22 South Carolinians Chosen to Begin Intense Leadership Program

July 28, 2010

Liberty Fellowship Announces Class of 2012

GREENVILLE, SC – July 27, 2010 – Significant community involvement,success in their chosen field and a commitment to improving SouthCarolina characterize the newest class of Liberty Fellows. Chosen from apool of 400 candidates spread across the state, these class membersrepresent business, government and nonprofit sectors of South Carolina. 

“The class of 2012 is extremely capable of meeting the challenges andcapitalizing on the opportunities in the lifetime Fellowship program,”said Hayne Hipp, founder of Liberty Fellowship.  “More important to ourstate, not one of them is satisfied with the status quo. Each has a deepdesire to take action to improve South Carolina.”

The integrity of each Liberty Fellowship class depends largely on theblend of differences and diversity of perspectives of the individualleaders. Finding the right mix is a key focus of the Liberty Fellowship.

“The members of this class span a broad and interesting spectrum. Theyare established leaders who represent a mosaic of backgrounds, skillsand experiences,” said Jennie Johnson, Executive Director of LibertyFellowship. 

In addition to attending four seminars over the two-year period,including one Aspen Institute global seminar with leaders from aroundthe world, each class member commits to completing a personal projectthat will have a positive impact on the state.

“The Fellow projects and collaborative leadership approach truly have animpact at the state level,” continued Hipp. “The vision of LibertyFellowship is to identify leaders who are respectful of other points ofview so they can work together to move the state forward.”

Following are the members of the Liberty Fellowship Class of 2012:

Pamela A. (Pam) Baker is a shareholder with the McNair Law Firm, P.A. in Columbia, where sherepresents clients involved in state and federal environmentalenforcement and permitting actions. Prior to attending law school, sheworked for the South Carolina Department of Health and EnvironmentalControl in the areas of environmental enforcement and regulatorycompliance.  Pamela was appointed by the Governor in 2009 to the SouthCarolina Commission on Women.  She also serves on the board of SexualTrauma Services of the Midlands and is an active member of the ColumbiaChapter of The Links, Inc., an international nonprofit organization ofprofessional women of color that is one of the nation’s largestvolunteer service organizations. 

Pamela is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and a newly electedboard member. She earned her Juris Doctor cum laude from the Universityof South Carolina School of Law and her Bachelor of Science in Biologyfrom the University of South Carolina.

Daniel J. (Dan) Ballou is a founding member of Hamilton Martens Ballou & Sipe, LLC, a lawfirm in Rock Hill. A litigator focused on business and civil cases, hewas previously a partner with Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman,LLP.

Dan is board member and secretary of Keystone Substance Abuse Servicesof York County and is vice chair of the York County Regional Chamber ofCommerce Government Relations Task Force.  He serves on the Lake WylieMarine Commission, chaired the Rock Hill/York County Martin Luther KingTask Force and is a board member of Common Cause of South Carolina.  Hepreviously served on the South Carolina Real Estate Commission and ispast president and board member of Pilgrim’s Inn.  He also is pastpresident of the York County Bar Association and a member of the SouthCarolina Bar House of Delegates and the Bar’s Judicial QualificationsCommittee.

Dan earned his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina Schoolof Law and his Bachelor of Arts in History from Princeton University.

Russell W. Booker is Superintendent of Spartanburg County School District Seven. Hepreviously served as superintendent of York School District One. He hasworked as a teacher, counselor, coach, principal and district leveladministrator.

Russell received the Wingate University Outstanding Young Alumnus Awardand the Citizen of the Year Award from the Greater York Chamber ofCommerce. In 2009 he was recognized as South Carolina’s Superintendentof the Year by the Career and Technology Division. He is a graduate ofthe Diversity Leaders Initiative through the Riley Institute and theSpartanburg Regional Fellows program. He is a member of Kappa Alpha PsiFraternity, Inc., Rotary International, The Urban League, and the NAACP.He is on the boards of Wingate University, the Urban League of theUpstate, the Boy Scouts of America (Palmetto Council), the Charles LeaCenter Foundation and the United Way of the Piedmont. 

Russell received his Bachelor of Science in Education from WingateUniversity and his M.Ed., Ed.S., and Ph.D. from the University of SouthCarolina.

John F. Castile became City Manager of Greenville on July 1. He previously served asDeputy City Manager and Assistant City Manager. Prior to his servicewith the City of Greenville, John was the Executive Director for WithinReach, Inc., a non-profit agency designed to provide coordination ofsocial service delivery in at risk communities. His experience alsoincludes positions with  BI-LO Grocery Stores, The Greenville News andSunbelt Human Advancement Resources, Inc.

John’s community involvement includes Rotary Club of Greenville, 100Black Men of Greenville and Greenville County Schools Shining StarTeacher Recruitment Initiative. He has served on the boards of MainStreet Events, Greenville Urban League and Bridges to Augusta.  He is agraduate of Leadership Greenville and has served on its Board ofRegents.

John earned his Master of Public Administration from Walden Universityand his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Furman University.

James S. (Jamie) Fulmer, Jr. is the Vice President of Public Affairs for Advance America, CashAdvance Centers, Inc. in Spartanburg, a NYSE traded company.  Prior tojoining Advance America, he served in several managerial roles withCollins & Aikman Products in Charlotte.

Jamie serves on the board of the Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburgwhere he is the immediate past chair and is on the Board of Governorsof the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Board of theUrban League of the Upstate. He is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburgand formerly served on the Spartanburg Methodist College Board ofTrustees, Wofford College Terrier Club Board, Converse College Board ofVisitors, City of Spartanburg Planning Commission, Spartanburg LittleTheatre Board and The Piedmont Interstate Fair Board.

Jamie earned his Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wofford College.

Richard J. (Rich) Gaton is the Co-founder and President of BDI Pharma, Inc., a nationaldistributor of specialty biopharmaceuticals established in 1995 andheadquartered in Columbia.  His business focuses on the specialtypharmaceutical class of therapies inclusive of biotherapeutics,chemotherapies, vaccines, plasma protein therapies and injectables. 

Rich is on the board of HDMA, a national association representingprimary, full service healthcare distributors.  He also supportspatient-based associations including National Hemophilia Foundation andSave One Life, both related to his line of business.  He is on the boardof Heathwood Hall and has previously served on the board of theSalvation Army in Columbia.

Rich earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Tanya A. Gee is the Clerk of Court for the South Carolina Court of Appeals.  Shebegan her career as a Law Clerk for the Chief Judge of the Court ofAppeals and then moved on to be the Chief Staff Attorney, supervisingten staff attorneys.

Tanya helped author the appellate guidebook for self-representedlitigants and organized a project to help indigents prepare wills.  Hercommunity service also includes being a Guardian Ad Litem and tutor at alocal elementary school.  She also has worked on the Kids ID project.She was recently named one of the “Top 20 Under 40” by The Statenewspaper and is the recipient of the 2009 Silver Compleat Lawyer award.

Tanya earned her Juris Doctor from the University of South CarolinaSchool of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from WinthropUniversity.

title=Mary H. Hipp is a community activist.  She was campaign manager for both DavidChilds and Hayne Hipp in their races for Greenville County Council. Hercareer also includes Data Quality positions with Instill Corporation, asupply chain management company, and Chef/Instructor at Tante Marie’sCooking School in San Francisco. 

Mary is the chair of the Friends of the Zoo board and serves on theboards of the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, Friends ofBrookgreen Gardens, Greenville Women Giving and Metropolitan ArtsCouncil (incoming chair).  She is a graduate of Leadership SouthCarolina, the Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative andLeadership Greenville.  She formerly served on the boards of theGreenville Humane Society, Greenville Chamber Board of Regents andProject Host.

Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Washington and LeeUniversity and a Certificate in Culinary Arts from Tante Marie’s CookingSchool.

title=J. Blanding (Blan) Holman IV is a Senior Attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)and co-founder of SELC’s Charleston office.  He also teachesenvironmental law at the Charleston School of Law.  Prior to joiningSELC, Blan practiced with a law firm in Washington D.C. and served as alaw clerk to United States Judge Lacy Thornburg in Asheville. 

Blan is a founding board member for the Conservation Voters of SouthCarolina. He has published articles in national and local magazines aswell as law journals.  He earned a Juris Doctor from the University ofVirginia School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in English and PoliticalScience from the University of North Carolina, Phi Beta Kappa.  He is aHarry S. Truman Scholar and visited Harvard Law School as a 2010Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow.

title=R. Michael (Mikee) Johnson is CEO and President of Cox Industries, a privately owned businessspecializing in manufacturing and global distribution ofpressure-treated wood. Previously, he was an Associate Vice Presidentwith Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc.

Mikee is chair of the Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce and on theexecutive committee of the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts ofAmerica. He is state membership chair for the Young Presidents’Organization and was recently named one of the “Top 20 Under 40” by TheState newspaper.  He served on the Downtown Revitalization Associationboard, has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and served aschairman for the Orangeburg County March of Dimes.

Mikee earned his Master of Business Administration from the Universityof South Carolina and his Bachelor of Arts in English and PoliticalScience from Furman University. Additionally, he has a Masters in thefield of Family Business from Kennesaw State and is pursuing a DBA inthe same field.

title=Amy E. Love is Deputy Executive Director of New Carolina – South Carolina’s Councilon Competitiveness. She was part of the start-up team that launched NewCarolina in 2004. Before joining New Carolina, Amy worked in Europe forGerman telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom.

During graduate school, Amy developed and ran the public informationprogram for USDA Rural Development in South Carolina. She has a Mastersin Public Relations from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelorof Arts in English from Furman University. She studied German atMiddlebury College and the Goethe Institute in Bonn, Germany.

Amy is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, the SouthCarolina Economic Developers Association and the Leadership SouthCarolina Board of Trustees. She is a Richard W. Riley InstituteDiversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) graduate and serves on the DLIEmerging Leaders Advisory Committee.

title=Nicolas D. (Nick) Muzin is Senior Vice President of Legal & Government Affairs for TheInterTech Group, a private equity conglomerate in Charleston. He also isa physician at the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic.  Prior tojoining InterTech, Nick worked at the law firm Williams & Connallyin Washington D.C.  He also has worked on policy issues for the Food andDrug Administration and as a physician at Westchester Medical Center inNew York.

Nick worked in the Counsel’s Office of the Republican National Committeeduring the 2004 election, served as senior medical advisor for theMcCain for President campaign and was the finance chairman for the SouthCarolina Republican Party Commission on Debates. He earned his JurisDoctor from Yale Law School, his MD from Albert Einstein College ofMedicine and his Bachelor of Arts from Yeshiva University.


Susan D. Newman is Assistant Professor in theCollege of Nursing and College of Graduate Studies at the MedicalUniversity of South Carolina.  She previously worked as a staff nurse atRoper Rehabilitation Hospital in Charleston. Today, her career isfocused on community-based rehabilitation and health promotionintervention research with people with spinal cord injuries.

san volunteers with groups such as Anchors Away/Adaptive Water Sportsand Achieving Wheelchair Equality.  She partners with the disAbilityResource Center, a Center for Independent Living, both in helping peoplewith disabilities and in conducting her research.

Susan earned her PhD and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the MedicalUniversity of South Carolina College of Nursing and her Bachelor ofFine Arts from Clemson University. She is a Registered Nurse.

title=Scott E. Porter is Section Chief of the Division of Orthopaedic Oncology at GreenvilleHospital System University Medical Center and holds an Adjunct AssistantProfessorship in the Department of Bioengineering at ClemsonUniversity.  He is one of only two orthopaedic oncologists in the stateof South Carolina. Additionally, he has been actively engaged inunderstanding South Carolina’s political landscape.

Scott earned his MD from the Yale University School of Medicine and hisBachelor of Science in Biology from Morehouse College. He is pursuing anMBA at the Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University.

title=Patricia S. (Tricia) Ravenhorst is the Director and Immigration Attorney of the South CarolinaImmigrant Victim Network, a program of the South Carolina VictimAssistance Network.   She remains Of Counsel at the law firm of Wyche,Burgess, Freeman & Parham, which she joined out of law school.   Herprior work experience includes internships with the South AfricanSecretariat for Safety and Security in Pretoria, South Africa andclerkships at several law firms.

Tricia is on the boards of La Alianza para la Colaboración con laComunidad Hispana and the Center for Developmental Services and is aformer board member of Safe Harbor (chair) and Leadership GreenvilleDevelopment Board.  She is a graduate of Leadership Greenville.

Tricia earned her Juris Doctor and Master of Arts in Political Sciencewith a Certification in Latin American Studies from Duke University andher Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs summa cum laude, Phi BetaKappa from Florida State University.

title=Vaidehi A. Shah is a founder of Velocitas Partners, Inc., an advisory firm partneringwith social investors including venture capitalists, foundations,pension funds, family offices, individuals and other socially-motivatedinvestors.  Her prior experience includes positions with Eton ParkCapital Management, The Carlyle Group, The World Bank and Goldman Sachs.

Vaidehi earned her Master of Business Administration from HarvardBusiness School and her Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude and Phi BetaKappa in Mathematics and Economics from Wellesley College.

James E. Smith, Jr. received his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina Schoolof Law, began his legal career with Nelson Mullins Riley &Scarborough, LLP and is currently the principle of James E. Smith, Jr.,P.A. Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1996,James has served as Assistant Minority Leader, Chief Minority Whip andHouse Minority Leader.  
After serving eight years as a JAG officer in the South Carolina ArmyNational Guard, James resigned his commission, re-enlisted and became anInfantry Officer.  As a Captain, he served in Afghanistan’s Zabul andKhandahar Provinces where he earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge,Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals.
James serves on the boards of the Alston Wilkes Society, CentralMidlands Regional Transit Authority, Congaree Riverkeepers and UnitedWay and is a former board member of the South Carolina First Steps andPrevent Child Abuse.  James was recently awarded the Outstanding AlumniAward by the University of South Carolina College of Art and Sciences.

Robin B. Stilwell is a State Circuit Court Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.Prior to being elected judge, he was a shareholder in Hunter Tomaszek& Stilwell, P.A. He also has served as Chief Judge, MauldinMunicipal Court, and Associate Judge, Greer Municipal Court.  Hisexperience includes founding his own law firm and serving as AssociateAttorney at Anderson Fayssoux & Chasteen and The Stilwell Law Firm.Additionally, he represented indigent defendants as an Indigent Defensecontract attorney for the County of Greenville.

Robin served on the boards of the Greenville Literacy Association,Eastside YMCA, Mental Health Association of South Carolina andGreenville Hospital System Patewood Advisory Board. He was an InfantryOfficer in the South Carolina Army National Guard for over 20 years andwas deployed to Afghanistan where he was awarded the Combat InfantrymanBadge and a Bronze Star.

Robin received his Juris Doctor from the University of South CarolinaSchool of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in English from The Citadel.

Gustavo A. (Gus) Suárez isan Associate Attorney with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak &Stewart, P.C., where he practices immigration compliance law, employmentlaw and product litigation.  He also teaches Immigration Law atGreenville Technical College.

Gus serves on the boards of Pendleton Place Children’s Home and theInternational Center for the Upstate and on the Greenville TechnicalCollege Multicultural Advisory Council. Recently, he completed the RileyInstitute’s Diversity Leadership Program.

Gus earned his Juris Doctor magna cum laude from the University ofGeorgia School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude, Phi BetaKappa in Political Science and History from Furman University.

title=Laura G. Varn is Vice President of Corporate Communications and Media Relations forSantee Cooper, South Carolina’s largest provider of electricity withmore than two million customers.  Under her leadership, Santee Cooperwas named the utility with the best communications of all utilities inthe nation in 2009. Prior to joining Santee Cooper, she served in mediarelations and corporate communications roles with Southern Company,Delta Air Lines and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, allbased in Atlanta.

Laura is on the Executive Committee of the Charleston Metro Chamber ofCommerce, leading their ThinkTEC Innovation Division.  She is a graduateof Leadership South Carolina, Diversity Leadership Initiative andLeadership Berkeley County. She formerly served on the YouthCommunication, Metro Atlanta board and Georgia 100 Mentoring Associationas well as the Habitat for Humanity board in Atlanta.

Laura earned her Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in Journalism from Ohio University.

Peter B. Waldschmidt is Founder and CEO of Gnoso, Inc., a software product design anddevelopment company.  Prior to founding Gnoso, he co-founded TetraDatawhich built the market-leading data warehousing and analysis solutionfor U.S. school districts and state education departments.  In 2006 thiscompany was acquired by Follett Software.

Peter is Co-Chair of the NEXT Innovation Center Initiative and was adriving force behind this successful incubator for entrepreneurs.  Healso serves on the board of the Greenville Local Development Corporationand was chairman of the TEDxGreenville Conference held for the firsttime this spring. He is a founding member of the Upstate Carolina AngelNetwork.

Peter is pursuing his Master of Business Administration from ClemsonUniversity and earned a Bachelor of Science magna cum laude inElectrical Engineering from Bob Jones University.

Thad H. Westbrook is a Partner with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, wherehis practice is focused on business litigation, class action defense,and consumer finance litigation. Previously he was as law clerk to U.S.District Judge G. Ross Anderson, Jr.

Thad is on the Board of Trustees and is former vice chair of the Boardof Visitors at the University of South Carolina.  He is immediate pastboard chair for Lexington Medical Center and now serves on the LexingtonMedical Center Foundation Board.  He is a former member of the Board ofVisitors for the Medical University of South Carolina and is on theSouth Carolina Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness. Hewas named one of the “top 20 under 40” by The State newspaper in 2009.

Thad earned his Juris Doctor from the University of South CarolinaSchool of Law and his Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Political Sciencefrom the South Carolina Honors College at the University of SouthCarolina.

About Liberty Fellowship

Liberty Fellowship is a statewide leadership initiative founded by HayneHipp, Wofford College and The Aspen Institute. The program seeks toinspire outstanding leadership in South Carolina, empowering the state’sleaders to realize their full potential. Fostering a values-basedapproach, Liberty Fellowship exposes rising leaders, ages 30-45, todiverse perspectives, critical thinking, and intellectual and personaldevelopment through an intense two-year program.  For more information: www.libertyfellowshipsc.org