SC Technical College System Board Elects New Chair and Vice-Chair

July 9, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – July 9,2008 – The State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education (SBTCE) has elected Montez C. Martin, Jr. and Robert Barnett as its new Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively. Both will serve two-year terms.


A longtime advocate for technical education, Montez Martin has served as an at-large member on the South Carolina Technical College System Board since 2001.

“The Board could not have picked a better successor to [outgoing Chair] Nick [Odom]. He is already so well-known and respected by everyone around the System,” said System President Dr. Barry Russell. “He’s always played a leadership role on our Board, so this will be a natural progression for him and a seamless transition for us.”

Beginning with his chairmanship of the Trident Technical College Area Commission in 1990, Martin has championed technical colleges’ contributions to economic development on both the state and national levels. He served as President of the S.C. Association of Technical College Commissioners from 1991-1993, and he also chaired the National Association of Community College Trustees from 1996-1997. A former real estate professional, construction supervisor, news reporter and Officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Martin brings a wealth of varied experience to the State Board. He is currently the Executive Director of the Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and President of the Lowcountry Housing and Economic Development Foundation, Inc.

Martin also serves as a consultant to business and government leaders, chairs a variety of civic and community service organizations in the Charleston area and has won numerous awards and honors in business and the military. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Technology (Architecture/Engineering) from Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and attended graduate school at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.


Robert Barnett is the Associate Vice President of Education Policy with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. Also an advocate of technical education and lifelong learning, Barnett holds undergraduate degrees in Liberal Arts, Economics and Chemical Engineering and obtained his M.B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984.


In addition to his strong academic background, the Virginia native brings considerable technical, professional and management experience to the State Board. Before joining the Chamber in 2006, he had worked in numerous technical and management capacities with Honeywell for 35 years, nine of those as the Director of Operations for the company’s Nylon Polymers and Fiber Operations plant in Columbia, S.C.

Barnett is a member of the New Carolina Education and Workforce Development Council, the Charter School Advisory Committee, and is a Steward for the United Way of the Midlands Education, Job and Life Skills Council. He also serves on the Director Boards for Columbia’s Junior Achievement, the United Way Association of South Carolina, and the Midlands Education and Business Alliance.

He is a past Chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance’s Chemistry Council, the Midlands Literacy initiative, and the United Way Association of SC Alliance for Adult Literacy, and he also is a certified Six Sigma Leadership Black Belt.

Longtime SBTCE Chair Odom remains on Board Outgoing Chair Ralph A. “Nick” Odom, who represents the System’s 5th Congressional District, also was re-appointed to the State Board June 18 by Gov. Mark Sanford. Odom has served as a member of the State Board since 1996. He served two terms as Vice Chair before being elected Chair in 2002.

The South Carolina Technical College System is an integral part of the state’s higher education system and makes college affordable and accessible to all people through its 16 colleges across the state. The South Carolina technical colleges are key partners in South Carolina’s economic development efforts and provide a continuum of education and training for businesses and individuals. Please visit our web site at: