Representative James Emerson Smith Jr. speaks on August 18

In November 1966, James was first elected to the South Carolina state house as the representative from District 72, which covers an area from I-77 at Bluff Road through Shandon and north through the intersection of I-20 and I-26.

He has served in a number of leadership roles in the state house, and currently serves as 1st Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee Chairman House Oversight Committee.  He is also the current chair of the Richland County legislative delegation.

In addition, James is an attorney and a small business man.

Since 1996, he has maintained his own law firm.  And, he has gained admission to the bars in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and New York.

James is also President and CEO of The Congaree Group, LLC (TCG) and TCG Congaree Analytics, which provide services that benefit military veterans.

If that was not enough, James also serves in our Armed Forces.  In the immediate aftermath of the 911 terrorist attack and after serving for eight years as a JAG officer in South Carolina Army National Guard, James resigned as a JAG officer and then re-enlisted to pursue a commission as an Infantry Officer.  James is currently a Major and Chief of Plans for the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. James served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan with the 218th Infantry Brigade where he was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, The Bronze Star and The Purple Heart.

James has earned numerous awards including the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the University of South Carolina (USC), the Distinguished Service Award from USC’s College of Arts and Sciences, and the South Carolina Bar’s Young Lawyer of the Year.  In 2016, James also received the Compleat Lawyer Award Gold Medallion.

James obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from USC in 1990, and earned his Juris Doctor from USC in 1995.

James, who is a Columbia native, is married to Kirkland T. Smith, an accomplished artist. They have three sons.


Reporter John Monk of The State newspaper will speak August 11, 2017 at Main St Methodist (1830 Main Street, 29201)

John Monk, a “reality based” reporter on crime, legal, and justice issues for The State newspaper will tell us what it means to be a journalist today, when “the media” often seems to be under attack as providing “fake news”.

He is a former Washington correspondent for the Charlotte Observer. He is a U.S. Army veteran, plays the violin and enjoys off-trail hiking.

Monk, a 21-year veteran reporter at The State, was honored by the SC Press Association in March 2017 with the 2016 Jay Bender assertive journalism award.

In the past year, Monk was responsible for breaking a major story on S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s attempts to clamp down on an independent prosecutor’s investigation of public corruption in the General Assembly.

Read more here.

Meet Ameya, our newest member

Ameya Pethe

On July 28, Ameya (uh-may-uh) Pethe (peh-tay) was inducted as our newest Rotarian. His father, Mrunalini Pethe and mother, Vinayak Pethe, were present.  Nancy Moody led the induction.

Ameya was born in Puney, India in the state of Maharashtra.  At six years of age, his family moved to Dubai, UAE where Ameya was in school through high school.  He returned to India for his college degree from Puney University.

Then he came to the USA to study at SUNY Utica in 2011 and graduated with a Master’s Degree in 2013.

He is an IT Solutions Architect at  Enterprise IT Solutions based in Charlotte.

Let’s welcome Ameya to Five Points.

Sgt Greg Pinckney on Boating Safety – July 28, 2017

Should only row-boats (left bottom photo) and sail boats be allowed on Lake  Murray?  Too many people die each year on SC lakes due to a mix of fast motor boats (top left photo), alcohol use by drivers and passengers, not knowing and following right-of-way rules, distracted drivers unaware of where they are going and not responsible enough to look out for other boaters, and occupants not wearing life preservers.

We learned that there were no instructions required on how to operate a boat in SC.  All that’s needed is to get a license for the boat itself.  Training is available, but not required.

Sgt Greg Pinckney (top right photo, far right) will talk with us about how to reduce these deaths on SC lakes.  Pinckney attended Walterboro High School, graduated from Claflin College with a degree in elementary education, served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and joined the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 2000, where he was named Officer of the Year. He specializes in education on safe and responsible hunting and boating.

Amanda McNulty – “Making It Grow” – July 14

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson Extension Agent, Host and Producer of ETV’s gardening advice program “Making It Grow.”  She works with clients and teaches a Master Gardener training program.  She also writes and records horticultural tips aired on all SCETV radio stations and writes a regular column for the SC Department of Natural Resources’ “SC Wildlife” magazine.  She has a MAT Secondary Science degree from SC State University and a BS in Horticulture from Clemson University.  She speaks at over 30 venues a year, including formal gardening seminars and civic and other organizations.

Photo: SCETV

David Boucher: New Directions in Health Care – July 7




David Boucher, president and CEO of UCI Medical Affiliates, Inc., manages Doctors Care urgent care and physical therapy centers, all owned by BlueCross BlueShield of SC. A past-president of the Capital Rotary Club, he will be speaking on July 7, 2017 about his perspective on the changes in health care today and in the future.  (Photo: provided)

Dr. Andrew Leaphart and Randall Young will speak on the South Carolina Department of Transportation plans for Roads and Transportation on Friday June 23, 2017 at the Convention Center at 1:00 PM

Andrew T. Leaphart, P.E., was selected as the Chief Engineer for Operations for the South Carolina Department of Transportation in September of 2015. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the agency’s Traffic Engineering Division, Maintenance Division, and Field Operations staff.

In his 25 years with the Department, Leaphart has served in numerous leadership roles for the agency, in both Engineering and Administrative positions. Prior to his selection as Chief Engineer for Operations, he served as Director of Support Services overseeing Information Technology Services, Capital Improvements, Occupational Safety & Health, Customer Relations, and Commission Support. He also served as the Assistant Chief Engineer for Operations for four years, and has spent the majority of his career in SCDOT’s Traffic Engineering Office.

Andy is a 1991 graduate of Clemson University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in South Carolina. He and his wife Marcie live in Lexington with their two children, Austin and Audrey.

Randall Young, P.E. began his career with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) in 1994 as a summer intern and accepted a permanent position in 1996 upon graduation. He has served in various areas throughout the agency including both field and headquarters’ positions. In 2007, Randall was promoted to Midlands Regional Production Engineer within the Preconstruction Division, where he oversaw the design and project management within fourteen counties.
Randall was appointed Chief Engineer for Project Delivery by Deputy Secretary Leland Colvin in August 2016 after serving in the Acting capacity since December 2015. He oversees the divisions of Preconstruction, Construction, Environmental, Local Programs and Rights of Way.
Randall earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Clemson University in 1996 and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business in 2002. Randall is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of South Carolina.

Billy Routh, from Copper Dome Strategies, LLC, to Summarize Legislation Passed by the SC General Assembly on Friday the 16th at the Carolina Convention Center at 1:00 PM

Billy Routh serves as a lobbyist and consultant for Copper Dome Strategies, LLC. They are a subsidiary of the Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd Law Firm. He assists clients with governmental relations before the legislative and executive branches of the state of South Carolina.

He has nearly three decades of experience in the governmental and legislative arenas. He served on the staff of the South Carolina House of Representatives, ultimately becoming Chief of Staff for the S.C. Speaker of the House. Billy was the Legislative Liaison for Governor David Beasley for four years, where he worked to advance the governor’s agenda and that of his cabinet.

He aided the late Governor Carroll Campbell for six years in several capacities, including serving as Director of Intergovernmental Relations and Transportation. He also served as the governor’s liaison to local government officials and transportation entities such as the S.C. Department of Transportation and S.C. State Ports Authority. The Columbia native also worked for the State Budget and Control Board’s Division of the Chief Information Officer as Program Manager for Strategic Communications. All of this previous experience provides him with a well-rounded knowledge of the governmental process and a vast network of working relationships in state government.

Prior to his government service, Billy worked in the private sector as a small business owner (an all-night restaurant in Five Points). He also spent a number of years as a professional drummer and traveled around the world entertaining America’s troops and families with the USO.

Dr. Eric Emerson, Director of the SC Department of Archives, to speak on the Seven Constitutions of South Carolina Friday, June 9th, 2017 at the Convention Center at 1:00PM

Eric Emerson is the sixth director of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and State Historic Preservation Officer. During the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, he served as chair of the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board and authored a number of articles regarding the commemoration. He currently serves on the National Historic Publications and Records Commission and a number of other state and national boards and committees. A native of Charlotte, N.C., he holds a BA in history from UNC-Charlotte and a MA and PhD in history from the University of Alabama. He began his career in public history as editor of the South Carolina Historical Magazine and later served was executive director of the South Carolina Historical Society and the Charleston Library Society. He has edited three annotated editions of Civil War letters published by the University of South Carolina Press and is the author of Sons of Privilege: The Charleston Light Dragoons in the Civil War (USC Press, 2006).