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Barbara Melvin headshot, Women for Women Summit presented by the College of Charleston School of Business

2022 Woman of Courage Award Recipient

Chief Operating Officer (COO), South Carolina Ports 

On July 1, 2022, Barbara Melvin will become president and CEO of South Carolina Ports. Melvin will be the sixth leader in the history of the port and the first woman to lead a top 10 U.S. operating container port.

Melvin currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of South Carolina Ports, managing more than 700 employees who are responsible for keeping cargo moving at SC Ports. As COO, Melvin oversees terminal operations, carrier sales, information technology and support services, crane and equipment maintenance, engineering, environmental, Port Police, procurement, the logistics solution center and cruise operations.

Melvin also oversees numerous infrastructure projects and serves as SC Ports’lead staff person on the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project, which is on track to being the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet this year.

During her 20+ years with SC Ports, Melvin has held several senior leadership positions, including senior vice president of operations and terminals; senior vice president of external affairs; and vice president of government relations.

Before joining SC Ports in 1998, she served as director of Government Relations for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and as a policy analyst for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget.

Melvin is a Riley Institute Diversity Leadership graduate, a member of the South Carolina Advisory Council of the United States Global Leadership Coalition, a member of the Ports Caucus Advisory Board for the United States Congress, a member of The Citadel Baker School of Business Advisory Board, board chair of the American Heart Association Charleston Board (2020-21), a member of the Trident United Way Board of Directors, a Liberty Fellow, a member of the Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Math and a board member of the Intermodal Association of North America. She is a community advisor for the Junior League, a former member of the Business Advocacy Committee of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, a past chair of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, a former member of the board of Charleston Wine+Food Festival and a former member of the board for Communities in Schools and the South Carolina Maritime Foundation.

Melvin was awarded the 2021 South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) Woman of the Year, the 2018 ILA Woman of the Year, the Center for Women’s Most Influential Women Wrecking Ball Award, the Charleston Women in International Trade (CWIT) 2014 Woman of the Year, The Propeller Club of Charleston and Southeast Region Maritime Person of the Year, the National Transportation Week Leader of the Year and Columbia South Carolina’s 2014 Top Women of Influence Award.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Georgia Southern University with a minor in international relations and a Master’s in Business Administration in global supply chain from the University of Tennessee Haslam School of Business.