Mount Pleasant Magazine Nov/Dec 2023

57 www. ReadMPM. com | www.MountPl easantMagaz i ne. com | www.MountPl easantPodcas t . com nation to the rest of the world. The port, established in 1942, is the evolutionary product of Charleston’s maritime commerce, its roots dating back to the founding of Charles Towne, a harbor city destined for trade. The port has a responsibility to provide an enormous number of jobs, exchange tons upon tons of goods daily, ensure safety, promote efficiency and even preserve a piece of history. Leading such an important and high-yielding facility is a tall order for anyone. However, after speaking with Barbara Melvin, it became clear why she was chosen. It’s what she was crafted to do by both nature and nurture. When deeming a person qualified for any occupation, people often focus on the nurture first: the education, the training, the titles and the awards. Melvin could rightfully boast about all of those things. She has a degree in political science and an EMBA in global chain supply from the University of Tennessee. She was the 2021 South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Woman of the Year and the 2022 recipient of the Woman of Courage award. She has held countless leadership titles with the port and other civic and governmental organizations. She is a leader in social, philanthropic and business entities throughout the Charleston community and beyond. These things are beyond impressive, but it takes more than an outstanding resumé to lead such a large group of actual human beings while all parts operate like a well-oiled machine. It takes an x-factor — something in one’s nature. Something had to be the catalyst to collect the long list of achievements. It takes the woman behind the accolades to complete that recipe— the recipe that built the first woman in history to run a top-10 U.S. port. Melvin was encouraged by her parents to “take intelligent risks” from an early age. She was also enthralled by politics in a unique way. She didn’t dream of perching behind a podium and delivering the State of the Union while both sides of the aisle stand roaring with applause. Instead, she was fascinated by how things ran and by what made all the parts of the world work. She was the rare political enthusiast who loved policy and focused on the functions of concrete things that make the world move. She was focused on how people were able to work, eat and live at the micro and macro levels. What’s more is that she could envision it and facilitate it. The bottom line: she always had a heart for people and for the good of the world feature

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