SC Ports graduates 31 Port Ambassadors

June 4, 2024

South Carolina Ports recently celebrated 31 professionals from across the state who completed the 2023-2024 Port Ambassador program. During day-long educational sessions held throughout the year, participants received an in-depth look at how SC Ports’ statewide operations play a critical role in the Southeast supply chain and support port-dependent businesses in South Carolina.

“When our Port Ambassadors go from seeing cargo loaded on and off ships at our terminals, to hearing firsthand how South Carolina farmers, retailers and manufacturers rely on our efficient port system to move their products around the world, it brings home how crucial SC Ports is to our state’s economy,” SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin said.

Throughout the year, Port Ambassadors attended the annual State of the Port address, heard from SC Ports leadership and customers throughout the state, and toured SC Ports’ waterfront terminals and Inland Ports Greer and Dillon.

This year’s class was the first to tour Inland Port Dillon, which opened in 2018, and continues to enjoy month-over-month growth in rail moves. Leaders with CSX, Harbor Freight Tools, C&M Grain, and Palmetto Grain Brokerage spoke to the group about how SC Ports’ presence in the Pee Dee region has helped area businesses expand their market and move goods more efficiently.

“Serving as a Port Ambassador opened my eyes to just how important SC Ports are, not just to Charleston, but to the entire state of South Carolina,” said Liz Griffith, Chief Operations Officer of the International Transportation Innovation Center in Greenville, SC. “From automotive to agriculture, SC Ports is essential in the efficient movement of imports and exports. No wonder so many companies want to call South Carolina home.”

The Port Ambassador Program is designed to increase public understanding of SC Ports’ role in our state’s economy. The program has graduated more than 190 participants since its launch in 2016.

“Our Port Ambassadors gain great knowledge of our port system that they can take back into their communities,” said Jordi Yarborough, SC Ports’ Vice President of Statewide Stakeholders and Local Government Engagement. “After they graduate, we continue communicating with our ambassadors so that they remain knowledgeable about our strategic plans and investments that support port growth.”

2023-2024 Ambassadors:

Trent Acker, Duke Energy Carolinas
Tony Allen, S.C. Department of Commerce
Quinn Balderson, Choate Construction Company
Jessica Bright, Emerge South Carolina
George Druyos, Berkeley Habitat for Humanity
Barnwell Fishburne, Fishburne & Company Development Corporation, SC Department of Transportation
Edward Frazier, SC Treasurer’s Office
Anthony Gibson, Sumter City Council, Grace Cathedral Ministries
Hamilton Grant, Grant Business Advisors
Therese Griffin, Dominion Energy South Carolina
Liz Griffith, International Transportation Innovation Center
Taylor Grooms, Steinberg Law Firm
Natalie Ham, Charleston County
Mark Harmon, Maynard-Nexsen
Tim Harper, Dillon County
Rick Havekost, RDBP, Inc., Mickey Finn’s
Bill Hearn, Dorchester County, William Hearn Law Firm
Nikki Huber, Bridge Public Strategy Group
Kristen Lanier, Terracon Consultants, Inc.
Rob Lapin, Trinity Partners
Amanda Loveday, NP Strategy
Kelly Moore, SC Department of Transportation
Ken Nagel, Thomas & Hutton
Mike Nickel, Choate Construction Company
Sergey Ponomarov, The Citadel
Alison Raffety, Mercedes-Benz Vans
Dawn Robinson, Pinnacle Financial Partners
Amy Sartain, SC Council for Competitiveness
Jessica Takach, United Community Bank
Dillon Swayngim, Colliers International
Eric Woods, Palmetto Grain Brokerage
About South Carolina Ports


South Carolina Ports owns and operates marine terminals at the Port of Charleston and two rail-served inland ports in Greer and Dillon. As the 8th largest U.S. container port, SC Ports connects port-dependent businesses throughout the Southeast and beyond to global markets. SC Ports proactively invests in infrastructure ahead of demand to provide reliable service, efficient operations, cargo capacity, an expansive rail network and the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet. SC Ports is a vital economic engine for South Carolina, with port operations supporting 1 in 9 jobs statewide. Learn more: