Expertise Built On Real-World Experience

What sets Sanford Holshouser apart from other economic development consulting firms? 

Let us tell you . . .

  • All SHEDC partners have led economic development organizations at the local, regional, or state levels in the public and private sectors.
  • Our partners have provided economic development services in 45 states and 14 countries.
  • Our clients leverage over 250 collective years of practitioner based experience. 
  • We do not utilize junior partners, research assistants, or interns on our projects.  All work is performed by Sanford Holshouser's practioner-based, experienced partners.

Frankly, very few firms can match the level of experience and expertise you get with our firm.

Ernest C. Pearson has served both in the private practice of law and in public policy positions. He served as Assistant Secretary for Economic Development of the NC Department of Commerce. He managed economic development programs, including industrial recruitment, international trade, small business development, tourism, film industry recruitment, and finance programs for industry. Since returning to the private sector in 1993, his law practice has focused on economic development matters, representing numerous local jurisdictions in economic development projects and companies in site selection projects.


L. Calvin “Rocky” Lane, Jr., has over 13 years experience as a local economic developer and 15 years in workforce development. During that tenure, he was responsible for developing a fully serviced industrial park, a shell building, two NCDOC Certified Sites, an award winning marketing program, and the successful recruitment of 17 new companies and numerous expansions representing over $1.5 billion in new investment and over 2,000 new jobs. Rocky served in various positions with Halifax Community College for over 13 years, the last three as Dean of Continuing Education. He holds a Bachelor and a Master Degree from N.C. State University.


Michael K. Geouge, CEcD, has over 37-years of economic development and city planning experience. He has been manager of Economic Development for Duke Power/Nantahala Power, manager of the western regional office of the North Carolina Department of Commerce and has 15-years experience as a city planner and/or planning director with the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi. He has participated in over 300 industrial client visits and in nearly 100 industrial client announced locations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in urban geography from East Tennessee State University. He is a Certified Developer.


David W. Denny has 30 years of experience working with companies and economic development organizations; evaluating needs, setting goals and implementing solutions. David has worked across enterprise sizes from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. He has over 19 years of international experience. David has experience in industrial development, economic development and industrial applications. His economic development experience and focus is in the areas of: product marketing, strategic planning and evaluation, site selection and development, project funding/finance, organizational operations and fundraising.


Ross has been with Sanford Holshouser since 2008.  The Canadian office is located in New Hamburg, Ontario, minutes away from Waterloo.  Ross has been involved with industrial and commercial development for over 35 years, in both Canada and the United States.  Ross and his family lived in North Carolina for 15 years, where he established a consulting and planning firm and served as the county economic developer for Washington County. Ross is a creative grant writer which brings added value to his projects by broadening the funding opportunities available to support those endeavors, many of which are in distressed areas that have the most urgent need for economic development. 

Sandra brings over 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors.  Sandra’s experience includes serving as an economic developer and regional manager of the Western Region the North Carolina Department of Commerce, small business counselor with the Small Business & Technology Development Center, various positions within the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and in media relations in White House Press Office in the Executive Office of the President.  She has also served in an advocacy role as the Western North Carolina representative of the NC Council on the Status of Women.  In the private sector, Sandra was a partner in a Washington, DC area consulting firm specializing in safety, health, and environmental issues, as well as a partner in a small craft export business.

Robert E. Leak, Sr., CEcD, has more than 45 years of professional experience in economic development, including service as state director of economic development in both North and South Carolina. He also served as President of the Research Triangle Foundation, developer of the Research Triangle Park in the Raleigh-Durham area, North Carolina. He and Bob Goforth joined in 1995 to form Leak-Goforth, providing economic development and site location advisory services to municipalities, counties, development organizations, and corporations throughout the U.S.


Bob C. Goforth has more than 45 years of professional experience in economic development. He is a former state director of economic development in North Carolina. Before joining Bob Leak to form Leak-Goforth, he was head of industrial site selection and development for J.E. Sirrine, the world’s largest industrial engineering design firm based in Greenville, S.C. Since joining with Bob Leak, he has continued to provide site location advisory services to private companies in a number of research, manufacturing, distribution, and service industries in the electronics, medical products, automotive equipment, sporting goods, food products, paper products, and warehousing and logistics sectors, among others.