Gray recognized with distinguished award

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Last week, Valerie Gray was announced as the winner of the David R. Echols Distinguished Service Award, the highest recognition in the economic development field.

Gray, who serves as the executive director of the Chambers County Development Authority, has worked for the CCDA for 22 years and has seen our community change a lot. When she first started, the area was in transition as the textile mills closed.

At the time, Chambers County was in a lull with a high, double-digit unemployment rate that ranked among the highest in the state.

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Although we all want them to be gone at the snap of a finger, those kind of issues aren’t alleviated overnight.

Gray, as well as many other people in Chambers County, worked together in the following years, and were able to bring in automobile suppliers and distribution-based companies to the area.

Now, Chambers County has an unemployment rate of under 3 percent and the area appears to be growing. Land off of exit 77 in Valley appears to be ripe for more development as well.

Gray can see retirement in her future, and our community will miss her greatly when she does, but she said she’s going to work just as hard in the future as she has the last 22 years.

We appreciate the work the CCDA and Gray are doing for Chambers County and want to congratulate her on her honor.

It’s clear others around the state are recognizing the work she’s doing.