Matt Green’s board and professional positions share parallel missions of attracting knowledge-based jobs to Bluffton that stimulate, strengthen and diversify the local and regional economy.
Green often focuses on recruiting businesses to Bluffton that serve clients out of the region and the state to optimize Bluffton’s economic strength.
“Bringing in new money from businesses that derive their revenues from out of the area is true economic growth. We saw what CareCore has accomplished as a Bluffton-based headquarters of a national company. We want to attract more similar companies whether they are big or small. Within time, smaller companies in abundance have just as much impact as the larger companies,” Green said.
Green is also the co-founder of Live Oak Group, LLC and Live Oak Property Group, LLC, real estate development firms which focus on economically-sustainable projects which offer a variety of uses.
Based in Bluffton, Green is involved with identifying investment opportunities, acquisitions, project management, development (including supervising construction activities), financial management, sales and marketing for his companies.
The Shadyside, Ohio native is now extremely active in the greater Bluffton community and holds various civic positions. Green is on the board of directors and executive committee for the national award-winning Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. He also chairs the Bluffton Regional Business Council and is on the board of May River Montessori, National Bank of South Carolina (NBSC), Young Life and is an active member of the Creative Coast and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Michael Mathews - Vice Chairman
Michael P. Mathews joins the Don Ryan Center for Innovation as a member of the board of directors.
The Palmetto Bluff resident was recently the Savannah/Beaufort regional manager for the Blood Alliance after a 35-year career of executive leadership with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
The Chicago-native worked with the merged Baxter Healthcare and American Hospital Supply Corporations, Boston-based Haemonetics Corporation and Toronto-based Hemosol. Mathews is a member of the Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Board. He is also active with the Beaufort County School District as a science fair judge via the Sea Island Regional Science Fair Organization.
Mathews has lived in Bluffton since 2006.
Larry Hughes - Secetary
Bluffton resident Larry Hughes joins the Don Ryan Center for Innovation as a member of the board of directors.
As a 2001 graduate of the Clemson-sponsored Bluffton Leadership program, Hughes was responsible for originally pitching Bluffton to Clemson University representatives as a pilot location for a Clemson Technology Village, now known as the Don Ryan Center for Innovation.
As a result of Hughes’ presentation, Bluffton was the first non-metropolitan town in South Carolina to partner with Clemson University to form a business/technology incubator. The New Jersey native spent his 40-year career in the fields of marketing, public relations and political consulting.
He has been a Bluffton resident for more than 16 years; serving as the past president of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society and a Bluffton representative/board member for the former Lowcountry Economic Alliance.
Hilton Head Island resident Carlton Dallas joins the Don Ryan Center for Innovation as a member of the board of directors.
Dallas is active in the community after 34 years in the petroleum industry where he held positions in marketing, management, sales, logistics and efficiency programs. Throughout his career, Dallas lived in or managed assets in 71 countries.
He has also held board of director positions with various petroleum organizations such as SARA Refinery in Martinique, The Caribbean Association of Commerce and Industry and the Eastern Caribbean Chamber of Commerce.
Retired since 2010, Dallas is active with World Affairs Council (HHI), Hilton Head Island Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Island Council of Hilton Head Island.
Edmondson is a real estate agent, a certified grant writer and marketing consultant for non-profits and corporate clients, particularly in the tourism industry. Her experience and expertise gives the Don Ryan Center for Innovation’s Board of Directors a local network with minority-owned companies, small businesses and the know-how of doing business with developing countries.
Edmondson continues to work as a certified grant writer, mainly for the Beaufort County Human Services Alliances as she works with local non-profits to apply for local, regional and federal grants.
In addition to Edmondson’s professional positions, she also has dedicated herself to countless civic positions in the South Carolina Lowcountry including: The Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association (Board Member), United Way of the Lowcountry (Board Member & Marketing Committee), Hilton Head- Bluffton Leadership Council (Board of Regents), Beaufort County Economic Development Board, Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Small & Minority Business Council and the Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Arts Council.
Edmondson is also a 2003 graduate of the Leadership Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and is active with the Parent Advisory Committee with Cross Schools.
Prior to her real estate career with Southern Lifestyle Properties, Edmondson was a vice president with Mission Resources Group. She assisted businesses and non-profit organizations through the development and implementation of marketing programs and communications strategies.
She was also a senior consultant with Gazelle Communications Group as she advised senior executives with corporate, non-profit and tourism-related organizations to develop and implement marketing communications plans.
Nester is the Managing Shareholder of the Beaufort County Unit of the McNair Law Firm which has offices on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. His legal expertise, especially with commercial, business/ real estate development and financing, gives insight to the leadership and innovators at the Don Ryan Center to the methodical steps of establishing a new business.
Nester’s legal practice focuses on representing business owners and developers before municipal boards, commissions and governmental councils. His expertise includes municipal, zoning and condominium law.
Nester has also dedicated himself to civic leadership positions, both with his community and professional organizations. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Bluffton, a member of the Board of Trustees for the May River Montessori School and a former member of the Board of Directors for the United Way of the Lowcountry.
A Connecticut native, Nester was a former captain in the United States Marine Corps. He received his Juris Doctorate from Western New England University School of Law.
Kevin Ryan - Treasurer
Ryan personifies the entrepreneurial spirit and is an example for fellow innovators at the Don Ryan Center. Ryan is currently the chief executive officer at Service Brewing Company, a micro-brewery in Savannah. He followed his passion and began making beer after an accomplished and prestigious military and corporate career.
His road to his new venture was paved with his experience with the United States Army and several executive positions at CareCore, the nation’s largest specialty benefits management company. CareCore is the first national company to base its headquarters in Bluffton.
Ryan primarily designed, sold and launched new company products for CareCore as executive vice president. Throughout his eight years at CareCore, Ryan also served as interim president, chief operating officer and the executive vice president of operations.
Before his corporate career, Ryan served as an infantry officer in Alaska and Colorado and commanded two infantry companies in Iraq. He earned an engineering management degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Ryan’s new business, Service Brewing Company, is a veteran-owned and operated brewery. His company’s mission is to donate a portion of its proceeds to charities that support military service members. Ryan also strives to experiment with innovative craft beers as he uses locally-grown ingredients to connect the region’s farmers with its consumers.
Lisa Sulka is the Mayor of Bluffton, South Carolina.
Elected as Mayor in 2007, Sulka was the first woman to hold this office. She has led the Town of Bluffton through its phase of explosive, yet focused growth as it became the state’s fastest growing municipality and the state’s fifth largest town in land-mass thanks to multiple annexations and the attraction of its high quality of life.
Sulka started her public service as a Town councilmember. She served in that capacity from 2004 to 2007. She hasn’t stopped promoting the Town since then, for she not only is the Mayor, Sulka is one of the Town’s most active ambassadors.
Sulka was instrumental in campaigning for Bluffton to be the site of Clemson’s first Technology Village. Bluffton was the first non-metropolitan area to establish a business incubator through the Clemson program. The incubator, The Don Ryan Center for Innovation, was established in 2012; a year before any other town established a similar organization. To date, Sulka is the Chairman of the Board for Bluffton’s innovation center.
Born and raised in Prosperity, a small town outside of Columbia, South Carolina, Sulka has called the Lowcountry home for more than 30 years. In her profession, Sulka works for Carson Realty, a full-service real estate firm in Bluffton.
Sulka is leading the future vision for the Town. That vision retains the Town’s small-town culture as it adds a progressive business strategy. With a business-friendly environment, the mission is to attract more primary jobs to the area as the region diversifies its economy.
Sulka is involved with many boards and commissions including a Board membership with the South Carolina Association of Mayors. The Mayor is also actively involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton, Bluffton High School Athletics and Clemson University’s Booster Club.
Sulka graduated from Clemson University. She and her husband, John, have three grown children.
Jimmy Taylor is well known in the Town of Beaufort and all of Beaufort County. Recently retired after 32 years with Regions Bank as Market President, he has a depth of business and financial experience that on organization like the Don Ryan Center can benefit from.
A graduate of Clemson University and a former track star Jimmy is also an independent business man as he runs a multi-generational, 600 acre tomato farm on St. Helena Island.
In addition, he also volunteers with numerous organizations such as: