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The Fifteenth Annual Wilkins Awards Dinner

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

January 14, 2020

Held on the first night of the legislative session each year and attended by political, community, and business leaders, the Wilkins Awards Dinner promotes citizenship, public service, and bipartisan governing. Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) and Nella Barkley, president of Crystal-Barkley Corporation, were honored as recipients of the 2019 David H. Wilkins Leadership Awards. The Wilkins Awards are named for former Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives and Ambassador to Canada, David H. Wilkins, and honor the leadership, courage, vision, and integrity of one South Carolina legislator and one South Carolina civic leader. View this year’s program | Read Furman’s news release

Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York)

2019 Wilkins Award for Legislative Leadership

Currently the House Majority Leader and Vice-Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Simrill is described by his colleagues as hard-working, knowledgeable, and personable–a leader who consistently embraces ideas that move the state forward regardless of from which side of the aisle they originate. As chair of the House Infrastructure Committee, he shepherded through an infrastructure bill with strong bipartisan support, and he later served on the conference committee for the eventual bill that was passed in 2016 by both House and Senate. Known for his integrity and grit, he is highly respected by his peers at the State House.

Nella Barkley, president of Crystal-Barkley and community leader

2019 Wilkins Award for Civic Leadership

Nella Barkley has spent much of her life in leadership roles in numerous organizations devoted to improving the lives of South Carolinians by elevating education, sustaining and improving the arts, and creating opportunities for marginalized populations. She was founding chair of SCETV, SC Educational Communications, City of Charleston Commission on Redevelopment and Preservation, Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts, and Horizon House, an alternative to institutionalization for delinquent boys. Moreover, she has held regional leadership roles with United Way, Junior League, City of Charleston, Spoleto, and The Charleston Education Network.


Fifteen Years of Wilkins Award Winners on Leadership, Service and Bipartisanship