b o a r d of d i r e c t o r s

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Barney Blakeney

W. Andrew Gowder Jr.

Barney Blakeney

Barney has worked in the field of journalism as a news reporter and columnist since 1977. He currently is a freelance writer who has written for local, statewide and national publications. He has spent the bulk of his professional career writing for the Charleston Chronicle. He is a member of Wesley UMC in downtown Charleston.

Most recently he received the Charleston Branch NAACP Corporate Lifetime Achievement Award, Sept. 2017. 

Barney is a native of Charleston, He attended Charleston County public schools and graduated from C.A. Brown High School in 1971. He attended Barber-Scotia College in Concord, N.C., Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tenn. and the Univ. of S.C. where he majored in Journalism.

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Tom Bradford

W. Andrew Gowder Jr.

Barney Blakeney

Tom’s career at CBS and CBS News spanned 25 years. For many years he produced news broadcasts. He also served as Director of Recruitment and Deputy Foreign Editor before leading a team that created CBS News overnight broadcast, laying the groundwork for the network’s online broadcasts. 

With a lifelong passion for urban design he passionately pursued the linkage between good community planning and cycling and walking. 

 He  has held multiple leadership positions with Charleston Moves and co-founded the Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline with Mike Messner. He is a member of the steering committee for Lowcountry Livabilty Political Action Committee, and holds memberships in the Urban Land Institute, the League of American Bicyclists, Rails-to-Trails and the East Coast Greenway Alliance. 

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W. Andrew Gowder Jr.

W. Andrew Gowder Jr.

W. Andrew Gowder Jr.

Andy serves as General Counsel for the Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline. He is a founding partner with the Charleston, South Carolina law firm of Austen & Gowder, LLC. His practice is focused on counseling, transactions, and litigation in the areas of land use, environmental and real property law, local government, corporate formation and governance for both profit and nonprofit organizations, election law, legal ethics, public land and parks, land preservation, historic preservation, and property rights. He writes and speaks on legal topics relating to land use, urbanism, planning, sustainability, and the environment.

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D. Frank Hagood

D. Frank Hagood

D. Frank Hagood

Frank maintains historic properties in the greater Charleston area, refitting many as offices for use by high-tech firms, nonprofit organizations and other types of concerns. His suburban properties include an office park for defense and security contractors, apparel firms and retail/grocery shopping centers. He is a long-term member of Charleston Angel Partners, supporting investment in local entrepreneurial efforts. He has served on the boards of Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding, The Center for Birds of Prey and the Humanities Foundation. 

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Winslow Hastie

D. Frank Hagood

D. Frank Hagood

Winslow W. Hastie is President & CEO of Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) and a former chair of the Lowline board. His leadership at HCF stresses a balance between growth and historic preservation, addressing flooding, protecting neighborhood character through attainable housing initiatives, and finding balance between tourism and quality of life. 

He was a preservation planner with the City of Charleston before joining HCF in 2006. He has a degree in architecture from The University of the South a masters degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia. 

Hastie lives in Charleston with his wife, Katharine, and two children. He serves on several boards including Preservation Action,The Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art and the Magnolia Plantation Corporation.

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Ray Huff , FAIA

D. Frank Hagood

Ray Huff , FAIA

Ray is Founding Director and current Director of the Clemson Design Center Charleston (CAC.C). He was born in Orangeburg, SC and attended Burke High School, Charleston. 

In his distinguished career as architect and educator Ray has consistently addressed considerations of architecture, design and social responsibility together. Successfully balancing his educator role with his work in the private sector. He established an architectural firm Synergy Design in Clemson in 1974. Later, with partner Mario Gooden, Ray established Huff + Gooden Architects, practicing in Charleston and New York. 

Most recently, he received the Clemson Architecture Alumni Achievement Award and named as a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects .In addition to teaching at the CAC.C, Mr. Huff held the distinguished Bishop Chair at Yale University’s Graduate School of Architecture and has lectured at numerous educational institutions and professional societies.

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Harry Lesesne

Michael Messner

Michael Messner

Harry Lesesne has been the Executive Director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy since 2012. Prior to joining the Conservancy, he served eight years as Senior Advisor to Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., advising the mayor on all aspects of city government. It was in that position that his passion for creating great parks and public spaces in Charleston blossomed.

In his career he has also served as an officer in the United States Army, South Carolina Director for The Conservation Fund, Associate Director of the University of South Carolina Bicentennial Celebration, and Research Assistant Professor of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina. He is the author or editor of two books, including A History of the University of South Carolina, 1940-­2000.

A graduate of Duke University, he also earned a Master’s Degree and Doctorate in history from the University of South Carolina.

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Michael Messner

Michael Messner

Michael Messner

Mike’s driving passion for parks and his abiding belief in the Lowline project are the reasons it is becoming a reality. Mike headed an investment management company, and he and his wife Jenny established the Speedwell Foundation to support the causes listed below — many promoting urban green space.

--Donation of land for the new Stono River County Park

-- Establishing “Redfields to Greenfields,” to research acquiring financially distressed urban properties and converting them into green space.

--A film on Frederick Law Olmstead, famed 19th century park designer responsible for New York’s Central Park

-- Crucial support for the Charleston Parks Conservancy

--AFS “Study Abroad” Scholarships for 20 students yearly

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Megan Mills

Michael Messner

Megan Mills

Megan has headed up the Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline's community outreach efforts. She is Community Engagement Manager at Charleston Parks Conservancy, developing and implementing the Conservancy’s community programming including events and educational programs.

Her background is in the hospitality industry . She most recently worked as Sales Manager at the Hyatt Place + Hyatt House Charleston Historic District. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Studies from the College of Charleston. Living in Charleston for the past 12 years, Megan is active in the community volunteering at MUSC Children’s hospital. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, riding her bike, and spending time with her husband, Eric and their dog, Trout..

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Ron Owens

Scott Watson (ex officio)

Scott Parker FASLA

Ron president of the health care division of Evening Post Industries, a Charleston-based company, and oversees the company’s commercial real estate activities. Previously as CFO of the company, he oversaw financial operations and led the company’s strategic growth and revenue diversification initiatives, including the acquisition and growth of the company’s two healthcare platforms and the redevelopment of over 10 acres of real estate in downtown Charleston. 

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Scott Parker FASLA

Scott Watson (ex officio)

Scott Parker FASLA

Scott with his firm Design Works and city planners led by Allen Davis produced a landmark Lowline conceptual study. 

Design Works is an international landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm based in Charleston. In his 30-year career he has led projects on five continents. 

He has taught at the Clemson Center for Architecture, Charleston, and at Harvard Graduate School of Design Career Discovery Program. He is a Board Member of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, Ashley Hall School and the Advocacy Committee of Historic Charleston Foundation. 

He has a BA in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia with Honors (1980) and MA in Landscape Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard (1986). In 2018 he was inducted into the ASLA Council of Fellows, Landscape Architecture’s highest honor.

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Scott Watson (ex officio)

Scott Watson (ex officio)

Scott Watson (ex officio)

Scott Watson is an arts and communications professional with over twenty-five years’ experience advancing public appre-ciation of the arts and culture. Serving as Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Charleston, Scott leads a team charged with producing large‐scale events and festivals, managing City arts facilities, and serving as advocates for arts constituents throughout the region. As a member of the City’s senior staff, Scott is responsible for guiding policy and advising the Mayor on issues impacting the creative sector and local arts community. Scott graduated from Wesleyan University and holds a Masters of Arts in Eastern Classics from St. Johns College.

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Todd Wigfield

Todd Wigfield

Todd Wigfield

Todd Wigfield is a senior managing director for Greystar Development and Construction Services, covering the east coast region. He has been active in the multifamily industry since joining Greystar in 1999, including responsibility for site selection, underwriting, capitalization and execution of new development opportunities. To date, Todd’s teams have been directly responsible for executing over $3.2 billion of new development projects totaling over 12,000 units, with another $1.9 billion and 5,200 units in the approved pipeline. Todd holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the College of Charleston and is a member of the Urban Land Institute.

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Mimi Van Wyck

Todd Wigfield

Todd Wigfield

Mimi is a partner in Van Wyck & Van Wyck, a leading environmental design and event production firm with headquarters in New York City. Mimi worked at the White House. on Capitol Hill, and for the College Board as Deputy Secretary of the Corporation, overseeing all aspects of institutional governance. She joined her mother and brother at Van Wyck and Van Wyck in 2003 and has produced some of the firm’s most ambitious events including Katie Couric’s 50th birthday party, annual New Year’s Eve balls for The Wynn Las Vegas and a James Bond 70th birthday celebration in Cincinnati.