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Charleston Business

2019 Best & Brightest 35 and Under

Elliotte Quinn

Attorney | The Steinberg Law Firm, LLP

Age 33


I am a trial lawyer focused on pursuing claims on behalf of property owners for improper construction. After Emory University’s School of Law and clerking for a federal judge and Justice Hearn of the South Carolina Supreme Court, I returned to my hometown of Charleston. I practiced at a multistate firm defending construction litigation before joining the Steinberg Law Firm to represent homeowners and homeowners’ associations suffering from construction defects. I feel privileged to do a job I enjoy while helping people recover from unfortunate situations.

I try to remain cognizant of the advantages I’ve received, and I am committed to serving the community I love, which has done so much for me. I serve on boards for My Sister’s House (domestic violence advocacy and care), Dorchester Paws (animal shelter) and Palmetto Project (healthcare and education). I’ve provided free representation to domestic violence victims and others unable to afford legal representation. 

I also serve as the chair for the Charleston County Procurement Appeals Board and formerly served as a commissioner for the Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. I’ve also worked to benefit my field by writing numerous articles and co-authoring a chapter in a book on construction contracts.

Brady Quirk-Garvan

Co-owner | Money With a Mission

Age 32


I graduated with a degree in political science from the College of Charleston, but equally as important was my interest and passion for civic engagement and politics as a way to create change.  

I spent a few years working on political campaigns and nonprofits. I quickly realized that in both worlds we spent a lot of time trying to raise money to fund the change we wanted to see. I figured maybe I could flip the equation on its head and go to where the money was and try to direct it towards better projects. 

That's when I joined the Money With A Mission team at Natural Investments. It's an investment and financial planning firm that focuses exclusively on impact and socially responsible investing. We work with clients who want to invest and use their money to make a profit but to do so in an ethical way and funds the future they believe in. This means working with companies to include more women on their boards and in management, pushing for more alternative energy and investing in worker-owned co-ops.

I couldn't be happier to now be a co-owner of the firm and have been thrilled at the growth we've seen over the last seven years. I remain very involved with the College of Charleston Alumni Association and in progressive politics in the area in addition to my job. 

My wife and I adopted a wonderful baby girl last year, and she is one of the greatest joys in our lives. 

Christopher C. Romeo

Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A.

Partner & Attorney

Age: 34


I am a partner at Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., where my practice is focused on helping clients who have been injured by others. I regularly handle cases that stem from trucking and auto accidents, product defects, medical malpractice and premises liability, among other types of negligence claims. 

As an undergraduate, I attended the University of Georgia and during that time also studied at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. Afterward, I attended Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law on a full Presidential Scholarship, where I was an associate editor of the Cumberland Law Review, a member of the Cumberland Moot Court Board and a coach of the school’s National Moot Court teams. Prior to joining the firm in 2014, I served as an assistant public defender in North Carolina. I now reside in Charleston with my wife and three children. 

Recently, I was named to the Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers Association and 2019’s Super Lawyers Rising Stars. I am honored to be on Charleston Business Magazine’s Best & Brightest 35 & Under list. 

Megan Pawlowski

Owner | MethodRide

Age 33


One of the best professors I had in college told the class, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” I made a decision then to be both; I was going to find my talents and work hard at them. 

After my first of two daughters were born, I founded MethodRide, a boutique complete body workout with childcare in Charleston. My vision, background in fitness and business education was my talent. Building a strong brand, team and storefront in an old karate studio was the hard work.

I’ve learned the value of hard work and knowing when to pivot while keeping my eye on the bigger picture. I created MethodRide to change people’s lives in ways they didn’t know possible. The studio and team are supportive and strong; they make the community more confident, more successful and happier every single day. My vision for the studio wouldn’t be realized without them.

 I’m a Minnesota girl who spent seven years in New York City, where I worked at the city’s most sought after cycle studios and luxury fitness clubs. Now I am a mom and business owner in one of the greatest cities ever, Charleston. I support other local businesses and local organizations that give back to our community. Receiving this honor has encouraged me to reflect on the past, celebrate right now and gear up for the future. 

Mallary Scheer

Attorney | Mallary L. Scheer, Attorney at Law, LLC

Age 34


I earned my bachelor of arts and master of public administration with a specialization in public financial management from the University of Georgia before earning my juris doctor from the Charleston School of Law. 

I am currently a solo practitioner. I focus my practice on helping clients receive their Social Security disability benefits. Additionally, I also work for the Charleston County Public Defender’s Office, the American Civil Liberties Union and Root & Rebound, a nonprofit dedicated to reentry advocacy. Prior to starting my own firm, I served as a staff attorney and deputy director for Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services. 

Because of my work with disability and low-income clients, I am passionate about ensuring everyone has equal access to justice. I was a founding board member of Charleston Legal Access (CLA), South Carolina’s first sliding scale law firm, which provides civil legal representation to modest-means individuals. Since opening in February 2016, CLA has helped more than 300 families and recovered over $1 million for its working poor clients. I hope that through CLA more people will be aware of local access to justice issues.

When not working, I enjoy horseback riding, yoga and cheering on the Atlanta Braves.

Shannon Teolis

Owner & Agent | State Farm-Shannon Teolis Agency

Age 26

 It's always been my dream to have a career where I can positively impact the lives of others, and being a State Farm agent allows me to do that. Life is unpredictable, and understanding my clients' needs and being there for all of life's circumstances is a privilege that's very important to me. I love going into the office every day knowing that it's another opportunity to assist my community by helping prepare for our futures. My agency was ranked top 27 in the nation for new State Farm agencies our first year, and I'm excited to bring jobs and growth to Charleston.

In my spare time, I stay active with the Junior League of Charleston. Last year, I volunteered frequently at Florence Crittenton, and this year I am focusing on leading and advising new members that have joined the League. I mentor at James Island Elementary School and enjoy going to the beach, boating, and spending time with my husband and dog. I am also a member of BNI.

It's an honor to be one of Charleston Business Magazine’s Best & Brightest 35 and Under, and I'm grateful for my family, friends, team and community for their support along the way. I'm looking forward to what the future holds and serving the Charleston community for many years to come.

John Fauerbach

Chiropractor | Patriots Point Chiropractic

Age 32


Healthcare has always been an interest and a passion. I was drawn to chiropractic through athletics, and always liked the idea of fixing a mechanical dysfunction in the body without the use of medications. The ability to connect with the community and join them in their journey towards health has been very rewarding. 

I grew up in Charlottesville, Va., and went to Bridgewater College for my undergraduate degree in exercise science, nutrition and wellness. After college, I continued my practice and study of human performance, studying the mechanics of the body and how to improve the function. 

Studying why injuries occur, how to treat them and how to prevent them continues to be a passion and challenge. Whether it be weight loss, pain reduction, strengthening or nutritional consultation, I welcome the opportunity to help establish lifelong routines and improve total health and wellness.

My love of water took me to Florida for graduate school, with a goal to end up in Charleston to be close to my family and open my practice. We are located in the heart of Mt. Pleasant in the Whole Foods shopping plaza. We are a multi-disciplinary practice offering chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, class IV therapeutic laser and more. 

It’s an honor and privilege to be nominated as one of the Best & Brightest 35 and Under for the Charleston Business Magazine and look forward to continuing to serve the community.

Derek Astorino

President | Carolina Dock and Marine 

Age 33


A transplant to Charleston by way of The Citadel, I was unaware of the existence of the marine construction industry. In fact, I rather unsuccessfully worked like crazy to make a few other careers work. However, in 2013 I was transitioning from an active duty assignment with the South Carolina Army National Guard and needed employment. In my search, I had a few conversations with my now mentor and business partner Joe Keating. He challenged me to create my role.

After helping complete a residential dock, my interest was piqued and Carolina Dock and Marine was born. We pride ourselves with being the industry leaders in quality and innovation, and strive to bring a new level of professionalism to our industry. Under my guidance we developed an apprenticeship program that turns a job into a career. As of earlier this year, the apprenticeship is recognized by the US Department of Labor and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

At Carolina Dock and Marine, we believe you deserve better, our team deserves a career not a job, our clients deserve a product built by craftsmen not laborers and our community deserves a socially responsible brand that believes in giving back. With that in mind, I also volunteer my time with The Citadel Stray Dog Society, and like many of the members from that team worked diligently to bring the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum to Mount Pleasant.

Cristy J. Armstrong

Account Director | Touchpoint Communications

Age 30


I’ve always thought of myself as a natural doer, so when I learned about public relations as a career, I knew it was the right path for me. 

I grew up in Rye, N.Y., just outside of New York City and was drawn to College of Charleston for its sailing team and beautiful campus. 

After graduating in 2011, I began my career at a PR and events company in NYC. We produced high-profile galas and auctions in NYC, the Hamptons and Deer Valley. It’s an understatement to say it was trial by fire! But it helped me learn how to handle real-time challenges with some grace. 

Five years ago, I was ready to move back to Charleston and had a desire to make a difference in this community. I landed a job with Touchpoint Communications, a public relations firm specializing in hospitality and cuisine, economic development and nonprofit clients. As a publicist, I utilize my communication skills to garner media attention for my clients—and to help them produce events that will attract the right audience. 

Outside of work, I’m extremely proud to be the host of CreativeMornings Charleston, a free monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community. It allows me the opportunity to shine a light on difference-makers in the community and to connect with like-minded people. 

I also mentor a high school student weekly through the Be A Mentor program. It’s gratifying to see young people grow and flourish.

My husband Creighton and I met on the College of Charleston sailing team and try to get out on the water as much as possible. I’m honored to receive this recognition and it excites me to continue to be a part of this vibrant community. 

Pierce T. “Perry” MacLennan

Attorney | Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.

Age 30


I am particularly passionate about understanding the way we work in the new economy and how companies can meet the opportunities and challenges of the 21st-century workforce. A new generation is challenging old workplace assumptions. For instance, the gig economy, #metoo, the student debt crisis and remote work are just a few examples of disruptions within our organizations driven by workers. Successful companies of the future are flexible, proactive and creative in adjusting to this ever-changing landscape.

My role as corporate counsel is to advise organizations on how to thrive in this new landscape while complying with an increasingly regulated environment. Both in my law practice and as a teaching professor at the College of Charleston, I try to remain at the cutting edge of these developments.

Outside of work, two local organizations that I love are HALOS and Water Mission. Both of these organizations are committed to improving our communities in a unique way—HALOS on a local level by providing resources for kinship care families and Water Mission on a global level by providing clean water. 

In any spare time, I’m often planning the next trip with my wife Jenna as traveling is a near-obsession. 

Catherine Lowe

Marketing Manager | Charleston Magazine

Age 23


If you would have told me that I'd be living and working in the beautiful Southern city of Charleston right out of college, I never would have believed it. Originally from a small town in Kentucky (go Cats!), I moved with my family to Murrells Inlet, S.C., 13 years ago and now call the Palmetto State (and the Holy City) my home. 

After receiving a bachelor of arts degree from Winthrop University in 2017, I started working full-time at Gulfstream Communications right here in Charleston. There, I served as the assistant editor for the various wedding publications that are published in Charleston and North Carolina. Since then, I’ve moved over to the marketing department, where I now work as the marketing manager for the sister publication Charleston magazine. There, I'm able to express my creative talents, work with other wonderful professionals in the Lowcountry and create unique opportunities to showcase the brand.

When I'm not in the office, I love to stay busy by playing loads of tennis, volunteering, networking, mentoring, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to be selected as one of Charleston Business Magazine's Best & Brightest 35 and Under, and I thank Charleston Business magazine for including me in such a group of impressive and hard-working young professionals. 

Michael Samuel

Commercial Portfolio Manager | BB&T

Age 25


After graduating from Georgia State University in 2015 with a degree in business economics and risk management and insurance, I moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., for a brief stint to complete the Leadership Development Program at BB&T. Then in June of 2016 I moved to Charleston, and having never been to the city before, I was eager to get out and establish myself not only as a professional but as someone invested in making the community a better place to live for all. 

I started off by joining Charleston Young Professionals, where I got the chance to meet other like-minded young professionals and engage in learning about local issues and professional development. Now that I sit on the steering committee for CYP I do my best to ensure that young professionals all across the tri-county area have access to programming that focuses on making Charleston an even better place.

In my current role as a commercial banker, I work with middle-market business leaders all across the region to help them grow their business as well as find solutions to issues that arise. 

I reside in the Mount Pleasant area and enjoy playing tennis, CrossFit, reading and relaxing at the beach. 

Ryan Cass

Value Stream Leader | The Boeing Company

Age 26


Having spent my first 11 years in California, I was not accustomed to Southern hospitality or even saying sir or ma’am when addressing someone. The incredible hospitality and kindhearted people in South Carolina are what have made me call this my true home state for 15 years and running now! 

Growing up, I knew that I wanted to do something business related as I developed strong networking skills at a young age. My problem was that I was not very organized and prioritized sports over academics. 

One of the best life decisions I made at the age of 17 years old was to attend The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. At The Citadel, I learned how to set goals, build strong habits, and become focused. There I ultimately built the foundation for the life I live today. 

In my current role at the Boeing Company, I am responsible for leading a value stream team that drives manufacturing process improvements for the 787 Dreamliner. I would have never imagined having the opportunity to impact the production system given my background, but it goes to show that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind towards. 

Outside of work, I am extremely passionate about giving back. I love working with our youth, teaching them how and why to set goals, and inspiring them to become servant leaders at a young age. The best accomplishment in my book is not the awards or titles you earn, but when someone tells you that they would not be where they are today if it weren’t for your impact.  

Hagood Morrison, Jr.

Broker, Vice President & Co-founder | Bridge Commercial Real Estate

Age 32


I am a broker, vice president and co-founder of Bridge Commercial, a full-service commercial real estate firm headquartered in Charleston. My particular specialty is office and industrial building acquisitions and dispositions. 

Prior to forming Bridge, I worked with Colliers International in Charleston. Before that I was in commercial real estate acquisitions and development in Birmingham, Ala.; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago. I graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in economics and was a two-year letterman on the football team. 

My wife Whitney, two children, Hagood (4) and Mae (1), and I live in downtown Charleston.

Over my career, I have transacted on over $750,000,000 in commercial real estate including over 1,000,000 square feet and 1,500 acres in the last 12 months. Some notable assignments and transactions include the sale of the Magnolia site on the Neck, the Navy Hospital and Melrose Resort on Daufuskie Island. 

A native Charlestonian, I proudly serve our community through assisting the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, as a board member with the Porter Gaud School Alumni Board and as a founder and director of the Urban Land Institute’s UrbanPlan program, which teaches high school and college students the tenets of new urbanist planning. I am also a recent alumni of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Charleston program.

In addition, I am called upon to address cutting-edge commercial real estate issues as a public speaker. Recently I spoke at the 2019 South Carolina Economic Development Summit hosted by Womble Bond Dickinson, and in August I moderated a panel on Opportunity Zones hosted by the Urban Land Institute.

I am greatly honored by my inclusion in Charleston Business Magazine’s Best & Brightest Under 35, and I am excited to play a part in my hometown’s continued growth.

Abby Leibowitz

President & CEO | Call Experts

Age 35


As a native Charlestonian, Citadel MBA graduate and CEO of Call Experts, insatiable curiosity and a passion for growth have enabled me to develop with our business. I have learned to embrace the challenges that come with running a fast-paced 24/7 business. I am inspired by other leaders who question the status quo, empower their teams and bring intention to innovation. I look for commonalities within our client base and find new business opportunities to encourage responsible growth. 

Education is critical, and throughout my career, I’ve enjoyed watching internal staff rise to challenges. It is inspiring to note how certain things felt so daunting at the onset, yet now are a standard process. This reflection gives us the confidence to not shy away from new challenges.

Through providing value-driven customer service and communication solutions, we often earn industry recognition. However, the most rewarding developments are the relationships we have built with employees and clients who now feel like family. 

During my time at Call Experts, we have scaled from 30 employees to 200 and experienced a significant shift in the way that businesses communicate with their customers. There have been changes in mindset, technology and regulation. Right now, the hottest topics revolve around how we will continue to integrate automation and artificial intelligence. Rest assured, we are on the case! 

Through all that we do, we have a legacy of “pro phono,” a.k.a. charitable commitments within our community. We provide services for several non-profit causes. I had great business role models in this community, such as my father Michael Leibowitz, who founded this company, and my grandfather Melvin Solomon, who was president of Sam Solomon Company. I look forward to passing along this entrepreneurial spirit to my two children. 

With our hot summers, unpredictable winters and hurricane seasons, the Charleston community is at the heart of our success. This award humbles me, and it is my honor to grow a business in this city.