The Challenger Learning Center Advisory Board promotes the development of the Challenger Learning Center of RCSD1 as it relates to and meets the needs of students, the community, and the public.
The Advisory Board oversees the Challenger Learning Center Foundation.
Members of the 2017-2018 Challenger Learning Center Advisory Board:
Paul Werts, Chair
Paul Werts is the Program Manager of Airport Development and Division of Aeronautics Special Programs with the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission. He is a Board Member of the Celebrate Freedom Foundation, a Chapter Member of the Thrivent Financial Church Council, and a member of the South Carolina Aviation Association. He received a degree is Civil Engineering Technology from Midlands Technical College and is a Certified Public Manager. He formerly served as the Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.
John Busch, Vice-Chair
John Busch is an entrepreneur who serves on the College of Charleston Board of Trustees and the Humanities Council of South Carolina. He is a former F-16 pilot at McEntire JNGB and Delta Air Lines pilot. He received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston, a Master’s of Strategic Studies from the USAF Air War College, and an International MBA from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.
Willa Martin Bailey, Public Relations Officer
Willa has over 35 years in several industries; Transportation, Health, Automotive, Manufacturing, Economic Development and Executive Recruiting. While at General Motors in Michigan, she was promoted through the ranks within Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing and Marketing Strategy Development. After General Motors she served as a manager of consulting for A.T. Kearney and KPMG, focusing on business process improvement. After a relocation to Tennessee, Willa was appointed by the Memphis Regional Chamber as the Senior Vice President for the ten year economic development plan for Memphis and Shelby County. She benchmarked with peer cities to identify best practices that would be incorporated into the ten year plan. Willa also worked with the University of Memphis to track performance measurements identified by the plan. Ms. Bailey has spent the past 13 years as an entrepreneur and co-business owner, with her husband Edward, of a successful executive search firm focusing on middle to executive level manufacturing positions for several industries. Willa is now semi-retired and serves on the Challenger Advisory Board and the Richland County Procurement Review Panel. She manages the Thomas Sinkler Martin Scholarship Fund, in memory of her Father.
Everett McMillian, Past Chair
Everett McMillian is Aviation Attorney with Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough, LLP. He is also a Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor. He served on the South Carolina Aerospace Task Force. He attended the Citadel and the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Angel Anderson represents the University of South Carolina’s McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation & Research.
Adrianne Beasley serves as the Director of Aerospace Initiatives at the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness/SC Aerospace, an organization working to advance aerospace in South Carolina. She previously served as the Program Manager for the University of South Carolina’s McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation & Research.
Don Purcell is the President of the Spring Valley Auto Group. He is the past Chairman of the Richland County Airport Commission and past President of the South Carolina Aviation Association. He is a past Chairman and Board Member of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and a past Chairman and Board Member of the NE Area Council. He serves as a Board Member and is on the Executive Committee for the Richland County Cultural Council. He serves on the Richland School District 2 Superintendent’s Advisory Committee. He is a Board Member for Sparkleberry Fair.
Steve Gould is the President of the S.C. Aviation Association. He has been serving as the Airport Director for the Rock Hill – York County Airport since June 2013. Prior to arriving at Rock Hill, he served as the Director of Operations at Collin County Regional Airport (now McKinney National Airport) in McKinney, Texas and as an Airport Certification Specialist at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2007. Upon graduation he immediately began his career in Airport Management and Operations. He received his Certified Member designation (C.M.) from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) in March 2012 and is a member of the Southeast Chapter of AAAE.
James Stephens is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, and is charged with managing the state’s executive aviation fleet as well as the state’s system of airports. He holds degrees in Aviation Management and Aircraft Maintenance from Bob Jones University, and is a licensed Airframe & Powerplant mechanic and Private Pilot.
Prior to his work with the Aeronautics Commission, he served as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the Special Services Corporation in Greenville, SC. During his time with Special Services, the aircraft management company grew from a fleet of four aircraft to ten aircraft, most of which were offered on the aircraft charter market for private use. Stephens’ past experiences also include airport management in McMinnville, Tennessee, and aircraft maintenance in Greenville, South Carolina.
Stephens is currently the chair of the South Carolina Aerospace Education Working Group, and is working with industry, academia, and government to promote the aerospace/aviation industry to South Carolina students. He serves on the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) Finance, Legislative, and Unmanned Aircraft Committees, and on the advisory committee of the Transportation Research Board’s, Airport Cooperative Research Program current study entitled “Developing Innovative Strategies for Aviation Education and Participation”.