Latest News

Below, you'll meet the people we believe made the most impact on Columbia during the past year in the business, government, education and nonprofit categories. 

Since influence is a rather subjective concept, you'll notice we've included no numbered rankings. We consider the contributions of each of these people to be important in shaping Columbia's business and community landscape over the past twelve months. 

In the case where several people were integral in coordinating certain deals or events, they are grouped together to represent one of our 50 listings.


The Nickelodeon Theatre is the only non-profit art house film theater in South Carolina.
Until July 1, Bill Kirkland was executive director of the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator.
Bob Hughes may live in Greenville, but he is a power in Columbia as the developer of what has become known as the Bull Street Project
As the state’s chief economic recruiter, Bobby Hitt had a good year. Investment and relocation announcements were a nearly daily event, as businesses large and small moved here or expanded. Boeing continues to delight with more expansion of its North Charleston campus, and Michelin’s $1.2 billion in new investment added hundreds of jobs at multiple locations.
It is hard to understand when Boyd Jones does his job as head of commercial and industrial lending with NBSC.
Fort Jackson is the largest initial training facility in the military.
Cathy Monetti is founder of Riggs Partners
Chuck Beaman is head of he largest integrated healthcare delivery system in South Carolina.
Curtis Loftis has taken the unheralded office state treasurer and turned into one of the most-watched government agencies in Columbia.
The Columbia Metropolitan Airport got some good news during the year. A report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air
As head of the state’s largest insurance company, it fell to David Pankau to integrate the Affordable Care Act into his company’s suite of products.
Accounting and consulting firm Scott + Co. considerably expanded its depth and breadth in 2013 through mergers and organic growth.
Don Tomlin is a developer and businessman whose interests range from portrait studios to the media.
Harris Pastides celebrated his fifth anniversary leading the state’s largest university.
Holt Chetwood is the Midlands market president/business banking manager for Wells Fargo.
Boeing acquired 468 acres of additional land as part of an expansion of its North Charleston campus.
James T. McLawhorn, Jr. has served as the president and CEO of the Columbia Urban League, Inc., since 1979.
The state-owned railroad formerly known as S.C. Public Railways, consolidated its four entities into one and changed the name in October to better reflect its economic development mission.
For over 90 years, the Brennan Building served as home to the Capitol Café, the place where politicians, lobbyists, journalists, and government workers took their meals and shared their gossip.
JoAnn Turnquist leads a nonprofit organization with assets of $100 million that serves 11 counties in the Midlands by helping charitable individuals and businesses meet the critical needs of the community.
John Dozier’s title is actually Chief Diversity Officer and Special Advisor for Online Services.
Judy Davis has been with Blue Cross Blue Shield since 1995. In addition to her duties at the state’s largest insurance company
As head of the city’s premier cultural institution, Karen Brosius oversees a wide variety of artistic offerings.
Kelvin Washington is in his second year as chair of the Richland County Council.
SCANA’s principal subsidiary, South Carolina Electric and Gas, got a 2.87 percent rate increase
Larry Hembree is finishing his first year as managing director of Trustus Theater, a position he took when Trustus co-founders Jim and Kay Thigpen retired.
As head of a $50 million advertising and marketing firm, Lee Bussell has led his team as their clients navigate the fast-moving and sometimes
IT-oLogy is non-profit collaboration of companies, academic institutions, and other organizations dedicated to growing the IT talent pipeline.
Although headquartered in Orlando, FL, Nephron is run by two USC graduates.
Mac Bennett is in charge of the United Way efforts in six Midlands counties. The organization raises and distributes about $7 million annually.
Matt Kennell is “Mister Downtown Columbia.” A tireless booster of Main Street and environs, Kennell recruits businesses
It is a measure of the respect and affection that tax-averse residents of Richland County have for their library system
Mike Brennan is co chair of TransformSC, an initiative of New Carolina to revamp education in South Carolina by rethinking what schools need to be focusing on for the employability of students upon graduation, and how best to accomplish that.
Gov. Nikki Haley consolidated her political position in 2013, raising enough money for her re-election bid to scare off any serious challengers.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is the chamber that coordinates economic development efforts statewide.
In the first half of 2013, AT&T invested nearly $140 million in its wireless and wired networks in South Carolina.
The new building for the Darla School of Business is nearing completion, moving the school from its anonymous location on campus to a showplace on Assembly Street.
Randy Halfacre has been a power in Lexington County and the Midlands for years, in part because he held dual posts as head of the chamber of commerce and mayor of the town of Lexington.
Ric Luber surprised many people when he abruptly tendered his resignation from the organization he has run since 2007.
Columbia’s SCBT merged with Charleston-based First Financial Holdings.
As president of Palmetto Health Foundation, Samuel Tenenbaum oversees the activities of an organization that engages community partners
As the leader of the major tourist attraction in Columbia for 37 years, Riverbanks Zoo president and CEO Satch Krantz long has been a big deal in the Midlands.
The Daniel Island-based tech firm, which provides cloud-based software for employee benefits, plans to create 1,200 jobs...
Sonny White announced at the end of the year he is retiring in 2014 so the new president will have time to work with the college’s chief operating officer and academic officers before they retire.
Steve Benjamin had several significant wins in the year. He pushed through the redevelopment plan for the Bull Street project, saved the Palmetto Compress
The Visor still has it. An 11-2 season, a second appearance in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, and a good recruiting season add up to another successful year for Columbia’s favorite football coach.
Steven Mungo gave $150,000 to Harvest Hope Food Bank to augment the food drive the homebuilder conducts WACH Fox TV.
Terry Brown’s real estate development company builds shopping centers up and down the east coast.
NAI Avant's commercial real estate business is one of the largest in the Southeast, with over 65 professionals.