Laurens County Trails Association is a grass-roots, independent, and citizen-led non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) corporation.
bud marchant, Executive Director
Bud and his late wife Emilie came to Laurens County over 20 years ago to run the Laurens County Higher Education Center. They fell in love with the small-town charm and culture, and very quickly decided that this was the place they wanted to be. Bud has had a successful career in education, having served in various roles in colleges in South Carolina and North Carolina. After serving as the President of Central Carolina Community College in Sanford North Carolina, Bud retired in 2019. His community service includes past Chairman of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Laurens County. Currently he serves as the Chairman of the Laurens County Parks and Recreation Board. Bud has always loved the outdoors, particularly enjoying hiking and biking. From his past experience he recognizes the power of trails in economic development. He understands that the Swamp Rabbit Trail is an incredible driver of economic development and believes that Laurens County has the potential to become the “Green Side of Greenville”, attracting growth and new residents.
Jeffrey Thomason, Treasurer
Jeff moved from South Georgia to Laurens, SC at the age of 10 with his family to establish the business of Earl Thomason Jewelers. Upon graduating from The University of South Carolina, Jeff joined the family business, opening a jewelry store in downtown Clinton, SC. After his dad's retirement, Jeff combined the Clinton store with the Laurens store which has been in operation for 46 years. Golfing, fitness, and outdoor recreation is a passion and a big part of Jeff's life. As a merchant and active member of the Clinton Planning Commission, Jeff is committed to the mission and vision of Laurens County. Recognizing the economic benefits that Greenville County has experienced from the Swamp Rabbit trail, Jeff is committed to ensuring that Laurens County has every opportunity to experience the same.
Robert Bryant, Director of Community Relations
Bob is on the faculty at Presbyterian College and is a member of the Department of Religion and Philosophy as well as the Environmental Studies Program. He has been an avid outdoorsman throughout his life, received his undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech in Outdoor Recreation, and early in his career managed camps in North Carolina and Louisiana. His vocational path then turned toward collegiate teaching in the realms of religion and philosophy, and he has taught a steady stream of courses and written on matters of religion and the environment. His participation in the LCTA is motivated by his love of nature, his appreciation for the people of Laurens County, and a deep desire that everyone have local access to a network of trails for their enjoyment and benefit.
Jamie Adair, Director
Jamie is regional marketing/community relations coordinator for Greenville Health System's Laurens County Medical Campus including Laurens County Memorial Hospital and its outpatient programs. She has served the healthcare system since its conception over 25 years ago and has been a strong player in its ongoing growth and expansion. An active county volunteer, Jamie has served in leadership roles in local civic and community organizations with the hopes of making Laurens County a "better place to live and work".
Laura Blind, Director
Laura Tyler Blind is a professional educator with more than three decades of experience teaching preschool through graduate level students about nature. Many of her years were invested in using conservation easements and land trusts to encourage landowners who wanted to leave a legacy of land through the opening of outdoor education centers. Trail work was a joy and adventure in these classrooms without walls. Laura is now doing consultant work and sharing her new book, Forever Wild Parenting.
Andy Howard, Director
After serving eight years in the Marines (in outdoor roles) Andy became a grounds keeper at Presbyterian College. He later took a role with the Laurens County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and, after earning his Bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Management, became that the Director of that department. Through his leadership the accomplishments include finishing the Boyd’s Mill Park, major improvements to the Laurens County Park, improvements to local parks in several communities, and the current construction of a new park at Tumbling Shoals. Andy is motivated by his love of the outdoors and his desire to make Laurens County a better place to live through recreational opportunities and economic development. He is very encouraged by LCTA’s work towards those goals and hopes the result will be a network of land and water trails for walking, hiking, biking, canoeing/kayaking, and horseback riding.
Susan Johnson, Director
Susan retired from Laurens County Healthcare System after 18 years of employment in Medical Record Administration and Medical Staff Services to be a full-time mom and wife. She continues to work on a part-time basis with a local rose-shipping business and with a local community-supported agriculture farm. With both of these she is able to continue to nurture her love of nature and the outdoors. She has continued an active lifestyle through the years of hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, and running, while participating in many of the exercise classes at the Laurens Y. She has been an avid user of Laurens area trails, roads and waterways, as well as exploring the outdoors in other states and countries of the world. By her participation with the Laurens County Trails Association she is hopeful to share her love of the outdoors by helping the people of the Laurens area become more active through use of trails. She dreams of the day when the streets of Laurens have many more bikes than cars, as she was able to experience while living in other parts of the world.
James Nelson, Director
Jim retired as a registered professional electrical engineer, after enjoying a varied career ranging from aerospace engineering for Boeing Aerospace, to defense contracts with Western Electric, to commercial design and management with Southwestern Bell Corporation. Jim grew up in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and went on to become a Boy Scout Master. Jim has enjoyed outdoor pursuits with Sierra Clubs in Texas, particularly canoe camping, backpacking and hiking, and has served as an outings leader and member of the ExCom in those organizations. Here in South Carolina, his love of the outdoors inspired him to pursue certification as a Master Naturalist in 2009. He continues to share his love of nature by volunteering with the Upstate Master Naturalist Association. His hope is that Laurens County Trails Association will provide a trail system that will enable all citizens of Laurens County to enjoy and benefit from outdoor recreation.
Jane Nelson, Director
Jane retired after thirty years in public education in both North Carolina and Texas, having taught secondary English, reading remediation and English as a second language. Outdoor recreation, particularly hiking, canoe camping, wildflower identification, and birding have allowed her love of nature to flourish. She was certified as a Master Naturalist in 2009, and continues to volunteer and to take advantage of statewide training opportunities with the Upstate Master Naturalist Association. Jane hopes that the Laurens County Trails Association will serve as the catalyst that brings together the various cities, health providers, utility providers, civic organizations, and interested citizens in Laurens County who desire to provide quality outdoor recreation opportunities, through a trails system, for all residents of Laurens County.
Jason Pridgen, Director
Jason lives in Laurens, SC with his wife Dallas and two sons Aidan and Owen. For the past 10 years he has been the City of Laurens Parks and Recreation Director. Originally from Mullins, SC, Jason is a high school graduate of Pee Dee Academy. He obtained his Bachelors Degree from Newberry College in 1996. He was also a member of the Newberry Football team from 1992-1995. Jason’s career in Parks and Recreation started in Winnsboro in 1999 as the Assistant Director for Fairfield County and in 2002 was promoted to the Executive Director position. One of his large accomplishments there was building a walking trail at Lake Monticello Park which was located on the banks of Lake Monticello. One of the things that attracted Jason to working with the LCTA is the broad range of people that this project will attract. For the last 10 years his professional objective was to attract people to inside the City of Laurens. Now, this project allows him to work on something that will attract people not only to Laurens but all of Laurens County.
Mary-Wallace Riley, Director
Mary-Wallace Riley is the Special Projects Coordinator for the City of Clinton in the Office of the City Manager. As Special Projects Coordinator, Mary-Wallace assists all of the City’s departments in a wide variety of activities to organize, coordinate, and implement management and community projects. She also coordinates grant applications and intergovernmental agreements, is responsible for the City’s public education and outreach efforts, and manages the City’s website and social media. Mary-Wallace graduated from Union High School in 1991 and from Presbyterian College in 1995 with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. During her senior year at PC she interned with the City of Clinton in the Office of the City Manager. Mary-Wallace and her husband have two children, Daniel and Lydia. The Riley family enjoys spending time together, camping, and visits to Great Wolf Lodge. The Rileys are also actively involved with Heritage Fellowship in Clinton. Mary-Wallace is a member of Leadership Laurens Class XX, serves on the March of Dimes Executive Leadership Team, is a member of the Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism Committee, and sits on the board for the Laurens County Trails Association.
norman scarborough, director
Norman Scarborough is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Presbyterian College, where he has taught for nearly 40 years. In 2005, he was selected as Presbyterian College’s Professor of the Year and went on to be named the South Carolina Professor of the Year. He also is the author of numerous books, including two of the best-selling entrepreneurship/small business management textbooks in the world. He believes in giving back to his community and served as a member of Clinton City Council. He was named Clinton’s Citizen of the Year in 2009 and has served on numerous boards, including the former chair of the Laurens County Health Care System, the former chair of the Laurens County Community Foundation, the Municipal Association of South Carolina, the Clinton-Newberry Natural Gas Authority, the Laurens County Museum Association, the Laurens County Future Scholarship Committee, and others. He also is active in his church, serving as chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, deacon, and trustee. He enjoys the outdoors, particularly the shooting sports and fly fishing, and is committed to enhancing the quality of life in Laurens County by improving and developing all types of trails.
Robert Simpson, ex-ofFicio Director
Bob has lived or worked in Laurens County his entire life. He works for Clinton - Newberry Natural Gas Authority as Assistant General Manger. Bob has a love of nature and being outside. He pursued this at Presbyterian College when he majored in biology. Although he has not worked in the biology field, he has used his knowledge and love of nature through work with Cub Scout Pack 21 and Boy Scout Troop 174. He has also been active in Ducks Unlimited and The Wild Turkey Federation. He is an avid hunter and fisherman, and enjoys going to the Enoree River with his family. His involvement with LCTA is a reflection of his love for the beauty and nature of Laurens County. His hope for LCTA is to increase the availability for others to easily enjoy the nature and beauty of Laurens County.
David Hardy, Ex-officio Director
David is a retired Clemson Civil Engineer Graduate who spent over 33 years working for the SCDOT in construction project engineering, and still does some consultant inspection work. Over his career, David has been actively involved in church and community service organizations. He has been a part of design, layout and construction of recreational facilities involving baseball/softball, soccer, nature trails, and 400 meter running tracks. David was born and raised in Laurens and enjoys the fresh air and open country side on horseback, as well as, floating the Enoree and Saluda Rivers and biking through the country side. He loves Laurens County and believes in the goals and objectives of the LCTA. He realizes the health & other positive benefits of having trails and blueways available here in Laurens County. He also knows that these type facilities will not be available here unless volunteers get involved to make it happen. He would like to be a part of making it happen.
Brie Holmes, Ex-officio Director
Brie is the Wellness Director for the Family YMCA of Greater Laurens and is actively involved in community-wide efforts to make Laurens County a healthier place to live, work, and play. Her passion for the outdoors started as a young girl camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains and continued into her adult life through adventure trip leading along the east coast, wilderness therapy work with teens, to guided kayak tours in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she met her husband. Having a “free-range” childhood motivates Brie to be involved in creating the same type of environment for her children and the future of Laurens County; an environment supportive of healthy eating and active living.
Janice Long, Ex-officio Director
Janice is the type of mom who always expects your best and won’t take anything less. To say she’s been active her whole life is an understatement – she makes the Energizer Bunny look sluggish. She's ran in 9 marathons, is constantly heading up the workouts at Crossfit864, and is always the one who’s willing to do whatever crazy activity someone suggests. Her commitment to fitness and her clients has led her to obtain her CrossFit Level 1 Certification, CrossFit Level 1 Nutrition Certification, and CrossFit movement and mobility certification. She is your biggest encourager and supporter regardless of the results. To be a successful trainer, one must be supportive, motivating, caring, and compassionate; Janice is all of the above. Janice's desire to be a part of the LCTA team stemmed from the major impact that the Swamp Rabbit Trail had on the Travelers Rest community. There is a great need for a trail in our county; a trail that would benefit the community in many ways, not only in a fitness manner but in a manner that would help many communities become one.
Mike Pitts, Ex-officio Director
Mike was born in Laurens, graduated from Lander University, and retired from the Greenville Police Department. He has represented District 14 in the South Carolina House of Representatives since 2003 and has served as Vice Chairman of the Laurens County Council. Mike is an avid outdoorsman and, in addition to being very familiar with the outdoor recreation opportunities in Laurens County, he’s a member of the North American Hunting Club, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the NRA, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and is President of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses. Mike hopes that the LCTA can help to capitalize on the natural beauty of Laurens County and help to conserve the County’s natural resources.