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OneSouthCarolina 2016 Speakers contd

Ernest Andrade, Executive Director
Charleston Digital Corridor

Ernest Andrade is founder and executive director of the Charleston Digital Corridor, a successful public-private business development partnership launched in 2001 to attract, nurture and promote tech and tech-related companies in Charleston. He has helped position Charleston as a premier destination for tech companies through strategies that include launching a community-sourced training program providing instruction in open source Web technologies and developing two business incubators in downtown Charleston. He has grown the Digital Corridor’s companies from 18 at its start to more than 120 today. He formerly worked as director of business development for the City of Charleston, where he grew the city from 38 to more than 100 square miles, adding 30,000 residents and more than $2.5 billion to the tax base. He recruited competitive economic development projects that brought capital investment of over $500 million to the city. Andrade is also president of Andrade Economics. He was born in Kuwait and lived in India before emigrating to the United States in 1981. He became a naturalized citizen in 1996. He holds a BS in Business Administration from the College of Charleston and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston.

Bill Barnet
CEO, Barnet Development Corporation

Bill Barnet is the former mayor of Spartanburg and is CEO of Barnet Development Corporation. Previously, he acted as the CEO of William Barnet & Son, Inc., a family venture founded in 1898 that manufactures, trades, and processes a wide variety of synthetic products for the fiber, resin, and textile related industries. A write-in candidate for mayor of Spartanburg in 2001, he served as mayor from 2002 – 2009. Barnet views public education as the "incubator of democracy" and a vital key to competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy. From working for the passage of the Education Accountability Act to chairing the state's Education Oversight Committee, he has long been deeply involved in education improvement in South Carolina. In addition to serving as the chair of the Northside Development Corporation, Barnet currently serves on boards of The Duke Endowment, the Converse College Board of Trustees, and Duke Energy. He has received numerous honors and is a Riley Diversity Fellow. Born in Albany, New York, Barnet received his B.A. and M.B.A. from Dartmouth College and served as a first Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Sean Bennett
Member, S.C. Senate

Sean Bennett was elected to the S.C. Senate in 2013. His committee assignments include Banking and Insurance; Fish, Game and Forestry; Judiciary; Labor, Commerce and Industry; and Transportation. He is a former board member of the Education Foundation, an initiative that connects the business community and the public school systems to ensure that students graduate from high school equipped with the knowledge, skills and work ethic they will need to succeed in post-secondary education and the world of work. His work to create jobs in the Charleston region is highlighted by his past roles as chairman of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) and the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce. During his year as the volunteer chairman of the CRDA, Sean oversaw the roll-out of the region’s new economic development strategy. During this same year, companies assisted by the CRDA announced 405 jobs and $361 million in capital investment in Dorchester County, and 874 jobs and more than $471 million in capital investment throughout the Charleston region. During Bennett’s five years on the Executive Committee, companies assisted by the CRDA have announced over 7400 new jobs and more than $2 billion in capital investment in the three-county region. As chairman of One Dorchester, Bennett led a citizens committee to successfully secure funding for the county’s major road projects. He is the founder, president and CEO of Asset Integration Consultants, a financial planning firm headquartered in Summerville. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and is a Certified Financial Planner professional. Bennett is a S.C. Army National Guard veteran and a past president of the Summerville Rotary Club. 

Kenny Bingham
Member, S.C. House of Representatives

Having represented District 89 for nearly a decade, Kenny Bingham serves on the powerful House Ways and Means committee, which is responsible for drafting the state spending plan. Committed to lower taxes and less spending, Bingham has consistently earned high marks from pro-business groups, and in July 2003 was named “National Legislator of the Year” by the National Republican Legislators Association. A graduate of the University of South Carolina and a successful businessman, he is a licensed professional engineer and co-owner of American Engineering Consultants, Inc., which is based in his hometown of Cayce, S.C.

Danny Black
President and CEO, SouthernCarolina Regional Development Alliance

Danny Black was a founder and is president and CEO of the SouthernCarolina Regional Development Alliance, the nonprofit economic development organization representing Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Jasper and Hampton Counties. Since its inception in 1996, SouthernCarolina Alliance has played a critical role in bringing more than one billion dollars in capital investment and more than 4,000 jobs to this rural region. Under Black’s leadership, the Alliance landed the largest capital investment projects in the state in the years of 2000 and 2005. Black received the first Individual Initiative Award for Rural Economic Development and the 2001 Leadership Award for Rural Development from the S.C. Department of Commerce. The Alliance was given the 1999 Special Recognition Award for Rural Development, and Black was named the 2005-2006 South Carolina Economic Developer of the Year. Black’s professional experience also includes leadership positions with Milliken & Company and Westinghouse Savannah River Company. He served for eight years as a member of Barnwell County Council, most of those years as Chairman. Black currently serves as a Congressional appointee to the Savannah River Regional Community Reuse Organization. A graduate of the University of South Carolina with degrees in political science and public administration, Black is also a Certified Economic Developer.

Gilda Cobb-Hunter
Member, S.C. House of Representatives

Elected to the South Carolina State House of Representatives in 1992, Gilda Cobb-Hunter was the first African American woman in Orangeburg County elected to a statewide office. She became the first freshman ever appointed to and is now ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee and is a member of the Joint Bond Review Committee. Cobb-Hunter has continued on her road of firsts by becoming the first person of color, male or female, to ever lead a legislative caucus, when in 1997 she was elected House Minority Leader. She is widely respected on both sides of the aisle and has been dubbed “the conscience of the House.” Since 1985 she has been the executive director of CASA Family Systems, an agency serving victims of family violence and abuse in Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun counties. She has worked at the state, regional and national levels on a variety of progressive issues aimed at making communities better places for working families to live. Cobb-Hunter holds a B.S. in African American history from Florida A&M University, an M.A. in American history from Florida State University, and is a licensed master social worker.

Lydia Dobyns
President and CEO, New Tech Network

Lydia Dobyns joined New Tech Network in April 2010. She has combined careers as a technology entrepreneur and executive with education policy and nonprofit service. She served two terms as a school board member, led an education foundation, and directed replication strategies in the nonprofit education sector. Her vision is a nation where every public school has the capacity to realize the full potential of each student. Among the chief initiatives Dobyns had led at New Tech are expanding and strengthening its network of 175 schools, working with districts and communities to support systemic change, and further development of the learning management system, NTN Echo. Her entrepreneurial and executive career featured work in the high technology, online services, consumer products and health care industries. She graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

Vernita Dore
Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Vernita Dore has built a wealth of experience within USDA, with twenty-eight years of leadership and support for rural communities across the United States. Formerly the South Carolina state director for rural development, in 2015 Dore was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development in Washington, D.C., overseeing Operations and Management, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of Civil Rights and State Directors. She previously served as senior advisor to the Under Secretary and as Acting Deputy Under Secretary. During her tenure as South Carolina state director, more than $6 billion in rural development funds were invested in the state’s rural areas. Dore is dedicated to nurturing and empowering children and has secured financial resources to rebuild and renovate schools and build new libraries equipped with 21st century technology. She led Rural Development’s efforts to create jobs and economic opportunities for rural citizens and to foster development of renewable energy businesses across South Carolina. A native of Beaufort, South Carolina, Dore earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has received additional professional development from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, the Federal Executive Institute, and the USDA Graduate School. She is a graduate of the Diversity Leaders Institute at Furman University.

Werner Eikenbusch
Chief Talent Manager, BMW in the Americas

After completing his technical apprenticeship and mechanical engineering education in Germany, Werner Eikenbusch earned his master’s degree in engineering management as a Fulbright Scholar at New Jersey Institute of Technology, then started his engineering career with BMW in Munich. His love for the USA and his passion for employee development brought him back to the USA to manage human resources for BMW in North America. After supporting the expansion of the Spartanburg manufacturing plant as manager of the learning and development function, Eikenbusch recently joined BMW’s regional human resources office as head of talent management activities for BMW in the Americas. 15 of his 20 years in human resources management have focused on associate training and development. Eikenbusch holds several learning and development certifications and has designed and implemented numerous technical, leadership, coaching, and change management training programs and initiatives. The apprenticeship program he and his team implemented at BMW Manufacturing has been featured nationally, including on the PBS News Hour and in the New York Times. Eikenbusch now calls Greenville home and is an active member in the community. He has served on several community boards, including Greenville Technical College Foundation Board, Clemson University Center for Workforce Development, and Greenville Symphony Orchestra Advisory Board. He frequently participates in panels and studies dealing with workforce development topics. He is the proud father of his daughter, who is a senior at Furman University. 

Jack Ellenberg
Senior Vice President, 
Strategic Projects, South Carolina Ports Authority

Jack Ellenberg is responsible for the recruitment and location of port-dependent projects and the expansion of port-user businesses across the state. He also oversees the South Carolina Inland Port in Greer. He previously served as deputy secretary for new investment at the South Carolina Department of Commerce. He joined Commerce in 1996 and was responsible for leading the agency’s efforts in new investment, both foreign and domestic, and overseeing the daily activities of state offices in Europe and Asia. During his 20 years with the Department of Commerce and the Ports Authority, Ellenberg has been directly involved in the recruitment of more than $35 billion in new investment and more than 100,000 jobs to South Carolina. He has a vast knowledge of the aerospace and automotive industries and represented the state working with numerous companies such as, BMW, Boeing, 3M, Eastman Chemical, Daimler, Google, Inc., Michelin, Honda, Fujifilm, ZF Group, Robert Bosch, and Volvo. Ellenberg was named Southern Business & Development’s “Person of the Year” for his work on Boeing’s new $750-million 787 Dreamliner assembly operation in the Charleston area. In 2010 Governor Mark Sanford awarded him the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, for his service to the citizens of South Carolina. Ellenberg holds bachelors and masters degrees in history from Clemson University. He joined the Ports Authority in January 2011 as vice president for cargo development and was promoted to his current position in the fall of 2012.

Tim Ervolina
President and CEO, United Way Association of South Carolina

Tim Ervolina is president and CEO at United Way Association of South Carolina, the training, technical assistance and program arm of the 28 local United Ways in the Palmetto State. Before coming to the Association, Tim served in local United Ways in South Carolina and in Florida. He joined the nonprofit world from the private sector, where he worked for his family business, one of Florida’s oldest and largest manufacturer’s representative firms serving the kitchen and bath trade. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in systematic theology from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and a Master’s degree in Christian ministry from Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary in Tacoma, Washington.

Don Gordon
Executive Director, The Riley Institute at Furman University

Dr. Don Gordon has been the executive director of the Riley Institute at Furman since 1999. Prior to that, he served as chair of the Department of Political Science and director of Furman’s award-winning study away programs in East and Southern Africa. Gordon’s academic training is in African and Middle Eastern politics, state and local government, political economy, and methodology. His main academic focus is on the political economies of distressed areas. With his spouse, April Gordon, retired professor of sociology, he is the author and editor of Understanding Contemporary Africa (now in its fifth edition), the nation’s most frequently chosen text focused on contemporary Africa, and the principal text used by the U.S. State Department in training political officers for Africa. Gordon is a graduate of the University of South Florida with master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida. A native of Tampa, he has been a resident of South Carolina since the early 70s. He resides in Mt. Pleasant and considers all South Carolina to be home. While on leave from Furman, he has served as executive director and chief of staff of a congressional office (FL-5th) and counsel for the House Sub-Committee on the City of the Banking and Urban Affairs Committee.

Kyle Longest
Associate Professor of Sociology, Furman University

Dr. Kyle Longest is associate professor of sociology at Furman University. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his bachelor’s in sociology and history from Indiana University – Bloomington. His research focuses on understanding how adolescents make the transition to adulthood. Primarily, he studies issues of identity management, with particular attention to the domains of religion, substance use, and academics. He has also conducted research on how nascent entrepreneurs organize the start-up process. His research has appeared in a variety of publications, including Social Forces, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Drugs and Issues, and Journal of Marriage and Family. He currently teaches courses on the Sociology of Deviance, Religion, Research Methods (including Quantitative Analysis) Youth/Adolescence, the Sociology of Harry Potter, and most recently the Sociology of Sports Analytics.

Jacki Martin
Deputy Director, Riley Institute at Furman University

As deputy director of the Riley Institute at Furman, Jacki Martin assists the executive director in setting strategic direction; developing, funding and launching programs related to education, public policy and diversity leadership; and overseeing numerous program managers and other staff. She has helped drive substantial growth in the Institute’s programming over the past seven years, including development and implementation of OneSouthCarolina®, the DLI alumni program and many of the Institute’s current education policy programs. Her background is primarily in policy and program management around community development issues, including land use, conservation, transportation, and education in the government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors. She has worked with the S.C. Coastal Conservation League, the Main Street Association, the Urban Land Institute, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and numerous other groups. Prior experience in higher education includes directing marketing and communications at Technical College of the Lowcountry. She holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of South Carolina and is a Riley Diversity Fellow. 

Ken May
Executive Director, South Carolina Arts Commission

A panelist, presenter, consultant, and facilitator for local, state, and national arts organizations, Ken May is executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, where he has served in several positions since 1985. He has been a panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts and is a regular guest lecturer in the arts administration program at the College of Charleston. May is a member of the board of South Arts (formerly Southern Arts Federation), serves as treasurer of the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance board, is a member of the Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee for the City of Columbia, and is a Riley Diversity Fellow. Before beginning his career in arts administration, May worked in the for-profit world, holding positions in the Magazine and Book Division at ARA Services and at McGraw-Hill. Prior to his long sojourn in the realm of day jobs, he worked as a professional musician. Ken received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in music history and musicology from Florida State University.

Mike McGirr
Co-founder and Executive Director, FEED & SEED

Mike McGirr is a farm consultant and private chef specializing in natural, vernacular foods in heightened, authentic preparations. He is co-Founder and executive director of Feed & Seed, a regional “food hub” project focused on the Upstate of South Carolina, whose mission is to increase the variety, quality and quantity of South Carolina farm products in the daily diet of all South Carolinians by connecting regional market demand to regional farm production in the 10 counties of Upstate South Carolina. 

Carol Naughton
President, Purpose Built Communities

Carol Naughton helped found Purpose Built Communities in 2008. She previously served for seven years as the executive director of the East Lake Foundation, the lead nonprofit organization that developed and continues to implement a bold, innovative and successful model of community revitalization that helps families break the cycle of poverty. An expert in public/private partnerships, Carol has crafted groundbreaking alliances in housing and education. Prior to joining the East Lake Foundation, she was general counsel and deputy executive director for Legal and Nonprofit Affairs for the Atlanta Housing Authority. Before working with the AHA, Carol was engaged in the private practice of law with Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan’s real estate group, where she primarily represented developers, lenders and investors. Carol serves on the board of the Charles R. Drew Charter. She is a former president of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, a member of the State Bar of Georgia, and a former member of the Board of Governors for that organization. She serves, or has served, on the boards of several community and national organizations. Carol is a graduate of the Emory University School of Law and was executive editor of the Emory Law Journal. She graduated with honors from Colgate University.

Katherine Newman
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Katherine Newman is the provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is also the Torrey Little Professor of Sociology. Newman is the author of 12 books on topics ranging from urban poverty to middle class economic insecurity to school violence. Her forthcoming book, co-authored with Hella Winston, is Reskilling America: Learning to Labor in the 21st Century, which will be published by Metropolitan Books in April, 2016. She was previously the James Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University; the Malcolm Forbes Class of 1941 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University; the dean of social science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University; and the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Urban Studies in the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has also taught at Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley. Her book No Shame in My Game: the Working Poor in the Inner City, received the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Prize and the Sidney Hillman Foundation Book Award. Other notable books include Falling From Grace: Downward Mobility in the Age of Affluence, and The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents and the Private Toll of Global Competition. Her most recent book is entitled After Freedom: The Rise of the Post-Apartheid Generation in Democratic South Africa which was published in April, 2014, the twentieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s election. 

Ed Rendell
Co-chair, Building America’s Future; former Pennsylvania Governor; former Philadelphia Mayor

As governor of Pennsylvania, Rendell worked with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create “Building America’s Future,” an organization that focuses on the need for a more significant investment in American infrastructure projects to maintain America’s global economic competiveness. Rendell co-chairs the organization, along with Mike Bloomberg and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and travels throughout the country speaking about this issue. 

Rendell served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011) and oversaw a budget of $28.3 billion. Rendell cut wasteful spending and improved efficiencies, leading to savings of over $1 billion. Through his unprecedented strategic investments, he energized Pennsylvania’s economy, revitalized communities, improved education, protected the environment, expanded access to health care to all children, and made affordable prescription drugs available to older Pennsylvanians.

During his two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia (1992-2000), Rendell eliminated a crippling deficit, balanced the city’s budget and generated five consecutive budget surpluses. Philadelphia’s renaissance, which The New York Times called “the most stunning turnaround in recent urban history,” is largely attributed to his determination, inspiration, and energy.

Rendell is a champion for progress in the area of alternative energy. He is heavily involved in the campaign for government efficiency and strategic cost cutting. In 2012, Rendell published his first book, A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great. Before serving as mayor, Rendell was elected district attorney of Philadelphia for two terms from 1978 through 1985. He served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2000 presidential election. He teaches government and politics courses at the University of Pennsylvania. An Army veteran, he holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Villanova.

Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
Former Charleston Mayor

Joe Riley was first elected mayor of Charleston in December 1975, and went on to serve an unprecedented ten terms. During Riley’s forty-year tenure as mayor, the City of Charleston saw a substantial decrease in crime, a revitalization of the historic downtown business district, the creation and growth of Spoleto Festival U.S. A., an expansion of the city’s park system, and the development of nationally-acclaimed affordable housing. An important part of Riley’s legacy will be his leadership prior to and during the aftermath of the Emanuel Nine shooting; Mayor Riley spent his entire public service career building bridges among diverse sectors of the community, which many consider important groundwork that aided the city’s response to the tragedy. A recipient of numerous awards, Mayor Riley received the Outstanding Mayors Award from the National Urban Coalition and the Distinguished Citizen Award by the National Association of Realtors. He received many awards for urban and community design and was named the 1991 Municipal Leader of the Year by American City & County. He has received the Order of the Palmetto, was named South Carolinian of the Year, and was given the 1982 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award by the S.C. Arts Commission for outstanding contributions to the arts. Along with Governor Nikki Haley, he was the joint recipient of the Riley Institute’s 2015 Wilkins Award for Excellence in Civic Leadership. Riley was born in Charleston and graduated from the Citadel and from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Mike Riordan
President and Chief Executive Officer, Greenville Health System 

As president and CEO of Greenville Health System, Mike Riordan is responsible for leading a highly integrated healthcare system that is one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare providers in the Southeast. He is responsible for eight medical campuses, more than 180 physician practice sites, more than 14,000 employees including over 1,100 physicians and providers, and operating revenues of approximately $2 billion. Prior to joining GHS, Riordan served as president and CEO of the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System and as senior associate hospital administrator for Emory University Hospital and Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta. He also served three years in the United States Marine Corps as a lieutenant. Riordan currently serves on the governing boards of Health Sciences South Carolin and of the Association of American Medical Colleges Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems.  He is vice chairman of the Furman University board of trustees and serves on the board of Liberty Fellowship, an incubator for leadership in South Carolina. He earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts/English and a master’s degree in education/psychology from Columbia University in New York, as well as a master’s degree in health systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Pete Selleck
Chairman and President, Michelin North America, Inc.

Pete Selleck is responsible for coordinating all activities of Michelin in North America. With more than $10 billion in sales and more than 22,000 employees across Canada, Mexico and the United States, Michelin is the global leader in the tire industry, manufacturing tires for every type of vehicle including aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks. Selleck joined Michelin in 1982 and has served in manufacturing and general management positions in Greenville and in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The first half of his Michelin career was focused on engineering, quality, operational and leadership roles in North American manufacturing plants. Subsequently, he served as chief operating officer of the North American Passenger Car Tire Division, chief operating officer of the European Passenger Car Tire Division and president of the Global Truck Tire Division. His extensive experience in manufacturing and in leading large operations in North America, Europe and globally gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and the opportunities facing manufacturing today. Selleck has served on the boards of Junior Achievement of Greenville, United Way of Greenville County, the Greenville Technical College Foundation and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the board of the Rubber Manufacturers’ Association and is its immediate past chairman. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of the West Point Association of Graduates. He was recently recognized among 100 CEO Leaders in STEM. Selleck earned a B.S. in engineering and applied sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an M.B.A. from Clemson University. He began his career as an Army officer in the 4th Infantry Division, where he served as a platoon leader and a company commander. He subsequently served more than 20 years in the Army Reserves.

John Simpkins
General Counsel, United States Agency for International Development

Prior to joining the United States Agency for International Development in 2015 as General Counsel, John Simpkins served for two years as the Deputy General Counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget. Simpkins has held a variety of positions in private practice and academia, including serving of counsel at Wyche, P.A., in Greenville, as a visiting assistant professor of law at the University of Victoria, and as an assistant professor and Director of Diversity Initiatives at the Charleston School of Law. As a member of the African Network of the International Association of Constitutional Law, he has consulted and conducted research in comparative constitutional law and constitutional design in Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa, among other countries. Simpkins received his A.B. in government from Harvard College and a J.D. and LL.M. in international and comparative law from Duke University School of Law. He served as the Riley Institute’s first Associate Director, and is now a senior associate at the Institute. 

Ann Marie Stieritz
President and CEO, S.C. Council on Competitiveness

Ann Marie Stieritz is president and CEO of the S.C. Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan, business-led nonprofit that advances the long-term economic competitiveness of the state, its industries, and its citizens. Just prior to this position she served as the deputy executive director of the University of South Carolina’s Office of Economic Engagement. She has been vice president for Economic and Workforce Competitiveness for the S.C. Technical College System, where she was also the founding director of the nationally prominent Apprenticeship Carolina™ and led the establishment of South Carolina’s 12 regional education centers. She has worked in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Islamic Republic of Mauritani, promoted international trade for New Jersey, and served as a political analyst for the Consulate General of Japan in New York. Her community work includes service in leadership roles and on numerous boards, including the United Way of the Midlands, the American Red Cross-Central S.C. Chapter, the Columbia Rotary Club, and the American Heart Association. She was recognized by the Girl Scouts of South Carolina as a “Woman of Distinction,” and is a recipient of the United Way of the Midlands’ Alyce Kemp DeWitt award, their most prestigious volunteer award for long-term service to the agency and the community. She earned a B.A. Summa Cum Laude from Xavier University and a Diplôme d’études from the l’Université de Paris, la Sorbonne as well as a M.A. and a M. Phil. in political science from New York University. She is a Fellow of the 11th Class of the Liberty Fellowship a member of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a Riley Diversity Fellow.

Joseph Von Nessen
Research Economist, Division of Research, Darla Moore School of Business

Dr. Joseph Von Nessen is a research economist in the Division of Research at the Darla Moore School of Business, where he conducts a wide variety of economic impact analyses, survey research, and other applied work involving regional economic modeling. In addition, he is responsible for the preparation and presentation of the University of South Carolina's annual statewide economic forecast. Dr. Von Nessen also specializes in housing economics and residential real estate and provides economic and marketing research to clients in both the private and public sector through his family business, RESH Marketing. He regularly speaks to business and government leaders throughout South Carolina about the housing market and the local economy. Dr. Von Nessen earned his B.A. at Furman University and his Ph.D. in economics at the University of South Carolina.

James (Jimmie) Williamson
System President, S.C. Technical College System

Dr. Jimmie Williamson became system president of the S.C. Technical College System in March of 2014.  Prior to his re-entry into higher education, he served as chief human capital officer for Agape Senior and as president of Northeastern Technical College and Williamsburg Technical College. Williamson served as a faculty member or administrator at four community colleges and three universities in South Carolina. He coauthored a textbook for under-prepared college students, (Roadways To Success, now in its 5th edition), published articles in the Community College Review and received the S.C. Governor’s Award for Two-Year College Educational Champion of the Year. Dr. Williamson holds a B.V.A and a M.Ed. from Winthrop University as well as a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. He has served as president of the Cheraw Rotary Club, and as the assistant district governor, district governor, and member of the finance committee for Rotary District 7770. Williamson’s community involvement includes serving as chairman of his local chamber of commerce and as a member of various economic development boards. He is former member of the board of trustees of Chesterfield County School Board and of the Winthrop University board of trustees. He has been honored by Winthrop with a Professional Achievement Award, and was named “Citizen of the Year” from the Williamsburg Hometown Chamber of Commerce.