Leadership Team - SC Ports Authority

Leadership Team

SC Ports has a diverse and experienced leadership team that oversees the fulfilling of its mission to promote, develop and facilitate waterborne commerce by delivering cost competitive facilities and services, collaborating with customers and stakeholders, and sustaining financial self-sufficiency.

James I. (Jim) Newsome, III
President and CEO

Mr. Newsome became President & CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) on September 1, 2009 and is only the fifth leader in the history of the organization. He was previously President of Hapag-Lloyd (America), Inc., which is part of the world’s fifth-largest ocean shipping company.

Jim Newsome headshot

Prior to joining Hapag-Lloyd in 1997, Mr. Newsome was with Nedlloyd Lines from 1987 to 1997. He was Executive Vice President of the Americas for Nedlloyd Lines and President of Nedlloyd Lines (USA) Corporation based in Atlanta. In this capacity, he was the first non-Dutch member of the Executive Committee of Nedlloyd Lines and was responsible for North and Latin America and the Transatlantic trade. He held other senior management positions within that company. Before that, Mr. Newsome spent 10 years with Strachan Shipping Company, where he was President of their Hoegh Lines Agencies subsidiary in Jersey City, NJ. He held other positions in Houston, Texas and New York City, with Strachan.

Mr. Newsome has received many prestigious awards and honors including:

He is currently involved in numerous organizations:

  • University of Tennessee, College of Business Administration, Deans Advisory Council
  • University of Tennessee, Global Supply Chain Institute, Executive Advisory Board
  • Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Children’s Hospital Fund Advisory Board
  • US Department of Commerce Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness
  • Intermodal Association of North America, Board of Directors, Marine Division
  • Coalition for Responsible Transportation (CRT), Board of Directors
  • American Heart Association, Southeast Region Board
  • American Heart Association, Lowcountry Heart Walk, Executive Leadership Team and Past Chairman
  • Trident United Way, Tocqueville Society

Mr. Newsome received a BS in Transportation and Logistics in 1976 and a MBA in Transportation and Logistics in 1977 from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. He was the top graduate in the College of Business Administration for Winter Quarter, 1976. He was named the Outstanding Alumnus in Transportation and Logistics in 1992.

Barbara L. Melvin
Chief Operating Officer (COO)

As Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Melvin oversees terminal operations, carrier sales, information technology and support services, intermodal, inland ports, crane and equipment maintenance, engineering, environmental, Port Police, procurement, the logistics solution center, and cruise operations. Ms. Melvin also serves as SCPA’s lead staff person on the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Project.

On July 1, 2022, Ms. Melvin will become president and CEO of South Carolina Ports. Melvin will be the sixth leader in the history of the port and the first woman to lead a top 10 U.S. operating container port.

During her 20+ years with SCPA, Ms. Melvin has held several senior leadership positions, including Senior Vice President, Operations and Terminals, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, and Vice President, Government Relations. Before joining the Port in 1998, she served as Director of Government Relations for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and as a policy analyst for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget.

Ms. Melvin is a Riley Institute Diversity Leadership graduate, a member of the South Carolina Advisory Council of the United States Global Leadership Coalition, the Ports Caucus Advisory Board for the United States Congress, The Citadel Baker School of Business Advisory Board,  Board Chair of the American Heart Association Charleston Board (2020-2021), a member of the Trident United Way Board of Directors, a Liberty Fellow, a member of the Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Math and  a Board Member of the Intermodal Association of North America. She is a former Community Advisor for the Junior League, a former member of the Business Advocacy Committee of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, a past Chair of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, a former member of the board of Charleston Wine+Food Festival, a former member of the board for Communities in Schools and the South Carolina Maritime Foundation.

Ms. Melvin was awarded the 2021 South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) Woman of the Year, 2018 ILA Woman of the Year, the Center for Women’s Most Influential Women Wrecking Ball Award, the Charleston Women in International Trade (CWIT) 2014 Woman of the Year, The Propeller Club of Charleston and South East Region Maritime Person of the Year, the National Transportation Week Leader of the Year, and Columbia South Carolina’s 2014 Top Women of Influence Award.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Georgia Southern University with a minor in international relations and a Masters in Business Administration in Global Supply Chain from the University of Tennessee Haslam School of Business.

Phillip Padgett
Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Mr. Padgett joined SCPA in June 2016 as Controller and is currently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In this role, Mr. Padgett is responsible for the financial, risk management, and real estate activities of the SCPA.

Mr. Padgett is a Certified Public Accountant with ten years of experience auditing, managing finance and accounting operations, and developing short and long-term financial plans, budgets, and forecasts. He also has experience in the daily operations of insurance, investment, and real estate development.

Mr. Padgett began his career in public accounting in Charleston with Johnson Lambert, a niche focused CPA firm specializing in insurance. He spent over five years in the audit and assurance practice serving commercial and captive insurance companies. Prior to joining the Authority, Phil served as Controller for Kane (USA), Inc., an insurance management company that was purchased by a subsidiary of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. around the time of his departure.

He is a member of the South Carolina Association of CPAs and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He graduated from Francis Marion University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and has a Master of Science in Accountancy from the College of Charleston.

Beverly Cowart
Senior Vice President, Talent Solutions

As Senior Vice President of Talent Solutions at SCPA, Mrs. Cowart is responsible for talent acquisition, compensation, benefits, labor, employee relations, and leadership training and development programs. Prior to assuming the helm of the Talent Solutions Department, she served as SCPA’s Human Resources Director for the past two years.

Mrs. Cowart has a decade of experience as an engineer at companies that include the Charleston Naval Shipyard and Robert Bosch Corp. She also has more than two decades of experience in Human Resources. She most recently spent six years at MWV/Ingevity as manager of global learning and organizational development before joining the Port. Cowart earned a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Auburn University and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in human resources from Charleston Southern University. She has volunteered her time and skills to assist team members of local charitable agencies, such as Trident United Way, East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO), and various other civic and religious organizations.

Micah Mallace
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales

As Senior Vice President of Marketing & Sales, Micah Mallace oversees all sales and marketing efforts to grow and diversify SCPA’s cargo base, with a strong focus on growing retail cargo volumes. Mr. Mallace joined SCPA in 2011, serving as the Director of National Accounts. The Port of Charleston has been the fastest growing major port in the U.S. since 2009, and Mr. Mallace has been instrumental to that growth, including his role in attracting Walmart to build its seventh import distribution center in Ridgeville, S.C.

Mr. Mallace previously worked for Riverstone Residential, handling property management within the multifamily sector, and for Vail Resorts, handling sales for the resort company.

Mr. Mallace graduated from the College of Charleston in 2007 with a Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree. He returned for an MBA in Finance in 2011 and was admitted into the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society. He has been fascinated with the economics of global supply chains since circumnavigating the world, visiting ports in Asia, India, Africa and Latin America on a Semester at Sea study abroad program in 2005.

He serves on the College of Charleston School of Business Board of Governors and on the South Carolina Economic Developers Association Board of Directors. He also works with the College of Charleston MBA mentorship program.

Jordi R. Yarborough
Senior Vice President, Community Engagement and Secretary to the Board

As Senior Vice President of Community Engagement and Secretary to the Board. Ms. Yarborough leads the organization’s local government relations efforts, oversees the Port Ambassadors business leadership program, manages relationships with SCPA’s community partners, oversees the Community Giving Program and represents the Port on multiple boards. She also serves as Secretary to the SCPA Board, acting as the agency’s liaison and coordinating Board matters.  

Ms. Yarborough joined SCPA in 2017 as Senior Vice President of External Affairs, overseeing government, public and community relations.

Ms. Yarborough has more than 20 years of experience in the government relations field, lobbying and managing lobbyists on both the state and multi-state levels. Prior to joining SCPA, she directed government affairs efforts in the Southeast region on behalf of Check Into Cash Inc. She was a partner with The Yarborough Group from 2005 until 2011. From 1998 until 2005, she served as Director of Government Relations for Roper St. Francis Healthcare, where she managed legislative and regulatory communications for the healthcare system.

Ms. Yarborough currently serves on the South Carolina Automotive Council Board, the SC International Trade Conference Board, the Propeller Club Board, the South Carolina Logistics Council, and the MUSC Storm Eye Institute Advisory Board. She is also a Riley Institute Diversity Leadership graduate.

Ms. Yarborough holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee.

Joel Britt
Senior Director, Operations

As Senior Director of Operations, Mr. Britt is responsible for the efficient operation and management of all SCPA container terminals, as well as ro-ro, breakbulk, and cruise facilities.

Mr. Britt joined SCPA in 2011 as an Operations Analyst and has held various positions in port operations, including General Manager of Berthing and Director of Container Operations.

Prior to joining SCPA, Mr. Britt worked in supervisory and management positions with APM Terminals and Maersk Line.

Mr. Britt earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Wofford College.

Steve Kemp
Senior Director, Intermodal, Chassis, & Operations Projects

As Senior Director, Intermodal, Chassis and Operations Projects, Mr. Kemp is responsible for the intermodal rail functions (Inland Port Greer, Inland Port Dillon and the SCPA RapidRail program), development of the SCPA SMART Chassis pool, as well as the new Navy Base Intermodal Facility.

Mr. Kemp joined SCPA in 1990 as an Engineering Project Manager working on the final phase of the Wando Welch Terminal expansion. He has held various positions in Operations including Terminal Manager of the North Charleston facility, Manager of Operations Processes, General Manager of Operations, Director of Terminal Operations, and Senior Director of Terminal Strategy, Facility Operations and Maintenance. 

Mr. Kemp earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from the University of South Carolina and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of South Carolina.

Walter Lagarenne
Senior Director, Engineering & Facilities

Mr. Lagarenne joined SCPA in August 2018 as the Director of Engineering & Permitting and is currently the Senior Director of Engineering & Facilities. Mr. Lagarenne is responsible for the execution and permitting of all capital engineering and large crane procurement projects from conception to completion, and maintenance, repair, and care of the Ports’ terminal facilities.

Prior to joining SCPA, Mr. Lagarenne worked in the consulting engineering industry for 36 years with a diverse portfolio of project engineering and project management assignments ranging from infrastructure design, permitting and construction, to new vertical construction and major equipment procurement for major utility companies, local and state agencies. His experience also included assignments on several major projects at SCPA, including the expansion of the Wando Welch Terminal in the early 1990s, and serving as the Owner’s Engineering Representative for the new SC Ports Authority’s Main Office Building, just prior to joining SCPA. 

Mr. Lagarenne graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in five states, including South Carolina. He is a Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a Life Member of the Water Environmental Association of South Carolina where he served as President in 2010-2011 and was admitted to the WEASC’s Chapter of the 5S Society. In addition, he was a member of the American Water Works Association, serving in several committee chairmanship rolls, and the Water Environment Federation where he served as the South Carolina Delegate for three years, and received the WEF Arthur Sidney Bedell Award (2010).

Steve Rauch
Senior Director, Information Technology

As Senior Director, Information Technology, Mr. Rauch is responsible for commercial terminal, gate, and other operations systems, systems integration & development, ERP, help desk, network/infrastructure, planning and other technology initiatives.

Mr. Rauch joined SCPA in 1998 as a software engineer as part of the team that developed the YMS terminal operating system. During his 20+ years with SCPA, Mr. Rauch has served in several supervisory and management roles, including Manager of Software Development and Director of Information Technology.

Mr. Rauch graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science.

Brent Simon
Senior Director, Chief of Port Police

Chief Simon joined SCPA in September 2002 as a patrol officer and was promoted to Chief of Police in June 2017.

In this role, Chief Simon manages the SCPA police department, which is comprised of civilian security officers, a dispatch center, and certified police officers.

Chief Simon began his law enforcement career with the Charleston City Police department as a dispatcher in 1994 prior to graduating from the Criminal Justice Academy in November 1994. During his career at the Charleston City Police department, he worked several different teams including the Detective division. He continued his career with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office where he worked as a night shift supervisor for the County. Chief Simon has received commendations for Alertness, Adaptability, Officer of the Month, and Officer of the Year.

Chief Simon attended Trident Technical College where he graduated out of the Aircraft Maintenance Technology and Automotive Technology programs.

Mike Stresemann
Senior Director, Crane and Equipment Maintenance

Mr. Stresemann joined SCPA in 1998 as Manager, Heavy Lift Maintenance. In his current role as Senior Director, Crane and Equipment Maintenance, Mr. Stresemann is responsible for the maintenance and repair activities of SCPA’s equipment.

Mr. Stresemann graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Prior to joining the Authority, he served for five years aboard submarines in the U.S. Navy, followed by twelve years in operations and maintenance in the manufacturing sector.