Melvin T. Whittenburg
Working Together Leads to Winning Together
Major Melvin Whittenburg (US Army, retired) was born and raised in Columbia, SC where he graduated from C.A. Johnson High School. It was in high school where Melvin first began honing his leadership skills, working as a student school bus driver and being named the Breakfast Optimist Club of Columbia‘s “Youth of the Week” in November 1980. After high school, Melvin completed undergraduate studies at East Carolina University where he was commissioned into the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant. He later pursued graduate level studies at the University of Phoenix and Georgetown University.
During his military tenure, Melvin had the privilege to serve our country proudly in a number of military and humanitarian relief operations, including: Hurricane Hugo, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and the Global War on Terror.
After retiring from the Army, Melvin used his leadership ability and business acumen during a successful career with ExxonMobil Corporation, where he also devoted his time to the advisory boards of four non-profit organizations and served as the Community Outreach Chairman of the Veterans Advocacy Support Team and Black Employee Success Team until his retirement in 2017.
Although Melvin’s military and business career have taken him across the country and around the world, he has remained devoted to his beloved state of South Carolina and is currently a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, and the Association of the United States Army.
Melvin is married to the former Angelina Jimenez and has two daughters, Savannah and Sydney.
How We Will Change The Secretary Of State Office
As Secretary of State, I will use my education, military and corporate leadership skills, and business acumen to build a team that will work collectively to serve all South Carolinians with the utmost respect, dignity, and integrity; regardless of party affiliation, economic or educational status, religion, skin tone, or gender. Our office will be proactive, business friendly, and customer focused to meet the needs of our diverse business community, charitable organizations, non-profits, and notaries. My number one priority will be to continuously support fair and equitable economic development within the great state of South Carolina by proactively identifying innovative out-of-the-box methods to contribute revenue for funding state programs such as education, teachers’ salaries, and school bus improvements.
• Continuously implement process improvements and ensure all legislation signed by the Governor receives the official state seal of South Carolina within ten business days of receipt
• Implement a “Boots to Business” initiative, waiving all application fees for veterans
• Collaborate with non-profit “SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce” to utilize their expertise and training programs to host quarterly business forums that Educate, Energize, and Empower to stimulate economic development within the Hispanic communities
• Conduct creative out-of-the-box collaboration sessions with Millennial organizations and business owners to identify attractive business opportunities that contributes to economic development through millennial business startups that includes waiving application fees for recent college graduates (graduated within the past 2 years)
• Collaborate with not profit “Building Better Communities” and African American communities to identify creative out-of-the-box methods that Educate, Energize, and Empower the community to stimulate economic development growth though entrepreneurship
• Hold quarterly meetings with State Chamber of Commerce leaders to discuss growing statewide economic development
• Provide opportunities to train unlicensed vendors on the requirements and benefits of owning a business license
• Meet annually with notaries to discuss issues and challenges, and work with neighboring states to provide dual licenses
Together we can write a winning story for the thousands of businesses and non-profits who want to jointly grow economic development within South Carolina.
Let’s work together and win together!
Proactive measures we will use to stimulate economic development growth.
• Hispanics are 86% of new US small business startups, Greenville County has 1,800 Hispanic owned businesses. The US Hispanic buying power is $1.5 Trillion and will surpass $1.7 Trillion by 2020 with a $5 Billion per year contribution to South Carolina. Our goal is to grow this by 5% to deliver an additional $80 Million over four years to help our newly elected Democratic Governor fund programs such as Education and Teachers pay. Such efforts can truly help economic growth in our rural communities.
• The US African American buying power is $1.2 Trillion and will surpass $1.4 Trillion by 2020 with a $3 Billion per year contribution to South Carolina. Our goal is to grow this by 5% to deliver an additional $48 Million over four years to help our newly elected Democratic Governor fund programs such as Education and Teachers pay. Such efforts can truly help economic growth in our rural communities.
• South Carolina claims to be a Veteran Friendly state, but of the 385k Veterans, we have an unemployment rate of 8.6%, this leads to homeliness and suicide. In addition the Secretary of Office offers no incentive programs to our Veterans and the State needs to increase it’s support to Veterans. We will change this with our Boots to Business program and working with other government agencies to address Veterans issues. I will push V.E.T.S. (VA, Education, Treatments, and Services) not supporting VETS until change occurs.
• Millennials are our future and it’s our job to prepare them to take the helm. South Carolina has a lot to offer Millennials with our low cost of living, Mountains to ski on, Beautiful Beaches to lay on, and friendly City Streets to socialize on. Greenville is ranked 5th in the Top 10 US Cities for Millennial business start ups.