UNION COUNTY — I am humbled to announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for Union County Supervisor. Born in Wallace Thompson Hospital, graduated from UHS in 1978, I am also a graduate USC-U with honors and the University of South Carolina. My ancestors moved to Union County circa 1764. My roots run deep here in Union County.
In 1989, entered the financial services industry in 1989 working for Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. I have worked in the highly regulated financial services industry for almost 30 years without a single customer or insurance company complaint.
In 1996 I founded Cornerstone Insurance Group, an independent insurance agency in Clemson, SC, operated it successfully for 9 years until selling the agency in 2005. As president of Cornerstone Insurance Group I held power of attorney for The Hartford Insurance Group, with $5 million binding authority on bid/surety bonds as well as $5 million binding authority on insurance risk. At age 35, I was the youngest agent to ever hold such authority in the North and South Carolina region of The Hartford.
After selling the agency I went to work for Merrill Lynch in Spartanburg. While at Merrill Lynch I finished the 24-month training program in 15 months, acted as financial advisor to former Clemson Head Football Coach Danny Ford, as well as many other high net worth individuals. Also while at Merrill Lynch I acted as the lead financial advisor on an $800 million renewable fuels transaction securing $400 million in equity from the UAE and $400 million in debt from West Bank of Hamburg, Germany.
I was elected to the board of directors of East Coast Ethanol.
I acted as financial advisor to a group purchasing a $37 million port facility in Charleston, acted as a financial consultant to one of the world’s largest energy companies, Lukoil, in a similar transaction.
At the high water mark I managed $120 million at Merrill Lynch.
After leaving Merrill Lynch here are a few of my accomplishments:
• Established H.E. Blackwell Advisors, a small investment banking firm.
• Penned the bestselling book “Secrets of the Skim.” The book was the 30th ranked business book in 2010 by Amazon despite not being published until June of that year.
• Provided US Senator Kay Hagen with a white paper on conflicts of interest in the wealth management industry.
• Appeared on Fox Business News an industry expert.
• Presented to the SC Human Resources convention in Myrtle Beach on the fiduciary requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act.
• Member of the financial advisory panel at the Southeastern Renewable Fuels symposium in Tifton, GA.
• Represented 7 companies to the private equity industry.
• Acted as a counselor in the SCORE program, the consulting arm of the US Small Business Administration.
• Lectured at the George Dean Johnson business school and the Clemson University Graduate School of Entrepreneurism.
• Represented myself as a pro se litigant in the US District Court and the 13th judicial circuit on 4 different occasions and never suffered an adverse jury verdict.
• Served on the Providence Christian Academy (Six Mile, SC) board of directors.
• Ordained elder in the Presbyterian USA church.
• In my second year of officiating high school football games.
When an economy collapses as has happened in Union the psychological affect on the population is broadly termed “skepticism” by the text books. Union is at the low point of the business cycle where skepticism is most fervent, most hard to overcome.
I know you’re skeptical. I’m prepared. Hear me out is all I ask. I’m a nontraditional candidate who plans on running a nontraditional campaign. Though it doesn’t feel like it, the business cycle indicates Union is moving to the “growth” side of the cycle.
If this race stays a popularity contest I lose, if the citizens of Union County make a business decision this November, I will prevail. I am ready to compete in the marketplace of ideas and demonstrate an ability to execute. A vote for my opponent is a vote for the past, a vote for me is for drastic change. I have a plan to change the culture in our local government that will be unveiled during this campaign. The only way I know how to operate is by the book.
I look so forward to listening and learning from you, the people of Union County. You have no better friend than Hal Blackwell.
Blackwell will face incumbent Supervisor Frank Hart, a Democrat, in the November general election.