Katie C. Phifer
Katie grew up in Beaufort and settled back in the Lowcountry after graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. Katie is a Financial Advisor and Certified Financial Planner with Bezilla Kinney Phifer Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. As a native of Beaufort, it has been important to Katie to give back to her home town. In addition to joining the Board of OLT, she has volunteered with the Junior Service League of Beaufort, Thumbs Up, and the United Way of the Lowcountry. Katie and her husband, Matt, have a daughter and son and in her spare time Katie enjoys spending time with her family on the river and at the beach.
Dean is the former General Manager of the Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority. He retired in 2011 after holding that position for 25 years. He has previously served as a member of the South Carolina Water Law Review Committee and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the national Water Research Foundation. He is the Governor’s appointee to and Chairman of the Savannah River Maritime Commission. He is also Chairman of the Port Royal Sound Foundation. Dean has a long history with the Open Land Trust having served as its President for over six years in the past.
Alex loves the Lowcountry and has long had an interest in conservation. He is a retired Vice President with South State Bank and brings great experience in financial management, marketing and non-profit organization to the Trust. He currently serves on the Finance and Investment Committee of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and on the Board of Nemours Wildlife Foundation as Treasurer. He is also a past president of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association and a past member of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees. Alex has two grown sons whose families all enjoy the beautiful Lowcountry and coastal South Carolina.
Al recently retired from a long career at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and brings with him extensive knowledge of Lowcoutry ecosystems and wildlife. A veterinarian by trade, Al was the lead scientist of SCDNR on the In-Water Loggerhead Sea Turtle Project and was the Stewardship Coordinator for the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Colden R. Battey, Jr.
Colden has been a partner in the law firm of Harvey & Battey since 1963. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Battey served as chairman of Beaufort County Council for 8 years; he is a past president of the Beaufort County Bar Association, past director of the South Carolina Bar Association and of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Battey is a director of the Nemours Wildlife Foundation and served as Chairman of the Foundation from 2008 to 2020.
Vernita F. Dore
A native of Beaufort, Vernita has dedicated her life to serving others and her professional career to improving the quality of life in rural communities. Vernita is a retired Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she was responsible for overseeing Operations and Management, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Civil Rights, and forty-seven State directors across the nation. Ms. Dore earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has received additional professional development from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, the Federal Executive Institute, and USDA Graduate School. Ms. Dore is a fellow of the Diversity Leadership Institute at Furman University.
Edward is a lifelong resident of Beaufort and the owner and Broker-In-Charge of Lowcountry Real Estate. Edward stays active in the community and has served on a variety of civic and nonprofit boards including the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, Historic Review Board, The YMCA, Beaufort Academy, the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation, The Historic Beaufort Foundation, The Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail board and as served as President of the Beaufort County Board of Realtors twice. When not working, he does his best to get outside for boating, golf, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding or anything on the water.
Al retired from the SCDNR as Manager of the Waddell Maricultural Research and Development Center, where he spent more than 40 years developing spawning and production techniques for several commercial and recreationally important finfish and marine shrimp species. He is currently employed as a shrimp production consultant for Zeigler Bros Inc., an international aquaculture feeds company. Al is a member of the May River Watershed Action Plan Advisory Committee and a Deputy State Law Enforcement Officer. He is a volunteer for the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center and the SCDNR Victoria Bluff Heritage Trust Preserve and the Victoria Bluff Marine Reserve.
Originally from North Carolina, Thomas graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelors in Science in American History. Since moving to Beaufort in 2013, Thomas has worked at Kinghorn Insurance specializing in commercial insurance. He is married to his wonderful wife, Ainsley, and they have two sons, Berry and Archie. Thomas enjoys spending time with his family on the water, inshore fishing, hunting, and he is very involved with his church, First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort.
Beek was born and raised in Beaufort and has an in-depth knowledge of the land and its history. He has played a vital role in protecting some of OLT’s most prized properties such as The Green in the Old Point. Beek has been a member of the Open Land Trust Board of Directors for many years and has served as former President and as a member of the Land Committee. In addition to the Open Land Trust, Beek also serves as a member of the Rural and Critical Land Preservation Board for Council District 2.