South Carolina Gov. Henry Dargan McMaster has awarded Lexington businessman Michael E. Hutchins, vice chairman of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Board, the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian award for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national and statewide significance.
“Mike has a passion for conservation and for getting young people outside to hunt and fish,” said SCDNR Board Chairman Norman Pulliam. “He has a strong business background and has been a positive face for SCDNR with the legislature. That has reaped many benefits for conservation in South Carolina. Mike is a true public servant and is very deserving of the Order of the Palmetto.”
Hutchins is among the most experienced of the current SCDNR Board members, having been originally appointed in 2011 by then-Gov. Nikki Haley. In the intervening 11 years, he has taken an active role in overseeing policy direction for SCDNR, serving on the agency's Migratory Waterfowl, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division advisory committees, of which he is currently chairman, and leading efforts to protect thousands of acres in South Carolina. Hutchins’ background and experiences as an avid big-game hunter – across four continents and 22 countries; including time spent working with as a volunteer with wildlife agencies in South Africa, Texas and other U.S. states – prepared him well to take on a leadership role with SCDNR, according to Pulliam.
Hutchins, formerly principal owner of the well-known regional Franks Carwash chain, resides in Lexington with his wife, Paula, of 46 years. The Hutchins' have three children and eight grandchildren.
The SCDNR Board is comprised of seven members representing each of the state's seven Congressional districts. The Board meets monthly, normally on the third Thursday of the month, and members of the public interested in issues affecting management of South Carolina’s natural resources are welcome. Meeting times, agendas, minutes and other information about the Board’s activities are available on the SCDNR website.
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