Member News | Sept. 12 – Sept. 16

Pets: The Whole 9 Yards
Let us care for your pets,
Like we care for ours!

Pets: The Whole 9 Yards is a full pet supply store, boarding, daycare, grooming, training facility for all domestic and exotic pets. Whether you have dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, fish or small mammals we definitely have something for you.

Owners; David Reyes and Leslie Reyes, along with manager Hollie Chiles, met while in school in 2007. All three have received various degrees in the animal field, along with having experience working with exotics and raising their own domestic pet family. The three of them got together and started formulating a blueprint to get Pets: The Whole 9 Yards underway. Over a year of preparation and our dream facility opened on August 15, 2011.

On October 22, 2011 we will be celebrating our Halloween themed Grand Opening! Although we are already open, we hope to bring out familiar and new faces to our big event. We will be welcoming rescue organizations for various domestic and exotic pets, a veterinary facility and other animal related small business owners. Come join us for food, music, costume contests, pictures, while getting to know our little Pets: The Whole 9 Yards family.


Nexsen Pruet Named One of the “Best Companies in the Midlands for Working Moms”

For the second year in a row, the Columbia Business Monthly and The March of Dimes have named Nexsen Pruet as one of the ““Best Companies in the Midlands for Working Moms.”

“Nexsen Pruet demonstrates a commitment to providing a healthy and nurturing environment that promotes behaviors leading to healthy pregnancies and healthy babies,” said Erin Galloway, Executive Director of the Midlands Division of the March of Dimes.

“When I began working at Nexsen Pruet, the firm more than exceeded my expectations,” said attorney Kirsten Small, a mother of two. “I love the culture of the firm because it is possible to be a good attorney and take care of my family.” Click here to listen to other Nexsen Pruet mothers describe why the firm is a great place for working mothers.

Seven companies receiving the designation are recognized in the magazine’s September 2011 edition.

Each year, the South Carolina March of Dimes invests more than $1.5 million statewide, including research grants and local community services. The March of Dimes strives to prevent birth defects and infant death, reduce South Carolina’s premature birth rate, increase access to prenatal care and educate men and women about having healthy babies.

Nexsen Pruet, LLC is one of the largest law firms in the Carolinas, with more than 170 attorneys and offices in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. as well as Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh, N.C. Founded in 1945, Nexsen Pruet provides a broad range of legal services to the business community and represents companies and other entities in local, state, national, and international venues. For further information, see


Award-Winning Author Chris Crutcher Visits Library

Join the Richland County Public Library for a discussion and signing with award-winning author Chris Crutcher at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 at the Main Library, 1431 Assembly St.

Chris Crutcher is one of the most successful — and most frequently banned — authors of realistic fiction in the Young Adult industry, with 11 novels, two short story collections and one autobiography to his credit. His writing features teens coping with serious problems, including abusive parents, racial and religious prejudice, mental and physical disability, and poverty. These themes are viewed as too mature for children. Despite this controversy, Crutcher’s writing has received many awards.

This program is free and open to teens and adults. For more information, call 929-3457 or visit


Dinkins elected NCEES president-elect

Delegates elected Gene Dinkins, P.E., P.L.S., NCEES president-elect at the organization’s 90th annual meeting, held August 24–27 in Providence, Rhode Island. He will serve as president-elect for the 2011–12 term and as president the following year.

A resident of Columbia, South Carolina, Dinkins has been a member of the South Carolina State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors since 2004. He is a former board chair as well as a past NCEES treasurer and Southern Zone vice president.

Dinkins has almost 40 years of experience in land surveying and engineering. He is the president of Cox and Dinkins, Inc., a land surveying and civil engineering firm. He is a past chair of the Richland County (S.C.) Planning Commission and the City of Columbia (S.C.) Planning Commission and is active in professional and community affairs. He has also been a guest lecturer at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and its College of Engineering, the South Carolina Bar Association, and numerous other business and educational seminars.

Dinkins holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Clemson University as well as a
bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the
University of South Carolina.

NCEES is a national nonprofit organization composed of engineering and surveying licensing boards representing all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. An accredited standards developer with the American National Standards Institute, NCEES develops, scores, and administers the examinations used for engineering and surveying licensure throughout the United States. NCEES also provides services facilitating professional mobility for licensed engineers and surveyors. Its headquarters is located in Clemson, S.C.



Benchmark: Appellate, a new guide to the country’s leading lawyers and firms, has named Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte, LLC, one of the leading appellate firms in the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Additionally, the guide has named Sowell Gray members Thornwell Sowell, and Robert Stepp as local stars.
The Fourth Circuit covers all of South Carolina, as well as North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.
Benchmark: Appellate is produced by the publishers of Benchmark: Litigation. That guide, in its fifth edition, highlighted Sowell Gray as one of the top litigation law firms in South Carolina.

Benchmark: Appellate was created to meet a “demand for increased focus on the appellate litigation practice,” the publishers say. Attorneys are selected for both Benchmark publications after extensive face-to-face interviews around the country to pinpoint the best attorneys at both the local and national levels. Additionally, Benchmark says it includes attorneys based on outstanding success during that year, as well as on consistently positive feedback from peers and clients.

About Sowell Gray
Located in Columbia’s historic Vista district, Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte LLC provides business and litigation representation in all state and federal trial and appellate courts in South Carolina. Founded in 1996, the firm serves clients ranging from multi-national corporations to small businesses and individuals. For more information, please visit

About Benchmark
Benchmark is designed as a detailed analysis of the country’s top litigators as well as a reference for corporate counsel who need outside help with a case. For more information, go to


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