2 F2 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA INDEX Young leaders making an impact on the Midlands Building a community takes leaders who are dedicated not only to building up their businesses but also to building up those around them. Each year, The State honors 20 rising business stars under the age of 40 in the Midlands who are committed to bringing a brighter future to South Carolina s capital city. This year, we have an outstanding class of young leaders who are making an impact. They fight for justice for those around them in the courtroom, in the labor and delivery room, and even in the gymnasium. They work in their neighborhood associations to bring harmony to the community, their church groups to feed the homeless or mentor the young, and on committees to bring big-scale events, such at the Famously Hot New Year s Eve celebration, to the city. Meet the next wave of leaders in the Midlands, the ninth annual class of 20 under 40 honorees. Kristy Eppley Rupon Bios compiled by Kristy Eppley Rupon Photographs by Kim Kim Foster Tobin
3 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F3 Steven Johnson growing sense of duty and obligation to find ways to lend a hand to those dealing with similar circumstances. You re an avid runner. How do you incorporate that into giving back? Over the past couple of years, I have leveraged my running experience to support several races that raise money for local nonprofits. As a board member for RMHC of Columbia, I assist our annual Red Nose Run through fundraising and by promoting the event as well as participating in either the 5k or 10k. I also serve as the race director for St. Lawrence Place s Race for the Place 5k. St. Lawrence Place is another great organization that supports families in need of transitional housing. And to satisfy an urge to bring a unique running experience to Columbia, I am working with a small group of like-minded running philanthropists to launch a new event called the Main Street Crit, a running criterium race at night, that will help revitalize our downtown area. How do you balance your commitment to work, family and the community with your personal commitment to running? It is not easy and I don t sleep much! Seriously, my family always comes first. To minimize the time crunch at work and home, I run while most people are still sleeping at 5:30am during the week with the 621 Ninjas. This group of husbands and wives and fathers and daughters love to run but are dealing with the same time constraints and life balance challenges. We are a very dedicated group that is well organized and supportive of each other. It takes some serious motivation to run in the cold, dark mornings, occasionally in rain, but its easier when 10 to 15 of your closest friends are there doing it beside you. Age: 37 Occupation: Assistant vice president of account management at Colonial Life Family: Wife, Sazy Ligon Johnson; sons, Adger, 5, Wilkins, 3 Education: B.S. in business administration from Presbyterian College; M.B.A. in business administration from University of South Carolina highlights: Board member and finance chair, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbia; board member, Main Street Crit; race director, Race for the Place 5K; member, Presbyterian College Alumni Association board of directors; active member, Eastminster Presbyterian Church In my own words: I feel very blessed to have a happy, healthy family, work for one of the best companies in the state and live in a community that I love. But many others around us are not as fortunate, and I have seen first-hand how life can be fragile, unpredictable and create challenges that seem impossible to overcome without a little support from others. My life changed when: The event that sparked my motivation to give more was the sudden illness and unexpected death of my daughter, Ellis, our first child. My wife, Sazy, and I had a very happy, healthy little girl until she was diagnosed with an extremely rare immune deficiency called SCID when she was only six months old. Ellis lost her courageous fight after a two-week-long hospital battle that ended at Duke Medical Center. It was at Duke that we were exposed to the great work that the Ronald McDonald House Charities does with their hospital family rooms (a respite from the rest of the hospital, a place to eat, rest, check , regain normalcy if for only a few moments) and the house (a home away from home for sick and injured children). While at Duke, we spent time with other families enduring similar crises with their children and saw the important role that organizations like RMHC fill during very challenging times. The experience with losing my daughter, Ellis, enhanced an already Not All Heroes Wear Capes At Colonial Life, what our employees do when they re not working is just as impactful as when they are. Congratulations to two of our plain-clothes heroes, Steven Johnson and Mary Lynch Wagnon, for earning recognition as two of The State s 20 Under 40. Mary Lynch Wagnon By Day: Director, Actuary By Night: Champion for United Way of the Midlands and Palmetto Health Children s Hospital, amateur photographer, concert-goer, wife and mother of three 2012 Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company Colonial Life is the marketing brand of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. Steven Johnson By Day: Assistant Vice President, Account Management By Night: Crusader for Ronald McDonald House and children with serious illnesses, running enthusiast, Blue Hose fan, husband and father of two
4 F4 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Moryah Jackson Age: 29 Occupation: Apprenticeship Carolina consultant with the S.C. Technical College System Office Family: Husband, David; sons, Alex, 7, and Aiden, 3 Education: Bachelor of Arts, Columbia College; master s in public administration, University of South Carolina; pursuing leadership in educational administration doctorate, University of Florida highlights: Board member, Reach Out and Read, S.C. Education Policy Fellowship and Central Midlands Council of Governments; Midlands Education and Business Alliance, Richland 1 Policy Advisory Council, Logan Elementary School Improvement Council co-chairwoman, East Point Academy School Improvement Council business representative; College Summit volunteer; Columbia Opportunity Resource; S.C. Women in Higher Education, S.C. Technical Education Association; completed S.C. Technical College Leadership Academy in 2010; S.C. Education Policy Fellow in 2011; S.C. Economic Development Institute and Leadership Energy Carolina in In my own words: I personally understand the connection between education, work force development, economic vitality and quality of life. My parents lived paycheck-to-paycheck, not because they were not hard-working, but because without post-secondary education they were unable to earn a livable wage. My career allows me to make a positive impact in the lives of South Carolinians every day Mary Lynch Wagnon Age: 37 Occupation: Actuary with Colonial Life Family: Husband, Mark; children, Walt, 4, Thomas, 2, Helen, 8 weeks Education: B.S., University of South Carolina Honors College, Fellow in the Society of Actuaries highlights: Palmetto Health Children s Hospital board, United Way Young Leaders Society Steering Committee (professional development chair) In my own words: I love being an actuary. I come from a long lineage of mathematicians my father is a PhD, I have two actuary uncles, two professor uncles, etc.... I have always enjoyed math, and applying it in a financial setting is definitely an extra benefit. Who is your inspiration? My father s accomplishments are the standard I live by. He always amazes me his work ethic, his generosity, his commitment to his family. I am one of eight children, so it was not always easy for him, I am sure, but no matter how tired he was, he always had time to help with chemistry homework, coach a soccer team or take us to the movies. He achieved significant professional and personal success. He is a role model for all of us. What drives your involvement in the Children s Hospital? I have grown up with Children s Hospital. My mother worked there for almost 30 years before she passed away. As a family, we were always involved and regularly participated in CH activities sometimes willingly and sometimes not so willingly but looking back, those are some of my happiest memories. Children s Hospital has accomplished so much for the community, and the people that work there are so passionate and dedicated; it is rewarding to be a part of something so important. by focusing on what matters most high quality jobs. What saying do you live by? Columbia College s 4C s of Leadership courage, commitment, confidence and competence. I live by the 4C s because they define leadership as the choice to exercise the power of education in a way that fulfills social responsibilities and embraces opportunities to create positive change in ourselves and in the world around us. My life changed when: Professor Sheila Elliott taught me the importance of taking risks by encouraging me to study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. I did not own a passport, I had not traveled outside the East Coast, and I did not speak a foreign language! Studying in Prague broadened my perspective of the world and my place in it. It also prepared me to serve at the United States Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho as a graduate fellow. What do you aspire to? To continuously grow as an education leader who fosters innovation and links research to practice. Innovation is a key to solving 21st century global problems, reviving the economy and creating new American jobs. You were the first in your family to go to college. What drove you to do that and then go on and get a master s degree and study abroad? I realized that what I made of my life was up to me and rather than focus on my history, I would prepare for my future. To do that, I knew I always had to arrive early, be prepared and stay late. Every step of the way, caring educators helped me discover gifts within myself. Education opened up doors of opportunity I only dreamed about. My life s journey has never been easy, but the rewards have been well worth the struggle.
5 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F5 Listervelt Bakari Middleton Age: 31 Occupation: Attorney with Ogletree Deakins Family: Wife, Silvia Education: B.A., Duke University, political science; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center highlights: Previous member of United Way s Financial Stability Council, organizer for Voter Protection Program, vice president of Duke University Alumni Club, chairman of Blythewood Board of Zoning Appeals, graduate of Blueprint for Leadership program In my own words: Every day at my firm we deal, almost exclusively, with civil rights and anti-discrimination statutes. As attorneys, we are there to advise our clients on how to navigate the law in a way that promotes fairness and justice. Now, outside of work, during the last three election cycles I ve been fortunate to work with some outstanding attorneys on Voter Protection in South Carolina. In the weeks leading up to each election, we ve organized and trained hundreds of volunteer lawyers from all over the state to make sure that on each election day every citizen in every precinct has the opportunity to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. It s awesome work that I m really proud of. What saying do you live by? The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in. James Baldwin. Also, Romans 8:37 and Deuteronomy 28:13. My life changed when: My early education changed my life. All children have potential and whether it was my parents reading to me early on or sending me to V.V. Reid, my life changed when I was given a chance to reach that potential. I hope to be able to help other young people tap into their talents and abilities because, tragically, they are our most wasted resource. What did you want to be when you grew up? One of the first things in my life I committed to memory is the meaning of my name. It is Swahili for Of noble promise. By giving me that name my parents set a certain standard, so I ve aspired to meet and exceed that mark. Why did you choose to return to Columbia after law school? Because this is home. I m a product of Columbia s schools, Columbia s churches and Columbia s citizens. This city is responsible for everything I am and everything I m going to be. So I feel a need to be here and to help make it everything we ve dreamed of. You can t just abandon the place that has invested in you, nurtured you and raised you. And that s not a knock against anyone who leaves, because I know many South Carolinians who live elsewhere but remain engaged in what s happening here. But you do need to be engaged. I felt I could do that best by living here. Tell me about building a house with your father? He and my mother purchased the land and built the house with essentially no money. So I learned everything I needed to know about self-reliance, but also faith, about being a good husband and father and about persevering when people might think you re crazy. He d never built a house before. Now when I was 10 or 11 years old, I wasn t such a fan of losing entire weekends to manual labor, but looking back, those Saturdays working with my father are among the perfect days in my life.
6 F6 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Michaela K. Gonzales Age: 36 Occupation: Owner of The Tumble Tree, a mobile cheer, dance, tumble and sports program for elementary-aged children, and of The Factory Columbia, a 12,000-square-foot youth fitness facility in Northeast Richland Family: Husband, Joe; children, Joey, 10, Abby, 6, Jake, 4 Education: B.S. in geographical information systems from the University of South Florida Who is your inspiration? My family. They taught me to always treat people and situations as I would want to be treated and do everything with passion. I feel that this has been my reason for success in this business. You need to really listen to your clients and hear their complaints and needs. Then react to them, let them know you truly care about what their opinion is. My life changed when: I was told I could not possibly run a successful volunteer program for a nonprofit agency and at the same time be a mother of three. When that door closed, I decided to begin a business on my own terms and I did just that. I took that negative experience and opened up my own door and made things happen for myself. What did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to own a gym and be a coach! I grew up in the sports of gymnastics and cheer and loved what it meant to me. I never dreamed that sharing what I loved as a child with so many little girls could be as rewarding as it is. Your business grew very quickly in a down economy. How did you manage that? We began our business with no overhead. We went into schools and paid the schools for renting their space and payroll expenses, but that s it. We were able to increase our student base to over 500 students before we even opened our gym. Once our gym was opened, it gave children everywhere in the area a chance to participate in our classes. And we kept our rates low so families could afford it. Also, I reaped the benefits of budget cuts within the school system. I was able to hire two very important full-time employees whose educator positions were compromised with the budget cuts. They really helped my business turn into what it is today. They are young, energetic, professional and caring coaches with the same passion I had. This in turn enabled me to triple my student enrollment without sacrificing the quality of the program. Explain why your cheer program is different and what it felt like for the girls to win their first contest? As a mom, I know what parents want for their kids. I also know what kids want for themselves. They just want to find their place; they want to learn in an environment that is caring and nurturing. They want to be challenged but not pushed over that line. We want our girls to be kids and have a life outside of the gym. The No. 1 word in cheerleading is LEAD and we take pride in that word as coaches to our girls. We are mentoring young girls who will be champions in their own lives one day. We ended our first season last year with two first-place wins in each age division we have. The best thing was that we have been able to stick to the coaching philosophy we began our program with, which was winning is not everything but trying your best at everything is, and still win first place. We have so many students that we are able to develop levels within our All Star program. We are finding a fit for every child at every skill level. We have learned a lot about coaching young girls and how important it is to build them up during their younger years. This esteem and confidence is essential to their overall personal growth.
7 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F7 Karen L. Luchka Age: 29 Occupation: Labor and employment defense attorney at Fisher & Phillips Family: Single with two dog children, Ranger and Tilly Education: University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, J.D.; Order of the Coif, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Fla., B.A. highlights: Member, board of directors, Girl Scouts of South Carolina, Mountains to Midlands Council. Chair of the council s annual Women of Distinction event. Member of the ACTS Metro board of directors, an organization dedicated to ending generational poverty. Serves at Eastlake Community Church. Legislative co-chairwoman and member of the board of directors for the Columbia Society for Human Resource Management. Frequent lecturer. Volunteer judge at mock trial competitions hosted by the South Carolina Bar. In my own words: My practice involves not only representing corporations and management in labor and employment litigation, but also providing proactive and practical advice, through counseling and training, aimed at helping employers create a positive working environment and avoid litigation. I believe it is important for attorneys to not only be effective advocates for their clients in litigation, but also to contribute to improving the overall quality of our workplaces and community. Who was your inspiration? My grandfather was the most influential person in my life. He was one of the toughest men I have ever met; he was a war veteran, a champion boxer and a bricklayer. My grandfather didn t boast about his accomplishments, his service or his ability to knock people out cold with one punch. Rather, he was humble, genuine, devoted, compassionate and selfless. Until his last day, he would have given anyone in need the shirt off his back and made the happiness of those around him his top priority. I have always aspired to share the same selfless devotion to my family, friends and community that my grandfather modeled every day. My life changed when: I discovered my love of the outdoors and hiking. Hiking opened up opportunities for me to not only challenge myself physically, but also to carve out time dedicated solely to reflection, contemplation and just enjoying the beauty of the world around me. My love of hiking has not only deepened my appreciation for the simple pleasures in life, but has led me on great adventures, including spending a day hiking on the Great Wall of China. What did you want to be when you grew up? In kindergarten, I announced that when I grew up I wanted to pick oranges. After gentle encouragement from my parents to aim a little higher with my career aspirations, I decided I wanted to be a zoologist or a marine biologist. After figuring out that those careers involved more than just playing with animals and required me to take math/science courses, I resolved to put my smart mouth to use and become an attorney. How did you get involved with Girl Scouts? What motivates you to stay involved? I was asked to become involved with the Girl Scouts by a friend and client and was thrilled to be invited to join the organization dedicated to leadership development. I was once told that if you cannot be a good example, then you ll just have to be a horrible warning. Therefore, I am motivated to give back to the next generation of leaders and, hopefully, contribute in a small way to building girls of courage, confidence and character not only through my service, but by modeling those same traits in my professional and personal life. Congratulations to Karen Luchka For Being Included in the Midlands 20 Under 40 Karen L. Luchka 1320 Main Street Suite 750 Columbia, SC phone: (803) fax: (803) Karen is a labor and employment attorney dedicated to providing excellent legal counsel and service to her clients. The attorneys and staff at Fisher & Phillips LLP are proud of our colleague for this well-deserved honor. Fisher & Phillips LLP attorneys at law Solutions at Work Atlanta Boston Charlotte Chicago Cleveland Columbia Dallas Denver Fort Lauderdale Houston Irvine Kansas City Las Vegas Los Angeles Louisville Memphis New England New Jersey New Orleans Orlando Philadelphia Phoenix Portland San Diego San Francisco Tampa Washington, DC
8 F8 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Emma Thomas Dean thousands of students. My mom taught special education for years and then counseled college students. Their former students often contact them to say thank you. My parents volunteer at their church, my childhood school and with local charities. From a very young age, they instilled in me the importance of service to others. My parents do what is right, not because anyone is watching, but because it is the right thing to do. The most impressive thing about my parents, however, is that they never take themselves too seriously and are always quick with a joke. Simply put, anything and everything I accomplish is due to their work, sacrifice and love. My life changed when: I was in preschool and was standing in line when a teacher told me I needed to go to the time-out spot because she heard me shouting. I was devastated because I had not misbehaved. I certainly had gotten in trouble before, but this time was different because I was in trouble for something I had not done. This is such a silly story, but it is the first time I understood the concept of fairness and justice. Throughout my life, I have fought for others to be treated fairly. My belief in justice is what led me to law school and it is what motivates me to help others today. Your work in the community involves working with children, fostering animals and serving the less fortunate. What motivates you? Like many people, service to others was part of my childhood. When I attended Washington and Lee University, I further developed my sense of honor, fairness and duty because those are key principles of the school. There, I met my husband, Gavin. Gavin inspires me to serve our community because he is constantly aware of the needs of others and tirelessly seeks solutions. Most impressive to me, Gavin quietly helps others without seeking praise or acknowledgement because he believes it is the right thing to do. Gavin motivates me, our son motivates me and this incredible community of Columbia motivates me. Gavin and I focus on helping those that lack a voice, those that lack power. We have been blessed beyond words, and we believe it is our responsibility to help others. The arrival of our son energized our efforts to make this world better for him and to help those that do not have the same advantages he has. Age: 31 Occupation: Assistant chief counsel for the S.C. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Family: Husband, Gavin; son, Miles Education: Washington and Lee University, B.A. in politics and economics; University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D. highlights: Has coached basketball, fed the homeless and taught Sunday school at Trinity Cathedral; treasurer for the Junior League s Clean Sweep; spent five years as a Pawmetto Lifeline foster parent for abandoned dogs; served as a law clerk for Justice John W. Kittredge In my own words: I volunteer and work hard to strengthen Columbia because of the wonderful people here. I was fortunate enough to find many mentors who helped me discover ways to make a difference. Who is your inspiration? My parents because of their commitment to service and education. My folks moved to the United States from England 40 years ago. They lost everything they had in a fire shortly after they arrived, but through very hard work and determination, they made an incredible life here. My father is a chemistry professor, and he has made a mindboggling subject come alive to Ben Rex Age: 31 Occupation: President, Cyberwoven Family: Engaged to Sidney Heyward Education: B.S. in economics from University of South Carolina Honors College highlights: University of South Carolina Honors College, partnership board member since 2007; The Salvation Army of the South Carolina Midlands, board member, treasurer since 2008; South Carolina Philharmonic, board member since 2009; Central Carolina Community Foundation, board member since 2011; SC Economics, board member since 2012 In my own words: There is much to be excited about, both in my career as a web jockey and in performing community service in Columbia. There is nearly limitless opportunity for the growth of the Internet and this growth will span commerce, communication, human resources and innumerable other fields. Similarly, Columbia is at a junction where it can take a giant leap forward. If our community embraces core goals around economic development, education, public health and social services, I think we ll surprise ourselves with what we can achieve. What saying do you live by? Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. Albert Einstein What do you aspire to? I m looking forward to the next few years. Between starting a family, continuing to grow Cyberwoven and pushing forward to help our community become stronger, it s bound to be an exciting ride. Why did you decide to keep your company here in Columbia? Columbia has a mountain of potential. I m excited to be a part of our city realizing its potential, and I m excited to work with a great group of folks at Cyberwoven who are excited about helping South Carolina continually become a better place to live and work. What drives your work with the S.C. Philharmonic? I strongly believe that a healthy community offers a great range of professional, family, spiritual, philanthropic, educational and cultural opportunities. The Philharmonic contributes a great deal to our community, and I m proud to work with the S.C. Phil to ensure that it has a strong future ahead.
9 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F9 children in restaurants, giving somewhat scolding looks to parents as they allowed their children to be seen and heard. Looking back, I feel horrible. My mom was right: You won t understand till you have a child of your own one day. Boy-howdie. I ve been lucky enough to have a child who, no matter what gets thrown at her, always has a smile, always laughs and always gives selflessly. I ve learned so much from her and about myself. Skyler loves life. She really loves it. She s so smart and inquisitive. She has manners, and when she says thank you, she truly means it. She s been met with fear, pain, pressure and negativity and has pushed through them as if they don t exist. How did you come to be involved with the South Carolina School for the Deaf & Blind? My friend Rick Patel had asked me to come over to his hotel to take some pictures of some kids and their artwork for a monthly newsletter. While there, I had the pleasure of witnessing one of the most beautiful displays of unbiased, unfiltered, carefree and joyful outpouring from children I had ever seen. These children were performing in front of a small gathering to unveil a painting to be hung inside The Vault at the Sheraton. The painting much like the children was full of life, warmth, uniqueness and beauty. I made it a point to seek out as many of the children as I could handle, to individually tell them how wonderful they did. I had to have some assistance with the deaf children. At times I felt a little silly giving them the thumbs-up with a cheesy grin, but that s all I had. It didn t matter, they all were so appreciative and upbeat, it really got to me. I had never felt like that so emotionally tied to something I had just found. I had been struggling internally for some time, knowing I wanted to get involved with a nonprofit but had not had found the right fit. At that moment, that nonprofit found me. Ann Akerman, the CEO of the Walker Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of the school, approached me and assisted me with introductions to the children. I looked at her and simply said, I want in. Whatever I can do, I want to be a part of this. Matt Hudson Age: 34 Occupation: Graphic designer; owner and founder of website development firm Mindlash Family: Daughter, Skyler, 7 Education: B.A. in administrative information management from the University of South Carolina highlights: Developing Wine Dine & Design, an event to help raise money and awareness for the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind; founding member of the Lexington Young Professional Society since its inception; member of the Hospitality Retail & Tourism Management Association Alumni at USC, often giving presentations to students on real world business topics. Co-founded Palmetto Computer Labs, a technology company that specializes in emerging technology and open source software. Creative director for CarterTodd & Associates In my own words: Many moons ago, while working at a tech support company doing dialup support, I found that people were willing to pay me for doing something I thought was fun. Woah, what? You mean, I can play AND get paid? The planets have aligned! Over a decade into it and I m still waiting to be ousted as mayor of Phonyville, waiting for that other proverbial shoe to drop. When will they figure out this scheme!?! I m just a guy with a computer. Who is your inspiration? Skyler, my 7-year-old daughter, has managed to change my life for the better, forever. Before she came into my life, I found myself making sure I sat furthest away from
10 F10 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Dana Anne Bruce Age: 32 Occupation: Executive director, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Family: Engaged to Scott Fulmer Education: BA in Spanish from Wofford College; MA in Political Science from USC highlights: Member, Community Health Charities of SC, Breakaway Bettys (women s cycling club), Conservation Voters of South Carolina, Columbia Museum of Arts Contemporaries, 701 CCA; adjunct professor at Midlands Technical College What saying do you live by? At Wofford College I received a Bonner Scholarship that required community service in exchange for my education. Through that program I volunteered at various places from a domestic violence shelter in Spartanburg to a home for Haitian street children in the Dominican Republic and all of it rested on my shoulders to seek out, coordinate and maintain. The motto for the program is Mahatma Gandhi s quotation: Be the change that you wish to see in the world. The program taught us that at age 18 or 20 or 22 we could make a huge impact in the lives of other human beings. It absolutely became how I lead my life. My life changed when: I moved out of the country for the first time in 2000 to Latin America. Growing up in a small town and attending a small private university not far from my hometown, my experiences were limited. During that time in Latin America, I not only became aware of a culture outside of my own but of life outside of democracy and capitalism. That being said, one day I was sitting outside a restaurant in the Dominican Republic and a street child came up to me to sell me candy. He was wearing an Irmo High School T-shirt. I realized that despite all of our differences and distances the world was truly small. What did you want to be when you grew up? I always aspired to help, at first as a veterinarian and then as a pediatrician. I learned there were many other ways I could heal people and improve quality of life for others, besides practicing medicine. And to this day, I constantly aspire to find new, innovative ways to heal. You have raised $1 million each year for the past two years for the foundation. How do you get folks to give you money in a severe economic downturn? JDRF is an amazing organization: efficient, focused on the mission of curing type one diabetes and has thousands of dedicated and devoted volunteers. When you have that kind of organization behind you, it makes the job of fundraising much more manageable. The first step though is to ask and not assume that the economy is preventing you from success. How do the folks you help through your organization inspire you? Type 1 diabetes is relentless. There are no breaks, no vacations, no do-overs but there is hope and the ability to lead full lives. The people I work to help every day are so devoted to JDRF and its mission that it is a constant source of inspiration. The diagnosis rocks their world and changes everything about their lives, absolutely everything, and then these individuals have to become advocates for awareness, caretakers for the family members, fundraisers and still be mom and dad and husband or wife. They do this day in and day out. Their energy seems unending. How can I not feed off of that? Their passion has literally changed the course of medicine and will continue to do so until there is a cure. I am only a vehicle for that passion.
11 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F11 There is such a strong sense of community here and the people are awesome. What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a doctor. I was a good science and math student in high school and thought I would attend medical school some day. Then I took organic chemistry in college and decided that I was better off studying literature. You work with a lot of community organizations. What is your favorite and why? Serving on the Shandon Neighborhood Council has been a great way to get involved on a very local level and has given me the opportunity to meet and work with neighbors, city and state leaders and local merchants. It has also made me pay more attention to what is happening in Shandon and to appreciate how the neighborhood and the city work together. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia is where my heart is. Having benefited from so many wonderful mentors along the way, I know the power of mentoring and what it can do for a young person s life. After a tedious day at the office, how do you let loose? By taking my dog Jo Jo to the Columbia Dog Park. It is pure joy to see how excited she gets for this simple, routine outing. I love walking around the park with her, talking to the other dog owners and catching the occasional sunset. I also love practicing yoga. It does wonders for my attitude. Tina Cundari Age: 38 Occupation: Attorney, Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte Family: Husband, Cory Manning Education: College of Charleston, B.A.; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, J.D. highlights: Chairman, board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia; president, Shandon Neighborhood Council; member, advisory board for the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center for Professionalism and the John Belton O Neall Inn of Court In my own words: I am fortunate to have the education I have and to be in the profession I am in, so the least I can do is give back. I also think it is important to stay engaged with other people and with what s happening in the world around us. How we live our lives and what we do each day matters, and if everyone stopped giving, stopped serving, stopped paying attention, we would be in a whole lot of trouble. So I m just trying to do my part to keep the good going. Who your inspiration in life? My mom. She reared and supported my brothers and me on her own (with help from a wonderful neighbor) and at the same time founded and built a successful business that continues to this day. I cannot think of a single time growing up when I heard my mom complain about going to work or having to do it all. No matter the challenges and there were a lot she kept moving forward. I regularly draw upon her tireless energy and unwavering enthusiasm for life. My life changed when: I was selected to become a law clerk to the Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal. I never dreamed that I would work with such a giant in the legal community. The experience gave me confidence and a perspective on the law and the judicial system that will inform my practice for the rest of my career. As if that was not enough, once I began working in her chambers, I gained one of the most encouraging and supportive mentors I have ever had. The clerkship also changed my life by bringing me to Columbia. I never thought I d live in Columbia or stay after the clerkship ended, but Columbia surprised me.
12 F12 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Charles L. Appleby IV Aaron R.E. Bishop Age: 29 Occupation: Attorney, Collins & Lacy Family: Single Education: University of Florida, B.S., finance; University of South Carolina, J.D. highlights: Initiated the inaugural School of Law Career Week in 2007 at USC, almost doubled attendance as chairman of the Museum of Art s Black and White Ball in Serves on the editorial board for the South Carolina Lawyer Magazine and is an active member of the Shandon Neighborhood Council. In my own words: I feel truly blessed to be a part of this great community and take part in the many opportunities it provides. Whether providing strong representation and trusted legal advice to my clients so they can focus on running their business, or working with community groups to help individuals and our city prosper, I work as hard as I can every day because I believe in this community, the people who live here, and the amazing potential that exists with all of us working together. What saying do you live by? Anything in life worth having is worth working for. Andrew Carnegie My life changed: Through my relationship with Zach Schlitt and Aaron Arnie Arnett two close college friends whose lives were cut short by tragic accidents. Zach was the big brother I looked up to and admired. He taught me to be persistent in the pursuit of my goals, never accepting no as an answer. Arnie was the example of true Southern hospitality. His profound care and concern for others instilled in me a passion to help those in need in any way I could. I would not be who I am today if it was not for Zach and Arnie. What do you aspire to? To be the true friend, the person people know they can rely on or look to when they need help on a new project or idea and the person businesses can look to when they need legal advice or strong representation. When I have a family of my own one day, I aspire to be the family man who provides the same unconditional love and support my family has provided me. You were a key player in bringing about Columbia s first New Year s Eve celebration. What does it take to plan something of that magnitude? Year round, never-ending, planning, persistence and prayer. An event of this magnitude was only possible with our committee who was willing to shed blood, sweat and tears putting the interest of the event ahead of their own, our mayor who had the vision and faith that we could accomplish big things, our employers who allowed us the time to work on this project, friends who were willing to support us through all the ups and downs of the planning process, corporate partners who were willing to invest in the idea, and most importantly a community that truly believed they deserved the biggest New Year s Eve Celebration in the Southeast and came out in the tens of thousands to make it happen. It will take all this and more to continue to grow an event of this magnitude, but this is a truly amazing city and we are just beginning to show the rest of the country what we are capable of. It s going to be an incredible year. Age: 37 Occupation: Pastor/educator Family: Wife, Jennifer; son, Peyton Education: B.A. in history/ education, master s in biblical studies from Grace Bible College of Divinity Studies and completing a master s in management from University of Phoenix highlights: Member, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Prince Hall Masonic Order, Greater Columbia Community Relations Council, and the Drug Alcohol and Other Drug Services Faith Advisory Council; chairman, City of Columbia Faith Based Coalition; and vice chairman, Richland 1 school board In your own words: I am a return on the investment of the many people who have helped me become who I am today and strive to be tomorrow. Years ago, I and my partners established The Talented Tenth group which is designed to make sure students who have a desire to be successful have an opportunity to do so. It is what I call lifting as I climb. The reason why this was important to me is because someone gave me an opportunity. I am just a usual individual appointed to do unusual things. I have exemplified the Latin phrase Ad astra per aspera. It means through the rough road I found my aspiration. All of my successes and successful failures happened here in Columbia; anything is possible here and it can be contagious. My challenge is for everyone to get infected with a purpose-driven life and watch what happens. What saying do you live by? If you stay ready, you don t have to get ready! My life changed when: My father passed away. My father was my best friend and the most authentic example of a man. A heavy mantle had dropped into my hands. It was time for me to possess what was entrusted in me my father s impeccable legacy. What did you want to be when you grew up? During fourth grade, an FBI agent came to speak to us about his profession and I was immediately inspired. I could envision myself on high-speed pursuits trying to catch the bad guys. Later on, (we were told) that if we had ever been written up for any reason in school we could not be FBI agents. My dream in its infancy was immediately crushed. Later on in life, I took a group of kids to the FBI headquarters on a field trip and asked the same question only to find out that my fourth-grade teacher fabricated the answer! You are a pastor, an educator, a motivational speaker and the list goes on. How do you juggle all of those responsibilities? By the grace of God and a great support system. I have a wonderful wife who completes me. As my college sweetheart, she has seen my complete development my positives and negatives, success and failures and she keeps me motivated to forge ahead. I have a huge family throughout the Columbia area with the nucleus being my mother and siblings. I have a wonderful congregation at Grace Christian Church that have been very supportive and a staff that helps with the administration. I call them the A- Team. University of Phoenix and Richland 1 provide me with the resources to be an effective leader and voice in education. Lastly the three R s: rest, reading and relaxation.
13 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F13 Julie Smithwick-Leone Age: 36 Occupation: Social worker; executive director of the PASOs programs Family: Son, Elias, 7; daughter, Bella, 5 Education: B.A. in international studies and Spanish from University of Georgia; master s in social work from USC highlights: Founder of PASOs programs; board of directors Good Samaritan Free Clinic, Advisory Council of S.C. Migrant Health Program, Program Services Committee of S.C. March of Dimes, National Association of Social Workers, American Public Health Association, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of S.C. Who is your inspiration? My mother, Gail Smithwick, who gives of herself to others freely, and doesn t stop first to think of herself. My sister, Cara Senterfeit, who fought breast cancer at age 32 while adopting a child from Russia and never gave in to negativity. The teachings of leaders such as Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. And the many leaders that surround me. My life changed when: I was 16 and went on a trip to Brazil with the United Methodist Church. I remember boarding the plane thinking I was going to spend two weeks amongst people who lived in trees and had no TVs, and getting off the plane in Rio de Janeiro, which was more developed than any place I d ever been! The one experience I remember more than anything was meeting with a team of (professionals) working together to stop powerful forces from cleaning up the street children of Rio. They showed us pictures and told us the cold hard truth about what was happening. Our group of mostly middleclass American teenagers were still struggling to understand this reality when the leader abruptly stated that they needed to leave. The local businessmen had hired a death squad to kill them so they would cease with their attempts to defend the street children, and they were constantly on the run. As I contemplated and cried over the compassion of people who were willing to die to give their lives to justice, I let go of a lot of my preconceived notions about the world, my thoughts of what was really important in life and my selfish dreams. I joined the Peace Corps after college and was sent to live in an impoverished area of Ecuador. All the projects I started my first year failed, and I almost gave up. During my second year, my Ecuadorian colleagues and I began working with the community to try and build a center where the children could study and be safe from the gang fights on the streets. After a year hitting the pavement every day trying to get the city to give us land, we had nothing and it was almost time to go home. I extended my service for a third year, and almost immediately things started happening. The city donated a piece of old riverbed, the mayor donated the dirt to fill it in, and donations started coming in for the construction. I learned to listen, to stay the course, and to learn from those around me- Why did you start PA. SOs? A forward-thinking social worker who directed a maternal and child health program in the Midlands commissioned me to determine if there were gaps in services and health disparities amongst our growing Latino population. Based on the results, I proposed culturally appropriate prenatal education, taking health resources to the Latino population in a way that respected their beliefs. Palmetto Health and the SC March of Dimes believed in my ideas and supported me to start PASOs ( steps in Spanish), which began as a way to start filling in the gaps and connecting families to education and resources. PASOs is now in 13 counties and reaches over 8,000 people a year.
14 F14 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Vida A. Jennings Age: 38 Occupation: Manager, Corporate Training and Diversity for BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina Family: Parents, Georgia and Willie; brothers, Steve and Barry Education: M.A. in human resources development, Webster University; B.S. in business administration with a minor in sociology, Wake Forest University highlights: First Nazareth Baptist Church Greeters Ministry, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, AIDS Benefit Foundation of South Carolina, Leadership Columbia Class of 2012, Toastmasters International, National Industry Liaison Group, Society for Human Resources Management, American Society for Training and Development In my own words: Professionally, I do what I do because it is FUN, challenging and my position stretches me. Currently, I oversee our corporate training curriculum, education assistance, regulatory compliance, affirmative action and diversity programs. My days are a mix of dealing with internal customers, external stakeholders and development and compliance concerns. When my telephone rings, it is like opening a box of chocolates: You never know what you are going to get. Who was your inspiration? Geraldyne Pierce Zimmerman, my former Girl Scout leader and Federated Girls Club advisor, instilled in me the desire to change situations for the betterment of mankind. Fondly called Mrs. Z, she was an example in motion helping with Girl Scouts, Helen Sheffield, the American Red Cross, The Sunlight Community Club and a host of other worthwhile organizations. Last year, at the age of 100, she transitioned from this earth but leaves behind a legacy of volunteerism. I also live by Wake Forest s motto, Pro Humanitate (or for humanity ). My life changed when: In May 2004, I received a telephone call that my dad had been in a serious automobile accident and I needed to come immediately to the regional medical center. On this day, my role in my family changed forever. Even though I am the baby girl, I became the responsible one. The one who listened to the doctors, gave input to care and regulated visitor access. More than nine months passed before my dad recovered, and today, seven years later, I remain the responsible one. What do you aspire to? I love working in human resources. This is my career of choice. Ever since I took my first HR class at Wake with J. Kline Harrison, Ph.D., my mind has been sold on the profession. I hope my career will continue to progress. In the future, I look forward to assuming more responsibilities and transitioning into a senior level position. How has your involvement with the Girl Scouts helped shape your life? As a lifetime Girl Scout member and a Gold Award recipient, I have been fortunate to have many growth experiences in scouting. I am also a former professional Girl Scout and previous member of the Association of Girl Scout executive staff. Throughout the years, scouting has presented me many wonderful opportunities from the world of outdoors to visiting the White House. Through scouting, I enjoyed my first white-water rafting trip, a hobby I still enjoy today. The program provides valuable life skills such as budgeting, project management and leading others the very same skills I use today.
15 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F15 Danielle Holley-Walker Age: 37 Occupation: Associate dean for academic affairs and professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law Family: Husband, John; parents, Joyce and Dannye; mother-in-law, Gladys; brothers, Kenan and Quentin; nephews, Quan, Zayd and Micah; niece, Elle; and English Bulldog, Billie Education: Yale, B.A. in history; Harvard, J.D. highlights: On the board of directors of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council; member of the executive committee of the Education Section for the American Association of Law Schools; active member in the Midlands chapter of the Yale Alumni Association. In my own words: I am passionate about learning and teaching. Both of my parents are academics and so being in the classroom, teaching students and doing my research all seem very natural to me. I m equally passionate about the law and the important role that lawyers play in society. I have the privilege of helping to educate the next generation of lawyers, and I am grateful every day for that opportunity. Who is your inspiration? My parents have always been my inspiration. They both believe deeply in family, faith, community and education. They taught us to be kind and loving toward other people and to strive to be the best at anything you set out to do. One of my favorite sayings is a Martin Luther King Jr. quote: Intelligence plus character that is the goal of true education. My life changed when: I left home for college. I met people from every different background and all of them had extraordinary aspirations and they were working on gaining the skills and knowledge to make their big dreams come true. At Yale, I discovered a whole world of possibilities that I had never imagined. I never looked back. What did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a lawyer. Very early in my life I heard about the work of Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, Charles Hamilton Houston and other civil rights lawyers. That is always the work I aspired to do. What is your most rewarding work in the community? I enjoy doing any community work where I spend time with kids talking about the importance of education. Education unlocks the door to infinite opportunities, and any time I get to share that message, it s a great day. The University of South Carolina School of Law congratulates our members of the 2012 Class of 20 under 40. Charles L. Appleby IV School of Law Class of 2007, Collins & Lacy Tina Cundari, Adjunct Professor, School of Law Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte Emma Dean, School of Law Class of 2006 SC House Judiciary Committee Travis Wheeler, Adjunct Professor, School of Law Nexsen Pruet Danielle Holley-Walker Associate Dean for Academic Affairs USC School of Law
16 F16 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Christopher Craft Age: 34 Occupation: Teacher Family: Daughters, Cielo and Nicole Education: B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Educational Technology; Ph.D. in Educational Psychology & Research from the University of South Carolina highlights: Serves at NewSpring Church in Irmo; volunteer web coordinator for the TEDxColumbiaSC conference; state constable (volunteer police officer) with local sheriff s departments. In my own words: There is no better way to impact the future of our country, our state and our community than by inspiring children to fulfill their purpose to the fullness of their potential. I get the remarkable opportunity to get to know and learn with some of the smartest and most caring students in the country. It is my job to cherish and challenge them, and I look forward to each day and the unique challenges it brings as young people walk into my classroom. Who is your inspiration? Jesus Christ. Since coming to know Christ, I have striven to live a life of surrender. The people who inspire me the most are those that live fully surrendered to Jesus: my parents, pastor Ken Jumper and friends at the Harvest, and pastor Perry Noble and friends at NewSpring. Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) My life changed when: I graduated with a bachelor s degree in 2004 after a long road. I was at a crossroads, trying to determine if I wanted to continue in a career of public safety or pursue a new career. My mother taught for many years, and she suggested I consider a career in teaching. What do you aspire to? Since I was younger I ve had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. As I ve gotten older this desire to learn now burns brighter than ever before. This is what led me to go back to school to complete my master s and doctoral degrees. I have been fortunate to work in many different areas, such as in the fast-food industry and in retail and later as a paramedic and volunteer firefighter. I have learned more than I ever imagined I would. How important is technology to learning? My friend Chris Lehmann, principal of Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia says that technology should be like oxygen, ubiquitous, necessary and invisible. To determine the importance of technology we need only look around at our connected world. I can recall first learning to drive and carrying a quarter at all times in case I needed to use a pay phone. My use of technology has changed so drastically over the last few years and I must remember daily that our children are growing up in a very different time than I did. To that end, it is imperative that the teaching methods I employ mirror the realities of everyday life so I can help our students become connected and contributing members of society. Do your students ever surprise you with their response to technology? My students surprise me every day with their passion for learning and their hearts for others. They surprise me with their willingness to embrace new technologies without hesitation, with their creative ideas, with their perseverance when the project gets difficult and how they overcome personal challenges and rise to the challenges of school. Over the years, I ve watched 11- and 12-year-old students record and edit high-definition video, build phone and tablet apps, create games, make original electronic music and build websites. The best part of it is that on many occasions, the students have learned so much about a program that they have become the teacher and I became the student.
17 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F17 Ashley Hunter Age: 31 Occupation: Director of public affairs at The McKay Firm Family: Husband, Michael; stepsons, John David, 12, Blake, 10, Bayly, 10, Ellis, 8; daughters, Lillie, 15 months, Cate (due in March) Education: Bachelor of arts, University of South Carolina highlights: Volunteer guardian ad litem, Richland County CASA; public relations committee, S.C. Chamber of Commerce; marketing and membership committee, S.C. Workers Compensation Educational Association; golf committee, S.C. Society of Association Executives; S.C. Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America In my own words: Even though I ve worked in politics and various legislative consulting positions for over a decade, I love what I do because it provides me with a new challenge each day and allows me to constantly learn new things. Very few people are fortunate enough to truly enjoy their job or their career. I have been given a great opportunity in my current position at The McKay Firm. My best career advice is to find some thing you are passionate about and then be fearless about giving it 100 percent. Who is your inspiration? My greatest inspiration would have to be my dad. He taught me the importance of hard work and of putting family first. He taught me how to be a leader, to be responsible for my actions and to value a job well done. He also taught me to have compassion for those less fortunate than me something that his parents also valued. Most importantly, he led by example. He spent quality time with his children and made sure that each of us knew how important we were as his children and as individuals. He is my inspiration not only in my career, but also as a parent and a friend. I look up to him to this day and am incredibly thankful for the values, the confidence and the work ethic he has instilled in me. What did you want to be when you grew up? When I was very young, I Congratulations Ashley The McKay Firm and McKay Public Affairs would like to congratulate Ashley Hunter on being named one of the honorees for 20 under Blanding St. Columbia, SC Phone: wanted to be a tightrope walker. With four stepsons, a young daughter, a baby on the way, a husband and a full-time job, I think I think my life is still quite the balancing act! What drives your involvement with the Guardian Ad Litem program? Being a volunteer GAL is something I am incredibly passionate about and proud of. The biggest thing that drives my involvement is the difference you make for abused and neglected children. You may be their single source of comfort and stability. I hope that the recommendations and work I can do with them and with their families will have a lasting and positive effect in their lives.
18 F18 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA James A. Manning Age: 38 Occupation: Information technology director, S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission Family: Wife, Donna; daughter, Taylor Education: University of South Carolina, B.S. in athletic training and master s in teaching highlights: Richland 2 board trustee, secretary; Brookfield Neighborhood Association, president/founder; Decker Boulevard Business Coalition, president; Spring Valley Rotary, Member; Midlands Information Systems Security Association, vice president In my own words: My motivation for public service originates from one very simple motto. It is the Rotarian motto of service before self. Hard work, service to others, and public education are the foundations upon which America was built and I can t think of anything that I would rather devote my time to than these principles. I have also been motivated by a former supervisor who taught me the importance of taking ownership over your surroundings. He taught me to ask why and to be accountable regardless of whether it was my direct responsibility or not. This has always stuck with me and has been a great guide. Who is your inspiration? My family. My wife gives me the encouragement I need to succeed, helps to keep me balanced in my family life and service, and is the best mother my daughter could ever have. My daughter gives me my daily inspiration to be the best I can be. My life changed when: My life has been impacted by three significant events. The first was in high school when a teacher, Coach Jake Brock, approached me about becoming involved with school athletics as an athletic trainer. I was an extremely shy student who was not involved with any school activities. That opportunity gave me confidence. The second event came after leaving teaching and beginning my work in the information technology field with Richland County. I had the misfortune of seeing students that I formerly taught in the Richland County Detention Center. The impact was life changing. The third event was the death of a man at my home. My wife and I were having trees removed from our yard, when I received a call that an accident had occurred. I came home to see and experience that tragedy in a very personal way. After that experience, I decided that I should do something that was bigger than me and I committed my life to community service. You went from working with students with special needs to becoming a network administrator and ethical hacker. How did you make that leap? After graduating with an undergraduate degree in sports medicine, I began working on my master s degree in education and was given an opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for students with special needs while also serving as a graduate athletic trainer for the same high school. After completing my graduate studies, I continued full time. I will never forget my special needs student who attended all of the football games with me as an honorary athletic trainer. It was something that benefited all of the students, athletes and adults that had the opportunity to be touched by that young man! While teaching, I met my wife. After we were engaged, I realized that it would be difficult for us to live on the salary of two teachers. So I decided to make a hobby a career choice by beginning work in the information technology field. It was a huge risk and leap of faith that has paid dividends in the form of a stable career which allows me to better provide for my family and to serve the community.
19 THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012 F19 He said I would love the mixture of white-collar crime, economic theory and intriguing facts, as well as the challenging legal issues presented by antitrust cases. So I dropped Evidence, signed up for Antitrust, and within a month I knew I wanted to be an antitrust lawyer. What did you want to be when you grew up? For a good while (and well into college) I wanted to be an English professor. After reading Ulysses in college, I worried I d have to take on Finnegan s Wake if I went to graduate school, so that got scratched from my career bucket list. Tell me about your work with the Rosewood neighborhood association. What is your most successful accomplishment in heading that group? I think our most important accomplishment was getting interim measures protection for Rosewood (which placed certain parameters on new development within community). It was a long process, but Councilwoman Belinda Gergel was a strong advocate. Rosewood has a unique character and charm to it, and that character and charm is worth preserving. My wife and I have lived in Rosewood for six years. It is a great place to raise a family, and we look forward to many more years there. Travis Wheeler Age: 37 Occupation: Antitrust attorney, partner at Nexsen Pruet Family: Wife, Lisa; son, Cameron, 3 (currently answering only to Darth Vader ); daughter set to arrive March 31. And one golden retriever. Education: B.A., Wofford College; J.D., Duke University School of Law Community/ professional involvement: Former president, Rosewood Community Council; vice president, Central Rosewood Neighborhood Association; adjunct professor, University of South Carolina School of Law; vice-chair, Columbia Parks and Recreation Foundation; member, Charles R. Drew Wellness Center scholarship advisory committee. In my own words: I love the practice of antitrust law. Each case requires you to become an expert in a new industry, and the damages caused by conspiracies to violate the antitrust laws (e.g. price-fixing) can be massive. The facts are almost always intriguing and complex. Who was your inspiration? I had two professors at Wofford Bernie Dunlap and Richard Wallace who, more than anyone, shaped the course my professional life would take. Professor Dunlap instilled in me the joy to learn for learning s sake, and Professor Wallace introduced me to the intersection of law and economics. I also did an independent study under Professor Wallace in which I read all of Blackstone s Commentaries on the Laws of England during my last semester at Wofford. If nothing else, it made the law school casebooks I encountered the following fall seem (relatively) comprehensible. My life changed when: A friend in law school, in the second week of classes my first year, said I should drop Evidence and take Antitrust Law. RALEIGH GREENSBORO CHARLOTTE GREENVILLE COLUMBIA MYRTLE BEACH CHARLESTON HILTON HEAD CONGRATULATES TRAVIS WHEELER 20 UNDER 40 Nexsen Pruet salutes Travis Wheeler for his commitment to helping businesses in the region succeed while enhancing a healthy competitive landscape for South Carolina commerce. His recognition as one of The State s 20 under 40 reinforces his dedication to our community, and underscores his leadership and ongoing work on competition-related legal issues of all sizes. Congratulations, Travis! 1230 Main Street, Suite 700, Columbia, SC John A. Sowards, Chairman
20 F20 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA Membership Has lts Benefits. Members and Guests enjoy a high-rise view atop the tallest building in the State! Call for membership information or for private functions. th