FLORENCE, S.C. — Michael Hemingway, the city of Florence economic development and utility planning director, was named the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce Public Servant of the Year at a luncheon on Wednesday.
Francis Marion University President Fred Carter announced the award at the Chamber of Commerce Outlook Luncheon, which took place at the Florence Center. He said that although Hemingway is vital to the health of the city, he maintains a humble and sensible mentality.
“Current and former mayors and council members describe him as being an initiative problem solver with a strong understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong,” Carter said. “He is, pure and simple, one of the major reasons this community works as well as it does.”
Hemingway, who has worked at the city of Florence for over 20 years, quickly spread the accomplishment to those who work for him. After the luncheon, he said he would never have been recognized if not for his co-workers.
“The teammates make it possible, so this award is not only for me, but all the city of Florence employees,” Hemingway said.
Nothing from a growth and development perspective can be done without utilities, said Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce President Michael Miller.
“Right now, you need somebody that knows the systems that we have here, the improvements that are needed and understands how to balance the two with the growth that we’re having,” Miller said.
Hemingway does not always get acknowledged for what he does, but what he does is important, Miller said. Even when Hemingway does get acknowledgement, Carter said he often shifts the focus to others like he did at Wednesday’s luncheon.
However, when criticism comes, Hemingway does the opposite, Carter said. He puts it all on himself, diverting it from both political leadership and other employees under himself.
After the luncheon, Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin said Hemingway is the “perfect example of good leadership” and “just a wonderful person.”
Hemingway first started with the city in July 2002 as the Wastewater Division Manager. Over his time with the city, Hemingway has also held the titles of:
Wastewater Division manager
Production and Treatment Division manager
Production and Treatment Department manager
Hemingway is a member and the former president of the Pee Dee District Water Environment Association of South Carolina, among many other associations and boards.
He received a bachelor of science in microbiology from Clemson University, a master of business administration from Francis Marion University and a master certification in health administration and policy from the Medical University of South Carolina.