District 4 candidate Darrell Hinnant said he has the experience needed to help sustain growth in Greenville.
“I have 20 years experience in the corporate sector,” Hinnant said. “We don’t have anybody on the City Council with corporate America experience … and we need people with different backgrounds and skills on the City Council.”
Hinnant, 43, is running for the Greenville City Council District 4 seat in November’s municipal elections against incumbent Councilman Rick Smile and former U.S. Army captain J.R. Reddick.
“We are at full steam right now,” Hinnant said of his campaign. “There have been lots of events and lots of opportunies to get out and talk to people about the future of Greenville.”
A native of Lumberton, Hinnant grew up in Kannapolis – where his father serves as mayor – and came to Greenville in 1992 to attend East Carolina University, where he graduated with a degree biology in 1996.
Hinnant is executive director of Corporate Accounts Health Systems at Thermo Fisher Scientific, where he manages medical assets across a large section of the United States for the company.
“I have experience in doing everything that the City Council is asked to do,” he said. “I have written and managed budgets, developed marketing strategies and been involved in training personnel. I think I can put this experience to work for the citizens of Greenville.”
Hinnant said bringing jobs to Greenville is essential to sustain the city’s growth. He said the city can do this by recruiting larger companies toGreenville and finding investors to develop sites that will be ready for businesses looking to locate in the area.
“We have to be laser focused on recruiting businesses here that bring living-wage jobs to the area,” Hinnant said. “That is the only way we will be able to sustain our economic growth … that is going to be one of my top priorities if I am elected.”
Hinnant said that improving public safety also will be one of his top priorities on the City Council.
“Public safety always has to be maintained,” he said. “We have to be able to anticipate what our police and fire department’s needs and make sure that we are investing in the right places so those needs are met. That could mean hiring more personnel, investing in new technologies or providing the right training to our first responders … those are the three areas where we need to invest.”
Hinnant said that the city’s infrastructure also needs to be improved if Greenville wants to continue to grow.
“We have to make sure that we are investing in the right projects to support growth in the city,” Hinnant said. “Roads, water and sewer, and stormwater projects are all part of our infrastructure. We have to prioritize and make sure that we are doing projects that make sense.
“We also need to look at projects 8-10 years down the road instead of just 1-2 years,” he said. “I think part of the problems the city has run into concerning infrastructure is that we were planning in the short term instead of looking a little further down the road.”
Hinnant said that long-term planning needs to be part of the City Council’s priorities during the next two-year budget cycle that will begin in January.
“We need a long-term strategic plan for Greenville’s finances,” he said. “It is important that we think two years, five years and even 10 years down the road. That is the only way we will be able to keep up with how Greenville is projected to grow.
“I really am looking forward to being part of that process and helping to move Greenville forward in the future,” Hinnant said.