Monday, August 30th was “day 1” for Thomas Higgs now serving as the Laurens County Administrator. He hit the ground running, attending a department head meeting with County Council Chairman, Brown Patterson.
“We are excited to have Mr. Higgs on board,” said Patterson. “The department managers are looking forward to working with him and we know that Mr. Higgs will provide the leadership we need and expect from someone in the role of county administrator.”
The LaurensCountyBuzz reached out to Mr. Higgs prior to his start in an effort to get to know him. Here’s what we learned.
An Interview with the New County Administrator, Thomas Higgs:
LCBUZZ: Tell us about yourself – where you grew up, military experience, education, etc.
Higgs: I am originally from Barnwell, SC. I attended the University of South Carolina and earned a BA in Media Arts, and I later attended Liberty University and earned a MA in Public Policy. I am currently an officer (Captain) in the SC State Guard, where I currently serve as an Administrative Officer for my command. Previously I served in a waterborne operations role, where I discovered my passion for scuba diving. I am a divemaster and I currently serve as a board member for the SC Law Enforcement Divers Association. I assist law enforcement agencies around the Southeast with public safety dive training.
LCBUZZ: What unique skills and experience do you bring to the LC administrator’s job?
Higgs: I wouldn’t say that my skills are unique by any means. I have management experience in the legal, financial, and political fields, but I learned long ago that true leadership is getting out of the way and letting the experts do what they do best. Laurens County has some of the best employees in the country. I spent my entire first day out of the office and in the field. There is an obvious passion that this team has for their community, and I look forward to doing whatever I can to simply help in any way possible. I’m simply proud just to be part of this team.
LCBUZZ: What do see as the biggest assets of Laurens County?
Higgs: The largest asset is the people of Laurens County. That simple. Laurens County has an amazing culture of people that care about their community and moreover, each other. Geographically speaking, Laurens County is in a perfect location in relation to other cities and attractions. Laurens County has beautiful natural resources and delivers a quality of life that is beyond measure. My mind always goes back to the people of Laurens County, though. A complete stranger will feel like they are at home in Laurens County.
LCBUZZ: What are your top priorities as the county administrator?
Higgs: My top priority is not re-inventing the wheel. My goal is to simply carry out County Council’s vision while being a resource to the employees of Laurens County. I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with Council in developing plans that will pave the road for generations of growth and development. To say that we are living in exciting times is an understatement. There are so many great opportunities available, and Laurens County has the Council and staff to make it those realities!
LCBUZZ: What do you want people who don’t know you to know about you and your approach to the new position and the responsibility that comes with it?
Higgs: I want people to know that I am a very down-to-earth person. I like to remind people that I “put my pants on the exact same way” every day. I have no problems getting out and helping where I’m needed. I hope to bring a culture with the position that adopts a “one team, one fight” approach to getting the job done. You’ll constantly see me on the ground trying to learn something…even attending fire academy classes. I also value the thoughts, ideas and concerns of citizens. I always welcome visits and calls from citizens, so please never hesitate to introduce yourself!
LCBUZZ: What are the biggest challenges facing the county in the near term and in the future?
Higgs: I believe that everyone understands the organic growth Laurens County is positioned to experience. The largest challenge, in my mind, is supporting that organic growth in a way to ensure success. I look forward to working with Council and staff toward a strategy that simply continues the success seen to date, plus more!
LCBUZZ: Laurens County is experiencing a housing boom: Clinton just announced the development of a 260-home subdivision and others were announced earlier this year in Laurens and other locations. What are some of the issues the county administration will face from this growth?
Higgs: This is an extremely exciting time in the housing market. I am proud to say that I was part of the team that helped announce the 260 home subdivision in Clinton. Laurens County is no different than any other County in SC when addressing these issues. It involves strategic planning, infrastructure and all of the traditional recipes that lead to success. I think Laurens County has an upper-hand however, in the fact that we have a team to welcome that growth. Our municipalities, workforce, and real estate professionals are willing and able to deliver on the needs to ensure success in this exciting housing market.