It’s one thing to scour the landscape for outside employers to bring new jobs to Oconee County. It’s another to help strengthen the existing Oconee industrial community so it can continue to provide a means of living for county residents. And that’s what Richard Blackwell says the Oconee Economic Development Office is stressing. Blackwell told the E-D commissioners today that there is a number of existing Oconee manufacturers adding jobs. He includes among them BASF, Ideal Steel, Buffalo Machine, and U-S Engine Valve. At the same time, Blackwell and staff member Russell Johnson continue to court about 20 prospective employers—including a Chinese company that is “looking at Oconee for an investment opportunity.” The EDC office is getting a shot in the arm to carry out its mission. Blackwell announced his office budget the next 12 months is being increased by $100 thousand—$10 thousand of which will be spent on marketing and recruiting trips.