Six elected to 2018 Chamber 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 2018.

Josh Stewart, J.E. Stewart Engineering, Inc, nominating committee chair and incoming board chair said, “Attracting and retaining early career professionals and families with and without children to Aiken will be one of the Chamber’s primary focuses in 2018. This group of new board members includes both young and seasoned leaders that will enhance our current board of directors. I look forward to working with the 2018 board and Chamber staff to put plans into action to continue building Aiken’s future.”

The following is a brief profile of the new board members.

Patrick Carlisle is a graduate of Aiken High School and Aiken Technical College. He and his wife, Natalie, are the owners of Newberry Hall. He began his career at Newberry Hall Catering and Banquet Facility in 2002 when it was under the ownership of David and Maggie Sacks. Carlisle says this is where he learned the meaning of hard work and how a small business operates. In 2016 after 14 years of working at Newberry Hall, the opportunity to purchase the business became available and the two began the adventure of being small-business owners. The Carlisle’s share a passion for the hospitality industry and serving those in their community.

Carlise has participated in the Chef Extravaganza, a fundraiser for the local nonprofit Helping Hands, for the last six years. Newberry Hall also participates in One Table, a gathering of locals on Thanksgiving Day for fun and fellowship. Carlisle served on the board of the Aiken Chamber Young Professionals in 2008.

Patrick and Natalie are native Aikenites and are proudly raising two children in their home community, Emma Kate (5) and Brennan (3).

Harry Gunsallus joined SRP Federal Credit Union in May 2016, as its president and CEO. He and his family moved to Aiken from Alabama at that time. Gunsallus is a seasoned banking and credit union professional with over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He has held numerous senior executive level positions in major banks, startup banks and two credit unions. In addition, Gunsallus was part of the leadership team that took a privately held bank public and started a de novo bank.

Gunsallus has been honored to receive several awards and numerous certifications during his career. He was named a Top 10 Innovator of the Year by Bank Technology News in 2012 for building new applications in an industry “app store” and selling them to other financial institutions. In addition, he is a Certified Chief Executive Officer.

Gunsallus holds a B.A. from Penn State University in organizational management and an MBA from Ashford University. He is married and has two daughters. 

Diane Johnston is director of marketing and business development for the Augusta Regional Airport. She has 30 years of experience in the aviation industry, including both private industry and the public sector. Before joining the team at Augusta Regional Airport in 2005, Johnston worked at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Panama City Bay County International Airport. 

Johnston graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in aviation management. She is a licensed pilot and a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the American Association of Airport Executives where she holds a certified member designation. She has lived in Aiken for 13 years. 



Jason Rabun received his B.A. from the University of South Carolina in 2006. He joined First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, Inc. in October 2014 and serves as its vice president, business banker. Before First Citizens, he worked as a financial services officer at Security Federal Bank for six years.

As a native of Aiken, Rabun has remained actively involved in his home community. He has been a member of the Aiken Chamber Young Professionals since 2008 and served as its chair in 2011. He was recognized in 2009 as Aiken’s Rising Star by the organization.

Rabun is the treasurer for the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County, past chair and board member of the Aiken Technical College Foundation board of trustees, past chair of the Aiken Downtown Development Association and serves on the City of Aiken’s Planning Commission. In addition, Rabun is a volunteer firefighter for the City of Aiken where he was recognized as Volunteer Firefighter of the Year in 2013.

Rabun has a passion and is committed to assisting small businesses and customers with their financial matters and enjoys giving back to the community he calls home. He enjoys spending time at Palmetto Golf Club, playing court/real tennis and traveling.


  1. Ryan Reynolds moved to Aiken with his family in the late 1980s. He graduated from South Aiken High School in 1997 and from Clemson University with a B.S. in construction science and management in 2011.

Reynolds began his career building new schools with his family’s Aiken based general contracting business, H.G. Reynolds Company. After traveling across the state of South Carolina as a project superintendent with the family business, he moved back to Aiken in 2013 to take an ownership role in the business. Reynolds also serves on the Construction Industry Advisory Board for the Construction Science Department at Clemson University.

Reynolds and his wife, Kelly, are members at St. John’s United Methodist Church. They have three daughters, Elizabeth Grace (5), Anna Bryce (3), and Evelyn (1). He is a coach for youth sports at Citizens Park and volunteers with various other local charities. Reynolds says he is excited about being a part of Aiken’s future, and looks forward to help enhancing Aiken’s unique charm and the characteristics that make it such a wonderful place to live and grow.


Van Smith
is a born and raised Aikenite and graduate of Aiken High School. Smith started working in the clothing business at the age of 12 with his dad, Lionel Smith, at LeGrande's of Aiken. In 1976, Lionel Smith, ltd was born and he began working part time for his father’s new men’s clothing store.

Smith graduated in 1985 from the University of South Carolina with a degree in retail management and became a full-time employee at the store. In 1992, he started purchasing and running Lionel Smith, ltd with a partner. In 1995, the partnership dissolved and Smith ran the business on his own until 2013 when he brought on a new business partner.

Smith is a passionate advocate of Downtown Aiken. He has served on multiple Aiken Downtown Development Association boards and committees for over 20 years. He serves on the Aiken Main Street board, the Aiken Corporation board, and is a Paul Harris fellow and a member of the Aiken Rotary Club.

Smith and his wife, the former Tracey Olcott, and their teenage triplet daughters are members of St. John's United Methodist Church where he serves on the Finance Committee and the Youth Advisory Committee.



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