Polk hires new business development director

Published 10:43 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017

COLUMBUS – Polk County decided earlier this year to change its economic development director position to a business development director, and recently hired Brian Griffin to begin that role.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Oct. 16 and were formally introduced to Griffin.

In the past, the county has contracted with three economic development directors and changed the position this year to be a full-time employee, hired by county manager Marche Pittman instead of being contracted through the board of commissioners.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Pittman said finding Griffin was a journey over the last several months and there was a group that worked together to hire him.

Griffin told commissioners this would be the greatest challenge he has faced, but he is excited to be working in Polk County.

Pittman said Griffin will focus on expanding services for local businesses and entrepreneurs who are interested in establishing their operations in Polk County, while preserving the county’s heritage, core values and lifestyle.

Griffin worked the last 25 years in western North Carolina, primarily serving small businesses in different capacities, according to Pittman. He worked for eight years at Mountain BizWorks in Asheville as well as having a diverse background in banking and finance, including small business lending, legal and compliance oversight and portfolio management.

“Mr. Griffin has extensive experience establishing and growing relationships across industry with a wide variety of businesses and groups,” said Pittman. “The primary focus is helping align people with supporting assistance within the community. He also serves as Adjunct Instructor for AB Technical Community College, teaching a broad curriculum of business classes to adult learners of all ages, including management, introduction to business and other relevant topics intended to be part of the college’s outreach programs.”

Griffin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from Western Carolina University and a master’s degree in business administration from Montreat College.

Pittman said Griffin also is a certified economic development finance professional from the National Development Council.

Griffin lives in Mills River, with his wife Sherri. The Griffins have a son who also holds a business degree.

Griffin will be paid an annual salary of $51,030, according to Pittman.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said this hire is a change in the county’s approach.

Gasperson said this is a new day and a new approach as Griffin is a business development director and will help boost existing businesses.

Commissioner chair Tommy Melton asked how many employees the county has on staff. Pittman said there are 172 full-time employees. Melton said he continues to say county employees are the county’s number one resource. He welcomed Griffin aboard and said Griffin will be working with some fabulous people.

“We look forward to you bringing us fabulous ideas,” Melton said.

Griffin plans to bring the board of commissioners quarterly updates.