SCC Impact: Featured Speakers
We are proud to welcome distinguished speakers to the SCC Impact celebration on
March 17, 2022 at the Spartanburg Marriott.
"The lineup of speakers for SCC Impact represents the pillars upon which the College stands: students, careers, and community. I am thrilled to have four esteemed individuals join us in showcasing where SCC has been and discuss the trajectory we are on for the future.”
Dr. Michael Mikota, SCC President
Career Impact Speaker: S.C. State Representative Rita Allison
State Representative Rita Allison has represented House District 36 in the South Carolina State House from 1993-2002 and again from 2008 to the present. In 2003, Representative Allison became a trusted Education Advisor to then-Governor Mark Sanford and later served as the Governor’s Legislative Director. In the S.C. State House, she currently serves as the Chair of the House Education and Public Works Committee. Over her public service career, she has been recognized as the "Legislator of the Year" by the S.C. Victim's Right Group, South Carolina School Board Association, S.C. Adult Education Association, and the S.C. Vocational School Association for her work with each group.
Student Impact Speaker: 2018 SCC Graduate, Ryan Collins
Ryan Collins had the unique honor of becoming SCC’s first Technical Scholar with AWL Automation, LLC, a machine builder/systems integrator located in Spartanburg, SC, and headquartered in the Netherlands. Since graduating with honors from SCC in 2018, Mr. Collins has worked as both a Mechatronics Technician and a PLC Controls Engineer with AWL. Furthermore, in 2020 he was appointed to the Steering Committee of the Greater Upstate Manufacturing Sector Partnership—a platform for industry professionals in the area to collaborate on challenges facing manufacturing at all scales.
Community Impact Speaker: OneSpartanburg President, Allen Smith
From his work as President of OneSpartanburg, Inc, few have more intimately witnessed SCC’s impact on the local community than Allen Smith. Allen began his career as Town Clerk for the town of Bethel, NC following his graduation from East Carolina University. He subsequently served as Vice President of Operations and later Senior Vice President for the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce before taking on the role of President and CEO of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce in 2010.
In 2014, Allen was named President and CEO of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, which was rebranded as OneSpartanburg, Inc in September of 2020. OneSpartanburg, Inc’s mission is to build a vibrant Spartanburg through business, economic, and tourism development.
George D. Johnson Jr.
Special Video Presentation from George D. Johnson Jr.
In a business and public service career spanning nearly 40 years, George Dean Johnson, Jr. has built a reputation grounded on the same bedrock he has used to build one company after another. An accomplished leader and executive with a creative entrepreneurial spirit, Johnson is widely regarded as a business giant in his home state and beyond, and his legacy as a leader in both business and public service circles was secured years ago.
Born July 22, 1942, and raised in Spartanburg, Johnson was the eldest of the late Dr. George Dean and Elizabeth Heath Johnson’s three sons. A 1964 graduate of Wofford College, Johnson also earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1967.
Just two years out of law school, and years before he became known as one of South Carolina’s most accomplished businessmen, Johnson was elected to the state House of Representatives. He eventually served three terms, and can lay claim to an unusual if not unprecedented feat, winning election once each as an independent, as a Democrat and as a Republican, leading the ticket each time. Indeed, Johnson was known as a devoted and tireless worker for his constituents, a reputation that transcended party affiliation. Johnson also has served South Carolinians as chairman of the S.C. Development Board and as president of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce.
It is in his business career, however, where Johnson has made his most lasting mark. His executive board service includes seats on seven New York Stock Exchange boards: Extended Stay America, Norfolk Southern, Duke Energy, AutoNation, Inc., Boca Resorts, Advance America Cash Advance, and Blockbuster, Inc.
He co-founded and directed two companies onto the New York Stock Exchange in the 1990s. At the time, Advance America and Extended Stay America represented two of only three Spartanburg-based companies on the NYSE.
Today, Johnson serves as Chairman of the Board of Johnson Development Associates,
Inc., a commercial, industrial, self-storage and apartment developer, and is general
partner for Palmetto Hospitality, a developer of limited service hotels for Marriott,
Hilton and Hyatt.
He and his wife, Susan Phifer Johnson (Susu), have two adult children: a son, George (Geordy) Dean Johnson III, and a daughter, Susanna Presnell Johnson.