March 5, 2021

SC Ports COO recognized as ‘Woman of the Year’

Barbara Melvin, SC Ports COO (Photo/SCPA/English Purcell)

CHARLESTON, SC — MARCH 5, 2021 — South Carolina Ports COO Barbara Melvin has been recognized as the 2021 SCMA Woman of the Year for her enduring support of the state’s manufacturing sector.

The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance presents this prestigious award each year to an outstanding woman in South Carolina for contributions to the state’s manufacturing industry.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by SCMA, a highly respected organization whose members’ imports and exports are entrusted to our care. Manufacturing is a critical part of our state’s economy, and I am proud that our work at SC Ports supports this industry every day,” Melvin said. “I accept the SCMA Woman of the Year Award on behalf of our SC Ports team and the broader maritime community, and I hope that we will continue to see more women excelling in the manufacturing and logistics industries.”

Melvin is one of the only women in the country serving as COO of a port. In her role, she works to ensure the Port of Charleston remains globally competitive as a top 10 U.S. container port.

She manages many crucial infrastructure projects, including the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, which will soon launch operations, and the $558 million Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, which will soon give South Carolina the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet.

“Barbara has held many leadership positions at the port over the past 23 years, which has given her a deep understanding of port operations and the maritime community,” SC Ports CEO Jim Newsome said. “Barbara has a great ability to understand complex projects with insight and intellect, and she invests time to know her team. She is instrumental in our success at SC Ports, which further supports our state’s thriving manufacturing sector.”

South Carolina’s advanced manufacturing sector and SC Ports are intrinsically linked. SC Ports moves goods, tires and vehicles for advanced manufacturers throughout South Carolina.

As port cargo volumes doubled over the past decade, the state’s advanced manufacturing employment doubled as well, according to a study by the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business.

“Barbara’s knowledge and support of the manufacturing industry is invaluable. Through her critical work with SC Ports, she supports manufacturers across all industry sectors throughout our state,” said Sara Hazzard, president and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. “Barbara leads with enthusiasm and is dedicated to ensuring the strength of South Carolina’s world class ports system. We are thrilled to present Barbara with the 2021 SCMA South Carolina Woman of the Year Award.”

Melvin was honored during a virtual awards ceremony. Previous award recipients include BMW Manufacturing Communications Manager Sky Foster and Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy.

About South Carolina Ports Authority

South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), established by the state’s General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport and intermodal facilities in Charleston, Dillon, Georgetown and Greer. As an economic development engine for the state, Port operations facilitate 225,000 statewide jobs and generate nearly $63.4 billion in annual economic activity. SCPA is soon to be home to the deepest harbor on the U.S. East Coast at 52 feet, and the Port is an industry leader in delivering speed-to-market, seamless processes and flexibility to ensure reliable operations, big ship handling, efficient market reach and environmental responsibility. For more information on SCPA, please visit