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The Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Authority (SWEDA) made the announcement recently that Daniel Carney will take over as the organization’s executive director, effective April 8.
Carney, a 2004 Wash-ington County High School graduate, earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Kentucky and his master’s in business administration from the University of the Cumberlands. He has recently worked with the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training, served as the director of adult education in Washington County and been a member of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. He cited his work with college and career grants at the state and federal level as a valuable skill he’ll bring to the SWEDA board, and said he looks forward to working with his hometown.
“For me, being a young person who moved back to the county recently, it’s an opportunity to come back to the community that I care so much about and have the ability to provide other people with that opportunity,” Carney said. “Springfield and Washington County provide a great talent pool of individuals who would like to be there and work in the community.”
Carney noted his predecessor, Hal B. Goode’s, work and indicated that he’s looking to move forward with what Goode started, rather than leading SWEDA in a new direction.
“He left a really good foundation. He was instrumental in bringing in the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College site that we have now, which is a huge resource. He made the connections with industries in the community as strong as they are,” Carney said. “Big shoes to fill. No doubt about that.”
While he has big shoes to fill, Carney has every intention of expanding and improving on the foundation that has been left before him. He praised the work of Washington County’s school district and the opportunities available with two colleges located in such a small community.
“We’ve got to work with our existing industries to make sure they’ve got everything they need to continue to provide opportunities for growth,” Carney said of SWEDA’s priorities. “We have to keep the education system involved. Our community has a lot to offer and we’re thinking outside the box a little bit to keep things going. I’m excited to hit the ground running and see what’s out there for us.”
With Carney’s primary focus being to maintain the bonds that SWEDA already has within the county and to develop new connections with growing industries in the area, community support will be crucial in SWEDA’s continued success. Part of why Goode’s tenure was so fruitful was the willingness of individuals to come together for the good of the community. That’s something that Carney doesn’t anticipate will change anytime soon.
“One of the biggest strengths we have is the community, because there are so many people who care about this community and want to see it thrive,” he said. “It’s easier whenever you have people who want to get involved and work hard to support the county. It’s not a one-man job to make this work. It takes an entire community and we’re very blessed with everything we have to offer in that respect.”
The position won’t come without its challenges, as Carney is aware of. The national economy is still climbing out of a recession, and that makes an impact with every community, large or small. As the impending SWEDA director reiterated, Washington County should be able to weather any storm it faces.
“Everybody knows the economy that this country has been facing makes it more difficult, but I think we have a lot of unique opportunities to grow for a community of our size,” he said.