Greenville mayor, developer, Clemson trustee on panel to help revive SC economy
Gov. Henry McMaster named a 29-person advisory panel on Monday to offer solutions for fixing the damage that South Carolina's economy has suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.
Members of the "accelerateSC" group include Greenville Mayor Knox White, Bob Hughes, who is chairman of Hughes Development Corporation in Greenville, and Nicky McCarter, who is a member of Clemson University's board of trustees.
Columbia attorney James Burns, who served as chief of staff for former Gov. Nikki Haley, will be the group's executive director, according to the governor's office, which provided a background briefing to reporters Monday afternoon.
Other members of the group include business representatives, health-care providers and local officials from around the state. They will meet for the first time Thursday. During the next month the panel is expected to offer immediate, intermediate and long-term recommendations to aid the state's economy. All of the panel members are serving on an unpaid, volunteer basis.
"We must be ready to stomp on the gas," McMaster said at a news conference Monday afternoon. "We have to be able to accelerate as fast as we can and as safely as we can."
White will join eight other members on the panel in focusing on issues facing state, county and local governments as well as schools, colleges and universities, court systems, law enforcement agencies and other first-responders.
“Cities across the state have been on the front line in protecting our residents during the COVID-19 outbreak," White said Monday. "I appreciate that the governor wants to help cities and all local governments as we work to safely reactivate our economy in the months ahead.”
Fountain Inn Mayor GP McLeer said he would like to see smaller towns, not just bigger cities, have more input into decisions on reopening the economy and relief to local governments. He said the challenges aren’t “one size fits all” and that smaller towns are getting only information that is generally available.
“Local government needs a bigger seat at the table,” McLeer said. “Smaller towns are being hit differently than larger towns.”
Hughes, McCarter and three other members will deal with the disbursement of federal funds. Three state senators and three members of the state House of Representatives also will be involved in an advisory role in this task.
Other members of the accelerateSC panel will identify challenges facing critical industries and the state's workforce and issues related to COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and supplies of personal protective equipment.
State officials also are planning to create a "one-stop" information portal where residents can obtain information and assistance on COVID-19 issues. This effort will involve the use of online resources and social medal platforms, plus a large-scale call center.
The members of accelerateSC include:
► Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Benedict College
► Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion University
► North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley
► Pam Lackey, member of South Carolina Ports Authority board of directors
► Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott
► Akil Ross, professor of educational leadership at the University of South Carolina
► Horry County Councilman Tyler Servant
► Mary Thornley, president of Trident Technical College
► Greenville Mayor Knox White
► Ray August, president and CEO of Benefitfocus
► Dr. David Cole, president of the Medical University of South Carolina
► Tiffany Freeman, senior public counsel for government affairs with BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina.
► Mike Hamlet, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of North Spartanburg
► Harris Pastides, former president of the University of South Carolina
► Christian L. Soura, vice president of policy and finance at the South Carolina Hospital Association.
► Helen Turner Hill, CEO of Explore Charleston
► Lou Kennedy, CEO and owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals
► Keith Mackey, vice president of purchasing at Schaeffler Group
► Chris Patterson, owner of Summit Filtration LLC in Spartanburg
► Ted Pitts, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
► Henry Swink, co-owner of McCall Farms
► Greg Thompson, president and CEO of Thompson Construction Group Inc.
► Bobby Williams Jr., CEO of Lizard’s Thicket Restaurants and chairman of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association
► John Winarchick, president and CEO of Zeus Industrial Products
► James Bennett, Mid-South Area Executive Vice President for First Citizen’s Bank and member of Prisma Health's board of directors
► Bob Hughes, chairman of Hughes Development Corporation
► Nicky McCarter, president and CEO of Hopkins-based Defender Services and member of the Clemson University Board of Trustees
► Chris Randolph, partner with South Street Partners
► Former state Sen. Greg Ryberg