Liberty Fellowship Announces Class of 2009

June 27, 2007  • Institute Contributor

Liberty Fellowship Announces Class of 2009

June 27, 2007, Greenville, SC — Liberty Fellowship, the statewide leadership initiative sponsored by Hayne Hipp, Wofford College and the Aspen Institute, today announced the 20 emerging South Carolina leaders who will comprise its Class of 2009.

Hayne Hipp, founder of Liberty Fellowship, says, “With this fourth class, we now have 80 Fellows in varying stages of the program; each one a testimony to the superlative caliber of young people throughout South Carolina. All are extraordinarily talented and accomplished, and bring an astonishing degree of heart and soul to every challenge, relationship or cause they pursue. We are both inspired by them and proud to have attracted them.”

The class was chosen from more than 100 nominees throughout the state from the business, government and the non-profit sectors, all with the highest of recommendations. “Once again, this year’s nominees are exceptional as individuals, and it’s clear that as a group they will be a powerful, positive force in South Carolina,” said Jennie Johnson, executive director of Liberty Fellowship. “All 20 will emerge from the program with both common and unique experiences that together create a true understanding of real leadership.”

The Class of 2009 follows:

Todd Abedon is Managing Partner of Chartwell Holdings/Churchill Forge Properties, where he began his career. In 2000, in partnership with the principals of Churchill Forge, he launched Chartwell Holdings, a real estate development and management firm. Abedon is Founder and President of Operation Home, a grassroots non-profit that makes emergency repairs to disadvantaged, disabled and infirm residents of Greater Charleston. He serves on the board of the Low County Housing Trust Fund and is Immediate Past President and co-founder of Friends of Sullivans Island Elementary School. Abedon received his B.A. in history from Tufts University. He resides on Sullivans Island.

Stephen M. Cox of Rock Hill is a shareholder with Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson P.A., where he focuses on general commercial litigation. Prior to practicing law, he clerked for Judge R. Markley Dennis, Jr. of the South Carolina Circuit Court. Cox is Board Chair of Pilgrim’s Inn, which provides services to the homeless, and of the Early Learning Partnership, which develops and implements programs to ready children for school. He is former President of the York County Bar Association. He graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in History and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Kristopher R. (Kris) Crawford is Medical Director for the Emergency Department at Lake City Community Hospital in Lake City. He previously served as Chief Resident in Family Practice at McLeod Regional Medical Center. Between college and medical school he was actively involved in several political campaigns. Crawford is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he serves on the Judiciary Committee and is Chair of the Freshman Caucus. Crawford received his B.S. in Biology from The Citadel, and his M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina. He resides in Florence.

John R. (Jack) Douglas is Director, Core Market Development for Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company in Columbia. He began his career with Colonial as an actuarial assistant and served as Corporate Project Manager and Senior Financial Auditor. He then joined First Citizens Bank in mortgage banking before returning to Colonial Life. Douglas is Vice Chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors, has served as Chair of the Palmetto Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and is a board member of The Citadel Brigadier Foundation. He also coaches Youth League Football. Douglas received his B.A. in Mathematics from The Citadel.

John P. Gettys is a Partner in the law firm of Morton and Gettys, LLC in Rock Hill. Following law school, Gettys began his career with Harrelson, Hayes and Guyton in Rock Hill, becoming Partner in 2000. He then formed his current law firm with a partner, and practices in the areas of real estate, personal injury, wills and estates. Gettys is a member of the Rock Hill City Council, where he was Mayor Pro Tempore, and sits on the Court Committee. He is Chair of the United Way Vision Council. Gettys received his B.A. from Erskine College, and his J.D. and M.P.A. from University of South Carolina.

Cedric F. Green is Southern Division Manager in the Gas Business Unit at South Carolina Electric & Gas Company, where he is responsible for the strategic direction for engineering, sales, and operations in metro Charleston. Previously, he was Western Division Manager in Aiken, Manager of Engineering & Construction in Columbia, and Operations Engineer Supervisor at Wateree Generating Station in Eastover. Green is currently chairperson of the Low Country American Heart Walk campaign, member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and participates in the SCANA/Claflin University Lecture Series. He is a scholarship foundation sponsor for the University of South Carolina. Green received his B.S. in mechanical engineering and his M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina, where he expects to receive a Master of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering in 2008.

Elizabeth McMillan Hagood is Director of Conservation Programs for the Coastal Conservation League. She began her career as Deputy Campaign Manager for her father’s (Alex McMillan) successful congressional campaigns. She was also legislative assistant for the Honorable Tom Delay. Hagood was Executive Director of the LowCountry Open Land Trust, and also served as Chair of the SC Department of Health & Environmental Control Board. She is Co-Chair of the Governor’s Quality of Life Task Force, and sits on the Boards of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, the Historic Charleston Foundation, and the Lowcountry Advisory Board of the Dorothy and Gaylord Donnelley Foundation. Hagood received her B.A. in Third World Development from Davidson College, and her M.B.A. from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. She resides in Charleston.

Kevin A. Hall is a Partner with the law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, in Columbia, where he specializes in business and commercial litigation. Prior to joining Nelson Mullins, he worked for BellSouth in Atlanta. He began his career as law clerk to the Honorable Robert F. Chapman of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Hall is Chair of Voices for SC Children, Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Sisters of Charity Foundation South Carolina, and on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities for the State of South Carolina. Previously, Hall served as Chair of the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Panel, and Co-Chair of Governor Sanford’s Task Force on Government Restructuring and Campaign Finance Reform. He received his B.A. in International Studies from the University of South Carolina, and his J.D. from Emory University.

Libby Anne Inabinet is South Carolina State Director for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Inc. Prior to that she was a reading specialist in the Richland School District in Columbia and a kindergarten and first grade teacher. She began her career as a college admissions counselor at Converse College. Inabinet serves on the Converse College Board of Visitors and the Palmetto Health Board of Visitors. She is also a member of Leadership Columbia. Inabinet received her B.A. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Converse College.

Deadra L. Jefferson is Circuit Judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Charleston. She began her career as law clerk to the Honorable Richard E. Fields. She then joined the law firm of McFarland and Jenkins, until elected by the SC General Assembly in 1996 to serve as Resident Family Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Jefferson sits on the Board of Trustees of Converse College, and on the Board of the Life Center Cathedral of Charleston. She is a member of the Charleston Chapter of The Links, Inc., and Church Director of Young Women of Christian Excellence. Jefferson received her B.A. in Politics and English from Converse College, and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Wendell Jones is the Principal in his Nationwide Insurance Agency with offices in Spartanburg, Greenville and Berea. He began his career with Wachovia Bank and served in several capacities including Small Business Manager for the Upstate, Area Manager for Greenville County, Commercial Underwriter, and Vice President. He also owns Roundtable Properties, LLC, a real estate holding company and is the majority partner in Digital Advertising/Grassroots Marketing, Inc., which targets start-ups and small businesses. Jones is the Assistant Pastor of Valley Brook Outreach Baptist Church, and founder of Changing Your Mind Ministries, a non-profit that provides leadership training for churches and businesses. He received his B.A. in Finance from Wofford College.

Jodie W. McLean is President and Chief Investment Officer of Edens & Avant, a privately held real estate developer, which she joined as a financial analyst after college, and where she later became Vice President of Asset Management. She has been responsible for the development, redevelopment and acquisition of more than $2.5 billion in retail assets since 1997. McLean is a Board Member of the University of South Carolina Business Partnership Foundation, the George Washington University School of Business, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, the EdVenture Children’s Museum, the South Carolina Governors School of Science and Math Foundation, and the South Carolina Honors College Partnership. She was a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Government Restructuring and Campaign Finance Reform. McLean received her B.S. in Finance Management from the University of South Carolina. She resides in Columbia.

Matthew T. Richardson is a Shareholder of Wyche Burgess Freeman & Parham, P.A. in Columbia, where he specializes in litigation for copyright infringement, products liability, medical malpractice, employment, commercial, and general torts cases. During law school, he was Editor-in-Chief of the S.C. Law Review and clerked for the S.C. House Judiciary Committee. After graduating he clerked for the Honorable Kaye G. Hearn of the South Carolina Court of Appeals and for the Honorable P. Michael Duffy of the U.S. District Court. Richardson serves as Board Member and Treasurer of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Central Carolina Community Foundation. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the S.C. Trial Lawyers Association. Richardson received his B.A. in Biochemistry from North Carolina State University, and his D.V.M. from the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

John L. S. Simpkins is Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Diversity Initiatives at the Charleston School of Law in Charleston, SC. He has observed or served as a consultant in constitution-building processes in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. He currently serves as a member of the African Network of the International Association of Constitutional Law as well as the American Bar Association Task Force on International Electoral Standards. Simpkins is co-founder of the Center for a Better South and a Senior Associate at the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics, and Public Leadership at Furman University. He serves as a political analyst with WYFF Channel 4 in Greenville and WCBD Channel 2 in Charleston, and serves on the Board of the Center for Heirs Property Preservation, Trident United Way, the South Carolina Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, and the Lowcountry Housing Trust. Simpkins received his A.B. in Government from Harvard College and a J.D. and L.L.M. in International and Comparative Law from Duke University School of Law.

Richard Lee (Ric) Tapp, Jr. is a partner with the Nexsen Pruet, LLC law firm in Charleston, and practices in the areas of complex commercial litigation, maritime, and corporate law. He is a 2001 recipient of the Order of the Palmetto. Tapp is the Corporate Secretary and a Board member of S.C. State Transportation Infrastructure Bank and serves on the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is a Trustee of the Clemson Advancement Foundation for Design + Building, and serves as legal counsel for Friends of the Hunley, Inc. He received his B.S. in Business Administration from The Citadel, and his J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina.

Robert P. Trask is President, CEO, and Director of Atlantic Community Bank headquartered in Bluffton, SC. He began his career with South Carolina National Bank (now Wachovia) where he became Vice President for Hilton Head Island. He then moved to First National Bank where he was Senior Vice President and Retail Area Executive for Beaufort County. He is a Trustee for both the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and the Technical College of the Lowcountry Foundation. Trask received his B.S. in Financial Management from Clemson University and his M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina.

Liberty Fellowship accepts nominations year-round, with an annual deadline of March 31. “This allows nominators to act immediately should they encounter young leaders with the potential to become significant, principled contributors to South Carolina – which is Liberty Fellowship’s mission,” said Johnson.

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