COLUMBIA, S.C. (Thursday, January 18, 2024) – Experience Columbia SC announced its new group of local ambassadors last night in conjunction with the launch of this year’s Columbia SC Insider’s Guide publication, available now at the Columbia SC Visitors Center and on our website


The Columbia SC ambassador program, now in its sixth year, allows prospective visitors to see the Columbia region through the eyes of its locals. These individuals each champion the region through a homegrown, authentic point of view, share a common love for Columbia and represent makers, entrepreneurs, parents, professionals, foodies, creatives and so much more in the community.


The new ambassadors include Pamela Bynoe-Reed, Amy Beth Franks, Crush Rush and David Laird. Bynoe-Reed is the Director of Marketing and Community Affairs for the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET), as well as their Public Information Officer. Franks owns The Gourmet Shop and is a longtime champion of the Five Points district. Rush is a local photographer and a nationally published photojournalist. Laird is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Able South Carolina and an active member of the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, who host the annual Mardi Gras Columbia Festival. Each ambassador offers unique perspectives, experiences and interests that drive their passion for Columbia.


“When travelers visit a destination, they look for unique, local experiences. Our ambassador program provides visitors with insider knowledge so they can plan a trip that is enjoyable, meaningful and rooted in the experiences that locals themselves enjoy in our area,” said Kelly Barbrey, ECSC’s VP of Marketing and Communications. “It’s like getting recommendations from a trusted friend who enjoys similar experiences. Our 2024 ambassadors have a diverse array of interests, from art to food to outdoor recreation, that will resonate with a variety of future visitors.” 


The ambassadors who precede this year’s group include Shanika Pichey, Anthony Goldman, Lynn Luc, Vanessa Bialobreski, Kim Jamieson Crafton, Mark Rapp, Rita Patel, Merrell Johnson, Ashley Jenkins Wood, Lee Snelgrove, CJ Lake Tamasco, Ashley Cady Elsey, Angela Yong, Preach Jacobs, Michael Mayo, Bianca Crawford Shelton, Mattison Heatherly, John Sherrer and Morihiko Nakahara.


To read more about the program and previous ambassadors’ favorite things to do and places to go around town, please visit