Who We Are

About The Oconee Economic Alliance

The Oconee Economic Alliance (OEA) is a public-private nonprofit dedicated to bringing 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 stereotypical role of recruitment and retention of industry, the OEA also assists with downtown revitalization of our municipalities. 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 importance of creating a community that people of all ages will want to call home today and in the future.

Meet the OEA Staff

Annie Caggiano

OEA President

1.864.364.5556 acaggiano@oconeesc.com LinkedIn

As President of the Oconee Economic Alliance, Annie is charged with promoting economic growth through business retention and expansion, focusing on new business recruitment, developing industrial real estate product, supporting workforce development efforts and marketing Oconee County as a destination of choice for business.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Annie joins the OEA team after working as a Project Manager at South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Emily Hodge

Research and Existing Industry Director

1.864.710.7109 ehodge@oconeesc.com LinkedIn

Emily Hodge serves as the Research and Existing Industry Manager for the Oconee Economic Alliance. She is responsible for research and data requests, business retention and expansion, and industry recruitment. She also manages the property database for economic development properties and assists in product development efforts for Oconee County’s industrial properties.

Emily has her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Sweet Briar College. She went on to briefly work in the banking industry in her hometown of Asheboro, North Carolina before moving to Oconee County in 2013.

What do you consider yourself an expert of? Staining white shirts within the first 3 hours of wearing them. *Sigh.
Describe your life in 5 words or less. Don’t worry, be happy.
What is your “fun fact?” I stood through HOURS of rain at Churchill Downs to watch Justify begin his Triple Crown sweep at the wettest Kentucky Derby on record.

Morgan Holcomb

Marketing Manager

1.864.710.3391 mholcomb@oconeesc.com LinkedIn

Morgan Holcomb serves as the Marketing Manager for the Oconee Economic Alliance (OEA). A native of Anderson, SC, and a graduate of Anderson University, she is responsible for managing concepts, design, and production of marketing collateral, presentations, graphics, and other creative materials for the OEA. She also manages Think Oconee, a lifestyle campaign, and is the staff liaison to SURGE, Oconee County’s new young professional initiative.

What do you consider yourself an expert of? Being the President of the “I Hate Comic Sans, Papyrus, and Curlz Club.”
Describe your life in 5 words or less. I never meet a stranger!
What is your “fun fact?” I’ve been to four Backstreet Boys concerts! BSB for life!!!

Meet Our Board of Directors

Executive Board

Zach Hinton, Chairman

Zach Hinton is a native of Pickens, South Carolina and a graduate of Wofford College. Following several years working as a police officer and for a US Representative, Zach took his talents to Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative. As the Vice President of Economic Development and Support Services, Mr. Hinton works alongside many BREC partners forming strategies to bring new companies and opportunities to Upstate, South Carolina. Zach is also in charge of a BREC renewable energy initiative involving solar power. Zach, along with his wife, son, and dog, still call Pickens home.

Kyle Thomas, Vice Chairman

Mr. Kyle Thomas is a graduate of Clemson University and the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. He serves as the President and CEO of Blue Ridge Bank and has over 30 years of experience in the banking industry. Kyle has spent much of his career in Upstate, South Carolina and has served in multiple roles at the South Carolina Bankers Association, including Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, member of the Community Bankers Council, and member of the Federal Legislative Committee. Mr. Thomas is actively involved in the community as a current board member of the Oconee Economic Alliance, Vice-Chairman of the Prisma Health Hospice of the Foothills, a member of Seneca Rotary Club, and a former chairman of the Oconee Medical Center Foundation. Mr. Thomas is a native of Pickens County, and he, his wife and children reside in Clemson. Kyle Thomas currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board for the Oconee Economic Alliance.

Joey Hawkins, Treasurer

Joey Hawkins is a 1989 graduate of Wofford College and is the Director of Industrial Relations and Gas Control at Fort Hill Natural Gas Authority.   For over twenty years, Joey has served on the boards of the Economic Development agencies in Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson counties.  He is currently serving as the President of the Carolinas Public Gas Association.  The father of two was born and raised in the Upstate and currently resides in Anderson.  In his free time, Joey enjoys traveling with friends and serving in the youth program at his church. Joey serves as the Treasurer for the Oconee Economic Alliance Board.

Rush Thrift, Secretary

Rush Thrift is the oldest son of Gary Thrift and was raised working for his family’s business on the construction side as well as in the hardware stores. Rush graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Building Construction. He received his Juris Doctor from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama in 2015. After graduation, Rush was admitted to practice law in Alabama and began working as an associate attorney for Laney & Foster, P.C., a civil defense firm specializing in defending architects, engineers and general contractors. He lives in Seneca with his wife, Blaire, and their son, Clayton. Rush serves as Secretary on the Oconee Economic Alliance Board of Directors.

Christine Tedesco, Immediate Past Chair

Christine Tedesco is the owner of RSCT architecture + design, a commercial architecture firm that combines traditional design with a modern sensibility. An ’82, ’85, and M ’90 graduate of Clemson University, Christine’s love for creating has led her to over 40 years in the industry. Celebrating over 20 years in business, Tedesco also pursues creative goals outside of work and has become well-known for her skills in textile arts. As a strong advocate for women in architecture and construction, she mentors young architects at her practice and works with various stakeholders creating opportunities for women in the industry. Residing in Pendleton, Mrs. Tedesco remains involved in her community, serving on the board of the Clemson Chamber of Commerce, United Community Bank, working with Leadership Pendleton, and serving as the Immediate Past Chair of the Board for the Oconee Economic Alliance.

Talk to Annie Caggiano

Interested in becoming an OEA Investor?
Call Annie at 1-864-364-5556