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.

Barbara Melvin
President & Chief Executive Officer

Barbara Melvin became president and CEO of South Carolina Ports on July 1, 2022. Melvin is the sixth leader in the history of the port and the first woman to lead a top 10 U.S. operating container port.

Melvin previously served as SC Ports’ Chief Operating Officer since 2018. As COO, Melvin oversaw terminal operations, carrier sales, information technology and support services, crane and equipment maintenance, engineering, environmental, Port Police, procurement, the logistics solution center and cruise operations.

During her more than 20 years with SC Ports, Melvin has held several senior leadership positions, including senior vice president of operations and terminals; senior vice president of external affairs; and vice president of government relations. In addition to overseeing numerous infrastructure projects, Melvin served as the lead staff person on the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, which is on track to being the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet this year.

Before joining SC Ports in 1998, Melvin 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 has received many prestigious awards and honors, including:

  • 2022 Women of Courage Award from the College of Charleston School of Business
  • 2021 South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) Woman of the Year
  • 2018 ILA Woman of the Year
  • 2017 Center for Women’s Most Influential Women Wrecking Ball Award
  • 2014 Charleston Women in International Trade (CWIT) Woman of the Year
  • 2014 Propeller Club of Charleston and Southeast Region Maritime Person of the Year
  • 2014 National Transportation Week Leader of the Year
  • 2014 Columbia South Carolina’s Top Women of Influence Award

Ms. Melvin 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.

Micah Mallace
Chief Commercial Officer & VP, Marketing

As Chief Commercial Officer & VP, Marketing, Micah Mallace oversees all sales and marketing efforts to grow and diversify SC Ports’ cargo base, with a strong focus on growing retail cargo volumes. Mr. Mallace joined SC Ports 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.

Phillip Padgett
Chief Financial Officer & VP, Administration

As Chief Financial Officer & VP, Administration, Mr. Padgett is responsible for the financial, risk management, and real estate activities of SC Ports. Mr. Padgett joined SC Ports in June 2016 as Controller.

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.

Joel Britt
Vice President, Terminal Operations

As Vice President, Terminal Operations, Mr. Britt is responsible for the efficient operation and management of all SC Ports container terminals, as well as ro-ro, breakbulk, and cruise facilities.

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

Prior to joining SC Ports, 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.

Beverly Cowart
Vice President, Human Resources

As Vice President, Human Resources, Mrs. Cowart is responsible for talent acquisition, compensation, benefits, labor, employee relations, and leadership training and development programs. Prior to assuming the helm of Human Resources, she served as SC Ports’ Human Resources Director.

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.

Steve Kemp
Vice President, Intermodal, Chassis, & Operations Projects

As Vice President, Intermodal, Chassis and Operations Projects, Mr. Kemp is responsible for the intermodal rail functions (Inland Port Greer, Inland Port Dillon and the SC Ports RapidRail program), development of the SC Ports SMART Pool™, as well as the new Navy Base Intermodal Facility.

Mr. Kemp joined SC Ports 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
Vice President, Engineering & Facilities

Mr. Lagarenne joined SC Ports in August 2018 as the Director of Engineering & Permitting and is currently Vice President, 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 SC Ports, 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 SC Ports, 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 SC Ports. 

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
Vice President, Information Technology

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

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

Brent Simon
Vice President, Chief of Port Police

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

In this role, Chief Simon manages the SC Ports 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
Vice President, Equipment Maintenance

Mr. Stresemann joined SC Ports in 1998 as Manager, Heavy Lift Maintenance. In his current role as Vice President, Equipment Maintenance, Mr. Stresemann is responsible for the maintenance and repair activities of SC Ports’ 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.

Jordi R. Yarborough
Vice President, Statewide Stakeholders & Local Government Engagement

As Vice President of Statewide Stakeholders and Local Government Engagement, Ms. Yarborough leads SC Ports’ local government relations efforts, oversees the Port Ambassadors business leadership program, manages relationships with SC Ports’ community partners, and represents the Port on multiple boards. She also acts as an agency liaison to the Board, coordinating Board matters.

Ms. Yarborough joined SC Ports in August 2017, 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 SC Ports, 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, the City of Charleston 3 x 3 Advisory Committee, 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.

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