5 questions for Brittany Brady
Brittany Brady is the president and CEO of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development and its sister organization, the Economic Investment Fund of Henderson County. Brittany will have been with the Partnership for nine years in November and has spent two years in her current position. As the professional economic development entity for the County, HCPED works to retain and recruit quality jobs to Henderson County. This work includes robust existing industry and workforce programming, marketing collaborations, advocacy, and product development to mature and secure industrial sites and buildings in the county. A native of Henderson County, Brittany takes this work personally because quality jobs affect friends and neighbors.
What do you like best about your job?
Every day is different. Economic development encompasses so many different pillars of our economy. Some days, I am wearing a hard hat and eye protection out on a plant floor and the next day, I am in a suit across from a CEO deciding if they want to come to Henderson County. I get to work alongside movers and shakers in our community, and whether we announce an industry expansion or grow our apprenticeship program, each day is different, but the outcome is the same: to better Henderson County and the people who live here.
What inspires you?
As a native of Henderson County, I take my work very personally. Maybe emotions shouldn’t be wrapped into economic development, but it is hard not to look at my son — a tenth generation native — and not think [about] the weight of how we grow our economy. A site selector told me once, “What you do today will shape your community for the next 30 years.” No pressure. I want to make sure that each decision we make, each company we try to recruit, each workforce initiative we launch, and each meeting we are a part of makes Henderson County better for the next 30 years.
Who or what should we be paying attention to?
Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. It isn’t just more jobs, but jobs that are paying the right amount that meet the workforce demands of a community. We have to work in sync with our local industry and pay attention to global trends — like the automotive industry — to figure out the next best step.
What was your biggest challenge this week?
Presenting to our Board of Commissioners on the closing of Continental Automotive in Henderson County. Their Henderson County location will transition out of the community in 2022. Over the next three years, we will need to deploy workforce retention programs alongside our partners, like Blue Ridge Community College, and come up with a strategy to market their building. These are global decisions that impact our local economy. While there was nothing we could have done to prevent the decision, we can begin the work to assure a smooth transition in 2022.
Eastern or western barbecue?
I can feel the ridicule now: I don’t like barbecue. But since it is a Southern staple and served at every business lunch, ever — I can tolerate it with vinegar. Sorry, WNC: You still have my heart.