From educators to entrepreneurs, a veterinarian, a Realtor and a marketing specialist, the Young Professionals 2 Follow are making an impact on Aiken County and its future.
The Aiken Standard recognized four women and six men in the class of 2019 Thursday night during a banquet at Woodside Plantation. This year's recipients are not only strong leaders in their schools, offices or businesses. They also are dedicated and committed to their communities through a strong sense of service to others.
This year's Young Professionals 2 Follow are Tim Behling, Derek M. Bush, Patrick Carlisle, Dr. Tiffany Hall, Dr. Jason Holt, John Lamprecht, Rushunda Lett, Christian Medders, Angela Odom and Dr. Heather Troutman.
Ciera Clingerman, an event and sales executive for the Aiken Standard, said this year's class represents “so much variety.”
“I think that just goes to show what Aiken is made of. It's not just one type of person or profession,” Clingerman said. “We have people in real estate and in the school system. I think it just goes to show that Aiken, while it might be a smaller community, is a melting pot for all kinds of professionals and people who want to pursue all different types of careers."
Clingerman added that she knows some of this year's Young Professionals 2 Follow personally.
“It's not only that they are professional,” she said, “They also are some of the best individuals to have a great conversation with. They're laid back, and they maintain their character whatever they do.”
An Aiken native, Behling is the founder of SUCCESSTEAM, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that specializes in education and youth development. He said being named a Young Professional 2 Follow is a “great feeling.”
“That's an accolade that I never really thought I'd be able to achieve,” he said. “It just goes back to my passion for being a leader. Now, having the title to be a Young Professional 2 Follow is like, hey, you got a moniker that you are a leader. You're someone who can be trusted for advice, for guidance, to follow. That's really important to me.”
Derek M. Bush
Bush is an assistant public defender with the 2nd Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office in Aiken County.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be named as one of Aiken’s Young Professionals 2 Follow,” he said. “With so many deserving individuals in Aiken, I’m grateful to have been nominated and honored to have been selected. I hope that the impact I make on the Aiken community is a positive one – one that shines a light of hope for those who are in need and an impact that accurately reflects the light and love of Jesus Christ onto those whom I serve.”
Carlisle with his wife, Natalie, is the owner a Newberry Hall, a privately owned catering business that serves the public.
“I think it's pretty cool that people would think of me as a Young Professional 2 Follow,” he said. “All I'm doing is what I feel like I need to do to make a living for my family really, and to be in the hospitality industry, you have to be hospitable. I think it's great that I was recognized because I feel like I'm doing the right thing, and I hope we provide a service to Aiken.”
Dr. Tiffany Hall
Hall is the new principal at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School in Graniteville.
“It's a tribute to the people who have put time and effort into me. It's not really about me. I'm just lucky to have people who have supported me, grown me: my parents, my teachers, friends who invested in me,” Hall said. “I hope I can continue to be that service leader who is serving an example for kids. That's what I love. My passion is for children, getting the fullest potential from them and loving them.”
Dr. Jason Holt
Holt, who grew up in North Augusta, is the new principal at Aiken High School.
“Truthfully, as someone who has watched and admired and looked up to the Young Professionals 2 Follow in the past, to be in this group, really, it's one of the most flattering things that I've experienced in a long time. I'm humbled truthfully,” Holt said.
“Aiken over the last few decades that I've been an adult in Aiken and worked professionally is made up of so many dedicated people who work tirelessly to give back to the community,” he continued. “If I can be part of that team of people, just be someone who works just as hard as they do to help out in the areas that I can and beyond that – that to be would be the ultimate thing, giving back.”
John Lamprecht, an associate broker for The Concierge Team: A Real Estate Boutique, moved to Aiken from Buffalo, New York, five years ago.
“It's very important for me to give back,” he said. “I really just hope that I can inspire other people who might have been in my situation – just to arrive on some city's doorstep with a hope and a prayer that they can really make something of themselves if they're really working hard.
“I hope to continue to work with all the networks here to make things even better, make Aiken a better place for families, for young professionals and for people like me who want to find a home here and love it here.”
Rushunda Lett, the membership development manager for the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, said her goal is to make sure her community “continues to grow in a positive way."
“I want to see people thrive, and I want to see more home-grown business come into the area because those businesses have a bigger impact on the community when it's someone local,” she said. “I also want to show people that North Augusta is a great place to raise kids. It's a good, safe community, and I just want to show that to people and make sure that we're coming back and re-investing in our community.”
An Aiken native, Medders is an assistant director of Student Life at USC Aiken.
“I truly am honored to be recognized as a Young Professional 2 Follow. I think it gives me another avenue to impact my community,” Medders said. “I think this is a very good cohort. There are a number of individuals who are going to make a huge impact in their careers and in the Aiken community.
“I hope through this I have a way to make an impact on my community and grow it and continue to show off how great Aiken is - and to show how great USC Aiken is as well. It definitely has made an impact on my life, and I would love for local students to understand that USC Aiken is a great place to go to school.”
A native of Windsor, Odom is a dental assisting instructor at Aiken Technical College. She said she was “floored” when she learned she had been named a Young Professional 2 Follow.
“I'm always that behind-the-scenes person. I started crying. You never know who is watching you,” Odom said. “I just encourage everyone to give if they can. People ask me where do I find the time. I tell them I don't know, but I find it.”
Dr. Heather Troutman
Troutman is an associate veterinarian at Veterinary Services of Aiken.
“I felt really honored and excited and kind of humbled, too, when I looked at the list of the other people,” she said. “When people think of me, I want them to remember that I was involved in things that made people happy and helped other people want to get involved, too, bringing people together in the community."
Dr. Tom Clark, CSM, US Army, retired, the executive director, PMP, CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, was the guest speaker.
The Concierge Team: A Real Estate Boutique was the event's other sponsor.