HENDERSON — Granville County’s McKinley Perkinson was announced Thursday as the new director of the Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission, filling a role that has changed hands several times since Stuart Litvin retired in 2017.

A 1998 J.F. Webb High School graduate, Perkinson will finish out a commitment in her current position as a Franklin County project manager before starting work in Henderson Nov. 15.

Prior to joining Franklin County, Perkinson served as Maria Parham Health’s marketing director from 2015-19 and before that, worked as the marketing and public relations manager for VCU Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Virginia. for seven years.

“I have always worked very closely with economic development in my roles at different health systems,” Perkinson said. “And I am just very excited at the idea of being able to bring jobs to the community. This is my home.”

“My first job was in Henderson at Pizza Inn,” she added. “It’s home and I can’t think of any greater thing that I can do than to improve the economy for this area.”

A Vance County news release Thursday touted Perkinson’s experience in “communications and marketing, public and media relations, project leadership, budget management and relationship development.”

Most recently in Franklin County, where she started in March of 2020, Perkinson has been working with the Franklin County Economic Development Commission to create a new website for the county.

“We were intentional in prioritizing personality and fit for our next EDC director,” Vance County Manager Jordan McMillen said. “We were looking for an individual who is creative, able to work with the community and local businesses to build relationships, and one who has passion for improving the community.”

The Henderson-Vance EDC director position had been vacant since late August when Christian Lockamy stepped down after eight months on the job. Then, retired Henderson-Vance EDC director Benny Finch stepped in as interim director.

Perkinson received a bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University and a master’s from Liberty University, and said being the “connection point” between local businesses and the community is vital in the Henderson-Vance EDC director position.

Bringing in new businesses will of course be a priority, and Perkinson said she would like to see Vance County take better advantage of its central location on the East Coast to attract more distribution centers.

“One of my first goals is to get involved with the businesses we currently have in Vance County, and get to know the leaders of those businesses and see how I can help them with any needs they have at the moment,” Perkinson said. “Everyone is still kind of figuring things out coming off the pandemic, so I just want to make sure that everybody is connecting with the resources that are available for businesses. A lot of new resources have come about from the pandemic.”

“McKinley is an outstanding fit for this role,” McMillen added. “She brings optimism, energy and passion for Henderson and Vance County and has proven to be a creative force in marketing in her past roles. Vance County has had a number of recent economic development successes and McKinley is well-positioned to continue leading this effort.”