Division Directors

Maceo Nance – Director of Small Business & Rural Development

Maceo NanceMaceo 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.

Graduate of:

  • 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.

David Clayton – Director of Research

David ClaytonDavid Clayton joined the South Carolina Department of Commerce as the Director of the Research Division in 2009.  In this role, he manages an interdisciplinary team of researchers and analysts who support the mission of the Department of Commerce as the lead economic development agency of the state.

He previously served as a Senior Manager with Sherman Financial Group and its subsidiary companies involved in automobile lending, mortgage servicing and credit card portfolio management.  Prior to that, Clayton spent over five years as both a nuclear fuel design engineer with Westinghouse Electric Company in Columbia, SC and in gas turbine research and development at General Electric in Greenville, SC.

He graduated with an International MBA from the University of South Carolina and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University.

Chris Huffman – Chief Financial Officer

Chris HuffmanChris 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 – South Carolina Director of International Investment, Managing Director, Europe Office

Ford GrahamFord Graham is the Director of International Investment at the South Carolina Department of Commerce. He is responsible for leading the agency in large-scale 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 60 projects statewide, resulting in commitments of more than 6,500 new jobs and $2.4B 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. 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.

Graham continues to be heavily involved in the community as a board member in Indian Waters Council’s Three Rivers District, President of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Carolina and member of the Friends of the Richland County Public Library board.

In 2011, he was recognized by The State Newspaper as one of the “20 Under 40” emerging business leaders and in 2012, Graham was elected President of the Council of American States in Europe (CASE), a group of 15 U.S. states that provides 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 Munich with his wife Paulina and his son Paulo.

Jennifer Noel – Director of Global Business Development

Jennifer NoelJennifer E. Noel is the director of the Global Business Development division at the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Before coming to Commerce, Noel worked at the Upstate Alliance, where she was the executive vice president. During her time at the Upstate Alliance, Noel secured and administered $2 million in grant funding for the organization and championed the organization’s award-winning “I Was Blown Away” branding campaign. Previously, she had worked at Erwin-Penland Advertising Inc. and the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce.

Noel had previously worked at Commerce, first in Commerce’s Division of Research and Communications as an industry database manager, starting in January 1995. She later became assistant manager for Rural Development.

Noel holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. She is a 2006 graduate of Leadership South Carolina and is a member of the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Economic Developers Association.  

If moving or expanding your business to South Carolina, contact JNoel@SCcommerce.com.

Daniel Young – Director of Grants & Incentives

Daniel YoungDaniel 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.

Amy Love – Director of Innovation

Amy Love

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

Karen ManningMs. 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 McInerneyMichael 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.

 

Allison Skipper - Director, Marketing and Communications

Allison Skipper joined the South Carolina Department of Commerce as Marketing and Communications Director in the fall of 2013. In this role, she directs the Department’s strategic communications initiatives and serves as the agency’s spokeswoman. She previously spent nine years at the South Carolina Ports Authority in Charleston, where she most recently served as public relations manager handling external communications, media and community relations.

Early in her career, Ms. Skipper was named Rookie of the Year by the South Carolina Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, an organization for which she served as Chapter President in 2010. She was named Young Leader of the Year at Charleston’s 2012 National Transportation Week Banquet and was in the inaugural class of Lowcountry’s Best and Brightest Young Professionals through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

A native of Lexington, South Carolina, Ms. Skipper earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of South Carolina, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude and With Honors from the South Carolina Honors College. She has earned the Accreditation in Public Relations designation and a professional certificate from the College of Charleston’s intermodal transportation and global logistics program.