Monday, February 26, 2018: Rebecca Gunnlaugsson – Economist at Acuitas Economics- Tax Reform in SC

Please join us on Monday, February 26th when we will welcome Dr. Rebecca Gunnlaugsson – Economist at Acuitas Economics  to our podium.

Dr. Rebecca Gunnlaugsson is an economist specializing in public finance and taxation. She formerly served as the Director of the Division of Research and subsequently Chief Economist at the South Carolina Department of Commerce. In these roles she led research teams analyzing economic issues impacting South Carolina and was instrumental in the reorganization of the Department of Employment and Workforce and the redesign of the state’s indebted Unemployment Insurance which is, since 2014, fully solvent.

She has done extensive research on taxation and optimization for long term economic growth, having testified before the 2009 Senate Finance Committee on Unemployment Insurance, the 2010 South Carolina Tax Realignment Commission (TRAC) and the 2017 South Carolina House Tax Policy Review Committee, as well as having served on the 2016 Governor’s Local Government Competitiveness Council.

Her experience also includes that as a senior technology consultant for Accenture where she was involved in firm-wide business and technology implementations. Dr. Gunnlaugsson is currently president of Acuitas Economics, where she specializes in statistical analysis and econometric modeling to develop interactive, visual methods to deliver data-driven insights and recommended policy solutions.

Dr. Gunnlaugsson received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan.

Monday, February 12, 2018: Lt. General John Rosa – President of The Citadel- 175th Anniversary

Please join us on Monday, February 12th when we will welcome Lt. General John Rosa – President of The Citadel to our podium.

Lieutenant General John W. Rosa became the 19th President of The Citadel on January 3, 2006. He returned to his alma mater after serving as Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

An alumnus, highly decorated pilot, three-star general, and parent of a graduate, General Rosa brings extensive experience in leadership, education and public service to The Citadel.

Under Lt Gen Rosa’s leadership, The Citadel remains focused on its mission to educate and develop principled leaders for the military, private enterprise, and public institutions. For the sixth year in a row, U.S. News and World Report ranked The Citadel the #1 College in the South among its peers. The Citadel will also conclude an historic $175 million capital campaign in conjunction with its LEAD 2018 strategic plan in May 2018.

Commissioned in the United States Air Force upon graduation, Lt Gen Rosa is a command-rated fighter pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours, including a tour as an exchange pilot with The Royal Air Force.

Lt Gen Rosa commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels in South Korea, Idaho, South Carolina, New Mexico and Georgia. He served as Inspector General for Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii, and as Commandant of The Air Command and Staff College in Alabama.

As Deputy Director for Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., he led the National Military Command Center at The Pentagon, including during the September 11 attacks, and served as spokesman for the Joint Chiefs as U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. In July 2003, he was named Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He retired from active duty in November 2005.

Lt Gen Rosa holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University. He is a graduate of the Air Force Command and Staff College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He has studied at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Lt Gen John W. Rosa, USAF (Ret), President of The Citadel
Bio current as of APRIL 2017

He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of Charleston in 2007.

His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Combat Readiness Medal with two oak leaf clusters. He has flown the A-7, A-10, Hunter, Jaguar, F-16, F-117A, HH-60G and HC-130 aircraft.

He is married to Donna Kangeter, a Charleston native. They have two sons, Jonathan and Brad (The Citadel Class of 2003), and two grandchildren.

Monday, February 5, 2018: Tommy Stringfellow – President & CEO, Riverbanks Zoo

Please join us on Monday, February 5th when we will welcome Tommy Stringfellow – President & CEO, Riverbanks Zoo to our podium.

With more than 25 years of experience in the zoo and attractions industries, Tommy Stringfellow is the third executive to oversee the Zoo in its 43-year-history. He began his career at the Zoo and Garden in 2002 as director of marketing and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2011.

Prior to joining Riverbanks, Stringfellow was the Director of Sales and Marketing for Six Flags over Georgia Theme Park, Six Flags Whitewater Water Park and American Adventures Family Entertainment Center. There he was responsible for generating over 3 million annual visitors and generating $12 million in admissions and sponsorship revenue annually.

Earlier, Stringfellow was the Director of Sales and Marketing for Six Flags Great Escape and Waterpark in upstate New York. In addition to his theme park responsibilities, he directed the sales and marketing efforts for three hotels and two restaurants that were owned and operated by the Six Flags Company.

Stringfellow laid the foundation for his career working for Paramount Parks, Inc., which owned and operated five major theme parks and several prototype themed attractions. He climbed through the ranks in park operations management positions to Director of Sales during his tenure with Paramount Parks.

An active member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, Stringfellow is a graduate of Winthrop University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing. He has recently served terms on the Marketing Advisory Committee for AZA and both the Columbia Metropolitan of Conventions and Visitors Bureau and Atlanta Convention and Tourism Board. He is an active member of the community and serves on the Board of Directors for Palmetto Health’s Camp Kemo.

Stringfellow is a native South Carolinian and is married with two sons and one daughter.

Monday, January 29, 2018: Bill McCrary – CEO, Strategic Partner, Inc. a Sandler Training Co.

Please join us on Monday, January 29th when we will welcome Bill McCrary – CEO, Strategic Partner, Inc. a Sandler Training Company.

Bill McCrary, a critically acclaimed coach and trainer, founded Strategic Partner in 1997 after a 20-year corporate career with Fortune 500 companies Georgia-Pacific and Wyeth Labs. Bill is an internationally known speaker haven spoken at destinations as distant as Dubai, UAE. He is also a Vistage International speaker.

Strategic Partner is an authorized licensee of Sandler Training. Sandler was recently named the #1 training company in America by Entrepreneur Magazine. Sandler Training is a world leader in sales and sales management training with a network of 275 Sandler training centers in 31 countries around the world. In 2009, McCrary was awarded the David H. Sandler Award by Sandler Training. The award is the organizations highest honor and is given to one person worldwide annually.

A number of Strategic Partners clients have either been recognized as one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies in America, referenced in Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great”, or Elliott Davis’ list of South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companies.

You can contact Bill at 803-771-0800, or

Monday, January 22, 2018: Tom Ledbetter, fellow Rotarian and Associate VP at Midlands Technical College

Please join us on Monday, January 22nd when we will welcome Tom Ledbetter, a fellow Rotarian and Associate VP at Midlands Technical College, speak about the Center for Entrepreneurial Success.

Tom Ledbetter, Associate Vice President for Entrepreneurial Success and Community Engagement,  said the CES will launch with a heavy focus on serving current students, hoping the college will see an increase in students who desire to run their own businesses.

“Two-thirds of our students come here to get credentials to go to work,” said Ledbetter. “We want to provide an entrepreneurial toolbox for students should they consider starting their own business.”

Midlands Technical College is leveraging space, services, people, programs, and technical capabilities of the college and incorporating these into a strategy that is wide in its approach, but deep in its understanding of small business.

“MTC already has a wealth of resources to offer students who want to be entrepreneurs,” he said. “We can help with blueprints and drawings, prototyping, engineering, and technical reviews. We have all kinds of talent here at MTC that can make students successful business owners and inventors.”

MTC currently offers programs like automotive technology, HVAC, and industrial electricity that enable students to graduate with the technical skills to go into business for themselves. One year from now, Ledbetter hopes these students and others see the CES as the place to go for information on starting a business.

“Most of our students know about (the television show) Shark Tank,” he said. “MTC has the expertise and knowledge in-house to move students through the steps of taking their business or product ideas to market and how to start and sustain a small business.”

Ledbetter has 20 years of experience working with students who have that entrepreneurial spark. He says the pursuit of successful self-employment is rooted in passion.

“Developing a student’s entrepreneurial talent is the next great product for MTC,” he said. “We do some of this now, but we are going to be doing a whole lot more of it. This is essentially a new product launch for MTC.”

The Center for Entrepreneurial Success at Midlands Technical College is located in the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Skilled Crafts on the college’s Airport Campus.