Csilla Farkas to speak on Cyber Warfare from a Technical and Societal Perspective on Friday March 17th at the Convention Center at 1:00 PM

farkas-newCsilla Farkas is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Center for Information Assurance Engineering at the University of South Carolina.   Her research interests include information security, data inference problems, financial and legal analyses of cyber crime, and cyber-physical systems security.  Dr. Farkas is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Career award.  The topic of her award is “Semantic Web: Interoperation vs. Security – A New Paradigm of Confidentiality Threats.”  Dr. Farkas actively participates in international scientific communities as program committee member and reviewer.

Our society is increasingly dependent on computing technologies.  At the same time, cyber attacks are becoming more-and-more intrusive and devastating.  There is a diminishing separation between cyber and physical systems.  In this talk she will present the changing landscape of today’s cyber threats and the challenges faced by individuals, corporations, and nations. I will provide an overview of promising approaches that bring together technical, human, business, and legal experts to identify and implement the most suitable cybersecurity strategies.

Bill Reynolds, owner of Beaufort Tours to provide Tour of Beaufort History on Friday at the Convention Center

Bill ReynoldsBill Reynolds has owned Beaufort Tours LLC since 2012.  The company provides walking and Van Tours of the Historic District and Antebellum Homes and Locations used in movies like Prince of Tides, The Big Chill, The Great Santini and Forrest Gump. Plantation and Gullah Tours, Civil War and Reconstruction Tours. Website: www.beauforttoursllc.com

In addition to Beaufort Tours, Bill is also the proprietor for Groomingdales – a dog grooming services, including bathing, haircuts, nail clipping and doggie daycare and CEO and Founder for ManagedPrint Inc. ManagedPrint is a reseller for Hewlett Packard Laser Printers and Warranties with offices in Columbia, SC, Charlotte, NC; Charleston, SC and Greenville/Spartanburg, SC.

Bill received his Master of International Business Studies (MIBS), University of South Carolina in 1985, and his Bachelor of Arts, Furman University, Greenville, SC. Class of 1982; majoring in Political Science and French

Bill actively participates in the planning committee for the International Film Festival and has also served on the MIBS Alumni Board from 1994-2003 and served as President of the same Board from 1994-1998.  Bill is a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Five Point’s and was actively involved as a Foundation Advocate, in the Group Study Exchange, with the Gift for Life Committee and he chaired the Centennial Celebration.

On Friday, Bill will provide the club a tour of Beaufort’s History.


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.