Paula Harper Bethea joined First Financial’s and First Federal's Boards of Directors in 1996 and has served as chairman since 2009. She was one of nine South Carolinians chosen in 2001 to establish the South Carolina Education Lottery, and is now its Executive Director. Prior to this position, Ms. Bethea was with the McNair Law Firm from 2006 to 2009 where she served as Director of External Relations.
A native of Hampton County, Ms. Bethea is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she is President-elect of the Alumni Association. In 1998, she was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award by the University of South Carolina, and in 2003, she was awarded the Columbia College Medallion, the most distinguished commendation bestowed by the college where she is a former Board Chair. Ms. Bethea was Vice Chairman of the Board at Presbyterian College, a member Emeritus of the Board of the Medical University of South Carolina Foundation, and past chairman of the Board of the Heart and Vascular Center at MUSC.
Currently, she is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Governors of United Way of America. She is a past member of the Board of United Way International, former Chairman of United Way of South Carolina, and of Beaufort County. In addition, Ms. Bethea is a former Board Chair of the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Centers of Economic Excellence Board and the Wilkins Forum at Furman University. She is a founding Board member of the Palmetto Institute, and is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of the South Carolina Research Foundation.
She served in 1991 on the State Chamber's Task Force for Restructuring State Government and was a member and a Subcommittee Chairman of the Governor's Commission on Restructuring. Governor Campbell presented the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest award for volunteer service, to Ms. Bethea in 1992. In 2006, she and her husband Bill were South Carolina’s Business Leaders of the Year. Ms. Bethea received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the University of South Carolina and Presbyterian College.
Paul G. Campbell, Jr. was elected to First Financial’s and First Federal's Boards of Directors in 1991. Mr. Campbell is the retired President of the Southeast Region for Alcoa Primary Metals, the world's leading aluminum reduction company. He continues to work for Alcoa as a consultant. He is a graduate of Clemson University and received a master's degree from Jacksonville University. In addition to membership in several professional organizations, Mr. Campbell is past President of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers, a global professional society. He is past President of the Coastal Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Charleston Trident United Way, Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce, the Minerals, Metals and Material Society (TMS) and the TMS Foundation. He is past Chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Campbell is on the Board of Governors of the School of Business and Economics of the College of Charleston and was on the Board of Visitors of Clemson University and the Clemson Engineering Advisory Board. He also serves on the Trident Technical College Foundation. He was on the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) and is past Chairman of the Board for the South Carolina Manufacturer's Alliance. Mr. Campbell was recognized by Governor Campbell as an Economic Development Ambassador for South Carolina, and in 1999, was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest award for volunteer service. In 2007 he was elected to the South Carolina Senate, and re-elected in November 2012 to represent District 44 in Berkeley County.
Ronnie M. Givens has served as a Director of First Financial since December 2004. Mr. Givens is a Certified Public Accountant with over 40 years of professional experience. He is a member of Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm which has 24 offices in 8 states and is the only regional firm in the Charleston area. Prior to his firm merging with Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP on November 1, 2006, Mr. Givens was a founding member of Gamble Givens & Moody LLC.
His professional affiliations include memberships in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (SCACPA). He serves on a number of boards within the community including The Charleston Regional Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, Dorchester County Economic Development, Executive Leadership Council of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, and a member of the CEO Council.
is President and Chief Executive Officer of First Financial Holdings, Inc. (“First Financial” or the “Company”) and First Federal Bank (“First Federal”). Mr. Hall was employed by First Federal and its parent company, First Financial Holdings, Inc., effective December 1, 2006, as Executive Vice President, Financial Management. He previously served as the Principal Financial and Accounting Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Company and as First Federal’s Chief Operating Officer. He is a certified public accountant.
Mr. Hall has over 35 years of audit and financial institution experience, having served in several senior financial positions, including Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer of Provident Bank, Baltimore, Maryland. He also has seven years of experience auditing financial institutions in the field of public accounting. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and a Masters of Accountancy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Mr. Hall also graduated with honors from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. His professional affiliations include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is also a member of the Federal Reserve’s Fifth District’s Community Depository Institution Advisory Council (“CDIAC”).
Mr. Hall served as the 2009 Chairman of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life committee for Charleston County and on the American Cancer Society’s Lowcountry Leadership Council. In 2011, he served as Co-Chair of the Clara Barton Society Campaign Steering Committee of the American Red Cross. His current community activities include serving on the Audit Committee of Bon Secours Health System, Inc., Marriottsville, Maryland and on the board of Mt. Pleasant Hospital. Mr. Hall is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) and serves on the CRDA Economic Leadership Council. He is also on the board of the Trident CEO Council (serving as Treasurer), on the board of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, and on the board of Trident United Way.
Thomas J. Johnson is currently Vice Chairman and has served as a director of First Financial since 1998 and as a director of First Federal since 2002. He is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Owner of F & J Associates, a company that owns and operates automobile dealerships in the southeastern United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He serves on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, the Board of Visitors of the Coastal Carolina University School of Business and the South Carolina Business Resources Board. He is a member of the National Automobile Dealers Association, the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, and the Ford Lincoln Mercury Dealers Association.
He is active in community service as a member of the South Carolina Minority Business Network, a former member of the Board of Trustees of Shaw University and the Conway, South Carolina and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Chambers of Commerce. Mr. Johnson received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Shaw University School of Divinity.
Richard W. Salmons, Jr. has served as a director of First Federal since 2001, and First Financial since January 2012. Mr. Salmons is President and CEO of Salmons Dredging Corporation, a marine construction company which also provides commercial diving and marine services in the southeastern United States.
A native of Charleston, Mr. Salmons is a graduate of Washington and Lee University. Mr. Salmons is active in community affairs, and he previously served as President of the Board of Trustees of the Historic Charleston Foundation, Chairman of the Board of the Charleston Orphan House, Inc., Commissioner of Pilotage Port of Charleston, Trustee of St. James School, and Senior Warden of St. Michael’s Church. In addition to serving on the board of First Federal, Mr. Salmons currently serves on the Board of Directors and as Past President of the Maritime Association of South Carolina, and Board of Trustees of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust.
D. Kent Sharples has served as a director of First Financial since 1992 and served as a director of Peoples Federal Savings and Loan Association (an institution acquired by First Financial and later merged into First Federal) from 1984 through 1999. Dr. Sharples was President of Daytona Beach Community College (now known as Daytona State College), Daytona Beach, Florida from July 1999 until December 2010. From July 1980 to July 1999, he was President of Horry-Georgetown Technical College, Conway, South Carolina.
He has been active in numerous civic associations, serving as President of the United Way of Horry County, President of the Myrtle Beach Rotary Club, Chairman of the Horry County Economic Development Board, Chairman of the Subcommittee of the Area Transportation Council, a member of the Board of Directors of Grand Strand YMCA, a member of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Georgetown Propeller Club. He was awarded the Order of the Palmetto for his contributions to South Carolina. In 1990, Dr. Sharples was also appointed by then Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole to serve as a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Commission on work-based learning.
B. Ed Shelley Jr. has served as a director of First Federal since 2002 and First Financial since 2011. He has been involved with the private practice of radiology for 29 years and has served as past President for Carolina Radiology Associates, LLC for 18 years. He was previous Chief of Staff of Grand Strand Regional Medical Center and previous President of the South Carolina Radiological Society.
Dr. Shelley has served as a Counselor of the American College of Radiology (ACR) and is a Fellow of the ACR. He was a previous Board member of the United Way and is an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Dr. Shelley has participated in multiple medical mission trips to third world countries and is Chairman of the Board of 836 Ministries. He was on the Parent Advisory Board of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Dr. Shelley is involved in several businesses outside of radiology including real estate development, and pharmaceutical and software sales.
Henry M. Swink is President of McCall Farms, Inc. a food processing company that manufactures and markets canned fruits and vegetables throughout the Southeast. From 1996 until 2002, he served as Director of Peoples Federal Savings and Loan Association, a federally insured subsidiary of First Financial, until its merger with First Federal on August 30, 2002.
Mr. Swink is active in various civic activities having been a member of the Florence Kiwanis Club for 35 years. He is Chairman of the Advisory Board for Carolina Hospital Systems, serves on the Doctors Bruce-Lee Foundation, and chairs the Finance Committee of this Foundation. He is an active member of the Effingham Presbyterian Church and has served on the Session for over 25 years. He currently serves on the Board of the Legislative Audit Council and the Clemson University Board of Visitors.
Hugh L. Willcox Jr. has served as a director of First Federal since 2002, and First Financial since January 2010. Mr. Willcox is a Senior Partner in the law firm of Willcox, Buyck, and Williams, PA, of Florence, South Carolina, and Surfside Beach, South Carolina. He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Willcox is active in community affairs where he has served on the Board of Directors for the Florence Museum, Florence Kiwanis Club, Pawleys Island Civic Association, the Hospice Foundation, the University of South Carolina Alumni Association and as Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of Pawleys Island, South Carolina. He is currently a member of the Kiwanis Agricultural Society.