Who We Are 

 

Board of Directors

Clay W. Hershey, President, Partner, Harbor Financial Group

Clay is a founding member and Partner of Harbor Financial Group, which is a private wealth management firm dedicated to providing exceptional service with a clearly defined process designed to help grow and preserve wealth. Based in Charleston, the firm focuses on helping select individuals, businesses, and non-profits make sound decisions for their financial future.

Clay is Past President of the Rotary Club of Charleston-Breakfast where he remains active, and he also serves on the Board of the PruittCares Foundation in Atlanta, GA.

A graduate of the University of the South, Clay is married and has two sons and a daughter.

Robert Baldwin, Board Vice President, Managing Member, Baldwin and Associations, LLC

 Bob Baldwin CPA is a resident of Mount Pleasant SC where he enjoys the practice of public accountancy. A graduate of the University of Georgia he has been a CPA since 1981. His career includes working for what is now known as Ernst and Young, as Manager of a Family Office and now Baldwin and Associates LLC, a Mount Pleasant CPA firm. Bob has served on numerous Boards including the South Carolina Historical Society, The Coastal Carolina Council BSA, The Charleston Library Society, Lowcountry Land Trust and the Disability Board of Charleston SC. Professionally he has served as President of the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Board of Accountancy and President of the Estate Planning Council of Charleston. I joined the Board because of my understanding of the challenges imposed on lives by visual impairment and belief strongly in the work done by ABVI here in Charleston.
Kristen Gayeski Tinkler, OD, Secretary, Carolina Eyecare Physicians, LLC

Dr. Gayeski was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Emory University in 2006 and Nova Southeastern College of Optometry in 2010. In June 2011, Dr. Gayeski completed her primary care residency at the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, focused on ocular disease and secondary specialties, including medical contact lens fits and low vision. She joined Carolina Eyecare Physicians in 2014 and practices primary eye care, urgent care and surgical co-management with surgeons in the practice.

Dr. Gayeski’s current publications include five SECO posters and two Academy presentations. During her residency, she established a binocular vision clinic for veterans and served as an author for the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry. She is an active member and past president of the Coastal Carolina Optometric Society, member of the American Optometric Association and South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association and is involved in the Heathwood/Old Towne Neighborhood Council. She also enjoys helping out her community, providing free eye care to local South Carolinians at regional health fairs and has recently become involved volunteering her services at the Shifa Clinic in Mount Pleasant.

Carol S. Clement, Treasurer, Controller, Clement, Crawford and Thornhill, Inc.

Carol Clement is the controller for Clement Crawford and Thornhill, Inc. She and her husband, Robert Clement, have four children. She has been active in First Scots Presbyterian Church, the Junior League of Charleston, the Charleston Museum, and the Friends of MUSC Children’s Hospital. Serving on the board of the ABVI is a special honor for her to be able to work with the very talented staff and to help support and promote the services they offer.

J. Douglas Hazelton, Former Executive Vice President, MBNA America Bank, N.A., Retired

Doug is a retired businessman and a former USAF pilot. He and his wife Joni moved to Charleston in 2007 and he became involved with ABVI shortly after that. In addition to his work with ABVI, Doug serves on the Revolving Loan Fund Committee of the Historic Charleston Foundation and is a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs at the College of Charleston.

Doug is a graduate of Stanford University and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking.  He and Joni have two grown children and two identical twin granddaughters.

James F. Hill, III, O.D., F.A.A.O., MUSC Storm Eye Institute

James F. Hill III, O.D., F.A.A.O. is a native of Georgetown, SC. He graduated from Georgetown High School in 1999 and went on to attend the Citadel. He graduated in 2003 with a B.S. in biology and spent 2 years working in cardiology research at MUSC before deciding his calling was to become a vision care provider.

He attended optometry school in Birmingham and graduated UABSO in 2009. He was very active as a student and served as national president of the American Optometric Student Association. After graduation he decided to pursue a residency in low vision and ocular disease at the Birmingham VA Medical Center and Blind Rehabilitation Center. At the completion of his residency he completed the Advanced Competence in Medical Optometry (ACMO) examination. In 2011 he also obtained his fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO), a distinction that about 10% of active optometrists obtain.

Dr. Hill is excited to be home and looking forward to becoming active in the community. He enjoys being outdoors and loves to fish. He is a self-proclaimed college football junkie and enjoys Saturday’s in the fall, and loves to tailgate and cheer on his beloved Citadel Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks.

B. Karl Jantzen

B. Karl Jantzen

Tricia Leyte-Vidal, Customer Operations Training, Senior, Blackbaud, Inc.

Tricia Leyte-Vidal is the Training Program Manager for the Professional Services group at Blackbaud, a local nonprofit technology partner. She moved to Charleston shortly after graduating from Wake Forest University in 2008, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a minor in Film Studies. While attending Wake Forest, she managed the student callers for the University’s fundraising telethon and co-chaired a fundraising event known as Hit the Bricks which raised money for the Wake Forest University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her love of giving back has followed her to Charleston where she is Co-President of the local Wake Forest University Alumni Club, an Alumni Admissions volunteer for the University, and an emergency room volunteer at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. She is proud to serve on the board of ABVI after serving on the Advancement Committee for over two and a half years. “Through my work at Blackbaud, I was assigned to train ABVI on the use of their fundraising software. I was able to spend several days at their offices, working closely with their staff and meeting many of their clients as well. Everyone was so wonderful, kind, and fun to work with and I greatly admired their cause. I was very flattered when I was invited to join the Advancement Committee, and thrilled when asked to join the board as I’ve loved continuing my involvement with their mission!”
Dr. John Kulze III, M.D.

Serving the Charleston area for over 25 years with valued leadership and respect amongst colleagues and patients, Dr. Kulze has become one of the top ophthalmologists and cataract surgeons in the Lowcountry. Dr. Kulze received his Bachelor’s degree from Clemson and M.D. from MUSC. He remained at MUSC for his ophthalmology residency training, where he served as chief resident.  As an ophthalmologist in the U.S. Army, he instructed other ophthalmologists in the most up to date cataract surgical techniques and treated many wounded soldiers in Operation Desert Storm.  He has participated in numerous medical missions to South America, where he used his exceptional surgical skills in the most primitive environments to restore vision to the medically underserved.  Dr. Kulze is the Chief of Ophthalmology at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital.    

 
Paula S. Mullen, Marketing Consultant, Cumulus Media, Inc.

 

George B. Smythe, Senior Vice President, Mortgage Banker, South State Bank

George Smythe’s 33 years of experience in many areas of commercial and mortgage banking allow him to assist his clients realize their dream of buying a home. George’s expertise with self-employed borrowers, make him uniquely qualified to help his clients. George has experience in construction financing, as well as primary, second home and investment property financing.

George is a native Charlestonian. He is a lifelong member of the Second Presbyterian Church. George previously served on the Board of the Preservation Society of Charleston. George is a Rotarian where he is a two-time Paul Harris Fellow and past President.

Thomas M. Smythe, Financial Advisor, Mass Mutual Financial Group

Thomas Smythe was born in Charleston, SC.  He attended Porter-Gaud School then went on to graduate from The Taft School in Watertown, CT.  Thomas graduated in 2004 from the University of the South (Sewanee) where he majored in history and was a member of the men’s soccer team.  After college, Thomas lived in Portland, Oregon for three years working in the commercial real estate business. Currently, Thomas lives in Mt. Pleasant with his wife Kalyn and their two dogs Jake and Bentley.  He is a Financial Advisor with MassMutual.

Allison Burke Thompson, Attorney-at-Law, Mullen Wylie, LLC

Allison Thompson graduated from the College of Charleston with a BA in English Literature and from the University of South Carolina Law School with a Juris Doctorate. She is a lawyer who has over 18 years of experience in construction and insurance coverage litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants. Her practice concentration areas include construction litigation, insurance coverage and analysis at the trial and appellate court levels with a focus on managing complex long-term litigation, research and writing, and collaborating with forensic experts and clients to insure best practices and results. She is admitted to practice in South Carolina, the United States District Court for South Carolina and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She is a member of the Charleston County Bar and is a former president of the Charleston Lawyers Club.

In addition to her service on the board of the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Mrs. Thompson serves as Vice President and Executive Committee Member of the College of Charleston Alumni Board. Mrs. Thompson served as Co-Chair of Student Alumni Associates Alumni-Mentor Program where she aided in the development of the program which identifies alumni willing to serve as mentors to collegiates, identifies alumni with varying talents and professional backgrounds who would complement the interests and aspirations of the students, and partners alumni and students based on their interests. She serves as an international officer for Alpha Delta Pi as a Collegiate Province Director for four universities and previously served six years as a Chapter Advisor.

Mrs. Thompson is married to Charleston native Joseph Thompson, III (Trey) and has a son, Burke (14) and a daughter Ann (12).

Joe Waring, Chief Financial Officer, Evening Post Industries

Joe Waring joined Evening Post Industries in 2013 as Associate Director of Human Resources.  In 2016, he was promoted to Director of Human Resources and ran the corporate function until the end of 2017.  He then assumed the CFO role on January 1, 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC-Chapel Hill as well as JD and MBA degrees from the University of South Carolina. He also has attained the Masters in Wealth Management designation from the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment. Prior to joining EPI, Joe served in various positions of the HSBC Group in its New York and London offices.  He has a wife and three young children and resides in Charleston.  He is a Liberty Fellow and actively involved in several local charities.

 

Michael W. Zolman, OD, Owner and Founder, Infinity Eye Care and Low Vision Rehabilitation Center

Michael W. Zolman, OD, is the owner of Infinity Eye Care and Low Vision Center, which he founded in 2009 to provide low vision rehabilitation for the visually impaired in addition to providing routine vision and eye health care.

His education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2001, along with a Doctorate degree in Optometry and a Doctorate degree in Vision Science from the Nova Southeastern College of Optometry in Ft. Lauderdale in 2006.  He received training in Low Vision rehabilitation at the Lighthouse International in New York City, the Lighthouse of Broward County in South Florida and the Feldberg Center of Vision Rehabilitation at Storm Eye Institute. Dr. Zolman holds an optometric license in South Carolina and is certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

Michael holds membership in several professional and optometric societies, including the American Optometric Association, South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association, Coastal Carolina Optometry Society, and Southern Council of Optometrists.  He currently is the chair person for Vision Rehabilitation Committee for the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association.  In addition, he is a clinical director for the Special Olympics “Opening Eyes” program for South Carolina for which he and other volunteers provide eye exams and glasses at no cost to Special Olympics athletes.

Dr. Zolman joined the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in 2013 and currently focusing his efforts on program development.  He became involved with the ABVI because “There is a great need to serve the visually impaired and underserved of our community.  The ABVI allows me to be a part of this service and it is my goal to help improve and strengthen its efforts.”

Advancement Committee

During the Spring of 2013, ABVI created an Advancement Committee comprised of motivated and talented young adults. The group was formed to help promote and raise awareness of the Association and its programs, to help recruit volunteers, to fundraisers and to educate a younger generation about the Association and Charleston’s Tri-County community of blind and visually impaired individuals.

Ellen Hassell, Chair, Relationship Manager II, Synovus Trust Company

Ellen Hassell grew up in Charleston, SC and attended Ashley Hall School. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at Clemson University, she returned home to Charleston where she began her banking career at Wells Fargo. She currently works for Synovus Trust Company as a New Business Development Officer. Ellen enjoys giving back to the Charleston community through her involvement with ABVI!

Brian Johnson,Treasurer, Partner, Hood Law Firm

brian-johnson-cropBrian was born in Charleston and raised in nearby Kingstree, SC.  He received a Bachelor of Science from Clemson University in 2003 and Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2007.  Brian returned to Charleston in 2007 and is currently a partner at Hood Law Firm, LLC where he focuses his practice on civil litigation defense in the practice areas of healthcare and commercial litigation.  After years of living and working in Charleston, Brian is looking forward to joining the Advancement Committee and being a part of the ABVI to help foster awareness for Charleston’s blind and visually impaired community.

Courtney Adams, Associate, Customer Operations Training, Blackbaud, Inc.

Courtney Adams grew up in Charleston, SC and attended Bishop England High School. After receiving a degree in Communication at the College of Charleston, she decided to stay in Charleston and begin her career at Blackbaud.  She is currently an Associate on the Customer Operations Training team. Courtney was fortunate to have the experience of interning with the American Red Cross and this is where she discovered her passion for volunteering. She is excited for the opportunity to continue serving the community as a member of the ABVI Advancement Committee.

William H. Adams, Managed Services Engineer, Integral Solutions Group

will-adamsAfter studying business at Wofford College, Will Adams returned home to Charleston where he launched his professional career with a downtown real estate company. With a keen interest in technology, Will later joined Radiate Technologies where he has held several positions over the past five years. Currently an IT Manager, he enjoys assisting businesses from a technical perspective and looks forward to broadening his scope of support through his involvement with the Advancement Committee.

Kate Brady, Physical Therapist, MUSC

Kate Brady was born and raised in Rochester, NY. She attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut where she received her undergraduate degree in Health Sciences, as well as her Masters of Science degree in Physical Therapy. She went on to complete her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kate and her husband, Karl, moved to Charleston in 2016. She currently works full time as a physical therapist at MUSC. She was introduced to ABVI through Board member Tricia Leyte-Vidal. Kate immediately knew she wanted to help such a wonderful organization and is honored to be a part of the Advancement Committee.

Alyssa Glazener, Communications Coordinator, Ingevity

Alyssa is a Communications Coordinator at Ingevity, a global pine chemical company based in Charleston, S.C.  She is also active in Charleston Young Professionals and Two Rivers Methodist Church, with previous involvement at Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center and Trident United Way. She is from Austin, Texas.Alyssa is a graduate of Clemson University, where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in French and spent time studying abroad in Belgium. She served on the executive committee of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity chapter in Clemson.”I’m proud to support ABVI’s empowering work with people who have blindness and visual impairment in the Tri-County. ABVI is a great and growing resource in our community.”

Maggie Harken, Credit Analyst , The Bank of South Carolina
Henry Laurens, Realtor Associate, Carriage Properties

Henry LaurensA native Charlestonian, Henry Laurens attended Porter-Gaud School and graduated from the University of South Carolina. He began his career in real estate in 2010 and has worked in the field ever since. Henry is currently a Realtor Associate with Carriage Properties. As a third-generation real estate professional, he is eager to use his knowledge of the area to assist potential clients with their needs.

Henry is actively involved in the community and currently sits on the Advancement Committee for the Association of the Blind & Visually Impaired. He is also a member of Spoleto Scene, the Gibbes Museum of Art and the Charleston Library Society.

“Charleston is one of the world’s best cities and I am so happy to be a part of its vibrant community. Our area nonprofits such as the Association of the Blind & Visually Impaired do so much important work to enhance the Charleston community and the lives of its citizens. I am pleased that I can be involved with such a great organization.”

Lauren Morgan, Assistant to Finance and Human Resources, Anderson Insurance Associates, LLC

A native of Maryland, Lauren has lived in Charleston for seven years. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston where she majored in elementary education. During college, Lauren interned in the development office in the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina where she developed a passion for seeing the joy that comes from accomplishing good for others. Following graduation, she joined the development staff at MUSC where she began working for the Heart and Vascular Center and recently transferred to Storm Eye.

Lauren resides in downtown Charleston with her golden retriever, Sam, and can often be found walking around town. She is currently pursuing her masters in health administration at MUSC.

Hagood Morrison, Vice President, Bridge Commercial

HagoodMorrisonHagood Morrison is a Vice President with Bridge Commercial where he focuses on commercial real estate investment sales in South Carolina. Born and raised in Charleston, Hagood graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in Economics. After working in commercial real estate acquisitions in Washington, DC and Chicago, Hagood and his wife, Whitney, returned home to Charleston to raise a new addition to the Morrison family – a baby boy. Hagood is delighted and thankful to serve as an advocate and volunteer for the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

Jenkins Wilson, Lawyer, Halio & Halio Law Firm

Our Team

Photo Description: The full ABVI staff is pictured above. From left to right, Amy Asper, Ruthie Harman, Bryson Young, Amy Harris, Mark Carmichael, Courtney Plotner, Kimberly Taylor, Brooks Harken, Susan Lucas, Anne Reid and Samantha McGovern.

Courtney Plotner

Chief Executive Officer
843-410-1056
cplotner@abvisc.org

Mark Carmichael

Chief Financial Officer
843-410-1055
mcarmichael@abvisc.org

Brooks Harken

Chief Programs Officer
843-952-7242
bharken@abvisc.org

Anne Reid

Chief Development Officer
843-212-3040
areid@abvisc.org

Amy Asper

Communications Manager
843-410-1057
aasper@abvisc.org

Bryson Young

Director of Major Gifts 
843-203-6037
byoung@abvisc.org

Amy Harris

Program Instructor
843-410-1060
aharris@abvisc.org

Ruthie Harman

Client Services & Office Manager
843-410-1058
rharman@abvisc.org

Susan Lucas

Volunteer Manager
843-410-1061
slucas@abvisc.org

Kimberly Taylor

Program Instructor
843-410-1059
ktaylor@abvisc.org

Samantha McGovern

Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and Low Vision Therapist
843-737-4401
smcgovern@abvisc.org

 

Fonzi