I was born in Horry County and raised on a tobacco farm near Galivants Ferry, the oldest of 4 sons. I graduated from Aynor High School and received a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Engineering from Clemson University. I am a product of South Carolina’s public school system.
My ancestors have lived in Horry County since the 1700’s. My father was one of nine children and my mother one of thirteen. My grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles taught me early the benefits and the responsibilities of being a member of a family. I attend several family reunions every year. I have 64 first cousins and only 5 of them have raised their families outside of South Carolina. My family is and always has been very important to me. It is important to me that Horry County and South Carolina continue to be a good place to raise a family.
My wife, Marty, and I have been married 40+ years and we’ve lived in Clemson, Columbia, and Horry County with the last 30 of those years in House District 106. We have three children, Nada, Ira, and Melissa, and 7 wonderful grandchildren, Katie, Madeleine, Jackson, Hayes, Merritt, Marshall and Olivia. Our children plan to stay and raise their families in South Carolina.
We joined The Episcopal Church of The Resurrection in Surfside Beach in 1981 and I have enjoyed the privilege and opportunity to work with and to serve others through my church. I have served as a Teacher, Junior Lay Person Senior Lay Person and worked on several committees and was Chairman of the Building Committee. Committee work in a Church is like no other experience. It has helped me to understand that a servant’s role is the most important role of our life. It has helped me to develop the patience to listen to people whose ideas differed from mine. It has helped me to understand myself better and to be more accepting of others who I thought were different. I have learned that the ability to work effectively in a committee setting is very important attribute.
My professional experience in the public sector has included service with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. I worked as an Environmental Engineer in the mid 1970’s in Columbia inspecting landfills throughout the State. I helped locate and identify many of the hazardous waste sites that were cleaned up by the Federal Government Super Fund. I also served in the Myrtle Beach Office inspecting new construction of water and sewer lines and monitoring existing public systems in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties. I was promoted to District Director of the Pee Dee District for Environmental Quality Control in Florence after I received my Masters Degree in 1977. I have always loved Horry County and I was very glad to get an opportunity to become the Engineering Manager for Grand Strand Water & Sewer Authority in 1978. I helped complete the design and construction of the Schwartz Sewer Treatment Plant that serves District 106, and I worked on several other water and sewer projects that continue to benefit Horry County.
In the private sector, I have owned and operated Nelson L. Hardwick & Associates, a small engineering firm primarily involved in the design of infrastructure for subdivisions in Horry County, for over 30 years. I have been active in the real estate business and the construction business. I have always enjoyed working with other people and most of my business ventures have been with partners. My business partnerships have taught me that when we work as a team utilizing the best assets available, the workload is lighter and the success is greater.
I believe that life is about relationships. The best times of my life have been sharing meals, ideas, and dreams with other people. The more we communicate with others, finding out what they feel is important for the success of a business, a church, or a community the more we enrich our lives beyond all expectations. Some of the most rewarding times in my life have been helping others through a difficult time in their lives. Several years ago, I opened an email message which stated that God places people in your life for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime, and that it is very helpful if we understand who is being sent to do the helping. Sometimes they are sent to help you while other times they are sent to you to be helped. Keeping this in mind when I meet a person for the first time makes it easier to listen.
I believe my public and private business experiences and my life experiences give me a unique perspective into how our state government can best serve its citizens. While you and I may not agree on all of the aspects of an issue, or which issues are most important, I want you to know that I do not take lightly the responsibility to do what is right for all of the citizens of District 106, Horry County, and South Carolina. I respectfully ask you to allow me to use my abilities and experiences to work for you as Your Representative in House District 106.
As a charter member of the South Strand Republican Club, I served as its Secretary and then as its President until I announced to run for House District 106 several years ago. I remain active and supportive of the club and seek advice and counsel of its membership as often as possible.