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Stephen Barrington to lead Harnett County Economic Development

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Image of Stephen Barrington

Harnett County Government has a new leader for Economic Development. Stephen Barrington has been selected to serve as the Director of Economic Development and will assume the role on September 18, 2023.

Barrington joins Harnett County from neighboring Sampson County, where he served as the Executive Director of Sampson County Economic Development. Under his nearly four years of leadership, the Sampson County Economic Development team had many notable successes, including more than ten new and expanding manufacturing companies projected to collectively yield more than $225 million in capital investment and 400 projected new jobs. As well as combined investments of over $4.5 million by the Sampson County Board of Commissioners for site acquisitions allowed for a 120-acre expansion of an existing industrial park, the creation of a new 210-acre business park off of I-40, and a small, 21-acre site in western Sampson County. 

Stephen Barrington has over 15 years of economic and workforce development experiences, first hired as Economic Development Director for the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce at the end of 1999. He also brings over ten years of experience as a sole proprietor. In addition, Barrington has served on numerous economic development, education, and advisory boards. He is a former elected Town Commissioner of Wake Forest (2003 to 2007), including a two-year stint as Mayor Pro Tem. 

“We are excited for Stephen Barrington to join our team,” said Brent Trout, Harnett County Manager. “Stephen has a strong history of success in each position he has held in Economic Development. I look forward to welcoming him to Harnett County.”

As the Director of Economic Development, Barrington will be responsible for leading a successful program that attracts new business and industry, and supports expanding companies, resulting in good, quality jobs and a growing tax base.  

“Based on location and the region, Harnett County is likely to experience faster growth - business and residential - for well over the next 20 years,” said Stephen Barrington. “This is exciting, and I am delighted and grateful for the opportunity to serve Harnett County and to be part of a dedicated team of local economic developers that are focused on supporting and spurring private sector investment across the county. Economic development is a team sport, and we look forward to collaborating with business and community leaders, education professionals, and local, state, and federal government partners, including other County and municipal departments.” 

Harnett County is located between Raleigh and Fayetteville and is one of the fastest growing Counties in North Carolina. The community is home to Campbell University, Central Carolina Community College, and encompasses the communities and growth areas of Angier, Coats, Dunn, Erwin, Lillington, and Anderson Creek. 

 For more information, please contact Community Relations Director, Desiree Patrick, at  or Marketing Director for Harnett County Economic Development, Elizabeth Edwards, at

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