Josh Kay

Horry County's top industry recruiter resigned Friday.

Josh Kay, who had led the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC) since 2015, stepped down to "pursue other opportunities," according to a news release from the EDC.

The announcement comes two days after the EDC and Horry County agreed to a three-year funding contract for the agency. As part of the deal, the EDC will receive $1.1 million from the county each year. However, the council can terminate the agreement with a 30-day notice.

In addition to the public dollars, the EDC also receives private contributions to help recruit outside businesses and persuade local companies to expand. The private funds typically pay for dinner and lunch meetings while the public dollars go to operations and incentives.

When reached Friday morning, Kay declined to say what opportunity he would be pursuing, but he did say he plans to remain in the area. Kay said he's proud of the team he assembled during his time at the agency.

The EDC has seen mixed success under Kay's leadership. The organization had a stellar 2016, announcing expansions and relocations tied to 422 jobs and $7 million in capital investment.

But the agency followed the banner year with a lackluster 2017 that failed to meet the agency’s job creation goals. The low point of the year was the closing of Greenwood Hall, a call center company that announced in October that it was moving its headquarters from California to Horry County and would hire more than 300 workers. The firm abruptly closed in December, leaving about 50 people unemployed. In March, two dozen former employees sued the company over unpaid wages, according to court records.

Despite last year’s struggles, the EDC bounced back in 2018. So far, the organization has announced three projects tied to 189 jobs and $25 million capital investment, exceeding the organization’s goals for the year.

"I certainly am proud of the success that we had over the last three years," Kay said.

Sandy Davis, the agency's vice president, will serve as the EDC's interim CEO, according to the release.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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