J.R. Charles earns “40 Under 40 in Economic Development” Award

January 31, 2023

MAULDIN, SC – J.R. Charles, Director of Community Development for the City of Mauldin, South Carolina, has been announced as a recipient of the 2023 Economic Development 40 Under 40 Award, the biennial award recognizing rising stars under 40 years old in the economic development industry.

The awards program is hosted by Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based integrated marketing firm that works with economic development and travel organizations around the globe; and Jorgenson Consulting, a leading national executive search firm serving organizations in non-profit, economic, and community development industries. An independent selection committee of six economic development leaders and site selection consultants evaluated nominations based on demonstration of strong leadership, commitment, and innovation every day in the workplace.

“The purpose-driven work of economic development plays a vital role in communities around the world, and much of it is led by young professionals,” said Julie Curtin, president of DCI’s economic development practice. “These 40 rising stars are contributing their creativity, dedication and leadership to make a tremendous impact in their communities and our industry as a whole, and I so look forward to what lies ahead in their careers.”

“We congratulate Mr. Charles on this well-deserved recognition,” says City of Mauldin Mayor Terry Merritt. “He has made a tremendous and positive impact on the city, especially by coordinating our developments at Bridgeway Station and the City’s new City Center Village. We are extremely proud of Mr. Charles for earning this honor, and we are glad that he is a valuable member of our team.”

Charles currently serves as the Director of Community Development for the City of Mauldin, SC, where he oversees the City’s economic development and cultural affairs programs. Charles began his economic development career at the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce in his hometown of Douglas, GA. He advanced his career by serving as the executive director of the development authorities of Upson and Habersham counties; the economic development department head of Oconee County, GA; and the Vice President of Economic Development for the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. Over the course of his career, he successfully negotiated over $180 million in new investment and the creation/retention of more than 850 jobs. He is a member of the South Carolina Economic Developers Association and the South Carolina City/County Managers Association, serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Mauldin Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the 2023 class of Leadership Golden Strip.

“The economic development industry continues to evolve and these rising leaders are stepping up to the challenge,” said Todd Jorgenson, managing director and principal of Jorgenson Consulting, Inc. “Congratulations to these 40 winners – and to the communities that are lucky to benefit from their expertise.”

Award winners were announced last night at a reception hosted by DCI and Jorgenson at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2023 Leadership Summit, the only conference held exclusively for Certified Economic Developers and senior managers in the profession.

For more information on the 40 Under 40 awards program and this year’s winners, visit econdev40under40.com.


About the City of Mauldin

The City of Mauldin is located in the Upstate of South Carolina and in the heart of Greenville County. It is the 20th largest city in South Carolina and one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. Mauldin was first chartered in 1890 and has grown to a population of more than 25,000 people. More information about the City can be found at www.cityofmauldin.org.

About DCI

Development Counsellors International (DCI) is the leader in travel, economic development and talent attraction marketing. Since 1960, DCI has worked with more than 500 cities, regions, states and countries, helping them attract business investors, visitors and workers. DCI has offices in New York and Denver. For more information, visit aboutdci.com or follow @aboutDCI on Twitter.

About Jorgenson Consulting

Founded in 1992, Jorgenson Consulting has worked diligently over the past 29 years to establish itself as a premier national executive search firm. With a focus on the fields of non-profit, economic and community development, we partner with our clients to help them identify and secure the highest caliber of executive talent. Our goal is to develop a thorough understanding of our clients and leverage that knowledge with our own expertise and resources to source executive talent that can truly serve the organization by yielding economic benefits while also contributing to a community’s competitive advantage.