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Charleston Business

50 Most Influential

Jan 01, 2017 09:18AM ● By Emily Stevenson
Welcome to the debut of Charleston Business Magazine's 50 Most Influential. Selecting 50 movers and shakers from the area is a tough task, but we believe our list is representative of the top influencers in government, culture, academia, business and industry. 

We welcome your feedback on this list, including suggestions of who to consider next year. Please send to John McCurry, editor, at [email protected]

Marcus Amaker 
Poet Laureate | Charleston
A local poet, web designer, musician, and videographer, Amaker was named Charleston’s first poet laureate a month after the position was established by City Council. He has created websites for various companies and communities, has more than 50 albums, and is the lead graphic designer for the national music magazine No Depression.

Ernest Andrade
Founder & Director Charleston Digital Corridor
A tech visionary, Andrade is founder and director of the Charleston Digital Corridor. His leadership has helped the CDC grow to more than 100 companies. In June, the organization announced an expansion into Beaufort. 

Tommy Baker 
Owner & President
Baker Motor Co.
Owner and president of Baker Motor Co., Baker is expanding his car dealership to Summerville. He purchased about 13 acres alongside Interstate 26 in the developing Nexton community. Baker Motor Co. is the largest privately held automobile dealer group headquartered in South Carolina.

Dana Beach
Coastal Conservation League
Environmentalist Beach founded the Coastal Conservation League in 1989. Currently, he is fighting against the production of International Drive in order to conserve the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.

Ed Bell 
President & Owner
Charleston School of Law
Bell was inducted as the new president and owner of the Charleston School of Law in October 2015. He has led the growth of the school, putting students and faculty first and developing learning and teaching opportunities. First-year enrollment for 2016 grew 153 percent from the previous year.

Sen. Paul Campbell, Jr.
Executive Director & CEO
Charleston Airport Authority
The executive director and CEO of the Charleston Airport Authority, and also state senator, Campbell has led the airport through a period of expansion, including a $200 million renovation project. In 2016, he announced plans to retire when a replacement is named.

Lonnie Carter
President & CEO 
Santee Cooper
President and CEO of Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility company, Carter leads the state’s largest electricity supplier. The utility has recently moved into renewable energy sources in a large way, but environmentalists say they can do much more.

David Cole
President | MUSC
Cole, president of MUSC, has researched and published articles on T-cells to better understand how tumors grow and how to create better cancer treatments. Recently, MUSC physicians have become able to communicate via telehealth with school nurses to diagnose and treat patients in 40 schools across the state, allowing for more efficient treatment for students.

Bart Daniel 
President | National Association of Former US Attorneys
Former U.S. attorney now in private practice, Daniel is the current president of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys. Since returning the private practice in 1992, the former lead prosecutor during the Operation Lost Trust investigation in the early 1990s has focused on white collar, health care, environmental, securities and business litigation. 

Charles Darby
Founder | MUSC Children’s Hospital
Darby founded MUSC’s Children’s Hospital in 1987 and the Ronald McDonald House of Charleston in 1983. MUSC Children’s Health recently partnered with Meeting Street Elementary @Brentwood to provide a health clinic for students, with a nurse practitioner able to diagnose conditions, take X-rays, and write prescriptions.

Joe Darby
Minister & Civil Rights Activist
African Methodist Episcopal Church
A minister and civil rights activist, Darby serves four congregations of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South Carolina midlands, including as a senior pastor at the historic Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston. He is a life member of the NAACP and co-authored the 1999 national NAACP resolution that led to the removal of the Confederate flag from the dome of the South Carolina State House.

Bryan Derreberry
President & CEO | Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
As president and CEO, Derreberry leads the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s business and economic development. Recently, the company partnered with WOW! Business to supply “Member Program Discounts” on Internet, data, and phone services to local businesses.

David Dunlap
Former CEO | Roper St. Francis Health
Dunlap has stepped down as CEO of the three-hospital system after a 45-year career in health care. Under his supervision, Roper St. Francis was named a Top 15 Health System for the fourth consecutive year in 2016. Dunlap will be succeeded by Lorraine Lutton, previously president of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Fla.

Steve Dykes
Economic Development Director Charleston County
Charleston County’s Economic Development Director was among local officials playing a key role in attracting the $500 million Mercedes Sprinter Van assembly plant, which will eventually create 1,300 jobs. 

Michael Gianoni
CEO | Blackbaud
Gianoni has ably steered the Blackbaud technology giant since 2014, earning it a spot as one of the Charleston area’s top grossing companies, helping create jobs and opportunities. In April, Gianoni was awarded a contract renewal and retention bonus, making him the highest paid executive among South Carolina’s largest publicly traded companies. His extension will last until 2019.

David Ginn
President & CEO | Charleston Regional Development Alliance
President and CEO of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance since 2000, Ginn leads an organization that has been at the forefront of recent industrial project recruiting successes such as Volvo and Mercedes Sprinter Vans. 

Stanfield Gray
Founder | DIG South
Founder of DIG South, the annual technology conference, Gray is one of the builders of the new economy in Charleston. With growing attendance, DIG South has helped spread the word of Charleston’s tech prowess throughout the nation. 

Jamee Haley
Executive Director
Lowcountry Local First
Haley heads up Lowcountry Local First, a nonprofit that supports and celebrates local businesses. In November, Local Works, LLF’s open-sector co-working space for entrepreneurs and start-ups, received $50,000 as winner of the U.S. SBA’s annual Growth Accelerator 

Bill Hall, Sr.
Owner | Hall Management Group
The owner of Hall Management Group, Hall has built a successful empire of popular, high-quality food venues. The company recently expanded into the Upstate market, with the opening of Hall’s Chophouse in Greenville in 2016.

James Hill (Photo Not Provided)
VP of Land & Development WestRock Industrial Properties
Derek Mathis
Director of Industrial Development | WestRock Industrial Properties

Barry Jurs
Economic Development Director | Berkeley County

Hill, Mathis and Jurs were instrumental in winning the Thorne project. A vitamin supplement manufacturer, Thorne plans to move its headquarters and manufacturing operation from Idaho to the Omni Industrial Park in Berkeley County. 

Hank Holliday
CEO | The Holliday Companies
As CEO of the Holliday Companies, a sizeable investment firm, Holliday has helped revitalize the Charleston area. Last year he completed one of the largest commercial real estate deals on the peninsula with the purchase of the DoubleTree Hotel and Suites and Hank’s Seafood Restaurant.

Shawn Jenkins
CEO | Benefitfocus
With Jenkins at the helm of Benefitfocus, the HR giant has continually ranked one of the fastest-growing companies across the state and nation. Hugh Lane, Jr.
President & CEO | Bank of South Carolina
Lane was the president and CEO of the Bank of South Carolina from 1986 and the Bank of South Carolina Corporation from 1995 until 2012. Still the chairman of the board for both companies, he continues to work directly with customers and employees to build relationships.

Pierre Manigault
Chairman | Evening Post Industries
As chairman of the Evening Post Industries, which publishes the Charleston Post and Courier, Manigault oversees dissemination of the area news. He co-founded and is an owner of the popular magazine Garden and Gun, launched in 2007. In addition to his corporate work, Manigault is also involved in several nonprofits. He is also a founding trustee and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American College of the Building Arts. He is also a member of the College of Charleston's School of Business Board of Governors, a trustee of the Middleton Place Foundation and a trustee of Magnolia Cemetery.

Michelle Mapp 
CEO | South Carolina Community Loan Fund
As CEO, Mapp oversees the South Carolina Community Loan Fund, an organization that helps individuals access capital to transform communities. In November, the SCCLF was awarded $10 million from the USDA to be loaned to areas that need infrastructure and services improvements.

Michael Messner
Trustee | The Speedwell Foundation
Portfolio Manager | Seminole Management Co.
In addition to his corporate duties, Messner and his wife Jenny participated in purchasing underutilized land at Limehouse Point and Baker Hospital, which has been donated to the Charleston County Parks for two new parks. Speedwell Foundation has supported various Charleston Parks Conservancy efforts, including Colonial Lake and wi-fi in the parks. Messner is on the board of the Friends of the LowCountry LowLine, an effort to convert 1.7 miles of unused rail line in downtown Charleston into a linear park.  Speedwell also funded a study to turn the Meeting/Spruill corridor to Park Circle into a greenway. 

Darla MoorE
Charleston Parks Conservancy
Philanthropist and founder of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, Moore has been a driving force behind projects such as Colonial Lake, which was renovated and reopened last summer. 

David Morrow
CEO | CresCom
With Morrow as CEO, CresCom Bank has seen explosive growth in 2016, with new branches opening up at remarkable speeds. In addition to his corporate work, last year Morrow was also selected to the board of directors of the Business Development Corp.

Bill Murray
Co-Owner | Charleston RiverDogs
Co-owner of the Charleston RiverDogs minor league baseball team, the actor, comedian and part-time Charleston resident is also co-owner of two restaurants. Bill Murray spotting has become a popular activity for residents and visitors to the city.

Ben Navarro
Founder & CEO | Sherman Capital
Navarro is the Founder and CEO of Charleston based Sherman Financial Group, the nation’s largest privately held consumer finance company.  The Sherman portfolio of companies comprises Credit One Bank, Resurgent Capital Services and Kroll Bond Rating Agency. He is passionate about education and the belief that all children, regardless of where they live, deserve the opportunity to attend a great school. His primary philanthropic venture is Meeting Street Schools, a network of independent and public schools bringing educational opportunity to more than 900 under-resourced students in South Carolina. Meeting Street is becoming a critical “proof point” of what is possible when a culture of excellence is paired with the appropriate resources.

Jim Newsome
President & CEO
South Carolina Ports Authority
The South Carolina Ports Authority president and CEO, Newsome is guiding the state’s ports through a period of major expansion, including a harbor deepening, development of inland ports and development of a new container terminal at the old Navy base. He was named Person of the Year by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, an exporting group, in 2016. 

Linda Page
Mayor | Mount Pleasant
Page was elected to the position of mayor of Mount Pleasant in 2013. Officials state that Mount Pleasant is in its best financial state it has ever been in and has grown quickly.

Elmire Raven
Executive Director | My Sister’s House
Raven, executive director, has served at My Sister’s House for 27 years. A victim of domestic violence herself, she works hard to help women and children in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties heal and rebuild after leaving abusive situations. Raven also advocates for better laws to protect them. She will be retiring in May 2017.

Nigel Redden
General Director | Spoleto Festival
Redden has orchestrated the annual Spoleto Festival for more than two decades, having been named general director of the festival in 1995. The festival will celebrate its 40th birthday in 2017.

Kitty Robinson
Executive Director
Historic Charleston Foundation
As executive director of the Historic Charleston Foundation, Robinson works to protect Charleston’ architectural, historical, and cultural heritage, including fighting for historic landmarks to be preserved rather than replaced. Currently, she and the Foundation are meeting with Charleston city planners in hopes to preserve the Cainhoy Plantation.

Joan Robinson-Berry
VP & General Manager | Boeing
Vice president and general manager at Boeing South Carolina since last June, Robinson-Berry leads one of the region’s biggest economic engines. She is a big advocate for workforce training and for STEM education. In 2016, she was recognized as the one of Women’s Enterprise USA’s Top 100 Leaders in Supplier Diversity.

Joe Riley
Former Mayor | Charleston
Longtime Charleston mayor is proving to be as good an ex-mayor as he was mayor. He has gracefully exited center stage but continues to work on his last piece of unfinished business, raising money for the International African American History Museum. Riley is also the first occupant of the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Endowed Chair of American Government and Public Policy at The Citadel.
He was named to the S.C. Hall of Fame in 2016.

Darius Rucker
Founder | Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation
The nationally known singer, formerly front man for Hootie and the Blowfish and now a prominent solo country artist, calls Charleston home. In 2000, he and his band established the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation, a private nonprofit that focuses on public education issues in South Carolina. The 14th annual Homegrown Concert Series was held in August.

Tim Scott
Senator | South Carolina
Scott was appointed to the Senate in 2013 by Gov. Nikki Haley after Jim DeMint retired. He started his Opportunity Agenda, which gives students and workers greater chances to succeed, as well as offers economic freedom and quality education. He is also working on ways to redevelop poor areas and give people in the foster care system an opportunity for education.

Keith Summey
Mayor | North Charleston
North Charleston’s mayor since 1994, Summey is the new ‘Dean of the Mayors’ of the Lowcountry. With Joe Riley stepping down, Summey is now the longest serving mayor of any of the major cities in the region. Given his new seniority, look for him to try and extend his already considerable reach into the broader public affairs of the region.

Steve Swanson
President & CEO
Automated Trading Desk
Entrepreneur Swanson co-founded Automated Trading Desk and was named president and CEO in 2001. He sold ATD to Citigroup for $680 million and currently serves as the inside director of operations and strategy at SnapCap. He was recently named co-chair of the College of Charleston Comprehensive Campaign, which has raised $110 million.
ohn Tecklenburg
Mayor | Charleston
Successfully moving into the mayor’s office with no blowups or disasters in his first year, Tecklenburg and the city survived Hurricane Matthew and he has begun to move on some of his major campaign promises.

Mary Thornley
Trident Technical College
Thornley has been president of Trident Technical College since 1991. She led the plans to build an aeronautics training center at the college’s main campus, which broke ground in November 2016. It is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

John Truluck
Economic Development Director
Dorchester County
Dorchester County’s Economic Development Director, Truluck was instrumental in helping convince Bosch to expand in Dorchester, rather than in Mexico or Germany. The German firm is investing $175 million in the Dorchester plant, and will add 150 jobs over the next year.

Charles Way
Chairman | The Beach Company
Way joined the Beach Company in 1975 and since becoming chairman has led its growth into a real estate firm offering construction, development, and property management. Alongside his professional work, he contributes widely to the Charleston and South Carolina communities.

Rutledge Young, Jr.
Lawyer | Charleston, SC
The quintessential “old Charlestonian” who is not bound by the "old Charleston mentality," Young knows everyone and everyone knows him. An eminent lawyer and former City Councilman, he is always to be found on a list of folks that are supporting good projects and ventures in Charleston. In addition to being included in many rankings of top U.S. attorneys, he has served on the boards of BB&T, Woodberry Forest School, Historic Charleston Foundation, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, and Lowcountry Land Trust. Young currently serves on the Board of the Charleston Library Society and Brick House Plantation.

Anita Zucker
Chair & CEO | InterTech Group
Zucker has headed InterTech Group since her husband’s death in 2008. TIG Sun Energy III, a company owned by InterTech Group, developed a 500-kilowatt solar station in Colleton. In addition to her corporate duties, Zucker also owns the minor league hockey team, the South Carolina Stingrays. 

Jonathan Zucker
President | InterTech Group
Zucker is president of InterTech Group. He has served as a director at Hudson’s Bay Company, where he helps oversee the operation of Canada’s largest department store retailer. Zucker is also a member of the College of Charleston's Board of Governors. He serves as president of Z-Man Fishing Products, Inc., the world’s premier fishing products, lure, and accessory manufacturer.