Monday, November 13, 2017: Carl Blackstone – President and CEO, Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Please join us on Monday, November 13th when we will welcome Carl Blackstone – President and CEO, Columbia Chamber of Commerce to our podium.

In his role as President and CEO of the Columbia Chamber, Carl is focused on creating a business environment where businesses prosper. His experience working with small and large businesses, as well as professional trade associations on local, state and federal levels enable him to look long-term at how today’s actions impact businesses in the decades ahead.

Just as the Columbia Chamber is accountable to its Partners to work to create and sustain a pro-business climate, The Chamber is clear in its expectation of transparency and accountability for all elected and appointed officials. That accountability is essential to establish and to maintain the public’s trust.

Before joining the Chamber, Carl worked as government relations advisor for the clients of Copper Dome Strategies, LCC, a subsidiary of Haynsworth Sinker Boyd, P.A. He assisted clients with legislative and other governmental actions before the South Carolina General Assembly, South Carolina Governor’s Office and executive branch of the state of South Carolina. He also worked closely with the members and staff of the South Carolina U.S. Congressional delegation.

Carl served as senior legislative advisor to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford where he was the governor’s liaison to the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives. Previously, he served as district field manager for Mark Sanford when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Carl’s professional experience also includes working as the manager of state government relations for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Carl is an active member in the community and attends First Presbyterian Church. He has served as a member of the Riverbanks Society and Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital board of directors. Carl received his degree in business administration from the College of Charleston and is also a graduate of Leadership South Carolina.

Monday, November 6, 2017: Bobby Richardson – 1960 WS MVP-NY Yankees, USC Baseball Coach, etc.

Please join us on Monday, November 6th when we will welcome Bobby Richardson – 1960 WS MVP-NY Yankees, USC Baseball Coach, etc. to our podium.

Bobby Richardson joined the New York Yankees at the age of 19. Over the next twelve years, Bobby played in more than 1400 games while the Yankees were winning American League pennants in nine of his first ten years.

Named the Most Valuable Player in the 1960 World Series (still the only player from a losing team to be so named), Bobby still holds numerous World Series records, including runs-batted-in in a game, runs-batted-in in a series and hits in a series. he also holds the record for having played in 30 consecutive World Series games.

Bobby finished as runner-up to Mickey Mantle in the voting for American League MVP in 1962. He was a member of seven American League All-Star teams and won five consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove awards.

After retiring from the Yankees at the age of 31, Bobby became the baseball coach at the University of South Carolina. In 1975, his team compiled a record of 51-6, losing to Texas in the final game of the College World Series.

After having also coached at Coastal Carolina University and Liberty University, Bobby stepped down as Athletic Director at Liberty in 1990. He is still active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and served for ten years as the president of Baseball Chapel.

Bobby received many honors over the years including two honorary doctorates and the prestigious Golden Gavel Award from Toastmaster International. In 2013 he was honored with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bobby and his wife, Betsy, live in Sumter, South Carolina.

Monday, October 30, 2017: Dr. Tim Hardee – President of the SC Technical College System

Please join us on Monday, October 30th when we will welcome Dr. Tim Hardee, President of the SC Technical College System to our podium.

Dr. Tim Hardee serves as president of the SC Technical College System. Dr. Hardee has over 30 years of experience in education throughout the State of South Carolina. Before taking the helm of the System, he served as president of Central Carolina Technical College. He has also served as a teacher, coach, counselor and principal at the K-12 level.

Dr. Hardee graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Coastal Carolina University, a M. Ed. in Counselor Education and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Hardee has served on numerous boards and councils dedicated to furthering the community and the state through education, workforce development and economic development. He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and the South Carolina Economic Developers Program.

Dr. Hardee was presented the Coastal Carolina University Outstanding Alumni award and the Sumter Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Achievement Award.


Monday, October 23, 2017: Lou Kennedy – President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Please join us on Monday, October 23rd when we will welcome Lou Kennedy – President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation to our podium.

Lou Kennedy is President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation. She joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and accepted the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2007. Having held a variety of marketing and operational roles during her career; one notable achievement at Nephron was creating a national sales force, a rarity in the pharmaceutical industry. In the years following, this helped Nephron Pharmaceuticals grow by 300% and increased shipped product to one billion doses each of the last seven years.

Nephron recently built a state of the art manufacturing facility in West Columbia, South Carolina. Mrs. Kennedy was at the forefront of this expansion, which opened in June 2014. Lou is always seeking to enhance and grow her business. She started a 503B Outsourcing division of Nephron in 2016. Production for that division began in January 2017 and is rapidly increasing.

Along with her husband Bill, Mrs. Kennedy helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy. She serves on a variety of business and civic boards, including but not limited to, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the National Bank of South Carolina Board, a division of Synovus, Columbia College Board of Trustees, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance as well as the USC Athletic Department Board. Lou and Bill Kennedy were named Ambassadors of the Year by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce in 2013. They also received the Lexington County Ambassador for Economic Development award in 2014. A graduate of the University of South Carolina’s College of Journalism with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Mrs. Kennedy never shies from the opportunity to cheer on the Gamecocks!


Monday, October 16, 2017: Robert Hughes III – President, Hughes Development Corporation

Please join us on Monday, October 16th when we will welcome Robert Hughes III, President of Hughes Development Corporation to our podium.

Robert Hughes III serves as President of Hughes Development Corporation (HDC), a third generation, family owned real estate development firm based in Greenville, SC. HDC has developed and owned projects across the southeast in virtually all product types. Over the last 15 years, HDC has refined its focus to mixed-use, urban developments with a focus on place-making.

Recent projects include Greenville ONE, RiverPlace and the Bank of America Building renovation, all located in downtown Greenville. Currently, HDC’s focus is the 181-acre BullStreet Neighborhood in downtown Columbia, SC. As master developer, HDC is overseeing up to 3.3 million square feet of commercial development and 3,553 residential units, all centered around a new MiLB ballpark.

Prior to joining HDC, Robert worked as Assistant Vice President in sales and trading in New York City for Barclays Capital, after starting his career in the same division at Lehman Brothers. In 2011, Robert left Barclays Capital to pursue his MBA at Columbia Business School with a focus in Real Estate. He graduated with honors in 2012 and received the William J. Heffernan Memorial Award for Service.

Robert is also a graduate of Duke University and the Lawrenceville School. He serves on the Academic Advancement Council for the USC School of Medicine- Greenville, the Artisphere Board of Directors, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors, the Accelerate Strategic Leadership Council, and is a member of Leadership Greenville Class 40.

About the BullStreet Neighborhood

The BullStreet Neighborhood is a 20-year, 181-acre project to transform the historic S.C. State Hospital site into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood district in downtown Columbia, S.C. The state’s first urban gigabit community, BullStreet is home to Spirit Communications Park, where the Columbia Fireflies Minor League Baseball team has hosted more than 400,000 guests to date, as well as the First Base Building (the largest private office building constructed in Columbia, S.C. since 2009), home to Ogletree Deakins law firm, TCube Solutions software company and Founders Federal Credit Union. Bone-In Barbeque restaurant opens in the historic Ensor Building in Fall 2017, the 196-unit Merrill Gardens senior living community is under construction, and 28 residential townhomes are under construction at TownPark at BullStreet, adjacent to the renovated historic Parker Annex office building. The award-winning historic Bakery at BullStreet building is home to the SOCO cowork and event space, the Central Energy Facility is the future home of Downtown Church, and plans are underway for a new USC Health Sciences campus. Smith Branch Creek will be daylighted and run through a 20-acre public park, mitigating flooding downstream. BullStreet contains 125,000+ square feet of commercial/office and retail space and is zoned for up to 3.3 million square feet of commercial use and 3,553 residential units. Follow @BullStreetSC on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and learn more at