About The Oconee Economic Alliance
The Oconee Economic Alliance (OEA) is a public-private nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing new jobs and capital investment to Oconee County. Serving as the economic development arm of Oconee County, the OEA focuses on increasing per capita income, diversifying the local tax base and generating awareness of Oconee County as a business location. Going beyond the traditional role of recruitment and retention of industry, and workforce development, the OEA also assists with downtown revitalization and large scale retail projects. This additional focus on quality of life and sense of place gives the OEA a unique perspective to analyze economic development from multiple angles. With workforce becoming such an important part of economic development, the OEA understands the need to create a community that people of all ages will want to call home today and in the future.
Meet the OEA Staff
Over his career, Gilbert has facilitated the recruitment and expansion of hundreds of global businesses in a variety of sectors including advanced manufacturing, aerospace, customer and financial services, food processing, headquarters operations, information technology, life sciences and metal fabrication. In 2019, Gilbert was named one of the Top 50 Economic Developers in North America by Consultant Connect.
Gilbert has a lifelong passion for economic development as his Father was a city planner, economic developer and private developer. Growing up around economic development he saw first-hand the positive impact it made on communities and chose to make it his career path. He holds a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from Clemson University and a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). He is a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer (SCCED) and a designated Economic Development Master Practitioner by the Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program.
Tyler James is a South Carolina native, growing up in Laurens SC. He attended Anderson University for his undergraduate degree and Clemson University for his MBA. He started his career working for Congressman Jeff Duncan as his Regional Director here in South Carolina for a number of years before entering the financial sector. After a few years in the industry, Tyler returned to local government in 2021 and begin his career in economic development, something he has always been passionate about.
Tyler is an avid hiker and backpacker and loves spending time in the Oconee mountains and on the Chattooga River. Some of his hobbies include BBQ judging, his is a master judge with the SC Barbeque Association, and martial arts where he has a black belt in karate.
Alicia Rannou is an Oconee County, South Carolina native. She attended Tri-County Technical College for her associate’s degree and is studying at Southern Wesleyan University for her bachelor’s. Alicia has worked in the administrative field at Tri-County Technical College, a doctor’s office, and at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Walhalla, before joining Oconee Economic Alliance in January.
Alicia lives in Seneca with her two children and dog. She enjoys spending time outside camping, hiking, and anything to do with the local lakes and rivers. She is active in both her church and local community.