Three prominent business executives were honored by the Terry College of Business at its 2015 Alumni Awards and Gala on April 25 in Atlanta.
Two of the Terry College graduates — Kevin Marsh, chairman and chief executive officer of the Cayce, S.C.-based SCANA Corporation, and Elisha Finney, vice president/finance and chief financial officer of Varian Medical Systems in Palo Alto, Calif. — received Terry’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
David Fischer, director of the Atlanta-based AloStar Bank of Commerce, received the college’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
All three were honored for their career achievements and for their service to the Terry College and their communities.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SCANA Corporation
Kevin Marsh, who earned a bachelor’s of business administration degree in accounting from the Terry College of Business in 1977, is chairman and chief executive officer of the SCANA Corporation, a major energy provider in the Southeast. He is leading his company and his state into an energy renaissance that will see two new nuclear power plants come online in 2019 and 2020.
“When these nuclear power plants are operational,” says Marsh, who has spent more than 30 years with SCANA, “South Carolina will be one of the cleanest power-producing states in the nation . . . 61 percent of what we’ll be generating will be non-emitting, and we will have reduced our carbon emissions by more than 50 percent from 2005 levels.”
Currently under construction in Jenkinsville, S.C., 30 miles north of Columbia, the nuclear expansion project employs more than 3,000 workers and will have approximately 800 permanent employees in place when the nuclear reactors go online. The addition of the two 1,100-megawatt reactors will give SCANA increased flexibility to take advantage of whatever generation option makes economic sense for its customers at any given point in time.
“These new nuclear plants will provide a 20 percent increase in base-load power generation that is essential for South Carolina’s continued economic development and growth,” says Marsh. “I believe our customers will still be served by that energy source 60 years down the road.”
Marsh joined South Carolina Electric Gas Company (SCEG), the principal subsidiary of SCANA, in 1984 as group manager of technical accounting, and he was named vice president and controller in 1989. Since then, he has served in the capacity of vice president of corporate planning of SCE&G and vice president of finance, treasurer, and controller of SCANA. In 1996, Marsh was named vice president and chief financial officer of SCANA. He became senior vice president in 1998.
In addition to Marsh’s duties as SCANA’s CFO, from October 2001 to March 2003 he served as president and chief operating officer of PSNC Energy, the company’s natural gas distribution company headquartered in Gastonia, N.C. He became president of SCEG in 2006 and president and COO of SCANA Corporation in January 2011. He assumed responsibilities as chairman and CEO in December 2011. Prior to his career at SCANA, Marsh spent seven years at Deloitte & Touche Certified Public Accountants in Columbia, S.C.
Marsh’s community outreach includes service on the boards of the Epworth Children’s Home and Citizens for Sound Conservation, and he is a past board member of the Palmetto Place Children’s Emergency Shelter, Junior Achievement of South Carolina, and Sharing God’s Love emergency support organization.
He and his wife Sue have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Elisha Wade Finney
Vice President/Finance, Chief Financial Officer, Varian Medical Systems
Elisha Wade Finney is one of most successful female executives in the country, and this 1983 Terry College risk management and insurance graduate works for a life-saving Fortune 500 company with a proud heritage.
Founded in 1948 as one of the first high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, former parent company Varian Associates was a pioneer in electron and X-ray technologies, including external beam radiation therapy machines for the treatment of cancer. Its founding product, the klystron, is still an industry standard for generating, amplifying, and defining signals for TV broadcasts, satellite communications, and radar.
In 1999, Varian Associates was divided into three publicly traded companies, and Finney was named chief financial officer of the new Varian Medical Systems. In its first year, the company earned revenues of $590.4 million. Today, with revenues in excess of $3 billion, Varian has become the world leader in integrated radiation therapy systems, as well as a premier independent supplier of components for X-ray imaging.
"I love our mission to focus on saving lives!” says Finney. “Radiation therapy is currently used to help 60 percent of all cancer patients in the U.S. Varian is working with world-class hospitals like Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York to precisely focus radiation on destroying cancer cells while preserving surrounding healthy tissues.”
Varian Medical Systems has installed 7,300 cancer treatment machines around the world, and the company is slated to supply its equipment and software for an Emory University proton center that is currently under construction in Atlanta. Varian’s Pro-Beam™ system, including a superconducting cyclotron and three-story gantries for treatment delivery, is designed for fast, precise treatment of children and other cancer patients who need specialized care. Prior to joining Varian, where she has also served as assistant treasurer and treasurer, Finney held risk manager positions at Beatrice Foods and the Fox Group.
Finney was named Alumni of the Year in 2005 by Terry’s risk management and insurance department, and she currently serves as a member of the Terry Dean’s Advisory Council and as a co-chair of the Building Terry campaign for Northern California.
She and her husband Bob, a Terry College alumnus who is retired from Agilent Technologies, have two children — Evan, a varsity soccer player at Penn State, and his younger brother Clint, who is graduating from high school this year.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Director, AloStar Bank of Commerce
David Fischer earned a bachelor's of business administration degree in real estate from the Terry College in 2005, and he joined AloStar Bank of Commerce shortly after its founding in 2011. Initially, he served as an underwriter and subsequently moved from assistant vice president, to vice president, and recently to director. “David has become the face of AloStar in the Southeast,” says AloStar CEO and fellow Terry College graduate Andy McGhee, who was familiar with Fischer’s leadership qualities from his service as chairman of Terry’s Young Alumni Board and as president of his Leonard Leadership Scholars class when Fischer was a student at Terry. As a senior, Fischer was named student representative to the UGA Athletic Association Board.
Prior to joining AloStar, Fischer worked for Bank of America in various capacities over a seven-year period. He began his career at Bank of America as an intern for the National Homebuilder Executive. He went through the company’s management training program, after which he was placed in the Atlanta Commercial Real Estate office. He worked in various roles as an analyst, underwriter, and client manager from 2005-08. From 2008-11, he worked in the Special Asset Group at Bank of America, managing a portfolio of distressed investments throughout the Southeast.
“I really blossomed at Terry,” says Fischer. “The Leonard Leadership Scholars program gave me the confidence to lead. And I also have to credit Dr. Henry Munneke, head of Terry’s nationally ranked real estate program, for convincing me to get in on the banking side of real estate and learn the financials. Dr. Munneke guided me to Bank of America and helped me get my first job there.”
Fischer has served on the boards of Camp Twin Lakes and The Nature Conservancy. He and his wife, Carrie, have two young children, Adair and Flynn.
The Terry College has been presenting its annual alumni awards since 1964. The Terry Alumni Board hosts the spring gala, which has raised $2.5 million for the Building Terry Campaign. Alumni award winners are selected by emeritus members of the board, working from nominations submitted to the board. Learn more about the awards criteria and the nomination process.