My journey started in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as the son of two blue-collar parents. The youngest of three children and the only son, I developed all the rebellious tendencies necessary to question everything. My father was a pressman for a publishing company and our house was full of books, instilling a love of reading and learning about the world. Though my childhood was full of your average small town adventures, I did not want that simple life as an adult. It wasn’t until I received a simple, kind act from one of my teachers that I had the motivation and direction to venture away from home. Thanks to a full-time job at a family business in my hometown, I was able to earn and save to pay for an education. So, starting at a small college on the Eastern Shore to the intimidating halls of the University of Maryland, I became the first person in my family to graduate from college.
After college, I spent nine years in Washington, DC, starting with Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the nation’s oldest and largest taxpayer advocacy groups. In 1996, I went to Capitol Hill to join the staff of U.S. Representative Mark Sanford (SC-1), which would define my career in ways I never imagined. When Sanford retired from Congress in 2001, I went to work for U.S. Representative Bob Barr (GA-7), where I lived through the events of 9/11 and the immediate aftermath. When Sanford decided to run for Governor of South Carolina in 2002, I joined the campaign as Policy Director and we succeeded in defeating the incumbent Governor.
Over the next eight years, I worked for Governor Sanford, rising from the Washington Office to Senior Policy Advisor to Deputy Chief of Staff and finally, Chief of Staff for the last three years of his administration. I worked on a wide range of policy issues from crafting the state’s first comprehensive Executive Budget, Medicaid Reform, Government Reorganization, among other issues.
In 2009, Governor Sanford disappeared for five days, returning to acknowledge an affair, ending a once-promising career. In the 18 months to follow, we worked to restore the trust of the people of South Carolina and finish the term effectively, a mission we accomplished. In December 2010, Sanford’s approval rating had climbed to 55 percent and after he left the Governor’s Office, was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013. He still serves the people of the First District to this day.
In 2011, I became the Chief Operating Officer of the South Carolina Department of Education, leading an overhaul and modernization effort that reduced the administrative costs and sent more dollars to the classroom. In 2015, I rejoined Sanford in Washington as Chief of Staff to organize the new office and set it on a path forward. Since August 2015, I have been the Executive Director of the American Philatelic Society, the world’s largest membership organization for stamp collectors, where I have focused on improving operations, raising funds, uniting the hobby and modernizing membership recruitment for the digital age.
I am a 1993 graduate of the University of Maryland – College Park with a B.A. in History. I am the proud husband of Kendra and together we have three children, Seth, Colin, and Tess. Hopefully, this blog will be a chance to give back just a bit of what has been given to me over the years.