Deborah B. Harwell of Myrtle Beach has been named Chairman of the newly formed South Carolina Department of Transportation Freight Transportation and Rail Advisory Committee. Phil Byrd of St. George has been named Vice Chairman.
Committee members also include James Edward Alexander of Bluffton; Harry Butler of Georgetown; Fred C. Craft Jr. of Cheraw; Tora Miller of Columbia; and Robert W. Parham Jr. of Summerville.
"The new legislative act creating this Committee, referred to as Act 206, is a marked departure from past legislation and policy relating to freight transportation issues," said South Carolina Transportation Secretary H.B. "Buck" Limehouse Jr. "Act 206 is directed to long-term future goals and accomplishments in not only restructuring freight transportation in South Carolina, but as a fit to a national plan for efficient freight transportation. By enacting Act 206, our General Assembly has taken a large step forward in developing a framework to better South Carolina's economy."
Harwell is president of Adobe Palm Communications in Myrtle Beach. She specializes in government relations on transportation projects including airports, highways and bridges. She has been part of numerous highway Environmental Impact Studies, airport feasibility studies, airport construction coordination and economic development projects.
Harwell has worked in government, media and public relations and finding funding sources. She has developed statewide transportation relationships. Prior to serving as a SC registered lobbyist, Harwell founded the Myrtle Beach Herald newspaper, along with other publications. Currently, she serves on the County Transportation Committee for Horry County, the city of Myrtle Beach A-Tax Committee, Board of Directors for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee. She was presented the Order of the Palmetto, is a graduate of Leadership Grand Strand and received the Mary Dean Brewer's Women of Achievement award. She is married to retired Chief Justice David Harwell.
"Our state needs to quickly catch up on planning for the future of intermodal services and I hope this Committee can aide in that endeavor," Harwell said. "Mega ships will find South Carolina's deep-water port as convenient and economically attractive when the Panama Canal widening is completed in 2014. There's no doubt that we will see freight railroads as a significant factor in boosting South Carolina's global competitiveness."
Byrd is President and CEO of Charleston based Bulldog Hiway Express. Bulldog is a 50 year old for-hire trucking firm serving the truckload and intermodal segments of the industry.
Byrd is a two time past chairman of the South Carolina Trucking Association and has also served as chairman of the South Carolina Maritime Association and the Charleston Motor Carrier Association. He is Vice Chairman of the American Trucking Association and serves on the Executive Board. He is chairman of the Advisory Board of the American Transportation Research Institute. He is a past recipient of the Motor Carrier Executive of the Year Award for South Carolina, and the 2004 NTW Transportation Leader of the Year. He is a 1976 graduate of the Charleston Southern University where he now serves on the Board of Visitors and was selected as their 1999 Alumnus of the Year.
High-resolution photos of Committee members are available at the following links: