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  June 5th, 2024 | Written by

SC Ports Celebrates Graduation of 31 Port Ambassadors

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South Carolina Ports recently celebrated the graduation of 31 professionals from the 2023-2024 Port Ambassador program. These participants, hailing from various sectors across the state, engaged in day-long educational sessions throughout the year to gain an in-depth understanding of SC Ports’ operations and their critical role in the Southeast supply chain and South Carolina’s port-dependent businesses.

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

“When our Port Ambassadors witness cargo being loaded and unloaded at our terminals, and hear firsthand how South Carolina farmers, retailers, and manufacturers rely on our efficient port system to move their products globally, it underscores the vital importance of SC Ports to our state’s economy,” said SC Ports President and CEO Barbara Melvin.

Throughout the year, Port Ambassadors attended the annual State of the Port address, interacted with SC Ports leadership and customers, and toured SC Ports’ waterfront terminals and Inland Ports Greer and Dillon. This year’s class was the first to tour Inland Port Dillon, which has seen continuous growth in rail moves since its opening in 2018. Leaders from CSX, Harbor Freight Tools, C&M Grain, and Palmetto Grain Brokerage shared insights on how SC Ports’ presence in the Pee Dee region has facilitated business expansion and improved goods movement efficiency.

“Being a Port Ambassador opened my eyes to the significant impact of SC Ports, not just in Charleston, but throughout South Carolina,” said Liz Griffith, Chief Operations Officer of the International Transportation Innovation Center in Greenville, SC. “SC Ports is essential for the efficient movement of imports and exports across various industries, from automotive to agriculture. It’s clear why so many companies choose to establish themselves in South Carolina.”

The Port Ambassador Program aims to enhance public understanding of SC Ports’ economic contributions. Since its inception in 2016, the program has graduated over 190 participants.

“Our Port Ambassadors gain valuable knowledge of our port system, which they can share within their communities,” said Jordi Yarborough, SC Ports’ Vice President of Statewide Stakeholders and Local Government Engagement. “Even after graduation, we maintain communication with our ambassadors to keep them informed about our strategic plans and investments that support port growth.”

2023-2024 Port Ambassadors:

– 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, Bridge Public Strategy Group
– 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
– 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