Jeff Ruble to speak on Economic Development Trends in Richland County on Friday @ 1:00 PM at the Convention Center

Jeff Ruble 2 photo 1 14 14 (002)Jeff Ruble is Director of Economic Development for Richland County, where he oversees a project team responsible for recruiting and sustaining business and industry.

Previously he served as Senior Vice President for Global Business Development with the South Carolina Power Team, which represents the economic development interests for 20 electric cooperatives across South Carolina and Santee Cooper. In two years in that role, his team recorded the two most successful years in the organization’s history, including landing Volvo Cars North America.

Before joining the SC Power Team, Mr. Ruble spent 12 years recruiting companies to the Columbia region for the Central SC Alliance and its predecessors promoting first a four-county and then a 12-county region. While there, he worked with companies investing more than $8 billion and creating more than 50,000 jobs.

Jeff  is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute and one of several nationally-accredited Certified Economic Developers in South Carolina. He’s completed post-graduate work at the University of South Florida, Georgia Tech and the University of South Carolina.

He serves as the immediate past president of the South Carolina Economic Developers Association, and serves on the boards of Accelerate SC and the Columbia USC Incubator. He is also a member of the International Economic Development Council and the Southern Economic Development Council. He has published articles on regional economic development strategies and energy policy.

Venkat Lakshmi to speak on Hydrology from Space this Friday @ 1:00 PM at the Convention Center

Venkat_LakshmiVenkat graduated from University of Roorkee in 1987 with a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and a Doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1996 from Princeton. He worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 1996-1999 as a research scientist in the Laboratory for the Atmospheres. His areas of interest are catchment hydrology, satellite data validation and assimilation, field experiments, land-atmosphere interactions, satellite data downscaling, vadose zone and water resources. He is the Carolina Trustee Professor and former Chair of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of South Carolina and has over 60 peer-reviewed articles and 200 presentations and thesis supervisor for 20 graduate students. He is currently is serving as Associate Editor of Journal of Hydrology and editor for Vadose Zone Journal and former chairman of the Chapman Conference committee for AGU.

Charlie Banks, Managing Partner, SC Angels Network – to talk about Investing in South Carolina on February 10, 2017


Charlie is an experienced serial entrepreneur who has founded, run, and invested in multiple manufacturing, financial services, building science, and real estate companies in South Carolina.

Prior to co-founding VentureSouth, he served as a Portfolio Manager at a start-up financial institution based in Greenville, SC where he was responsible for developing and implementing many of its entrepreneur engagement strategies. He was recently named to the “50 Most Influential People” and “20 under 40” lists in Columbia, SC by two regional business publications.

Newberry College BS in Business Administration. Learn more about Charlie via LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter

Joel Collins of Collins & Lacy, P.C. will Speak on the 14th Amendment Friday January 27th at the Convention Center

collins_joelJoel Collins co-founded Collins & Lacy, P.C. in 1984, representing clients in defense litigation throughout SC, with his focus being on Professional Liability Law, White-Collar Criminal Defense and Complex Civil Litigation. Joel has served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps after graduating law school and served a year in Viet Nam where he was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medals. Joel has held many leadership positions in civic organizations, some of which are Rotary, the National Safety Council and President of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is an Adjunct Professor at the USC Honors College, teaching the U.S. Constitution. He will be speaking on the 14th Amendment.

Elena Osokina to Speak on Relations Between Russia and the NATO Countries on Friday January 20th at the Convention Center

Elena Osokina Less PixelsElena A. Osokina is a Professor of Russian History at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, USA). She received her Ph.D. from the Department of History at Moscow University, Russia.  Author of The Heavenly Blue of Angels’ Vestments: Soviet Export of Religious Art (Forthcoming); Gold for Industrialization: Torgsin (Moscow: Rosspen, 2009, in Russian), Our Daily Bread: Socialist Distribution and the Art of Survival in Stalin’s Russia, 1927-1941 (Armonk, New York & London, England: M.E. Sharpe, 2001), Hierarchy of Consumption. Life under the Stalinist Rationing System. 1928-1935. (Moscow: MGOU, 1993, in Russian), and numerous articles on Russian and Soviet history published in Russia, USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, and France. Elena Osokina is a recipient of the fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, Kennan Institute-Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington, D.C., USA), National Endowment for the Humanities (USA), Fulbright (USA), the National Gallery of Art (USA, Washington, D.C.), Hoover Institution (Stanford, USA), La Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Paris, France), Davis Center for Russian Studies (Harvard University, USA), Aleksanteri Institute (Helsinki, Finland), and others. Elena Osokina taught at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Oberlin College, and Missouri State University, and internationally at the Donaueschingen Academy (on the invitation of the Council of Europe) and Leuphana Universität Lüneburg (both in Germany).,

James Brannock to Speak on the Appraisal Process Friday at 1:00 PM at the Columbia Convention Center


James Brannock is a professional appraiser. He neither buys or sells the items that he appraises. He subscribes to the Code of Ethics for the American Society of Appraisers and performs work consistent with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). He received a bachelor’s degree from Wofford College and has successfully completed appraisal courses at The George Washington University (in conjunction with the American Society of Appraisers). He continually is updating studies and certifications related to connoisseurship.   Prior to his appraisal business, he served as an Army officer and then had 28 years’ experience in executive positions with business and trade organizations. He is also the recipient of the Order of the Palmetto award from the Governor of South Carolina.

He is a member of the SC Federation of Museums; SC Silver Society; Historic Columbia Foundation; Columbia Woodworkers’ Club; Society of Period Furniture Makers; Friends of Old Salem; Winterthur; Columbia Museum of Art and a “business partner” with the Friends of the Richland County Public Library. He has volunteered for the conservation lab at the South Carolina State Museum for seven years.

For clients, he prepares a formal letter of agreement; it names the value to be concluded (for example: fair market value for divorce and estate purposes is very different from replacement value for insurance scheduling) and the intended use of the report.

His appraisal practice, established in 2003, has covered a wide range of properties: general household contents, high-end antiques, silver, art, guns, American Indian/African and other tribal art/artifacts, cars/trucks/motorcycles (stock and custom), boats, tractors/farm equipment, trade tools and equipment and commercial furniture, fixtures and equipment.   He provides professional appraisal services for individuals, insurance companies, banks, lawyers and their clients, universities and museums.

On Friday, Mr. Brannock will be speaking to the Rotary Club of Five Points about the appraisal process.

Chuck Beaman, CEO of Palmetto Health, to talk with Five Points Rotary about the Future of Health Care in the United States at the Convention Center on Friday December 9th


Charles D. (Chuck) Beaman Jr. serves as Chief Executive Officer of Palmetto Health, the largest integrated healthcare delivery system in the midlands of South Carolina. Palmetto Health includes a regional teaching hospital and tertiary center, three acute care hospitals, a heart hospital, a children’s hospital, and a psychiatric and behavioral health hospital.
Mr. Beaman served as founding President of Palmetto Health at its inception in 1998. He was appointed by the Palmetto Health Board of Directors in January 2007 to serve as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to the creation of Palmetto Health, Mr. Beaman served as President and CEO of Baptist Healthcare System of South Carolina, Inc., from 1987 to 1998. He began his career in healthcare with the Baptist Healthcare System of South Carolina, Inc., formerly South Carolina Baptist Hospitals, Inc., in 1973.
The University of South Carolina School of Medicine conferred upon Mr. Beaman an honorary Doctor of Public Administration, the first honorary doctoral degree ever conferred by the USC School of Medicine. The honorary degree, its highest recognition, was awarded at their graduation ceremonies on May 7, 2010. Beaman received the 2013 American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Regent’s Senior Level Healthcare Executive award. This award recognizes ACHE affiliates who exemplify the characteristics and qualities of professionalism, life-long learning and development, along with the high ethical standards promoted by the ACHE. Beaman served as a member of the South Carolina Hospital Association board of trustees in various leadership capacities and was twice elected chairman. He received the 2004 South Carolina Hospital Association’s Distinguished Service Award, its highest honor presented to individuals who have contributed significantly to health care in South Carolina. He also served as the southeast regional healthcare representative to the American Hospital Association Regional Policy board. He has served as president of the National Baptist Healthcare Association.

Alicia Walker to Direct University of South Carolina Men’s Choir at the Convention Center 1:00 PM on Friday November 17th

alicia-walkerAlicia W. Walker is Associate Director of Choral Studies at the University of South Carolina, where she directs the University Chorus, the USC Men’s Chorus, teaches undergraduate Conducting and Choral Methods, and supervises student teachers. At the graduate level, she teaches courses in Conducting, Music Education, and Sacred Music. She holds degrees from Florida State University (B.M.E.), the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.C.M.), and the University of Georgia (D.M.A.). An experienced music educator, Dr. Walker taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in Florida and Georgia prior to joining the music education faculty at the University of Georgia.  She was a 2013 Teaching Fellow in USC’s Center for Teaching Excellence in the area of Service Learning.  Recently, Dr. Walker has taught and conducted in St. Lucia and South Africa, and in 2015 she made her conducting debut at Carnegie Hall.  She maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.  Her research interests include the life and music of Herbert Howells, as well as the effectiveness of international service-learning experiences for teacher preparation.

In addition, Dr. Walker is currently President of Southern Division ACDA (American Choral Directors Association. A long-time church musician, she was the first national leadership team coordinator for Polyphony, an organization for pastoral musicians, and she served as a committee chair for the 2010 hymnal, Celebrating Grace.  Her commitment to mentoring has prompted Dr. Walker to found “Facets,” a leadership retreat for women conductors.