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May 25, 2001

Ron Chatham of Florence County has been named executive director of the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA) by the organizations advisory board.

Chatham, director of community affairs/governmental relations at Roche Carolina Inc., will assume his new duties no later than July 1. In his new role, he will report to NESA co-chairmen Ron Ingle, president of Coastal Carolina University, and Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion University.

NESA was formed six months ago to promote the joint development of the historic Pee Dee and Waccamaw regions of South Carolina. The alliance was formed to bring about public and private partnerships in coordinating, planning and sharing resources from Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg counties.

Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. of Florence and Rep. Douglas Jennings Jr. of Bennettsville have also been added to the NESA advisory board, expanding the group to eight members. Other board members are Carter, Ingle, Rep. Mark Kelley of Myrtle Beach, Sen. J. Yancey McGill of Kingstree, Billy Alford of the Council of Myrtle Beach Area Organizations and Frank Willis, mayor of Florence.

Chatham joined Roche Carolina in 1992. He was the first person hired in South Carolina by the pharmaceutical company and was involved in the Florence project from the design phase through completion of the local site. In addition to his human resource duties, Chatham has been the point person in community relations and public relations on the local and state levels. He also has been instrumental in establishing numerous partnerships with schools, colleges, universities, health care providers and civic organizations.

Chatham began his career in Atlanta, where he worked for a Beechcraft corporate aircraft distributor. He earned a bachelors degree from Georgia State University while working full-time. From there, he moved to Charlotte where he was vice president of human resources with PCA International, a retail photographic company. Chatham came to Florence in 1985 to join L-TEC. The company later became the ESAB Group Inc., where he was vice president of human resources. He subsequently was recruited to Hoffmann La-Roche Inc. to assist in the start-up of the Florence site.

Chatham has been involved in economic development in the Pee Dee through his chairmanship of Florence County Progress. He also has served on the S.C. Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee for the past three years.

He was certified as a senior professional in human resources in 1990 and was named Human Resources Professional of the Year in 1995 by the Employers Association, Palmetto Division.