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Greenville Business Magazine

Greenville's 50 Most Influential and the Hall of Fame

Greenville Business Magazine celebrates another year of honoring the region’s most influential people. The selection of our 50 individuals is a result of staff research and community nominations.

We also are celebrating our seventh year of selecting entrants to our Hall of Fame. This year, we’re adding six new members who have continued to make a lasting difference in the Upstate.

Hall of Fame

James P. Clements


Clemson University

As Clemson University’s 15th President, Dr. Jim Clements has deftly navigated the school through one of its most challenging years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Those successes include the largest gift ever received by the university – a $60 million donation for its new business school from Clemson graduate W.O. “Billy” Powers and his wife, Ann.

Clements has worked tirelessly to make higher education more accessible for all, investing in relationships to strengthen the entire community, and elevating the reputation of the university and state on a national level.

As the leader of the state’s top university and $25 billion enterprise, Clements has driven Clemson’s continued investment in Greenville. Through expanded partnerships and research developments at CU-ICAR, corporate education programs at Greenville ONE and the opening of Clemson’s School of Nursing building, program extension and academic research at Prisma Health-Upstate, Clements is positively impacting the Upstate’s talent pipeline and current and future economic development.  

Clemson University’s six-year graduation rate and freshman retention rate reached all-time highs in 2020, both far above the national mean at other four-year public universities. Clemson University landed in the number one spot for strong town-gown relations on The Princeton Review’s 2021 edition of its annual college guide, The Best 386 Colleges. The University also earned a top-20 spot in 10 additional categories, including best career services (No. 2) and happiest students (No. 11).

Bucking national trends, Clemson University undergraduate enrollment was up 2.5 percent in fall 2020 and now tops 26,000 during a time when public, four-year universities nationally saw about a 1 percent decline in freshman student enrollment. 

He participates in numerous area boards, including the American Heart Association Upstate Heart Ball Committee, the American Council on Education, the Association of Public Land Grant Universities, the Business-Higher Education Forum and the National Council on Competitiveness executive committee.

Elizabeth Davis 


Furman University

Elizabeth Davis became Furman University’s 12th president on July 1, 2014. Under her leadership, the university has instituted The Furman Advantage, a distinctive vision for higher education that combines learning with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers and community benefit. The groundbreaking effort was launched in October 2016 with a $47 million grant from The Duke Endowment.

In September 2018, the National Society of Experiential Education recognized Davis’ efforts to launch The Furman Advantage by selecting her as the recipient of the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education. The annual award recognizes a sitting college president who has made “significant contributions to experiential education.”

Davis is a member of the Council of Presidents, an advisory group of college and university chief executives who provide guidance to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges on issues of governance in higher education. She is also a member of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Board of Directors.

Davis serves on the board of directors of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and is an honorary member of the Board of Governors of the Commerce Club. She is a member of the Greenville Rotary Club, American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Committee, and the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission. She is also a member of the Greenville County Racial Equity and Economic Mobility (REEM) Commission where she serves as co-chair of the education subcommittee. 

John Lummus

President & CEO

Upstate SC Alliance

As leader of an economic development organization representing South Carolina’s 10-county Upstate, John Lummus is at the forefront of marketing the region to new business prospects and talent through the Move Up initiative.

Strong relationships drive that regional representation: the alliance is supported by more than 180 private companies, 10 counties and nine cities — an approach the group calls #TeamUpstate. That means key decision makers and business resources are only one touch away, a collaborative spirit at the core of the region’s growth, with $17.9 billion in capital investment announced from 2009-2019.

Lummus, a Wake Forest University alumnus with a master’s degree from University of South Carolina, joined the Alliance in 2014. He previously served as vice president of economic and institutional advancement at Tri-County Technical College and as director of the Anderson County Office of Economic Development.

Adela Mendoza  

Executive Director

Hispanic Alliance

Adela Mendoza is an international professional skilled at building strategic collaborative partnerships, facilitating cross-cultural relationships, and leading diverse teams and coalitions. In her role as executive director of the Hispanic Alliance, she is driving systemic change to catalyze economic opportunity for the emerging Hispanic community and build a thriving community for everyone.

Mendoza is an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, a Liberty Fellow and an active member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. In 2018 she was one of six fellows around the world awarded the McNulty Catalyst Award by the McNulty Foundation and the Aspen Institute for her Student Dreamers Alliance venture ( She is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville and Furman University’s Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative, which in 2018 honored her with their Outstanding Contribution to International Diversity Award.  

She serves on the boards of Ten at the Top, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Legacy Charter School and Clemson University’s Council for Diversity and Inclusion. Her work to advance equity and inclusive economic prosperity has earned recognition as one of Greenville’s most influential by Greenville Business  Magazine for three consecutive years, and as a woman of influence by GSA Business Report in 2020.

E. Smyth McKissick III

Chairman of the Board 

Clemson University

Chairman & CEO

Alice Company

As a Successor Trustee and Chairman of the Clemson University Board, E. Smyth McKissick III has presided over unprecedented growth and success at Clemson University. 

McKissick has reinforced the board’s values of integrity, respect, diversity, patriotism, excellence and self-reliance while working tirelessly to uphold the vision of the school’s founder as a “high seminary of learning” dedicated to developing the material resources of South Carolina and to enhance the economic opportunities for South Carolina citizens. 

Since joining the board in 1998, he has chaired or served on almost every board committee, including chairing the search committee for Clemson’s 15th President James P. Clements. 

He also chaired the University’s $1 billion Will to Lead for Clemson campaign, the largest fundraising initiative in Clemson’s history. 

In 2012, he received the Clemson Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, and in 2014, he was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Clemson Medallion, for his long and sustained commitment and significant service to Clemson University. 

Since 1988, McKissick has served as president and CEO of Alice Company in Greenville. 

Smyth McKissick has served as a leader in numerous textile industry organizations, including chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA), chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations and co-chair of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. 

He has also served on the boards of the J. E. Sirrine Textile Foundation, the Institute of Textile Technology, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and as an independent Director of the Peoples Bancorp Inc. In 2015, Smyth was given the Roger Milliken Defender of Manufacturing Award by SCMA for his leadership in the state. 

Chris Stone  

President and CEO


Chris Stone serves as president and CEO of visitgreenvillesc, a travel promotion organization in Greenville, South Carolina. As an international expert in destination visioning, Stone’s ambitious work is centered on merging design, architecture and authentic experiences. He’s most noted for his input on the nationally acclaimed urban context of Greenville.

Stone’s ability to influence a higher aspiration for Greenville’s urban core has transformed community confidence in itself, and in turn, has “wowed” visitors. The centerpoint of his visioning includes mood boards, illustrations, modeling and relevant roadtrip show-and-tells. He has led idea strategies of “Best in Class” to Portland, Austin, Birmingham (U.K.), and Valencia (Spain). In recent years, Greenville has garnered award-winning recognition by The Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association and The Waterfront Center.

Under Stone’s leadership, a notable up-and-comer brand was created and strategically promoted. Taking notice of Greenville’s emergence has been the likes of The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and The Lonely Planet. Strong brand performance has led to record-setting visitation and tourism economic success. A bonus outcome has been the brand’s ability to broaden Greenville’s appeal and economic achievements.

Over the years, Stone has also provided strategic counsel and conceptual visioning to governments and visitor-serving enterprises. His recent work includes numerous projects in both North America and Europe, including the 2nd Street Corridor in Austin, Texas; Monterey Experience Project in Monterey, California; National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California; The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland and multiple projects on behalf of the European Cultural Consortium in Rome, Barcelona and Paris.

2020 50 Most Influential

Dr. Cedric Adderley


SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities

Over the course of his tenure, Adderley has broadened the vision and visibility of the Governor’s School throughout the state, redefining the role of the school as a partner in arts education for all 46 counties in South Carolina. His passion for public education and ongoing efforts in arts advocacy have eliminated barriers for applicants to join the Governor’s School community as students, employees and supporters. Expansions in the physical aspects of the Governor’s School campus with new construction and enhanced facilities have modernized the campus while enhancing the achievement of students enrolled in both the residential high school and summer programs.

Scot Baddley

President & CEO

YMCA of Greenville

Under Baddley’s leadership, the YMCA of Greenville quickly pivoted how it serves the community by alleviating pain points for many and restructuring vital programs. They implemented emergency childcare and eLearning support for essential workers’ children, blood and food drives, and food distribution points for families in need. Since May, they deliver food weekly to 100-plus homeless children and families. They created resources and recruited 160 facilities to provide Covid-safe childcare programs so 9,000-plus children had afterschool and full-day eLearning support through the $2 million CARES Act program. The Y staff modified fitness opportunities with physically distanced and virtual workouts, and also relentlessly fundraised for critical programs and financial aid. “2020 has tested each of us beyond measure. But the good that resulted was a resilient and determined staff and extraordinary volunteers, who with fortitude and faith, stepped up to meet the increased needs of children and families in our community,” he said.

Wendy Broderick


Harvest Hope

Harvest Hope, South Carolina’s largest food bank, saw an even greater need for its services as the organization navigated the Covid-19 crisis, with a 104 percent increase in the number of individuals needing help. Broderick led the group to increase community donations, offer curbside food pickup at emergency food pantries, and recently hosted a drive-through job fair alongside its food pickup. 

Meliah Bowers Jefferson

Member Attorney

Wyche, P.A.

Bowers Jefferson has been recognized by her peers as one of South Carolina’s best business litigation attorneys but she often uses those advocacy skills beyond her typical law practice for the betterment of the larger community. She has served on numerous nonprofit and industry group boards of directors, including her 2020 appointment to the board of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and continuously works to address issues impacting the most vulnerable among us, including raising awareness of social justice issues, disparities in health care for women and minorities, and the protection of the privacy rights of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  

Bowers Jefferson is a business litigation and intellectual property attorney who is also an experienced keynote speaker as well as an advocate for nonprofits. She’s currently serving on the Greenville Chamber Board of Directors, and this year, the University of South Carolina School of Law recognized her as a Silver Recipient of the Compleat Lawyer Award, which recognizes alumni for outstanding civic and professional accomplishments. 

Jody Bryson

President and CEO

South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center

Production of the F-16 at Lockheed Martin Greenville cemented SCTAC’s role as a leader in the global marketplace in 2020. Burgeoning orders for the aircraft from U.S. foreign allies affirm SCTAC and Greenville as a world-class manufacturing powerhouse, producing one of the most sophisticated fighter jets in the world today.

Matt Caldwell

Market President

Bon Secours St. Francis - Greenville

Matt was at the helm during a challenging year for the health care industry and our community as a whole. Under his leadership, Bon Secours continued providing quality care for patients while also increasing patient access through strategic growth that includes, but is not limited to, increased telehealth options, a new medical campus in Simpsonville and a new Emergency Department at St. Francis Downtown.

Mike Callahan

S.C. State President

Duke Energy

Callahan oversaw a year of challenges as the company restored power quickly after severe weather events in communities across South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana. The company earned accolades for its commitment to renewable energy and reduction in carbon emissions, including expanding charging options for electric vehicles. The Duke Energy Foundation was active in the community making quick, impactful decisions throughout the year to address some of the most pressing needs from the pandemic, to include supporting hunger relief programs, social services, utility assistance agencies and small business support. Callahan’s South Carolina team also joined a company-wide effort to address social and racial justice inequities in communities across the state. A committee of diverse employees was established and awarded 18 organizations $200,000 in grants focused on policy, training and criminal justice reform and civic engagement.

Catriona Carlisle

Executive Director

Meals on Wheels

Executive director since 2009, Carlisle oversaw the delivery of hot meals to more than 1,500 homebound people per weekday, also providing a check-in and a link for homebound clients. The organization boosted sanitation efforts and created contactless volunteer pickup, with socially distant delivery. Meals on Wheels is now gathering funds to deliver meals in addition to masks, PPE kits, blankets, books and more. Carlisle says the community saw tremendous challenges this year, and says she was blessed to see true generosity and compassion shown to Meals on Wheels and its homebound clients. 

Steve Clemons

President and CEO

VitaLink Research


VitaLink Research was selected to run a Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial for Moderna this year, starting in July and including 30,000 patients, including approximately 1,500 in the Upstate. The company has five locations in the Upstate, and added 40 percent more staff. Recently, Moderna announced the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1 percent, and 100 percent efficacy against severe disease. 

Halsey Cook

President and CEO

Milliken & Company

Milliken & Company, recipient of the 2020 S.C. Economic Impact Award from S.C. Business Awards, transformed from a textile manufacturer to material science experts, and now employs more than 3,200 associates statewide at 16 locations. The company introduced new medical fabrics and barriers this year to be used in scrubs and lab coats for medical professionals, and also progressed toward the company’s 2025 sustainability goals, “meeting the demands of a rapidly changing world,” Cook said in his company’s 2020 corporate sustainability report. 

Pastor Sean Dogan

Senior Pastor

Long Branch Baptist Church

Interim CEO/President

Urban League of the Upstate

In late 2019, Dogan was named interim president and CEO of the Urban League, an organization created 50 years ago to work toward equal opportunity for all citizens in housing, education, employment and economic development without regard to race or socioeconomic status. The group recently received a grant in honor of George Floyd and others, which will be used to support affordable housing, juvenile diversion programs, college readiness skills and more. 

Dogan has served as senior pastor of Long Branch Baptist Church since 1997, and it has grown to more than 1,000 weekly attendees. He oversees many partnerships between the church and the community to fight food insufficiency, help small businesses and assist people with job readiness.

Rob Duckett


The Cliffs

Since coming on board at The Cliffs in 2019, Duckett has served as the leader and catalyst for positive change and organizational restructuring for the new owners, South Street Partners. He has created a new vision for the organization’s future and implemented systems and programs that have had a tremendous impact on the lives of the more than 3,000 member families and 650 full and part-time employees. In the community, Rob works alongside and supports efforts for Cliffs Residents Outreach (CRO), a 501(c) nonprofit corporation committed to providing resources to children that promotes opportunities for lifelong success. Separately, Rob and his team support numerous charitable golf tournaments and auctions annually.

Pamela S. Evette

South Carolina Lieutenant Governor

S.C. Office of the Governor

Pamela Evette has worked alongside Gov. Henry McMaster this year to focus on legislation including education reform, the budget and medical affairs. She founded Quality Business Solutions Inc. before becoming the state’s first female Republican lieutenant governor. This year, she chaired the S.C. Governor’s Complete Count Committee, advocating for 2020 Census completion; led the second annual #GrabABagSC Statewide Cleanup Initiative and participated in the SC7 Expedition to raise awareness for flood water prevention and the importance of protecting South Carolina’s natural resources; and was asked the join the sixth cohort of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Program, focusing on state education policy including early childhood education, school funding, school choice and state K-12 education systems.

Mark Farris

President and CEO

Greenville Area Development Corporation

Farris leads the industrial and business recruitment efforts in Greenville County, the state’s largest. The organization made significant progress over the past several years in the encouragement of new industrial sites and parks being added to Greenville County’s inventory as well as the addition of five new speculative industrial building projects. Despite Covid, GADC has already announced more than $500 million in new industrial investment for 2020 with more to come before year end.

J.M. Flemming


NAACP Greenville Branch

During a year of protests related to the killing of George Floyd and other African Americans, Rev. J.M. Flemming worked to inform and educate leaders by participating in forums, news conferences and other activities. His organization fights for equality for all citizens and also helped recruit poll workers for the November election. 

Knudt Flor

President and CEO

BMW Manufacturing Co. 

In 2020, the S.C. plant celebrated 25 years of production, and the company produced its five millionth BMW built in the U.S. Despite this year’s obstacles, BMW posted significantly improved third-quarter performance and remained on track to reach its targets for the year. 

Alexis Garcin 

Chairman and President

Michelin North America Inc.

Michelin was recently named one of the Top 100 World’s Best Employers by Forbes, and Garcin says it is an honor and privilege to lead Michelin’s operations in Canada and the United States, working alongside our 22,000 employees. “I want to thank each of them for the leadership and the incredible resilience they demonstrated during the pandemic where we have put as priority No. 1 the long-term health, safety and well-being of our employees, their families and the surrounding communities,” he said.

Rev. Dr. Richard Gibbons

Senior Pastor

First Presbyterian Church, Greenville

A native of Scotland, Rev. Dr. Richard Gibbons became senior pastor in 2007. This year, First Presbyterian faced the challenges of operating a large church amidst the uncharted waters of Covid-19. The church has been meeting since May with strict Covid-19 protocols in place, and has benefited from the technology of live streaming services each Sunday as well as small groups and Sunday school Zoom meetings. “Much to our surprise many thousands have joined us from a variety of states and overseas for Sunday worship and Wednesday Bible studies,” he said. The church is in the middle of a major capital campaign and campus expansion that began in 2019, and the congregation has continued to support the effort. “Gratefully, we are still on target with this building project, which will enable First Presbyterian Church to serve the Greenville community and offer hope amidst unprecedented challenges,” he said.

Jon Good

CEO, Broker-in-Charge, Shareholder

NAI Earle Furman

Good oversees all aspects of NAI Earle Furman and NAI Piedmont Triad and serves as president of NAI Columbia, leading six offices in South and North Carolina. He joined NAI Earle Furman in 2000, was elected shareholder in 2005 and was named CEO in 2011. Large projects in the works this year, despite Covid, include Vermeer’s $19.8 million plant at South Greenville Enterprise Park and a speculative property at Augusta Grove. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham

U.S. Senator

State of South Carolina

After heated Supreme Court hearings, controversies and a challenge from Democrat Jaime Harrison, Graham was reelected to his fourth term in November by ten percentage points. The chairman of the judiciary committee, he also sits on the budget, foreign relations and appropriations committees.

Zaina Greene

Executive Director


Since its founding in 2012, SWITCH, a non-profit ministry working to end human sex trafficking and exploitation, has served over 400 women and educated close to 30,000 community members. Greene has served as executive director since 2016 and in 2017 became co-chair of the Upstate Human Trafficking Task Force. Greene says that upon learning that human trafficking was happening in her own state, it ignited something in her, and the more she educated herself about the issue, the stronger her resolve grew to take action. After much training, counsel and prayer, she joined SWITCH in 2014. According to Greene, she believes an awakened and united community will see human trafficking eradicated.

S. Richard Hagins


US&S, Inc. 

A retired commander in the U.S. Navy, Hagins is founder and CEO of US&S, a facility maintenance and support service provider. He is also the 2020 chairman of the board for the Greenville Chamber and was part of the Business Recovery Task Force. Despite Covid-19, the company was able to pivot and align core competencies in janitorial services to meet growing demand for enhanced cleaning in the workplace. “We are very proud of the men and women whose commitment to excellence helps produce our success under these tough and unpredictable conditions,” he said. 

Sean Hartness


Hartness Development

After selling the family packaging business in 2009, Sean and his father Pat developed 444 acres of property near Highway 14 on Greenville’s Eastside. Now a traditional neighborhood development, the community features walkable spaces, sidewalks and a village center for shopping and dining. The company has announced a boutique hotel, spa and restaurant, expected to open in 2022.

Lynn Harton

Chairman and CEO

United Community Bank

UCB was recognized this year for having the highest customer satisfaction score in the Southeast, as ranked by J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, giving the company its sixth win in seven years. Harton was named to the Business Recovery Task Force to help guide Greenville businesses in safely recovering from the pandemic, and UCB supported nearly 11,000 small businesses around the country through PPP lending, including 1,000 in the Upstate. For the fourth consecutive year, UCB was recognized as one of the Best Banks in America to Work For by American Banker. 

C. Justin Hawkins

Western South Carolina Region 

Bank President

Wells Fargo

In a year like no other, Wells Fargo remained committed to keeping customers and employees safe, and helping communities recover and rebuild. This summer, the company launched the Open for Business Fund as an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs keep their doors open. This holiday season, Wells Fargo extended its relationship with Feeding America-member food banks to help combat the sharp rise in food insecurity and ensure families have holiday meals on the table. Locally, Hawkins said he is proud that his group donated more than $200,000 to Harvest Hope this year to help hundreds of people who are in a vulnerable position because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and teamed up with Harvest Hope this summer to serve nearly 55,000 meals to 1,500 families across the Upstate. As region bank president, Hawkins leads a team of more than 480 team members in 48 bank branches.

Ralph Hulseman


Hoowaki LLC

Hoowaki specializes in micro surface engineering, and this year, the company adapted quickly to put its products to work making medical swabs for Covid-19 testing. Founded in 2008, the company moved to NEXT Manufacturing Center in 2016.

Randy Jackson Sr. 


First Merchant Services LLC

Executive Director

Phillis Wheatley Community Center

Jackson is president of First Merchant Services LLC based in Greenville, a company that provides personalized processing solutions to businesses across North America, with products designed to process many types of payments including debit and credit cards, as well as check guarantee services, payment gateway services and others. He also serves as executive director of the Phillis Wheatley Community Center, a non-profit organization that has helped individuals and families in Greenville County achieve self-sufficiency for 100 years. The organization provides programs and services that address the physical, emotional, academic, and social needs of the community so lifelong success is attainable for everyone. With the onset of Covid-19, Jackson added emergency food services to the center and offered other programming in a virtual format so participants can stay healthy and engaged.   

Dr. Marjorie R. Jenkins

Dean, School of Medicine Greenville

University of South Carolina

Chief Academic Officer

Prisma Health Upstate

During the last year, Jenkins played a critical role in securing Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for the VESperTM device, developed in partnership with Prisma Health, UofSC, and Clemson and used to expand ventilator capacity for Covid-19 patients in critical care. Under her leadership, UofSC School of Medicine Greenville created a Covid-19 task force to oversee the continuity of academic excellence through a transition to a fully virtual and later hybrid curriculum delivery models, making it possible for over 100 students to graduate and begin serving hospitals throughout the country.

Danny Joyner

President & CEO

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - 

C. Dan Joyner Co.

Joyner started in his family company in property management, and joined the commercial division in 1996. Under his leadership, the company, with more than 425 realtors, continues to be the Upstate’s market leader in residential home sales and is poised for continued growth. 

James C. Keel

Public Transportation Director

Greenlink/City of Greenville

After three years as assistant public transportation director, Keel became interim director in May before taking the role in September 2019. Key accomplishments this year, in addition to staying running in the midst of a pandemic, include phasing in later hours, with transit service running until 11:30 p.m.; receiving grant funding for six Proterra Electric Buses; and procuring architectural services to start a new maintenance facility, which Keel says is the key to expanding transit in the Greenville area.

Wilfredo Leon

Publisher and Editor

El Latino Newspaper

Leon, born and raised in Puerto Rico, co-founded the Hispanic Alliance before starting his statewide Spanish-language newspaper in 1996. This year, he’s been reporting vital DHEC and CDC information to Spanish speakers across the state, in addition to other educational and journalistic efforts. 

Deborah McKetty

Vice President for Community Impact

United Way of Greenville County

 McKetty was formerly president and CEO of CommunityWorks. Now at the United Way, she is focused on assisting people with food insecurity, homelessness and other economic issues that have expanded due to the pandemic. Earlier this year, she received the ATHENA Leadership Award at the Greenville Chamber’s annual meeting, which honors those who help women reach their leadership potential while improving quality of life in the community. 

Alfred Mitchell

Project Manager/Automation Engineer

Michelin North America

Mitchell worked with Duke Energy for 11 years before joining Michelin in 2019, where he has served as primary electrical engineer on the installation of a twin dump extruder. His community involvement includes serving as a mentor through Greenville Technical College’s TRiO Upward Bound program and co-chairing African American Leadership for United Way of Greenville, focusing on promoting economic empowerment. 

Steve Nail

Dean, College of Business

Anderson University

Nail joined Anderson University in 2016, where he developed the internship program, created several mentoring programs and implemented changes to the strategic direction of the business programs. He was previously vice president for human resources at Hubbell Lighting in Greenville. 

Krista Newkirk


Converse College

President since 2016, Newkirk has overseen Converse as it became an accredited doctorate-granting institution, launched its first doctoral degree program, expanded master’s degree offerings, added data analytics to several programs and opened an extension campus at University Center in Greenville. The school will begin offering residential programs for men and women next year and will be known as Converse University in July 2021.

Ramon Nieves-Lugo


UniComm Media Group

Nieves-Lugo, a native of Puerto Rico, is principal and CEO of UniComm Media group, a Hispanic marketing and communications strategy company in Greenville. He is proud to have started the first full-service multicultural agency in S.C., along with his brother. He is on the board of directors for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and serves as an associate board member for CPM Federal Credit Union. He is also on advisory boards for the Greenville Triumph soccer team and for Fall for Greenville, for which he Implemented a language program so that attendees can interact with volunteers in other languages.

Mark O’Halla

President and Chief Executive Officer

Prisma Health

As president and CEO of Prisma Health, O’Halla is leading the company’s efforts to create a better state of health in South Carolina by providing high-quality patient care, tackling health disparities, removing barriers to access, developing new clinical services and academic programs, shaping local and federal health policy, and addressing healthcare affordability. Under Mr. O’Halla’s leadership, the organization rose to the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. As of December, Prisma Health has cared for more than 4,000 Covid-19 inpatients – about one-third of all Covid-19 inpatients in South Carolina, and completed more than 223,000 inpatient and outpatient Covid-19 tests in its hospitals, drive-through and community testing sites.

Mike Pereyo


OOBE Apparel Design Group

Pereyo says he is most proud of the OOBE team’s ability to pivot and be agile during such a difficult year. “Due to their incredible work, we were able provide valuable PPE masks to our valued partners such as Chick-fil-A, BMW, Hendrick Automotive, Coca-Cola Bottling and many others in the local community in order to keep their valuable team members healthy and be able to return back to work safely,” he says.

Carlos Phillips


Greenville Chamber

Under Phillips’ leadership, the Greenville Chamber has received numerous national awards and recently received 5-star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber. Phillips serves on various national boards and committees, including U.S. Chamber’s Committee of 100, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, and he was recently one of only six in the nation to be selected to serve on the U.S. Chamber’s National Initiative on Inequality of Opportunity committee. The Chamber has also partnered with the United Way of Greenville County and the Urban League of the Upstate to form the Greenville County Racial Equity and Economic Mobility Commission.

Chad Prashad

President and CEO

World Acceptance Corporation

World Acceptance, one of the largest subprime lenders in the U.S., has more than 1,200 branches offering affordable credit and a path to improving credit history. Prashad leads more than 3,500 team members who strive to help customers improve their financial situation, boost their credit score and avoid pay-day or title loans. The company motto is “Get Back To The Good” for customers, shareholders, team members and communities. 

W. Burke Royster, Ph.D.


Greenville County Schools

W. Burke Royster became the 10th Superintendent of Greenville County Schools, the 46th largest district in the nation, in 2012. As a direct result of his initiatives, the Greenville County Schools’ graduation rate has risen 13.7 points since 2012 and is currently 86.1 percent. GCS students have also continued to improve their college and career readiness. In the spring of 2020, GCS students potentially earned more than 18,000 college credits through successful completion of dual credit courses and a passing score on AP exams. Additionally, 2,113 industry certifications were awarded to GCS students last spring. Royster’s leadership has also been critical in the district’s response to the Covid-19 global pandemic, which included the launch of eLearning just three days after the unexpected shutdown, and the delivery of over one million meals to the children and of Greenville County during the spring and summer of 2020.

Art Seaver

Chief Executive Officer

Southern First Bank

Southern First Bank’s mission is to impact lives in the communities it serves. Seaver says he is proud of that privilege, and is especially grateful to do so in a year when Covid-19 has impacted everyone and everything. 

Steve Smith 

Managing Director of South Carolina


Smith has executive oversight over all operations in Greenville-Spartanburg, Charleston and Columbia, and focuses in integrating the company’s service lines, including property leasing, management, project management and investment sales. Despite economic obstacles, Smith expects a rapid recovery in South Carolina, and expects commercial real estate to rebound by the third quarter of 2021. A post-coronavirus boom is expected, and CBRE is ready. 

Steve Spinks


The Spinx Company

Spinks oversees finance, wholesale and real estate activities in addition to directing the executive leadership team of the fuel and convenience store chain, which has 84 stores throughout the state. He has served as chairman of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce and also supports community causes including the Children’s Museum of the Upstate, the Community Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels and the Spinks Family Foundation. After its annual campaign, the company recently donated more than $325,000 to the American Cancer Society. 

Bob Stegner

Senior Vice President, Marketing, 

North America

SYNNEX Corporation

Stegner continues to be an ambassador for Greenville as a meeting location and travel destination, and an integral part of SYNNEX’s continued growth in the Upstate. He serves on the South Carolina Charities Inc. Board of Directors and supports the BMW Charity Pro-Am through SYNNEX Corporation’s presenting sponsorship. He has been instrumental in SYNNEX Share the Magic, the fundraising initiative raising more than $14 million for four Upstate children’s charities from 2011-2020.

Ricardo Studart


Synesis International, Inc. 

Synesis International is celebrating more than 25 years as a quality management and ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementation firm. The company specializes in using next-generation software technology to help manufacturing companies harness their growth. Studart has led the company since 1994. 

Dr. Nika White

President and CEO

Nika White Consulting LLC

In addition to her role as senior advisor at the Greenville Chamber, where she was formerly vice president, White is a national authority on diversity, inclusion and equity through Nika White Consulting, founded in 2017. As an award-winning management and leadership consultant, keynote speaker, published author and executive practitioner for diversity and inclusion efforts in business, government, nonprofits and education, she helps organizations break barriers and integrate diversity into their frameworks. 

Bruce White

CEO, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Bank of Travelers Rest

White, son of bank founder John White, began working for Bank of Travelers Rest in 1968. Under his leadership, the bank has experienced significant growth, and now includes 10 branches and more than $730 million in assets. White has served in leadership roles with Boy Scouts of America, Clemson University, Greenville Area Development Corporation, Public Education Partners and more. 

David Wise


Harper General Contractors

This year marked Harper’s 70th anniversary as well as the 10th anniversary of the company’s Waste Water & Water Treatment Division. Wise will celebrate his 30th year with Harper in 2021, and says he is grateful for his talented teammates who work to fulfill the company’s mission to build up communities, clients and each other by building trust. “I am additionally thankful for our clients who have placed their confidence in us to lead their construction efforts,” he said. “Resiliency has been the key word for us to navigate 2020 safely and successfully.”

Wendy York

Dean, Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Clemson University

After serving as associate dean at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, York took the role at Clemson in 2018, becoming the 15th dean and the first woman to lead business education at Clemson. Under Dean York’s leadership, the College is experiencing record enrollment, fundraising and has a strategy for measured growth. She oversaw the completion of a new, 176,000-square-foot building, which opened this fall in the heart of campus and is home to the University’s fastest-growing college. In October, Clemson University announced the record-setting gift to name the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, the only named college at the university. York also started and/or led four early-stage technology and internet companies, including a database marketing company she founded and sold to a national advertising agency. Subsequently, York spent five years as a venture capitalist where she managed a private portfolio with a market capitalization of $100 million.