The Upstate SC Alliance provides a full spectrum of support for our clients and investment partners. Our full-time professional staff serves as a confidential, single point of contact for companies considering the Upstate SC region for a competitive business expansion or location.
John Lummus, President & CEO
John Lummus serves as the President & CEO for the Upstate SC Alliance. In this role, he is responsible for driving the overall direction of the Alliance as well as developing relationships and supporting collaboration throughout the region.
Prior to his current position at the Upstate SC Alliance, Lummus served as vice president of Economic and Institutional Advancement at Tri-County Technical College, a position he held for eight years. Lummus also served as director of the Anderson County Office of Economic Development and worked to recruit new industry while supporting existing industry throughout the county.
A native of Anderson, John is a graduate of Wake Forest University and received his master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina (USC). He is also a graduate of the South Carolina Economic Developer’s School, USC’s Higher Education Leadership Program, and the national Executive Leadership Institute conducted by the League for Innovation in Community Colleges. In May of 2015, John received his SCCED (South Carolina Certified Economic Developer) certification.
Lauren Scoggins, COO / Director of Investor Relations
Lauren Scoggins serves as the Chief Operating Officer / Director of Investor Relations. In her role, she leads the Alliance’s daily operations and financial management. She organizes the annual budgeting process, produces financial reports, serves as a liaison to the executive and finance committees, and supports ongoing strategic projects. Lauren also leads the Alliance’s Investor Relations program, implementing an annual fundraising plan and developing a meaningful program of benefits and services that bring value to our 215+ public and private investor companies. Additionally, she serves as the primary contact for The Upstate South Carolina Educational Foundation.
She has previously worked at the South Carolina State House, as a community director for the March of Dimes, and then as the director of development and communications for Pendleton Place. Lauren joined the Alliance team in January 2015. In 2018, she received her CFRE (Certified Fund-Raising Executive) credential. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with minors in Business Administration and Sociology from Presbyterian College. She is a graduate of Opportunity Greenville, the Women’s Leadership Institute of Furman University, and Leadership Greenville Class 49. Lauren is a member of CREW Upstate, SCEDA, and the Piedmont Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). She is a proud resident of Simpsonville and enjoys live music, trying new cuisine and spending time with her family exploring all that the Upstate has to offer.
Aimee Redick, Director of Global Engagement
Aimee Redick serves as Director of Global Engagement for the Upstate SC Alliance and is responsible for the development and execution of the organization’s global marketing and recruitment strategy. In her role, she serves to increase awareness of the region through UA marketing and business recruitment initiatives directed to both domestic and international audiences and by building supportive relationships with centers of influence.
Aimee is a native to Upstate South Carolina. She joined the Upstate SC Alliance in 2012 after working for The Cliffs Communities in their sales and marketing department. Previously, she practiced law for more than seven years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina and her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Elizabeth Watson, Director of Research & Strategic Initiatives
Elizabeth Watson serves as Director of Research & Strategic Initiatives for the Upstate SC Alliance. She is responsible for directing and executing the research efforts for the Upstate SC Alliance team and positioning the organization as the go-to resource for information, which includes compiling data and reports for prospects and investors, as well as working with industry partners to provide the most up to date information about the Upstate. Watson is also an integral part of the Upstate’s participation with the Global Cities Exchange, a joint partnership of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Watson joined the Upstate SC Alliance in 2011 after 11 years with GSA Business Report.
Watson graduated from the Honors College at the College of Charleston with a BA in English, a BA in French and a minor in Arts Administration.
Danielle Besser, Communications & Engagement Manager
As Communications & Engagement Manager for the Upstate SC Alliance, Danielle Besser leads the Alliance’s messaging and storytelling initiatives, providing strategic direction to the Investor Relations and in-region stakeholder communications in addition to crafting content for the organization’s marketing initiatives. She spearheads the Alliance’s media relations and multimedia storytelling programs in addition to developing engaging Alliance events, such as the Annual Meetings where #TeamUpstate and Move Up initiatives have launched. She joined the Alliance team in April 2016.
Previously, Danielle worked in Georgia as Director of Marketing & Communications for the Liberty County Development Authority and as a reporter for Coastal Courier. Danielle has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Florida and is a graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development, the South Carolina Economic Development Institute and the IEDC Economic Development Marketing & Attraction course.
Addy Cooper, Business Recruitment Officer
As Business Recruitment Officer, Addy Cooper provides support to companies that are considering expanding their business in the U.S., working with the Alliance’s public and private sector investors to showcase the Upstate as an ideal business location.
Prior to joining the Business Recruitment Team, Addy served as a Research Specialist for the Alliance. In that role, she assisted in creating and maintaining regional databases, collecting and publishing statistical data and research, and compiling RFIs and other support services for the Alliance, investors, and other economic development partners. Addy is an Upstate native, with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Wofford College. She loves to travel and spend time with her rescue pups, Annie, and Lady.
Samantha Spratt, Business Recruitment Officer
As Business Recruitment Officer, Samantha Castro Spratt provides support to companies that are considering expanding their business in the U.S., working with the Alliance’s public and private sector investors to showcase the Upstate as an ideal business location.
Samantha Castro Spratt is a trilingual (English – Spanish – Portuguese) Brazilian-American dual national, with experience in international business development, including contract negotiations, regulatory compliance, strategic planning, and business development initiatives.
She joined the Alliance team in 2022, following five years of service as Executive Director of the European American Chamber of Commerce Carolinas Chapter. Previously, she worked for Wahl Clipper Corporation, a global leader in the professional and home grooming market, with roles including international compliance and operational oversight.
Samantha moved to Greenville with her husband and daughter in 2015. She holds a Law Degree from Univap, Brazil, and an MBA from Rockford University in Illinois.
Becca Stutzman, Communications & Events Coordinator
As Communications & Events Coordinator, Becca Stutzman boosts the Alliance’s investor relations program and storytelling initiatives. On a given day, you might find her penning an article, drafting a social media post, or bringing an event to life.
Before joining the Upstate Alliance team, Becca worked as a freelance marketing specialist for a variety of clients across the country. She has also worked in video production, news reporting, web design, radio, and real estate photography — but her true passion has always been writing.
Becca spent her childhood in Beijing, China, and has additional international experience in Thailand and Indonesia. In 2018, she graduated from Taylor University at the top of her class with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A newcomer to the Upstate, Becca enjoys hiking with her husband, trying out new Asian recipes, and settling in with a good mystery book.
Michelle Suarez, Research Specialist
As Research Specialist, Michelle Suarez supports the Alliance’s research efforts by obtaining, organizing, and analyzing data, as well as assisting with creation of research reports, marketing collateral, and outreach activities. She previously worked as a Zoning Analyst at commercial real estate firm Armada Analytics and as a Community Organizer at Public Education Partners of Greenville County. Her experience also includes internships with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the Greenville Area Development Corporation.
A 2018 Furman University graduate, Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics & International Affairs and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration from Clemson University. She enjoys salsa and swing dancing, reading, traveling, and playing board games.
Tiffany Tate, Talent & Strategic Projects Manager
Tiffany Tate serves as the Talent & Strategic Projects Manager for the Upstate SC Alliance. Tiffany plays a key role in supporting the Alliance’s talent recruitment and workforce initiatives, Move Up and Skill Up. Additionally, she coordinates the Global Competitiveness Council, an investor-led collaborative that develops programming, policy ideas, and networks needed to help the Upstate become more globally connected and competitive. She also provides support on projects and events that build relationships with domestic and international centers of influence.
Tiffany previously served as Assistant Director of Ten at the Top, where she supported collaborative task forces, events, and initiatives with a regional focus. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Clemson University and is a graduate of the South Carolina Economic Development Institute.
Melody Watson, Office Manager & Executive Administrator
As Office Manager & Executive Administrator for the Upstate SC Alliance, Melody Watson manages office operations and procedures in order to ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency. She supports the Alliance’s finance and budgeting areas, manages vendor relationships and serves as the executive administrator to the President & CEO.
Prior to joining the Alliance, Melody was the Office Manager at Pendleton Place for Children and Families for 10 years. She also served as a Legal Secretary at Haynsworth, Sinkler, Boyd, P.A. for 17 years before entering the nonprofit field. Melody and her husband live in Powdersville, and they have three children and six grandchildren.