One SC

OneSouthCarolina 2016

OneSouthCarolina® 2016

Building South Carolina’s Opportunity Infrastructure

March 3  – March 5, 2016
Marriott Resort and Spa on Hilton Head Island

Record-breaking attendance. More speakers, more sessions, more interaction. New ways to collect impressions and legacies of DLI and OneSouthCarolina. At OneSouthCarolina 2016 we focused on South Carolina’s “opportunity infrastructure” – the policies and programs that exist and those that are needed to move more South Carolinians into sustainable, middle-wage jobs. We brought together some of the movers and influencers who are making South Carolina a better place to live by strengthening communities, encouraging entrepreneurship, and bolstering meaningful connections between education and jobs. Our goal: Diversity Leaders Initiative alums walking away with a deeper understanding of how South Carolina’s “opportunity infrastructure” is connected to the creation of a path for their constituents, both young and old, to good jobs that pay well and foster economic resilience.

Our great thanks to all who participated in the discussions and all who attended OneSouthCarolina 2016 – we appreciate your time and your support!

Run of Events

Thursday, March 3

Don Gordon opened early Thursday afternoon with a presentation of what is and is not “middle class” in South Carolina, why a strong middle class is a vital component of a healthy economy, and a look at the recent downward trajectory of the middle class in South Carolina. Kyle Longest followed with an interactive budgeting exercise that gave participants some insight into the kinds of spending decisions and dilemmas poor people in our state face each month. Next Tim Ervolina took a quick look at United Way Association of South Carolina’s “self-sufficiency study” detailing how much it actually costs for different kinds of families in different parts of the state to live assistance-free and beyond that, to save, buy a home, and pay for education – to become middle class. Representatives Kenny Bingham and Chandra Dillard closed the afternoon’s work with a conversation with moderator Mark Quinn about what state government is doing and should be doing to grow the middle class in South Carolina.

Thursday evening featured a packed and high energy opening reception, followed by a dinner with a welcome from Secretary Dick Riley and Furman President Elizabeth Davis. Riley Institute deputy director Jacki Martin defined South Carolina’s opportunity infrastructure by pointing to the incredible work being done around the state by various Riley Fellows, all of whom were in attendance and all of whom were heartily cheered. John Simpkins (the first associate director of the Riley Institute) spoke in a simple, unembellished and moving way about what his young son has taught him about why the opportunity infrastructure is important, and received a standing ovation.

Friday, March 4

At Friday breakfast, Ken May previewed the work of this year’s artists in attendance. Juan Johnson put forward a moving video tribute to his friend and mentor Calder Ehrmann, then spotlighted Camp Hope, one of the most successful among many successful DLI community action projects. The plenary session opened with Katherine Newman telling stories of the perilous lives of the “missing class” or working poor in America, gathered through observation and interviews with a number of families over the course of several years. Joey Von Nessen spoke about the Darla Moore School’s recent study of current and projected jobs in the state through 2030, the education needed for them, and the projected skills gap.

Lunch on Friday featured a menu and lively presentation by Matt and Ted Lee, the Lee Brothers (who also planned the menus for Thursday’s dinner and whose recent cookbook was a Riley Institute gift to conference attendees). The remainder of the day was spent in discussion of three paths to creating and sustaining middle-wage jobs and greater economic security in South Carolina. The first of these, focusing on holistic community revitalization in the state, brought together Bill Barnet and Carol Naughton to talk about Spartanburg’s Northside Initiative and Vernita Dore and Andy Brack about the recently designated South Carolina Promise Zone.

Conference participants enjoyed a Creative Break featuring demonstrations and sales by South Carolina artists Jeri Burdick, Arianne King Comer, Jason Knight, and Steve Owen, brought together through the Riley Institute’s much-valued partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Following the break, a discussion moderated by Linda O’Bryon about how educators and large employers are working together in the state to prepare graduates for fulfilling, well-paid careers and ensure employers a field of qualified workers brought together Mike Riordan and Elizabeth Davis to talk about the unique partnership between Greenville Health System and Furman University, and Jimmie Williamson and Werner Eikenbusch about the state’s technical college system’s custom programming for large employers and their shared work on South Carolina’s aggressive, fast-growing and effective apprentice programs.

The final session on Friday focused on South Carolina’s innovation economy, with Ann Marie Stieritz’s thoughts on the state of entrepreneurship in South Carolina and the “innovation ecosystem” needed to support it, Ernest Andrade on the why and how of the Charleston Digital Corridor, Mike McGirr on the growing local food production movement in the Upstate, and Lydia Dobyns on how public education can help students learn to think and act like entrepreneurs.

The day’s work was followed by the traditional oyster roast, barbeque, chili and fixings on the oceanside patio. Temperature: mid to low 50s. Music: house band Mac Arnold and a Plate Full O’ Blues. Consensus: perfect.

Saturday, March 5

The final session on Saturday morning opened with Mayor Joe Riley telling the audience about the International African American Museum, scheduled to open in Charleston in 2018. Sen. Sean Bennett, Jack Ellenberg and Pete Selleck talked about the connections between physical infrastructure in South Carolina – the port, roadways, railways, etc. – and good jobs in the state, and about the battle going on in the South Carolina legislature about how to fund the state’s much-needed infrastructure improvements. Finally, Gov. Ed Rendell, in the closing keynote, gave an informed, engaging and entertaining talk about advancing a new national vision for infrastructure investment that strengthens urban and rural communities and enhances economic competitiveness and job creation.

Meet Our Distinguished Speakers and Guests

Hosts and Moderators


Richard W. Riley

Former S.C. Governor and Former U.S. Secretary of Education
Often referred to as “one of the great statesmen of education in the century,” Riley has worked throughout his lifetime to bring significant, widespread change to education in South Carolina and the United States.

Elizabeth Davis

President, Furman University
Dr. Elizabeth Davis became Furman University’s 12th President on July 1, 2014. Before coming to Furman, she spent 22 years at Baylor University in Texas, where she most recently held the position of executive vice president and provost. In addition to being a member of the accounting faculty at Baylor, she also served as vice provost for Financial and Academic Administration, associate dean for Undergraduate Business Programs, and acting chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law.

Juan Johnson

President, Diversity Leadership in Action; DLI Creator and Facilitator
Juan Johnson is president of Juan Johnson Consulting and Facilitation, a firm he launched in 2006 after concluding an extraordinary 21-year career with Coca-Cola Company and is facilitator of the South Carolina Diversity Leaders Initiative.


Mark Quinn

Director of Public and Member Relations, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina
Mark Quinn is director of Public and Member Relations at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and has had a long career as a professional journalist in South Carolina. Quinn worked in television journalism for more than 16 years, 13 of which were spent in Columbia, South Carolina.

Linda O’Bryon (guest moderator)

President and Chief Executive Officer, South Carolina ETV
As President and CEO of South Carolina ETV, Emmy-award winner Linda O’Bryon oversees a statewide network of 19 TV and radio stations, with studios and production facilities in Columbia and several regions throughout the state. She also oversees education services reaching schools statewide. O’Bryon joined SCETV in 2010.

Arts & Foodways

The tremendous contribution of South Carolina’s unique arts, foodways and music to the state’s economy and quality of life is reflected in the “creative thread” that runs throughout every OneSouthCarolina event.

Each year, the Riley Institute and the South Carolina Arts Commission invite artists to represent some of the many dimensions of our state’s cultural expression. This year, in “Traditions IV: South Carolina Artist Entrepreneurs,” we focus on artist entrepreneurs who connect to community and create community through their art — from farmers markets to open studios, in galleries within and beyond our state. These master artists create products from steel, fiber, wood and clay. They work in their home studios located throughout South Carolina — in the thriving small Park Circle community of North Charleston, the deep woods of York County, and the rural communities of Harleyville and Eutawville. Cultural ambassadors for our state, they are recognized nationally for their fine craftsmanship.

Our foodways, too, are an important part of our cultural heritage, and this year’s foodways speakers fit well within our entrepreneurial theme, with a home port in Charleston, a second in Brooklyn, and a national presence through catalog and book sales and print and television media.

Please read below to learn more about OneSouthCarolina 2016’s “creative contributors!”

Mac Arnold

Mac Arnold, blues musician, Pelzer, is a renowned blues musician and recording artist whose love of the blues began at the age of ten when he learned to play his brother’s homemade guitar. His musical resume grew with his high school band, J Floyd and the Shamrocks, who often had guest pianist James Brown lend his talent to their performances.


Jeri Burdick

Jeri Burdick, professional visual artist, Eutawville, has established a strong base of support in all regions of the state and has had gallery representation throughout the United States and Canada over the course of her career. After earning an undergraduate degree in fine arts from University of Georgia and a master’s degree in art from Furman University, she taught in the Greenville County public schools until becoming a full-time artist in 1982.



Arianne King Comer, indigo and textile artist, teacher, and consultant, North Charleston, holds a bachelor’s in fine arts degree from Howard University. In 1992 Arianne received the UN/USIS grant to study under her mentor, Nike Davies Okundaye, in Nigeria. From 1998 through 2005 she was the owner of Ibile Indigo House on St. Helena Island.



Jason Knight, bladesmith, Harleyville, creates his beautiful yet functional art knives and utensils from forge to finish. He specializes in bowie knives, fighter knives, kitchen knives, oyster knives, and fireplace utensils. Jason has been forging professionally since 2001 and received his Mastersmith rating from the American Bladesmith Society in 2007.



The Lee Brothers, Matt (Charleston) and Ted (Brooklyn, N.Y.), grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. When they left to attend colleges in the Northeast, they so missed the foods of their hometown that they founded The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order catalog for southern pantry staples like stone-ground grits, fig preserves, and, of course, boiled peanuts.



Stephen Owen, woodworker, Hickory Grove, makes utilitarian objects out of local fallen trees. When his home remodeling business took a hard hit from the financial apocalypse of 2008, Stephen looked into the natural resources on his home property for a new beginning. Living on 16 acres in Hickory Grove, Owen began taking the fallen trees off his property, turning them into useful goods and selling them at local markets.

Thursday, March 3

Speakers in order of appearance

Don Gordon

Executive Director, The Riley Institute at Furman Don Gordon has been the Executive Director of the Riley Institute at Furman since 1999. Prior to that, he served as Chair of the Department of Political Science and Director of Furman’s award-winning study away programs in East and Southern Africa.

Kyle Longest

Associate Professor of Sociology, Furman University
Dr. Kyle Longest is associate professor of sociology at Furman University. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his bachelor’s in sociology and history from Indiana University – Bloomington. His research focuses on understanding how adolescents make the transition to adulthood.

Tim Ervolina

President and CEO, United Way Association of South Carolina
Tim Ervolina is president and CEO at United Way Association of South Carolina, the training, technical assistance and program arm of the 28 local United Ways in the Palmetto State. Before coming to the Association, Tim served in local United Ways in South Carolina and in Florida.

The Hon. Kenny Bingham

Member, S.C. House of Representatives
Having represented District 89 for nearly a decade, Kenny Bingham serves on the powerful House Ways and Means committee, which is responsible for drafting the state spending plan. Committed to lower taxes and less spending, Bingham has consistently earned high marks from pro-business groups, and in July 2003 was named “National Legislator of the Year” by the National Republican Legislators Association.

The Hon. Gilda Cobb-Hunter

Member, S.C. House of Representatives
Elected to the South Carolina State House of Representatives in 1992, Gilda Cobb-Hunter was the first African American woman in Orangeburg County elected to a statewide office. She became the first freshman ever appointed to and is now ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee and is a member of the Joint Bond Review Committee.

Jacki Martin

Deputy Director, Riley Institute at Furman University
As deputy director of the Riley Institute at Furman, Jacki Martin assists the executive director in setting strategic direction; developing, funding and launching programs related to education, public policy and diversity leadership; and overseeing numerous program managers and other staff.

John Simpkins

General Counsel, United States Agency for International Development
Prior to joining the United States Agency for International Development in 2015 as General Counsel, John Simpkins served for two years as the Deputy General Counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget. Simpkins has held a variety of positions in private practice and academia, including serving of counsel at Wyche, P.A., in Greenville, as a visiting assistant professor of law at the University of Victoria, and as an assistant professor and Director of Diversity Initiatives at the Charleston School of Law.

Friday, March 4

Speakers in order of appearance

Ken May

Executive Director, South Carolina Arts Commission A panelist, presenter, consultant, and facilitator for local, state, and national arts organizations, Ken May is executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission, where he has served in several positions since 1985. He has been a panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts and is a regular guest lecturer in the arts administration program at the College of Charleston.

Katherine Newman

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Katherine Newman is the provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is also the Torrey Little Professor of Sociology. Newman is the author of 12 books on topics ranging from urban poverty to middle class economic insecurity to school violence.

The Hon. Bill Barnet, III

CEO, Barnet Development Corporation Bill Barnet is the former mayor of Spartanburg and is CEO of Barnet Development Corporation. Previously, he acted as the CEO of William Barnet & Son, Inc., a family venture founded in 1898 that manufactures, trades, and processes a wide variety of synthetic products for the fiber, resin, and textile related industries. A write-in candidate for mayor of Spartanburg in 2001, he served as mayor from 2002 – 2009.

Carol Naughton

President, Purpose Built Communities BCarol Naughton helped found Purpose Built Communities in 2008. She previously served for seven years as the executive director of the East Lake Foundation, the lead nonprofit organization that developed and continues to implement a bold, innovative and successful model of community revitalization that helps families break the cycle of poverty. An expert in public/private partnerships, Carol has crafted groundbreaking alliances in housing and education.

Vernita Dore

Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Vernita Dore has built a wealth of experience within USDA, with twenty-eight years of leadership and support for rural communities across the United States. Formerly the South Carolina state director for rural development, in 2015 Dore was appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development in Washington, D.C., overseeing Operations and Management, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of Civil Rights and State Directors.

James (Jimmie) Williamson

System President, S.C. Technical College System Dr. Jimmie Williamson became system president of the S.C. Technical College System in March of 2014.  Prior to his re-entry into higher education, he served as chief human capital officer for Agape Senior and as president of Northeastern Technical College and Williamsburg Technical College.

Werner Eikenbusch

Chief Talent Manager, BMW in the Americas After completing his technical apprenticeship and mechanical engineering education in Germany, Werner Eikenbusch earned his master’s degree in engineering management as a Fulbright Scholar at New Jersey Institute of Technology, then started his engineering career with BMW in Munich. His love for the USA and his passion for employee development brought him back to the USA to manage human resources for BMW in North America.

Ann Marie Stieritz

President and CEO, S.C. Council on Competitiveness Ann Marie Stieritz is president and CEO of the S.C. Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan, business-led nonprofit that advances the long-term economic competitiveness of the state, its industries, and its citizens. Just prior to this position she served as the deputy executive director of the University of South Carolina’s Office of Economic Engagement.

Ernest Andrade

Charleston Digital Corridor Ernest Andrade is founder and executive director of the Charleston Digital Corridor, a successful public-private business development partnership launched in 2001 to attract, nurture and promote tech and tech-related companies in Charleston. He has helped position Charleston as a premier destination for tech companies through strategies that include launching a community-sourced training program providing instruction in open source Web technologies and developing two business incubators in downtown Charleston.

Mike McGirr

Co-founder and Executive Director, FEED & SEED Mike McGirr is a farm consultant and private chef specializing in natural, vernacular foods in heightened, authentic preparations. He is co-Founder and executive director of Feed & Seed, a regional “food hub” project focused on the Upstate of South Carolina, whose mission is to increase the variety, quality and quantity of South Carolina farm products in the daily diet of all South Carolinians by connecting regional market demand to regional farm production in the 10 counties of Upstate South Carolina.

Lydia Dobyns

President and CEO, New Tech Network Lydia Dobyns joined New Tech Network in April 2010. She has combined careers as a technology entrepreneur and executive with education policy and nonprofit service. She served two terms as a school board member, led an education foundation, and directed replication strategies in the nonprofit education sector. Her vision is a nation where every public school has the capacity to realize the full potential of each student.

Saturday, March 5

Speakers in order of appearance

The Hon. Joe Riley

Former Charleston Mayor
Joe Riley was first elected mayor of Charleston in December 1975, and went on to serve an unprecedented ten terms. During Riley’s forty-year tenure as mayor, the City of Charleston saw a substantial decrease in crime, a revitalization of the historic downtown business district, the creation and growth of Spoleto Festival U.S. A., an expansion of the city’s park system, and the development of nationally-acclaimed affordable housing.

The Hon. Sean Bennett

Member, S.C. Senate Sean Bennett was elected to the S.C. Senate in 2013. His committee assignments include Banking and Insurance; Fish, Game and Forestry; Judiciary; Labor, Commerce and Industry; and Transportation. He is a former board member of the Education Foundation, an initiative that connects the business community and the public school systems to ensure that students graduate from high school equipped with the knowledge, skills and work ethic they will need to succeed in post-secondary education and the world of work.

Jack Ellenberg

Senior Vice President, Strategic Projects, South Carolina Ports Authority
Jack Ellenberg is responsible for the recruitment and location of port-dependent projects and the expansion of port-user businesses across the state. He also oversees the South Carolina Inland Port in Greer. He previously served as deputy secretary for new investment at the South Carolina Department of Commerce. He joined Commerce in 1996 and was responsible for leading the agency’s efforts in new investment, both foreign and domestic, and overseeing the daily activities of state offices in Europe and Asia.

Pete Selleck

Chairman and President, Michelin North America, Inc.
Pete Selleck is responsible for coordinating all activities of Michelin in North America. With more than $10 billion in sales and more than 22,000 employees across Canada, Mexico and the United States, Michelin is the global leader in the tire industry, manufacturing tires for every type of vehicle including aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, earthmovers, farm equipment and trucks. Selleck joined Michelin in 1982 and has served in manufacturing and general management positions in Greenville and in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

The Hon. Ed Rendell

Co-chair, Building America’s Future; former Pennsylvania Governor; former Philadelphia Mayor
As governor of Pennsylvania, Rendell worked with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to create “Building America’s Future,” an organization that focuses on the need for a more significant investment in American infrastructure projects to maintain America’s global economic competiveness. Rendell co-chairs the organization, along with Mike Bloomberg and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and travels throughout the country speaking about this issue.

Speaker Videos

Thursday, March 3

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Who is the Middle Class and Five Reasons Why It Matters – a Lot

Don Gordon, Executive Director, the Riley Institute at Furman

The Cost of Being Middle Class: South Carolina’s New Self-Sufficiency Standard

Tim Ervolina, President and CEO, United Way Association of S.C.

From the Statehouse: What Should Government Do?

Kenny Bingham, S.C. House of Representatives
Chandra Dillard, S.C. House of Representatives

Why It Matters — Opportunity Infrastructure

John Simpkins, General Counsel, United States Agency for International Development

Partnership with South Carolina Arts Commission

Jacki Martin, Deputy Director, the Riley Institute at Furman


Friday, March 4

Friday, March 4, 2016

Chasing the Middle Class Dream: Portraits of the Missing Class in America

Katherine Newman, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Going Local: Changing Lives by Changing Communities

Bill Barnet, CEO, Barnet Development Corporation; Danny Black, President and CEO, SouthernCarolina Alliance; Vernita Dore, Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; Carol Naughton, President, Purpose Built Communities

Gearing Up for the Challenge: An Automotive Case Study of a Global  Competitiveness Agenda

Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, Research Associate, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina

Demand Side Pipelines: New Education Strategies Linking People to Great Jobs

Elizabeth Davis, President, Furman University; Werner Eikenbusch, Chief Talent Officer, BMW in the Americas; Mike Riordan, President and CEO, Greenville Health System; Jimmie Williamson, System President, S.C. Technical College System

Growing Entrepreneurs for South Carolina’s Innovation Economy

Ernest Andrade, Executive Director, Charleston Digital Corridor; Lydia Dobyns, President and CEO, New Tech Network;       Mike McGirr, Co-Founder and Executive Director, FEED & SEED; Ann Marie Stieritz, President and CEO, S.C. Council on Competiveness

Saturday, March 5

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The International African American Museum

The Hon. Joe Riley, former Mayor of Charleston

Building a 21st Century Infrastructure in South Carolina

Sean Bennett, S.C. Senate; Jack Ellenberg, Senior Vice President, Strategic Projects, S.C. Ports Authority;           Pete Selleck, Chairman and President, Michelin North America

Building America’s Future: Strategic Infrastructure Investment

Ed Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania, Co-Chair, Building America’s Future