Chamber elects six to board

The board of directors of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce recently approved six new board members. They will begin their three-year terms in January 2017.

Charlie Hartz, Dunkin’ Donuts, nominating committee chair and board chair, said, “As chair, I am so pleased that these outstanding community leaders will be joining our Chamber board. With their diverse experience and backgrounds, these leaders will make our current board even stronger. Business leaders must have goals, aspirations and dreams. We have an exciting year ahead of us with a focus on making these goals, aspirations and dreams a reality for the future of the business community of Aiken.”

Following is a brief history and description of the new board members as submitted.

Norman Dunagan has more than two decades of operational and management experience. During this time he developed a sharp eye for how businesses become bloated with inefficient processes and untapped waste streams costing firms tens of thousands of unneeded dollars. Teaching businesses how they can retool with a sleeker, smoother and strategically focused plan for reducing waste by implementing recycling programs that redefines waste items as a future resource is one of his goals. He founded The Dumpster Depot in 2005 and in 2015 the forward thinking company was named Small Business of the Year 2014 by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

As an entrepreneur Norman has found success by motivating, inspiring and influencing people. He has a unique ability of helping customers envision and achieve their company’s goals of zero waste.

His clients have ranged from industry giants such as Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and MTU America to many local small businesses.

Dunagan is a frequent guest on the local programs “Buzz on Bizz” and “Talking It Up.” He co-hosts the Advanced Services/Dumpster Depot Home Show on WGAC and is the host of the podcast “The Exponential Entrepreneur.” Dunagan has been featured in Waste360 an online resource for the waste industry.

Jennifer Hart serves as the Aiken Community Director for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, where she oversees Goodwill’s donated goods, retail store, mission services and workforce development programs, as well as community and public relations for Aiken and surrounding SC counties.

Before joining Goodwill in 2011, Hart spent 15 years in human resource management in manufacturing and health care, staffing services, retail and entrepreneurship.

Hart is a lead faculty member with the University of Phoenix, teaching human resource management and retail personnel management.

Hart is a 1996 graduate of USC Aiken and earned her MBA from the University of South Carolina in 2003. She is a Certified Professional in Human Resources.

In addition to serving as Aiken Rotary Club’s programs chair, she serves as president of the board of directors for Aiken County 211 Help Line and as a member of the board of directors for the Aiken Family Y. Hart has also served as a Chamber ambassador since 2012.


Dr. Forest E. Mahan assumed the role as Aiken Technical College’s fifth president July 1, 2016.

A native of South Carolina, Dr. Mahan has spent more than 20 years in the South Carolina Technical College System. He began his career as a history instructor at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OCTC) in 1996. During this time, he developed some of the college’s first online classes.

He joined the University of South Carolina Leadership cohort in May 2003, completing it in December 2004. While in the cohort, Dr. Mahan took on the role as Dean of Arts and Communications at OCTC.

In August 2008, he accepted the role of Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northeastern Technical College (NETC) to provide leadership for academics, the college’s library, continuing education and distance learning.

He worked with the college’s leadership and faculty to develop online courses and within four years, NETC went from two to 86 online courses. He also worked to re-establish partnerships with service area high schools to offer dual enrollment courses. Within five years, the college saw its dual enrollment grow from zero to nearly 200 students.

In July 2010, the College merged Academic Affairs with Student Services. At that time, Dr. Mahan took on leadership of Admissions, Records, Financial Aid, Student Support Services, Orientation, the Predominately Black Institutions grant, Perkins grant, and ASSIST grant while retaining his Academic Affairs duties.

Over the years, he has also been very active in the South Carolina Technical Education Association and served on its board from 2000 to 2016 in the roles of president-elect, president, past-president and technology coordinator.

His experience has developed a leadership style that emphasizes collaboration between and among the various sectors of the college with an emphasis on transformative gains with individuals growing and developing their leadership skills within his or her role at the college. He strongly believes that empowerment of faculty and staff leads to great improvement in student success and the efforts to fulfill ATC’s mission to serve its stakeholders.

Dr. Mahan received a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Charleston, and a master’s degree in history and a Ph.D. in higher educational administration from the University of South Carolina.

Karen Poteat has been a LPN for over 20 years with a specialty in developmental disabilities and gerontology. It has been her life’s work to care for seniors and she has done so in a variety of settings including long-term care, assisted living and hospice. She has held positions as a direct care nurse, admissions coordinator, marketer and administrator. Her passion is serving those with dementia. In 2010, after many years of dedicated service and training, Poteat was recognized as a Dementia Specialist by the South Carolina Lt. Governor’s Office.

Poteat moved to Aiken in 2005. As she continued her work in the nursing field, she recognized a void that was not being met for Aiken seniors. That void was a purposeful place where seniors who were experiencing decline related to advanced age, physical frailty or dementia could improve their wellness while socializing with peers. In January 2013, she opened Aiken Active Seniors to fill that void.

While working to grow her business, Poteat has remained very involved in the Aiken community. She is a member of the Aiken Rotary Club, Community Services Network, and an active committee member for both the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and Tee Up Against Alzheimer’s. Poteat was recently named to the board for the South Carolina Adult Day Services Association.

Poteat also serves the community as a keynote speaker for Alzheimer’s related events. She is a guest writer for several publications including the Aiken Standard and Bella Magazine where she shares her expertise as a Dementia Specialist to help educate others about how to live joyfully in spite of dementia.

Aiken Active Seniors has been awarded National Small Business Champion by SAMS Club and SCORE and was named 2015 Small Business Success Story of the Year by SCORE. In January 2016, Aiken Active Seniors was chosen as the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year for 2015.

Keyatta Priester is the manager of community development for Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc. She is a native of Allendale, South Carolina, and has worked for the Cooperative in Aiken County for 16 years.

Priester is known for cultivating and developing lasting relationships within the community she serves.

Priester actively volunteers her services and skills to various community projects. Her passion is for the United Way Agencies in Aiken, Edgefield and Orangeburg counties. She is the race director and event coordinator for the highly successful Aiken Electric Cooperative Touchstone Energy RUN UNITED.

In addition to serving on the board for the United Way of Aiken County, Priester is a member of the Rotary Club of Aiken and serves on the Service Grant committee and the Scholarship committee. She is also a Rotary Reader at the East Aiken School of the Arts.

Other organizations Priester serves are the Aiken Family Y, Aiken County Public School District's Early Learning advisory board member, Tim Scott's John Moniz Champion of Hope Advisory Council, member of Aiken's Community Service networking group, and is appointed to the Aiken Technical College Board Commissions by Governor Haley.

Priester has been named as a 2016 Young Professional to Follow by the Aiken Standard and is the recipient of the Live United Award. 

Gary R. Sullivan founded Tyler Press, Inc. in June 1990, in Elgin, Illinois. After six years he moved the printing facility to Huntley, Illinois, where it continued to grow through the years.

In 2012 the decision was made to partner with other production facilities to produce the printing needs for Tyler Press, Inc. clients, and sell all of the equipment and close the facility in Huntley.

In October 2013, he moved to Aiken, SC and established TPi - Tyler Press, LLC., where he continues to provide for the printing needs of his clients in the Chicagoland area, nationwide, as well as building up the business in the CSRA.

Gary has been a member of the Huntley Area Chamber of Commerce since 1996, and still holds a seat on the finance committee. He was awarded the prestigious “Ready, Willing & Able” award and remains active from afar with the Huntley Chamber.

Joining the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce in October 2013, Sullivan jumped right in, becoming an Ambassador and has functioned in that capacity since 2014. “This chamber is amazing! It’s an honor to be joining the board of directors,” he said.

icon-circle-arrow-up Top