Quotation Author PortraitOur elected leaders-from the State House on down-make decisions every year that affect, for good or for bad, our natural resources-land, water, farms, forests, wildlife , places we hunt, fish, camp, and hike , our retreats from a too busy world. My wish is that we elect leaders who believe that sustainable economic development and stewardship of natural resources are core conservative values and consistent with the other.
- Jay James, Board Member

Cynthia Powell, Myrtle Beach, Chair: Cynthia is an entrepreneur and lifelong conservationist. She proactively gathered over 2,000 signatures in order to protest billboard construction on Highway 22 in Myrtle Beach. In addition, she is former Chair of the Winyah Chapter of the South Carolina Sierra Club. Cynthia received her B.A. in Education from USC and her Masters in education from Winthrop University.

Susan Hilfer, Beaufort, Vice Chair: Susan is a retired medical illustrator who worked for the USC School of Medicine prior to establishing her own practice specializing in medical-legal illustration. She has served on advisory panels for the federal South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, most recently, the Habitat & Environmental Protection AP.

Kevin Kay, Easley, Secretary/Treasurer: Kevin is a retired businessman with a background in assisted living facilities. A former elected school board member, he is actively involved with political activities and conservation efforts in Pickens County.

Jennie Peze, Darlington,  Past Chair: Jennie is a project manager for the City of Florence’s local foods initiative. She is the former executive director of the Pee Dee Land Trust and a 2011 Liberty Fellow.

Paul Agnew, Due West: Paul was a representative in the SC Statehouse for District 11 from 2004-2012, who was recognized by CVSC for his conservation efforts. He is also a founding member of the Upper Savannah Land Trust. He is currently working as an attorney in Abbeville.

Marian Brailsford, Charleston: Marian has been actively involved in the  conservation movement for more than 20 years. After serving as Executive Director of Edisto Island Open Land Trust from 2003-2011, Marian began consulting with Land Trusts in the Southeast, with a specialty of assisting them in the Accreditation process. She has a BA degree from the University of South Carolina, and spent a majority of her career in sales and marketing. In retirement she enjoys living on a wild and natural creek front on Edisto Island.

Bruce Cole, Columbia: Bruce is Managing Director of Palmetto Realty Advisors. He has been engaged in real estate, financial services, and financial management for various companies for over 30 years, and holds degrees from Clemson, Stanford University, Northeastern University, and Harvard University. Bruce also serves as newly elected chair of the Executive Committee for the SC Chapter of the Sierra Club and is the 2019 recipient of their Joe Neal Environmental Justice Award.

Sue Doran, Columbia: Sue is an advocate for environmental, human and animal health. She holds a B.S. degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from the University of Georgia and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She earned an M.S. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of South Carolina. She is also a member of the Society of Fellows at the Aspen Institute.

Jay James, Darlington: Jay is an attorney in Darlington. Jay served on Darlington City Council from 1978 -1985.

Ben Johnson, Rock Hill: Ben is an attorney with Robinson Bradshaw in Rock Hill. An advocate for environmental issues throughout his legal career, Ben was named by Gov. Jim Hodges to the Nuclear Waste Task Force in 1999, which mapped out a plan to close Barnwell as the nation’s nuclear waste landfill.  Governor Hodges later appointed Ben as Chairman of the Atlantic Low-Level Nuclear Waste Compact Commission. Ben received the South Carolina Wildlife Federation’s Industrial Conservation Award and was honored by the SC Senate for his efforts on behalf of South Carolina’s environment. 

Millie Knowlton, Washington, DC: Millie has worked towards conservation efforts through work solar and other sustainable energy through Tesla and as a mayoral appointee to the DC Sustainable Energy Utility Advisory Board.

Willie Morgan, Clarks Hill: Willie is the South Carolina State Manager for the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, where he provides training and technical assistance to rural, low-income communities and others related to electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utility issues. He served as Deputy Director for Utility Rates for the SC Office of Regulatory Staff and Permitting Liaison for the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Public Manager.

Mark Robertson, Columbia: Mark worked for The Nature Conservancy for 34 years as the founding director of the Florida Keys Initiative and 21 years as South Carolina State Director. Throughout his career, Mark worked on all aspects of non-profit conservation work including conservation strategy, public policy, fundraising, supporting volunteer leaders, financial management, and staff management and leadership.

Harry Shealy, Ph.D, Aiken: President of the Aiken County Open Land Trust and Vice-Chair of the Hitchcock Foundation, Harry is a professor of Biology at University of South Carolina Aiken.

Libby Smith, Charleston: A former Board member of the Coastal Conservation League, Libby is currently a businesswoman in the Charleston area.

Akin Watson, Irmo: Watson is a native of Saluda and is currently the President of AllCaregivers Inc. He is also on the board of SC Home Care and Hospice Association. Watson earned his B.S. in Mathematics & Computer Programming from UCLA and his MBA from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.