SC Chamber 37th Annual Summit Honorees

Special Presentations Honoring:
Mikee Johnson, CEO, Cox Industries, Inc. - Business Leader of the Year 
South Carolina House of Representatives Speaker Jay Lucas - Public Servant of the Year 
Sierra Stewart, Senior, Berkeley High School - Ron McNair Leadership Scholarship
Dajuan McDonald, Freshman, University of South CarolinaS. Hunter Howard Jr. Scholarship

 

Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award
The Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award recognizes companies for their significant contributions to the advancement of South Carolina through diversity initiatives and inclusion efforts. Criteria considered in selecting the winners included diversity initiatives, effectiveness and applicability/replicability.

Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award Finalists
*note winners will not be announced until the luncheon
Small Employer (Less than 300 employees)
Fisher Phillips
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
Roche Carolina Inc.
South Carolina Association of CPAs

Medium/Large Employer (300 or more employees)
Bank of America
Food Lion
Palmetto Health
South Carolina Federal Credit Union

 

Business Leader of the Year
The South Carolina Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year is chosen based on leadership in South Carolina and the embodiment of personal success. Other criteria include a business record based on ethical conduct and corporate responsibility, public service, contributions to the preservation of South Carolina’s government and commitment to creating a positive business climate to improve the state’s economy.

Mikee Johnson,  CEO, Cox Industries

Mikee Johnson is CEO and President of Cox Industries, a family-owned business specializing in the manufacturing and global distribution of pressure-treated wood. With 16 plants and more than 500 employees, Cox Industries is one of the country’s biggest suppliers of utility poles and pilings in the United States and the world.

For three generations Cox Industries has been headquartered in Orangeburg.  Johnson said South Carolina is the perfect home for his company, “They say there are six degrees of separation, but in South Carolina, there’s about one! We do business all over the country, but we still have that hometown feel.  If you need me, you can pick up the phone and call me direct, and I want to keep it that way.  It sets us apart.”

In his industry, Mr. Johnson serves on the Board of the Southern Pressure Treaters’ Association where he was the only two-time President of the Association. He has previously served on the Executive Committees of the American Wood Protection Association and the Timber Piling Council. And he is also the past Chairman of the Treated Wood Council.

In our State, Mr. Johnson also serves as the Chairman of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, the Executive Committee of the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Chairman of the Board of the Liberty Fellowship, the Board of the SC Nature Conservancy, and the past State President for Young Presidents’ Organization.  Mr. Johnson is Chairman of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance and the Chair-Elect of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as the Chair of the State Workforce Investment Board at the request of Governor Haley. Mr. Johnson is also the Vice Chair of Governor Haley’s Original Six Foundation.

On his community involvement, Johnson said, “My grandfather and his brother left a legacy of community activism.  The fact that they put their faith in me to run the company motivates me to work even harder.  I want to make sure others around me succeed and that the business community in our state is constantly improving.  That’s all a part of that legacy.”

Johnson graduated from Furman University, earned an MBA from the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School Business, and a Masters in the field of family business from Kennesaw State University.  He lives in Orangeburg with his wife Cyndi and stays very busy with their three children Brady, Causey, and Lilly-Rae.

 

 

Public Servant of the Year

The South Carolina Chamber’s Public Servant of the Year award recognizes an individual who has served, or currently serves, as a key official in state government and has contributed to the overall well-being and health of the state as a whole.

South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas

Growing up in the small rural town of Hartsville, House Speaker Jay Lucas learned early on that success requires hard work and dedication. Born to Bobby and Shirley Lucas, Jay’s parents instilled in him the importance of personal responsibility – a trait that would lay a firm foundation for his life in public service.

A proud Gamecock, Speaker Lucas received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 1975, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.  He also received a master’s degree in public administration in 1981. Upon graduation, Jay immediately went to work as the Financial Director for the City of Bennettsville prior to working as the County Administrator for Fairfield County. Having high hopes of eventually practicing law, Jay applied this valuable work experience and knowledge to his future education.

Jay received his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1987. He graduated third in his class and was the managing editor of the South Carolina Law Review. He served as the Darlington County attorney and a City Judge for the City of Hartsville before becoming a partner with Lucas, Warr and White in 1994.

When former state Representative Michael Baxley retired in 1998, Jay took the opportunity to fulfill another life-long goal and run for office. Given House District 65 had not been represented by a Republican since Reconstruction, Jay knew his election would be an uphill battle. Based on his performance in this election, Jay earned the nickname “Landslide Lucas” from former Speaker David Wilkins because he won by a mere handful of votes. Jay currently represents portions of Darlington, Kershaw, Lancaster, and Chesterfield.

After serving several terms in office, Jay was elected Chairman of the Darlington County Republican Party. In November 2010, his colleagues in the House elected him as Speaker Pro Tempore.  Jay never dreamed that this position would give him the opportunity to eventually become Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Jay believes that he has a responsibility as Speaker to enact reforms that will better the lives of all South Carolina families. Throughout his years in public service, Jay has become the proud recipient of several prestigious awards.  Earlier this year, he received the Wilkins Award for Excellence in Legislative Leadership from the Riley Institute and the Jimmy Newsom Signature Award for his contributions to public education in Darlington County.  He has also been recognized by the Mental Health Association; South Carolina Chamber of Commerce; South Carolina Recreation, Parks, and Tourism; South Carolina Solicitors Association; South Carolina Farm Bureau; South Carolina State Firefighter’s Association; and the Institute for Child Success.

Jay is married to Tracy Ann Deglman, a dental hygienist who continues to offer him strength and support in every endeavor.  They have one son, Will, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute who recently earned his master’s degree at North Carolina State University.

Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award Finalists
*note winners will not be announced until the luncheon

Small Employer (Less than 300 employees)


Fisher Phillips


Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.


Roche Carolina Inc.


South Carolina Association of CPAs

Medium/Large Employer (300 or more employees)


Bank of America


Food Lion


Palmetto Health


South Carolina Federal Credit Union