By Pamela Brownstein
For the Lewis family, it’s a life in constant motion. Beth Lewis has been known to rise at 5 a.m. three times a week to walk the McTeer Bridge so she could work out before her son wakes up. Then she commutes to her job with the Town of Bluffton in the stormwater division, which often takes her into the marsh and waterways, sampling water quality and stormwater runoff.
As producer and director with The County Channel, Rob Lewis can be seen all around Beaufort County shooting local events and educational programs, even sports tournaments that last late into the evening.
They are also busy raising their energetic son, Benjamin, 3, who attends The Little Brown School in Port Royal. On the weekends, they all like to spend time at the downtown playground, at The Sands or exploring Hunting Island State Park.
Beth said it is important to take pride in what you do. “We all have to work for eight hours a day so being happy and feeling like you are contributing to society is what makes it all worth it.”
Born and raised in Charleston, Beth and Rob both attended the College of Charleston, where they met through a mutual friend. Beth said, “Rob and his friends made their first full length feature called ‘The Hard Way Out.’ I tagged along with a friend for the party, and it was there we met. We dated for several years and married in 2008 at my old neighborhood dock with a view of Charleston.”
That film also proved to be the start of Rob’s career in video production. “‘The Hard Way Out’ was supposed to be a 5-minute project for a class. It turned into a 42-minute action-comedy-buddy-cop-epic movie. I haven’t put the camera down since,” Rob recalls.
“I grew up in South Carolina watching ‘Nature Scene’ on SCETV. I was lucky enough to work for ETV, and meet some of the folks behind the scenes. I always admired the photography on that show,” Rob said.
At The County Channel, the main project he works on is “Coastal Kingdom.” They have a partnership with Tony Mills and the LowCountry Institute to produce the half-hour nature documentary series that Rob directs, shoots and edits.
He said one of his favorite memories was celebrating “Coastal Kingdom’s” Emmy Nominations and Telly Awards last year. “We had a big party with family and friends. And Beth made me a framed ‘Coastal Kingdom’ movie poster,” Rob said.
While Rob captures the beauty of the Lowcountry on film, Beth plays an active role in monitoring and improving the area’s unique environment. As a Marine Biology major, Beth said she has been drawn to the outdoors since college. “I’ve always wanted a career in natural resources. Prior to working for the Town of Bluffton, I worked for SCDNR, and Beaufort County’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department, where I was introduced to the field of stormwater.”
It was the outdoors that brought the Lewis’ to Beaufort eight years ago when Beth got a job with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at the Waddell Mariculture Center.
Her current position requires several different duties, including water quality sampling, GIS field work, and stormwater education. “My favorite duty at work is the water quality sampling we do. Each week I strap on my snake boots and go out into the field to sample drainages that eventually lead to the May River. There’s nothing like being on the ground floor in this field,” Beth said.
This year, she also helped to organize the May River Cleanup.
Rob said the philosophy behind his work is simple: “I always just try to tell a good story with pictures.”
He produces videos for Beaufort County Schools; directs an educational series about astronomy called “The Night Skies of Beaufort County”; and has participated in the 48-Hour Film Festival in Savannah.
Although their hectic schedule keeps them busy and on the go, the Lewis’ try to stay in focus and remember what they like best about Beaufort. They enjoy teaching Ben about his environment and exposing him to the outdoor opportunities that the Lowcountry offers.
Rob said, “We love the people we’ve met and had a chance to work with and learn from. Our friends and coworkers have helped strengthen our family and careers over the past eight years.”
As for the future, they are preparing for the arrival of a new baby — a girl this time. Beth exclaims, “We are expecting our second child in March of 2015 and couldn’t be happier about becoming a family of four!”