BAHA celebrates first year, names board, officers for 2019-20

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Beaufort Area Hospitality Association (BAHA) officially launched in May 2018 with the appointment of a seven-member Board of Directors and the hiring of executive director Lise Sundrla. In February, BAHA staffing expanded to include a Partner Coordinator to work with BAHA’s existing partners and to engage new industry partners.

“We are excited to celebrate our inaugural year and look forward to continuing our efforts to serve and strengthen Greater Beaufort’s hospitality industry,” said BAHA Board Chairman Jonathan Sullivan. “We offer thanks to our first-year partners, sponsors, and community and civic leaders for their partnership and support, and we are delighted to once again welcome Ameris Bank as our premiere sponsor.”

A 501(c)6 not-for-profit corporation, BAHA represents the interests of our local hospitality industry to civic leaders and the community, while serving and strengthening the industry. Beaufort and the Sea Islands have long supported a robust tourism economy that is vital to ensuring the healthy and vibrant lifestyle we enjoy as residents. The lodging and food service industries in Greater Beaufort generate more than $1.6 million in overall property tax revenues annually to the community, with the bulk of those revenues directly supporting our local schools. Additionally, combined revenues of $3.8 million derived from the hospitality industry through accommodations taxes and hospitality taxes directly support key City of Beaufort services, operations and staffing. And, combined, accommodations and hospitality revenues from property tax, business license tax, accommodations tax and hospitality tax, along with certain fees for service contribute an estimated $5,022,964 annually — $373 per resident — supporting our community.

At our annual retreat in June, the BAHA Board welcomed three new members to the Board of Directors:

  • Nick Borreggine is owner/proprietor of Fat Patties and Salt Marsh Brewing. Originally from Wilimington, Delaware, Nick is graduate of Johnson and Wales and Old Dominion University. He settled in Beaufort in 2000, opening Panini’s in 2001 in the old Beaufort Bank Building on Bay Street. In 2012, Nick opened Fat Patties on Parris Island Gateway. In 2015, he opened Salt Marsh Brewing in Bluffton.
  • Jill Breaux manages the human resources office and serves as an accountant for Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort. Originally, from Jamestown, North Dakota, Jill found her way to Beaufort with her husband’s career in the Marine Corps. A graduate of the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Jill was active as an officer in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was recognized as the 2016-17 General Business Division’s Outstanding Graduate.
  • Megan Morris is Executive Director of the Santa Elena Foundation and leads the operations of the Santa Elena History Center. A Beaufort native, Megan is a graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Experienced in the development and communications sectors, Megan is very active in the community serving on the Cultural District Advisory Board, Reconstruction Beaufort Advisory Board, and as a volunteer with Beaufort Water Festival.

Officers were named at the Annual Meeting, and BAHA Founding Member and Secretary Treasurer, Frank Lesesne, Owner/Proprietor of Anchorage 1770, was recognized for his service to BAHA in its inaugural year.

BAHA’s Board of Directors and Officers for 2019-2020 includes:

  • Jonathan Sullivan, Chairman
  • Vimal Desai, Vice Chairman
  • Megan Morris, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Jill Breaux, Director
  • Nick Borreggine, Director
  • Chip Dinkins, Director
  • Esther Harnett, Director
  • Craig Reaves, Director

Advisory Board Members include:

  • William Prokop, City of Beaufort
  • Robb Wells, Greater Beaufort, Port Royal Convention & Visitor Bureau
  • Mary Lee Carns, Technical College of the Lowcountry
  • Dean Robert LeFavi, University of South Carolina – Beaufort Campus

BAHA’s annual report will be presented to Beaufort City Council at their worksession at 5 p.m. on July 9 at Beaufort City Hall. The report will be posted on the BAHA website at in mid-July.

Please visit BAHA’s website to learn more about the association and to access the hospitality Job Board. If you are interested in finding out how you can join the association or if you like to have a representative speak at a civic or social group function, please contact Lise Sundrla at or by phone to 843.379.2226.

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