Create a vibrant entrepreneurial business climate within the region through economic development emphasizing organic, sustainable growth. Enhance the economic vitality, diversity, and dynamism of the region.


The Don Ryan Center for Innovation (DRCI) was established in mid 2012 as a 501(c)(3). The corporation's mission was to function as a business incubator to grow Bluffton's and the surrounding regions economic base by helping innovative start-up or early stage companies. The organization incubated 29 companies and expanded into partnerships with Beaufort County Schools, USCB, TCL, SCAD and the City of Beaufort to promote and support innovation and entrepreneurship for the purposes of economic development.

The Bluffton Public Development Corporation (BPDC) was the Town's 501(c)(3) established in late 2012 by town leaders to pursue economic development within the Town. The corporation's mission was to accept, buy, sell, develop, mortgage, and transfer real and personal property including development rights. Its two other objectives were to assist in the town's economic development and undertake activities designed to promote and support the May River and other watershed cleanup efforts of the town. The corporation was an arm of the Town and was formed because by law, a municipality cannot execute specific financial transactions.


Both organizations matured and evolved to reflect the needs of the Town and the region.

Since both worked in the realm of economic development Town Council authorized the merger of these entities by adoption of a resolution on December 13, 2016 into a single entity know as the Don Ryan center for Innovation, Inc.

This new entity fosters and promote economic development in six general areas:

  1. Business Incubation

  2. Co-working offerings (The HUB)

  3. Education & Outreach

  4. Business Attraction, Expansion & Retention

  5. Workforce Development

  6. Business Startup/Concierge Services


Don Ryan, co-founded CareCore National (now eviCore healthcare) in 1994, and under his leadership it became one of the leading specialty benefits management companies. After bringing the company to Bluffton, Ryan became involved in the efforts to recruit similar companies to the area. Don donated the existing space to the Center which is now named in his honor.


Trent Williamson

VP Economic Development

Trent Williamson is the Vice President of Economic Development for the Don Ryan Center for Innovation (DRCI).  He previously worked for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and Metro Atlanta Chamber. He created partnerships with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Tech, Georgia’s University system, and Georgia’s utility providers.  He was responsible for managing projects and building strategic partnerships with twenty-nine neighboring counties.  Trent is passionate about the Lowcountry and helping businesses thrive. In his role with the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, his focus is threefold: attracting the right businesses to Bluffton, aiding new businesses get started and supporting current Bluffton Businesses. During off hours, Trent enjoys spending time with his wife, McCauley and their hound dog, Hank. He can usually be found on the water or watching an Auburn game. War Eagle!

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