Sustain SC celebrates second class of SLI Fellows

November 1, 2022

Sustain SC announced the 2022-2023 class of Sustainability Leadership Initiative (SLI) fellows. It’s the second SLI class since the program launched last year in partnership between Sustain SC and the Furman University Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities. The new class met for the first time last month, marking the beginning of this program cycle, which spans eight months from October to April.

“It is a joy to welcome our second SLI class. This is a stellar group of individuals from different backgrounds and industries,” said Ethel Bunch, Founder and CEO of Sustain SC. “This program requires dedication. We can’t wait to see what connections and accomplishments will come out of this team of sustainability leaders.”

The SLI focuses on developing the qualities leaders need to steer South Carolina through unprecedented changes in human and natural communities. Those selected to be part of the exclusive program make up a robust cross-boundary stakeholder network of state leaders with the knowledge, skills, and desire to collaborate and support each other in identifying pathways and executing solutions for a sustainable future.

“We were thrilled this program received such great interest from so many great candidates this second time around,” said Courtney Quinn, Ph.D., Program Director for the Sustainability Leadership Initiative. “We are impressed by this group’s vision and passion for sustainability. This is a rare opportunity for honest conversation, collaboration and imagining new possibilities both locally and globally.”

Upon completion of the SLI program, successful participants are certified as Sustainability Leadership Fellows for the next three years and remain part of an active and tight-knit network of sustainability leaders.

The 2022-2023 class includes the following participants:

  • Jackie Baxley, HRP
  • Jarrett Branham, Branham Group
  • Alex Butler, Office of Resilience
  • Andrea Cooper, Upstate Forever
  • Lyles Cooper, PeeDee Land Trust
  • Anna DeLage, SC Department of Commerce
  • April Donnelly, The Nature Conservancy
  • Tyrone Ellis, Trane Technologies
  • Hope Freeman, BP
  • Frank Heap, ZF Transmissions
  • Tom Hutto, GEL Engineering, LLC
  • Caroline James, Atlantic Packaging
  • Brain Ledford, Sage Automotive
  • Lindsay Leonard, Boeing
  • Ashley McLeod, Heritage Landscape Services, Inc.
  • Hassan Pressley, BMW
  • Matt Redmann, Ingevity
  • Adam Regenthal, Colite
  • Joshua Riggs, Milliken & Company
  • Kate Schaefer, Beaufort Open Land Trust
  • Heather Shirley Smith, Duke Energy
  • Kari Snyder, South Carolina Charities, Inc.
  • Alex Sturgis, Siemens
  • Ross Taylor, Seaside Grown
  • Lauren Trapp, AFL
  • Mark Wessen, MNL Land Advisors

The inaugural class of 23 SLI fellows graduated in June. As a parting gift, the graduating group crafted the Fellows’ Statement of Purpose:

“We are visionaries and collaborators who find and implement transformative strategies at the intersection of commerce and conservation to facilitate systems change. We build trust through sharing ideas, solutions, and best practices while challenging each other and celebrating sustainability successes.”


About Sustain SC

Sustain SC is an economic development-driven organization that connects the sustainability goals of business in South Carolina with local solutions for the benefit of our economy, environment, and people.