Mark Farris

Mark Farris

J. Mark Farris, CEcD

President & CEO
Greenville Area Development Corporation

Day 2 : Session 2


Mark Farris has over 30 years of experience in economic development in South Carolina and assisted in company location and expansion projects totaling over $5 billion of capital investment and 33,000 jobs during that time. Farris was named President and CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corporation in October of 2014 where he leads the industrial and business recruitment efforts of the largest county in South Carolina.

Farris holds a Master’s Degree in Planning from Clemson University, as well as a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Secondary Education. He is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and achieved Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) status in 1993.

After interning with the Anderson County Planning and Development Board in 1985, Farris was appointed Economic Development Manager and assisted in location and expansion projects that included The Robert Bosch Corporation, American Screw and Rivet, Wells Aluminum and White Consolidated Industries. In November of 1987, he became Director of the York County Economic Development Board where he led the industrial recruitment and existing industry efforts of York County including management of a $550,000+ budget and the implementation of an aggressive marketing campaign. Recent industrial development projects include Daimler, Shutterfly, West Marine, Tyco/AMP, State Farm, ATO Tech Ebara, US Food Service, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Fed Ex Ground, American IMC, Northern Tools, Physician’s Choice, Exel, Novant Health, CitiFinancial, Britax, Performance Food Group, Ross Stores, 3D Systems, Lash, LPL and Stanley/Black & Decker.

Farris is past-President of the South Carolina Economic Developers Association, past-President of the Charlotte Regional Partnership Economic Developer’s Advisory Committee, past Director of the Southern Economic Development Council and member of the International Economic Development Council. Awards include the South Carolina Economic Developer’s Association BEDC Scholarship, The Charlotte Business Journal’s ‘Forty Under 40′ award, and Area Development’s Thesis Award for “The I-85 Corridor of Economic Development in South Carolina.” He is also a graduate of Leadership South Carolina’s Class of 2000 and The American Leadership Forum Class 2007 from the Charlotte region.

About Greenville Area Development Corporation

The Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) is dedicated to the growth and prosperity of Greenville County, SC. Since its founding by Greenville County Council in 2001, GADC efforts have resulted in the creation of over 23,000 new jobs and more than $4 billion in capital investment in Greenville County. The organization’s continued successes are demonstrated by the innovative, dynamic, and inviting nature of our community.


Flight to Greenville, SC

7:00 AM

Lunch & Orientation

Sponsored by The Acadiana Advocate

“Naive Enough to Believe We Can Do Anything:
Greenville’s Past, Present, and Future”

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Downtown Walking Tour

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Welcome Dinner

Sponsored by Jones Walker

“Taking Risks and Giving Back:
A Leadership Story”

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM


Breakfast at your leisure

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Session #4

“BMW: The Gift that Keeps on Giving”

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Free Time

Tour Zentrum, Gift Shop

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM

BMW Factory Tour

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM


“Driving Progress:
Accelerating Momentum on Leadership Exchange Lessons”

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM


12:30 PM - 1:00 PM


“Driving Progress:
The Ultimate Driving Experience”

1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Departure Flight

6:00 PM - 6:45 PM

Breakfast & Mayor’s Welcome

“Creating a City’s Personality”

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Session #1

“Vision, Planning, and Execution:
A 30-Year Overnight Success”

9:45 AM - 10:30 AM

Session #2

“Aligned and Committed:
Regional Economic Development in the Upstate”

11:00 AM - 12:30 AM

Lunch & Speaker

Sponsored by Billeaud Companies

The Site Selection Process

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Session #3

“Grow Your Own:
Greenville’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Free Time

Optional tours will be available

3:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Group Dinner

Brief History of the Peace Center

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM