDING SHIPPERS OF REFRIGERATED CARGO, A POWERFUL NEW TOOL TO OPTIMIZE THEIR SUPPLY CHAIN.

 

Port of Savannah (170 Miles)

#4

TOP TEN U.S. SEAPORT DISTRICTS IN DOLLAR VALUE OF GOODS HANDLED

Logistics: Airports

Sumter Executive Airport

(In Sumter County, SC)

Florence Regional Aiport

(34 Miles)

 

Columbia Metropolitan Airport

(60 Miles)

 

Charlotte Douglas International Aiport

(99 Miles)

 

view our maps

A Great Place to Build a Career