At the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a facility of Piedmont Technical College fashioned for that purpose, a group of prominent Laurens Countians began the task of manufacturing the future on Wednesday.

Attending at the invitation of the Laurens County Development Corporation were mayors of Clinton, Fountain Inn and Gray Court, general managers and chairs of all sorts of acronyms and initialisms, civic leaders, community pillars, boards, commissions, councils, committees and delegations, all there to offer their advice and express their consent.

Miraculously, by spoken and written words, it all transpired in about two hours.

The LCDC is embarking on a strategic process for the county’s next five years, using the experience of Avalanche Consulting, an Austin, Texas firm experienced in assisting entities across the country in making sense of the future.

Avalanche representatives presented themes gleaned from the first discovery phase of the process and developing goals for the themes. The assembled VIPs offered their input in the context of their works and deeds.

Laurens County boasts historically low unemployment but also stagnant population growth. Seventy percent of its residents work outside their native counties. The county has 13,747 residents who travel each day to work here from beyond its boundaries and 21,890 who leave the county to ply their trades elsewhere.

What Wednesday’s visitors came to do was find what the county wants, examine what it needs and plan to address those needs in the future.

The county’s leaders took time to advocate change from their own perspectives, but the goal is finding common ground.