Skip to main content

Charleston Business

SC Ports Graduates 25 Port Ambassadors

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) recognizes 25 delegates for completing the 2018-2019 Port Ambassador Program, which provides participants a deep understanding of the connection between the Port of Charleston and South Carolina’s thriving business community.

The 10-month Port Ambassador Program immerses participants in port operations through educational sessions and tours of oceanside terminals, inland ports, cruise vessels, and manufacturing operations around the state, showing firsthand the Port’s $53 billion annual economic impact on the state.

The program also shows ambassadors how the maritime, transportation, port, and manufacturing sectors intersect and spur economic development in South Carolina.

“This program introduced us to the bigger picture, which is that 1 in 11 jobs in South Carolina is tied to the Port,” Port Ambassador Tiffany Santagati said.

The ambassadors celebrated their graduation June 6 aboard the new homeported Carnival Sunshine in Charleston Harbor.  

Santagati, executive senior vice president of talent and culture at Southern First Bank in Greenville, said the ambassadors program gave her insight into the Port’s statewide operations, emphasizing how many S.C. industries depend on the Port of Charleston to thrive.

“I have lived in South Carolina my entire life, and until I participated in the Port Ambassador Program, I did not fully understand the impact the Port makes on employment and the movement of goods throughout the state,” Santagati said. “It was fascinating to see how it is all connected.”

Port Ambassador Alex Fournil, owner and principal of Vista Insurance Group in Columbia, said the group’s visit to BMW Manufacturing Co. and Inland Port Greer stands out as an example of the Port of Charleston’s vital role in moving goods throughout the state to global markets.

“Hearing directly from BMW how important it is to have Inland Port Greer and how it gives them a competitive advantage was really amazing,” Fournil said.

The Port Ambassador Program also creates a networking opportunity for ambassadors; participants live throughout South Carolina and come from a variety of industries and backgrounds.

“The Port Ambassador Program engages a diverse group of South Carolina leaders to learn from experts in the maritime industry and port-dependent businesses. It gives them an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Port’s critical role in the state,” said Jordi Yarborough, SCPA’s senior vice president of external affairs. “Ambassadors also build relationships and create strong connections with other professionals they might not otherwise meet.”

SCPA launched the Port Ambassador Program in 2016 to increase public awareness and understanding of SCPA’s strategic plan and foster support for the Port’s key statewide activities.

The Port Ambassador Class of 2019:
  • Ann Angermeier, Upstate Workforce Board, Spartanburg
  • John Brand III, Stifel Financial Corp., Florence
  • Van Cato, Office of Senator Lindsey Graham, Greenville
  • Andrew Cook, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Hilton Head Island
  • Christine Crawford, D&G Management, North Augusta
  • Johnny Cribb, Berkeley County, Moncks Corner
  • Suzanne Dickerson, SC Council on Competitiveness, Columbia
  • Alexander Fournil, Vista Insurance Group, Columbia
  • Jamey Goldin, Nelson Mullins, Columbia
  • Sara Hazzard, SC Manufacturers Alliance, Columbia
  • Angie Leidinger, Clemson University, Columbia
  • Thomas Lorenzo, Domtar, Fort Mill
  • Bill McCarthy, Charleston Gate Co., Charleston
  • Sunny Philips, SC Chamber of Commerce, Columbia,
  • Tony Pope, State Farm Insurance, Summerville
  • Buddy Pough, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg
  • Brian Rauschenbach, Sumter Economic Development and TheLINK Alliance, Sumter
  • Anne Smith Reid, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired – Charleston, Charleston
  • Tiffany Santagati, Southern First Bank, Greenville
  • Mark Schmidt, Intermodal Container Logistics – NA, Decatur, Ga.
  • Steve Sydow, Charleston
  • Tom Trouche, ServisFirst Bank, Charleston
  • Marlon Walters, Bank of America, Elgin
  • Tom Winslow, Goldfinch Winslow Attorneys at Law, Murrells Inlet
  • Jason Zacher, Upstate Chamber Coalition, Greenville
Participants are selected from nominations by the Review and Oversight Commission on the State Ports Authority, the SCPA Board of Directors and Senior Management Team. Each program is limited to 25 ambassadors.