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South Carolina Ports Welcomes Its Largest Class of Port Ambassadors for 2023-2024

Posted on October 11, 2023

South Carolina Ports Initiates the 2023-2024 Port Ambassadors Program with Record Participation.

In a significant milestone for South Carolina Ports, the organization has inaugurated its 2023-2024 Port Ambassadors program with the largest class in its six-year history. With a total of 31 professionals hailing from various corners of the state, this ambitious program offers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Port’s statewide operations. Over the next year, these ambassadors will engage in monthly educational sessions that encompass insightful discussions with port leadership and state legislators, guided tours of marine and rail-served inland terminals, as well as visits to manufacturing facilities closely reliant on port infrastructure.

Upon successfully completing this immersive program, the participants will emerge with a comprehensive understanding of the Port’s pivotal role in bolstering the Southeast supply chain and driving robust economic development in South Carolina.

Jordi Yarborough, Senior Vice President of Statewide Stakeholders and Local Government Engagement at SC Ports, expressed their excitement about the impressive turnout, saying, “We are thrilled to have such a large group of leaders in this year’s program. For these participants to be able to see firsthand how SC Ports’ operations directly benefit their communities is an invaluable experience.”

The class was inaugurated with a visit to the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant. This year’s participants will also have the unique opportunity to explore the rail-served Inland Port Dillon, marking the first time a Port Ambassadors class will experience this. Inland Port Dillon, operational for over five years, has consistently broken volume records and currently supports an estimated 25,000 jobs in the Pee Dee region.

One of the Port Ambassadors, Tim Harper, who serves as Dillon County’s Administrator, eagerly anticipates his fellow ambassadors’ visit to the region. The participants will also tour the Harbor Freight Tools distribution facility and soybean transloading operations at C&M Farms during their visit.

Harper shared his insights, saying, “I’ve seen firsthand the impact SC Ports’ investments have had on the Pee Dee region with Inland Port Dillon. Connecting Dillon directly to Charleston by rail has brought tremendous economic growth to our region and allows farmers, manufacturers, and retailers to reach customers more efficiently. I’m glad my fellow ambassadors will have an opportunity to see these successes for themselves, and I look forward to growing my network with such a tremendous group of leaders from our state.”

To date, the Port Ambassadors program has welcomed approximately 175 participants.

The 2023-2024 Port Ambassadors are:

– 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, Greenville Chamber of Commerce
– 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
– Dr. 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

As South Carolina Ports embarks on this new chapter with its dedicated group of Port Ambassadors, the future looks promising for continued growth and development in the region.


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