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Charleston Business

2021 Charleston Business Magazine's 50 Most Influential and Hall of Fame

Jan 17, 2022 05:54PM ● By Lori Coon




Ernest Andrade

Founder, Executive Director

Charleston Digital Corridor


Ernest Andrade founded the public-private Charleston Digital Corridor to recruit high-wage technology companies to the area, successfully growing the organization from 17 companies in 2001 to over 500 businesses today. 


The organization opened a new flagship building last June; the 92,000-square-foot, $54 million building on Morrison Drive houses 36 companies, including 25 specializing in tech. The building also brings 260 jobs to the new space.


Andrade has also launched a year-round education initiative (CDCu) developing technology-based incubators – five in Charleston and one in Beaufort – to promote and grow businesses in the area. One such venture, Flagship WestEdge, is located in the development of the same name and focuses on life science/technology companies in the city’s medical district. Companies include Anatta, BiblioLabs, and Vikor Scientific. 


The former director of business development and annexation coordinator for the city of Charleston, Andrade helped to grow the city from 38 to over 100 square miles, adding 30,000 residents and increasing the city’s tax base by over $2.5 billion.  He also worked on a strategic plan to recruit economic development projects for the city with a capital investment of over $500 million. 


Another interest of Andrade’s is developing his own community engagement software, Andrade Economics, for use by business and economic developers. Based on his experience matching investors with tech companies and entrepreneurs, Andrade focuses on practicality and job creation from within the community – where, he notes on his site, 80 percent of job creation occurs.


Born in Kuwait, Andrade lived in India and emigrated to the U.S. in 1981, becoming a citizen in 1996. He has degrees from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina.  






Robert Quinn

Executive Director

South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA)


As executive director of the public nonprofit SCRA, Quinn leads an organization that helps to grow the “innovation economy” in South Carolina by employing partnerships between academia, business, and industry. Started in 1983, the organization’s impact on the state’s economy continues to grow, exceeding $1 billion for fiscal year 2021.


Employing five major programs, the group’s S.C. Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance research at the state’s academic institutions and to accelerate the growth of university-based startups.


Their S.C. Facilities offers over 1.3 million square feet of laboratory and administrative space to tech startups while S.C. Industry Solutions brings entrepreneurs and industry together, helping to fund partnerships and recruit more technology-based companies to the state. S.C. Launch mentors and funds tech startups, working in conjunction with SCRA’s investment arm, S.C. Launch Inc.


And the group’s S.C. Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPScoR) works to facilitate science in accordance with the National Science Foundation’s goals. 


Before joining the SCRA in 2016 Quinn worked in various executive roles with Battelle Memorial Institute, a private nonprofit science and technology company based in Ohio. He also served as director of technology commercialization at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and has experience working with the federal government at the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 


Quinn serves on boards including Central South Carolina Alliance, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, and the South Carolina Council on Economic Health. His degrees include a master’s degree as an Exxon Graduate Fellow from George Washington University; he has also completed the Executive Management Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.





Darius Rucker 



Since his multiplatinum success as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Grammy Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, Darius Rucker has become a top country music artist while perpetually giving back to his hometown of Charleston.


Broadening his listener base with a change of genre from rock/pop to mainstream country in 2008, Rucker has gone on to have four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart, including “Learn to Live” and “True Believers.”


Inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, he received a third career Grammy for his cover of “Wagon Wheel,” one of the five best-selling country songs of all time. His new music (he released “Beer and Sunshine” and a follow-up single called “My Masterpiece” in 2021) includes work on a new album to be released soon. 


As a lifelong philanthropist, Rucker is especially supportive of children’s charities, including Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)’s Children’s Hospital. He has raised millions for St. Jude through his “Darius & Friends” concerts and golf tournaments, with his 2021 concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium featuring Jason Aldean, Keb’ Mo’ and golfer John Daly raising more than $410,000. 


Rucker has also advocated for over 200 charitable causes supporting public education and junior golf programs in South Carolina through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation. His Intercollegiate Golf Tournament has become a top women’s event for university golfers. 


The event will celebrate its 10th year on March 2, 2022, at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island.  


Rucker is also a national chair for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, which opened in January 2021, and has spoken nationally on the influence of African American music in a variety of genres. 





Dot Scott


Charleston branch, NAACP


Lifelong activist and businesswoman Dot Scott has headed up the Charleston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for over 10 years.


Born in North Charleston, Scott grew up in nearby Huger and remains active in her childhood church, Zion United Methodist Church. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Charleston Southern University and a master’s from Webster University.. She is also a graduate of the Richard Riley School of Divinity at Furman University. 


A retired sales and service Manager and corporate instructor of  BellSouth/AT&T  Telecommunications, Scott embraced what she calls a “lifelong commitment” to fair and equal treatment in the workforce. Concerned with workers’ rights, she served as a union representative before being promoted to manager.


Scott became a member of the NAACP in the early ‘80s and has been working for the organization ever since. She was honored with the organization’s Rupert T. Richardson National Award for Outstanding NAACP Branch President in July 2009 at the organization’s Centennial Celebration in New York City. 


Selected to serve on the North Charleston Citizen’s Advisory Commission on Community-Police Relations in 2017 by Mayor Keith Summey, as Charleston’s NAACP head she often speaks about local news events.


Last year she was outspoken when calling for two former detention deputies to be charged with the taser death of Jamal Sutherland in the Charleston County Jail.  


Besides her work for the NAACP, since 2011 Scott has been the owner/operator and property manager of PCAAN Inc. Real Estate in North Charleston. 







John Tecklenburg


City of Charleston


Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg began his second term in January 2020 and soon found his job included managing the city’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. By March 17, 2020, the Charleston City Council had approved a state of emergency, banning large gatherings and greatly impacting the city’s government.


With a business/entrepreneurial background – he founded Southern Oil Company in 1978 – and a family history that includes his ancestor’s corner grocery store downtown in 1876, Tecklenburg was able to help guide the city through the ongoing pandemic.


While the travel and business closing related to Covid cost the city millions in tourist dollars, under Tecklenburg’s leadership there were gains in other areas: Home sales were up, the labor force was stable, and although unemployment hit a high of 12 percent in April 2020, by March 2021 it was back to a pre-pandemic rate of 4 percent, according to the Charleston Metro Chamber. 


Tecklenburg has focused on several livability factors including flooding and drainage relief, appointing Dale Morris as the city’s first Chief Resilience Officer. He has also begun the process of implementing the City of Charleston Flooding & Sea Level Rise Strategy – a plan for combating changing weather and protecting the city from natural disasters.


Other issues the mayor has addressed include homelessness and the lack of affordable housing. After closing an encampment near the city’s I-26 exit ramp in 2016, he established a Mayor’s Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing “Homeless to Hope Fund,” and encouraged the formation of nonprofits like the Palmetto Project to aid those affected.  He also oversaw the opening of the All of Us Resource Center in 2018 and the Hope Center Campaign  in 2021, which will provide a primary location for struggling neighbors to receive help. 


He has also worked to promote Plan West Ashley, a public/private outline for renewal and revitalization in the largest of Charleston’s five regions. Last year, part of that plan was realized with the redevelopment of an unused former grocery store into a public space for community events and city offices.  


The mayor earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Georgetown University and also attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He and his wife Sandy, who have five grown children, live in the Old Windermere section of West Ashley.








Dan Battista

Senior vice president and Southeast regional leader



As Lowe’s Southeast regional leader, Battista manages the company’s Lowcountry investments and developments.


In 2021, he led the successful opening of Sweetgrass Inn at Wild Dunes Resort, and is overseeing development of The Cooper, a luxury waterfront hotel in downtown Charleston, which includes the expansion of Riley Waterfront Park, which will increase public waterfront access.


Battista serves on the South Carolina Aquarium’s board of directors and Explore Charleston’s board of governors.


Recently, Battista was Chairman for the American Heart Association’s Lowcountry Heart Walk, where he led the charge to “Repeat the $1Mpossible,” raising $1 million-plus for the second year in a row.




LaVanda Brown

Executive director

YWCA Greater Charleston


LaVanda Brown joined YWCA Greater Charleston as executive director in February 2016. Her experience, leadership, and passion for serving others spans 30 years.    


In this time, she has focused on serving underserved populations by leading and advising multiple nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including Family Promise of Greater Savannah, Union Mission, Greenbriar Children’s Center, Gang Alternatives of Miami, Clarke Community Services in New Orleans, and others in the behavioral health, employment, and community services arenas. 


In her time with YWCA, Brown has created a homeless case management system, developed a life skills curriculum, and designed an after-care program to help homeless people transition to independence.


She was recognized with the 2021 Trident Literacy Founder’s Award.




Frank Bullard

Charleston market president

First Reliance Bank


Frank Bullard has more than 39 years of experience in the banking industry. 


As the market president for Charleston, S.C., since March 2020, Bullard is responsible for the strategic market expansion of First Reliance Bank’s footprint into the Charleston market, as well as overseeing sales management and community development throughout that footprint.  


Bullard began his career with BB&T in 1981 and has served in both retail and commercial banking roles in both North Carolina and South Carolina.


Currently, he is serving his second term on the board of trustees at Charleston Southern University, where he is a member of its executive committee and chairman of the “Limitless” capital campaign 2021.


Q. What changes will you implement next year in your company? 

A. I hope to work on increasing our efficiency, doing more with less, not for the sake of reducing expenses, but to increase productivity. This is the greatest contribution we can make.


Q. What personality traits make a good leader? 

A. First and foremost, a good leader must be trustworthy and lead by example. Second to these, there are many core competencies which can be measured. A good leader must be willing and to share timely and objective feedback and consider the impact of his/her decisions.





Elizabeth Burwell

Senior vice president 

First National Bank


As senior vice president and commercial banking team leader for First National Bank, the largest subsidiary of F.N.B. Corporation, Burwell plays a significant role in FNB’s growth in the Charleston area. 


FNB’s presence in the region includes retail branches on Meeting Street, in Mount Pleasant, and at Freshfields Village on Johns Island, in addition to its downtown regional hub and extensive commercial banking presence. 


Burwell joined FNB in April 2019 after 16 years with Wells Fargo. She is dedicated to helping improve the Charleston area through both work and community involvement.


A Charleston native, Burwell serves on the executive committee for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trustees for Porter Gaud School, and is immediate past president of the Ashley Hall School Alumnae Association.




Laura Cantral

Executive Director

Coastal Conservation League 


Laura Cantral assumed the role of executive director of the Coastal Conservation League in January 2018, according to her profile on the league’s website. 


She brings to the league a track record of success in strategy development, partnership building, and environmental policy at the international, national, regional, and state levels. 


Most recently, Cantral was a senior partner at Meridian Institute, a nonprofit with offices in Washington D.C., and Colorado that is focused on bringing collaborative approaches to addressing complex and controversial issues.


At Meridian, Cantral was director of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, a collaborative bipartisan effort of experienced thought leaders and ocean champions that advances ocean and coastal policy issues. 


In that role, she served as a trusted advisor to key members of Congress and brought together all sectors of the ocean community to identify urgent priorities, communicate them effectively to decision makers, and cultivate and educate ocean leaders.


Previously, she worked for the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy as its associate director for governance and as a senior policy analyst for the Governor of Florida’s Ocean Policy Committee.





Mike Carter




Carter is the founder of eGroup, an IT consulting services company.


Under his guidance, eGroup has earned the highest customer satisfaction ratings and has received repeat, multiyear industry-excellence awards.


Listed as one of the fastest growing businesses at the state, regional, and national levels, eGroup delivers speed and certainty with digital transformation for clients across the nation.


The firm has appeared on the Inc. 5000 list multiple times, and is the only technology company to appear on the Inc. Best Places to Work list.


Carter, a South Carolina native and 1992 graduate of The Citadel, is also known for regularly investing in socially responsible causes and civic-minded initiatives that drive South Carolina forward.





Patrick J Cawley, MD, MBA


MUSC Health

Vice President for Health Affairs, University

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) 


Dr. Patrick J. Cawley is chief executive officer of MUSC Health and vice president for health affairs of the Medical University of South Carolina. In this role, he oversees all clinical matters related to MUSC. 


During his leadership, MUSC has significantly  expanded its clinical enterprise with a new Children’s Hospital, multiple ambulatory sites, development of additional clinical affiliates, and numerous novel joint ventures.  


Additionally, MUSC has become a national leader in telehealth and has continued as South Carolina’s No. 1 hospital/health system according to U.S. News & World Report. 


Under Cawley’s leadership, MUSC continues to receive a number of quality awards across all domains of quality: safety, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, timeliness, and patient  centeredness.  


Previously, he was chief medical officer of MUSC Medical Center. In that role  he was responsible for the quality and safety of all patient care programs as well as  direct oversight of clinical service lines. He has led MUSC’s improvement transformation  in quality and patient safety, which was recognized by the University HealthSystem Consortium in 2007 and again in 2012 by awarding the coveted Rising Star honor to MUSC.  


Cawley is a certified physician executive through the American College of Physician Executives and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a Fellow in the Liberty Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership  Network. 


He is a past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine. He is actively involved  in leadership roles in the American Hospital Association, the South Carolina Hospital  Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, Vizient, and the health care collaborative, Initiant.  


Dr. Cawley graduated from the University of Scranton. He earned his medical degree from Georgetown University before completing an internal medicine residency at Duke University. He holds an MBA from the University of  Massachusetts-Amherst. He is board-certified in internal medicine with focused recognition in hospital medicine.





Dr. David Cole


Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)


Under President David J. Cole’s visionary leadership, MUSC is becoming a preeminent and innovative academic health system. Cole’s drive to transform health care, research and education elevates innovation to the center of MUSC’s culture and purpose.


As a physician-scientist, and active surgical oncologist, Cole began as president in 2014. He has led MUSC through a period of unprecedented transformation, both in scope and scale, leveraging its 17,000-employee base to position MUSC as the academic health care leader in South Carolina. That includes being ranked Best Hospital in South Carolina by U.S. News & World Report five years running as well as achieving national recognition by Forbes Magazine as a top employer and best employer for diversity.


Other transformational highlights under Cole’s leadership include:

• Developing MUSC into a statewide health system through strategic partnerships, purchasing four regional hospitals and other ancillary facilities, and achieving national leadership in telehealth services and programs as recognized by MUSC’s designation as one of only two centers of excellence in the United States.

• Obtaining record research funding that positions MUSC as the leading research university in South Carolina and among the top 20 percent in the country for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

• Constructing and opening of the state-of-the-art MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion supported by a record-breaking $150 million fund-raising effort.

• Establishing unique worldwide partnerships with Siemens Healthineers and Medtronic, two of the largest global leaders in the medical device field, to drive health care transformation and develop a statewide knowledge-based economy.

• Spearheading the Charleston Medical District in partnership with the City of Charleston, Roper Hospital and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center to address common issues such as flood mitigation and use of green space.


With more than 17 years of continuous funding by the NIH, he initiated and helped to build MUSC’s highly regarded immunology research program.


A native of New Mexico, Dr. Cole attended New Mexico State University, was a Rhodes scholarship finalist, and earned his medical degree from Cornell University, New York. He completed his surgical residency at Emory University affiliated hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia, and his fellowship in the surgical oncology branch at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, part of the National Institutes of Health.





Dr. Dondi E. Costin


Charleston Southern University


Dr. Dondi Costin became the third president of Charleston Southern University in July 2018.  


A retired major general, Costin most recently served as the 18th Air Force Chief of Chaplains, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.


He is a native of Wilmington, N.C., and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from the United States Air Force Academy in 1986.  


After 10 years as a line officer, he became an Air Force chaplain in 1996.


As Chief of Chaplains, he established guidance and provided advice on all matters pertaining to the religious and moral welfare of Air Force personnel and their families.


He led an Air Force Chaplain Corps of 2,000 chaplains and Religious Affairs Airmen and was the senior pastor for more than 664,000 personnel.


Q. What personality traits make a good leader?

A. Volumes have been written on which traits make a good leader, but I use Four Cs as a framework to think through this issue. Character must always be first. Every leader knows that the hardest person to lead is himself, so unless the leader is a person of character, she will never be as effective as she could be. In our context, our character goal is to be like Christ. Competence is a close second, because unless a leader has demonstrated that he cares enough about his job to master the technical and other details required to be good at it, he will never have the credibility required to lead the team that is watching his every move. The third C is Chemistry, which speaks to the many soft skills that a leader must embody as she deals with the problems and pressures that come her way. A leader with good chemistry is one who is not a jerk, who thinks of others first, who listens more than he speaks, and never makes the mistake of thinking she is the smartest person in the room. Commitment is the last of the Four Cs. The leader must be passionately committed to both the people she serves and the mission of the organization she leads. Some leaders naturally lean toward caring for people, while others are more comfortable focused on tasks and the mission. The most effective leaders, however, are committed to both equally as they remember this truth: If you take care of your team, your team will take care of the mission.





John Darby

President and CEO

The Beach Company


John Darby is president and CEO of The Beach Company, a privately owned real estate firm founded in 1945 and headquartered in Charleston. 


The Beach Company is one of the largest real estate firms in the state with more than 350 employees. Its focus is real estate development, construction, acquisition, sales, and management of commercial and residential properties.


The firm is ranked in the top 40 of the state’s largest privately held companies.


A 1985 Citadel graduate, Darby was born in Charleston, grew up on the Isle of Palms and in Mount Pleasant, and currently serves the community in many capacities including the East Cooper Land Trust Advisory Council.


Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years?

A. Inflation, rising interest rates, the labor market and supply chain issues. The labor force participation rate is dropping, and skilled labor is on the decline.


Q. What personality traits make a good leader? 

A. If there is one element that I try to focus on every day, it is the ability to understand another person’s view and see ideas and thoughts from another’s perspective.





Ashley Demosthenes

President and CEO

Lowcountry Land Trust


Ashley Demosthenes serves as president and CEO of Lowcountry Land Trust (LLT). 


She has spent nearly 25 years protecting the land and water of coastal South Carolina.


Born and raised on James Island, Ashley’s commitment to protecting the vital Lowcountry landscape comes from a lifelong passion for the outdoors.


After receiving her bachelor of arts in environmental studies from the University of Vermont, Demosthenes returned to Charleston and began her career protecting Lowcountry land.


She enjoys spending her free time hiking, kayaking, and fishing with her husband, Harry, and children Emilie, Isabel, and Harry.





Bryan Derreberry

President and CEO

Charleston Metro Chamber


Bryan Derreberry has provided executive leadership to the 1,600 member-business Charleston Metro Chamber for the past decade.


The CMC is nationally recognized, having received ACCE’s 2018 Metro Chamber of the Year award and 15 consecutive years of U.S. Chamber 5-star accreditation.


The CMC’s four delivery platforms include business development, government relations, workforce development, and leadership/diversity, equity and inclusion.


Derreberry is now entering his 36th year in the chamber profession, having also led chambers in Kansas, North Carolina, and Ohio, after starting his career as the state lobbyist for the COC in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Q. To what do you attribute your success?

A. My faith and family guide and sustain my efforts and keep me “big picture” focused. The amazing leverage that comes in partnering with committed volunteer leaders and gifted professional staff to produce winning achievements. Real magic happens at this special nexus. Finally, a driving passion to leave it better than I inherited it. This principle is at the heart of every successful leader.





Jeffrey DiLisi

President and chief executive officer

Roper St. Francis Healthcare


Dr. Jeffrey DiLisi is president and chief executive officer for Roper St. Francis Healthcare, the Lowcountry’s largest healthcare system for adults.


Serving in this role since December 2020, Dr. DiLisi is the first physician to lead the private, not-for-profit healthcare system.


Under his leadership, Roper St. Francis Healthcare has been recognized for two consecutive years as one of the best places to work in healthcare nationwide by Modern Healthcare, and two of its hospitals have earned five out of five stars for overall performance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


A native of Pitman in Southern New Jersey, DiLisi grew up around medicine, as his father was also a doctor. His first job, at age 18, was as a patient transporter at the local hospital.





Herbert L. Drayton III

Managing partner 

HI Mark Capital


Herbert Drayton is the managing partner of HI Mark Capital, based in North Charleston.


HI Mark Capital invests in black-owned, women-owned, and other minority-owned businesses in the Southeast, seeking both a financial return as well as a social impact.


Drayton has invested 20 years of experience establishing, buying, and managing businesses in a variety of industries including healthcare, IT, SaaS, and corporate training.


He served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. 


A Charleston native, Drayton is passionate about community service and civic leadership in this region.


He currently chairs the board of directors for Coastal Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in South Carolina serving all nine counties on the coast.





James Steven Dykes


Charleston County Economic Development


J. Steven Dykes has served as the director of the Charleston County Economic Development Department since its inception in 1993. 


He has spearheaded county recruitment, retention, and expansion efforts, leveraging more than $6.7 billion in capital investment and the creation of more than 38,000 jobs within Charleston County. 


Recruiting has included the Boeing Company, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Cummins, Kapstone Paper & Packaging, and T-Mobile.


A native of Charleston, Dykes earned his undergraduate degree in political science at the College of Charleston, his Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the joint University of South Carolina / College of Charleston program, and is a recent graduate from The Advanced Economic Development Leadership Program. 


In 2008, Dykes earned accreditation as a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer.





Chris Fraser

Managing director 

Avison Young


As managing director of Avison Young’s South Carolina and Savannah, Ga., commercial real estate offices, Chris Fraser is a passionate leader and problem solver for his clients and colleagues, and focused on empowering others to succeed.


Within Avison Young, he is a member of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and the U.S. Business Continuity Committee. 


With decades of office leasing, development, and management experience, Fraser provides experience-based advice to his clients using data and analytics to inform his work and his team. 


Q. What changes will you implement next year in your company? 

A. We will adapt to workforce changes just like the rest of the world. Retention and attraction will require adaptability by both employer and employee.


Q. What personality traits make a good leader? 

A. Positive enthusiasm with a clear vision of the destination, while also listening to those around you, and course-correcting as needed.






Lissa Frenkel

President and CEO

Gaillard Center


Lissa Frenkel joined the Gaillard Center, Charleston’s performing arts center, as president and CEO in July 2021.


Her new role came after fifteen years at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. 


At the Gaillard, Frenkel leads more than 35 full-time employees, plus many more part-time staff, and a world-class performance space of 200-plus days of performing arts presentations, including partnerships with the Gaillard’s resident organizations, the Charleston Symphony, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Lowcountry Jazz Festival. 


Originally from Boston, Mass., Frenkel received her master’s in urban planning from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and her undergraduate degree in art history from Emory University in Atlanta.


Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next five years?

A. The last two years of the pandemic have been challenging for the performing arts industry. We plan to continue to push ourselves to evolve and adapt to the changing climate for live performance in the coming years. The Gaillard Center has used this time to recommit to our core values, supporting local artists and stories, strengthening our education program, which is more important than ever, and supporting artists in the development of new work and in their continued efforts to tour safely in this new environment. We are also recommitting ourselves to representing diverse voices from our stage and within our industry. These are all challenges that will continue for years, but that we hope to meet with continued energy and innovation.





Mary D. Garcia

Regional president

Pinnacle Financial Partners


Mary Garcia is a veteran banker with 35-plus years of experience in the Charleston market.


Since 2019, her responsibility as regional president of Pinnacle Financial Partners has been to strategically grow the firm and brand in the South Carolina coastal market to include Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Hilton Head.  


As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 14 primarily urban markets across the Southeast.


In 2020, Garcia was named to Charleston’s Business Magazine’s 2020 Most Influential Leaders, and 2021 Power Banker.


Currently, she serves in a number of community capacities, including as board director, treasurer, and finance chair of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.





Michael Gianoni

President and CEO



Michael Gianoni has long been interested in technology, starting with his first high school engineering class.


He became CEO of Blackbaud in 2014, but he has worked in IT-related industries throughout his career. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Gianoni was executive vice president and group president of the Financial Institutions Group at Fiserv Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions.


At Blackbaud, Gianoni seeks to provide cloud innovation to organizations that help make the world a better place. Under his leadership, Blackbaud has become the 18th largest vendor worldwide in Software as a Service (SaaS) applications revenue.


He holds a bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak College and an MBA and honorary doctorate of business administration from University of  New Haven. He serves as chairman of the board of directors for Teradata.





David T. Ginn 

President, CEO 

Charleston Regional Development Alliance


In his leadership role with the CRDA, David Ginn works closely with the region’s top business, academic, and political leaders to shape and execute a comprehensive regional economic development strategy. 


He also leads the organization’s day-to-day efforts, and is directly involved with global business development and global marketing initiatives.


Ginn has been with the CRDA since its inception, serving as the organization’s executive vice president and project director before being named president and CEO in 2000. 


A Certified Economic Development professional, he maintains a comprehensive awareness of current issues in economic development, thanks in part to affiliations with the International Economic Development Council and as past president of the S.C. Economic Developers Association. 


He has also held professional economic development and industrial marketing positions in Atlanta and Savannah.





Darrin Goss Sr.

President and CEO

Coastal Community Foundation 


Darrin Goss Sr. is president and chief executive officer of Coastal Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in South Carolina, serving all nine counties on the coast. 


With Goss’ guidance, the foundation crafted a civic engagement agenda to communicate the systemic issues and inequities burdening the coastal South Carolina region, and to show how the foundation will work as a community leader in areas of housing, education and economic development. 


Goss has also been instrumental in establishing the Foundation’s first advocacy initiative, the Policy Agenda, as well as the first Place-Based Impact Investing Program to provide capital to emerging enterprises that address social needs.





Col. Marc E. Greene

Commander, Joint Base Charleston

United States Air Force


Col. Marc E. Greene is commander of the 628th Air Base Wing and Joint Base Charleston.


As host to over 60 Department of Defense and Federal agencies, the ABW provides installation support to a force of more than 70,000 airmen, sailors, soldiers, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians, dependents, and retirees across four installations including Charleston Air Force Base and Naval Weapons Station Charleston.


In addition, the ABW provides mission-ready expeditionary airmen to combatant commanders in support of joint and combined operations worldwide.


Greene is responsible for $7.5 billion in base property and capital assets and controls an annual budget exceeding $172 million.


He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2000 and undergraduate pilot training in 2001.





Tommy Hall


Hall Management Group


Tommy Hall is CEO of Hall Management Group, overseeing the organization’s nine restaurant and event venues located throughout South Carolina and in Nashville, Tenn.


Hall is the second generation of Hall family leadership, following his father, Bill Hall, who built a legacy in hospitality after opening his first Halls Chophouse in Charleston in 2009.


Since then, the restaurant has won a series of honors, including a No. 3 rating  for 2021’s U.S. Fine Dining Restaurant – its second consecutive year in the top 3 – and the Best Brunch Spot in the U.S. by Tripadvisor in its 2021 Travelers’ Choice “Best of the Best” Restaurants awards. 


Prior to joining the family business, Hall served as general manager of Del Frisco’s Eagle Steak House in Dallas, Texas.





Mena Mark Hanna

General director

Spoleto Festival USA


Mena Mark Hanna is the general director of Spoleto Festival USA. He previously served as founding dean of the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin and as assistant artistic director of the Houston Grand Opera. 


Hanna graduated summa cum laude from the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University and earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in musicology and composition from Oxford University.


He is currently pursuing an executive certificate in nonprofit leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He continues to publish and lecture widely on a variety of topics, ranging from Coptic chant to post-colonial readings of music performance traditions, pedagogy, and canon. 


Hanna is on the advisory boards of the Mahler Foundation, and the Time In Children’s Arts Initiative in New York.


Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years?

A. Obviously, Covid has posed an existential threat to the bottom line of many performing arts venues; if we cannot perform in person, what purpose do we serve? But Covid also has given the sector an opportunity to grapple with the fallout of the last two years. The national outcry for justice and equity has finally caused many within our sector to examine our implicit biases; we’re beginning to tear down the trenchant structures of institutional racism. Having grown up Arab in post-9/11 America, I am acutely aware of these social prejudices. We are finally doing more to artistically platform minority voices, and we’re richer and stronger for it. But, as a sector, we’re still too reactive, and not anticipatory. Our industry needs to begin grappling with the rising threat of climate change — already intensely felt in Charleston. The performing arts sector is reliant upon international travel and logistics, far and wide collaborations, and an outmoded framework of globalization. How do we, as artists and producers, make the world local and regional? How can we imagine a future that is sustainable and equitable? It’ll be an interesting and challenging next 5 years.





Fleetwood Hassell

President and CEO

Bank of South Carolina


Fleetwood Hassell is president and chief executive officer of the Bank of South Carolina, a 35-year-old institution with five offices in and around Charleston.


Hassell has been with the bank since its organization in 1986. During his career, he has held the position of assistant vice president, vice president, senior vice president, executive vice president, and senior lender, in addition to his current roles.


Hassell serves on the board of the Trident United Way, where he is past chairman, and the College of Charleston Foundation Board. He is chairman-elect of the South Carolina Bankers Association. He previously served on the boards of the South Carolina State Board of Financial Institutions and the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired.


Hassell earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of South Carolina. 





William S. Helmly

President and CEO

Home Telecom


Will Helmly is the fourth-generation leader of Home Telecom, operating as president and chief executive officer since 2017.


Helmly has been a part of the Home Telecom team since 1992, functioning in a variety of capacities, including Vice President of Engineering and executive vice president.


He is active on many state and regional boards such as the Charleston and Dorchester chambers of commerce. He was also elected in 2017 to serve as the board chair for the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA.)


Helmly is a 1986 graduate of the University of South Carolina, with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.






Dr. Andrew Hsu


College of Charleston


Andrew T. Hsu became the 23rd president of the College of Charleston in May 2019.


During his first years in office, Hsu oversaw the addition of two new engineering programs, two consecutive record-breaking years of philanthropic engagement, and the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the college’s founding in 1770.


He also led in the creation of a 10-year strategic plan that focuses on student experience and success, academic distinction, and employee experience and success.


Hsu earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1986 and worked for 11 years with Sverdrup/NASA and Rolls-Royce. He began working in the academic field in 1997.


Hsu is a member of the Spoleto Festival USA board of directors.





John LaCour

Founder and CTO

Phish Labs 


John LaCour is the founder and CTO of PhishLabs, which was acquired in 2021 by HelpSystems.


PhishLabs by HelpSystems is a cyber threat intelligence company that delivers Digital Risk Protection through curated threat intelligence and complete mitigation.


In the security community, LaCour has spoken on several cybercrime topics, including phishing and DDoS. He has also led threat research and product development for CheckPoint, RedSeal Networks, and NetScreen Technologies.


LaCour currently sits on the boards of The Citadel’s Cyber and Computer Science Advisory Board and the Southcoast Cyber Center.


He is also a member of the South Carolina Research Authority Cybersecurity advisor board; a Young Presidents Organization member; and a participant in Leadership Charleston Class of 2021.





Matthew Levin

President and CEO



Matt Levin is president and CEO of Benefitfocus.


As an industry veteran with more than 15 years of experience in corporate development and strategic planning, Levin is passionate about the benefits, benefits technology, and the health care technology industry.


He joined Benefitfocus in 2021, bringing a track record of driving innovation and shareholder value in the benefits administration area. His primary focus is to “come to work every day to serve our customers with excellence. That’s job one.”


Prior to Benefitfocus, Levin served as chief strategy officer at ADP, and at Aon and Hewitt Associates.


He was named to Crain’s Chicago Business 2011 “40 Under 40” and the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Young Global Leaders program.





Angela D. Mack

Executive director

Gibbes Museum of Art


Angela Mack is the executive director and chief curator of the Gibbes Museum of Art.


During her 37 years with the museum, Mack has organized 300-plus exhibitions in her positions as curator of collections, chief curator, and deputy director of curatorial affairs, before becoming executive director in 2008.


Her publications include “Landscape of Slavery: The Plantation in American Art” (2008); “Edward Hopper in Charleston” (2008); “Henry Benbridge” (1743-1812): “Charleston Portrait Painter” (2001); and “In Pursuit of Refinement: Charlestonians Abroad, 1740-1860” (1999).


A contributor to several periodicals, she has written articles for The Magazine Antiques, Sculpture Magazine, American Art Review, and South Carolina Historical Society Magazine.


Q. What are your goals for 2022?

A. Continue to make a difference in our community and beyond through the Gibbes 10-Year Strategic Plan and the power of the visual arts.

Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years?

A. Financial stability and maintaining a strong, diverse staff as we continue to address the pandemic.





Pierre Manigault

Chairman of the board

Evening Post Publishing/Charleston

Post and Courier


Pierre Manigault began his media career in 1987 as a photographer and editor of TV news at the NBC station KOAA in Colorado Springs, Colo. Two years later, he moved to Washington, D.C., and joined the National Geographic Society as a film editor in the TV division.


Later, he worked at the Washington Post as a business writer and copy editor.


In 1994, Manigault returned to his hometown of Charleston to join the family business at Evening Post Publishing Co. He worked as an editorial writer before moving into business operations, eventually heading up the company’s newspaper division.


In 2004, Manigault was named chairman of the board of Evening Post Publishing after the death of his father, Peter Manigault.


He is a board director of the InterAmerican Press Association, a founding trustee and chairman of the American College of the Building Arts, and a founder of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation, as well as a member of the College of Charleston’s School of Business Board of Governors.





Tonya Matthews

President and CEO

International African American Museum


Matthews is currently president and chief executive officer of the International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, at the historically sacred site of Gadsden’s Wharf.


Matthews has positioned IAAM as a champion of authentic, empathetic storytelling of American history, and as one of the nation’s newest platforms for the disruption of institutionalized racism.


She is founder of The STEMinista Project, an initiative that inspires middle-school girls to consider tools and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.


In 2017, Matthews was named Trailblazer by Career Mastered Magazine, and honored as a Career Woman of Achievement by the Greater Cincinnati YWCA in 2010. 


She currently serves on the boards of BrightFocus Foundation and Kids Kicking Cancer.




Bernett William Mazyck

President and CEO

South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development


Since 1998, Bernie Mazyck has served as the first president and chief executive officer of the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development (SCACED).


SCACED strives to improve the quality of life for poor families and communities by building community-based organizations, attracting public and private capital, and influencing public policy to benefit poor and marginalized citizens.


Under Mazyck’s leadership, this movement has grown from four organizations to over 150. And so far, the movement has helped more than 2,000 S.C. families purchase their first home; CED organizations have helped create over 6,000 jobs; and, helped thousands of poor families build wealth in rural and distressed communities.


For his work, Mazyck was awarded the 2014 Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, for service to the state.





Otha Meadows

President and CEO

Charleston Trident Urban League


Otha Meadows, a West Virginia native, has seen the fight against racism on many fronts, from the civil rights era to the uniquely 21st-century struggles.


Meadows, who is president and CEO of the Charleston Trident Urban League, said in 2014 that it’s important to remember “how far we’ve come” and “how far it is that we still have to go.”


Before joining the Charleston Trident Urban League in May 2006, Meadows served as the executive vice president and CEO of the Indianapolis Urban League.


He has worked with the Medical University of South Carolina on developing models for Community Based Participatory Research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee.


He currently serves on the Board of the Charleston Local Development Corporation and the Charleston Redevelopment Corporation and the Mayor’s Commission on Homeless and Affordable Housing.






Barbara L. Melvin

Chief operating officer

South Carolina Ports Authority


As chief operating officer for the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), Barbara Melvin wears many hats.


She oversees terminal operations, carrier sales, information technology and support services, intermodal, inland ports, crane and equipment maintenance, engineering, environmental, Port Police, procurement, the logistics solution center, and cruise operations. 


She also serves as the SCPA’s lead staff person on the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Project and is the first woman to lead a top 10 U.S. operating container port.


Before joining the Port in 1998, Melvin served as director of government relations for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, and as a policy analyst for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget.


Among her many awards is the 2021 South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Woman of the Year.





Ron Mitchum

Executive director

Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments


As executive director of Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, Ron Mitchum is charged with helping 27 municipalities and three counties develop plans for success.


Mitchum’s job is also to help provide those entities with the technical resources to bring their plans to fruition.


Mitchum’s leadership has helped bring about economic development gains and infrastructure improvements throughout the region.


BCDCOG is focused on regional planning, transportation planning and administration, economic development, and community development.


In 2015, the council of governments took on the administration of the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), which was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. BCDCOG worked to help the authority get out of debt and has since obtained grant funding to replace most of CARTA’s aging bus fleet.





Arnhelm Mittelbach

President and CEO

Mercedes-Benz Vans


Arnhelm Mittelbach is president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC (MBV) in Ladson, S. C.


MBV is a production plant for Sprinter and Metris vans, which represents a more than $500 million investment and more than 1,600 jobs in the Charleston community. Mercedes-Benz Vans also supports more than 600 jobs throughout its regional supplier network. 


Mittelbach joined Mercedes-Benz in 2002, starting in human resources at a production facility in Bremen, Germany. Since then, he has engaged in managerial functions in production, and also served as an executive assistant with the Daimler Board of Management. 


Since relocating to Charleston, Arnhelm led the plant through an expansion to full-scale production. 


And he is especially proud of MBV’s commitment to sponsoring the Community Resource Center’s weekly food bank.





Steve Mungo


Mungo Homes


Mungo Homes has been building houses in the Charleston area for more than six decades and now has affiliates in several cities, including Greenville and Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Richmond, Va.


CEO Steve Mungo, a graduate of Wofford College, has been with the family-run company for more than 40 years. While still family-run, Mungo Homes was acquired by Clayton Properties in 2018.


Mungo Homes has won many awards for its work, including six Pinnacle Awards in 2021 from the Home Builders Association of South Carolina.


Steve Mungo has served as president of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina and is a member of the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame.


The company also focuses on giving back to the community, raising more than $110,000 last year for various charities and the Mungo Homes Foundation. “We have a vision of wanting to leave the world better than we found it,” Mungo said.





Benjamin Navarro

Philanthropist and business leader

Beemok Capital


Benjamin Navarro lives in Charleston, where he’s had a major impact on the community, but he hails originally from Massachusetts and Rhode Island.


Navarro began his career in finance, working at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, where he rose to the post of vice president and co-head of mortgage sales and trading.


He founded the debt-collection agency Sherman Financial Group LLC in 1998, and in 2005, bought a bank and renamed it Credit One Bank.


Navarro now owns Beemok Capital, which acquired Charleston Place Hotel in October 2021, with an eye toward revitalizing the iconic hotel.


In 2018, Navarro was one of the bidders looking to buy the Carolina Panthers football team, according to ESPN, and that same year, he bought Charleston Tennis LLC, which owns the Volvo Car Open women’s tennis event.


Navarro founded Meeting Street Schools, which serves under-resourced children. And in 2020, the Charleston Post and Courier reported on Modern Minds, a partnership between Navarro and Medical University of South Carolina. Modern Minds is a mental wellness center that aims to help adults living with anxiety or depression.





Bob Nuttall

Managing Principal 

Lee & Associates 


As the managing principal of the commercial real estate firm Lee & Associates, Bob Nuttall specializes in both brokering and managing the firm’s commercial properties.


In the brokerage division, he represents owners of office and medical office properties, for both leasing and sales. He also works with select buyers and tenants on their behalf to locate property for them.


In the property management division, he works with the firm’s property management staff, now one of the largest third-party management companies in the greater Charleston area.


So far this century, Nuttall has been recognized in numerous ways, including Charleston Commercial Realtor of the Year in 2004. He is the current president of the Charleston Leadership Foundation.


And since the 1990s, he has worked to live up to the company’s mission: “People First, Properties Second.”





Christina Oh

President and CEO

Trident Health


Christina Oh has led hospitals in California and Arizona, but will tell you that “the Lowcountry has always felt like home.”


Named president and CEO of Charleston’s Trident Health in April 2021, Oh has spent 12 years in health care, a tenure that has been punctuated by advancing through increasingly complex health systems while improving employee retention and expanding community outreach programs.


Her health care career started at Hilton Head and Coastal Carolina Hospitals, and included executive positions at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, S.C.


Going forward, she intends to expand Trident Health’s influence in many ways, such as building a new 60-bed freestanding behavioral health hospital; a freestanding ER on Folly Road; and adding general surgery as a third Graduate Medical Education program.


Q. To what do you attribute your success?

A. My faith, a family who taught me the value of hard work, and my husband who doubles as a wise counselor and a best friend.


Q. What personality traits make a good leader? 

A. The best leaders I know look in the mirror first when things go wrong. Their self-awareness creates a culture that builds confidence among their team members. And they possess the courage needed to do the most difficult work.





Steve Palmer

Managing partner

Indigo Road 


Since originating in Charleston in 2009, Indigo Road now owns and operates more than 25 restaurants throughout the Southeast and has expanded into the lodging sector with the recently opened Skyline Lodge in Highlands, N.C.


As a JBF Outstanding Restaurateur nominee and semifinalist, Palmer and his work have been recognized by The New York Times, NPR, Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine, and Charleston Magazine.


He is noted not only for his growing leadership role within the hospitality industry, but also for his charitable and community efforts, which includes Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry, and Charleston’s Feed the Need coalition.


In 2016, he co-founded Ben’s Friends, an industry support group offering a path forward to professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction.





Tory Parish

City architect and director of preservation

City of Charleston


Tory Parish joined Charleston’s city government in January 2021 as city architect and director of preservation. Parish came to the post with more than 20 years of experience in design and architecture.


The historic nature of Charleston’s cityscape means that architecture and preservation are high priorities for the city. Parish oversees the work of the Board of Architectural Review and the Design Review Board.


And Parish’s busy schedule also includes managing the operations of the Preservation and Urban Design Division, which interprets and enforces zoning ordinances and manages applications for such things as preservation, site design, and requests for demolition.


She has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.





Jennet Robinson Alterman

President and CEO

J. Robinson Alterman LLC


Charleston native Jennet Robinson Alterman is president and CEO of J. Robinson Alterman LLC, a consulting practice that assists organizations in developing leadership and entrepreneurial training programs for women.


Robinson Alterman has worked in television broadcasting, state and federal government, and the nonprofit sector.


She has an extensive background in international development having served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan, Peace Corps country director in Swaziland, and the interagency coordinator for Peace Corps worldwide.


During her tenure on Peace Corps staff, she worked on projects in over 40 countries.


She serves on many boards and councils, including the Charleston County Housing Authority Board, and the board of Pro Bono Legal Services.





Michael Scarafile

President and CEO

Carolina One Real Estate


Michael Scarafile became president of Carolina One Real Estate Services in 2011 and CEO in 2020.


He leads a firm that is the market leader and largest real estate company in South Carolina, handling over $3.5 billion in annual real estate sales.


His ascension came 22 years after graduating from the South Carolina School of Law in 1998.


Scarafile clerked for the Honorable A. Victor Rawl in the S.C. Circuit Court before joining the McNair Law Firm, where he spent 6½ years as a litigation associate. 


He serves on the board of directors for the Realty Alliance and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, and as a trustee for Trident Technical College Foundation.





J. Elliott Summey

Executive director and CEO

Charleston County Aviation Authority


J. Elliott Summey joined the Charleston County Aviation Authority (CCAA) as executive director and CEO in July 2020.


Summey’s executive-level experience informs CCAA in the development and implementation of its post-pandemic strategic plan, including the evaluation of revenue diversification opportunities.


Having served multiple terms on CCAA’s board of directors, he played a key role in the state’s largest airport, achieving a decade of record-setting growth in air service development, passenger volume, and financial performance.


A lifelong resident of the Lowcountry, Summey has earned a reputation of making employee engagement a priority.


He was named as one of the region’s Top 50 Most Influential Business Leaders by Charleston Business Magazine and is a recipient of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award.





Owen Tyler

Managing broker and partner

The Cassina Group


Owen Tyler, a lifelong resident of the Lowcountry, has spent his career in real estate, specializing in both residential and commercial. He joined the Cassina Group in 2014, and is managing broker and broker-in-charge.


His focus when he joined the Cassina Group is creating a highly specialized consumer experience.


Under Tyler’s management, the company has been consistently ranked as one of the top real estate firms in the Charleston MLS, was named to the Roaring 20s list, and was listed as one of the top 1000 brokerages in the United States.


Tyler, who was 2013 president of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, was named Charleston Global Realtor of the Year by CTAR Global Business Chapter and received the C. Dan Joyner Community Service Award for South Carolina Realtors.


He was 2020 president of South Carolina Realtors.





Gen. Glenn M. Walters


The Citadel


Gen. Glenn M. Walters, USMC (Retired), took over as president of The Citadel in 2018. Walters, a 1979 graduate of The Citadel, served 39 years in the Marines. Prior to being named to his current position, Walters was assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, the Corps’ second-highest-ranking officer.


Under Walters’ leadership, the school is overseeing the largest capital improvement era of the college in decades and implementation of the institution’s six-year strategic plan to continue its focus on academic excellence and leadership development.


As Assistant Commandant of the Marines, Walters oversaw more than 180,000 active duty and 38,000 Reserve Marines and a $42 billion budget. His duties included representing the Marine Corps at the Department of Defense and leading decisions about defense policy and resourcing in alignment with the National Defense Strategy.


Among other positions, Walters served as deputy commandant for programs and resources; commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and commander of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.


Gen Walters’ military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Meritorious Service Medal with Star.


Q. What is your top goal for 2022?

A.  Continuing to provide exceptional cadet experiences in our mission to education and develop principled leaders.


Q. What is the top challenge your industry is facing?

A. The college-age population is declining substantially in the next decade, with demographic shifts caused by factors including as lower birthrates. Colleges and universities will need to continue increasing efficiencies while preserving high-quality student experiences in light of the projected decline.





Stuart Whiteside

Principal in charge



In 1985, Stuart Whiteside and Kenny Seamon co-founded SeamonWhiteside and Associates in Mount Pleasant with the goal of blending the disciplines of civil engineering and landscape architecture to create places of lasting legacy and inspiration for their clients and the community. 


Since then, SeamonWhiteside has grown to five offices in the Carolinas and over 130 employees.


Notable projects include Volvo Tennis Stadium, Towne Centre, I’on, and the Nexton Community.


As a past Charleston Metro Chamber chairman, Whiteside remains active on the Trident Tech Foundation Board, CRDA Board and Trident CEO Council. He lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife Francie, and enjoys golfing and spending time with his three grown children, their spouses, and six grandchildren.





Julian Wiles

Founder and producing artistic director

Charleston Stage


You might never guess that playwright Julian Wiles grew up on a farm in Fort Motte, S.C.


But once bitten by the theater bug, Wiles never looked back, studying history and theater at the College of Charleston, and then, in 1978, only four years after graduation, founding Charleston Stage,  now the  resident company of the Historic Dock Street Theatre, America’s first theater.


Under Wiles’s leadership, Charleston Stage has become one of the region’s largest and most respected arts institutions, with an extensive education program reaching over 25,000 young people annually. 


So far, Wiles has designed, directed and produced over 300 plays and musicals for Charleston Stage, and written 34 original plays, musicals, and stage adaptations.


He was inducted into the South Carolina Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame in 2018.