Energetic team set to lead Chamber in 2015

The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce has announced its leadership team for the upcoming year. These dedicated volunteers offer a broad perspective on business and community related matters and, through their service to the Chamber, support the Chamber’s mission of creating opportunities for members to build successful businesses and to enhance the community’s quality of life. 

The following 2015 officers will work closely with the board of directors, the professional staff, and numerous volunteers to implement the Chamber’s 2015 program of work.

Bart Blackwell – 2015 Chair

Bart Blackwell is the president and owner of B & S Machine Tool.   He is a former Air Force officer and began his manufacturing career nearly 24 years ago as a program manager for a defense contractor.

Prior to joining B & S Machine Tool, he led the development and manufacturing efforts of a start-up medical device manufacturer and holds patents for the Lotecon Personal Care System.

Blackwell is a 2003 graduate of Leadership Aiken County, has served on the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee, and is a former scout den leader and youth soccer and baseball coach.

He has a B.S. from the College of Charleston and an M.S. from the University of Southern California.

Fran Jones – Chair-elect and Membership Services 

Fran Jones is plant manager at the Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Aiken Passenger Plant. In her current role, she leads 1,300 team members making over 32,000 consumer tires per day at the Graniteville location. Previously she served as vice president of Administrative Services responsible for the human resources, community and government relations, training and development, transportation services, and contractor management for the new ultra large tire plant in Aiken County. 

She actively supports the community as a board member for the Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County and through participation in service projects such as Habitat for Humanity and United Way. She also serves as a mentor for the Southeast region Women Unlimited, Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) program. 

She has a degree in Management and Human Resources and an MBA from Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

This is Jones’ second time on the chamber board; she served in 2007 prior to leaving the area for another Bridgestone assignment.

Charlie Hartz – Vice Chair of Public Affairs 

Charlie Hartz is the owner of the three Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins restaurants located in Aiken & North Augusta. His career spans more than 30 years of restaurant and country club/resort management, as well as his recent self-employment.

He has worked for ClubCorp Golf Management, located in Aiken and Debary, Florida; Arnold Palmer Golf Management with locations in Bangkok, Thailand, Los Angeles, California, and Orlando, Florida, and Bennigan's Restaurant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. 

Hartz is a board member of the Sertoma Club and the Aiken Technical College Foundation. In addition, he is a member of the Club Managers Association of America and the United States Parachute Association. 

He has a B.S. in Marketing and Management from Alfred University, Alfred, New York.


John McMichael – Vice Chair of Business and Community Development 

John McMichael is the business development officer and producer for Hutson-Etherredge Companies. He has 41 years in the insurance industry, holding various positions in marketing, sales, risk management, and claims. He is a licensed agent and broker in South Carolina and Georgia. 

McMichael has been a Chamber ambassador for the past six years and currently chairs the group. He has been co-chair of Aiken’s Makin’ for the past five years and will serve in the same position in 2015. He serves on the City of Aiken Planning Commission, the board of Hitchcock Healthcare, and is a member of the Aiken Rotary Club. 

He is a graduate of Aiken High School and the University of South Carolina. 

McMichael was elected to a second term on the chamber board last year.


Paul Dusenbury – Secretary/Treasurer 

Paul Dusenbury is President/CEO of VistaBank, a de novo community bank headquartered in Aiken with additional offices in Columbia and Conway, South Carolina. He has a B.S. in Financial Management from Clemson University and has worked as both a bank regulator and a community banker for the past 34 years. 

Dusenbury is active in the community and within his profession. He is a member of the Board of Governors and Quality Improvement Committee of Aiken Regional Medical Centers, a member of Public Education Partners (PEP) Endowment Investment Committee, a board member of the United Way of Aiken County, and a member of the Aiken Rotary Club. 

He is also a member of the South Carolina Bankers Association (SCBA) and currently serves as the immediate past chair of the SCBA Asset Liability Management Committee and as a Group III Director of the Community Bankers Council. 

Dusenbury currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Aiken Chamber.


Dr. Deidre Martin – Immediate Past Chair 

Dr. Deidre Martin is the vice chancellor for advancement at the University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken).  She has worked as an administrator at USC Aiken since 1988.  In addition, she teaches as an adjunct faculty member and academic advisor in the Department of Communications and is the advisor for the Circle K Club. 

Dr. Martin is active in the Aiken Kiwanis Club, United Way of Aiken County, and the American Association of University Women. 

She has been recognized as Outstanding Fundraising Professional in the CSRA by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Woman of Excellence by the Girl Scouts of the CSRA, Lifetime Kiwanis Member, Distinguished Kiwanian of the Carolinas District, Rotary International’s George Hixson Fellowship recognition, and Woman of the Year by the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

The Aiken Chamber of Commerce was awarded the Outstanding Chamber of the Year from the Carolina's Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) during Dr. Martin’s tenure as board chair.  


J. David Jameson – President/CEO  

A native South Carolinian, David Jameson is the President/CEO of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce. He has more than 40 successful years of chamber of commerce and economic development leadership and management in South Carolina and North Carolina. He led the Aiken Chamber through a 5-Star Accreditation process with the US Chamber of Commerce – only 89 local chambers nationwide have earned this status. 

He currently serves on several boards, including Aiken Downtown Development Association, the Aiken Corporation, and the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, a non-profit organization representing five counties in Georgia and South Carolina that surround the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. He also serves as chair of the Greater Aiken Integrated Trails Foundation (GAIT). He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Aiken. 

He is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina.


For more information about the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.aikenchamber.net or call 803-641-1111.      


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