awarded by state of South Carolina
Recently retired Colleton County South Carolina Economic Development Director Peter Arnoti was awarded in March with the 2010 Rural Leadership Award by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and S.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt.
Arnoti, the son of Ladd and Dorothy Arnoti of Cottonwood, retired as the county’s development director in January.
Arnoti apparently made the 35 mile trip from his home in Greenwood, S.C., to Newberry not knowing what it was all about.
The award is in recognition of his body of work in economic development. The award is given annually to an individual who has demonstrated effective leadership skills and has addressed issues of both short and long-term significance to community growth.
Arnoti has over 25 years in economic development in Colleton, McCormick, Marion and Greenwood Counties in South Carolina. He challenged county leaders to take the necessary steps to create change to raise the competitiveness of each county. His 6 and a half years spent heading Colleton County’s economic development effort was dedicated to change.
When he arrived in Walterboro, he found a county ill-prepared to attract new businesses that would provide employment opportunities. One of his first steps was establishing the Colleton County Economic Alliance, a development group that brought together county, school district and Walterboro officials with representatives of the private sector.
Another early step was his attack on litter, a battle that continues. He realized that the amount of junk populating the county’s roadways represented a bad first impression to those business people looking at Colleton County as a prospective location.
He worked to establish the area surrounding the Lowcountry Regional Airport as a possible home for business and took on the task of getting a spec building constructed at the still-unoccupied Colleton Commerce Center.
He also took on the task of getting the Quickjobs Center adult training facility built so that Colleton County would have a trained workforce. The facility was expected to be completed by the end of April.
Arnoti said his award “Hopefully will bring some recognition to Colleton County.” None of his efforts, he added, could have been accomplished without the backing of the county council.
Arnoti is a member and past president of the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association, a member of the Southern Economic Development Council and other economic development associations.