Thrash. Source:

Joy Thrash, CEO of the Sanford Area Growth Alliance, announced Wednesday that she is leaving the organization, multiple sources have confirmed to the Rant.

Thrash took leadership of the organization after its first CEO, Rodger Sauls, stepped down in 2015 (subscription required). Thrash will reportedly stay on for an undetermined period of time to hire and train her successor.

Prior to joining SAGA, Thrash was the former executive director of the North Carolina Defense Business Association.

SAGA was formed in 2014 essentially as a merger of the county’s economic development arm and the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, “in order to broaden the economic development program of Lee County and capitalize on the synergies and strengths of each organization,” according to its website. During its lifetime it has been funded by various private donors as well as by the governments of Sanford, Broadway and Lee County.  Since its formation, originally under the name Sanford-Lee County Partnership for Prosperity, local leaders have touted millions of dollars in investments and expansions by area businesses.

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“As we continue to move forward together, we will truly realize the vision that has been shared by so many. If we leave here tonight fully determined not to give up, understanding it is not the time to coast, but leave here tonight excited about all that is within our grasp, we will travel this journey together, full steam ahead,” the Sanford Herald quoted Thrash saying in September at SAGA’s annual banquet.