Governor-elect Nikki Haley welcomed her new transition team today, then quickly left them to do their work under the leadership of team co-chair David Wilkins.
The 14-member team will lead her transition into office. The team includes public and private sector personalities. Lowcountry businessman Chad Walldorf of Sticky Fingers Restaurants is vice chairman.
Wilkins, who comes from Upstate, says the executive committee is a good mix. The governor’s office released biographies of the members of the Executive Committee of the Gubernatorial Transition are:
Ambassador David H. Wilkins, Chairman is a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and chairs the Public Policy and International Law practice group. Wilkins was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the U.S. Ambassador to Canada. He was speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives for 11 years and 25 years total as an elected representative. He is now chairman of the Clemson University Board of Trustees.
Vice-Chairman Chad Walldorf is the co-founder of Sticky Fingers restaurant chain. Walldorf served in the Reagan White House’s Office of Political Affairs and for two years as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Mark Sanford. He chaired the 2007 Government Efficiency and Accountability Review (GEAR) Commission.
Derick Close is CEO of Springs Creative Products Group in Rock Hill. A member of Clover-based Huffman Machine Tool’s Board of Directors, Close is past president of the South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance and serves on its executive committee.
Dave Ellison is with Northwestern Mutual. He has served or is currently serving on several community boards including the Furman University Board of Trustees, the United Way of Greenville County Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. Ellison’s leadership includes many activities for Furman University.
Michael Haley, husband of the governor-elect, currently works in the human resource office as the State Equal Employment Manager for the South Carolina National Guard. He is an officer with the Medical Command in the Army National Guard.
Jermaine Husser is currently the Executive Director (CEO) of the Lowcountry Food Bank and oversees the operations, program and services the main distribution center in Charleston and Regional Food Centers in Myrtle Beach and Beaufort.
Jennie Johnson is the Executive Director of Liberty Fellowship. She was previously president of Liberty Insurance Services and executive vice president of RBC Liberty Insurance. Johnson is vice chair of the Area Commission for Greenville Technical College, and formerly chaired the South Carolina Research Authority.
Pamela P. Lackey, president of AT&T South Carolina, is responsible for the company’s public policy, economic development and community affairs activities in the state. Prior to joining AT&T in 1997, she was a professional educator, most recently serving on the staff of the State Superintendent of Education. She is the Chair of the S.C. Research Centers of Economic Excellence Review Board and serves on numerous other boards, including the Central S.C. Alliance, the South Carolina State Chamber of Commerce, Governor’s School for the Arts, Palmetto Business Forum and the University of South Carolina Business Partnership Foundation.
President of Leonard, Call & Associates, Inc., Don Leonard is chairman of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank and serves on the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the National Bank of South Carolina, the Board of Trustees of the Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and the Board of Trustees of Brookgreen Gardens.
Leighton Lord is former chairman of Nexsen Pruet, LLC. He focuses his law practice on economic development and was Boeing’s legal team leader in the deal that brought the company to South Carolina. Lord serves on Santee Cooper board.
A longtime Charleston resident, Pat McKinney has established a business career in development of upscale communities along coastal South Carolina. Since 1988, he has been a partner in Kiawah Development Partners, the master developer of Kiawah Island. He has also served on the State Board of Education (1987-1990).
Henry McMaster is the state’s Attorney General, and has been chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party. He campaigned side-by-side with Haley after he lost to her in primary. McMaster has served as chairman and a member of the board of directors of the South Carolina Policy Council.
Claflin University President, Dr. Henry Tisdale became its eighth president in 1994. Tisdale has presided over a period of unprecedented growth and development at Claflin. During his tenure, Claflin has achieved national recognition for academic excellence, increased enrollment, and enhancement of both its physical infrastructure and research capacity. Tisdale earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Claflin in 1965 and became the first African-American to receive a doctorate in mathematics from Dartmouth.
George Wolfe is a partner in the Columbia office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and chairs the firm’s Economic Development Practice Group. He has worked for 20 years to develop policies and laws for economic development in South Carolina, working closely with companies establishing and expanding new operations in South Carolina.