Dave Eldridge

Dave graduated from Western Michigan University and performed his military service in the Army Special Forces. His business career began with BF Goodrich, where he served in diverse executive capacities including labor negotiations, regional plant management and relocating manufacturing facilities around the world. The latter began his interest in Economic Development. While having responsibility for corporate training, he received the highest award from the American Society of Training Directors. After a stint in South Carolina heading up Goodrich’s manufacturing facilities in the Carolinas, Dave decided to settle his young family in Columbia. He was involved in a number of small business ventures, as well as managing highly visible political campaigns. He was recruited by Governor West to work with the Department of Commerce, as the Director of the International Division. He was later named Director of Economic Development, a position responsible for all business recruiting efforts of the State. He retained responsibilities for the International offices as well. Dave served a number of administrations, both Republican and Democratic, during his 10 year tenure and organized all trade missions undertaken during those years. He enjoyed recruiting and working with many of the firms that are now major employers in South Carolina such as Michelin, BMW, Fuji Film and Beneteau. Throughout this time South Carolina’s Economic Development Program regularly ranked #1 in the U.S.

 

Ultimately he was recruited by the State of North Carolina to serve as Assistant Secretary Of Commerce with responsibility for Economic Development. After a successful tenure Dave returned to the private sector to lead Marketing and Economic Development for Entergy, a major electric utility serving Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. He most recently retired as CEO of a manufacturing company in Florida.

 

Dave’s primary volunteer interest is job creation in the Upstate. He is Chairman and CEO of Tri-County Entrepreneurial Development Corporation. Aside from his administrative duties, his focus is developing and coordinating training programs through cooperation with Tri-County Technical College and Clemson University. He is also a counselor for the Senior Corp of Retired Executives. Both entities aid emerging entrepreneurs develop the business skills necessary to be successful. He currently serves on the Boards of the Tri-County Technical College Foundation, the Ten At The Top Strategic Alliance and is a member of the Oconee Economic Alliance. Dave served as Vice Chairman of the Oconee County Economic Development Commission, a predecessor of the Oconee Alliance. He participated with the steering committee that drafted the latest Oconee County Strategic Plan.

 

During his career he received numerous honors for his work in Economic Development. In Arkansas his program received the prestigious Fulbright Award for the highest level of success in International Business Development. In South Carolina he was honored by Governor Riley with the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor accorded to a South Carolina citizen. Recently, the citizen’s of Oconee County chose him as the first recipient of the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce Education First award. Dave and his wife Margaret, a retired bank executive, reside in Keowee Key near Clemson.