Here’s Nikki Haley’s transition team, as she announced it today:
Ambassador David Wilkins, Chairman. Ambassador David H. Wilkins is a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and chairs the Public Policy and International Law practice group. Wilkins was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, serving from June 2005 to January 2009. A former speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives for 11 years and 25 years total as an elected representative, Wilkins now serves as Chairman of the Clemson University Board of Trustees.
Chad Walldorf, Vice-Chairman Chad Walldorf is the co-founder of Sticky Fingers and was named a 2004 Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Carolinas. He and his partners sold the company in 2006 after growing it to include restaurants in five states and a national line of barbecue sauces. Walldorf served in the Reagan White House’s Office of Political Affairs and for two years as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Mark Sanford. He chaired the 2007 Government Efficiency and Accountability Review (GEAR) Commission which resulted in detailed recommendations for the Budget and Control Board with half a billion dollars in estimated savings.
Derick Close. Derick Close is CEO of Springs Creative Products Group in Rock Hill. A member of Clover-based Huffman Machine Tool’s Board of Directors, Close is past president of the South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance and serves on its executive committee.
Dave Ellison. Dave Ellison joined Northwestern Mutual in 1981 after a five year banking career. He has served or is currently serving on several community boards including the Furman University Board of Trustees, the United Way of Greenville County Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. Ellison’s leadership positions include serving as past chair of the Furman Board of Trustees, past president of the Furman Alumni Association and past chair of the United Way’s Palmetto Society.
Michael Haley. Michael Haley currently works in the human resource office as the State Equal Employment Manager for the South Carolina National Guard. He is also an officer with the Medical Command in the Army National Guard.
Jermaine Husser. Jermaine Husser is currently the Executive Director (CEO) of the Lowcountry Food Bank. Husser oversees the operations, program and services at the Lowcountry Food Bank’s main distribution center in Charleston and Regional Food Centers in Myrtle Beach and Beaufort.
Jennie M. Johnson. Jennie Johnson is the Executive Director of Liberty Fellowship. She was previously president of Liberty Insurance Services and executive vice president of RBC Liberty Insurance. Her prior experience includes serving as president of Pierce National Life and strategic planning for Ashland Oil. Johnson is Vice-Chair of the Area Commission for Greenville Technical College, and she formerly chaired the South Carolina Research Authority.
Pamela P. Lackey. As President of AT&T South Carolina, Pamela Lackey is responsible for the company’s public policy, economic development and community affairs activities in the state. She works closely with state and community leaders to help bring new technology and jobs to the state and improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians. Prior to joining AT&T in 1997, she was a professional educator, most recently serving on the staff of the State Superintendent of Education. She is the Chair of the S.C. Research Centers of Economic Excellence Review Board and serves on numerous other boards, including the Central S.C. Alliance, the South Carolina State Chamber of Commerce, Governor’s School for the Arts, Palmetto Business Forum and the University of South Carolina Business Partnership Foundation.
Don Leonard. President of Leonard, Call & Associates, Inc., Don Leonard is Chairman of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank and serves on the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the National Bank of South Carolina, the Board of Trustees of the Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and the Board of Trustees of Brookgreen Gardens.
Leighton Lord. Leighton Lord is former chairman of Nexsen Pruet, LLC. He focuses his law practice on economic development and was Boeing’s legal team leader in the deal that brought the company to South Carolina. Lord serves on several boards, including Santee Cooper.
Pat McKinney. A long-time Charleston resident, Pat McKinney has spent his entire business career involved in the development of upscale communities along coastal South Carolina. Since 1988, he has been a partner in Kiawah Development Partners, the master developer of Kiawah Island. A past appointee to the State Board of Education (1987-1990), he is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of Furman University where he is chair of the Financial Management Committee.
Henry McMaster. President Ronald Reagan chose Henry McMaster to be his first U.S. Attorney. Then, when the people of South Carolina needed a strong Attorney General, they twice elected Henry McMaster. As chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, McMaster’s leadership was instrumental in electing Republican majorities to the state House and state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. McMaster has served as chairman and a member of the board of directors of the South Carolina Policy Council and was appointed by Governor Carroll Campbell to serve on the state Commission on Higher Education.
Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. A native of Kingstree and magna cum laude graduate of Claflin University, Dr. Henry Tisdale returned to his alma mater as its eighth president in 1994. Dr. Tisdale has presided over a period of unprecedented growth and development at Claflin. During his tenure, Claflin has achieved national recognition for academic excellence, increased enrollment, and enhancement of both its physical infrastructure and research capacity. Dr. Tisdale earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Claflin in 1965 and became the first African-American to receive a doctorate in mathematics from Dartmouth.
George Wolfe. A partner in the Columbia office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, George Wolfe serves as Chair of the firm’s Economic Development Practice Group. He has worked over the last 20 years to develop policies and laws in support of economic development in South Carolina. Mr. Wolfe has worked closely with companies establishing and expanding new operations in South Carolina, including some of the largest investments in the history of the state.
At this point on a Friday afternoon I don’t have much to say about the list, beyond:
- David Wilkins is there to reassure us more mainstream folk that Nikki really DOES want to play well with others. And so far, it’s working.
- Sanford Überpal Chad Walldorf is there to tell the Tea Party faithful to ignore that David Wilkins appointment, she’s not going Establishment.
- Henry McMaster is there because, well, who else among party leaders actually actively supported her campaign after he and other mainstream Republicans were pushed aside in the primary.
- Husband Michael Haley is there because… well, I’m having trouble coming up with a justification for that one. I mean, Jenny Sanford was always involved in her ex-husband’s administration because she was the brains behind the Sanford mob. But Michael Haley, from what I’ve seen, has been in the background. Of course, he and Henry were the only adults who stood up on the stage with her when she gave her victory address, so that’s something…
- George Wolfe and Leighton Lord are also, like David Wilkins, sort of reassuring ties to the actual conservative part of the Republican Party, rather than the newfangled neo-revolutionary wing. They’re both smart guys who I hope will have an impact.
Additional thoughts, anyone?