WHO WE ARE
Meet Our Board and Staff
Nation Ford Land Trust is run by local people, many of whom are from York County. NFLT is fortunate for our diverse Board of Directors, each of whom provides a wealth of knowledge. There are twelve volunteer board members and two part-time staff members. Many of our board members have been on the board for ten years or more!
Steve Hamilton – Executive Director
Steve has lived in York County since 1979 after graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Environmental Resource Management. After serving on the Tega Cay City Council for a few years, Steve was elected Mayor of Tega Cay for eight years. Although Steve has been on the NFLT board for seventeen years, he also served several other organizations: York County Forever Commission, Catawba River Corridor Committee, Lake Wylie Water Watch, and the Tri-County Wastewater Study. Steve is married and has two adult children.
Megan Mahoney – Land Trust Associate
Megan is local to York County in the Lake Wylie area, where she grew up and has lived in for the past twelve years. After graduating from Clover High School in 2016, she spent a couple years at York Technical College before transferring to Winthrop University. She graduated from Winthrop University in the Spring of 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Science focusing on Conservation. She has a personal and professional background and interest in the conservation of natural resources and beauty and plans to pursue a career in the field, focusing on wildlife management and conservation research. For general inquiries, she can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
for all Generations
Dr. Janice Chism – Chair
Dr. Chism is a professor of Anthropology and Biology at Winthrop University. She obtained her BS in Anthropology and her Ph.D in Biological Anthropology from UC Berkley. Dr. Chism spent several years studying patas monkeys in Ghana and Kenya. She moved to Rock Hill from California in 1989 and has worked at Winthrop ever since. Currently, Dr. Chism is studying the red uacari monkeys and saki monkeys in Peru.
Patrick White – Vice Chair
Board Member since August 2020. He is with Comporium Communications as VP of Supply Chain. He graduated from The Citadel in 1988 with a BA in Political Science and served twelve years as a commissioned officer in the US Army and SC National Guard. He has served on the Fort Mill School Board from 2002 to 2018, and as the Chairman of the Board from 2010 through 2016.
Daniel Love – Treasurer
Dan has lived in York County all his life, attending Winthrop College in 1990 with a BS in Accounting. He has worked at BNA-CPA since 1988 and served on the board of United Way of York County for six years. He is a lifelong member of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Clover. Dan enjoys Clemson sports, running, and golfing. He is married and has two sons.
Kathy Pender – Secretary
Kathy is a city councilwoman for the City of Rock Hill and a past chair of the Rock Hill School Board. A graduate of Georgia State University in Journalism, she has lived in Rock Hill since 1982. Kathy is active at First Presbyterian Church, Rock Hill. She now serves on the regional transportation policy committee (RFATS) and the Executive Committee of the Municipal Association of South Carolina. She believes land preservation is key to maintaining a high quality of life in York County. Kathy and her husband Robert have two children and five grandchildren.
Bernie Ackerman – Former Chair
Bernie is the founder and owner of BNA-CPA , an accounting firm in Rock Hill. He is a founding member of NFLT and has served on the Board of Directors since NFLT’s founding in 1989. Bernie serves on several volunteer boards, including the Carolina Thread Trail.
John Hiott (seated on the right)
John was born and raised in York County. He graduated from Winthrop with a BA in biology and Duke University with a MF in forestry. He owns Hiott Forestry Consultants in York. John is married and has a son, two daughters and three granddaughters. He has served on the NFLT Board of Directors for twenty years.
Murray White – Founding Chair
Murray is one of the founding members of NFLT. He was born in Fort Mill and lived all his life in York County. Murray helped to implement the York County Forever Commission, created to purchase and protect land in York County.
Perry owns Dock Masters Marine Construction and is a native of York County, living in Northeast Bethel Community. He was elected and served on the York County Council for two terms as well as several volunteer boards in the area. He is a life member of Scherer Memorial Presbyterian Church and is married with two daughters, two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Boardmember since September 2019. Allison Love serves on the York County Council. Allison is a lifelong resident of York County with over 25 years in the Clover/Lake Wylie Community.
Allison attended Winthrop College in Rock Hill and has been the owner/operator of a Love Jewelry Store for 19 years. Allison is a former Zoning Board of Appeals member and was a member of the 2015 Comprehensive Land Use Committee. Allison calls herself “conservative, results oriented and unwavering on behalf of all York County residents”. She has been a large proponent of greenspace in Lake Wylie, SC (District 2) and spearheaded the creation of the The Bethel Lake Wylie Land Acquisition & Preservation Park District to manage these spaces for the public.
Served as president of The Springs Foundation and the Close Foundation.
An NFLT board member as of August 2021, Mr. Smith is an executive with over thirty years of experience focused on the operations of real estate. Mr. Smith has held executive positions with Verisign, The US Navy, and Getronics and holds degrees in engineering and finance. In the last decade, Mr. Smith has focused on environmental issues centering on diversity and inclusion in public spaces as well as environmental challenges, from clean air to environment politics. Mr. Smith serves on the boards of Clean AIRE NC and Anne Springs Close Greenway and is focused on creating positive changes to environmental policies, land protections and increasing public space inclusion by connecting people to nature. Mr. Smith currently serves as a CEO of a real estate firm in Charlotte, NC and serves as the Charlotte organizer of Outdoor-Afro, whose membership is approximately 2,200 people in the Charlotte-metro area.
Eleanor was born and raised on a farm in York, South Carolina and currently divides her time between the farm and Maryland. She received a BA from Mary Baldwin College and a JD from the University of South Carolina. She has practiced poverty, family, and data privacy law since 2006. She is licensed to practice law in Washington, DC; South Carolina; and Pennsylvania; and serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Hands Across the Nile, an American 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that is committed to building bridges between the people of Egypt and the United States. Recently retired, Eleanor spends her time on farm upkeep and gardening. In Maryland, Eleanor co-organizes a local artist group created during the pandemic. Eleanor became a part of the NFLT board in March of 2022.
Hope Matthews is originally from Nebraska but has lived in the area for over 20 years. She graduated from Winthrop University where she achieved her BA and MA in Biology.
Since university, her career has focused on connecting people of all ages with the outdoors. She’s spent years being involved in education as a medium for teaching others about several fields in the biological sciences as well as outdoor education to the community.
Hope lives in Rock Hill with her husband, Shaun Cassidy, and their two children. In her spare time she likes to bake, garden, and do just about anything that gets her outside. Hope became a part of the NFLT board in March of 2022.
Dawn Johnson is a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Economics. She began working with State Farm after university and in 2006 started her individually owned and operated State Farm Insurance Agency. Having had the pleasure of working with State Farm for the last 30 years, she is committed to community and people development. In fact, she has won several awards because of her dedication to her community.
Beyond the office, Dawn is married with a beautiful daughter! She is the past Board Chair for the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation assisting with initiatives such as Talent Pipeline and developing new businesses in our community, and Chair of the Black Economic Leadership League of Rock Hill. Dawn became a part of the NFLT board in June of 2022.
Laura Brewer is a native Tennessean with a BS in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design, and has been an ISA Certified Arborist since 1999. Her professional career included 20 plus years with the City of Charlotte, and she has served on several boards including NC Urban Forest Council, Charlotte Arborists Association, the Clover Planning Commission and Main Street Clover.
In 2014, Laura retired from being an arborist and moved to Clover in 2006 to refurbish an 1890s house on N Main St and start her own business. In 2015 she opened Magnolia House and Gardens, a B&B/event venue she refers to as the “best kept secret in Clover”.
While managing her B&B, Laura keeps up with her ISA Arborist certification and is an expert in advising practices for tree care and placement. Laura became a part of the NFLT board in June of 2022.