Santa Elena Foundation hires first director

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJuly 14, 2014 

Andy Beall

SUBMITTED PHOTO

A board member of the recently created Santa Elena Foundation has been named its first executive director.

Andy Beall, who earned his doctorate in business administration last year and was previously the chief information officer for international manufacturer Flowserve Corp., said he's excited about the opportunity.

Beall moved to the Lowcountry in 2010 and has become a member of several local organizations, according to a news release. He has 30 years of experience in the industrial equipment industry, the release said.

The nonprofit foundation intends to establish an interactive center about the history of the colonization of North America, specifically promoting the history of Santa Elena in Port Royal.

The Spanish founded Santa Elena as a military outpost in about 1566 and the first colonial capital of America in 1569, according to the foundation. Short-lived French outpost Charlesfort, founded in 1562, was similarly located on the shore of Parris Island.

Beall said he was introduced to foundation organizers after finishing his doctorate at the end of last year at the School of Advanced Studies at the University of Phoenix. His work on a report on the economic benefits of a center led to a board membership, which led to the directorship.

Board member Daryl Ferguson said the group had been discussing the requirements for the executive director position, when it became clear an extensive search wasn't needed.

"He's got skill sets that he could run a major company ..." Ferguson said. "I went to the board and said, 'Why are we looking when we have that kind of talent?'"

One of Beall's immediate goals is forming an administrative team and coordinating efforts to continue exploring the history of Santa Elena.

"There is a tremendous amount of information coming forward that has not been fully researched," Beall said.

In June, the S.C. General Assembly approved $220,000 for the S.C. Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology to protect existing Santa Elena artifacts. The institute has struggled for decades without enough funding to care for artifacts from the site on the southern tip of Parris Island, said Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, who has said he intends to work with the Santa Elena Foundation.

Then-treasurer and current advisory board member Dick Stewart has been eyeing part of the Port of Port Royal for a permanent center, but a purchase offer in the spring was rejected by the S.C. State Ports Authority.

The federal courthouse on Bay Street in Beaufort has been mentioned as a possible interim center while long-term plans are discussed. Foundation officers are also working with the Spanish government to bring an exhibit to Beaufort about colonization.

Beall said he is considering setting up a temporary office, and a website is being developed. Community members have expressed interest in volunteering or helping the foundation, but "we haven't had a great way to channel that available energy at this point."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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