Originally from Wingate, North Carolina, I moved to Conway, South Carolina during middle school and worked in my father's woodworking factory during my first summer in South Carolina. My first "real" summer job consisted of waiting tables and serving pancakes in Myrtle Beach. I started work at 13 years old, had my first checking account before I had a driver's license, and started investing my savings before I graduated high school. Early on, I learned the value of hard work and being a fiscal conservative.
I graduated from the College of Charleston in 1983, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. While at the College,
I began my career at Santee Cooper, a public power electric and water utility, at an interesting time in the burgeoning field of information technology. During that time, I held technical and management positions in programming, systems programming, applications programming, networking, database systems, disaster recovery, and planning. I also, during that time, earned my Master’s degree in computer and information resources management from Webster University. Later in my career, I held the positions of Manager, Wholesale Markets and Manager, Nuclear Contract Administration and gained experience in forecasting, marketing, sales, contract negotiation