Board of Directors

Building the business of life sciences in SC

SCBIO is led by a Board of Directors comprised of dynamic and invested industry and business leaders and governed by an Executive Committee elected by their peers.  Together with the support of SCBIO staff, they author the strategy and lead the advance of life sciences in South Carolina.

Executive Committee

James Chappell

PRESIDENT & CEO​, SCBIO

Lou Kennedy

SCBIO Board Chair; CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals

Tushar Chikhliker

SCBIO Vice Chair; Member, Nexsen Pruet LLC

Thornton Kirby

SCBIO Treasurer; CEO, SC Hospital Association

Steve Clemons

SCBIO Secretary; Senior VP, Velocity Clinical Research Inc.

Christopher Hanson

SCBIO Legal Officer; Partner, Nelson Mullins

Austin Shirley

VP Commercial Operations, Diversified Medical Healthcare

David Stefanich

Founder & CEO, Rymedi

Cynthia Y. Young, Ph.D

Dean, College of Science, Clemson University

Board Members

Craig Black

Founder & CEO, DeGen Medical, Inc.

Scotty Branch

Co-Founder, VIKOR Scientific

Mandy Brawley

Director, SC Department of Commerce

Michael Brenan

Regional President, Truist

Caroline Brown

Chief External Affairs Officer, Medical University of South Carolina

John Cadena

Manager of Economic Development and Local Government, Dominion Energy

Dr. Matthew Cannon, DO

Dean for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), Carolinas

John Carrington

CEO, ZVERSE

Jody Chastain

President and CEO, Ritedose

James Chavez

President and CEO, SC Power Team

Matthew Couvillion

Attorney, Wyche Law Firm

Stephen Creech

Assistant VP, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina

Stephen Cutler , Ph.D.

Dean College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina

J.J Darby

State Government Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Services

Ronda Dean

President & CEO of Afaxys

Herbert Drayton

Managing Partner, HI Mark Capital

Deepal Eliatamby

President, Alliance Consulting Engineers, Inc.

Jesse Goodwin, Ph.D.

Chief Innovation Officer; Medical University of South Carolina

Mike Graney

VP, Charleston Regl. Develop. Alliance

Chad Hardaway

Associate Director, Office of Economic Engagement, University of South Carolina

Shea Harrelson

Co-Founder, VIKOR Scientific

Nelson Lindsay

President & CEO, Central SC Alliance

Angie Leidinger

VP External Affairs, Clemson University

John Lummus

President & CEO, Upstate SC Alliance

Greg Marshall

Corporate VP, COO, Charles River Labs

Curtis McDonald

State Govt. Affairs, Bristol Myers Squibb

Craig Nies

Senior Member of Technical Staff, KYOCERA AVX Components

David Orr

Ceo, Medpoint

Bob Quinn​

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SCRA

Josh Ridley​

GLOBAL BUSINESS DEV. DIRECTOR, ZEUS

David Shalaby

PRESIDENT, POLY-MED

Kay Self

Executive Director, VisionGreenwood

David Shenberger

VP Marketing & Consulting Services, CAI

Dr. Steve Skinner, MD

Director, Greenwood Genetic Center

Brandon Thomas

Senior Manager, Elliott Davis

Gary Thompson

Sr. Director Operations, Abbott

Bob Waitt

Global Business Manager, Elkem Silicones

John Wall

Counsel, Burr & Forman LLP

Shane Whatley

Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, THS Constructors, Inc.

Stephanie Yarbrough

Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson LLP

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James Chappell, Ph.D.

James, a former executive with Louisiana Economic Development, was named SCBIO’s President and Chief Executive Officer in November 2021.

Dr. Chappell’s career also includes time with Chartic Management Consulting in Boston, from which he joined Louisiana Economic Development (LED) in 2013 and held positions of increasing responsibility at the organization including Executive Director of State Economic Competitiveness before being named Executive Director of Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship for the organization in 2021.

During his tenure at LED, Dr. Chappell’s numerous successes included designing and implementing the state’s $100 million venture capital and small business funds, developing strategies to recruit globally recognized companies to the state , and joining the Louisiana MediFund board to develop strategies to increase the biosciences and healthcare industries in Louisiana. He also collaborated with bioscience and technology advocates to improve incentives to promote growth in the bioscience and technology industries.

Dr Chappell earned his B.S. and M.S. in Plant Environmental Sciences from Clemson University, his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Stem Cell Biology focusing on cancer and diabetes from Harvard Medical School. A three-year varsity football letterman while at Clemson, he is married with two children.

Lou Kennedy

Lou Kennedy is President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation. She joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and accepted the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2007. Having held a variety of marketing and operational roles during her career; one notable achievement at Nephron was creating a national sales force, a rarity in the pharmaceutical industry. In the years following, this helped Nephron Pharmaceuticals grow by 300% and increased shipped product to one billion doses each of the last seven years.

Nephron recently built a state of the art manufacturing facility in West Columbia, South Carolina. Mrs. Kennedy was at the forefront of this expansion, which opened in June 2014. Lou is always seeking to enhance and grow her business. She started a 503B Outsourcing division of Nephron in 2016. Production for that division began in January 2017 and is rapidly increasing.

Along with her husband Bill, Mrs. Kennedy helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy. She serves on a variety of business and civic boards, including but not limited to, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the National Bank of South Carolina Board, a division of Synovus, Columbia College Board of Trustees, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance as well as the USC Athletic Department Board. Lou and Bill Kennedy were named Ambassadors of the Year by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce in 2013. They also received the Lexington County Ambassador for Economic Development award in 2014. A graduate of the University of South Carolina’s College of Journalism with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Mrs. Kennedy never shies from the opportunity to cheer on the Gamecocks!

Tushar Chikhliker

As head of Nexsen Pruet’s economic development group and a key member of the its public finance group, Tushar works to negotiate and implement financial transactions aimed at sparking new success, or bolstering established success, for his clients. Tushar has represented a diverse group of companies, both domestic and international, in industries including heavy and light manufacturing, pharmaceutical and life sciences, warehouse and distribution, research and development, alternative energy, and real estate development.  He is highly active in numerous community and business organizations.  Tushar is a Member of the Bar in North Carolina and South Carolina.  He holds his J.D. from the Wake Forest University School of Law, and his B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of South Carolina. 

Thornton Kirby

Thornton Kirby is President and CEO of the South Carolina Hospital Association, a role he has held since 2005.

Under Thornton’s leadership SCHA has been an advocate for patients as well as hospitals, earning a national reputation for statewide improvements in quality and safety. South Carolina was the first state to establish “Certified Zero Harm Awards,” which are given annually to hospitals that can demonstrate at least 12 consecutive months without certain types of harm.

Thornton attended the University of Virginia, where he studied government and interned for Senator Strom Thurmond.  He studied law at the University of South Carolina and began his professional career as a healthcare attorney with the Nexsen Pruet law firm. After advising hospitals for several years, Thornton served as a hospital executive and later as a senior executive for Clemson University.

Steve Clemons

Experienced executive in all aspects of the clinical trial space. Co-founded multiple research entities ultimately managing all clinical operations within VitaLink Research, a wholly owned, private equity backed network of clinical trial sites. VitaLink Research is the growth platform (through tuck-in acquisition and de novo) headquartered out of Greenville, SC. Clinically trained as a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and having spent 20 years owning/operating clinical trial sites Steve is helping to create one of the largest network of privately held clinical trial sites in the United States.

Christopher Hanson

Based in the Greenville, South Carolina office of Nelson Mullins, Christopher Hanson is the head of the firm’s FDA Regulatory Compliance & Litigation practice group. He assists clients in tackling their most sophisticated and high-stakes regulatory issues involving medical devices, human and animal drugs, in vitro diagnostics (IVDs), dietary supplements, radiation-emitting electronic products, and clinical laboratories. He has aided clients in consequential interactions with federal, state, and foreign regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In his advisory practice, Christopher crafts creative and practical solutions for clients. His work also includes drafting FDA regulatory submissions as well as preparing public comments for agency rulemakings, guidance documents, advisory committees, and public policy venues. He provides strategic advice and regulatory due diligence to support corporate transactions and securities filings in the life sciences space. He also has experience counseling in FDA enforcement matters and conducting internal investigations and audits.

A prolific writer and frequent speaker in industry, academic, and government-sponsored settings, he is the author of “Overview of the Legal Framework for Medical Device Regulation in the United States” in Practising Law Institute’s Medical Devices Law and Regulation Answer Book (2021, 2019). Christopher received an undergraduate degree (BA with Honors) from Yale University, his Master of Divinity degree (MDiv) from Harvard University as a Presidential Scholar, and a law degree (JD with Honors and Order of the Coif) from Northwestern University.

Austin Shirley

Austin Shirley, VP Commercial Operations, Diversified Medical Healthcare
Austin has over 12 years of experience working in various roles in the healthcare and biotech markets
spanning across the continuum of care. Worked with startups, mid-cap, and Fortune 100 companies in
clinical diagnostics, medical device, biologics, and distribution. He has been with DMH for a total of 7 years
working with all their portfolio companies. Began career in sales with Vessel Medical in 2010 and helped
with launching PMLS in 2021. Primary responsibilities include product development, business development,
and strategic initiatives.

David Stefanich

David Stefanich is co-founder and CEO of Rymedi, a cloud-based disease testing and vaccine administration workflow management solution.  A former CIO and CTO for global Fortune 500 companies, he specializes in technology architectures and software applications for highly-regulated industries. He has employed data-driven methodologies to improve compliance and operations in pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain management. An inorganic chemist by training, he combines his Masters’ degrees in Chemistry, Computer Science, and Global Finance to improve healthcare technology workflows. He is a founding member of the Blockchain in Healthcare Global IEEE ISTO. 

Dr. Cynthia Y. Young

Cynthia Y. Young became the Founding Dean of Clemson University’s new College of Science on Aug. 15, 2017. Under Dean Young’s leadership, the College developed an aspirational 2026 strategic plan, SCIForward, focused on excellence in scientific discovery, learning, and engagement that is both locally relevant and globally impactful. Dean Young and the Science Leadership Team are focused on three key goals: Strengthening the national and international prominence of our scientific discovery; Elevating the science learning experience; and Challenging the status quo.

 

Under her leadership the College of Science has increased student success (freshman retention/ graduation rates), increased faculty success and recognition which has strengthened the R1 culture, and increased philanthropic support including establishing the Dean’s Leadership Circle.  She believes that diversity makes us smarter as we tackle tomorrow’s greatest scientific challenges and prepare the next generation of leading scientists and has expanded the recruitment and engagement of our students and faculty who are traditionally underrepresented in Science.

 

Prior to coming to Clemson, Young spent 20 years at the University of Central Florida (UCF) where she served in several leadership roles, including Vice Provost for Faculty Excellence and UCF Global, Associate Dean for the College of Sciences, Co-Founder of UCF’s EXCEL program, the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, and the Faculty Senate leadership team.

 

As an interdisciplinary scholar, Young developed mathematical models governing atmospheric effects in laser communication channels. Her scholarly impact has been recognized nationally by the Office of Naval Research with the Young Investigator Award, and she is a fellow of the International Society of Optics and Photonics. The author of more than 70 books and publications, Young secured continuous federal funding from 1999 through 2017 from the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. While at UCF, Young was named a Pegasus Professor and recognized through many research, teaching, and service awards.

 

She earned a B.A. degree in education (secondary mathematics) from the University of North Carolina, an M.S. in mathematical sciences from UCF, and her M.S. in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Washington, where she was supported by a federal doctoral fellowship.