CHARLESTON, SC — SEPT. 29, 2021 — South Carolina Ports welcomes its 2021-2022 Port Ambassadors class, which consists of 26 delegates from around the state who will gain a deep understanding of how SC Ports and commerce are connected in South Carolina.
SC Ports’ Port Ambassador Program is a year-long curriculum that provides an in-depth look into port operations, highlighting the connection between SC Ports and South Carolina’s economy. SC Ports generates a $63.4 billion annual economic impact and creates 1 in 10 S.C. jobs.
“We are thrilled to have such an impressive and diverse group of South Carolina leaders participating in our 2021-2022 Port Ambassador Program,” said Jordi Yarborough, SC Ports’ senior vice president of community engagement. “Ambassadors see firsthand how SC Ports works every day to keep freight moving for South Carolina consumers and companies, as well as the significant economic impact SC Ports has on our communities.”
Throughout the year, ambassadors will partake in tours of marine terminals, inland ports and port customers’ facilities to see how SC Ports moves cargo for S.C. manufacturers, retailers and farmers.
Ambassadors will also hear from SC Ports’ teammates, as well as S.C. legislators and business leaders, about how critical it is to have a world-class port in South Carolina. They will see port infrastructure up close and learn how strategic investments enable a fluid supply chain.
The new class kicked off with a recent visit to SC Ports’ headquarters in Mount Pleasant to learn about infrastructure projects and day-to-day operations. Ambassadors toured Wando Welch Terminal and ventured up 155-foot-tall ship-to-shore cranes to gain the perspective of a crane operator loading and unloading ships.
“Seeing firsthand how the terminal operates gave me a much better understanding of South Carolina’s supply chain,” said Felicia Howard, a port ambassador and vice president of economic development strategy at Dominion Energy. “The experience reinforced the importance of SC Ports’ role in supporting companies as they invest and expand in our state, which ultimately creates more jobs for South Carolinians.”
The Port Ambassador Program is designed to increase public awareness, understanding and support for SC Ports’ strategic plan and initiatives. SC Ports launched the program in 2016; more than 100 ambassadors have since graduated.
Participants are selected from nominations by the Review and Oversight Commission on the State Ports Authority, SC Ports Board of Directors and the SC Ports senior management team.
2021-2022 Port Ambassadors:
· Juwan Ayers, commercial banker with Synovus Bank, Charleston
· Karl Brady, Charleston City Councilmember and donor relations manager for the Carolina Youth Development Center, Charleston
· LaJoia Broughton, government relations advisor with Adams & Reese, Columbia
· Jennifer Brown, director of business development for Charleston County Economic Development, North Charleston
· Dr. James Brunson, family physician with Orangeburg Medical, Orangeburg
· Jody Bryson, president and CEO of SC Technology and Aviation Center, Greenville
· Willis Cantey, president and CEO of Cantey Tech Consulting, Charleston
· Tushar Chikhliker, attorney with Nexsen Pruet, Columbia
· Brian Frerichs, senior vice president and branch manager with Stephens Private Wealth Management, Sumter
· Rob Honeycutt, CEO and co-founder of SixAxis, Pawley’s Island
· Felicia Howard, vice president of economic development strategy with Dominion Energy, Columbia
· Pat Hudson, of counsel with Willoughby & Hoefer, Blythewood
· Andrew Lesinski, vice president and general manager of brokerage, Cardinal Logistics, Indian Land
· Edward McKelvey, senior vice president of community development banking with South State Bank, North Charleston
· Christopher McKinney, CEO and executive director of Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, Sumter
· Phillip Obie, Berkeley County Councilmember and manager of coal combustion products and Ash Pond closure with Santee Cooper, Goose Creek
· Bill Otis, former mayor of Pawley’s Island, Pawley’s Island
· Robby Robbins, attorney with Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, Summerville
· Joan Robinson-Berry, former senior vice president and chief engineer with Boeing, Charleston
· Will Salters, client development manager with Terracon, Charleston
· Heather Simmons-Jones, senior advisor with MRB Group, Charleston
· Lynn Stokes-Murray, director of government affairs with Burr Forman, Columbia
· Rebecca Vance, president of Vance LLC, Summerville
· Jim Wanner, CEO of Keymark, Liberty
· Clay Williams, broker with NAI Earle Furman, Greenville
· Natalie Zeigler, city administrator for the City of Goose Creek, Goose Creek