County Selects New Economic Development Director

Stephen Barrington photoSampson County has selected Stephen R. Barrington of Wake Forest, North Carolina as their new Economic Development Director, effective October 28, 2019. Barrington is currently an Account Executive with Emsi, a company specializing in educating economic developers on how to leverage data to attract and retain business. He has wealth of experience as an economic development professional, having previously served as Director of Business Engagement for the Wake County/Capital Area Workforce Development Board (a public-private partnership), as Economic Development Project Manager for the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce, and as Executive Director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. He served a four-year term as a Town Commissioner for the Town of Wake Forest from 2003-2007, during which the town obtained their first bond to assist with open space and transportation infrastructure needs and updated its land use plan. Barrington holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Western Carolina University, and a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language from Mars Hill College.

The County was fortunate to have a number of quality candidates apply and undergo an extensive screening process conducted by Developmental Associates, LLC that included an EQ-i assessment, structured interviews, followed by written and in-person negotiation and presentation simulation exercises. “Throughout the assessment and interview process, Mr. Barrington demonstrated that he not only possesses the knowledge and technical skills required for the position of Economic Developer, but also that he has the demeanor and leadership competencies that will engender and sustain collaborative partnerships, stated County Manager Ed Causey. “For the past two years, the Board of Commissioners has committed both time and financial resources to proactively planning for the economic growth that is needed to sustain our rural communities,” Causey noted. “Selecting the candidate who can synergize the efforts of our many capable community partners and effectively implement the Board’s vision for economic development is without question one of the most critical steps in our plan.”

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Clark Wooten, who participated in the interview portion of the candidate assessments, echoed Mr. Causey’s sentiments, “The Board acknowledges there is no more critical issue for Sampson County at this time than positioning us to capitalize on our resources – be it infrastructure, workforce, transportation, or relational – to ensure our existing businesses thrive and prosper and that new industries are recruited to locate.” He added, “We believe that we have selected the candidate who can best translate that philosophy to action.”

Barrington is married, with two school-aged children. He maintains FINRA securities and NC Life/Health licenses and assists family and friends with their investment and life insurance needs in his spare time.