About Us

In 2003 a group of CEO’s in SC, led by Harry Lightsey, President of BellSouth, the University Of SC School Of Engineering and the SC Department of Education were granted the opportunity by the FIRST Foundation to host a regional robotic competition in the spring of 2004. Thus, began the Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotic Competition in SC. The purpose of the regional is to give students the opportunity to develop teams to build robots that compete in games designed by the FIRST Foundation and put into practice skills and knowledge learned.

In order to plan for and implement each Palmetto Regional, two different committees working with one objective in mind were formed. The first, the fundraising arm, was the Palmetto Partners. The Palmetto Partners is a group of business and educational leaders from throughout SC. The primary goal of Palmetto Partners is to focus on inspirational education that gives students the opportunity to obtain skills and knowledge to prepare for an advanced-technology based careers in South Carolina. The improved workforce in this area will improve the economic outlook for South Carolina. Palmetto Partners for Science and technology is exclusively charitable and educationally scientific. A non-profit organization that is a 501(c)(3) that was formed in 2004 and operates exclusively to encourage and promote the educational and career pursuit of science and technology.

The second committee, often referred to as the “operational committee” is the Palmetto Regional Planning Committee (PRPC). The PRPC is comprised of representatives primarily from the local area that the Regional is being held in. For 2014, the Palmetto Regional Robotics Competition will return to Myrtle Beach, SC, for the second year. Late in 2013, the PRPC reconvened and began the planning for the 2014 Regional. Over the past four months the PRPC has been vigorously engaged in the planning for and preparation for each competing teams arrival. The 2014 Palmetto Regional will be hosting 67 teams from 9 states, Canada, and Brazil. The PRPC would like to welcome each team to the 2014 Palmetto Regional Robotics Competition and hope that your visit to the Myrtle Beach “Grand Strand” area will be enjoyable.

Steering Committee


Members Business Representing Email Address 
Barbara Allan

Director, Educational Programs Santee Cooper

Tommy Earley Engineer, Santee Cooper tommy.earley@santeecooper.com
John Curtis Superintendent of Technical Services  john.curtis@santeecooper.com
Carla Rickenbaker AT&T - Area Engineer Carla.Rickenbaker@att.com
Jack Moore Chair, Palmetto Partners jack.moore@epeerless.com
Camilla Hertwig Treasurer Palmetto Partners camillahertwig@hotmail.com
Brad Lofton Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Commission blofton@mbredc.org
Suliban Deaza HGTC-Engineering Dept Chair suliban.deaza@hgtc.edu
John Sanders Grand Strand Technology Council john@gstechcouncil.org
Michelle Phelps ITT Technical Institute Director mphelps@itt-tech.edu
Karen McIllrath HCS School Board kmcilrath@sc.rr.com
Teal Britton Horry County Schools Public Information Officer tbritton@horrycountyschools.net
Warren Sellers Horry County Schools - AAST Pre-engineering teacher wsellers@horrycountyschools.net
Mark Kruea Public Information Officer, City of Myrtle Beach info@cityofmyrtlebeach.com
Eliene Patonay Waccamaw Regional Education Center pshortt@scpathways.org
Chris Moore Assistant Professor of Applied Physics, CCU moorejc@coastal.edu
Martha Hunn Director of News and Public Affairs Office of University Communications, Coastal Carolina University mhunn@coastal.edu
Tim Huber Sport Tourism Division Manager, City of Myrtle Beach thuber@cityofmyrtlebeach.com
BT Martin Interim Director, Office of Career and Technical Education btmarin@ed.sc.gov
Ashley Gasperson Digital Communications Coordinator/Technology, Horry County Schools agasperson@horrycountyschools.net
Jim Blevin Plant Manager, Time Warner Cable jim.blevin@twcable.com
Todd Caton Director of Technical Operations, Time Warner Cable todd.caton@twcable.com
Michelle Bessett Customer Relations Director, Sparks Toyota michelleb@sparkstoyota.com
Joe Boggs Mechanical Engineer, MetGlas joe.boggs@metglas.com
Thomas Muse  Recruitment Counselor, HGTC ctmuseir@gmail.com
Frank Lanford Regional Director, FIRST Robotics flanford@bellsouth.net