IN MEMORIAM: Local leaders remember Brad Hufford

Published 1:11 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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Brad Hufford, Beaufort County Economic Development Director, died Wednesday, May 15. 

Those who worked closely with Hufford came together to share their memories of working with Hufford and the impact he left on the county. 

County Manager, Brian Alligood, shared that Hufford was “a shining star in the economic development world.” Adding, “ He was highly respected across the state among his peers for his hard work and dedication to economic development.  The County was very fortunate to have him as our economic developer.  When he was hired, I recall him saying that he was most excited about being able to run his own shop and use his years of experience and contacts to help make a difference. He was certainly doing that here with several recent economic development announcements and others in the works.  He will certainly be missed.  My heart goes out to his wife, Kristi, and their families during this very difficult time.”

Washington City Manager Jonathan Russell had known Hufford for more than 20 years. They were undergraduate and graduate students in the same programs at East Carolina University. Russell considered Hufford a personal friend and a great resource for Eastern North Carolina. 

“He was a wonderful resource to the community. I’ve known Brad for a number of years, and he was a great colleague and friend. He will be sorely missed.” Russell added that he relied on Hufford’s economic development expertise during his career. “He made a great impact on the community here as well as within the organizations he worked for prior to coming here.” 

“He was a great friend and I enjoyed working with him here,” Russell continued. 

Catherine Glover, president of the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, said she had the “privilege” to work with Hufford “for many years in his role in economic development. His love for economic development will be seen in Beaufort County for years to come.”

Sarah Bernart with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (ECPNC) said, “For the past two years, Brad always was eager to assist Beaufort County’s existing industries with their challenges and opportunities. He was very proud to help secure funding for Elite Truck’s expansion in downtown Washington. The EDPNC’s business recruitment team, based in Raleigh, appreciates his efforts to bring new industries to Eastern North Carolina throughout his career. His warm, sunny personality will be missed by many in the state’s tight-knit economic development community.”

Maria Satira said on behalf of Greenville ENC Alliance, “Our team at the Greenville ENC Alliance is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our former co-worker, economic development colleague, and friend, Brad Hufford. Throughout his career, Brad was focused on enhancing the livability of eastern North Carolina and his efforts will be greatly missed in our office and throughout the region. We were honored to work with Brad during his time at the Greenville ENC Alliance from August 2020 to May 2022. He was personally and professionally committed to the growth of Greenville-Pitt County, and this showed through his unwavering passion. During his time at the Alliance, he served as project manager on several major industry expansions in 2020 and 2021, bringing a combined total of 790 new jobs and $654 million in new capital investment. The impact of his work on those projects and many others, along with his dedication to serving Greenville-Pitt County, will be felt for years to come. Our Greenville ENC Alliance staff, board of directors, and partners offer our deepest condolences to Brad’s family, loved ones, and friends.”

Hufford, a native of Ayden, North Carolina was named Beaufort County’s latest Economic Development Director in April of 2022. Then, 44, Hufford started his new job on May 16, six weeks after Martyn Johnson’s retirement. 

Hufford was an East Carolina University alum, earning a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in economic development.  Hufford was previously the Vice President of Business Development for the Greenville ENC Alliance and worked in Washington as part of an N.C. Commerce Department eastern outreach program inside Carryout by Chrislyn on 2nd Street.  

A service for Hufford will be held on Sunday, May 19 at 4 p.m. at Wilkerson Funeral Home in Greenville. It is located at 2100 E. 5th Street #3001.