Maceo Nance – Director of Small Business & Rural Development
Maceo Nance is a South Carolina Certified Economic Developer and serves as the Director of the Small Business and Rural Development Division, a newly formed division within the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The division will focus its efforts on a revitalized small business initiative, rural and community development enhancements, trade development, recycling development and existing industry support. Prior to his most recent assignment, Maceo served as Director of Community and Rural Planning & Development, a division that was established in September of 1995. He was responsible for the development and implementation of programs to improve the competitiveness of rural South Carolina for job creation and new investment. He is also actively involved in evaluating, planning, and developing strategies to enhance South Carolina's economic, small business and community development efforts.
During his thirty-year plus tenure with the Department, he has held several positions:
- Director, Community & Rural Planning and Development
- Director - National Business Development
- Associate Director - National Business Development
- Senior Project Manager
- Project Manager
- Financial Resources Representative
- Community Development Coordinator
- Financial Data Representative
In addition, he has served on the board of directors of numerous professional organizations.
He takes a very active role in the South Carolina Economic Developers Association (SCEDA) where he concentrates on Professional Development.
- Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA (BA Degree)
- Basic Economic Developers Course, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
- Economic Development Institute, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- South Carolina Economic Developers’ Advanced Symposium
Maceo is a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, and the elder son of Dr. and Mrs. M. Maceo Nance, Jr. He is married to the former Toni Helms; they have three children Kevin, Michelle and Kimberly and four grandchildren Madison, Halie, Mya and Maci.
Chris Huffman – Chief Financial Officer
Chris Huffman joined Department of Commerce as CFO in 2008. He has been a CPA since 1997 and has worked for state government since 1992. Before becoming Commerce’s CFO, Chris was a budget director at the State Budget and Control Board and was previously employed at the Comptroller General’s Office, working on the statewide Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Chris is a Clemson University graduate.
Ford Graham – Director of International Strategy and Trade
Ford Graham was named Director of International Strategy and Trade in October of 2015. He is responsible for all international project management activity and the growth of international business in the state.
From 2011 to 2014, Graham served as the Agency’s Director of International Investment as well as the Managing Director of the State of South Carolina Europe Office in Munich, where he was responsible for leading the agency in foreign economic development efforts.
Graham has been one of the leading business recruiters for the state of South Carolina since joining the Department in 2008. He is responsible for over 70 projects statewide, resulting in commitments of more than 7,000 new jobs and $2.5B in new investment.
Prior to beginning at Commerce, Graham worked as General Counsel for a real estate development/investment firm and served as a law clerk in the 5th and 14th Judicial Circuits of South Carolina. He also served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala.
Graham received his juris doctor and international masters of business administration degrees from the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and Moore School of Business respectively. He received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University in New Orleans where he was elected Student Body President.
In 2011, he was recognized by The State Newspaper as one of the “20 Under 40” emerging business leaders and in 2012 and 2014, Graham was elected President of The Council of American States in Europe (CASE), a group of 17 U.S. states that provide information for European companies looking to establish or expand their business in the U.S.
A native of Camden, South Carolina, Graham resides in downtown Columbia with his wife Paulina and his son Paulo.
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Andre LeBlanc – Europe Office Managing Director
Based in Munich, Germany, Andre LeBlanc was appointed to serve as the Managing Director of the State of South Carolina's Europe Office in March of 2015. In his 10 years with the South Carolina Department of Commerce, LeBlanc has served as an International Trade Manager and Managing Director of the former State Office in Canada (2007-09). Prior to his current appointment, he was a Senior Project Manager with the Global Business Development Division where he successfully recruited more than 9,000 jobs and $2.4 billion dollars in direct investment to the state.
Before joining the South Carolina Department of Commerce, his career focused on pharmaceutical and biomedical marketing and management in Canada and the United States.
LeBlanc holds degrees in Economics from Concordia University and Administration from John Abbott College, and has earned industry certifications in both Pharmacology from the University of Ottawa and Economic Development from the UNC School of Government and the South Carolina Economic Developers' Association.
He is joined in Munich by his wife, Dr. Daniela Di Cecco, a tenured profesor at the University of South Carolina, and their two children.
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Nelson Lindsay - Director of Global Business Development
Nelson Lindsay joined the South Carolina Department of Commerce as the Director of Global Business Development in October of 2015. In this role, Lindsay will be responsible for all project management activity and for the recruitment of new industry to South Carolina. He will also work with existing industry to further assist in their growth.
A South Carolina Certified Economic Developer, Lindsay most recently served as Richland County’s first director of economic development. In this capacity, he worked to recruit new industry to the community as well as assist existing industry with expansions. Prior to this appointment, Lindsay served as the director of economic development for Kershaw County for more than 14 years.
Lindsay holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Wofford College, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of South Carolina. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.
Daniel Young – Director of Grants & Incentives
Daniel Young has been with the South Carolina Department of Commerce since October of 1989, when he joined the staff of the Office of Rural and Community Development. In 1996, he became the Manager of the Department's Prospect Activities team, responsible for presenting information to companies regarding the incentives available to companies and the strategic advantages of South Carolina. Since that time he has had the opportunity to work on some of the largest economic development projects in the state and help shape the state’s policy on incentives.
For the past three years, he has served as the Director of Grants Administration and the Executive Director of the Coordinating Council. The Council is responsible for approving and administering the State’s discretionary incentives and over $50 million in grant dollars annually.
Daniel is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the Economic Development Institute in Norman, OK and served on the Editorial Board of the American Economic Development Council's "Economic Development Review." Daniel is married, has two children and calls Columbia, SC home.
Benjamin D. Johnson – Director of Research
Ben Johnson is the South Carolina Department of Commerce Research Director, who manages a team of researchers and analysts that support the mission of the Department of Commerce as the lead economic development agency of the state.
An experienced research professional, he brings a wealth of management and research skills to the agency, which will be instrumental in suppoting the state's ongoing industry recruitment efforts. Johnson has served as a senior research analyst for CBRE and research and client services director at Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler.
Johnson holds bachelor's degrees in finance and marketing and a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in international business, from the University of South Carolina. He is a graduate of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Columbia program and currently serves on the Eau Claire Development Corporation Board.
Amy Love – Director of Innovation
Amy Love is the South Carolina Department of Commerce Innovation Director, formerly Marketing and Communications Director. Prior to Commerce, Amy was part of the startup team and the deputy executive director of New Carolina - South Carolina's Council on Competitiveness. She worked in corporate communications for German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom in Europe. During graduate school, Amy developed and ran the public information program for USDA Rural Development in South Carolina. She has a master’s in Public Relations from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Furman University. She is a Leadership South Carolina (LSC) Class of 2007 graduate and served on the LSC Board of Trustees. In 2014 she received the SCRA Knowledge Economist Award. Amy is a Fellow of the seventh class of the Liberty Fellowship, part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Karen Manning – Chief Legal Counsel
Ms. Manning joined the South Carolina Department of Commerce as the agency’s general counsel in December 1998, and since that time, has been responsible for all legal issues affecting the Department of Commerce. Ms. Manning works closely with the Secretary and other members of the Executive Staff to provide legal advice with respect to agency administration and activities.
Prior to joining Commerce, Ms. Manning practiced law with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP in the area of complex commercial and computer software litigation as well as drug and medical device products liability litigation. During her tenure at Nelson Mullins, Ms. Manning also worked in-house at Policy Management Systems Corporation, now CSC Corporation.
A Columbia native, Ms. Manning is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences and McIntire School of Commerce Business Institute. She later received her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Michael P. McInerney - Director, External Affairs
Michael McInerney was named director of external affairs for the S.C. Department of Commerce December 2012. McInerney serves as the liaison between the department and the state legislature, and represents the department at outside events. He also serves as special assistant to the Secretary of Commerce.
Michael has extensive background in the business world. Before joining the Commerce team, McInerney was president of Hart Telephone Company, a telephone and cable company based in Hartwell, Ga. He was with the company for more than 18 years, and also served as a board member of the Georgia Telephone Association.
Previously, he worked at Standard Telephone Company in Cornelia Ga., and at AT&T in Atlanta and in Columbia. McInerney has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont and a Masters in Business Administration from Winthrop University.
McInerney is married to the former Salley McAden of Columbia. They have two children: a daughter, Skipper, who is working as a Para-legal in Charleston and a son, Mac, who is finishing his senior year in college.
Adrienne Fairwell - Director, Marketing and Communications
Adrienne Fairwell joined the South Carolina Department of Commerce as Marketing and Communications Director in 2015. In this role, she directs the Department’s strategic communications initiatives and serves as the agency’s spokeswoman.
A veteran communications professional, she brings 15 years of experience in developing long-range strategic and communications plans to create both awareness of agency topics and generate public support. Before taking this new role, Fairwell served as public information director for S.C. Department of Revenue and director of information services at the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.