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Team SCbio

Build. Innovate. Advance

Since its inception in 2004, SCbio has supported the life sciences industry . The SCbio Foundation and SCbio work hand-in-hand to continue the mission of building the business of life sciences in South Carolina. To connect with the SCbio Team, email us at

SCbio Team

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James Chappell

President & CEO
Erin Ford, Executive Vice President, SCbio

Erin Ford

A person in a blue jacket.

Carla Whitlock

Investor Relations & Engagement Director
Connor Watkins, Director of Marketing, SCbio

Connor Watkins

Director of Marketing
Margaret Butler, Communications and Events Coordinator, SCbio

Margaret Butler

Communications & Event Coordinator
Carol Beard, SCbio

Carol Beard

Administrative Assistant

Heather Fisherauer

Director, scbio edge member services
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Chelsey Lee


Mike Lane

IT Manager; available technologies

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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.

Erin Ford

Erin Ford is Executive Vice President and COO. Ms. Ford works on corporate strategies emanating from the organization’s three statewide offices, its Board, and hundreds of supporting Members and Investors. Her comprehensive responsibilities include serving as primary lead for SCbio’s business operations and finances, championing investor relations and existing industry strategies, and spearheading integrated marketing initiatives. She previously served as sales and marketing executive at Poly-Med, a global innovation company that is developing absorbable polymers and constructs for the medical device industry, during which she served on the SCbio Board of Directors. Before her role at Poly-Med, Inc., Erin was a business recruitment officer at the Upstate SC Alliance. She served as the main point of contact for life sciences companies interested in expanding or locating in South Carolina. While at the Upstate Alliance, Ms. Ford served as an ex-officio SCbio board member from 2013-2015 and led a regional biosciences task force comprised of industry executives from across the region.

She received her B.A. in Communication from La Salle University in Philadelphia.

Carla Whitlock

Carla’s served as the Senior Apprenticeship Consultant with Apprenticeship Carolina for the last ten years before joining SCbio as investor relations and engagement director.

Carla’s career has included tax credits and economic development consulting, government relations (Federal and state), marketing and business development.  Prior to joining Apprenticeship Carolina, Carla was a Project Coordinator with Pickens County, South Carolina, where she worked with agencies in the areas of economic development, tourism, transportation, and emergency management. Throughout her career, she has worked with a number of industries including the life sciences, manufacturing, financial services, energy, information technology and health care.

Carla’s expertise has been featured during conferences and events hosted by the National Governors Association,  Urban Institute, Appalachian Regional Council, US Department of Labor, NAACP, International Monetary Fund, SC ETV, Washington Press Club, nationally recognized economic development organizations and numerous trade associations.  Carla has also been featured as a contributor in number of local, state and national publications for her work with Apprenticeship Carolina.

A graduate of the SC Technical College System Leadership Academy, Carla has also completed the National Basic Economic Development Course through the University of North Carolina. She is a native of Liberty, South Carolina, and a graduate Southern Wesleyan University with a B.S. in accounting.

Connor Watkins

Connor joined the SCbio team in January 2024 as the organization’s first full-time marketing director.

Prior to joining SCbio, Connor worked at Nephron Pharmaceuticals where he led corporate events, community partnerships and sponsorships, and supported corporate communications initiatives for West Columbia-based manufacturer. Nephron is a worldwide leader in production of generic respiratory and 503B outsourcing medications, ophthalmics and injectable medications, employing more than 1,200 associates.

While at Nephron, Watkins directed the production of corporate events, wrote and distributed corporate communications to state and national media, and created content for internal and external executive communications while working directly for Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy. Nephron is a Founding Partner of SCbio, while Mrs. Kennedy is a three-time Chair of the SCbio Board of Directors and currently serves on the organization’s Fiduciary and Operations Committee.

Prior to joining Nephron in 2021, Watkins served as Multimedia Strategist for the Lexington (S.C.) Chamber and Visitors Center, developing and implementing communications and marketing programs for the 800-member association. While with the Lexington Chamber, Watkins was honored with multiple awards for communications excellence by the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication, as well as a graduate of Leadership Lexington County.

Margaret Butler

Margaret serves as SCbio’s Communications & Events Coordinator where she leads the team’s social media presence and engages SCbio’s membership through a variety of educational and networking events. Margaret joined the SCbio team in May 2022. During her first year, SCbio’s social media saw a 20% increase in social engagements and a 60+% increase in followers. Additionally, Margaret has led or helped coordinate over 50 events, including SCbio’s Annual Conference, Midyear Forum, Student-Industry Networking Events, and more. Margaret has enjoyed spearheading several new event series, including SCbio’s Brews and Bio Networking Events, Women’s Breakfasts, and Founder’s Workshops.

Before joining the SCbio team, Margaret was the Marketing Coordinator for South Carolina Children’s Theatre, the largest year-round children’s theatre in the state of South Carolina.

Margaret graduated Magna Cum Laude from Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

Carol Beard

Carol Beard joined the SCbio team as the Administrative Assistant in July 2022. Her work experience includes programming for nonprofits, administrative work in a university setting, and accounts receivable for a railroad. She has extensive volunteer experience, primarily in the public education sector, having served in multiple capacities in the Parent Teacher Association and School Improvement Councils of schools throughout South Carolina.

She received her B.B.A. degree in General Business from LaGrange College in GA.

Heather Fisherauer

Intelligent, multi-talented, diligent Digital Product Management professional, adept at communicating effectively, in both written and verbal formats, at all levels of the organization, including senior executive-level leadership. Ability to work and influence successfully within a matrix environment and build effective business partnerships with all levels of team members. Recognized internally and externally as a thought leader and subject matter expert. Experience with Agile practices and frameworks and workflow and collaboration tools.

• Reduced SG&A by 15% ($400k/annually) with efficiency-based restructuring of 130 employees nationally
• Cured breach of contract for national customer worth $3mil/annually by developing customer centric Standard Operating Procedures
• SME for contract renewals and RFPs worth $60mil/annually 2022
• Developed new business program targeting a 305% whitespace opportunity
• Developed and delivered more than 250 training for operations and sales team members
• Identified $51mil in whitespace opportunity for programs I supported

Chelsey Lee

Chelsey Lee is a master’s student in Biomedical Engineering at Clemson. She graduated from Clemson with a bachelor’s in Bioengineering and a minor in Management this past May. During her undergrad, Chelsey was a part of the Sales Innovation program and participated in a Healthcare Professional Development study abroad. Chelsey also interned with companies such as Arthrex, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and KLS Martin. She has gained valuable experience from these internships and is excited to apply the knowledge to her future career. 

Currently, Chelsey is at MUSC achieving her masters degree focusing on medical device commercialization. She is also working in a research lab to create cell models of musculoskeletal diseases. Chelsey is excited to be interning with SCBio and is thankful for the opportunity to continue to develop her professional skills. 

Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.