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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Focus on Teachers

Aug 19, 2022 09:14AM ● By David Dykes

Governor Announces Nominations to Teacher Recruitment, Retention Task Force

Gov. Henry McMaster announced his three appointments to the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force, which was created by the General Assembly to recommend policies for improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of teachers. 

"South Carolina's teachers are integral to the success and prosperity of our state and we must do all we can to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed. Over the last 5 years  by raising starting teacher salaries by $10,000 and changing the way we fund our schools to ensure that tax dollars are making their way to the classroom   we have made progress, but more needs to be done," McMaster said.

"These three appointments will ensure that some of the best and brightest minds in South Carolina education are on the task force so that we can provide both our students and teachers with an education system that sets them up for success."

McMaster appointed Dr. Barbara S. Nielsen to serve as chair of the task force. An educator for 44 years who was a teacher, administrator, and consultant, Nielsen served between 1990 and 1998 as South Carolina’s 14th Superintendent of Education.

During her tenure, South Carolina was recognized as a leader in the development of curriculum frameworks in all academic areas including the arts and foreign languages. She recently served as a Senior Scholar at the Strom Thurmond Institute at Clemson University.

Upon the recommendation of the South Carolina School Boards Association, the governor has appointed Tim Rhodes, a member of the Abbeville County School Board of Trustees since 2007.

A founding member of the Calhoun Falls Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni Chapter, Rhodes also serves as president of the local nonprofit organization Faith Hunters for Youth.

A veteran of the Army and U.S. Army Reserve, Rhodes is Quality Assurance Coordinator for Prysmian Group North America, a manufacturer of underground and submarine cables and systems for power transmission and distribution.

And, upon the recommendation of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, the governor has appointed Dr. Kevin O’Gorman, superintendent of the Edgefield County School District since 2019.

O’Gorman has an extensive career in education having previously served as the chief academic officer for the Berkeley County School District and as an associate superintendent and principal for the Aiken County School District.

The task force, created by Proviso 1.114 of the 2022-23 General Appropriation Act, is to submit recommendations on the following to the governor, S.C. House Speaker, and president of the Senate no later than May 31, 2023:

* increasing recruitment to the teaching profession;

* improving teacher preparation;

* transforming compensation for teachers;

* enhancing the effectiveness of teacher evaluation;

* improving working conditions for all teachers; and

*identifying best practices from other jurisdictions and designing them for South Carolina.

Todd Turner Named CEO of OTO Development

Todd Turner has  been named chief executive officer of OTO Development, taking over the role from  fellow co-founder Corry Oakes, who died unexpectedly Aug. 7

Oakes and Turner, along with Jim Ovenden, founded their namesake hotel development and hospitality management company in May 2004 alongside George Dean Johnson Jr. and the late H. Wayne Huizenga.

“Corry and Todd worked side by side for 18 years to take OTO Development from an idea into a premier lodging company,” says Geordy Johnson, president of The Johnson Group. “Todd is a seasoned, inspiring leader who will carry their shared  vision forward.”

Turner previously served as VP/Real Estate at OTO Development, whose corporate office is in Spartanburg and which is part of  The Johnson Group.

He began his career developing real estate at WJB Blockbuster Video and then held positions of increasing responsibility at Extended Stay America. 

As VP/Real Estate at the NYSE-listed company, he helped turn ESA into the fastest growing owner-operated hotel chain in lodging history prior to its sale to Blackstone. 

A graduate of The University of the South, Turner holds a bachelor’s degree in English.

OTO Development is an award-winning, fast-growing hotel development and hospitality management company.

Founded in 2004 and partnering with the Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott brands, the company owns and/or operates 70  hotels comprising approximately 9,600 room keys.

OTO says its growth is focused on developing new hotels in high-barrier-to-entry markets; purchasing and repurposing existing hotel properties; and expanding management contracts with clients ranging from publicly traded REITs to private equity firms to high-net-worth individuals.

Frontline Healthcare Partners Announces Investment in LivWell Infusions

Charleston, S.C.-based Frontline Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm exclusively focused on investing in leading distributed healthcare businesses, announced a recapitalization and growth investment in LivWell Infusions, a provider of outpatient infusion and injection therapy for patients with complex chronic conditions.

Founded in 2020 out of Scottsdale, Arizona, LivWell administers accessible infusions and injections for patients suffering from compromised immune systems, infectious disease, and other medical conditions.

LivWell operates ambulatory infusion centers and infusions practice management, including services to physician offices such as insurance benefit verifications, prior authorizations, inventory procurement, amongst others.

Today, LivWell offers patient-first therapy across Arizona, California, New Mexico, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

"LivWell has created a unique model that enables us to grow quickly while ensuring that patients have easy and affordable access to high quality services and the remarkable drugs that can change lives," said Ernesto Garza, founder and CEO of LivWell. 

"We met Frontline shortly after we started the business and quickly knew that they understood both the significant opportunity presented by the infusion industry and our vision at LivWell to address that opportunity with a truly differentiated model."

Garza added, "With the support of Frontline's know-how, network, and capital, we look forward to accelerating our growth across the Southwest and nationally."

United Community Banks, Inc. Names George Bell to Board of Directors

United Community Banks, Inc. announced its Board of Directors appointed George Bell as Director.

Bell is an experienced information technology executive and has more than 25 years of experience in financial services, previously working for Truist, BB&T, and Bank of America. 

In his most recent role, he served as Executive Vice President - Software Engineering Group Head, Business Management Manager of Truist, where he led a cross-functional team and provided technical leadership for human resources, legal, and business management function.

“George embodies a skillset identified by our Board as essential to the growth of our company and we are honored to welcome him aboard,” said Lynn Harton, chairman and CEO of United Community Banks and its subsidiary bank, United Community Bank, headquartered in Greenville, S.C.

“I had the honor of working with George early in our careers and have always been impressed with his intelligence and understanding of the industry. His impeccable track record of leveraging leading technology and enabling customer-centric innovation will be particularly helpful to our team as our business continues to grow across some of the fastest-growing markets in the Southeast.”

A native of New Bern, N.C., Bell received his master’s degree in business administration from East Carolina University and was an honors graduate of Barton College with a degree in mathematics.

He lives in Charlotte, N.C., with his wife, Faye. His daughter is entering her senior year at Fordham University in the fall.

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