Monday, January 02, 2012

AvCraft is being held accountable for performance -Brad Lofton, CEO of Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development

It wasn't long after the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development announced their 150 job deal that critics started digging into AvCraft's history.

The Sun News followed up the announcement with a write-up. It included criticisms from County Councilmen Marion Foxworth and Carl Schwarzkopf. Both approved the deal without knowing the actual company was AvCraft receiving the funding but said they wouldn't have done so based on AvCraft's track record. This long expose written by Paul Gable at Grand Strand Daily also dug deeper into AvCraft's checkered history which shows there is a connection between the new and the old ownership through Indaer International. But according to Brad Lofton, CEO of Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development, it's just that: history.

"We made sure AvCraft is responsible for their commitments,." Lofton said in a phone interview today. "If they don't deliver on their promise for jobs and performance, they have to pay all the money back. One of the primary functions of the South Carolina Department of Commerce is vetting companies and they funded AvCraft by the same amount Horry County has agreed to. Judging AvCraft on their relationship with Indaer is like judging today's Boeing based on their deals with Lockheed-Martin."

Aviation is a high priority target industry for MBREDC. According to Lofton, "AvCraft is the only aviation company in Myrtle Beach right now and we want to support their growth, not stifle it." From MBREC's perspective, this deal is both an investment into an existing local business, but creates opportunities to lure new and presumably larger companies.

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