SENECA, SC, SEPTEMBER 2, 2021 – The Oconee Economic Alliance announced Dave Eldridge of Tri-County Entrepreneurial Development Corporation, and Steve Finger of Ride to Work as the honorees of the inaugural Dave Eldridge Service Award on Thursday, September 2nd at its annual meeting of investors.
The Dave Eldridge Service Award was created not only to honor Dave Eldridge’s career in volunteering for local non-profits, but to also honor individuals who exhibit the same passion for serving our community and contribute to the local economic development efforts of Oconee County, SC.
No stranger to economic development, Dave Eldridge has assisted business, large and small, for much of his career. After serving his country in the Army Special Forces, he began his career in manufacturing with BF Goodrich. Transitioning into economic development, Dave worked for the South Carolina Department of Commerce as the Director of Economic Development. Twelve years later, he was recruited by North Carolina to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce. Dave returned to the private sector to lead marketing and economic development for a major electric utility. Now as the Chairman and CEO of Tri-County Entrepreneurial Development Corporation (TCEDC), Dave serves small businesses looking to grow in Oconee County, SC. In addition to his role at the TCEDC, Dave serves on numerous boards and volunteers for non-profits across the Upstate. Dave’s involvement ranges from teaching kids to read, to supporting local shelters, food pantries and organizations that help struggling families, like Ripple of One.
Steve Finger retired to Seneca in 2009 after 39 years in the Aerospace Industry, including serving as President of Sikorsky Helicopters and President of Pratt and Whitney Aircraft engines. He and his wife have been active as volunteers in the local community with the Golden Corner Food Pantry and through the outreach ministry at Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. In 2017 Steve and several other dedicated Christians started a new 501c3 called Ride to Work Ministry Nonprofit Inc. The mission of Ride to Work Ministry Nonprofit Inc. is to provide affordable transportation to residents of Oconee County to assist them in obtaining and maintaining a job. Since 2017, Ride to Work has provided nine thousand rides for 200 riders with a 50% ‘graduation rate’—riders who kept their jobs and found their own ways to work. You can learn more about Ride to Work at rtwministry.org.
“Oconee County has many nonprofit and charitable organizations which benefit from volunteers like Dave Eldridge and Steve Finger,” said Kyle Thomas, President and CEO of Blue Ridge Bank. “These gentlemen are a resource, connection, and voice for the nonprofit community. On behalf of the Oconee Economic Alliance, we thank Dave and Steve for all their contributions to the community.”
“Steve Finger is one of the most volunteer-focused citizens of Oconee County, but he also cares very much about the people he is helping to serve. He truly is an asset to our community and well deserving of this recognition,” said Paul Cain, Oconee County Councilman, District III and Chair, Planning and Economic Development Committee. “Dave Eldridge’s life of service to business and local causes is vital to sustaining a business-friendly community. It has been my honor and pleasure to work with Dave over the past decade, and it is only fitting that we show our appreciation to Dave by establishing the OEA Annual Service Award in his honor.”
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. Since its founding in 2013, OEA efforts have resulted in the creation of more than 1,800 new jobs and $620 million in capital investment in Oconee County, SC. To learn more please visit oconeealliance.org.
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