Ambitious, Inspired and On the Move

The Top Ten 2017 Capital Young Professionals

Robert Clark

It is with great excitement that CMM presents our inaugural Capital Young Professional Awards, honoring some of our community’s finest men and women. We would like to thank everyone who nominated so many excellent local young professionals this past November and December for our inaugural CYP Awards! We were thrilled that community participation brought in more than 70 entries of outstanding young professionals. 

It was a truly difficult process to determine the top 20 who were then reviewed by the CMM team along with a committee from United Way of the Midlands. After a weeks-long process, we selected the Top Ten who then went through an interview process before being confirmed. We extend our hearty congratulations to the official Top Ten Capital Young Professionals, included in this feature. 

On April 20, we enjoyed a wonderful evening for our first CYP celebration and would like to thank 701 Whaley, Aberdeen Catery, Fern Studio and Floral Design and Ambient Media for making the night one that was truly special. As the evening ceremony came to a close, it was our distinct pleasure to announce the 2017 CYP Awards winner –– Joseph Walker, III. 

A special thank you to all of our 2017 celebration table sponsors: Adams and Reese, LLP, Hammond School, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Marco’s Pizza, NAI Avant, Nelson Mullins, Northwestern Mutual, Thomas Media Group and United Way of the Midlands. 

As a Hammond high schooler then as a Wofford College freshman, Joseph “Joe” Walker, III focused on the same things that many young men his age did: socializing, sports and himself. However, Sept. 11, 2001 dramatically changed his priorities. He says his decision on Sept. 12 may seem cliché, but marching into the campus Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) office to ask what he could do for his country was his first reaction after the tragedy of 9/11. What exited the Wofford sophomore during that fateful time was his self-described narcissism, and what replaced it was ardent patriotism.

He took the role seriously, training hard and graduating Wofford as a commissioned officer alongside others who also made commitments to serve their country. Had it not been for 9/11 and his motivation to serve America, Joe says that he doubts he would have graduated and gone on to achieve the success he has today. He was an unlikely person to be guided by a military career. Joe’s father was too young to be drafted to serve in Vietnam and too old to enlist to fight in Desert Storm. 

He did have a grandfather who fought in World War II along with four great uncles, brothers of his grandfather, but Joe says realization of those family member’s actions did not sink in until he was deployed to fight the war in Iraq. In fact, he had an opportunity to attend The Citadel after graduating from Hammond and emphatically announced to his father he wanted nothing to do with a military career. Yet, while serving his country, Joe gleaned valuable skills of service that would eventually affect all other aspects of his life.

Joe knows that his ideology does not fit with the success-at-all-costs mindset of his generation. He is a 35-year-old millennial whose true attention is not solely focused on his highly successful business, JH Development, of which he is owner and managing partner, but rather is primarily on being a solid moral support and positive example to his three sons, ages 3, 6 and 8, and to Haley, his wife.

“I want to be a man for them … a strong father and husband who is true to his beliefs,” he says. “We need more Godly, gentle leaders in our society and in our families.” 

Joe’s faithful character was solidified during his eight years in the military as a 1st Lieutenant and Captain in the U.S. Army and then as a Captain in the U.S. Army National Guard. He served one tour in Iraq, and it was there he experienced tremendous loss. He received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his bravery.

“You learn in death what you don’t learn in life,” he shares. “As it pertains to the big picture, you have a different perspective that everything around you is relative, temporary. I’m here only by God’s grace and by the bravery of a lot of men who sacrificed. On behalf of the men who I watched die, I need to be all that I can be and everything they can’t be.”

Jerry Coburn, who is now the business development director for Sierra Nevada Corporation, can attest to Joe’s capabilities and character. Jerry was, at one time, Joe’s commanding officer. He witnessed Joe in difficult, stressful, life-threatening situations in war — and then observed how he returned home to become a humble, adaptive yet aggressive leader in business and in his native community of Columbia.

“In my first conversation with Joe,” points out Jerry, “I learned a couple of powerful things. First is his appreciation and love for his family. Second is his strong grounding in his faith and sense of responsibility to serve. Third is that he volunteered at Fort Benning to immediately deploy to combat, passing up the opportunity to attend the U.S. Army Ranger School which was a clear signal of his selfless patriotism.” 

Joe’s father, Joe, II, shares that he recognized his son’s character transformation through military service. After Joe trained and learned the basics while in ROTC at Wofford, he swiftly rose through the ranks of the Army. He was exposed to near-death experiences daily in what is considered some of the worst months of fighting in Iraq, yet he maintained his position as a strong, respectable leader in his platoon. In fact, his example of faith and leadership inspired others to emulate his example. 

Joe, II points out that with former generations who survived World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, much was not discussed until some soldiers opened up as they aged. They shared with historians, family, friends and the news media about the hellishness of war. He says that he knows his son and others fighting in the Middle East have experienced and are experiencing the same, but in a smaller theater and with less coverage. 

“And then they return and get out of the plane at the airport, and it’s like someone just flipped the switch and they are supposed to somehow assimilate right back into normal life,” Joe, II shares. “But what they’ve experienced is horrible, inhumane and runs counter to the way anyone is brought up. They don’t want to talk about what happened; they want to get on with life, but it’s hard sometimes.”

His father and others can attest to the fact that the experience of war did more to shape the man that Joe Walker, III, is today than any childhood experience could ever begin to. 


Young Man on the Move

Joe conveys that his father, after whom he was named, and many other men in his family have been positive examples. The Walker tribe traces its roots back five generations in South Carolina. His great grandfather came to Columbia in 1905 and started Joseph Walker and Company, a cotton merchandiser. He also founded Standard Warehousing Corporation, which was later sold to UTI Logistics. 

 Joe is an idea person, a risk taker and a big picture cheerleader. He allows those who are in the trenches of his companies to manage operations of not only Marco’s Pizza restaurants, but of other endeavors as well. Currently, under the JH Development umbrella, there is one Orangetheory Fitness studio opened and a second location to open soon, three Carolina Mattress & Furniture stores, one Direct Print Marketing business and one JP Contract Solutions as well as 14 Marco’s Pizza restaurants. He is also a partner in a real estate development company, MOJO Holdings, LLC. In fact, Joe is continuously seeking to identify locations for brand expansion — or to determine brands for acquisition. 

“I’m the adviser, the consultant, the point of reference,” says Joe. “But it’s great to see partners out there, day after day, running the businesses and flourishing and providing for their families. My job is to support them. I delegate but allow them to be the experts — to do what they’re good at. It’s very satisfying to me to help and watch others get better and better.”

And what he is good at, according to many, is to oversee it all — to keep the balls in the air. 

Will Brooks, who is a business partner as well as a mentor, says, “Joe has impressed me so much with his overall business mind and understanding of business trends and opportunities. He possesses great leadership qualities that come so naturally to him and that he enhanced while serving in our military. He is smart, hard working, fair and honest in all of his business interactions. He has surrounded himself with a great team which is also a testament to his leadership skills.”

Joe, II says that his son is a self-starter who accomplishes much but who rarely turns the mirror on his own accomplishments. He has noticed this trait in his son since his teen years, whether he was captaining the football or baseball teams. He says his motivating spirit then extended to leading his platoon in Iraq and eventually to starting a business in the Midlands. Joe, II describes his son as a “clear thinker and a goal accomplisher.” 

Joe is also often called a servant leader. Many who know him explain that it is because his drive to achieve is never at the expense of others, but rather for their betterment. 

Scott Quagliata, vice president for Marco’s Veterans’ Programs & Recruitment, knows how hard working and dedicated Joe is in business, the church and the community. “Simply stated, Joe has been instrumental to the success of many people, yet he is humble. You will never hear him say what he has done to help, but you will hear him praise the hard work and dedication of others,” Scott says.


Busy, But Not Too Busy

Even though it is in the DNA of many Americans, especially the 20-to-40-somethings, to always achieve more, Joe cautions peers to keep all in perspective. “There is this perception that I’ve done a lot quickly. But for me, the military was my grad school. It was there that I learned lessons that many of my peers are not taught, and that is to take risks because life is finite; but I also believe that losing money is not failure. There are plenty of things we’ve tried as a business that didn’t work, but that’s not failure. You have to look at the end game. You have to put yourself in a position to be around opportunities and then take them sometimes.” However, he cautions that no risk-taking or success or wealth should ever be at the expense of individual character. 

Jerry agrees. He says that being in combat is often an extraordinary character builder, and he recognizes that in Joe. “The men he led trusted in him because they knew he was genuine and knew that he would never ask of them what he wasn’t willing to endure himself,” he says.

Even though he is busy, he wants to make sure he is never so driven that he can’t be on the sidelines watching his boys participate in athletics or helping them practice their skills in various sports. Those who know him recognize that Joe’s devotion to family is imperative, even though he has so many irons in the fire where work is concerned. He spends time attending family gatherings, supporting school functions or just relaxing on his back porch with his wife. 

Joe also places a high priority on his community. Scott says that Joe inspires others to do and care because he believes Joe is one of the most gracious people he has ever known. In fact, besides running a successful business and striving to be a present and involved father and husband, Joe and Haley host fundraisers for not-for-profit entities, and he currently serves on the board of Cooperative Ministries. Scott also remembers Joe’s activities during the historic flood of 2015. “His organization at Marco’s fed hundreds of people who were in need — while Joe was out in the community lending a hand,” Scott says.

Joe had a vested interest in the flood recovery effort; his parents’ home, friends’ homes and neighbors’ homes were destroyed. He and Dan, his brother, and a small group of friends went from house to house for many days. They assessed damage, ripped up floors, pulled out drywall and removed furnishings to help with the rebuilding process. 

“It was the most grueling seven days, both physically and emotionally that I’ve experienced since combat in Iraq,” says Joe. “The stories of personal struggle and strife were unreal. The damage was surreal. The volunteerism and willingness of our friends and neighbors to stop life and serve each other was a testimony to this community. I love serving others, but seeing the community share in that passion has restored my faith in humanity.”

 During his senior year at Hammond School, Joe was voted Most Likely to Succeed — and he already has, at the young age of 35. However, Joe lives his life as a testimony that success is not about dollars and cents but about striving to live a Gospel-centered life on a daily basis. Joe says, “People look back on their lives and can pinpoint things that gave them a clear sense of direction. 9/11 was that moment in my life. It affected me personally and pointed me to what matters.”


The 2017 CYP Awards Finalists

Joshua A. Bennett, an attorney at Rogers Townsend, was admitted to the bar in 2011 and focuses his practice on complex litigation and insurance defense. Josh is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. He serves on the South Carolina Bar Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the South Carolina Bar, Young Lawyers Division. Josh is a member of the Leadership South Carolina Class of 2017 and Leadership Columbia Class of 2013.

A board member for the Family Shelter of Columbia since 2013, Josh has devoted many hours to working with annual fund raisers and became a member of the executive committee in 2014 as secretary. Since 2013, Josh has served as a member of the Board of Governors for The Columbia Stage Society/Town Theatre. In addition, Josh serves as a deacon at First Baptist Church of Columbia where he co-chairs the Family Care Ministry Team which manages efforts to contact widows of the church and ensure their needs are properly met.


Timothy Bowers has a big heart for helping others, especially youth and young adults. A skilled orator, Tim strives to motivate youth who may think the world is against them by recognizing their accomplishments. Tim is a first generation college graduate, obtaining his B.S. in Business Administration/Marketing from Benedict College, and is involved with the Columbia Urban League, Carolina School for Inquiry, Benedict College Annual Community Service Day, Real Men Read at St. Andrews Middle School, God Cares Charities with Word of God Church and Ministries, Concerned Black Men Mentoring, Blazer’s Service Project at DJJ, SC Community Uplift Foundation, Auntie Karen’s Foundation and Get M.A.D. Youth Mentoring Organization.

Tim is currently an account executive at Thomas Media Group where he manages existing advertising clients as well as develops new business. He also assists with new hires in getting them started and achieving sales quotas. Prior to Thomas Media, Tim worked at Wells Fargo as a banker customer service representative. He is also the author of Average to Awesome: Transitioning from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. 


Peyton Bryant loves Columbia, his hometown. Peyton is a graduate of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School and Wake Forest University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in economics. Shortly after college, Peyton began work with BB&T in Winston Salem. In 2014, he joined NAI Avant in Columbia as a commercial real estate broker where he has excelled. Peyton has immersed himself in the community by giving back his time and resources to causes, making Columbia an even better place to live. 

He is a graduate of Leadership Columbia, the vice-chairman of the Babcock Center Foundation, vice-chairman of the Midlands Housing Trust Fund, the chair-elect of the Young Leaders Society of the United Way of the Midlands, on the Board of Advisors for the Leadership Columbia Alumni Association, Ex-Officio Member of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School Board of Trustees, the immediate past president of the Columbia Lions Club and a proud member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church. Peyton not only has a passion for seeing his hometown grow and prosper, but he also has a passion for people and developing a genuine connection with everyone he meets.


Miles Coleman is an accomplished attorney with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. He joined the firm in 2011 and has argued before the S.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. He has also appeared as counsel of record before the Fourth Circuit, Tenth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court in amicus briefs. Miles serves as an appointed member of the S.C. Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also a founding member and current co-chair of the S.C. Bar’s Wellness Committee. 

Miles was selected for Leadership South Carolina class of 2015. He also chairs the S.C. Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and is a member of the S.C. Bar’s Young Lawyers Division. Miles serves as a member of the national board of School Ministries, Inc., and he also works with the S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense and the adoption agency Bethany Christian Services. He is a member of First Presbyterian Church where he volunteers with the music ministry and small discipleship groups.


Kim Jamieson, public relations manager for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, began her career in communications with Chernoff Newman and then later as director of communications for the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism. As public relations manager, Kim oversees all aspects of the public relations department for the South Carolina tourism board. 

She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a master’s degree in Mass Communications. Kim is also a graduate of Leadership Columbia and Leadership South Carolina. She is involved with the Junior League and received the Kinsey Black Jones Award, presented to the most deserving first, second or third year active member. She is a member of Historic Columbia and has served on the board of Columbia Opportunity Resource. Kim is a member of the marketing and communications committee for the Columbia Museum of Art where she helps with their overall communications plan.


Jeff Manning is the business development manager for the law firm, Adams & Reese. He is responsible for the firm’s marketing research efforts, client satisfaction and new business development programs. Jeff was the marketing director for the South Carolina Bar from 2010 through 2013. He won the “Best in Business Award” from the S.C. Society of Association Executives. Jeff is also deeply involved in the community, serving with many civic and community groups. He volunteers with Epworth Children’s Home and serves on the Board of the Friends of Epworth. He and Carolina, his wife, host fun outings for the boys at Epworth several times a year. 

He also serves on the board of other organizations such as the Committee of 100 and the Leadership Columbia Alumni Association, and he was on the board of the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council. Jeff volunteered on the Muscular Dystrophy Association Gala Committee in 2015 to help them raise funds for the treatment of MD. Jeff is a graduate of Hammond School and the University of South Carolina. At USC, he served as a staff writer for Gamecock Central and Gamecock Illustrated


Marshall Minton, a business transaction attorney for Turner Padget, is building a strong practice of estate planning, probate administration and litigation, and tax planning. She is a member of the S.C. Bar Young Lawyers Division, Women Lawyers Association as well as other professional organizations where she gives back to the community through providing free legal assistance in drafting wills. She also serves as vice-chair of the Midlands Cinderella Project, offering free prom dresses to high school students. 

Marshall is also a member and board director of the Rotary Club of Five Points and serves as the chair of the public affairs team for the Junior League. She is a chairperson for the Junior Achievement Young Professional Auxiliary as well as a classroom volunteer. She is chair-elect of the Leadership Columbia Advisory Board as well as a 2013 graduate of Leadership Columbia. Marshall is also very involved with her church, Trenholm Road United Methodist, serving as an usher, a volunteer on the Church Council and the chair of the Church and Society Core Team, which focuses on racial reconciliation.


Drew Stevens is a wealth management advisor for Northwestern Mutual where he oversees, trains and mentors five full time advisors and also advises more than 250 individuals, families and small businesses in their financial planning topics. After graduating from the USC Moore School of Business in 2010, Drew joined Northwestern Mutual where he had previously interned and where he has achieved recognition as a Million Dollar Roundtable qualifier for four years in a row as well as many other accolades, such as a Top 10 Financial Advisor and Recruiting Field Director. 

Drew is very involved in the Columbia community. He is the chair for the United Way of the Midlands Young Leaders Society, and he co-organized and sponsored a Harvest Hope Food Drive, adopted three families for the holidays and donates and volunteers with Junior Achievement, the Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Transitions, Habitat For Humanity and Easter Seals. Drew lives and breathes the Midlands and is passionate about encouraging others to get involved in the community. He gives his time, dollars and energy to make the Midlands better, and it shows.


Lauren T. Wilkie is the program director at Transitions Homeless Center where she oversees program development and data evaluation. She has helped hundreds of people into permanent housing and has also developed a new youth program to help unaccompanied youth who are between 18 and 24 years old. 

Prior to this position, she was director of health programs at The Cooperative Ministry. Lauren has also worked at The Nurturing Center and Alston Wilkes Society. In addition to her work at Transitions, Lauren volunteers in several philanthropic and community organizations. She is the chair of Women in Philanthropy and is a member of the Youth in Transitions Committee with the United Way as well as a member of the Young Leader’s Society. Additionally, she is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and was an adjunct professor at USC. Everywhere that Lauren has worked has benefitted from her effort, creativity and drive. She is one of the Midlands’ experts on social work, and her knowledge and determination make the Midlands a better community.

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