January 30, 2023 — Pinckney Hall, Bluffton

CONVERGE 2023 Lowcountry Economic Development Summit

Presented by Palmetto Electric

Converge 2023 Videos

Click below to watch videos presented during the 2023 Economic Development Summit.

Energizing The Future

The third-annual CONVERGE Lowcountry Economic Development Summit on January 30, 2023 brought together hundreds of local business and government leaders and community members, all of whom are committed to making the Lowcountry the best place in the country to live and do business.

This year, we were thrilled to welcome retired 4-star General Lloyd ‘Fig’ Newton as our keynote speaker. A former executive at Pratt & Whitney and Board Chair at Polaris Tech Charter School in Ridgeland, Fig shared his unique perspective on the convergence of employer requirements, employee engagement, and public policy.

CONVERGE is all about facilitating collaboration and working together to propel the local economy forward. Here’s what this year’s attendees experienced:

  • Networking with the region’s change agents and deal makers.
  • Updates about the latest successes throughout the region and what’s on the economic development horizon.
  • A fantastic keynote from retired 4-star Air Force General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton about the need to prepare South Carolina’s future workforce, and learn about his inspiring work with Polaris Tech Charter School in Ridgeland.
Converge 2023 Lowcountry Economic Development Summit


Monday, January 30, 2023
8:00 – 11:30 a.m.


Pinckney Hall
114 Sun City Lane
Bluffton, SC, 29909

Keynote Speaker

General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton, retired 4-Star General in the U.S. Air Force with over 4,000 flight hours and 269 combat missions in Vietnam, as well as a former Executive VP at Pratt & Whitney.

Presented By

Palmetto Electric

Converge 2023 Keynote Speaker

General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton

General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton

Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton is a retired Executive Vice President, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Connecticut. As Executive Vice President, he was responsible for all aspects of customer requirements, support, and services. He provided leadership and direction for all business development, aftermarket services, and activities associated with integrated logistics support and fleet management. He helped to grow the Pratt & Whitney Military Engine business to $1.3 Billion in annual revenue.

A retired four-star General, Newton joined Pratt & Whitney in September 2000 after a successful 34 & 1/2 year career with the US Air Force. He was born in Ridgeland, South Carolina, where he graduated from Jasper High School. In 1966, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation education and commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee. In 1985, he received a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

The General is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours in the T-37, T-38, F-4, F-15, F-16, C- 12, and the F-117 stealth fighter. In 1968, he flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam and was selected to join the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, in November 1974. From 1978 to 1982, he was assigned as an Air Force congressional liaison officer with the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. He has commanded three wings, an air division, and held numerous senior staff positions.

Newton culminated his Air Force career as the Commander, Air Education and Training Command where he was responsible for recruiting, training, and the education for all Air Force personnel. His command consisted of 13 bases, 43,000 active duty personnel, and 14,000 civilians. In 1998, General Newton was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame and in April 2005, he was appointed by President Bush to serve as a commissioner on the Defense 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (The BRAC). In 2008, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a commissioner for the White House Fellows Program. Currently, General Newton serves on the Board of Directors ofL3 Harris Technologies Corporation, The National Business Aviation Association, and Polaris Tech Charter School. In 2018 he was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame, San Diego, and was awarded the prestigious Wright Brother Memorial Trophy, DC in December 2018.

Newton is married to the former Elouise Morning and they reside near Bluffton, SC.