Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance elects first Black board chair

Christina Lee Knauss //April 27, 2023//

South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance elects first Black board chair

Christina Lee Knauss //April 27, 2023//

Listen to this article

Tommy Preston Jr., global vice president of ethics of The Boeing Co., has been elected as the new chair of the board of directors of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. He is the first African American to serve as chair in the organization’s 121-year history.

The election took place at the organization’s annual meeting in Charleston, according to a news release.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be elected chair by my industry colleagues to lead South Carolina’s premier trade association for manufacturers,” Preston said. “Growing up in South Carolina, where most of my family worked in manufacturing, I am a living example of the generational impact the industry has on our citizens.”

Preston holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a juris doctorate from the University of South Carolina. At USC, he served as student body president, was a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar and received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the highest honor awarded to a USC student.

He started his law career at Nexsen Pruet LLC and was a part of the firm’s economic development, public policy and government relations division, according to the release. In 2015, he joined The Boeing Co. as director of national strategy and engagement and was responsible for supporting many business unit programs including the 787, the space launch system and weapons and missile and weapons systems across multiple sites. In 2021, he became vice president of ethics for the company.

Preston has served in numerous leadership roles for nonprofits and educational institutions, including a two-year term as president of USC’s Alumni Association and a stint on the board of trustees. He serves on the board of directors for the Charleston Wine and Food Festival and is o the board of the American Bar Endowment. He and his wife Felicia have three children.

“This is a historic moment for the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance as we welcome Tommy Preston as the first African American to lead our organization,” said Sara Hazzard, the organization’s president and CEO. “We are excited for the passion and dynamic leadership Tommy will bring. He has spent his entire career being a strong advocate for our state’s manufacturing and economic development sectors and is a long supporter of our organization. His experience and knowledge are critical as we continue to provide value to our members and strengthen our state’s business-friendly environment.”

Preston said he looks forward to leading the Alliance as it encourages the growth of manufacturing statewide.

“Our state’s manufacturing sector has grown exponentially over the years and attracted many innovative companies whose investments are transforming the state,” he said. “This growth and success are directly tied to South Carolina’s outstanding business environment and the work done by the Alliance to protect and advance the industry.”