SCDNR board chairman, member confirmed by state Senate
May 12, 2021
Norman Pulliam of Spartanburg has been reappointed as chairman of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Board, and Duane Merrill Swygert of Hardeeville has been reappointed to represent South Carolina's Sixth Congressional District on the seven-member board.
Both men were reappointed by Gov. Henry Dargan McMaster and confirmed by the full state Senate on May 11.
The governor appoints the members and chairperson of the SCDNR Board, the policy-making body for the SCDNR, with Senate confirmation. One member is chosen to represent each of South Carolina’s seven congressional districts. The board meets on a monthly basis to discuss and set policies for the agency, which is comprised of five divisions: Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Marine Resources, Law Enforcement, Land, Water and Conservation and Division of Administration.
Pulliam, who was named the 2019 Conservationist of the Year by Upstate Forever, has served many years as SCDNR Board chairman, vice chairman, board member, and Law Enforcement Advisory Board chairman. He graduated from Clemson University, where he received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award as the outstanding senior. He then obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University.
Pulliam was named Citizen of the Year by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce in 2018, he was named Philanthropist of the Year in 1996 by the South Carolina Chapter of the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives, and in 1985 he received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor.
Pulliam was president of Pulliam Investment Co. Inc. from 1970 until 1999 when he was elected chairman of the board of directors. He remains with the company as a consultant. Pulliam is president of Pulliam Enterprises and is the former founder and chairman of First National Bank of the South in Spartanburg. Pulliam has extensive real estate experience and has developed, owned, and/or managed real estate valued in excess of a half-billion dollars in office buildings, apartments, condominiums, retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and commercial land development.
Perhaps Pulliam’s best-known work among his many civic and humanitarian affiliations was in support of the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind, where he spent almost 20 years on the board (16 as chairman) of the Spartanburg school. In 2016, Pulliam was the first recipient of the school’s Norman F. Pulliam Humanitarian Award, named in his honor. He also served as chairman of the Spartanburg Regional Hospital Foundation.
Pulliam is married with three children and is a member and elder of First Presbyterian Church of Spartanburg.
Swygert, currently chairman of the DNR Marine Advisory Committee, is a retired Jasper County businessman, former president of the Hardeeville Development corporation, Cinco Partners, New River West Inc., and founder and business manager of New River Enterprises, Inc. He is currently a managing partner with Tillman Properties.
Prior to his work in real estate development, Swygert had a long career in law enforcement, retiring from the U.S. Customs Service as a supervisory special agent in Savannah, Ga. Prior to that, he served as a U.S. border patrol agent assigned to El Paso, Texas, chief of police in Hardeeville and as a trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. He is a veteran of the United States Army.
Swygert’s background and experiences have led to his appointments to numerous boards and commissions previously, including the Jasper County Planning Commission, the Jasper County Appeals Board and the South Carolina Juvenile Parole Board. His career also includes the management of New River Plantation in Hardeeville and Derry Plantation in Ridgeland, where he was responsible for managing wildlife, timber and agriculture operations.
Swygert and his wife, Bonnie, attend Tillman United Methodist Church.
For more information about the SCDNR Board, including dates and times for upcoming meetings, visit https://www.dnr.sc.gov/admin/board.html.